November 30, 2005
Rummy's Word Games
Donald Rumsfeld is a great Secretary of Defense. Not perfect. But still great. His press conferences will go down as some of the most lively and forceful in D.C. history. Still, he gets goofy like when he refuses to call Iraqi insurgents "insurgents:"
"I've thought about it. And, over the weekend, I thought to myself, you know, that gives them a greater legitimacy than they seem to merit," Rumsfeld said.
Eloquent? No. Silly? Yes.
Rumfeld is also remembered for this wordy mess (which actually makes sense):
that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns — the ones we don't know we don't know.
"Don't Call It an 'Insurgency': Rumsfeld"
"News Briefing with Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace"
JimK the High Podcaster
Leaning Blue will host this week's Carnival of the Badger. Get your posts in by 8 pm tonight.
Police Shut Down Mobile Strip Club
What's with Tampa? A few weeks ago, Renee Thomas and Angela Keathley got busy in a Tampa bar bathroom. Now, last Sunday police shut down a mobile strip club outside Raymond James Stadium.
"Officers Bust Mobile Strip Club At Bucs Game"
Charlie's Show Prep #6
Here are some stories Charlie Sykes should talk about on his show today:
November 29, 2005
A La Carte Cable
Instead of getting a set number of cable channels the FCC is about to urge cable companies to let consumers pick and choose what channels they want to pay for. Style, Nickelodeon, and Disney would immediately get the ax.
The first word to describe the Jordan Melo 5.5: Wow! It reminds me of the black Air Jordans I wore on the Hilbert High School basketball team. (Barely played though.) Nike's finally put out a basketball shoe that doesn't look like a boring hunk of leather. It looks great but not great enough for me to plunk down $125.
"Cyber Monday" a Myth
I fell for online marketers' claims that the Monday after Thanksgiving is the big online shopping day:
So what's up with this Cyber Monday idea? A little bit of reality and a whole lot of savvy marketing. It turns out that Shop.org, an association for retailers that sell online, dreamed up the term just days before putting out a Nov. 21 press release touting Cyber Monday as "one of the biggest online shopping days of the year."
The biggest online shopping days are actually "around Dec. 5 and Dec. 15."
Bravo to Shop.org. There are some cleaver people there. Too bad for them I'll discount anything put out by them as pure spin. Like The Who "I won't be fooled again."
Return to Rivera Beach
In October, I wrote briefly about how city officials in Rivera Beach, FL want to kick out the lower and middle class residents to build high-end housing and marina. Today, the LA Times reports from the scene.
Charlie's Show Prep #5
Here are some stories Charlie Sykes should talk about on his show today:
UPDATE: The Christmas tree erected on Capitol Hill will be called a "Christmas" tree, not a "holiday" tree. Charlie's listeners will defintely react to this.
Carnival of the Capitalists
Plenty of good econ/biz reading at Gill Blog who hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.
How Nice of Them
How beholden to labor unions is the Democratic Party? Very.
The Democratic National Committee plans to hold a meeting of about 400 people in New Orleans early next year as a way to express confidence in the city's future after Hurricane Katrina, officials said.
Other than in government, labor unions have been dying yet they still control the Democratic Party.
"Democrats to Hold Meeting in New Orleans"
November 28, 2005
PJMer Goes Overboard
Tim Blair's announcement that he's leaving the Pajamas Media Editorial Board was a surprise. I didn't expect that. He writes, "PM needs people who can devote themselves full-time to rescuing the project after a launch that was, to say the least, problematic."
But I'm sure they had a good party.
[via Ann Althouse]
Charlie's Show Prep #4
Here's what Charlie Sykes should talk about on his show today:
Thanks DJ. The family is doing fine.
Here's my approach to comments: I feel the need to respond to every one of them. Usually I stand by what I wrote in the post. I don't see the point of restating it in a comment. If I do develop a new argument I like to write a new post so it doesn't get buried in comments. (This post was just going to be a comment. It's become more deserving.)
I appreciate all serious comments and commenters. When I'm drafting a post I try to envision what the response will be. I think that strengthens my writing. Your responses are not ignored even though I don't respond.
The purpose of this weblog is for me to write. Its my running commentary about the weird, wild, wacky world around me. I allow comments to let others continue the discussion. (I'll hopefully get my Trackback problem fixed so that discussion can more easily be extended to other weblogs.) Like I wrote above, I won't respond to every comment. For me it's about adding value to the discussion. If I think a response is valuable I'll offer it; if not I won't.
I'll try to do a better job, but I make no promises. There's too many things to write about. The world is in constant flux. Something new always grabs my attention. I won't sacrifice good ideas for new posts to make the same point I made in my original post. To me that's a waste of pixels. There will be many points where we will have to agree to disagree.
P.S. Does having to write an almost meta-post like that mean TAM is evolving into a community even if a tiny one? I shudder at the thought.
Her 15 Minutes are Up
What do you do when you hold an anti-war/Bush bashing rally and no one shows up? If your Cindy Sheehan you close up shop.
November 27, 2005
Another ESPN Failure
"Poetry Jam?" On Sports Center?
Yes, you heard it right. I just put up with Stuart Scott dishing out free verse on Sunday's games. Why? Why? Why? Isn't replaying sports highlights enough for the sports network? I don't turn into ESPN for culture. I want highlights.
Sports Center is losing me. ESPN has a problem when I prefer the second-tier guys on ESPNews to the fake press conferences and Stuart "Def Jam" Scott.
Racine School District Leaks Data
The Racine Unified School District handed out the personal information of about 500 of its employees to financial software firms bidding on work. How this happened no one knows, not even the district. I'm guessing the companies wanted data to demonstrate their products. That's why they invented dummy data.
What's even more galling is the personal data was released back in April. RealDebateWisconsin (who beat the Journal Sentinel by days) writes,
My oh my, how on Earth could they of been so busy back in April to make a mistake this monumentally stupid???? Oh yeah, they were busy scaring the students into getting their parents to the polls to overturn the no vote on their referendum increase.
And the district will soon be asking Racine taxpayers for even more money. I say no more until they fix the mismanagement.
"School District Accidentally Leaks Personal Information of 500 Employees"
Missed Sunday Insight
Silly me got too busy reading news and weblogs that I forgot to watch Sunday Insight. I also forgot to TiVo it. Anyone have a copy they can easily send me a link for. I'd like a copy to save for posterity.
P.S. Was TAM mentioned? Seeing the spike on my Site Meter I think it was.
November 26, 2005
Catching up on Your PJM Reading
When not consuming mass quantities of turkey or staring one's Christmas shopping, many have been talking about Pajamas Media. Here's some stuffing sure to fill you up (or make you sick of the whole topic):
November 25, 2005
Who is Dean Giving Thanks to?
Howard Dean, M.D.'s Thanksgiving statement is short so I'll quote it in full:
Today Americans across the country gather together with their families and loved ones to celebrate the tradition of Thanksgiving and to give thanks for the many blessings and gifts we have received throughout the year. As a nation, we also join together in sending our thoughts and prayers to our troops and their families, as we express our thanks for their brave service and the sacrifices they continue to make on our behalf.
Notice anything missing? Here are some portions from President Bush's Thanksgiving proclamation (emphasis mine):
We give thanks for the love of family and friends, and we ask God to continue to watch over America.
Dr. Dean doesn't mention God once. A 2003 Harris Interactive poll found 90% of Americans believed in God. A Newsweek poll last year found 82% believed Jesus Christ was the Son of God. Belief in God is ingrained in the American psyche. Earlier this year, Dr. Dean told Democrats, "We are definitely going to do religious outreach. Even in my campaign I was interested in reaching out to evangelicals." He's fumbled this pledge just like his Presidential campaign. Only without an embarassing scream.
November 24, 2005
No German Troops in Iraq
In Brussels, Chancellor Merkel said German troops wouldn't be going to Iraq. She said, "We made clear that we will continue not to take part in training inside Iraq, but continue training in neighbouring countries." It's disappointing but not surprising. She has to hold together a grand coalition with former chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's Social Democrats. Still I see her election as improving U.S.-German relations.
"Merkel to Keep Troops out of Iraq"
What am I thankful for?
UPDATE: I just got home from my aunt's and uncle's great (as always) dinner. One more thing I'm thankful for is not eating until I burst.
Hugh Hewitt's Presidential Straw Poll
We're not even to the 2006 mid-term elections but Hugh Hewitt is running a Presidential straw poll. Vote so we can see who TAM readers are leaning toward.
Sunday Insight Preview
Wendy at Boots & Sabers gives us a little taste of the weblog edition of Sunday Insight.
"Owen Takes off his Pajamas..."
November 23, 2005
Gaffney is Right
Steve Clemons goes after Frank Gaffney for saying exactly what I did: al-Jazeera could be a legitimate military target. Gaffney told a reporter,
We're talking about a news organization, so called, that is promoting bin Laden, that is promoting Zawahiri, that is promoting Zarqawi, that is promoting beheadings, that is promoting suicide bombers, that is other ways enabling the propaganda aspects of this war to be fought by our enemies, and I think that puts it squarely in the target category.
Clemons now wants a whole host of Bush administration officials to distance themselves from Gaffney's opinion. If pressed Condi Rice, Stephen Hadley, and other will do so...publically. It doesn't look good for the MSM to tell the world "Bush Administration Supports Bombing Media." Their moral relativism will prevent them from addressing what al-Jazeera does. They'll simply consider the network an Arab version of the BBC. Privately I hope administration officials see the importance the media plays in the Iraq War. An overt bombing run would be a mistake, but having al-Jazeera's satellite antenna malfunction or their web servers go down wouldn't be bad.
UPDATE: Glenn Reynolds adds, "[S]ince Al Jazeera is a CIA front operation we'd never bomb it. Duh."
And Many Wonder about Media Bias
CNN's X over Vice President Cheney may have been a technical glitch but an operator taking calls for the network decided to call it freedom of speech. Some interesting quotes of his include:
"Maam, it was just a comment or opinion of someone watching the speech."
The tape may be a hoax. Even if it's real the operator was just a Lefty schlub. It doesn't mean it was anything more than a mistake. Dan McKenzie's work proves it was some technical graphic. But suppose a director knew it was there and decided to slyly state his opinion. Hmm...
"CNN Employees A Bit Touchy About The Cheney 'X'"
"CNN Employee On Tape: Cheney 'X' Is 'Freedom of Speech' - 'Tell Bush And Cheney To Stop Lying'"
Hatcher Sues Tabloid
The lovely Teri Hatcher is suing a British tabloid for libel:
London law firm Schillings said Hatcher, 40, had instructed them to begin libel proceedings against the Daily Sport over articles that she says "falsely alleged that she engages in sex romps on a regular basis with a series of men in a VW van parked outside her L.A. home for this purpose."
Why would she go outside of her house for a "sex romp" unless she wanted to get caught? It's obvious the Daily Sport didn't use any common sense. Not that we'd expect any from a Brit tabloid.
"Teri Hatcher Sues Tabloid Over Sex Story"
Weblogging Featured Next Sunday
The next Sunday Insight hosted by Charlie Sykes will discuss weblogs and the internet. Webloggers on the show include Jessica McBride, Professor John McAdams, and Owen Robinson. I hope they mention TAM often. ;-)
Matthews: Selectively Quoted
I told the students that my way to deal with terrorists was to do what Golda Meir did after the killing of Israeli athletes at the Olympics: track them down and kill them one by one and be rough about it.
While the response is good he doesn't deny or explain what he meant when he said, " The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective." Does Matthews believe in evil?
[via Mark Klimer]
Charlie's Show Prep #3
Here's what Charlie Sykes should talk about on this morning's show:
November 22, 2005
Shouldn't a weblog porter resemble a weblog? That's a huge design error with Pajamas Media. Get rid of the cold whiteness. Be inspired by the nice Blogjam logo. Then actually make yourself a weblog portal by sucking in content from your associates. I thought that was one reason you wanted them to join. Or if you were really smart you'd buy Memorandum.
I Should Have Stood in Line
Some fool paid $1700 on eBay for an Xbox 360.
[via Professor Bainbridge]
The Intelligence War
What I divine out of the Murray Waas' story is that the battle of the White House and Pentagon vs. the CIA went on from the moment of the Sep. 11 attacks. Waas reports on the Pentagon intelligence unit set up by Douglas Feith:
The Pentagon unit also routinely second-guessed the CIA's highly classified assessments. Regarding one report titled "Iraq and al-Qaeda: Interpreting a Murky Relationship," one of the Naval Reserve officers wrote: "The report provides evidence from numerous intelligence sources over the course of a decade on interactions between Iraq and al-Qaida. In this regard, the report is excellent. Then in its interpretation of this information, CIA attempts to discredit, dismiss, or downgrade much of this reporting, resulting in inconsistent conclusions in many instances. Therefore, the CIA report should be read for content only-and CIA's interpretation ought to be ignored."
Which makes me wonder why President Bush didn't fire George Tenent much, much sooner. Was Bush afraid he's start talking? And about what exactly?
Waas then ties in Valarie Plame:
The Plame affair was not so much a reflection of any personal animus toward Wilson or Plame, says one former senior administration official who knows most of the principals involved, but rather the direct result of long-standing antipathy toward the CIA by Cheney, Libby, and others involved. They viewed Wilson's outspoken criticism of the Bush administration as an indirect attack by the spy agency.
What we have now are government bodies caring more about who gets blamed in the media and Congress than how to win the war. What the hell is Porter Goss doing in Langley? John Negroponte as National Intelligence Chief hasn't done much either. Last time I heard we're all on the same side. The goal is to defeat the enemy not worrying about who'll win the Washington insider ego game.
"Key Bush Intelligence Briefing Kept From Hill Panel"
Not A Crazy Idea
About the idea of bombing al-Jazeera, whether the report is true or not, it is not as absurd as Bush bashers would want you to believe. Journalists don't have the protection groups like the Red Cross or Red Crescent have. Aiding the enemy makes one a military target. If al-Jazeera is helping the Islamists in Iraq kill our troops and destablizing Iraq then they're fair game. Back in 2003 an al-Jazeera reporter was "Spain as a member of al Qaeda." They are not at all like CNN, CBS, or Fox News.
One would think the anti-war Left would be furious with al-Jazeera. Their actions are helping more of our brave men and women get killed. But in their world only the U.S. can do wrong in Iraq. The Islamists and al-Jazeera are just the effect of an arrogant, bullying, cowboy President.
If Bush thought al-Jazeera was aiding the enemy then they're a legitimate target. Flying over Qatar and dropping bombs doesn't seem like the most sensible method of knocking off a television network. Black ops would be more subtle.
Another point, since President Bush is human many ideas pop into his mind. All of us have some "interesting" ideas (like say, building a commercial company out of a weblog portal) that are more thinking out loud than anything. Some ideas are more sensible than others. He may have spouted out something like dropping a nuke on Fallujah to really send a signal to the Islamists. Would that make him a warmonger? No. Like the rest of us he must be judged on his actions. Al-Jazeera still stands. Which means he took the advice of Tony Blair and others and considered the consequences of his actions.
"Exclusive: Bush Plot to Bomb His Arab Ally"
"Bush al-Jazeera 'Plot' Dismissed"
"Bombing al Jazeera? Not a Bad Idea"
President Bush is accused of wanting to bomb al-Jazeera and
Standing in Line for an XBox 360
After closing the store last night I drove my two Best Buys to see how many crazies took on a cold Wisconsin November night just to be in line for an XBox 360. In Wauwatosa I saw 30-40 people at 11:00 pm all bundled up in coats. At the Menominee Falls store there were about 20. One smart person had their truck running so people could jump in to stay warm. Two guys were tossing a football around in the parking lot. At the Wal-Mart in West Bend I arrived at midnight to see if the maddness has begun. Everything was calm. All the store's consoles were already in lay-away. People arrived as early as 6:00 am Monday morning to wait for their gaming machine.
"Best Buy Opens Their Doors - Mayhem Starts"
Charlie's Show Prep #2
Here are some good items for Charlie Sykes' show this morning:
X Marks the Spot
Conservatives went wild when an X appeared in an instant on VP Dick Cheney during a speech broadcast on CNN. The Political Teen (who else?) has the video. Dan McKenzie did a little wizbang computer stuff to support CNN's claim that the X was a "technological malfunction." A glich, not a conspiracy.
"CNN's X-Men...Update: It was Just a Glitch"
Matthews' Memory Loss
Power Line's Paul Mirengoff takes aim at Chris Matthews' historical forgetfulness:
Matthews also asserts that "the period between 9-11 and [invading] Iraq was not a good time for America." Well, the aftermath of a deadly attack on the homeland is never going to be a "good time," but the period had its moments. We liberated Afghanistan from the Taliban, killed or captured hundreds if not thousands of terrorists, and passed the Patriot Act which enhanced our ability to combat domestic terrorism. It is quite possible that the actions we took during this period prevented one or more attacks of the scope of 9/11.
"Chris Matthews in Canada"
November 21, 2005
Armitage Under the Microscope
Is Richard Armitage Bob Woodward's Deep Throat II? Tom Maguire has the analysis.
"Sources of Confusion"
Matthews' Moral Relativism
We're at war. Just like Pearl Harbor dragged the U.S. into World War II Sep. 11, 2001 dragged us into the Islamist War. And just like our enemy was the evil German Nazis and Imperial Japanese our enemy today are Islamists hell bent on killing as many Americans as they can. But Leftists like Chris Matthews don't understand that. He doesn't even think the enemy is evil. About Islamists he told a Canadian audience, "If we stop trying to figure out the other side, we've given up. The person on the other side is not evil -- they just have a different perspective." Osama bin Laden isn't evil? Al-Zarqawi isn't evil? Saddam the Butcher isn't evil? How about those monsters who behead people? I've figured them out. They're barbaric thugs who have to be killed before they kill us.
"Hatred Blinds U.S. to Truth: Journalist"
UPDATE: Jonathan R. at GOP Bloggers writes sarcastically, "Osama bin Laden just has a different perspective? Yeah, he just hates all non-fundamentalist Sunni men and wants to enslave or kill them. He's not evil, just different."
Now We're Doomed
Imagine internet connectivity in everything: cars, stoves, clothes washers, even doorknobs. That's the future in a new ITU report:
Machines will overtake humans to become the biggest users of the Internet in a brave new world of electronic sensors, smart homes, and tags that track users’ movements and habits, the UN’s telecommunications agency predicted.
Now, let's ratchet up the paranoia by imagining all these things talking to Google.
All you tin foil hat-wearing Terminator fans invest in a big supply of tranquilizers and work on stocking that fallout shelter if you haven't started already.
"Wireless: Creating Internet of 'Things'"
UPDATE: The future is already upon us. Wifi-enabled mosquito-catching machine will soon be available:
The coming smart magnet system harkens back to the early days of networked PCs, [American Biophysics CEO Devin] Hosea said, when people came up with the idea of "LAN-tastic," for a local-area network or a ring of network connectivity.
When the Winners Lose and the Losers Win
The despised Kelo ruling from this past summer has not forced holdout New London, CT out of their homes.
"This lawsuit put a chill on the development of the whole 90 acres, no doubt in my mind," said Thomas J. Londregan, the city's director of law. "Any developer knew that whatever they did would most likely be appealed to the courts."
Charlie's Show Prep #1
Charlie Sykes is a busy man with his radio show, tv show, and writing gigs. It's time to give him a hand. Here are some stories I think will be good fodder for this morning's show*:
UPDATE: Bryan Preston compares Bush going to church with Reagan's "Tear down this wall!" speech.
The Google Internet
Robert Cringely spectulates on Google's big idea. Forget Google Base, G-Mail, or AdSense. That's all peripheral to something sitting in a parking garage:
There, in a secret area off-limits even to regular GoogleFolk, is a shipping container. But it isn't just any shipping container. This shipping container is a prototype data center. Google hired a pair of very bright industrial designers to figure out how to cram the greatest number of CPUs, the most storage, memory and power support into a 20- or 40-foot box. We're talking about 5000 Opteron processors and 3.5 petabytes of disk storage that can be dropped-off overnight by a tractor-trailer rig. The idea is to plant one of these puppies anywhere Google owns access to fiber, basically turning the entire Internet into a giant processing and storage grid.
This is scaring the beejezus out of the geeks at digg. The days of geeks' crush on the company are numbered.
Probably Too Good to Be True
The White House doesn't think Zarqawi was killed in a gunfight in Mosul:
On Saturday, police Brig. Gen. Said Ahmed al-Jubouri said the raid was launched after a tip that top al-Qaida operatives, possibly including al-Zarqawi, were in the house in the northeastern part of the city.
Debbie at In the Bullpen writes,
Some speculate whether King Abdullah of Jordan had a hand in the intelligence leading to eight dead al-Qaeda terrorists in Mosul, Iraq today. Or perhaps al Zarqawi’s family helped. It is interesting that today the family of al-Zarqawi (whose real name is Ahmed Fadheel Nazzal al-Khalayleh) in Jordan disowned him, saying, “We sever links with him until doomsday.”
"White House Doubts al-Zarqawi Among Dead"
November 20, 2005
Sunday Night Pick-Me-Up
Dead Meat is a documentary that looks at the waiting, and waiting, and waiting...of the Canadian health care system. Unless you're a dog of course.
[via Dr. Helen]
Bad news. My web host has been informing me TAM has been using too much of its share of server resources. The main culprits are the files that handle trackbacks and comments. In other words, TAM is under spam attacks. I've turned off trackbacks and disabled the file to see if that helps. I don't want to close up comments unless I absolutely have to.
If I decided to move to Movable Type 3.x could I just cut-and-paste my MT 2.6 templates with no trouble?
There's a nice list of anti-spam plug-ins for WordPress. That may be where I should go. However, I'm not thrilled with the UI. Or I could use one of the many weblog clients available. Oh, do I remember the old days when I used w.bloggar with Blogger.
Al-Zarqawi May Be Dead
Keep your fingers crossed:
U.S. forces sealed off a house in the northern city of Mosul where eight suspected al-Qaida members died in a gunfight — some by their own hand to avoid capture. A U.S. official said Sunday that efforts were under way to determine if terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was among the dead.
Even if al-Zarqawi isn't dead, he doesn't have family in Jordan anymore.
"Al-Zarqawi May Be Among Dead in Iraq Fight"
November 19, 2005
Golden Eagles Lose to Just Plain Eagles
Marquette lost in their own tournament to Winthrop 71-64. More at SportsBlog.
Roger Simon Strikes Back
He counters Kenton Kelly AKA Dennis the Peasant ceaseless OSM bashing with a calm, almost CEO-like response:
He is indeed correct that we had several discussions with him and one meeting in Los Angeles. After that nothing substantive occurred. No contracts were ever signed. No investment was made. Nothing happened. Communications dwindled to zero. It was like the many preliminary business conversations that peter out before fruition in most of our lives, certainly in mine and probably in yours. Then Charles and I developed a different approach to the business. We found investment elsewhere and Mr. Kelly, when he heard about it, turned into an online stalker. He has threatened to sue me on several occasions. I invite him to go ahead and do it. I look forward to the contents of his website being read aloud in court.
It's pretty good: factual, reserved, yet strong and stern. I too would love Kelly's weblog read in court. All business lawsuits should require humorous interludes.
Now, with Kelly responding we'll see if this turns into a juicy mano a mano weblog war.
"This is So High School"
An OSM Positive
Pieter Dorsman, an OSMer makes some good point about the weblog start-up. First and most importantly, he mentions, "any content-based venture that is able to raise a significant amount of early stage financing in the post-internet boom world is pulling off a significant feat." People who are smart enough to have $3.5 million to invest in start-up aren't going to flush it down a toilet. [Like a Koran? --ed] OSM investors think there's money to be made in weblogs. Of course it's an educated guess, but putting one's money on the line forces people to think seriously. That doesn't mean OSM will succeed. Success is never guaranteed.
What venture capitalist bring to the table along with money is business accumen. That's what makes The flap with Chris Lymon's Open Source so puzzling. Presumably the VCs are on OSM board of directors. Did any of them advise Roger Simon and Charles Johnson that picking a similar name could bring up legal as well as PR headaches? The name issue is embarassing but not fatal to the enterprise. If the business plan was dependent on the name the I'd consider OSM the poster child for the new internet bubble. More important than a name is lining up advertisers and getting contributors to continue writing good material that increases their readership. That will be a tall order with highly-independent nature of webloggers.
My biggest fear of OSM is it will be the continuation of the disturbing pattern I've seen of A-list webloggers linking to other A-listers. The blogosphere has grown so much that it's harder for voice to stand out from the crowd. Someone like me who sees relative weblogging newbies with great amounts of readers hang out virtually with other high-traffic relative newbies is frustrating because I've toiled longer than probably any OSMer with no where near the success. While I haven't seen any evidence of OSM becoming a linking circle jerk there is always that potential. I will trust in the integrity of people like Glenn Reynolds and Dean Esmay. They're both good men so that's not asking a lot.
I hope my critical posts on OSM read better than petty jealousy. I admit I'm envious of the OSMers. They're on the path of becoming professional webloggers. Someone like me who's been writing his screeds for almost six years (before the blogosphere had a name) would love the opportunity to make a living through words and ideas. This is a character flaw I'm always working on. My readers should hold be accountable when it appears to be acting up.
Here's a challenge to OSM critics: write a post saying something positive about the new company. There has to be something good from this. Here's mine: OSM is giving writers I respect the possibility of earning money. That means they'll be able to spend more time on their writing and ideas. It may not change the world, but it will still be great.
"OSM - Early Validation"
More OSM Criticism
From Hog on Ice:
I made fun of OSM for failing to register their own domain name (back in the PJM days), "pajamamedia.com." That wasn't a booboo. That wasn't a slip. That was a monumental screwup worthy of monkeys. It was unbelievably stupid and irresponsible. In a real company, doing something that dumb would be a firing offense.
Moxie does Pajama Club redux.
I don't want to be completely negative. If someone found a positive post on why OSM/Open Source Media will be a success let me know so I can link to it.
UPDATE: It's getting bad for OSM/Open Source Media when the CEO's wife has to quasi-anonymously defend him.
I wish no ill will on Dean and the other OSM contributors. Making money is a beautiful thing. I hope this new start-up works out. However, I call things like I see them.
Vote Clutters Media Stream
One more thing about the House's Iraq vote: it's good politics for the simple reason that it adds another voice in the media swirl. Until the vote the anti-war Democrats were getting all the war attention. The House vote adds to the cacophony in D.C. Non-news junkies will simply see squabbling House members and think, "Same bickering as usual." Cynical? Yes, but better than leaving the debate only to your opponents.
"That Hawkish Democrat"
Arrested for Weblog Threats
A Jackson, WI man-child was arrested for making threats on his weblog:
On Thursday, Washington County Assistant District Attorney Holly Bunch charged [Anthony] Gregovich with unlawful use of computerized communications systems.
Anyone know the URL to the weblog? Google is letting me down.
"Student Accused of Posting Threatening Message on Web"
Didion Wins National Book Award
Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking has received critical and popular acclaim. It's even selling well in Milwaukee, far away from her East Coast fan base. To top it off she won the non-fiction National Book Award.
"Series of War Stories Wins Book Award"
November 18, 2005
Iraq Retreat Resolution Fails in House
The House of Representatives voted on something similar to Congressman Murtha's call to get troops out of Iraq. It failed 403-3. Sure it was a stunt, but were the Republicans clever enough so the news survives the dreadful Saturday news cycle? For this stunt we have to thank Rep. J.D. Hayworth.
"Lawmakers Reject Immediate Iraq Withdrawal"
Carnival of the Badger
Military Matters hosts this week's Carnival of the Badger, all the Wisconsin blogosphere posts you want if you're not sitting in a tree stand this weekend.
Turkey Day in Crawford
Wacky Cindy Sheehan is a glutton for punishment. She'll be spending her Thanksgiving in Crawford, TX demanding the U.S. pulls out of Iraq. When she sets up camp again she'll be violating local law:
After President Bush and Sheehan left on Aug. 31, McLennan County Commissioners Court voted to ban parking on 23 miles of roadway near Bush's Prairie Chapel Ranch and prevent people from camping, eating, or placing portable bathrooms in ditches along all county roads.
I don't like Sheehan and her ilk, but they have the right to speak out against their President and this war. I'm disturbed at McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch's statement:
We're going to have our forces out there and we'll do whatever is necessary.
If you're one of the unlucky deputies in McLennan County, you have my sympathy this Thanksgiving. Instead of spending time with family and frinds around a big bird you'll be squelching the rights of anti-war nuts while giving them more attention than they deserve.
Those poor feathered fighters.
"The Real Victims of Bird Flu"
OSM/Open Source Media
Roger Simon turned on the OSM/Open Source Media machine Wednesday. From what I've gleened the company's business model reads something like this:
About the business model OSMer John Cole writes, "That is of no concern to me other than I hope they figure something out or have something in place that will work." That's not encouraging. Some very trusting investors were willing to give OSM $3.5 million in venture capital. (With Digg getting a similar amount are we entering another internet bubble?)
Earlier this year when OSM/Open Source Media was still Pajama Media (a truly bad name) I was sent a non-disclosure agreement and brief on the company. My accountant/business advisor and I looked through it. She was more optimistic. I was scratching my head. How does OSM/Open Source Media allow me to monetize my weblog better than BlogAds? The brief talked about how the company would get big-name advertisers to buy ads on weblogs. In order to build confidence this could happen I would have liked to know who would be running the business and doing the sales. Roger Simon and Charles Johnson didn't show me any history of running a successful business. Tossing around the names of A-list webloggers didn't build confidence.
The new company already is flubbing their name. Chris Lyndon has an outfit in Massachusetts called Open Source Media, Inc. which produces a public radio show with a sister weblog. Brendan Greeley, one of the show's producers, is covering OSM/Open Source Media's name problem.
Sadly, the big names associated with OSM/Open Source Media aren't talking much about the name problem. "Accidental" CEO (huh?) Roger Simon writes, "we're going to be flopping around for some time, much like a kid learning to ride a bicycle." Trampling on somone else's name is more than a new company flop. He offers no explanation or defense or even his side of the story. Charles Johnson just links to a sarcastic post by fellow OSMer Iowahawk. Michelle Malkin is quiet. She's traveling and hawking her book, but had time to post about the Iraq War vote in the House.
A big fear was Glenn Reynolds would start linking only to the OSM portal and weblogs creating a blogosphere-within-the-blogosphere. He links to OSM wire copy and weblog roundups, but I haven't seen a real OSM bias. That's good.
A good barometer of successful, good media is Jeff Jarvis. The guy has too much experience to take his opinion lightly. If they could have won him over instead of having him scratch his head and wonder what OSM/Open Source Media is I'd say Simon, Johnson, et al had a shot. Jarvis is now "cringing as I await the sound of trains crashing."
After the Huffington Post hype I'm not optimistic about OSM/Open Source Media. Being only two-days old I know I'm not giving it a chance. But OSM doesn't feel organic, alive. Even with cool people like Glenn Reynolds associated with it it doesn't have a personality. On the business side the the company founders may have completely misconstrued how advertising works.
Swinging at Murtha
The Bush White House must be comfortable that Patrick Fitzgerald--who will work with a new grand jury--won't pop any more indictments on anyone. Ever since the President's pro-war speech last Friday the administration has been punching back against war opponents. Yesterday, one-time pro-war Democratic Congressman John Murtha called to "immediately redeploy U.S. troops consistent with the safety of U.S. forces." In other words, cut and run regardless of military morale or the impression of victory it would give America's Islamists enemies. Remember, Bin Laden was energized by the pullout from Somalia, and terrorists were embolden to attack Israel when she pulled out of southern Lebanon.
Press Secretary Scott McClellan shot out a terse four-sentence reply:
Congressman Murtha is a respected veteran and politician who has a record of supporting a strong America. So it is baffling that he is endorsing the policy positions of Michael Moore and the extreme liberal wing of the Democratic party. The eve of an historic democratic election in Iraq is not the time to surrender to the terrorists. After seeing his statement, we remain baffled -- nowhere does he explain how retreating from Iraq makes America safer.
Being a "media-shy congressman" I doubt Murtha will fire back.
For the most part Murtha doesn't approve of the way the war has been fought, not the war itself. That makes his critique different than other knee-jerk, Bush-bashing, anti-war Democrats. In his press conference Murtha said, "We spend more money on Intelligence that all the countries in the world together, and more on Intelligence than most countries GDP. But the intelligence concerning Iraq was wrong." With still few indications of what happened to the WMDs that is the case. However, the Congressman went on to say, "It is not a world intelligence failure. It is a U.S. intelligence failure and the way that intelligence was misused." Oh, contraire, Congressman. During the run-up to the war no one doubted Saddam has WMDs. The U.N. thought so, the Russians, the French (one minister admits he was paid off by Saddam), the Germans, and the Brits all did. In the Clinton administration a host of people worried publically about Saddam's WMDs. The only one who said Iraq was WMD-less was Saddam, and his track record was awful.
"The Murtha Plan For Iraq"
November 17, 2005
Ex-Inspector Theorizes about Iraq WMDs
FrontPage interviews a former UNSCOM inspector who isn't Scott Ritter. Bill Tierney describes how Saddam's regime played games with inspectors to keep them away from sites. Here's one example:
On finds, the key word here is “find.” UNSCOM could pursue a lead and approach an inspection target from various angles to cut off an escape route, but at some point, the Iraqis would hold up their guns and keep us out.
The question this is, "Where are the WMDs?" Tierney answers:
While working counter-infiltration in Baghdad, I noticed a pattern among infiltrators that their cover stories would start around Summer or Fall of 2002. From this and other observations, I believe Saddam planned for a U.S. invasion after President Bush’s speech at West Point in 2002. One of the steps taken was to prepare the younger generation of the security services with English so they could infiltrate our ranks, another was either to destroy or move WMDs to other countries, principally Syria. Starting in the Summer of 2002, the Iraqis had months to purge their files and create cover stories, such as the letter from Hossam Amin, head of the Iraqi outfit that monitored the weapons inspectors, stating after Hussein Kamal’s defection that the weapons were all destroyed in 1991.
Maybe. Or Saddam was so maniacal as to pretend to be hiding the weapons so as to be seen as strong in the Arab world.
"Where the WMDs Went"
Ex-DH Actor Defends Himself
Last Sunday's Desparate Housewives finally got the second season revved up (tossing Gabrielle down the steps does that), but stuff going on outside the show is more juicy. Page Kennedy who played Caleb, a murderer locked in a basement, was taken off the show and replaced with another actor. Kennedy says the show's producer Touchstone "decided to go in a different direction, and they bought out my contract." Touchstone's official line is Kennedy was fired for "improper conduct." The National Inquirer claims Kennedy flashed two female co-workers. Neither were my obsession Teri Hatcher. Kennedy denies it and is working on clearing his name.
The challenge I have right now is trying to get the truth out as aggressively as they got the rumors out. That's the problem. If the truth isn't as juicy as the rumors, who cares?
He could always start a weblog.
"'Housewives' Actor Denies Rumors"
Green and Yellow Laptop for Third World
Nicholas Negroponte unveiled the $100 laptop in Tunis. It's powered by a hand crank and has wireless capability.
It looks pretty cool. With 1 GB in flash memory (no hard drive) this should be a light machine to tote around. I'd pay $300 to get one for my mobile web surfing, e-mail, and weblogging needs. This has the potential of having lots of buzz on eBay and secondary markets. Negroponte sees this and wants to stop it:
"One of the things you want to do is make sure there's no secondary market," Negroponte said. He said one solution would be to make sure "the machine will be disabled if it doesn't log in to the network for a few days."
Hackers are already drooling at the challenge of finding way around Negroponte's technological road blocks.
Negroponte is missing an opportunity for rich Westerners to subsidize these machines. One way he will keep costs down is by taking orders in the millions to take advantage of economies of scale. What he could do is charge First Worlders $300 (or more) and use the profits to get more computers to Third Worlders. Interested people will find ways to get the green and yellow (is Negroponte a Packers fan?) laptops. By selling them to First Worlders Negroponte's One Laptop per Child organization would get the surplus instead of intermediaries.
Jamais Cascio wonders how useful this device will be for developing countries:
I have no doubt that the technology/price point is achievable, eventually. And certainly, for at least some of the students, a device like this will enhance learning and access to information. But whether this is a better solution than other solutions -- both technological and otherwise -- is a still-unanswered question. Books are less-costly and far less likely to be stolen, and community computers (akin to "Village Phones") would provide access with less risk of theft or misappropriation. They aren't even good models for the technologies that the students in the global south are likely to be using as adults: systems based on mobile phone-type architectures are already far more common, and can carry out many key economic tasks.
Thomas Barnett loves the idea: "They'll be surprised. We'll be surprised. The world will be a better place."
Raj Boora reminds us:
Of course you still need all the other infrastructure to get these machines online and more importantly an IT department that will accept and support them.
"$100 Laptop Expected in Late 2006"
Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Tyrant
Good news! Fidel Castro has Parkinson's Disease:
The CIA has concluded that Cuban President Fidel Castro suffers from Parkinson's disease and could have difficulty coping with the duties of office as his condition worsens, an official said on Wednesday.
I hope he shake, shake, shakes his way to the grave soon.
"CIA says Castro has Parkinson's Disease"
"Evil Regimes Set to Topple?"
November 16, 2005
Fitzgerald Questions Woodward
Bob Woodward, the only guest you should bother watching on Larry King*, was questioned for two hours by Patrick Fitzgerald. This was a depostion in a law office, not before a grand jury although Woodward believes he testified before one. As far a I know a new grand jury hasn't been convienced, but Woodward's testimony could just be read to a new one. This doesn't appear to be a deposition in preparation for Scooter Libby's trial. Maybe it's both; I don't know much about legal procedure other than what I've seen on Law & Order.
Woodward's part of the story helps Libby a little:
William Jeffress Jr., one of Libby's lawyers, said yesterday that Woodward's testimony undermines Fitzgerald's public claims about his client and raises questions about what else the prosecutor may not know. Libby has said he learned Plame's identity from NBC's Tim Russert.
Still, Woodward doesn't exonerate Libby. As Tom Maguire points out:
As to the specifics of the Libby indictment, a bold prosecutor might press ahead - arguably, Libby's statement that he believed he was hearing about Plame for the first time when he spoke to Russert is still false, and arguably, Libby's assertions that he sourced his knowledge to other reporters when he spoke to Miller and Cooper are also false.
"Woodward Was Told of Plame More Than Two Years Ago"
"Woodward Testifies in CIA Leak Probe"
*You do have to put up with Woodward's valium-induced state. The man could sit in a Georgtown Starbucks pumping down espressos all day and still put you to sleep after three minutes of talking to him.
Newspaper Endorses McGovern
Someone at the Capital Times in Madison needs to tell the editorial board they're living in the 21st Century. They sound like Japanese soldiers stuck on a deserted island not knowing the war is over:
Indeed, were it left to this newspaper, we would gladly replace George Bush, a man who avoided serving his country in a time of war but has few qualms about sending others to die for it, with George McGovern, a man who proudly served when his country called but who has always recognized that the call must be made only when it is absolutely necessary.
Two can play this silly game. TAM endorses Tommy Thompson for governor.
Weblog Awards: Nominations Open
The 2005 Weblog Awards are upon us. Nominations are now open. I've already nominated TAM in the "Best Conservative Blog" and "Best of the Top 251 - 500 Blogs." If you think TAM fits in another catagory be my guest and nominate me.
November 15, 2005
Wauwatosa Wimp Gives into Race-Baiting
If you're a black man who gets arrested for disorderly conduct by while policemen all you have to do is organize a protest and scream racism. It doesn't matter if you have a track record of calling cops "faggots," threatening to bitch slap a gay legislator, and lets supporters hold racist, "cracker" signs.
Michael McGee acted in an anti-social manner and turned it into a Jesse Jackson shakedown. McGee is a jerk, but he's brilliant. He ending up getting hugged by Wawatosa Mayor Theresa Estness and gets a seat at the table on a race taskforce. Pretty good for sitting in a parking lot late and night then screaming at some scared Blockbuster employees, at least on who happened to be black.
Jessica McBride notes that other Milwaukee personalities couldn't get away with this:
Give me a break. I don't remember the mayor of Milwaukee hugging Mark Belling and calling a task force after his situation. If Scott Walker did this or even Tom Barrett or, God forbid, my husband, the mayor of Wauwatosa wouldn't be meeting with them and hugging them and calling task forces. They'd be ruined.
Shelby Steele has written,
Whites and blacks often play the "other" for each other in this way, each race seeking a bit of redemption and power in the other's shame. And both races live with the permanent anxiety of being held to account for their shames by the other race. So, there is a reflex in both races that reaches for narratives to explain shame away and, thus, disarm the "other."
Mayor Estness' white shame and lack of a backbone let the racist, homophobe Michael McGee become the victim...and the winner.
"Task Force Promised"
"Tosa Mayor Caves"
"Tosa Cops Get No Support from Their Mayor"
November 14, 2005
Shocking! Alito Opposes Abortion
Let's think a little for a moment: the party that (for the most part) opposes the killing of the unborn controls the White House and Capitol Hill. Should we be surprised that the President's nominee to the Supreme Court would also oppose abortion? If we want to talk about precedents then Judge Alito's stance on abortion should not prevent him from getting onto the court. Both Justices Breyer and Ginsberg both support abortion rights. They both easily passed the GOP-controlled Senate. But the Left now has their excuse to spend all the money they've saved up for a Supreme Court fight.
Conservatives should love Alito even more with the release of his job application from the 1980s:
"I believe very strongly in limited government, federalism, free enterprise, the supremacy of the elected branches of government, the need for a strong defense and effective law enforcement, and the legitimacy of a government role in protecting traditional values," he wrote.
Alito is the nominee many conservatives really wanted to see. He grew up with the rise of the conservative movement and has been influenced by the right people (Buckley, Goldwater, Reagan, etc.). He's a product of the modern conservative movement.
Fed to Start Hiding Econ Data
Fiat currency is a given. Money backed in something tangible like gold or a basket of commodities will not happen in my lifetime. Doing so would restrict government power, something that rarely happens in modern times. Given that we're stuck with central banks printing money at will (but using fancy econometric and macroeconomic theories to support them) investors, consumers, and businesses need to know how much money is being created. The Federal Reserve has decided to no longer publish M3 money supply numbers. M3 covers not only cash but checking accounts (demand accounts in econo-speak), savings accounts, CDs, eurodollar deposits, and repurchase agreements. By manipulating the money supply central bankers attempt to regulate business cycles. Sometimes they do ok (Alan Greenspan) and sometimes they really blow it (the Great Depression). If Ben Bernanke becomes the next Fed chairman he will implement some kind of inflation targeting. Economic actors will be better off knowing how well the Fed is doing with the M3 numbers. Transparency is important. Economic actors won't want to rely solely on the good faith of the Fed, especially with a new Fed chair running the show.
Other great economics and business posts are found at this week's Carnival of the Capitalists hosted by The Entrepreneurial Mind.
"Unpleasant Trend - Fed Counters By Stopping Release of M3 Money Supply Data"
Islamists May Have Eyed Nuclear Reactor
Islamist terrorists arrested last week in Australia may have been targeting a nuclear reactor near Sydney:
Under the heading "Targets," police said three of the men were stopped near Sydney's Lucas Heights nuclear reactor in December 2004. A security gate lock had recently been cut.
An arrested spiritual leader called for "maximum damage." Since Lucas Heights only has a research reactor the damage would be more psychological than material. Singapore Serf has more on the reactor and a little about what keeps the lights on down under.
"Terror Suspects Eyed Sydney Reactor: Police"
November 13, 2005
Drudge, Get Original
Look at what I found on Drudge:
Howard the Duck! TAM gave Dr. Dean that moniker in 2003. Thief! Or else Matt has the good sense to be reading TAM.
At least he didn't take my first (and only) photoshop job.
Willis and the War
If I don't care that Left-wing celebs hate the Iraq War why should I care that Bruce Willis supports it?
Peter Drucker, R.I.P.
Management guru Peter Drucker died at 95:
Peter F. Drucker, revered as the father of modern management for his numerous books and articles stressing innovation, entrepreneurship and strategies for dealing with a changing world, died Friday, a spokesman for Claremont Graduate University said.
I first became familiar to him when Newt Gingrich put his The Effective Executive on his reading list.
Drucker's influence on corporate America is substantial. Unfortunately he led to the plethora of business guru-wannabes who fill bookstore shelves with mountains of buzzword-laden dreck.
Here's some blogosphere reaction:
"Peter F. Drucker, Father of Modern Management, Dies at 95"
November 12, 2005
Robertson Hall of Shame
Kate at The Original Musings is as "pleased" with Pat Robertson's big mouth as I am. She goes on to make a Robertson Hall of Shame.
"Hey, Thanks Pat"
Too Much Tech
The Beyond Smart Mill & Brew Coffee Maker may be a wonderful product. Combining a grinder with the brewer is a nice touch. The $49.99 Woot price is nice. But it has something called SANI Wireless Network Interface. You can hook up this coffee maker to the internet. Why? I don't know. What's it going to do, tell me there's a sale on Verona beans at my nearest Starbucks? Will it start complaining to me that I'm using the wrong kind of coffee filters? Technology is great. The internet is amazing. Can't live without it. But a wired coffee maker is a line I won't cross.
November 11, 2005
Two of my fave musical artists King's X and Bob Mould will be in Milwaukee next Tuesday, 11.15. These guys haven't been to Milwaukee in ages, and they happen to be in town at the same time. I smell a conspiracy. Ah, but I have a plan. Mould will be in Madison Sunday, Nov. 13. I'll be in "Circles" on Sunday and "Fly"-ing on Tuesday. And they thought they could fool me.... Ha!
Here is the text some parents and the ACLU had problems with in Dover, PA school district:
The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s theory of evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.
There wasn't an intelligent design curriculum. It was a four-paragraph statement. Yet the evolutionists went wild. The Scopes Trial II this wasn't. A town was torn apart and time and effort were wasted.
"‘Intelligent Design’ Faces First Big Court Test"
Two Years Old
LaShawn Barber has been weblogging for two years. I met her a CPAC earlier this year. When I met her again at BlogNashville it was like seeing a friend I haven't spoken to in a few weeks. She can be a terror (in a good way) in the blogosphere, but she's great face-to-face. Congrats.
Last week, the news that Sony was putting digital right management software silently on people's computers marked a new low in companies trying to protect their content from pirates and free-loaders. They have lost the trust of many customers including me. The next time I consider buying a Sony CD I'll be looking at all the fine print to see if it says there's any DRM on it. Believing the packaging won't guarantee nothing bad will happen when I try to rip the songs to put them on my iPod. Sony's nafarious, potentially-crippling software demonstrates that.
The most vicious creature created by modern capitalism has now been unleashed upon Sony. Lawyers have filed suit in Italy. More are sure to sink their teeth into Sony's hide.
To say CNET's Molly Wood should get a grip is an understatement. With the vitriol she unleashed you'd think Islamists terrorists blew up her family. Molly, it's just music, computers, and gadgets. Sony's allowed to be total morons. If they want to implement highly-restrictive DRM that locks down their music too tightly so be it. What Sony can't be allowed to do is sneak a program unbeknownst to consumers.
Sony is in a whole heap of trouble when non-techies like Hugh Hewitt get bombarded with calls and e-mail on this story.
Today, after learning a cracker used Sony's root kit to put a virus on user's computers the company stopped making protected CDs. Once they find a different DRM method they'll start again. That I have no problem with. If Sony wants to make a lousy product it's their right. I'll choose not to buy what they're selling.
"DRM this, Sony!"
November 10, 2005
Pat, Cork It!
Dear Pat Robertson,
You're an idiot for telling Dover, PA citizens they shouldn't call on God if disaster strikes because anti-intelligent design school board candidates won election Tuesday. Saying, "If they have future problems in Dover, I recommend they call on Charles Darwin. Maybe he can help them," is quite unsympathetic, unloving, and, dare I say it, un-Christian.
Pat, your vision of God is stuck in the Old Testament where He went around destroying wicked cities. But even back then God sent His followers into those cities to give the people one last warning. I hope you don't think yourself on par with a prophet like Jonah.
It doesn't matter if intelligent design should or shouldn't be taught in public schools. It is certainly possible for a Christian to believe God uses evolution in the natural world and still accept the most important Christian tenet: salvation is only found through faith in Jesus Christ. The Catholic Church has created a big enough big tent to house both Darwinism and belief in an all-powerful God. Evolution has great explanatory and predictive power, and who's to say God didn't make the world appear to evolve from a Darwinian while still being around 10,000 years old? An all-powerful God can do anything including that. The point is not to be so short-sighted as to how God created us. However we got here we still should follow and love Him and love each other.
Whenever you run off at the mouth you insult the good image of millions of American evangelical Christians. You perpetuate the belief that all of them are wacked-out, stupid, loons. Such misperceptions have led to our current political polarization. Pat, you're not helping; you're hurting. Shut up!
"Pat Robertson Warns Pa. Town of Disaster"
The Sacramento Kings want to rev up their fans before games by sticking it to the opposing team's city. First victim was Detroit:
As the Pistons were introduced, pictures of burned-out cars, abandoned buildings and empty streets were flashed on ARCO Arena's big screen.
The organization plans on ripping on every NBA city this season. Real professional. Call David Stern. It's good for the league's image to have players avoiding hip-hop slob chic but the Kings can blast whole cities? When the Bucks come to down will there be video of fat drunks feasting on brats and cheese?
There was justice. The Pistons stuck it to the Kings, winning 102-88.
Polly Want a Nipple?
Florida gets hit again with another strange woman story:
A woman has been arrested for padding her bra — with a stolen rare parrot.
She traded the bird for a car and was dumb enough to tell the trader how she got the bird. The owner of the bird said, "Well, good way to hide it I guess, Certainly not going to search her as she leaves." Looking at Jill Knispel's picture I certainly wouldn't want to search her.
"Woman Arrested after Stealing Rare Parrot by Hiding It in Her Bra"
Tongue-Tied about TopCats
Carolina Panthers QB Jake Delhomme didn't really know what to say about Renee and Angela's Wild Night. If he's like me he wishes there was video or at least one picture. (I thought camera phones were everywhere.)
And for you legal-eagle types here's the police report.
UPDATE: Renee Thomas, through her lawyer, denied having sex in the bathroom stall. A woman who was in the stall next to the two cheerleaders doesn't think they were having sex either.
Another woman, Jennifer Chaconas, told the Charlotte Observer on Tuesday that she was in the bathroom and believes the cheerleaders were not having sex. She said she could tell the women were dressed and the brunette - later identified as Keathley - told the angry crowd her friend was having a problem. Chaconas assumed Thomas was sick from drinking too much, she said.
November 09, 2005
Sharon Now a Centrist
Israeli politics confuses me. It would help if I paid attention to it more. But this paragraph from a story on Shimon Peres losing the leadership of the Labour Party to a socialist confuses me:
[Ariel] Sharon, 77, is even considering breaking away to form a centrist party to capitalize on his high approval ratings and broad public support for the Gaza pullout, Israeli media said.
Sharon is now a "centrist" compared to Likud firebrand Benjamin Netanyahu who has been beating him up in the Israeli parliment. It used to be Sharon was supposedly the stalwart man standing in the way of peace.
"Peres Loses Bid to Remain Labour Party Chief"
Patrick's Badger Blogger is one year old.
Third Cheerleader Vindicated
November 08, 2005
Democrats Sweep Governors Races
With his big bankroll and bigger name it really would have been news if Sen. John Corzine lost in the New Jersey governor race to Doug Forrester. In Virginia Lt. Gov Tim Kaine beat Jerry Kilgore. In that race President Bush only campaigned for Kilgore Monday night. With the President's popularity tanking the Kilgore campaign probably didn't want him anywhere near him until the last moment to turn out the base. On the plus side as Kos notes the Democrats held both seats.
Power Line's Paul Mirengoff doesn't see the Virginia race as an example of national Democratic strength:
The Democrats will trumpet this win as evidence that they are on the comeback trail. They may very well be on that trail, but this race provides no good evidence of it. Kaine won because Democratic governor Mark Warner is extraordinarily popular (his approval rating is around 70 percent). There are no national implications here, unless the Dems are wise enough to run Warner for president in 2008, and they aren't. Recall too that Warner was elected governor in 2001 at a time when President Bush's popularity was at an all time high. And the Dems elected two governors in Virginia during the Reagan years. This race has never been tied to, or reflective of, national politics.
Kathryn Jean Lopez is disappointed:
Disappointing that the Republican candidates were somewhat lame (more than "somewhat" in New Jersey). Disappointing that the conventional wisdom on the Bush administration for a while now will be something like the Googlebombed Google "failure" read. This too will pass, however, I'm fairly certain. Still, the champagne popping is all on the Left tonight on the East Coast, anyway. (I don't have high expectations in Cali, but I'll hold onto hope on parental notification until it's over.) Republicans are more scotch tonight.
What this tells the President and the GOP is they have to get their act together. Domestically we see that compassionate conservatism ended up being big government conservatism. That has to change. Enough with the spending spree, fight to retain tax cuts, develop a new pitch for private Social Security accounts, and finally veto a bill. Disappoint the base, and they'll not show up to vote.
On the war front, the President has to find a way to cut through the negativity surrounding Iraq. The place has gone from authoritarian rule to constitutional democracy in three years! That's something to be proud of. Bush needs to go into campaign mode. Stop sending Karen Hughs globe-trotting. Bring her back into the White House to develop effective messages to encourage Americans that their first opinions of the Iraq War were the right ones.
I have two big suggestions: 1.) get Condi Rice out of the State Department. Influence in the administration means access to the President. As National Security Advisor Rice has better, faster access to the President than she does as Secretary of State. She'd do a better job helping her boss if she wasn't busy dealing with the institutional morass at Foggy Bottom. If this means having Dick Cheney retire and putting Condi in as VP so be it. 2.) Find out how distracted Karl Rove is with the Fitzgerald investigation or see if he's tired. Working in an administration really wears people down. Being the target of a special prosecutor makes it even more stressful. For the 2006 Congressional elections Bush needs a completely focused Rove or else he's a two-year lame duck. If Karl can't cut it dump him. Bring in Ken Mehlman or even your dad's political wizard James Baker. Baker's probably too old, but the point is to get talented strategists who are willing to bleed through 2006.
"Democrats Win Gov. Races in N.J., Va."
Just Why Were They Down There?
Let's add this speculation to the the Carolina Panthers cheerleaders story:
As you would probably expect, we’re getting all kinds of tips and info about the two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders who sis-boom-bahhed each other over the weekend, and we’ve even got some people on the inside whispering in our ear.
"Smells Like Team Spirit in Carolina"
Australian Islamist Attack Foiled
Australian police arrested 17 people suspected of plotting a terrorist attack. One of those arrested was Abu Bakr who has said Osama bin Laden is a "great man."
In a Melbourne "the court has been told the group was committed to the notion of jihad, and had been recorded discussing bomb-making and martyrdom."
Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon called the 18-month-long investigation "easily the biggest [counter-terrorist] operation that's ever taken place in this country."
The first details of the charges against the 16 terror suspects were outlined in a Melbourne court today.
Tim Blair has links.
"17 Terror Suspects Arrested in Australia"
Owens on the Packers
Since GM Ted Thompson is prevented by NFL rules from commenting on acquiring players on another team the Journal Sentinel asked a few Packers if Owens should become a Packer. Al Harris would pretty much kiss his ass:
"I would welcome him with open arms," cornerback Al Harris said. "I would drive to the airport, pick him up, take him to his room and pick him up for practice the next day. I think he would give us all kinds of hell. I think he'd probably sit here in his locker and not talk to anybody.
Grey Ruegamer think he'd be bad news:
He may be one of the greatest receivers in the NFL currently, but he does more to disrupt the locker room because he's all about me. Guys respect his talent but they don't respect the 2-year-old antics that go with it.
It isn't going to happen. It can't happen. Owens on the Packers means they'll lose their shot at the #1 draft pick and USC's Reggie Bush. Then they're a couple free agents from one last Super Bowl run for Favre.
"Time for a T.O.?"
November 07, 2005
Sex + Cheerleaders = Traffic
When all else fails a story involving sex and hot woman-on-woman action sure boosts traffic. The Tampa police are also getting plenty of interest in the Carolina cheerleader story.
"Quote Of The Day - Lipstick Lesbians Edition"
Lewis' Libidinous Other Life
Did you know Scooter Libby was a novelist? Neither did I. (And no jokes about Iraq WMD. That's too easy.) The Apprentice is written up in the New Yorker with comparisons to other steamy books by conservative authors. A "very good" copy of the out-of-print book can be had on Amazon for the low, low price of only $70!
Girls Gone Wild: NFL Cheerleader Style
Two Carolina Panthers cheerleaders were arrested this weekend after a bar patron complained they were taking too long having sex in a bathroom stall. Renee Thomas is accused of punching a woman in the face. Thomas wants to be a dental surgeon so she could claim she was just giving the woman a close examination of her teeth...with her fist. Thomas' favorite quote is "Pain is weakness leaving the body." Her second defense could be she just wanted shove a little weakness out of that woman's body.
Thomas' partner in crime (as well as some hot girl-on-girl action) is Angela Keathley. She really thinks "friendships" are the best part of being a Panthers cheerleader. I wonder if she's as friendly with other cheerleaders as she is to Thomas.
The first comment at Wizbang reads, "Shouldn't they be working for the Vikings?"
"Carolina Panthers Cheerleaders Arrested"
Simulated Press Conference
ESPN aired a simulated Boston Red Sox press conference. Why? Not enough news on NFL Sunday? Did Disney, ESPN's parent, have a leased studio they needed to squeeze all they could get out of? Did they want to be as cool as NBC with their West Wing fake debate? News as entertainment is a given. ESPN with their sports anchors' catch phrases and their use of pop music and MTV-style cut editing make watching sports highlights fun. But I want a sports network to deliver sports, not acting.
November 06, 2005
Yahoo + TiVo = Cool
Now, if you have a TiVo Series 2 box you can now program it through the web. Maybe I'll finally get around to upgrading.
Fight Led to Owens' Suspension
Terrel Owens' suspension was for more than bashing his team:
Terrell Owens was involved in a locker-room fight with former teammate Hugh Douglas a few days before the All-Pro wideout was suspended indefinitely without pay by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Too bad MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch is, uh, dead.
Another team will take a chance on Owens. He's too talented. If the Raiders didn't already have Randy Moss I'd Al Davis would try to get him. How about Owens with the Vikings? That organization is so screwed up they'd be dumb enough to do it.
"Owens-Douglas Fistfight Contributed to Suspension"
UPDATE: ESPN's Chris Mortenson said if the Eagles released Owens the Packers have no interest in him. That's saying something. Owens is the type of player who could turn Green Bay's season around.
Milwaukee TV Stations Down
It looks like I'll be missing Desparate Housewives tonight. To any SE Wisconsin readers: as of this moment are you getting channels 4, 6, 9, or 12? I'm getting other Milwaukee stations. I wonder if the problem is with Charter cable. Could it be all these stations have transmitters at the same location and something happened to knock them all out?
UPDATE: About 8:30 things were back to normal. A half hour of DH is better than none. I still don't know if I should blame Charter.
Alt Rock iMix
Do you use iTunes and want some good, rockin' alternative rock (whatever that means anymore)? Check out my iMix.
Leather pants + hot girl + great sense of humor = regrettable purchase but great eBay ad.
[via Dean's World]
Somali Pirates Attack Cruise Ship
It's time to get the British Navy back up to speed. There be pirates to fight:
A luxury cruise ship with 22 British tourists aboard survived an attack by Somali pirates armed with rocket-propelled grenades yesterday as it rounded the Horn of Africa.
One passenger demonstrated his British subtlety:
They were firing the rifle and then fired the rocket launcher twice. One of the rockets certainly hit the ship — it went through the side of the liner into a passenger’s suite. The couple were in there at the time so it was a bit of an unpleasant experience.
The Seabourn Spirit fended off the pirates with a "sonic blaster," a "non-lethal weapon [that] sends out high-powered air vibrations that blow assailants off their feet." It might be something like the Long Range Acoustic Device which is used by the U.S. military.
Finally, consider this another failure of the French military:
The waters off the Somali coast are among the most dangerous in the world. They are occasionally patrolled by a combined taskforce, known as CTF150, currently under the command of the French navy.
"Cruise Ship Britons Attacked by Pirates"
UPDATE: William Langewiesche reported on the Wild Wild West of the oceans a few years ago in his book The Outlaw Sea.
Melvin Gets Contract Extension
It was a pipe dream thinking the Brewers should hire Theo Epstein. Now, I woke up to reality:
As promised at the end of the regular season, Attanasio extended the contract of general manager Doug Melvin for three years Saturday, running through the 2009 season. Melvin had one year remaining on his original four-year deal, signed with the former ownership group headed by the family of Commissioner Bud Selig.
Melvin has done a good job so far. He relying on the farm system and not taking big risks on big-money free agents. Now is the time to take some chances. I hope a rumor about a certain Anaheim Angels pitcher with Wisconsin roots becomes reality.
I have a suspicion that the way the Brewers improved is along sabermetric lines. I'll have to look at some stats.
"Melvin, Brewers Seal the Deal"
November 05, 2005
Saturday Sports Report
Terrel Owens has been suspended indefinitely by the Philadelphia Eagles. He bashed the team for not properly recognizing his 100th touchdown last Sunday and said the team would be undefeated if Brett Favre were their quarterback. If the latter comment is Owen's way of kissing up to the Packers who could use a wide receiver Packers GM Ted Thompson should stay far away. Owens is a 31-year old player who will expect a lot of money, and probably more after he signs a contract. Also, Owens' agent the infamous Drew Rosenhaus isn't loved in Packerland.
The Bucks' T.J. Ford should change his last name to Mazda, because he "zoom zoom zooms" past opposing players. [Wait, Ford owns part of Mazda. It's cosmic. --ed] The Bucks went to 3-0 with a win over the Shaq-less Miami Heat tonight.
The Badgers got blasted by Penn State 35-14. There went Barry Alverez's chance at ending his Wisconsin coaching career with one more Big Ten title.
Critical Days for Rove
If it weren't Sen. Trent Lott calling for Karl Rove to lose his policy-making position in the White House I'd say signs are there for the Architect's demotion. White House staffers with access to classified material will attend ethics meetings by order of President Bush.
There's also this trial balloon floated in the Washington Post:
Some senior aides have privately discussed whether it is politically tenable for Rove to remain in the White House even if he is not charged. Others raised the possibility of Rove apologizing for his role, especially for telling White House spokesman Scott McClellan and Bush that he was not involved in the leak. McClellan relayed Rove's denial to the public.
I see Rove offering a mea culpa in a few days. The response to it will determine his status in the White House.
"Bush Orders Staff to Attend Ethics Briefings"
November 04, 2005
Napoleon Dynamite Soundboard
Wendy at Boots & Sabers is tempted to have her kids play hooky next week when President Jimmy Carter comes to West Bend, one of the most Republican* cities in the entire United States.
Ah, childhood memories. My first chance to see a President up close was when President George H. W. Bush rode a train through Wisconsin in 1992. My family and I walked the whole two blocks to the railroad tracks hoping he'd stop to say a few words. Other people in town came out with hand-made signs. The train came from the south. We hoped it would slow down. Still it came closer. Closer. It's speed didn't change a bit. The train barreled through town with the President waving from the back. At least it kind of looked like him. It was such a blur they could have put an older staffer out there and we wouldn't have known the difference.
As for a childhood memory about Jimmy Carter: my mother never lets me forget that when Ronald Reagan beat him in 1980 I cried. Yes, I was a Democrat at six-years old. Over the years I've seemed to have grown up. The Democrats haven't.
"Jimmy Carter, Wal Mart, and West Bend"
*Note I didn't say "most conservative." I won't when Washington County's board voted to subsidize a gigantic hunting and fishing shop cum tourist attraction.
November 03, 2005
The Kid Comes Home
Expect the hottest autograph at next spring's Brewers training camp to be new bench coach Robin Yount. Manager Ned Yost and new third base coach Dale "Easter 1987" Sveum persuaded the Hall of Famer to return to the city he played so hard for. March can't come fast enough for some Arizona baseball.
"Yount Returning to Brewers as Bench Coach"
P.S. I still want the Brewers to hire Theo Epstein. No minor league ball for him. At least I want to hear a rumor that the Mark Attanasio was talking to him.
Putting one's foot in their mouth must be contagious in Washington, D.C. this week. Joining John Roberts is Washington Post writer Emily Messner who wrote, "Nonetheless, it is amusing to imagine Charles Krauthammer doing a touchdown dance." Krauthammer has been in a wheelchair since 1972. Oops. I'll give her a little leeway. I didn't know Krauthammer was disabled until I saw him on Fox News a few years ago. But Messner works in D.C. News gets around in that leak-driven town.
Conservative Blacks Blast Journal Sentinel
Black conservative group Project 21 has issued a press release blasting the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel for their asterisk editorial:
Members of the black leadership network Project 21 are condemning a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial in which United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas is said to need as "asterisk" next to his name with regard to his race because he "does not represent the views of mainstream black America."
"Black Activists Denounce Racialist Milwaukee Newspaper Editorial"
November 02, 2005
Thomas Barnett on C-SPAN
Last year, Thomas Barnett won a TAM Book Award for his thought-provoking The Pentagon's New Map. He's taken advantage of the publicity derived from the book and has come out with the follow-up Blueprint for Action. Again, he challenges the conventional thinking of both the Left and Right. He was on Book TV's After Words to talk [mp3] about the book with Rep. Tom Feeney.
Smokers' Endangered Habitat
When my grandchildren ask me about what life was like in 2005 one historical item I'll tell them is way back then you could still smoke outdoors. The kids will probably look at me dumbfounded. They'll assume I'm talking about grandma smoking her medcinal marijuana because of her arthritis. We'll soon live in a country where cigarettes will be legal to buy (no legislature has the guts to ban them) but illegal to light up. First, it was smoking bans in the workplace, then bars and resturants, now some want to ban smoking outdoors:
On Tuesday, Washington state voters will consider the first statewide ban on smoking within 25 feet of buildings that prohibit smoking. That would mean lighting up near offices, stores, theaters, restaurants and government buildings could bring a $100 fine.
This isn't about health, although the anti-smoking zealots will claim that. Breathing in some second-hand smoke while at an ATM for 30 seconds won't hurt anyone. They want to ban smoking outdoors because they don't want anyone smoking period. They don't like the smell (neither do I) or think smokers should be more healthy. Reason's Jacob Sullum is right that this creeping authoritarianism won't stop with beaches or office building entrances:
"If you ban smoking outside near a door or window, essentially you have no place to smoke except your own home - and maybe not even there," Sullum says. "What's next? Smoking in a house with children will be considered child abuse. Smoking around pets will be cruel to animals."
"Smoke-Free Zones Extend Outdoors"
November 01, 2005
Marcus notes the Journal Sentinel editorial board doesn't know much about the structure of the federal government:
The SCOTUS is not a representative body, it is a court. The SCOTUS is not elected therefore is inherently not representative of the ethnic makeup of our nation. The SCOTUS was designed to be above the political fray (a diminishing facet of the SCOTUS) and in fact it can be argued the SCOTUS was not to be representative. The idea of the SCOTUS was to interpret the law, to negotiate between contract disputants, to interpret the constitution, and to determine the constitutionality of statutory law. That is the SCOTUS tries to determine the truth, and truth is above politics and representative democracy.
The court isn't about making sure blacks have a say, or women, or whites, or whatever group out there. The court is about being the third branch of government that restrains the power of the other two. There isn't a "black way" or a "female way" or a "white way" to interpret law. There are intellectual schools of thought, but they're just that, intellectual. Race, sex, or religion has no bearing. Whether one in a conservative, liberal, or radical doesn't depend on skin color, sex, or religion. Clarence Thomas is a black man. That has as much bearing on his rulings as being Italian has on Antonin Scalia's. Both can be and are conservatives. That doesn't make them any lesser members of their respective races. The Journal Sentinel can't understand that. To them skin color and gender determine ideology.
New TAM Sponsor
Welcome The Markesan Group, TAM's first Wisconsin-based sponsor. They handle public relations, political consulting, etc. If you need some help getting your message out talk to them.
An Asterisk for Thomas
Day 2 of the Alito nomination and some Lefties look like fools. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel editorial board played the race card today:
Another minus is that the nomination lessens the court's diversity. O'Connor herself had expressed the desire that her successor be a woman. O'Connor seems to have grown wiser about diversity as a result of her Supreme Court experience. She came to see the virtues of having a court that looks like America - doubtless a big reason she softened her opposition to affirmative action in recent years.
In the Journal Sentinel's limited Leftist mindset only liberal blacks can represent blacks' interests. There's no possibility Justice Thomas could uphold the rights of blacks because *shiver* he's a conservative who doesn't make law from the bench. The paper engages in typical groupthink. In their minds only liberal blacks can represent blacks; only liberal women can represent women; only Indians can represent Indians; etc. If you're a conservative black you're a freak of nature. That's not treating people as individuals. It's lumping them together based on gender or race. Hey, they have words to describe that; they're "sexism" and "racism."
Imagine if this weblog or the Wall Street Journal editorial page wrote, "In losing a woman, the court with Alito would feature seven white men, one white woman, who deserves an asterisk because she arguably does not represent the views of mainstream black America, and a black man." We'd receive heaps of scorn. But if you're a Leftist you think you can get away with it.
Charlie Sykes is calling Ricardo Pimentel and the Journal Sentinel editorial board "racists." If the name fits...
In an unintentional bit of irony by the paper they worry about the Alito nomination dividing the country. It won't divide people as much as the racist rhetoric the paper uses.
"A Nomination that Will Divide"
CBS News' John Roberts is still wiping the egg off his face. Yesterday, he asked White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, "So, Scott, you said that -- or the President said, repeatedly, that Harriet Miers was the best person for the job. So does that mean that Alito is sloppy seconds, or what?" Roberts later apologized calling it an "oops" moment. All of us get those brain farts. Matthew Sheffield ask, "Will Roberts be so eager in the future to make a fuss when administration officials make a verbal miscue?"
"CBS Correspondent Derides Alito Nomination with Sexual Term"
Get Theo Epstein
Brewers GM Doug Melvin has done a good job making deals and finding diamonds in the rough to finally bring a non-losing team to Milwaukee. For that he should be thanked. But Mark Attanasio should be on the phone talking to ex-Boston GM Theo Epstein. He resigned yesterday due to a falling out with ownership. The kid knows his stuff. Moneyball worked for the Red Sox, and it could work for the Brewers. An added bonus is Epstein could possibly bring Bill James with him.
"Theo Epstein Resigns"
Mapes Mopes in Vanity Fair
An excerpt from ex-CBS News producer Mary Mapes' book on Dan Rather's forged memos will be in December's Vanity Fair. In it she writes,
If I was an idiot, it was for believing in a free press that is able to do its job without fear or favor. ...I didn't know that the attack on our story was going to be as effective as a brilliantly run national political campaign, because that is what it was: a political campaign.
A political campaign? Yeah, right. Tell that to the Power Line gang and Charles Johnson at Little Green Footballs. I'm sure they'd love to know who was pulling their strings without them knowing. I'm sure they'd both like to know if Karl Rove was using his mind-control machine on them again. [Karl, turn that thing off! You know how it makes my scalp itch. --ed]
LGF gets into Mapes claiming McCarthyism.
"CBS' Mary Mapes, in Vanity Fair, Defends Role in 'RatherGate'"
DNC Swings at Alito and Misses
It's not a good start for the Alito attack machine at Howard Dean's DNC when Chris Matthews goes on television and bashes your lousy brand of politics. Matthews went on MSNBC to excoriate a DNC fact sheet with the first item being how Alito failed to win convictions over New Jersey mobsters. Matthews decried the Italian bashing implicit in accusation:
They shouldn’t go after ethnicity. As a prosecutor, a judge, a yale law grad. I don’t understand this kind of politics. Unless they have someone who's not on the top of 20 items. The guy being an Italian American not nail a conviction in 17 years ago? Interesting.
Matthews doesn't understand the bad politics at the DNC? How about the inept loudmouth running the show?
Wizbang has Matthews' appearance courtesy of The Political Teen.
What would Einstein make of this?
"Alito Smear Document Came Directly From DNC"