June 30, 2006
Summerfest Babe of the Day #1
Thank you US Cellular for giving me plenty of photographic material to cover Summerfest like I was there. Throughout the 11-day festival I'll be posting a Babe of the Day.
Behold, our first winner:
I'm accepting nominations. If you have good pics from Summerfest feel free to send them my way.
Summerfest Day 2
I wonder how many took off today to start their weekend early and running off to Summerfest? If you're wondering if you should go tonight here are some of who's playing:
McGee/Jackson Keeping Name
Michael McGee/Jackson now doesn't want to change his name:
Online court records for the case show an entry from Thursday that states: "Court received call from petitioner advising that he will not be pursuing the petition for name change and will be submitting a letter to this effect." A hearing on the request is set for next week but could be canceled if the matter is dropped.
The alderman still needs to state whether he's been using two different names with two different Social Security numbers. He also hasn't said anything about his possible involvement in a three-car accident in 1996. Over $4000 dollars is still owed to insurance companies from the accident.
"McGee Doesn't Want Name Change After All"
Charlie's Show Prep #127
June 29, 2006
Summerfest Day 1
Summerfest, the world's biggest outdoor music festival is underway along Milwaukee's Lake Michgan shore. What's on tap tonight?
If you're hungry and tired of the fried food that's a Summerfest staple Chipolte is selling their big burritos this year. Yum.
Supreme Court Tosses Tribunals
The Supreme Court issued their Hamdan ruling and it's a loss for the President and his military tribunals. The most important aspect of the ruling is the Geneva Convention applies to al Qaeda even though they wear no uniform and represent no country or have even signed the convention--unless Osama has some papers stashed away in his Pakastani cave. I'm not going apoplectic because as James Joyner writes, "By and large, we’ve acted as if Geneva did apply while saying that it didn’t. And we’ve applied Geneva to the guerrillas in Iraq without any obvious negative consequence." Also the man running Guantanamo Bay prison doesn't see the ruling as affecting his operation.
Andrew Cochran at the Counterterrorism Blog sees the President and Congress soon working on legislation to legalize the tribunals. In his opinion Justice Breyer wrote, "Nothing prevents the president from returning to Congress to seek the authority he believes necessary." Senators Graham (R-SC) and Kyl (R-AZ) have announced they're working on it.
With regards to prisoners in the Islamist War I have a question for Justices Stevens, Breyer, Souter, Ginsburg, and Kennedy: Do we hold the most dangerous terrorists for life or shoot them?
Charlie's Show Prep #126
June 28, 2006
New Bucks Colors and Logo
The new uniforms, to be revealed in September, better emphasize the green and use the silver and red for accents. They're the Milwaukee Bucks not the Chicago Bulls. Or else we can re-name them the "Milwaukee Tomatoes." What they should steal from their Illinois rivals is the simple design of the jerseys. The new Bucks logo would work well for that.
"Bucks Unveil Updated Logo, New Color Scheme"
Soccer: Perfect for the Post-Modern World
Frank Cannon & Richard Lessner declared soccer "truly Seinfeldesque, a game about nothing, sport as sensation." It represents the "nihilism, existentialism, and anomie that have overtaken Europe." And soccer is against human nature for its emphasis on the use of one's head and the illegal use of one's hands.
UPDATE: I've been a little behind in writing about soccer. Betsy Newmark has links and thoughts.
Coming Soon: New Milwaukee Bucks' Colors and Logo
At 7:30 CDT the Milwaukee Bucks will unveil their new team logo and colors.
As for the draft the Toronto Raptors picked Andrea Bargnani, some Italian I've never heard of, as the #1 pick.
UPDATE: It's 7:35 and no news yet. Herb's team isn't too prompt.
UPDATE II: It's 7:45 and on the Bucks' website they've replaced purple with Ohio State red. That should make Michael Redd happy. The logo is still the same.
Few Americans Watching World Cup
ESPN can hype it all it wants with commercials filled with action, rock music, and passionate fans but people aren't watching the World Cup:
Despite a high level of media coverage for the World Cup soccer tournament, three-fourths of Americans (78%) are not following the action very closely if at all. A Rasmussen Reports survey of 1,000 adults found that just 6% are following the tournament very closely.
Since Pele in the 70s soccer fanatics thought the day would come when the sport would catch on in the United States. The U.S. team now makes regular World Cup apperances, there's a professional soccer league, and English player David Beckam is recognizable here, but the sport still hasn't caught on.
It can't be a lack of scoring. 1-0 games in baseball are some of the most exciting, nailbiting affairs in that sport. Soccer's lack of American popularity has to do with the game itself. Playing it is enjoyable. Players run around trying to fine open spaces to receive a pass then do some fancy footwork to try to break for the goal. The feeling of kicking is similar to swinging a baseball bat. The full range of motion and the connection between body and object ignites the senses.
However, from a fan's perspective soccer amounts to 20 men running around a huge piece of grass kicking a ball and occasionally putting it into the net. There's flow to the game, but it's nothing like a series of passes around the basket in an NBA game where teammates find someone cutting to the hoop for a layup. Other than penalty kicks soccer doesn't have that one-on-one moment like a pitcher facing a batter with two outs and the bases loaded. Soccer doesn't possess the power and beautiful violence of Walter Payton taking a hit from a middle linebacker, bouncing off him, then delivering a punishing shoulder shot to an on-coming safety.
To be blunt American's don't watch soccer because they have other, better sports to watch. For us non-fans we'll ignore the hype and consume our soccer dosage as SportsCenter highlights.
"World Cup Scores Only Small Audience"
Xoff Playing Race Card
Bill Christofferson complains that Rep. Mark Green's supporters are too white. Would he feel better if I started going blackface? In his "superficial racist" world the color of one's skin is more important than one's character and ideas.
[via Boots & Sabers]
Ann Coulter: Deadhead
It's hard to believe but Ann Coulter love the Grateful Dead. By her rough count she's been to 67 shows all of them without consuming any drugs.
When talking about Deadheads there always comes a point when the hippy stuff gets too descriptive:
I fondly remember seeing the Dead when I was at Cornell. It was the day of the fabulous Fiji Island party on the driveway “island” of the Phi Gamma Delta House. We'd cover ourselves in purple Crisco and drink purple Kool-Aid mixed with grain alcohol and dance on the front yard. Wait – I think got the order reversed there: We'd drink purple Kool-Aid mixed with grain alcohol and then cover ourselves in purple Crisco – then the dancing. You probably had to be there to grasp how utterly fantastic this was.
Ann Coulter covered in purple Crisco? It's taking an amazing amount of willpower to not put that image in my mind.
Seriously, the interview makes Coulter sound like a normal person. So her verbal recklessness is her designed marketing schtick. Sad for conservatives but good for Ann's bank account.
Ellison Takes Back Gift to Harvard
I'm under the weather today. Sleep has been my best friend. That's why there was no show prep for Charlie Sykes, and my first post is so late today.
Anyway, Oracle's billionaire Larry Ellison took back his gift to Harvard University, and it has to do with outgoing president Larry Summers:
An Oracle spokesman said on Tuesday that Mr Ellison’s decision to withdraw his pledge was “directly related” to the departure of Mr Summers, the controversial former US treasury secretary, whose brusque management style frequently clashed with members of the Harvard faculty.
Ellison loves publicity so I wonder if he timed this announcement for Summers' departure or because Warren Buffett got loads of press for his massive gift to the Gates Foundation.
"Ellison Rescinds $115m Harvard Gift"
June 27, 2006
Spider-Man 3 Trailer
There's lots of comic book movie goodness in the latest Spider-Man 3 trailer. The black symbiant suit plays a starring role, and the Sandman and the Green Goblin, Jr./Hobgobblin will give Spidey fits. I'm worried the movie will have too many villians. My fear is it could wind up being Sam Raimi's version of Batman & Robin, an attrocious flick. I also fear Venom will make his appearance when his battle with Spider-Man deserves a movie all its own. But from what I've seen it looks pretty good.
Charlie's Show Prep #125
UPDATE: Some goofy schools have banned tag and touch football at recess in fear of kids getting hurt.
June 26, 2006
Buffett Donation is Estate Tax Dodge
You don't get to be the second-richest man in the world by being dumb. Warren Buffett has been a smart investor and is being smart in what happens to his money after he dies. James Taranto notes:
The federal death tax is currently being phased out, but it will reappear in 2011 unless Congress acts--which means that if Buffett lives that long, the government will confiscate 55% of his assets upon his death.
Buffett is wise with his own fortune but isn't smart about the estate tax. He's called its repeal "a terrible mistake." Yet he's finding a way to get out of paying it. That's pretty easy for the Sage of Omaha who can hire the best tax lawyers in the world. If he advocated the end of such pointless wealth redistribution he wouldn't waste money on legal fees, he could have found a more economically or personally satisfying use for his fortune, and we'd all be better off.
Limbaugh Caught with Viagra
Talk radio king Rush Limbaugh has another drug problem on his hands:
Limbaugh was returning on a flight from the Dominican Republic when customs officials found a Viagra prescription that did not bear his name. Instead, the bottle of pills had the names of two doctors on it according to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office.
Being in possession of an illegal prescription could affect the plea deal he made last April.
Limbaugh's lawyer Roy Black says it's a case of mislabeling on the pill bottle:
While going through routine Customs inspection of luggage at Palm Beach International Airport upon his return from an international trip, Rush Limbaugh was detained by customs agents after they noticed a non-narcotic prescription drug, which had been prescribed by Mr. Limbaugh's treating physician but labeled as being issued to the physician rather than Mr. Limbaugh for privacy purposes. After a brief interview, Mr. Limbaugh was permitted to continue on his journey.
Wisconsin by Steam Train
Stephen Karlson relived the old days of steam trains with a trip from Milwaukee to Wisconsin Dells and gives us some pictures.
Critics Gloss Over Wal-Mart's Cheap Prices
Jason Furman, a self-professed progressive [PDF] who "instinctively recoil[s] at the big-box shopping centers spreading their uniformity across the American landscape" sees the benefits of Wal-Mart:
A range of studies has found that Wal-Mart's prices are 8 percent to 39 percent below the prices of its competitors. The single most careful economic study, co-authored by the well-respected MIT economist Jerry Hausman, found that grocery sales by Wal-Mart and other big-box stores made consumers better off to the tune of 25 percent of food consumption. That doesn't mean much for those of us in the top fifth of the income distribution—we spend only about 3.5 percent of our income on food at home and, at least in my case, most of that shopping is done at high-priced supermarkets like Whole Foods. But that's a huge savings for households in the bottom quintile, which, on average, spend 26 percent of their income on food. In fact, it is equivalent to a 6.5 percent boost in household income—unless the family lives in New York City or one of the other places that have successfully kept Wal-Mart and its ilk away.
So on the matter of price Wal-Mart is good. Of course price isn't the only concern to a consumer. The retail monster is not known for customer service and there are a number of goods and brands that aren't available in their stores because they refuse to deal with Wal-Mart's tough negotiators. Wal-Mart isn't perfect, but even it's biggest cheerleaders wouldn't claim that. The free market allows an assortment of business models from price-focused chains like Wal-Mart to those that emphasise quality, service, atmosphere, and aethetics like Crate & Barrel.
Furman is surprised "by how quickly Wal-Mart's critics move past the issue of low prices?" They move pass that fact because deep down Wal-Mart's critics are anti-capitalist, anti-freedom. They get a strange, negative reaction knowing someone is making a profit. James Joyner puts this view into one sentence: "The thing to keep in mind, however, is that the people who own Wal-Mart make a lot of money, and they are therefore evil." The anti-capitalists view the economy as a zero-sum game where Wal-Mart's profit is derived directly from the low-wage serfs who work in the stores (voluntarily I might add). It's not true, but it helps power their crusade against an American success story.
"Is Wal-Mart Good for the American Working Class?"
Charlie's Show Prep #124
June 25, 2006
Khobar Towers: Ten Years Later
Ten years ago terrorists blew up Khobar Towers that killed 19 U.S. troops. Former FBI director Louis Freeh blasts the Clinton administration for doing little to investigate and placating to "moderate" Iranians when the evidence pointed directly at the Shia state.
The aftermath of the Khobar bombing is just one example of how successive U.S. governments have mishandled Iran. On June 25, 1996, President Clinton declared that "no stone would be left unturned" to find the bombers and bring them to "justice." Within hours, teams of FBI agents, and forensic and technical personnel, were en route to Khobar. The president told the Saudis and the 19 victims' families that I was responsible for the case. This assignment became very personal and solemn for me, as it meant that I was the one who dealt directly with the victims' survivors. These disciplined military families asked only one thing of me and their country: "Please find out who did this to our sons, husbands, brothers and fathers and bring them to justice."
It took former President George H.W. Bush to get FBI agents to question the bombers locked in Saudi prisons.
When evidence linked Iran to the bombing Freeh says the Clintonians didn't seek justice:
Upon being advised that our investigation now had proof that Iran blew up Khobar Towers, Mr. Berger's astounding response was: "Who knows about this?" His next, and wrong, comment was: "That's just hearsay." When I explained that under the Rules of Federal Evidence the detainees' comments were indeed more than "hearsay," for the first time ever he became interested--and alarmed--about the case. But this interest translated into nothing more than Washington "damage control" meetings held out of the fear that Congress, and ordinary Americans, would find out that Iran murdered our soldiers. After those meetings, neither the president, nor anyone else in the administration, was heard from again about Khobar.
From Iran's perspective they see a United States that talks tough but doesn't end up doing anything. Iranian-linked Hezbollah killed 241 Marines in Beirut in 1983. President Reagan ordered them to pack up and leave. We know Iran supported the Khobar Towers bombing yet did nothing. Then there was the shame of President Jimmy Carter looking powerless while Iranians held Americans hostage at our Tehran embassy for 444 days. Based on that track record the Iranians shouldn't expect any harsh response for their pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Marotta Involved with Another Bidding Process
Marc Marotta, Gov. Doyle's former Administration Secretary and now campaign chairman, is alleged to have interfered in another state bidding contract. Spivak & Bice, who are much better investigative reporters than webloggers, have the details:
But an irate vendor, using newly discovered e-mails, is arguing in an Ozaukee County lawsuit that the long arm of Marotta reached into the bidding process for a $55 million-plus building deal awarded by the state in 2004, kicking it to a competitor.
An e-mail from a member of Building Commission member points straight at Marotta:
"Committee discussions indicate that one developer is significantly 'better' than the others," wrote Andrew Richards, finance director for UWM to Peter Maternowski, a staffer in Marotta's agency.
Put this e-mail together with the phone calls from Marotta's office to Adelman Travel during that bidding process and the idea that Marotta stayed clear of bidding processes just went up in smoke.
Since this is the Doyle administration campaign contributions are involved:
Not mentioned in the suit are campaign finance records that show execs from the eventual winning group - which didn't even compete in Round 1 of the bidding process - contributed $51,000 to Doyle's campaign, including $13,000 in the two months after the pact was awarded and $1,000 days before the final vote.
That's amazing. The winning bidders got in late and won the bid. It's the Doyle pay-to-play modus operandi at work.
There's no need for Rep. Mark Green to run negative ads when the the MSM does it's job and publicizes the Doyle administration's misdeeds. At this rate Team Doyle will have to start launching nuclear shots at Green just to frustrate voters. A Doyle spokesman told the Spice Boys, "Mark Green has spent his career behind a desk exchanging votes for special-interest campaign cash." The mud will be flying soon. Team Doyle can't continue to keep taking these hits in isolation.
"Marotta Intervened in UWM Project Bidding Process, Lawsuit Contends"
June 24, 2006
ACLU Opposes Financial Surveillance
The slowly-healing Captain Ed (get well soon) points out the ACLU stuck their nose into the Swift story. It should be no surprise they're not happy:
The revelation of the CIA's financial spying program is another example of the Bush administration's abuse of power. The invasion of our personal financial information, without notification or judicial review, is contrary to the fundamental American value of privacy and must be stopped now.
As Captain Ed notes even though the ACLU has access to many highly-skilled lawyers on a host of technical legal subjects they don't point out a single piece of law the Bush administration violated. It's hard to call the Terrorist Finance Tracking Program an "abuse of power" when the traitorous NY Times reported, "Swift and Treasury officials said they were aware of no abuses" and could find no abuses themselves.
And unlike the last vital program the New York Times compromised — the National Security Agency’s Terrorist Surveillance Program, which the same reporters, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, exposed last December — there is not even a facially plausible concern that the TFTP violates statutory law. The provisions germane here (mainly, the Right to Financial Privacy Act that Congress enacted in 1978 in reaction to Miller) do not even apply to the nerve center at issue, the Society of Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.
In their press release the ACLU continues to bloviate:
Once again, this administration has performed an end-run around the legislature, allowing for no Congressional approval or oversight....
Someone must tell the civil liberties organization to keep up with the news. This from the scandalous NY Times story:
While the banking program is a closely held secret, administration officials have conducted classified briefings to some members of Congress and the Sept. 11 Commission, the officials said.
No, there's weren't public hearings broadcast on C-SPAN. Since it's been an effective tool in following the financial web of Islamist terrorists it's understandable Congressmen were told on a need-to-know basis.
Someday, there will be another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. There will be investigations, and hearings, and discussions of what went wrong and how to prevent future attacks. More than likely some blue ribbon panel will chastise the government for not doing more to track terrorists' financial dealings. When that happens I will be on the frontline showing nothing but contempt for the ACLU for not realizing we are at war.
"ACLU, Right On Schedule"
Wisconsin Artist Win National Art Award
There's hope for the art world. David Lenz won the first National Portrait Gallery portrait competition for his photo-like painting of his son in a field.
Will realism become "cool" again? One can only hope.
"In a Father's Experience, Perfection"
June 23, 2006
DPW: Gard Trying to "Trick" Voters
When there isn't any real news in an election it's the job of a campaign to snipe at their opponent. That's what Joe Wineke did to day in a press release attacking State Assembly Speaker John Gard:
But the families of the 8th Congressional District aren’t fooled by John Gard’s efforts to hide the fact that he lived in the suburbs of Madison until just a few months ago. While he supposedly “represented” Peshtigo in the state Legislature, Gard and his family lived in a home he bought in Sun Prairie in 1999.
If Gard had stayed in an apartment and rarely saw his kids who stayed in Peshtigo Wineke would have issued a press release criticizing him for not making his family a priority. That's life in the tit-for-tat world of politics.
"Dems Call Gard's Farm Ad a Trick"
Bush Basher Reaction to Financial Surveillance
Bush bashers are shaking with glee and launching attacks against an effective tool against Islamism:
The Huffington Post lies with its headline "Bank Data Secretly Reviewed By Bush Admin. Without Warrants Or Subpoenas...." (Click for a full-size image.)
In the linked NY Times story it reads,
Treasury officials did not seek individual court-approved warrants or subpoenas to examine specific transactions, instead relying on broad administrative subpoenas for millions of records from the cooperative, known as Swift.
Why be accurate when you can bash the President?
Helen Thomas decided to badger Press Secretary Tony Snow about what laws allow the government to search financial data. Snow didn't know the specific law but would get lawyers on the case. That wasn't good enough for the old bag who interrupted Snow during another question. That got him to blurt, "Helen, will you stop heckling and let me conduct a press conference?" Crooks & Liars has the video.
Taylor Marsh decides Republicans and conservatives are "fat, self-satisfied and self-absorbed."
Rep. Ed Markey is troubled saying, "If the administration wants to fight terrorism legally, then it should ask for the authority it needs and then follow the law that Congress passes." If the program is on "rock-solid ground" then that's based on laws passed by Congress--the International Emergency Economic Powers Act to be exact. Markey should find some specific objection before attacking the President in front of the media.
Charlie's Show Prep #123
Papers Out Classified Financial Surveillance Program
The U.S. government is going after the financial foundation of her Islamist terrorist enemies. This isn't news since the Bush administration has said often they would use diplomatic, military, and financial weapons in the war. What's news is two major U.S. newspapers told the world, including the enemy, how they do it. This from the LA Times:
Under this effort, Treasury routinely acquires information about bank transfers from the world's largest financial communication network, which is run by a consortium of financial institutions called the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, or SWIFT.
We know what side the NY Times and LA Times are on. They're neither pro-America nor anti-America. They're each on their own side, a side where their claim of the "public interest" (as they solely define it) transcends mere national borders. The NY Times and LA Times see themselves as above the confines of patriotism. That would be too Red State of them. Too much for the sensibilities of Fly-Over Country. Patterico declares the NY Times "actually dangerous" and "These people are in a race to undermine our national security." It's hard to disagree.
I'm sure there were quite a few rah-rahs in the newsrooms when Dixie Chick Natalie Maines wondered what the big deal is about patriotism. They could relate. The papers have internalized the Mike Wallace notion that they "don't have [a] higher duty... [they're] reporter[s]". Worrying about what harm telling the enemy about our efforts to defeat them is less important than impressing oneself among peers who also drink deeply from the Mike Wallace kool-aid.
There's the possibility of an anti-American European backlash that forces the Brussels-based Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (Swift) to end its cooperation with U.S. intelligence. It's not out of the realm of possibility even though the NY Times story states, "Swift and Treasury officials said they were aware of no abuses." Lack of abuse won't stop the anti-American Europeans and domestic Bush Basher from looking to take another shot at the U.S. for her "unlawful," "immoral," "unilateral" foreign policy.
The program has been effective. From the NY Times' story:
Among the successes was the capture of a Qaeda operative, Riduan Isamuddin, better known as Hambali, believed to be the mastermind of the 2002 bombing of a Bali resort, several officials said. The Swift data identified a previously unknown figure in Southeast Asia who had financial dealings with a person suspected of being a member of Al Qaeda; that link helped locate Hambali in Thailand in 2003, they said.
I wonder what role Swift data played (if any) in the arrest of the Miami terrorist cell that sought to destroy the Sears Tower.
It would be a grave mistake if the U.S. lost access to a rich source of intelligence just because two newspapers allowed their arrogance to trump national security. There's a time and a place for everything. There is something called History. That's when issues like this could be examined without the fear of tipping off the enemy.
"Bank Data Secretly Reviewed by U.S. to Fight Terror"
"Secret U.S. Program Tracks Global Bank Transfers"
June 22, 2006
Child Support Problems
Semi-old news is still juicy news. It seems a certain popular conservative state legislator is in a tiff with an ex-girlfriend over child support:
Rep. Frank Lasee (R-2nd) has asked to reduce the child support payments he must make for a child of his born out of wedlock to a DePere woman. A friend of the mother of Lasee's child called www.milwaukeeworld.com, with the permission of the mother, to discuss the matter. She said Lasee wrote to the mother saying that child support payments were too onerous for his modest legislative salary, to which the mother replied that the payments barely covered day care for the infant. Lasee also has not seen the child in five months, according to the caller. While the mother would like the Green Bay Republican to be a part of her child's life, Lasee, she says, is unwilling to make a commitment of his time for such a purpose. "It would take too much time and effort," he said, according to the caller.
"Rep. Lasee: Child Support is Costing Me Too Much"
Charlie's Show Prep #122
June 21, 2006
American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia has been out a few months. The massive, 997-page tome gets reasonable coverage in the NY Times:
Sixteen years in the making, American Conservatism: An Encyclopedia appears with American conservatism, the political movement, warring over its future direction.
Reporter Jason DeParle focuses too much on what was left out: Ann Coulter, Newt Gingrich, conservatism and race relations. Like most encyclopedias this is a living project with future editions in the works. The ability to dig deep into American conservative thought without needing 50 years of National Review issues is a wonderful accomplishment.
"An A-to-Z Book of Conservatism Now Weighs In"
Charlie's Show Prep #121
June 20, 2006
Rather Era Over at CBS
CBS News and Dan Rather have agreed to part ways. Rather still wants to report and might sign with Mark Cuban's HDNet network and reach the half-a-dozen sports and movie geeks who have spilled a few grand on HD televisions.
"Rather Leaving CBS"
"WaPo's Shales: Rather Was 'Very Activist Anchor' [I'll Say!]"
Missile Defense Activated on North Korea Fears
The intelligence coming out of North Korea must be sketchy. There have been reports since Sunday that a Taepodong-2 was fueled and ready for launch. Yet there's been no launch. What we do know is the U.S. missile defense is on alert, and a lot of people are freaking out.
Local School Needs Help After Tornado
I'm quoting this letter to Charlie Sykes in its entirety:
Charlie's Show Prep #120
June 19, 2006
Nobody's Running Against Kohl
Tommy Thompson won't run against Sen. Herb Kohl. Tim Michels, who ran against Sen. Russ Feingold in 2004 won't run. State Sen. Glenn Grothman shouldn't run because it would be a waste of his time unless he really, really wants to travel the state for a lost cause. So the GOP will just have to be satisfied with fruitcake Robert Gerald Lorge (while ignoring him) and focus, focus, focus on electing Rep. Mark Green as governor.
Selling Naming Rights in Books
Cover Girl bought naming rights in an up-coming teen novel Cathy's Book to be published in September. Novelist Jane Smiley admits she sold the name of a character to the highest bidder in a charity auction. In her case it added a different dimension to her writing:
After the auction, I went up to the purchaser and asked her what sort of character she wanted to be. "High-spirited and ready for anything" was the prescription, and I thought I could surely fit someone like that into a book about real estate speculation.
In the case of Cathy's Book Smiley feels the use of "Lipslicks in 'Daring'" and "eyecolor in 'Midnight Metal'" "smacks of ad-speak." Like any innovation it's how the artist uses it to advance her work. Developing an new revenue stream for writers isn't catagorically good or bad.
The book has irritated a Ralph Nader group so much "it's peppering hundreds of book review editors with an insistent request not to cover Cathy's Book."
Robert Kennedy Wants to Sue over 2004 Election
Based on the momentum Robert Kennedy, Jr. got from his Rolling Stone piece claiming President Bush stole the 2004 election he's in talks with lawyers to file lawsuits:
PRWeek: Is there a next step?
Waste your time and money. Be my guest.
Charlie's Show Prep #119
UPDATE: Brian Fraley can use these too since he'll be filling in for Jay Weber on WISN tomorrow morning.
June 18, 2006
Tornado Touchdown in Hartford
Was less than 10 miles from my house. I was safe and sound at the bookstore when the tornado went through Hartford. Thankfully only one person is known to be in the hospital.
"Tornado Roars Through Hartford"
Troubles at the Sheperd-Express
Conservatives don't take the Shepherd-Express seriously because of its outrageous content. Lefties won't like it for the way some of it's former writers claims they treated employees.
Who's going to read that rag other than those lonely men who need a new 1-900 number?
"Dave Berkman Calls out a Liberal Hypocrite"
Can't Afford Free Pool Admissions
Milwaukee County is under financial crisis. So what does the parks department do? Offer free admission to some of their swimming pools:
To mark their season opening today, Milwaukee County's pools will let kids 11 and under into all pool facilities other than the Cool Waters complex free of charge.
That's on top of the money-making Cool Waters having a free day last Memorial Day weekend. I don't want to hear anymore complaining by parks director Sue Black. She obviously thinks her budget is fine enough to toss around free days left and right.
"Feel Like Smacking Yourself in the Head?"
Open Letter to Dixie Chick
Phelony Jones deals out a reality-based slap to Natalie Maime's face:
To the media, you are porn. You're eye candy. To the rest of us you're just The Fat One with the fat mouth, but to the media, you're a peep show.
June 17, 2006
Dixie Chick Doesn't Understand Patriotism
Dixie Chick Natalie Maines demonstrates she's a typical celebrity who hasn't learned to keep her mouth shut when it comes to things other than her craft:
The Chicks can't hide their disgust at the lack of support they received from other country performers. "A lot of artists cashed in on being against what we said or what we stood for because that was promoting their career, which was a horrible thing to do," says Robison.
Love of country is alien to her. And she wonders why fellow musicians and fans shunned her band.
It's not that Maines shouldn't talk politics period, it's that she's a moron on the subject. Stick to the music!
Iran Eliminated from World Cup
The World Cup is already a success in my eyes: Iran was eliminated with their 2-0 loss to Portugal:
While Portugal were celebrating a second straight win in Group D - and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari's ninth in succession overall in FIFA World Cups™ - Iran were left to reflect on what went wrong after their second defeat confirmed their elimination. After a goalless first half in Frankfurt, Deco broke the deadlock with a long-distance strike in the 63rd minute and Ronaldo sealed the victory from the penalty spot with ten minutes remaining.
"Portugal 2-0 Iran"
Not Cut Out for Weblogging
Some people need editors. They can't simply pump out some words and put them out for the world to see without looking foolish. Spivak & Bice are two of them. Their sad excuse for a weblog hits a new low when they mistake the National Journal for National Review not once, not twice, but three times. Three times isn't a charm for these two. They must not get out much onto the big, bad internet. National Journal covers Washington, D.C. with a fine tooth comb with a nonpartisan approach while National Review is the flagship publication of the modern conservative movement. It's the subscription-only Hotline political tipsheet versus NRO's The Corner which is free but asking for donations. That should be enough help for the Spice Boys.
"Endangered Politicos' List"
UPDATE: I should have taken a screen shot. The post has been updated without any mention of a correction. I don't think that's how things operate with the dead tree addition.
June 16, 2006
Congressman Gets Away with Hitting an Officer
Rep. Cynthia McKinney won't be charged with anything for hitting a Capitol Police officer last March:
The grand jury had been considering the case since shortly after the March 29 incident, which has led to much discussion on Capitol Hill about race and the conduct of lawmakers and the officers who protect them.
Even Rep. Patrick Kennedy (yes, a Kennedy!) took some responsbility for his actions. With McKinney the best we can hope for is someone beats her in the primaries or general election.
"Rep. McKinney Won't Be Charged in Scuffle"
Not the Only One Job Hunting
James Joyner is seeking new employment. He prefers staying in the D.C./Northern Virginia area.
"On the Market Again"
Charlie's Show Prep #118
June 15, 2006
Al-Qaeda in Iraq in "Crisis"
Documents found at al-Qaeda in Iraq hideouts indicate the U.S. and her allies were winning the insurgency:
The document also said al-Zarqawi planned to try to destroy the relationship between the United States and its Shiite allies in Iraq.
One of the documents called the current situation a "crisis." Tell that to Sen. John Kerry who now says he made a mistake in voting for the Iraq War.
The strategy for al-Qaida in Iraq is to get the U.S. involved in a war with Iran and/or Iraq's Shiites.
"We mean specifically attempting to escalate the tension between America and Iran, and American and the Shiite in Iraq," it quoted the documents as saying, especially among moderate followers of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the most influential Shiite cleric in Iraq.
Obviously the U.S. anti-terrorist missions along with training Iraqi security forces is the cause of the "pressure." It sounds like the Bush administration's plan is working just don't expect them to get any credit from knee-jerk Bush bashers.
One wonders if al-Qaeda in Iraq has had any contact with Iran in trying to draw the U.S. into a military confrontation. For Iran a U.S. attack would pump up Persian nationalism and give support to the government while al-Qaeda could use it to egg on Muqtada al-Sadr's forces.
The Counterterrorism Blog has published one of the documents.
"Papers Show 'Gloomy' State of Insurgency"
Charlie's Show Prep #117
"Fair Trade is for Liberals"
June 14, 2006
Coulter Reignites the Evolution Wars
After reading John Hawkins' interview with Ann Coulter expect her next swirl of controversy to be about evolution:
John Hawkins: If you were to pick three concepts, facts, or ideas that most undercut the theory of evolution, what would they be?
"RWN's Ann Coulter Interview #3"
Coulter Teasing Her Readers
Nick Schweitzer offers a gallery of Ann Coulter book covers. At her rate we'll be seeing the conservative Twiggy au natural when her next book comes out in paperback. It will probably be titled Deviants: The Sexual Indecency of Liberalism.
P.S. I really, really, really want to say Nick stole my idea. But unless he has mind reading powers he didn't tell us at the BBA Spring Fling I'm assuming he thought it up all by himself, and I'm just a procrastinator.
Charlie's Show Prep #116
June 13, 2006
Juror Speaks on Thompson Trial
Jessica McBride interviewed Marvin Bizzelle one of the jurors in the Georgia Thompson case. It is quite a look into one man's perception of Gov. Doyle's administration. He completely discounts the Democratic Party's talking points which claim that Thompson was a "lone gunman" acting alone.
The juror said that all of the jurors agreed that people above Georgia Thompson were involved in the scheme.
Asked if he believed that Gov. Jim Doyle and former DOA Secretary Marc Marotta were involved in the scheme, Bizzelle said "yes." He said that, "There was testimony brought out that Marotta had talked with Adelman a couple of times and the governor went to a party. You know, money runs through politics. "
Asked if he thought that the campaign contributions played a role in Thompson's actions, he replied, "yes."
McBride sums it up:
[H]is comments do present a revealing contrast with Doyle's extensive interview with the media, in which the governor stated that Thompson acted alone and higher ups had nothing to do with it. This juror listened to all of the evidence and he drew the conclusions you see above.
Politically this is damaging to Doyle's re-election campaign. When a group of citizens were presented with testimony and evidence they determined political pressure was present even if not explicitly stated. Call it distrust/cyncism with politics in general--the Culture of Corruption taints all parties--or additional evidence of Doyle's pattern of unethical behavior. A campaign is on shakey ground when presenting facts before voters garners such a negative reaction.
The great thing about this for Congressman Green's campaign is they don't have to do a thing. They can simply talk to voters and let Doyle hang out in the wind without them running a single negative ad. Doyle is taking hits, but they don't have to pay a penny.
That's not to say the election is over. We have five months to Election Day. There's no telling what counter-attack Doyle with think up or what events and issues will come up. We know Doyle took a hard hit to the gut.
"My Interview Tonight with Travelgate Juror Marvin Bizzelle: 'We all felt there was pressure'"
A New Path
Like Mike Gousha and Bob Dolan I find it is time for me to make a career change. For them it will be something in media, both being well-known Milwaukee personalities. Me, I am looking for something different than the grind of working retail. Exactly what, I do not know. Not to get too Oprah-like but part of this is an exploration into myself and my possibilities.
Currently I am a bookseller at Barnes & Noble. Since December 1998 I have been constantly involved with customer service. My primary job is to get the book into the customer’s hand. I either find it on the shelf, sitting on a table, get it from a warehouse, or reserve it at another Barnes & Noble.
When I was a lead bookseller (I demoted myself to focus on my job search) my other duties involved managing a section of the bookstore. I maintained its appearance and inventory. I also was a jack-of-all trades jumping on cash registers, helping in the café and music department, and fixing minor computer problems when called upon.
My loyal readers know I am more than knee-deep in weblogging. Some might not know I have been tapping away on The American Mind since December 1999 which makes it one of the longest-running political weblogs in the nation and Wisconsin.
My biggest strength is my ability to take all the stuff I happen to remember and synthesize, to take disparate ideas and smash them together to come up with a (hopefully) useful solution. That is demonstrated everyday on my weblog where I try to publish insight rather than a regurgitation of what I found on a news web site. At Barnes & Noble that means if the customer provides a vague description of what book she is looking for I can make and educated guess or find alternative titles that would be useful.
While I have dealt with retail sales for over six years I have never considered myself a salesman. What I do is simply try to solve customers’ problems. I do not do any hard sells and would be uncomfortable in that kind of environment.
My job search has just begun so I am still trying to grasp what would fit my work experience and desires. Any help is welcome. I would love leads or advice to help me find a job that effective, productive, and satisfying. Moving is certainly an option. I love Southeast Wisconsin, but I am young and am willing to go where needed. I will be using a separate weblog to track my progress, letting you follow along with me. If you want a copy of my resume you can find it here or e-mail me at sean--dot--theamericanmind--dot--com.
Wilsons' Lawyer Says It Isn't Over
Here's a statement from Joe Wilson's lawyer:
We have become aware of the communication between Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Luskin concerning Karl. Rove's status in the criminal investigation. We have no first-hand knowledge of the reason for the communication or what further developments in the criminal investigation it may signal. While it appears that Mr. Rove will not be called to answer in criminal court for his participation in the wrongful disclosure of Valerie Wilson's classified employment status at the CIA in retaliation against Joe Wilson for questioning the rationale for war in Iraq, that obviously does not end the matter. The day still may come when Mr. Rove and others are called to account in a court of law for their attacks on the Wilsons.
It sounds like a civil case against Karl Rove is in the works. But if Peter Fitzgerald, with the power of a grand jury and hoards of investigators, couldn't indict him I doubt a civil trial will result in much. Also, besides Plame no longer on covert missions (which she didn't do for years prior to Bob Novak mentioning her in a column), the Wilsons have been harmed little. They've done a Vanity Fair feature and best-selling author Joe is the darling of the Bush bashing crowd.
"Statement from Christopher Wolf, attorney for outed CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson"
Send Xoff a Case of Rolaids
Bill Christofferson isn't in a good mood post-Georgia Thompson verdict. He calls all us right-wingers "neocons" (funny, I didn't know I was Jewish). Then he goes on to yammer:
I can imagine the well-reasoned responses to this post already: "Doyle flack!" "Apologist!" "Water carrier!" And worse. Have at it. So's your old lady.
It sounds like someone was popping the antacid early this morning. His eyes were probably bulging. His bottom lip pouted out. His nostrils flared. His hair disheveled. He probably called up the Doyle campaign and screamed at a few low-level staffers. Then he quotes Democratic Party/Gov. Doyle's office talking points because he's in no mood for a daunting attempt to convince us Thompson was the proverbial "lone gunman."
"FAQ in the Georgia Thompson Case"
Fitzmas is Cancelled
Tom Maguire gives us plenty on Karl Rove not being indicted.
"No Charges Against Rove"
One Measure of Progress
One way to measure security progress in Iraq is the day President Bush will be able to travel to Baghdad without it being a secret mission. Today isn't that day, but the Iraqi government is making an effort to secure the capital:
Iraq's new prime minister promised Tuesday to show "no mercy" to terrorists and said before President Bush arrived for a surprise visit that a long-awaited security plan for Baghdad will include a curfew and a ban on personal weapons.
There will come a day when a Presidential visit to Iraq won't be shrouded in secrecy.
Charlie's Show Prep #115
Georgia Thompson's conviction will take up most of the show, but here are a few items should Charlie need a little change of pace:
Georgia Thompson was found guilty of fraud in driving a state travel contract to a political donor of Gov. Jim Doyle. The prosecution didn't attempt to prove a pay-for-play scheme involving minions of Doyle or the governor himself. They argued "Adelman Travel would not have gotten the contract if Thompson had not illegally inflated the firm's scores." Witnesses said Thompson wasn't happy when Omega World, a competitor to Adelman, got a higher initial score. Travel consultant Ian Thomas testified Thompson told him she didn't know "how I'm going to tell my bosses it's not Adelman." If Thompson's job and future didn't depend on who got the travel contract why did she fight so hard for Adelman? Why did she tell Bridget Nettesheim, a member of the committee, "It wouldn't fly. Politically it wasn't what needed to happen?"
Let me speculate that Thompson isn't that smart when it comes to political intrigue. She did give a few witnesses the impression something was up. Committee member Frank Kooistra testified he thought Thompson liked the "best and final offer" idea because she wanted the committee "to select Adelman as the agency of choice." She might have thought she could survive a trial instead of rolling over. The prosecution got its conviction. Now, they will use sentencing as a lever to get Thompson to talk. What she divulges, if anything, could decide the governor's race.
Federal prosecutor Steven Biskupic is the least political prosecutor I've seen in a while. He said the case was about "Georgia Thompson and Georgia Thompson alone." He also said, "I don't want people to read too much into it, other than we are trying to be careful in what we do." Biskupic is a man who could have led a highly-partisan investigation into Milwaukee voter fraud using it as a weapon in Republicans' favor. Obviously he's a Republican and/or conservative (federal prosecutors are political appointments) but his demeanor is reserved. I see the federal bench in his future.
As for Gov. Doyle's future, that's murkier. What is with the calls from former Department of Administration Secretary Marc Marotta's office and Adelman during the "best and final" offer phase of the bidding? The current chairman of Gov. Doyle's campaign hasn't offered an explanation. Doyle won't surrender campaign contributions from Adelman executives because "Georgia Thompson acted on her own and that no other state employee was involved."
Now for some blogosphere reaction:
"Official Convicted in Travel Deal"
Possible Media Ban on Canadian Terrorist Suspects
There's one guy hoping there's a media ban on Canada's terrorism case: Ed Morrissey. He had a pretty good run going around the Adscam trial. If his back stops bothering him he'll probably be fed plenty of good stuff from the hearings and trials.
"Lawyers Blast Media Ban in Canada Terrorism Case"
June 12, 2006
Lavish Spending at Kos Party
Tim Blair has fun with Susan G's lauding of herself and her fellow YearlyKos attendees.
Their gathering was full of tin-foil-wearers who sat through a national security panel lead by Arianna Huffington. Your average Kossite might be off kilter the fearless leader is damn smart and shouldn't be underestimated. He's found a way to get Presidential candidates to commiserate with webloggers while spending thousands of dollars on Vegas parties. What Kos doesn't understand is that's not the best way to spend campaign dollars. He writes, "And in politics, $100K is pocket change. Better spend it on a blogger party where the candidate socialized with regular people than on bullshit television ads or crappy consultants." If all you want is the wacked-out weblog vote for the Democratic nomination then blowing money on a Kos party will help. But the 90% of the electorate that doesn't obsess over politics on the internet can be swayed through paid ads.
"Warner's Stratosphere Party"
Judge Makes No Decision on Spying Case
I don't think anyone thought Judge Anna Diggs Taylor would immediately halt the terrorist surveillance program. A hearing on the government's argument that the case involves state's secrets is set for July 10.
"Judge Defers Decision on Wiretap Suit"
Intruder's Unique Choice of Weapons
How would you like to wake up to this:
Leisa K. Reed, 47, was charged with two felonies, armed burglary and second degree recklessly endangering safety and four misdemeanors, battery, intentionally mistreat an animal, resisting an officer and bail jumping.
Police tasered Reed with no effect and ended up putting "their weight on the woman to take her into custody."
"Charges in Pooper Scooper Attack"
It's refreshing when a politician doesn't use political-speak and says what he means. I give you Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA) at Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner:
When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I'm going to earmark the shit out of it.
Moran may be one of the few Congressmen to be so expicit, but I'm confident he's not the only one waiting to use positions to send largess to their districts.
When it comes to earmarks and bloated budgets the GOP has been an embarassment. "Tossing the bums out" and handing power to the Democrats might not be the wisest thing either.
"Moran: Democratic Majority Means More Money for 8th District"
Terrorist Spying Case Heard in Detroit
In a federal court in Detroit the ACLU challenged the U.S. government on the legality of NSA terrorist wiretaps. The ACLU wants the program immediately halted even though like the rest of us (including the judge) they don't really know how it works. The Plaintiffs can't prove they're being spied on. Their argument is the existence of the program prevents them from talking to people and doing research. Well, maybe, maybe not. Journalists and scholars are dumb. If they have the perserverance and imagination they can find ways to avoid the appearance of being spied on.
Government lawyers want the case tossed because it could reveal classified information.
Glenn Greenwald is pleased even though he thinks the government will win:
[F]or the first time ever, a federal court this morning is entertaining substantive arguments as to the legality of warrantless eavesdropping.
Suppose Judge Anna Diggs Taylor agrees with the ACLU and orders the program shut down. Is the ACLU willing to accept responsibility for another terrorist attack on U.S. soil? It's easy to preen about civil liberties in the abstract when not all the facts are known.
"Government Defends Domestic Spying in Court"
"Domestic Spying Program Comes Under Legal Scrutiny"
Big news coming later today.
Charlie's Show Prep #114
May the Force Be with You
The All Star Wars Band backed Gnarls Barkley at the MTV Movie Awards. Chewbacca on drums, a storm trooper playing bass, some rebel pilots singing back-up, and Boba Fett standing guard all helping with the song of the year "Crazy."
June 11, 2006
Hooray for Mexico
I care little about the World Cup. Yes, I'm a typical America. But I like two things: 1. an American win; and 2. an Iranian loss.
"Mexico 3-1 Iran"
June 09, 2006
I Do Have a Last Name
A minor pet peeve of mine is being called only by my first name when I'm mentioned with my weblog--I'm talking to you Sykes. "Sean of The American Mind" bugs me. I have a full name that I want out there. Call it my small attempt at branding. Jessica McBride mentioned a New York article I e-mailed her about adults who try to remain locked into their 20s, and she used my full name.
Now, we have to do something about her ever-expanding blogroll.
Kos' Remote Online Political World
One should be amazed at the cockiness of Markos Moulitsas, but one must have lots of chutzpah and ego to run a weblog so dominant it deserved its own convention. Bryon York gives us some nuggets from Kos' keynote:
We’re only four years old, from the early days when bloggers like Atrios and Jerome Armstrong at MyDD inspired bloggers like me and countless others to stop railing at the television, stop throwing pillows at Hannity and Colmes, stop complaining about Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, stop complaining about the pathetic so-called liberals who were supposedly speaking for us in Washington, DC, and take what we felt, that passion and that energy, and start using it online.”
Like many webloggers Kos fails to realize most normal people don't read weblogs. They're still getting their news from television, newspapers, and magazines. I know that's sad, but it's reality--something Kos has a hard time dealing with.
Kos talked about Lefty "netroots" "victories:" Howard Dean, M.D in 2003; Dean, M.D. as DNC chairman; Paul Hackett. Out of those three only one was a winner: Chairman Dean. His track record backing winning candidates is pretty poor. 1-19 is pretty removed from reality. Yet that doesn't stop the Kossites from fawning over their leader. Can you say "cult of personality?"
"The Two Worlds of the Liberal Blogosphere"
Pujols Linked to Grimsley Report
Deadspin thinks one of the names blacked out in the Jason Grimsley report (PDF) is Chris Mihlfeld. Chris Mihlfeld? Who's he? As Deadspin puts it he "has been Albert Pujols’ personal trainer since before Pujols was drafted by the Cardinals in the 13th round of the 1999 draft." That's not to say Pujols is accused of getting performance-enchancing drugs from Mihlfeld. The report says only that the trainer referred Grimsley to a source of "amphetamines, anabolic steroids and human growth hormone."
"So ... We've Got Some Affidavit Names"
Charlie's Show Prep #113
The "Stunt" That Wasn't
Washington Times editors really wanted to catch Democrats for not being enthusiastic for the Zarqawi news. They even went so far as to write a headline reading "Democrats call Zarqawi killing a stunt." If you read the story no Democrat used the s-word. They fixed it for the Friday edition of the newspaper.
"The Washington Times Slimes Democrats With a Lie"
June 08, 2006
An Abortion Fanatic at Kos Convention
The Culture of Death lives, breathes, and thrives inside the world of the Kossites. At a pundit training workshop at the Yearly Kos convention going on in Las Vegas Bryon York noted a Kossite obsessed with abortion:
Another blogger wanted to talk about abortion. “I’ve been in the abortion business for 30 years,” she said as she walked toward the interview chair, adding that she owned a string of abortion clinics around the country.
The audience appluaded.
The Clintonian mantra of making abortions safe, legal, and rare wasn't present. But then this is a group who thinks an embryo is just an unviable tissue mass. To the woman pundit-wannabe abortion was a business. More abortion meant more business for her. The Culture of Death plus economic insentive equals inhumanity.
"You Wanna Be a Pundit?"
With the news of Zarqawi's death Girl on the Right declared today a "cheesecake for breakfast day." Me? I'm going out for a nice lunch.
For your mid-day reading here's The Atlantic's piece on Zarqawi in their latest issue.
"Zarqawi Dead? Again?"
U.S. Media Reaction to Zarqawi's Death
This morning, ABC and NBC both went into Bush criticism mode on news of Zarqawi's death. They didn't even take time for satisfaction at the end of an evil man's bloody reign of death. NBC's Ann Curry let Sen. Joe Biden go off on a rant about President Bush's so-called "incompetence" "at home and abroad." ABC let Richard Clarke say wacking Zarqawi wouldn't make much of a difference in curbing the violence in Iraq. I guess that was a waste of intellegence and smart bombs.
Either the media feel the orginal story was "old news" because it came in the middle of the night U.S. time, or they have a predisposal to beat on the President.
"ABC Quickly Brings In Peacenik Dad to Condemn Zarqawi Killing"
Two Quick Observations
Here are a couple observations on the Al-Zarqawi news:
Now, I need to sleep a little so I can comprehend any new reporting and analysis.
Charlie's Show Prep #112
The AP reports Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will announce Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead. NBC News reports the U.S. military confirmed it.
This is great, amazing, wonderful news. Big, big news. It shows progress is being made in Iraq. It is a signal that U.S.-Iraqi forces are relentless is hunting down the Islamists who want Iraq's government to fall a quickly as it rose.
Iraqi troops should march al-Zarqawi's body through the streets of Baghdad and allow people to smack it with their shoes or whatever insult is most appropriate in their culture. That evil man forced Iraq to endure so much suffering.
"Report: U.S. Forces Kill al-Qaeda Leader al-Zarqawi"
UPDATE: The AP reports al-Zarqawi was killed in an air strike.
It was reported that Zarqawi was killed in the city of Baquba at 7.00 pm local time, in a joint operation involving Jordanian intelligence, US intelligence and American special operations forces.
Kudos go to the Jordanians.
The Guardian reports:
Mr Maliki said the air strike was the result of US forces acting on information provided to Iraqi security forces by local residents.
Kudos to local Iraqis. Obviously more reporting is needed to sort out who all should be praised.
CNN has remarks from Gen. George Casey:
Tips and intelligence from Iraqi senior leaders from his network led forces to al-Zarqawi and some of his associates who were conducting a meeting approximately eight kilometers north of Baquba when the airstrike was launched.
Oil futures have gone down on the good news.
Michelle Malkin is as much of a night owl as I am.
Coulter Challenging Victimhood
What's really bizarro is I'm defending Ann Coulter. What's next, me defending Michael Moore?
On Today Coulter took on the Oprah-fication of culture and how liberals use victimhood as a political weapon. Curt from Flopping Aces writes,
A small number of widows have made claim to a moral authority on the War against Terror. They cannot be questioned because their husbands died…..give me a effin break. Why must everyone tiptoe around these things?
In 2004 the Jersey Girls endorsed Sen. John Kerry. When you step into the political ring expect to be challenged and don't use your status as victim as a shield.
In a similar fashion I care little for what Debra Burlingame, wife of the pilot whose jet slammed into the Pentagon, has to say. What qualifications does she offer other than having the unfortunate luck of having her husband killed by Islamists?
In Coulter's case her track record of indefensible, over-the-top statements reduces her effectiveness when she does make a valid point. Ace of Spades writes,
Persuasive. Hey, she's not one of the country's foremost polemicists for nothing.
June 07, 2006
Coulter Started a Catfight
The "Jersey Girls," the women Ann Coulter chided yesterday on Today shoot back:
"I'd like her to meet my daughter and tell her how anyone could enjoy their father's death," said Kristen Breitweiser, one of four widows known as the "Jersey Girls."
"Massive Chip on Her Coulter"
Brian Bilbray beat Francine Busby by 4.5%. If Busby had not told an audience that "You don't need papers for voting," it would have been a closer race and would really tell us something about November's mid-term elections. As it is a Republican won a Republican seat by a comfortable margin. The Democrats are sure to be concerned if there really is an anti-GOP groundswell. Republicans better not become complacent and think the fall elections won't be as tough as the conventional wisdom thinks.
Matthew Hoy has more.
Then Kevin Binversie lets us know Kos finally backed a winner. He's still 1-19.
"Bilbray Defeats Busby"
Poland Denies Another Report of CIA Secret Prisions
A Council of Europe report again claims there are/were secret CIA prisons across Europe where terrorist suspsects are/were hidden. Poland was named specifically.
Switzerland's Dick Marty, lead investigator behind the report has friends in the U.S. intelligence community:
Marty, who didn't have the power to compel the release of documents, used ``evidence from national and international air- traffic control authorities, as well as sources inside intelligence services, including in the United States'' to compile the report, the council said.
So leakers are talking to Europeans with an anti-American axe to grind along with reporters.
Janusz Onyszkiewicz, Poland's deputy head of the European Parliament responds:
I think it's a great exaggeration. Obviously, the CIA cooperates with secret services of al countries, Poland included. After all, the United States is our very close ally, so there is no wonder we have close links. But reading this paper, I see that all the allegations are very poorly substantiated, there is only hearsay. There is only one case of one flight to an airfield in Poland, which allegedly brought in some people to be detained, but there was no other flight which took them away! So, everything is very circumstantial and poorly documented.
Reporter Pawel Wronski supports Onyszkiewicz's claim about the airfield:
I was at Szymany airport, but there is no possibility to build a prison there where the CIA can keep people, because there are no fences around this airport. No one has given me any information where these prisons are in Poland.
Both Onyszkiewicz and Wronski think the report is just another instance of America-bashing.
"Warsaw Rejects Accusations of Harbouring CIA Prisons"
"U.K., Other European States Aided CIA, Report Says"
Charlie's Show Prep #111
Bilbray Ahead in Early Count
In the much-watched California 50th Congressional race Republican Brian Bilbray leads Democrat Francine Busby 49.82% to 44.71% with 56% of the vote counted. Busby sounded like she was loosing a little confidence:
“Tonight we have made history by sending that message for change ... it's time for Congress to work for us,” Busby told cheering supporters at the D Street Bar and Grill in Encinitas. “This will send a message and put the wind in the sails to take us to victory in November.
Since this special election will only fill the remaining six months of Duke Cunningham's term both candidates will oppose each other again in November. National momentum and party confidence weighs on this race.
"Bilbray Stakes out Early Lead Against Busby"
June 06, 2006
06.06.06 and Ann Coulter
Ann Coulter is smart enough to know 06.06.06 is a good day to release her new book Godless. Now, I consider her a devil in the conservative movement, but there are occasions when she makes her point well without sounding like a bad stand-up commedian. Her interview with Matt Lauer on Today was one moment as documented by NewsBusters.org:
Right out of the box, Lauer invited Ann to buy into that logic:
Coulter didn't call anyone names and frustrated Lauer. That's a top-notch performance.
"Coulter Won't Buy Into Lauer's Liberal Logic"
No Pity for Racine Taxpayers
If you ever hear someone from Racine complain about taxes being too high have them explain why they keep the school district pick their pockets:
Voters tonight passed a $6.45 million one-year spending referendum. About fifty-four percent of those voting approved the request for more money, 46% rejected it. The vote was 10,413 to 8,920.
Admitted financial mismanagement couldn't persuade voters from turning off the spigot. They're hopeless.
"Racine Voters Back More School Spending"
California Special Election to Fill Cunningham Seat
There's an election in California today. Democrat Francine Busby and Republican Brian Bilbray are fighting for disgraced Congressman Duke Cunningham's seat. Matthew Hoy was so ticked at the GOP he endorsed Busby. He now calls it the "kiss of death."
"Kiss of Death"
Making the Best of a Bad Situation
The biggest problem with Iran is all the options available aren't great. To steal from Jon Henke, "it's important to note that we don't have a lot of good options." Launching an invasion would require moving large amounts of troops from Asia and Europe. Along with that is the potential for Iranian-sympathizing Shities in Iraq to create a second front. Then there are the fears from other Persian Gulf states as noted by Barry McCaffery:
U.S. public diplomacy and rhetoric about confronting Iranian nuclear weapons is scaring neighbors in the Gulf. They will not support another war. They have no integrated missile and interceptor air defense. They have no credible maritime coastal defense system to protect their ports and oil production facilities. Our Mid-East allies believe correctly that they are ill-equipped to deal with Iranian strikes to close the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. They do not think they can handle politically or militarily a terrorist threat nested in their domestic Shia populations.
India and China are growing economies that need cheap energy to lift their people out of poverty. Economic sanctions won't hold very long if at all.
But the idea of that lunatic Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or the mullahs having the bomb is frightening. Too bad it's probably inevitable they will develop a nuclear weapon. The technology to do it is over 60 years old. The basic concept is found in any college-level (and probably high school-level) physics textbook. The barriers to entry entail enriched uranium. Iranians are a very proud people. While not being fans of their regime they don't appreciate the outside world ordering them around. That makes Iranians very similar to Americans.
The best approach to Iran is to accept the fact they will have some kind of nuclear industry. Jon Henke goes into details of an agreement that would monitor Iran to keep it peaceful, but it should be assumed that someday they will have a nuclear weapon. The West needs to work to destable the unpopular theocracy. The problem with Iran having a nuke is that it's an authoritarian nation that supports anti-West terrorism. An nuclear Iran with a regime of liberty in place of the mullahs would be much less of a threat to Israel, the United States, and the West. Look at India. She is a nuclear, democratic power moving down the path to further liberty and economic prosperity. A nuclear India isn't a threat to the U.S. or the West.
Before the announcement of U.S. consession Tom Barrnett wrote,
The "grand bargain" with Iran gives us something the region has long desperately needed: a regional security regime (starts as a CSCE-like affair and slowly migrates into something more tangible) that puts Iran in a comfortable-enough place that external security "threats" are no longer enough to hold off popular domestic impulses for reform. CSCE got you Walesa and the rest in East Europe (again, thank Nixon and Henry and just pat Ronnie and Maggie and JP II on the backs), because it created a regional forum to push individual economic/human rights and that got you the asssertive, impatient public that ultimately took Reagan's rhetoric and made it real.
It's not the U.S. boldly liberating Iran through war, diplomacy, or economic sanctions. This approach will take time and be organic. But given the constraints at hand it's the best we've got.
I'm sure many like James Joyner and Alan Warms are screaming, "WTF?" But options are limited unless the U.S. and the West wants to go to war with Iran and accept all the retaliation and high energy costs that will come with it.
"Report: Incentive Package Includes U.S. Giving Iran Nuke Technology"
Weld Drops Out
Bill Weld won't have to face charges of being a New York carpetbagger. He ended his bid in the governor's race. Either way State Attorney General Elliot Spitzer's strategy of campaign via lawsuit is working and he'll beat anyone the GOP throws at him.
Because I despise how Spitzer treated Strong Financial, forced the company to be sold, and caused hundreds of Wisconsin jobs to be lost I urge you to donate to John Faso. If he has a shot at beating Spitzer he'll need all the money he can get.
"Former Mass. Gov. Weld Drops out of New York Race"
Time to celebrate by banging your head like a maniac. It's National Day of Slayer. No, SLAYER!!!!
Charlie's Show Prep #110
June 05, 2006
No US Open for Michelle Wie
Michelle Wie's attempt at qualifying for the men's U.S. Open fell short:
Three consecutive bogeys sent her to a three-over 75 and into the middle of the qualifying pack at Summit, New Jersey today (AEST).
The girl's only 16. She'll make it one of these years.
"Michelle's US Open Bid Fails"
Anyone know what's wrong with Blogrolling.com? My blogroll isn't up and there's an odd Tucows (parent company of Blogrolling.com) page up.
Patrick Kennedy On the Loose
Beware Washington, D.C. drivers, pedestrians, and police. Rep. Patrick Kennedy left rehab at the Mayo Clinic and heading back to the capital.
"Patrick Kennedy Out of Rehab"
[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]
To Boil or Not to Boil?
Summer is here, even in Wisconsin. That means grilling. A semi-controversial question in these parts is whether you should boil your bratwurst before grilling. Me, if I have time and some beer sitting around (not good stuff, that's for drinking while I'm grilling) I'll boil the sausages with some onions and garlic. But there are time I'll just grill the brats making sure the flame isn't too hot and turning the brats often.
Next brat question: how do you top them? I'm not a big enough mustard fan to only go with that. My favorite is a little ketchup and some saurkraut.
"On Your Mark, Get Set, Grill!"
UPDATE: A la Emeril Lagasse I'm kicking it up a notch. What's your brat of choice? Kewaskum makes some good ones. Johnsonville is always solid.
Adam Smith's Birthday
The founder of economics Adam Smith was born 283 years ago today. Although DealBreaker.com says today is the anniversary of Smith's baptism. Either way, it's good to be reminded of the field of study he started and the brilliant ideas he advanced.
Journal Sentinel Scooped in Own Backyard
It's very, very sad the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel could be scooped by The Smoking Gun. On 06.02 TSG reported on Bob Uecker getting a restraining order for a kook who has followed him all over for years. It took the Journal Sentinel three days to get something in the paper, and it's four paragraphs of a summary of the TSG report.
The newspaper has no excuse. They have a cozy relationship with the Milwaukee Brewers. Journal Communications owns WTMJ, the radio flagship of the Brewers. Last Saturday, the paper sponsored a bobblehead give-away. And don't reporters hang out at the county courthouse? You'd think they would have caught wiff of something.
Sullivan: U.S. is a "Rogue Nation"
The United States is on par with Stallinist North Korea and millitant Iran. At least that's what Andrew Sullivan declares (emphasis mine):
The United States is a rogue nation that practices torture and detainee abuse and does not follow the most basic principles of the Geneva Conventions. It is inviolation of human rights agreements and the U.N. Convention against torture. It is legitimizing torture by every disgusting regime on the planet.
If you think making prisoners endure cold, hot, loud music, and the occasional waterboarding is the rebirth of the Inquisition then you're beyond my convincing. Is it U.S. policy to shove bamboo under prisoners' fingernails? Are interrogators systematically breaking bones? Are they, a la Jack Bauer, making prisoners swallow socks only to yank them back up their esophaguses? No, no, and no. Instead, they're making prisoners stand nude before women then having an Israeli flag drapped over them. Is it psychologically demeaning? Sure, but if I were a prisoner I'd gladly accept that "torture."
Look at the picture Sullivan posted.
That prisoner isn't in a comfortable position, but do you see any bruises, any gunshot wounds, any scars, any marks at all?
Crimes have been committed. The case of an Afghani killed from being kneed scores of times is an example. However, Bush critics have set the torture bar so low the real crimes become noise. At Guantanamo the prisoners have been well fed, can practice their religion, and can read Harry Potter. I'd prefer that to the Hanoi Hilton Sen. John McCain had to endure during the Vietnam War.
The U.S. gets attacked on Sep. 11, 2001 then proceeds on a quest to destroy Islamist groups. Afghanistan and Iraq both are liberated. Millions of people have the chance to create a regime of liberty and breathe free. President Bush has set the nation down a path to promote liberty the world over. And the U.S. is a "rogue nation?" We're the bad guys? It will take another terrorist attack on the homeland to shake Sullivan out of his delusions of Chomsky.
Kennedy's Fantasy World
Salon (yes, Salon!) takes a shotgun to Robert Kennedy, Jr.'s claim the GOP stole the 2004 election.
Any talk about voter supression in 2004 has no credibility with me without at least briefly mentioning the Milwaukee tire slashings, actual documented and prosecuted voter supression. A search through Kennedy's article brought up nothing. There's no need for me to wade through pages of conspiracy theories and partisan bitterness.
Carnival of the Capitalists
Rethink(IP) hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.
Charlie's Show Prep #109
June 04, 2006
Fashionably "Stuck on Stupid"
Albert Pujols Could Miss Six Weeks
In this year of Barry Bonds passing Babe Ruth on the all-time home runs list we could have been witness to Albert Pujols putting together one of the greatest offensive performances in baseball history. Too bad for us he hurt himself going after a foul ball:
Pujols, who leads the major leagues with 25 home runs and 65 RBIs after winning the NL MVP award last year, will be re-evaluated on Sunday but is expected to go on the DL.
No one's accused Pujols of using steroids. Having him chase after Bonds' single-season home run mark would have returned some gloss to that record.
June 03, 2006
Who would think eating grilled meat, drinking beer, and talking about whatever came to mind would make me so tired. Being in a great park on a beautiful day talking with smart, cool people had a lot to do with it. That and we had a Dennis York sighting.
June 02, 2006
Explain This to Me
Why did I waste my time reading Dave Begel tell me, "Explain This to Me" ten times?
"Begel Ponders Some of the Imponderable Mysteries of Sport"
The Good and Bad of Progress
Glenn Reynolds has written a whole book on how technology and markets have empowered an "Army of Davids." There is a downside to this progress which Glenn acknowledges: the improvements can be for both good and bad. The knowledge and ability to synthesize makes life-saving drugs possible it also allows someone to collect enough ricin in a shed to kill scores. Don't be surprised one day to read a story about someone producing weapons-grade uranium in their basement.
"FBI to Search House After Finding Ricin"
UPDATE: Texas governor Rick Perry wants an "army of eyeballs" scanning the U.S.-Mexican border:
The plan will allow web users worldwide to watch Texas' border with Mexico and phone the authorities if they spot any apparently illegal crossings.
Call it the 101st Pajama Division of the Minutemen Project.
Spinning the Bookmobile
WISN's Early Spin also gave Mayor Barrett the Bookmobile dig. The idea of giving away Brewers tickets to stop crime is lame and deserves ridicule, but the Bookmobile doesn't have books anymore. Therefore it isn't the Bookmobile. It's called a "mobile community substation" whatever that is. Mock that because...
In the mobile police station, officers would be joined by representatives of other government agencies, schools and community organizations offering services to help people improve their neighborhoods and reduce crime.
If I were mayor I'd load it up with more cops. But then I'm one of those tough-on-crime, go-after-the-bad-guys, law-and-order conservatives who hate black people--especially the McGee/Jacksons.
June 01, 2006
Charlie's Show Prep #108
Stem Cell Legislation
Kevin Binversie has a great interview with State Rep. Steve Kestell about stem cell research and his bill that would ban human cloning. The most important item to take away is his bill wouldn't damage any potential stem cell industry:
4.) Would AB 499 have still allowed Wisconsin to become, as Governor Jim Doyle claims, ‘a stem cell leader?’ Or are Doyle’s concerns merited?
I take the slightly sideways position of being opposed to human cloning for research but don't oppose it for reproduction. Human embryoes should be allowed to come to term not be microscoptic stem cell factories.
"Kestell on AB 499 and Stem Cells"
Sex and the CoB
Sex and the Mil-town hosted this week's Carnival of the Badger. Yours truly forgot to submit anything. Me bad. Truly had fun with what little she had to work with.
McBride Biffed It
Last night, Jessica McBride wrote,
Mayor Barrett and Police Chief Hegerty are dispatching the bookmobile to high crime areas to combat the rash of shootings. I am not making this up.
You'd think the bookmobile was being sent as a diversion so potential criminals would read instead of commit crimes. That would be a stupid idea. But that's not the case at all:
The stepped-up police presence would be bolstered by a "mobile community substation" that would be based in the vehicle once known as the Bookmobile. The longtime library on wheels was mothballed by budget cuts this year.
McBride should be happy. The former bookmobile will supporting an increased police presence.
I'm waiting for her clarification.
"More Police for High-Crime Areas Top Anti-Crime Efforts"
[Hat tip to DJ for being skeptical.]
Icons? What Icons?
Once upon a time I thought the Department of Homeland Security was a good idea. With new terrorist threats I thought a "person in charge who could force the CIA and FBI to work together instead of worrying about turf would bring better security to the nation." What's happened is we're stuck with a department that thinks there are no national monuments and icons in New York City [PDF]. In the post I quoted above I also wrote, "But a weak secretary would be little better than the present Homeland Security Advisor--and much more expensive." Looks like I got that part right. *SIGH*
"No Icons, No Monuments Worth Protecting"
UPDATE: The Moderate Voice has blogospheric reaction.
MPA Wants McCann Gone
The Milwaukee Police Association wants District Attorney Michael McCann gone after his handling of the Alfonzo Glover case along with "additional investigations of police officers which (McCann) has handled, and is currently handling."
This is not surprising. McCann hasn't offered an explanation for why he went against the inquest's determination and charged Glover with murder while accepting scores of previous inquest decisions in police shooting.
"MPA Calls for McCann's Resignation"
Spring Fling 2006
Hey Wisconsin webloggers, weblog readers, politicians, assorted media types not embarassed to hang out with the unwashed masses, and new media anthropologists Saturday is the Wisconsin Blogosphere Spring Fling. It's an excuse to get away from our computers (no wi-fi in the great outdoors), eat, drink (Leinie's of course), and meet the assorted ruffians that make up the Wisconsin blogosphere. It's at Nagawaukee Park in Waukesha County starting at noon. Bring your own food (grills will be provided) and drink (nothing stronger than beer and wine coolers). Lefties, Righties, Howard Deaniacs, and Pat Buchananites are all welcome. Even Xoff can come.
"3 Days Until the Greatest Event in the History of Wisconsin"
Return of Trackbacks
Last year I had to ditch trackbacks because spammers were hitting TAM so hard my webhost complained. I've learned Dreamhost has ended their cpu minute restrictions. So I trackbacks have returned. If the spammers hit TAM again Dreamhost won't be happy and trackbacks would be temporary. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.
Much of the problem is I use an old version of Movable Type. Its spam-blocking capabilities are not state-of-the art. In the future I plan on upgrading to new weblogging software, but that will require a new template. Since my design skills are zilch I'll hire outside help. Putting a little something in the tip jar or buying a Blogad would speed up the process and be appreciated.
A legislator in Taiwan created chaos by eating a piece of legislation. Odd you say? Well, part of Congress was shut down last week due to a construction noise that sounded like gunfire.
"Comparative Legislative Procedures"
Rockies' Religious Revival
The Colorado Rockies are using Christianity to improve the clubhouse and their performance on the baseball field.
On the field, the Rockies are trying to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons and only the second time in their 14-year history. Behind the scenes, they quietly have become an organization guided by Christianity — open to other religious beliefs but embracing a Christian-based code of conduct they believe will bring them focus and success.
The clubhouse lacks the rowdiness typical of other baseball teams. After eight seasons of losing baseball and an embarassing incident with Denny Neagel management infused the team with a Christian approach. There doesn't appear to be any feeling of forced faith but that could be due to the team's selection process.
The Rockies' success may not be due to what prayer sessions or bible studies as much as the professional attitude displayed. A good work ethic means being serious about one's job, being prepared, and taking the job seriously. The Rockies are using Christianity and good character to do that.
UPDATE: Rockies players say USA Today put too much emphasis on Christianity. Jason Jennings said, "You don't have to be a Christian to have good character. They can be separate. It was misleading."
It may be misleading. It also maybe Rockies players don't want to be labled "goody-goodies" by their peers.
No New Taxes. Not Even for Culture
Here's a new idea that should be DOA: a seven-county sales tax for cultural attractions. The new tax would pay for the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Milwaukee Public Museum, and other cultural institutions. It sounds sort-of good at first. Backers see it as only being a small tax of 0.01%--one cent for every $10 spent. But it's a tax that's bound to grow. Even before it's enacted Mayor Tom Barrett wants it to cover "City of Milwaukee police and fire services, Milwaukee County parks and various regional transit needs." That already sounds like something higher than 0.01%. Like any tax it will grow and grow. A new special interest will have been created who will tell us the "sky is falling" and culture in Milwaukee will be doomed in the tax isn't raised. Rarely do taxes die. Once in place we're stuck with them.
Mayor Barrett is politically astute enough to not "see an appetite in this community for any increased taxes," but that isn't stopping him from looking at ways to do it.
The problem with government isn't a lack of revenue. We're taxed too much. Wisconsin's total tax burden [PDF] is 32.2%. That's twelth-highest in the nation. The problem isn't a lack of tax dollars.
This idea was "wacky" when Dan Finley quasi-proposed it last year. Time hasn't made it anymore sensible.
"7-County Sales Tax for Cultural Sites Pushed"
UPDATE: Racine County Executive Bill McReynolds and Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker both get it.
I’m a firm believer in genuine regional cooperation, but this isn’t cooperation—it’s picking the pockets of the other six counties.
[M]ost people believe that the government already takes too much money from them. I agree. Just look at my second point. If our fringe benefit rate was closer to 30%, we could do a great deal more in the parks. Giving the government the funds from a new tax without fixing the core of the problem just makes it worse in the future.
Charlie's Show Prep #107