[star]The American Mind[star]

April 30, 2005

Most Overrated Album

According to Michele's readers it's Elephant by The White Stripes. I can't say much about it. I can only hum "Seven Nation Army" and don't know any other songs. I never got into the whole garage band scene. Thanks to all of you who voted for Nirvana's Nevermind. You tried.

"Overrated Albums: Poll Winner"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 01:36 PM | Comments (1)

Favorite Political Websites

John Hawkins asks and I answer. If I could only read 20 political websites here's what they would be (in no particular order):

UPDATE: How could I forget Patrick's My View of the World? Well, it's on here now.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:39 AM | Comments (3)

Sad Truths

Jimmie at The Sundries Shack is not pleased with President Bush's remarks about Social Security:

So instead of an egalitarian system where you get back what you contribute plus some interest on your “contribution", we’re going to have a system where the rich again subsidize the poor? Instead of the regular old Ponzi Scheme, we’re going to get a Ponzi Scheme that redistributes wealth, too?

Ho-ookay. That sounds great, doesn’t it?

Further, from what I can see, folks in my age bracket are still hosed because the money we’ve been contributing all our lives still won’t be there when we hit retirement age. Even if it is, it’ll give me a return that’s less than if I stuck it in the average bank CD.

Did I mention that personal savings accounts look like they’re completely and utterly dead?

Man, how could I not be in favor of a plan that takes the same amount of money from me it always has, promises me no better return than the most rudimentary investment plan if I actually see any of my money at all, and guarantees to penalize me more the better I do financially in life.

Sign me up right away?

Look, I am not an accountant. I’m just an average American who sees 12 percent of his paycheck Hoovered away and used to finance the rest of the government (and I’m already losing a good hunk of change to finance that). My President has campaigned twice on the promise that he will reform the system and make it better. He’s promised to work hard to give me some control over some small pittance of the money the government already takes from me because, let’s face it, the government sucks as an investment banker.

So far he’s gone back on both of those promises. And I’m pissed.

The sad truth is the government needs Jimmies' and my, and other American's Social Security "contributions" to pay for current retirees. That's what's meant by Pay As You Go (PAYGO). It's the reason Bush only talked about allowing younger workers the option (never mandatory, only voluntary) of putting a portion of one's SS contribution into a personal account. Money would still be needed to pay current and future retirees.

Younger workers like Jimmie and myself are stuck with a system that claims to be a retirement plan* but is really an intergenerational welfare program. That's what it was set up to do, and that's what it is still today.

Jimmie goes on ranting:

You know something? I don’t want any more of my money going to prop up a lifetime of someone else’s stupid financial decisions. I don’t expect any of you to do that for me. I’m sick and tired of hearing how people need Social Security because that check is all they have. I need that money, too. I have rent, car insurance, and utility bills I need to pay and I have some small hope of building my own little nest egg so I’m not one of the people who my children are going to have to support in 40 years. If other people have frittered away a lifetime of savings, tough on ‘em.

I feel his pain. Years ago, I participated in a SS discussion session put on by the Pew Charitable Trust. It was full of ordinary people like myself to discuss how to make SS better. I volunteered to give up all my SS "contributions" and any future claim on them in exchange for a personal account. No one in my group would let me. They thought that someday if I failed to properly fund my retirement I'd come crawling to the government for help. They had no faith that I would take responsiblity for my success or failure. They assumed I'd demand government (i.e. taxpayers') help because that's what everyone does. These people weren't policy wonks. They were just ordinary, concerned citizens. Such cynicism towards a fellow American yearning to be free might be the biggest obstacle facing President Bush. And I don't think he even realizes it.

"So It’s Now a Wealth-Redistributing Ponzi Scheme?"

*James Buchanan wrote (paragraph 40) that SS is accepted because the public is led to believe individual contributions fund one's own retirement instead of current retirees. He dubs this "an illusion of the Puviani sort."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:57 AM | Comments (2)

April 29, 2005

Growing Economy Needs More Not Less Energy

In his primetime news conference President Bush said energy prices could go down by helping "growing energy-consumers overseas, like China and India, apply new technologies to use energy more efficiently and reduce global demand of fossil fuels." Efficency only goes so far, but it should certainly help developing economies like China and India. What will encourage efficency even more are rising energy costs. Rising prices tells energy users that they need to economize. The process won't be quick, and it may be painful. Feel the pain of someone who bought a gaz-guzzling SUV just before gas prices shot up.

But the UPI headline is misleading. Bush never called for reducing global energy demand. Saying something like that would be foolish. Man has insatiable desires. Economies organize resources to satisfy those desires. Economies grow when more and more desires are met. Energy is one resource that is needed for growing economies. Effectively using wasted energy is useful, but there comes a point (whether one runs into the laws of physics or diminishing marginal returns) where energy conservation isn't useful and more energy has to be produced. In a free market rising energy prices are a signal that there is a profit opportunity for new energy producers.

Why aren't more energy producers getting into the act? Well, stringent environmental zealots, Not In My Back Yard (NIMBY) protesters, and untold numbers of twisted governmental subsidies, regulations, and disincentives block entrepreneurs' attempts to build more nuclear plants, coal-burning plants, and even alternative energy producers.

It's sad to say, but I think it will take $5/gallon gas and/or multiple regional blackouts like the one that hit the eastern part of the U.S. a few years ago before some people really get serious about increasing U.S. energy production.

"Bush Wants Lowered Global Energy Demand"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:19 PM | Comments (1)


Rick at Stones Cry Out writes about "blog fatigue" and how he solved his:

I'll admit that the current SCO format is largely the result of blog fatigue. I appreciate many things about the new SCO and my partners, but most of all, I appreciate the fact that blogging is more enjoyable without all the pressure to perform daily. We're all very busy guys, and although there is still a bit of pressure to keep insightful content on the page for our readers, for me, the pressure is nothing in comparison to what it was a few months ago. I can focus on family, work, and school, and still blog. That's fantastic!

Rather than asking yourself if blogging is something you really want to be doing, perhaps ask yourself if blogging the way you are currently blogging is really something you want to be doing. I like the group blog model and although it's not for everyone, perhaps it is a happy medium between stressing out and giving up. It worked for me.

Like any weblogger frustration has hit me. It used to really hit me a few years ago when new weblogs were popping onto the scene and immediately getting oodles of visitors. Instant success came to them while struggled. It hurt more knowing I was into this weblogging thing long before some hot writers ever heard of the medium. Increased attention to TAM pushed that frustration away. I think TAM is almost at a point of critical mass. (So go tell your friends to read TAM and put it on your blogrolls just to make sure.) Being on the cusp invigorates me and give me no reason to stop now.

The whole purpose of TAM is to force me to make me write daily. I have succeeded. Since I like to write it makes sense to allow myself to be read. In an ideal world someone would pay me to write articles, books, weblog posts, etc. Until then, TAM is the center of my writing enterprise. No fatigue seen on the horizon.

"Blog Fatigue"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:35 AM | Comments (6)

April 28, 2005

Numbers Game

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is accused of puffing up their circulation numbers for nine years in a lawsuit filed today. Shorewest Realtors is seeking class action status and says they have evidence of fraud from current and former newspaper employees. What also has to be pointed out that the paper has recently fired managers in the circulation and marketing areas. Where there's smoke there might be fire.

"Realty Company Sues Journal Sentinel" [via My View of the World]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

Leading for a Change

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is actually doing something productive for the conservative cause:

Frist, the Senate majority leader, said he would "guarantee" up to 100 hours to debate any nominee to the appeals courts or U.S. Supreme Court. But Frist also said he would require that they all get a confirmation vote, meaning filibusters against these candidates would be banned.

"It may not be a perfect proposal for either side, but it's the right proposal for America," said Frist as he stood in the Senate.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, called the proposal a "big wet kiss to the far right," which has pushed to ban judicial filibusters and get more conservatives on the bench.

Yet Reid promised to study the multifaceted offer as Democrats and Republicans seek to find common ground and avoid what could be a nasty fight.

Hopefully Frist has told Reid this is the best deal he's going to get. If Democrats don't go along Senate rules will simply be changed. 100 hours of debate is a long time. With the slow pace of the Senate that could be weeks or months. That's plenty of time for an opposition to make its case to the American people. Heck, there hasn't been any debate on the John Bolton nomination and it was close to going down.

Who are more important than Reid are the squishy Republicans Frist hasn't been able to keep in line. The Democrats won't go for any deal if they know a few Republicans are around to trash it.

"Republican Leader Offers Compromise on Judges"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:38 PM | Comments (0)

Let Off Easy

The Appleton Post-Crescent has a little more on Sharon Rosenfeld giving up her Packers tickets instead of going to jail. Her choice is part of a sentence that includes two years probation. Not bad for using her union for short-term loans. If I were the judge I would have made her give up the tickets and spend 90 days in jail.

"Woman Gives up Packers Tickets to Forgo Jail Time"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:07 PM | Comments (2)

ChiComs Have Gone Too Far

It's one thing to take control of Hong Kong, one of the most free places on earth. But messing with the city's most popular cuisine may have pushed residents over the edge:

A report by the Hong Kong government suggesting that eating many kinds of dim sum regularly may be bad for your health is threatening to overshadow whatever else might be worrying the people of this city.

Practically every Chinese-language newspaper here has run a banner headline about it across its front page. Scrolling electronic displays in subway cars have flashed the news, and the report has become a topic of breakfast, lunch and dinner conversations at Chinese restaurants across the city.

Longtime dim sum lovers are indignant.

"The government is putting its thumb on every part of citizens' lives, and it shouldn't be telling anyone how dim sum should be served," said Wong Yuen, a retired mechanic and truck driver who says he has eaten dim sum every morning for the last two decades. "People can make their own decisions. If it's unhealthy, they can eat less. They don't need the government to tell them."

Some things are universal. A hatred for the nanny state is one of them.

Now, where can a guy get steamed dumplings around here at 2 am?

"Dim Sum Under Assault, and Devotees Say 'Hands Off'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 01:59 AM | Comments (1)

April 27, 2005

Paglia in Madison

I was tempted to trek over to Madtown to see Camille Paglia promoting her latest book Break, Blow, Burn, but I then I wouldn't have written all this good stuff tonight. ;-)* Ann Althouse was there. She has some pictures with "Text to follow!"

UPDATE: Ann Althouse reports Paglia was her usual hyper self. Contradictory between word and action, but thought provoking. She's not a fan of weblogs. "I’m worried about blogging," she told her audience. But she admits if she were a beginning writer today she'd have a weblog too.

*No, I didn't go because she was at the enemy's store. I just wasn't in the mood to drive three hours more than I had to tonight.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 10:32 PM | Comments (0)

iPod Radio

In the past week I've been listening to Adam Curry's (yes, of MTV fame) podcast Daily Source Code. While I don't envision a TAM podcast anytime soon (it feels too complicated and time consuming) I'm interested in where it will go. Curry is the one to listen to to find out. DSC is pretty geeky. Curry talks about the hardware and software he uses to make his podcast. So DSC could be thought of as a tech podcast. But Curry also plays lots of promos for other podcasts. He's a very giving gent. In that respect I think of him as the Instapundit of podcasters.

The reason I brought up podcasting is Infinity is changing the format of one of their radio stations from talk to podcasts. People will be able to submit their casts, and the station will pick some to play on-air. Curry probably had a wet dream with this news. It partially validates all the work he's put into this new medium. Highly idosyncratic, highly individualized media may be the wave of the future.

"Infinity Tries All-Podcasting Radio Format"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

Vote More

What's wrong with you people? Nevermind isn't winning. Quit reading this and vote!

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 09:38 PM | Comments (2)

Drezner's Tongue in Cheek

Daniel Drezner's reaction to Vladimir Putin's state-of-the-nation speech was a negative as mine.

What the hell is Khakamada talking about?--ed. Well, if you read Jeremy Page's account of the speech in the London Times, "Putin tried to make peace with Russia’s increasingly critical clique of influential businessmen yesterday by ordering his tax police to stop 'terrorising' companies." So Putin wasn't only scaring the bejeesus out of the near abroad, Eastern and Central Europe, and the West. Well, I certainly want to invest all of danieldrezner.com's financial resources into Russia right now!!--ed. And that's about all I'm expecting Putin to reap from this speech.

"I Definitely Feel Better about Investing in the U.S.S.R..... I mean, Russia"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 07:08 PM | Comments (0)

Giving Up the Tickets

Sharon Rosenthal seriously considered it, but she gave up her Green Bay Packers season tickets instead of going to jail. I heard the news on WISN radio and will post a link when the story hits the web.

UPDATE: We now have WBAY in Green Bay confirming the story.

"Woman Chooses Packers Tickets Over Jail"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 06:05 PM | Comments (1)

Protect All Legitimate DVD Users

It's not a bad idea to protect DVD filtering technology to allow parents to edit movies for their children. The Family Entertainment and Copyright Act empowers parents who feel they're barely treading water in the media ocean.

However, other DVD users besides parents protecting their children from excessive sex and violence could use some empowering. Right now, it's illegal to rip a DVD to play it on another device. Even though you own, say The Star Wars Trilogy, you cannot legally rip the movie to play it on a notebook computer without a DVD player, any other device, or to make a back up. Such use isn't piracy. It's just making media more flexible to better fit people's lives. In 2004, the entertainment industry gave up the fight over DeCss. But who's to say a new attack won't come in the future?

"Bush Signs Bill to Let Parents Filter DVDs"

UPDATE: John Cole sees the bill as Bush placating a certain set of companies. He seems to think Hollywood should have let the DVD filtering companies go ahead. Cole misses the point. Hollywood was the roadblock. Hollywood was being so strict with their copyright enforcement that the filtering companies were threatened. This law allows technology to be developed that allows parents to edit a DVD. It's federal government intervention but Cole has to explain how it's "unreasonable, big government."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

April 26, 2005

Stuff the Ballot

Vote for Nirvana's Nevermind as the "Most Overrated Album."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 10:16 PM | Comments (1)

What a Choice

There's a story involving to what extent Packers loyalty goes. I have to comment.

Sharon Rosenthal stole $3000 from her union to pay for personal expenses. Financial hardship was her excuse, but somehow her family could afford three-game Packers season tickets. (For hard core Packers nuts that's the Gold package--A.K.A. the Milwaukee games.) The judge gave Rosenthal two choices. She could spend 90 days in the slammer or give up next season's tickets.

For me, 90 days in jail is a long time. I'd give up the tickets and put up with watching the games on the small screen for a season. TV is often the better way to watch a game anyway. So that's not much of a loss. If it were only a week in jail, I'd be tempted to grin and bear.

Now, local sports radio yapper Steve "The Homer" True offered this choice: 90 days in jail or permanently giving up Packers season tickets. That's a choice no true Packers fan should ever have to face. There are tens of thousands of people who have been on the waiting list for decades hoping for a chance at season tickets before they die. To be in possession of such precious items would be really, really hard to give up.

If Rosenthal decides for jail she better do it soon. Training camp isn't that far away.

"Go to Jail or Give up Packers Tickets? Judge’s Sentence Lets Woman Choose" [via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:06 PM | Comments (2)

Ahman Green Arrested

Probably more important to the Packers' offense is the rushing prowess of pro bowler Ahman Green. Getting arrested for domestic violence could be a problem.

Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green was arrested Tuesday after a domestic violence incident.

The Brown County sheriff's department said deputies went to his residence after a 911 call ended with a hang-up. The Pro Bowler was arrested at about 10:10 p.m. Monday after officers believed a domestic violence incident happened.

Green was taken to the Brown County jail, but he posted bond and was released.

"Pro Bowler Ahman Green Arrested on Suspicion of Domestic Violence"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:44 PM | Comments (3)

TAM Got Torched

Boxing Alcibiades hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 06:15 PM | Comments (0)

527s: Out; C4s: In

527s may have been cool last year, but if the "527 Reform Act of 2005," a Sen. John McCain product, gets passed we'll all be talking about plastic explosives. Byron York sees C4s as the next stage in the never ending cat-and-mouse game between political campaign contributors and the free speech squelchers who think money is evil. I see them as having double the explosive power of Coke's C2.

"New Campaign-Finance-Reform Follies" [via EconoPundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 05:35 PM | Comments (0)

American Catholics Back Benedict

If I read any more stories about how liberal Catholics are ticked that conservative Pope Benedict XVI was elected I'll hurl. Over 80% of American Catholics polled were supportive of Benedict's election. Even a majority of the "modernizers" i.e. liberals backed him.

"Most U.S. Catholics Support Choice of Pope" [via Patrick Ruffini]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 05:15 PM | Comments (0)

A Very Short History of the Filibuster

Does Sen. Harry Reid even read the constitution? Because he sure doesn't know the filibuster isn't in it. But why bother when using the words "constitutional checks and balances" are good talking points?

There is widespread concern about throwing away 200 years of constitutional checks and balances in order to get seven judges on the bench who previously could not achieve bipartisan consensus.

There is a way to avoid the nuclear shutdown, and I'm working with my colleagues to put that plan into place. The bottom line for the Democratic caucus is to protect constitutional checks and balances As part of any resolution, the nuclear option must be off the table.

Reid needs to read the Commissar's post where is actually does some research.

With all this talk of "nuclear" and "constitutional" options, I googled the question of filibustering judicial nominees and noted here a few factual and historical details.

First (or perhaps, "Frist"), the filibuster is a Senate procedural rule, first codified in 1806, little used before World War One, and mostly used by Southern Democrats to oppose civil rights legislation in the 1950s and 1960s.

Republicans aren't off the hook either. A Supreme Court justice was filibustered in 1968.

The Commissar writes:

To sum up, the delaying of judicial nominees seems to be just one more aspect of increasing polarization over the past few decades. Perhaps unfortunate, but real. While the environment may be more partisan, there's nothing to suggest that this change in Senate rules is a constitutional matter, one way or the other.

"Top Senate Democrat Has Plan to Stop Filibuster Ban"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:44 AM | Comments (0)

Third Party Exposure

Indirectly TAM made Google News. I cross-posted my Putin post to Redstate.org, and Google's computers picked it up and put it on the front page:

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

April 25, 2005

Reid Showing His Hand

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is looking down the proverbial tunnel and sees a good chance of the end to the judicial filibuster. He knows there are at least 50 votes (plus VP Cheney's tiebreaker) to change Senate rules--not constitutional checks and balances like Lefty activists want you to believe. Thus he wants to negotiate a deal.

At the same time he offers to clear two nominees to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals for approval, officials said Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., wants a third appointee to be replaced by an alternative who is preferred by Michigan's two Democratic senators.

This deal is just talk, part of on going negotiations. Before I rip on Sen. Frist anymore than I have I want to know if the Senate Majority Leader is actually contemplating letting Senators choose federal judicial appointments. Such a change would be a far more radical change than the ending of judicial filibusters. As Captain Ed writes,

Frist may agree to let two Democrats from Michigan pick judges from their own provincial preferences, eliminating a presidential prerogative and fundamentally changing the balance of power even more significantly than the obstructionist filibusters ever did.

Should Frist cave to Reid by accepting this deal as-is Captain Ed and I won't be the only ones strongly calling for Frist's ouster. This is make-or-break time for the Tennessee Senator.

"Frist, Reid Work on Compromise on Judge Approvals"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:08 PM | Comments (2)


That noise means a new Carnival of the Capitalists hosted by Peaktalk.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 06:43 PM | Comments (0)

La La Lalala

On what how the Packers have to respond to the Lions drafting Mike Williams, Slide writes, "Quick, Bates, stuff several hundred Jobe's Plant Spikes into smurf Ahmad Carroll's....power drink."

"Detroit is Stacked"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 06:37 PM | Comments (2)

BBC Picking Sides

OxBlog's Josh Chafetz pointed out something I missed about the BBC aiding hecklers at a Conservative Party function (emphasis mine):

Last night, the BBC claimed that the exercise was part of a "completely legitimate programme about the history and art of political heckling" and said that other parties' meetings were being "observed". However, The Telegraph has established that none of Tony Blair's meetings was infiltrated or disrupted in similar fashion.

The Tories have to fight the taxpayer-funded news service along with Labour and the Liberal Democrats. Talk about stacking the deck.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

Soviet Collapse: "Catastrophe"

The collapse of Soviet Union was "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century." That's what Vladimir Putin told Russian officials.

Funny, I see the rise of the Communist Superpower as a much greater "geopolitical catastrophe." Does Putin imply that he longs for the return of the Soviet empire? Does he long for the days where billions of people worried about the thermonuclear destruction of human civilization? Does Putin want the return of the Soviet's grasp on Eastern Europe? I'm sure I could find a few million people who don't want to be trapped behind the totalitarian Iron Curtin.

What many missed when Russia underwent it's political economic convulsions was the importants of national pride. There are many Russians who long for the days of Stalin because back then the world (especially the U.S.) feared the Russian bear. Today, Russia isn't a threat. It isn't even a powerful world player. Putin couldn't stop President Bush from invading Iraq. Putin can't even squelch the 10+ uprising in Chechnya.

The Russian economy is on a growth track, but will that continue with Putin continuing to re-centralize Russian government and media. In the same speech Putin offers an excuse for why he might decide to reconstitute the former Soviet Union:

As for the Russian people, it became a genuine tragedy. Tens of millions of our fellow citizens and countrymen found themselves beyond the fringes of Russian territory. The epidemic of collapse has spilled over to Russia itself.

The Russian sphere must be extended to protect Mother Russia. Letting an ex-KGB agent extend his reach doesn't sound like a good idea to me.

"Russia's Putin: Soviet Collapse a Tragedy"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 04:57 PM | Comments (0)

Ambassador Boschwitz

Steve Silver mentioned to me a "fawning" piece in The Weekly Standard on the "most spaced out pols I've ever met." Rudy must have a knack at picking good staff. Because from my limited experience with Boschwitz he needed them to make sure he walked into the right resturant to meet campaign supporters.

Oh, by the way: Earth Day sucks.

"The Ambassador Nobody Knows"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 03:11 PM | Comments (0)

April 24, 2005

Benedict Now Just "Austere"

Reuters must have gotten bored with ripping on Pope Benedict. One of their stories calls him merely an "austere conservative." Plus, they put it near the end of the piece.

"New Pope Sets Store by Lost Traditions"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:36 PM | Comments (0)

Extremely Hair-Brained

In the mind of Washington Post staff writer (definitely not acting like much of a journalist) Robin Givhan John Bolton's hair problem isn't with what's on his face. It's what's on his head.

John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, desperately needs a haircut. It does not have to be a $600 Sally Hershberger cut. Bolton simply needs the basics. Tidy the curling, unruly locks at the nape of his neck, tame the volume at the crown, reel in the wings flapping above his ears, and broker a compromise between his sand-colored mop and his snow-colored mustache.

He needs to do this, not because he should be minding the recommendations of men's fashion magazines or grooming experts but because when he settled in before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week to answer questions about his record, his philosophy and his intentions at the U.N., he looked as though he did not even have enough respect for the proceedings to bother combing his hair -- or, for that matter, straightening his tie, or wearing a shirt that did not put his neck in a chokehold. Bolton was one wrinkled suit away from being an insolent mess.

Only in D.C. could someone write something so inconsequential and have it published in a major newspaper.

"Bolton's Hair: No Brush With Greatness" [via Confirm Bolton]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:11 PM | Comments (0)

No Faith in Volker Commission

With the resignations of investigators Robert Parton and Miranda Duncan so goes the Volker Commission's credibility in investigating the Oil-for-Food scandal. Paul Volker has a very good reputation. Thus there was much hope a proper investigation of the U.N. would take place. Is Volker one of those types who feels the U.N. is so important that a proper investigation would turn it into damage goods? That gives me even less faith in that world body--not that I had much to begin with. If the U.N. is such a diseased institution then a tough guy like John Bolton is absolutely necessary.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

Rod Grams Not Running for Senate

Rod Grams isn't going to run for Mark Dayton's Minnesota Senate seat. That's a bummer. As a College Republican in 1994, I worked hard in Duluth, MN to get him elected. Having him actually pushing for the dismantling of a federal department (energy) was beautiful for a small-goverment guy like me. It was too bad personal family problems led to him only serving one term.

Rep. Mark Kennedy is running for the seat so I'm not worried a RINO will win. I'd freak if Rep. Jim Ramstead was the leading GOP candidate. It would have been hard for Grams to win the seat. Minnesota voters might have looked on him as a political retread. In 1996, Rudy Boschwitz, one of the more spaced out pols I've ever met, tried to snatch his Senate seat from Paul Wellstone, and that didn't work out.

"For Minnesota, No Senator Grams II"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 07:42 PM | Comments (2)

"Squishy Republican"

Michelle Malkin asks, "What do you call a squishy Republican?"

My answer: Sen. Bill Frist.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 04:05 PM | Comments (0)

Quinton on Facial Hair

Jeff Quinton looks at South Carolina politicians and facial hair. Based on this if you want to run for office shave off the 'tasche.

"Facial Hair and Political Viability"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

Aiding and Abetting Hecklers

The role of the press is to report on the news not make it. Guess the BBC has changed the rules. In the process of making a show called The History of Heckling BBC producers gave audio equipment to hecklers at a Conservative Party event. The hecklers did their thing while the BBC got good footage.

The BBC responded to the accusation:

This is a completely legitimate programme about the history and art of political heckling. The programme observes hecklers at other parties' campaign meetings and not just the Conservatives. The hecklers were not under the direction of the BBC and their activities did not disrupt the meeting in any way. The incident at the Michael Howard meeting only plays a small part in the overall programme. However, we will be investigating the complaint very fully and will be replying in due course.

If the hecklers "did not disrupt the meeting" then they were doing a pretty poor job. The BBC better find themselves some better hecklers.

"Tory Fury as BBC Sends Hecklers to Bait Howard" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:11 PM | Comments (3)

I Don't Feel Dumber

Guess I better cut back on my internet use:

According to a recent university study conducted at King's College London, constant e-mailing and text-messaging reduces your intelligence by 10 IQ points - an effect more damaging than smoking marijuana.

The study of 1,100 adults found their intelligence declined as tasks were interrupted by incoming e-mails and text messages. The average reduction of 10 IQ points, though temporary, is more than double the four-point loss associated with smoking cannabis. A 10-point drop is also similar to the impact of missing a night of sleep, a report from Bloomberg News said.

There might be some truth to net use being like marijuana smoking. Late at night, I get the munchies.

"Does More IM = a Lower IQ?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 01:56 PM | Comments (0)

Is There a Draft in Here?

I'm still holding firm that Aaron Rodgers wasn't a good first round pick for the Packers. When I think of Rodgers Kyle Boller always pops into my head--must be they're both California QBs. There were still defensive linemen available with the 24th pick. Picking a QB in the first round and hoping he pans out is more of a crap shoot than a sure thing. I didn't like any of the QBs taken in the first round. Utah's Alex Smith was great in college, but how much of it was Urban Meyer's offensive scheme? If the Pack wanted a QB, Charlie Frye and David Greene went in the third round.

To an extent we really can't grade this draft until a few years from now. Most of these players won't start for the teams that pick them. Ted Thompson appears to be drafting on potential. That's all well and good, but his other off-season actions haven't filled in his team's current needs. Two starting offensive guards are gone and I'm not confident Thompson has found anyone to replace them. The defensive line couldn't stop the run last year or mount any pass rush. Where's the help there? Thompson decided to match the Minnesota Vikings' offer for Aaron Kampman by giving him a bunch of money. A similar player could have been had for a lot less by drafting. The defensive backfield has Al Harris and a bunch of youngins. If it's possible I see a decrease in quality there.

I'm assuming this is Brett Favre's last year. It would be unwise to gamble on this year being the Super Bowl year by spending oodles on free agent veterans. That strain on the salary cap would prevent the team from properly rebuilding. I just would like to see something from Ted Thompson to make me think he wants to win it all this year. His drafting sure hasn't shown that.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:30 PM | Comments (0)

Hayek vs. Hayek

When a bunch of Salma Hayek posts are discovered I always check out the Salma Hayek vs. Friedrich Hayek Scorecard. Playing Frieda Kahlo did get Salma an Oscar nomination, an award which she probably needs to have a shot at overtaking dead man Friedrich. I may be a huge Friedrich fan, but I know who I'd want to see walking along the beach at sunset.

[via Glenn Reynolds]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:59 PM | Comments (2)

Mean isn't Bad

Ann Althouse adds meaness to the facial hair theme that might stop John Bolton from being U.N. ambassador.

Meanness is a trait in great American leaders. Our nation has benefited from it. If Americans didn't want mean we wouldn't have had Generals Patton and MacArthur leading troops to victory in WWII. The populism of Andrew Jackson would have been snuffed out immediately in American political life. Abraham Lincoln's passionate defense of the union had to have some element of spite toward the confederacy.

This worrying about how nice Bolton is feels a lot like the squimishness Marquette University officials had toward the College Republicans' Adopt-a-Sniper table a few months ago. They like the benefits from warriors and not-so-nice officials, but they don't want to admit to themselves the unclean process the benefits come from.

"Should We Screen Out Mean?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:44 PM | Comments (0)

April 23, 2005

NFL Draft 2005

Can they make the draft any slower? It's been three hours and they're still not half-way through the first round. This may be a draft analyst's dream it's not great television.

Anyway, I won't know who my Packers pick until I come home from work tonight. I hope they don't do anything to go after quarterback Aaron Rogers. They need to find Brett Favre's replacement but the first round hasn't been the best place to find future starters (Brett was a second round pick). I have three words for Ted Thompson: defense, defense, defense. Minnesota has been signing free agents (including former Packers safety Darren Sharper) to help their defense. The Pack needs to get quality defenders. It doesn't matter if it's a lineman, linebacker, or defensive back. They need player, good players. My choice would be one of the linemen that falls to the 24th pick. I'd love it if it was Wisconsin's Erasmus James, but that might be taking him too high. If defensive value isn't at 24 then eye a good offensive lineman. By loving Mike Wahle and Marco Rivera they need to rebuild one of the best lines in football.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:11 PM | Comments (5)

Junk the Jesuits

Maybe because it's late but Erick Erickson, a Prebyterian, calling for Pope Benedict to "cut off" the Jesuits is hysterical. Who'd have thought the election of an orthodox Catholic would do more to earn the respect of some Protestants than the Counter-Reformation?

"Benedict the Bad Ass Part II"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:15 AM | Comments (1)

Hair-Brained Theory

John Bolton's facial hair may be the reason he doesn't become U.N. ambassador. Joe Gandelman has the details.

"Is Bolton Nomination Doomed By The 'Weird Facial Hair Curse'?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:59 AM | Comments (0)

April 22, 2005

What to Do About a Out-of-Control Judiciary?

So far, I have no answer to confronting a judiciary that ignores the constitution other than call for Sen. Frist to be replaced. While today's "loose" interpretation of the constitution by the courts may be unprecedented in U.S. history Congress imposing its will on the judiciary would also be unprecedented. Two prominent conservatives are telling the GOP-led Congress to watch it. Like I said I have few answers to relieve my frustration.

"Conservative Backlash on Judicial Fight"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

Next Majority Leader

Don't think I was blowing smoke when I called for Sen. Bill Frist's ouster. At Redstate I have a poll (along the left side) asking who you think should be the next Senate Majority Leader. Ugh! John McCain is tied for the lead.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:22 PM | Comments (2)

What a Combo

A Reid-Colburn double team. No, it's not a sign of the Apochalyspe. It's just two Senators trying to protect webloggers. Mike Krempasky has the details.

"Online Freedom of Speech Act Update"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

Amazing Consistency

All night at around 23 minutes past the hour my Charter net connection goes out. It's spooky in its consistency.

[I'm doing this to shame Charter into getting its act together. Since I don't have any choice in my high speed providers (DSL not available) I have to attempt a little public shame. I'm sorry if you can't stand me complaining.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 01:34 AM | Comments (0)

April 21, 2005

Jeopardy! Tryout

Read about Kevin's Jeopardy! journey. Then read my attempt to get into the college tournament. Then help me with this clue:

Another (last answer on the test): The first name of this 19th Century Poet was the most popular girl's name in America in the 1990s.

UPDATE: In the comments, Fred tells me it was indeed Emily Dickenson. I read Kevin's post wrong.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:54 PM | Comments (4)

A More Conservative Christianity

Mark Hasty is not a instant pundit (as opposed to an instapundit) but his take on Pope Benedict XVI is important:

In fact, I think John Paul II’s papacy gave tremendous credibility to the notion that Christianity itself is growing more conservative as the distance from both Vatican II and the tremendous societal upheaval of the 1960s increases. JPII’s papacy wasn’t the end of an era, but rather the beginning of one–one in which the Roman church would care less and less about the world’s approval. This change made strange bedfellows of the Roman church and conservative American protestants, as the two groups found they had more in common with each other than either group had with the great mushy middle of American Protestantism and the last twitching remnants of European Christianity. Consequently, it’s fair to say that the social-justice-based ecumenical movement, which has been with us for about fifty years, got completely overshadowed by an ad hoc coalition of disparate religious factions. The Catholics and evangelicals have created more true church unity than the World Council of Churches could ever dream of–this despite the fact that the Catholic/evangelical alliance hasn’t produced any formalized agreements like we mainline Protestants are fond of.

Benedict XVI may, by his own admission, be a transitional pope, a placeholder who keeps the throne of the fisherman warm while the next pope passes through the refiner’s fire. But we need only look to his election, and John Paul II’s papacy, as signs that modernism and postmodernism are both dead within the church. Global Christianity is not behind the times, but rather ahead of them. What is needed now in church leadership is theological clarity, but not merely that; as we are increasingly able to accept that the ages have not been wrong about everything, the quality of continuity becomes more useful. It will not do to question authority just for the purpose of questioning authority. Today’s world has demonstrated that the only people who still say “don’t follow leaders” are the ones who want to lead you themselves.

"Receive the Benediction"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 09:35 PM | Comments (0)


Muskego high school principle Dennis Bussen denies solely approving $57,000 in plasma screen TVs and sound system. Bussen said, "I never saw any of the costs. I wasn't handling the financing." He said assistant superintendent Bob Rammer and superindentdent Richard Drury were together in a meeting about the TVs.

All three of us, in looking at the recommendation (from the audio-video company), concurred it was the best recommendation. . . . It would be the most appropriate for the space. The last I knew, the company was going to come back with some costing.

Then magically the tvs were installed. Someone had to sign off. No TV installer would do that much work and not be sure it was approved. Someone signed off on it. Who? Time to dig up the paperwork.

If passing the buck ever becomes an official high school sport watch out, Muskego will be one of the best.

"Principal Says TVs were Joint Decision"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:01 AM | Comments (2)

April 20, 2005

Connection Acting Up Again

My cable modem has been working much better than last week. But all is not well. Around 23 minutes past the hour it stops. After a few minutes (it's varied from two to ten tonight) things are back to normal. That isn't normal, and Charter hasn't made me happy yet.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 08:54 PM | Comments (4)

A Possible DeLay Explanation

K. J. Lopez received an e-mail that might explain what Rep. Tom DeLay was getting at about judges using the internet for research. That can't be what DeLay meant. His Wikipedia bio doesn't mention any law education so I'm guessing he has an educated laymen's knowledge of the law.

UPDATE: Stephen Bainbridge tries to figure out what DeLay meant:

In any event, where Delay really goes off the rails is in criticizing Kennedy for doing research on the Internet. Why not criticize him for using Lexis and Westlaw while he was at it? To be sure, appellate judges generally should not do an independent investigation of the facts of the case. But judges properly take judicial notice of relevant facts they discover through independent inquiry, cases and other legal authorities they find on their own, and so on. Unless DeLay can show that Kennedy is using the Internet to do an improper investigation of the facts of specific cases before him, this comment transcends mere asininity and achieves true imbecility.

He then calls for DeLay to be thrown "to the wolves." I'd consider it, but I want to know who'd replace him. The House GOP doesn't need to get stuck with their own version of Bill Frist.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 07:54 PM | Comments (2)

The Chicago Report is No More

There's a funky weblog called Kapitalisimo in its place.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 06:59 PM | Comments (0)

We Asked For It

When Sen. Trent Lott made his stupid Strom Thurmond remarks that cost him his leadership post I heard nothing about how the lack of experience in his replacement, Sen. Bill Frist, would affect the GOP. I admit I thought it was good for Lott to move aside. However, I wouldn't have backed Frist knowing then how ineffective the Tennessee Senator would be. Frist demonstrates his lack of political savy with his inability to get President Bush's judicial nominations passed and John Bolton through the Foreign Relations Committee. Even more surprising is that the bogged down judicial nominations cost Tom Daschle his Senate seat, and a Republican stopped the Bolton nomination. I'll state it bluntly: the GOP made a mistake in elevating Frist to majority leader. He doesn't have the hardball political skills needed to beat the Democrats. Frist's ineptitude has pushed some to withhold their political contributions to GOP Senators. In order to salvage anything of his legislative agenda the President needs to tell Frist he had his chance. Replacing management is what Bush did when he was running the Texas Rangers, and items like Social Security reform and conservative judicial nominations are way more important.

UPDATE: In the words of one Beltway Buzz reader: "What impotence."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:11 PM | Comments (5)

April 19, 2005

The Stress is Getting to Him

Justice Kennedy made me wince when he used international law as the basis for some of his opinions. However, Majority Leader Tom DeLay looks like a total goofball when he complained Kennedy did research on the internet. Egads! The horror! Using a computer to gather information? Heaven forbid! I have no idea why DeLay finds that so "outrageous." Why would doing research using the computerized Lexis-Nexis would be okay, but using the internet not? Unless DeLay's goofy enough to think Supreme Court justices should have to open law books. Me thinks he's losing it. This feels a lot like the time when former Speaker Newt Gingrich complained about having to fly in the back of Air Force One to Israel in 1995. Newt losing his cool was a sign President Clinton was winning the political battle over the budget. DeLay may soon see defeat.

"DeLay Slams Supreme Court Justice"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:35 PM | Comments (0)

Advertise on TAM

TAM now accepts Blogads. To help me figure out how this works and how to best format ads I'm offering a freebie. E-mail me (sean at this domain name) for the offer code. Then just click on the "Advertise here" link or click here.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:16 PM | Comments (2)


Redstate.org is passionate about promoting conservatism. It's on its way to becoming a political power house. But to be really effective they need our support.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:22 PM | Comments (0)


Why don't liberal American Catholics start their own church?

"Go Your Separate Ways"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

Is "Arch-Conservative" and Improvement?

Now, Reuters calls Pope Benedict an "arch-conservative." In their world view there are only arch-conservatives and reforming moderates. No liberals in modern Catholicism, I guess.

"Arch-Conservative German Ratzinger Elected Pope"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:58 PM | Comments (3)

Reaction to Pope Benedict

Andrew Sullivan isn't happy which probably means Benedict's election is a good thing. He immediately mocks Benedict with the moniker the "Grand Inquisitor."

Professor Bainbridge points out Sullivan is just obsessed with sex.

Michelle Malkin has oodles of links.

Captain Ed: "Benedict XVI's elevation pleases me."

UPDATE: Jonathan Last is collecting Lefty variations on a theme: that Benedict is a radically conservative Pope.

Mark Klimer: "I am not a Catholic, but I feel Christianity strengthened by the refusal of the Catholics to bend and succumb to the whimsy of the secular press."

UPDATE II: Bryan Preston: "One of the things Ratzinger's been called is "God's Rottweiler." Actually that's not too bad. I guess if he had a blog masthead it might actually look a lot like ours at JYB."

Patrick at My View of the World:

Someone please remind the American Media that American Catholics only make up about 7% of the Church and the “problems” they keep focusing on is (married priests, women priests, abortion etc.) are only differences held by a portion of the American Catholics, so it is a tiny percentage of Catholics world wide.

Ace is in total "mock Andrew Sullivan" mode.

Erick Erickson wants to give Pope Benedict a not-so-holy moniker. Much better than Sullivan's "Grand Inquisitor."

UPDATE III: More Patrick from My View of the World:

I think it is terrible that the American media is already criticizing the new Pope in their sly, backhanded way. The only way the American media would have been happy is if they would have selected a religiously weak man. One willing to cave on the things that they, the media, deem important. These “important items” include, but are not limited to birth control / abortion, the role of women in the church, stance on homosexuality & gay marriage, euthanasia, moral relativism etc.

Lakeshore Laments: "It seems to me at least, that the MSM seems to want a Protestant running the Catholic Church."

Patrick Ruffini:

Hours from the white smoke and tolling bells, the debate rages about just what kind of Pope Benedict XVI will be. On one side is mainstream media, with its one-sided, kneejerk portrayal of the "ultraconservative", "doctrinaire" Ratzinger. The tawdry spectacle tonight on CNN and MSNBC reminds me of a political campaign where the task is to define the opponent before he defines himself, and I know a thing or two about what that looks like. We can be sure that had the ideological mirror image of Benedict been elected, gone would be the words "divisive" and "controversial," replaced by fawning labels like "open", "moderate" and "breath of fresh air." We know that the press views itself as an ipso-facto Opposition. If so, is the Holy Father now the enemy?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 03:29 PM | Comments (10)

A Tale of Two News Services

No horse in this race for me so I'll just comment on some media coverage.

Reuters calls the election of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger "controversial" but no mention of his Hitler Youth experience.

The AP doesn't call the newly named Pope Benedict XVI controversial. Instead, he's a "hard-liner" and notes his Hitler Youth membership.

Neither news service ingratiated itself with orthodox Catholics.

"Controversial German Cardinal Elected Pope"

"Germany's Cardinal Ratzinger Elected Pope"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 03:12 PM | Comments (0)

No to "Add-On"

House conservatives oppose a Social Security "add-on." It's personal savings accounts within SS or nothing at all.

"Conservatives Oppose Social Security 'Add-Ons'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 06:13 AM | Comments (10)

April 18, 2005

Close But No Cigar

Phil Mitchell a Colorado University professor is claiming to be pushed out of his job because of his ideology. No need to get into the whole business of why Mitchell is leaving CU. What's done is done. I'm more interested in one of his suggestions to inject conservatism into university culture. Mitchell told a Colorado state legislative committee that affirmative action for conservatives is needed. I'm no fan of affirmative action based on race so I'm not keen on ideological AA. An institution is seriously ill when it resorts to giving advantages in hiring and admissions based on sex, race, or ideology. As a conservative I believe in the primacy of the individual. Individuals should be judged as such regardless of sex, race, or ideology.

A much better idea was Mitchell's suggestion that students receives vouchers to use at any place of higher education. Let market forces decide the best way for colleges to pick their students and instructors.

"Instructor has Parting Words for CU"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 10:58 PM | Comments (0)


Monday Night Football moves to ESPN starting in 2006. Since cable and satellite are virtually ubiquitous I have no complaints. People with only network television will trade Sunday night football on NBC for Monday Night Football on ESPN. If Desparate Housewives survives into 2006 it may not remain the Sunday night ratings anchor for ABC.

It just proves media in general is getting more and more disperse. More outlets means more opportunity for more people to watch what they want. Eventually you'll be able to watch whatever game you want with your plasma screen tv hooked up to the internet. It will be a pay-per-view world.

"Monday Night Football Moving to ESPN" [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:29 PM | Comments (5)

Hunting Down Heritage

On the posible misdeeds by the Heritage Foundation Erick Erickson puts together as plausible a theory as Time or the Washington Post. But guess which one the tv talking heads will use to bash Republicans?

"Let’s Get DeLay, And Heritage, And Feulner, And, And, And . . ."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

Harvest the Cats

Instead of shooting feral cats, an east coast cabbie thinks they should be harvested as a delicacy. That would really help ease Wisconsin's current laughingstock image.

"One Cab Driver's Solution to Wisconsin's Cat Problem"

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam: Vacation Edition.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:31 AM | Comments (0)

April 17, 2005

"Kinda Gay"

Reat Matt's take on a "new" phenomenon "discovered" by the NY Times.

"So Apparently I'm...Kinda Gay?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 07:51 PM | Comments (0)

Drudge vs. Weblogs

Drudge is complaining about weblogs. They're too "loud, ugly and boring." We know The Drudge Report isn't boring, but it certainly can be loud and ugly--find something new than that 1996 flashing alert light.

Matt has an ego. He's a pioneer who thinks other "citizen journalists" are just following in his footsteps. Weblogs are "competition." Someday, there will be a big time weblogger who loses perspective and complains publically about too many lesser weblogs clogging up new media's pipes.

Drudge jumped the shark a long time ago with his book the Drudge Manifesto. It wasn't so much a book as a collection of beat poet journalism for the 21st Century. It was incoherent and unreadable. It sold copies, but there hasn't been a hint of a follow up. Matt just sticks to his web site and radio show. That's what he's good at. Drudge will continue to make waves and be a big fish in a ever-growing online media ocean.

"Drudge Retort"

"Matt Drudge is an Ass"

"'The World is his Laptop' ... and His Laptop is His Muse"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 06:19 PM | Comments (2)

Brewers Swept

Signing Ben Sheets gives the Brewers hope, but they're a long way from being serious contenders as the three-game sweep by the St. Louis Cardinals shows. Brady Clark is swinging the bad, but his fielding cost his team the lead. This series was a replay of the second half of last season. The pitching was fine but little offense.

"St. Louis 3, Milwaukee 2"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

April 16, 2005

There is Hope!

The days of Milwaukee Brewers futility are numbered now that they have their ace pitcher Ben Sheets under contract for four years. Sheets is happy even if he's surprised he's getting so much money for a kid's game.

Can you believe these crazy people? They want me here for another couple of years. Wow!

That self-deprecation and his desire to be a winner in Milwaukee could make him the Brett Favre of the Brewers.

New owner Mark Attanasio has opened the wallet and now has two quality starters in Sheets and Doug Davis. More quality bats are in order. I'm worried about the non-production from Geoff Jenkins. Trading one of the Brewers' hot prospects might not be a bad idea.

"Sheets Signs 4-Year, $38.5 Million Deal"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:59 AM | Comments (0)

Sokal Redux

The infection of post-modern gibberish has spread beyond the humanities and the social sciences. Some MIT students put their research paper-generating computer program to work and got a fake paper accepted to a computer science conference. Alan Sokal pulled a similar stunt. He threw a figurative pie on the face of the "academic" journal Social Text in 1996 with his fake paper "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity." (You're in good shape if you toss "hermeneutics" around liberally.) When Sokal told the world his paper was a hoax he wrote:

What concerns me is the proliferation, not just of nonsense and sloppy thinking per se, but of a particular kind of nonsense and sloppy thinking: one that denies the existence of objective realities, or (when challenged) admits their existence but downplays their practical relevance.

A computer-generated paper like that by Jeremy Stribling et al show that at least one computer science conference either has incredibly lax standards or the subject has gotten so convoluted at the academic level its research is useless.

"MIT Students Pull Prank on Conference" [via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 01:33 AM | Comments (3)

April 15, 2005

Mitch Likes Springsteen

Mitch Berg likes Bruce Springsteen.

But, it took 2,300 words for him to say so.

As I commented there, I'm no fan of Warren Zevon. Maybe I just don't get the joke, or perhaps it's because it's used as the theme for a radio show from 9a-12p on am1500, KSTP in Good Old St. Paul/Big Time Minneapolis, that I am forbidden from mentioning. The mere sounds of Zevon sends my hand to the radio dial and screams to fill the air to prevent my ears from hearing the hosts come on the air.

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in Music at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

Tax Day 2005

If you haven't filed your taxes yet you have less than 12 hours. If you haven't thought about getting them done and expect to just drop into an accountant's office or H&R Block, go get an extension and don't bother them. Leave the accountant's alone.

After getting all your stuff into the mail or filed online check out how much spending increased in your (Wisconsin) school district. Then read Charlie Sykes' latest newspaper column. And if you're still in need of material get a copy of Amity Shlaes' The Greedy Hand. Any other anti-tax books you recommend?

UPDATE: One more read is the Journal Sentinel editorial board actually opposed to a tax increase. Don't raise the gas tax, they say, but raise beer and cigarette taxes. You what they say: even a broken clock is right twice a day.

"Where's Gas Tax Outrage?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 02:08 PM | Comments (0)

Hell Just Froze Over

Mike Krempasky has a post a DailyKos.

Seriously, I'm glad Kos and Krempasky are making this bipartisan just like the bill in Congress. I pretty much ignore Kos' daily screeds but I don't want the FEC shutting him up. We webloggers are just little fish in a huge, ever-growing media ocean. We shouldn't be silenced just like Time, the Washington Post, or Fox News shouldn't be silenced. Call your Congressman and Senator and tell them to support Rep. Jeb Hensarling's Online Freedom of Speech Act and Sen. Harry Reid's S.678.

"Online Freedom of Speech Act introduced in House"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:37 AM | Comments (3)

April 14, 2005

What are the Vikings Thinking?

Sure, the Minnesota Vikings need to upgrade their 28th ranked defense, but they're taking players from a team that didn't get into the playoffs because of their D. First, the Vikings nabbed Darren Sharper (good pick) and now signed Aaron Kampman. It's looking like the NFC North will be the NFL's version of arena football where the scores will be astronomical. Hint to fantasy football GMs: get lots of Vikings and Packers.

"Kampman Takes Vikings' Offer"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:20 PM | Comments (2)

To Wisconsin Webloggers and Weblog Readers

Plans are in the works for an invasion of Miller Park in June. GBfan has sketched out some details.

"The Blogosphere Get Together It Begins :)"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:09 PM | Comments (0)

Strikeouts For Troops

Make no bones about it, I'm a true blue fan of The Minnesota Twins. And, of all the other American League teams, I really only can't stand the AL Team in Chicago, and The Athletics of Oakland.

However, pitcher Barry Zito has me re-thinking my feelings about that team. He has started StrikeoutsForTroops.com , a project benefiting the wounded troops returning home. Zito is donating $100 per strikeout that he throws this year to the organization.

Strikeouts For Troops provides funds for “comforts of home” for U.S Troops and will assist in providing travel and lodging expenses for soldiers’ families, so that they can visit and stay longer with their loved ones while being treated for their injuries. Additionally, Strikeouts For Troops will provide clothing (as many soldiers arrive with only the clothes on their back), meals, and entertainment to our wounded military. The Freedom Alliance, a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, will facilitate the delivery of resources to our wounded soldiers and families.

An admirable cause. Now, get up on the mound and get to work. He had 3 K's in the opener against Baltimore, but was shelled in his last game against Tampa Bay, going 3 1/3 and giving up 8 runs, no strikeouts. Zito takes to the field on Tax Day, going up against Bartolo Colon of The Team With The Longest Name Ever(tm), The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Colon is a starter in my fantasy league, so while I'm looking for some good pitching from him, I also hope Zito can get a few K's that night.

[Sean comments: Shawn, I forgot to inform you that TAM doesn't acknowledge the Angels' name change. Since they haven't moved from Anaheim they should be referred to as the Anaheim Angels or the California Angels. TAM isn't run by suck-ups like ESPN.]

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in Sports at 08:41 AM | Comments (2)

Big Media Attention

This not-so-humble weblog not only drew the attention of Slate but was mentioned on CNN yesterday. By just looking at my Site Meter data I wouldn't noticed much. The two mentions didn't produce an avalanche of traffic. It was just a minor (but welcome) blip. The female "blog reporter" even liked my pun.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:48 AM | Comments (4)

April 13, 2005

It's About Time

A TAM mention in Slate. Welcome, Slate readers.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 08:44 PM | Comments (2)

Another Congressman Hired Family

The attacks on Rep. Tom DeLay for paying family members with campaign contributions will quickly and quietly end with the news that Rep. Bernie Sanders paid two families members for campaign work. You know they aren't the only two.

"More Democratic DeLay Hypocrisy Surfaces"

UPDATE: Yup, I was right. DeLay and Sanders weren't the only ones.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 05:59 PM | Comments (11)

GOP Podcasting

Me like. Just avoid the painful interviewers on "Off the Record."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 05:45 PM | Comments (1)

April 12, 2005

Overreaction to Bad Art

Must have been a quiet day for the Chicago branch of the Secret Service. Two agents decided to question a bunch of artists about a piece showing a gun pointed at President Bush's head.

How does that constitute a threat to the President? What it demonstrates is some Chicago artists are so full of Bush-hate they abandon any attempt at making a serious artistic statement. It's their version of "shock and awe." Well, I'm shocked the Secret Service even bothered with such awful art.

"Art Show Features Plane Hitting Sears Tower and Bush w/Gun to Head"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:45 PM | Comments (3)

Get the Fire Extingisher

Give some love to MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy. Not only is it the host of this week's Bonfire of the Vanities but Beth put up with my incoherent submission.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:59 PM | Comments (0)

Dana Millbank: Anti-Conservative Ass

The Dana Millbank story on a conservative conference beating the (rhetorical) hell out of Justice Anthony Kennedy is the biggest hit piece I've ever read in the MSM. Millbank starts off with this sinister intro:

Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is a fairly accomplished jurist, but he might want to get himself a good lawyer -- and perhaps a few more bodyguards.

Scary huh? That tarring of the conservatives attending the "Confronting the Judicial War on Faith" conference was based on one participant's use of a partial Joseph Stalin quote. About Kennedy Edwin Vieira said, "no man, no problem." The full quote is "Death solves all problems: no man, no problem." Millbank was "nice" enough to write, "Presumably, Vieira had in mind something less extreme than Stalin did and was not actually advocating violence." In the next sentence he continues, "But then, these are scary times for the judiciary." Then he mentions the recent violence toward judges in Chicago and Atlanta.

Millbank doesn't even mention if he tried to get a clarification from Vieira about his use of the Stalin quote. Vieira would have at least had a chance to reaffirm it or renounce violence toward judges. But such a clarification wouldn't fit with Millbank's vision of being on the scene at a conserative confab where attacks on judges are being planned.

There's also the fact the conference was a straw man. Who the heck is Vieria? The biggest name mentioned was Phyllis Schlafly who hasn't been an important political figure in 25 years.

Christian Conservatives are the red-headed stepchild of American politics. Anyone can pound on them with impunity. Andrew Sullivan slimed them by labeling them "theocons" and has called for a purge of them from the Republican Party. Imagine the heat a pundit would receive if they called for gay conservatives to be kicked out of the party. Yet the former is accepted even praised.

There's a whole lotta of talking past each other between the Christian Right and those who are deathly afraid of any mention of religion in politics. Quasi bigotry from Dana Millbank definitely doesn't help.

While no overblown, wacky rhetoric was noticed at the Constitution in 2020 conference, the ideas tossed around amounted to radical alteration of how our government acts towards its citizens. If "progressives" had their way what government did would be stood on its head. Where was Millbank the obvious socialist overtones at that legal conference?

"And the Verdict on Justice Kennedy Is: Guilty"

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 05:01 PM | Comments (8)

April 11, 2005

That Time of the Day

It's late in the evening which means my net connection is working. Too bad for you I'm not in the mood to post. Maybe tomorrow morning before I go to work and definitely after work. A technician will be out Wednesday and make me whole.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 10:23 PM | Comments (2)

Minuteman Update

La Shawn Barber is supportive of the Minuteman Project and notes that it has actually reduced the number of illegals crossing the border into Arizona. She also points out that citizens volunteering to monitor the border has caused government officials to take border security more seriously.

I still think it's weird a bunch of people are out in the desert playing border patrol officer. I'm surprised there has been no confrontations between coyotes (human smugglers) and Minutemen.

"Minuteman Project A Success"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:16 PM | Comments (0)

Hip Today

Other than liking home improvement projects guys like me might be "in" again.

"Manly Man Back In Fashion?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 12:04 PM | Comments (0)

Terrible Two

Not as old as TAM Wizbang has reached its second anniversary. For some reason it feels like Kevin's been weblogging longer than that. Congrats.

"Wizbang Turns Two"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:59 AM | Comments (1)

iTunes' Most Famous Customer

President George Bush.

Surprise surprise. No Dixie Chicks.

"Tunes for the Freewheelin' George Bush" [via Althouse]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Music at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)

Waukesha Rove Report

Daniel at GOP3.com thinks I got ahead of myself in thinking Karl Rove (and thus President Bush) is backing Scott Walker for governor. Daniel was at the Waukesha Lincoln Day Dinner and provides a report. Anyone have a report from the Lake Geneva dinner?

"An Evening with Karl Rove Means Lots of ‘06 Politicking"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)

April 10, 2005

RINO Want's DeLay Tossed

Rep. Chris Shays gets lots of attention for bucking conservative ideas of his fellow Republicans. He's getting plenty of press now for calling for Rep. Tom DeLay's removal as Majority Leader. Whether DeLay should stay or go is one question but few Republicans will care what Shays says. But Shays will be praised by Lefties as "reasonable, responsible" Republican.

"Shays: DeLay Should Quit As House Leader"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:31 PM | Comments (2)

Roving around the Badger State

Karl "The Architect" Rove was in the Badger State speaking before Republican Party faithful. In Waukesha, Rove talked about the importance of the tough but failed fight for Wisconsin's electoral votes. Even though the state went for John Kerry Rove told supporters the battle for votes was vital for President Bush's re-election victory.

You seem to think you came up short, and you did in the Electoral College. But without your effort here, we wouldn't have won. You don't fight someone just in one place, you fight them all along the line and make them spread their resources. You scared the heck out of [Kerry].

From the political baseball file we learned who Rove would like to win the GOP governor primary. "W stands for Walker." That being Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker who is facing Rep. Mark Green.

In Lake Geneva, Rove talked about Social Security reform and we have one picture of the Dark Prince.

"Rove Says Wisconsin Was Key to Bush Win Despite Voting for Kerry"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 08:27 PM | Comments (1)

Place Your Bets

What are the odds Charter will fail to provide me with a net connection today? It was out yesterday, but works now.

UPDATE: If you bet on zero access then you were right. The Charter customer service person is sending a technician out hopefully tomorrow. I've figured out the problem is local to just me. Other Charter net users in my area have no problems. We'll see what a human on site can do to fix things. Charter is also willing to prorate the one week of lost net service.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 03:16 AM | Comments (1)

April 09, 2005

Should I Rent?

I'm about 75% of the way to convincing myself to go to BlogNashville. The accomodation part seems in order (thanks, Bob Cox). Unfortunately, I think I missed the boat last week on some good airline deals, but no mere mortal can really understand airline ticket pricing. My question is should I rent a car? Transportation to the conference will be provided (again thanks, Bob), and I think the hotel's within walking distance of some Nashville sites--assuming I have any time. What do you think?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in blognashville at 04:03 AM | Comments (3)

Congrats, Dean

Dean's World is three years young. If you haven't read him lately go there now. Dean has been a great supporter of TAM. His links and advice have been very helpful. Bravo! I wish him many more years of weblogging pleasure.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:22 AM | Comments (0)

Rove Sighting

Karl Rove will speak in Lake Geneva today, and tee bee has a connection with pics to follow.

"Break Out the Tin Foil"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:27 AM | Comments (0)

April 08, 2005

Technical Difficulties Continue

My net connection woes continue. All the blinking lights on my cable modem are doing what they're suppose to do, but my bandwidth is a slight trickle. Sometimes there's a quick burst and a page displays quickly, but most of the time I click on a link and wait, and wait, and wait, and wait. I'm no closer to a solution than I was at the beginning of the week. Is it a network problem or do I need a new cable modem (do those things wear out)? Maybe their financial woes have forced them to become lax on their network maintence. Charter is really letting me down after a few years of good service. I can turn off my modem again and again only to have my net connection interrupted. If a weblogger with bigger clout could put in a word for me about my plight on their weblog I'd be grateful. It's obvious TAM has none with Charter.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 12:52 PM | Comments (4)

Jeopardy! Champ Coming to Cheeseland

Sean and other Wisconsinite Jeopardy! Freaks: Your hero (and mine), Ken Jennings, is coming to Wausau!

A millionaire game show whiz joins thousands of competitors this weekend at the 36th annual self-proclaimed world's largest trivia contest.

Ken Jennings, who won nearly $2.5 million during a 74-game winning streak playing "Jeopardy," will visit the contest in Stevens Point to witness the competition in his research for a new book about trivia.

This is probably too short of notice for some. It's a good thing the article didn't say Brett Favre would be in Stevens Point too, because then all of Wisconsin would end up in Stevens Point. But "Brett Favre" and "trivia contest" just don't go well together.

[Sean comments: It's 12:16 am on 04.09. I wanted to hear how hard the questions are but WWSP has too many people listening on the net. This is a big deal. Maybe next year I should organize a group of friends and webloggers. I'd love to see how the power of the blogosphere would fare.]

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in Wisconsin at 07:52 AM | Comments (2)

Jeter Goes to UWM

The Panthers got themselves a new coach. Rob Jeter was an assistant to Bo Ryan at Madison. The most important part of college basketball is recuiting, and Jeter was Ryan's recruiter. That's a good sign on continued UWM success no matter what style of play occurs on the court.

"UWM, Jeter Seal Deal"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:49 AM | Comments (0)

April 07, 2005

Take a Nap

You better do it now if you want to watch Pope John Paul II's funeral live and still function the rest of the day.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 11:17 PM | Comments (0)


The next hot video coming to your computer screen soon will be Jenna Bush getting down at a NYC bar. Too bad we'll miss "Jenna on all fours doing 'the butt dance' — and doing it very well — as guys were ogling her thong." The soon-to-be school teacher will have all sorts of "interesting" stories to tell her students.

"Jenna in Dirty Disco Dance" [via Wizbang]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 10:00 PM | Comments (0)

Regulating Gift Cards

Charlie Sykes just talked about retail gift cards and how some businesses impose fees if the card isn't used in a certain length of time. A state legislator wants to pass a law regulating them (sorry can't find a link). Legislative action on gift cards is equivalent to a tax. Say it costs a business $0.10/year for every $100 is outstanding gift cards. A law requiring cards to never lose value would mean a perpetual cost imposed by the state. No matter if the owner of the cards knows she has them or not as the clock ticks the costs continue to be placed on the business. When the state does that to local governments it's called an unfunded mandate and many are outraged. When it's done to businesses it's called "consumer protection."

Good business sense tells you there shouldn't be any expiration date, and it appears the market is working things out. But what about the many people who lose their cards? Should businesses be required to give replacements? From work experience that seems like a bigger "rip-off" to the consumer. We complain about the government sticking its nose into so many things. They don't need to get involved in gift cards.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 10:07 AM | Comments (4)

Tobacco Politics

It's bad when politicians want to raise taxes. It's worse when Wisconsin politicians want to raise taxes in an already highly-taxed state. But what is even worse is when Republican politicians are the ones advocating a tax hike. Rep. Curt Gielow is doing his best to earn a RINO label by co-sponsoring a $1 increase in the cigarette tax to fund Medicaid and government anti-smoking efforts. Geilow calls it a "co-pay on those who smoke cigarettes."

Gov. Doyle never advocated raising the cigarette tax in his budget and has promised to veto any tax increases. So Madison has become like Alice's Wonderland where a Republican wants to raise a tax while a Democrat opposes it.

Charlie Sykes spelled out the lesson elected officials should take from Tuesday's elections. The public is tired of tax increases. A dollar taxed by government is one dollar less in the private, productive economy. In Wisconsin the fiscal problem has never been the lack of revenue, it's been the inability for those elected to control spending. More money into the state's coffers will be a temporary fix. If the cigarette tax was increased in a few years the politicians would come back saying they had to raise it again. If the spigot is finally turned off they'll have to so something shocking: evaluate programs and make priorities. That might include *gasp* cutting something. The only way we'll get to that point is if we stop feeding the beast.

"Cigarette Tax Boost Sought"


On Tuesday, Appleton voters stomped on private property rights and passed the state's most restrictive smoking ban. Barring court challenges on 07.01 smoking will be banned in all indoor public places. That includes bars and resturants. Anyone want to go to up there with me to smoke a few cigars in protest?

"Smoking Ban Passes"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:54 AM | Comments (3)

Tower Investigation Plods Along

Last October, two electrical towers fell in south Milwaukee. Months later, the FBI is no where near figuring out who did it. A pair of gloves found near the fallen towers pointed investigators to Bob Gallob. But after lie detector tests, DNA tests, search warrants, and hours of questioning no charges have been filed.

As I wrote last fall, this would be a strange terrorist attack:

If this was a terrorist attack no one has claimed responsiblity, but it could put fear into America's heartland. No longer would cities on the East Coast be the only successful targets.

There hasn't been a rash of power towers falling. But Gallob can't explain how his gloves got near the fallen towers. There's no indication Gallob would have any motive. Someone who's a more likely suspect is Gallob's son Joseph. He told the FBI he found tools hidden in his mother's house that could be used on the big bolts on power towers. His past history of mental illness makes it possible he could have sabotaged the towers while not in full possession of his faculties. To the FBI Joseph isn't a suspect. They have pretty much crossed him off the list. So they pretty much have nothing. No suspect. No leads. No answers.

"Gloves Create a Towering Headache for City Worker"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:31 AM | Comments (0)

April 06, 2005

Election Day Recap

There was an election yesterday. You probably noticed no pithy, extremely insightful analysis on TAM. All due to technical issues. It's a day later, I have a stable net connection (for now), and I still won't comment too much on the elections. Why spent my time doing what Patrick did?

Let me offer this idea: In the next state superintendent race get Howard Fuller to run on the GOP ticket. If school choice hasn't seriously expanded by 2009 make that the focus of the campaign. If Fuller wanted to run he would be formidible and scare the hell out of the teachers union.

"A Great Night for Politically Active Folks of S/E Wisconsin"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

Dowdification and Our Discontent

Weblogs rise and fall because of their reputation. If a writer publishes material readers think is credible, entertaining, and/or informative they'll come back and even tell others about it. If the writer fails to be an effective writer readership will go down.

Josh Marshall has consistently put out accusations with a veneer of truth but full of high pitched bravado. He's still hoping the Valerie Plame story will stain President Bush. Now, Bryan Preston has caught him "Dowdified" a quote by Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). He's calling for an ostricization of Marshall. Good call. Ineffective writers should be punished. I'd like to say TAM not linking to Marshall will have any effect, but I don't have him on my blogroll, and I rarely read him.

"My Own Private Fatwa Against Dowdification"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 10:30 PM | Comments (1)

Damn History

With the Brewers recent move to the National League I'm a new convert to the "Designated Hitter is Evil" cult. Michele points out that it's 32 years old. Conventional Wisdom has it that it will never leave the game because it allows old players to keep collecting a paycheck in the American League. But that doesn't explain Julio Franco. He's old, still productive, and plays in the National League.

"And Baseball was Never the Same Again"

P.S. Another day, another net outage. At least it was fixed sooner than the past few days.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 08:51 PM | Comments (1)

Nerds, Dweebs, Geeks

Via Drudge this morning is this story of Star Wars fanatics lining up for the arrival of "Star Wars - Episode III - Revenge Of The Sith".

Only the fans are lining up outside of the wrong theater.

Saturday, 46 days before "Star Wars: Episode III -- Revenge of the Sith" opens on May 19, the trilogy's enthusiasts began their vigil outside Grauman's Chinese Theater.

Problem is 20th Century Fox doesn't plan to open the film at the Chinese, opting instead for the ArcLight a few blocks east.

The last two films did open there, despite rumors to the contrary. But, according to the article, this time the rumors that the film is opening down the street have a bit more truth to them.

I hope that Triumph will make a return to the line of geeks this year. His trip to the line of folks waiting for "Star Wars - Episode II - Attack of The Clones" was one of the most hilarious things I have ever seen. Ever.

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in Culture at 07:48 AM | Comments (6)

April 05, 2005

Still Disconnected

For the second day in a row Charter let me down. This morning, my net connection was fine. This afternoon after work it was down. I unplugged everything to my cable modem to reset it just like the techie told me to. No luck. Now it's working. I'm guessing Charter is having some cable network problems in my area.

UPDATE: I just performed a bandwidth test. It's pathetic. So no more posting for me tonight, even though it's Election Night in Wisconsin. Shawn, you'll have to pick up the slack.

UPDATE II: I performed another bandwidth test. At least my cable modem is faster than dial-up. I'm calling it a night.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 09:37 PM | Comments (4)

Today is Election Day

Don't forget to vote for Gregg Underheim for state school superintendent. Also vote no on making some county offices four-year terms and vote yes on the advisory referendum asking if state government should pay for circuit courts and human services mandated by the state. Finally, if you have to decide on raising taxes for your local school vote no. Your pocketbook will thank you.

"Schools Job Tops Ballot Tuesday"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 06:12 AM | Comments (0)

April 04, 2005

18 Illegals Found by Minutemen

The citizen border monitors spotted 18 illegals trying to cross the border. Bryan Preston's right, the Arizona Republic buried the lede to make the Minuteman Project look more sinister than it is.

"Minutemen Success: Burying the Lede"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 11:53 PM | Comments (0)

Current Backers

AlGore told an audience that Current (AKA Gore TV--thanks Reuters) wasn't going to be "a Democratic channel, a liberal channel, or a TV version of Air America." Well, let's see who's behind the network:

The network said its financial backers included Rob Glaser, chief executive of RealNetworks Inc., Bob Pittman who helped create the popular MTV networks and Joel Hyatt, who is chief executive of the network and built a network of legal services clinics.

Glaser is a Democrat. Joel Hyatt was a Democratic Senate candidate in 1994. I haven't found anything about Pittman's politics, but the man did found MTV a network that never even hinted at being conservative.

How many Reagan tributes do you think Gore TV will ever air?

"Gore TV Network to Launch in August, Google Tie-In"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:46 PM | Comments (0)

A Call in the Night

State Sen. Mary Lazich had a evening conversation with Owen of Boots & Sabers. You know you're making an impact with your weblog when politicians are calling you.

I guess TAM isn't making quite the impact. No wonder TAM isn't on the Fond du Lac County GOP list of "good Republican links." :-(

"'Hello, is this Owen from Boots and Sabers?'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:30 PM | Comments (0)

Tar Heels' Title

Congrats to North Carolina. When they got it into Sean May he was unstoppable. Illinois made their run by finally hitting three-pointers in the second half, but at the end they didn't make wide open shots.

UPDATE: All the talking heads on ESPN are saying how NC won because of Sean May. Granted, he had a tremendous game. But if Illinois wouldn't have given up the two easy buckets off NC in bounds plays or Luther Head made just one of his three pointers in the last few possessions we might have had overtime. This game was extremely close. Closer than the five point margin.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:44 PM | Comments (1)

National Championship Halftime Report

Both North Carolina and Illinois are very athletic teams. They can both run up and down the court. NC's strength has been it's ability to score inside with Sean May. They've also done very well scoring on the fast break after Illinois misses.

The Illini seem to think they're only allowed to take three-point shots. There was a fast break opportunity late in the first half. On the three-on-one break Illinois opted for the three-pointer. They missed. Illinois is doing a good job moving the ball around. They just have to realize a made two is better than a missed three.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:31 PM | Comments (0)

Vatican Cozying Up to ChiComs

The Vatican is considering severing ties with Taiwan and establishing them with Communist China. There has to be more behind this. Why the Vatican can't have relations with both Chinas is beyond me. Some in the Catholic church must be weighing the number of Catholics in Taiwan who are free versus the larger oppressed number in Communist China. The timing is remarkable. Only a few days after the anti-totalitarian Pope John Paul II dies this news comes out.

"Report: Vatican Ready to Cut Ties with Taiwan"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 09:25 PM | Comments (0)

Current: Already Behind the Times

AlGore's network Current is for the ADD generation. Why else would they brag that they will broadcast programs in three-minute slots:

We're rethinking the way TV is produced, programmed, and presented, so it actually makes sense to an audience that's accustomed to choice, control, and collaboration in everything else they do.

So, we're creating a network in short form. Whenever you tune in to Current, you'll see something amusing, inspiring or interesting. And then, three minutes later, you'll see something new. It'll be a video iPod stocked with a stream of short segments and set to shuffle.

Steve Jobs must be an investor in Current with two mentions of fine Apple marketing in the final sentence.

A grassroots-oriented television network seems intriguing. But why bother with the network middleman? The beauty of the net is the ability for a nobody to create some content and have it easily distributed. A network is nice to market the content but given that Current's audience is the same group that has internalized things like weblogs, IM, cell phones, and iPods the network will always be behind the curve. Current will never be as fast as weblogs, text messages, and e-mail. Broadcasting an hourly Google Current, "an up-to-the-second zeitgeist, a glimpse into what people around the world are searching for and talking about right now" will only show the past. Strange for an operation named "Current." It's a network that seeks to follow not lead. This is an attempt to make an MTV for news, but that network tries hard to get ahead of the curve and find artists or pop culture trends that will be big in the future. Instantly Current is muddled in the recent past.

And what's with this messianic pic of AlGore?

[via Lakeshore Laments]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 08:07 PM | Comments (0)

Muddled Thinking on a Draft

Brian Noggle notes the muddled thinking of a San Francisco Chronicle reporter.

So although many people have called for more military personnel, a far smaller number of people have called for a draft. Several quotable notables in the article say it will be tough to maintain or to elevate force levels. However, only one person in the article seems adamant that the draft is a real danger.

Edward Epstein, Chronicle Washington Bureau.

"Cross Checking the Cross Section"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 07:34 PM | Comments (1)

2005 Pulitzer Prize Winners

The 2005 Pulitzer Prize winners have been announced. The commentary award went to Connie Schultz, someone I've never heard of or read, for "her pungent columns that provided a voice for the underdog and underprivileged." Sounds like Connie is a big government liberal. Michelle Malkin's right, Claudia Rosett should have one. But heaven forbid honoring someone for showing how corrupt and incompetent the U.N. is.

In the history book catagory David Hackett Fischer won for his Washington's Crossing. It's a book I've heard nothing but good things about. In the biography catagory Mark Stevens and Annalyn Swan won for their book on de Kooning. It's a book I've never heard of. Not a surprise since I'm not much into art. In the non-fiction book catagory Steve Coll's Ghost Wars won. I acknowlege this book about the CIA's secret war in Afghanistan but can't comment further.

"Eyes on the Prizes"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 05:19 PM | Comments (0)

The "Poverty=Terrorism" Myth

Dean links to a few posts knocking down the myth that poverty causes terrorism. The background of most of the Sep. 11 terrorists is enough evidence for me. Dean gave me a chuckle when he wrote:

In fact, if you look at terrorists, they usually have one thing in common. Whether it's an anarchist like Ted "Unabomber" Kaczynski, a communist like Che Guevara, or a religio-fascist like Osama bin Laden, all seem to share a common background:

They grew up as spoiled brats in very comfortable, pampered, well-off households.

Other than that, only hate is their unifying trait.

"The Poverty/Terrorism "Root Cause" Myth"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 05:04 PM | Comments (1)

"I've Been Disconnected. Somebody Pulled the Plug"

The lack of posting is because of a lack of net access. Two out of the past three days my net connection has been down. Charter has had a good track record for me during the two+ years I've used their high-speed net service so I'm not going to be too hard on them. Complaining too much would also be kind of pointless since I can't get DSL service in my area. What's keeping you, Verizon? I'm not at the nearest Starbucks checking my e-mail and the latest news.

I just overheard a Starbucks employee say their computer wasn't connected to their company network. My net problem might be bigger geographically. Odd that they can't jump on the T-Mobile network they use to offer wireless access.

Also distracting me was the Brewers opening day game. What surprised me more than the Brew Crew beating the Pirates was Jeff Cirillo had a great game. He hit a home run and a double and had a leaping catch that almost certainly earned him a "web gem." From seeing him in Spring Training I didn't think he'd make the team. He hardly played during the week I watched him. Now, his play may make Wes Helms the odd man out at third base. In a rare moment for pitcher Ben Sheets, his teammates gave him some run support.

"Milwaukee 9, Pittsburgh 2"

UPDATE: Charter got its act in gear. My net connection is working now.

On another note, the title of this post is from some song lyrics. Brownie points will be given to the first person who tells me what song and what artist. No googling please.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 04:59 PM | Comments (0)

Lose the Cell Phone

Today's Duluth News Tribune has an article on folks who have lost their cell phones to the loo.

Lexi Phillips answered the call of nature and soon heard an alarming splash: Her cell phone toppled into the toilet.

It wasn't the first time the 19-year-old had lost her Motorola to the Kohler.

Me, I've never brought my cell phone into the bathroom. Why?

What gets me, is the people who take care of business while they're taking care of business. Countless times, especially when I am at the local office, people have come in to the restroom as I'm in there, talking away on their cell and while they are at the stand-up they are still carrying on in coversation. The stand-ups auto flush, so the caller has to hear it, along with hearing the sink running and paper towels ripped off the dispenser afterwards. Can't you, at least for the sake of the caller on the other end, excuse yourself from the phone call for a couple minutes?

[Sean replies: Too many people have become addicted to their cell phones. People aren't considerate enough to end a call or ignore the ring while being served at stores. (Can't miss the call? I thought that's what voice mail was for.) If they had their way they'd implant them into their bodies. That way they'd never lose the darn thing, and they'd always be connected. When Matrix-like shunts (but wireless) become technically possible people will actually pay a premium to have them installed/implanted. That brave new world will be voluntary and a total nightmare to those of us who don't feel the need to talk to someone every waking moment.]

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in Culture at 08:03 AM | Comments (5)

Loser Comes to Wisconsin

John Edwards, hair and all, was in Wisconsin speaking before Democrats. He said lots of standard Edward boilerplate that "it says a lot about the character of a country as to how they treat those who are struggling." He also said Democrats "need to stand up for what we believe in." Sounds a bit like Howard Dean, M.D.

"Edwards Back in Wisconsin"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:10 AM | Comments (1)

April 03, 2005

Minutemen Got One

Three days into the Minuteman Project and the amateur border monitors got their first catch.

A civilian militia in Arizona seeking to stop illegal aliens coming in from Mexico claimed its first immigrant when a hapless Guatemalan wandered into the group's base camp seeking help.
A spokesman for the controversial Minuteman Project, which has rallied hundreds of volunteers to join a month-long vigil on the border, said on Sunday a Guatemalan migrant unwittingly walked into the camp.

The volunteers then handed him to the Border Patrol.

It's been almost three days and the only illegal they've caught is someone who came to them. This seems really effective.

I think it's weird people have volunteered to spend a month along the U.S.-Mexico border looking for illegal immigrants. (This has a bad made-for-tv movie plot written all over it.) But Reuters declares these people a "civilian militia." This is the "news" agency's attempt to smear these people by associating them with the wacko extremists of recent militia movements like Montana's Freemen.

"Migrant Stumbles Into U.S. Militia 'Hornet's Nest'"

"Minuteman Project: So Far, So Good"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 07:00 PM | Comments (9)

Stupid Pope Poll

It's all well and good Americans love and respect Pope John Paul II. But for 67% of poll respondents to claim he's "One of the Greatest" Popes ever is ridiculous. John Paul may be I don't know, and neither do a vast majority of Americans and even American Catholics. I want this poll question asked, "Name a Pope other than John Paul II." Few would be able to. The Catholic Church is over 1500 years old. With America's lack of knowledge of her own history we can't take seriously historical analysis of a subject most Americans have never encountered. I don't blame the respondents as much as USA Today, CNN, and Gallup for asking such a stupid question.

"Survey Reveals Affection, Respect for John Paul"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 06:46 PM | Comments (2)

Superman, Where Are You?

Now that spring has arrived, can we in the St Cloud, Minnesota Metro area count on seeing Superman outside of Dairy Queen?

[Link courtesy of the Wayback Machine

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in Minnesota at 04:19 PM | Comments (0)

Why Lott Was Given the Boot

Conventional wisdom has it that the White House wanted then-majority leader Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) replaced to end the embarassment stupid Strom Thurmond remarks caused. According to Major Garrett in his new book The Enduring Revolution the real reason was the White House wanted Sen. Bill Frist (R-TN) to lead the way in the Senate to get President Bush's Medicare drug benefit passed. Garrett writes,

The White House did not abandon Lott immediately after the ensuing uproar began. It gave Lott several days to remedy the situation, in fact. But Lott handled the matter clumsily and only made matters worse. Finally, the White House sent word that Lott could be replaced--but only if the replacement was Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee. This instruction reflected the president's commitment to winning the fight over the Medicare drug benefit. Frist was the only physician in the Senate, a world-famous lung and heart transplant surgeon who spoke with an unrivaled credibility on all matters of health care policy and politics. What's more, Bush knew that Lott was not well versed on the Medicare issue, and he doubted whether he could rely on Lott to support an imperfect compromise. So with the White House's support, Frist--who had been elected in the 1994 revolution and had held no Senate leadership roles before--leapfrogged over all his colleagues to supplant Lott and take control of the GOP agenda. Not surprisingly, when he became Senate majority leader he said his top priority in 2003 was the passage of a Medicare drug benefit." (pg. 265)

Wow! I wonder if people like Glenn Reynolds, Josh Chafetz, Daniel Drezner, and myself would have supported Frist as Lott's replacement if we knew that installing Frist would lead directly to the creation of the largest government entitlement since the Great Society?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:53 AM | Comments (0)

Alabama Weblogging Panel

Two of TAM's favorites, James Joyner and Steven Taylor tried to enlighten the unwashed weblogging masses.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:31 AM | Comments (0)

Sullivan's Lack of Reaction

I wanted to know how the most famous Catholic in the blogosphere thought about the loss of the Pontiff. I don't really know what Andrew Sullivan thinks because it's "all theoconservative all the time." Two mentions of of theocons and I'm tired. Someone let me know when he gets off this kick so I can consider reading him again. What a waste.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:24 AM | Comments (3)


John Hawkins is also worried about the noted attacks on conservative speakers.

I don't want any speakers attacked. Not Buchanan, not Coulter, not Chomsky, not even Michael Moore (though he'd probably start eating the pie tossed at him). Barbarians toss food at speakers who they don't agree with. We are not barbarians, we are Americans.

"You're Running Towards Stage With A Pie In Your Hand? Then You Should Be Treated Like A Threat"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:15 AM | Comments (0)

Amanpour's Focus

This is the late Pope John Paul's moment. It shouldn't be a time of saddness but of rememberence of all the good he brought to the world.

I want to reinforce Hugh Hewitt's observation about Christiane Amanpour's twisted set of priorities. On Friday night, she was on Charlie Rose. I swear in the ten minutes she was interviewed she mentioned John Paul's "conservative theology" at least five times. She mentioned that much more than his work to defeat Communism or to spread the Gospel across the globe. She talked about the liberal direction the Catholic Church was moving until John Paul became Pope and how it will have trouble becoming more liberal because of the Pope's appointment of so many conservative cardinals. She wasn't seething, but you thought someone hijacked her church (I don't know if she's Catholic) for 26 years.

[via Professor Bainbridge]

UPDATE: Christopher Hitchens reminds us that there is a black spot on John Paul's history. [via OTB]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 11:08 AM | Comments (1)


My net connection was mysteriously out yesterday afternoon. Thus no posts. Good thing Shawn stepped up to the plate.

Stephen Bainbridge comments on an idea of making the NBA a four-on-four game. It certainly would allow for more spacing which opens up more options for skilled offensive players. Since I really like the wide-open aspect of four-on-four hockey, four-on-four basketball sounds intriguing.

"Packer on the Pros"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:58 AM | Comments (1)

April 02, 2005

All For One, One For All

The Brun Triplets of Minnesota are being awarded their Eagle Scout rank today.


Posted by Shawn Sarazin in Minnesota at 07:06 AM | Comments (1)

Audrey Seiler, Where Are You?

A year ago, the nation's eyes were riveted on the University of Wisconsin, and the disappearance of Audrey Seiler.

The Saint Paul Pioneer Press updates us today updates us today on what Audrey is up to, and recaps the story.

Posted by Shawn Sarazin in at 06:40 AM | Comments (0)

April 01, 2005

The Pope's Final Hours

The Pope is near death, and I don't have anything to say. What's strange to me is I know more about the leader of the Catholic Church, but I can't name the man at the top of my church, The Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Part of that is due to Pope John Paul II's name constantly in the news. Another is the different structures of the churches. The LC-MS isn't as hierarchical as the Catholic Church. Our churches have much more autonomy financially and operationally. We Lutherans don't depend as much for instruction from "on high."

Pray that Pope John Paul II dies peacefully, and that the world is blessed with another who can be as great.

"The Legacy of Pope John Paul II"

"Requiescat in Pace"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 01:38 PM | Comments (1)

Berger's Slap on the Wrist

Forget what I wrote that Sandy Berger "will be punished about as harshly as Martha Stewart." Martha got a life sentence compared to Berger's "punishment."

Under terms negotiated by Berger's attorneys and the Justice Department, he has agreed to pay a $10,000 fine and accept a three-year suspension of his national security clearance.

Berger will admit he not only took classified documents out of the National Archive but destroyed some in his office. And in three years he'll get back his national security clearance. How convenient since 2009 is the earliest a Democratic administration could be running the White House.

Till the end of time there will be questions of what Berger and the Clinton administration really knew about al Qaeda's threat to the U.S. Berger's destruction of documents guarantees those questions will never be fully answered.

"Berger Will Plead Guilty To Taking Classified Paper" [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:56 PM | Comments (2)

Another Attack on Conservative Speaker

Pat Buchanan was attacked with a bottle of salad dressing during a speech a Western Michigan University. When taken with the pie attack on Bill Kristol in Indiana and the pie attack on Ann Coulter at the University of Arizona we see a disturbing pattern developing. Lefty radicals are so afraid of some speech they feel they must attack the speaker. In the Buchanan incident the mohawk-coifed attacker was only charged with a misdemeanor. That salad dressing could have easily been acid, and Buchanan could have been disfigured for life. Is a conservative speaker going to have to get killed or severely injured before police decide to throw the book at an attacker? Buchanan is wrong to not press charges. Such attacks are beyond rude, they're dangerous.

"Pat Buchanan Doused With Salad Dressing" [via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:34 PM | Comments (9)

Intelligence Agencies Thrown a "Curveball"

The commission investigating Iraqi War intelligence failures lays the blame on agents and analysts for relying on information from the Iraqi informant named "Curveball." His claims of mobile biological weapons labs made it all the way to Colin Powell's pre-war presentation before the United Nations Security Council. Last year, the CIA declared Curveball's claims to be "fabricated."

"Source 'Curveball' Blamed in U.S. Intel Failure"

UPDATE: Power Line points out that the Iraqi National Congress (and by extention certain neocons) have been exonerated.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)