[star]The American Mind[star]

March 31, 2006

Waiting on Judgement

Hooray to Jim Geraghty for not jumping on the "Jill Carroll must be crazy" bandwagon. A downside to the instant news and analysis the internet and blogosphere provide is many feel they must comment on an event ASAP. Geraghty writes,

My instinct is to lay off for a bit. If she comes out in a few weeks making the same comments and appears to be defending her abductors, then she’ll be fair game for criticism. But for now, I’m willing to chalk up the pre-release tape to duress and the strange comments in the immediate hours and days after her release to stress and trauma.

There's a time and a place for everything. Just because you can offer your opinion instantly doesn't mean you should.

"Hold Off on Judging Jill Carroll -- For Now"

UPDATE: This explains Carroll's remarks:

The night before journalist Jill Carroll's release, her captors said they had one final demand as the price of her freedom: She would have to make a video praising her captors and attacking the United States, according to Jim Carroll.
In a long phone conversation with his daughter on Friday, Mr. Carroll says that Jill was "under her captor's control."

Ms. Carroll had been their captive for three months and even the smallest details of her life - what she ate and when, what she wore, when she could speak - were at her captors' whim. They had murdered her friend and colleague Allan Enwiya, "she had been taught to fear them," he says. And before making one last video the day before her release, she was told that they had already killed another American hostage.

That video appeared Thursday on a jihadist website that carries videos of beheadings and attacks on American forces. In it, Carroll told her father she felt compelled to make statements strongly critical of President Bush and his policy in Iraq.

That's good enough for Captain Ed who wonders why many forgot the enemy uses prisoners for propaganda. They forgot because wanted to offer instant analysis and appear to be on top of the story. They sided with speed instead of truth which travels at her own pace. We amateurs who are still cutting our teeth in this new wide-open media world have to always keep that in the backs of our minds.

"Jill Carroll Forced to Make Propaganda Video as Price of Freedom"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 10:59 PM | Comments (0)

Robert & Ann, Sitting in a Tree...

BetterBadNews found Ann Coulter's illegitimate daughter (note the similar blond hair and obnoxious claims). Somehow Robert Wright gets caught in the quicksand.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 07:27 PM | Comments (0)

March 30, 2006

Borders Bans Magazine Issue

Borders has decided not to carry the April-May issue of Free Inquiry because it will contain Muhammad cartoons that sparked violent outrage among some Muslims:

"For us, the safety and security of our customers and employees is a top priority, and we believe that carrying this issue could challenge that priority," Borders Group Inc. spokeswoman Beth Bingham said Wednesday.

Robert Bidinotto isn't happy:

By its public declaration of pre-emptive surrender, Borders has given the bullies of our age a clear message: Your intimidation works. Your bullying works. Your coercion works. Your terrorist threats work.

Borders has set a morally irresponsible and frighteningly dangerous precedent. It has told fanatics everywhere that all they need to do in order to obliterate First Amendment rights is to growl menacingly -- at which point a leading bookstore chain in America will clear its shelves of anything that could possibly offend the thug of the moment.

I work for Barnes & Noble, Borders' chief competitor, and have heard nothing that the same will be done in their stores. I'd be shocked if they did. The company is pretty absolute in making available materials their customers want to buy. You can buy The Anarchist Cookbook for pete's sake.

It's one thing to write a letter to the company expressing your complaint. It's another going into your nearest Borders and asking for the banned issue of Free Inquiry then complaining. This was a company decision. Your average Borders bookseller has no control over this. They're working stiffs like anyone else. Don't give them a hard time.

"An Open Letter to Borders Books"

"Fear of a Jihadi Planet"

"The Heckler's Veto"

UPDATE: Andrew Cory, another Barnes & Noble employee, writes:

See, a bookstore’s only stocking priority ought to be “will it sell”. Once the commercial judgment is replaced with editorial one, a company sets itself up as a censor. It begins to limit access to knowledge, and democracy itself is tarnished.

Making available what people want to buy is a way a free market supports other freedoms. Milton Friedman would be pleased.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:27 PM | Comments (2)

Red Hickey Dies

Red Hickey, football coach and inventor of the shotgun offense, die at 89. Football fans may think the shotgun got its name from the center "shooting" the ball to the quarterback. Not so. According to the AP it was "so named by Hickey because it sprayed receivers around the field."

Add that to your knowledge bank of useless facts. I bet Ken Jennings didn't know that.

Godspeed, Red.

"Shotgun Formation Inventor Red Hickey Dies"

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:17 PM | Comments (0)

Bolten Wants Snow Replaced

New White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten wants Treasury Secretary John Snow replaced. Snow has been pretty much invisible while serving (like his predecessor Paul O'Neill so it's not like anyone would really notice. Part of it is the times we live in. We're at war so the foreign policy departments, State and Defense, get the limelight. Part of it is also the importance placed on the department by the President. Other than tax cuts Bush hasn't been an economics-focus President.

"Chief of Staff Is Expected to Shake Up 2 Key Teams"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 09:23 AM | Comments (2)

Christians Besides Rahman Arrested

A news outfit called Compass Direct, a "US-based Christian news source" reports two more Afghan Christians have been arrested. I've never heard of Compass Direct, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is legit. It's something to keep an eye on.

"More Arrested in Afghanistan"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

Favre Decision Probably This Weekend

Green Bay Packers fans hope and pray Brett Favre decides to return for another season. Signs are pointing to a decision this weekend. The Packers have pushed back Favre's $3 million roster bonus twice with another deadline coming Saturday. If Favre wants to call it quits the team needs time to get back-up QB Aaron Rodgers ready. New head coach Mike McCarthy wants Favre back to see if his stripped-down, back-to-basics version of the West Coast offense will improve Favre's play.

"Snap Judgments"

"Coach Has Plan to Help "

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 12:43 AM | Comments (3)

March 29, 2006

Judges Back Bush on NSA Spying

An author of the FISA Act told a Senate panel President Bush has the authority to order the controversial NSA wiretapping. Judge Allan Kornblum said,

If a court refuses a FISA application and there is not sufficient time for the president to go to the court of review, the president can under executive order act unilaterally, which he is doing now.... I think that the president would be remiss exercising his constitutional authority by giving all of that power over to a statute.

Four other ex-FISA court judges agreed.

There is a sticking point: none of the judges knows the details of the program. Neither do many politicians, pundits, and webloggers. We're debating while blind.

Still, if Bush's opponents think the NSA terrorist spying is a winning issue they're wrong. Unless they can find proof Bush is using the program for something nefarious like spying on political opponents at worst reasonable people will think Bush committed a sin overreach not malice. ' lunatic rants don't count.

"FISA Judges Say Bush Within Law"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:24 PM | Comments (0)

New Orleans Bus on eBay

The New Orleans school district is selling one of their Katrina-damaged buses on eBay. Mayor Ray Nagan must be cringing. On the auction page is the infamous photo of a lot full of flooded buses; buses that could have been used to help evacuate the city.

Then we have Alvarez & Marsal, "the management firm hired last year to turn around the school system," getting all cute in irreverant by declaring the broken bus an "Exclusive Limited Offer!!!" The winning bidder will "Own A Piece of History!!!" It's a "This is a collector's dream come true."

"No Flood of Cash Offers Yet for Waterlogged "

[via Lakeshore Laments]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Katrina at 01:15 PM | Comments (7)

Rahman Flees to Italy

Abdul Rahman was granted asylum in Italy and arrived there. Many Afghan Muslim are miffed he was allowed to leave the country instead of converting back to Islam or be killed for apostasy. Clerics called it a "betrayal to Islam" and the Afghan parliment wanted the Karzai government to stop Rahman from leaving.

With this courageous action Italy should prepare for the backlash. I won't be surprised if fatwahs are issued for Rahman's death. Also expect violent protests outside Italian consulates similar to the ones in response to the Muhammad cartoons.

"Italy Welcomes Man Who Fled Afghanistan"

"Afghan Convert 'Arrives in Italy'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 12:43 PM | Comments (2)

Say a Little Prayer

I think Glenn Reynolds isn't much of the religious type, but I don't think he'll mind your prayers for him and his family for their loss. Glenn has done so much for webloggers and weblogging. It's the least we can do.

I too know what it's like to recently lose a grandparent. We just have to remember they lived fruitful lives. We loved them, and they loved us. Grandparent hugs are some of the warmest in my memory. I'm not sure why. Maybe it's the love they gave out without the discipline parents have to do. Whatever the reason, they make for wonderful memories.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:39 AM | Comments (0)

Smart Candidate

You'll notice to the left J.B. Van Hollen is advertising on TAM. That's no endorsement. I'm neutral. J.B.'s campaign put up the dough just like any advertiser can. I haven't followed the attorney general race closely, but I've heard good things from both Van Hollen and Paul Bucher. With the end of the GOP governor's primary more attention will go to the AG race. Van Hollen vs. Bucher will be good to watch but not as much as the slug-fest between Democrats. Kathleen Falk and Peg Lautenschlager.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:13 AM | Comments (22)

March 28, 2006

When the Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

With Scott Walker out of the governor's race there's been some Mark Green bashing on local weblogs. Charlie Sykes doesn't offer any links (tsk, tsk; the most important thing about the web; being on vacation is no excuse) so I'm going to assume most of the criticism has been in the comments. After Walker dropped out I knew some people were bummed. Many have quickly come around. Even Chris at Spotted Hourse knows the ultimate goal is to beat Gov. Doyle, and Patrick at Badger Blogger thinks "Green is a great candidate."

To Walker supporters still upset with Green here are two words: chill out. The guy's a conservative. He's voted to cut taxes, control spending, ban partial-birth abortion, and require photo ID at the voting booth. Compare that to Jim Doyle.

It's obvious the Green campaign has to reach out to conservative Southeastern Wisconsin voters who really liked Walker. Since I think he's a smart guy who will do what it takes to beat Doyle I have no doubt he'll do that. All I ask of you Green critics is to keep an open mind. Breathe in, breathe out, then imagine four more years of Governor Doyle.


"Newsflash: Green is Better than Doyle - Much Better"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:08 PM | Comments (10)

On Barbara Bush's Earmarked Donation

This is a brief follow-up to a post a few days ago on Barbara Bush's conditional donation of software to some Houston schools. It's garnered plenty of comments.

If the software is donated directly or the cash equivilent is donated to the relief fund Bush can claim both as deductions. In fact, according to my accountant, it would have been better tax-wise if she bought the software from Neil Bush's Ignite! Learning instead of donating cash. Bush's action is not self-maximizing. Plus, it wouldn't have been as noticable and not launched Bush bashers into a tizzy.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:45 PM | Comments (8)

An Embarassment to All Seans Everywhere

What little respect I had for Sean Hannity went out the window with this incident with Alec Baldwin.

"Alec Baldwin v. Sean Hannity in Radio Donnybrook" [via Little Miss Attila]

UPDATE: Patrick at Badger Blogger has audio of Sean Hannity's side of the story. He tries all he wants but he doesn't sound positive at all. But Baldwin sounded as unhinged as he usually does.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 02:19 AM | Comments (13)

Sean Penn's Coulter Hatred

Like Sean Penn I'm not a fan of Ann Coulter, but I don't possess an Ann Coulter doll where I burn her "some funny places." I'll leave that to the flaky actor.

" has Torture Doll" [via RWN]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 01:41 AM | Comments (3)

March 27, 2006

A Quibble with a Quibble

In Daniel Suhr's round-up of coverage of Scott Walker's exit from the governor's race he quotes TAM and gripes against "some (self-righteous) finger-waving at Mark Green" with regards to my complaint with Rep. Mark Green's ethanol stance.

Later on he doesn't think Green will campaign to the middle now that he won't have a primary opponent. He uses as an example Green not caving to the "right-wing on ethanol even as he was getting pounded on both talk and paid radio." Does Daniel think government requiring gas to contain 10% ethanol to be a conservative position? Such interference in the free market doesn't sound like the conservatism of Goldwater, Reagan, or Gingrich. It does sound like President Bush's Big Government conservatism which also includes massive increases in educational and social welfare spending along with trade protectionism.

Ethanol has been my primary concern with Green. I'm a conservative first, then a Republican. If Green pushes policies I don't consider conservative I will call him out and oppose them. No candidate will agree with me 100%. If I wanted the perfect candidate I'd run myself. I was no Walker sycophant. In fact, until he dropped out I didn't endorse either GOP governor candidate. When comparing Green and Doyle there's no question who I support. As I wrote last Friday, "On school choice, on taxes, on spending, on government regulations, on ethics Green is superior. For that I'm endorsing Rep. Mark Green for governor of Wisconsin." Ethanol isn't a deal breaker. Green wants to end Wisconsin's image as a tax hell and improve the business climate. If he pulled that off I probably could swallow an ethanol mandate. Politics is the art of the possible. There's a clear choice in the election. Voters can choose the conservative Rep. Mark Green or the liberal, ethically-challenged incumbent governor.

"Quibbles with Commentary"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:55 PM | Comments (0)

Sullivan Attacks Former First Lady

Andrew Sullivan extends his Bush bashing to former First Lady Barbara Bush. She directed a portion of a donation to a Hurricane Katrina relief fund to be used to buy educational software from her son Neil Bush's company Ignite Learning. That has "forced" Sullivan to dub Barbara "Marie Antoinette." How is this different from Bush buying the software from Ignite and donating it directly to Houston schools? There isn't a difference, and I think there would be no story if she had done that.

Let's take off our cynical glasses for one moment. Maybe Barbara Bush thinks Ignite's "Curriculum On Wheels" is a good product. Maybe she loves her son and thinks he's doing something important and helpful. It's sad to see some are at the point where anything a certain family does can only be self-aggrandizement. For people like Sullivan the Bush family is guilty until proven innocent.

"Katrina Donation Ignites Debate"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:37 PM | Comments (22)

Kane's Bait-and-Switch

First, Eugene Kane wants certain members of the Wisconsin blogosphere to "Get some backbone or get out of the blogosphere." He complained about some webloggers (i.e. Jessica McBride) who don't allow comments. Ironic from a pathetic excuse of a weblogger who doesn't have weblog comments of his own (start griping to your employer if it's so important). I guess McBride's prominent listing of her e-mail address doesn't count. (It's actually in a bigger font than Kane's.)

Now, Kane decided he's superior because he gets letters to the editor and does webchats. It's no longer about comments. I'm still waiting for that coward to send me an e-mail or leave a comment. Hell, I'm still waiting for him to understand that being part of the blogosphere is linking to other webloggers. It's called being polite, a trait he rarely displays in his published words. He's still a weblogging newbie so I'll cut him a little slack. Even big media voices have to earn respect in the blogosphere. Kane has a ways to go.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:32 PM | Comments (0)

March 26, 2006

Censuring for Dollars

Sen. Feingold isn't the only Senator to use a Bush censure as a pretense for political fundraising.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:08 PM | Comments (0)

Patriot Act


There's someone in Vegas counting all the money they made for betting that George Mason would make it to the Final Four.

They have the coolest econ program in the country. I'm jumping on their bandwagon.

"George Mason Is a Giant-Killer"

[photo via Flickr]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:19 PM | Comments (2)

Mission Accomplished

Sen. Russ Feingold wanted attention to "force" him to run for President in 2008. So he decided President Bush needs to be censured. He did this without talking to any fellow Democrats. It wasn't a part of an overall strategy to weaken the President. It was self-promotion. Well, it worked:

A Newsweek poll taken March 16-17 found that 50 percent of those surveyed opposed censuring Bush while 42 percent supported it, but among Democrats, 60 percent favored the effort.

It's not gone two weeks, and Feingold is still getting free media. That had to top any of his expectations.

"Feingold's Call Gives Him Boost"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:33 PM | Comments (6)

Instant Hockey Classic

If you can find it turn on the Wisconsin-Cornell hockey game. They've played an entire game and two overtimes and still haven't scored. This has become an instant classic.

UPDATE: Wisconsin wins with a third overtime goal by Jack Skille. They move onto the Frozen Four in Milwaukee in less than two weeks where they will play Maine.

Congratulations also go to the Badger women's hockey team for beating Minnesota 3-0 in Minnesota to claim the .

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

Rahman Safe for Now

Abdul Rahman will not face charges for converting to Christianity, but he is still not safe. He could be charged later when prosecutors get more evidence, or more likely, someone angry at Rahman's apostasy will kill him.

I am disappointed with the Bush administration's tepid reactions to Rahman's plight. Condi Rice saying we need "to be respectful of Afghan sovereignty" continued that tip-toeing.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai found a way not to alienate the West. This is better than the Taliban who would have killed Rahman days ago. The problem we have is there isn't a model of an Islamic state that practices religious freedom. Turkey is the closest, but they do that by trying hard to keep religion out of state affairs. Even today, the strong military watches the civilian government to make sure they don't go astray from Ataturk's idea of a land of the Turks rather than an Islamic state. (Note that Turkey doesn't call itself the Islamic Republic of Turkey.)

Changing culture and religious attitudes is a slow and painful process. What can't be done is for allied forces to threaten to leave Afghanistan if it doesn't respect religious freedom. Most Afghans would sooner see foreign troops leave and deal with warlords and Islamist terrorists than have the West dictate to them how they should practice Islam. Also, we don't want Afghanistan to again become a homebase for Islamist terrorist. A possibility for more tolerance is for moderate Muslim Afghans who currently live in the West to return to their homeland. These moderates know from experience that Muslims can live side-by-side with Christians, Jews, atheists, etc.

Another possibility is for Muslims to stop looking on the dynastic pride they have in Muslim history and deeply examining the eras when Christians, Jews, and Muslims all lived peacefully together under Muslim rule. Instead of moaning the demise of dar al-Islam to dar al-Harb historic lessons can be found to adjust Islam to the modern world.

Afghanistan will have to change because there are more there than just Abdul Rahman:

The middle-aged man, who cannot be named for fear of reprisals, embraced Christianity 20 years ago. Unlike Rahman, who converted while working for a charity in Pakistan, where there is a Christian minority numbering several million, he has never left Afghanistan.

"We have churches here in Kabul and all the cities of the country, and links to Christians abroad," he said. "There have always been Christians in this country. Some families have been Christian for generations, but most have been converted in recent years."

The Christian interviewed said Afghan Christians "don't get trouble from ordinary people, but being afraid of being identified shows the pull of "extremist religious groups" who "will try to kill or kidnap us, to mount grenade attacks."

"Afghan Court Drops Case Against "

"Abdul Rahman to Be Released"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

March 25, 2006

New FEC Rules on Online Political Speech

The FEC's proposed regulations of online political speech do not look too draconian:

The Federal Election Commission last night released proposed new rules that leave almost all Internet political activity unregulated except for the purchase of campaign ads on Web sites.

"My key goal in this rule-making has been to make sure that the commission establish clear rules to exempt individuals who engage in online politics from campaign finance laws," said Chairman Michael E. Toner, a Republican.

"We tried to craft a regulation that would allow the maximum amount of freedom for people as possible," said Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub, a Democrat.

Most bloggers, individual Web users, and such Web sites as Drudge Report and Salon.com are exempted from regulation and will be free to support and attack federal candidates, much as newspapers are allowed.

Jerome Armstrong of Lefty weblog MyDD sees it as webloggers getting "the media exemption." On his weblog he wonders, "However, for a camapign, I'm unsure of the implications of their ruling. From the sounds of it, Google ads and Blogads are now going to have to carry a disclaimer. I can't imagine that even being practical for candidates to run disclaimers in their search-term ads."

Here's the summary [PDF].

It appears I won't be shutting down only to have my Russian cousin (*wink* *wink*) start it up on servers in his motherland.

"Proposed FEC Rules Would Exempt Most Political Activity on Internet"

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

Some Advice for the Immigration Demonstrators

To those who don't want tougher federal laws on illegal immigration, like the thousands who demonstrated in Los Angeles, I have some advice:

  1. Ditch the Mexican flags. You came to the U.S. because of better opportunites. By protesting tougher immigration laws you tell everyone you don't want to leave. You will get much more sympathy if you show plenty of allegiance to the nation that has given you your opportunity.

  2. Speak in english. Don't protest by "giving speeches mainly in Spanish." You're just demonstrating you really don't care about integrating into the country you're living in. No one has problems with bilingualism, but the U.S. has a common tongue.

These two actions will earn you sympathy with a public that understands the universal desire to better one's self but is tired of law-breaking and its costs.

" Bill Sparks Protests, Bush Plea"

UPDATE: I'm not alone questioning the Mexican flags. [via Instapundit]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

Silence Blocks Finding Missing Boys

News about the two missing Milwaukee boys hasn't been found on TAM because I didn't have anything to add that you couldn't find in the newspaper or on television. Now, the story has gotten interesting along with being tragic:

Police now believe people who know something about two missing Milwaukee boys are withholding information that could lead to a major break in the investigation.

"We have reason to believe there are individuals with information that is pertinent to this investigation who for reasons unknown to us right now aren't coming forward," Milwaukee police spokeswoman Anne E. Schwartz said at a Friday afternoon briefing.

Kids don't vanish without leaving some clues. Since Purvis Virginia Parker and Quadrevion Henning disappeared last Sunday authorities have no leads. We know why. Someone isn't talking. I know the Black community doesn't have the greatest amount of trust in the Milwaukee Police Department. Since inquests looking at police shootings rarely call for an officer to be prosecuted I understand some of that distrust.

While two boys' lives are at stake people with vital information are running a personal "Stop Snitching" campaign. They may be proud of their bravado or fear for their lives, but families are in pain. They want to know what happened to their children.

"Somebody Knows, Somebody Saw Boys, Police Say"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 05:51 AM | Comments (4)

March 24, 2006

Walker Calls it Quits

It will be Rep. Mark Green versus Gov. Jim Doyle this fall. Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker bowed out of the race citing a failure to reach fundraising goals:

"I give my full support and endorsement to my friend Mark Green," Walker said in a speech prepared for a 5th Congressional District audience at the Country Springs Hotel. He released a copy of his remarks this afternoon to the Journal Sentinel.

Walker, who entered the race officially in January 2005, pinned his withdrawal on a failure to meet ramped-up fundraising goals designed to compete with Doyle’s expected biggest-ever campaign war chest.

"It became clear to me that our fundraising totals would only allow us to run a campaign in a fraction of the 72 counties in this state," Walker said. "In addition, our resources would be so limited that most of it would likely be spent on ads attacking our Republican opponent." He called that an "unappealing option for me" and one that would only bolster Doyle’s re-election hopes.

"In the end I love this state too much to see Jim Doyle elected to another term," Walker said. "A campaign that does not focus on Doyle before the primary will almost certainly insure his re-election. To me, that outcome is unacceptable."

Walker said his campaign fundraising fell short of keeping up with Doyle’s record-setting pace, revealed in the late-January campaign reports. Walker said a new minimum goal he set for the end of March was "unfortunately" not reached.

Since Walker and Green are very close on most issues their differences, no matter how small, would be magnified. Thus the hammering I gave Green on ethanol. With Doyle's bad poll numbers I expect Green to win in November. If and when the ethanol mandate comes up I will be as opposed to it then as I am today. I'll want Doyle bounced out of office, but that doesn't mean Green will get a pass.

Still I defintely prefer Rep. Green to Gov. Doyle. On school choice, on taxes, on spending, on government regulations, on ethics Green is superior. For that I'm endorsing Rep. Mark Green for governor of Wisconsin.


People are talking over at the Badger Blog Alliance.

"Walker Withdrawing from Governor's Race"

UPDATE: Here's Walker's withdrawal speech.

UPDATE II: Owen Robinson recorded Walker's speech tonight.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 05:34 PM | Comments (4)

Conservative Weblogger Doesn't Last a Week

Ben Domenech didn't last a week as a weblogger for washingtonpost.com. It wasn't the bile-spewing Left or Intelligent Design critics that got him. It was his past. This post at Obsidian Wings is pretty damning. Such criticism must have been damning to Domenech. He resigned.

Lefty webloggers may want his head on their trophy wall. If I were them I wouldn't. First, no body outside the political blogosphere knows who Domenech is. Second, he didn't last a week. That's far from taking down an institution like Dan Rather.

Domenech has written far more than I have. Part of that comes from him being an ex-speech writer. When a young writer is cutting their teeth they will make mistakes. Is past plagerism unforgiveable? Does it have a statute of limitations? When writers are seeking a new gig should they admit the mistakes in their past and hope their recent track record can make up for it?

TAM has existed since 1999. Before that I wrote occasional op-eds in my college newspaper. In all that writing I don't recall ever copying someone elses work, but I might have. Say the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel wanted to take weblogs seriously and wanted me on board. How would I deal with a potential time bomb sitting in my archives just waiting for rabid partisans to detonate?

UPDATE: Domenech (AKA Augustine) posted his explanation to plagerism charges and his resignation. The story made it on The Drudge Report so the RedState servers are under a lot of stress. They're reasonable explanations. More reasonable than the hateful responses of his Leftist critics. They are still errors of judgement, but being young (he was 17 at the time) is about making mistakes and learning from them. It makes me ask the question, "When does a writer's past mistakes no longer hurt him?"

Here's something to think about: had Domenech been caught drinking at 17 he would still be writing Red America. If he would have been caught smoking pot he might be praised. Some youthful indiscretions are more forgivable than others.

UPDATE II: National Review Online admits , and it wasn't for a college paper. "A side-by-side comparison to another review of the same film speaks for itself. There is no excuse for plagiarism and we apologize to our readers and to Steve Murray of the Cox News Service from whose piece the language was lifted."

With that Domenech would have been booted from the Red America weblog had he not resigned. That's understandable for an institution like The Washington Post who has a reputation to maintain. I would like to know is Domenech scarred for life? Will editors reject job opportunities or even free lance articles when he's 40, 50, or even 80 because of what he did in his teens and 20s? With the internet as a permanent archive we all should wonder how long our past mistakes will haunt us.

What's really disappointing is washingtonpost.com will be "likely to look for someone with a more traditional journalism background." Domenech's flagrant copying tarred the reputations of conservative webloggers everywhere. Thanks a lot, Ben.

[via Michelle Malkin]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 04:28 PM | Comments (9)


With its funky Asian flavors and crunchy vegetables surrounded by a crispy skin make for good eating. Just don't do it while in front of your keyboard. After every bite you need a pile of napkins to wipe the grease off your fingers, and you have to make sure no morsels fall into the cracks between keys. Picking out Napa cabbage doesn't sound like fun.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Food at 03:53 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #65

  • A Hong Kong company will operate a radiation detector for cargo destined for the U.S. at a port in the Bahamas.

  • Someone found a way to make out of cheese waste. An ethanol mandate is inevitable when you unite special interests such as farmers with cheesemakers.

  • Tensions in the Far East grow. Japan cut off its loans to .

  • Someone help me figure out what Ted Thompson is doing. He has a chance to build the Packers in his image, but he's not signing anybody. Ryan Longwell goes to Minnesota, but he offered a similar amount of money to Adam Vinatieri. Now, with Mike Vanderjagt in Dallas the kicking pickin's are getting slim. Mike Flanagan ran off to Houston which leaves a hole in the middle of the offensive line, and Tony Fischer went to St. Louis because the Packers didn't even offer him a new contract.

  • I want to become famous like Dick Cheney just so I can have all my hotel televisions tuned to Fox News upon arrival.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 02:50 AM | Comments (7)

March 23, 2006

March Madness Continues

Another night of tournament games meant further destruction of my brackets. Cross Duke off my final four list. Did they get stuffed by a young, hungry LSU team. The two later games offered adrenaline rushes. Texas walks off the court with a game-winning three-pointer after West Virginia tied it. Then Gonzaga collapses and hands UCLA a big win.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 11:56 PM | Comments (0)

On High Altert

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT get between Sen. Russ Feingold and a reporter. Think "Hulk smash!" if you do, and that's from either direction.

I'm just warning you.

"Alert Level Raised to HIGH"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:30 AM | Comments (5)

Charlie's Show Prep #64

  • President Bush found Abdul Rahman's possible death sentence "deeply troubling," and will use American influence "to remind [Afghanistan] that there are universal values."

  • When people like Robert Samuelson, far from being a firebrand conservative, opposes a program it will be very tough for the President to get it through Congress.

  • Business done at strip clubs will be a thing of the past for Wall Street firms.

  • The FEC's online political speech regulations have been delayed until next week.

  • "Today is the fourteenth anniversary of the death of -- the greatest social scientist of the 20th century." Hayek happens to be my intellectual hero.

  • A real-life version of The Terminal took place in Chicago. A Romanian who overstayed his visa may have been living at O'Hare Airport for months.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 04:02 AM | Comments (0)

March 22, 2006

RNC Ad Spanked

FactCheck.org slaps the RNC for its Sen. Russ Feingold-bashing ad. Emi Kolawole writes,

[Feingold's] resolution would censure Bush for the way in which he ordered wiretaps, not for the wiretaps themselves. It would condemn him for "unlawful authorization of wiretaps of Americans within the United States without obtaining the court orders required " (emphasis added), and also for "failure to inform the full congressional intelligence committees," and for "his efforts to mislead the American people" about the legalities of the program.

Feingold complains about an unlawful process. With reasoning like Rick Esenberg's [also here] that's not a clear-cut case. He writes,
President's interpretation of his constitutional authority is reasonable and certainly does not constitute the type of criminality and wholesale disregard of the law that would warrant censure.

A problem with FackCheck.org's analysis is it leaves out the political context. Feingold launched his censure crusade because he wants to run for President and rally the Left to his side. From reading Kolawole's piece one could easily think Feingold is just a Jimmy Stewart-type getting beat up by the big, bad, misleading Republicans.

"RNC Mischaracterizes Feingold's Resolution"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:38 PM | Comments (5)

The Bile Toward Ben Domenech

A few people don't like Ben Domenech writing a conservative weblog for The Washington Post. Instead of ignoring him or actually challenging his ideas some decide to play quote-pulling (some from as far back as 4 1/2 years ago), insult him (and all others like him) for being home schooled, and call him an idiot for believing God created the universe.

At least Steve Verdon puts some real thought into his challenge of one of Domenech's points about intelligent design. Others should take notes from Steve on how a serious debate is done.

James Joyner collects a number of Domenech-bashing posts and observes:

And am I the only one who sees the irony in a bunch of 40- and 50-something bloggers with advanced degrees resorting to name calling and over-the-top rhetoric to attack someone on the basis of being too young, immature, and lacking in nuance to blog?

Let them waste their time and energy. It's better than having this shreiking part of the Left doing things they think are actually helpful or productive to their political cause.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:18 PM | Comments (7)

Pork Bus

American for Prosperity (AFP) will announce tomorrow a nationwide bus tour to expose pork barrel spending. "The Ending Earmarks Express" will "roll out of Washington, DC, on April 7 and visit the sites of some of the nation’s most egregious and wasteful earmarks. Our inaugural swing in early April is largely scheduled, but we're planning to crisscross the nation until Congress passes real earmark reform." Embarassing wasteful spending politicians sounds like fun and is a good idea. (The green and gold logo is also a nice touch.)

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:55 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #63

  • President Bush called Sen. Feingold's idea "needless partisanship." Russ loves this attention along with (bad) RNC radio ads. He says Republicans "have something to hide." The grandstander really likes them because it keeps on generating free media for himself brings in money to his PAC. Yes, Sen. Campaign Finance has a political action committee.

  • The Bush administration's response to the possible execution of , an Afghan Christian, was tepid. Yes, Afghanistan's cooperation is very important in the Islamist War, but one must speak out against such injustice.

  • Today is judgement day for political speech on weblogs. The FEC will release internet campaign finance rules. I'll be thinking of Sen. Feingold when TAM has to move to Russian web servers to escape the U.S. government.

  • Northwest Airlines and Midwest Airlines were behind the idea of turning control of to a regional authority. Midwest will be in hot water after Milwaukee County gave it $14.3 million in credit in 2003 to prevent the airline from going bankrupt.

  • Single-sex classrooms: wave of the future?

  • The most promising season for the Brewers in a long, long time will start with ace on the disabled list.

  • Microsoft is pushing back to 2007.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:55 AM | Comments (0)

March 21, 2006

Lousy Anti-Feingold Ad

It's great the RNC is running radio ads against Sen. Russ Feingold. He deserves all the ridicule he gets. However, the ad is awful. With slightly scary music in the background a voice monotonously tells us Feingold and the Democrats are weak on fighting terrorism. Big time snoozer. I fell asleep half-way through it. It was a good idea, but bad execution. Amateurs could do a better job. Do any of my readers want to take a crack at making their own Feingold-bashing ad? If you give it a shot, send me the file. I'll host it and give you lots of love (if it's any good of course).

Or if you have little audio editing talent (like me making podcasts) then leave me a voice message below. All you need is a microphone connected to your computer.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:45 PM | Comments (5)

President of the Kosites

Congratulations to Sen. Russ Feingold. He's the far Left's choice for President beating Wesley Clark and whupping Sen. Hillary Clinton. Glee fills Bill Christofferson:

Russ Feingold is President of Daily Kos blog by a wide margin. Not a representative sample, by any means, but not a bad place to start for someone who's willing to run as a progressive.

It's not a good place to start either. The track record of Kos-endorsed candidates is--how do I put it nicely?--pathetic. That's what happens when you believe in the internet-flavored kool-aid you're drinking. Get ready to add Feingold's name to the list should he be formally crowned "progressive savior."

" Wins the Netroots" [via Right off the Shore]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:17 PM | Comments (4)

Packers May Nab Top Kicker

The New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers are both in the running for clutch kicker extrodinaire Adam Vinatieri. What doesn't make sense is if he goes to the Packers they'll end up paying more for him than the Minnesota Vikings paid to snatch Ryan Longwell. Vinatieri in a Packers uniform would be great, but general manager Ted Thompson won't look very smart of cost conscious.

"Packers Still in Sweepstakes"

UPDATE: Jib politely informs me Vinatieri is going to Indianapolis. The Colts' bid came out of no where (or sports reporters don't have the connections we think they do). The Packers could go after ex-Colt kicker Mike Vanderjagt, but he's kicked half his NFL career inside the RCA Dome. That's a far cry from the cold and wind of Lambeau Field.

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

Rich Liberal Raises NJ Taxes

It must be nice to be rich like New Jersey governor Jon Corzine. That way you can raise taxes to compensate for runaway state spending while not feeling the pain those taxes put on less-prosperous citizens.

There's a reason liberals are called "tax and spenders." It's because they are.

"Corzine to Hike Sales Tax in NJ Budget"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:12 AM | Comments (2)

Slapping Russ

Patrick McIlheran goes off on Sen. Feingold. To sum it up: Feingold is full of himself.

"Everyone Likes to Listen"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 10:07 AM | Comments (0)

Weblog Addiction Syndrome

Business Week's Stephen Baker joins me and thousands of others and admits their problem. We're addicted to weblogging. While Washington Post reporters wonders if they should be paid extra to post (and wonder if the newspaper can "compel employees to blog") Baker would do it for free.

"Should Mainstream Bloggers Be Paid Extra? Should I?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 09:55 AM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #63

  • We must give Sen. credit. His censure grandstanding is still giving himself and his embryonic Presidential campaign plenty of free media. We now got reaction from people attending his listening sessions. When the Q&A revolves around whether Feingold will run for President you shouldn't be surprised the audience supports censure.

  • Conservative base roiling begins. The RNC will start running ads against Feingold and his resolution.

  • Rep. questions whether a costume company should move into the Menomonee Valley. To her no new jobs in Milwaukee is better than those not meeting her criteria.

  • Power Line deconstructs a paper on how "" supposedly led the U.S. into Iraq and caused Sep. 11.

  • On a related note President Bush warned Iran the U.S. will "use military might to protect our ally ." The lobby strikes again!

  • The is on pace to be in session for only 97 days this year. Some people think that's a bad thing.

  • demonstrates she lives in la-la land.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:48 AM | Comments (0)

Freedom Defeats Tyranny

There's justice in the world. Japan beat Cuba 10-6 to win the first World Baseball Classic. Cubans are relieved to know they won't be enduring a six-hour victory speech by communist dictator Fidel Castro.

" Crowned Classic's First Champ"

"In the End, Outlasts Field to Claim Title of World Champion"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 01:17 AM | Comments (2)

Dreaming and Polygamy

Ann Althouse has some questions about Sunday's episode of The Sopranos and Big Love. My concern is Tony's dream will go on and on. I liked the occasional episode where Tony dreams and it's filled with other characters and symbolism. In this dream the only familiar character is Carmela's voice. I don't want this to go on much longer. They should either wake him up or kill him--which they better not do. We need to get started with the mob war. From the preview for next Sunday's episode we see some of that. But without Tony playing his games and strategizing it won't be the same.

One more thing, I don't care if it's HBO, I don't want to see Tony's wound. Yuck!

I decided to watch an episode of Big Love to see if I'd like it. There's potential there. I immediately had a crush on wife #1, Barb. There's some interesting elements dealing with why Bill's religous beliefs require him to have multiple wives. Along with the voyerism is the mystery of Bill's past on a Mormon compound. Unfortunately that part feels like a Utah version of The Sopranos. Besides the curiosity of how a household can handle three wives I don't find much there to keep me watching Big Love.

"Questions after watching last night's Sopranos and Big Love."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 12:45 AM | Comments (2)

March 20, 2006

David Duke, Al Jazeera on Same Page

As an addendum to my piece below on David Duke and Islamists are fond of the same study the Arab Al Jazeera promoted:

A paper recently co-authored by the academic dean of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government about the allegedly far-reaching influence of an "Israel lobby" is winning praise from white supremacist David Duke.

The Palestine Liberation Organization mission to Washington is distributing the paper, which also is being hailed by a senior member of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist organization.

" Claims to Be Vindicated By a Harvard Dean" [via Betsy's Page]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 01:27 PM | Comments (0)

Defending TPA

It's new to me so I'm linking to Rick Esenberg's pro-Taxpayer Protection Amendment op-ed from last week. He makes some great points including this:

For example, tax-limitation opponent Andrew Reschovsky has run the numbers and claims that, had the amendment been passed in 1985, state government in 2003 would have had 30% less to spend.

One is tempted to say that this is not a problem, that it is the point.

If the cost of state government over the past 30 years has grown by 30%, more than what would have been required by inflation and increases in population, then we are buying "more" government today than we were in 1985.

No problem, says Reshovsky, of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He claims that government revenue has not increased as a percentage of state income. We can "afford it."

For some, the answer to the question "how much does the government need?" is "how much do the taxpayers have?"

I look at it differently. If I am paying more, I want more. I'm funny that way. Are the roads better? Are the schools more effective? Have we pulled more people out of poverty? I am skeptical.

I'm leaning for the TPA, but I have to read all 2,500 words of it before I fully back it. So many words mean many possibilities for loopholes. I agree with the intent: state and local government should be restricted fast much it can suck out of taxpayers' pockets. In the TPA's case it won't mandate reductions in revenue collection. It will only control its growth. That's quite modest for economic libertarians like me. People like Milton Friedman, Rep. Frank Lasee, and Americans for Prosperity like it which is a good indication. Like the proposed gay marriage amendment the devil is in the details.

"Spending Control Isn't Monstrosity" [via Rep. Frank Lasee]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:37 PM | Comments (0)

Where are the Protesters?

One of my frequent commenters, Mjm, pointed out Gateway Pundit's coverage of the small number of anti-war protesters at demonstrations this weekend.

" Anniversary Protests a Bust"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)

Al Jazeera's English Face

The toughest sales job in the world today has to be getting Al Jazeera International (AJI) broadcasting slots in the U.S. Here they're known for airing terrorist and hostage videos. In building the new news network they've hired former Nightline reporter David Marsh, ex-Marine Josh Rusing, and British interviewing legend David Frost.

What doesn't help in selling AJI are "news" articles from the Arabic Al Jazeera with headlines like "AIPAC Behind U.S. Criminal ME Policy" [emphasis mine]. They offer nothing to show what laws the U.S. broke. The article is simply a lengthy passage from a study "proving" the U.S. is in the pocket of "Israel Lobby."

[CORRECTION: The article mentioned above is from Aljazeera.com which isn't connected to the news network. My correction is here.]

AJI will be attempting a more global approach to international world coverage with rotating news centers throughout the day:

Instead of being run out of a central command post, AJI's news day--and news management--will follow the sun: Programming will begin in Doha, Qatar, which will likely host a 12-hour chunk of the day, then shift to London for a four-hour segment, then to Washington, DC, for a 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. (local-time) slot, and finally to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The top of each hour will be hard news; the back half, analysis, chat shows, and documentaries, some of it generated by viewers. There will be only one feed, so viewers worldwide will all see the same broadcast at the same time.

More intriguing, each news desk will be run independently, with the mandate to report international news through its own lens. Imagine, says Stebbins, by way of illustration, the follow-up to Bush's recent State of the Union speech: In Doha, broadcasters might have lined up reaction to the president's warning to Hamas to disarm; in Kuala Lumpur, analysis might have dialed in on Bush's comments on protectionism; and in London, on his admonishment of Iran. And in the States, Stebbins says, instead of the usual pundits, he might have rung up Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's fiery president, or polled Mexicans on Bush's remarks on immigration enforcement.

Even without American distribution AJI will move forward. That's because its audience is more than the almost 300 million U.S. viewers:
Prior to being hired, Rushing learned an embarrassing lesson in the blinding effects of cultural myopia. At a lunch with AJI managing director Nigel Parsons, he'd suggested that the channel consider changing its name before launching in the United States. Parsons just laughed: Because of the Al Jazeera name, "it will gain access that other media outlets won't have, not just in the Middle East but in other places in the world," he told the young Marine. "It's not all about America." As Rushing says now, that was "a perception-shattering moment."

There are one billion english speakers worldwide. AJI is gunning for them as well.

"Al Jazeera's {Global} Mission"

Editor's note: I'm going to try something new. If you want to talk (or scream) instead of type Odeo has a feature allowing anyone to easily send me voice mails. All you need is a microphone plugged into your computer. Then just click on the button below. Either state the subject of your message or type it into the neighboring text box. I will either post the most interesting audio messages and/or include them in a future episode of my podcast Speak.

Send Me A Message

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 10:40 AM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #62

  • War protests, everywhere. They cry, "Leave Iraq!" Well, if the U.S. did then there certainly would be a civil war. Then the Bush-haters would scream, "Why didn't you do anything?" With these people President Bush knows he won't win. So he must continue on the course he thinks is right.

  • National Republicans can't agree on an election strategy for this fall's elections. It used to be Tip O'Neill's maxim that "all politics is local" ruled. My how Newt Gingrich changed things.

  • Two House Democrats see Sen. Feingold's desire to President Bush as a waste and "somewhat self-serving."

  • Archbishop Dolan prevents a liberal group from holding a meeting in his cathedral.

  • The third-annual will be celebrated in Milwaukee 03.25.06.

  • From the "Europeans are crazy about soccer" file: The Liverpool team apologized for their fans attacking Manchester United fans with human excrement, coins and food." And we're worried about bird flu.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:57 AM | Comments (2)

March 19, 2006

My Sweet 16 Massacre

That smoking pile of ash is what's left of my basketball brackets. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. Two of my final four teams are kaput with North Carolina losing to George Mason (great econ department but little praise on the basketball court) and Ohio State getting knocked off by Georgetown.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 11:50 PM | Comments (1)

March 18, 2006

"Blog" Summit

The WisPolitics/WisOpinion Blog Summit turned out better than expected. I was right that the conversations away from the speakers were the highlight, but the speakers had insight and were valuable too. If it wasn't for the Bucks game I had to go to tonight I would have stayed and yapped longer. I'll write up something tomorrow.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in at 11:30 PM | Comments (10)

Go Panthers!

While some of us will be yapping about the Wisconsin blogosphere UW-Milwaukee will be trying to get to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. Go Panthers! Beat those Gators!

"Gators Pose Serious Threat"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 11:17 AM | Comments (0)

March 17, 2006

Don't Roll Out the Red Carpet

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, your not-so humble host will be making an appearance at the "Inaugural WisPolitics/WisOpinion Blog Summit." Sorry, I won't be tossing candy. Instead I'll be seeing how many Hershey's kisses I can toss into Aaron's mouth while he's griping about ethanol.

My gripes with the event are known. At the summit I promise to try to be a good boy. Key word is "try." As a veteran of weblogging conferences I've found the conversations away from the panels and speakers are the highlight. Putting a face to a weblog is great. There's instant camaraderie because we already know so much about other webloggers' interests and how they think.

If things get really dull, as in Ed Garvey droning about the greatness of Bob LaFollette, it's off to the hotel bar for me and whoever I can drag.

I hope to see many of my Wisconsin readers there.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:29 PM | Comments (2)

Crushing Dreams

Everyday I come across a statement in the new that I laugh at. It usually is some kind of spin or melodramatic hyperbole that makes me question if the intended audience will fall for it. Talking about how some policy will "help the children" is a prime example. While I just mock the speaker to myself Dennis York turns this stuff into "must-read weblogging."

"Damn You, Tax Code!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:45 PM | Comments (0)

Blogger Bounces Betsy

One of my favorite webloggers (who I don't link to enough) Besty Newmark is having Blogger troubles. It's still not fixed even though Blogger says it's fixed. Blogger's problems was the reason I moved to Movable Type a few years ago. Their service wasn't reliable enough for me. When Google bought Blogger I had hopes their infrastructure and software would get fix and be stable. That hasn't happened. A company can't do everything well, but Google has had a good run. A stable, reliable Blogger/BlogSpot would get more people to write weblogs which would mean more real estate for their ads. Why the company never has gotten Blogger fixed is beyond me.

My advice: go with weblogging software that's on your server. My host, Dreamhost, lets you install WordPress with one click so you don't have to deal with UNIX commands, FTP, or PHP. If you want free try WordPress.com.

"Bloggers, Back up Your Work"

UPDATE: Betsy's weblog is back, and she's not pleased with Google. I don't blame her.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 05:21 PM | Comments (1)

The Roberts Crack Up Continues

Paul Craig Roberts' public breakdown continues. On his latest path down the deep end he theorizes President Bush will explode a nuclear weapon near U.S. soil and blame it on Iran to start a nuclear war:

It is obvious that Bush intends to attack Iran and that he will use every means to bring war about.

Yet, Bush has no conventional means of waging war with Iran. His bloodthirsty neoconservatives have prepared plans for nuking Iran. However, an unprovoked nuclear attack on Iran would leave the US, already regarded as a pariah nation, totally isolated.

Readers, whose thinking runs ahead of that of most of us, tell me that another 9/11 event will prepare the ground for a nuclear attack on Iran. Some readers say that Bush, or Israel as in Israel’s highly provocative attack on the Jericho jail and kidnapping of prisoners with American complicity, will provoke a second attack on the US. Others say that Bush or the neoconservatives working with some "black opts" group will orchestrate the attack.

One of the more extraordinary suggestions is that a low yield, perhaps tactical, nuclear weapon will be exploded some distance out from a US port. Death and destruction will be minimized, but fear and hysteria will be maximized. Americans will be told that the ship bearing the weapon was discovered and intercepted just in time, thanks to Bush’s illegal spying program, and that Iran is to blame. A more powerful wave of fear and outrage will again bind the American people to Bush, and the US media will not report the rest of the world’s doubts of the explanation.

Roberts asks, "Reads like a Michael Crichton plot, doesn’t it?" Someone get that guy out of the library. I'm all for reading but not if it makes you delusional.

Add this to his belief the NSA is spying on Democrats and reporters and blackmailing them. Oh, I shouldn't forget Roberts theorizing the no-fly list will soon be used to keep Congressmen from voting.

" and the Certifiable Right" [via ]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Paleowatch at 04:54 PM | Comments (12)

Last Team Standing

The Marquette Golden Eagles Warriors got booted yesterday. Today, the Wisconsin Badgers got spanked by Arizona. That leaves The UW-Milwaukee Panthers as the last Wisconsin team remaining in the NCAA tournament. For my bracket's sake I hope they pull off another upset over Florida.
Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:37 PM | Comments (4)

Charlie's Show Prep #61

  • An incompetent Milwaukee poll worker failed to notice the bold "offender" label on a prison I.D. and allowed a convicted felon to vote last November.

  • The controversial comes out today.

  • Mike Wallace will retire from 60 Minutes. As this NewsBusters post points out his most infamous moment came when he declared himself a journalist first, then an American.

  • Expect huge drops in ratings (they couldn't have been that high to begin with) since the U.S. was eliminated by losing to Mexico. America isn't the king of America's Pastime anymore.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:08 AM | Comments (8)

March 16, 2006

Panthers Win!!!

Chalk up another tournament upset for the UW-Milwaukee Panthers. They beat Oklahoma 82-74. And for once I picked an upset.

"Wis. Milwaukee 82, Oklahoma 74"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:01 PM | Comments (1)

Weblogger Protection Bill Pulled

Mike Krempasky reports the House Rules Committee couldn't agree on how to proceed on HR 1606, the Online Freedom of Speech Act. "[I]t's been pulled until after the recess."

We now have more time to put pressure on our Congressmen to protect online political speech.

"HR 1606 Pulled for the Week"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)

Bomb Scare Empties Arena

Cox Arena at San Diego State University has been evacuated because a bomb-sniffing dog noticed something near a hot dog cart. Police and homeland security have been concerned about threats to sports arenas during the NCAA basketball tournament since a discription of such an attack was found on an internet discussion board last week. The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security had no "credible intelligence or threats" but alerted local law enforcement.

"San Diego NCAA Arena Evacuated on Bomb Scare" [via Drudge]

UPDATE: Technology can be used for both good and evil. At the Cox Arena website a spectator can see where they want to sit for a basketball game. That same information about seats, aisles, and exits can be used by terrorists to plan their attacks. I don't advocate removing this information from the internet. I think the good outways the bad simply because there are more non-violent sports fans interested in good seats than terrorists trying to kill people. Adequate security is also needed with the explosion of information access. It looks like they succeeded in this instance by employing bomb-sniffing dogs.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:02 PM | Comments (1)

Charlie's Show Prep #60

My vacation was officially over when I stepped into work yesterday. Charlie Sykes can once again sleep a little longer knowing I'm helping him out with his show prep.

  • It's amazing that an out-there loon like Sen. Russ Feingold is on his fifth news cycle for his censure resolution. It must be a slow news week. Senate Democrats think his idea is radioactive. Even the Journal Sentinel editorial board thinks Feingold is a political moron and his idea of censure is "unfair." Russ got what he wanted. Not only did he get plenty of free media, but he's been declared "Leader of the Democratic Party" by Lefty weblog MyDD. Who's going to break the news to Howard Dean, M.D.? Here's the first comment of that post: " love Senator Feingold, can I please have him instead of traitor Lieberman????" Russ is cornering the wacko vote.

  • A local think tanks sees Milwaukee's inability to feed from the public trough as a reason for the area's economic ills.

  • And old coot Madison professor was fined $50 for threatening to blow up his health insurer.

  • With Sony announcing a delay in its , I declare Microsoft winner of this generation of video game wars.

  • Arianna Huffington gives her side of the "blogs but not really" flap. Her excuse: blame the publicist. Still intellectually dishonest. [via Ed Driscoll]

  • Yea! The whales are going away.

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

Randy Moss' Agent: Crackhead

Wild ones stick together.

"' Attorney Arrested on Charges of Possessing Crack"

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

March 15, 2006

To Protect Online Speech Call Congress

It's time to turn the blogosphere's albeit limited power onto meatspace. Tomorrow, HR 1606, The Online Freedom of Speech Act, comes to a vote in the House. As Mike Krempasky puts it it "simply puts into law the existing status quo. It preserves the system under which we operated for the 2004 elections - WHEN THERE WAS NO CORRUPTION OR SCANDAL. It's supported by bloggers left and right. "

This is about maintaining lively, pointed, passionate political speech on the internet. Call these people who voted against the bill when it came up last year under special rules. For my Wisconsin readers that means making Rep. Tom Petri explain his stance on online political speech. Petri's Washington, D.C. office number is 202.225.2476, his Oshkosh office number is 920.231.6333, and his Fond du Lac office number is 920.922-1180.

Stop reading TAM for a few minutes and get on the phone.

"Get on the Damn Phone"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:18 PM | Comments (4)

Huffington Post Dishonesty

Want another reason to not read The Huffington Post? Arianna practices intellectual dishonesty. George Clooney's "post" about being proud to be a liberal and how weenie Washington Democrats are wasn't his post at all. Clooney's ticked:

Oscar-winner George Clooney may make politically provocative films like "Syriana." But he doesn't write politically provocative blogs.

So imagine his ire when Arianna Huffington used some of his recent answers to political questions in a way that makes it look as if he wrote one for her Huffington Post blog site.

"He doesn't object to the quotes," says Stan Rosenfield, Clooney's valiant rep. "He said those things and those are his views. Arianna asked for permission to use the quotes and he gave it to her. What he didn't give permission for was the use of his quotes without source attributions to make it appear that he wrote a blog for her site. Which he did not. When he saw the posting Monday, we called and asked her to make the change, to simply attribute the quotes and make it clear that he did not write a blog. But she refused. And it's now Wednesday."

Rather than keep waiting, Clooney got pro-active and issued this statement:

" Miss Huffington's blog is purposefully misleading and I have asked her to clarify the facts.

I stand by my statements but I did not write this blog. With my permission Miss Huffington

compiled it from interviews with Larry King and The Guardian. What she most certainly did not get my permission to do is to combine only my answers in a blog that misleads the reader into thinking that I wrote this piece. These are not my writings - they are answers to questions and there is a huge difference."

All Huffington had to do was note that the post wasn't an original piece. Even better she should have wrote a post under her name using Clooney's quotes. It makes you wonder what other ways Huffington is manipulating content on her collective weblog.

" to Arianna: I Did Not Blog" [via Alarming News]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

Ah, yes. My last chance.

It's been wonderful hanging out with the Wisconites (Wisconsonians?) this week. But I don't feel I've been sufficiently irritating, so I'd just like to point out that my dairy lobby can beat up your dairy lobby.

(Actually, my dairy lobby is obnoxious, if you want to know the truth. They're like the mafia ova heah.)

Posted by Attila Girl in Wisconsin at 01:39 AM | Comments (3)

March 14, 2006

Tribute to Gasohol

Sean said to finish strong. So here it is! A tribute to E85.

Gasoline (To the tune of Glycerine, by Bush)

Must be corn skin that I'm pumping in
Must be the deal cause this stuff ain’t real
I try not to mind
It’s not the right kind
not ‘nuf time to wonder why
ethanol’s all hype
or ethanol’s great
now you hear it won't go away
I don't want this
remember that
I'll never get too far on this crap
don't let the tank go dry

I'm driving alone
On the road all the time
In town at one
Long gone at nine
behind the wheel
where everything’s real
but when we ride it's like endless corn fields

If I need to get gas
It droops my face
couldn't cost you more
but you got a beautiful state
don't let the tank go dry
could have been almost there on fumes
I coudn't chance it though I wanted to
could have been almost there by three
the tank runs dry faster than you can see
gasoline (repeat)
don't let the tank go dry

I need the fuel more
It’s supposed to cost less
I could not use my Am Express
it might just be
a simple payment plan
that's just fine
that's just one of those things
don't let the tank go dry
could have been almost there on fumes

Posted by Aaron in at 11:37 PM | Comments (1)

Chunk of Change

Wow. According to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (via MJS)...

taxpayers could have saved up to $1.9 billion in state taxes over 20 years if revenue limits had been in place.

The bureau report shows savings of about 4% annually, in both state and local taxes, if the so-called Taxpayer Protection Amendment were already law. The analysis was based on a new version of the measure under consideration by the Legislature.

The savings in state taxes came to about 4% in hypothetical snapshots taken by the bureau looking back 10, 15 and 20 years ago.

That would have translated into cumulative dollar savings of $473.3 million to $1.94 billion in state spending, depending on how long the proposed constitutional amendment had been in force, the bureau study says.

But not everyone's happy:

"Clearly, the impact would be devastating on schools and on the affordability of University of Wisconsin students," said Schmiedicke, Gov. Jim Doyle's top budget official. "Tough decisions need to be made, and this isn't the substitute for that."

Clearly, taxpayers mean nothing to the pro-tax forces in this state. It doesn't matter how much the hypothetical savings could have aided the state and our economy. What matters are state programs, which must be funded with extensive annual increases, regardless of whether we can afford it or not.

This is something the left conveniently forgets about tax and expenditure limits--they do not decrease existing expenditures, or remove funding from certain programs, but merely enforce reasonable growth rates. If necessary, every single program can increase at the given rate. As long as program officials and administrators are responsible, nothing will be "devastated."

I think that's the gist of the problem, however, is responsibility. Those who oppose TELs would never think to impose a requirement of responsibility upon anyone.

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Economics at 07:01 PM | Comments (2)

Keeping Dr. Sultan Alive

There's a terribly courageous woman of Syrian extraction living in Southern California; her life is in danger. Think good thoughts.

Posted by Attila Girl in Religion at 04:13 PM | Comments (4)

No Contact

My flight doesn't leave until late this afternoon, but they're kicking us out of the hotel room. Hotel management is a little superstitious and thinks we're to blame for the recent crazy weather. So we get the boot. We'll pass the time at the Heard Museum known for its Indian art collection.

You'll probably next hear from me tomorrow.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Spring Training 2006 at 12:09 PM | Comments (1)

Federal Dole Increases Under Bush

President Bush's "compassionate conservatism" has amounted to more spending, higher deficits, and bigger government. Add this to the his legacy:

A USA TODAY analysis of 25 major government programs found that enrollment increased an average of 17% in the programs from 2000 to 2005. The nation's population grew 5% during that time. (Related: Federal entitlements have changed)

It was the largest five-year expansion of the federal safety net since the Great Society created programs such as Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s.

Spending on these social programs was $1.3 trillion in 2005, up an inflation-adjusted 22% since 2000 and accounting for more than half of federal spending. Enrollment growth was responsible for three-fourths of the spending increase, according to USA TODAY's analysis of federal enrollment and spending data. Higher benefits accounted for the rest.

The biggest expansion: Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. It added 15 million beneficiaries over five years to become the nation's largest entitlement program.

Lefties should love this. Government is growing, and more people are getting "aid." But Bush-haters' blinders prevent them from seeing that growth in government.

For conservatives like me we're happy with President Bush's tax cuts. However, we now know that the "starving the beast" approach to shrinking government hasn't worked.

"Federal Aid Programs Expand at Record Rate"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:49 AM | Comments (2)

E-Mail Trouble

Web access to my e-mail (using the sean--at--theamericanmind--dot--com address) isn't happening right now. If you need to reach me send messages to my back-up address theamericanmind--at--gmail--dot--com.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

George Clooney: Despised by the Left

Clooney had this to say in a Huffpo Entry:

I Am a Liberal. There, I Said It!


The fear of been criticized can be paralyzing. Just look at the way so many Democrats caved in the run up to the war. In 2003, a lot of us were saying, where is the link between Saddam and bin Laden? What does Iraq have to do with 9/11? We knew it was bullsh*t. Which is why it drives me crazy to hear all these Democrats saying, "We were misled." It makes me want to shout, "F*** you, you weren't misled. You were afraid of being called unpatriotic."

Bottom line: it's not merely our right to question our government, it's our duty. Whatever the consequences. We can't demand freedom of speech then turn around and say, But please don't say bad things about us. You gotta be a grown up and take your hits.

Before I could even write something on the idiocy of Clooney's statements, the liberals did it for me.


I have political ideas that are often found in high school juniors. Terms like "question authority" and "truth to power" speak to my soul--almost as much as the last Mariah Carey album. I'm a celebrity--and not just any celebrity, but a Hollywood celebrity. That means I've raised hypocritical behavior to spiritual dimensions. I fly all over the world--while blaming the current administration for global warming and high energy prices. I consider it my patriotic DUTY to criticize my government--I just can't quite bring myself to live here, preferring a lakeside estate in the socialist Paradise of modern Europe. I'm a celebrity.

If Clooney can't even be accepted by the loons allowed to post on Huffpo, then he's got it bad. Who's going to go see his movies anymore?

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Politics at 07:32 AM | Comments (6)

Iraqi Civil War

What are the costs or benefits, if there are any, of an Iraqi civil war?

Aaron poses the question.

I answer it.

Your thoughts?

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Foreign Affairs at 01:09 AM | Comments (1)

Media Darlings

Owen Robinson and Jay Bullock were interviewed about Sen. Feingold's ridiculous censure resolution. Good job by both. And as luck would have it they'll both be talking at WisPolitics' "Blog Summit."

"Owen on News At 10"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:00 AM | Comments (0)

March 13, 2006

Robertson Calls Islamists "Satanic"

In anyone thinks I'll bash Pat Robertson for calling radical Islamists "Satanic" will be disappointed. There will be no anti-Coulter bashing tonight. I have no problem calling those that killed thousands by slamming airplanes into buildings or bomb innocents in public places or demand the death of America "evil." As a Christian I believe one source of evil is a supernatural being named Satan. Thus, it's not a stretch to call such evil "Satanic."

I'm in good company. Ace is an agnostic and has no problem with Robertson this time.

"Robertson Finds Radical Muslims 'Satanic'"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 11:41 PM | Comments (21)

A Pathetic "Situation"

Tucker Carlson's MSNBC show The Situtation has sunk to a new low, and I don't mean ratings. Of all people he had sports radio yapper Max Kellerman talking about army recruiting. When I'm looking for someone to talk about the army Kellerman is the first to pop into my mind. Someone, please put this show out of its misery.

I did find this snipe by Carlson toward Arianna Huffington:

This isn't honest political debate. It's attempted character assassination by a nasty little propagandist. Arianna Huffington ought to be ashamed of herself. I wish I could tell her that to her face.

The guy should have stuck to writing.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 11:07 PM | Comments (2)

Fixing up the Place

Sean is coming home soon. We need to cover up all the obscene graffiti on the walls here at TAM. I've selected five wallpaper patterns. Now, you get to pick your favorite. Hurry! We've got to get this stuff installed ASAP!

Conservative Blogger (Female)

Conservative Blogger (Male)


Scary Actor #1

Scary Actor #2

Posted by Aaron in at 10:19 PM | Comments (7)

Democrats Afraid of Feingold Embarassment

Sen. Bill Frist decided to call Sen. Russ Feingold's bluff and bring to a vote his motion to censure President Bush. Feingold's party cried foul:

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, moments ago, made a unanimous consent motion that the Senate vote on the resolution tonight. Maryland Democrat Paul Sarbanes rose to object to the motion. Frist then motioned to vote on the resolution again tomorrow. Sarbanes objected, saying no vote should take place on the resolution until Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had cleared the timing.

In other words, Democrats know this is a political stunt, without a chance of passage, but want to time it politically for maximum impact.

Senate Democrats want it all: increased pressure on President Bush over Iraq and inflaming emotions of the Bush-hating Left to reap campaign funds for the fall's elections. Yet when it comes down to it, they don't want a vote that would make it apparent they don't want to fight a tough war against Islamism. They saw the embarassment after the House voted against Rep. John Murtha's call to retreat from Iraq and don't want it repeated just to advance the political career of an out-there Senator from Wisconsin.

Just because one claims Sen. Feingold's resolution is "moderate and reasonable" doesn't make it so. Reasonableness hasn't come much from a man who ran roughshod over citizens' free speech rights, AKA McCain-Feingold. The one who should be censured if Feingold for squelching political speech.

"Dems Object to Censure Resolution Vote: Hold Off for Political Purposes" [via Charlie Sykes]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:45 PM | Comments (11)

Scott Submerges Censure

Scott McClellan brushed aside Sen. Feingold's censure attempt calling it something "to do with 2008 politics." That something, as Brian Fraley notes, is getting a rise out of the Left end of the blogosphere.

Let's give the media whore credit: he's gotten two news cycles out of this.

"W.House Dismisses Democrat's Call for Bush Censure"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:47 AM | Comments (2)

Love My Guests

Give Jenna, Attila Girl, and even Aaron some love. They've been making TAM a funkier place while I've been shivering in Arizona.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Spring Training 2006 at 11:41 AM | Comments (3)

Jensen Railroaded

State Rep. Scott Jensen will go to jail for campaigning using taxpayers' funds. Granted, he broke the law, but doing so was par for the course. Former Assembly Democratic Party Leader Shirley Krug for current Gov. Doyle campaign staffer Rich Judge were never dragged before a court. Jensen wasn't even allowed to mention to jurors Democratic activities were the same as his. Is that fair? Shouldn't jurors be allowed important information to understand the environment of the state capitol at that time?

There's no way Jensen's case should have ever gone to court. With the extent of the abuses that took place in the capitol a more sensible method of enforcement would have been through legislative ethics committees, media reports, and elections. What we have now is similar to the police pulling one car over for going 65 in a 55-zone while ignoring the hundreds of cars passing by. How are people, even legislators, suppose to behave toward a law that rarely or selectively enforced?

"Both Parties Blurred the Line of Campaign Work" [via Charlie Sykes]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:07 AM | Comments (1)

March 12, 2006

Wisconsin: Lagging Behind with Doyle

This makes Wisconsin look a little pathetic.

New post-recession revenues are pouring into state coffers across the nation, but activists in several states are leading "revolts" to make sure their governments don't use this new wealth for tax and spend schemes without taxpayers' approval.


According to the National Taxpayers Union in Washington, D.C, similar ballot initiatives in Oklahoma, Montana, Nevada, Ohio and other states are a reaction to continued tax burdens despite recent windfalls in state revenues. As of 2005, 30 states already had some form of tax and spend limitations on the books.

The article goes on to describe states across the country which are considering tax and expenditure limitations (TELs) or tax cuts, including such conservative bastions such as New York, Maine, and New Mexico.

All these states "revolting" against unfair taxation, and the best we can do is a weak, loophole laden Taxpayer Protection Amendment? Pathetic.

Also, doesn't this signal for successful elections for the GOP in the upcoming mid-term elections? With such adverse reactions to taxes, and such welcoming reactions to tax limits, shouldn't that go hand-in-hand with the election of conservatives?

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Politics at 09:32 PM | Comments (2)

Gotta Love Those Muslims

Islam's history, like any other culture's, is filled with both good and bad. While Islam today is dealing with the stain of suicide terrorism Catholicism has the Inquisition as a historic scar.

Since I'm on vacation I'm really, really happy Jabir ibn Hayyan invented distillation. I wouldn't be enjoying my margaritas without that piece of technology.

"How Islamic Inventors Changed the World"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

Feingold Wants President Censured

Sen. Russ Feingold wants to take advantage of President Bush's low poll numbers and appear to be a leader to far-Left Democrats in preparation for a Presidential run. So he drops into ABC's This Week to call for President Bush's censure:

U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold this morning called for the censure of President Bush for what the senator called the "illegal wiretapping" of Americans.

The Wisconsin Democrat, speaking on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos" on ABC News, referred to Bush's use of the National Security Agency to conduct domestic wiretaps without a court order or warrant. Feingold said that tomorrow he plans to introduce a Senate resolution calling for the censure of Bush and condemnation of his "unlawful authorization" of the wiretaps.

Feingold stopped short of calling for Bush's impeachment, though he said it remained an option. "This is right in the strike zone of high crimes and misdemeanors," he said.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, appearing on the same program, condemned the approach by saying Feingold "is just wrong. He's flat wrong. He's dead wrong." The Tennessee Republican defended the NSA wiretaps as lawful.

Frist said he hoped people in Iran were not listening to the program because Feingold's approach sent a "terrible, terrible signal" that the country did not support its commander-in-chief while at war.

Both Feingold and Frist may run for president in 2008. Feingold told Stephanopoulos that he would not decide whether to run until after mid-term Congressional elections in November.

Even with the GOP's mutiny on the ports deal censure is dead in the water. That changes if the Senate swings to the Democrats in November. However, Feingold is playing to to the Kos-Left. He's tending those roots since as a Senator from a smaller state he doesn't have an instant base of support. In short, he's pandering to his base.

"Feingold Calls for Bush's Censure"

UPDATE: Owen Robinson doesn't let me down:

Feingold’s call for Censure is an immature swipe from a Senator who feels powerless and marginalized - and not without some justification. It is an obvious attention seeking maneuver and fund-raising ploy.

"Feingold Wants to Censure Bush"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 11:45 AM | Comments (13)

Reap What You Sow

When the ports deal dead we shouldn't be surprised the UAE wants to slow progress on free-trade talks.

"US-UAE Trade Talks on Hold"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 11:44 AM | Comments (1)

Picture Pages, Picture Pages

It's picture time!


I found something in the hotel room that said was coffee. It looks like it too, but after a sip I know it can't be. What it is is a mystery.

Friday night's game between the Milwaukee Brewers and the Japanese national team brought a big contingent of Japanese press. Sitting in the front row wasn't the best seat in the house.

Japanese television thought the game was so important they broadcasted it live.

Since I am in Phoenix to watch baseball I should have a picture of a baseball player. Here's Milwaukee Brewers' closer Derrick Turnbow.


When to get close up to him you notice he should invest some of his big baseball bucks into some orthodonture work.

Finally, what would a Brewers game be without the sausage race?


Definitely not as corny.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Spring Training 2006 at 11:17 AM | Comments (2)

Where is Everybody?

Shouldn't the West Coasters still be awake? Or shouldn't the East Coasters be sitting down with that first cup of coffee?--After all, it's just after 6:00 a.m. in New York City, Providence, Washington, D.C., and the rest.

Doesn't anyone have any kind of work ethic?

Posted by Attila Girl in Miscellaneous at 05:15 AM | Comments (4)

Good Night.

And good luck.

Posted by Attila Girl in Politics at 04:01 AM | Comments (0)

March 11, 2006

Chicks with Guns

Me thinks Matthew Yglesias is starting to appreciate a person's right to bear arms.

"Osama's Got No Chance"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 08:55 PM | Comments (0)

Movie Night!

It's movie night at The American Mind kegger! We're so drunk that Monty Python films are making us laugh, and Brazil is actually making sense. In preparation for this event, I've spent some time researching movie mistakes.

Star Wars is full of errors. Of course, George Lucas has had plenty of chances to cover them up. On the new DVD release, the storm trooper actually says "ouch" when he bumps his head.

And, it's hard to believe that a classic film like Army of Darkness has any mistakes, but they're in there, too.

And, of course, no drunken movie night would be complete without someone quoting their favorite lines.

Posted by Aaron in at 08:43 PM | Comments (2)

Celebrity Sightings

Thursday morning, at a breakfast joint we sat next to former NBA player Steve Kerr. My camera was in the car so no picture. I probably wouldn't have taken one either because celebrities deserve to have a life and not be constantly bothered. He and his guest ate wheat toast and drank green tea.

Leaving the stadium after Friday night's game against the Japanese National team I almost ran into Brewers owner Mark Attanasio.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Spring Training 2006 at 07:10 PM | Comments (0)

No Surprise

There was a protest and Glenn Reynolds finds a picture of a lovely woman. Par for the course.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 06:41 PM | Comments (2)

Rain Rain Go Away

Phoenix had suffered from a record 143 days straight without rain. I arrive here Wednesday and the temperature drops to the 70s. On Friday, it dips into the 50s. What do I get today? This:


And this:


It's not supposed to rain in the desert. When I'm down here it's suppose to be warm and sunny so as to not get in the way of my all-important baseball watching. Mother Nature, you let me down. The good news is there's only a slight chance of rain tomorrow so the Cubs-Brewers game should be played.

"Measurable Rain At Last!"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Spring Training 2006 at 06:10 PM | Comments (0)

The Living Dead That is Ethanol

Ethanol is turning into a political zombie. It was just killed by the state senate, but it just won't die:

[State Senator] Dave Zien is requesting an extraordinary legislative session from Gov. Jim Doyle when the Senate reconvenes in late April to investigate gas prices and revive legislation on ethanol and minimum fuel markups.

He blames the "power of conservative talk radio." (What, no mention of weblogs? Darn, we have to be like Avis and "try harder.") No, he blames an informed and activated public, including his small-government base.

In the elections this fall much of the focus will be on the governor's race. We can't forget to ask state legislative candidates their stance on an ethanol mandate. It shouldn't be the issue that makes for breaks an candidate, but it could be a sign of how small-government they are.

"Zien to Work to Re-Introduce Ethanol Mandate"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)

Lawrence's Run is Over

Lawrence University was the last undefeated men's college basketball team...until last night. Pre-season favorite Illinois Wesleyan came back from being down 15 points to beat the Vikings 71-68. Going 25-1 was quite a run for a school known more for their students' brains than their shooting ability.

"Lawrence's First Loss of the Season Marks End of the Road"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 03:02 AM | Comments (0)

Antioxidants in Red Wine.

See? See?

Unfortunately, my husband is a teetotaler. So I serve grape juice at dinner, figuring that will give us the equivalent antioxidants. Then I drink a bunch of gin afterward, just to be safe.

Posted by Attila Girl in Food at 01:39 AM | Comments (4)

March 10, 2006

Don't Jump the Couch Yet

On day three of The American Mind keg party, we're trashing the furniture. Jenna is running around with a lampshade on her head and I've broken every vase in the place.

The couch, is strictly off limits, though. Nobody gets to "jump the couch" until this ethanol mandate is dead, dead, dead! You may have heard the good news: the bill has been stalled indefinately. But, all that means is that we're safe for now.

Sooner or later, someone is going to drag it back up. They may even try something sneaky, like changing the ethanol requirement by a percent or two in either direction to gain support.

We've got to stop this mandate in it's tracks! "Indefinately" is not long enough!

Posted by Aaron in at 05:41 PM | Comments (4)

Isn't He Already

A lawyer in La Crosse is arguing that his 13-year-old client should not be convicted as an adult for a crime he committed because,

...he likely would come back from prison as a sociopath or psychopath, the teen’s counselor told a judge Wednesday.

Testifying at a hearing on whether the case should remain in adult court, Norbert Laufen-berg said sending Haessly to prison — where he would face the possibility of physical or sexual abuse — would make him a greater threat to society.

His crime? He murdered his mother by choking her when she took away a "squeaky dog toy" from him.

Isn't he already a sociopath or a psychopath? Seems like it.

According to the ADA in La Crosse county,

Adequate treatment is available in adult institutions, and the maximum three years of incarceration and two years of supervision in the juvenile system would not be appropriate punishment...

But this lax sentence is not enough for this kid's counselor. For the crime of strangling and killing his mother,

neither adult nor juvenile corrections would work. Instead, the state needs to find the teen a stable foster home where he can get consistent counseling, he said.


Posted by Jenna Pryor in Wisconsin at 02:05 PM | Comments (2)

Ports Deal Dead

Dubai Ports World gives up. This isn't good. Demogogues win without making a case that DPW was a security threat, and economic nationalists use this to make the case that only American companies should own certain industries. What industries that will be will depend on the political winds, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Now, we all have to deal with the repercussions.

The Financial Times reports the UAE "concluded that he was no longer in control in Washington."

Reporters Edward Alden and Holly Yeager also write,

More than four years after the September 11 attacks, it brought together a toxic combination of anxieties over America’s place in the world. Traditional protectionists, worried by foreign acquisitions of US assets and the outsourcing of jobs to distant and little-understood countries, lined up alongside security hawks who warned that even a close Arab ally such as the UAE was vulnerable to terrorist infiltration.

That counters John Hawkins' complaint that Larry Kudlow is being unfair to conservative ports opponents.

Unfortunately for us David Ignatius is right:

I suspect America will pay a steep price for Congress's rejection of this deal. It sent a message that for all the U.S. rhetoric about free trade and partnerships with allies, America is basically hostile to Arab investment. And it shouldn't be surprising if Arab investors respond in kind.

The U.S. is running large trade and budget deficits. Who's funding that? Foreigners, including Arabs, who buy bonds. Who's to say the ports deal collapse won't scare off bond buyers? That could mean significant harm to the American economy. Don't expect short-sighted politicians and knee-jerk pundits to realize the harm that might occur.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 11:11 AM | Comments (7)

For What It's Worth

. . . Harrell's back. The Shape of Days is live, from Washington, D.C.—a town that is, for many reasons, dear to my heart.

Posted by Attila Girl in Weblogging at 04:10 AM | Comments (0)

Lucky Me

Had I tossed around the term "RINO" too loosely I'd be the butt of one of Dennis York's jokes. If you're a reader of the conservative Wisconsin blogosphere read this and try not to laugh.

Speaking of York vote for him for MKE's "Blog of the Week." It's a no-brainer.

"Charlie Sykes - King of the RINOS" [via Brian Fraley]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:04 AM | Comments (4)

March 09, 2006

I'm Not on a Drunken Binge

Sorry for the lack of posts rubbing it in that I'm in Phoenix watching baseball and you're not. Right now, I'm fighting a battle with some spyware. I'm not winning. It's so nasty it's killing Ad-Aware and Microsoft Defender doesn't notice it.

Here's a friendly piece of advice: don't leave your computer on all day unattended while connected to a hotel internet connection.

UPDATE: I'm stumped. None of my anti-spyware programs can zap this thing. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Spring Training 2006 at 11:39 PM | Comments (5)

Everybody Dance!

What kind of six-day kegger would this be without music? Since Kiss and Metallica aren't returning my phone calls, I've decided that we all need to learn how to build and play a didgeridoo. We're going to have a ROCKIN' party now!


Incidentally, if you suffer sleep apnea, as I do, playing the didgeridoo may help you to stop snoring. And to think, I only wanted to learn to play the didgeridoo because I thought it would be a fun party trick!

Posted by Aaron in at 07:59 PM | Comments (4)

No Control?

This could have serious ramifications. (H/T Drudge)

The decision by the United Arab Emirates on Thursday to order state-controlled Dubai Ports World to end its control over US port facilities marks the lowest point yet in the relationship between President George W. Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress.

Mr Bush had warned repeatedly that blocking the deal would send a dangerously discriminatory message to the world. He threatened repeatedly to veto any congressional legislation.

But with his public approval ratings at record lows and his Republican party abandoning him, one of the US’s closest allies in the Arab world concluded that he was no longer in control in Washington.

The decision by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al- Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai, is likely to avert the political backlash that hit Washington last month and may prevent any further damage to diplomatic and security relations between the countries. But it underscored that Mr Bush, who still has nearly three years to go in his second term, has become perilously weak.

I'm not saying that this deal shouldn't have been questioned, because it should have been, but with news like this out every day, and Iran becoming more extreme in its refusal to comply and demands, the President must have strong control, or at least the appearance of control.

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Foreign Affairs at 07:29 PM | Comments (1)

A "Journalist's" Take on Blogs

Steve over at Letters in Bottles has a great post up fisking a ridiculous article about blogs and the mainstream media. Check it out.

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Weblogging at 06:34 PM | Comments (1)

No Choices for You

Soda sales are down across the United States. According to John Sicher of the "Beverage Digest" (what?) that is because, "people have a growing interest in beverages which are lighter and have actual or perceived functional benefit." Sure, maybe.

The key point here is that people are choosing not to drink soda.

Representative Chuck Benedict wants to take that choice out of your hands. (H/T Fraley)

State Rep. Chuck Benedict (D-Beloit) said today he is introducing a bill that would restrict sugary sodas in Wisconsin high schools and middle schools. Under the proposal from the retired doctor, drinks sold in vending machines couldn't have more than 15 grams of sugar per serving. Diet sodas, sports drinks and fruit and vegetable juices would be allowed. Benedict said excessive sugar in soft drinks is a serious contributing factor to the high rate of obesity among students. High-sugar soft drinks are already banned in elementary schools in Wisconsin.

The government is in your home, your gas tank, your paycheck, your television, your newspaper, (the list could go on) and now they want to be in your vending machine.

Where is the line? What will it take for the American people to stand up, refuse to be nannied any longer, and demand greater autonomy from our government? Is it going to take a complete Thoreau-esque revolution?

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Culture at 06:30 PM | Comments (3)

The DPW Deal

DPW now says it will transfer port operations to a U.S. Company. Curiouser and curiouser.

Posted by Attila Girl in Foreign Affairs at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Doyle: Not Liberal Enough?

According to Madison's Cap Times, Governor Jim Doyle is not liberal enough.

Doyle's embrace of no-new-taxes rhetoric and his determination to build close relations with corporate special interests guaranteed that he would never govern as most Democrats preferred, and that created a huge opening for his primary challengers.

Had either Barrett or Falk mounted a serious campaign in favor of fair taxation establishing progressive income tax policies that would lower rates for working families and raise them for millionaires; raising corporate tax rates so that they that are comparable with rates in other states; and providing more flexibility for local government and school districts - Doyle would have lost the primary and the winner would have gone on to soundly trounce Republican Gov. Scott McCallum in November.

In what world would voters in Wisconsin ever elect a Governor Barrett or a Governor Falk? Reasonable Democrats know that to win an election, they must assume at least some semblances of a Republican or conservative agenda, whether genuine or not.

Democrats don't, for the most part, hate Jim Doyle. But neither do they love him.

It is this reality that haunts a re-election campaign that now needs all the love it can get.

As the national political journal Congressional Quarterly noted last week, "Insiders from both parties consider Wisconsin Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle vulnerable this year in his bid for a second term." Indeed, Doyle is often ranked as one of, if not the, most vulnerable Democratic governor seeking re-election in 2006 because, as CQ pointed out: "voter sentiment toward Doyle has soured in the wake of (ethics) scandals."

At least Nichols is not blind to the blatantly obvious truth. Doyle is vulnerable, but not because of his lack of liberal ideas, but because of his ethics and his continual vetoes of bills passed in bi-partisan fashion that the people of Wisconsin support. However, Nichols excuses his actions,

Let's be clear: Doyle will not be replaced as the Democratic nominee unless his ethics troubles get a whole lot worse. Indeed, if things stay as they are, Doyle might well prevail over Green or Walker, both of whom have their own ethics troubles and both of whom frighten Democrats and independents who may not love Doyle but who fear an aggressively conservative Republican alternative.

So ethical issues are acceptable in the Democratic party as long as they don't get "worse." Democrats are prepared to overlook his serious ethical misdeeds in lieu of having an "aggressively conservative" Governor. Nichols is wrong, however: Doyle, if things stay as they are, will absolutely not prevail over either Mark Green or Scott Walker. In the poll released yesterday, Mark Green is tied with Jim Doyle.

If anything, Nichols' article shows the weakness of Doyle's reelection bid-the far left is willing to abandon him, Democrats feel "unconnected" to him, and moderates and independents are tired of his administration.

Republicans, on the other hand, are more than willing to fight for their nominee, whomever it may be.

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Politics at 10:35 AM | Comments (1)

March 08, 2006

Congressional Morons

A lot of right-wing people aren't happy with the President. I agree with many of their complaints. As for me I'm ticked off at Congressional Republicans who like to demogogue the Dubai Ports World deal. The biggest bozo is Rep. Jerry Lewis (how fitting):

"This is a national security issue," said Rep. Jerry Lewis, the chairman of the House panel, adding that the legislation would "keep America's ports in American hands."

Rep. Lewis needs better staff or gentle smack to the back of his head. DPW is buying a British company. If the deal is stopped the British company will still be handling loading and unloading at many U.S. ports. Also, in no way does the DPW deal hand over ports to anyone. Ports are owned by local governments. U.S. ports would never be in Dubai's (or any other nation's) hands.

Glenn Reynolds isn't pleased either.

"GOP House Panel Votes to Block Ports Deal"

UPDATE: If Rep. Lewis were smart (and judging my his quote above he isn't) he'd have Larry Johnson testify about security deficiencies at DPW-run ports. This is the first serious piece of evidence against the ports deal.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:31 PM | Comments (10)

A WBC Disaster

Many people probably have no idea an international sporting event is taking place. Heck, many American baseball fans probably don't know about the World Baseball Classic. Think of it as the World Cup of baseball. Today, the United States lost to Canada. No, I'm not talking about hockey which makes sense. I mean Canada, the land of snow and ice, beat the United States in baseball, America's Pastime. Bud Selig, whose idea it was to create an international tournament, must be pulling his hair out. There's now a chance the United States will not make it into the next round:

The United States (1-1) must beat South Africa on Friday to stay alive in the 16-nation tournament. Even then, the Americans aren't assured of advancing to the second round. If Mexico, Canada and the United States finish 2-1, the tie would be broken by fewest runs allowed per inning.

Ratings in the U.S. for the WBC will be non-existent if the U.S. is eliminated. Imagine the 16-hour speech Fidel Castro will make if his Cuban team moves to the next round, and the U.S. doesn't? Cuba beat Panama in 11 innings today.

If the U.S. doesn't play in the championship game you can kiss any future WBC goodbye. The sport's biggest market won't care in the least.

"Canada 8, United States 6"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 07:39 PM | Comments (2)

Beer Run!

I told Sean that I was throwing a six day kegger at his place while he's gone. First order of business: we need to get the beer! I found this list of random beer facts to help me make a better selection.

After consuming a bucket or two of vibrant brew they called aul, or ale, the Vikings would head fearlessly into battle, often without armor or even shirts. In fact, "berserk" means "bare shirt" in Norse, and eventually took on the meaning of their wild battles.

In modern times, we call these people Packer fans.

12 oz of a typical American pale lager actually has fewer calories than 2 percent milk or apple juice.

Can you pour beer on your Cheerios?

In their efforts to regulate beer quality, the ancient Babylonians, who were among history's earliest brewers, decreed that any commercial beermaker who sold unfit beer would be drowned in his/her own libation.

I'm guessing that the Babylonians didn't have a wide selection of micro-brews.

According to a diary entry from a passenger on the Mayflower, the pilgrims made their landing at Plymouth Rock, rather than continue to their destination in Virginia, due to lack of beer.

It's all about priorities.

In the US, a barrel contains 31 gallons of beer.

Correction: a US barrel can hold 31 gallons of beer. Seldom is the barrel actually allowed to remain full.

Before thermometers were invented, brewers would dip a thumb or finger into the mix to find the right temperature for adding yeast. Too cold, and the yeast wouldn't grow. Too hot, and the yeast would die. This thumb in the beer is where "rule of thumb" comes from.

Be glad it's not the "rule of toe."

Posted by Aaron in at 06:58 PM | Comments (6)

Dear Lean Cuisine,

How do you rationalize creating a line of "Comfort Classics"? I mean, if these dishes are truly "comfort food," how lean can they be?

If you really want to be honest, you'll call these classics Not-So-Lean Cuisine. For crying out loud: you're marketing breaded fish, roast turkey with gravy, and meatloaf under this label. Does that sound like diet food to you?

Pull it together, here. If it's good for you, it isn't comfort food. If it's comfort food, it isn't "Lean Cuisine."

Thank you.

Posted by Attila Girl in Food at 06:09 PM | Comments (2)

Just Fine in Phoenix

I'm safely in Phoenix. The partly-sunny day felt good, but it's not warm enough for me. Looking out my hotel window I see what appear to be rain clouds. I know the area could use the rain, but I'm hoping Mother Nature can replenish Phoenix's water supply when I'm not here trying to watch baseball.

Again Northwest lets me down. The flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis went well. We actually arrived early. But our flight to Phoenix was delayed because the flight crew's flight was late. We ended up one-hour late. However, the airport has a brand new rental car center with easy access to the freeway. Before we knew it we were at our hotel.

Since you're reading this the free internet is working just fine. After settling in my first mission is to get me a margarita. Wish me luck.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Spring Training 2006 at 05:11 PM | Comments (1)

New Poll for Wisconsin

Strategic Vision has released new poll results for Wisconsin.

Owen at Boots and Sabers has extensive thoughts on the results.

I point out two key points at Right off the Shore.

Charlie Sykes sums it up.

Xoff throws his two cents in.

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Politics at 10:50 AM | Comments (1)

No Confidence in Dean?

Bill Crawford points out this story that shows a schism developing among even the far-left crowd. Ickes' group is pooling money to create a voter information database, to try to combat the GOP's incredibly successful efforts in this area.

Ickes and others involved in the effort acknowledge that their activities are in part a vote of no confidence that the DNC under Chairman Howard Dean is ready to compete with Republicans on the technological front. "The Republicans have developed a cadre of people who appreciate databases and know how to use them, and we are way behind the march," said Ickes, whose political technology venture is being backed by financier George Soros.

"It's unclear what the DNC is doing. Is it going to be kept up to date?" Ickes asked, adding that out-of-date voter information is "worse than having no database at all."

Is it possible that they have awoken from their drunken stupor following their loss in 2004 to realize they have given control of their party to a lunatic? On second thought, the financier behind this "split" is Soros...not exactly the most level-headed, grounded person you'll ever meet.

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Politics at 07:12 AM | Comments (2)

They're Gonna Regret It!

Them's fightin' words. Newly elected Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia has proven that the relationship between the governor and the legislature will be strained, at best.

House Republicans yesterday rejected Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's nominee for secretary of the commonwealth, voting down a gubernatorial secretary appointee for the first time in the state's history.

The House voted 55-42 along party lines to strip Daniel G. LeBlanc from a measure confirming Mr. Kaine's 34 agency head appointments and his chief of staff.

One independent joined 54 House Republicans in voting to reject Mr. LeBlanc, a past president of the Virginia AFL-CIO and a past member of the Democratic National Committee. Two independents sided with the Democrats in protest.

Mr. Kaine, a Democrat, was visibly angered, saying the vote was reminiscent of "McCarthy-style politics" and suggested a lack of respect for the governor.

"They're going to regret it," Mr. Kaine told reporters. "I think they'll realize that there was a huge error in doing this, but they have indicated that that's the way that they want to play it."

I can see why they voted against this guy--he is, apparently, tied closely to unions, and has, "compared the right-to-work law to segregation and plantation work."

Posted by Jenna Pryor in Politics at 06:43 AM | Comments (0)

Almost Gone

For once I'm ahead of schedule. I should shut up before I jinx myself.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Spring Training 2006 at 05:44 AM | Comments (0)

Enjoy the Cold

To my readers trapped in snow and cold I pity you. While you'll be risking your limbs and backs from frostbite and snow shoveling I'll be sitting pretty soaking in the Arizona sun, drinking beer and margaritas, and enjoying America's Pastime (no, not hunting for free porn). It's time for my fourth annual Cactus League baseball trip. My father and I this year are joined by a friend of my dad's. I'm not too worried about three being a crowd. Through next Monday my schedule will be as follows:

  1. Wake up.
  2. Eat breakfast.
  3. Get to ballpark.
  4. Drink beer and watch baseball. Make sure not to get sunburned. Be lucky and see beautiful people like this.
  5. Eat dinner w/ requisite margarita.
  6. Watch college basketball.

Life will be good.

My computer will be coming with me again. I will not be silent should something really newsworthy happen. But to make sure TAM isn't very quiet I've invited three guests to make TAM their little home away from home.

First, there's Jenna Pryor of Right off the Shore. She's a "take-no-prisoners destroy Democrats" type who happens to be a fellow member of the Badger Blog Alliance.

Next, is Little Miss Attila who I met a CPAC last month. Maybe you'll be nice and she'll give us her idea of the perfect margarita. She certainly didn't like the ones she had in Washington, D.C.

Then there's Aaron.


[more silence]

Oh, I guess I should say something about him. Well, he's Aaron*. He has a weblog, he's a BBA member, and...well...he's odd. He's odd in an "ethanol mandate suck" kind of way which is good. Plus, he's a damn good commenter.

These three suckers fine contributors will offer up commentary that will stimulate your brain, make you laugh, and (hopefully) generate voluminous amounts of traffic. These three won't just be posting for pride. They'll be trying to earn cold, hard cash. There will be a shiny quarter for every Instalanche they bring here. As a bonus I'll even let them pick the state. No one can say I don't treat my guests well.

During these trips some big news event happens. Our first trip in 2003 was just before the Iraq War. Last year, there was the church shooting in Brookfield. Let's hope my "luck" doesn't continue.

*Aaron was my pity pick. I wanted an all-girl squad, but somethings weren't meant to be. Although I've never met Aaron in person. I've only heard his voice. Who's to say he isn't female?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Spring Training 2006 at 12:01 AM | Comments (8)

March 07, 2006

Panther Power


Congratulations to UW-Milwaukee men's basketball team for another trip to the Big Dance. I want a match-up with Bruce Pearl's Tennessee Volunteers.

"UWM Going Dancing Again"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:40 PM | Comments (0)

Walker's Ethanol Ad

There isn't much difference between the two GOP governor candidates. So Scott Walker has to take advantage of anything that differentiates him from Rep. Mark Green. He tries that with his new radio ad on ethanol. It not only goes after Green's stance but also ties it into Gov. Doyle. It's not a bad ad, but Walker can ditch the Gettysburg-style soundtrack.

"The Merits of Limited Government"

UPDATE: I didn't notice a trifecta before I left for work this morning. A software upgrade will have to come sooner than I expected.

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

Dean, Pelosi, and Reid Aren't Playing Well

The strategy of beefing up state parties that Howard Dean, M.D. is employing isn't sitting well with Capitol Hill Democrats. With the GOP at a low point going into this fall's Congressional elections and the Democrats at a financial disadvantage I can understand. Of course it would be nice for Rep. Pelosi and Sen. Reid if they had a positive agenda to run on.

"Democratic Leaders Question Whether Dean's Right on the Money"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Howard the Duck at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

200 Home Runs

A smart person like Jeff at Brew Crew Ball thinks the Brewers have a shot at 200 home runs this season. Jeff writes, "Milwaukee would probably be up there with the most homerific team in the league. It would also mean the team would go yard 45 more times than they did last year, an increase of over 25%."

I hope I witness some of that power in Arizona later this week.

"2006 Brewers: Bash Brothers?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #59

  • Imagine if Brett Farve suddenly died? Now, you know how Minnesota feels with the death of . Kirby embodied the spirit of the Minnesota Twins. Kirby was the kind of player you always knew would put up great numbers. He lived baseball, and we all loved watching him play it. Godspeed, Kirby.

  • U.S. intelligence says very deadly IEDs in Iraq are from Iran. A cassus belli?

  • Repubican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner questions the AT&T-BellSouth merger. I told you so.

  • The Dubai Ports World deal is just one example of increasing Middle East investment in the U.S. That's just the globalized world we live in.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:54 AM | Comments (3)

What's My Name?

Last time I checked I have a name. It's even displayed multiple times on my weblog. Hell, every single post that I've written has my name attached. It seems the Spice Boys, super-duper investigative reporters they are, were too lazy to add those 13 letters to their post on my little spat (not a "mini-war") with Charlie Sykes. Fire that intern! They're slacking off instead of earning that all-important "hands-on" experience.

"Hell Has Frozen Over"

P.S. It's "The American Mind" not "the American Mind." And Spiceblog ain't much of a traffic generator. Of course I'm used to Instalanches. (For Spivak & Bice, that means a link from Glenn Reynolds' Instapundit weblog.)

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:19 AM | Comments (0)

Sheehan Arrested...Again

Cindy Sheehan's goal must be to see the inside of jails in all 50 states. She can check New York off her list:

Cindy Sheehan, the anti-war activist whose son was killed in the Iraq war, was arrested with three other protesters in New York on Monday after a rally with women from Iraq.


On Monday, she had joined a delegation of women from Iraq at the rally at the United Nations, urging the United Nations to help prevent civil war in Iraq.

About 20 protesters went to the U.S. mission to the United Nations to deliver a petition with 60,000 signatures seeking an end to the war. Nobody from the mission received them so Sheehan and three other American women sat down in front of the building, refused to leave, and were arrested.

Oddly, she was hanging out with Iraqi women who thanked the President for removing Saddam. That's certainly not Cindy's position. She called the liberation of Iraq "George Bush's unjust war."

"Peace Activist Arrested in NY Protest"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Cindy Sheehan at 12:00 AM | Comments (4)

March 06, 2006

Foreign Company Runs American Airport

Expect small-minded people who still can't dig up anything substantial on the Dubai Ports World deal to go goofy over the fact that a U.K. company runs the Indianapolis airport.

Or we might not hear a peep which will only support my claim that the DPW opposition was just plain, old knee-jerk anti-Arabism.

[via Drudge]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:42 PM | Comments (0)

Wal-Mart and Webloggers

Professor McAdams has put together a string of interesting posts [and here] on how webloggers are getting pro-Wal-Mart information. He then compares that to how the MSM works. Webloggers are more transparent.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 01:34 PM | Comments (5)

Back on the Ethanol Bus

Scott Walker is back to harping on Rep. Mark Green about ethanol. He writes,

One issue is a concern all over the state, and one that surprised me a bit, is the ethanol mandate.

Sure, I expected that in southeastern Wisconsin. We lived under an EPA mandate on the kind of gas we must use for more than a decade. "Gore Gas" has been a sore spot since the mid-1990s. Higher prices and engine troubles are frequent complaints from the EPA mandate.


Interestingly, people all across this state seem to agree with my opposition to the mandate.

Who are these people "all across this state?" To fight the ethanol lobby we need facts, something tangible to counter the host of politicians who think an ethanol mandate is a godsend to Wisconsin.


Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:26 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #58

  • There's one Milwaukee County supervisor who sees salvation in more taxes.

  • doesn't publically talk about possible future campaigns unless he's really thinking about it. Rep. Mark Green and Scott Walker should be a little concerned.

  • ABC News' expert said, "We're in a civil war now; it's just that not everybody's joined in." Ralph Peters, who is in Baghdad, is looking everywhere for it. His best line, "Perhaps the view's clearer from Manhattan. It could be that my background as an intelligence officer didn't give me the right skills."

  • Two great sports stories: is on the USA national team; and signed a one-year deal with the Packers.

  • WTMJ's has gone weblog wacky.

  • The spin has begun as to why Brokeback Mountain didn't win the Best Picture Oscar. said, "Perhaps the truth really is, Americans don't want cowboys to be gay."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 04:49 AM | Comments (4)

Good Additions to "Blog Summit"

Wow, whining pays off.

Two more leading Wisconsin bloggers have been added to the March 18 inaugural WisPolitics/WisOpinion Blog Summit to talk about the blogging phenomenon.

Panelists Owen Robinson of Boots & Sabers and Jay Bullock of folkbum's rambles and rants, joined by other citizen bloggers, will discuss ``Why blog? Defining the phenomenon from a citizen bloggers' perspective'' as part of an afternoon program focusing on the impact of blogs on politics and government in Wisconsin.

Bravo to WisPolitics for fixing the problem. They could have easily been stubborn which would have led to bad blood.

Now, it looks like I'll have to try really hard to attend.

"WisPolitics: Inaugural WisPolitics/WisOpinion Blog Summit Adds Citizen Blogger Discussion" [via Right off the Shore]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:08 AM | Comments (3)

March 05, 2006

AT&T to Buy BellSouth

AT&T, formerly SBC, formerly Southwest Bell, formerly one piece of the Ma Bell empire, wants to buy BellSouth, another piece of old Ma (Grandma?) Bell. My initial reaction is this won't happen. There may be plenty of business and public policy reasons for this merger to happen--I am not fond of antitrust laws. It will take a lot of convincing of the public by AT&T and BellSouth that consumers won't be gouged. At a time when many people there's a conspiracy among oil companies to keep gas prices high the public will be highly skeptical of a business deal that reduces the number of major U.S. telecom players to three (AT&T, Qwest, and Verizon).

A part of the press release that caught my eye was the combined company will be headquartered in San Antonio, TX. If the deal goes through the U.S.'s #1 telecom players will be in Texas while the #1 retailer, Wal-Mart will be in Arkansas. Who would have thought 50 years ago that the dominant players in these two industries wouldn't be located either New York City or Chicago?

"AT&T, BellSouth to Merge"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 11:05 PM | Comments (2)

Mark Reardon is Alive

Not that I thought he was dead. After he got the boot from WTMJ I wondered if there was more to it than budgetary reasons. Not according to Reardon:

OMC: Give us the real scoop. Were you actually fired from WTMJ-AM? Did you know it was coming?

MR: There really isn't a "scoop." It was a budget-cutting move, and I understand that these things sometimes happen in radio. Look, because of the sports programming there were times I was only on the air for an hour or less. That might have been good for my golf game in the summer but it didn't make sense to have a full-time person in that position. Actually my golf game still sucked -- but you get the point. I had no idea it was coming, but there are times when someone needs a good kick in the ass -- and this certainly accomplished that.

St. Louis' KMOX hired Reardon. I wish him the best of luck.

"Milwaukee Talks: Mark Reardon"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 09:24 PM | Comments (0)

Conservative Opinion on Gays

The Right is evolving. In my short lifetime attitudes toward homosexuals has gone from snickers and using "gay" as an insult to placid acceptance. Whether that's good or bad is another question. Much depends on who you ask. Me, I'll work, laugh, talk to them, and treat them like any other human beings. Just don't expect me to accept that lifestyle as morally legitimate as a hetrosexual one. As for marriage I'm in the camp of getting the state out of the marriage business replacing it with civil unions that encompass homosexuals and heterosexuals alike. I'm not out on a limb too much. Donald Sensing wrote something similar along with James Joyner.

This leads to Chris' at spottedhorse post on gay marriage. There's a concern about such couples adopting children. He doesn't have a problem with that:

Here is a question for my friends on the right who are against Gay Marriage.

If you had to choose which would you pick a baby being aborted or growing up with "gay" parents.

To me its a very easy answer Abortion is a crime against humanity and any time it can be made not to happen it is a win for humanity.

I guess what I am trying to say in my rambling way is A GOOD HOME IS A GOOD HOME.

Since webloggers' views are early indicators of political and cultural views don't be surprised if the same-sex marriage amendment on November's ballot goes down or, at the very least, squeaks through.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 08:47 PM | Comments (7)

Ginsburg's Cat Nap


And they say Scalia is the funny one. I saw this picture days ago, and I'm still cracking up. Look at Alito's eyes. He must have been thinking, "I joined this hallowed body to work with people like this?"

A justice who realized the embarassing situation she was in would have spouted, "I'm not dead yet!"

" Falls Asleep: Media Pretend Not to Notice"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Law at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

Taiwan's Leaning Tower of Salad

Foodies, architecture geeks, buffet cheapskates, and lovers of the wacky things Asians do can all appreciate this.

"Maximizing your ROI at Pizza Hut" [via Slashfood]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 04:15 PM | Comments (0)

Alba: I'm Not Nude in There

Jessica Alba has sicced her lawyers upon Playboy Magazine:

Film star Jessica Alba demanded that Playboy magazine pull its March issue, saying on Thursday that its editors made her an unwitting cover girl and misled readers into thinking they could see her nude inside.

Lawyers for Alba sent Playboy a letter threatening to sue if it did not remove the issue -- which features a publicity photo of the bikini-clad actress on the front -- from the stands and pay for damages to her reputation and career.

"Playboy has violated my personal rights and blatantly misled the public, who might think I had given them permission to put me on their cover when I didn't," Alba, 24, said in a statement.

Alba's lawyers say that after the "Fantastic Four" film star refused to pose for Playboy, the magazine tricked Sony Pictures into giving it a publicity photo from her 2005 film "Into the Blue" for the cover.

Playboy added to the deception when it put its bunny logo on Alba's bikini top in the photo, her lawyer said.

"Actress Demands Playboy Pull Issue over Cover"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 12:32 AM | Comments (0)

March 04, 2006

Oscar Night with Paglia

Skipping the Oscars will be more of a challenge this year. will be doing online Oscar commentary at Salon.com. You know that won't be boring.

[via Drudge]

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

Blog Summit Reaction

One milestone for the Wisconsin blogosphere is the one Charlie Sykes noticed:

A press release from a candidate for governor focusing solely on the reaction of the blogosphere.

Another way to know a weblog community has "arrived" is when individuals are knee-deep in navel gazing. The Badger blogosphere has reached that point. It started with Owen Robinson and I whining offering forceful critiques of the upcoming WisPolitics "Blog Summit." Kevin Binversie felt "jaded." Patrick at Badger Blogger notes that what was missing from the summit were the "real grass roots Bloggers, the citizen journalist that has made blogging what it is today." There's been plenty of discussion at the Badger Blog Alliance [here, here, and here]. Summit panelists Professor McAdams and Brian Fraley (who I think was smart enough to buy some TAM advertising space sometime back) weigh in.

If I didn't make myself clear in my previous post I am not insulting or putting down any webloggers on the summit panels. I read most of them and love their contributions. More smart people writing good stuff is always better than less.

Telling a little of TAM's history will let you know why the initial summit line up set me off.

I've toiled on my little part of the internet for over six years. I've written short posts, long posts, important posts, not-so-important posts. TAM started out as a simple text file of HTML that I uploaded to a server once or twice a day. TAM version 1.0 was ugly and a far cry from the slicker, more reader-friendly weblogs running now. I started TAM because I am a writer, and publishing on the web allows me to get my thoughts in front of an audience without having to know a newspaper editor, book publisher, television producer, or talk radio call screener.

Since I'm a writer I want two things: 1) I want a place to be published; 2) I want readers. Lots of readers. For me weblogging isn't just about the intellectual challenge to write something insightful, intelligent, or (occasionally) funny it's about the egoboo. Egoboo stands for "ego boost." When I'm linked by other webloggers and websites and have my material mentioned on the radio it's a high. I love that feeling, and I want more of it.

It's annoying when a newbie weblogger pops onto the scene and is an instant hit. It's frustrating when you think you're putting out material that's as good as another certain weblog but you only get 1% of their traffic. Traffic and links are the currency of weblogs. It's how we keep score. It's a sign of respect. The initial list of participants in the weblog summit showed there was a lack of respect for those weblogs that have laid the ground work for the blogosphere today. Professor McAdams writes,

Second, remember C.C. Colton's dictum that "imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." The fact that lots of people other than you pioneers are getting into blogging is a huge tribute to you.

Up to a point he's right, but it's not like we "pioneers" dried up and went away. We're still here pounding away at our keyboards continuing to offer something interesting to readers. We like some actual appreciation beyond knowing we are trailblazers.

I admit I'm sucking on some sour grapes. Do you blame me? TAM is one of the oldest Wisconsin weblogs and no one bothers to ask what the blogosphere was like in 1999. No body remembers Robot Wisdom, the Instapundit of his time. Persistance doesn't always pay off. Which shows I write for more than traffic, money, and chicks. Weblogging is fun. Obsessive, yes, but still fun.

Now, before this post gets too ungodly long I want to address Jessica McBride's concern that critics are bashing summit participants. I don't think I put anyone down except for WisPolitics who is organizing the summit. If anyone has a beef with me it's Ann Althouse because I compared her to Judith Miller. McBride is mentioned for her short time as a weblogger.

There's a difference between webloggers with an audience from their other work and webloggers like me who appeared out of no where like a quantum particle. In McBride's case I believe she was on Charlie Sykes' television show before starting her weblog. (If I'm wrong she'll let me know.) Even if that wasn't the case she knew Sykes and that was a way for her to get traffic. Reporters, lobbyists, and news junkies know Ed Garvey, Brian Fraley, and State Senator Mark Pocan. Professor John McAdams is a prominent figure on the Marquette University campus and has been on Sykes' radio show. Sykes has a radio transmitter to tell the area about his weblog. Their experiences as webloggers are much different than those of Owen Robinson and myself. Neither of us are journalists. We didn't immediately have people curious about our writing.

That doesn't make McBride, Sykes, et al any less "real" than more veteran webloggers. More voices in the blogosphere mean more readers and more interesting reading.

I've found out the WisPolitics gang heard the complaints and are trying to fix it by adding more webloggers. They're learning which is commendable.

The real downside is after all my bitching I might not be able to attend. I'm one of those who has to work on Saturdays. Getting a day off at this late a date isn't impossible but it isn't a sure thing. Scheduling the summit on a Saturday shows me WisPolitics partially understood the populist nature of weblogging. That's another plus in their corner. I'll do my best to be at the summit. With all the talk about it so far we know it won't be boring.

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

Progress in Iraq

A Nicole Kidman sighting in Baghdad is proof Iraq is slowly connecting with the rest of the world. That's a very good thing.

[via Ghost of a flea]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 07:06 PM | Comments (0)

I Feel Better...Sort of

I'm not the only one to have been challenged this week by a WTMJ radio yapper.

"A li’l backtrack…"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 05:29 PM | Comments (0)

Sad Excuse for a Weblog Summit

Mark March 18 on your calendar. Why? Because Brian Fraley said so. WisPolitics is hosting the inaugural WisPolitics/WisOpinion Blog Summit. Here's the line up of famous, semi-famous (this is the blogosphere we're talking about), and notables:

  • Ann Althouse
  • Charlie Sykes
  • Ed Garvey
  • Brian Fraley
  • State Rep. Mark Pocan
  • Jessica McBride
  • John McAdams

Ooo. It looks like a line up from a random broadcast of Sykes' Sunday Insight tv show.

Let me inform the powers that be that the beauty, interest, and dare I say it, power of the blogosphere isn't from people already involved in politics and media jumping onto the "next big thing." Its power comes from empowering voices of people who previously didn't have a voice or the ability to be easily heard.

Ann Althouse is smart and has a good weblog (she's on my blogroll), but she doesn't take on Wisconsin issues. She comments on national and international issues and rarely links to Wisconsin webloggers. She's not involved with the Wisconsin blogosphere be able to address the state of it. I don't want to have this sound like an insult toward Althouse but it's like Judith Miller keynoting the conference announcing Pajamas Media to the world. WisPolitics must have felt they needed some "big-name" weblogger to give their summit heft and Althouse is conveniently over in Madison.

Who's missing from the list above? There's not a single member fo the Badger Blog Alliance on that list. It's only the most important collective in the Wisconsin blogosphere. It's members gave life to the Milwaukee voter fraud story last year.

One person who would be perfect for the summit is Boots & Sabers' Owen Robinson. For state issues from a conservative perspective there's no better place to go. The guy not only has connections, is passionate, and can write, but he also does a darn good job speaking.

Or how about letting Fred at RealDebateWisconsin talk about how he turned his weblog into a one-man investigative reporting department by digging into Voces de la Frontera's harassment of State Senator Cathy Sepp?

Now, I'll look at how long the panelists have been in the blogosphere. State Sen. Pocan has only been posting since 01.03.06. Garvey has three years under his belt. Althouse, two years. Sykes, three-and-a-half. McBride, eight months. McAdams, consistently one year. Fraley, three months. TAM has been running for over six years. 74 months to be exact. That compares to a combined 127 months of those "vaunted" summit participants. That averages out to a little over 18 months of weblogging experience per weblogger.

Who has a better perspective? Who has the experience dealing with a new medium without having an already-existing audience from which to get readers (Althouse excepted)?

I do not blame the participants one bit for attending. If WisPolitics invited me to speak I would have jumped at the chance. My gripe isn't with the webloggers. It's with a mentality that can't see new, unique voices beyond what's in front of your face or who you're talking to on a daily basis.

P.S. [I'm starting to feel like Mickey Kaus] Who will be the weblogger of the year? I'm confident it will be one of the people above. It certainly isn't me, and after publishing this post my chances of ever getting it are less than zero.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:49 AM | Comments (5)

March 03, 2006

UAE Helping to Secure American Ports

Edward Walker, president of the Middle East Institute, writes,

More to the point, by the time a container has entered one of our ports and been off-loaded for further processing, it is probably too late to avert a nuclear or biological attack. Ports are located in major metropolitan areas where the effects of such an attack, even if centered in the port area, would have devastating consequences. The Container Security Initiative is the critical piece in the port security puzzle.

The UAE was the first Middle Eastern state to join this US-sponsored initiative. Under its provisions, customs and border protection officers are permanently located in UAE ports to inspect containers before shipment to the United States. The UAE was also the first Middle Eastern state to join the Energy Department's Megaports Initiative, designed to stop illicit shipments of nuclear and other radioactive material. In short, we already depend on the cooperation of the UAE and its management company to ensure the security of US ports, regardless of this proposed contract.

After doing so much to make U.S. ports safer would a UAE-owned company, Dubai Ports World, turn around and open big security holes? Only a stubborn, knee-jerk thinker who's scared of anything Arab or Muslim would think so.

By the way, I'm still waiting for some evidence that DPW and the UAE are big threats to national security. I'm still willing to be convinced there's a problem.

"Reneging on the Port Deal Would Be a Blow to US Interests"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 10:54 PM | Comments (1)

Sittin' on the Dock of the ... Port?

Steve Stehling at Standards and Grudges writes,

I'm suspicious of the opposition to the port deal. Their primary complaint is about port security, but I know for a fact, and they know as well, that port security is the responsibility of Homeland Security, Customs and the Coast Guard, not the port management company. If the key argument against the port deal is based upon an exaggeration, or more aptly described, a lie, than how much merit does the opposition have?

And one thing is quite clear. This is an issue only because it is an Arab company. Not one politician or major media outlet said boo when the British company was awarded the port management contract. A message is being sent that we will allow some nations to do business, but others are not allowed. That's extremely unfair and terribly damaging to our creditability. It also risks a backlash against the United States from Arab nations. What if they started voiding contracts of US companies doing business in the Middle East?

The pro-Israel lobby has got into action and started hammering on the UAE's boycott of Israel. The Washington Times reports, "Mr. Bilkey [DPW CEO] said his firm has long worked with Israeli shippers at the ports it managed, but acknowledged that a customs operation in Dubai owned by his company's parent firm did enforce the anti-Israel ban." Don't expect the boycott to be enforced in New York, Baltimore, or any of the other ports DPW would operate.

Jerry Zeifman, a Democrat, chides Sen. Schumer and Democrats taking advantage of the ports issue. The way the administration approved the deal is according to the law passed by a Democratic Congress in 1988.

Larry Kudlow goes to the heart of the issue. DPW opponents still haven't offered anything concrete as to why the deal is dangerous to national security:

After the hurricane of controversy these past couple weeks—all the editorializing, the talk show tempests and political sound bites—I still have yet to see any real evidence that the Dubai ports deal compromises U.S. national security. I just don’t see it. Objections raised by the Coast Guard have been solved, and the fact stubbornly remains that along with the U.S. Customs and Homeland Security, it is the Coast Guard, not Dubai Ports World, that will ultimately run the show when it comes to protecting port terminal operations.

If someone were able to show me a clear, insurmountable security problem, then I will gladly change my mind and hop aboard the anti-ports deal train. But so far, nothing has materialized. (And let me add that building in additional safeguards where there may be questionable practices is an eminently doable proposition.)

A word or two for the conspiracy-theorist crowd projecting nefarious, clandestine motives upon the UAE—the folks who subscribe to some misguided notion that the UAE is in cahoots with terrorists—let me encourage them to reconsider such position. The Dubai ports deal is costing these guys around $7 billion dollars. If they truly had some sick, ulterior motive to harm innocent Americans, don’t you think they could accomplish these imagined goals with far less money? The point here is that the UAE and Dubai Ports World has a huge vested economic interest in this deal.

Kudlow declares the rift a "pretty clear demarcation between free-traders and protectionists." I'll be more generous and call the opponents "economic nationalists." I also won't lump them all onto the same pile as Pat Buchanan.

There's a fear of the Arab/Muslim world (most unfortunately don't differentiate) and it's not unreasonable seeing the reaction to the Muhammad cartoons. However, I would expect opinion makers and politicians (I know, wishful thinking) to do a little thinking before spouting off. Since for them it's either their job or hobby I'd assume they'd enjoy doing that.

To lighten things up Wonkette found Captain Hamad and the DPW kids website.

Thanks to Jenna at Right off the Shore for the reminder.

UPDATE: Marcus Aurelius takes on Sean Hannity's "biggest beefs." More power to Marcus. It takes a strong man to listen to Hannity that long.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:53 PM | Comments (14)

Hamilton Never Looked Uglier

The feds continue to ruin our money. No, I'm not talking about inflation. I'm talking about adding garish colors that slowly evolve our fine greenbacks into euros. It's bad enough the fifty-dollar bill is pink. The new ten-dollar bill now includes yellow and red. It looks like the bill is suffering from yellow fever and chicken pox. (Is this prophetic of the bird flu?) Aesthetics have been abandoned to fight the counterfeiters. It means the coin-side of the federal moneymakers has the monopoly on the talent.

"New, More Colorful $10 Bill to Debut"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 04:31 PM | Comments (1)

Did I Go Too Far? Part II

Charlie Sykes replies to my previous post:

Sean obviously believes that consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

He writes: "If I were Reynolds I would have demanded Sykes directly accuse me of being anti-Catholic. If he would have refused I would have demanded an immediate apology. If none was offered I would have hung up."

Well, if I were Ann Coulter I would have demanded that Sean directly accuse me of being an anti-Muslim bigot. If he would have refused I would have demanded an immediate apology... etc."

I didn't accuse Reynolds of anti-catholic bigotry: I ASKED HIM THE QUESTION and gave him the opportunity to respond. I gave him the chance to repudiate Ovadal's anti-Catholic bigotry. You can listen to the exchange and make your own conclusions.

And yes, the Reynolds' connection is more than simply the printing. It includes the attendance at the conference.. which I referred to, when I asked him about his wider association.

Sean is quibbling.

Sean, who has no problem denouncing others, apparently objects to asking a question that gives others the chance to clarify their position. I missed his interview with Ann Coulter where he asked her to defend her self or gave her a chance to claridy her position.

So I guess I agree with him, but object to his execution. (heh.)

For the record: I am not at all convinced that Reynolds is, in fact, NOT anti-Catholic, since he declines to disasociate himself from Reynolds.

I must be the only person who was confused at the conversation. I listened to the Sykes-Reynolds exchange again. It still sounds like the Ovadal link came out of the blue. That may be because Reynolds called Sykes out of the blue. There just wasn't enough context for me. There was no reminder of his attendence at an Ovadal homosexual conference. For not remembering all Reynolds' extremist behavior I plead guilty. If I'm "quibbling" when I care about the logical process of discovering someone's core attitudes than I'm guilty of that too.

With the reaction from other BBA members I feel like I'm in right field (pun intended) on this one. It wouldn't be the first time.

A few years ago a liberal weblogger accused me of supporting Jim Crow laws. Since I wasn't even born when Jim Crow was in effect I knew the charge made no sense. In an e-mail I demanded an apology. I never got and haven't spoken to the person since. Maybe the best lesson I'll take from this is to begin my private accusations through less public mediums.

P.S. Ann Coulter is an anti-Muslim bigot. If she wants to discuss that with me I offer her plenty of space on my weblog.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 04:17 PM | Comments (5)

That's a Relief

Northwest Airlines got their pilots union to agree to pay and benefits cuts. The union was threatening to strike if the airline got a judge to void the contract.

I'm breathing a sigh of relief because in five days I'm flying to Phoenix for spring training baseball...on Northwest. No wonder I got such a good deal on tickets. I'm hoping airline staff aren't too grouchy about their cuts.

"Northwest, Pilots Reach Labor Pact, Averting Strike"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 03:50 PM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #57

No need to mention anything about obvious stories like the school voucher vote and Steve Avery.

  • Milwaukee's public smoking ban has been stalled...for now.

  • Congressman James Sensenbrenner lets us know how many violations of civil right were caused by the . Bush bashers won't be happy.

  • Congressmen are going over the deep end over the Dubai Ports World deal. Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) doesn't want foreign firms investing in certain infrastructure. Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said, "While I strongly support our open investment policy and recognize that it is vital to our national economic interest, I do not believe it should stand at any cost." The fools forget we're a part of a globalized economy.

  • A New Jersey nurse who killed 22 people was sentenced to 11 life sentences.

  • Where did the Washington Post get their 1300 dead number?

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 12:49 AM | Comments (0)

March 02, 2006

Did I Go Too Far?

This morning, I was very harsh with Charlie Sykes for how he treated State Senator Tom Reynolds. I called it a "cheap shot." Sykes responds:


It was not a cheap shot.

Reynolds is quite selective in choosing who he does printing for. He does not print material for groups whose views he disagrees with. His association with Ovadal, actually runs deeper, including his participation in Ovadal-run conferences. And, yes, if a liberal who printed material for NAMBLA was running for office, I would expect that he would be asked about it, especially, if he also supported the groups' other activities.
The issue has been raised by the left; and will be an issue this fall.
The problem is that Reynolds is an extremist and it does no good to try to pretend that he's not a wingnut, simply because he often votes right. I asked him the questions and gave him the chance to respond. You can hear the questions and the answers on my website.


I'm not backing away from what I wrote. I can only put myself in Sykes' and Reynolds' shoes. If I were Reynolds I would have demanded Sykes directly accuse me of being anti-Catholic. If he would have refused I would have demanded an immediate apology. If none was offered I would have hung up.

Accusing someone of bigotry demands evidence, not guilt-by-association. Charlie mentioned Reynolds participated in Ovadal-run conferences. I didn't hear that on the radio today. It's mentioned in a Spivak & Bice story from two years ago. My memory isn't that good. That's a much stronger piece of evidence to Reynolds' extremism. Just going after a business relationship isn't enough to me because if someone wanted to they could connect me with wackos of whatever stripe. One could make the argument that I endorse questionable currency speculation because one of this weblog's sponsors wants you to buy Iraqi currency. One could claim Sykes was a racist because his mentor was the late Michael Joyce who provided funding for Charles Murray's research on The Bell Curve. Sure it's very indirect and has little authority, but the danger with guilt-by-association is many will run with their initial impression.

If I were Sykes I would have questioned Reynolds about attending Ovadal-run conferences and would have ignored any of his printing work unless the material was anti-Catholic. Like the knee-jerk opposition to Dubai Ports World I want substance and actual facts.

Charlie is correct that the Right needs to attack its wack jobs and drive them away. From the time William F. Buckley kicked out the John Birch conspiracy nuts the movement has had a history of policing its own. Conservatism is a movement of reason, order, and decency. Bigots have no place in our big tent. Calling muslims "ragheads" has no place nor does Catholic-bashing. Sykes' intention is good I just didn't like his execution.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 08:12 PM | Comments (4)

Teresa Halbach's Death Detailed

Evil can be found anywhere, even near the place I grew up. Teresa Halbach's horrible, gruesome death shocks and saddens me.

Be wary, the reports are graphic.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:28 PM | Comments (4)

Charlie Went Too Far

State Senator Tom Reynolds reiterated on Charlie Sykes' show that he wants his amendment put into the school choice compromise. He drafted it and sent it off to Governor Doyle's office to see if he'd sign the bill with it. Expect Doyle to reject the amendment. He'd love nothing more than to claim he tried to fix the problem and blame it on the Republicans. Reynolds is falling into this trap.

Reynolds has not backed down from voting against the compromise unless it's dirtied up with his amendment.

Then Sykes tried a little guilt-by-association to browbeat Reynolds into voting for the bill. He questioned him about a Pastor Ovadal who has anti-Catholic views. Reynolds prints a homosexual pamphlet for the man.

Reynolds sounded quite surprised, and countered by asking if a lawyer opponent would be considered a supporter of pedophilia if she was hired by a child abuser. He right. Every view of Reynolds' customers isn't his responsiblity. He only has control over what he does. If Sykes wants to paint Reynolds as anti-Catholic he needs to offer evidence and not resort to a cheap shot.

Reynolds isn't getting off the hook. If the school choice bill falls because Reynolds votes against it I will oppose him for re-election.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:34 AM | Comments (15)

Let Me Try This Theory

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is reviewing "Dubai International Capital's acquisition of London-based Doncasters Group Ltd., which operates in nine U.S. locations and makes precision parts for U.S. defense contractors." They're also reviewing Israeli company Check Point Technologies' pending purchase of Sourcefire.

If I read more complaints about the newly-known Dubai deal than the Israel one I will assume it's the knee-jerk anti-Arab bias plaguing many. If the reaction toward is fairly balanced I'll take nativism as reason. And if there are plenty of serious arguments and evidence for opposition to either/or of the deals then I'll take that to mean some serious thinking has returned to the blogosphere.

"US Investigating 2nd Dubai-Owned Company: WPost"

"U.S. Reviewing 2nd Dubai Firm"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 09:32 AM | Comments (0)

Today is a Good Day

The Brewers play their first spring training game against San Francisco. T-minus six days until I'm there with my team soaking up the Arizona sun and the margarias.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 09:30 AM | Comments (0)

Charlie's Show Prep #56

  • State Rep. Leah Vukmir will run against State Senator Tom Reynolds if he votes against the compromise and it dies. If that happens I'll be one of the first to donate to the Vukmir campaign.

  • The death last October of an Oklahoma University student was probably a botched terrorist attack.

  • Reactions from justices at a Supreme Court hearing can seldom predict the decision. However, a few of them understood the common sense notion that politics is involved in congressional redistricting. Scalia kept up his reputation as funniest Supreme Court justice by blurting, "Wow. That's a surprise. Legislatures redraw maps all the time for political purposes."

  • has a tough tight rope to walk. Due to sweet pension and retirement benefits that put him into office he talks about "potential insolvency." With him running for governor any help from Madison won't come this year.

  • Ricardo Pimentel and the gang don't mind forcing on Wisconsin drivers.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:10 AM | Comments (0)

March 01, 2006

Best Weblog Post Ever?

I only called Tom McMahon's beautiful post the best of the year. declares it "might be the greatest blog entry ever written."

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Senate Ethanol Vote

It doesn't appear there will not be one today, but from Owen Robinson's sources Senate Majority Leader Dave Schultz wants to force a vote soon.

"They Have The Votes"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

Blankley Feels Slighted

Tony Blankley is peeved people like me took him to task for his seemingly knee-jerk opposition to the Dubai Ports World deal:

In the last few days, several free market and other conservative commentators -- along with various U.S. governmental spokesmen -- have taken to labeling those of us with reservations concerning the Dubai Ports World (DPW) deal as nativist, racist or Islamophobic. With 70 percent of the public in opposition to the port deal, this is as searing a criticism of American tolerance as ever has been hurled from America's cultural or political opponents over the years. No Soviet propagandist or third-world revolutionary has more stingingly libeled the American people.

I'm now a "commerce is king" libeler who doesn't give a damn about national security. All I wanted was some substansive information as to why DPW shouldn't be running six U.S. ports. I expected more from commentators and webloggers who are normally smarter than that. The best I've found against DPW is that the United Arab Emirates still upholds the Arab boycott of Israel, (Though I wonder how much it's ignored practically.) and that's not a national security issue as one dealing with the United States' relationship with Israel.

As for that 70% of public opinion, I've noticed the weaker one's argument the more likely they turn to public opinion. Public opinion in and of itself means nothing. That a large number of the American people have concerns about DPW doesn't mean the company is a national security threat.

Blankley goes on:

Particularly galling was the air of supposed Olympian understanding projected by these name callers -- columnists, spokesmen, cable hosts, etc. In fact, most of them had never previously demonstrated any familiarity with port security issues. Indeed the government spokesmen seemed to be speaking almost phonetically off the talking point pieces of paper they had been handed before stepping in front of the camera.

When DPW opponents scream about a national security threat and the most they can offer is Sep. 11 terrorist money went through United Arab Emirates banks we become quite skeptical of the screamers.

Blankley himself only informs us that a port management company works "with the Coast Guard, Customs and local law enforcement in trying to secure the full import process (which starts at foreign ports and continues on board ship, through the terminal and includes local law enforcement -- with management an active agent of that strived-for seamless process)." We'll have to buy his book to get the details.

One should also be concerned about Islamophobia since the only conservatives who chastised Ann Coulter for calling Muslims "ragheads" were webloggers. I haven't read Blankley condemning Coulter for her hateful, misguided words.

Near the end Blankley writes,

It is in the highest interest of free international trade -- as well as national security-- that the ports be made as secure as possible. And to that end, the ownership of port management firms is only a small part of the reforms and improvements that are so vitally needed.

On this we agree, but that means offering evidence not knee-jerk "Arabs are bad" thinking.


UPDATE: Michelle Malkin is peeved too.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 01:19 PM | Comments (2)

Charlie's Show Prep #55

  • Getting an facility would beef up Wisconsin's biotech sector and help Gov. Doyle politically by showing this isn't such a bad state for business.

  • In the short term, the breakdown in could mean free agency buying opportunities for the Packers. However, if no deal is reached and the salary cap is nixed the players union has said they will never agree to go back to one. That would put the Packers at a serious disadvantage.

  • A monster in Washington County got 20 years for raping a 5-year old. Brian Homz did it to get back at the girl's mother.

  • Spivak & Bice take some cheap shots at J.J. Blonien. The two literalists can't understand hyperbole. The also pulled out some quotes from his columns that are pointed but hardly radical. But why is Blonien helping a judicial candidate who is described by S&B as "a political moderate with liberal leanings on social issues?"

  • President Bush made a surprise visit to Afghanistan.

  • Yesterday, I passed on that 1300 people died from Iraqi sectarian violence. Silly me, I trusted the MSM.

UPDATE: The great will retire from college coaching after this season.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 03:33 AM | Comments (5)