June 30, 2005
I Want a Review Copy
Kos is working on a book. Yikes!
Just finished up 11 or 12 interviews in DC for our book on the collapse of the Democratic Party, and what we can do to revive it. Heading down to North Carolina Friday to do a few more interviews before taking a late flight home Friday night.
It will just be full of how evil, lying Republicans fooled the American public while paying off corporate interests. There will also probably be plenty on how the American public has to "get involved" and "get organized." I'm pretty sure I know what will be in it yet I still want a copy. I just know there will be plenty of over-the-top zingers in it.
Flatter is Better
An entire conference on the flat tax. It sounds like a policy wonk's dream. There is this nugget from former Estonian prime minister Mart Laar:
Among his points was the fact that he and his government team were all too young to know it couldn't be done, so they just did it. The IMF told them to prepare for a huge drop in revenue, but it resulted in a big gain which has been maintained. Investment and growth have boomed, and now Estonia is set to lower from the original 26 percent flat rate to a new 20 percent flat rate.
Lots of people in D.C. could learn from little Estonia.
"Estonia Did it First"
Freedom Tower is a Failure
From what I've read about the redesign of the Freedom Tower in New York City it sounds like a 1776-foot tall bunker.
There are some notable changes in the design by architect David Childs, who planned the original structure: The lobby sits inside the base, a 200-foot-tall pedestal, sheathed in concrete, steel, titanium and other blast-resistant metals. And the building's perimeter has been shrunk to 200 feet, mirroring the size of each of the original twin towers.
My how...secure. Nice message to send to America's enemies: You knock down our buildings and we'll replace them with something tall we can hide in.
Visually the surface reminds me of the narrow, almost pinstripe lines of the Twin Towers. I never liked those. The protrusion at the top looks like something from a Soviet Social Realism painting. It's tall, stands out, and is iconic but not in a good way. This is San Francisco's Transamerica Building but without the grace. Modern architecture fails again.
"Tower Design Tweaked for Security"
Obey Declares Victory...for the Bad Guys
Rep. David Obey said Iraq is a lost cause. "There will be no victory in Iraq. The question is whether there is some way of salvaging the situation," he told a newspaper.
Wow. In just a few weeks allied forces kicked Saddam from power. A few months later he was captured. Now, Iraq is on the path to a free, stable government. I wonder what Obey would consider victory? I also wonder what he would have said about the carnage a Normandy if he was a Congressman during WWII?
Father Wild is a Liar
The votes are in and Marquette will remain the Golden Eagles. I love the audacity of MU president Father Robert Wild when he said (presumably with a straight face), "We had an honest, brokered process that led us back to Golden Eagles."
Hmm. The process involved denying MU skateholders the Warriors option. Judging from Mark Belling's poll that's the name most people wanted. Wild denied voters that choice because he knew Warriors would win. And we can't have a liberal Catholic university admit they were wrong.
One more thing: MU alumni Wayne Sanders is a complete fool. He's the trustee who started the debate by offering MU $1 million dollars to bring back Warriors. Wow, he really fought for his cause.
Professor McAdams has plenty of good thoughts.
"Much Ado for Nothing at MU"
War of the Worlds Review
Justin at Classical Values just saw War of the Worlds. He liked it:
This is quite simply the finest screen adaptation of H.G. Wells that I have ever seen. Ever.
It's time for me to listen to Orson Wells' radio version again. I got a recording for Christmas when I was a kid. I put it into my tape player. It scared me to death. My hands were shaking when I took out the tape. Oh was that good.
June 29, 2005
Young at Heart
The calendar says I'm 30, but this silly quiz thinks I'm slightly younger.
I'm even younger than Eric. ;-)
I Missed out on the Free Stuff
Today, Starbucks was giving out free ice cream. I always like ice cream. Free ice cream is even better even if it is Starbucks which isn't so hot.
Some Kelo Links
This morning the Institute for Justice "will make a major announcement concerning a national effort to combat eminent domain at the state and local level."
Mary Madigan has a nice essay on Kelo's effects in everyday life.
In 2000 at the Democratic National Convention, Rep. Harold Ford, Jr. looked like a new, fresh face for the Democrats. His future looked bright. That futured dimmed since he found "value in the court's decision."
June 28, 2005
We've Lost a Great One
Civil War historian Shelby Foote died Monday night at the age of 88. Foote's fame rests upon an enormous 3-volume narrative history of the Civil War. Those books led to Ken Burns putting him in his wonderful miniseries The Civil War.
"Goodbye Shelby Foote"
"Shelby Foote, 88, Died Monday"
Two Years of Burning
The Bonfire of the Vanities is two years old. For this anniversary it's returned to its original home at Wizbang.
The Andrew Bogut Era Begins
Let's hope Bogut isn't the next Randy Breuer. I'm not enamored, but Marvin Williams was too much of a gamble. I really wish the Bucks would have traded down.
"Bucks Take Bogut with No. 1 Pick"
How Can I Become a Gitmo Prisoner?
The unlawful combatants held in Gitmo are eating better [PDF] than me. I've never had garlic mashed potatoes or Tandori chicken breast.
Milwaukee Needs More Money for Elections
The City of Milwaukee examined its voting procedures and came to a typically liberal conclusion: we need more money. How about not bothering with the $41 million for PabstCity developers and using that for election reform--a proper city function?
But seriously how should we trust any Milwaukee elections when we found out "The election office had no written procedures for running the election." They were winging it. Because of this fact I discount soon-to-be new Election Commission Sue Edman when she said, "I don't see the problems as being widespread. No. There isn't widespread fraud. Not at all." She has no idea. None at all.
"City Election Fixes Rely on Getting Aid"
June 27, 2005
Podcasting via iTunes Tomorrow?
Rarely do I care about a software upgrade, but ever since Adam Curry announced iTunes would soon handle podcasts I've been a wee bit anxious. My podcasting listening routine has been to go to the individual websites, download a new show, then upload it into iTunes. Now, all I'll have to do is subscribe and let the software do the rest. Even better, Apple is suppose to ship iTunes 4.9 tomorrow. Yea!
"iTunes 4.9 on the Way Tomorrow?"
Property Rights Amendment, Take 3
Stephen Macklin is already up to a third draft of his anti-Kelo amendment:
The right to ownership of property being the cornerstone of liberty, the Fifth Amendment to this Constitution's statement that property shall not be taken for public use without just compensation shall be narrowly construed. To protect the right to ownership of property, public use shall be limited to property that shall be entirely owned, maintained and operated by government for the direct use of the public for a period of 50 years. Property shall not be taken if the purpose of the acquisition is the promotion of economic development for a private business enterprise which business enterprise would own any right, title, or interest in the property so acquired.
I'm really starting to like it. It is clear, sounds simple, and specifically closes the door Kelo opened. But we're just at the beginning. Not only do we need a good amendment, but we need a coalition to make it the law of the land. That's where the Castle Coalition might come in. But I want it to be broadly based. We need Kos-types and Deaniacs and paleoconservatives as well as more mainstream people on board.
"Open Source Amendment Project - Revision 3"
Kelo-ing the Cable Companies
People dismayed the Supreme Court didn't force cable companies to open their networks to competitors could feel some solace in last week's Kelo decision. As Greg Ransom writes,
Something that most people have overlooked is that fact that the logic of Kelo v. New London extends beyond merely land and buildings. The general logic of Kelo v. New London has it that private property and private purposes are trumped by a govenment’s desire to increase its tax stream. This could be any kind of private property dedicated to any sort of private aim.
All that's needed is for the Center for Digital Democracy or the Consumers Union to convince some government body with eminent domain powers to claim a cable network. Why not? It would be a "public use" for the common good (and I'm sure government would get more taxes out of the deal).
"Cable Wins Supreme Court Battle"
The NY Post mocks New Yorkers who are wearing things they shouldn't be. It reminds me of the downside to Summerfest. The music, food, and beer are great. It's just seeing a 50-year-old man's beer gut or a 55-year-old woman in a leather Harley-Davidson bra that gives me the willies.
If you got it, flaunt it. If you don't, you better know better. Your picture might make into the newspaper.
An Anti-Kelo Amendment
Stephen Macklin has a draft of a property rights constitutional amendment. Something strikes me as odd about it--I'm trying to anticipate unintended consequences--but it's a good place to start a discussion on how to preserve property rights.
UPDATE: On a related note, Sen. John Cornyn has introduced legislation that would
declare Congress’s view that the power of eminent domain should be exercised only ‘for public use,’ as guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment, and that this power to seize homes, small businesses, and other private property should be reserved only for true public uses. Most importantly, the power of eminent domain should not be used simply to further private economic development.
Good news. Laws are being formulated. Now, coalitions have to be organized.
[via The Volokh Conspiracy]
Hard Drive Advice
I've owned my Compaq desktop ("The Mothership") for about one year. It has a 160gb hard drive I keep all my data on as well as my music collection (ripped from CDs and purchased from iTunes). I've never done a back up which means I will draw ire from the computer gods. I'm on the lookout for external hard drives. The Maxtor line has intrigued me. I love the idea of just hitting one button on the drive and the back up is started. I wonder if any TAM readers has any advice or recomendations?
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
Eichmann's Biggest Fan
Ward Churchill must be a big fan of Adolf Eichmann. He likes tossing his name out:
Questioner: I think it's important when you're getting into a discussion of violence and appropriate violence and self-defense, of starting to look at what you're trying to build there, what you're trying to create—for example, fragging an officer, which you were talking about before, at the beginning of your talk, the sort of trauma that that inflicts on that officer's family back home is I feel like an important thing to take into account when you try to think about what your action is trying to accomplish in the first place. I really feel like I can articulate [my question] properly, but that's the general direction I'm heading with it.
[via Michelle Malkin]
Busy Day at the Supreme Court
A bunch of Supreme Court rulings came down today. I'm going to wait a few more hours to gather more than instant analysis. The Ten Commandments rulings seemed odd. Oh the power of one justice. The file-sharing ruling seems reasonable, but I've never supported intellectual property anarchy on the internet. Lyle Denniston already has some interesting thoughts. I'm pleased with the ruling allowing cable companies to decide who can use their networks. (It's interesting that Justice Scalia dissented.) But who's to say government couldn't just claim them under eminent domain from last week's Kelo ruling?
What I find most interesting is no word that Chief Justice Rehnquist has stepped down. Court watchers expect that to happen with the presumption that all hell will break loose in D.C. over his replacement. I don't think there will be a hard, ideological fight. Rehnquinst is a conservative. Presumably President Bush would nominate a conservative to replace him. Liberals wouldn't be concerned the court would swing widely to the right. Now, if O'Connor, Kennedy, or one of the liberals retired we'd really see forces amassed on both sides.
UPDATE: Michelle Malkin's post reminds me the court didn't rule that there was a special reporter's exemption for keeping confidential sources. It's good to know this court didn't weigh into the impossible task of defining a reporter.
Money Posts Galore
BusinessBlogCast hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.
June 26, 2005
J. K. Rowling Must Love This
Harry Potter is being used to get information out of prisoners in Gitmo:
[Members of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee] watched the interrogation of three suspects, including one in which a detainee was read a Harry Potter book aloud for hours until he turned his back and put his hands over his ears.
I'm surprised the prisoner didn't talk. I couldn't finish the first book.
Stamping Down Terrorism...When He Wants To
Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas has tried to pass on the idea he is powerless in stopping Islamist groups like Hamas from attacking Israelis. To use the AP's words:
Abbas fears a broad crackdown on militants would lead to internal unrest and possibly civil war.
But when terrorists attack a Palestinian police station the long arm of the law springs into action:
In Jenin, however, Palestinian security forces tried to hunt down and arrest Said Amin, the militant accused of leading the group that carried out Thursday's attack on the police station. After firing on the police station and killing the officer, the group headed to the house of Jamal Shati, a Palestinian lawmaker, and burned his car.
The Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades isn't Hamas, but they aren't small potatoes either. Abbas has to explain why action is taken only when Palestinians are the victims.
Carnival of the Chillin
Trackbacks are wonderful things because that's how I found out about the Carnival of the Chillin (now in its second edition). I'm sure the last thing the blogosphere needs is another carnival (maybe don't call it a "carnival") but here it is for your late-Sunday reading.
MIT Weblog Survey
Walker on the Blogroll
With permalinks in place Scott Walker's weblog can now be safely added to the TAM blogroll.
Now, what does he think about the Kelo decision?
An HuffPost Non-Highlight
Over at The Huffington Post Arianna recaps the past week of posts. No mention of her "scoop" that V.P. Dick Cheney was in the cardiac section of a Colorado hospital. Could it be because she was talking out of her ass?
Move Those Houses, We Have a Stadium to Build
The expansive Kelo ruling from last week is finding a beneficiary in Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. I'm sure that's exactly what John Paul Stevens was thinking when he wrote his opinion.
"Eminent Domain Ruling Affects Dallas Cowboys Stadium"
Milwaukee's Dynamic Duo
Last night was a good night for Brewers rookies Prince Fielder and Rickie Weeks. Both hit their first career major league home runs in a 7-6 win over the Minnesota Twins. Two Brewers infielders leading the team? Hmm... That sounds familiar. Fielder and Weeks don't look like Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, but a long-time fan can wish.
"Young Guns Find Range"
P.S. No I'm not forgetting Jimmy Gantner. If J.J. Hardy can prove he can hit something then I'll dub them the "Terrific Trio."
June 25, 2005
The Truth of Gitmo
The U.S. is admitting to the U.N. that torture has taken place at Gitmo:
Washington has for the first time acknowledged to the United Nations that prisoners have been tortured at US detention centres in Guantanamo Bay, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq, a UN source said.
With all the talk about the abuses in Gitmo most have missed the fact that prisoners there have received hearings:
The Department of Defense, working through the National Security Council interagency process, established procedures that would provide appropriate legal process to these detainees, procedures that go beyond what is required even under the Geneva Conventions. These included combatant status review tribunals to confirm that, in fact, each individual is, in fact, an unlawful enemy combatant. Every detainee currently at Guantanamo has received such a hearing. As a result, some 38 individuals were released.
Why the administration hasn't loudly proclaimed this fact, I don't know. Less secrecy wouldn't stop the moonbats from proclaiming "Bush lied, people died!" or that Gitmo is a Gulag, but it might reassure those who support the Islamist War but worry some preventable bad things are taking place. The White House should release the U.N. document before the UN Committee against Torture hearings next May.
"US Acknowledges Torture at Guantanamo and Iraq, Afghanistan: UN source"
"Guantanamo Bay Tribunals"
Cheney was in Colorado Hospital...But for What?
Arianna Huffington claims Vice President Dick Cheney went to the cardiac center of a Colorado hospital. The White House says he went to see an orthopedic surgeon. Huffington doesn't name any names of people who gave her bits of information. I'm wary until somebody comes out publicly.
But if it Cheney did have a heart problem why would the White House now hide it? It's common knowledge (and a easy joke).
"Huffington: Cheney Hospitalized"
June 24, 2005
Duck Hunt: Postponed
My pickings are slim for a Duck Hunt so there isn't one this week. Please send me your best Howard Dean, M.D. posts for a future edition. Maybe Dr. Dean will really shoot off his mouth before then.
Harsh Attack on Property Rights
In yesterday's much talked about Supreme Court decision Kelo v. City of New London Justice John Paul Stevens used these fateful words:
Promoting economic development is a traditional and long accepted function of government. Clearly, there is no basis for exempting economic development from our traditionally broad understanding of public purpose.
And with that negative liberty was severely damaged.
The purpose of the constitution is to limit what the government can do. The Fifth Amendment clearly states that "private property [cannot] be taken for public use without just compensation." The court has just decided that taking citizens' land and handing it over to monied interests to boost local tax revenues amounts to "public use."
"Economic development" is a very loose term. To use more of Stevens' words it can be anything that "serves a public purpose." It could mean redistributing land in order to raise property values. It could mean taking land to build a sports stadium in order to boost a city's national status. City planners, local government officials, and land developers will fine plenty of new, creative ideas to take advantage of this ruling.
Kelo has greatly strengthened the heavy hand of government. I could feel sympathy with the majority if they had used a states' rights or subsidiarity argument. One could interrpret the Fifth Amendment as applying solely to the federal government. (I don't know how well that would have been done given U.S. legal history.) Stevens et al didn't do that. They made it quite clear local governments have a wide scope to rearrange the ownership of private property as they see fit.
A few things could be done to halt this expansion of government. State and local laws could be changed to limit eminent domain powers. An amendment to the U.S. constitution limiting eminent domain is also a possibility. With the prospects of a Human Life Amendment being sent to the states virtually nil even with the GOP in control of both houses of Congress such an amendment should garner serious effort. Such an amendment could even bring in liberals. Instead of trying to outlaw flag burning a private property amendment should be the focus of Congress' constitutional work.
"Justices Uphold Taking Property for Developing"
"A Win for Big Government"
"SCOTUS: *!@%$@#$ Property Rights"
June 23, 2005
Return of Nuno Bettencourt
Nuno Bettencourt will come out from the wilderness when he joins Perry Farrell at Lollapalooza for Satellite Party.
Extreme was one of my favorite hair metal bands. Their debut album was ok but full of metal cliches. Their second disk Extreme II: Pornograffiti was a magnum opus. They put the funk in funk metal, crunched away, and the songs simply rocked. Bettencourt was ripping off the best guitar solos at that time. III Sides to Every Story is many fans favorite album. It's not bad. It has its moments, but I think the band took themselves too seriously. It was too much about every song having to have a moral to it. Porno was loose, funky, and rocked from begining to end--and that includes their ballad "More than Words."
A few years ago VH1 had a reality series where they tried to reunite bands of the past. One of them was Extreme. They ran around the Boston area finding Gary Cherone, Pat Badger, and Paul Geary. Those three were ready and willing to reunite. All that was needed was Nuno. VH1 flew Gary to Los Angeles to talk to Nuno. It was a disaster with Nuno refusing to even be shown on camera. That was the last I heard about the guitarist. Let's hope Nuno can still shread like he used to.
"Farrell Bringing Satellite Party to Lollapalooza"
Wow It's Hot
It read "97" on one of the thermometers on my way home from work. That's hot. Icky, sticky hot. The heat is bad enough, but what's worse is working in an air conditioned store that's a touch too cold, going out into the tropical heat, then going into a air conditioned house. Those extremes play havoc on the body.
Vote Fraud Charges Filed
The first charges have been filed in Milwaukee's voter fraud scandal:
A Milwaukee Police Department sweep of election records led to federal charges Wednesday against three voters accused of casting improper ballots in November.
Thankfully these were federal charges so Milwaukee District Attorney E. Michael "Plea Bargain" McCann can't drop them to next to nothing.
"Federal Charges Filed Against Three Voters"
June 22, 2005
If you want to torture your wedding guests Stephen Bainbridge is offering his services. ;-)
A Waste of Time
With lots of pressing issues I'm sure the House of Representatives really boosted their public approval ratings by passing the flag burning amendment. This thing won't pass the Senate. What part of the GOP coalition is harping for this? A flag amendment won't get us to victory in the Islamist War. The amendment won't help get us to private Social Security accounts.
The flag burning issue has been around for about 15 years. An amendment has never gotten close to going to the states for ratification. Some conservatives just don't know when to stop.
Let me make this perfectly clear: I don't like the burning of the American flag in protest. But that doesn't mean I think a constitutional amendment is needed. I also think Congress needs to get their priorities straight.
"House Approves Move to Outlaw Flag Burning"
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg considers this a "yawner."
UPDATE II: Jay Reding calls it "simply a demonstration of Congress' misplaced priorities."
Still Not Enough for Racine Schools
Look at the glee in the tax increasers. They really love to spend money.
The Racine school district is already getting ready to ask voters for a tax increase next year.
[School Board Member Randy] Bangs said the board will continue to search for ways to make the district more efficient so that next year, if finances necessitate it, the district will attempt to pass a spending referendum for a minimal amount.
Superintendent Thomas Hicks is already threatening draconian cuts next year if taxpayers don't bend over and take it again.
Racine voters were suckers. They get what they voted for.
"Racine Voters OK Money for Schools"
Two Communist Countries
With Vietnam the President Bush wants them to enter the WTO. With Cuba food sales restrictions might be lifted over Bush's objections. I hate the Communist prison island as much as much as anyone in Little Havana, but 40+ years of a isolationist policy hasn't removed Castro. The approach has to change even if it means upsetting Cuban-Americans (and politically hurting Jeb Bush). If the U.S. can move beyond its past with Vietnam it certainly can with Cuba.
"Bush Supports Vietnam in WTO, Urges Reforms"
June 21, 2005
Scaring Their Way to Victory
Racine voters gave into a school board who couldn't say no to controlling spending. A high school band was even sent out to "encourage" voters to vote the "right" way. The scare tactics worked and Racine becomes a bigger tax hell in a tax hell state. Patrick calls them "suckers."
"Racine School Referendum Passes"
This stuff needs to get to the states. I'll try it in a heartbeat.
Jack Kilby, R.I.P.
Jack Kilby co-inventor of the integrated circuit died today at age 81. His Nobel Prize-winning work literally changed the world. You wouldn't be reading this words without Kilby's efforts. The engineer who admitted he "had some trouble in math" had a Wisconsin connection.
His first job out of college was with Centralab in Milwaukee, Wis., working with transistors. He also did graduate work at the University of Wisconsin and received a Master's degree in 1950. He worked for Centralab until moving to Dallas in 1958.
"Jack Kilby, A Giant Among Engineers, Dies"
[via TV Squad]
There's a good discussion going on at Redstate.org.
"More on the Adults."
Sen. Durbin attempted to apologize today on the floor of the Senate. I'm disappointed.
Why can't any politician just say, "I made a mistake?" Why do they have to say "I'm sorry people were offended by what I said?" That just puts the blame onto the listener. Captain Ed calls it a "halfway dodge."
Some may believe that my remarks crossed the line. To them I extend my heartfelt apologies.
Durbin apologized because some listeners didn't like what he said. There wasn't an apology for what he actually said. He didn't recant and say Gitmo wasn't like Nazi death camps or the Gulag.
It must be something genetic in politicians. From watching the video I could see Durbin getting choked up. He was bother by the reaction to his words. I'd like to believe he didn't mean to insult the troops. But his whole focus was on others' perception of his words and not the words themselves.
Durbin went on to say about those serving in the U.S. military,
They're the best. I never, ever intended any disrespect for them.
Here's what he said last week:
If I read this to you and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others - that had no concern for human beings.
But by putting Gitmo on the same level as Auschwitz and the Lyubyanka prison he compared the U.S. military to the Nazis and the Red Army. Durbin didn't take back what he said about Gitmo. He declared that U.S. troops there "had no concern for human beings." He had a chance to say he was wrong about his characterization of the United States' approach to the Islamist War. He could have mentioned some examples of how Gitmo prisoners are being treated. He could have come clean, but he didn't do that. Sen. Durbin's words may be good enough for media whore Sen. John McCain, but not for me. He doesn't deserve to remain Minority Whip, but as I've said before he won't lose that job.
"Sen. Durbin Apologizes for Gitmo Remarks"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
UPDATE: Mark Klimer thinks "[t]his one’s over."
What a Name
The Philippines Cardinal Sin is dead.
"Philippines' Iconic Cardinal Sin Dead"
June 20, 2005
Why Durbin Won't Fall
If we want to use the Sen. Trent Lott standard then it's a no-brainer that Sen. Durbin should leave his Minority Whip post for comparing Gitmo to Nazi death camps and the Soviet Gulag. (You'd think he would have learned from beating Amnesty International took a few weeks ago.) It would be sufficent punishment plus it would be good politics for the Democrats.
It won't happen. In Lott's case he would have remained Majority Leader as long as the White House approved. When it said Sen. Bill Frist was an acceptable replacement Lott was doomed. But what's interesting is that Frist was the White House's man not simply because he'd end the beating the GOP was taking. The White House wanted Frist because they wanted the Medicare drug expansion put into law. From Major Garrett's The Enduring Revolution:
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)
Lott was not only expendable but his demotion helped advance the President's agenda. In Durbin's case I don't see any tactical benefit in his removal. In fact, demoting him could harm the Democrats. With the rise of Howard Dean, M.D. as DNC chairman we know activist Democrats are angry. A good portion of them probably completely agree with Durbin's comments. They don't want him dumped because he's talking tough and taking the fight to the Republicans. Durbin is scheduled to be on the same stage as Dr. Dean in a "Paint the Nation Blue" fundraiser in Washington, D.C. As Patrick Ruffini puts it, "They're actually bragging about this? That's just bad form." But the Bush-haters, MoveOn.org, and Kos followers will scream bloody murder if Durbin if forced to fall on his sword. Durbin will survive.
"Learning from Trent Lott"
"A Better Idea Than Censure?"
"Durbin's Gitmo Remarks Draw Fire Back in Illinois"
"Durbin Tries to Quell Anger over Remarks"
President Clinton Couldn't Resist
Bill Clinton, always the attention-seeker just had to comment on Guantanamo Bay.
Well it either needs to be closed down or cleaned up. It's time that there are no more stories coming out of there about people being abused.
If I may be so blunt, what the hell can Bill Clinton say about mistreatment of people by the U.S. government? The man has little moral authority. On Clinton's watch 80 Branch Davidians met a firey end in Waco, TX. No one was fired, not even Attorney Janet Reno. Also on Clinton's watch was the awful spectacle of armed agents storming a Miami home just so little Elian Gonzalez could be shipped off to Communist Cuba.
Clinton is also a man who made fighting Islamists a law-enforcement operation instead of a military one. I won't lay full blame on the man since before Sep. 11 most of America didn't take the Islamist threat seriously, but who knows how history would be different had Clinton sent actual strike teams to knock off Osama bin Laden instead of a few cruise missiles?
"Bill Clinton's Gitmo"
My 3rd New Favorite T-Shirt
My 2nd New Favorite T-Shirt
"I Got My Free Koran and Prayer Rug at G'itmo"
June 19, 2005
My New Favorite T-Shirt
I "heart" Gitmo
More British Memos Leaked
More memos about the set up to the Iraq War have been leaked to the British press. A memo written to Foreign Minister Jack Straw reads in part,
The truth is that what has changed is not the pace of Saddam Hussein's WMD programs, but our tolerance of them post-11 September.
Exactly. Events change how we view things. New information alters our perceptions. Threats that didn't seem as dangerous suddenly became more so now that we knew the U.S. was vulnerable.
The memo goes on:
But even the best survey of Iraq's WMD programs will not show much advance in recent years on the nuclear, missile or CW/BW (chemical or biological weapons) fronts: the programs are extremely worrying but have not, as far as we know, been stepped up.
Even this knowledge of Saddam's WMD program was wrong. Nothing has been found to show he was rearming after the Persian Gulf War. Everyone, war supporter and critics, was wrong. But that doesn't mean "Bush lied; people died."
The Sunday Times gets into the legality of pre-war bombing by British and American forces. The British Foreign Office argued that bombing to soften up Iraq or tempt Saddam into reacting was illegal under international law. According to them,
allied aircraft were legally entitled to patrol the no-fly zones over the north and south of Iraq only to deter attacks by Saddam’s forces on the Kurdish and Shia populations.
Liberal Democrat Lord Goodhart said,
Putting pressure on Iraq is not something that would be a lawful activity.
The raids or "spikes of activity" General Tommy Franks used soften up Iraqi positions was "without lawful authority."
For me the U.N. has no authority. It is merely a place for nations to gather and talk. International law is a misnomer anyway. Law doesn't exist unless there's someone able to enforce it. The U.N. can't enforce anything. They can only go to member states and ask for help. Relations between states is an anarchy.
After what we've learned about the Oil-for-Food scandal that international body has no moral authority or credibility. Franks' early air war was intended to make a possible American invasion swifter and easier. That would save American lives. I'll accept the ire of international law experts in order to make our troops safer. If anti-warriors want to attack President Bush for allowing Tommy Franks to win the war they can waste their breath. The public's concern isn't so much with going in but with the perception that there's no end in sight.
Finally, let me maintain a bit of skepticism. We can't be 100% sure of the accuracy of these new memos. That's because,
[Reporter Michael] Smith told AP he protected the identity of the source he had obtained the documents from by typing copies of them on plain paper and destroying the originals.
No one has questioned the accuracy of the first leaked Downing Street Memo.
A British official told the AP the content "appeared authentic," but after Dan Rather's "fake but accurate" letters about President Bush's National Guard service I wonder. I'm not accusing Smith of forging documents. I'm just being cautious. Captain Ed is taking a harder line.
"Memos Show British Fretting Over Iraq War"
"British Bombing Raids were Illegal, Says Foreign Office"
UPDATE: Tim at Blogicus gets into Michael Smith's odd treatment of the documents.
June 18, 2005
Coffee is a Drop in the Bucket
It takes a hell of a lot of gumption for a law school to worry that its students are going into too much debt because of $3 Starbucks coffee. The example the Washington Post uses is Kirsten Daniels. Three years at Seattle University School of Law has put her $115,000 in debt. The director of career services at the law school calculated that Daniels' coffee consumption will cost her over $4000 including interest. While that is serious money it's ignoring the elephant in the room. The coffee is barely 3% of Daniels' debt. I'd think the school would be a lot more concerned with their students' debt by figuring out how to lower tuition, book costs, and fees. Heaven forbid a bastion of higher education try to control costs. Maybe after that they can then complain about students' "frivilous" spending.
House Committee Attacks Big Bird--NOT!
Bravo to the House Appropriations Committee. They slashed the federal subsidy to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by 25%. That's a start, but I would have loved to see Rep. Ralph Regula's plan to completely eliminate the subsidy get through committee.
I can hear it already. "Sean, you must hate Big Bird. What about Sesame Street? What about the children?"
We now live in an age with more television choices than any human has time to watch. That wasn't the case 30+ years ago when public television came into existence. If an act of God wiped out all the PBS stations today some network would immediately air Sesame Street. That's because there is a market for that show.
This time of endless media choices (with more popping up all the time) federal television subsidies make no sense. (And that doesn't even get into the constitutionality of it.)
Poland might have twins running the government.
Dean Counters Israel Bashers
We now know Howard Dean, M.D. will draw the rhetorical line at anti-semitism:
A handful of people at Democratic National Headquarters distributed material critical of Israel during a public forum questioning the Bush administration's Iraq policy, drawing an angry response and charges of anti-Semitism from party chairman Howard Dean on Friday.
Who were the people passing out the anti-Israel material? Were they employees of the DNC? If so will Dr. Dean fire them? I think a few names should be named so a little public shame can come down on these people.
Now let's go to Dr. Dean's statement. It's good he denounced the material. But I'm confused. Using a pejorative phrase like "white Christian party" is ok but don't bash Israel. In the world of Howard Dean, M.D. Jewish is good but white Christian is bad. How about black Christians? Are they good or bad? By the way most blacks vote we know that answer.
"Dean Condemns 'Anti-Semitic Literature'"
June 17, 2005
I don't know how Madison didn't get on this list:
The regions with the 10 highest and lowest rates of marijuana use by residents 12 and over, according to a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration:
What, is it too cold?
"We're Number One!"
Getting the Call
BBA member Blog General is being called into active service. No word of where he's going, but he writes, "it seems like perfect timing to help with security with the Iraqi elections." Wherever he goes I hope he continues to post to give us all some great perspective.
God's blessings to him, his fellow soldiers, and his family.
My Start in Reading
Steven Taylor passed on this book meme to me: "Five books I liked enough as a teen/young adult to read again as an adult." I was hoping this one wouldn't fall on my lap. I love talking about books, but this question is a little embarassing. I didn't become a book addict until my junior year in high school. When I was a kid, my mother tried hard to get me to read. She gave me the obligatory Hardy Boys book, but it didn't work. I would rather play with my Star Wars or G.I. Joe action figures or build space ships out of Legos. When I did read it was comic books or paging through my Lutheran school's set of the World Book Encyclopedia. I got into reading when I went to a week-long world affairs student conference (I watched a lot of news) and noticed all my friends were talking about the books they read. I felt out of my league and was set to fix that. Soon after I stepped into my local library...and the rest is history.
So I haven't read any of the Narnia series. LotR wasn't consumed until the movies came out. I think my Hardy Boys book is still in a box somewhere in the attic. My picks then come from my late high school/early college years--which weren't that long ago:
June 16, 2005
EU Talks to Terrorists
It's bad enough the EU sends millions of euros to prop up the broken-down Palestinian Authority. Now we have this:
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Thursday that the EU had given low-level diplomats permission for contacts with representatives of Hamas's political wing.
Rumor has it the EU will soon be engaging in "low-level" peace talks with al-Qaeda.
Let me be a little serious. Maybe this is all low-level stuff. Or maybe it's Hamas' way of getting its foot in the door. The IRA had to get started with their Shin Fein political wing. Hamas appears to be moderating if we assume the Palestinians who recently elected member are themselves moderate. But Hamas has yet to renounce violence and still calls Israel a "Zionist enemy." Peace won't take hold until that happens.
"Hamas Discloses EU Contacts; Israel Reacts Sharply"
Duck Hunt #14
Howard Dean, M.D. did a good job keeping his mouth shut this week. I wish Vice President Dick Cheney did the same. (I try to be a little more consistent than Maryland Democrats.) It was tough finding posts. I'd say thanks to all of you who submitted something, but no one did. Let's go hunting.
Pimentel Didn't Have the Guts
George Will's career is safe. I received word from the Journal Sentinel that this (not so) humble weblogger won't be a regular contributor to the op-ed page. Add this to missing out on the WISN open audition (they called the number right after me) and the creation of a TAM media empire has taken a few hits lately.
One word of advice: persistence. My pontifications won't be going away.
Wisconsin Net Outage
My mother told me a fiber cable was cut knocking the Badger State off the internet. I have no news story to support that, but I had zero net access this morning--I blamed it on the "high quality" service I get from Charter. If anyone has any details let me know.
June 15, 2005
Looking for Duck Hunt Posts
I know they're out there. Howard Dean, M.D. posts. Send me your best posts on the DNC chairman for tomorrow's latest edition of the Duck Hunt.
Teri Schiavo's autopsy has been released. Her brain was in a terrible condition:
The autopsy released Wednesday on Terri Schiavo backed her husband's contention that she was in a persistent vegetative state, finding she was severely and irreversibly brain-damaged and blind as well. It also found no evidence that she was strangled or otherwise abused before she collapsed.
The autospy vindicates Michael Schiavo to the extent that Teri might have been in a persistent vegetative state (PVS)). Maybe, maybe not. Knowing that doesn't get us any closer to deciding if a PVS should be equated with brain death. If it is then Teri wasn't killed when her feeding tube was removed. She was dead already. Those who advocated that Teri should continued to be fed could second guess themselves and wonder if they fought for a just cause. I have no regrets. There were serious questions surrounding Teri's condition. Teri's parents talked on and on about how she could be trained to swallow. Based on the medical examiner's report that wasn't possible. That still doesn't mean it was right to let her starve (actually die of thirst). I never expected Teri's condition to ever improve.
If there was a living will I would have excepted Teri's cruel death. But since there was so much doubt I sided with caution and life. I heed the words of Fr. Frank Pavone:
Her physical injuries and disabilities never made her less of a person. No amount of brain injury ever justifies denying a person proper humane care. That includes food and water.
Barbara Lyons of Wisconsin Right to Life adds [PDF]:
While the report’s findings may be of interest to some, the fact remains that a severely disabled woman was intentionally killed and in a profoundly horrible manner. This debate was never about whether Terri was abused by her husband or what the size of her brain was. It was about whether our society believes that individuals with disabilities should be treated with care and compassion or whether they should be cast aside and even killed.
And Steven Taylor is dead on when he writes, "Of course, all of this is unlikely to sway True Believers."
"Schiavo Autopsy Shows Massive Brain Damage"
UPDATE: Kevin Aylward noticed the "sloppy reporting on the autopsy." AP reporter Mitch Stacy practically says the medical examiner proved Teri was in a PVS. If you read the report (pg. 17) you find this passage:
The persistent vegetative state and minimally conscious state, are clinical diagnoses, not pathological ones.
Thus the medical examiner can't determine after death if Teri was in a PVS.
June 14, 2005
A Normal-Looking Jury
From my brief look at the Michael Jackson jurists post-trial I don't think they were some braindead morons who would refuse to find a celebrity guilty even if the accused were in possession of some bloody gloves. Eric at Classical Values writes,
A jury that could recognize the distinction between actual guilt and the prosecutorial burden of presumption of innocence might well have been able to perceive that they were supposed to be more than performers in a circus.
"When Performers Fail to Perform"
Drumwaster reminds me that today is Flag Day. A few flags even flew around the bookstore today.
Burnt to a Crisp
Basil hosts one of the more biting (and funny) Bonfire of the Vanities in some time.
Eugene Volokh reminds us that moral questions like when someone lives or dies can't be answered through the rational prism of science.
What rule we should use for deciding when someone should have the legal right not to be killed is not a scientific question. Applying the rule may be a scientific question; if we decide that only entities that have consciousness have the right not to be killed, then science can tell us whether John Smith has consciousness. But deciding on the rule is simply not a scientific issue: It's a matter of moral judgment, which science isn't equipped to provide. Science can't tell us whether the legal right not to be killed vests at conception, at viability, at consciousness, or at birth; nor can it tell us when the right dissipates.
Yes, Eugene is correct. Science doesn't answer all questions. I think a problem with what Eugene calls "scientific fundamentalism" is that those practioners haven't exposed themselves to enough non-scientific culture. Novels, poetry, music, art, and religion help us figure out what it means to be human. At least when Kass-critic Nick Gillespie took on Kass' Hawthorne selection he took him on with a selection of his own. That's not always the case with all members of the scientific fundamentalist crowd.
Griffith Confirmed by Senate
Thomas Griffith, nominee to the D.C. Court of Appeals was confirmed by a 73-24 vote in the Senate. Griffith's name wasn't on the filibuster compromise list. He wasn't very controversial. The only real issue with Griffith was some trouble with bar licenses. We'll see if the compromise holds if (or when) William Meyers and Henry Saad come up for a vote.
"Senate Confirms a Sixth Bush Judicial Nominee"
"Gut Instinct" Isn't Necessarily Bad
Many parents in Milwaukee's school choice program don't engage in "extensive research" and rely on "informal networks" to choose a school. This may be uncomfortable for some including school choice advocate Howard Fuller, but it fits in nicely with F. A. Hayek's (and maybe even Michael Oakeshott's) view of knowledge. Not all useful knowledge is in the form that can be spelled out in a book, report, or advertising piece. Even a parent's "gut instinct" is based on tacit, time-place specific knowledge the individual doesn't even realize he possesses.
"Gut Instinct Guides Parents' Choices"
June 13, 2005
Paris Hilton giving up the public life? I'll believe it when I see it. Without her exploits Paris was just a too-rich kid. With her public life she's a too-rich kid that too many of us recognize.
"Paris Hilton Plans to Give Up Public Life"
Pink Floyd Reuniting at Live 8
Roger Waters and the rest of Pink Floyd have patched things up enough to play at Live 8 next month in London.
In other Live 8 news Blur's Damon Albarn thinks the show are "too damn Anglo-Saxon." Typical Lefty artistic stupidity. How, suppose, would Bob Geldof get oodles of attention for his poverty-fighting campaign if a bunch of unknown African singers performed? Live 8 is a political event as much as a musical one. Affirmative action need not apply.
"Classic Pink Floyd Lineup to Play Live 8"
"Live 8 Concert Criticized as 'Too Anglo-Saxon'"
Michael Jackson is a Free Man
Michael Jackson was acquitted on all counts. No surprise. Was anyone? And will a celebrity ever get convicted? Discuss.
"Michael Jackson Acquitted of All Charges"
UPDATE: Red at Scared Monkeys:
Does it really seem appropriate to cheer
UPDATE II: St. Wendeler at Another Rovian Conspiracy:
Now that Jacko is "not guilty," would any parent feel comfortable letting their kid stay over at Neverland?
The jury has reached a decision in the Michael Jackson trial.
This will be the first of probably only two TAM posts on Michael Jackson. I haven't followed the case, but I think he's a sick bastard who will probably be acquitted just like most celebrities are.
"Michael Jackson Jury Reaches Verdicts"
Banned Book Returns to Japanese Shelves
Sambo, the Indian character, that's also a derogatory name for Blacks in America has returned to Japanese bookshelves after a 17-year absence.
In April, Zuiunsha, a small Tokyo publisher, bet there was still a market for a book that had charmed Japanese youngsters who as adults were unable to find it for their children.
Ironically, it was Americans who got the book banned. Little Black Sambo is on the American Library Association list of most challenged books between 1990-2000.
"'Sambo' Returns to Bookracks in Japan"
June 12, 2005
First Impressions: "ES"
Satoshi Tomiie's new mix album ES, like any good dance mix collection, has a theme. The theme of it is the return of acid house (if it actually ever left). Throughout most of the tracks was that distictive squelchy, squiggly, fuzzy acid synth that typified the dance music of the late 1990s. Along with the acid vibe was a prominent progressive feel. It feels like something coming out of a New York City club where the music is harder, and the dancing more serious.
ES starts with Kevin Freeman's "Time for Revolution." Part of the revolution is one of production. This song feels like it was made in Freeman's bedroom studio (if he has one). I don't mean that in a bad way. The technology to enable artists to make music practially anywhere expands sonic experimentation. All music lovers should appreciate that. "Revolution" goes for the old school, Kraftwerk, Derrick May sound. There's a lack of a distinctive bass drum, acid flourishes, and sirens. This is a good, entertaining start to the mix. What would be more entertaining would be something more carnal.
"Revolution" mixes beautifully into Pastaboys' "Tribute." It's still techno but incorporates dark, progressive sounds. Sexy vocals tell you to "Shake your body down" and "Do it to me, I'll do it to you." Combine that with a minimal melody that attatches to the bass and goes straight to your hips, and you have something almost erotic.
Avenue D's "You Love This Ass" and Bush II Bush's "Piano Track" loosen things up and move into the house range of dance music. A couple uneventful tracks pass until we come to Peace Division's "Peaces of Gold." Here we have something dark and sexy with a nice synth build up that makes it epic sounding. Think a dark, house version of Moby's "God Moving Over the Face of the Waters."
Chab's "You And Me" (Satoshi Tomiie ES Edit) and Maskio's "Wait (I Know What You Need)" take us to a progressive level. Texture replaces melody with driving bass and weird, hypnotic vocals. I swear Smegol is telling me, "I know what you need" on the Maskio track.
JheReal's remix of Uppfade's "Friday Loops" is a funky, wide open house song. This is the definite arm waver with ass-shaking bass. Later on Beckers' "Fake" continues the positive energy output with driving keyboards. And if you pay attention to the lyrics (and are old enough) you'll recognize them from Living Colour's "Desparate People."
For a mix released in the summer ES doesn't have any smiley, cheery tracks--Ibiza trance this ain't. Regardless, ES' combination of styles (dare I lable it "tech progressive?") and middle-of-the night vibe should provide ample listening value.
Silicon Valley's Brat Pack
When Silicon Valley gets a big long article in the NY Times Magazine I wonder if a tech startup boom is at hand or another bubble is soon to arrive. If venture capital funding is any indication Silicon Valley doesn't even have a boom yet:
Talk of what some in Silicon Valley are calling Web 2.0 began about two years ago. What started as a self-conscious whisper has now turned into a full-throated rallying cry. Significantly, the venture capitalists of Sand Hill Road have joined the chorus. Last year, they sank $7.5 billion into Bay Area startups. That's still a fraction of the staggering sums they invested during the bubble (the high-water mark was $33.2 billion in 2000), but once again they are willing to gamble on the latest startups.
Here is Mark Pincus, founder of Tribe.net:
have egos, they have their insecurities, they're concerned about their current standing in the world. ''Everyone's watching everyone else. Like Hollywood, there's this pecking order, and everyone is fundamentally aware of where they stand in the pecking order. They may pretend like they don't, but they know it.
He also said, "''There's an A-list here, and then there's everyone else. And I'm not A-list."
Then there's Joe Kraus, one of the founders of Excite on appreciation by the Valley's elite:
''You can't underestimate the good feeling you get when people in your wider social circle think you created something really, really cool.
"If You Can Make It in Silicon Valley, You Can Make It . . . in Silicon Valley Again"
In a display of musical talent and giving Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice performed in a charity concert at the Kennedy Center:
Rice's rare and unpublicized appearance at the piano marked a striking departure from her routine as America's No. 1 diplomat. A pianist from the age of 3 she played a half-dozen selections to accompany Charity Sunshine, a 21-year-old singer who was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension a little more than a year ago.
Intelligent, cultured, talented, even rather sexy. The lack of executive experience keeps me from jumping on the Draft Condi bandwagon.
"Rice Takes to Stage to Aid Ailing Soprano"
June 11, 2005
We are witnessing fissures in the Democratic Party. The cause of the tremors is the rhetoric of DNC chairman Howard Dean, M.D. D.C. Democrats have been backing away from Dr. Dean. Today, the DNC executive committee stood firmly behind their leader. One member said, "I hope Governor Dean will remember that he didn't get elected to be a wimp." Another said, "Howard Dean is going to be much more aggressive, much more outspoken and much more of a risk-taker outside the Beltway than any chairman has been. We knew that."
Howard Dean, M.D. plays well to a Democratic base that has become more radicalized by the firey, reckless talk of Dr. Dean, MoveOn.org, Kos, and others. Dr. Dean can continue to say all the ridiculous things he's said. He will not be replaced or asked to step down because rank-and-file Democrats like what he's saying. Democrats want Dean to "stand up" for them. If that means alienated independents and burning bridges with Republicans so be it.
While the Democrats are in a little internal strife this actually plays well for Sen. Clinton. Should she use the same triagulation tactics as her husband, she could position herself more in the middle and appear to be not as reckless as rank-and-file Democrats or "white, Christian" Repubicans.
"Democratic Leaders Back Dean, Don't Want 'Wimp'"
Foreign Debt Cancellation
The G8 agreed to write off billions of dollars of highly impoverished third-world countries. Finance ministers from the Group of Eight industrialized nations agreed Saturday to a historic deal canceling at least $40 billion worth of debt owed by the world's poorest nations.
Britain Treasury chief Gordon Brown said 18 countries, many in sub-Saharan Africa, will benefit immediately from the deal to scrap 100 percent of the debt they owe to the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the African Development Bank.
As many as 20 other countries could be eligible if they meet strict targets for good governance and tackling corruption, leading to a total debt relief package of more than $55 billion.
Now, Britain wants to increase aid from rich countries. Will this be in the form of more debt? Will we have to have another conference in 10-20 years to cancel the new debt? Or if the new aid will simply be grants what kind of controls will be in place to make sure the aid is used effectively and that meaninful, political economic change is enacted to life people out of poverty?
"G8 Agrees to Debt Relief for Poor Nations"
A New Year's Gone Awry
Alex Lifeson had one really bad New Year's Eve in 2004. He, his son, and his son's wife got into an altercation with hotel security and local police. What started with four felonies got eventually worked down to misdemeanors with suspended sentences. Lifeson is still furious and is now suing.
"Rush Guitarist Lifeson Sues and Speaks"
Holloway Probably Dead
After being missing this long did anyone seriously expect the woman to be alive?
Expect this to be the only TAM post on Natalee Holloway.
"BREAKING- Natalee Holloway - Something Bad has Happened"
June 10, 2005
TAM Quiet Time
No posts until later today. My mother's uncle died this week, and I have to attend the funeral in Madison. You have no reason to be bored. The Duck Hunt below has plenty of links.
June 09, 2005
The Return of the Duck Hunt
The greatest, best, most stupendous (and only, I think) linkfest devoted to that former Vermont governor, failed Presidential candidate, and current DNC chairman Howard Dean, M.D. has returned for your reading pleasure. Thanks for the Duck Hunt's return must be given to Howard the Duck himself. His ability to embarass himself and his party while damaging the DNC as an institution is garnering plenty of talk in the blogosphere. The Duck Hunt will be a source for some of the best out there.
This Duck Hunt incarnation will be a little different than when Dr. Dean was running for President. Instead of me doing all the searching (hunting) for great posts I'm opening it up for submissions. Send your Howard Dean, M.D. posts to sean--at--this domain. I also want to turn the Duck Hunt into a traveling linkfest like the Carnival of the Vanities or Carnival of the Capitalists. So, if you're interested in hosting a future edition of the Duck Hunt e-mail me.
Without further ado the newly reincarnated Duck Hunt:
Join in the fun by linking to the Duck Hunt. If you have an MT-powered weblog, just trackback to this post, and it will appear below. If your weblog software is incapable of trackbacks use Kevin's Trackback Form.
Weblogs Threat to ChiComs
Communist China will be requiring webloggers to register with the government. The communists may claim they want to protect their citizens from "sex, violence, and superstitions," but common sense knows it's about controlling political messages. Peter Glover (TAM sponsor) writes,
The Cybercast News Service which broke the story quotes a recently released study of Internet filtering published by the OpenNet Initiative, a collaborative partnership between universities in the US, Canada and Britain. It described China's online censorship as "the most sophisticated effort of its kind in the world...pervasive, sophisticated and effective."
We American webloggers are really spoiled compared to some of our international brethren.
"China Clamps Down on Blogs"
Taking Over Amnesty
Charles Bird has an interesting idea:
If Amnesty International is truly a democratic organization, then what this group needs is not shunning and derision and dismissal. Rather, it needs more members who can steer it back to its historical mission. This leads me to the question in the title of this post: Should conservatives beat 'em by joining 'em? To me, the answer is yes, and that's why I joined Amnesty International today. That's right. I am now a member in good standing. The executive director of Amnesty International USA, William Schulz, sent me a nice and friendly e-mail thanking me for joining his group and for providing financial support.
I'll have to think about that. I'm pretty sure I don't support AI's mission. My problem is with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
"Amnesty Travesty Part III: Should Conservatives Beat 'Em by Joining 'Em?"
Few people can speak of gulags with as much authority as Anne Applebaum. She takes Amnesty International to task for the end of their political neutrality and their "recent misuse of the word 'gulag.'"
Ozzy Digs 'Em
Touring with both Britney Spears and Ozzy Osbourne. Jada Pinkett Smith's band Wicked Wisdom will take claim to that bit of trivia. Ozzfesters will just love this band.
"Osbourne Defends Wicked Wisdom's Ozzfest Slot"
Freezing the Frozen Tundra
The title makes no sense. So what? Hockey is coming to Lambeau Field.
Lambeau Field will be the site of a college hockey game next February, the team announced today. The historic field will be converted into an outdoor ice hockey stadium for the Frozen Tundra Hockey Classic, featuring the Wisconsin Badgers skating against the Ohio State Buckeyes.
I'm so there.
"Hockey at Lambeau Field"
June 08, 2005
Is It Hayek?
I'm stealing this from Greg Ransom who used to do this on the now defunked HAYEK-L e-mail list.
Meanwhile, to expose humans' bounded rationality when it comes to economic reasoning is not to kick the legs out from under traditional economics, as is frequently claimed by diehard leftists. The power and legitimacy of markets doesn't depend on perfectly "rational" or consistent choices, but merely on relatively consistent behaviour by individuals acting on their unique knowledge of their circumstances and desires. Although we may be philosophically deluded in thinking that we "know our own minds," we certainly know them way better than those who would plan our affairs for us, whose "folly and presumption" Adam Smith, again, so perceptively noted.
Answer below the fold.
Answer: It isn't Hayek. It's Peter Foster.
Adding to the Population
Greg Ransom's family has been blessed with another child. Congratulations.
Advertising on Weblogs
Weblog cliques get their own advertising network with angel investors.
[John Battelle] said he's using his own editorial judgment to decide which bloggers to invite to join the network, but added that his judgment is informed by the community of bloggers that link to each other.
Collusion in Teachers Health Care
Owen at Boots & Sabers got a hold of a very interesting e-mail. It shows WEA Trust, an insurance company created by the Wisconsin teachers union, was talking with Dean Health Plan about a non-compete agreement in the public school market. Owen writes,
What we have here is evidence of an act of collusion between insurance companies whereby they effectively grant WEA Trust a monopoly within the public school market.
What did Dean Health get in return? I'd guess it could be some kind of market segregation agreement. Did WEA Trust agree to not enter non-school markets that Dean Health serves? Or was something more nefarious agreed to?
Is this legal? If Microsoft would found with a memo like this the software giant would have been broken up.
This reminds me of the Adam Smith quote about collusion:
People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.
In this case prices were raised and the taxpayers are stuck with the bill.
How long until a Wisconsin MSM outlet takes up this juicy story?
"Securing WEA Trusts' Monopoly"
Frank, Thanks for the Traffic
It's funny how a simple link to a picture of a church years ago can really get some traffic. But if that church is the distinctive Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Wauwatosa, WI and its designer, Frank Lloyd Wright has a birthday today no more explanation is needed. Here's the Wikipedia entry for Wisconsin's greatest architect.
A Duck's B-Day
Yesterday was Donald Duck's birthday. Even though Donald isn't smart enough to wear pants in public he has to have more sense than his fowl friend running the DNC, Howard "the Duck" Dean, M.D. The way some Democrats are running away from the famous screamer they'd prefer the Disney character too.
June 07, 2005
Hilltoppers vs. Golden Eagles
Marquette University's quest for a new, non-Warriors nickname is down to two choices: Hilltoppers or Golden Eagles. It'd be nice to know how many people wrote in Warriors but we don't even know the vote totals from the first round:
The school declined to announce any detailed information on how the first round of voting broke down. According to a university press release, "it was mutually agreed between Marquette and Advantage Research Inc., the independent research firm conducting the poll, that information from the first poll will be released after the second poll has been completed so as not to introduce bias into the vote."
It would be quite a scoop is both pieces of information were leaked to say a local weblogger *wink* *wink*.
"MU Nickname List Pared to Golden Eagles, Hilltoppers"
According to CNN TAM is "Civilized"
Between the "Moonbat Ocean" and the "Wingnut Hordes" lies TAM and the Coalition of the Chillin. I'm a little worried. TAM is pretty much that bastion of stability known as the Balkins.
Leftists to Dominate Ground Zero
If Lefties have their way Ground Zero will be perch to promote all their failed ideas instead of a place honoring the dead:
The World Trade Center Memorial Cultural Complex will be an imposing edifice wedged in the place where the Twin Towers once stood. It will serve as the primary "gateway" to the underground area where the names of the lost are chiseled into concrete. The organizers of its principal tenant, the International Freedom Center (IFC), have stated that they intend to take us on "a journey through the history of freedom" -- but do not be fooled into thinking that their idea of freedom is the same as that of those Marines. To the IFC's organizers, it is not only history's triumphs that illuminate, but also its failures. The public will have come to see 9/11 but will be given a high-tech, multimedia tutorial about man's inhumanity to man, from Native American genocide to the lynchings and cross-burnings of the Jim Crow South, from the Third Reich's Final Solution to the Soviet gulags and beyond. This is a history all should know and learn, but dispensing it over the ashes of Ground Zero is like creating a Museum of Tolerance over the sunken graves of the USS Arizona.
This is what happens when you put the memorial underground instead of re-awakening grand sculpture as an art form. I put part of the blame on those who accepted that awful Oklahoma City National Memorial. Since New York is doing a fine job screwing this up I say leave the site barren.
People Actually Bought That?
Rob Thomas' solo album has been certified platinum. Over one million people own that album. I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
"AC/DC's Back In Black Tips 21 Million Mark"
Things are Still Good
The Brewers win again, the Yankees lose again, and so do the Cubs. It's deja vu all over again.
"Milwaukee 2, NY Yankees 1"
Expect to Hear the Sky is Falling
Bush bashers and economic nationalists will be freaking out over the news that GM will lay off 25,000 workers. Talk of a "jobless recovery" will return to political economic conversation. But what you won't hear are the all the jobs foreign companies like Hyundai are bringing to the states.
"GM Plans to Cut 25,000 U.S. Jobs by 2008"
Things are Good
The Brewers win, the Yankees lose, and so do the Cubs. Baseball in Milwaukee is pretty sweet for a few hours.
Miller Park last night was warm, great for sitting back, drinking cold beverages, and watching a good baseball game. The Yankees' Randy Johnson didn't have his best game, but when the game was tied he really turned it on. Until that point he was throwing a lot of balls. Then the strikes came. I knew then why he's a five-time Cy Young winner. But Junior Spivey hit the go-ahead home run, and a great catch by Geoff Jenkins (I was up too high to see it) sealed the victory.
Two Interesting Apple Items
Next year, Apple will start selling computers with "Intel Inside" [insert catchy jingle here]. Also, there will be podcasting support in the next update to iTunes.
I like both stories. The first means Mac notebooks might come down in price where I'd be really tempted to try one. The second item means it will be much easier for me to listen to my favorite podcasts.
"Apple to Switch Macs to Intel Chips"
"Apple Vows to Make Podcasting Easier"
Saved by the Professor
Marquette University professor John McAdams has the results of Mark Belling's poll. With over 92% of the vote Warriors won. I'm not surprised it won, but I am surprised at the margin. I wonder how many Warrior write-ins the offical university poll got? I'm sure Warriors won there too, but the pig-headed administration will never let that info escape.
"Belling’s Nickname Straw Poll"
June 06, 2005
I'm off with my father to the Brewers-Yankees game. We have nosebleed seats at Miller Park. Until later tonight...maybe.
Belling's Warrior Vote
I just turned on Mark Belling's show. I missed the vote tallies for his Marquette nickname vote, but it sounds like Warriors was a strong winner. Belling isn't smart enough to post the results on his website so I don't know how much Warriors won by. Can any of my Belling-listening readers help me out?
Judge Won't Overturn Washington Governor's Election
Although Judge John Bridges found, in Andy McDonald's words, "many irregularities" it wasn't enough proof for him to void Gov. Christine Gregoire's victory over Dino Rossi last November. He contends that voters have the power to change laws to make sure elections are run better. This brings this response from an e-mailer to Michelle Malkin:
So, these other bloggers may be advocating better organization next time and better get-out-the-vote efforts, but as long they allow people who will lie, cheat and steal to count the votes, the honest folk will never win.
Intervening in Darfur
Owen has some questions about the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board considering American military action in Sudan:
If the act of genocide justifies the use of force, then why wasn’t Saddam’s slaughter of the Kurds and his political opponents enough justification to go to war in Iraq?
It's not a "shifting standard" as much as the belief that military action that benefits the U.S. is considered selfish and wrong while military action somewhere not in America's interest is a demonstration of goodwill. This is how the Clinton administration ran its foreign policy for eight years. Saddam and Osama bin Laden only had a few smart bombs and cruise missles tossed at them while so much effort and resources were put into the Balkans. This ill thinking is caused by a belief in the infallible virtue of selflessness.
For the record, I'd support some logistical, intelligence, and communication support for a multi-national force in Darfur. But so far I see no real U.S. interest there even with all the suffering taking place. Calls by Glenn Reynolds that "we need to be doing more. A lot more," show his political views are even outside the libertarian box many try to put him in.
"Use of Force in Sudan"
Supreme Court Rules on Medical Marijuana
Drug legalization isn't one of the big issues for me, but I do find today's Supreme Court decision on medical marijuana interesting. The court ruled the federal government can prosecute patients who use marijuana for medical reasons. What I find strange is inconsistency toward substances. People can abuse marijuana. That's why many still support the ban. But other substances that have medical benefits can be abused yet are still legal. OxyCotin is one. That drug is a powerful pain killer, but its best-known abuser is Rush Limbaugh. So according to the Supreme Court OxyCotin remains legal but marijuana isn't merely because of a Congressional act. I haven't read the opinion so this may be constitutionally logical without being everyday-life logical.
"Court Rules Against Pot for Sick People"
UPDATE: Captain Ed praises the Stevens-led majority for their "judicial restraint and conservatism" and chastises Renquist, Thomas, and O'Connor for advocating judicial activism.
"SCOTUS Harshes Everyone's Mellow"
UPDATE: Lots of smart weblogging legal minds are going over the case at SCOTUSblog. Just start at the top and read down.
Carnival of the Capitalists
Get your fill of econ and business posts at the Carnival of the Capitalists hosted this week by GalaTime.
Gitmo Guards' Perspective
If you're one of those who thinks Guantanamo Bay really is a "gulag" (or someone who hates anonymous sources) then take this story with a grain of salt. But do realize those kept at Gitmo aren't political prisoners in the vein of an Andre Sakharov. These are people who would like nothing more than to strap on some explosives, find a group of Americans, and go "boom!"
"Guantanamo Guards Tell of Prisoner Attack"
The head of Amnesty International USA, William Schulz doesn't seem to know much.
Despite highly publicized charges of U.S. mistreatment of prisoners at Guantanamo, the head of the Amnesty International USA said on Sunday the group doesn't "know for sure" that the military is running a "gulag."
Schultz doesn't know if Gitmo is a gulag, doesn't know if Rumsfeld approved torturning prisoners there, and doesn't know if Red Cross officials have had access to prisoners. But that didn't stop him from demanding that "independent human rights organizations" (i.e. Amnesty International) be allowed to traipse around Gitmo. Imagine if Schultz were allowed there. He'd find a prisoner with a sunburn and claim the U.S. is evil for not providing sunblock with a high enough SPH. The military could be feeding them wonderful meals with Twinkies for dessert and Schultz would complain the U.S. was engaging in caloric torture.
Schultz's ignorance egged on Sen. Joe Biden and his ridiculous call to close down Gitmo. The whole reason those Islamists are there are to keep them under U.S. watch and away from the mainland. It's kind of hard (politically and logistically) for al Qaeda to run an operation out of Cuba. Imagine the uproar from local Congressmen and Senators if these prisoners were put up on a base in Florida?
Biden said something even more ridiculous: "More Americans are in jeopardy as a consequence of the perception that exists worldwide with its existence than if there were no (Guantanamo)."
We're better off without Gitmo? What's the alternative? Simply release people who want to destroy America? Or should we just shoot them shortly after capture?
Someone get Schultz a copy of Anne Applebaum's fine book and Sen. Biden some sensible ideas to combat the violence we face.
"'Don't Know for Sure' about Guantanamo: Amnesty USA"
Ali G Question
This may be the first time Ali G has ever been mentioned on TAM. I've never watched the HBO show until I was channel surfing last night. It was the 2003 episode where Ali G interviewed Newt Gingrich. That interview was pointless because Ali G looked like an idiot and Newt didn't make an ass out of himself. I'm more interested in the segment from NYC's fashion week. Some guy named "Bruno" was making some of the city's top designers look like complete idiots who's only talent is selling ugly clothes to a gullible public. Through some simple editing these designers were contradicting themselves and saying outrageous things like what a sense of style Osama bin Laden has and if you don't have a "fashion sense" you don't belong in NYC. There was one tasteless scene where a designer didn't mind Bruno uttering a Holocaust joke.
Does anyone know of a transcript to this show or a video clip of this segment?
June 05, 2005
With Roberto Maroni's talk about bringing back the lira Jonathan Last asks, "What is the E.U.'s stance on secession by a member nation? Would they go to war to keep a member state?"
Only if France wanted to leave and Germany said no. It wouldn't be much of war since the French would just surrender.
What Illegal Substance Do They Have in There?
Jay might not realize it but he gives us first-hand information that Starbucks is indeed a cult. Why else would someone wait patiently for 15 minutes for a frappucino, a "heart attacks in a creamy glass?"
"Saturday Night Frap Rush"
June 04, 2005
So far I've read no reports of riots in the Muslim world. Urine got on a Quran. Come on. That has to be worth a suicide bomber or two.
"Military Releases Koran-Abuse Findings"
Mahashaya, May I Take Your Order?
Outsourcing fast food orders.
More and more pizza restaurants -- including two chains in the Washington area -- are relying on operators at call centers to take orders for delivery and give employees more time and space to focus on food preparation.
Hmm. You just know the economic nationalists will go nuts when McDonald's sets up a call center in Bangalore.
"Call Centers for Fast Food Now a Remote Possibility"
I missed Dounut Day at Krispy Kreme! :-(
I have no excuse. The other Shawn even reminded me.
"Fattening Us up for the Kill"
Alert! Alert! Beware of Riots!
Expect the Muslim world to explode due to new U.S. military revelations:
U.S. military officials say no guard at the Guantanamo Bay prison for terror suspects flushed a detainee's Quran down the toilet, but they disclosed that a Muslim holy book was splashed with urine. In other newly disclosed incidents, a detainee's Quran was deliberately kicked and another's was stepped on.
It's the end of the world. Some Qurans got messed up. Gitmo is the Gulag! In Islamists' minds this is grounds for bombing anything that even smells slightly American (or Israeli for good measure).
In other news, at my bookstore last night I watched a Quran topple over on a shelf. SHUDDER! I expect a terrorist to walk in and blow himself up any day now.
"U.S. Confirms Gitmo Soldier Kicked Quran"
UPDATE: Captain Ed offers some vital perspective.
If American servicemen at Gitmo have beaten or tortured prisoners, we need to know about it and put a stop to it. However, all of this hue and cry over how we treat printed material -- and even the steps that the Pentagon put in place to treat it "respectfully", such as requiring gloves and such -- demonstrate a complete lack of perspective about who and what our enemy is. These are the same people that put grenades in dolls so that children get maimed and killed when they pick them up, a favorite Taliban tactic in Afghanistan. They fought for the same lunatic leaders who now kill Americans and Iraqis in the Sunni Triangle with carbombs and perhaps-not-volunteer suicide bombers.
It's nice to know what the MSM can complain about when we're winning the Islamist War.
"The Self-Indulgence Of The American Media And Leftist Establishment"
Dump the Euro?
We should have figured that the rejection of the EU constitution by both France and the Netherlands would inspire some re-thinking of the whole united Europe enterprise.
Italy should consider leaving the single currency and reintroducing the lira, Welfare Minister Roberto Maroni said in a newspaper interview on Friday.
Now, Maroni may be a "crank" so take his comments with a grain of salt. Now, if someone like Berlusconi starts saying stuff like this watch out.
UPDATE: Kevin at Lakeshore Laments thinks duming the Euro "would be disastrous for European economic recovery." He also thinks "Multiple currencies create more headaches and more hassle when shipping between nations - especially when doing it over a continent like Europe." But in today's highly digitized age aren't exchange rates easily figured with just a few clicks of the keyboard?
UPDATE II: James Joyner doesn't think it wise for Italy to dump the euro.
While I've long been a Euroskeptic, the idea of a European free trade zone has always made sense and a common currency is just a logical extension of that.
Unless the value of the currency is pegged wrong as happened in Germany's case.
"Italian Minister Calls for Lira’s Return"
June 03, 2005
Unless many good things happen we may see the end of a Milwaukee cultural institution. The Milwaukee Public Museum in the past few weeks has shown itself to be a financial disaster. They have a $7 million budget deficit, have already laid off 56 people with more to come.
Museum president and CEO Michael Stafford resigned this morning citing "the impact of negative publicity these past weeks" that has "my effectiveness as a leader and fundraiser in this community." In other words, no one has any faith in him. That's not a surprise since during his 18 month term the museum went from popular crowd pleaser to financial embarassment.
So far there has been no evidence Stafford did anything dishonest, unethical, or illegal to bring about the museum's demise. A Milwaukee County audit is suppose to be finished next week. What we do know is this collapse occured on Stafford's watch. Museum Board Chairman David Meissner can defend Stafford all he wants by saying Stafford was "not the cause of the museum's current financial hardship." We do know the museum was fine financially before Stafford arrive, and now it's on critical life support. If Meissner knows who is responsible for this mess he should let us know. If he doesn't maybe he should consider resigning too since a board chairman should have some inkling of what is going on.
"Public Museum President Stafford Resigns"
Amazing Time Span
Now, a company shutting down part of its operation wouldn't normally justify a TAM post. The economy is inherently dynamic. New ideas and resources are tried daily. That's understandable and praisworthy. But I have to mention Badger Paper Mills in Peshtigo. They're shutting down a papermaking machine that they've been running for 70 years! Human beings are about the only that lasts 70 years anymore. Jobs will be lost but credit must be giving to those who had the ingenuity to keep that hunk operating profitably for so long.
"Badger Shutting Down a Machine"
It's always painful when Dennis Getto puts together his list of the 30 best Milwaukee-area resturants. If the hunger pangs don't hurt I know my wallet soon will be.
"Served with Distinction"
June 02, 2005
Not Weird Enough
The art world is screwed up when a "normal" painter stirs controversy for being "conventional."
Eyes of the Gods
That's what the U.N. expects us to believe they have when they claim "that material that could be used to make biological or chemical weapons and banned long-range missiles has been removed from 109 sites in Iraq." They claim that valves, pumps, pipes, and "fermenters ranging in size from 2 gallons to 1,250 gallons" have been removed. Their evidence? Satellite photos. From hundreds of miles up U.N. experts think they can see a two-gallon fermenter and some valves? And I thought Iraq wasn't capable of making WMD. I'm skeptical and slightly confused.
"U.N.: Weapons Equipment Missing in Iraq"
The teachers unions and public school backers should be happy with this year's National Spelling Bee winner, Anurag Kashyap. He goes to a public school. Pat Buchanan and immigration opponents will not be pleased.
Has winning the National Spelling Bee been a precursor to future fame? Or do these winners end up being unknown savants?
Lakeshore Laments has grown up and ditched BlogSpot. Nice looking site.
That Other Big Secret is Still Secret
One 1970s mystery has been solved with the announcement of Deep Throat, but another one still remains: Who is Carly Simon singing about in "You're So Vain"?
"It's about Mark Felt!" Simon, 59, joked by phone Wednesday from her home in Martha's Vineyard, referring to the former FBI official who has said he was Deep Throat.
Well, if Simon could get Dick Ebersol to cough up $50,000 I'm sure she could sell the answer to someone for a $1 million who could then make it public and donate the cash to charity.
If the vain man is Warren Beatty will we be hearing from him when he's 90, old, decrepit, and forgotten?
"You Probably Think this Story's About..."
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam]
Watergate's Media Effect
Watergate doesn't interest me a whole lot. Which is surprising in a weird, almost-mystical way. I wasn't yet born during much of the investigation, but I was in the womb during some of the Congressional hearings. My mother didn't have anything else to do so she (and I) watched them. Maybe that explains my status as a political junkie--it doesn't explain my conservatism.
Even though Watergate is mostly trivia to me I see one of its effects daily. The MSM has yielded to the utopian idea that the media should "save the world." They emulate Woodward and Bernstein hoping to find their own Deep Throat. Reporters want the fame, fortune, and historic note along with their big-name scalp to put in their trophy case. "Gotcha" journalism and hyper-cynicism are the name of the game.
"Deep Throat's Legacy"
Cox as SEC Chief
President Bush will nominate Rep. Chris Cox to be the next SEC chief. Current SEC chairman William Donaldson is retiring. I don't like this. Cox is one of the biggest tax cuttering in the House. I wonder if this is a sign the President has seen enough tax cuts. This does not bode well since raising Social Security taxes is seen as a possible way to "fix" the welfare state retirement program. We need as many anti-tax people in Congress as possible.
"Bush to Nominate Rep. Cox for SEC Chairman"
Out on the Line
Today, I'm going to see if I can rangle up enough guts and technical skill to make a short practice clip for Saturday's open audition for WISN radio.
Another opportunity is being a local columnist for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Due to the plethora of submissions it will be a few more weeks until the paper names their new writers. My chances with the paper are better because: 1.) I've done a lot more writing [five+ years worth on TAM!]; 2.) the paper has upped the number of new writers from 6 to 12. That doubles my still small odds. Wish me luck with both.
June 01, 2005
Dutch voters have rejected the EU constitution by a larger percentage than the French. According to the AP voters feared the loss of sovereignty while some worried about Turkey one day becoming a member. We'll see more stories about the European "crack up" but remember the two votes in the past few days doesn't dismantle anything. The EU continues to be a common market. The euro continues to be the continental currency. Further integration is what's been defeated by French and Dutch voters.
"Dutch Voters Reject EU Constitution"
More than Money
Mike Krempasky makes a great clarification about webloggers' political contributions. Taking ads or campaign contributions aren't the only thing the FEC is thinking about regulating:
If you sell advertising on the open market and then give an ad away to a regulated political entity - you're stuck. Worse would be the FEC determining that favorable blog posts were the equivalent to advertising.
Should the FEC be so foolish TAM will be having someone flaunt from afar.
"Sigh. More on the FEC"
mtpolitics.net is no more. Bummer.
All the best to Craig and his meatspace-only life.
Limbaugh: Talk Radio Tutor
Rev. Al Sharpton learning talk radio skills from the master Rush Limbaugh? Sounds good to me. The on-air learning would be entertaining. Rush would get no credit from the Left, but inviting Sharpton on his show would describe a man sure of himself and his career and willing to help another. If Rush is smart and sees some real potential in Sharpton a strategic investment could be very profitable.
If WTMJ radio is any indication we'll be putting up with reporters' awe of Woodward and Bernstein for days if not weeks. Even with reporters who are my age, too young to have witnessed the events of Watergate first-hand, there's this sense of wonder. They're telling me, "Those two took down a President. They saved the country." With falling readership, viewers, and public credibility I guess the MSM needs to grab on to something to maintain their self-worth. Call me cynical (and it starts at a young age) but I'm already tired of the self-praise.
Dean Esmay sees an unintended consequence of Woodward and Bernstein's Nixon trophy:
A bigger concern to me is that the entire Watergate affair kicked off an obsession with scandal by the press in Washington. It also started the long, nasty, and irresponsible trend toward greater and greater use of annonymous sources. Mind you, Woodward and Bernstein were very responsible in how they used their anonymous source, printing nothing that they could not get rock-solid confirmation on. Too bad our current press corps lacks their fundamental integrity.
Every reporter today dreams of putting their own scalp on the wall. And it's not just MSM reporters. With the quick (and easy?) success of knocking off Sen. Trent Lott, Dan Rather, and Eason Jordan, many webloggers crave their own time in the spotlight when they take down a member of the old guard.
What is needed is significant introspection by investigators, both old school and new. They should ask themselves if what they are reporting/analyzing is really for their own self-promotion or for the betterment of their readers. This isn't always an either/or situation, but many see a scalp as their way to the top.
"W. Mark Felt Was Deep Throat"
UPDATE: Howard Kurtz follows in Dean's vein of thought:
But it must also be said that while Watergate and "All the President's Men" briefly turned journalists into heroes, they may have contributed to the long-term credibility problems of the profession. Too many journalists became sloppy with anonymous sources, some of whom didn't have first-hand knowledge of what they were talking about, and some reporters tried to pump every two-bit scandal into a "-gate." Having been lied to by the Nixon White House, journalists became more confrontational, more prosecutorial and more willing to assume that politicians must be lying. And the news business is still paying the price for some of those excesses.
"Is Deep Throat a Hero or a Villain?"