February 28, 2005
If you're like me and you haven't bothered with watching Jeff Gannon stories on tv Crooks and Liars compresses a lot of bunk, media hysteria, and Lefty time-wasting into one 13-minute package.
Milwaukee Officers Charged
It's one thing to be cautious and complete, but District Attorney E. Michael McCann just loves to take his sweet time in filing charges. It took months for him to file charges against the Election Day tire slashers. In the case of Frank Jude, it took McCann over three months to charge three Milwaukee police officers. This case was trickier because the district attorney needed someone to start talking. Officers present wouldn't talk due to "misplaced loyalty" to use McCann's words. The wife of accused Officer Jon Bartlett is talking in exchange for immunity.
Look at what "Milwaukee's finest" did. The beating didn't even happen while the officers were on duty. It happened at a party hosted by one of the accused Andrew Spengler. What a black eye those "peace keepers" gave their department and their city.
This crime has the potential of inflaming racial tensions. Alderman, racebaiter, and gay basher Michael McGee tried to flex black power by calling for a boycott of two Milwaukee shopping centers. His call was ignored. That's a good sign.
"3 Milwaukee Police Officers Charged in Jude Beating"
CPAC was the first on-site TAM operation. Going in I didn't know what to expect. I actually did some preparation, but that was wasted in the first few hours. What I did expect was the unexpected.
Let's face it, there wasn't a whole lot of news breaking at CPAC. Both Karl Rove and Vice President Dick Cheney didn't say anything new in their addresses to their conservative supporters. The panels were informative for someone just getting acquainted with issues like new media, stem cell research, and social security reform. For a person like me who's knee-deep in current events and politics this wasn't new stuff. I could have sat in the auditorium (if there was enough room) and filed posts on who said what about whatever, but I would have been bored to tears.
The first rule of TAM is I write about whatever I find interesting. It's up to my readers to decide if I'm either entertaining or informative. It's just like good talk radio yappers. Some talk to lots of people getting scoops to broadcast on their shows. Others just open up the newspaper and comment on stories and op-ed pieces. Some do interviews and have guests while others go it alone. Some focus primarily on politics while others mix it up with sports, entertainment, or cultural issues. I write about political economy broadly defined, but I'll go off on the media, sports, books, and music. I find what I write about almost solely by commenting on MSM stories or other weblogger's posts. I don't report and have never claimed to be a reporter. Once in a blue moon I will do something that slightly resembles what a reporter does--my Dan Flynn interview for example--but I have to write posts about what I'm interested in. Doing straight reporting would wear me out. TAM would suffer if not die. The whole point of this hobby is to force me to write everyday. I mentioned that important word, "hobby." Since I write just to inform/entertain/amuse my readers I don't feel obligated to always offer something hard-hitting or insightful. If someone was paying me I would have taken my time a little more seriously. I would have been duty bound. Of course, if someone was paying me just to do what I do--what freedom--then I would have taken the nonchalant attitude I had.
CPAC was primarily a convention for conservatives. It was an opportunity for people across the country to meet each other, swap stories and ideas, and collaborate on how to improve the movement. The speakers and panels were there to inform, but the more interesting stuff was who was talking to whom about what. In those kind of settings confidences have to be maintained. There may be things I overheard or was told that I can't tell my readers. That would be a breach of trust and harmful to my credibility. In that way I'm similar to MSM reporters and pundits who know far more about stories and issues than they scribble for their readers.
I hope CPAC wasn't thinking they were bringing webloggers to replace the MSM in covering the event. If they really thought news about the conference was inaccurate they could have saved the money from setting up Bloggers Corner and put that into live streaming of speakers and panels over the internet. Anyone interested in what was going on onstage could watch in the comfort of their own home. TAM isn't C-SPAN. If that's what some readers thought they were going to read, they were dissappointed.
If CPAC organizers really wanted webloggers to cover the event they could have helped us snag interviews. A few people wandered by Bloggers Corner, but no big names. It's great CPAC thought enough to invite webloggers, but they should have helped us a little. Few of us had any experience as reporters. It was on day two that I learned there was a media room some speakers entered after giving a speech or doing a panel. When Bob Cox donned a reporter's cap he was razzed by Pat Buchanan for being a weblogger. Like anything, we learn. If I'm lucky enough to go again I might put together a better battleplan.
I think CPAC let the webloggers run loose was to have them connect with conservative activists who see weblogs as a powerful tool. In three days about half a dozen people came to Bloggers Corner and asked me what a weblog was. After I gave them a brief explanation and showed them TAM they could see this was more than a fad. PR people and savvy activists were buttering up the webloggers, handing out business cards, and talking to them about how each individual could best be approached. Weblogging is a new means for getting out conservative messages.
At the webloggers breakfast with the SwiftVets the room was packed with PR people. They were all sizing up the webloggers because they knew from experience with the SwiftVets campaign that weblogs move stories the MSM poo-poos. The next day in my mailbox I was getting stuff about an issue they were working on.
To sum it up, CPAC was more about building connections than the speakers onstage. Activists who only see each other once a year at the conference can meet and strategize, and now they can also meet with pioneers of a new media to advance their cause.
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
February 27, 2005
Who's Hotter?--Blogosphere Edition
At CPAC when Cam Edwards showed me the picture of his weblogging cohort I knew what I had to do. So I ask for your judgement. Who's hotter
UPDATE: Brian J. had the best answer: "Yes."
I'm shocked the Oscars ended by 11:00 CST. Here's what you need to know: some movie you didn't watch won for best picture; some actors won for performances you didn't see; and The Incredibles won.
As for Alien vs. Predator it wasn't pathetic bad. It wasn't great though. For a movie starring aliens and predators there were too many humans in it.
Countering Churchill's Hate
Bob Trapp offers this information on a counter-demonstration at Tuesday's Ward Churchill event:
RALLY TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF 9-11
Sounds good. Being positive will be a refreshing change to Churchill's venomous bile. I hope to be there taking pictures and getting reaction.
There will be no liveblogging of the Oscars at TAM. That awards show takes the cake for being long and drawn out. I don't care who's wearing what dress by whatever designer. I don't care who thanks who after winning whatever award. I'll just be watching the wires to find out who won. Since I've seen none of the nominees for best picture I have no one to root for.
Just to be anti-Oscar, I'm going to rent Alien vs. Predator, and "waste" my time watching monsters kill each other.
For those who care about the Oscars Michele threatening to liveblog it while Ann Althouse is doing it. Ann spotted the first radical chic moment when Carlos Santana showed off his Che Guevera t-shirt. Better them than me. I think she should just stick to cooking. Michele, when are you going to invite me to dinner?
"Fun and Games With Oscar"
Obligatory Namrata Link
I have no reason for linking to this other than Namrata is so damn hot.
Syria Feeling the Pressure
Syria turns over Saddam's half-brother. Hmm... This news definitely gives ammunition to those who think Saddam's WMD were moved to Syria. More importantly this is a sign Syria is feeling the pressure. Those Baathists must think they're in President Bush's crosshairs. I wonder how ally Iran thinks about Syria caving so easily.
"Syria Hands Saddam's Half-Brother to Iraq"
Anti-American Arrives Tuesday
Tuesday, Ward Churchill is coming to UW-Whitewater. I'm trying to get organized with my fellow BBA members and readers.
"Preparing for Churchill"
February 26, 2005
I Don't Buy It
Fred Durst isn't hate hackers even though one of them stole a sex video from his home computer. He actually said this is "causing awareness for homeland security."
To me this just reeks of a publicity stunt. If that was Durst's plan it's working.
"Fred Durst Says: My Cellphone was Not Hacked"
Beyond "Compassionate Conservatism"
If Myron Magnet is correct "compassionate conservatism" is only a different method of statism. In no way is it a reduction in the role of government. He writes,
Implicit in compassionate conservatism was the epochal paradigm shift that is now all but explicit. Taken together, compassionate conservatism's elements added up to a sweeping rejection of liberal orthodoxy about how to help the poor, which a half century's worth of experience had discredited. If you want to help the poor, compassionate conservatives argued, liberate them from dependency through welfare reform; free their communities from criminal anarchy through activist policing; give them the education they need to succeed in a modern economy by holding their schools accountable; and let them enjoy the rewards of work by taxing their modest wages lightly--or not at all.
The question of if it's even the federal government's role to meddle in welfare, local policing, education, and addiction is not asked by compassionate conservatives. To an extent the debate is over. The public has demonstrated a desire for the welfare state just more effective. Ten years ago the public was turned off when the Gingrich revolution threatened to shut down the Department of Education. Political beatings like that showed Republicans that the public has little desire to really cut federal spending.
Magnet writes that President Bush's Social Security plan is consistent with compassionate conservatism. What he proposes is a forced savings plan. The hand of government isn't lessened by lowering payroll taxes. No, the government just will allow you a choice of how you want your Social Security "contribution" invested. Granted, individuals have more opportunity, but they don't gain any more freedom.
Politicians' role is to get legislation passed and to get re-elected. Hence, they have to go with the flow of public opinion as much as lead. Classical liberals and small government conservatives like myself can hem and haw all we want about weak-kneed pols and RINOs. But should we be surprised that after feeling the public's pulse well enough to get elected they switch gears to oppose public feeling?
The Right has created a marvelous set of institutions to advance the cause in government. But it's only done part of the job. Instead of the relentless analysis of legislation in Washington, D.C. and state capitols we need an campaign to teach the public a love for liberty and limited government. We need to instill into our fellow men and women that private property is the key to economic dynamism; that government programs my help some the taxes used to fund them lessen individual's ability to solve their own problems; that a bureaucrat in Washington had neither the knowledge nor the information to educate a child a thousand miles away.
Let me state that because of present political realities I support much of what the President is advancing. His ideas take the nation closer to the state our Founding Fathers envisioned when they wrote the constitution. Compassionate conservatism is not the end; it's only one step toward the much smaller state I hope to see the U.S. return to.
"The War on the War on Poverty"
[Added to Wizbang's Automated Linkfest.]
February 25, 2005
I Did It All for the Publicity
How convenient. A washed up rock star has a porno tape put on the internet. Even better it gets tied into Paris Hilton's hacked Sidekick. Call me cynical, but I think Fred Durst did this for a little more than nookie.
"He Did It All for the Nookie"
Combining sweets with death is sick. But when it's "just a clump of cells" it's an event.
"Death by Chocolate"
Why someone like Hunter S. Thompson gives into his demons now after fending them off for decades is a mystery. What we do know is his last moment was very cruel to his wife.
"Thompson Shot Himself While on Phone with Wife"
Terri Schiavo's Long March continues with a judge ruling her feeding tube can be removed 03.18. That gives Terri's family three weeks to put together one last legal defense.
I haven't posted anything until now on this permutation of the story. With the Florida legislature not being able to stop Terri's husband from starving her to death my hope disappeared. In a way it's good that still in America a loud group, maybe even a majority, can't infringe on a family. However, Terri's case is an awful demonstration of that sanctity.
If Terri's feeding tube is removed in three weeks that's not the end. She begins a long, agonzing path toward death. It'd be better for her suffering if her husband would just put a bullet in her--not that I'd support that either. A dying puppy would suffer less. If we did to an animal what Michael Schiavo wants to do to her wife PETA and (unfortunately) more of the public would cry out.
Unlike Terri's parents I don't think she'll ever get better. Still, that doesn't mean she has to die. It doesn't mean she can't still give and receive love.
"Man Cleared to Remove Wife's Feeding Tube"
February 24, 2005
"Picture of Chaos"
After listening to the BBA's favorite Journal Sentinel reporter Greg Borowski (go buy his book) on Charlie Sykes' show this morning we're at an impasse in the voter fraud story. the fed-city joint investigation is preventing reporters and weblogger from looking at voting records. Also the Elections Commission ran the election so badly it will be very hard to disern fraud from poor record keeping. Borowski told Charlie that a "picture of chaos emerged in the final days" at City Hall. Absentee ballot requests weren't filled and a bunch of union workers, staff from Gov. Doyle, and even Mayor Tom Barrett's family had to pitch in to get process thousands of voter registration cards.
Rep. Jeff Stone is exactly right when he told Charlie, "We have a system designed to allow for fraud to occur and for tremendous error." We see the error, we just don't know how much fraud occured.
James Joyner and some weblog called The Bones of Contention link to a weblog so foul I won't even give you its name. The premise seems to be to toss as many f-bombs as possible while ripping on public figures.
To use Kevin's term WTF.
Apple and TiVo Sitting in a Tree
Apple buying TiVo? I wouldn't complain. I love, I mean LOVE, my TiVo. I love, I mean LOVE, my iPod. I don't want to go all Mac computing-wise--I would love to play with one of these little puppies--but I'll back anything that keeps my revolutionary tv device running.
I'm listening to the TABOR debate on Charlie Sykes' "Insight 2005." This is great, informative talk on what TABOR is, why it's needed, and how we got in
State Assembly Speaker John Gard is a passionate, very smart speaker. I'm glad he's fighting for TABOR and not distracted by running for governor. By comparing Wisconsin's tax burden to that of growing countries like China and Ireland puts the issue in a global economic context.
Opponents of TABOR have been defending their side very well. State Rep. John Richards offered the rebuttal that controling government spending is the role of legislators and government officals. If voters have a problem with spending they should vote new people into office. This is a simple, seemingly common sense comeback. However, it doesn't explain why why Wisconsin government spending has been increasing for decades, nor does it include any public choice thinking involving the power of special interests.
For someone like me who doesn't have an in-depth knowledge of TABOR (that's why I've written little on it) this is a bonanza to learn more about the idea and arguments against it.
Bravo, Charlie for putting together a great event.
Charlie Sykes has a great line up for his "Insight 2005" show this morning. I do see something missing: where are the webloggers? One member of the BBA--I'd nominate Owen--could have yapped with Rep. Jeff Stone and Greg Borowski about voter fraud. Still, this is must listen radio.
Randy Moss is off to Oakland. Good. Get that trash out of the NFC Central. It's good even though it looks like the Vikings are improving their defense which is bad for my Packers. I don't care. I don't need to be insulted by him anymore.
February 23, 2005
Still Working on It
Ugh! How can I call myself an economist (amatuer that is) when I still can grasp this stuff about Social Security transition costs. Want to embarass me more ask me about foreign exchange rates.
"There's No Free Lunch"
When a Cut Isn't a Cut
Awesome post by Owen showing the "evil" state Republicans aren't really gutting public education like Gov. Doyle is claiming.
"Doing the Math"
Lileks: Radio God
When living in the Twin Cities (I called it "The Cities" like any Minnesotan) I found James Lileks on KSTP. I don't remember if he was only on Saturday nights or if he also did weeknights. That's not important. What is important is I knew quickly I was listening to the funniest man I ever heard on radio. He had such deadpan, and Lilkes made funny yet obvious points. Hooray for me and for everyone on the net. Lileks has reopened the diner.
Tom Wolfe has declared Hunter S. Thompson "the [20th] century's greatest comic writer in the English language."
"As Gonzo in Life as in His Work"
Voter ID Politics
The voter ID bill is almost one-third of the way to becoming law. The State Assembly will vote on the bill Thursday after Democrats got the vote delayed. The bill will then go to a State Senate committee which will hold public hearings across the state. The toughest part is trying to convince Gov. Doyle not to veto the bill. Republicans will have to decide what political maneuvers to use to get this bill signed. The GOP could hold up something important to Doyle. It could be part of the budget/tax freeze negotiations. At worst, Doyle vetoes the bill and gives Scott Walker and/or Mark Green another popular issue to use against the Democratic incumbant.
"Late-Night Move Stalls Voter ID Measure"
Libertarian Girl, Redux?
Abigail's Magic Garden appears to be just a brand-new Lefty weblog. However, this has Libertarian Girl written all over it. Most obviously, "Abigail's" picture looks a little too professional. It screams "Russian mail-order bride." Second, she lists her interests as "politics, working out, museums, helping the less fortunate." Not one mention of pop culture. No one wanting to write a weblog is that lame. Third, why would a liberal weblogger put TAM on her blogroll along with Matt Yglesias, Kos, and Kevin Drum?
But what's convinced me is the Gender Genie. I put this post into the contraption, and it popped out a female score of 454 but a male score of 807. I then put in a series of posts (avoiding quotes from other websites). I got a female score of 1482 but a male score of 2195. So, Gender Genie thinks Abigail is really Gaylord.
I wonder if the person or persons behind "Abigail" are also behind Sigmund, Carl, and Alfred. Either they're in cahoots, or they're easily fooled. As for the comments on the S,C,&A post, they're either ironically playing along or oblivious to the obvious.
February 22, 2005
Milwaukee might have an official soda. You could say it already does: barley pop. The city council is considering taking offers from soda companies. San Diego got $6.6 million from Pepsi. This could be a good idea for taxpayers. The new soda money could replace taxdollars, but that would require the government to not spend more. Also, Milwaukee already has a fine soda company, Sprecher. The fizzy stuff they make is so much better than Coke, Pepsi, even R.C.
"Milwaukee Will Consider Adopting Official Soft Drink"
Helen Reynolds, the "Instawife," is home. No thanks to paper work. Nothing but best wishes from TAM.
Some economists including Nobel Prize winner Edward Prescott consider any transition costs for Social Security reform to be a myth. I'm in a hurry to get out the door so I can't decide if they're right or wrong. I'll leave it up to my readers to discuss.
"Social Security 'Transition Costs' a Myth, Say Economists"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
Clash of the Titans
February 21, 2005
Hospital Safety and Comfort
Glenn Reynolds' wife is doing well in the hospital. That's good news. She's also antsy which is good news too.
Glenn wondered why more thought hasn't been put into making hospitals more comfortable. For a long time people accepted thousands of deaths a year due to "preventable medical errors." A hospital being built near me is trying to fix that by designing each patient room with the exact same layout. That way doctors and nurses know where everything is in each room. That sounds good and may save lives. But hopefully doctors and designers will really look at making hospitals more soothing and relaxing for patients and their families. Let's start sending hospital administrators copies of Virginia Postrel's The Substance of Style.
"A Blueprint for Patient Safety"
"4 More Years"
You're welcome Dean. Now, go sing to those Kossacks.
A High Price to Pay
Strangely, I've read few comments on the NY Times' purchase of About.com. Here's a negative post by John Ellis:
In fact, the deal is an embarrassment of overpayment and reveals a kind of strategic ennui. The "metro" strategy of marketing the newspaper has failed. The television strategy has failed. The great Internet opportunity of 2000-2001 has long since passed (the NYT company could have acquired Yahoo! for a relative song in 2001). Having failed to even comprehend the turbo-dynamics of Blogger, the NYT Company now throws $410 million at 500 weblogs.
If the Times is still in the mood I'll begin negotiations at a paltry $500,000.
CBGB's Priced Out of Market
The legendary New York City club/hole in the wall may close to due rising rent. CBGB's might be the victim of its own success. By being the birthplace of American punk music its hipness made it a desirable location. Thus rents rose. Now, the owner is paying $40,000 a month in rent. Unfortunately that's economic dynamism in action. Sometime in the future we'll find out about another club in a dank, dark part of some city that will makes its mark on music. Then we'll watch this dynamic happen again.
February 20, 2005
Fund-Quiddick: It's Over
Kevin McCullough has posted some corespondents with John Fund. Fund apologized so I'm done with it. He happened to be the target of a slow news day at CPAC.
Let me state that John Fund's work has been great for conservatives. He's been as out front as any member of the MSM on voter fraud. He made a mistake then fessed up. All is well in this corner of the blogosphere.
"24 Hours Later - Fund Responds...(as do I)"
Hunter S. Thompton, R.I.P.
Just from reading interviews and some of his writings I knew there was plenty of "fear and loathing" in Hunter S. Thompson. I'm sad but not surprised he killed himself. He was probably surprised he lived as long as he did.
"Author Hunter S. Thompson Kills Himself"
Questioning the War
Matt Margolis interviewed Dan Flynn author of Intellectual Morons. He spoke for a while about his criticisms of the Iraq War.
Also check out my interview with him.
"CPAC 2005: Dan Flynn Interview"
Soda and Candy
Here's two quick reviews on 7Up Plus and Reese's cookies:
Conservative Splits but Still Has Big Mo
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Craig Gilbert wandered around CPAC and wrote about the rifts in the conservative movement that may play a significant role in who the GOP nominates in 2008. An example is Karl Rove's view of Bushism that has set the stage for a generation of GOP dominance versus Pat Buchanan's America-as-empire. He's right to an extent. Many streams flow into conservatism's bay. In the 60s Frank Meyer's "fusionism" glued traditionalists, libertarians, and anti-communists together. Ronald Reagan continued to bind the groups together with his tough stance opposing the Soviets and cutting taxes. Today, President Bush holds the movement together by fighting the Islamist War and publiclly displaying his morality.
What's missing from Gilbert's analysis is electoral momentum. That's on the Right's side. Since 1994, on the national stage the Democrats have only won (1996 Presidential election and 1998 Congressional races) when Bill Clinton was the national question. With every Presidential and Congressional loss the loud, screaming Kos-like/Deaniac voices become more dominant. That anger and frustration at the winning Republicans turns into anger toward the country that keeps on handing them power. Electing Howard Dean, M.D. as DNC chairman proves to me they're still seething. It's still public catharsis instead of serious introspection. If Virginia Postrel is right that "the party that hates America loses" expect continued Democratic defeats.
"Battles Likely as GOP Plots Its Post-Bush Course"
February 19, 2005
Salon's CPAC Spew
In Michelle Goldberg's mind CPAC attendees are brainless fascist zombies:
Like comrades celebrating the success of Mao's Great Leap Forward, attendees at CPAC, the oldest and largest right-wing conference in the country, invest their leaders with the power to defy mere reality through force of insistent rhetoric. The triumphant recent election is all the proof they need that everything George W. Bush says is true. Sure, there's skepticism of the president's wonder-working power among some of the old movement hands -- including the leaders of the American Conservative Union, which puts CPAC on. For much of the rank and file, though, the thousands of blue-blazered students and local activists who come to CPAC each year to celebrate the völkisch virtues of nationalism, capitalism and heterosexuality, Bush is truth. They don rhinestone W brooches and buy mouse pads, posters and T-shirts showing the president as a kind of beefcake Uncle Sam, with flowing white hair and bulging muscles threatening to rend his red, white and blue garments.
"Among the Believers"
Congressional "No Customer Service"
Mary Eileen is having trouble with Rep. Sensenbrenner's office on getting details about a bill that just passed the House. A staffer in the office told her not to post about the issue until she got a letter from the Congressman two weeks from now. I know little about the bill so I'm hoping TAM readers can help.
"Concerns about "Real ID" Bill"
What the "C" in CPAC Really Stands For
If Wonkette did any posting on the weekend she might love Erick's trip to a drugstore.
"Sex at CPAC"
Takin' It Easy
It's 9:00 EST, and I'm tucked away in my hotel room. Instead of going out for the third night in a row (haven't done that in a long time) I got some food and am being a hermit. I've gotten only a few hours of sleep the past few nights--webloggers could yap until they dropped from exhaustion--and my plane leaves tomorrow morning. So I got some food from a store a block away and am lazily watching college basketball (UWM is beating Hawaii) and posting.
Fund-Quiddick Gets Technical
Kevin McCullough goes off on John Fund for having little respect for other's property. Kevin sees it as a skirmish in the weblogger/MSM war. Like Radley Balko, I see it as the actions of a rude, arrogant man. A political activist like Grover Norquist could have done what Fund did. [Note: Norquist stopped by Bloggers Corner and wasn't rude at all. Heck, Radley asked him some questions.] Or Fund could have did what he did to a college kid who came to CPAC armed with a computer. [Which makes me wonder if maybe he did jump on someone else's computer. Obviously Fund didn't have one with him today. If anyone saw Fund on a computer not on Internet Row or Bloggers Corner e-mail me or leave a comment. Photos would be really great.]
Not only is John Fund obnoxious he's sloppy too. Kevin points out Fund carelessly left Bob Cox's computer connected to the Wall Street Journal's servers. We could have browsed through his e-mail or done who-knows-what to the servers themselves. Leaving your company's computers open like that is very irresponsible. I hope the IT head of the WSJ kindly tells Fund to be much more careful.
"Bloggers Abused Twice - FUND STRIKES AGAIN..."
UPDATE: John Fund should just stick to getting people to talk. He teased Ace by telling him "Newt Gingrich is running for President in 2008." Fund's good for something.
Past Her Prime
Poor Tamar Jacoby. On the immigration panel she was defending President Bush's amnesty plan and getting hit by other panalists as well as an anti-immigrant audience. I shake my head at this darker side of the conservative movement.
"The aliens are not immigrants." Thus declared Phyllis Schlafly to riotous applause. She said, "alien" in a sneering way. "Aaalieens," as if these people weren't as human as you or me. Earlier today, Schlafly was at the book signing table. No one was in line. 25 years ago she was a conservative superstar. Now, she's a fossil.
"More Anti-Immigrant Drivel"
UPDATE: Radley Balko noticed someone recommended the death penalty as a way to stop illegal immigration.
He Writes Better than He Behaves
The inspired Robert Cox has started the John Fund Blackberry Fund. I'm renaming it the Fund Fund and have made the first donation of a shiny quarter.
"Blogger gets abused by Big Media Fund...WHY?????????"
UPDATE: James Joyner has dubbed this "Fund-quiddick."
The fun Bloggers Corner is having with this shows today's a slow news day at CPAC.
UPDATE II: Michelle Malkin calls it "weird behavior."
Summers Releases Speech
Harvard president Larry Summers was man enough to release his infamous speech on women in higher education. Eason Jordan and the World Economic Forum still have shown no desire to release the tape of his remarks. Strange for a man who claims to have been misinterpreted and who quit his job. I think we know what's on that tape.
Going back to Summers, he's late in doing so, but releasing his speech is a good thing. We can pick apart what he actually said. Now, it won't stop those nitwits who want to take Summers down for not properly towing the politically correct line, but more information available is better than less.
"The Lingering Furor and the Deepening Rift"
CPAC, Day 2
Follow what the CPAC webloggers are thinking at CPACBloggers.com.
It's tough figuring out the highlight of Day 2. There was Matt Drudge's surprise visit by joining Ann Coulter on stage. It's interesting they choose CPAC to make their obvious affections publically known. Also interesting is Karol was sitting in the same bar with them the night before. Namrata Singh Gujral came to Bloggers Corner and wrote her first weblog post. Al Franken had a small fit for being on Michael Medved's show with John O'Neill. Robert Cox has video of Franken's aggitation. Wonkette insulted TAM for appreciating Namrata's beauty--even being called a "nerd" is good when it comes with a link from that weblog. Ryan Sagar comes to my defense. Michelle Malkin--illness and all--stopped by Bloggers Corner. I joined James Joyner on NRANews.com with Cam Edwards. Later, Cam had me back on again just to yap about Wonkette. After the conference a bunch of us drank beer and talked about anything.
If you ask me about the day's speakers I'd tell you, "What speakers?" There was plenty going on away from the auditorium. When I did glimpse the closed-circuit television I heard a lot of wonkiness, mostly about technology.
Crossing the Border
Erick Erickson sees immigration as the "recurring theme boiling below the surface at CPAC."
Correction on Chinese Spy Story
Hey all, I made a boo-boo. Yesterday, I was harsh on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I accused them of getting scooped by Time magazine on the Manitowoc spies. I was wrong. A few more minutes of Google searching would have found this 09.30.04 story about the FBI arresting a total of four people, Ning Wen, his wife, and two Chinese nationals. They were on the ball, and I messed up. My apologies.
"Manitowoc Couple Charged in China Export Scheme"
February 18, 2005
An Instant Hit
Someone from the Child of Reagan weblog stopped by Bloggers Corner. I clicked on the site and was immediately impressed. Any weblog that gives us "Your Daily Dose of Whittaker Chambers" is cool in my book.
[Editor's note: This is Namrata Singh Gujral's first post.]
Sparks Could Fly
UPDATE: Radley Balko gives some details about what happened.
Flooding the Zone
Lakeshore Laments is digging deep on the Manitowoc Chinese spies story.
"The Manitowoc Time Magazine Story"
Cam Edwards thinks Wonkette's a "little jealous."
Rumor has it Wonkette didn't show up to Day 1 of CPAC because she couldn't find a prayer breakfast on the schedule.
Matt Drudge is a surprise guest at CPAC. I really doubt he'll stop by Bloggers Corner.
UPDATE: Drudge looks toned and kinda buff. This reinforces my belief that Ann Coulter and Drudge are a thing.
UPDATE II: Erick is covering Matt and Ann live.
Wonkette Has Arrived
One and half days into CPAC Ana Marie Cox finally shows up.
Bashing Intellectual Morons
Dan Flynn, weblogger and author of Intellectual Morons, took time out to speak with me about Ward Churchill and his latest book.
On Ward Churchill Flynn's "convinced that he's not an Indian at all" who "used an ethnicity to capitalize, to exploit it for his own career purposes." In the name of "political solidarity" and diversity the University of Colorado hired him, questionable past and all.
On what to do about Churchill Flynn differs from me and others who want schools to drop his upcoming speeches. Flynn told me "Once you invite someone to speak there's really nothing you can do about it." He also fears retaliation on conservative speakers. Having his books burned was just one of the bad experiences Flynn had on the college speaking circuit. Banning Churchill will empower the Left to stop conservative speakers. A intellectually stifling tit-for-tat.
In Flynn's new book Intellectual Morons he examines how "ideology acts like a mental straightjacket." He went on,
It blinds adherence to reality. It breeds fanaticism. It justifies dishonesty....
How do we know we've stumbled upon an intellectual moron (IM)? Flynn describes them:
An IM is someone who's blessed with great cognitive abilities, but because they squander those abilities by relying on ideology to provide them their thoughts rather than their brain.
A prime example of an IM on the Left is Noam Chompsky. He earned his academic position as a linguist, but he's most known as a radical, anti-American preacher. For Flynn having a "high IQ is not an antidote to thinkheadedness." "Because you're brilliant in that one field doesn't give you license to start making proclaimations about everything under the sun," Flynn continues.
As for right-wing IMs Flynn mentioned Leo Strauss and Ayn Rand. Strauss believed thinkers through history had hidden messages in their works. One level of reading was for the lay public while another was for learned scholars. Flynn find Strauss philosophic approach as "Plato's noble lie writ large." It's acceptible for the intelligensia to lie to the public if it's a noble cause. Think of it as a merging of Machiavelli and Plato.
Flynn criticizing Ayn Rand. He's a fan of her novels and views them as "propagandist." Some of her followers are known to be a little cult-like. Flynn told me some have gone so far as to talk with a Russian accent.
By going after IMs of both Right and Left Flynn demonstrates his book is not the shallow polemic the title implies.
First Wierdo Sighting
Right now, Patrick Henry is on stage talking about taxes. I thought I was at CPAC, not a Halloween party.
Badger State Spy Ring
Wow, I live about 70 miles from an international spy ring.
CORRECTION: The Journal Sentinel did indeed report on the story. I didn't search long enough. My apologies. For more, here's my correction post.
Keep Them in Your Thoughts
Churchill's Eichmann Fetish
Ward Churchill, the hate-spewing, sad excuse for a tenured professor, likes calling lots of people Adolph Eichmann.
Crummy Morning Show
Fox & Friends is awful, awful, awful. The hosts try to be funny but end up sounding dumb. Everyone is too casual. For instance, Sep. 11 commissioner John Lehman was talking about current intelligence problems. He was slouching in his comfy chair talking about "stovepipes." None of the hosts helped the viewers by having Lehman explain the term. It's like they don't really care.
Now, I just saw Kathie Lee Gifford hosting? Katie Couric has intellectual heft compared to Kathie Lee.
The Star of CPAC
On the first day of CPAC the "star" of the whole conference is the lovely Namrata Singh Gujral.
It helps to be gorgeous, but she's also excited about the power of weblogs. She's not only an actress but is president of American Pride Films Group. The company's goal is to "present a positive image of the United States of America to the world." I will be interviewing Namrata tomorrow. One question I'll ask her is will her company sacrifice good stories to have a pro-America slant? Will these films end up feeling like Family Channel-like pro-America propaganda? Ok, that's two questions. Have any of your own for Namrata? E-mail me or leave a comment.
Robert Cox agrees with me that Namrata is the "hottest looking woman at CPAC." Ann Coulter, eat your heart out!
Namrata was warned that she will be writing her first weblog post tomorrow, and TAM will be the place.
CPAC, Day 1
This experience started well with the breakfast with the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. What was a little strange was along with the dozen or so webloggers were P.R. employees who were interested in how they could work with webloggers. Companies see the power of the blogosphere. The Swift Boat story proves that.
I wrote earlier that I dealt with some technical difficulties. Using the secure wi-fi is worthless for me. My notebook works fine on the unsecure wireless network in my hotel, but the blue screen of death appeared when trying to log onto the CPAC network. I have to resort to a LAN cable which is fine. Since, I don't want to drag my computer all over the place a cable works.
Even though I have the same credentials as the media I didn't realize what that entailed. No one told me. Only late in the afternoon did I know there was a green room where we can interview people.
For most of Day 1 I was just getting a feel for the event. I wandered around seeing who was where. Later in the day I decided I needed to start doing a little reporting. Dan Flynn came to Bloggers Corner. I'm very curious about his new book Intellectual Morons. The title sounded like one of those shallow polemics that may rile you up it has no staying power. But after reading the dust jacket it seemed to have more heft. I grabbed Dan for an interview. Posting that later today is my number one priority.
At the banquet Dick Cheney gave a speech that was standard Cheney, but there was nothing new in it. I was much more impressed with Sen. Norm Coleman. He passionately accepted an award for his investigation of the U.N. Oil-for-Food scandal. Coleman told the audience that President Bush "came in a crucial moment in history." That moment being Sep. 11, 2001. Coleman praised the U.S. as being "the world's leader in everyway." On the U.N. the Minnesota Senator said that international body is a "flawed institution" with "zero accountablility." He strongly reaffirmed his call for Kofi Annan to resign as U.N. Secretary General. Coleman delivered red meat material but in a passionate way. This guy has to be on the short list for VP in 2008.
Kevin put together a Day 1 linkfest.
February 17, 2005
Grey Lady In the Weblog Biz
The NY Times bought About.com from Primedia for $410 million. This is BIG, BIG news because the Times has just bought its way into the weblog business. I hesitate to say the blogosphere because I've seen few people link to About.com weblogs. Those weblogs may get traffic but they aren't part of the weblogging vibe.
In a company press release one of the reasons for the purchase is
Providing an important platform for future growth on the Internet by adding an alternate model of content creation and aggregation.
That's biz speak for "Weblogs are sprouting up like daisies so let's try to make some money with them."
The BIG, BIG question is how will the newspaper integrate About.com's platform and content into its website? Will there be a Times "guide" on Iraq, or terrorism, or Social Security just like there are guides on portable entertainment, cellphones, and conservative politics? (Why isn't Ryan Woodhams at CPAC?) Who will the guides be, reporters or outsiders? Will there be group weblogs and/or individual ones? Will columnists start posting? How hard will Times execs and editors push their employees to weblog?
RapidLingo.com thinks the Times won't try to merge the two companies. "After the Jason Blair scandal, among others, they cannot afford to have the public view them as anything other than a hard nosed news outlet." But doing that will show the newspaper refuses to accept the fact that webloggers aren't going away.
B. L. Ochman writes, "Having such a vast network of blogs and bloggers certainly positions the Times well for incorporating blogging into its infrastructure."
"NY Times Agrees to Buy About.com"
Let's Play Dress Up
In a bit of weirdness, the Journal Sentinel offers its readers a paper doll of Josh Groban. What's next, origami patterns for the cars featured at the upcoming auto show?
"Doll Up Josh to Make Him Just Right"
Here's what The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin thinks about the possibility of Jeff Gannon being a tool of the White House to expose Valarie Plame:
Did Guckert actually ever get access to an internal CIA memo related to the Plame case? It seems unlikely.
If the Left wants to waste their energy on Gannon, fine by me.
UPDATE: Kevin at Wizbang organizes all the Gannon accusations and why they're false. 'Nuff said.
Unknown Racine Voters
Brainpost looks at the Racine Journal Times reporting 313 voter verification postcards (so far) have been returned to the city clerk. Rob--some Journal Times reporter who runs the Rob on the Road weblog--reports 106 of the cards will be turned over to the district attorney. This is the same number as GOP State Rep. Robin Vos called suspicious--82 were marked "unable to deliver" and 24 had wrong addresses.
"Election Fraud Update: 313 Racine Voter Registration Postcards Returned"
UPDATE: This might be good news for G. Gordon Liddy. Redstate reports Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry are backing legislation that would force states to allow ex-felons to vote. As Tex Whitley writes, "Do Hillary and the Dems need the ex-felon vote in order to win a national election? Perhaps they do."
"Hillary and Kerry: Let Felons Vote"
Lowering of the Tensions
I've been hard on Captain Ed for putting the Wall Street Journal's Bret Stephens in his critical crosshairs. Stephens was on Hugh Hewitt's show to talk about the WSJ's editorial harsh on some webloggers and the attacks on him. Hewitt has retracted the report that Stephen's wrote the editorial. Ed now admits he may have gone too far in his attacks on Stephens. Good for him. No longer does Ed think Stephens was hiding anything.
I'm pleased with this lessening of the tension. Stephens wasn't the enemy, and Ed and Hugh realize that. It's good to know these powerful conservative voices are interested in truth and fairness instead of simple destruction.
"Media Notes, Bret Stephens Update And Correction"
Some Photo Highlights
G. Gordon Liddy took on Al Franken in an on-air simulcast. Liddy was as sharp as ever. This was my first time listening to Franken. He wasn't much. His co-host Katherine Lanpher (not pictured) was much better. She dug in like a pitbull and was on the offensive. Give her a show.
Linda Chavez and Lee Edwards were signing their books. I asked Linda if she would ever accept a nomination to the cabinet. She answered before I finished my question. She said, "No."
Finally there's Cam Edwards wears my gift to him.
[This post would have been up way sooner but I got distracted by the lovely Namrata Singh Gujral and an interview from NHK Japanese television.]
Gannon on The Daily Show
If Jon Stewart had any smarts--and since The Daily Show is incredibly funny and creative we know he has plenty--he should be working hard to hire Jeff Gannon. What a fake news show needs is America's most famous fake journalist. This would really put a happy ending to his sorid tale. And the best part is it would tick off Kos, Oliver Willis, Media Matters, and all those who sunk so low for so little.
So far Bloggers Corner leaves a lot to be desired. For twenty webloggers there's only three tables, five chairs, and one power strip. The wireless network requires a password which we're waiting on. Thankfully they have LAN lines here so I just plugged in. People are working on this issue.
Well, things are being fixed. We already have the WEP code, and someone's trying to get more tables.
UPDATE: Another table is here. We're crowded together happily posting. It looks like I'll have to stick with the LAN connection. My computer is getting a blue screen of death when dealing with the secure network. And still no solution to the lack of power outlets. I have little juice left. It will be my excuse to wander around.
Republicans Against Spending Cuts
Since the GOP runs both houses of Congress they don't need Democratic help in passing any bill. Yet it may be Republicans who are the most strident opponents to cutting farm subsidies. Missouri Rep. Jo Ann Emerson worries that farmers in her state "will have a 10 percent loss in their gross income." No concern about the market-distorting effects that harm all consumers. Illinois' Rep. Ray LaHood went demogogic by saying the White House "is trying to balance the budget on the backs of farmers."
"House Lawmakers Say No to Farm Subsidy Cuts"
I may be in D.C. but I can still cover Milwaukee. Case in point: Marquette University admits one of its professors erred by comparing American snipers to Nazis.
Peggy Praises Webloggers
The same op/ed page that disparaged webloggers publishes Peggy Noonan's high praise of them. This proves the Wall Street Journal Editorial Page has no axe to grind.
The weblogger dinner was great. I got to talk for a long time to people who also take weblogging seriously. We joked, told stories, and offered insight. I knew meeting other webloggers face to face would be one of the highlights of CPAC 2005. I wasn't wrong.
Since we were talking under Chatham House Rules and the wine was flowing freely I can't devulge the specific details of any of the conversations. I can offer a picture.
Here are Mike Krempasky and Matt Margolis.
February 16, 2005
A Real "Axis of Evil?"
How afraid should we be that Syria and Iran have formed a "united front?" Is this the creation of a true "Axis of Evil?" Sen. Mitch McConnel on Larry Kudlow's show tonight said this wasn't anything new. I wonder how closely Syria and Iran will work together. If in the future the U.S. wants to topple the Syrian Baathists would Iran threaten to strike the U.S. with a nuke it's developing?
"Iran, Syria to Form 'United Front'"
Safe and Sound
I arrived in D.C. in one piece. The only problem was I forgot to pack some stuff so I had to run off to the Gap after I got to my hotel. The hotel has free wireless internet, but it's slow. It's better than nothing. I'm now off to the Reagan Building to see if I can get my credentials. Then I think it's to Famous Luigi's, which is suppose to be near my hotel. Looks like I'll be dining alone. No big deal since I know I'll be meeting plenty of people the rest of the week.
UPDATE: There will be a gathering of webloggers at a Virginia resturant so I won't be eating alone tonight. There's good and bad in that. The good is I get to meet a bunch of interesting people. The bad is I really should get some sleep for tomorrow to make up for my lack of sleep last night.
Off to the Airport
My sister is taking me to the airport. Expect me in D.C. by 2:00. I still have no takers on dinner and/or drinks tonight. That's fine. Do you have any suggestions on where a solo diner can get a good meal? My hotel is on New Hampshire Ave. near George Washington University and it appears on the map I'm pretty close to Dupont Circle.
Tire Slashing Case Heads to Trial
The five accused of slashing the tires of rented GOP get out the vote vans finished their preliminary hearing yesterday. Those accused include the son of a Democratic Congressman and the son of a Milwaukee ex-mayor. The next step is a 03.04 arraignment.
"5 Must Stand Trial in Tire-Slashing"
Insomnia and an Election
It's late and I'm posting again. Nights before I travel on airplanes mean trouble sleeping. No, I have no fear of planes--odd since I'm generally afraid of heights--it's just the excitement of going places keeps me awake. Thankfully, there's news to comment on.
Yesterday was primary election day in Wisconsin. Somewhere, someplace may have had a local race or two. For me, the only thing on the ballot was state superintendent.
Incumbent Elizabeth Burmaster will face Gregg Underheim on 04.05. Burmaster is backed by the teachers union, the Journal Sentinel editorial board, and liberals in general. Underheim is backed by Republicans, conservatives, and anti-tax hawks. I'll let you guess who I voted for and am supporting.
Underheim will have a tough climb to win. Since the state superintendent is on a very off year only die-hard activists and political junkies know about the race. This makes Burmaster's support from the teachers union all that more important. She already has a network of passionate backers ready to donate time and money. Underheim has to galvanize conservatives who are more focused on getting the taxpayers' bill of rights into the state constitution. Burmaster should win easily. Too bad. Imagine Gov. Doyle having to deal with a state superintendent not asking for more tax dollars?
Something interesting happened to me at the polls. At 7:00 last night, I went into my polling place. I was #47. Filling the one hole on my ballot took all of ten seconds. After I put my ballot in the box one of the poll workers asked me to fill out a new registration form. I completed the simple form that looks more complicated than it really is. The poll worker then asked to see my drivers license.
Actually, I think it was a gentle, effective way of updating the voter rolls.
"Burmaster, Underheim Advance Easily to Finals"
John C. A. Bambenek takes the torch and hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.
February 15, 2005
A Festering Wound
On how Ward Churchill demonstrates the bankruptcy of diversity-seekers at universities, University of Colorado law professor Paul Campos writes,
The University of Colorado hired Churchill onto its faculty because he claimed to be an American Indian. Anyone who has the slightest familiarity with research universities can glance at his résumé and state this with something close to complete confidence.
No wonder U of C so quickly began an investigation that could lead to Churchill's firing. They want him to vanish so we can't talk about how a failed quest for ethnic diversity landed a hatemonger an (almost) permanent seat at the academic table.
Stephen Karlson offers evidence of how majors and journals are created, not to advance knowledge, but to advance the "Diversity Boondoggle."
Tempering the Passions
For more reaction to Easongate there's the Washington Times responding to the Wall Street Journal editorial page, Andrew McCarthy doing the same, and the Washington Examiner telling fellow journalists that a new age is upon them.
Let me offer this possible reason for the WSJ editorial board to call Eason Jordan's firing/resignation too extreme. They worried that the revolutionary zeal was beginning to rise to the surface. They saw it with when Captain Ed and others called Brett Stephens a "spokesperson" for the World Economic Forum and claiming a degree of separation amounted to a conflict of interest. McCarthy calls the WSJ's complaint about it "quite right." Was he to be the next target? Stephens was upset with the charge and pumped out the editorial page's pointed response.
I'm guessing the editorialists too wonder what some of the harshest MSM critics want. Is their goal to destory or reform. Being conservatives that probably have read Edmund Burke I'm also guessing they hope for the latter. Allow me to again quote Burke from his Reflections on the Revolution in France:
Is it then true, that the French government was such as to be incapable or undeserving of reform; so that it was of absolute necessity that the whole fabric should be at once pulled down, and the area cleared for the erection of a theoretic, experimental edifice in its place?
Do MSM critics, like French revolutionaries see the MSM as so hopeless that it needs to be destroyed?
Let it be known I don't see the weblogging critics as desiring violent means to their end. The whole point of these posts is to tell them to be careful. Prudence and reason need to tame passions.
Meet Me in D.C.
Tomorrow at this time I'll be in Washington D.C. My plane is scheduled to come into Reagan National around 2:00. I should be in my hotel room about an hour later. Any TAM readers in the D.C. area want to get together for dinner and/or drinks? Leave a comment or e-mail me, and I'll give you cell phone number.
Nearing the Chasm
David Flanagan shares my concern about what he calls "bloglust." He wonders since "now that we’ve gotten a bit closer to the line between legitimate outrage and witch hunt, are we not just a BIT tempted to step over? Think about it?"
Voting Problems Go Beyond Milwaukee
The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel has found other Wisconsin communities have simmilar problems as Milwaukee in accounting for differences between the number of votes cast and voters who cast them. Milwaukee can only account for 96.5% of votes cast. Neenah can account for 95.5%. Eau Claire can account for only 92.5% Madison and Fond du Lac did slightly better than Milwaukee with 96.7% of votes accounted for.
How Milwaukee differs from these other communities is how they quickly explain the gaps. Waupau and Bayside both insist the error is with Wisconsin Voter Lists, the first that shared its data with the Journal Sentinel. Their records account for every single vote. In Howard, an official pointed out a computer system that considered newly registered voters as having voted last Election Day.
In Milwaukee, the only explanation for the 7,000 vote gap is "layer upon layer" of human error. No one from the Election Commission or the Mayor's office will consider voter fraud.
There are some disturbing news. Eau Claire officials claim 8,000-10,000 voters (out of over 36,000 total voters) changed their address causing them to re-register. Close to one-third of a city moved? How typical is that? They say processing them is the reason for their large vote gap--92.5% accounted for. Then Madison, another big source for Democratic votes, doesn't even bother trying to reconcile the number of votes and voters. Hey vote fraudsters, go to Madison, they don't care!
"More Voting Gaps Found"
Left on an Outing
There's no word coming to me to describe the shock some Lefty weblogs have gone to attack President Bush. It's bad enough outing a partisan White House reporter. They're now accusing the White House Press Secretary of being gay too. The best I can do to tell you how I feel is to borrow Jeff Goldstein's words:
I have nothing but the utmost contempt for these people.
The sad thing is I don't think it will stop here.
"The Breaking Jeff Gannon Story Revealed: Gannon Rumored to Enjoy Cooking, Broadway Show Tunes"
February 14, 2005
Jarvis' Letter to the Times
Jeff Jarvis sent a letter to the NY Times. He wants a sit-down discussion between webloggers and the newspaper. Great idea. However, can we make sure it includes more than weblogging media darlings like Hugh Hewitt, Andrew Sullivan, and Wonkette? The blogosphere is much more than those two faces television has dubbed the voice of the blogosphere. Get people like Captain Ed, Betsey Newmark, Steven Taylor, and Scott Ott into the conversation.
Next Target: Brett Stephens
I was right that some were upset with the Wall Street Journal's Editorial Page stance on Easongate. About the editorial Hugh Hewitt writes, "I can only speculate that Eason Jordan is somebody's friend." Captain Ed is harsher:
Stephens belongs to the Forum of Young Global Leaders, which has exactly 1,111 members and is closely affiliated with the World Economic Forum, which means Stephens has an interest to protect with the WEF that he did not disclose. The YGL forum appears to fall under the purview of none other than Eason Jordan, whose bio describes him as a member of the WEF's Global Leaders of Tomorrow programme. Whether or not that influenced Stephens' reporting is only known by Stephens, but that connection should have been disclosed to WSJ/OJ readers, and the OJ's defense of his silence speaks volumes about their editorial standards.
I read the YGL brochure Ed linked to. Steve Forbes is a member of the nomination committee. Is he part of the World Economic Forum conspiracy to protect Eason Jordan? Forbes.com only has an AP story about Jordan on its website.
Hugh and Ed are getting carried away. They seem to think that all who aren't with them are against them. Brett Stephens is in the WEF clique and didn't tell us directly--since he was at the WEF event where Jordan made his poor remarks the reader should have concluded he had some connection to WEF. Readers don't need to have everything spelled out directly to them. The simple response is "Big deal?" Hugh and Ed have failed to prove any conflict of interest. They only have pointed out degrees of separation. Also, Stephens didn't really defend Jordan. Still, they both pounce.
[As a quick aside, I wish Hugh and Ed spent as much energy on pushing for real, serious cuts in Bush's budget. That would accomplish more than criticizing Jordan's supposed friends. Joseph Farah seems to agree with me.]
Those webloggers seeking another MSM head have yet to offer a replacement to mainstream media. They destroy but don't build. That's not conservative. Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revolution in France writes about tearing down the state:
[W]e have consecrated the state, that no man should approach to look into its defects or corruptions but with due caution; that he should never dream of beginning its reformation by its subversion; that he should approach to the faults of the state as to the wounds of a father, with pious awe and trembling solicitude.
Replace "state" with "media" and you'll see Burke's wisdom still applies today. At least Ace seems to be on the right track.
The blogosphere has a symbiotic relationship to the MSM. By commenting and arguing with the stories they put out, webloggers feed off of the MSM's output. The MSM reads what webloggers are pumping out, and it inspires more stories, which further feeds the blogosphere. This isn't a zero-sum game. Both entities gain.
I'm not saying the MSM doesn't have oodles of faults. They do. They have liberal biases they don't admit to. They've become sloppy. They've allowed their political views to color and shape the news. In the context of all Eason Jordan has done and said he doesn't deserve to be running CNN. What I worry about is some webloggers tossing around reckless accusations destroying their credibility and hurting undeserving people in the process.
UPDATE: Jay Rosen has a great, thoughtful post on what went wrong. He also wonders what the Right side of the blogosphere wants.
Jay also links to a good discussion on PBS' News Hour.
CPACBloggers, an aggregate site for all the credentialed webloggers is up and running. Use it to keep track of all the thoughts, insights, reporting, and weirdness we discover at CPAC.
This gives me a chance to mention that I'm still asking for donations to help cover my expenses. TAM is a labor of love, a hobby, and not a money-making operation--not yet at least. Because of that I'm asking for your help.
Become Enlighten and Maybe Rich
Weekend Pundit hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.
WSJ on Jordan
The Wall Street Journal Editorial Page is sure to ruffle some rightwing blogospheric feathers with their take on Eason Jordan's resignation. Mentioning the Eason attacks as the "enthusiasms and vendettas of amateurs" and putting themselves on a pedestal as people who "grown-up decisions about what is newsworthy, and what isn't" won't win them accolades. They see Jordan's resignation/firing as disproportionate to the offense. If he should have lost his job it should have been for squelching Saddam atrocities to gain Iraqi access. They also worry about the mob mentality (I wrote about it here). They write,
More troubling to us is that Mr. Jordan seems to have "resigned," if in fact he wasn't forced out, for what hardly looks like a hanging offense. It is true that Mr. Jordan has a knack for indefensible remarks, including a 2003 New York Times op-ed in which he admitted that CNN had remained silent about Saddam's atrocities in order to maintain its access in Baghdad. That really was a firing offense. But CNN stood by Mr. Jordan back then--in part, one suspects, because his confession implicated the whole news organization. Now CNN is throwing Mr. Jordan overboard for this much slighter transgression, despite faithful service through his entire adult career.
Eason Jordan's history of placating to a dictator and smearing U.S. troops make him deserving of all the attention he's gotten. I just hope webloggers don't think the point of writing these online journals is to collect scalps. I don't want to see the blogosphere I love to read turn into New Media Jacobins on the hunt for the next Louis XVI. A lot of times weblog introspection is some of the most banal stuff to read. But we should occasionally ask ourselves and our readers why we do what we do. We need to make sure our motives are true and just. We have to be careful and prudent.
"The Jordan Kerfuffle"
February 13, 2005
A Rejoinder to a Response
Sometimes when people converse they talk past each other in such a way as to think they understood what the other was saying. That seems to be the case with Ann Althouse and I. In an e-mail Ann asked me, "Aren't you helping him get attention?" I took it as the probing question a professor would ask. Hence, the post I wrote.
Ann posted a response where she wrote,
He titles the new post "Should we even bother?" which suggests he's not really getting or not admitting what my point was.
Part of the problem is the fact that I write lousy post titles. What usually happens is the first half-decent phrase that comes to mind gets slapped onto the post. Another problem was a misunderstanding. I thought her point was about drawing attention to Ward Churchill. Is that what the egomanic wants? I was incorrect. Here's what she was trying to get at:
But if your outrage at things Churchill has written is creating a fund of energy that you want to expend on something useful, what I have recommended and continue to recommend is to focus on the institutions that hire and promote undercredentialed political ideologues like him. By focusing on Churchill, you make it easier for those institutions to avoid responsibility for what is a much broader problem. You make it all too easy for these institutions to retaliate against the one individual that critics have locked onto. You help them make it seem as though they've done enough. That the retaliation also offends free speech values further demonstrates how dysfunctional the focus on the individual speaker is.
Ann is looking at the more systemic problem. Churchill is just a symptom. Focusing on him misses the greater fault. Attacking tenure and possibly freedom of speech becomes collateral damage.
Open Up the Briefing Room
Patrick Ruffini echoes my thoughts on the "Jeff Gannon" affair:
Wouldn't it have been interesting if, instead of vilifying the guy, the blogosphere's reaction to this had been to get one or two real bloggers into the White House on a daily basis? A Paul Mirengoff or a Kevin Aylward would certainly have been more suitable representatives of new media than Gannon. I saw the work of such intrepid citizen journalists up close at the Republican Convention. The questions they asked of our leaders were far better than anything MSM could come up with.
"Busting the Press Room Monopoly"
Captain Ed's wife is in the hospital. Now, normally being in there is not great news--unless you have something against her--but she's getting ready for a pancreas transplant. Keep them in your prayers.
"Hospiblogging, Part 1"
I have more interest in the Pro Bowl than watching this year's Grammys. Like I'll ask when the Oscars are on in a few weeks, just tell me who won.
What I'm doing tonight is playing around with my new Dell notebook to get it ready for CPAC.
"Grammy Live Blogging (sort of...)"
UPDATE: While not actually watching the show I'm reading about it. Britney Spears won her first Grammy by beating out the Chemical Brothers and other for best dance recording. Grammys voters made up for it by giving Loretta Lynn an award for her song "Portland, Oregon." If you haven't already, go get Van Lear Rose. It's a great album by a classic country artist for those who think they won't ever like country music.
"Britney Spears Claims Her First Grammy"
"Loretta Lynn Wins First Grammy in 33 Years"
Wants to Play Soldier Instead of Being a Dad
This guy doesn't have his priorities straight:
Johnnie Chennault has no regrets about joining the Navy Reserve, even though it means he's going to Iraq later this month.
Hey Johnnie, help your wife take care of your kids instead of prancing off to Iraq to satisfy your need to do something for your country.
A Hunting We Will Go
Dr. Dean's return to the political limelight means the Duck Hunt has risen from the grave. If you're a new TAM reader the Duck Hunt* is my periodic look at what the blogopshere is saying about Howard Dean, M.D. Early last year while Dean, M.D. was running for President I linked to people's views about all the wacky, liberal, "progressive" things coming from Dr. Dean's bill.
Join in the fun by linking to the Duck Hunt. If you have an MT-powered weblog, just trackback to this post, and it will appear below. If your weblog software is incapable of trackbacks use Kevin's Trackback Form.
*Why is it the Duck Hunt? Because I dubbed the good doctor "Howard the Duck" because like the waterfowl he's all wet. And if you want to shoot down a duck, you go on a duck hunt.
Dr. Howard Dean is the new DNC chairman based solely on a voice vote. When all your opponents drop out that's what happens. This is a far cry--I mean scream--from last year's Democratic primaries. Instead of burning millions of dollars only to become the losing butt of jokers across the country, Dean, M.D. jumped to the front of the pack and never looked back. Saying caustic things like, "I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for" didn't hurt the good doctor. It may have actually helped. Democrats in general are still shellshocked and dismayed that President Bush won re-election. After pouring millions of dollars into Kerry Edwards, the DNC, and liberal 527s Bush won by a higher vote total and margin than he did in 2000. The closest the Dems could come to a Florida 2000 situation was Bush's win in Ohio. They insist it had to be tainted. Oddly, these people ignore the stench surrounding Milwaukee's election.
Dr. Dean's rise from the abyss to his party's Olympus proves the Democrats are (to use Glenn Reynolds' words) "trapped in a sort of 1972-style anger that can't possibly be good for its future or for the country."
I will add that an angry Democratic party on the path of its own marginalization is not good for Republicans or conservatives. Democrats negatively spin Republican ideas, but even their worst accusations contain a kernal of truth. This week, when we found the Medicare prescription drug plan is already balooning in cost it was Democrats making the loudest noise. The Christian Science Monitor reports:
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi called the new Medicare estimates "staggering." Meanwhile, House GOP conservatives, many of whom split with the White House and their own leadership over Medicare reform in 2003, are quietly considering whether and when to reopen the issue inside the Republican Party.
De facto one-party rule would create a flabby GOP full of hubris. That might not happen right away. Karl Rove and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman know that energizing their base gave Bush his victory. They know a fickle base can lead to a tiny victory like that in 2000. But if the Democrats continue to become more radical in their temperment they will lose more political influence. Say Red America tops Blue America 55-45%. The GOP will be less inclined to listen to their grassroots. They'll be able to take social conservatives or gung-ho tax cutters for granted. That won't help advance the conservative cause.
In a twisted way conservatives need a strong Democratic Party. What we don't need is one that hopes to lessen America's world influence, seeks to expand the Welfare State, binds Americans in more regulations, or finds more reasons to tax us. Imagine a truly fiscally-conservative, pro-economic liberty (in favor of balanced budgets and tax cuts), pro-defense Democratic Party--something more akin to the original Jeffersonian Democratic-Republicans. Imagine a Democratic Party understanding the economic idea that government spending means less freedom for its citizens. Imagine a Democratic Party not harping that Bush lied. Instead, they acknowledge the failings of the West's intellegence agencies who all thought Saddam's Iraq had WMD, then offering to expand intelligence agencies and the military to be better prepared to attack Iran, Syria, North Korea, or another future threat. Then together we could find a happy medium for scaling back the Welfare State and promoting freedom.
In Dr. Dean's campaign for chairman I've heard nothing about making his party relevant in the 21st Century. Instead he's touted how he'll listen to the grassroots and run Democratic candidates in every part of the country. To Dean the Democrats' problem isn't their message; it's how aggressive they've been in promoting it. The party agrees that they haven't been tough enough since they chose the most outspoken of all the candidates. This isn't Tim Roemer's or Zell Miller's Democratic Party. Dean's election shows that MoveOn.org was right. To paraphrase: "They bought it, they own it, and now they've taken it back."
"We All Scream for Dean... But Maybe We Shouldn't"
February 12, 2005
A Laconic Night
My brain's fried. Today wasn't an especially bad day at work, but I'm exhausted. Neither getting my new notebook computer ready for CPAC or Howard Dean, M.D.'s coronation got any energy flowing. Tomorrow, expect something about the Democrats' D-Day as well as a response to this Ann Althouse post.
Good night, all. I'm crashing.
Spending Cut Details
For the lesser-read Saturday newscycle the Bush administration let loose their ideas for budget cuts. The AP has a few examples:
A few examples of the new recommendations:
Now, we will begin to hear howling from Congressmen and interest groups about how "draconian" the Bush administration is. Of course, we don't know if these are real cuts or just decreases in spending increases. Washington math can be a confusing thing.
"White House Details Proposed Spending Cuts"
February 11, 2005
After Jordan, Who's Next?
Humor when done well offers insight better than straight talk. In the aftermath of Eason Jordan's resignation Jim Geraghty writes,
I have a feeling that the discussion of the "blogs as a lynch mob" is going to get a lot of coverage in the coming days.
ScrappleFace gives us this wallop:
Even as embattled CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan announced his 'resignation' tonight, the ad hoc consortium of unedited writers known as the blogosphere met online to discuss which journalist should be the next to fall.
The fictional Eason Jordan is quoted as saying, "Hubris. Hubris."
The blogosphere will get burned. It's not a question of if but when.
I felt a bad twinge while reading Captain Ed's attack on Brett Stephens. It seemed to me Ed was taking seeing a conspiracy when none existed.
A mob mentality is the opposite of conservative political philosophy and temperment. I'm reading Edmund Burke right now, so I'm riveted on the damage mobs can do. A mob destroys. Rarely does it create. Is it the intention of some in the blogosphere to destroy the MSM? If so, they should be clear about their mission to their readers. Or do they want better, more accurate news?
UPDATE: Howard Kurtz has a front page story in Saturday's Washington Post. He writes,
Blogs operated by National Review Online, radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt and commentator Michelle Malkin were among those that began slamming Jordan last week after a Davos attendee posted an online account, but the establishment press was slow to pick up on the controversy. The Washington Post and Boston Globe published stories Tuesday and the Miami Herald ran one Thursday. Also on Thursday, Wall Street Journal editorial board member Bret Stephens, who was at Davos, published an account accusing Jordan of "defamatory innuendo," and the Associated Press moved a story. As of yesterday, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and USA Today had not carried a staff-written story, and the CBS, NBC and ABC nightly news programs had not reported the matter. It was discussed on several talk shows on Fox News, MSNBC and CNBC.
"CNN's Jordan Resigns Over Iraq Remarks" [via Cam Edwards]
[Added to Wizbang's The 10 Spot.]
Should We Even Bother?
Ann Althouse asked me if I'm helping Ward Churchill get the attention he craves. (I have a feeling she is quite adept in the classroom.) Unfortunately the answer is "yes." Next month, he'll march to Whitewater as the far Left hero challenging Red America, capitalists, conservatives, and all to the right of him. He'll be a possible martyr because newspapers, news channels, talk radio yappers, and weblogs are focused on him.
But Churchill is something that interests me. The only real rule I have on TAM is I have to write about stuff I find interesting. Churchill's interesting. Discovering that a man spouting hateful rhetoric is a tenured professor is interesting to me. Thus it's something I write about on TAM. But should I? Giving Churchill all this attention exposes his hateful, anti-American views to a wider audience. Until recently, no one heard of him and his "little Eichmans" essay that was written shortly after the Sep. 11 attacks. The world kept spinning with the public's ignorance of his views.
King Banian writes for those who believe in countering speech with speech:
If we believe, as I do, that the only answer to hateful speech is more speech, Churchill provides you with your opportunity to practice your faith. I hope you'll take it. It's hard work, of course, because the group around you may be hostile, and your nerves may be shaky.
While doing the whole speech vs. speech thing is exciting it draws more attention to the egomaniac Churchill. More speech plays into his hands.
At this point with all the publicity surrounding Churchill, I could simply state the question is moot. He already is getting tons of press, and TAM's small (but growing) contribution will add little additional awareness. It's not a satisfactory answer. So I'll open it up to my readers.
Another One Bites the Dust
Add another media head to the blogosphere's wall. Eason Jordan quit his job as chief news executive at CNN. He didn't want to "unfairly tarnished" his former employer. I figured admitting you toned down your Iraq coverage without telling viewers to keep Saddam happy was deserving of resignation.
I'd still like to see the World Economic Forum release the tape, but there's even less reason for them to do so.
As for Jordan's future expect him to write a book, do the television circuit to promote it, then settle down to teach in some journalism school. His first class will be Kissing Up to Tyrants 101: How I Kept CNN in Baghdad; and Kissing Up to Anti-Americans 101: How "Targeting" the Military Kept Me in Good Graces.
"Breaking News: Eason Jordan Resigns"
Churchill's Coming to Whitewater
UW-Whitewater chancellor Jack Miller is a strange man who's written a strange statement for why he's allowing anti-American Ward Churchill to speak on campus next month.
First, he says, "I find the decision to be repugnant because of the offensive nature of his [Churchill's] remarks." Yet he's still allowing Churchill to soil his campus.
Second, Miller mentions Churchill's problems with his academic and ethnic crediblity as having "his scholarship is being questioned and is now under review by his employer," yet "that does not negate his status as a frequent speaker on Native American issues." So, I guess questions of academic fraud dealing with the subject he is suppose to speak doesn't disqualify him. Theoretically does that mean I could make up a bunch of stuff about economics, claim I was an economist, use other's work as my own, and still speak at UW-Whitewater as an "economics expert?" In one of Miller's stipulations he acknowledges that the University of Colorado's investigation of Churchill could change his mind.
Third, Miller admits the university is "under no obligation to extend him an invitation" yet he sides with "First Amendment principles." I'm confused. If Churchill doesn't have a First Amendment right to speak at the campus then what principle is Miller siding with?
What's most odd about Miller's decision is he will personally make a contribution to fund a speaker he finds repugnant and offensive.
Miller wrote a letter to Churchill asking him to clarify his "little Eichmans" remark and "provide a more direct and personal response to those who were deeply hurt by your remarks."
Churchill's undignified response was full of bravado and spite. The arrogant professor encloses a response essay and declares it to be his "final clarification." In the letter there's no hint of sympathy toward the victims of Sep. 11, and no acknowledgement that he hurt many people with his words. Churchill the snidely writes,
While you do, one assumes, hold the prerogative to cancel the event on bona fide security grounds, your right to do so because of disagreements 'your own or others’ -- with certain political conclusions I’ve drawn is dubious at best.
This disgusting, egotistical man wants his money and his moment of fame. He intends to come to Whitewater, whether the speech is cancelled or not, and grab as much attention as he can.
"Churchill Gets OK to Speak at UW-Whitewater"
UPDATE: Seamus Heffernan looks at Ward Churchill's attack on capitalism and living a comfortable life:
The truly insufferable aspect of Churchill's piece is his callous dismissal of the people in those building, who, while talking on their phones and planning lunch, were doing what most of us have to do every day: work.
"Welcome to the Broadcast"
Today, I wondered to myself if Charlie Rose ever had webloggers on his show talking about the new phenomenon. Since Andrew Sullivan has been on his show in the past I figured he did that already. Guess I was wrong.
I do wonder why Sullivan is on there. Isn't he on weblogging hiatus? I guess he isn't when it comes to getting on television.
[via Croooow Blog]
Wackos at Democratic Underground think President Bush might have hack/ex-reporter Jeff Gannon wacked because he's "no use to them."
"The Democratic Underground Post Of The Day: Who Is Jeff Gannon & Why Is Bush Going To Have Him 'Suicided'?"
February 10, 2005
Captain Ed and one of his readers are ripping on the WSJ's Brett Stephens for being a "spokesperson" for his club. Yes, Stephens probably should have mentioned he's closely associated with the World Economic Forum where Jordan made his remarks. However, Stephens doesn't exonerate Jordan. In fact, he reaffirms what others have testified.
What happened was this: Mr. Jordan observed that of the 60-odd journalists killed in Iraq, 12 had been targeted and killed by coalition forces. He then offered a story of an unnamed Al-Jazeera journalist who had been "tortured for weeks" at Abu Ghraib, made to eat his shoes, and called "Al-Jazeera boy" by his American captors.
Stephens reports that Jordan accused the U.S. military of targeting journalists. Then he started backing away because (in Stephens' mind) he couldn't back up that claim. We have another witness hearing a CNN head honcho flippantly shooting off false, anti-American statements. That doesn't exonerate Jordan.
"Conflict Of Interest At The WSJ"
Checking the Logbooks
Milwaukee elections chief Lisa Artison and Mayor Tom Barrett's office have to stop blaming Milwaukee's voting problems on clerical errors. An analysis by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel--Greg Borowski strikes again--went through polling place logbooks. The logbooks are suppose to have the number of the last ballot cast in that ward. That number should match the number of ballots cast. Here's what the newspaper found:
But the newspaper's review found 24 cases where there is a discrepancy of at least 5%, with more ballots than voters listed in a ward. Logbooks for another 20 wards showed no entry for the last voter counted.
In some cases looking at the logbooks eliminated the discrepancies found last week by the Journal Sentinel.
Logbooks with numbers that don't match the number of ballots counted could mean lousy poll workers, could mean some poll workers looked the other way when fraud occured, or could mean nefarious people took advantage of those poll workers.
What we need to know now is the number of votes and voters based on the logbooks. We can then know how what discrepancies are due to post-election work done by Artison's office and how many questionable votes remain.
To broaden the scope beyond Milwaukee I received a spreadsheet with voter totals and registration numbers. From a brief look at the numbers I noticed Milwaukee's same-day registration were out of whack from the rest of the state. In Milwaukee 30% of voters registered on Election Day. The state average was 14.78%. To compare other cities, Waukesha's same-day registration was 24.5%. Brookfield's was 7.66%. West Bend's was 17.48% Germantown's was 13.52% Appleton had 20.29%. Racine has 25.66% of its voters register on Election Day. Kenosha had 26.03%. Green Bay had 17.03%. Madison had 22.58% of voters register the same day.
Here's the spreadsheet so you too can number crunch.
I'd love to see what other webloggers and readers and divine from this.
"Voter Logbooks out of Whack"
For readers who swim to both the Left and Right shores of the blogosphere they must think each side is living in separate universes. The Left just knocked off a lame conservative White House correspondent while the Right digs its claws into CNN executive Eason Jordan.
Let's compare: taking down a hack for a little-known website vs. challenging the head of a global news network. I'll let you decide which story is more important.
Lefty webloggers are taking glee for ending the career of Talon News White House correspondent Jeff Gannon. Now, let's make some stuff clear. Talon News is a conservative news service. I believe TAM linked to at least one story. What that story was about, I don't know, but I do remember reading stuff from there last year. Jeff Gannon lobbed softball questions at White House briefings and turned GOP press releases into news stories. In short, he wasn't much of a reporter. He was a hack with a political agenda. But unintentionally, Gannon was a satirical, Tom Wolfe version of what the rest of the White House press corps is.
Listen to this NPR story on Gannon. Pay close attention to the LA Times reporter and the media analyst. They both seethe with arrogance. Listening between the lines, you hear "How dare someone come onto our hallowed, journalistic holy ground with political opinions."
Here's Timothy Karr of MediaChannel.org (emphasis mine):
Our concern is about journalists who pose as members of the Fourth Estate but, in fact, aren't acting on behalf of the best interests of American citizens.
Here's what Edwin Chen of the LA Times thought about Gannon:
I just don't think the White House press corps ought to include people who are connected in some way with one party or the other.
Notice the arrogance. Karr thinks only MSM reporters know the "best interests of American citizens." Therefore only they should have access to the White House. Chen lives in a wonderland where the White House press corps doesn't include people with strong political opinions. I guess he's never met Helen Thomas.
We now live in an age of speaker phones, instant messaging, weblogs, and video conferencing. Why is the White House still using a method of communicating with media fit for the television age? Why don't we use technology to open up White House press briefings to opinion columnists, writers for political magazines, webloggers, talk radio hosts, professors, and think tank policy wonks? With the internet space in the briefing room isn't a problem. Briefings would become C-SPAN ratings boosters if Josh Marshall asked a pointed question only to be outdone by National Review's Ramesh Ponnuru. Imagine Al Franken trying to hammer the White House only to be countered by Rush Limbaugh. This would be "must see tv."
The MSM reporters would hate it. They would think such uttering of opinions would soil the collection of information. What they don't care about is biases affecting that information once it gets into newsrooms dominated with people who vote Democratic.
Pure objectivity in humans doesn't exist. We all have opinions and agendas that intentionally or not seep into what we write and create. The best we can hope for is intellectual honesty. Openness would hold more people accountable.
February 09, 2005
As Michelle Malkin puts it:
Looks like his future is all set as a liberal campaign activist, tenured professor, or perhaps a major international news network exec.
"Kid's Bush=Hitler Art Gets an 'A'"
Heat on Jordan Builds
Dayton Not Seeking Reelection
Minnesota Senator Mark Dayton will not run for reelection in 2006. Jay Reding opines that Republicans Rep. Mark Kennedy or Secretary of State Mary Kiffmeyer have good shots at taking the seat. Power Line's Hindrocket thinks Vance Opperman and Mike Ciresi have shots at keeping the seat in Democratic hands.
Another Charlotte Simmons Review
Bebeaux at doubletoothpicks sees I Am Charlotte Simmons as a debate between the free will as illusion notion in Dupont's neuroscience class and all the choices Charlotte makes in her freshman year.
"Charlotte Simmons is a Free Being"
Save Social Security: Soak the Rich
Democrats shouldn't be too despressed about their political setbacks. When it comes to fixing Social Security their 70 years of class warfare, soak-the-rich rhetoric has converted a wide swath of the electorate.
Most Americans are willing to endorse painful steps to ensure Social Security's long-term solvency - steps that nick the rich, that is.
The poll also shows Bush will have to campaign hard to convince voters that personal accounts are the way to go.
"Poll: Tap Wealthy on Social Security"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
I Wanna New Drug...Plan
Why should anyone be shocked that the estimate for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit has shot up to $720 billion? Government entitlements seem to have a way of skyrocketing in cost. When Medicare started in 1965 it cost taxpayers $1 billion a year. By 1971 it ballooned to $7.9 billion. The perception of free money does that.
Democrats are claiming the White House lied to them and the public. If so then the Congressional Budget Office also lied. But Democrats shouldn't gripe about cost when they "complained that the promised benefits would not go far enough."
Since the drugs haven't started flowing yet Congress and the President could get some common sense and end this expensive entitlement. I know, fat chance.
"New White House Estimate Lifts Drug Benefit Cost to $720 Billion"
Who is Marquis Murff?
The newspaper is seeing double. Marquis F. Murff is one of many names found by the Journal Sentinel as voting twice on Election Day. Murff is listed as voting at a non-existent address and a place that doesn't allow men to live. No, I don't think this has anything to do with Bosom Buddies.
Here are some other interesting finds by Greg Borowski et al:
Unlike the editorial board who sees no reason for a photo ID requirement for voters, the JS reporters see otherwise:
The newspaper has identified many recordkeeping and computer flaws in the data. Those problems complicate any review of the election, since they translate into hundreds - even thousands - of incomplete or duplicate records. If those records are not corrected, they leave the door open for future fraud.
I vote they should replace Ricardo Pimentel with Greg Borowski.
"Double Trouble in Voter Inquiry"
February 08, 2005
Doyle's Budget Address
Here's some initial reaction to Gov. Doyle's budget address:
To do that, my budget cuts state operations spending by more than $270 million - holding the growth in spending to less than four percent each year.It's odd politician doublespeak--no matter the party--that makes people more cynical about government. Spending can't be cut if it grows. Up is not down. Left isn't right.
How we get our kids prepared for life will have a more profound effect on the long-term strength of Wisconsin than anything else we do. So, if we want good jobs - it's education. If we want a growing economy - it's education. If we want to reduce the number of inmates - it's education. If we want to find cures to disease - it's education.To an extent better education does mean a better economy and improved social conditions. But Doyle neglects economic freedom. Wisconsin could be producing Ph.D.'s as well as it does milk, but if high income and property taxes send those highly-educated people out of state to start businesses it's all for naught.
Then Doyle makes a very interesting statement about education:
And the people of Wisconsin should hold accountable anyone who plays politics with this core building block for our future.
What is he doing by not expanding school choice in Milwaukee? He's playing politics to keep his teachers union friends happy. Doyle's right. Wisconsinites should hold him accountable for playing politics with childrens' education. They can do that by voting for his opponent in next year's governors race.
Gov. Doyle goes on:
Third, to help schools reduce the cost of health care ... and to
In other words, taxpayers, I'm care more about giving my teachers union friends big pay raises than lowering property taxes.
The juicy part of the speech deals with Doyle's version of a tax freeze.
With my budget, we will freeze property taxes.
Doyle does this by raiding the transportation fund, filled with gax and car taxes.
To "maintain nursing home services" Doyle proposes to borrow up to $130 million. In other words, he wants to increase taxes in the future.
Doyle is preparing for next year's election by offering a tax freeze that isn't. Property taxes may stay unchanged but taxpayers will still be paying via increased state spending on education and accounting gimmicks. In this political climate Doyle needed a freeze of his own. It's up to conservatives to point out he wants to put taxpayers on thin ice.
For more reaction read these [and here] Boots & Sabers pieces. There's also Lakeshore Laments, and Charlie Sykes called the speech "this was Mardis Gras for the special interests.... Fat Tuesday for WEAC!!!"
Hugh is Wrong
Today's the day I point out errors by conservative internet titans. Earlier, I pointed out Matt Drudge's editorial opinion about a wonkish White House statement. Now, I challenge weblog evangelist and radio yapper Hugh Hewitt. On Kudlow & Cramer he said this about weblogs:
Larry, in 1999, there were two dozen blogs. Today, there are seven million. David Sifry of Technorati says 40,000 new ones a day are being created.
TAM started in 1999 so I'm aware of what the blogosphere was like before it got that name. Back then, I was reading more than two dozen weblogs weekly. Dave Winer was hosting hundreds of weblogs. Hugh is right that the number of weblogs has exploded since then, but it wasn't the Negative Zone he makes it out to be.
TAM on the Cutting Edge
Neo-Sears will be rolling out a new version of their stores:
The company will open 25 of the new concept stores this spring in former Kmart and Wal-Mart locations that Sears purchased last year.
Last year, when Neo-Sears was born, I told you it was the end of Kmart.
"Sears' New Store to Offer Essentials"
I've been dipping my feet into the whole podcasting scene. Don't expect a TAM one anytime soon. I have a face perfect for radio and a voice perfect for a weblog.
Now, NARN, when are you going to start podcasting your Saturday shows?
McAdams in the Blogosphere
Prof. John McAdams, advisor to the Marquette College Republicans, decided to restart his weblog that lay dormant since last fall. On Sunday, he took apart the sniper motto MU officials were so uncomfortable with.
Of course, problems with the motto were only the public reason MU gave for squashing the CR's fundraiser. They had to claim that instead of admitting to their knee-jerk pacifism.
"Marquette and the Snipers -- Moral Philosophers or Liberal Weenies?"
Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire
Sophistpundit hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.
Thank You, WisOpinion
We are webloggers, hear us roar!
Drudge Gets It Wrong
Drudge reports that White House budget director Josh Bolten "bragged" about the rich paying so much in federal income taxes. "Bragged" is Drudge's word since I've found no mention of it in a Google News search. Drudge quotes Bolten as saying:
If you look at the president's tax cuts as a totality, the income tax, those at the upper end of the spectrum are now paying a larger share of the income tax than they were before.
I know Drudge has been on the President's case for years about Big Government getting bigger, but I can't even detect a hint of bragging by Bolton. Bolton definitely doesn't deserve a WTF nomination. He was just stating what many have said about the U.S. tax structure: the rich pay higher portion in income taxes than any other group. He was talking like a policy wonk. Bolton wasn't taking any pride in that fact. He was just defending the Bush tax cuts from critics who the tax system has become less progressive.
Jail for Jammer
A political operative was convicted and sentenced for voter supression, and he was doing it for the GOP. You're reading this on TAM not because I've become a Republican basher but to demonstration my intellectual honesty. It's safe to assume you didn't read much about the Democratic tire slashers on certain Lefty weblogs.
"GOP Consultant Sentenced in Phone Jamming"
We learn more about Ward Churchill...and it's not good for him:
Churchill has said at various times that he is either one-sixteenth or three-sixteenths Cherokee, yet genealogical reporting by the Rocky Mountain News and others has failed to turn up any Cherokee ancestors - or any other Native Americans - in Churchill's family tree.
It appears UofC placed diversity before academic qualifications. No wonder the school wants him gone. He's a black eye on their low professorial standards.
If Churchill's miserable academic performance proves true, what would he add to a discussion on Native Americans and racism? This is all the more reason UW-Whitewater should not have him speak next month.
Soviets Honored In L.A.
A monument honoring ex-Nazi soldiers would be incredibly controversial, but one devoted to Soviet soldiers is reported on as just another monument raising. As The Black Book of Communism makes clear communism killed many more than Nazism.
Churchill Might Come to Wisconsin
Ward "Little Eichmans" Churchill is scheduled to speak 03.01 at UW-Whitewater's Native Pride Week. Chancellor Jack Miller is considering canceling the speak because of security concerns.
I oppose the University of Colorado firing Churchill for his anti-American statements, but I also oppose UW-Whitewater inviting this guy to speak. Let me make it clear: Churchill does not have a right to speak at that campus. He is not employed by the university. He doesn't have tenure there. He is merely an invited guest. That invitation can be revoked.
Lefties as far away as Madison are coming out of the woodwork to support Churchill. Howard Ross, dean of UW-Whitewater's college of letters and sciences, said he'll arrange an off-campus speech if Churchill's invitation is revoked. Fine by me.
Don't be surprised to read a namby-pamby Journal Sentinel editorial meekly chastising Churchill's awful statements but defending his right to speak at Whitewater. It will be something like: "Churchill's reference to 'little Eichmans' is abhorent blame-the-victim claptrap. Nevertheless, the university is an environment devoted to expressing a wide range of ideas. Even ideas most of us find abhorent...."
"Professor's Speech May be Canceled"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
February 07, 2005
Since Charlie Sykes started powering the Wisconsin weblogger bandwagon I've been waiting to use that line from commercial's past as a title. Anyway, Charlie praised the Journal Sentinel's token conservative columnist Patrick McIhleran for mentioning local webloggers. Charlie writes, "As far as I can tell, this is the first time the local MSM has taken note of the bloggers... it's late to the party."
On 01.18 the BBA's favorite Journal Sentinel reporter Greg Borowski wrote, "Local bloggers and others, including talk radio hosts, have labeled the gap as evidence of more than 10,000 illegally cast ballots."
Why Little Posting
Working late + picking up sis at airport + watching 24 = few posts.
Deep Throat Illin'
We may soon find out who Watergate's Deep Throat is. Bob Woodard has said he or she is ill and Ben Bradlee has written the obituary. Looks like Pat Buchanan is out of the running. He's still running around yapping away on cable television.
"Watergate “Deep Throat” Gravely Ill"
No Miller Super Bowl Ads?
I've gone through the online edition of the Journal Sentinel and I found no story reporting on the lack of any Miller ads during the Super Bowl. Ifilm is hosting the ads and it confirmed that Miller didn't air any. When was the last time the #2 beer maker didn't advertise during the Super Bowl? I want to know what SABMiller is thinking. I'm sure shareholders would too. I've e-mailed SABMiller and hope to get a response.
Another company that didn't air a commercial was Coors. Usually the Super Bowl is dominated by engagements in the beer wars. This year, two decided to play pacifists.
UPDATE: It seems Anheuser-Busch bought the privilage of being the only beer company to air ads during the Super Bowl. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports, "The company has been the exclusive Super Bowl beer advertiser since 1986 and has the rights locked up through next year's game." That can't be right. Miller and Coors have both had beer commercials during the game in the last 19 years. I swear I saw them. I guess not because this Journal Sentinel article backs up the other two. Guess my senility has set in very early.
UPDATE II: Speaking of Super Bowl ads, the racy GoDaddy.com ad only got to be aired once.
UPDATE III: Miller Brewing quickly responded to my e-mail by pointing out A-B's exclusive SB deal. I'm happy they responded so quickly to a set of ill-informed questions.
February 06, 2005
Recommended by the President
President Bush has great tastes in books. Officially he's reading His Excellency and Alexander Hamilton. Elisabeth Bumiller reports that he's also read I Am Charlotte Simmons. According to Bumiller, the President is a Tom Wolfe fan.
Critics may claim the President is a moral values hypocrite for recommending a novel filled with lurid sex, raunchy language, and binge drinking. Critics playing pop psychologists may also try to see this as Bush projecting his wild past. If they just focus on the debauchery there's missing some important points to the novel. One of them being how an individual finds belonging in a new, strange environment.
For more on Wolfe's much-talked about novel there's Deacon's report from a facinating D.C. discussion I watched on CSPAN.
In his review of the book Peter Berkowitz also sees Charlotte's need for belonging:
Instead, as March Madness approaches and Dupont’s basketball team peaks for the ncaa championships, she overcomes the disabling depression into which she had fallen and recovers her health. But she is no longer quite the same person, having learned in Wolfe’s wonderfully ambiguous final pages to quiet her conscience and tame her pride, to use her brains and her body to get along and get ahead, and to find a boyfriend she likes, who brings her high status, and enables her to join in with the crowd, but whom she never could love. In short, despite her upbringing and gifts, Charlotte proves herself to be an excellent student of the university’s unofficial but central teaching: the old restraints are antiquated and high ideals only interfere with the attainment of the authentic goods civilized life has to offer.
To him Charlotte has adapted to the campus society as the control cats adapted to the highly sexualized experimental cats in the preface to Wolfe's book. Katie of A Constrained Vision takes issue with a Berkowitz strawman.
In a review for Crisis F. H. Buckley sees the characters in quite a dark image:
The athlete who gazes lovingly at himself in the mirror, the frat man who starts a food program to win the attention of Dupont’s admissions officer, the liberal wuss who schemes to become an “aristo-meritocrat,” the chorus of wallflowers who miss out on the rutrutrutting all about them and whose morality is a Nietzscheian ressentiment of sexual privilege, even Charlotte herself in her pathetic desire for recognition—all are the very picture of narcissism. They inhabit a Homeric world in which personal worth, even the sense of self-worth, is defined solely by their image in the mirror of the eyes of others, and in which the interior self is nearly lost. At times Wolfe’s affectless characters glimpse two of themselves, one interior and the other looking in, but it is always the exterior person who is dominant.
Ken Masugi wishes Wolfe would "take the mean between Socrates and Stoicism and discover Aristotle. And may that be his opening to the Bible and an even greater flourishing of his mind."
Thanks, TAM Readers
As of this moment TAM is #240 in visitors on TTLB's weblog list. Wow is an understatement. I want to thank all my readers plus my fellow webloggers who think TAM is valuable enough to deserve a link.
I'm grateful to achieve this much of an audience, but I want more. If you're just a reader, tell your friends about TAM. If you're a weblogger add TAM to your blogroll. If you've done both you can always drop something into my tip jar. All your goodwill is appreciated.
Watching the Weblogs
I didn't know a research firm was monitoring weblogs to gauge reaction to SB ads. Hi, everybody!
TAM's Post-Game Report
No shilling cars here...unless a luxury car competitor wants to pump some bucks quickly into my tip jar.
The Patriots win. A dynasty is assured. Deion Branch gets the MVP, but Stephen Bainbridge makes a good case for Rodney Harrison. I, however, won't count his last interception from a desparate Donovan McNabb.
The commercial MVP goes to Kinkos for their ripping of other SB commercials. They narrowly beat out the Anheuser-Busch thank you ad. Coming in at third was AmeriQuest's "bloody cat." I hate monkeys so CareerBuilder.com lost big time with me. The biggest loser was MBNA. Rugby is a cool sport. Gladys Knight is a great singer. That doesn't mean combining the two is a good idea.
"Ad Watch: Tracking Super Bowl Commercials"
More on SB Commericials
The Anheuser-Busch thank you to the troops was very moving. Great job.
Steven Taylor didn't like the Mustang convertible ad.
Did Miller decide to save their ad dollars? The only Miller Lite ad I saw I think was on the local feed. If they have ran national ads they've been a disaster because I can't recall any of them.
UPDATE: Patrick is one of many webloggers posting on the ads.
The Game's Almost Over
I voted for Deion Branch for Super Bowl MVP. You should too.
Also, I know I have a twisted sense of humor when I found the AmeriQuest "bloody cat" commercial hilarious. But then I think The Sopranos is the best black comedy in television history.
TAM Halftime Report
Tied up at 7. New England's lucky their defensive mistakes that allowed Philly to stay in the red zone haven't resulted in more points. While both defenses are having their way the second quarter showed both teams are able to adjust their offenses.
In the battle of the quarterbacks Donovan McNabb has made a few plays but is under more duress. For New England Tom Brady is, well Tom Brady. His coolness and leadership doesn't remind me so much of Joe Montana but Bart Starr.
In the Super Bowl of commercials the winner so far is the Kinkos ad that mocks all other Super Bowl ads. The biggest loser has to be MBNA. Combining Gladys Knight and ruggy is a definite head scratcher at TAM Super Bowl Central.
I am surprised the Go Daddy commerical got past Fox's censors.
UPDATE II: Stephen Bainbridge didn't like the Kinkos commerical but agreed with me about the MBNA one.
Ryan and Social Security
CPAC is less than two weeks away. In order to not embarass myself and feel like I accomplished something by just being there I'm actually prepping.
Rep. Paul Ryan will be speaking. His pet issue is Social Security reform. He's glad President Bush has put individual accounts on the table even though his own proposal is bolder. Hopefully I can get Rep. Ryan to answer a few questions for me. Hence, here are some Social Security refom links:
UPDATE: Here are two more items:
Cringing at War
Lt. Gen. Mattis' comment that it's "fun to shoot some people" ties in well with Marquette University shutting down a College Republican fundraiser for Adopt a Sniper. Both Mattis' critics and MU don't want to think about what soldiers really do in war. They like that their freedoms are protected, but they don't want to know how it happens. As James Joyner writes, "[T]here is a serious disconnect between our fighting men and those whom they serve."
"Mattis Redux: The Truth About War"
The date of the Super Bowl changes from year to year. One thing that won't ever change is 02.06 will always be Ronald Reagan's birthday. Last June, I wrote,
The first picture is Reagan as the embodiment of America. He's weathered, a man who's been working on his land. He looks like he's had his share of a good day's work. The denim jacket is like what you'd see anybody in the West wearing. The grin on his face is that of the optimist. He's a man who looks at the bright side of events and people. Reagan lifted America's spirits when it needed it the most.
Trey Jackson has put together a tribute of photos and links. There's still over four hours until kickoff. That's plenty of time to remember the Gipper.
"Happy Birthday, Mr. President"
Owens and Churchill
Colorado governor Bill Owens has been mentioned as possibly running for President. The story about Ward Churchill's anti-American statement is just making Owens look wild-eyed.
Early editions of the Sunday Denver Post reported Churchill gave another magazine interview in which he was asked about the effectiveness of protests of U.S. policies and the Iraq war, and responded: “One of the things I’ve suggested is that it may be that more 9/11s are necessary.”
Owens thinks Churchill committed treason? Churchill describing Sep. 11 victimssaid as "little Eichmanns" was obnoxious. But it wasn't an action taken to bring down the United States government. It's not like Churchill was in cahoots with al Qaeda to attack the twin towers.
UPDATE: Add Steven Taylor to the list of those who don't want Churchill fired for what he said. His lengthy post goes into tenure, a professor's work ethic, and the role of a professor in a university. I rarely say this but the discussion following his post is a must read. In it Steven makes the all-important point that tenure "is the best protection of academic freedom that I can think of." Tenure critics can't just get away with saying it's bad. They have to make a case that an alternative to tenure would be better for a univerisity, its students, and professors.
Super Bowl Predictions
Super Bowl Sunday means eating party food, drinking beer, watching the game, then beating your wife. Oops! That last part isn't true. What I'm trying to get at is consuming mass quantities is a staple of Super Bowls. Which is why I'm bummed I'm still fighting a cold. Coughing and messed up taste buds can't properly savor a cold beer, hot wings, and pizza. But illness won't stop me from watching the game (and the commericals) and making predictions which I've posted at SportsBlog.
"Some Super Bowl Predictions"
February 05, 2005
What a Crockpot Can Inspire
Mark Hasty thinks about Wal-Mart and its very microeconomic effects:
My point in all of this is that, while we certainly know that many things have grown unfathomably more expensive since 1976, there’s an awful lot of stuff which has grown cheaper, everyday stuff that we all take for granted. So when you’re shaking your fist at the big-box retailers, remember–without their clout, you’d probably have to spend $60 for a crockpot and $100 for a coffeemaker. Say what you will, the price for the trappings of a middle-class life is less than it used to be.
Just don't tell him I described his piece in such a sterile term.
"We're All Wal-Mart People"
Feingold in '08
Ann Althouse wants to see Sen. Russ Feingold run for President. She considers him to be a "great candidate." I noticed she didn't say he'd be a great President, or if she'd even vote for him.
For me, it's fine with me if he made a run for the White House. Heck, I wouldn't even mind if he got the Democratic nomination. He wouldn't win. Feingold has two big strikes against him: he's a liberal and a Senator. You can win the Presidency if you're the first (Carter and pre-1994 Clinton), but you have to go all the way back to JFK to find a President who jumped from the Legislature to Commander in Chief.*
"I Think You Ought to Run for President."
*For this reason I'm worried about the GOP's chances in 2008. Sen. Bill Frist has that Senator problem, and the most well-known Republican governor is Arnold Schwarzenegger who isn't eligible for the Presidency.
Make It Stop!
I don't know much about Vonage other than it let's you make cheap phone calls with your broadband connection. That's just fine, but someone please tell them to end the commercials with the yodeling dork. The "YOO HOO HOO" makes the Yahoo! yodel sound tame. And the commerical is playing over 4 times an hour. If my hair were long enough I'd be yanking on it.
February 04, 2005
Lasee Loves Weblogs
But I guess Sen. Lasee isn't a TAM fan. :-(
"Lasee has Discovered the Power of the Blog"
Voter ID Debate
Kevin did a little digging into one of the witnesses at yesterday's hearing on the photo ID bill. Wheelchair-bound Karla Smith testified that photo ID shouldn't be required for voters because it's hard for the elderly and handicap to arrange for rides to the DMV. Captain Ed used a little common sense to rebut her:
So Karla Smith has no problem lining up transportation to go to the polls on Election Day, but somehow can't seem to make it to the DMV on any other day out of the year? Give me a break. How does she cash checks? She can't do any banking without having some kind of ID. Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and others don't just allow people to withdraw money from accounts by bringing someone in with them to "vouch" for their identity.
She also somehow arranged to get to the state capital to testify.
Kevin did a little digging--a "flagrant act of journalism" to steal Charlie Syke's phrase--and found out Ms. Smith works for an organization that "receives taxpayer grants."
Let me add this bit of irony. The Democrats say they oppose photo ID requirements for voters because it would be too hard for some voters to get transportation to get an ID. Ok. Then why aren't these same people the loudest in demanding justice for the tire slashing of GOP vans on Election Day? That certainly made it more difficult for voters and poll workers to get to the polls. Could it be they don't want to embarass two prominent Milwaukee black Democrats? Or could it be they don't want to alter a system where the potential for fraud is high and chance of being caught is low?
"State Lawmakers Hear Both Sides of Voter ID Debate"
Going on My Reading List
Over ten years ago, Newt Gingrich forced an earthquake in Washington with his Contract with America. Little has been written about its ten-year anniversary. Maybe everybody was waiting for Major Garrett's new book The Enduring Revolution. It's leaped to the top of my reading list.
No Surprise: JS Backs MU
The Journal Sentinel editorial board bought into Marquette University's claim that that sniper motto: "1 Shot, 1 Kill, No Remorse, I Decide" was a good enough reason to shut down the College Republican fundraiser. If MU had a problem with the motto why didn't they ask the CRs to stop using the motto and let them continue their fundraiser? Also, why did it take the university so long to put together their public statement with the motto as their number one piece of evidence? What happened was Marquette officials saw the word "sniper" and their "fuzzy, mushy pacifism" kicked in. After Charlie Sykes publicized the officials' overreaching they needed to find a reason to back up their actions. They glommed onto the motto and ran with it. We now know the editorial board has the same adolescent view of war as MU.
"Editorial: MU Right to End Fund-Raiser"
UPDATE: Charlie Sykes wonders if the editorialists are insulting our troops in Iraq.
Why you should be wary of roomates with camcorders.
[via Ghost of a Flea]
February 03, 2005
Milwaukee's NAACP reminded everyone except those who are deeply following Wisconsin voter problems that places outside Milwaukee should be looked at. They found that a few localities reported having more votes cast than voters who cast them. It inspired the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel to investigate. In two instances the NAACP was flat out wrong while in other simple clerical errors fixed the irregularities.
Notice what places they picked? Suburbs and rural areas surrounding Milwaukee. They didn't examine Madison or Beloit. What the NAACP is trying to do is turn voting reform into a race issue by claiming GOP politicians and conservative critics are picking on Milwaukee. I'm guessing this because they didn't point out Racine's voting problems. Two people there are getting ready to go to trial.
Dirty Harry sees the NAACP's efforts as good news for voting reformers:
In a continuing effort to prove how politically stupid liberals are getting, the NAACP appears to think pointing out even more fraud furthers their cause.
To show critics aren't just picking on Milwaukee the Wisconsin GOP issues a press release (PDF) stating they found 362 bad or questionable addresses in Madison. They also state that passing a photo ID bill would not solve all the problems in "Wisconsin’s loophole-ridden election system."
"NAACP Finds Election Problems in Suburbs"
I'm illin' but I also have to take my sister to the airport. There should be no posting for a few hours. To keep you occupied check out how two webloggers ripped apart a 13-year old. What the kid did was wrong, but the reaction was WAY over the top.
Even if Glenn Reynolds had dental work done today after reading about people arguing over an Instalanche I'd want to take a break from weblogging too.
Georgian PM Found Dead
Georgia's prime minister Zurab Zhvania was found dead in a friend's apartment of an apparent gas leak. Even if this was an accident (Reuters reports "Gas poisoning is common in Georgia, mainly caused by the heaters run off gas canisters that people use in winter, when power supplies are erratic.") many will be suspicious. Relations between Russian and its former socialist "republics" will grow worse with this news.
Rusty Shackleford has more.
"Georgia’s PM Found Dead, Gas Poisoning Suspected"
Uncomfortable with War
Charlie Sykes points out that Marquette University has "significant reservations" with Adopt a Sniper rhetoric like a bracelet with the motto "1 Shot 1 Kill No Remorse I Decide." MU feels such words are a "cavalier attitude toward the taking of a human life." Is that how they feel about snipers? Do they think snipers take a twisted glee in lining up a person in their crosshairs and pulling the trigger?
Marquette has no idea what role the sniper plays in war. Snipers gather intelligence and are considered the "smart bomb" of the infantry. By effectively executing their "1 shot 1 kill" motto they instill fear in the enemy. Knowing they could be next, an insurgent is less likely to attack whatever the sniper is guarding. A sniper's long range also can eliminate threats such as a suicide bomber before they can get close enough to kill and mame. Snipers right now are protecting troops, Iraqis, and our liberty.
Some may be offended by the word "sniper." It brings up memories of the Washington, D.C. sniper and the University of Texas massacre. Because of the negative connotations of the word "sniper" it's all the more imperative to help people face reality and tap down these negative stereotypes.
Some of the uncomfortableness in talking the realities of war can be dealt with in good books. For some suggested reading about the reality of war I recomend All Quiet on the Western Front and A Red Badge of Courage. Both books get into the conflicted psyche of soldiers who have to kill or be killed. On the non-fiction side find a copy of John Keegan's The Face of Battle.
Playing to an Anti-American Crowd
Eason Jordan's claims about the U.S. military targeting journalists is receiving scrutiny in the blogosphere. Steve at ThoughtsOnline [via Betsy's Page] can only find one instance of a CNN jouralist being killed in the past two years. And that person was killed by "unidentified assailants (who) fired on the two-car convoy the men were traveling in...".
Captain Ed brings up an interesting hypothesis. Jordan may have been playing to an anti-American foreign audience.
I'm glad Hugh mentions this, because if I inadvertently underplayed one part of my coverage yesterday on Jordan, it was his propensity to make these statements outside of the United States, and especially in fora that appear ready-made to accept anti-American allegations without substantiation. Why, one might ask, would the executive of an American news organization do this? Mainly because CNN does not compete well within the US any longer, and for good reason, as we now know. They are, however, tremendously influential internationally; they are America's BBC, in more ways than market share. In order to maintain that position, Jordan has to cultivate an image of CNN as a hypercritical gadfly to American policies, especially those of American conservatives.
This type of attitude at CNN will ensure continued Fox News domination in the cable news wars.
"Hugh: Media Bias In The Silences"
Expanding Same-Day Registration
Imagine Milwaukee's voting problems all across the country. That's a possibility if Rep. Martin Sabo has his way:
In the final days of last year's presidential election, Nick Hauer still hadn't registered to vote. But on Election Day the 19-year-old Roseville resident cast his first-ever ballot.
Someone inform Rep. Sabo about the mess in Milwaukee.
"Sabo Wants to Expand Election-Day Registration"
Semi-Live Posting on SOTU
Below are my notes from watching the State of the Union. Here's the text if you want to read along. I haven't read any other analysis. I'm just treating this as a stream of conscious text. Expect weirdness. That's just the way my brain thinks. Take this for what it's worth.
State of the Union 2005:
Bush went with the red power tie; Cheney has burgundy; Hastert a gold tie; Kerry dons a pink tie
Feingold, Jeffords, and Clinton sat together
For the first time, I've noticed lots of grey in the mirror (Bush says "a lot of grey")
Is Charlie Rangle doing homework at a table?
will submit a budget that holds spending growth to below inflation
"Taxpayers' dollars must be spent wisely or not at all." Must see action, not just words.
protect small biz from "junk lawsuits;" "pass legal reforms this year"
Expand health savings accounts
Grassley looks like Mr. Rodgers in his red sweater
He just had to mention crappy ethanol.
"Social Security was a great moral success of the 20th Century." I beg to differ.
Handled well the Democratic moans and groans about Social Security's problems.
Wants to make part of Social Security an actual property right the government can never take away.
Personal accounts still have a paternalistic feel.
I support these accounts. They're far from perfect. Ideally I want to be allowed to opt out of S.S. That won't happen. The government needs my payroll taxes to pay retirees.
"Must strive to build a culture of life."
"To build a culture of life, we must also ensure that scientific advances always serve human dignity, not take advantage of some lives for the benefit of others.
We should all be able to agree on some clear standards. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts and that human life is never bought or sold as a commodity." [Must think about that because selling organs would help with current shortages.]
Wants to start a three-year program to stop men from going into gangs. Oh, boy. I can see that idea dropped by the wayside.
Great, there's a one-armed soldier in the gallery. Sob story to come I'm sure.
Am I the only one to think Bush's "force of human freedom" line is a bit oxymoronic?
I can see how some conseratives feel "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world" is unconservative.
It sounds like Bush has internalized some of Thomas Barnett's thinking about connecting the Gap with the Core.
It also sounds like Bush has consumed R. J. Rummel.
Wants $300 million for Palestinian reforms. That's money going down a sewer.
Good Bush's is calling out Saudi Arabia and Egypt to become more democratic.
It took Bush this long to finally make the case for the Iraq War that combined Saddam as a threat and the need for increased human liberty to forge peace.
I want our troops to get the job done--get Iraq on its feet--then come home.
Here we come to sob story time...
The hug of the soldier's mother and the Iraqi woman was the image of the night. Very moving.
Marquette's Pacifist Fantasy World
Marquette University is offended by the word "sniper." That seems to be the jist of the school's delayed statement.
The university had significant reservations about the rhetoric associated with this particular group. In the context of the university’s Jesuit, Catholic mission, we could not allow fundraising in the student union for a group whose rhetoric regarding "snipers" could be widely misinterpreted as having a cavalier attitude toward the taking of a human life. In this case the display of the materials that promote the use of violence without appropriate background information was unacceptable.
Yet they claim they support the U.S. military. What do those officials think the military does? They kill people and destroy things. That's the purpose of a military. Tank gunners fire shells that kill people. Pilots aim smart bombs on targets to kill people. Marines toss grenades into an insurgent-infested hovel to kill people. Snipers need their specialized equipment to kill people. That's the cruel, imperfect world we're stuck in. When you support the troops you support the fact that they kill others to protect our country.
Saddam Hussein wasn't toppled with words of peace. His bloody regime was destroyed by people willing to kill and destroy.
Do these officials recall how this nation was founded? America wasn't created from fruitful dialogue with Britain. Her freedom was won with the blood of patriots. That blood allows Marquette University to have the freedom today to shut down a student organization. Marquette University needs to grow up and accept the world for what it is, not the "fuzzy, mushy pacifism" they wished to see.
"MU Shuts Down 'Adopt a Sniper'"
February 02, 2005
Today, not only is it Groundhog Day but it's also the 100th birthday of Ayn Rand. While I don't consider Atlas Shrugged to be a literary masterpiece I do know her ideas have been much more influential than whether a rodent sees his shadow or not.
"Ayn Rand's Contribution to the Cause of Freedom"
"Groundhog Day Wonderful Tradition"
"'Jimmy The Groundhog' Makes Prediction"
I have even more respect for La Shawn Barber. She puts her vanity right out in front of her readers. It's great to see a new weblog burst on the scene attracting hoards of readers. But what's frustrating is not being in the "big league" of webloggers even after continuously posting for five-plus years. But I just keep on chugging away hoping to someday break through.
"Me, My, Mine, Etc."
P.S. I can't wait to meet La Shawn at CPAC.
MU Sniping the Snipers
Supporting our troops in general is easy enough. Just go get one of those yellow ribbon magnets and slap it on your car. For some running Marquette University when actually confronted with the fact that it's kill-or-be-killed in Iraq and Afghanistan backing our military become impossible. Marquette University shut down a College Republican table because they were asking for donations to Adopt a Sniper. Dr. Mark McCarthy, Dean of Office of Student Development told the CRs "this fundraising activity does not comport to the University’s mission" because it doesn't uphold Catholic values.
What does Adopt a Sniper do? They help military sharpshooters get the specialized equipment needed to carry out their missions effectively and more safely. In the eyes of Marquette University it seems helping these people are abhorent to Catholic values.
UPDATE: Eric Anderson sees opposition to the Iraq War as the reason for Marquette's actions. He then gets to the heart of the issue: "Is freedom not a Catholic value?"
UPDATE II: Professor John McAdams, the advisor for the MU College Republicans talked to WTMJ about how Adopt a Sniper interfered with MU's "Mission Week," an adoration of "fuzzy, mushy pacifism."
iPod as Pheromone
Going Ward by Ward
Greg Borowski strikes again with more information on how messed up Milwaukee's election was.
Record-keeping surrounding the Nov. 2 presidential election in Milwaukee is so flawed that in 17 wards there were at least 100 more votes recorded than people listed by the city as voting there.
From looking at the Journal Sentinel's map of the really messed up wards we see them scattered across the city. The only real concentration was in the far north side, wards 258, 259, and 260. Combined those three wards had 490 more ballots cast than voters listed as voting. Such a concentration could mean a concerted fraud effort was happening in that area. Three wards that also caught my eye: Ward 312 at Marquette University, Ward 39 at UW-Milwaukee, and Ward 44 near UWM. Wards where university students votes makes me suspicious because in 2000 Marquette University students bragged about voting more than once. One of the admitted polling places was Marquette Alumni Memorial Union, Ward 312. These are wards investigators should look at first.
From this mess it will be very hard for investigators to find specific instances of voter fraud. That's find for Mayor Barrett who can tell the newspaper, "I don't think we have seen any evidence of fraud." With such a messed up system he's right.
Borowski mentions how Milwaukee's poor voting process can be vulnerable to fraud:
For instance, voter information incorrectly recorded in the computer system can mean a newly registered voter is not listed on the rolls for the next election, on Feb. 15.
As for the "what me worry?" editorial board of the Journal Sentinel they continue to be dishonest about requiring voters to show photo ID. They don't want such a law to be in effect.
In their lecture they tell us to be patient. They think Republicans are in too much of a hurry to pass the law.
Lawmakers should become better acquainted with the virtue of patience while a state audit and a local-federal criminal probe are under way.
They call the photo ID law the GOP's "a cure before the diagnosis." If the board were honest they tell its readers Rep. Jeff Stone introduced the photo ID bill in the last legislative session. Gov. Doyle vetoed it. Before that, Scott Walker was the bill's champion. Concerned citizens, not just partisan Republicans, have been calling for tightening up of Wisconsin's voting laws since 2000 when we discovered a Democratic operative using cigarettes to bribe the homeless to vote. This issue has been argued for four years. Plus, critics like myself don't see a photo ID requirement as the solution. What also must be changed is ending same-day registration. Heck, maybe we should use the ink Iraqi voters dipped their fingers into.
"Some Sites Show Huge Vote Gaps"
Belonging: a Primal Need
The Enlightened Caveman is having a discussion about I Am Charlotte Simmons. The twist here is a sociobiological one. How does a woman's genes interact with culture to produce the sexual wildness portrayed in Tom Wolfe's book? This is a topic Wolfe would love to dive into. In the novel he takes a few pages to talk about sociobiology. He calls Edward Wilson, "Darwin II." Wolfe's talk of neuroscience also plays into the current zeitgeist in that matter is everything. The mind, the soul is merely a result of chemical and bioelectrical processes.
One can take the approach of denying this kind of thinking by using F. A. Hayek's argument that it's impossible for the human mind to catagorize or completely understand something as complex as itself. We can figure out the workings of a clock or a bacteria, but when it comes to understanding our the Mind using something equally as complex, our minds we falter.
What interests me about Charlotte Simmons is that she thinks she wants the "life of the mind" when really she just wants to belong. The novel is a sort of travelogue of Charlotte visiting many different groups. She spends time with her "sexiled" trio, she hangs out with Hoyt and the frat boys, she observes the eclectic debates of the Millenial Mutants. She does this to prevent the loneliness from her first days at Dupont from seeping in. If you've read the book, recall the scene when Charlotte is at Adam's apartment suffering from depression induced by her deflowering to Hoyt. Everytime Adam would move away she would cry out for his embrace. In the end, Charlotte ends up a part of a group (don't worry, I won't give it away). It isn't the life of the mind nor is it the life of the loins. Maybe it's just something to help Charlotte get through her college years.
Belonging is something vital to Man. A good portion of it is hardwired and some of it might be our brains making logical calculations unbeknownst to us. (This may be something similar to what Malcom Gladwell writes about in Blink.)
"If Tom Wolfe is Right..."
February 01, 2005
Frost Leaves Dean Clear Path
Martin Frost dropped out of the running for DNC Chairman. The former Congressman was the one I thought would be the real challenge to Howard Dean, M.D. Frost couldn't get the support of the labor unions, something he needed to combat Dr. Dean's endorsements from state party leaders.
"Frost Quits Race for Democratic Chief"
Another MSM Making Stuff Up
This story is more serious than the AP getting fooled by a toy. Eason Jordan who runs CNN told an audience at the World Economic Forum that the U.S. military targeted reporters. He didn't offer any evidence only assertions. Rony Abovitz who was at the forum reports,
Eason did backpedal and make a number of statements claiming that he really did not know if what he said was true, and that he did not himself believe it. But when pressed by others, he seemed to waver back and forth between what might have been his beliefs and the realization that he had created a kind of public mess.
Captain Ed did some searching and found that Jordan's very own CNN hasn't reported on this shocking "news." He then castigates Jordan:
He refuses to report real stories of atrocities when they involve genocidal tyrants that just happen to oppose the United States -- but has no problem passing along rumors of atrocities that slander the American military. Does the protection of innocent life really lie at the heart of Jordan's calculations, or is it something more sinister and political? From where I sit, it looks like Jordan has a lot more interest in damaging American security interests than in reporting truth to the world.
To top it off, Ed says, "Memogate pales in comparison to this."
"Did Eason Jordan Accuse US Military Of Assassinating Journalists?"
UPDATE: La Shawn Barber is collecting blogospheric reaction.
Is Favre Done?
The buzz in Wisconsin has to do with Donald Driver's comments on Sirius Radio today. On The Opening Drive he said,
He's a real close friend of mine and we've been talking back and forth, and I think he's pretty much going to hang 'em up. I always told him, if you're coming back just because of that playoff game, don't show up. But it you're going to come back to try and win another Super Bowl, we'd love to have you.
Later in the day, Driver told WTMJ radio that he hasn't talked to Favre in about a month. Where's all that "talking back and forth?"
Brett's brother Scott told the Green Bay Press-Gazette, "Right now, if you ask me, I’d say I’m pretty sure that (Brett’s) coming back." I take more credence in his brother than his #2 wide receiver.
Getting the Forms
Copies of 1305 voter registration forms the City of Milwaukee says can't be verified will soon be on their way to Owen. Now, he needs volunteers to help him put them into a database. Way to go, Owen!
"Getting the Registration Forms"
Not only are the MSM politically slanted to the Left but they don't seem to have children who play with toys. That would explain why the AP mistook a toy soldier as being a captured U.S. soldier. [via Slowplay]
More bad news: Mr. Bill, the Pink Panther, and Elmo are all missing. The bastards!
Same-Sex vs. Pro-Life Amendment
Since Andrew Sullivan is going on a weblog hiatus to write a book he'll soon be off the TAM blogroll--not that I've read much of him in the last year. He askes a question brought up by Jon Rauch.
The Senate Republicans have vowed to push their anti-gay marriage amendment, even though it won't stand a chance of getting the necessary 67 votes. The point is political and rhetorical. They are trying to build momentum, raise money, and keep the cause of banning same-sex unions alive. So why not push an anti-abortion amendment instead? They have one such amendment on hand. Both proposed amendments are allegedly against judicial meddling. Both will fail. But one deals with a much graver issue, by the religious right's reckoning - an immense loss of human life, rather than the grave evil of two human beings committing to one another for life. So why this priority? Surely, abortion is a more important matter than same-sex marriage - even for the religious right. Or is it?
I would think that Rauch, who has read lots of Mancur Olson, and Sullivan who had a Ph.D. in political science would see the politics of this action. There already is a pro-life advocacy industry. There's National Right to Life, Pro-Life Action League, the outrageous Operation Rescue, and a host of other groups. Over 30 years of Supreme Court-sanctioned abortion have given pro-lifers plenty of time to build a base of financial supporters and volunteers. Same-sex marriage is a very recent issue. The infrastructure to fight it is still unformed. A push for a same-sex constitutional amendment over a pro-life amendment is a tool to form that opposition. So while neither amendment has a chance of passing the Senate the same-sex marriage one would send a stronger message by rallying the masses.
"Why not an Anti-Abortion Amendment?"
My French Boycott Continues
Jacques Chirac has proposed international taxes on financial transactions (the Tobin Tax), bank secrecy, and air and sea transportation. The revenue would go to developing the Third World, but the Adam Smith Institute's Dr. Madsen Pirie thinks there are ulterior motives.
"Don't Back Chirac"
Taxes and an Ancient Question
Power Line's Scott Johnson and John Hinderaker look at who pays what kind of federal taxes. The rich pay most of the income tax that funds everything except Social Security and Medicare. The other income brackets "pay more in payroll taxes (supposedly earmarked for Social Security and Medicare, but in practice co-mingled with all other federal revenues) than they do in income taxes." They then ask a question:
Which leads to the question: What will happen if conservatives succeed, as part of their push for an Ownership Society, in redirecting much of the payroll tax from federal coffers into the personal accounts of workers? Most Americans would then be directly supporting the federal government only through the income tax and the few federal sales and excise taxes (e.g., on gasoline). The result: Most Americans would no longer be making any significant contribution whatever toward the maintenance of the federal government.
Will these Amercians fulfill Aristotle's and James Madison's fears of the masses using their majority power to pillage the rich?
I'd say no. As the payroll tax has become the dominant tax for lower-income Americans these people haven't felt they were feeding from the government's trough. If you ask most people why they should be allowed to use government services they'll tell you they work hard and pay their taxes. Most Americans lump the income and payroll taxes together even though they're separately deducted off their paychecks. In fact, this perception is quite accurate. Johnson and Hindrocker point out the payroll taxes are "co-mingled with all other federal revenues." An unintended consequence of Congress' insatiable desire for revenue all Americans pay for all of government.
"Broad Ownership Needs Broad Taxpaying"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
I'm feeling a tad chilly today. Perfect, then I can warm up with the Bonfire of the Vanities.
Charlie Sykes poses two questions to the Wisconsin blogosphere:
Query One: Why no interest in Doyle's handling of school choice in the blogosphere?
The two stories I've been hooked on the past few weeks have been the voting problems and Howard Dean, M.D.'s quest for the DNC Chairmanship. Tossing in a third would stretch me thin. Also, the voting story has a more national audience. TAM isn't just a Wisconsin weblog. I write in order to be read, and the voting story has boosted traffic locally and nationally.
An occasional e-mail nudge would help me be aware that it isn't being covered. At the very least a link to someone else covering the story would give it some much needed attention.
Query Two: What's the next step in promoting the new -- very active -- WI Blogosphere? I'm open to suggestion.
Marketing and promotion is one of my weakest traits. I have an introverted personality and grew up in a Wisconsin German Lutheran environment where one's merit was shown through actions. I'm not comfortable bragging about my success--whether TAM is a success, I don't know.
You'd think Hugh Hewitt's book Blog would give you some tips on how to promote a weblog. It really doesn't. It's more of a case study/evangelist book. Hugh tells you why you should weblog rather than how to get your weblog known.
What can always draw attention is noticing goofyness in the MSM. I'm sure Power Line's war with a Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist helped many to learn about weblogs. Who wants to drive Eugene Kane so crazy to get a mention in his column?
Since the MSM (and a certain corner of the New Media) almost completely ignore the WI blogosphere we can just bypast them. An example of detouring the MSM is starting a radio show like the Northern Alliance in Minnesota. The Milwaukee radio market is different from that of the Twin Cities. It seems to be more dynamic with new stations popping up, and old ones changing formats. The NA's birth coincided quite well with the up-and-coming AM1280 The Patriot. Right now, I don't see a hungry, chance-taking station interested in putting a bunch of webloggers on the air.
More realistically we should use Charlie's show to get the word out about this parallel media universe. This leads into a question I've been wanted to ask Charlie for a while: How should webloggers call into your show? Yesterday, I called Charlie to talk about ethanol. I called and got on but was hesitant about telling the call screener what weblog I wrote. Charlie was kind enough to have me in the studio so I also didn't want to assume he wouldn't mind turning his show into a mini weblog commercial. Charlie could also take 10 minutes a week to talk to a weblogger. Radio is a powerful medium. We just have to remember that in order for it to work webloggers have to be interesting. That's the tradeoff. We have to add value to Charlie's show in order to deserve the attention.
As for me personally, I'll continue to follow stories that interest me and (hopefully) interest my readers. Later this month, I will be a fully credentialed weblogger covering CPAC (by the way, please donate). Getting to talk to some conservative big-wigs as well as searching for the conservative wackos who will be there should draw interest. I hope to get promotion ideas from my fellow webloggers. What I can do as an everyday thing is make linking to my fellow BBA members a daily habit. One aspect of the "power of the link" is sharing is good. When I link to another weblog I'm sharing my traffic with them. That valued interconnectedness helps both sides of the link.
Now It's the CPAC 20
Voter ID Bill Introduced
Rep. Jeff Stone and Sen. Joe Leibham introduced their voting reform bill. It would require voters to show an ID at the polls. It would also end the practice of "vouching" for someone who can't prove their residency. This bill is a good start. If it can be passed in this legislative session I would be pleased. The Wisconsin GOP wants the end of same-day registration. I too would like that, but I don't think Wisconsinites are clamoring for that yet. The Stone-Leibham bill will have a tough enough time getting passed Gov. Jim Doyle's veto.
"Voter IDs Get New Push"
Another Kerry Run?
Prepare for the return of Kerry's House of Ketchup. That assumes he runs for President again and stays married to Teresa. I'm sure he's really considering running again or else why would he even bother telling Tim Russert that he would sign Form 180 and release his military records?
"Mark that Date!!!"
Truth in Advertising
Soon-to-be DNC Chairman Howard Dean, M.D. inspired John Hawkins to make an ad for the Dems. I don't think this is what Oliver Willis had in mind.
"Howard Dean Supplies A New Motto For The Democratic Party"