May 31, 2005
The FEC regulating webloggers seems to be in order.
Draft rules from the Federal Election Commission, which enforces campaign finance laws, would require that paid political advertisements on the Internet declare who funded the ad, as television spots do.
So if TAM is fortuate enough in the future to get political ads I'll be drowned in FEC compliance. Thanks guys. Way to uphold the free speech rights of passionate, concerned citizens.
Here's how I'd get around these rules:
My plan doesn't stop legal costs from incurring. I'm not a lucky weblogging power broker like Kos who can get lawyer to file a comment for him. But it would be a big middle finger to the FEC, Sens. McCain and Feingold, and President Bush who signed the damn campaign finance bill.
Betrayed for Bucks
Gitmo detainees say Pakistanis sold them to U.S. forces. Ok. And the problem is...? This isn't so much that the Pakistanis were taking advantage of a smart U.S. government plan to offer rewards for al-Qaida and Taliban forces as the judgement of the U.S. officers on the ground as to whether the captives were worth the reward.
It's interesting how ABC News wrote the head line. They make it seem like Muslims were sold to the Americans (i.e. Christians).
"Gitmo Detainees Say Muslims Were Sold"
And Deep Throat is...
Mark Felt, one time #2 in the FBI. Reporting icons Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein confirmed it today after Felt's family told Vanity Fair for their July issue.
Pat Buchanan, Bill Safire, and Alexander Haig are all off the hook. But in a city like Washinton, D.C. where secrets are valuable currency Ben Bradlee put it well, "The thing that stuns me is that the goddamn secret has lasted this long."
"Washington Post Confirms Felt Is 'Deep Throat'"
Sen. John McCain may be the de facto leader of the Senate but there will have to be some big, unexpected political shifts for him to win the GOP nomination in 2008--still way too soon to talk about.
His minuses for winning the Presidency include:
On the plus side:
The way candidates are lining up the Senate curse may mean little. I can't think of a non-Senator from either party who is preparing to run and has a legitimate shot. But we aren't even up to the 2006 Congressional races. So lots can and will happen. One thing is for sure. Sen. McCain will not be getting TAM's endorsement--for whatever that's worth.
"The Worst That Could Happen"
UPDATE II: Mickey Kaus (why can't the man use some real weblog software?) thinks McCain should run as an independent. He thinks he'd immediately have a based of frustrated Perot voters (whose wack jobs who ran the Reform Party?). But McCain isn't wealthy. Who would fund his campaign? Maybe he'd hire the Howard Dean, M.D. net fundraising team. Just don't hire the loons that blew through his $40 million.
May 30, 2005
I Hate Che
And unless you're an Audioslave/Rage Against the Machine fan with a poster of the ruthless Communist hanging in your dorm room you should too.
Now this is a Mash Up
Chavez and Vague War Rhetoric
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez was missing for day or so prompting rumors that he was either dead or on the wrong end of a coup. He did appear on television, but Mora at Babalu Blog thinks "this dictator's tottering."
In other Chavez news he ridiculed President Bush by calling him "Mr. Danger" for not arresting and extraditing Luis Posada Carriles. Chavez accused President Bush of "sheltering a terrorist." As I've written before such vague talk about the "global war on terror" lets anti-war opponents and left-wing dictators score political points. Bush continued his rhetorical ambiguity today when he told an audience at Arlington National Cemetery:
As we look across these acres, we begin to tally the cost of our freedom, and we count it a privilege to be citizens of the country served by so many brave men and women. And we must honor them by completing the mission for which they gave their lives, by defeating the terrorists, advancing the cause of liberty, and building a safer world.
Ed Moltzen shows us how a good book can put our present world into perspective.
"When Another George Fought For Freedom"
France's "Non" Vote
If you've been really living it up this Memorial Day weekend you may not know France rejected the EU constitution (448 articles!). Further European integration grinds to a halt, and who knows how long the political economics behind the euro can last. Those who fear the rise of a global superstate shouldn't worry. With examples like the splintering of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia this historic trend is not to unify in a formally politically way. The glaring counter-example is the U.S. It's amazing how 13 different former colonies with different cultures, economies, and interests could end up agreeing to unite. The U.S. is the exception to the rule.
"French Voters Soundly Reject European Union Constitution"
"Viva la France!!!"
"Will 'Non' Mean 'Oui'?"
Lutheran in Name Only
Last year, Rev. Thorkild Grosboell was removed as Danish Lutheran pastor for declaring "there is no heavenly God." He has now revewed his vows and is back in his church.
I'm confused. The AP writes,
On May 20, Grosboell renewed his clerical vows before Lindhardt, but said his views about God remain unchanged.
But the Washington Times writes,
Pastor Thorkild Grosboell repeated his oath and said he did actually believe in God and even signed two documents to that effect, Bishop Jan Lindhardt said.
Then we have the Chicago Tribune reporting,
Rev. Thorkild Grosboell promised he would be faithful to the "apostolic belief" but did not retract comments he made in a 2003 interview in which he said "there is no heavenly God."
It sounds like Rev. Grosboell will just go through the motions to support his flocks' "apostolic belief." What kind of a leader will he be since he doesn't believe what he's preaching? In a post-modern way this makes total sense. Belief is removed from the its occupation. Being a minister is no longer a vocation. It's just a job like any other. By this thinking a Catholic could just as easily be a Danish Lutheran pastor. Heck, even a Muslim could do the job. We wouldn't want to discriminate. Danish Lutheranism is more screwed up than anyone thought.
[via preach for food]
Removing Chinese Tariffs
In reaction to the Bush administration slapping quotas some Chinese textiles the ChiComs will removes tariffs on "export duties it has charged on 78 types of textile products."
"China to Abolish Textile Export Tariffs"
May 29, 2005
Iraqis Fight for Themselves
From what little I know about counter-insurgency getting the locals to fight for themselves is a very good thing. That's what happened in Husaybah this month.
"Another Sign Of Insurgency's Failure"
Wheldon Win Indy 500
Danica Patrick isn't a joke or a gimmick. Even though she didn't win the Indy 500 today she showed she has the skills and the team to get her a sip of milk. Patrick compensated for two mistakes and almost won. She just didn't have enough fuel to hold off winner Dan Wheldon. But that had more to do with guessing fuel mileage rather than driving skill.
With Patrick's star rising we are seeing a winner of the IndyCar/Champ Car war. IndyCar seems to have some marketing savy and not just with promoting Patrick. With NASCAR's dominance it's tough to name any open-wheel driver but Patrick's further success (she'll have to win a race or become the Anna Kournikova of racing) could do for her sport what Tiger Woods did for golf.
"Wheldon Holds Off Patrick, Wins Indy 500"
Roger Simon is asking some good questions regarding weblogging as an original news source. They're good questions but why ask them during an American holiday that's about being outside and away from stuff like computers? Odd.
"Pajamas Media Question #1 - What Is 'Fair and Balanced'?"
"Pajamas Media Question #2 - 'How Can We be an Online Joe Friday?'"
May 28, 2005
A Little Sex Never Hurts
It's Memorial Day Weekend for Pete's sake. It's the unofficial start of summer. Heavy reading, thinking, and talking are not the order of these few days. So let's go to that Memorial Day tradition the Indiapolis 500. Sure, the fissure in open-wheel racing (along with the NASCAR marketing machine) has destroyed that sport, but this year Danica Patrick is the star of the show. It's not that she's starting the race at the fourth position or is a driver for the powerful Rahal Letterman team. It's the fact that Danica is cute and knows it.
"It's All Danica, All the Time at Indy 500"
What do politically opinionated celebrities do they don't get their way? They quit. Trent Reznor pulled his band Nine Inch Nails out of the MTV Movie Awards because the music channel wouldn't let them perform in front of a picture of President Bush. Reznor, in language fit for an arrogant psudo-intellectual, said, "Apparently, the image of our president is as offensive to MTV as it is to me." Please. More likely MTV was worried the Bush-hating Reznor would do something with the image causing negative publicity to drop on the network.
"Nine Inch Nails Drops MTV Show over Bush Backdrop"
May 27, 2005
Hillary's Finance Man Acquitted
It's unfair to call David Rosen, Sen. Hillary Clinton's former national finance director a "bagman" when he got acquited for lying to the feds. Charges of lying to the government can be very dicey. Look at Martha Stewart. I like Michelle Malkin as much as the next conservative, but she succoms to excessive Clinton hating.
"Former Aide to Sen. Clinton Acquitted"
Thune's Opposition Means Another Frist Test
The Pentagon's latest list of military base closings has pushed one GOP Senator to oppose John Bolton's nomination. Could someone tell Sen. Frist to tell Sen. Thune that there's no way Ellsworth Air Force Base will survive if Bolton loses by one vote? That's how a tough, no hold barred majority leader would behave.
"Thune Says He Will Oppose Bolton Nomination"
How much would a Quran-flushing toilet cost the military? Somebody call the GAO.
"Pentagon Recalls Koran-Flushing Toilet"
Six inches was all it took for a man to win his appeal of a speeding ticket. Paul Mertz claims he went 59 mph in a 35-mph zone because a speed limit sign was six inches too small. No, sir. You missed the sign because you were going so damn fast. And a state appeals court tossed common sense out the window.
"Man Fights Speeding Ticket On Basis Of Sign Size"
May 26, 2005
Bring Out Your Dead
How about this MSM humdinger to add to Newsweek's troubles. Do we even know anyone was killed in the riots following the retracted Quran story? Did people really die or is the MSM engaged in lazy groupthink?
"Lies Beget More Lies?"
Taylor on the Filibuster Deal
Professor Taylor, who supports the "nuclear option," put together a fine analysis of the filibuster compromise. My only addition is to say again that this deal only postponed the final battle. When a conservative Supreme Court nominee has a chance at replacing a liberal on the court then we'll see even more fire and passion. Read it all and "welcome to democracy" messy as it is.
"On the Senate Compromise"
May 25, 2005
I'm not Saying Any More
Bummed because you're 30 and single transcends race. 'Nuff said.
I'm off to watch the Lost season finale.
Oh, Professor, I'm not buying a t-shirt.
[via Glenn Reynolds]
ABC Joins the Podosphere
For those of you who want to be surrounded by news 24-7 (you sickos) ABC is podcasting Nightline, This Week, and other shows. They've even started an afternoon addition to The Note, The AfterNote.
"ABC, NBC News Launch News Podcasts"
That's what Red does in this post. I tried to watch Sean Hannity interview McCain tonight, but after 10 seconds of them gushing over the film Faith of My Fathers I got ill.
"Media Love Fest with John McCain"
UPDATE: Farrah has more on the egomaniacal Sen. McCain. If he wants the 2008 nomination he'll have to soon strongly back a GOP challenger to Gov. Janet Napolitano and hope that person wins. Or else McCain will inflame GOP activists when Napolitano names a Democrat to sit in his Senate seat.
[UGH! I can't believe I just mentioned the 2008 race. I'm still exhausted from last fall.]
"McCain 2008 Fantasy"
A Tax Increase is Unacceptable
Any compromise would fall far short of Bush's goal of fundamentally overhauling Social Security. It would make big changes to the program yet retain a basic government-provided benefit for all Americans. It would secure the system's financial solvency for many years by cutting promised benefits and raising payroll taxes on high-income workers. But it would not ensure permanent financial stability, as the President has demanded. An agreement would also include some form of personal accounts, just not the White House version. And new savings incentives -- sometimes called add-on accounts -- would be created outside the current Social Security system. "I can see an agreement along those lines," says Heritage Foundation research fellow David C. John, "assuming both sides come off their absolute positions."
Bush's private accounts fall by the wayside. They have lost any traction they might have had after his re-election. Either the President did a lousy job selling them, or a cynical public is too afraid of having more responsiblity over their own retirement. The best idea in decades to free Americans from Big Government is dying. With the death of private accounts you defintely won't see any politician call for allowing people to opt-out of S.S. so they can fund their retirement on their own. A dirty little secret about S.S. is no one can leave because retirees get their money out of the pockets of current workers. The way the system is structured old people need to pay for them (and I never ever get a "thank you").
What is absolute for this conservative is there can be to tax increases. The problems with government isn't that they don't have enough money. Government takes more money out of our pockets than at anytime in American history. And when they get their (our) money all they do is ask for more.
Benefit cuts I could stomach. Increasing the retirement age is also acceptable but doesn't go far enough. It should be pushed to 70. People are living longer, therefore they can work longer. Making cost-of-living adjustments that would slow the increase in S.S. benefits is also acceptable. These changes would better illustrate the fact that S.S. is a welfare state redistribution program cloaked in social insurance garb.
I can't believe President Bush would sign a tax increase after seeing close up what it cost his father. I also can't believe the same man who fought so hard for his tax cuts would make a 180 turn. That would be like him telling war critics they were right about Afghanistan and Iraq and order an immediate pull out.
But if Bush should sign a tax increase that would only delay Social Security's insolvency then he would cause a tremendous tumble in Republican support. Tax hawks and other economic conservatives would throw up their hands and withhold support. They'd say, "What's the point of electing Republicans if they end up raising taxes?" Raising S.S. taxes would surely usher in a Democratic President because the GOP base would be so discouraged.
"What A Social Security Deal Could Look Like"
States in the World Economy
Portugal has over 10 million people. Wisconsin has a little over 5 million. Yet the Badger State's economy is almost 10% bigger. The Club for Growth's Andrew Roth is right, "It’s exactly what the free market is all about, baby…" Let's make sure it stays that way.
The MSM is a little slow in realizing Monday night's filibuster compromise only delayed, not stopped, the final battle. TAM readers already knew that Monday night.
"Justice Choice Could Rekindle Filibuster Fight in the Senate"
Milwaukee "bucked" the odds and nabbed themselves the #1 pick in the NBA lottery. While general manager Larry Harris is grinning from ear to ear I dread what they will do with the pick. The consensus #1 choice is Utah center Andrew Bogut. Let me be blunt: he's a big, slow, white guy. The Bucks have experience with drafting big, slow, white guys. Remember Randy Breuer? I've seen Bogut play a few games in post-season this year. He didn't impress me as a #1 pick. He could pass the ball a little and get rebounds, but he he blended in too much. I'm already declaring Bogut another Luc Longley (also from Australia) and Bryant "Big Country" Reeves. The Bucks should be very willing to trade down and take Arizona's Channing Frey and a veteran. Let someone else be the first pick sucker.
"Lucky Bucks: Team Goes First in Draft"
May 24, 2005
Even Mad-City Mad About Taxes
The state GOP should be using their brains now that even Lefty-haven Madison is getting tired of endless tax increases.
"Madison School Referendum Fails"
The Dust Settles on the Compromise
A day has pasted since the filibuster deal, and I'm still not ticked. All the deal did was end the fight temporarily. Democrats could start up another filibuster as soon as they felt "extraordinary circumstances" existed. Then Republicans could call the deal off. Sen. Graham said,
One of the major elements of the deal makes clear that if one of my seven Democratic colleagues decides to filibuster in the future because of an ‘extraordinary circumstance,’ I retain the right to vote for a rules change. It’s my hope we never get to that point.
The result is three nominees get a vote, and Senate tradition still stands. That's better than getting no nominees a vote and possibly seeing a political disaster with the "nuclear option" losing because of Republicans.
What we do know is both parties' Senate leadership are quite weak. Neither Sens. Frist nor Reid have a firm grasp on their caucuses. I wonder if this show of strength by the "Filibuster 14" will move beyond the judicial battle.
"About that Filibuster Compromise..."
UPDATE: As this Cox & Forkum cartoon demonstrates Senate Democrats may turn trivial things into "extrodinary circumstances." It will require some intestinal fortitude by all Republican Senators. But that was needed anyway before the compromise. This will really come to a head when President Bush makes his first Supreme Court nomination that replaces a liberal justice.
Win With Red
Wearing red equals more wins. That's what some anthropologists concluded from analyzing the 2004 Olympics. If red is a winner expect Democrats and Leftys to complain about media bias for getting stuck with a "losing" blue color.
Now "That's Hot"
A Paris Hilton hamburger commercial has ticked off the Parents Television Coucil for being too racey. Hot it is, and I don't think Paris is very sexy.
Other Nickname Voting
Mark Belling is hosting a better poll for Marquette's new nickname. Better because voting for Warriors is an acceptable choice.
Times' Reaction to Filibuster Deal
The Washington Times echos the anger in the conservative blogosphere with a few quotes from angry conservatives who consider the deal a "sellout." I liked the jab at Sen. McCain's vanity at the end of the story (emphasis mine):
Moments earlier as the deal was about to be announced, several Republicans offered the lectern to Mr. Byrd, who demurred, waiting instead for "his turn."
"7 Republicans Abandon GOP on Filibuster"
Polls Have Opened
Marquette students, staff, and alumni can now start voting for the new school nickname--as long as it isn't Warriors. If I could vote I'd pick Golden Avalanche. One-third of GOP3.com is backing Hilltoppers, and Professor McAdams confirmed that people can pick one of the listed names, write in Warriors and not have their ballot spoiled.
"MU Begins Process to End Identity Crisis"
I think part of the concern many in the rightwing blogosphere have with last night's filibuster deal is they don't think the "moderate" Senate Republicans will hold Democrats accountable. Should the Dems employ their "extraordinary circumstances" phrase for something not extraordinary McCain and his gang will have to call the deal null and void. That's not a sure thing since the whole premise of the deal was to avoid the "nuclear option." But as Pejman Yousefzadeh writes,
Again, this deal could go sour if Republicans do not follow up on any breach. But that is and could be the case for any deal. In the meantime, Republicans have gained three new judicial appointments, a Supreme Court appointment that is free from a filibuster, boxed the Democrats in on what would be considered a reasonable filibuster and still kept the option to eliminate the filibuster on the table.
Like I've said before this issue isn't done. It's only been postponed.
May 23, 2005
Lott Couldn't Have Done Worse
Stephen Bainbridge points out that rightwing webloggers aren't sounding very conservative when it comes to the judicial filibuster. And he uses Russel Kirk (a man I'm guessing most conservatives have never read) to back him up. I haven't gone on record on the "nuclear option." What I have said is this mess shows what a mistake it was to make Sen. Bill Frist majority leader. I wonder if Sen. Trent Lott, warts and all, could have not gotten us to this moment.
"More on The Filibuster Deal"
Deal Brings in Cooling Off Period
You go see a movie and big political news breaks out. There's a deal on President Bush's judicial nominations. Priscilla Owen, Janice Rogers Brown and William Pryor will all get their confirmation votes. William Meyers and Henry Saad remain in limbo. Democratic signatories promise to only filibuster in "extrordinary circumstances" while their GOP counterparts promise not to change the rules. All that goes out the window as soon as an "extreme" nominee to the Supreme Court is named.
There's already a lot of GOP bashing coming from the right side of the blogosphere. I'm with Ed Whelan that "this MOU marks only a very temporary cooling off." I also agree with Whelan that these "moderates" (Sen. Byrd was one of the signatories) have misconstrued the initially vague "advice and consent" clause. In no way are those GOP signatories conservative. Their reading of the constitution ignores the two hundred years of tradition where the President nominates and the Senate either votes up or down as their form of advice and consent. Instead they choose to conserve the filibuster, an object with a lesser hold (via The Commissar) in American political tradition. (John Dean takes a different viewpoint by advocating more involvement by the Senate. But no one has ever claimed he was a conservative.)
"Senators Avert Showdown Over Filibusters"
UPDATE: Viking Pundit calls it "a minor, if temporary, win for the Republicans."
To say Patrick is upset is an understatement.
Owen isn't happy either.
Kevin calls it a "very bad deal."
Jib thinks the GOP base will lash out in 2006, presumbably by not showing up at the polls.
Lucas Sucked More Cash Out of Me
I just saw Revenge of the Sith for a second time. I still liked it even with Natalie Portman's awful performance, the stilted dialogue, and the too busy battle scenes. The moment when Anakin and Obi-Wan clash before the lava fountain is so gorgeous. It's one of the best visuals in Star Wars' history.
Carnival of the Capitalists
Oodles of econ posts are collected at the Carnival of the Capitalists hosted this week by Ideologic.
Why Words Matter
Who is Luis Posada? If his Wikipedia entry is any indication he's a terrorist who has launched attacked on Communist Cuba. His most well-known attack was on "a Cuban airliner over Barbados in 1976, in which all seventy-three people onboard were killed." The plane started out in Caracus, which means Hugo Chavez' country is involved. Both the CIA and FBI suspected Posada days after the attack. Posada is now in U.S. custody for illegally entering the U.S. The question becomes "What to do with him?" The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board understands that both Venezuala and Cuba have corrupt legal systems and suggests Pasada stand trial in Italy. The newspaper wants Pasada "before a court of law, where the facts can be brought forth and punishment, if necessary, meted out."
Now, a reader should ask himself, "Why is the Journal Sentinel editoral board so concerned about a little-known Latin American terrorist?" Because with Pasada's case they can try to punch some holes in the Bush administration's "War on Terror."
Here's where they begin:
If Posada had been trying to bring down the government of, say, Brazil, he would have been promptly and accurately accused of terrorism. But because Posada has been trying to overthrow Cuba's Fidel Castro for much of his life, he is supported by some members of the politically powerful Cuban expatriate community in Miami.
The JS imply democratic Brazil is the moral equivalent of communist Cuba. In their eyes toppling Cuba would be just as bad as toppling Brazil. While Brazil is considered "Mostly Unfree" by the Heritage Foundation-Wall Street Journal Index of Economic Freedom it is better than Cuba's listing as "Unfree" (along with Venezula). Freedom House considers Brazil "Free"with free elections and a privately owned media. "Not Free" Cuba possesses neither of these. Brazil has plenty of room from improvement, but it certainly doesn't need to be liberated like Castro's prison island.
The editorial board then gets to the crux of their Bush attack:
Granting political asylum to Posada would make this country look - or reveal it to be - two-faced and duplicitous in its war on terrorism. Intentionally killing or injuring non-combatants for political reasons is a defining feature of terrorism, and it doesn't matter whether the civilians are working at the World Trade Center in New York or riding a Cuban airliner.
Part of this stems from the JS' moral relativism. But a good portion of the fault lays at the Bush administration for calling our present war the "War on Global Terrorism." "Global Terrorism" isn't what attacked New York City and Washington, D.C. on Sep. 11, 2001. Terrorism can't attack. It only describes an action. On that fateful fall day in 2001, a group of radical Islamic terrorists--Islamists--shed innocent blood on the U.S. Ever since the attacks this administration has bent over backwards not to call this conflict a war on Islam. Their intentions may be good--creating anti-Islam fear in the U.S. would only hurt too many innocents.
Move beyond the Bush administration's descriptions to what they've done. For being a "War on Global Terrorism" the U.S. has done little to eliminate the IRA or Basque separatists in Spain. What has been done are invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. There has also been military assistance in the Philipines and tough talk toward Iran. What all these areas have in common are they are dealing with Islamists, those followers of Islam who want their religion to rise from the blood and ash of the West.
But by being too sensitive and refraining from naming the war correctly as the "Islamist War" this administration has confused many as to what we are fighting against. The JS editorial board is one confused group. This isn't to day those men and women in their downtown Milwaukee offices shouldn't have used their faculties more to figure out some terrorists are more a threat to the U.S. than others.
"Send Posada to Courtroom"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
May 22, 2005
Well, yes, I did stop by my favorite St. Cloud Watering Hole, Granite City Food & Brewery to participate in the first outstate Minnesota Organization of Blogs get together. I did talk to Our Gracious Organizer a bit, as well as Kevin Ecker (with whom I share a mutal friend, small world, eh?) and had the opportunity to at least meet Mr. & Mrs. Westover, I spent most of my time talking with Mitch Berg and Gary Gross.
The conversation with Mitch and Gary started off with me stating to Mitch that I don't get my politics or religion from the movies I see (i.e., "Star Wars: Revenge Of The Sith"), the books I read (i.e., "The DaVinci Code") or the pop I drink (i.e., Pepsi). From there, the conversation evolved (or, devolved) to any number of topics.
A great night had by all, and Annie got my mug club membership renewed. Thanks, Annie! I eagerly await the next gathering.
Kids Really Like Toys
A kid snaked his way into a vending machine. Southeast Wisconsinites should remember a similar incident last year. When will some politician announce their mission to ban such machines?
Don't "Egg" Me On
Karl Rove wins people over through their stomachs? When does the guy have time to cook when he's Black Berrying half the administration? This puffery is about as light as his highly-whisked "eggies."
Okrent's Last Column
Too bad Daniel Okrent is leaving his position at the NY Times. He's a pioneer ombudsman (titled a "public editor") did what he could to make the Times a better, more accountable media institution. But with the upcoming TimesSelect the paper is shirking its future: the online audience. In his final column Okrent ties a few loose ends. He rips the hell out of op-ed columnists Paul Krugman, Maureen Dowd, and Bill Safire; wonders why liberals are pointed out as such in news stories; and questions the constant lauding in the travel section. Bye, Daniel. We'll miss you.
"13 Things I Meant to Write About but Never Did"
The Corner's resident curmudgeon hated Revenge of the Sith.
Publically Embarassing Oneself...Again
Surprise, surprise. Dave Winer is having another fit. This time he's attacking podcasting evangelist and ex-MTV VJ Adam Curry. He claim's Curry has been saying "really nasty shit about me personally." What that "shit" is I don't know because Dave doesn't link to anything. I've been listening to Curry's Daily Source Code for a few weeks and don't know what is really going on. It's probably nothing since Winer has a history of going goofy for no apparent reason. Adam's response to Dave's initial attack is his 05.16 podcast.
With the MOB
Some day I will do my duty as Wisconsin weblogging ambassador and make it to a MOB event. We Badger State webloggers are still trying to get our social act together. I hope Shawn (the other one) posts a report.
May 21, 2005
Fans' Problems with Prequels
Like many Star Wars fans Jonathan Last doesn't like Episodes I-III. He's gone so far as to dub them a "failure." I can't go into it right now, but if you've read all the books of Issac Asimov's Foundation series you can understand the weakness inherent with going backwards in any popular story.
"The Last Star Wars"
Oodles of RotS Reviews
The Next Radio Superstar
WISN will be holding open auditions for a new local talk show host. Give the judges your best three minutes of talk and you might land a two year contract. I've always considered TAM my written version of talk radio. Let's see if I can parlay this to a radio audience.
"Here's Your Shot at a Talk Radio Slot"
May 20, 2005
Revenge of the Sith I Like
Star Wars is now complete. Revenge of the Sith the greatest Star Wars movie it is not. But it did tie up plenty of loose ends. Visually it has gorgeous backgrounds and amazing computer animation. But Lucas went overboard in the big battle scenes. Too much was happening. Ships and battle droid zipping all over so fast made it hard to focus on anything. There was just too much stimulation.
The acting was uneven. Typical of Star Wars, but it doesn't hold the movies back. Hayden Christensen surprised me with the emotion and conflict he radiated from his Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader character. It wasn't a stunning performance in any sense of the word--he seems to jump too quickly into full-bore hate of Obi-Wan after having his legs sliced off. A final moment of last-chance redemption would have been perfect in that scene. While I was pleased with Christensen's performance Natalie Portman pumped out a cardboard cutout role as Padme. Lucas could have just made the character completely CGI and it would have had more emotional depth than Portman demonstrated. In her hands Padme regressed from the selfless, brave, creative Queen of Naboo into a secret, pregnant wife in desparate need of a hug and some Prozac.
One of George Lucas' themes of the Star Wars movies is how a democracy devolves into authoritarianism. In Lucas' world here's what you need to transform a democracy into a dictatorship:
If this is what worries George Lucas then he hasn't much to fear from President Bush.
Sith is deserving of a few more theater visits. Mainly because the the battle scenes are so busy you can see more and more with each viewing. Also you can find more little details that tie up Episode III with the second half of the series.
Ever improving personal technology has bit the U.S. military on the ass again. First, the world found out about the crimes at Abu Ghraib because abusive U.S. troops were dumb enough to take a bunch of digital photos. Today, The Sun and the NY Post published photos of Saddam in his underware--not a pretty sight. U.S. military officials think the photos are over one year old. That surprises me that they stayed hidden this long.
This is a pretty clear violation of the Geneva Convention. Someone will have to be punished for this. It's just like people will have to be punished for the crimes committed on Afghan prisoners in this NY Times' story. Now, the punishment for the Saddam photos shouldn't be that harsh. Snapping some slightly embarassing pictures is no where as bad as beating a prisoner's legs into pulp or letting them hang from their wrists for days. Expect out-of-proportion anxiety from Leftists in the media. And don't be surprised if Iraqi insurgents demonstrate their barbarism by launching vicious attacks on military and civilian targets all in the name of defending Saddam's "honor."
"US Investigating Source of Unauthorized Saddam Photos"
"Saddam to Sue Over Prison Photos"
May 19, 2005
Worse than Gannon
Eric Pfeiffer points out some of The New York Times’ Elisabeth Bumiller loaded questions and biased stories. Questions like "Who made you the editor of Newsweek?", "Are you asking them to write a story about how great the American military is; is that what you're saying here?", and declaring the Paul Wolfowitz, "a chief architect of one of the most unpopular wars in history" is as loaded as Jeff Gannon's infamous "lost touch with reality" question. Yet Gannon got smeared and Bumiller still files stories. I hope hers will be the ones tucked behind the Times' new electronic walls.
Replaced by Webloggers
Adding insult to Newsweek's injury the magazine's radio show has been replaced in Boston by two webloggers.
"Bloggers Replace Newsweek"
Huffington's Toast is still going strong. How they can keep it up, I don't know. Hey, even "Ward Churchill" is getting into this weblogging thing. Pardon me while I pick myself up off the floor.
"Am I an Indian? Ute be Surprised"
May 18, 2005
Val Prieto will be at Cuba Nostalgia covering the festivities and also letting people in on the wild world of the blogosphere. Val is taking weblog beyond news and politics and merging it with ethnic culture. The medium is extremely flexible so I expect good things from Val's efforts.
"From the Mailbag: Cuban Convention"
Celebrity Economic Illiteracy
Chris Martin of Coldplay is unsettled his band could affect a company's profits.
Martin told reporters at Manhattan's Beacon Theatre that the band was uncomfortable that they sell so many albums they can affect a major corporation's stock price.
Martin also told reporters, "I think shareholders are the great evil of this modern world." That means each and every one of you holding stock in your 401(k) or your child's college fund are evil. Every one of you who believes saving is good personally and nationally or globally are evil. It's because of you that Martin and his bandmates feel like they're slaves to The Man. This while they continue to collect royalty checks from their two previous hit albums.
Notice that Coldplay hasn't decided to cancel their new album X&Y or make music for free. No one forced them to sign with EMI. They could say, "screw it," and walk away from their fame. They could give away new music as long as their large (and also probably evil) bank accounts allow. They won't because they're immature whiners who don't grasp the magnificant results of a global economy filled with joint-stock corporations. Without that institution there would be more suffering, more disease, more poverty, more death on this planet. I feel safe to claim that we wouldn't be hearing Martin's banal economic diatribe if it weren't for the corporation. That's because there wouldn't be a music industry, telecommunications, and Martin would be toiling away as a serf in some field. Get Mr. Gwyneth Paltrow some reading material so he doesn't sound like a complete fool the next time he complains about being a famous slave.
The PS3 might sell for over $400. I might have to rethink my console choice.
"PS3 Price Rumours"
Jason at Libertas reviews Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith and puts the film in context with George Lucas' Bush bashing. Here's a key quote:
My sense is that in 30 years or so, when we’re looking back on this film the same way we now look back at the original Star Wars , the film’s minor ‘political’ touches will no longer even be noticed. No one will be talking about what the film ’says’ about the Iraq War or President Bush. The film will be recognized largely for what it is - a piece in the very large ‘Star Wars’ puzzle, and a piece that fits rather well. In his more sober moments, Lucas himself has said as much.
No midnight showing for me this time around. But I will be catching it tomorrow night. If you're watching it late tonight send me an e-mail or leave a comment on what you thought of it.
But Jason's review hasn't convinced Dirty Harry to see it.
A TAM Mea Culpa
When doing media criticism or criticism of the critics one should always start with original documents. I gave Michael Isikoff and Newsweek a bit of a pass on the Quran toilet story when I wrote:
Given the current state of sloppy journalism I sympathize. How many stories have we accepted as fact from just one annoynmous source? Too many to count, I'd say. Are MSM critics like Michelle Malkin and Captain Ed blovating simply to score more points? I'm sure both those fine writers have gone off on a story with just one source. Heck, Captain Ed became quite popular in Canada from a source giving him banned court testmony.
I failed to read what Isikoff actually wrote:
Investigators probing interrogation abuses at the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay have confirmed some infractions alleged in internal FBI e-mails that surfaced late last year. Among the previously unreported cases, sources tell NEWSWEEK: interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet and led a detainee around with a collar and dog leash.
The Quran toilet incident was never confirmed and Newsweek admits it. The closest the news magazine got was a "senior person at the Pentagon" didn't object to that part of the story. That's not a confirmation. That's not even a "no comment." Newsweek didn't follow up. Instead they ran with the story and deadly riots broke out.
I'd like to know if interrogators did flush a Quran down a toilet. It wouldn't be the first time the U.S. has been accused of the deed. Then we could have a serious discussion about whether such an act should be considered torture (I wouldn't) and whether the U.S. military has done too much or not enough in holding terrorists. Bryan Preston points out there was an unconfirmed report that a Islamist prisoner stuffed pages of a Quran down a toilet in protest. So, I stand by my criticism that webloggers shouldn't be seeking another trophy for their MSM wall. They should be seeking the truth at Gitmo. Newsweek has shot itself in the foot and discredited itself. Let them bandage their own wounds.
"News Weak and the Restless Natives"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
The Dark Lord of the GOP
Star Wars as a modern parable? Please. It's entertaining escapism. Too bad George Lucas is taking his franchise too seriously. It's too late for me to be inspired and I have no photoshop talent, but help out Patrick Ruffini.
"Photoshop Contest: Darth W. Vader?"
May 17, 2005
Console Buyer's Remorse
When the current generation of console video games came out I bet on Nintendo's GameCube. I figured all the cool sports games would come out for that machine plus Nintendo has the Zelda franchise. I've played plenty of sports games on my GameCube (NCAA Football 2005 rocks!) but I never got around to playing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, the whole point of getting the GC. Going with the GameCube meant I missed out on a lot of games. Even though I'm only an occasional gamer I'd like to have the biggest selection available. So, when the next generation of consoles arrives I'll lean toward the PS3 but see if the XBox 360 is backward compatible--I'd love to try Halo or Halo 2.
Perfect Game Watch
Wes Obermueller has tossed six perfect innings of baseball. Let's see if history will be made in D.C. tonight.
UPDATE: David Pinto is covering the game.
UPDATE II: Wes just suffered a TAM jinx. Jamey Carroll singled into right. Bummer.
Conservative Cat hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities. Sadly for you all there is no TAM entry.
Phone-less and Fine
Peter Panos, restaurant operator, gave up his mobile phone and lived to tell about it.
Sure, suppliers sometimes have said he can be hard to get ahold of.
Ditching the phone was a bit drastic. He could have just turned it off when he didn't want to be called, but people expected him to answer if he had a mobile phone. Not only did Panos let his phone control him, but people he worked with rudely assumed he could be contacted at all times.
Technology like mobile phones and instant messaging are nice things to have, but always remember we control the tech; it doesn't control us. There's a time and a place for everything but that doesn't mean we're at everyone's beck and call just because technology allows us to.
"Hanging up the Cell Phone"
More Criticizing the Critics
It's been a long time coming but Andrew Sullivan has made an point important enough to pass on to you. It's about the botched Newsweek story and webloggers' reaction (emphasis mine):
Three factors interacted here: media error/bias, Islamist paranoia, and a past and possibly current policy of religiously-intolerant torture. No one comes out looking good. But it seems to me unquestionable that the documented abuse of religion in interrogation practices is by far the biggest scandal. Too bad the blogosphere is too media-obsessed and self-congratulatory to notice.
But it's not surprising since webloggers get attention when they take down a member of the MSM. Such attention and power is intoxicating. Hell, I've come under its spell earlier this year when I was helping point out the fraud in Milwaukee's elections. All of us writers, online or dead tree, have to occasionally question our motives. No, this isn't a call for some kind of webloggers' code of ethics. It's simply a call for self-examination. Are we seeking truth or are we trying to claim more trophies for our wall?
Pro-war webloggers don't realize how much those morons at Abu Ghraib damaged U.S. credibility. Anti-U.S. passions have been building in some Islamic nations, and if it wasn't the Newsweek story that set off the violence it would have been something else.
"The Hysteria Mounts"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
May 16, 2005
Criticizing the Critcs
Any news junkie knows about Newsweek's Quran desecration story and retraction. For those that don't here's the gist: Newsweek reported that interrogators at Guantanamo Bay put a Quran in a toilet. The report ignited violent demonstrations in some Muslim nations. Even with the retraction the damage has been done. Many Muslims have had their beliefs reinforced that the U.S. is on an anti-Islam crusade. Pro-American president Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan will have even more difficulty tapping down the anti-American fever in his nation.
I'm somewhat sympathetic to Newsweek. On Don Imus' show Howard Fineman tried to explain what happened:
But I'm just trying to meet what the popular understanding of this is. If you run it pass SOUTHCOM and they say no comment, and you run the entire item past a senior person at the Pentagon, and he critiques some other part of the short item, but doesn't critique that, a reasonable reporter like Mike and John Barry, and reasonable editors like the ones at Newsweek, would think that they had it pretty solid. That's what we thought at the time. Now it turns out that our main source now isn't sure whether what he read about investigations at Guantanamo is going to be in that report and it's for that, that we're apologizing.
It would have been better if Michael Isikoff would have been speaking first hand instead of listening to the third hand report from Fineman. Given the current state of sloppy journalism I sympathize. How many stories have we accepted as fact from just one annoynmous source? Too many to count, I'd say. Are MSM critics like Michelle Malkin and Captain Ed blovating simply to score more points? I'm sure both those fine writers have gone off on a story with just one source. Heck, Captain Ed became quite popular in Canada from a source giving him banned court testmony.
What I'm getting at is I wonder if MSM critics are craving another scalp to go along with Dan Rather's and Eason Jordan's. Some tried it with the Wall Street Journal's Brett Stephens earlier this year.
Let me point out a disagreement I have with Captain Ed. Even if the Quran toilet story were true he doesn't think it's news:
This story was just as pointless; what possible news value did a flushed Qu'ran have for the American reader? First, no one bothered to even ask themselves if the story sounded plausible. How would a flushed Qu'ran promote cooperation from a Muslim terrorist? Perhaps threatening to do so would get some positive reaction, but as we've seen in reaction to the story, actually flushing one in front of an Islamist is much more likely to steel themselves against any kind of cooperation. Second, even it did happen, all toilet physics to the contrary, what of it? Does that constitute some sort of Geneva Convention violation? In view of the hand-chopping and rape rooms of Saddam Hussein, maintaining that argument borders on the macabre.
If the story is true then is should be reported. More information is good, not bad. I'd think a weblogger would appreciate that. A free press has a duty to tell the public what is going in the Islamist War. They reported on the abuses at Abu Ghraib, and I hope Captain Ed didn't think that was a bad thing. Such reporting allows the public to examine what it is the government is doing in their name. Such news puts world events and opinion into better, more informed context. That's called self-examination. It must be done or our democratic republic ceases to be either. Does Captain Ed have so little faith in the American public that he fears it can't handle the messy, mean things our troops have to do to win this war?
"More of Newsweek's Blame-the-Pentagon Spin"
Prof. McAdams is doing a great job covering all the angles of the Marquette University Warriors fiasco. Some highlights include:
Not Much for Traffic
Here's more evidence that Big Media (or in this case "bigger" media) does little to push weblogs. The weblog for AlGore's Current noticed my criticism. The traffic from that weblog hasn't been racing over to read TAM.
May 15, 2005
Not So Terrible Two
Eric Scheie's Classical Values is a weblog I'm sad to admit I don't read enough. It's bad enough that it took me meeting him last weekend at BlogNashville to get him on my blogroll. His mind goes in unexpected directions which makes a wonderful antidote to conventional wisdom from all ideologies. Give Eric some love for reaching the two-year mark as a weblogger.
Sen. Bill Frist has said he will bring up Priscilla Owen and Janice Rogers Brown to a vote this week. With that we may see the end of the Democrats' historic judicial filibuster. Amy Ridenour posted a history of the filibuster provided to her by the Senate
This is Frist's big moment. Should Senate Democrats force his hand and he fails to change Senate rules, he should immediately step down as majority leader--and he can forget about his Presidential aspirations.
"Judicial Face-Off Hinges on Seven"
Joseph DePalma talks about how valuable retaining customers are to enhancing the bottom line. He writes,
Even if we want to play the devils advocate and say super-conservatively that a 15 - 25% increase in profits occurs for a 5% increase in customer retention, that's proof enough that businesses must direct their efforts on RETAINING CUSTOMERS.
When shopping have you been asked to join some kind of membership? That's another way of making sure you make a return visit. The important thing with a membership program is to offer something of real value. For $25 a year, my company Barnes & Noble gives members an additional 10% off all purchases. That additional discount gets B&N's best customers into the stores a few more times a year. When a lot of people join that really helps boost the bottom line.
For more good business and economics posts check out the latest Carnival of the Capitalists hosted by AnyLetter.
"Tie Up Your Customers"
Finally some greens see the environmental benefits of nuclear power. Or at least they view it as less bad than oil or coal. Hopefully the environmental movement finally matures into accepting the fact that improved lives mean more not less power consumption. By the looks of the NY Times' piece that movement will endure an internal crack-up in the process.
New Quotas on Chinese Clothing
President Bush the anti-free trader strikes again:
The Bush administration is re-imposing quotas on three categories of clothing imports from China, responding to complaints from domestic producers that a surge of Chinese imports was threatening thousands of U.S. jobs.
And just when I thought I was spending too much on clothing.
"White House Re-Imposes Quotas on China"
UPDATE: Oh the irony. President Bush has declared 05.15-05.21 to be World Trade Week where we "recognize the many benefits of free and fair trade in strengthening economies and improving lives."
May 14, 2005
Worst. Job. Ever.
I nominate condom collector at Milwaukee's sewage plant.
First, a single laborer armed with a swimming pool skimmer was posted at the chlorine tanks at Jones Island to nab condoms that survived earlier phases of screening at the plant. To date, the effort has yielded 14,020 stubborn condoms scooped from the final sewage treatment soup over 551 days. Average daily yield: 25.4 condoms, according to the district.
And it cost taxpayers $52.15 an hour.
Owen has more.
"Condom Control — at a Price"
Current Reading List
Judging by the reading list of its employees don't expect much "fair and balanced" broadcasting on AlGore's Current. Also, don't expect much intellectual heft.
"Our Magazine Rack"
When Rising Incomes are Bad
There's no denying economists are strange fellows. The lastest example is John Hancock Financial Services economist Oscar Gonzalez commenting on the U.S. trade situation. He told the Washington Times,
"But the trade picture is still fairly dismal," he said. "We still are on course to break last year's record trade gap" because consumers are earning more and likely will want to indulge their "appetite for cheap foreign goods," he said.
First and not very important, Gonzalez seems to think the income effect doesn't exist.
Second and more important, Gonzalez worries that people are earning more. That's a bad thing because then they'll buy for foreign goods. So, would Gonzalez prefer consumers not to have higher incomes? How does that help the U.S. economy? It doesn't which means either the Times reporter Patrice Hill botched the interview, Gonzalez did a poor job explaining himself, or the economist doesn't know what he's talking about.
"Exports Boom, Drop in Imports Boost Economy"
THP: A Weblogging Experiment
Steven Taylor writes, "post stuff people want to make fun of, and your linkage will soar." He dubs this "Huffington's Law." How long can a weblog survive when all its incoming linkage is of the mocking variety? How many of Ariana's 250 writing buddies continue to post when they know there are a few thousand readers ready to rip them apart? We shall see.
"New Blogging Advice: Huffington’s Law"
Friday the 13th
My Friday the 13th weirdness at the store involved a loony customer who was doing some unmentionable things in the public restroom with men's magazines. At least there was no full moon.
May 13, 2005
In the Warrior battle Professor McAdams writes that Marquette University has been deeply influenced by the Great Lakes Inter-tribal Council. Specifically by Raymond DePerry. MU brought DePerry to the campus to speak on Indians as mascots presuming he represented the Native American community. Well, it seems DePerry isn't much of a representative since he's been prevented from seeking a third term as tribal chairman of the Red Cliff Tribal Council. Other council members accuse him of not actually living on the reservation. As McAdams writes, "Marquette was, to put it bluntly, hustled by a racial hustler."
It's All about the Ego
About The Huffington Post's slew of new webloggers, Ann Althouse asks,
Why not blog low-profile for a while and get a feel for what your voice is going to be, what makes a good post, how to mix up the subject matter? Then one day when you've got a particularly good post on a subject some prominent blogger would want to link to, send out an email on that post.
Simple answer: it's ego. Weblogs are personal publishing. We pump out these words because we want others to read. It would be smarter to "a feel for what your voice is going to be" but knowing millions of people have access to your words the idea of garnering instant attention is intoxicating. Not getting that immediate attention hit may be the primary reason so many weblogs flame out so fast.
"WaPo on HuffPo and Some Blogging Advice."
Without a Prescription but with an ID
Soon when you are suffering from a cold or allergies you'll need to have some photo ID ready when you march to the pharmacist. In an example of the Wisconsin GOP inconviencing just about everybody they passed a bill to limit and track sales of non-prescription medicines that contain pseudoephedrine, an ingredient used in the making of methamphetamine. Stuff like Sudafed while technically considered "over-the-counter" will soon be behind the counter.
Because of the bill's wording some medicines won't be stashed behind the counter. Products containing pseudoephedrine in a liquid form are exempt. That's fine for some, but many depend on the popular Sudafed. Unintentionally, the state legislature is playing doctor and economic favorites. And if meth makers find a way to use liquids state authorities will slap restrictions on all pseudoephedrine products.
What really disturbs be is how this bill passed a Republican-controlled legislature with hardly no opposition. Rep. Kitty Rhoades, a Republican, sponsored the bill and it sailed through the Senate with no opposition (thanks for nothing Sen. Grothman) and only six representatives opposed it in the State Assembly. This is the same party that cries out about limiting government through TABOR, but expands it because they can't think of anything besides quasi-prohibition to fight the methamphetamine problem.
Buying the Product Not the Politics
Capitalism is about firms collecting resources to create a good or service people want to buy. The product or service has to offer something of value for an acceptable price in order to earn my dollars. For me politics has little to do with it. Charmaine has a post about the the Buy Blue meme floating around Left circles. She has some graphs on how particular companies' employees politically donated. I'm just going to pick out a few:
So there you have it. My life is more productive and fun because I don't deeply examine the politics behind everything I buy. Doing that means letting ideology rule your life. That's a very unconservative way to live. Like I tell people: if I based my music choices on politics I could only listen to Ted Nugent. That, my friends, would not be fun.
"Color-Coded Shopping: Starbucks, Out! Dunkin' Donuts In!"
May 12, 2005
Trying to Find Perspective...and Failing
Mike McCurry informs us about the awful fact that "Three million (yes, 3,000,000) babies could be saved within the first 24 hours of being born if they had proper sanitation, clean water, nutrition." I don't know if his numbers are correct. That's not the point. We know there are miserable parts of our world plagued by poverty. He tries to make himself high and mighty and above the political riff-raff by calling for both conservatives and liberals to stop yelling at each other and come together. Odd coming from a man who was part of a highly effective anti-GOP communications machine.
In McCurry's "cum ba ya" moment he writes, "There are some good ways to save 3 million babies and it doesn't break the bank." Monetarily, maybe. But he spouts typical knee-jerk liberal "throw money at the problem" cliches. As of 1997 the U.S. spent "nearly $1 trillion (in 1997 dollars) on foreign aid." Global poverty is more about dealing with failed political institutions. You can have all the relief aid ready at hand. A country gripped by corruption will eat huge chunks of that aid leaving little to do any good. The problem of poverty isn't the lack of goodwill by Americans--tsunami relief proved that. The problme is building stable political regimes that promote private property and the rule of law.
"D.C. Buzzes While Millions of Babies Die"
[via Professor Bainbridge]
Very Short Hiatus
Marquette's continuing nickname embarassment, voting fraud discovered, and the GOP wanting to raise the state's minimum wage. You'd think TAM would be on top of all these stories. Don't worry. No need to issue an Amber Alert. What seems to happen whenever I come back from a trip is I get zonked out and have to catch up on sleep. BlogNashville took a lot out of me, but I had a great time doing it. I hope to write some posts tonight.
All of us hacked off about the voter fraud that occured last year, we should be happy E. Michael McCann actually wants to arrest some people. But how much you want to bet he'll plea bargain them as fast as he can?
"Arrests Sought in Election Fraud"
May 11, 2005
Best of the Worst
Pirate's Cove hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities--Star Wars: Episode III edition.
New TAM Sponsor
Regular TAM readers may have noticed a new sponsor. Check out Jason Johnson and his book Wake Up America!.
May 10, 2005
Webloggers and Talk Radio Weren't Blowing Smoke
Well, well, well. I guess conservative talk radio hosts and webloggers weren't just racists trying to stop minorities from voting by pointing out a whole host of possible voting fraud in Milwaukee. The joint, bipartisan federal-local investigation found voting fraud really did happen:
Investigators said Tuesday they found clear evidence of fraud in the Nov. 2 election in Milwaukee, including more than 200 cases of felons voting illegally and more than 100 people who voted twice, used fake names or false addresses or voted in the name of a dead person.
I will comment more tomorrow.
"Inquiry Finds Evidence of Fraud in Election"
Not Much to Read Today
Posts will be slim today. After toil away at the store I'm headed to the Brewers-Phillies game.
I will leave you with this story going into the bizzare world of Ted Oswald growing up. You know you've had a screwed up childhood when your own father regularly pointed a gun at your head.
"Oswald's Father Recalls Teaching Son to Duel, Rob"
May 09, 2005
Not for the Squimish
Animal luvin' on the Alan Colmes Show. Ick! Ick! Ick!
"Maybe Now We Know Why Horse Masturbation Jokes Don’t Fluster the Extreme Right"
Don't Worry About the Silence
My flight doesn't leave until 4:30 but I'm being kicked out of my hotel room. Don't expect any posts until late tonight. If I get really bored (why in a cool place like Nashville?) I might pop into a Starbucks to check up on news and weblogs. Until then...
Huffington Post Up and Running
The Huffington Post has begun publishing. It's a cross between a group weblog and the Drudge Report. The celeb webloggers' post are along the left side with stories and Drudge-style exclusives on the right. So far, the weblog posts are typical Lefty junk. The hot stories are what might make me come back once or twice a day. I already found this story about the NY Times considering starting a weblog.
Green Wins Straw Poll
Here's a quick thought on the straw poll for the governor's race at this weekend's Wisconsin GOP Convention. Mark Green has a lead over Scott Walker. How much is a little hard to tell. Green's campaign might have just put lots of time and effort into winning the straw poll while Walker's campaign saw the convention for what it was, an off-year event for political diehards. My gut instinct is Walker's support came from Southeast Wisconsin where they've seen him actually coverning in a conservative way. Activists in the rest of the state just haven't seen Walker in action but know Green has been toiling away in the House of Representatives. Walker needs to go out beyond Milwaukee County and tell Republicans that not only can a conservative win an election in that Milwaukee but he has faced the same fiscal problems affecting the Badger State.
A Review in the Raw
Michele does a version of First Impressions with the new Weezer album.
"Weezer's Make Believe: a Review as It Happens"
Funding Schools with Medicaid
Wisconsin public schools have been using Medicare funds to shore up their budgets.
Pinched by the state-set revenue caps, more and more public schools have tapped into a Medicaid reimbursement program that now is pumping millions of dollars into their coffers every year.
Public schools like the program because they don't have to control expenses as much as they would have. The state likes it because they take a 40% cut and put it into the general fund. So thank you citizens of Tennessee, Illinois, Minnesota, New York, and all the rest of the states for helping us not control our spending.
I'll need to work up some cleaver wording but there should be a maxium that states that when "free" money is available government will find a way to grab as much as it can.
"Medicaid Helping Schools Trim Funding Shortages"
May 08, 2005
The Way Back Machine: Dave Winer Edition
Last year, Dave Winer took a lot of heat for abruptly shutting down Weblogs.com. Here are my no-holds barred posts on that event:
Vote! Vote! Vote!
You can still help TAM become MKE's "Blog of the Week."
Happy Mother's Day
A downside to BlogNashville was I'm not celebrating Mother's Day with my mom. She doesn't make a big deal about the day. For her it's just a time to relax and accept gifts. She put me on no guilt trip for traveling this weekend. I thank her for that as well as an untold amount of things. Along with my dad she made sure I didn't become a crazed serial killer and put me down the path of viture and self-fulfillment. For that I will be forever grateful. Thanks, mom!
Now, I'm off siteseeing.
Dave Winer Reaction
Cox & Forkum with a cartoon (what else?).
Les Jones describing Winer's passive aggression and this quote:
At one point Winer was talking and a guy named Stan Brown was laughing at him. Dave got on his high horse and was hurt and acted like he was going to demand Brown stay after class. What a jerk. I hope video will be available, or some people who weren't there won't believe how bad Winer really was.
Kevin Howarth organized a set of "shared values" he got out of the discussion. While I embrace all of them it seems many weren't demonstrated at yesterday's conference.
Then there's Winer himself.
UPDATE: Someone wanted to let bathroom users know how they feel about Dave.
May 07, 2005
I missed Dave Winer's session. Sounds like I missed some drama that wasn't "respective."
"BlogNashville: A Respective Disagreement Session with (by) Dave Winer"
A participant brought up the story of how Google denied an anti-Nancy Pelosi ad but accepted an anti-Tom DeLay ad. The post is a bit confusing, but it brings up some serious allegations about how neutral a player Google is.
"Google says NO to Conservative Ads!"
Big BlogNashville Coverage
"Bloggers' Conference Emphasizes Reporting"
UPDATE: Not all coverage is good. Here's what a Nashville TV station's weblogger thought:
If the attendees at BlogNashville are any indication, bloggers are very white, very male and very bad at dressing themselves.
Faith-Based Weblogging Session
Lunch is over and I'm in the faith-based weblogging session. One participant is Matthew Paul Turner. He didn't want to hawk books at the session. He won't, but I will. Check out The Coffeehouse Gospel.
Donors Ditch DNC's Dean
Howard Dean, M.D. has been a harm to DNC fundraising. As Robert Novak reports:
Democratic National Committee (DNC) fund raising under the chairmanship of Howard Dean shows a disappointing $16.7 million raised in the first quarter of 2005, compared with $34 million reported by the Republicans.
This both surprises me and pleases me. It surprises me because I thought the Democrats were becoming ranting Bush haters. It pleases me because the U.S. can ill afford one dominant political party even if it's the GOP.
The milblogging session has been quite good. The perspective these people bring is amazing.
Lunch will be soon. I need food.
The chatroom is up with more channels soon to come. Details at BlogNashville.
After the panel discussion at Belmont University, webloggers invaded Wolfy's Den. Here are some pictures:
Mr. Roboto showed off his killer dance moves.
Like he'll do at all the BlogNashville events, Bob Cox made sure everyone was having a good time.
Mark Tapscott provided some good conversation.
Tall Paul tried to entertain us, but his stage was tucked away in the back away from the booze.
Here are two oddities before I call it a night:
Glenn Reynolds has some pictures too. Not a surprise that he takes one of a lovely lady.
May 06, 2005
Wisconsin GOP Convention
If BlogNashville weren't happening this weekend I'd be in Sheboygan tooling around the Wisconsin GOP Convention. Wisely, the state GOP are letting webloggers cover the action. So Kevin, Owen, Lord Ben, and the GOP3.com youngins (when they're not saying "No 2 Gold") will hopefully provide some interesting news and insight.
Safe and Sound
I arrived safely in Nashville. My flights were almost uneventful, which is a good thing. There was one hickup in Memphis where we had to change planes due to mechanical issues. But that only put me ten minutes late. Heck, I was just glad my luggage also made the plane change.
Leaving Milwaukee I left a rainy, miserable day. Right now, some strong storms are hitting the area. Here in Nashville, the temperature is warm, and sunshine is pouring through my window.
I have two tech notes: 1) This Courtyard hotel's wifi is indeed secured. My notebook computer promptly crashed when the D-Link card detected it. With the new Netgear card I picked up a few days ago all is fine.
2) I forgot to bring my charger for my iPod. I don't know if I'll use it that much before I leave Monday, but if any BlogNashville iPodders would be so kind, I'd like to borrow it for a few hours charge on Saturday.
Me Outta Here
When next you hear from me I should be in Tennessee. If you're going to BlogNashville I hope to see you there.
I'm reminded that today is V-E Day. Sixty years ago Allied forces won WWII. Knowing that along with the current Islamist War puts the whole Marquette Gold story into perspective.
It's just a school nickname. Why get so upset? Hell, I didn't even attend Marquette.
The issue of Marquette giving in again to an ethnic pressure group encapsulates a whole bunch of issues: racism, political correctness, tradition, community, and liberal dominance of universities.
Since when did any ethnic group have a monopoly on the use of a word? Marquette University seems to think that the Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council (GLITC) has such control of the word "warrior." They have been steadfast in their opposition to the Marquette's use of that word as an athletic nickname. I'm sorry to tell the GLITC they don't control the word. Other than in Marquette's specific historical instance warrior has no racist connotation. And that's due to the school's choice of mascots rather than the nickname. "Warrior" is simply a word for a fighter, a soldier. The word brings up feelings of pride, accomplishment, loyalty, duty, honor. No racial group, not whites, blacks, or Indians have a monopoly on those traits.
Marquette president Father Robert Wild said,
But as we worked through it, we became convinced that we live in a different era than when the Warriors name was selected in 1954. The perspective of time has shown us that our actions, intended or not, can offend others. We must not knowingly act in a way that others will believe, based on their experience, to be an attack on their dignity as human beings. We cannot teach one principle about respect for human dignity in our classrooms, than fail to act by the same principle when making decisions.
No one called for the return of the Indian mascot or Willie Wampum. Pro-warriors simply wanted the return of their school's nickname which was taken away for no good reason.
From the Journal Sentinel we get this bit of drivel from Dale Hoffman:
They fought off the pressure to re-insult an entire culture.
It goes to show even the sports page if filled with the same Lefty, politically correct as the rest of the paper. In Wild and Hoffman's world warrior equals Indian. Only Indians can be warriors. Tell that to the brave souls of many races, creeds, colors, and nationalities who fought and died in Afghanistan and Iraq.
On the editorial page we have even more politically correct, conventional wisdom:
Now is - ahem - a golden opportunity to remember and appreciate that Marquette University did not return to the Warriors nickname. Doing so would have boorishly given offense to a race of people and betrayed the principles on which the Catholic institution stands.
The board implies all those students, alumni, and MU fans are closet racists for wanted back the Warriors nickname they loved so much. None of these liberals ever has made a serious attempt to convince the pro-Warriors why the word was so offensive. That's because they have no intellectual rock to stand on. And why bother when you can just talk down to them in a language they think they can easily understand?
"Gold: Pan It or Dig it?"
Excited about BlogNashville
I really need to grab a few z's before heading to the airport, but like everytime I travel by plane I get excited and insomnia kicks in. The BlogNashville conference itself should be interesting, but I can't wait to check out some of Music City's nightlife and getting into good conversations with people I've only know through their weblogs.
Dwayne Wade, possibly the greatest player in Marquette basketball history, wasn't too sure about dumping the Golden Eagles for the Gold:
ESPN: Your alma mater, Marquette, changed their nickname to the Gold. . . . What do you think of that?
Wade, the ex-Golden Eagle, can call MU all he wants. In the words of wimpy MU Board of Trustees chairman John Bergstrom, "We're done." Now begins the process of focus groups and other marketing clap trap to force the new nickname down students' and alumni's throats. Or as MU president Father Robert Wild put it, "This is not an optional program. This is going to be a brand that we're going to build."
"It's Gold. Period."
May 05, 2005
The Good and the Bad
The Brewers sweep the Cubs, extend their winning streak to seven games, and move into second place in the NL Central Division (way behind the powerful Cardinals).
Laurence's Houston "Disastros."
Help TAM Win
I've just found out about this contest put on by the "hip" division of the Journal Sentinel, mke. The winner will be announced tomorrow at 5 pm so hurry and vote early and often.
UPDATE: I was wrong. The voting didn't end today. So you will have to put up with my campaign for a few more days. Lucky you.
Professor McAdams' commentary on the Gold fiasco is so good. You. Must. Read. It. All.
He ends it with this:
It was a sham, and a charade, and a transparent one. Marquette will be paying for it for years to come.
Big winner: UW-Madison.
"Trustees Turn Chicken"
Basketball Players Hate Gold
At an anti-Gold rally Marquette star point guard Travis Diener "took the megaphone and yelled “NO GOLD” into it distinctly."
Another anti-Gold rally is planned for Friday.
"No 2 Gold Rally this Friday"
May 04, 2005
Speak, Nashville, Speak is a mobcast covering BlogNashville. If you're getting ready to go to Nashville or plan on following the discussions this weekend you can call in and have your comments turned into a podcast. Neat idea.
MU Petition Drive
If you're a Marquette student sign GOP3.com's petition to let students "decide the mascot by vote."
Marquette University changed their athletic nickname. Alumni and traditionalists who despised the ten-year "Golden Eagle" interregnum won't be happy. The Warriors haven't returned. Instead, fans will be rooting for the Marquette Gold. Yes, Gold as in pile of yellow, precious metal. Gold as in bright color. No longer are Marquette athletes a man, woman, or bird. They are merely an element. MU is entering the Big East as just the Gold. AU as in auful.
Bringing back the Warriors nickname would have forced MU to admit it made a mistake. The Warriors nickname was dropped by a university president who thought that sometime in the future Native Americans would complain about the nickname and logo. Let me make it plain: there was no groundswell to change the name. Native Americans were pounding down MU officials' doors to change the name.
Pro-Warrior alumni are ticked. After ten years of fighting they finally got the university trustees to re-examine the decision. What did those wimps do? They refused to give in but tried to placate them by dumping Golden Eagles. They didn't satisfy them. In fact, I'm sure they enraged them. Gold is a nickname sure to draw plenty of derision from rival Wisconsin alumni. And there won't be anything to come back with. MU alumni and fans will only be able to truthfully state that university trustees are weak-kneed weenies.
UPDATE: Here's the Journal Sentinel's story on this sad event.
UPDATE II: GOP3.com:
We at GOP3.com are extremely dissapointed in the board’s choice and can see nothing but clouds in Marquette’s spineless, oversensitive, flip-flopping future.
UPDATE III: Monday, Marquette professor John McAdams documented how San Diego State handled their mascot debate. Marquette's debate has been little like it:
Marquette may have felt that, by going through the motions of reconsidering the “Warriors” issue that alumni and students could be placated. They appear to be preparing to say “we gave this full and honest consideration, and – sorry folks – Warriors failed.”
Now, pro-Warriors are mad the name wasn't changed back AND the fact that Gold is a stupid nickname.
Sports radio yapper Steve "The Homer" True, MU's basketball's radio voice is trying to find ways of making Gold sound good. He's hyped that soon-to-be conference rival Syracuse are the Orange (formerly Orangemen). Great, twice a year MU will be involved in a Gold-Orange color war. What a clash! How pathetic!
New TAM Sponsor
May 03, 2005
The Right to Disappear, Cont.
Here's more reader comments on the right to disappear.
You have every right, as an adult citizen of this United States, to pack up your bags and go wherever you want without leaving any notice to anyone. What the layperson needs to remember is that the police exist to investigate an incident and determine if a crime occurred. In the Wilbanks scenario, the crime was she told NMPD that she was kidnapped, causing alarm. She did not do so in ATL, her groom-to-be did, and with just cause. The PD in ATL does not need to be reimbursed and the court should dismiss any tort the town might file on summary judgment. If not, then every time we as citizens summon the police for a burglar in our home that turns out to be a raccoon, every time our child accidentally dials 911, we will be sent a bill on top of the taxes we already pay to support the perpetual existence of police services.
Laura runs with the idea you can disappear as long as you leave a note:
All the chick had to do was leave a note saying "I need to go away and think". Is that really so hard? She could buy a bus ticket but she couldn't write a note?
Betty is confusing:
As an adult she definitely has the right to disappear. She is either very stupid or very uncaring - because of the lies she told. She needs to pay the cost of this stupidity, not push it onto the already overburdened taxpayers. Charges need to be filed.
An adult has a right to disappear but Wilbanks should pay for all the police work done. Odd since she only lied to Albuquerque police--deserving only a slap on the wrist. She didn't cause the all the fuss in Georgia. Her family and friends there became justifiably worried and got the local police involved. Then the media got a hold of the story and it exploded. Inconsiderate she was, but she shouldn't be held responsible for wanting to be left alone.
If Wilbanks really wanted to disappear she should have done a little reading first.
Photo ID Veto Sustained
Gov. Jim Doyle Friday vetoed the voter photo ID. Today, the State Assembly failed to override his veto.
Although the photo ID bill was one of the most hotly debated issues during Tuesday's session, the outcome wasn't a surprise. Republicans had expected to fall short of having a two-thirds majority - 66 votes - to override Doyle's veto of the bill.
Someone should ask what was occupying the two missing representatives' time.
While Doyle gets to maintain an election status quo Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker and Rep. Mark Green both get a popular issue to hammer the incumbant with. 80+% of likely voters back a photo ID requirement before voting. 70% of municiple clerks, the people who run local polls, also back the measure. Yet Doyle is too politically tone deaf or too beholden to Democrats who don't mind shenanigans at the polls.
Because of the veto Assembly Republicans want to put photo ID in the state constitution. I'm in the same boat as Owen. The state constitution should be left as the general outline of how state government should function. Such detailed amendments would cutter the document. Detailed policy like photo ID needs to be left simply as state statutes.
"No ID Needed at Polls Anytime Soon"
Notebook Tech Question
My notebook is a Dell Inspiron 1000 and my wifi card is a D-Link DWL-G650. They both are nice to each other and work fine from either my home network or at places that have wifi but do not secure it. When my setup encounters a secured wifi network I get a blue screen of death as soon as the card detects it. In preparation for BlogNashville I want to ask my tech readers what the problem could be. I suspect it might be a problem with the bios. I've never updated a computer's bios so I'm a little gun shy. If all else fails, I'll just pick up a cheap, non-D-Link wifi card before I leave Friday.
Rangel's Folly Continues
Rep. Charlie Rangel has had long enough to fix his Social Security poll. Over 24 hours has past since I spotted the problem. With the speed of blogosphere buzz his campaign has to know the "error" has been made public. I insert those scare quotes because I think Rangel is using his poll to mislead. At the minimum the poll could have been taken down. It hasn't which brings out the cynic in me.
Find a Better Way
Power Line and Captain's Quarters have dropped in my daily weblog reading. Their content is still fine. It's just that I hate the obnoxious ads both have in the most recent posts. They're big, gaudy, slow down page loads, and have annoying effects when my mouse passes over them. What's going on? Aren't BlogAds selling? This is a weblog trend I hope dies quickly.
Let It Burn
File it under hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.
Lucas' Entrails All Over the Place
Jim Geraghty just shreds George Lucas. Hey George, stick to the movie making not the psuedo-politics.
"Insert Your Favorite 'Lucas Turning to the Dark Side' Joke Here"
May 02, 2005
Redstate now has a podcast. At this rate the only stuff I'll be listening to on my iPod are podcasts.
Volunteering at BlogNashville
I'm having an awful time with TypeKey on the BlogNashville site. So I will announce here that I am planning on being at the Military Blogging, Faith-Based Blogging, and Protecting Bloggers sessions and can help with monitor the IRC chat rooms.
"Volunteers Needed! Recording & Streaming Sessions and IRC Chat"
Re: The Right to Disappear
Only one comment so far on my post on the right to disappear. Matt writes,
Hmm, I think if you just run off and don't tell anyone you should probably be held partially responsible for any subsequent manhunts organized. If you leave some sort of note, you probably shouldn't be held responsible?
Matt thinks you're off the hook if you leave a note. How explanatory should the note be? Can you simply write that you've left and don't want to be found? Would that really stop worried family or friends from calling the police? Would anyone even believe it?
Jim at Stones Cry Out writes,
But now Jennifer Wilbanks is back, and the Gwinnett County DA is deciding whether or not to charge her with a felony. Oh, please.
Jim's correct. Wilbanks ran away because she was scared. Other than hurt feelings of family and wedding guests she didn't harm anyone. She never asked the media to turn her problems into a circus. Her only crime was initially claiming to have been kidnapped. Leave her alone to her personal shame.
Some Noticable Attention
CNN has recently pointed out the wonderfulness that is TAM. The effect on traffic was unnoticable. CNN's sister company AOL has a "Blog Zone" featuring my post on the right to disappear. This time I'm noticing a traffic bounce. Just goes to show a brief mention on a floundering cable network doesn't mean much for web traffic.
Oodles of econ and biz links are in the Carnival of the Capitalists this week hosted by Incite.
Podcasting on Sirius
No mention by "podmaster" Adam Curry of Infinity's decision to turn one of its radio stations to all podcasting all the time. After finding out Curry will host a daily podcasting show on Sirius I'm not surprised. This podcasting thing is going places.
"An MTV Host Moves to Radio, Giving Voice to Audible Blogs"
Norwegian physicist and businessman Fred Kavli will establish new science awards with $1 million prizes. Kavli think the Nobel prizes are awarded too long after the winners' discoveries:
"We want to spread the word of science and get more students interested ... In many parts of the world that's a problem, from Norway to the United States," Kavli told Reuters.
I like the part about awards handed out biannually. Scientific discoveries don't necessarily happen on an annual basis. They arrive is spits and starts.
"Norwegian Plans Rivals to Nobel Science Prizes"
Now, I could loudly shout how Rep. Charlie Rangel is lying to the American public with his messed up Social Security poll. You know if a Republican would have made this error Oliver Willis and Daily Kos would gleefully fuming at how the "GOP is using a push poll to pull one over on the American people." Instead, I'll just sit back and laugh at the poor employee who will get an earful for their mistake.*
"Rangeling Social Security Numbers"
* Now, if Rangel doesn't get his poll fixed and starts using the poll's result he's going to get hell from me. This is his only warning.
The Right to Disappear
Does someone have the right to disappear? Jeff Wagner is asking that question on his radio show today, and I want to ask TAM readers. It has to do with Jennifer Wilbanks, A.K.A. the Runaway Bride. For whatever reason she decided she didn't want to get married and ran off to New Mexico without telling anyone. The problem with Wilbanks was she initially claimed she was kidnapped. So I want to make the situation more abstract. Suppose I wanted to be away from my present life for a few days and run off to Las Vegas without telling anyone. Neither family nor friends know what happened to me so they call the police. Suppose I'm a 22-year old blonde female who's disappearance draws the attention of cable news channels. I decide I had enough of Vegas and come home. Am I responsible for all the fuss made to find me when the whole reason for leaving is to get away? Why?
Suppose I left a brief note saying I want to be left alone so don't try looking for me. Yet a manhunt is organized. Am I still responsible? Why?
Leave your answers in the comments or e-mail me. I'll post the best ones and respond.
I feel Will Collier's pain about stores asking for info a customer doesn't think they need. But I take exception to this:
As for the business about 'We need the phone number before we can let the merchandise leave the store', no offense to James, but that would have sent yours truly into a frothing gimme-my-damn-money-back-and-who's-the-biggest-boss-I-can-yell-at rage. If I'm paying you for something, don't you ever tell me you're going to hold my privacy hostage before I get what I've already paid for.
That's grounds for getting slugged. And I don't care about all that "customer is always right" stuff. No one gets paid enough to put up with a "frothing rage." Firmness is good. Asking questions is also good. Going off the deep end when your rights haven't been violated (all that was asked for was info; the sale wasn't completed yet)? I don't think so.
Now, let me be clear: Best Buy and places that ask for all that personal info are obnoxious. But instead of screaming avoid them. The stress isn't worth. Projecting such anger onto a low-wage salesman isn't kind either.
My how my view of the economy changed after a few years working retail (Barnes & Noble to be exact). I'm glad I don't have to ask obnoxious questions. You wouldn't believe how little someone's hard is appreciated. Quality goods and low prices are great, but few realize how it gets to be that way.
What an interesting start to the day. I'll be ripping on Glenn Reynolds. Well, kind of. I'll just point to Ace's post on Glenn's double standards. No one's perfect, especially not a Tennesee law prof who happens to be the biggest fish in the pond.
Let me note that you know the Islamist War is going well when we find the time to debate non-war issues.
May 01, 2005
My TV: No Basketball Area
Want to know how little I care about the NBA playoffs? I watched more of an NFL Europe game than Miami vs. New Jersey. Watching Dwayne Wade wasn't enough.
Someone always finds a twist to any story. About Sharon Rosenfeld who gave up her Packers tickets instead of going to jail some tax professors debated whether she could claim a charitable tax deduction. Answer: no.