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.
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?
"Concealed Weapons Veto Override Falls Short"
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."
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.
"Coretta Scott King Dies at 78"
"Coretta Scott King, 1927-2006"
Charlie's Show Prep #36
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.
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
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.
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.
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"
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"
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.
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"
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:
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"
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]
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.
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.
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"
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"
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.
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"
January 28, 2006
#1 Google Search
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.
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.
So much potential entertainment swept away by one statement. *SIGH*
Thanks go to Kevin Binversie @ Lakeshore Laments for the tip.
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.
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"
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"
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.
Dear Abby: Weblog-Style
Me thinks Wizbang's advice column, Dear VK, will be a winner. Read this Q&A:
Excuse me. I was rolling on the floor laughing.
Charlie's Show Prep #34
Ann Althouse is skeptical of Oprah tongue-lashing James Frey.
"The Winfrey-Frey Fray."
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 Playboy?"
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."
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:
"Oprah Tells Frey He 'Betrayed' Readers"
"Oprah Throws the Book at Herself"
"Oprah Calls Defense of Author 'a Mistake'"
"James Frey Gets His, Takes It Like Man(?)"
Questions for Russ
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.
Charlie's Show Prep #33
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.
"Palestinians Cast Historic Vote"
"Palestinians Vote Today, Jimmy Carter Observes"
January 25, 2006
Only the Law-Abiding Obey Gun Laws
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:
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?"
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:
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.
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.
"In Case You Missed It: Former DNC Chairman, Governor Ed Rendell (D-PA) Supports Judge Alito"
Frey's Continued Sales
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?
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"
Political Speech Case Sent Back to Lower Court
Ann Althouse comments on the Supreme Court considering another aspect of the McCain-Feingold
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.
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."
Charlie's Show Prep #31
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.
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.
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.
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"
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.
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.
Charlie's Show Prep #30
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.
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
"Demonstrators Mark Roe V. Wade Anniversary"
"Blogs4Life/March for Life"
"Certain Unalienable Rights"
January 22, 2006
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.
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.
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"
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.
My New Crush
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 Bloglines (after a 1 1/2 year hiatus) and Omea Reader. 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 Furl for saving web pages I don't bookmark anything with the browser.
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.
"Belafonte Continues Tirade Against Bush"
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.
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.
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:
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):
UPDATE VI (Final one for this post and probably the night):
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"
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.
"Mike Malloy to CPAC: Get Lost!"
Charlie's Show Prep #29
January 19, 2006
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"
Don't tick off Mother Nature:
A goose was to blame for a power outage Wednesday in the Menomonee Valley.
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.
"Goose Knocks Out Power To Menomonee Valley"
Charlie's Show Prep #28
January 18, 2006
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!
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"
Charlie's Show Prep #27
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:
WONDER HOW MANY OF THESE SOLDIERS ARE GOING TO VOTE FOR HIM?
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.
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"
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.
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"
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"
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"
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]
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.
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.
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."
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..."
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.
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"
Charlie's Show Prep #25
Should I celebrate not getting bored after 24 previous helping hands to Charlie Sykes? Sure. Let's dance.
January 12, 2006
The Business of America is Business hosts this week's Bonfire of the Vanities.
Steven Taylor agrees Reggie Bush should be drafted #1. As for his low opinion of new Packers' coach Mike McCarthy 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?
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!"
Wife Crying: "PR Stunt"
Kos thinks Judge Sam Alito's wife cried on que. The most cynical man in America retains his title.
Tying Up Loose Ends
This is a mish-mash post linking to items TAM covered the past few days:
Here are the webloggers I know so far who will be at CPAC 2006:
There has to be more coming. Who's not talking?
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"
Charlie's Show Prep #24
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.
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.
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"
Charlie's Show Prep #23
January 10, 2006
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 MacBook Pro"
Everything is Gay
Three minutes, one chord, bad singing, and wacked-out lyrics. Everything is gay.
[via Subject to Change]
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 Bloggers"
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:
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.
"Playing It by Ear: Howard Stern's Sirius Debut"
Reaction to Frey's Fraud
About the revelation that A Million Little Pieces is all made up we have:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Claiming Criticism is Homophobia
If you don't like Brokeback Mountain you're a homophobe. At least that's what GLAAD thinks.
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.
"Blogging Gives Everyone a Voice"
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.
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:
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.
"Merkel Calls for Closure of Guantanamo"
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"
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 Vince Young Headed to NFL Draft"
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"
January 07, 2006
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]
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.
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 Classroom Sex"
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.
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." Joel Geiderman 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.
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.
[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.
Texas Wine Gets Distinction
Who knew they grew wine grapes in Texas? Then again who knew you could do the same in frigid Wisconsin?
Carnival of the Badger
Nick Schweitzer offers up a cold medicine-influenced Carnival of the Badger.
Spiceblog Looks Down on Webloggers
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.
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.
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.
"Football Question of the Day"
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.
Charlie's Show Prep #20
Here's my helping hand to Charlie Sykes' show:
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 Sago 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."
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
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 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
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.
"Robertson Blamed Sharon Stroke on Policy of 'Dividing God's Land'"
Website Makes Phone Calls
This site is cool in a pretty pointless way.
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.
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.
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
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.]
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."
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.
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.
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"
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 Chris Matthews 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"
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:
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.
"Favre's Day Rife with Emotion"
Hassan Returns to the States
Farris Hassan, 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 Iraq Adventure"
January 01, 2006
Have a great, safe, and prosperous new year.
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.