[star]The American Mind[star]

January 31, 2006

Holding Off on SotU Response

Instead of watching a replay of the State of the Union speech I'll be catching up with yesterday's 24. I did catch part of Virginia governor Tim Kaine's speech was pretty good. It was full of good spirit and moderate in temperment. He impressed me.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:46 PM | Comments (0)

Assembly Fails to Override Concealed Carry Veto

In a remarkable example of flip-flopping Democratic Assemblymen Terry Van Akkeren of Sheboygan and John Steinbrink of Pleasant Prairie both backed Gov. Doyle's veto when they initially voted for the bill. I wonder what the two Faith No More fish got out of handing their votes and credibility to Doyle?

Owen @ Boots & Sabers live-blogged it. Kevin @ Lakeshore Laments hears someone will be filing papers to challenge Rep. Van Akkeren.

"Concealed Weapons Veto Override Falls Short"

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

Coretta Scott King Dead at 78

Coretta Scott King worked with her husband to demonstrate that all people were equal under law. That despite efforts by Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"Martin was a very strong person, and in many ways had very traditional ideas about women," she told The New York Times Magazine in 1982. She continued: "He'd say, "I have no choice, I have to do this, but you haven't been called,' " "And I said, "Can't you understand? You know I have an urge to serve just like you have.' " Still, he always described her as a partner in his mission, not just a supportive spouse. "I wish I could say, to satisfy my masculine ego, that I led her down this path," he said in a 1967 interview. "But I must say we went down together, because she was as actively involved and concerned when we met as she is now."

Instead, she mostly carved out her own niche, most prominently through more than 30 "Freedom Concerts" where she lectured, read poetry and sang to raise awareness of and money for the civil rights movement.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes,

For many, Coretta King was the closest thing possible to African-American royalty, from the regal way she carried herself to how others perceived her. Her image froze in the public's consciousness thanks to a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph taken at her husband's funeral. Beneath her black veil, she seemed dignified and stoic even as she consoled a grief-stricken 5-year-old Bernice.

But for a public figure, she was an intensely private person. She picked her friends carefully and did not venture out in public without being swamped by admirers.

That, said some who didn't know her, made her appear aloof, but friends say Coretta King was warm, kind and considerate, someone who loved to laugh, never said a bad thing about anybody, and spent hours talking on the phone with friends and family late into the night .

Godspeed, Coretta.

"Coretta Scott King, 78, Widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dies" [via PoliBlog]

"Coretta Scott King Dies at 78"

", 1927-2006"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 10:17 AM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #36

  • Sen. Kennedy went crazy on the Senate floor in his failed attempt at a filibuster. His red, balloon face almost exploded. From hearing Teddy you'd think Judge Alito's goal was to subjugate women, minorities, and the disabled. If only Sen. Kennedy were as passionate on 07.18.1969 as he was yesterday.

  • Good news for GOP Congressional races. blew through a ton of money and Democratic leaders are ticked there won't be much for fall's elections.

  • Pot banging and an "Impeachment Forum" are two ways far-Leftists are countering President Bush's State of the Union speech.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:58 AM | Comments (14)

File Under: Fiction

I suspect Random House, the publisher of James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, will never re-classify the book as fiction. Adding publisher's and author's notes stating that not everything contained within is true might pacify critics. What it won't do is stop the Brooklyn Public Library from putting the book where it correctly belongs.

It is important that the Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) classifies books in its collection in a way that reflects the community's expectations. When BPL learned of public and publishing industry concerns of the discrepancies in James Frey's A Million Little Pieces, we felt it necessary to react in a way that would assure Brooklyn's library users that the information they want and need is easily available and accessible within a clear and truthful classification system.

Slate's Timothy Noah noticed Nan Talese knew about problems with the book's accuracy long before The Smoking Gun story.

I'm fascinated at the differences of opinion between Nan Talese and her husband, non-fiction writer, Gay Talese. A few weeks ago, they were both on CNN. About memoir Gay told Anderson Cooper:

Well, it means a mirror of yourself, as best you can reflect yourself. It doesn't mean absolute truth, because we don't know absolute truth at all. But it certainly means a very vigilant and vigorous attempt to reflect yourself accurately and verifiably


Memoir does not mean that you can be at liberty with the truth or with your own research on yourself.

He went on:

I believe that the credibility of the whole story depends upon the total effort of the writer to be responsible, even in matters that might not be relevant to the overall story.

I do not think there's a matter of 10 percent or 8 percent. I believe you really have to be 100 percent accountable. And, even if you fail -- and we all do, much as we try, but we certainly do -- we are flawed, as Jim recognizes himself, as a flawed figure.

But I do believe, when it comes to credibility, in this time when our country so much relies upon -- upon accountability and accuracy, or an attempt at accuracy and not being deceptive, I think that writers, no less than the government of the United States, no less than anyone in corporate life or television, has to be believed and has to be, if not entirely right, at least sincerely committed to being as right as you can be.

And I don't think there's any tolerance for kind of a minimum or minimalist attitude with regard to maximum credibility.

Nan's response was quite limited:

You know, the reason we published the book was because of the power of the narrative of his rehabilitation and what he went through.

Later she said,

But -- but the fact is, here is a person from the age of 10, for 14 years, has been on alcohol and drugs. Perhaps -- I mean, I'm not a psychoanalyst, but perhaps he felt that he needed to make himself worse.

I mean, would an editor say to someone, I really don't believe that you're as bad as you are? I mean, this is what he said. In publishing, we do not check author's facts. The authors present their books and they guarantee they are truth.

If James exaggerated, which he now says he did, these two instances of his being really horrible, it is mistake. He apologized for it, or he didn't apologize, but he acknowledged it. The thing is, the thing that I'm saying is that, without those two scenes, I would have published the book. They are irrelevant to the essence of the book.

So, we have a husband interested in truth or at least an attempt at truth, while the wife concerned more about what the "essence of the book" is.

"Why Brooklyn Says Frey's Fiction"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 01:17 AM | Comments (0)

January 30, 2006

Alito Filibuster Fails

Sen. John Kerry and his fellow Senate Democrats could only round up 25 votes in their attempted filibuster of Judge Sam Alito's nomination. Nineteen Democrats joined 53 Republicans to end debate and force a confirmation vote. Bravo to Sen. Kohl, and shame on Sen. Feingold.

"Democrats Don't Get Support for Alito Filibuster"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 11:55 PM | Comments (1)

Filibuster Expected to Be Defeated

Despite Sen. Lincoln Chafee, being a typical liberal GOP squish, opposing Judge Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court there are enough votes to stop a Democratic filibuster:

"I am a pro-choice (abortion rights), pro-environment, pro-Bill of Rights Republican and I will be voting against this nomination," said Chafee, a moderate up for re-election in a state that opposed Bush for president in 2000 and 2004.

Chafee's office said, however, the senator would join fellow Republicans and a number of Democrats later on Monday to end a futile effort by Democrats to block Alito, who could move the nation's highest court to the right.

A vote to end a four-day debate was set for 4:30 p.m. EST (1930 GMT) and Republicans had commitments from more than the needed 60 in the 100-member chamber to do so, lawmakers said.

Democrats like Sen. John Kerry and even Barack Obama (who I thought was smarter) will try to filibuster even though they know it won't work. All they'll do is pander to the loud, obnoxious Kosites of their base while continuing to alienate more even-keeled voters. Two years before Presidential primaries we hear Sen. Kerry is full campaign mode. Yeesh! And I'm only easing myself into this fall's elections.

"Alito Headed Toward Confirmation"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:31 PM | Comments (16)

Charlie's Show Prep #35

Charlie Sykes might not need any material. He could spend 3 1/2 hours letting callers rant and nash their teeth about Brett Favre. Here's some non-Packers material anyway:

  • Cindy Sheehan will camp outside President Bush's ranch this April, and fellow wacko Hugo Chavez supports her and even told her to run for President.

  • Senators Biden and Obama think the filibuster is an unwise political tactic. Still, they're going to try it anyway. With opponents like this it's no wonder the Republicans get more lazy and stupid.

  • President Bush wants to push health saving accounts. I hope he does better with this than he did with Social Security.

  • Tom Barrett and others are already lamenting the bill. That's a good sign the State Assembly will override Gov. Doyle's veto.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:51 AM | Comments (0)

Expect a Monday Malaise

Expect Aaron Rodgers to be starting as quarterback for the Packers next season. That's because if you had to force Brett Favre to make a decision at this moment he would retire. That's what he told ESPN's Chris Mortensen in an interview aired Sunday night. It's not the physical part of the game that's weighing on him, it's the mental. He's not sure he wants the ball with two minutes left in the game. He said he told Ted Thompson, "I don't know if I can give you everything." A month before his final 2005 game he called his former coach Mike Holmgren about it possibly being his last game. Favre would love to wait until training camp to make a decision, but he knows that wouldn't be fair to the Packers.

Despite talk to the contrary that Ted Thompson and Mike McCarthy don't really want Brett Favre back next season (I'm talking to you, Mark Belling) both men visited him in Mississippi last week.

If you notice some irritation and mild depression with your Wisconsin co-workers you now know why.

"Favre Says he's Leaning Toward Retirement"

"Packers, Favre Chew Fat"

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

January 29, 2006

Kennedy Joines the Kosites

It's complete. Kos owns the Democratic Party. Like Hamas in Palestine he's going to have a hell of a time managing things.

[via Baseball Crank]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:57 PM | Comments (0)

Congressman's Staff Alters Wikipedia Entry

More evidence that Wikipedia should not be the vaunted reference many think it should be:

The staff of U.S. Rep Marty Meehan wiped out references to his broken term-limits pledge as well as information about his huge campaign war chest in an independent biography of the Lowell Democrat on a Web site that bills itself as the "world's largest encyclopedia," The Sun has learned.

The Meehan alterations on Wikipedia.com represent just two of more than 1,000 changes made by congressional staffers at the U.S. House of Representatives in the past six month. Wikipedia is a global reference that relies on its Internet users to add credible information to entries on millions of topics.

Defenders of Wikipedia has said if you don't like an entry edit it. Well, someone did. It didn't expand readers' knowledge. For political and other controversial subjects Wikipedia is turning into a propaganda stage. Its reputation is slowly dropping to the level of a James Frey memoir.

"Rewriting History Under the Dome" [via digg]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 07:47 PM | Comments (7)

Stuck Watching a Bad Game

There is a downside to getting a partial-season ticket package as a gift: you attend games where you wish you could pull out the remote control and change the channel. Today, my father and I sat through the sloppiest NBA I can remember. Neither the Boston Celtics or the Milwaukee Bucks could made a crisp pass, they couldn't shoot from the floor or free throw line, they made dumb fouls, and they rarely move around on offense. The Bucks snagged a win because Michael Redd got hot in the fourth quarter.

The Bucks have been in a funk in January going 7-9. They're still within shouting distance of Cleveland for the fourth seed in the playoffs. Injuries to Joe Smith and now Mo Williams are part of the reason. Terry Stotts has to get his players focused better or they'll get bounce in the first round of the playoffs.

"Bucks 83, Celtics 79"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 07:19 PM | Comments (1)

Media Makes Big Deal Out of Injured Media

An ABC News anchorman and his camera man get seriously injured from an Iraqi terrorist bomb, and it's the biggest story of the day. They were interrupting sports talk on Milwaukee radio to keep us informed. I feel badly for both Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt, but frankly, I never heard of either of them before today. You could have put Woodruff in a line-up and I wouldn't have been able to pick him out. Other reporters have gotten hurt in Iraq and there wasn't this much attention. U.S. soldiers have gotten hurt and killed but have garnered less attention.

My prayers are with Woodruff and Vogt.

"ABC's Woodruff, Cameraman Injured in Iraq"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 06:21 PM | Comments (1)

Sheehan Still Considering a Senate Run

An Alito filibuster might not be enough to keep Cindy Sheehan from running for the U.S. Senate:

Sheehan said running in the Democratic primary would help make a broader point.

"If I decided to run, I would have no illusions of winning, but it would bring attention to all the peace candidates in the country," she said.

Sheehan, 48, who lives in Berkeley, Calif., said she would head to Washington on Sunday for protests against Bush's State of the Union address on Tuesday, and then return to California to discuss her idea of running against Feinstein with her son and two daughters.

"I can't see ó if they think it's going to help peace ó that they would be opposed to me doing it," she said.

Please! Please! Please! Run, Cindy run!

Seriously, other than sheer entertainment value a Cindy Sheehan run for California Senator would be immediately dead in the water. She's a kook who hangs around Hugo Chavez and Harry Belafonte. She'd grab the votes of only the Joel Steins of California and not those who still love their country but have become disillusion over the Iraq War. Plus the California GOP has shown no ability to field a credible state-wide candidate who isn't a celebrity.

"Cindy Sheehan May Challenge Calif. Senator"

"Gifts From The Left"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:00 PM | Comments (4)

January 28, 2006

#1 Google Search

"best political websites"

I'd like to thank the fine engineers at Google for this honor. I don't know what I did to deserve it. Really, I'm clueless, but I'm not complaining.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 07:11 PM | Comments (0)

Diane, We Want the Kook to Run

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), for the love of webloggers and comedians do not filibuster Judge Alito. We want to watch Cindy Sheehan and her band of Hugo Chavez-loving pinkos try to unseat you. It won't succeed, but think of our entertainment value. Cindy will be able to produce enough wacky quotes to keep webloggers and the Daily Show busy for months.

"Sheehan to Feinstein: Filibuster Alito, Or I'll Run Against You"

UPDATE: Sen. Feinstein let me down:

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against Alito's nomination, said she will vote against ending debate Monday, a procedure known as cloture.

"Based on a very long and thoughtful analysis of the record and transcript, which I tried to indicate in my floor statement (Thursday), I have decided I will vote no on cloture," Feinstein said in a statement released Friday by her office.

So much potential entertainment swept away by one statement. *SIGH*

Thanks go to Kevin Binversie @ Lakeshore Laments for the tip.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:48 AM | Comments (22)

Will Marijuana Activist Die in Jail?

Here's a disturbing story that should having people defending marijuana laws contemplating their stance:

Five years after fleeing to Canada to avoid jail, medical marijuana activist Steve Kubby returned here in handcuffs Friday facing an uncertain future and a stint behind bars that his doctor contends might prove a death sentence.

Law enforcement officers whisked Kubby off a commercial jet at San Francisco International Airport on Thursday evening, and friends said he soon began to feel the effects of his rare form of adrenal cancer while in custody.

"I got a call from Steve from jail, and he said he was suffering," said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, a cannabis advocacy group. "It doesn't have to work this way."

Several physicians who have examined Kubby, a former Libertarian candidate for governor and a driving force behind California's victorious 1996 medical marijuana initiative, contend the drug blunts the worst symptoms of his cancer, which can be fatal.

Kubby, who last week exhausted his final appeals to remain in Canada, had expected to voluntarily surrender to authorities in Auburn, the Placer County seat, after a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday.

I'm not jumping gung-ho into the "legalize drugs" debate. Let's face a fact: marijuana's image has entered our culture more than even when our hippie parents smoked in the 60s. I haven't seen "reefer madness" plague the nation. Steve Kubby needs his marijuana for his health. My common sense tells me this is quite different from selling the stuff or trying to get others hooked on the high.

"Medical Marijuana Activist Returns to State, Is Arrested"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 02:41 AM | Comments (0)

Coulter Again Gives Conservatives a Bad Name

The unfunny Ann Coulter out did herself when she joked, "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." She's not a pundit. She's an unfunny comedian who uses conservative politics and long blond hair as her schtick. She's boring and she insults the movement she thinks she promotes. I won't be looking forward to listening to her stand-up routine at CPAC 2006.

"Ann Coulter 'Jokes' That a Supreme Court Justice Should Be Poisoned--And is Compared to Lil' Kim"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:11 AM | Comments (1)

January 27, 2006

Gophers Takes Latest Battle in Border War

College hockey doesn't get enough attention especially in Wisconsin. This year the Badgers are one of the best teams in the nation and the Frozen Four national championship will be in Milwaukee in April. This weekend the #4 Minnesota Golden Gophers come to face the #2 Badgers. Tonight's game was wild and exciting like a good college game can be. After a stretch of three-straight goals the Badgers were down 5-1 and looked like you could stick a fork in them. But the third period was all theirs. They kept the puck in their offensive zone and drew on the electricity produced by the 17,000 rabid Badgers fans. The team's efforts in the final period weren't enough. Two penalties lowered their intensity just enough for the Gophers to pull out a 5-4 win. The Badgers hope to get out of their three-game skid when the again play Minnesota tomorrow night.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:54 PM | Comments (1)

Dear Abby: Weblog-Style

Me thinks Wizbang's advice column, Dear VK, will be a winner. Read this Q&A:

Dear VK,

I accidentally clipped a homeless guy driving back from a bar at the beach last weekend. I'm pretty sure he's dead because his head hit the bumper like a Gallagher melon. No one saw this, and I cleaned the car up real, real good. I feel bad now, but not bad enough to risk prison time. Should I just try to get over this, or do you recommend therapy? If I don't pay my therapist, can they tell the cops?

Signed, Guilty in Guilford

Dear Guilty,

It is just me, or does it seem like homeless people ought to stay under bridges and in soup kitchens where they belong? I guess I'm trying to understand why you feel bad now, when you clearly didn't at the time. If it's for the homeless guy's sake, don't bother -- he's not feeling a thing, and wherever he is it's either a damn sight warmer or nicer than the box he'd previously called home. So why waste the money on therapy when you could be spending it on something far more productive, like buying me a drink.

Besides, the real question here is: how's your car?


Excuse me. I was rolling on the floor laughing.

"Dear VK"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:41 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #34

  • SE Wisconsin residents want more regional cooperation but not higher taxes.

  • Since Hamas won this week's Palestinian elections we should start learning who its leaders are. They might be the ones we and the Israelis will be killing if the group doesn't give up terrorism.

  • Sens. Kerry and Kennedy will attempt to fillibuster Judge Alito's nomination. But they lost Old Man Byrd.

  • A Virginia state representative (they call them "delegates") accidentally fired his in the state Capitol.

  • California doesn't have the guts to outright ban tobacco use. Instead they're whittling way personal freedom by declaring tobacco smoke a "toxic air contaminant."

  • And don't forget all the good stuff I put together about Oprah's beatdown of James Frey.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:01 AM | Comments (0)

Ann's Skeptical

Ann Althouse is skeptical of Oprah tongue-lashing James Frey.

"The Winfrey-Frey Fray."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 12:36 AM | Comments (0)

Hewitt Might Bare All

Jennifer Love Hewitt in Playboy? Ok. No problem with that. I guess the Maxim spreads and being all wet in a movie wasn't sexy enough to make her "edgier." I'll find the pics when they appear on the net.

Speaking of breasts in the first hour of 24 when I saw Michelle I thought to myself, "Great! Another season of Michelle's breasts." Then her car exploded and she (and her breasts) were killed. I had to pause my TiVo and sob for a few minutes.

"Jennifer Love Hewitt to Do Nude Playboy Shoot?"

"Is JLH going to do ?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:01 AM | Comments (2)

January 26, 2006

Oprah Takes Her Credibility Back

I meant to publish a post alerting you to James Frey appearing on Oprah today. But, oops, I forgot to hit the "publish" button. I'm going to engage in some literary license (inspired by Frey no doubt) and quote from a post that will never need to see the light of day:

James Frey goes from the non-threatening Larry King Show to the enabling Oprah Winfrey Show. Expect even fewer hard questions about A Million Little Pieces and a lot of tears.

There were tears, but I didn't expect Oprah to shed them from acknowledging she was duped like all the rest of Frey's readers. In a very impressive mea culpa she told her audience:
I gave the impression that the truth does not matter. I made a mistake.

Here's how a Chicago Tribune reporter viewed the scene:
"I made a mistake," a somber Winfrey said at the opening of the live show, "and I left the impression that the truth does not matter, and I am deeply sorry about that because that is not what I believe."

Winfrey's apology and pointed questions about incidents and people in the book appeared to take Frey by surprise as he sat across the couch from Winfrey today as they had done during a much more convivial show four months earlier.

"It is difficult for me to talk to you because I really feel duped," Winfrey told a startled-looking Frey who licked his lips often before speaking. "More importantly, I feel you betrayed millions of readers...As I sit here today, I don't know what is true, and I don't know what isn't."

Winfrey looked near tears and her audience gasped when Frey revealed for the first time that Lilly, a central character in the book, didn't commit suicide by hanging, but instead slashed her wrists.

"Why do you have to lie about that?" Winfrey responded.

She continued chiding Frey:

I feel duped. But more importantly, I feel that you betrayed millions of readers.

She asked why he fabricated events in his book. Frey answered,
In order to get through the experience of the addiction, I thought of myself as being tougher than I was and badder than I was, and it helped me cope. And when I was writing the book, instead of being as introspective as I should have been, I clung to that image.

Questions didn't stop with Frey. Oprah lashed out at Doubleday publisher, Nan Talese. Talese responded by saying the book wasn't fact-checked because publishers don't do that. "I thought as a publisher, this is James's memory of the hell he went through. . . . I do not know how you get inside another person's mind."

A question that I don't know was asked was why Frey allowed Doubleday to publish the book as a memoir when other publishers rejected the book when it was sold to them as a novel? Frey admitted lying to millions of his readers yet said, "I still think it's a memoir."

The Smoking Gun editor William Bastone "felt bad for Frey" after Oprah's onslaught.

Random House, owner of Doubleday, will publish an author's note in all future copies of A Million Little Pieces. There's no mention if the book will be recatagorized as fiction.

No surprise, the blogosphere is buzzing:

  • NewsBusters points out another example of Oprah being duped.

  • La Shawn Barber watched the show and was "mesmerized."

  • Michelle Malkin has some video. I was wowed when Oprah said, "I feel that you [Frey] conned us all."

  • AmbivaBlog "almost [felt] sorry for Frey!"

  • Celebrity Jihad found out Tara Reid will write a memoir. "Frey is set to blurb the book and add an additional 18 pages which will contain some 'unauthorized' tidbits about Miss Reid's life." I can't wait to not read that.

" Tells Frey He 'Betrayed' Readers"

"Oprah Throws the Book at Herself"

" Calls Defense of Author 'a Mistake'"

"James Frey Gets His, Takes It Like Man(?)"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 10:30 PM | Comments (2)

Questions for Russ

Over at the BBA I asked for questions to ask Sen. Russ Feingold at his Menominee Falls listening session tomorrow. I got five, all from one person. Thanks, tee bee. I think.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:09 PM | Comments (1)

Big! No, REALLY BIG! News Day

There are so many big stories to comment on: Oprah sees the light; Hamas won the Palestinian elections; Gov. Doyle is knee-deep in scandal. Let me catch my breath, pick up my jaw from the floor, and consume an adult beverage before diving into a long night of posting.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #33

  • In 2002 a Justice Department lawyer told a Senate panel that "It may not be the case that the probable cause standard has caused any difficulties in our ability to seek the FISA warrants we require." Bush bashers see this statement as undermining the administration's arguments defending NSA domestic surveillance. If the President already has surveillance powers under Article II then arguing over FISA standards is moot.

  • Some are tossing around the "impeachment" word. A wacked-out Lefty has already raised $52,000 to back pro-impeachment Democrats. All it does is put a smile on Karl Rove's face.

  • Joel Stein's troop-bashing column wasn't his first attempt. Stephen Spruiell found a sarcastic "recruiting pamphlet" Stein wrote for The New Yorker.

  • 's stock is at a 52-week high. I wonder if any of it has to do with their 5-year plan to "remove all of itís manufacturing operations out of Milwaukee." Improve the business climate to keep companies in Wisconsin.

  • New Orlean's mayor Ray Nagin doesn't understand why people jumped on his "" remark. Well, what would be the reaction if Scott Walker called for a "Vanilla Milwaukee?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:16 AM | Comments (4)

Hamas Becomes Player in Palestinian Government

A positive to the Palestinian elections was the lack of violence. People spoke with their ballots instead of bombs. It's hard to take that taste of freedom away. But as Glenn Reynolds says, "Democracy is a process." I want to be more hopeful about peace between Israel and Palestine, but Hamas won a considerable amount of seats in the parliment. They might have enough to force Fatah to let them into the cabinet.

Hamas is a terrorist organization that has violently struck Israel many times. They would like nothing more than to push the Jews into the sea. I hope being part of a representative government will soothe their savagery. But it's just that, hope. They campaigned like any other political party. More important, Hamas has to prove to the world they can live in civilized society. We need to see actions, not words.

The Christian Science Monitor has a telling instance of the divided proto-nation:

Hadija Jadour and Samah Jarah passed out campaign cards to voters who made their way up the dirt road into a girls' school in Obediyeh, a West Bank municipality east of Bethlehem.

The women describe themselves as friends, but the black-and-white keffiyeh-style sash that Ms. Jadour wears stands in contrast to the green one around Ms. Jarah's veil. That seems to say it all: Palestinians are deeply divided over who should lead and how.

The keffiyah marks Jadour's support for Fatah, while Jarah's green ribbon shows the world, as she puts it, "I love Hamas."

Explains Jarah: "Hamas has always been the center of the resistance, and they are working on giving assistance to people and developing our society."

"It's not true," argues Jadour, smiling wryly at her friend's comment. "Fatah is the one who established the Palestinian Authority in the first place. Fatah wants to solve things in a diplomatic way, not by violence."

Asked if they discuss these issues often, the women grin and look in different directions. "We don't go into politics," says Jarah, "or it might ruin the good relationship we have."

OxBlog's Patrick Belton has some reports from Palestine (also here and here).

" Cast Historic Vote"

" Vote Today, Jimmy Carter Observes"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

January 25, 2006

Only the Law-Abiding Obey Gun Laws

This Mallard Fillmore strip should be on every State Assemblyman's desk before they vote to override Gov. Doyle's veto of the concealed carry bill.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:37 PM | Comments (5)

Harsh on Oprah

For someone harsher on Oprah Winfrey than I have been read BizzyBlog.com:

Straight to the point: Oprah has a lot of explaining to do. After reading the article, youíre almost forced to conclude one of two things:

  • She runs an operation thatís so intimidating that people within her company who knew better felt they couldnít speak out.
  • Or, she knew about Freyís Lies and has been an active participant in a monumental literary hoax.

Are there any other choices?

In Jame Frey's defense his publisher found two witnesses to support his some of his experiences at a Minnestoa rehab center. Even still Frey's descriptions are outlandishly wild compared to the witnesses' memories. In a statement Frey said, "any differences are incidental." The sad state of memoir continues. "Fake but accurate" is the mantra. Imagine when Dan Rather writes his biography.

"Freyís Lies: What Did Oprah Know and When Did She Know It?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 01:22 PM | Comments (3)

Charlie's Show Prep #32

Tomorrow's show will probably be all "Adelman all the time." Still, here are some other stories that should be mentioned on this morning's show:

  • Mexican military vehicles helping smuggle marijuana into the U.S. were confronted by lesser-armed border patrol and FBI agents. [via Michelle Malkin]

  • A parole officer who spent so much of his day look at online porn that he was getting 10 hours of overtime a week got his job back along with back pay. Wisconsin's taxpayers thank A. Henry Hempe for his "wisdom."

  • Oshkosh Truck is testing a driverless military truck based on Terramax which completed the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge.

  • is suing the author of an unauthorized biography for $5 billion. In TrumpNation Timothy O'Brien claims Trump is only worth $150-250 million.

  • From the gross file: adult diapers are flying off the shelves in China. Many will be traveling on trains for Chinese New Year and they'll be enduring rides on crowded trains with not enough bathrooms.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:35 AM | Comments (0)


It's obvious I have no pull in the Badger Blogosphere. I urged some creative, talented type to pump out a photoshop job inspired by Charlie Sykes' new nickname. I've seen zilch, zip, zero. You've let me down. If you're having trouble I found a weblog post to help you out.

"Freakish Zombie in 11 Steps!" [via digg]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:08 AM | Comments (1)

January 24, 2006

Rendell Criticizes Senate Democrats

Judge Alito's Supreme Court nomination passed the Senate Judicial Committee on a party line 10-8 vote. Alito wasn't damaged during the confirmation hearings. In fact, he was hardly scratched. The same can't be said for Democrats on the committee. Sen. Kennedy looked like a bloated buffoon. Sen. Biden hated Princeton then loved it. Sen. Feingold decided to be obsessed with Alito and Vanguard and who helped prep him for his hearing. Before the vote he went so far as to declare [emphasis mine]:

Judge Alitoís record and his testimony have led me to conclude that his impulse to defer to the executive branch would make him a dangerous addition to the Supreme Court at a time when cases involving executive overreaching in the name of fighting terrorism are likely to be such an important part of the Courtís work.

Guess what's also dangerous? A Senator pushing laws that limit political speech while claiming he's protecting civil rights.

Unlike Judicial Committee Democrats, Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell supports Alito and criticized Sens. Kennedy, Leahy, Feingold, Durbin, Biden and the other Democrats:

I Disagree With A Lot Of His Positions On Cases, But I Think The Tests Should Always Be One Party Wins The Election. As Long As The Supreme Court Justice Is Appointed Who Has High Academic Qualifications, Significant Integrity And Judge Alito Certainly Does, We Should Confirm Him Regardless Of Our Disagreement On The Way He May Interpret One Aspect Of The Law. I Think We've Fallen Into Such Partisanship In D.C., Not Just In This But In So Many Things, That It's In Some Way Ways Tearing The Country Apart.


I Wasn't Pleased At The Nitpicking. I Think We Need To Go Back To The Days [When] One Party Wins. No One Fought Harder For John Kerry Than I Did ... But [President Bush] Won The Election, And As Long As They Give Us Qualified Candidates ... Sam Alito, Unanimously Recommended By The American Bar Association, A Qualified Judge.

"In Case You Missed It: Former DNC Chairman, Governor (D-PA) Supports Judge Alito"

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

Frey's Continued Sales

Don Baiocchi at Blogcritics.org wonders why A Million Little Pieces as well as My Friend Leonard are still selling so well despite having it known portions of it are made up:

I didn't expect sales to plummet down to zero, especially after Oprah called in during Frey's interview with Larry King on January 11th and continued endorsing the book, but why are so many people still paying more for the hardcover?

I know some people might hear about all this controversy and think, "Hmm, this book is getting a lot of attention. Maybe I should read it so I know what this is all about."


"Hmm, this guy is getting all this negative press and Oprah still supports him. Oprah must really like this book a lot. Maybe I should find out why she insists on supporting him so wholeheartedly."


"I'm an addict (or recovering addict) and I need all the help I can get. Oprah and James and James' mom all say this could help me, so why not? Every little bit helps, right?"

Another reason could be it's a good read despite knowing it isn't accurate. I haven't read it and probably never will so I can't comment on the book's quality. Maybe just maybe it can transcend its current status as memoir. To really do that would require James Frey to come clean. But with Oprah's continued enabling that won't happen anytime soon.

"James Frey Still On Best-Seller Lists"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 08:59 PM | Comments (1)

Political Speech Case Sent Back to Lower Court

Ann Althouse comments on the Supreme Court considering another aspect of the McCain-Feingold free speech restriction campaign finance law. SCOTUSblog reports:

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday, without dissent, that it has not barred all challenges to actual operation in practice of federal campaign finance restrictions on political advertising. It ordered a lower court to reconsider an "as-applied" challenge by an anti-abortion group, Wisconsin Right to Life Inc. The unsigned opinion, only two and a half pages in length, was announced by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. It ordered a three-judge District Court to consider the merits of the organization's complaint.

The decision came in a case argued just last Tuesday -- Wisconsin Right to Life v. Federal Election Commission (04-1581). The anti-abortion organization contends that the new federal campaign finance law's restrictions on political ads close to election-time is unconstitutional when it is applied to grass-roots lobbying efforts.

A federal court will have to determine the difference between legal "grass-roots" speech and "electioneering" speech. I can't wait to see what mental sommersaults take place along the way back to the Supreme Court. The Law of Unintended Consequences has struck again. Obviously fault lies with Sens. McCain and Feingold, but also chastise President Bush who signed a bill he cynically thought would be kicked aside by the courts as unconstitutional.

"About Those Issue Ads."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 10:06 AM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #31

  • President Bush lets loose a full-court defense of NSA surveillance.

  • From Ambassador John Bolton we hear that President Bush believes a "nuclear Iran is not acceptable." I can't see anything but airstrikes on Iran while 140,000 troops are in Iraq. The options I see don't look good.

  • Should Iran be attacked Iraq's Moqtada Sadr vowed to come to her defense.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 04:34 AM | Comments (0)

Mark Reardon Axed

Mark Reardon getting fired because of "budget adjustments" bums me out. His show kept AM radio entertaining for me at night when other station's signals fade into the background radiation. (I'm staring at you WISN.) He is to the right, but not as much as Charlie Sykes or Mark Belling. He tossed in a lot of pop culture which was refreshing. Now, I'm stuck with more Clark Howard, the dweebiest man on radio. He dishes out plenty of good information, but the man's a nerd.

Sadly, WTMJ's website "airbrushed" Reardon from its web site. His name is gone from talk roster, but a page still exists that simply reads:

Newsradio 620 WTMJ regrets to announce that Mark Reardon has left the station, as the result of 2006 station budget adjustments.

Mark has been a loyal, hard-working employee and we sincerely thank him for his years of service to WTMJ and its listeners.

WTMJ wishes him the very best as his career goes forward.

Who knows how long that page will remain? At least Charlie Sykes was nice enough to post a goodbye.

I have a suggestion for Mark: podcasting. He'd be good at it, and he'd have a lot more freedom.

Kevin @ Lakeshore Laments is also disappointed while Owen @ Boots & Sabers thinks there's more to the story. Don't expect Tim Cuprisin to get you the answers. He doesn't like "squawk radio."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:21 AM | Comments (5)

January 23, 2006

More Questions about Frey's Fraud

James Frey completely missed the point when he practically admitted 5% of his A Million Little Pieces was made up. If readers know he greatly exaggerated or fabricated his run-ins with the law why should they believe his other experiences? They can't. Now there are questions about other parts of Frey's book. The NY Times reports people who use to work at Minnesota's Hazelden Foundation question Frey's experience at the rehab center:

But more than three months before questions were raised about Mr. Frey's memoir by the Smoking Gun Web site (www.thesmokinggun.com) - before, in fact, Ms. Winfrey first had Mr. Frey as a guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" - producers at the program were told by a former counselor at the foundation that runs the Minnesota treatment center reportedly used by Mr. Frey that his portrayal of his experience there grossly distorted reality.

Several other addiction counselors who formerly worked for the organization, the Hazelden Foundation, which runs the Hazelden rehabilitation center in Center City, Minn., have also come forward to dispute Mr. Frey's claims about Hazelden. The accusations call into question what Mr. Frey has labeled the "essential truth" of his book, the "420 of the 432 pages" that take place during treatment. It was Mr. Frey's story of redemption that led Ms. Winfrey to make "A Million Little Pieces" a selection for her television book club and propelled it to sales of more than two million copies.

Frey has completely discredited himself, but I'm surprised Oprah Winfrey continues to play the fool. She's a smart woman who I'm sure is privately steaming about being fooled. But she also has an ego--you don't get as successful as she has without one--and is at that point where she'll hold firm and refuse to admit she has been enabling a liar.

"Treatment Description in Memoir Is Disputed"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 11:53 PM | Comments (8)

March for Life Coverage

Cold and rain are making things uncomfortable today in Washington, DC. President Bush spoke to the marchers via telephone this afternoon. EWTN is streaming their coverage of the march live. Pro-Life Blogs is makng periodic posts.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 01:43 PM | Comments (1)


Oh captain, my captain! Lead me!


(I'm expecting some extreme photoshopping. Don't let me down.)

UPDATE: Sorry, Charlie. I'm no photoshopper. The was was just something I found on the net. I hope someone with the skills could do something. I just provided the inspiration.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:15 AM | Comments (5)

Charlie's Show Prep #30

  • Thousands of pro-life supporters advance on Washington, D.C. for this year's March for Life.

  • Family Care, Milwaukee County's care program for low-income elderly, is already $1.8 million short on revenue. This is due to a clash with the state on funding. Expect critics to use this, along with the Parks Department's budget problems to attack Scott Walker for being incompetent and undeserving of being Wisconsin's next governor.

  • scored 81 points...in one game! It's the second-most in NBA history only behind Wilt Chamberlain's 100 in 1962. Unlike Chamberlain's feat Bryant has video of his achievement. Michael Jordan's best-scoring game was 69 in 1990. With his performance Bryant has launched himself into NBA legendary status and he's only 27.

  • Newsweek tries to scare its readers with a story on the Pentagon's "Other Big Brother." Power Line's notes, "All that has happened is that someone wrote a report about the demonstration." The writer of the story is none other than Michael Isikoff infamous for his false Koran desecration story.

  • Kohl's innovates by tailoring individual stores' inventory to the size of its customers.

  • The future of the internet is at hand: some telecoms want to double dip by charging websites like Google for access to their networks as well as charge customers (i.e. you and me) for net access. Let individuals decide how they want to use the internet. It's been working well for this long.

UPDATE: I found one more good one. People are revolting over tech school's taxation without representation. Jessica McBride should take some credit for pushing this issue. Also on the Family Care story Scott Walker sent McBride an e-mail disputing the newspaper's assertions.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:09 AM | Comments (0)

March for Life 2006

Sunday was the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that yanked the abortion debate away from individual states and made it the center of the culture wars. Some marches took place already. In San Francisco one woman held a sign that demanded "Bigots Go Home!" She obviously doesn't understand what a bigot is. Looking into a mirror might help. Another pro-abortion protester held a sign that read, "Keep your laws off my body... and I'll keep my hands off your throat!" That's on par with any pro-life supporter defending killers like Paul Hill.

The big rally will be Monday in Washington, D.C. Thousands will tolerate the cold to peacefully yearn for the day when all people, born and unborn, have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Before the March for Life the Family Research Council will be hosting the Blogs for Life Conference.

I'll end this post with some lyrics from one of the most powerful yet gut-wrenching songs I've ever heard, "Legal Kill" by King's X.

I know your side so very well
It makes no sense that i can tell
The smell of hell is what i smell
And you hand it out with handshakes every day
I have trouble with the persons with the signs
But i feel the need to make my own
Yes there two ways to be
And truth does not depend on me
But I can feel the fight for life is always real
I can't believe it's no big deal
I'ts a legal kill

"Demonstrators Mark Roe V. Wade Anniversary"

"/March for Life"

"Certain Unalienable Rights"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 12:00 AM | Comments (1)

January 22, 2006

Prediction Time

When it comes to big NFL games the smart money goes with the home teams. Both Seattle and Denver have great, lively crowds in geographic locations that give the home teams some advantages. Denver has their high altitude, and everything might be soaked at Qwest Field in Seattle. Still I don't completely discount the visiting teams' chances. Pittsburgh's defense stunned the Indianpolis Colts. Even more stunning was how unpredictable the Steelers' offense was. Expect the unexpected from Bill Cowher and crew.

The Carolina Panthers have Steve Smith who's mission is to single-handedly carry his team to the Super Bowl. With the streak he's on right now it's not good enough to shut down everyone but Smith. He could score three touchdowns easily today. The Seahawks defense doesn't have to be great. They just have to put pressure on Jake Delhomme and force some turnovers. For the Seattle offense only one name needs to be mentioned: Shaun Alexander. They must run the ball, tire out the Panthers defense, and limit Steve Smith's time on the field.

At the beginning of the season I picked Philadelphia and Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL. I'll stick with half my guess and also predict the Steelers will play the Seahawks.

UPDATE: 24-3 at halftime! I expected the Steelers to win not thrash the Broncos. Still, there's lots of time left, and Jake Plummer should make it interesting.

One more thing, Steve @ No Runny Eggs is looking good on his first pick.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:58 PM | Comments (2)

Grand Jury Investigates Doyle

With his low poll numbers Gov. Jim Doyle will have a hard enough time fighting off either Scott Walker or Mark Green this fall. The last thing he wants to deal with in an election year is a grand jury investigation:

Authorities have convened a federal grand jury to review whether campaign donations to Gov. Jim Doyle played a role in the state awarding a $750,000 contract to Adelman Travel.

As part of the same investigation, officials are looking into political contributions made around the time the state approved the sale of a nuclear power plant, a source familiar with the inquiries said Saturday.

Doyle aide Dan Leistikow said the Democratic governor had not been called before the grand jury.

"The governor has not spoken to any investigators," he said. "We have no idea whether there's a grand jury or not. As the governor has said many times, he's more than happy to talk to anyone who's reviewing this because everything he's aware of, this (Adelman Travel) contract was awarded to a Wisconsin company that was the lowest bidder. That's all he knows about it."

If and when U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic calls Doyle before the grand jury expect Lefty flacks like Bill Christoferson will pound on him for turning the investigation into a partisan Starr-like witch hunt.

"Grand Jury Examines Contract"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:39 PM | Comments (0)

Last of the Unbeatens

Duke, Pittsburgh, and Florida all fell Saturday. That leaves little Lawrence University in Appleton, WI as the remaining undefeated men's team in NCAA basketball. Besides being a very expensive, highly regarded liberal arts school, every year Lawrence hosts the "World's Longest Running Trivia Contest." The contest used to run over the air from the school's radio station. Now this year, it will be a pure internet stream.

By the way, Lawrence beat St. Norbert 79-68.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:04 AM | Comments (1)

My New Crush

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 12:02 AM | Comments (2)

January 21, 2006

Feeding My Habit

The info hose has been turned back on. After a long time ignoring RSS feeds because I got bored with SharpReader I'm now playing with (after a 1 1/2 year hiatus) and . A positive with Bloglines is it's portable. Anywhere I can use a web browser I can check on my feeds. Omea Reader is a stand-alone program, but it's fast. Once a feed has been updated I can instantly read it. Both kinds of newsreaders have their place, and with both accepting OPML files I can have both sets of feeds synched. We'll see if I start preferring one over the other in daily use. I wouldn't be surprised if Bloglines wins out. Ever since I started using for saving web pages I don't bookmark anything with the browser.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 06:18 PM | Comments (2)

Belafonte Bellows Again

Harry "Banana Boat" Belafonte, we get it. You hate President Bush. Now, run off to the old washed up stars home and shut the hell up before someone shoves a banana up your posterior.

" Continues Tirade Against Bush"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 05:22 PM | Comments (0)

January 20, 2006

SRLC Taking Webloggers Seriously

Webloggers are still looked at as the red-headed stepchild of media, but they're being taken seriously. This year's Southern Republican Leadership Conference are treating them just like newspapers, television, and talk radio.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 08:22 PM | Comments (3)

Plea Agreement in Tire Slashing Case

Milwaukee District Attorney E. Michael McCann's office is known as a plea bargain machine. Conservatives were pleasantly surprised when his office took the Milwaukee 5 to trial. Prosecutors went through eight days of testimony and arguments and put it in the jury's hands. Until a few hours ago it seemed like we would have a verdict, but that wasn't the case. Prosecutors gave up at the first sign of a deadlocked jury and cut-and-run by handing out plea bargains:

In an unexpected twist in the Election Day tire slashing trial, four former Kerry-Edwards campaign staffers, including the sons of U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee) and former Acting Mayor Marvin Pratt, have agreed to plead no contest to misdemeanors. Prosecutors will recommend probation sentences as part of the deal.

The plea agreements came in the middle of jury deliberations after an eight-day trial on felony property damage charges that carried potential 3 1/2 year prison terms upon conviction.

The surprise resolution was offered by prosecutors at 2 p.m., nearly 7 hours into deliberations and an hour after a jury note complained of an impasse.

Defendant Justin Howell was the only one of the five charged not included in the deal. The no contest pleas have not been formally made yet, but when they are, jurors will be left to deliberate the felony charge against Howell.

In the end those interested in justice and fair elections should have never put their faith in E. Michael McCann. This case once again demonstrates the soft-on-crime approach that's plagued his career.

[via Brian Fraley]

UPDATE: The blogswarm has begun:

  • Peter DiGaudio:
    Simply amazing. I for one am not surprised at all. Some of the jurors no doubt believed the rant that the Republicans were so evil that whatever means used to steal the election justified the means. Some were just unable to connect the dots. The anti-Bush hatred on the Left coupled with the desire for Democrats to regain power has created this atmosphere, and some of these idiots actually got on the jury.

    What happened? In all likelihood the ones that hung the jury are people who loved and admire Gwen Moore and Marvin Pratt and hate George W. Bush so much that they could never send Moore's and Pratt's criminal sons to jail ó which is where they belong. People like this will never hold their people accountable for anything they do.

  • Kevin @ Lakeshore Laments: "Guess it was the local Democrats after all."

I expect more to come.

UPDATE II (There could be a lot of these since I'm posting them as fast as I can find them):

  • Rick Esenberg:
    Speaking as a guy who has practiced law for almost 25 years, I can't imagine any self-respecting lawyer doing this. If you wanted to let these guys cop to a misdemeanor and walk away, I am sure that deal could have been made without going to the time and expense of a trial. To do it because you get a note that the jury thinks its deadlocked after six hours is silly. Judge Brennan was absolutely correct in observing that six hours is not a long time to deliberate after a seven day trial and undeniably right in telling them to continue. It really is hard to avoid at least the suspicion that the DA's office saw this as an opportunity to bail on what it saw as a no-win situation. I don't see how it is a reasonable compromise by a prosecutor who wants a conviction. Why, after devoting just about all the resources that you are going to have to devote, would you, essentially, let the defendants go at the first small sign that you might not win?

  • Charlie Sykes wonders if "the lack of a guilty plea also mean[s] that the defendants and Milwaukee's own congresswoman will continue to insist that they are innocent?" Short answer: YES!


  • The Wisconsin GOP responds to this injustice:
    The Republican Party of Wisconsin is disappointed that the penalty for the tire slashing incident is a misdemeanor rather than a felony, with no jail time being recommended. We urge Judge Brennan to disregard the District Attorney's recommendation for probation and in turn call for him to invoke a sentence of jail time. This case shows that Democrats will stop at nothing to undermine efforts by Republicans to get-out-the-vote on Election Day and has shed light on the extent they are willing to go for their own political gain. We feel as though the penalty set forth by the District Attorney for the Democrats' attempt to undermine the election process certainly does not fit the crime. In that regard, we are ready now more than ever to move forward with Election Day reform measures at the federal and state level so that integrity may be restored to the system.

  • Owen @ Boots & Sabers:
    Like most people, I didnít think that a conviction was possible with a Milwaukee jury. I figured that a hung jury would be most likely. So, perhaps, this is the best outcome to be expected.


  • WisPolitics Courtwatch Blog reports Justin Howell, the only member of the Milwaukee 5 who didn't plead no contest, was found not guilty by the jury. [via Lakeshore Laments]

  • James Joyner was gracious enough to publicize the story and push it out to a national audience.


  • Jessica McBride puts this McCann's latest example of a lack of prosecutorial gumption in context:
    But the frustrating thing is that McCann's office has been notoriously ineffective in prosecuting election violations overall, and the vast majority of the allegations in Wisconsin have been lodged in his jurisdiction. The Gary George forged nomination papers. The smokes-for-votes scandal. The 300+ felons who voted illegally in the 2000 presidential election. Humphrey Pushcart. On and on.

    In an extremely open election system like ours (same-day registration and no photo ID requirement), it's important to have aggressive, tough prosecution of election-law violations so that there's SOME deterrent against people doing it. In that light, I almost would have preferred to see McCann's office finally up the ante and bet the house. After all, the deals were struck after only six hours of deliberations in a trial that lasted almost seven days.

UPDATE VI (Final one for this post and probably the night):

  • James Wigderson:
    Another good day for the Milwaukee District Attorney's office: nobody sent to jail. The Milwaukee County District Attorney's office, deciding they didn't want to risk a mistrial and starting all over again, instead decided to settle. Maybe they had an early tee time tomorrow.

  • Wade Lindberg @ Not quite off the deep end:
    When we respond ineffectively to terrorism, it encourages more through our apparent weakness. What do we think will happen in the next election? ..And I don't mean sugar in the fuel tank.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:29 PM | Comments (11)

Waiting for the Verdict

The jury deliberates on the fate of the Milwaukee 5. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported this morning they might be close to a verdict:

In a possible sign one or more guilty verdicts could be coming this morning, the jury in the Election Day 2004 tire-slashing case sent a note to Circuit Judge Michael Brennan asking whether, when filling out their verdict forms for each of the five defendants, anything should be written in to indicate which of three possible theories of party to a crime a person was being found guilty under.

The lastest I heard from a radio report was the jury was "hung" up on a charge of being party to a crime. Many in the courtroom were confused by the jury's use of the word "hung." From my distant vantage point it looks like they're stuck on one or two of the suspects while being finished with the others. Talk radio yapper Jeff Wagner, former prosecutor, thinks the jury will get done today so as to not have to come in on a Saturday.

For some reading to pass the time Patrick at Badger Blogger links to the Chicago Tribune's take on the tire slashing story.

"Election Day Sabotage Trial Pits Democrat Against Democrat"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

Malloy Rejects CPAC Invitation

Air America's Mike Malloy pumped out this e-mail response to an invitation to broadcast his show from this year's Conservative Political Action Committee:

Um . . . you're kidding, right? Why would I have any desire whatsoever to attend or participate in a convocation of neo-Nazis????? I had two uncles fight against you [expletive] in WW2. And, now, surprise! surprise! here you all are on US soil. Kindly get the [expletive] off my email. Thanks.

Where were all those neo-Nazis last year? I seemed to miss them. There was the unfunny Ann Coulter and G. Gordon "Headshot" Liddy. Even Al Franken and the oh so very lovely Namrata Singh Gujral showed up, but no brownshirts or thugs in jackboots were spotted.

Thomas Lifson responds:

Yet again confirmation that the left has no confidence in its ability to reason, debate, and win by the strength of its ideas. Instead use the other n-word (isnít ďNaziĒ at least as offensive as the other n-word?) and refuse to talk.

Tim Graham writes:

This is not only ludicrous in terms of conservatives and anti-Semitism, but ludicrous in terms of conservatives and totalitarianism.

" to CPAC: Get Lost!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 12:51 PM | Comments (2)

Charlie's Show Prep #29

  • We're into Day 2 of jury deliberations for the Milwaukee 5. Now, what did Congressman Gwen Moore mean when she referred to "the civic death penalty" if her son was convicted? If Sowande Omokunde is convicted expect a classic Moore wail

  • Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner and Paul Ryan are both in the mix to make the next House Majority Leader. I'm really interested in who Rep. Mark Green will support.

  • Google doesn't want to turn over aggregate search data on how easy is to find on the internet.

  • The Massachusetts Department of Social Services has legal permission to unhook from life-support machines. However, they won't do that because she might be improving. A spokesman said, "''The vegetative state may not be a total vegetative state." A vegetative state doesn't equal brain death. Jason Strickland, the thug accused of beating Haleigh, is one lucky monster. He's avoiding a murder charge as long as Haleigh is alive. This story now has legs. Right-to-die and pro-life advocates will start getting involved.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:21 AM | Comments (1)

January 19, 2006

Double Dipper

State Rep. Bob Ziegelbauer will run for re-election and Manitowoc County Executive. He's also vowed to answer his own phones and never ask a staff person to pick up his dry cleaning. His next trick will be to break the laws of physics by being in two places at the same time.

Seriously, it will be impressive if he can pull this off. From what I know about him he's politically strong, but this does provide an opening for his opponent(s).

"Drat, I Was Supposed to Leak This"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:33 PM | Comments (0)

Getting Goosed

Don't tick off Mother Nature:

A goose was to blame for a power outage Wednesday in the Menomonee Valley.

The goose flew into a We Energies power line.

It knocked out power to about 500 customers and zapped street and traffic lights late Wednesday afternoon.

The goose hit the gear at Fifth Street and Muskego.

Power was restored within a few hours.

Either it was a stupid bird that thankfully purged itself from the gene pool, or it had a death wish. In that case it must have been pretty happy with this week's Supreme Court ruling on Oregon's assisted suicide law.

" Knocks Out Power To Menomonee Valley"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:13 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #28

  • The Common Council approved blanketing Milwaukee with wifi. Finally, a deal for the city that will help the economy and not cost taxpayers a dime.

  • From a weblogger conference call Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) showed his hand:
    Senator Reid shared with us that just that day an unnamed Democratic Senator had come to him with a proposal on "ethics reform" ala Abramoff that could be bi-partisan. Reid told this person that this was the wrong time to be engaged in construtive "reform" proposals with the other side. He said that this was the time to draw a line and to show how "our side" differed dramatically from "their side."

    Positioning in an election year is expected. I have no qualms with that. I just question resting on winning on Abramoff. I already have Abramoff fatigue, and I'm a political junkie.

  • In Rep. Scott Jensen's trial the prosecution might call Assembly Speaker as a witness. I'm sure that will great for his Congressional campaign.

  • was charged with heroin possession. A washed-up teen star still can't get his act together. Ironically, more people know him as a has-been than as a star. He can thank VH-1 for that.

  • Sex comes to online gaming. " will allow users to perform sexual activities and even film them, as well as customise their appearance and decorate their house."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:29 AM | Comments (0)

January 18, 2006

I'm Depressed

Carla Howell roughly estimates $7 trillion out of a $12 trillion economy last year was government controlled spending. We live during a time when people like Karl Rove think the nation is on the cusp of a long-term GOP majority. It goes to show you Republican doesn't equal conservative. Go John Shadegg!

"Big Government Is Even Bigger Than You Think" [via Cam Edwards/Farrah]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:29 PM | Comments (1)

Court Rules Beaten Child is Allowed to Die

Massachusetts' Supreme Judical Court ruled the Department of Social Services could turn off the machines keeping 11-year-old Haleigh Poutre. She was allegedly beaten by Jason Strickland. The monster was trying to get custody in order to keep her alive and avoid murder charges.

"Mass. State Court Rules Battered Girl Can Die"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture of Death at 01:16 PM | Comments (8)

Charlie's Show Prep #27

  • Take it for what it's worth but Insight hears rumors out of the White House that (D-NY) is a shoo-in for the Presidency in 2008.

  • is buying a radio ad company. They've changed internet search and now are changing advertising in general. It will become more automated, more targeted, and more democratic. Imagine any business anywhere going to Google's website and choosing exactly what demographics they want targeted and how much they want to spend.

  • Rep. Scott Jensen has a who's who of Wisconsin politicos on the witness list for his trial. Tommy Thompson, State Supreme Court Justice David Prosser, and former State Assembly Speaker Tom Loftus are just a few.

  • Larry Kudlow backs (R-AZ) for new House Majority Leader. He thinks Shadegg would be able to curtail spending increases that would allow tax cut extentions to pass.

  • Mike Sherman will interview for the Buffalo head coach opening.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:24 AM | Comments (3)

January 17, 2006

Doyle on His Big Night

Jennifer McBride is live-blogging Gov. Doyle's State of the State speech. I normally don't bother with these but she had a hilarious line right away:



Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 08:40 PM | Comments (0)

NSA Flooded FBI with Terrorist Leads

What should we make of this NY Times story that soon after Sep. 11, 2001, the NSA gave the FBI a flood of false leeds based on their eavesdropping?

More than a dozen current and former law enforcement and counterterrorism officials, including some in the small circle who knew of the secret program and how it played out at the F.B.I., said the torrent of tips led them to few potential terrorists inside the country they did not know of from other sources and diverted agents from counterterrorism work they viewed as more productive.

"We'd chase a number, find it's a schoolteacher with no indication they've ever been involved in international terrorism - case closed," said one former F.B.I. official, who was aware of the program and the data it generated for the bureau. "After you get a thousand numbers and not one is turning up anything, you get some frustration."

Intelligence officials disagree with any characterization of the program's results as modest, said Judith A. Emmel, a spokeswoman for the office of the director of national intelligence. Ms. Emmel cited a statement at a briefing last month by Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the country's second-ranking intelligence official and the director of the N.S.A. when the program was started.

"I can say unequivocally that we have gotten information through this program that would not otherwise have been available," General Hayden said. The White House and the F.B.I. declined to comment on the program or its results.

Put yourself in officials shoes on Sep 12. Three planes were hijacked; two were turned in to cruise missles. All this took place on American soil under our noses. Prior to the attacks the government didn't take the Islamist threat seriously enough. The attacks were a shower of ice water. Officials looked around at every tool at their disposal to see how they could best be used to defend the country. The NSA has the ability to collect vast amounts of intelligence. Since they deal primarily with activities overseas their standards are lower than the FBI's. Lots of leads weren't going to pan out. But as Adm. Bobby R. Inman, a former N.S.A. director asked, "Have you got anything better?"

Here's a little secret the unnamed FBI agents won't tell you: most leads don't pan out. Life isn't like CSI or Law & Order where set of clues are laid out along a plot path that leads to the bad guys.

The legality of the NSA program is in question. From what I know so far and my reading of the constitution one can make a reasonable case that what President Bush ordered is legit. Politically Bush won't lose on this. His intention was/is to protect the nation from terrorist attack. This isn't the President siccing the NSA on his political opponents. AlGore tried to compare intelligence collecting today with wiretapping and harassing Martin Luther King, Jr. almost 30 years ago. The comparison isn't even close unless you're a rabid, knee-jerk Bush basher.

Orrin Kerr is scratching his head:

This is an interesting story, although I'm not quite sure what to make of it. If the spying program led to the discovery of "a few terrorists," is the real story that the program only led to a few terrorists, or is it that the program successfully led to the discovery of terrorist cells inside the United States? The Times opts for the former, but it's not immediately obvious to me why they don't opt for the latter.

AJStrata offers a forceful defense of the administration and bashes the Times.

Jon Henke reads the story and is reaffirmed in his insistence for an investigation.

Captain Ed sees this as some FBI people are ticked about a program run "outside of its control."

"Spy Agency Data After Sept. 11 Led F.B.I. to Dead Ends"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:12 AM | Comments (18)

Charlie's Show Prep #26

Sorry, Charlie. I got so psyched on 24 Sunday night I passed on helping you out. Two more hours of television's second-best show (still trailing Battlestar Galactica) pushed me until the wee hours of this morning to find some great material for your show.

  • Two Congressmen briefed webloggers on progress in Iraq. They found Iraqis taking more responsiblity in their country's security. U.S. troops don't bother watching U.S. media. Flip at Suitably Flip wrote, "Rep. Chris Chocola (R-IN) noted that their perspective was shy of a sense of disgust, but definitely a 'sense of dismissal'." Both Rep. Chocola and Rep. Gresham Barrett (R-SC) noticed civilian Iraqis helping coalition forces with tips on the enemy's location. With greater Iraqi security participation that's probably led to them feeling more comfortable helping the coalition.

  • AlGore went off on President Bush...again! Is it really news since he never has a kind word to say about his 2000 opponent? Still, AlGore went over-the-top in comparing NSA spying on terrorists and wiretapping of Martin Luther King, Jr., unless Gore thinks MLK was a terrorist. He continued on his paranoid thread by claiming we are at "the brink of a dangerous breach in the fabric of the Constitution."

  • The ACLU is suing the NSA. Bluto from The Jawa Report writes, "The arrogance of the ACLU/MSM lawsuit is breathtaking; that Americans should be put at risk because a few paranoid elitists believe without any evidence that some of their calls may have been monitored."

  • Milwaukee County's pension problem is a national concern. Completely isolated from market forces government workers' pensions have become more generous (at taxpayers' expense) while companies are moving away from them.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:30 AM | Comments (3)

January 16, 2006


Tee Bee honors Dr. Martin Luther King. Orrin Judd points out the quality of MLK's opponents had something to do with his achievements.

"MLK and His Dream Today"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:28 PM | Comments (0)

The Incredible Shrinking Deficit

Steve Conover, The Skeptical Optimist, sees a trend brewing. With some luck and a gridlocked Congress we could see the federal budget deficit at zero in a few years. It's so contrarian to what you hear from the MSM.

You can find this post along with other great business and economics writing at the Carnival of the Capitalists hosted this week by Wordlab.

"The Disappearing Deficit"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:10 PM | Comments (2)

January 15, 2006

Attack on Murtha Unwarranted

CNSNews.com's attack on Rep. John Murtha (R-PA) was pointless. The cut-and-runner was fading from the news even with an upcoming interview on 60 Minutes. Plus, it's an ad hominem attack. Whether he deserved or didn't deserve his Vietnam War medals has nothing to do with his wrong-headedness about abandoning Iraq. It's like accusing Cindy Sheehan of being a crackhead. They should have challenged Rep. Murtha like this veteran did. Much more effective and powerful. CNSNews.com lost a lot of credibility in my book. I will definitely think twice when finding an interesting story from them.

"Web Site Attacks Critic of War"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:26 AM | Comments (18)

January 14, 2006

Feingold Courting the Pinkos

Last Sunday, Wisconsin's very own Sen. Russ Feingold went to Vermont to endorse Rep. Bernie Sanders' bid for the U.S. Senate. You wouldn't know this if you rely on the Journal Sentinel as your only news source. (Craig Gilbert, you dropped the ball on this one.) The "independent" Sanders is an vowed socialist. Such a maverick that Russ. He backs a guy who wants to socialize American health care (we'll get stuck with long waiting lists like Canada), pass job-reducing regulations like boosting the minimum wage, and close American markets to international trade. With the way Feingold was praising Sanders you'd think they were identical except for height, age, and accent. Feingold=Sanders=socialists.

Feingold didn't stop at endorsing Sanders. He praised Howard Dean as DNC chairman. He actually said there was a possiblity of impeaching President Bush over NSA spying. "I will not take anything off the table," he told the Vermont audience. By standing side-by-side with Sanders Feingold courts the MoveOn.org radicals that make Bill Clinton's fans look like free-market hawks. Only if the far Left has taken over the Democratic Party Feingold stand a chance at the Presidency.

"Feingold Makes Pitch for Sanders During Vermont Visit"

[Added to Wizbang's Carnival of the Trackbacks]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:52 PM | Comments (7)

Signing on the Bottom Line

I'm adding my name to this online petition:

We are bloggers with boatloads of opinions, and none of us come close to agreeing with any other one of us all of the time. But we do agree on this: The new leadership in the House of Representatives needs to be thoroughly and transparently free of the taint of the Jack Abramoff scandals, and beyond that, of undue influence of K Street.

We are not naive about lobbying, and we know it can and has in fact advanced crucial issues and has often served to inform rather than simply influence Members.

But we are certain that the public is disgusted with excess and with privilege. We hope the Hastert-Dreier effort leads to sweeping reforms including the end of subsidized travel and other obvious influence operations. Just as importantly, we call for major changes to increase openness, transparency and accountability in Congressional operations and in the appropriations process.

As for the Republican leadership elections, we hope to see more candidates who will support these goals, and we therefore welcome the entry of Congressman John Shadegg to the race for Majority Leader. We hope every Congressman who is committed to ethical and transparent conduct supports a reform agenda and a reform candidate. And we hope all would-be members of the leadership make themselves available to new media to answer questions now and on a regular basis in the future.

The big problem with the GOP in Washington is they only talk about limited government. Pork barrel spending and Jack Abramoff are only symptoms of the disease that is Big Government. I hope that the new House Majority Leader will push legislation and spending that aligns with the government's constitutional duties.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:32 AM | Comments (2)

Gutfeld on Frey's Fraud

From Greg Gutfeld's "Double Secret Hidden Blog":

LESSONS IN LEFTISM: When someone brings up James Frey's fabrications in his book "A Million Little Pieces," simply sigh, and sniff, "Really, how is he any different from George Bush?" For extra credit: "You know, there's another book out there that's full of embellishments: It's called the Bible."
There you go: I have just summarized how to act and sound like a predictable, lame-ass lefty in two simple sentences! What do I win?
(remember: when saying these things, you need to adopt the same voice a grad student would employ when saying "checkmate" to himself while playing computer chess.)

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 12:23 AM | Comments (4)

January 13, 2006

Anti-Kennedy Column Spiked

Radio yapper and weblogger Kevin McCullough (who I met at CPAC 2005) had his latest column spiked by World Net Daily. They told him it was too "violent." All Kevin did was write was Sen. Ted Kennedy "needs a beating." If you read the whole thing you'll know Kevin's point. As he puts it, "What do I look like - a liberal?"

Odd that WND, not known for their timidity when it comes to bashing the Left, held back.

"Why Ted Kennedy Deserves a Beating..."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:48 PM | Comments (0)

Only One Year Ago

Kevin at Lakeshore Laments reminds me that on this day last year Charlie Sykes took local webloggers seriously enough to invite them onto his radio show. Kevin also reminds us the Big Guy in the Sky gave us a big break with the Milwaukee election fraud story. That perfect positive storm launched Wisconsin's conservative blogosphere. 2006 is an election year. That will elevate readers' craving for lightning-fast political news and commentary. My fellow BBA members and myself have a great opportunity to deliver that. I noted last year, "This could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship." So far so good.

"Happy Anniversary" [via Badger Blogger]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:48 PM | Comments (1)

NY Times Chides Frey and Publisher

This NY Times editorial weighs in on James Frey's fraud:

"The power of the overall reading experience," Doubleday said in a press release, "is such that the book remains a deeply inspiring and redemptive story for millions of readers." But would millions of readers have picked up "A Million Little Pieces" and been redeemed and inspired by it if the publisher and the author had called it fiction? Would Oprah Winfrey - despite her phone call during Mr. Frey's appearance on "Larry King Live"- have made so much of the book if she had thought that its subjectivity was something closer to falsehood? The answer is probably not. "The power of the overall reading experience" depended on the faith that "A Million Little Pieces" was the unvarnished truth - not just "his version of the truth" or "true to his recollections." Even in a nation like ours, which is crazy for personal redemption, readers are still willing to distinguish between truth and fiction.

There's also this weblogger who's "disgusted by [Frey's] hubris" and "saddened that Oprah Winfrey didn't further distance herself from him." The woman saved, SAVED Frey's career with one phone call to Larry King.

GalleyCat thinks publishers didn't learn any lessons:

We all enjoyed getting a chance to speak our mind on how true memoirs should be, but this isn't going to change the practices of the publishing industry one bit. The people who feel a commitment to historical accuracy are going to keep hewing to the truth, and the people who believe it's good enough for a story to feel right are going to keep buying manuscripts by writers who spin "subjective renderings" of their pasts.

As for me, I learned my lessons with memoir with Edmund Morris' fictional self in Dutch. You'll be surprised to find a memoir in my hands anytime soon.

"Call It Fiction"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 07:31 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #25

Should I celebrate not getting bored after 24 previous helping hands to Charlie Sykes? Sure. Let's dance.

  • Sen. Joe Biden is right. Ditch the Supreme Court nomination show trials. Senators' "questions" sucked up much more time than Judge Alito's answers.

  • Midwest Fiber and the City of Milwaukee agreed on blanketing the city in wifi. It still has to go through the Common Council and get Mayor Barrett's signature. This progress might let Milwaukee beat tech-savvy San Francisco as "the nationís first major city to go wireless."

  • In the Milwaukee 5 trial we have the sudden appearance of mud in witness' testimony. Jenna at Right off the Shore connects Abu Ghraib to the Milwaukee 5. Something that's bugging me is the Journal Sentinel referring to all these political workers as "consultants."

  • Washington Redskins owner is buying radio stations to control the delivery of news about his team. We're seeing the future. There will come a time when the Packers buy a radio or television station. WTMJ?

  • Some in the Catholic Church want to clear Judas' name.

  • Modern science gives us green pigs.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:21 AM | Comments (0)

January 12, 2006

Bonfire #132

The Business of America is Business hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:04 PM | Comments (0)

Smart Man

Steven Taylor agrees should be drafted #1. As for his low opinion of new Packers' coach I think he was picked because he got along well with GM Ted Thompson. I was a Jim Bates backer. But with McCarthy the Packers have a man who's risen quickly in the coaching ranks. He's only 42 and never played pro football. That means he's gotten an NFL head coaching job after only about 20 years coaching. Are four NFL teams all loony for promoting such a young guy?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:48 PM | Comments (1)

Help Out Kevin

Kevin Holtsberry is asking for donations to get him to NYC for a National Review fundraiser. Give him a hand. All the money will go to helping NR remain the vital conservative institution it is.

"Send Me to New York!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:25 PM | Comments (1)

Wife Crying: "PR Stunt"

Kos thinks Judge Sam Alito's wife cried on que. The most cynical man in America retains his title.

"Political Theater" [via Right Wing News]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 09:04 PM | Comments (1)

Tying Up Loose Ends

This is a mish-mash post linking to items TAM covered the past few days:

  • apologized for his stupid "God gave Ariel Sharon his stroke" remark.

  • apologized to GLAAD for calling one of the Brokeback Mountain characters a "sexual predator."

  • The Heaven City Restaurant has permission to display the sign.

  • NewsBusters has video of Harry "Banana Boat" Belafonte calling President Bush "the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 07:13 PM | Comments (1)

CPAC Webloggers

Here are the webloggers I know so far who will be at CPAC 2006:

There has to be more coming. Who's not talking?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in CPAC 2006 at 07:03 PM | Comments (1)

Frey Fights Back

James Frey went on Larry King to defend his fake memoir A Million Little Pieces. Since Larry isn't known for delivering tough questions Frey had plenty of time to say it's ok to make stuff up in memoir. "Memoir -- the word literally means 'my story.' A memoir is a subjective retelling of events," Frey told King. Subjective means having a different view of events. It doesn't mean making things up., going beyond what any reasonable person would call exaggeration. Case in point: turning a drunk driving arrest where Frey served no jail time into a violent confrontation involving drugs, cops, and crack.

Notice what Frey didn't say. He didn't say The Smoking Gun's story was wrong. He pointed out that only five percent of his book was questionable. "Essential truth of these remain," he said. Yes, the Dan Rather standard of "fake but accurate" is recycled.

Oprah had some face-saving to do and called the show. She blamed the publisher for mis-labeling the book, but didn't scold Frey (at least not publically). She went on to say,

But the underlying message of redemption in James Frey's memoir still resonates with me, and I know it resonates with millions of other people who have read this book.

This implies that she might have still recommended the book had it been listed as fiction. Originally Frey tried selling the book as fiction. His publisher Doubleday decided against that.

"Winfrey Stands Behind Pieces Author"

"Frey Grilled a la King"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 02:37 AM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #24

  • I have no problem with hardball politics, but going so far as to make Judge Alito's wife sob in the hearing room crosses the line. I'm relying on reports of the yesterday's hearing, so bear with me if I know few details. The Democrats went nuts over Alito's past membership in Concerned Alumni of Princeton instead of looking at his decisions as a judge. When they did talk about legal issues they wanted to pin him down on abortion. History has shown no nominee answers that question. The look on Sen. (D-CA) shows her frustration with her party's overreach.

  • points out the problem with nomination hearings being turned into show trials is we've handed courts too much power.

  • The Ohio Supreme Court heard the first important case since the awful Kelo decision last year. [via Michelle Malkin]

  • speaks about his Christmas trip to Baghdad.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:29 AM | Comments (7)

McCarthy's the Man

San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy will be the next Green Bay Packers coach. Other than what I've read off ESPN.com I know nothing about him. Too bad my choice Jim Bates didn't get the job. I think age might have had something to do with it. I hope he remains defensive coordinator, but it doesn't sound good. If the Packers draft a defensive player like A.J. Hawk Bates could really put together a formidable defense.

"Packers to Hire 49ers' as Coach" [via BBA]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:17 AM | Comments (1)

January 11, 2006

Magazines: Too White

Eugene Kane wonders about too-white magazines:

It makes you wonder how places like GQ, Esquire, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Conde Naste Traveler and Fitness Magazine can truly report on the multi-cultural population of America without minority writers or staff assistants.

Maybe those writers can actually transcend race unlike a certain black newspaper columnist/newbie weblogger. I didn't know one was required to be black to write about blacks. This must be similiar to the Journal Sentinel's editorial board handing out an asterisk to Justice Clarence Thomas for not being black enough.

"Why Are So Many Mainstream Magazines Lily-White?" [via Ask Me Later]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:12 PM | Comments (4)

Out-of-State Thugs Slashed Tires

Two defense lawyers for the Milwaukee 5 claim out-of-state Democratic operatives slashed the tires of GOP vans on Election Day 2004. With that they tar the Democratic Party. Craig Mastantuono called them "the out-of-towners, the industry people." Sowande Omokunde's attorney Robin Shellow said the non-local thugs "aren't just card-carrying staffers," Shellow said of the outside consultants. " . . . They believe the fight is for legitimate democracy, and they're passionate." Michael Pratt's lawyer Rodney Cubbie practically accused Opel Simmons by saying, "Until Opel Simmons and his team hit Wisconsin, nothing like this had ever happened." Simmons is an important prosecution witness who will say they heard the defendants brag about the tire slashing.

This is quite the indictment of the Democratic Party. Either local thugs engaged in property-destroying voter suppression or out-of-state thugs did. Either way it means a few Democrats decided the 2000 election was so completely abhorrent and illegitimate that they decided tire slashing was an acceptable action. That's the slippery slope down an "ends justifies the means" philosophy. What's bad is the national Democratic Party never denounced the attack. The closest I found was a mention by spokesman Seth Boffeli blasting "supporters on both sides." Hmm. As if leaving a hateful voicemail or stealing some lawn signs is equal to trying to stop get out the vote efforts.

About Congressman Moore, Owen writes, "Her silence seems like tacit approval of the Republican voter suppression that took place in her district." Patrick at Badger Blogger recorded the paranoia of one of the Milwaukee 5's mothers. He also has a poll running of what you think the outcome will be.

"Outside Operatives Blamed in Tire Case"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 04:00 AM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #23

  • A Washington Post-ABC News poll finds two-thirds of the public thinks "it is more important to investigate possible terrorist threats than to protect civil liberties." Republicans support the President while Democrats don't. No surprise.

  • CBS News' Public Eye weblog argues good news is hard to get out of Iraq because it's a dangerous place. The abduction of Christian Science Monitor stringer Jill Carroll demonstrates that.

  • No bombshells in the hearings. Democrats questioned the nominee about the extent of executive power and abortion. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) tossed Alito the softball of the day by asking, "Let me just ask you directly, on the record, are you against women and minorities attending colleges?" It isn't stopping the Left from trying to get some anti-Alito momentum going. In a press release Wisconsin Right to Life [PDF] points out even with a pro-life Alito (not a guarantee) on the bench only four justices would be known to oppose Roe v. Wade.

  • The National Liquor Bar sign is certainly more art than advertising.

  • What will become now that there's not limit to what he can say on satellite radio? Will he remain funny--if that's how you like your humor?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:24 AM | Comments (0)

January 10, 2006

Macworld Bummer

My dream of an Intel-powered Apple notebook under $1000 will have to wait. Plunking down $1999 is not how I want to start playing with OSX. Plus they had to dump the "PowerBook" name. MacBook Pro is too clunky-sounding.

"Apple's "

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 11:52 PM | Comments (2)

Everything is Gay

Three minutes, one chord, bad singing, and wacked-out lyrics. Everything is gay.

[via Subject to Change]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 07:15 PM | Comments (2)

Washington Times' New Weblogging Policy

Looks like I won't be writing for The Washington Times anytime soon. Their new non-work weblogging policy is pretty strict. You not only have to "request and obtain permission from senior editors" but you can't "report on or publish anything concerning The Washington Times itself." After six-plus years of having the freedom to write whatever I want whenever I want to it would be hard to enter an environment with any restrictions.

"The Washington Times' Policy on "

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:39 AM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #22

TAM survived Charlie's blogroll remodeling. I hope my assistance with show prep is part of the reason. Here's some stories for today's show:

  • Picking on Eugene Kane continues. Where did he get the idea people were equating the Milwaukee tire slashers with the Jim Crow South? [Which member of the BBA is Bull Conner?] Can you say, "strawman?"

  • The went over 11,000. Don't expect President Bush to get any credit from Democrats or the MSM.

  • Doctors say doesn't work. It may not but some of them can give you a good buzz.

  • Finally, should we care that fooled millions of readers and Oprah by faking his memoirs?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:25 AM | Comments (0)

Stern's First Day on Satellite

Howard Stern held back. Only 172 curse words were used on his Sirius radio debut. He told USA Today he wants to avoid a plethora of f-bombs. "[T]hose words can be funny in the right context." What wasn't held back was Stern's ego:

The colorful shock jock spent much of his first day on fee-based radio taking credit for Sirius adding 2.6 million subscribers in the past 15 months and by disparaging his competitors on "boring, old-fashioned, overcommercialized radio" such as that offered by Clear Channel Radio, CBS Radio, et al.

found FamilyMediaGuide.com had too much time on its hands and documented every single curse word and sexual sound effect.

"Playing It by Ear: 's Sirius Debut"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:00 AM | Comments (2)

Reaction to Frey's Fraud

About the revelation that A Million Little Pieces is all made up we have:

  • Miss Snark:
    So, what's the problem? This kind of fast and loose with the facts makes us look like nitwits. And by "us" I mean every publishing professional working in the industry today. We ALL look like nitwits when some guy gets fifty thousand dollars for turning a novel into a memoir and NO ONE QUESTIONS ANY OF IT.

    Here is the little dirty secret: we knew. Oh ya. We all knew. We didn't have the smoking gun (ha!) but we knew. And no one did anything. And in letting this slide by, we look like exactly what we are today: sleazy nitwits.

  • The NY Times reports Frey's publisher Random House and Oprah Winfrey had no comment about The Smoking Gun's story on .

  • T Stoddart at Blogcritics.org writes, "James is a liar, and lying to people who are in most need of the truth, is absolutely despicable."

  • Of all people Freakonomics author doesn't care if the book's fiction:
    And if you have a fifteen year old who you think might be pondering drug use, definitely give him/her a copy. It will do far more to deter him/her than any DARE program or parental lecture.

    It reads like fiction anyway. So unlike Freakonomics, Iím not sure it matters whether it is true or not. Others may disagree.

  • Kristina at Squishy Sexy:
    The book would have still been good whether or not it was pure fiction. But with all the attention and media events he's done with Oprah, by painting himself a success story against self-made circumstance but now ultimately a liar, emptiness replaces the heartbeat.

  • Saundra Mitchell feels sorry for Oprah. [I feel more sorry for the Harpo staffer who convinced her to pick the book.]

  • Gawker declared 01.09 "Fake Writer Day."

If the writing is as good as readers have said then the book survives the scandal. The book is simply re-labeled as fiction, and Frey moves on to pure fiction writing. He and his publishers wipe the egg off their faces, while Oprah vows never to pick a book from a living author for her book club again.

On a related note, the Freakonomics authors discover they were fooled about the history of one of their subjects.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 12:48 AM | Comments (0)

Begging Works

All praise Subject to Change. The clown prince of the Badger Blogosphere wiggled his way onto Charlie Sykes' (no, I will not call him the "Blogfather") blogroll.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

January 09, 2006

Mum on Alito Hearings

I'm not watching the Alito hearings today. That's because it's all opening speeches. I pretty much know Democrats will attack the nominee's integrity and claim he's a rabid extremist. I also know Republicans will praise Alito's integrity, experience, and judicial approach. There's little news today unless someone makes some truly bizarre statement. I will be waiting to see how Alito holds himself to questions. Then we'll have some news. If you want some running commentary Professor Bainbridge is toiling away.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 01:08 PM | Comments (1)

Was Teddy Drunk When He Named His Dog?

Sen. Ted Kennedy is coming out with a children's book. That's not the funny part. It's co-authored with his dog, Splash.

I wonder what Mary Jo Kopechne's family thinks about that?

"Sen. Kennedy to Publish Children's Book" [via Professor Bainbridge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 01:02 PM | Comments (5)

James Frey's Literary Fraud

Oprah's got another book problem. Her spat with The Corrections author Jonathan Franzen made the TV queen stop recommending books by living authors until she added James Frey's A Million Little Piece to her book club. Now, there's a problem with that book. It's touted as "true" and "honest" but has little basis in fact as discovered by The Smoking Gun.

"A Million Little Lies" [via GalleyCat]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Books at 12:54 PM | Comments (1)

Claiming Criticism is Homophobia

If you don't like Brokeback Mountain you're a homophobe. At least that's what GLAAD thinks.

" Mad at Shalit's Brokeback Breakdown" [via Right Off the Shore]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 11:54 AM | Comments (2)

The Journal Sentinel's Coward

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel columnist Eugene Kane is a coward. I said that on Charlie Sykes' show today, and I write it here on this weblog. Kane is a coward for bashing a "newly popular right-wing blogger" without having the guts to mention Jessica McBride's name or her weblog (but self-promoted his own weblog). He saved that mention for his weblog. In his article Kane then accused McBride of "changing her spots" by embracing conservative alternative media when she supposedly used to bash it. He goes farther in his weblog post writing, "today's Jessica McBride is decidely different in political attitudes than the woman I used to talk to regularly in the Journal Sentinel newsroom." No evidence, unlike the e-mail demonstrating Kane's callousness. McBride denies Kane's charge and asks for a retraction from the paper.

Kane has demonstrated he's a cynical man. Being quick-thinking he took advantage of all the talk about him in the Badger blogosphere and used his column to promote his weblog. He gave us the bait, and we took it. Racebaiting and thin-skinned Kane is, but he isn't stupid.

" Gives Everyone a Voice"

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

Editoral Page Fooled about Mao Hoax

Due to Christmas vacation the Sacramento Bee published an editorial decrying federal agents harassing a student for checking out Mao's "Little Red Book." It was published three days after we found out the story was a hoax. David Holwerk, editorial page editor, explains what happened.

"A News Hoax, a Holiday and a Dumb Mistake" [via Romenesko]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:32 AM | Comments (3)

January 08, 2006

Charlie's Show Prep #21

Here are some stories to help out Charlie Sykes just in case he's a little slow Monday morning:

  • The Election Day tire slashers will finally get their trial. I predict Sowande Omokunde's mom Rep. Gwen Moore will cry on the witness stand. She hasn't yet on the floor of the House of Representatives. Her tear ducts are bursting at the seams.

  • The U.S. is accused of force-feeding Gitmo prisoners on hunger strikes. The U.S. can't win with anti-Americans: they'll be blamed for keeping the hunger strikers alive, but they'll also be blamed for creating the conditions that "forced" the detained Islamist killers to strike in the first place.

  • A veteran/weblogger questions a member of Congress about .

  • called President Bush "the greatest tyrant in the world, the greatest terrorist in the world" while visiting Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez. Danny Glover joined Belafonte in this bit of radical chic. Last July, the NAACP rewarded Belefonte for his hate speech.

  • Should the Packers draft Vince Young? How about Wisconsin's , a poor man's Reggie Bush?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:47 PM | Comments (6)

Merkel Wants Gitmo Closed

German chancellor Angela Merkel will come to the U.S. and ask President Bush to close the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. She told Der Spiegel, "Different ways and means must be found for dealing with these prisoners." Would she prefer the terrorists be shot? If you let them go many will go right back to killing Americans. Either you kill them on the spot or hold them until they are no longer threats. It looks like Germany will have to be hit by Islamist terrorists before people like Merkel realize the threat the West is facing.

" Calls for Closure of Guantanamo"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:01 PM | Comments (2)

Doing Evil in God's Name

Fred Phelps and his band of fake Christians will be joyously celebrating the deaths of the Sago miners.


"The Surest Sign There May Be No God"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 09:49 PM | Comments (2)

Young Enters Draft

Vince Young does the smart thing and is going to the NFL. The kid had nothing more to prove. Only bad things could have happened to Young. An injury or even legal problems could have cost the quarterback millions. Vince is hot and he's taking advantage of it. His amazing Rose Bowl performance has created a debate about who should be the #1 pick. By going into the draft Young proves he's also smarter than Matt Leinart (and will proably get drafted before him).

The Packers pick #5. One mock draft has Young picked #3, but if he fell to #5 should the Packers take him? I've written that I'd pick Reggie Bush over Young at #1. Bush could become a legend. It's harder to evaluate Young. He's a freak of nature with his ability to run and pass. In the NFL no one runs the option because defenses are so fast QBs will get killed. A good comparison is to compare Young with Michael Vick. He's always dangerous with his feet, but his passing numbers have been mediocre. Maybe a better comparison is with Steve McNair. When healthy he can throw the ball with accuracy and is elusive enough on the ground. Quarterbacks don't become legends for their feet. The NFL is a throwing league. Evaluating Young must focus on his ability to pass first. His feet and leadership abilities are only great bonuses.

If I were Ted Thompson I'd stick with Rodgers and pick A.J. Hawk, Mario Williams, or hope D'Brickshaw Ferguson falls.

"Texas QB Headed to NFL Draft"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 08:55 PM | Comments (1)

Grading Ted Thompson

PackersNews.com gives Packers GM Ted Thompson a D for personnel decisions during the season. They're too harsh. No one can't evaluate a draft after the first season. Yes, Thompson only drafted on player, Nick Collins, who made a positive impact on the team immediately. I was surprised Will Whitticker made the starting lineup so soon, but Thompson's free-agent offensive line signings didn't pan out. However, as the season went on the line did improve. This year's draft will mostly depend on if Aaron Rodgers becoming a good replacement for Brett Favre.

With GMs you need some luck along with skill. The only reason Samkon Gado got his chance was the running back in front of him (anyone remember him?) on the depth chart fumbled. The rest, you can say, is a made-for-tv movie.

When grading Thompson the sports writers can't just look at what happened on the field. They also have to look at Thompson's alternatives. The only reason Gado was on the team is that there were no better choices available. The same can be said about signing Rod Gardner. No one any good was available until the Carolina Panthers got tired of the wide receiver.

This "evaluation" is just typical limited-thinking I've come to expect from sports writers. More often than not they rely on rumor and groupthink instead of serious analysis.

"Grading the Packers: Sherman, Thompson both get Ds"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 08:21 PM | Comments (3)

January 07, 2006

Raising Kane

There's buzz about Eugene Kane, the Journal Sentinel's resident race-baiter. Most of it is from his callous exchange involving Jessica McBride. Ask Me Later has instituted the "Kane Watch." How's this for a blast from the past. Back in 2004, Kane sent an e-mail to a reader that partially read:

I live for the day when a bunch of white kids get killed in an accident and the first question from readers is "where were the parents?"

It's almost as bad as calling Mexicans "wetbacks." I put Kane's glaring racism in context.

[via Charlie Sykes]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:44 PM | Comments (8)

Union Defends Teachers' Classroom Copulating

After reading about two teachers having sex in a school I wasn't shocked. Teachers having sex with students shocked me so why should I be surprised teachers are getting it on in the classroom. It certainly brings new meaning to "sex education." I guess hotel rooms are getting too expensive. I'm only mildly shocked the two Pennsylvania teachers had other teachers stand outside the room as look-outs.

No, what really shocked me is the reaction of the teachers' union to the school district considering (only considering!) firing the teachers:

Pennsylvania State Education Association lawyer Robert Abraham said McKeesport lacks grounds to fire the teachers. The union represented Collins.

"They sat on this for nine months, and now the only reason they are doing anything about it is because of the publicity it will cause," Abraham said. "It was a personal matter between two teachers that had no effect on students, that had no effect on their ability to teach."

Having sex in a classroom was merely a "personal matter between two teachers." The look-outs were there to make sure they didn't get caught and probably also to "protect" students. Why stop there? How about blocking off sections of school and hold teacher swinging parties or mass orgies. Hey, how about bringing in farm animals to really spice things up?

Absurd! Absolutely. Just as absurd as a teachers' union defending teacher-on-teacher sex in a classroom. This union obviously doesn't understand proper, professional behavior. Hump away where ever you want as long as you don't affect students.

"Teachers Put on Leave over "

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 02:47 AM | Comments (1)

January 06, 2006

Dems Alito Attack Upended

Democrats told Drudge Judge Alito would be toast by bringing up his association with Concerned Alumni of Princeton. Alito will certainly be questioned, but Democrats won't have a star witness testifying:

A key witness to the character of Judge Samuel A. Alito has been removed from the Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats' testimony list, FOXNews.com has learned.

Stephen R. Dujack, editor of The Environmental Forum magazine and fellow Princeton University alumnus, was expected to testify about a controversial student organization that counted Alito as a member. Dujack confirmed to FOXNews.com late Friday that he was no longer testifying, but said he could not elaborate.

It probably has to do with Dujack writing in 2003 that animals are "[l]ike the victims of the Holocaust." He went on to write that "[c]omparisons to the Holocaust are not only appropriate but inescapable." in The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles chided Dujack:
While it is tempting to compare all acts that we may individually find abhorrent to the Holocaust and while the event itself has become the benchmark for abject evil in the world, wholesale use of the term desecrates the memory of what actually happened during those terrible years.

Whatever the arguments are for or against animal slaughter for food, it is simply not the Holocaust. Dujack may as well call it the Crimean War.

Why canít PETA and Dujack let the victims of the Holocaust rest in peace and leave them out of it? How do the Jewish people (as usual) get dragged into the middle of this argument?

Democrats didn't want to diminish their attack on Alito by having to defend a loon. Instead of a witness we'll be stuck with Sen. Ted Kennedy droning from his prepared remarks.

"Democrats Hit Possible Snag Ahead of Hearings" [via Viking Pundit]

[Added to Mudville Gazette's open post.]

UPDATE: It gets worse for Senate Judicial Committee Democrats:

In an unusual move, several federal appeals court judges intend to testify as Republican-sponsored witnesses next week at Senate confirmation hearings for their fellow jurist, Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.


"They will testify about his approach to judging, as to whether he has an agenda, whether he is ideological, whether he pushes any specific point of view," Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said Friday. Specter will wield the chairman's gavel at the Judiciary Committee hearings.

"GOP List Includes Alito's Fellow Jurists" [via Captain's Quarters]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 10:39 PM | Comments (4)

Texas Wine Gets Distinction

Who knew they grew wine grapes in Texas? Then again who knew you could do the same in frigid Wisconsin?

"Area Wineries, Earn Area Distinction" [via Slashfood]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Food at 10:11 PM | Comments (0)

Carnival of the Badger

Nick Schweitzer offers up a cold medicine-influenced Carnival of the Badger.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 08:41 PM | Comments (0)

Spiceblog Looks Down on Webloggers

Realdebate at the BBA noticed the fine print at Spiceblog. This is at the top of Spivak & Bice's weblog (emphasis mine):

Journal Sentinel columnists Cary Spivak and Dan Bice trudge through the scores of local political blogs so you donít have to. Hereís a peek at the good, the not-so-good, the truly offensive or the just sort of interesting.

Readdebate comments:
One final point,we kind of like people to come around and read our blogs! So can you drop the "so you don't have to" line? ;)

Spivak & Bice: we like that you're reading us and (sort of) take us seriously. But you won't win friends in the blogosphere by insulting and talking down to us. We're not your "new media" children. Treat us with respect and do a good job, and we'll do the same. The first thing you could do is put up a blogroll. We like links and traffic. But wait, that would allow Spiceblog readers to "trudge through the scores of local political blogs" thereby eliminating the need to read Spiceblog.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

Vince Young Hype

Stephen Bainbridge has jumped on the Vince Young-is-a-football-god bandwagon. I'll contest his points:

He's got more running ability than anybody this side of Michael Vick plus a fabulous arm and great leadership.

Bainbridge doesn't remember Barry Sanders, or if he wants current players Dante Hall or Vick's teammate Warrick Dunn. Being a UCLA professor Stephen probably is contractually prevented from watching any USC games so he missed Reggie Bush's amazing moves this season. As for Young's arm I'd say it's as good as Matt Leinart's, good company to be in. What impressed me was Young's on-field leadership. He is very, very cool under pressure, and his teammates love playing for him. I don't know if that translates well in the NFL.

Houston's current QB David Carr's contract gives him the option to void it, in which case Houston would have to give him a big bonus and extension to keep him. If I pick Bush, I've got to keep Carr, which would be a double whammy to the bottom line.
Success in the NFL isn't wholly dependent on a top-notch QB. Trent Dilfer and Brad Johnson both led their teams to Super Bowl victories. A very good running game combined with solid defense usually means success. If I were the Texans I'd draft Bush let Carr go if he wants too much money and look for a journeyman QB. (Johnson might be available since Dante Culpepper will be back from injury.) The money not going to Carr would be used to improve the offensive line and defense. QBs are important, but someone with the skills and potential for greatness like Bush comes along once every 15 years.
Bush is a great player, but QBs tend to have longer playing careers. Plus, while great RBs aren't exactly common place, franchise QBs are rarer than hens' teeth. The conventional draft pecking order thus goes QBs, left tackles, and pass rushers, with RBs somewhere further down.
QBs have longer careers because they don't take the pounding RBs do. However, a defense can't hit what it can't touch. Remember Barry Sanders and Warrick Dunn. As a bonus Bush can catch passes out of the backfield or as a wide receiver. He offers great flexibility for an offense and will drive defensive coordinators batty.
Bush went to USC and you all know how I feel about the Trojans.
There's that UCLA contractual obligation again. ;-)
Young's hometown is Houston, so picking the home town hero might keep the ticket holders content for a few more years even if the Texans continue stinking.
Such short-term thinking doesn't lead to success. When drafting pick the best player available. Winning will put butts in seats no matter who's doing the winning.

" Question of the Day"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 08:10 PM | Comments (1)

Robertson's Comments: "Bizarre"

Bravo to Bob Schieffer and CBS News for not using Pat Robertson's comment that Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's wrath as representative of conservative evangelical Christians. Brian Montopoli questioned Schieffer:

I asked "Evening News" host Bob Schieffer for his thoughts on Robertson and whether he thought there were others who better represent evangelicals.

Schieffer, who considers himself a religious person, has covered Robertson and interviewed him several times in the past, and says "at the beginning he represented a particular point of view, and articulated it quite well." But he's reluctant to cover him now.

"I think we have to be very careful about quoting Robertson, because I'm not sure who he represents anymore," he said. "His comments have gone beyond interesting and into bizarre." The "Evening News," he points out, has not covered Robertson's recent comments.

So who does he think is a better representative of evangelicals? Jim Wallis, who Schieffer calls "very compelling." (It's worth noting that many consider Wallis to be left-leaning, unlike most evangelical leaders.)

[via NewsBusters]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 07:37 PM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #20

Here's my helping hand to Charlie Sykes' show:

  • Olympic events in Milwaukee? Why not? Soccer games in Miller Park. Basketball games in the Bradley Center. Hotels filled all the way to Green Bay and Madison. It's good that Mayor Tom Barrett is jumping at Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's idea of a regional summer games for 2016.

  • 's health means a lot of questions about what will happen in the near future in the Middle East.

  • Democratic Senators are decided if they should delay the Judge hearings by a week. If they do it will be only the second time in history that was done. is still expected to be confirmed. However, the Democrats wonder how irritating/obnoxious they should be.

  • After a victorious Rose Bowl, Texas' is getting a lot of attention from NFL scouts. He's big, and he can run--just ask USC and Michigan. I'm not so sure about his arm, but Favre doesn't always make conventional throws. No one runs the option in the NFL because quarterbacks would get killed by Week 8. What most impressed me about Young was how calm he was in the winning drive. Even after reaching the end zone he stood there like he did it before. Great poise. I wouldn't mind him in a green and gold jersey. All this talk about Young requires the junior to skip his senior season. That would be the smart thing to do, but I think Young really, really wants the Heisman Trophy.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:11 AM | Comments (4)

January 05, 2006

BDS in Full Effect

Bush Derangement Syndrome has flared up after the West Virginia coal mine deaths. Ed Garvey [via Charlie Sykes] blames Bush for the mine accident by accusing him of appointing cronies to weaken safety regulations. Scott Shields denies blaming Bush (he did) and accused him of advancing "bad policy that habitually favors profit over people."

Just one problem for both of them: coal mine fatalities have been on a downward trend during the Bush years. [via Sister Toldjah]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:19 PM | Comments (0)

Pat Robertson: Moronic Knob

Pat Robertson shot off his mouth (again) by claiming Ariel Sharon's stroke was God's wrath for handing over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians. Robertson said, "The prophet Joel makes it very clear that God has enmity against those who, quote, 'divide my land.' God considers this land to be his."

I found the passage Robertson refers to:

I will gather all nations
and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I will enter into judgment against them
concerning my inheritance, my people Israel,
for they scattered my people among the nations
and divided up my land.
--Joel 3:2

Not being as Bibically well-versed as Robertson but capable of reading within some context I conclude he's got the meaning of the verse backwards. God will enter judgement against "all nations," not Israel, because they scattered the Israelites and divided the land. Who knows if this was in reference to events near Joel's time rather than the Apocalypse. One must be careful when quoting prophesy. You can get burned or look like a fool. Oh, wait. This is Pat Robertson we're talking about. He's already a fool. Only now he sounds like Iran's crazy President .

Word of advice: Pat, turn the 700 Club into a video podcast. There will be less of a chance of me running into any more of your crazy remarks.

" Blamed Sharon Stroke on Policy of 'Dividing God's Land'"

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

Website Makes Phone Calls

This site is cool in a pretty pointless way.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Tech at 08:15 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #19

Ok, I know for sure Charlie will be on-air today. What I'm not sure about is if he'll take advantage of the fine show prep I'm doing for him.

  • The big business lobbying group Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce issued a report about Department of Revenue abuses. It's bad enough living in a high-tax state. We don't need overzealous tax collectors.

  • A former NSA officer wants to testify before Congress about illegal spying done by the NSA and DIA.

  • Howard the Duck had gone quackers (again) by linking Judge with the spying story.

  • On the botched West Virginia mine story Amy Ridenour noticed the bigger, more elite media outlet you were the less likely you were to admit you made a mistake. An anonymous Journal Sentinel editor writes, "We're sorry the article in your newspaper was wrong." Ricardo Pimentel and the gang only want an investigation of "the communications fiasco that falsely raised the hopes of families wanting desperately to believe in miracles." They can't come out and say it was plain, shoddy journalism.

  • Ariel Sharon's stroke means new Israeli leadership in a tenuous time. Iran rattles its chains while things heat up again with the Palestinians.

  • is running for Pennsylvania governor. After years of doing TV sports Swann is certainly telegenic. Are we getting to the point where one will need celebrity to win a major political office? Ahhnuuuld in California is showing that it doesn't turn out that well.

  • AlGore spoke before Grover Norquist's Wednesday Group, the closest thing to a Vast Right Wing Conspiracy without really being one.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:14 AM | Comments (0)


It's good Spivak & Bice joined the blogosphere, but who thought up such an awful name? "Spiceblog?" Belle gives us a "horrendous photoshop job." One can't work miracles with such beauty-challenged subjects.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:42 AM | Comments (0)

January 04, 2006

Awesome Big East Debut

The streak of Badger State teams pulling off big upsets continued last night. In their Big East debut the Marquette Golden Eagles Gold Warriors dismantled the #2 UConn Huskies 94-79. Senior Steve Novak pumped in a career-high 41 points.

"Stevie Wonder!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 03:43 AM | Comments (0)

How NOT to Order Wine

A waiter gives advice for ordering wine in a restaurant. The funniest post I've read all year. [Uh, 2006 is only four days old. SSSSHHHHH!!! Details, details.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:17 AM | Comments (0)

Sorkin's Studio 7

I noticed this blurb about new TV shows in 2006:

Yeah, September is a long way off, and a lot of things could go wrong between now and then. But no TV show scheduled to make its debut this year is getting the kind of attention generated by "Studio 7," the new creation of Aaron Sorkin, back in the TV saddle three years after leaving "The West Wing."

The script for the opening episode was so compelling that the networks got into a bidding war for the series, a comedy-drama set on a late-night comedy show (think "Saturday Night Live"). NBC ended up with it by agreeing to pay a near-record $2 million per episode and committing to show 13 episodes - sight unseen.

If the rest of the show proves to be as good as Sorkin's pilot script, "Studio 7" may be network television's Next Big Thing.

I'm thinking Sports Night, Sorkin's first show, but without any references to--you know--sports. Sorkin's always had a way of picking a great cast. The careers of Peter Krause and Felicity Huffman prove that. I just hope Studio 7 doesn't become like The West Wing where every character talked in the same whizbang, super clever, rat-tat-tat manner. When I gave up on the show a few years ago I noticed you could put any character's line into any other character's mouth and it still made sense. They were all clones to Sorkin's pen.

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

January 03, 2006

Coal Mine Accident is Bush's Fault

The West Virginia coal mine tragedy, it's Bush's fault because "he didn't do anything to prevent it." I guess George Bush "doesn't care about" coal miners either.

"How Bush Failed the Sago 13" [via Moonbattery]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:53 PM | Comments (0)

Peggy Noonan Comes to Ripon in February

Her writing is passionate, smart, and moving. Knowing Peggy Noonan was coming to Ripon College next month forced me to quickly try to reserve a space.

"Big Names Coming to Wisconsin"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:26 PM | Comments (0)

Abramoff Plea Bargans

The Jack Abramoff has the potential to deliver a sledgehammer blow the Congressional Republicans. He may have worked (and I'm using that term lightly) with Democrats, but his history is with the GOP. Now that he's pled guilty to fraud charges and will cooperate with prosecutors. I haven't read much on what he's been up to, but Abramoff's activities eerily resemble the pay-to-play scandals that are surrounding Gov. Jim Doyle and put Chuck Chvala in jail.

Damage will be done to the Republicans if the corruption is extensive. That means either a lot of Congressmen and/or Senators traded votes for campaign contributions and/or gifts, or a few leaders get caught. Until today, I've never heard of House Administration Committee chairman Rep. Bob Ney (R-OH), so if he goes to trial it doesn't hurt the GOP too much. Tom DeLay doesn't hurt either because he's no longer in leadership and doesn't look to return. Now, if more important committee chairman, Majority Leaders, or even House Speaker Dennis Hasstert then the Democrats can (correctly) label the GOP the "Party of Corruption." Big ideas won't be the talk on the campaign trail. Instead "character," "integrity," and "gotcha-journalism" will reign throughout this year's Congressional elections.

Around the 'sphere, The Political Teen caught calling Abramoff "satan." John Matthews at NewsBusters noticed the NY Times "forgot" Abramoff lobbied Democrats including Senators Tom Daschle and Harry Reid. Mustang Bobby hands the whole scandal to the GOP: "No, this baby is all theirs." Augustine at RedState divides Republicans into the "Do as you're told" kind and the "Do what's right."

"Abramoff Pleads Guilty, will Cooperate"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:01 PM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #18

If Charlie wanted to he could go all Packers for 3 1/2 hours. He won't run out of callers wanting to either gloat about how it's great Mike Sherman got the axe or how Ted Thompson made the mistake that drove Brett Favre into retirement. And people will want to suggest who the next head coach should be. (My choice is defensive coach Jim Bates.) Just in case he wants some non-Packers material I'll give Charlie a hand:

  • Give the plenty of love for their big bowl upset over Auburn. What a great way to end Barry Alvarez's career as head coach.

  • Mayor Tom Barrett is doing something productive by having voter registration lists purged of outdated names and addresses. This would have happened sooner but the state can't get its act together.

  • Lofts for college students? A developer is building expensive apartments with a fitness center, a coffee bar, and high speed internet. Those with means can continue to spoil their children all through college. This has "coastie" written all over it.

  • Saddam Hussein would rather be shot than hung. Too bad no one popped him in his spider hole.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 04:16 AM | Comments (3)

January 02, 2006

Favre's Last Game?

Knowing no more than anyone else I don't think I watched Brett Favre's last game yesterday. I don't think he wants to end his career with such a dismal season. He'll want one more shot with all his weapons at ready (Walker, Green, Franks, etc.). If the Packers snagged the #1 pick then I'd almost guarantee Favre would return for the chance to play with Reggie Bush. There won't be any surprise if Favre decides to retire. Maybe his career has taken more out of him physically than he's ever let on. He's only 36-years-old, most of his life is still ahead of him. Since I don't see his love of the football or competition gone I think we'll seeing him putting on the green and gold again next July.

"'s Day Rife with Emotion"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:10 AM | Comments (6)

Hassan Returns to the States

, the teen who ran off to Iraq to experience the place and become a better writer, has returned to the U.S. All he told the AP was, "I do want to tell you how flattered I am. The media has been very, very kind to me. I hope to get a good night's rest." Expect a Dateline exclusive soon.

"Florida Teen Home After Adventure"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 12:24 AM | Comments (0)

January 01, 2006

Happy 2006

Have a great, safe, and prosperous new year.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 01:24 AM | Comments (0)

2005 TAM Book Awards

Like music this year no book really blew my mind. There were some good books filled with great ideas. Like music, there's always next year.

  1. Privilege by Ross Gregory Douthat

    Douthat wrote the 21st Century God and Man at Yale. His story of life at Harvard was entrancing. He was surrounded by high achievement to get into Harvard's hallowed halls but the feelings of many of his fellow students was what status was to be reached next. They saw Harvard as a stepping stone for elites to reach even greater heights. Through it you see Douthat's passion for learning and his ability to be honest about himself.

  2. Blueprint for Action by Thomas Barnett

    This is Barnett's follow-up to The Pentagon's New Map. It's a plan of how to shrink the gap, spread globalization, and reduce terrorist threats. There's plenty I disagree with, but Barnett has thought deeply and seriously about how to have "a future worth creating." If you want to know what the Bush administration might do in the future read this book.

  3. Running the World by David Rothkopf

    Despite Rothkopf being a former Clinton administration man and being unfair towards the Bush administration Running the World is the first history of the National Security Council. It's become the main way Presidents get foreign policy done. He goes through the body's ups and downs with a good look at what the actors had to face.

  4. Five Days in Philadelphia by Charles Peters

    Peters gives us a great almost you-were-there account of Wendell Willkie winning the GOP Presidential nomination in 1940. As good as the political drama Peters argues that the stance of the moderate Willkie allowed Franklin Roosevelt to prepare the nation for war.

  5. The Cube and the Cathedral bye George Weigel

    Weigel argues that a culture based on Christianity will defend freedom, pluralism, and democracy better than the secular culture plaguing Europe. It's a great case for what's troubling the continent.

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