August 31, 2005
Possible Gas Shortages
Me and my big mouth. Gas hit $3.30 in places around Milwaukee. $3.50-3.75 isn't out of the question. Now, gas stations fear shortages. The problem is state law that says stations can only changes prices once in a 24-hour period. If that price is below the point where supply equals demand then we will have shortages. This law is an instance of putting emotion and "fairness" (whatever that means) before economic logic.
"$3.50 Gas Could Be Next"
Jürgen Trittin, Germany's environmental minister, can crow all he wants that it's President Bush's fault that Katrina was so powerful. The next time a disaster hits Germany I'll just blame it on the Holocaust. It makes about as much sense.
"Katrina Should be A Lesson To US on Global Warming"
Don Surber hosts the best of the worst with the Bonfire of the Vanities.
Times' Caption Caper
Armavirumque's James Panero catches the NY Times in a Walter Duranty moment.
"What Happen on Bourbon Street"
August 30, 2005
Nagin's Poor Planning?
New Orleans mayor Ray Nagin told CNN's Aaron Brown that the thousands stuck in the leaking Superdome may be there a week(!) because of the flood waters. Add this to the looting begining to plague the city and the Big Easy is becoming the island from Lord of the Flies. Brown gave the mayor and Louisiana officials the benefit of the doubt when he inquired why 3500 national guardsmen haven't arrived yet in the city. He told his audience that people can't plan for every possibility in a catastrophe. Events sometimes smack you upside the head--. The same could have been said of Baghdad after Saddam's army dissolved and vanished. The U.S. was pelted with indignation from the world community (and internal dissenters) that Donald Rumsfeld didn't have enough boots on the ground to quell looters. The unexpected happens no matter how much one plans. I doubt Nagin will get half as much criticism in New Orleans as the Bush White House got/is getting in Iraq.
New King's X
I've loved the band since high school. They are a power trio in the vein of Rush. Only these guys can all sing, love harmonies, feel the funk, and never felt the need to make 20-minute sci-fi rock pieces.
They've been off major lables for some time. When with Atlantic they mesmerised me with Gretchen Goes to Nebraska and Faith, Hope, Love. A lot of people really like the emotional heft and darkness of Dogman. (Me, I'm a sucker for their vocal harmonies.) Please Come Home...Mr. Bulbous was psychedelic but with emotional depth. Their most recent studio album Black Like Sunday had a few good songs, but it was strickly for the hard-core King's X fan. (The songs were ones lying around from the 80s.) I can't say anything about their double-CD live album because I still don't have it. Their new album Ogre Tones comes out 09.27. Now, if you're really gung-ho the band is selling a demo CD from their Dogman sessions.
Going home from work today I saw a station selling gas for $2.99. I'm so glad I filled up Sunday and saved about $0.30/gallon. I won't be shocked to see $3.25/gal gas within a week. Expect a mild recession and even an interest rate cut by Alan Greenspan.
Carnival of the Vanities #154
INCITE hosts this week's Carnival of the Vanities. It's a "small" one, only 48 posts.
"When the Levee Breaks..."
With Katrina moving slightly to the east when it came ashore yesterday, I figured New Orleans lucked out again by not getting a direct hit by a powerful hurricane. Storm surges flooded the east, but today the levees broke engulfing 80% of the city. The beloved French Quarter with her old, romantic buildings is two feet underwater. It can't be good when so much of the city is underwater. Survivors are being sent to the already-damaged Superdome. Where they'll go next no one knows. To make matters worse, looters now roam. Local officals want martial law imposed. Yikes!
I've already donated to the Red Cross. I hope you will too. If you want to give to another charity the California Yankee has a list. Please give. Let's release one of the most power forces on earth: American charity. It helped tsunami victims last year, and it will help our fellow Americans right now. If you're tapped out or can't give you can always pray.
"Crisis Grows As Flooded New Orleans Looted"
"Death Toll Hits 100 with New Orleans Flooded; Gulf Coast Devastated"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
August 29, 2005
Carnival of the Capitalists
Oodles of business and economics posts all in one nice place. CaseySoftware.com hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.
Wi-Fi at the Fair
Wireless internet is no fad when rural Manitowoc County has wi-fi at their county fair. Kevin at Lakeshore Laments demonstrated it worked well at the local GOP booth.
Steve Harrigan In An Idiot
Anderson Cooper isn't the only television infotainment idiot. Add Fox News Channel's Steve Harrigan to the list. He proves that just because you have a Ph.D. it doesn't mean you're smart. I saw the moron standing at an angle toward Hurricane Katrina's high winds while talking about how Mississippi officials were telling people to just start driving north for safety. Harrigan isn't smart enough to heed the advice he told his audience. What drove him to shelter was a piece of debris that almost hit him. He said he was taking cover but would be back out in an hour. Either Harrigan needs some extra dough and is getting hazzard pay from FNC or Katrina is his stupid way of dealing with his "adrenalitis."
August 27, 2005
Katrina's Second Act
I just know Mother Nature wants to kill a stupid reporter. She couldn't get the job done when hitting Florida. She's now in the gulf gathering energy. I hope she pulls it off. It will teach those idiot "journalists" not to tease Mother Nature. What I don't hope is it hits New Orleans. It's a great city but a hurricane could wipe the place out.
"Parts of La. May Evacuate As Katrina Nears"
The corporate world dodged a bullet with KPMG agreeing to a fine and an outside monitor instead of an indictment. The accounting firm sold questionable tax shelters a Senate subcommittee said cost the federal treasury $1.4 billion. If KPMG would have been indicted it might have dissolved like Arthur Andersen did. Corporations were worried since that would have reduced competition in accounting services when compliance regulations have increased so much in recent years.
"KPMG Agrees to Fine"
August 26, 2005
Civil War Smear
It's still August, a slow news time. Thus we get a ridiculous story about John Roberts' choice of words to refer to the Civil War.
When John G. Roberts Jr. prepared to ghostwrite an article for President Ronald Reagan a little over two decades ago, his pen took a Civil War reenactment detour.
With this start Washington Post writer Jo Becker finds a way to pump out a few hundred words to try to connect Roberts with wacked-out Confederate sympathizers. The implication is Roberts is a secret admirer of the Confederacy and wants to the return of times when blacks are owned by whites. In the end "Civil War" was put into the article. Becker doesn't know who, she just writes, "someone." From the documents at hand she doesn't know. Maybe it was Roberts who those extra words disturbed the piece's eloquence.
This is a non-story that will only give Lefty race-baiters a tiny bit of ammunition to use against Roberts. Thankfully, he didn't use the even more loaded phrase "War of Northern Aggression."
August 25, 2005
Widgerson Library has this week's Carnival of the Badger posted.
Dodging the Subject
Scott Walker misses the point in having the state GOP apologize to Schenks for practically accusing their son on vote fraud. He tries to push the onus onto the Journal Sentinel when he writes to Charlie Sykes:
That's a discussion for another day. The state GOP should apologize simply because it's the right thing to do. They got it wrong; they have to make amends. Walker, like the state Democrats, tries to use this event to gain political advantage. That's cynical and unclassy.
One more thing, Walker didn't need to stick his nose in this. He didn't accuse anyone specifically of vote fraud. I wonder if the state GOP was pressuring him to say something.
"Speaking of Apologies"
August 24, 2005
James Widgerson wants your Wisconsin posts for the next Carnival of the Badger.
Seeing stories on Google Talk in the NY Times and Wall Street Journal today convinced me this wasn't a rumor floating through the ether. So I installed it. Just one problem: I have no one to talk to. My IM is MS Messenger. And since my Gmail account is a secondary one I have no contacts to be used with Google Talk. It's really hard to see if I like this program when I have no friends on my list. If you have GT and want to add me to your friends list my Gmail address is sean--dot--hackbarth--at--gmail--dot--com.
P.S. If people need Gmail accounts I'll hook you up. Leave a comment or e-mail me at my primary address: sean--at--theamericanmind--dot--com.
UPDATE: The Time of London has a quick Q&A on Google Talk.
Michele needs people to play with it too.
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
Carnival of the Vanities #153
The Big Picture hosts this week's Carnival of the Vanities.
August 23, 2005
Party Bickering Over Vote Fraud
The Wisconsin Democratic Party had a chance to look classy and dignified while continuing the GOP's embarassment for going overboard on their recent vote fraud accusations. Joe Wineke could have simply asked, not "demanded," that the GOP apologize to Stuart, Gayle, and Joseph Schenk for indirectly accusing Joseph of double voting last November. Party chairman Rick Graber, Rep. Jeff Stone, and Sen. Joe Leibham held their press conference outside the Schenk's house. We learned investigators found no evidence from the GOP that double voting occured. Wineke then tries to score political points from the GOP's failed attempt to score points of their own:
Put simply, Republicans used the Schenk family as pawns to further their own political agenda. What the Republican Party did was wrong and violates any basic notion of common decency. Graber, Stone, and Leibham should immediately apologize to Joseph Schenk and his family for these outrageous allegations.
The guy doesn't know what it means to take the high road.
The GOP better issue their apology and soon. They publically embarassed a family that was minding its own business.
Then there's the Journal Sentinel editorial board. Original thought isn't wanted when the editorialist just rewords a Democratic press release. The writer did think he was cleaver for using "besmirched" twice. He also exposed the fact that the board is full of knee-jerk Democrats when he wrote,
It was wrong to have besmirched his name for the sake of political gain: namely, adoption of a measure that would tighten voter ID requirements so much that Wisconsin would boast the most rigid rules in the nation. Tighter rules tend to help the GOP by suppressing Democratic votes.
Wow! Quite the accusation. Nothing to back it up. The most recent version of voter ID Gov. Jim "Needles" Doyle vetoed exempted many of the elderly Doyle claimed he was protecting. The editorial board must think voter ID could become law. They're unleashing the scare tactics along with keeping their heads buried in the sand.
"State GOP Should Apologize"
Canucks Unleash Ships
Fear the Canadian navy.
"Canada Flexes Military Muscle"
Talking about Talk Star
Charlie Sykes challenged Wisconsin webloggers to comment on Tim Cuprisin finally getting around to writing about how Kossites won WISN's talk show host contest. He called me out by name. Hey, Charlie, I had to get up early this morning. My vacation's over. It was either commenting on Milwaukee's Talk Star or covering some real news like how the Wisconsin GOP looked like fools.
Now on to Cuprisin's story. He immediately decides to sound "cool" by using the internet-only verb "freep." Odd since a Kossite got other Kossites to give Nicole Devin her victory. A Free Republic swarm might have canceled out the Kossites. It's interesting Cuprisin brought up Free Republic. Was it his way of deflecting the successful liberal campaign since it could be said conservatives stuff ballot boxes too? Sounds like an "everybody does it" argument.
Next, Cuprisin wrote,
Now some conservative talk radio listeners, egged on by conservative blogs and radio talkers, are suggesting that the Internet competition to pick the new morning host for WISN-AM (1130) was freeped by the lefty dailykos.com.
He mentions talk radio yappers by name. He also mentions the Kossite who organized the successful campaign by URL. Who were the conservative weblogs griping? What, the Right side of the blogosphere doesn't deserve a link? Gibbsville Unincorporated appears to be the first conservative weblog to cry foul. It took me a whole weekend to toss in my two-cents.
What I find most interesting about Cuprisin's story is the comments from Jerry Bott WISN programming director. First, he pooh-poohs the idea the Kossites gave Nicole Devin her new job calling such speculation "ignorance." Thanks, Jerry. This "ignorant" WISN fan knows you would need a lot of intestinal fortitude to admit your voting process was open to an organized on-line campaign (even though I believe it was in violation of the spirit of the contest). It's hard to admit you, as old media, got played by the new.
Bott then tells Cuprisin something astounding:
I've never asked Nicole about her political persuasion. Nor do I think it's particularly relevant because our new morning show will almost never address politics.
Huh? Maybe Bott didn't need to ask Devin about her politics because it was so pronounced. But the new morning show won't be about politics? This is WISN, Milwaukee's home for conservative yapping. It's the home to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and Mark Belling. Politics is in WISN's DNA. It's what differentiated them from the, then, uber-bland, Gordon Hinkley talk at WTMJ. Their new morning show will be still-born, they'll end up airing Bill Bennett's syndicated morning show, and Devin will be a liberal yapper somewhere else.
The biggest reason I didn't immediately rip this story was it's old news to me. Kossites winning Milwaukee's Talkstar is so last week. Cuprisin is writing about media (radio and television) at 20th Century speed. The guy needs a weblog. But that would require him to do more work than the two or three short columns a week he currently does.
Wendy also takes Charlie's bait and rips WISN:
The real outrage though, is that whoever made the decision to conduct this stupid contest has so little respect for WISN’s listeners that they would trust this important position to an amateur. I like to think that when a radio station has an opening, they would really consider who their listeners are, what the listeners would like to hear, then go out and find a professional who will satisfy listeners and help make money for the station. Sure, Nicole may be part of a team of hosts on the morning show. But still, she is going to be there every day. Do real WISN listeners want that person? Maybe they do. I don’t know. But it’s not MY job to do that research. It’s WISN’s job. And they blew it.
Hey, I didn't listen to WISN's morning show before the contest, and I'm pretty sure I won't now.
"Contest May Not be Clear of 'Freep'"
Navy Captain Backs Shaffer
Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's credibility has been significantly strengthened with Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott issuing a statement supporting Shaffer's claim. In his statement Phillpott told Fox News, "My story has remained consistent. Atta was identified by Able Danger in January/February 2000."
The Pentagon has found no documentation to back up the two men's claims. But that shouldn't be needed. Able Danger was a data mining project. All that's needed is to "re-mine." Do the same data mining process on the data set and see if Mohamed Atta's name pops up again. That would be substantial proof. I know the Pentagon would shake and quake for having to shine the light on a classified program, but this was an open source data mining experiment. Even if some of Able Danger's techniques became public it would be really hard for our enemies to counteract it. A plus of open sources is they're by nature decentralized. They're news reports, names in phone books, etc. In this day and age it's very hard to disappear. Aliases can be used, but those fake names will be spotted. (The tricky part becomes linking the alias to the real person.) This is a case of the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy biting them in the ass.
Captain Ed goes to argue the Pentagon is trying to undermine Shaffer's credibility.
Thankfully, Jim Geraghty put together what we know and what we don't. He's been skeptical like me so I don't feel like I'm out on a island.
AJStrata blows away the charge about Shaffer's loss of security clearance:
One thing that keeps coming up is Schaffers revocation of his security clearance, supposedly for $67 worth of personal calls on his military supplied cell phone. When one recalls Sandy Bergler still has his security clearance after stealing and destroying classified papers which directly related to the run up to 9-11, the total idiocy of this whole mess becomes crystal clear.
"Navy Captain Backs Able Danger Claims"
No Evidence of Double Voting Found
The Wisconsin Republican Party was wrong when they claimed nine people voted in multiple cities last November. U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic's investigation found "found assorted clerical errors and other inconsistencies, but no fraud." While the GOP came up empty Biskupic said, "[T]here still is plenty of evidence of double voting and the like."
The state GOP has egg on their faces. They should apologize to Stuart and Gayle Schenk and their son Joseph. Earlier this month the party held a press conference in front of their house. Next time they have evidence they should let the professional investigators check it out before blabbing to the press.
"Nothing Points to Fraud in 9 Double Voting Cases"
August 22, 2005
Questions about Able Danger and the Sep. 11 Commission
Based on the claims of the members of the Able Danger team Captain Ed wonders if the Sep. 11 commission might have gotten Mohammed Atta's whereabouts wrong. The commission put together their timeline on interrogations of captured al Qaeda members Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Able Danger got Atta's name to pop up by data mining "open-source information that was available on the Internet and in other public media." In both cases we could have examples of GIGO--Garbage In Garbage Out. What corresponding information did the Sep. 11 commission have to back up the claims spouted by the al Qaeda members? What data was mined and what process did Able Danger use to mine it? The answers to these questions will help us evaluate how accurate the Sep. 11 report is.
"Able Danger: Did They ID Atta Before He Got Here?"
UPDATE: Or maybe Able Danger is a myth:
But Lawrence DiRita, a Pentagon spokesman, said a review of materials related to Able Danger has so far turned up no evidence that it identified Atta, the reputed leader of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
"Pentagon Says It Has Found No Evidence Atta Identified Before 2001 Attacks" [via Drudge]
UPDATE II: This story gets really strange. Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer made the allegation that Able Danger picked up Mohammad Atta as a terrorist in the U.S. in early 2000. He got the information third-hand. Members of the data mining team told him a chart had Atta's picture on it. Based on that miniscule bit of info conservative webloggers and pundits (myself included) ran wild. The strange new element is this from the Washington Times:
The DIA is in the process of revoking Col. Shaffer's security clearance, Mr. Zaid said, for what he called "trivial matters." They include reimbursements for mileage and telephone charges, and whether he properly received an award for his Able Danger work.
Shaffer may be trying to embarass the Pentagon for taking away his security clearance. He has a big-time credibility problem. Where are the Able Danger team members he supposedly talked to? This skeptical writer is waiting.
"Review Finds No Pre-9/11 Atta File"
Radio Blogger noticed a DirectTV typo(?) about Sen. Chuck Hagel. He also points out a fact about the Senator who loves preening before the Washington, D.C. press corps:
The problem is, within Republican circles, he is neither important nor influential.
He's just plain annoying. He's a wanna-be John McCain but without the history of being tortured by Communists.
Fitch gets graphic with what he thinks of Hagel.
"Senator Chuck Hagel, Democrat???"
Worrying Less about Roberts
Nina Totenberg really likes the word "very" when describing Judge John Roberts. Sometimes he's "very very conservative" other times he's "very very very conservative." And just to mix things up Roberts is "a really conservative guy," "a hardline conservative," "a clear conservative," and "a conservative Catholic." I have been a little uncomfortable with Roberts simply because few know much about his judicial philosophy. He's worked in conservative Republican circles. That doesn't mean he'll be Scalia II. But the more I learn about Roberts' history and the attacks on him make me think he won't be Souter II. He seems to be a conservative who is intellectually honest enough to raise his thinking beyond mere ideology. Russell Kirk would be proud.
"Totenberg: Roberts 'Much More Conservative than I Ever Would Have Guessed'"
"Peak Oil" Idea Demolished
Economics' newest celebrity Steven Levitt demolishes a NY Times Sunday Magazine story about "peak oil" and how it means oncoming economic catastrophe. It's obvious to Levitt that writer Peter Maass didn't pay much attention in his economics classes (if he took any). Levitt offers a Cliff Notes version of one very important economic insight:
What most of these doomsday scenarios have gotten wrong is the fundamental idea of economics: people respond to incentives. If the price of a good goes up, people demand less of it, the companies that make it figure out how to make more of it, and everyone tries to figure out how to produce substitutes for it. Add to that the march of technological innovation (like the green revolution, birth control, etc.). The end result: markets figure out how to deal with problems of supply and demand.
Here's my problem with this analysis: Maas admits that the studies cover only a portion of the known Saudi fields and "date back, in some cases, several decades"! Despite these huge faults, these studies are presented "as perhaps the best public data about the condition and prospects of Saudi reservoirs."
Being a student of economics I'm very sympathetic to Levitt. Incentives matter, the price system conveys scarcities and a lack thereof, and the profit motive drives people to develop new technology and methods to deal with changing prices. If oil continues to go up alternative energy will become cost-effective. We might be reaching the point where nuclear power will be worthwhile even with all the regulatory, security, and insurance burdens placed on them. One thing we can be sure of is a growing global economy will need more energy. Satisfying more wants and needs requires more energy. We're seeing that already in the increased energy needs of developing India and China. Wait until Africa and the Middle East finally get their economic houses in order. We can't conserve our way to growth. In The Bottomless Well Peter Huber and Mark Mills argue that energy conservation ends up leading for more energy use. (Conservation lowers energy's price which increases demand.)
Prices change incentives which in turn change behavior. We may well be reaching the peak of oil production. That doesn't mean economic disaster is at hand, nor does it mean us using less energy. What it does mean is change. That's the one thing that's always constant.
"The Breaking Point"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
6000th Post & John Roberts on Recess-Appointments
Here is my little contribution to Hugh Hewitt's and Radio Blogger's attempt to pound through the documents put out by the Reagan Library.
The first items are memos to Ted Olson, then Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel, regarding concerns about the Justice Department appropriations bill. Specifically President Reagan "expressed reservations concerning the provision [the "Weicker Amendment"] freezing the level of grants from the Legal Services Corporation in the absence of action taken by directors confirmed by the Senate." Recess-appointed directors would have reduced authority.
This is a question of whether Congress can restrict Presidential power by controling the purse. Roberts thinks not. In a memo to his boss Fred Fielding dated 01.09.1984 he writes,
As guardians of the legal prerogatives of the Presidency, we should resist any Congressional effort to demean the recess appointment power by distinguishing between the powers of the confirm and recess-appointed nominees. Olson views the difficulty as arising from the fact that Congress in this instance exercised its authority in an appropriations bill, but Congress cannot accomplish through the budgetary process that which it is constitutionally prohibited from doing directly. Congress can decide not to fund LSC, and thereby deprive our recess-appointed directors of authority, but if LSC is funded at all, Congress cannot condition decisions with respect to those funds on whether the directors are confirmed or recess-appointed.
Next there are pages and pages of xeroxed legal opinion dealing with recess appointments (written by Lawrence Walsh of all people). Along with that I found extracts of the law at issue.
Also contained in this box was a letter from the president of the Colorado Bar Association asking the President for more money for LSC. Roberts issued a brief reply.
Roberts could be asked some questions on his view of Congressional power over the executive branch. That could lead into questioning about Presidential war powers. Nothing in these files seem like ammunition for the Democrats.
It's not as exciting as knowing this is the 6000th post on TAM. Well, sort of. Before Movable Type, and before Blogger, I hand-coded TAM with a plain-old text editor and FTP'd to Angelfire. I did that for over a year so, technically, there are 6000+ posts in the "vast" TAM library. One thing I've learned is I've written over 6000 posts and TAM is almost six years old. So I've averaged about 1000 posts per year. That's just under three posts a day, everyday, for six years. When I look at it that way I wonder if I've written that much. Three posts a day doesn't seem like much, but I know there have been times I've spent a hours working on only a few hundred words. I hope I've offered quality over quantity. Thanks for reading.
August 21, 2005
The Webloggers League is filled. I don't know everyone in the league, but I will soon. This should be a fun year even if I mess up my strategy immediately in the draft like last year. And remember, blogospheric bragging rights are one the line. By the way, who won last year? King, James, Steven, or Kevin (who unfortunately isn't with us this season)? I don't recall any big celebrations.
UPDATE: After a tiny bit of hunting I found Kevin won last season. That's kind of sad that the commish--me--can't remember the recent history of his own league.
The Ladies Love Sean
But just not the one pumping out posts on a daily basis here at TAM. Oh well. So we learn from the Huffington Post that Jessica Alba has a crush on Sean Connery. This is surprising to Arianna? What woman doesn't have a crush on 007? (And ladies, if you say you don't, you're lying! It's universal and probably genetic. Just like a woman's love for McDonald's french fries.) It's that combination of grey hair, weathered face, seriousness, and--yes--that accent. It certainly doesn't hurt to still be in great shape and have a history of looking really good in a tux.
"Jessica Alba has a Crush on Sean Connery!"
Why Ask Why?
Tonya asks, "Why do we talk about men and sex so much, by the way?" Thousands of pages could be written answering that question. And after all those keys were clicked, trees killed, and pages printed we still wouldn't know the answer.
[via Ann Althouse]
Still Looking for Owners
Two spots are left in the coveted Webloggers Fantasy Football League. So close to being full. I know you really, really want in to compete with some of the smartest people in the blogosphere. It's free and the draft is tomorrow night at 7:30 pm. If interested leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail.
August 20, 2005
Morse's Odd Pro-Life Argument
The problem with Jennifer Roback Morse's arguement is she tries to make reproductive freedom a postive liberty. She writes,
The various euphemisms such as “reproductive self-determination,” and “reproductive justice,” vastly overstate what government can provide. The government cannot assure anyone that they will achieve their reproductive goals.
This is an odd way looking at the abortion issue. Since I've been politically conscious I've never seen it conveyed as dealing with reproductive goals. I think Morse is overthinking. Simply put (for a complicated, emotionaly-heated issue), abortion comes down to autonomy. Those supporting abortion rights either believe the human embryo has no rights or the woman's rights trump the embryo's. Pro-lifers believe the embryo is a human being with rights the same as any other living human. The debate is about coersion and who (or what) is being coerced. She knows there are far-reaching societal effects from the abortion question, but such passion on both sides would come from such a convoluted demand about assuring reproductive goals.
In her essay Morse also laments this feminist demand:
We now believe that we are entitled to have sex without having a live baby result.
I'm as pro-life as you can get and I have little trouble with that demand. (I always have some problems when someone claims they're "entitled" to anything, but this is Morse's word choice not feminists'.) Sex is a pleasurable activity. We have a right to seek pleasure. In and of itself, that's not a bad thing. Better, safer sex isn't necessarily a bad thing either so long as other's rights aren't violated. Thus birth control per se isn't bad. It become immoral when the method harms the unborn. Obviously I don't take the Catholic Church's stance that unnatural methods preventing pregnancy are sinful. Condoms, diaphrams, sterilization, and other birth control methods are fine with me. I draw the line at methods that prevent a fertilized egg from attatching to the uterus wall. I also oppose "morning after" drugs that are really chemical abortions.
Warship Attacks Weren't Much
Jay Tea does a little research and some logical thinking to conclude the al Qaeda attacks on U.S. ships in Jordan were "all sizzle, no steak."
"O, How the Mighty Have Fallen"
Return of Crypto
Cryptosporidium has hit a waterpark in New York State:
Gastrointestinal illness possibly stemming from a state-run water playground has sickened more than 700 people, mostly children and teenagers, the state Health Department said Thursday.
In 1993 an outbreak of cryptosporidiosis in Milwaukee got 403,000 people sick and killed over 100. The event became a source of academic research. It also was the largest outbreak of its kind "ever recorded in the developed world." Two years after the outbreak AIDS patients were still infected. The funny thing--and not in a good way--was then-Mayor John Norquist didn't fire anyone. No one was held accountable.
At least The Onion found a way to make us smile while making a little money.
"10 Years Ago, Crypto Gripped the City"
UPDATE: CNN reports, "Nearly 1,800 people from 20 New York counties have reported symptoms of a gastrointestinal illness."
Down to the Wire
Four more people are needed for the Webloggers Fantasy Football League. If four more people don't sign up there is no draft and I'll have to set up another draft time. I've also just learned from digging through the NFL.com help pages that I can't set the league to public to let any old Joe Shmoe in. (That doesn't please me.) So if you know anyone who wants to play free fantasy football send me an e-mail so I can quickly shoot off an invitation. The live draft is scheduled for Monday at 7:30 pm CT. If you can't make the live draft you can still play. All you have to do is rank players before the draft. Take it from me, watching football is much more exciting/gut-wrenching when you something to cheer for in just about every game.
Great Deal at Amazon
I found something to let all your tensions melt away. And it's a whopping 96% off!
[This absolutely isn't safe for work. But it's the weekend. I'm sure nobody will be watching.]
August 19, 2005
Stephen Karlson is getting into his teaching mode:
With the new semester starting, it is time to review some fundamentals of policy making and argumentation. The extremists of any stripe (and I apologize for the excessive abstraction of "Left" and "Right;" nativists are not necessarily royalists or capitalists, and pacifists and war resisters not necessarily republicans or socialists) do not affect public policy unless they are able to move the marginal decision maker. And that marginal decision maker is somewhere in the middle. Why? Review the median voter theorem and the principle of minimum differentiation. (The closing paragraph of Harold Hotelling's "Stability in Competition" notes that Democrats and Republicans, or Methodists and Episcopalians, are quite similar.)
Webloggers (myself included) as well as students should heed this advice.
"The Company You Keep?"
My Innocence is Lost
When I saw The Cookie Sutra in my bookstore last week I said, "Wrong, wrong, wrong!" Wholesome Gingerbread Man turned into a sex fiend. I'll never be able to eat one again. And I certainly won't be baking these. Next thing I'll learn is Twinkie the Kid is gay--not that there's anything wrong with it.
$253 Million in Vioxx Trial
Texas jurors just socked Merck with at $253.4 million in the first Vioxx case. I've only glanced at the story since Vioxx was pulled off the market last year. As an inquisitive layman I want to know if Vioxx really was that dangerous. A study found the drug "could double risk of heart attack or stroke if taken for 18 months or longer." But what does that mean? Does that mean my risk of a heart attack went up from 0.001% to 0.002%? If the risk was small to begin with a doubling of it doesn't do much. And that increased risk might be acceptable if the drug was doing such a good job relieving pain. Many lawsuits end up being a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking. Much like the revived blame game about Sep. 11.
"Jury Awards Widow $253.4M in Vioxx Trial"
UPDATE: Dave Taylor comments:
Merck, of course, is going to appeal, but the writing's on the wall, and the implication for big pharma overall is clear: you can't risk developing new drugs at all, ultimately, because even with the best disclosure mechanisms and the best communications strategy, you can find that the little speed-bump in the testing phase comes back as a 500-foot monster and, like this Vioxx settlement, might just crush your firm.
"Merck's Vioxx Liability: The Death of Big Pharma?"
Fantasy Franchises Still Available
The Webloggers League fantasy football draft is Monday August 22, at 7:30 pm CT. Five spots are still open. It's free, on NFL.com, and it should be fun. Who wants in to challenge the smartest fantasy football owners in the blogosphere? Having a weblog is no requirement. If you want to play a little fantasy football, you're more than welcome. Send me an e-mail or leave a comment, and I'll send you an invite.
Uranium Dealers Caught in Turkey
Thank goodness Turkish police caught these guys:
Turkish security forces have seized one third of a pound of medium-grade uranium in Istanbul.
I have no idea how much uranium is needed to make a simple nuke or if there was enough of the proper isotope in the goons' glass bottle (what about radiation poisoning?), but this could have been used to make a dirty nuke creating a lot of fear.
August 18, 2005
Carnival of the Badger
Nicholas Schweitzer has put together the first-ever Wisconsin weblogger linkfest. Dumb name (no more "carnival" linkfests please; need something original) but great idea. Find some new weblogs and see what some very smart Badger Staters are thinking.
"Carnival of the Badger Edition 1"
We're Probably as Bad as the Kossites
The Badger Blog Alliance is MKE's blog of the week with "more than half the votes." Thank you, thank you, thank you. No prizes and definitely no $50,000/year contracts. Still it feels good.
August 17, 2005
Cut & Run Russ
Sen. Russ Feingold wants U.S. troops out of Iraq by the end of 2006. Wishful, anti-war thinking, yes. But completely ignorant of the real world and history. Most U.S. troops will leave when President Bush and the Iraqi government think Iraq can defend itself. I'm sure Bush would like nothing more than to pull out thousands of troops, get them rested and restocked, and ready as a nice hefty stick to threaten Iran and/or North Korea. As for history, we invaded Germany and Japan 60 years ago. Guess what? We're still there. I'd hope there'd be American bases in Iraq for years to come. Liberty and representative government in the Middle East will be a long-term process. A permanent American presence would facilitate that.
Feingold really wants to run for President and has given himself plenty of room to wiggle out of his headline grabber:
While Feingold is proposing a deadline for American troop withdrawal, he says it can be a flexible deadline.
So Feingold wants a deadline to kiss up to the MoveOn.org Bush-bashing anti-war activists while trying to remain realistic. It's a deadline but not really.
"Feingold Seeks Troop Withdrawal"
"Feingold Proposing Target 'End Date' for Withdrawal"
"Feingold goes Deaniac"
Vote for the BBA
Today is your last chance to make the Badger Blog Alliance MKE's Blog of the Week. So stop reading TAM and vote, vote, vote!
Xbox 360 Prices
So Microsoft will sell two versions of the Xbox 360. For me the only difference I see is the $399 one will have a 20 GB hard drive while the $299 won't. But how many Xbox games were using the hard drive in the original machine? How many games will need one in the 360? I thought the point of the hard drive was so you didn't need to shell out a bunch of cash for those memory cards.
Probably in reaction to Microsoft's announcement Amazon is lists the PlayStation3 for $299. That's a price I could live with. Now, will Sony be able to make enough of them so they don't have a shortage like they did with the PS2?
Since I'm still on vacation I'm not beholden to writing about the news of the day. It's August and other than Air America owing money to everyone there isn't anything going on (the distraught mother in Crawford, TX doesn't count). This brief post is on podcasting. For those who haven't been following this young phenonenon Glenn Reynolds spells out its potential:
Interestingly, he [GarageBand's CEO, Ali Partovi] thinks that DJs will be harder to bypass than radio stations: "DJs play an important role. Consumers want new music, but most don't want to take the trouble to listen to it on their own. They want someone else to do the filtering, and the human touch is key." What's more, it's a better promotional tool than radio in some ways. If you hear a song you like on the radio, you have to figure out what the song is and who does it, then go find out about the artist. With podcasting it's different: "Once you discover an artist you like via a podcast, the technology makes it easy to find out more about the artist. You can find a band via a DJ's podcast, follow a link to subscribe to the band's podcast, and then the band doesn't need a middleman to get in touch with you. You'll know when they have something new."
I've been toying with putting out a music podcast. Searching for cheap bandwidth and simple tools are part of my barriers to entry. The fact that I couldn't play any song I wanted to is another problem. Podcasters can't get "blanket licenses" like over-the-air radio stations. Reynolds thinks Big Radio (and probably Big Music) will use their political muscle to keep it that way and try to stifle the new-tech competition. But like with any barrier the internet finds a way to get around it. There is now something called "podsafe" music where the artist gives permission to podcasters to play their music. There is even the Podsafe Music Network that's a clearing house for artists and podcasters.
With that I'll give you my list of must-listen-to podcasts:
"Podcasting and the New Media"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
August 16, 2005
Re-Hashing Mary Cheney
There's enough interest in Mary Cheney that I'll link to some of my posts on the subject:
Vacation Day in the Windy City
Today, I'm in Chicago. Primary mission is to visit the Art Institute and get some culture in me. A secondary mission is to check out Millenium Park and mock the Frank Gehry pavillion. (Acutally for a Gehry it doesn't look that bad.) Already I sense trouble. My 125 MB flash memory decided not to be recognized by my camera and computer. Does flash memory sometimes just give out? That means I'm limited to about 20 pictures--not that I'd force you to see them all.
Catch you tonight.
In a few hours Lazer 103 will die and 1029 The Hog will be born. The format will probably be a wider breadth of rock instead with less emphasis on the lame excuses for rock acts like Staind and [fill-in-the-blank] faux punk. It will probably be similar to 97.3 The Brew. The change is good even though I don't listen to music on the radio anymore, but, my god, can they possibly think up worse names? "The Hog?" "The Brew?" Next, we'll have to endure "The Brat" or "The Cheese."
"Lazer 103 to Change Music Format"
Brutal Fruit Bonked
Brutal Fruit died before it was born:
Miller's drink, Brutal Fruit, didn't pan out with consumers when it was tested this spring and summer in three cities: Richmond, Va., Tampa, Fla., and Seattle, said Miller spokesman Peter Marino.
This is a company that recently abandoned such "malternatives" as Skyy Blue and Jack Daniel's Original Hard Cola. I thought the product's name was bad enough. I guess test marketing showed there was more distaste than just the name.
"Miller Abandons Niche Drink"
Are You Ready for Some Fantasy Football?
It's less than one week until The Webloggers League live draft 08.22 at 7:30 pm CT at NFL.com. Seven spots are left. I'm now opening it up beyond past owners. Preference will go to those with a regularly-updated weblog (good reason to start one if you haven't already) and who can suck up to the commissioner (i.e. me!). Just leave a comment or e-mail me.
August 15, 2005
If You Were on Vacation...
For those of you who need a catch-up on Able Danger and its importance Jack Kelly is your man.
"Able Danger -- Now They Tell Us"
With Milwaukee getting its first local liberal talk radio yapper since...hmm...well.... Was Jay Marvin [and here] a liberal or just nuts? From what I remember his approach seemed to involve being a buffoon. Nicole Devin will be the newest edition to the local airwaves. I give her a year. By then the MSM glow will have worn off and WISN will notice they can get better ratings with Bill Bennett's syndicated morning radio show. Clear Channel will eat up the contract and Devin will go to another market or even national if Air America survives. That's assuming Devin has any talent. (Yes, liberals can and do have talent, or else I wouldn't have any music or comedy to be entertained with.) I didn't listen to her at all during the contest so I don't know if she's a whiny, I'm-a-victim, capitalism-is-evil Lefty or one like The New Republic's Peter Beinart (but with a personality). Taking on Wisconsin's conservative blogosphere wouldn't hurt. *wink* *wink*
"The Blogosphere Manufactures a Liberal Talk Radio Host in Milwaukee"
A Liberal Talkstar is Born
Kossites and Lefties across the nation are preening over getting a liberal on conservative Milwaukee talk radio. Charlie Sykes was talking about it this morning. I know he was eating up the fact that his talk radio competition looks like fools for turning talent selection over to anyone with internet access. But Charlie "Mr. Mock Zero Tolerance" Sykes seems to think that if there's nothing in the rules it's ok. Lefties didn't violate any laws in voting for Nicole Devin, but they did break the spirit of the contest. I'm pretty sure if you ask WISN programming director Jerry Bott if he wanted the opinion of a weblogger in Seattle or Miami, he'd say, "no." But that's what happened. The point was to have open auditions (I entered the lottery but didn't try out) and local listeners pick the winner. No lawyer was needed to pour through the voting rules to understand that spirit. This wasn't "fraud" in the same sense as what happened in Milwaukee last November. But some Lefities feel that talk radio is so important they need to have a voice of their own. They can either take loans from non-profit groups or organize a national campaign for a show most will never listen to.
Yes, much of the blame can be put on him for not thinking of the possibility of an organized national campaign. Tech measures could have been installed to limit this.
I'm not whining about who won. I didn't listen to any of the contestants and didn't vote. I have no horse in this race. Maybe Nicole Devin is interesting even though she's a liberal--not that there's anything wrong with that. Hell, some of my best friends are liberal. Something interesting on morning radio would be nice. WTMJ is informative but bland. Lazer 103 is funny but has little substance. Maybe Ms. Devin can find an entertaining, informative combination.
P.S. Charlie, I can listen to you and call in while on vacation. They're not mutually exclusive. I did sleep in if you want proof I'm taking it easy.
"A Vast Left Wing Conspiracy?"
"Fraud in the Milwaukee Talkstar Competition"
August 14, 2005
Zero Stars and Thumbs Down
You read that right. I'm taking some much-needed time off from work. I've been at the bookstore so long I have three weeks of vacation a ear, and I'm taking all of it. I feel like a Frenchman. No overnight trips are planned. With my time off coming up I thought about going someplace, but I realized I did a whole lot of traveling this year: Washington, D.C. for CPAC; Phoenix, AZ for my annual Spring Training baseball pilgrimage; and Nashville, TV for BlogNashville. That's more flying than I've ever done in a year. So my nine days off (returning on 08.23) will be relaxing around the house, possibly going to Chicago, visiting some local parks, reading, and some weblogging. Events will take place and inspiration will hit me to write. So I may be on vacation but TAM will still be humming.
August 12, 2005
"Right" To Nukes
A South Korean official has said it's ok for kooky North Korea to have some nuclear plants. "Building the light-water reactor is North Korea's due right," said Chung Dong-Young. How representative this is of South Korea's position I don't know. Having the north aim an enormous amount of ordinance on your capital does make you view things in a particular way. Why Chung is more trusting of a rogue state that has lied and cheated about its nuclear weapons program for years I don't know.
"South Korea Now Says North Has Right to Civilian Nuke Program"
August 11, 2005
Bill Christofferson is happy the Journal Sentinel editorial board still doesn't support voter photo ID. Fine, that's not the interesting part of his post. It's he calls the Journal Sentinel his "favorite Milwaukee daily newspaper." Huh? It's the only Milwaukee daily newspaper. Am I missing something? Where's that other newspaper that's doing a lousy job as competition for the Journal Sentinel?
Sep. 11 Report: Riveting but Now Flawed
One more thing about the Sep. 11 Commission report: my praise for it was for its depiction of how events unfolded. It was riveting reading through how the attacks took place, government reaction to them, and how people tried to survive. The part of the book I took least seriously was the recomendations. I figured they would get churned up in the meat grinder that is national politics. Little did I know the commission would still be in existence (as a non-profit organization) badgering the President and Congress. A good thing to come out of our new knowledge of Able Danger is it dulls the shine of those concieted commissioners.
James Joyner doesn't go down the conspiracy road:
The alternative explanation, that they were engaged in some sort of political coverup, is dubious. Not only were the commission members selected (with a couple notable exceptions) for their reputations for integrity but they were picked on a bipartisan basis. To the extent that this information reflected unfavorably on the Clinton administration, one would think several of the Republican members would have been happy to see it come to light.
The commissioners weren't the platonic philosopher kings many made them out to be.
Able Danger and the Sep. 11 Commission
So the Sep. 11 Commission knew military intelligence scoped out Mohammed Atta as a possible terrorist, but they didn't bother putting into their final, well-received report. This piece of information can transform the final analysis of how to make the U.S. safer as Michelle Malkin points out herself and in a number of links to other webloggers.
For me there's is a little egg on my face. I named the commission report as one of the best books of 2004. Here's a little of what I wrote about it:
There is plenty to critize about the the Sept. 11 Commission. There was a big confict of interest with one of the commissioners as well as the partisanship that ran roughshod over the public hearings. Those aspects will be forgotten. What will stand is their report. It's detailed, comprehensive, and most importantly readable. While not perfect (no work could be) it's the place to begin to understand that awful day.
It's still imperfect but now it's not as "comprehensive" as I initially believed.
Now, will those like Seymour Hersh start looking to see if the commission "stovepiped" information to come to their final conclusions or does that just apply to President Bush, VP Cheney, and the run up to the Iraq War? Can we expect commissioner Jamie Gorelick to receive additional scrutiny?
"9/11 Commission Ignored Key Facts on Hijackers"
August 10, 2005
If Florida Marlins' third baseman Mike Lowell wasn't playing baseball he could make a good living as a magician. Against the Diamondbacks he tagged out Luis Terrero using the hidden-ball trick. This is the second season in a row Lowell has pulled it off.
Curiously, Milwaukee Brewer Greg Brock pulled off the trick in 1989 on Ozzie Guillen, now manager of the Chicago White Sox.
"Hidden Ball Trick Dooms Diamondbacks"
Honored for Killing His Wife
After Teri Schiavo died I really hoped I'd never hear Michael Schiavo's name again. The Florida State Guardianship Association brought him back into the news for naming him Guardian of the Year. Try Oxymoron of the Year. Imagine being at that ceremony:
MC: Michael Schiavo, for having your wife killed, for having her dehydrated to death, for making her suffer in a way liberal Jesse Jackson felt was "immoral and unnecessary," for siding with death over life, for helping the Culture of Death take a big step toward a world where human life is no longer sacred you are named Guardian of the Year. Congratulations.
[MEMBERS OF THE AUDIENCE CRY OUT, "SPEECH! SPEECH!"]
Michael Schiavo: Thank you. Thank you all. As you know I'm not much of a speechmaker. I don't talk much. I couldn't have done this without the support of those before me that have weakened the sanctity of human life. They include Margaret Sanger, the American eugenics movement, the Hemlock Society, Dr. Jack Kevorkian, and all those Supreme Court justices who either made Roe v. Wade the law of the land or affirmed it. I know I'm forgetting many, but without you all Teri couldn't have been legally killed. On behalf of my wife, Theresa, I thank you.
I would have vomited after the first "thank you."
Jagger Jabs War Supporters
I'm shocked, SHOCKED! A rock star is an anti-war, anti-conservative lefty. Ho-hum. This is so 2004.
If Mick Jagger wants to call me a hypocrite for supporting the Iraq War he better offer a little more in than singing, "You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite/You call yourself a patriot, well I think you're full of shit."
Eric wonders if the song really is about President Bush or Jagger hyping the next Rolling Stones' tour. The Marshall Blog notes that the Stones will be on Monday Night Football (I hope someone told them it's on cable this year) and wonders if the NFL will drop them because of screaming from the "right wing blowhard consciousness." I like that phrase. It's more New Age than "Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy." Matt Welch points out the mixed record of Stones' political songs.
"Stones Target 'Hypocrite' Patriots in New Song"
Next Zelda is Stunning
Sure I just bought a PS2 (Destroy All Humans was good, cheesy fun), but I'm not dumping my GameCube because The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess comes out later this year. Wow. It's the most beautiful game I've ever seen on the GC.
Greg Borowski filed his full story on the Wisconsin GOP's allegations that people voted in more than one city in November 2004. [See my previous post.] The party stated people with similar names and birthdates voted in Milwaukee, Chicago, Madison, and Minneapolis. Other than that they didn't say much other than the location of the press conference--in front of a Milwaukee condo--was significant. Borowski reports,
While the party did not release names or addresses, the city lists three voters at the house where the news conference took place: Stuart and Gayle Schenk and their son Joseph, who moved to Chicago last August.
Obviously the GOP didn't want to provoke a libel suit by naming names. Assuming they are accusing Joseph Schenk of voting twice it's possible someone fraudulently voted in Joseph's name in Milwaukee as well as Chicago. The U.S. District attorney said over 100 people voted fraudulently. I wouldn't be shocked if Joseph Schenk was the victim of identity theft. Since Wisconsin has no requirement to show a photo ID before registering I could have registered to vote as him. So, Bill Christofferson is wrong. Voter ID would have helped protect Joseph Schenk's franchise.
"9 May Have Voted in 2 Cities"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
August 09, 2005
What's That Smell?
Napalm? Well, then it must be the latest Bonfire of the Vanities hosted by WunderKraut.com.
One Word Description
New Home for Milt
WGN is doing the smart thing and hosting Milt Rosenberg's fine weblog.
NARAL Lies About Roberts
To learn about NARAL's dishonesty you can read TAM or FactCheck.org:
The ad is false.
Matthew Barge's article goes on to say NARAL used "the classic tactic of guilt by association."
[Yes, I'm going update-crazy tonight.]
Voter Fraud Crosses State Lines
At a press conference today the Republican Party of Wisconsin furnished evidence that people double voted in the 2004 election:
The investigation indicates that voter fraud has extended into neighboring states. The preliminary results show people recorded as voting both in Milwaukee and in the city to which they filed a change of address. Four people are recorded as voting in both Milwaukee and Chicago, two people are recorded as voting in both Milwaukee and Minneapolis and three people are recorded as voting in both Milwaukee and Madison. It was conducted by comparing the City of Milwaukee Voter History List for November 2004 with the National Change of Address List from the US Postal Service and the voter history lists for Chicago, Minneapolis and Madison. RPW will share the information with the US Attorney’s office and the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s office as part of their ongoing investigation into voter fraud in the November ‘04 elections.
The party timed this announcement with the GOP-controlled legislature sending a photo ID bill to Gov. Jim "Needles" Doyle for his signature or veto.
UPDATE: Bill Christofferson immediately replies,
Quick: What will a photo ID to do prevent people from voting in two states?
Therefore voter ID shouldn't be enacted. This passes for logical thought? If you've read TAM's coverage of the voter fraud issue you know photo ID is only a start. Same-day registration has to end too. Like anything in politics small steps take you to the goal.
"No Connection Between Problem, 'Solution'"
UPDATE: Kevin at Lakeshore Laments writes,
Expect the typical response from the usual suspects. Doyle will veto it again. Xoff will call us all right-wingers, racists, vote suppressionists, and charge the GOP with insanity (repeating the same action over and over again expecting a different result). DPW will call the State GOP “scare mongers”. (Apparently they haven’t been reading their own press releases on Social Security reform lately)
And Speaking of Beer...
Budweiser is coming out with a rasberry-flavored brew called Tilt.
It will be aimed at people ages 21 to 27 who are looking for a "transition" beverage for the period between the end of their workday and the start of their night out, said McGauley and Mic Zavarella, Anheuser-Busch director of innovation.
Now, that's quite the micromarket. They want to get those who want a good buzz before really getting drunk. It sounds like your average male student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Miller may respond with a concoction from South Africa. Brutal Fruit sounds like an immediate failure to claim the angst-driven Staind-loving market.
"Tilting at 20-Somethings"
UPDATE: Gizmodo takes a short break from yapping about gadgets and has this to say about Tilt:
It is gradually being released across the states, expect it everywhere in October and all over your pants on October 16th.
I'm sticking with my Spotted Cow. (Oh, I know someone someday will misquote me on that one.)
Bad Idea But It Tasted Good
When you come home from work dead tired because you slept so little the night before it's not a good idea to drink a bottle of New Glarus Brewery's Spotted Cow if your goal is to write up a few posts. That stuff's 5.1% alcohol level wiped me out. After that bottle that tastes so good on this hot, hot day I want to go take a nap.
A Russian ex-U.N. employee was arrested and quickly pleaded guilty in the Iraq Oil-for-Food scandal:
A former United Nations procurement officer pleaded guilty Monday to soliciting a bribe under the oil-for-food program, making him the first U.N. official to face criminal charges in connection with the scandal-tainted operation.
Kelley must have a ton on Yakovlev for him to turn in a guilty plea faster than Bill Clinton could down a dozen Krispy Kremes. Rarely does just work so fast.
"Ex-U.N. Officer Pleads Guilty to Bribes"
An Ode to the Internet
Patrick Ruffini points out that today is the 10-year anniversary of Netscape's IPO. Wow. My life can be easily divided into BI, "Before Internet," and AI, "After Internet." But really I can't imagine my life without access to so much information, the access to so many goods and services, and the ability to communicate with so many people. As a conservative I don't like to spout, "revolution" often, but with how the internet has changed so many aspects of our society, economics, politics, and culture there isn't a better word. Just like Patrick, I have no idea what we'll be doing with the internet in 10 years. All I know is it will be one hell of a ride.
"A Wild Ten Year Ride"
Find Another Dress
Another in a long line of examples of celebrity idiocy:
Christina Ricci wearing a see thru dress to something called the Rape Foundation is like Dakota Fanning wearing nothing but roller skates and a thong to a pedophile convention. It just sort of seems sarcastic. Almost like a dare.
And check out the neanderthal Ricci went to the event with.
"Christina Ricci is a Fan of Irony"
August 08, 2005
These "Reprehensible" Times
NY TIMES QUESTIONED LEGALITY OF JUDGE ROBERTS ADOPTIONS; SUPREME COURT NOMINEE 'DISAPPOINTED'
The Times' reputation is sinking in the mud. They may cut themselves off from the net just because of sheer embarassment.
Roberts Attack Ad Update
Tom Curry of MSNBC has more on NARAL Pro-Choice America's anti-Roberts ad. First, the ads will air in Rhode Island and Maine to put pressure on GOP Senators Olympia Snowe and Lincoln Chafee. Second, Curry reports the federal law in question in the Bray case was the Civil Rights Act of 1871, not the Klu Klux Klan Act that Ed Whelan said in today's conference call. Third, the headline editor of MSNBC doesn't understand the GOP. Snowe and Chafee aren't "centrists." They're a dying breed known as "liberal republicans."
John Hinderaker gives the ad a thrashing going far beyond my meek "bait-and-switch" remark:
So NARAL misrepresents the Bray case in every particular. Roberts didn't "support violent fringe groups" or a "convicted clinic bomber." He supported the federal government's position on a specific question of law--correctly, as the Court found. NARAL's reference to a "convicted clinic bomber" is especially outrageous. The Bray case had nothing to do with a bombing by Eric Rudolph or anyone else, and Rudolph attacked the Birmingham clinic--the bombing that is referred to in the NARAL ad--eight years after Roberts wrote the brief on the Section 1985(3) issues.
If this is how the air war starts it's going to get really ugly. $40 million may be spend to pursuade 100 Senators. NARAL is just the beginning.
"Abortion Rights Group Presses Republican Centrists on Roberts"
TAM is Hot
Wisconsin's Legal Morass
Guest radio yapper Kevin Fisher today confirmed Patrick's scoop at Badger Blogger that Wisconsin State Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson threatened to impose a sexual predator facility on Milwaukee County. We're now cursed with a judicial body that thinks they are the law instead of simply interpreting it.
"State Supreme Court Justice on Sexual Predators"
In another sort of legal story Jessica McBride reports State Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager will shred fellow Democrat Gov. Jim "Needles" Doyle. Few things are more entertaining for a conservative than watching Democrats beat each other over the head.
Instapundit is four-years-old today. Wow, it feels like Glenn has been posting forever. Then that makes TAM older than dirt since it will be six(!) in December. Congrats, Glenn even though you're on vacation and not reading this.
[via Badger Blogger]
Drumming Up Business
Professor Christine Hurt got an offer from an enterprising (I'm being kind) law graduate she could definitely refuse.
"Interesting, but Unethical, Business Plan"
Trackback the News
No, this isn't a post on how we should be worried about how much Google knows about us. If you're scared learn to clean out all your cookies and use anonymizer like Tor. Also wonder why Google would even care about you as more than an eyeball for their ads.
What caught my attention was CNET News.com now has trackbacks on their stories. With one click I can read comments on the story from webloggers. It's like trackbacks for weblogs only a weblog isn't the instigator. A bright light is shining on me: all webpages with semi-static (not generated on the fly) should have trackback. News stories, Amazon product links, think tank policy papers, digital photo collections, flash games, you name it. Imagine going to Amazon because you're interested in a video game. Along with the price and customer reviews you see a link to a walk-through from some sleep-deprived gaming weblogger. That walk-through might help you decide if the game is too hard, too easy, or not as cool as you thought. It could spur a sale which Amazon would love and it would increase traffic for the weblogger. If the web is becoming more of a conversation then trackbacks can only help us hear all the voices.
"Google Balances Privacy, Reach"
First Anti-Roberts Ad Airs Tuesday
Tomorrow begins the air war in the Judge Roberts nomination battle. NARAL Pro-Choice America will be lauching a $500,000 ad buy in Rhode Island and Maine to highlight some work Roberts did as a lawyer in the Solicitor General's office when President George H.W. Bush was President. The ad involves Bray vs. Alexandria Women’s Health Clinic. NOW and pro-abortion groups wanted to use the Klu Klux Klan Act of 1871 against pro-life protesters that included radical and violent elements like the counter-productive Operation: Rescue. In a conference call today Ed Whelan of the Ethics and Public Policy Center said Roberts' amicus brief supported the argument that "under established precedent" the federal statute didn't apply. Before the court Roberts said [PDF], "The United States appears in this case not to defend petitioners' tortious conduct, but to defend the proper interpretation" of the Klu Klux Klan Act. He went on to say,
Petitioners do not interfere with respondents' rights because respondents are women. Petitioners do what they do because they're opposed to an activity, the activity of abortion. They target their conspirators not because of who they are, but because of what they are doing.
A bombshell this isn't. Nor is this some wild legal concoction. The reasoning wasn't ideological; it was determining the proper bounds of a federal law.
In their ad NARAL contends Roberts' work means he turned a blind eye from violence at abortion clinics. To hammer that message home the ad stars Emily Lyons a victim of a clinic bombing who had endured "more than 20 surgeries for the injuries she sustained." But NARAL is very misleading. The Bray case dealt with a clinic in Virginia. Lyons was injured Birmingham, Alabama. The culprit was Eric Rudolph. This is a bait-and-switch to rile up abortion supporters and scare Democratic Senators into forcefully opposing Roberts. Jennifer Braceras, member, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights thought Lyons part in the ad was "totally inappropriate." She later added that it was "unfortunate we can't have a more intellectual debate of the role of the court in our society." But when the nominee is as nebulous as Roberts and interest groups have money to burn this is what we get.
August 07, 2005
What I learned at the Wisconsin State Fair:
Mass transit can occasionally be useful.
Eating lots of this will make you fat:
Paul Hornung is fat:
This segway-riding dude was a jerk. I just want him to stop for another picture:
The Badger Blog Alliance can do some damage at a micro brew tent:
Wisconsin webloggers and readers know how to have a good time:
Steve the rabid reader and commenter and Mary Eileen of Stand in the Trenches who also left early to write the first post.
Professor John McAdams of Marquette Warrior.
August 06, 2005
Webloggers Invade State Fair Sunday
Tomorrow is suppose to be a beautiful day. Come to the Wisconsin State Fair for food, food on a stick, food you'll be ashamed to have eaten the next morning, cream puffs, and to meet Wisconsin webloggers and weblog readers. The fun will be at the Micro Brew Tent starting at 1:00 p.m. Scheduled webloggers include Jib, Professor John McAdams, and yours truly who will be wearing his Contra Cafe t-shirt. And please heed Owen's advice, "Be sure to drop by and get your favorite blogger drunk!"
August 05, 2005
Outed in 2002
The Plame Scandal is over. Forget all the work the special prosecutor is doing. There's no way Karl Rove or anyone will get convicted since Valarie Plame is listed in Who's Who in America under Joseph Wilson's entry. If I could find who Wilson's wife was by going to the library then she wasn't much of a "secret" agent.
"Joseph Wilson's "Who's Who In America" Entry"
NBC Doesn't Suck as Much
NBC will not be back in good graces with PVR owners:
Looks like NBC is finally going to be putting an end to one of their more odious practices: scheduling shows by a minute or two off in order to purposefully create the kind of scheduling conflicts that prevents TiVos and other digital video recorders from properly recording shows.
This was a pain-in-the-ass last season when I always missed the last minute of Desparate Housewives so Crossing Jordan could be recorded. Now, if the network could get some decent programing to watch.
"NBC to Stop Trying to Annoy DVR Owners"
Blair Wants to Expel Radicals
Tony Blair has forced the U.K. to examine how it deald with Islamist extremists:
Prime Minister Tony Blair proposed strict anti-terror measures Friday that would allow Britain to expel foreigners who preach hatred, close extremist mosques and bar entry to Muslim radicals. "The rules of the game are changing" following last month's bomb attacks, he declared.
Some British Muslims are concerned. It's up to the Blair government to focus only on the extremists preaching violence so as to not alienate moderate Muslims who could have a tremendous effect on global Islam. One moderate Muslim has had enough and backs Blair, "Day after day these lunatics on our behalf ... are really messing up our lives here."
"U.K. Institutes New Deportation Measures"
Kossite Takes Over Times
NY TIMES INVESTIGATES ADOPTION RECORDS OF SUPREME COURT NOMINEE'S CHILDREN
The Times' public editor Joe Plambeck is already on the case and got a response from editor-in-chief Bill Keller. The Times is being "particularly sensitive" since Keller adopted kids too. That sounds like a racist claiming some of his best friends are black.
Nothing surprises me anymore. It's still amazing a reporter's first instinct (i.e. "initial inquiries") is to what can be found on a public figure's kids. I'm still waiting for the illegal immigrant rumors to start flying. Hopefully that sad excuse for a paper will make everything (except the book review) subscription. Then we can forget about the Grey Lady.
"New York Times Investigates Adoption Records of John Roberts Children"
August 04, 2005
Bob Novak, the "Prince of Darkness" uttered a profanity and stormed off a CNN set.
The on-air outburst by Novak, 74, came when the conservative commentator was interrupted by liberal political strategist James Carville during a discussion of the upcoming U.S. Senate race in Florida on CNN's "Inside Politics" show.
James Carville is probably still laughing his ass off. You could blame it on age or all the Valarie Plame stress. Novak is a 74-year-old man. His television days are done, "time off" or no time off.
The Political Teen doesn't let me down and has the video.
"CNN Suspends Robert Novak for On-Air Outburst"
"Novak Walks Off"
Charlie and I Need to Talk
Charlie Sykes' latest column covers the effect webloggers are having on Wisconsin politics. We haven't garnered a Dan Rather yet, but we're having an impact. In his list of recommended weblogs he's missing one very important weblog. Hmm. I wonder if Charlie didn't like the slight criticism I gave him on his libel lawsuit?*
*Now let me yank my tongue out of my cheek.
BBA Invades State Fair
Attention all webloggers and weblog readers within driving distance of the Wisconsin State Fair. Through the power of this new-fangled internets technology the Badger Blog Alliance has instantly organized a first-ever BBA meet-and-greet. On Sunday, 08.07 at 1:00 p.m. the BBA will be taking over Benno's Microbrew Tent. It should be a perfect place for us to meet:
[F]eaturing Wisconsin microbrews in 30-plus flavors, six TVs to watch your favorite sporting event and live music next door at the US Cellular International Amphitheater.
Should our conversation get too focused on the Packers, politics, or what kind of gun it took to take down this moose you can drink yourself silly with some of Wisconsin's best microbrews (I'm hoping for New Glarus Brewery's Spotted Cow) or wander off, disavow our existence, and listen to some music. It's the state fair so bring your kids, or just stop and say "hi." This isn't anything fancy. Just a nice way to names and faces together...at least until the beer starts really flowing.
WARNING: There will be cameras there. Cameras, beer, and cream puffs: oooh, scary combination.
August 03, 2005
Help Out a Weblogger
A bicycle accident had really thrown a wrench in Kate's dental plans. She has daunting dental bills and is asking for donations. Kate's good people. Please help her out.
Finley's Wacky Idea
When Dan Finley decided to leave his Waukesha County County Executive job to take over the Milwaukee Public Museum he ended any near-term political aspirations. He was rumored to one day run for governor, but the rise of Scott Walker snuffed his chance of being the Republican who could claim Milwaukee's vote-rich suburbs. Now, that that pressure is gone, Finley has gotten goofy by proposing a regional cultural district to run the museum as well as other cash-strapped venues like the zoo, the Mitchell Park Domes, and the Marcus Center.
What an astounding idea! Let's combine a bunch of financially unstable entities and see what kind of synergy can be squeezed out of them. That has success written all over it. Where was Finley during the halcyon dot-com days? He probably thought the Excite/@Home merger was brilliant. Finley must have standing a little too close to the microwave. I think a few neurons got fried.
Finley can claim all he wants that a cultural district doesn't equal a tax, but he used Miller Park as an example of what he envisions. Bad example since the stadium district taxes a five-county region to pay for the ballpark. Plus, how could any cultural district have any power if didn't have a source of financing? Government doesn't work like that. The purse is all-powerful. Finley isn't stupid, he knows that. Hasn't Southeast Wisconsin been taxed enough?
Finley and those that run the troubled attractions in the area have a solution that would allow people from the entire region to provide funding: offer something of value. That means places like the Domes and the public museum have to draw interest from the regional community. They'll have to do a better job marketing and improving their facilities. Marketing and cost-control have to be a priority. People need to know what's available and think they're getting something for a good price. Maybe something should be closed? That's how private businesses work. What is required is creativity, ingenuity, and hard work.
Every summer we witness a great example of a non-profit providing so much value it draws in almost 1 million people: Summerfest. Paying for bands, employees, food, beer, and rent costs tons. On top of that they advertise and give away bushels of tickets. The result of all that savy was $10 million in revenue in 11 days. They're in the black. A lot could be learned from the Big Gig.
"Finley Urges New Cultural District"
"A Culture Tax"
My Little War of the Worlds
My current time-consumer is Destroy All Humans. It's full of cheesy 50s sci-fi, and I get to blow up entire towns. Fun, fun fun. Surprising since I usually only play sports games. When one of the weapons is the "anal probe" you know this game isn't for kids.
Islamism's Favorite White Man
On Syrian TV British MP George Galloway said,
Two of your beautiful daughters are in the hands of foreigners - Jerusalem and Baghdad. The foreigners are doing to your daughters as they will. The daughters are crying for help, and the Arab world is silent. And some of them are collaborating with the rape of these two beautiful Arab daughters.
We knew Galloway hates America, but tossing in Jerusalem takes him down the path of anti-semitism*. Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. Galloway claims the "Arab daughter" is being raped. Thus he must think Jews are doing the raping. This is the same hateful Jew-bashing uttered by Islamists.
*I don't conclude that being opposed to any policy of the State of Israel makes one an anti-semite. Jerusalem (at least part of it) has been part of Israel since its creating in 1948. Driving the Jews out is only the desire of Muslim radicals like Hamas, and now, creeps like George Galloway.
Like Trying to Plug a Dike
NASA's embarassment continues. An astronaut yanked out the gap fillers and now might have to do another spacewalk to fix thermal blanket. Engineers are sure to spend many sleepless nights worrying that this new "problem" will raise the danger of the astronauts by 0.0006%. Because we can't have any chance of disaster with people traveling at thousands of miles per hour 100 miles above the earth. At this rate if the shuttle's toilet gets plugged they'll just have to abandon Discovery and let it burn in the atmosphere. Hey, that might not be such a bad idea.
"Astronaut May Face Another Shuttle Repair"
August 02, 2005
My grandfather's funeral service was nice. Short but nice. We didn't satisfy his 15-minute wish, but some bible readings, a eulogy, and some songs were all fit into about 30 minutes. We then took the ashes to a cemetary about 15 miles outside of Richland Center where the funeral was. That was the area my grandfather grew up. At the grave the ceremony was very, very short. Just a reading of Psalm 23. It took us longer to walk up the steep incline to the grave.
Driving almost six hours in one day can tire a person. I'm in total R&R mode.
King Fahd Dies
The Saudi leader hasn't really led his country in years. But we'll see if fed-up Saudi citizens will take this as a chance to demand political and religious reforms.
Here's some of the hypocrisy of the Saudi ruling family:
Tuesday's ceremony was not a state funeral — a tradition they say is not part of the kingdom's strict version of Islam known as Wahhabism.
Yet leaders from around the world are coming to Saudi Arabia to pay their respects. That looks like a state funeral to me. Wahhabis like Osama bin Laden won't be fooled.
"World Leaders Fly in for Fahd Funeral"
August 01, 2005
Long Few Days
Tonight was my grandfather's visitation. The family is taking his death well. We all knew it was coming and are relieved his suffering is done. My grandmother hasn't broken down, but she admits "there are good times and bad times." After the service tomorrow she'll wonder what to do. She was my grandfather's caregiver. She definitely isn't alone. She's living in the area she grew up in, and her sister who also just lost her husband is there by her side. Heck, there's even little old me.
It's Like Not Very Promising
Current is live in like ten minutes.
Valley Girl talk is a great sign of intellectual content.
And wouldn't a network supposedly so tied into the internet (hell, AlGore invented the damn thing) let viewers watch via the web? Not in Current's case.
When the Tables are Turned
I almost feel sorry for Helen Thomas:
White House press doyenne Helen Thomas is plenty peeved at her longtime friend Albert Eisele, editor of THE HILL newspaper in Washington, D.C.