August 31, 2006
Charlie's Show Prep #163
State Elections Board Raps Green over PAC Money
Rep. Mark Green got rapped by a partisan vote on the state elections board and ordered to give up $468,000 in political action committee donations he transfered from his federal campaign account to that for his race for governor.
The Doyle campaign is using the board's decision to tar Green, making him look as sleazy as Gov. Doyle. State Democratic Party chairman Joe Wineke called the contested money "dirty." The fact is Green's PAC money was legal when initially raised and legal when moved into gubernatorial account. It only broke the rules when five Democratic board members along with one libertarian decided to stick it to Rep. Green.
Republican State Senator Mike Ellis, fervent critic of campaign finances and no fan to conservatives, said the board's decision was "partisan mischief." Ellis also said, "Every action that Mark Green took from raising the money to spending it, he took according to the laws that were in effect at the time. For the Elections Board to step in at the 11th hour and in a clearly partisan act say that the rules have suddenly changed – and in effect that they should be applied retroactively – is patently unfair."
If Rep. Green's money is illegal then when will Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett be asked to return the money he transfered from his federal campaign account to his 2002 gubernatorial campaign account? At least uber-partisan Bill Christofferson is consistent.
In a memo [PDF], George Dunst, legal counsel to the State Elections Board opined that since the legislature blocked enaction of the board's attempt to prevent Green from moving federal campaign funds into his gubernatorial account, "The effect of the suspension is that Congressman Green’s campaign had the right, in the absence of a countervailing rule, to spend all of its converted money until such time that the rule went into effect."
The Wisconsin State Journal editorial board decided the GOP-controlled State Assembly was to blame for Green's predicament:
The GOP-run state Senate overwhelmingly approved SB 1 last year. Authored by Sen. Mike Ellis, R-Neenah, the bill would have created a Government Ac countability Board with members who could not be political hacks. Law school deans or judges -- rather than politicians -- would have nominate fair-minded people to the board.
That's pushing a pet issue instead of dealing with the news at hand. Democrats on the Elections Board decided a little over two months before the election to stick it to one of the governor candidates. That's a vicious political power play that would happen in a place like Louisiana not Wisconsin.
Chris at the Badger Blog Alliance is absolutely right that the governor's race is a "bar fight." Doyle could have told his cronies on the Elections Board to give Green a pass. He didn't which shows he's willing to use anything at his disposal to win re-election. Democrats on the board say they weren't told how to vote by Doyle. They didn't need to. They didn't get on the board to help Republicans. They're there to advance Democratic Party interests. Owen Robinson writes, "This ruling stinks like a corrupt political move by Doyle’s henchmen on the Elections Board to smear Green during the election."
We're almost at Labor Day when the summer unofficially ends and voters really start looking at the races and candidates. The Green campaign may fight the Election Board's ruling in court. If they do or don't Green will need money to fight all the cash Gov. Doyle and his interests will use to attack Green as "too extreme" for Wisconsin. Now's a great time to dig in your pockets and donate to Mark Green's campaign. Tell Gov. Doyle and his flacks on the Elections Board they can't stop Mark Green from getting his message out.
"Return Cash, Green Told"
August 30, 2006
I didn't figure the petite Katie Couric needed any photoshopping done. But her CBS people did a fantastic job. She looks pretty slim in this AP photo. They took off a bunch off the waste and the neck.
"CBS Magazine Slims Down Couric in Photo"
August 29, 2006
Charlie's Show Prep #162
Free from Blogger
Chris at Spotting Horse 2 has thrown off the shackles (and occasional outages) of Blogger and moved to WordPress.
I hope to be joining him in the near future.
Charlie's Show Prep #161
August 28, 2006
At Least Al Gore Accepted Defeat
South of the border the Leftist Mexican presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has organized protests that disrupt Mexico City. All because he didn't get the most votes in July's election. He thinks he was robbed and everyone's in on the conspiracy, even the electoral tribunal that today rejects most of his charges of voter fraud. Obrador has called for another massive rally where he could be named the leader of a civil resistence movement that would "continue to block streets and cripple traffic in Mexico City for years."
Thankfully, AlGore was more serious in 2000. He may have gone completely nutty since then, but he cared enough about the country not to set up a permanent protest camp on the Washington Mall.
"Leftist Destabilization Of Mexico"
A Scary Lineup of Potential House Chairman
In politics you have a better chance of winning when you're for a candidate rather than again the opponent. (That may be Rep. Mark Green's downfall against Gov. Jim Doyle.) However, the idea of Reps. Barney Frank, Charles B. Rangel, and the ancient John D. Dingell as chairmen of House committees gives me the chills. If the Democrats capture the House there will be lots of pressure from the far Left for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to let new Judiciary Chairman John Conyers impeach President Bush. If you want to see that vote for the Democrats in November. If you don't start doling out some cash to the GOP. The Rightroots candidates are a good place to start.
"Prospective New House Chairman"
Van Hollen Crime Lab Ad
J.B. Van Hollen uses his lead in campaign funds to put out a new television ad that goes right after Peg Lautenschlager's state crime lab mess.
Let's Play Some Fantasy Football
I have three spots open in my fantasy football league. We have a corps of regulars, most are veteran webloggers. Most of us at least pretend to know what we are doing, and the league winner gets bragging rights in the blogosphere. [Audience ooos and ahhhhs.] Although few have ever bragged about their championship. (That's because I've never won.) I run the league through NFL.com. It's free and has live scoring so you can get a steady stream of
Charlie's Show Prep #160
August 27, 2006
Released Fox News Journalists Were Forced to Convert to Islam at Gunpoint
The Holy Jihad Brigades that held Fox News correspondent Steve Centanni and cameraman Olaf Wiig don't have much faith in the power of their own religion. The forced the two journalists to convert at gunpoint:
"We were forced to convert to Islam at gunpoint," Centanni told FOX News. "Don't get me wrong here. I have the highest respect for Islam, and I learned a lot of good things about it, but it was something we felt we had to do because they had the guns, and we didn't know what the hell was going on."
"Captors Release Two FOX News Journalists Kidnapped in Gaza Aug. 14"
August 26, 2006
Christopher Hitchens Flips Off Bill Maher's Audience
Christopher Hitchens doesn't give a damn who he ticks off. He says what he thinks and mocks those who deserve it. On Bill Maher's boring HBO version of Politically Incorrect, Real Time, Hitchens made the case that Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the one who wants World War III. Maher's audience preferred ripping on President Bush. Hitchens pointed out their lack of seriousness and gave them the finger.
"Hitchens Gives the Finger to Maher's Audience for 'Frivolous' Jeering of Bush" [via Dean's World]
Our Dark Secrets
Ladies and gentlemen, let me remind you that all of us have something in our past that, if known, would have others seriously questioning our integrity. Greg Mitchell has, Mary Katherine Ham has, Mary Katerine's father has, even I have. The only difference is Mitchell told the whole world.
Sorry, you get no hints or any inkling of what I regret. Zip. Zero. Nada.
August 25, 2006
Just Add Two Letters
A pet peeve of mine with Republicans is calling their opponents members of the "Democrat" Party instead of the "Democratic" Party. The latter is correct and more polite since it is the name of the party. Every time I hear it used by Republicans and their supporters I shake my head knowing how petty and childish it sounds. It's a form of disrespect.
What set me off was a statement from J.B. Van Hollen:
Statement from JB Van Hollen, regarding remarks made at the Democrat AG Debate in Milwaukee Thursday:
"Democrat" was used as an adjective twice. Once in the headline and once in the statement itself.
A Republican consultant tells me "it's a base thing, and we're in a primary." It's not been my experience that that GOP base routinely uses the term "Democrat" Party. The average conservative GOP voters I've been with will call their opponents, "Lefties," "liberals," and "left-wing wackos" but not members of the "Democrat" Party. Who uses that are the politicos: campaign workers and political staff who eat, drink, and sleep politics.
The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg calls "Democrat" Party a "slur" and notes its long history. It's not a slur. It's just some pointless needling that adds no value in political debate. It's just silly.
Van Hollen's campaign didn't do anything by nixing the ic's except to irritate Falk, Lautenschlager, and Wisconsin Democrats. The Republican operatives might have laughed a little, but all they did was egg on their opponents. Some people will be turned off at those such a petty game.
Let me steal some words from uber conservative William F. Buckley. One the use of "Democrat" Party he wrote, "It has the effect of injecting politics into language, and that should be avoided." Words are used for politics, but that doesn't mean our words should be political. The personal isn't the political, and we'll be a little more sane if we remember that.
I yearn more greater political civility and seriousness. A small step to improvement is using proper names. Two letters can mean a lot.
Do you use the term "Democrat" Party? Why?
Charlie's Show Prep #159
Social Networking Via Napster? I Laugh
Eliot Van Buskirk at Wired's music weblog Listening Post wrote something so out-of-wack, so bizarro that I immediately yelled, "BS!" to my computer monitor. What did he write? This,
With all of the RIAA's bellyaching about the volume of files shared over these networks, it's easy to forget that one of the reasons people were so excited about Napster back in the day was the social networking aspect. I'm sure I'm not the only one who used to search for a few key, obscure band names and then add anyone who was sharing them into my Buddy List. To find new stuff to listen to, all I had to do was browse these buddies' collections.
People didn't give a damn about the "social networking aspect" about Napster 1.0. Napster was popular because you could download lots of music for free. The buddy list was to easily find sources of free music. Napster users could have cared less about making friends with those on their buddy lists. If they never talked to them but got access to lots of cool music they were happy.
Napster wasn't like weblogs, social news sites like digg, and MySpace are where people with common interests do more than let each other know they could download the new CD they just ripped to their computer.
To claim Napster 1.0 was ahead of its time is just a way for Eliot to justify Napster 1.0's existence and ignoring the massive copyright-infringing used with the technology.
August 24, 2006
France Shamed into Sending 1,600 Troops to Lebanon
Italy sending 2,000 to 3,000 troops to Lebanon as well as public shame at France surrendering before they even deployed got Jacques Chirac to agree to send 1,600 troops to support the ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah.
The question still remains whether the 15,000 troops under a U.N. mandate along with 15,000 troops of the Lebanese army will disarm Hezbollah, the terrorist state-within-a-state or will let them quietly rearm and prepare for their next clash with Israel.
"France Pledges 1,600 More Troops for Lebanon"
Poor Pluto Gets Demoted
Pluto had a good run. When it was discovered it was thought to be much bigger than it really is. It has a funky orbit that crosses with Neptune and it named after the god of the underworld--how cool is that? But little Pluto is too small and threw off astronomers' ideas about planets. So Pluto as planet had to go:
After a tumultuous week of clashing over the essence of the cosmos, the International Astronomical Union stripped Pluto of the planetary status it has held since its discovery in 1930. The new definition of what is -- and isn't -- a planet fills a centuries-old black hole for scientists who have labored since Copernicus without one.
Pluto now joins Sleepy, Bashful, Dopey, and the others as--not "plutons" but as "dwarf planets."
"Pluto Gets the Boot"
"Pluto In The Dog House"
"And the Universe Weeps …"
"Planet no More"
Ford Might Go Private
Ford is thinking of going private and ditching the constant pressure to report to Wall Street while it restructures. The company's stock is in the tank with its market capitalization down to $14.5 billion. That would make Ford a tempting target for outside buyers if the Ford family didn't control 40% of the voting stock.
"Ford Motor Considers Going Private"
Charlie's Show Prep #158
August 23, 2006
McCain Loading Up for Presidential Run
Sen. John McCain is building a formidable collection of political consultants for one, last run for the Presidency. A host of Bush-Cheney people has jumped on the "Straight Talk Express" (assuming McCain revives the name for his bus) plus a very interesting name: Nicco Mele, the webmaster for the failed 2004 Howard Dean, M.D. campaign.
Organizationally McCain is far ahead of any other GOP Presidential contender. Sure, no one has officially entered the race, and things will really take shape after November's elections, but conservatives should really start thinking about who they should back and begin organizing talent or else the default GOP nominee will be McCain.
"Exclusive: McCain's Web Team. And Nicco Mele."
79-Year-Old Earns Economics Ph.D.
For my econ geek readers here's a story to let you know it's never too late to get that Ph.D.:
After a long and fruitful career, 79-year-old master’s degree graduate Herbert Baum has returned to the University of Chicago to earn his Ph.D. The oldest person ever to be awarded a doctorate by the University, Baum will receive the degree in economics Friday, Aug. 25.
Baum's dissertation committee included three Nobel Prize winners.
GOP Focuses on Kos
Take Free Republic squared and mix it with acid-laden grape Koolaid.
Tee Bee forgot "smart." Kos is a pretty big smart jerk.
You know you're doing something well to deserve such attention from one of the two major parties.
"The Kos Rhetorical"
Dave Mustaine is No Fan of the U.N.
Let me preface this by stating the political opinions of famous musicians and celebrities have as much weight with me as President Bush's opinion of the greatest hard rock band ever*--and there is a correct answer. Still, I laughed when I read Dave Mustaine will title the next Megadeth album United Abominations:
"I was watching TV and saw the trucks that said 'UN' on them and said, 'Man, you are so uncool, ineffective, anything," the singer/guitarist said in a recent Billboard interview.
Let's see: Oil for Food; the Congo sex scandal; the unpaid parking tickets; the food and wine looting in 2003; the bloated price for renovating its headquarters; its inability to get anyone to disarm Hezbollah. The U.N. is a sad joke as well as an abomination.
"Megadeth Targets United Nations on New Album"
The greatest hard rock band ever would be the mightly Led Zeppelin. IV or the first disk of Physical Graffiti is my evidence.
Dixie Chicks Documentary to Come Out this Fall
Here's another documentary I don't want to watch:
The politically charged documentary "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing" has been picked up for worldwide distribution by the Weinstein Co.
Individuals who escape from the world's problems through music show their displeasure at musical artists who use their platforms to bloviate. Yet what the movie will do is show all the Chicks in their Jesus Christ pose.
"Dixie Chicks Documentary Could be Election Issue"
UPDATE: DJ asks why were the Dixie Chicks picked on when people like Neal Young have harshly criticized the administration. I think the Chicks received such a strong reaction because it came out of no where. Previous to Natalie Maines' remark the Chicks were looked at as non-political. Natalie said her thing fans got ticked, and she continued. Her fellow Chicks backed her so much that they posed for that Entertainment Weekly cover. They didn't have to back down from their feelings. They could have refrained from shoving their views in their fan's faces and things might have turned out better.
Charlie's Show Prep #157
August 22, 2006
August 22 Came and Only the Romanians Noticed
Earlier this month Islam scholar Bernard Lewis wondered if Iran would do something earth-shaking on 08.22:
In Islam, as in Judaism and Christianity, there are certain beliefs concerning the cosmic struggle at the end of time--Gog and Magog, anti-Christ, Armageddon, and for Shiite Muslims, the long awaited return of the Hidden Imam, ending in the final victory of the forces of good over evil, however these may be defined. Mr. Ahmadinejad and his followers clearly believe that this time is now, and that the terminal struggle has already begun and is indeed well advanced. It may even have a date, indicated by several references by the Iranian president to giving his final answer to the U.S. about nuclear development by Aug. 22. This was at first reported as "by the end of August," but Mr. Ahmadinejad's statement was more precise.
Being a historian means you're a better examiner of the past than predictor of the future. The big news is Iranian troops captured a Romanian oil rig in the Persian Gulf:
Romania's Foreign Ministry called on Iranian authorities to immediately free Romanian crew members being held by the troops who took over the rig. The rig operator said seven Indian crew members had been released but 20 Romanians were still detained.
Bloomberg has details on what happened:
An Iranian naval vessel fired on the rig owned by Romania's Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) in the Salman field and took control of its radio room at about 7:00 a.m. local time, Lulu Tabanesku, Grup's representative in the United Arab Emirates said in a phone interview from Dubai today.
Who knew the Iranians had it in for the Romanians? They do want to be a part of the prosporous West therefore they're the infidel. To the Iranian mullahs nothing good will happen to the infidel.
Dan Riehl sees this as Iran flexing its muscle in the Strait of Hormuz.
Since Romania is a member of NATO this could be construed as an act of war against the whole alliance. But any alliance that includes France is worth as much as Jacques Chirac's word when it comes to Lebanon. It's time to think about turning some of Ford's excess production capacity into war-time use just in case Iran doesn't want to be contained. The Marines could use some new equipment.
Carnival of the Capitalists
Forty Media hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.
Geologists Ticked at "Pluton"
Later this week astronomers will vote on a scientific definition of a planet. Not only are some astronomers bothered, but geologists aren't too happy either:
Geologists have also entered the fray, complaining at the use of plutons as a new category -- a term they already use to describe a body of igneous rock that solidified below the Earth's surface.
"Scientists Create Big Bang with Planet Definition"
Sep. 11, 2001: A Photographic Rememberance
Vanity Fair has a photo essay of rare shots taken around New York City five years ago.
"Rare Scenes from 9/11"
Critics of Spike Lee's Katrina Documentary
Other webloggers with stronger stomachs watch all two hours of the first part of Spike Lee's When the Levees Broke.
Brendon Loy, who is in the documentary, comments on how Katrina could have been worse, Mayor Ray Nagin being let off the hook, and Spike Lee's racism.
Steven Spruiell calls it "Lee's angry, vindictive vignettes."
Web Ads Help Lobbyists Find Activists
Internet technology is changing the political game. The Washington Post's Jeffrey Birnbaum reports on how the cost of finding activists has diminished because of fine-tuned web advertising:
The first thing you need to know is that the Internet can be watched very closely. OnPoint/DDC's offices in Old Town are filled with cubicles of computer experts who are in near-constant contact with thousands of display advertisements on Web sites. These experts can see when commercials are clicked on -- and when they're not.
Campaign finance reform/First Amendment restriction maven Micah L. Sifry mocks the advocates found on game and puzzle sites:
In other words, people who tend to be informed about health care are less likely to want to give up their right to sue a bad doctor than others.
Or maybe those that go to health sites care a little more about finding some answers to their current ailment; while game and puzzle fans are more likely to be abstract thinkers who care more about large systems like health care delivery.
Such sophistication by moneyed interests may depress those who see internet political advocacy through utopian glasses. But using Daily Kos as an example we see how nobodies grabbed the new technology and became a political force. Computers and the internet are levelling technologies. With plenty of creativity, passion, and a lot of luck unknowns can shake the political tree for both good and ill.
"Targeting Likely Advocates With Web Ads"
Charlie's Show Prep #156
August 21, 2006
King Leopold and Government Constraint
Belgian King Leopold II's rule is a case of instututional and cultural contraints limiting a government. It's a case of two Leopolds. As king of Belgium he implemented free trade, and the nation prospered. It prospered so much Leopold undertook public building projects that gave him the name "King-Builder."
But there was another Leopold. In Africa he personally owned the Congo Free State. There he had fewer constraints. He could more easily do what he wanted for personal enrichment. Millions perished.
Brian Micklethwait summarizes well Leopold's lessons to political economists:
Leopold II, pursuer of ultimate and permanent power whenever and wherever he could find it, was able to let rip in Africa, but not in Belgium. Her was a civilised Belgian ruler not because he liked his fellow Belgians and welcomed their massed and massive influence over him. He hated it. He just did, in Belgium, what he had to do. The environment made the difference.
"Bruce Bueno de Mesquita on the Logic of Political Survival and the Two Faces of King Leopold II of Belgium"
"The Political Economy of Power"
Hitler-Themed Restaurant Opens in India
In India we have an example of marketing run amok:
A new restaurant in India's financial hub, named after Adolf Hitler and promoted with posters showing the German leader and Nazi swastikas, has infuriated the country's small Jewish community.
What's worse is the owners want to turn into a chain across Mumbai.
There's the temptation to really go downhill by guessing the name of some of the dishes. Must. Not. Do. It.
"It's Like if 'The Producers' Opened an Eatery"
UK Terrorists Charged
Eleven people have been charged in the U.S.-U.K. bomb plot:
They said eight people had been charged with conspiracy to murder and preparing acts of terrorism.
"Charges Over Terror Plot"
Charlie's Show Prep #155
August 20, 2006
Dohnal Not Backing Down on Sullivan Double Voting Charge
Bob Dohnal, long-time conservative activist and publisher of the Wisconsin Conservative Digest, is not backing down from his charge that State Senate candidate Jim Sullivan double voted in a previous election. In a letter to the editor to a local newspaper that Dohnal e-mailed TAM he writes,
To the Editor,
Dohnal is continuing his fight even though Sullivan's attorney Michael F. Hart threatened legal action against Dohnal in the past:
The purpose of this letter is to place you on formal notice that any further communication whether written or oral including but not limited to, the dissemination and/or distribution of campaign literature claiming that Mr. Sullivan engaged in illegal or improper conduct with respect to his voting history, place of residency and/or compliance with State election laws will be deemed actionable as knowing misstatements of fact, and we will take any and all legal action on behalf of Mr. Sullivan to enforce his rights.
Doyle Getting Indian Money
I'm shocked, SHOCKED Indian tribes have been giving to Gov. Doyle. When you hand out juicy gaming compacts the tribes get what they pay for.
Rule #1 in campaign finance reform: If government didn't have so much power people wouldn't donate to enrich themselves.
"Doyle Re-Election Coffers Flow with Tribal Money"
August 19, 2006
Remembering Eric Allen
As part of the 2,996 project TAM is remembering Eric Allen, 44, who died in the World Trade Center on Sep. 11, 2001. As part of Rescue Squad 18 Eric was one of the brave firemen who ran into the twin towers to save as many people as possible. He sacrificed his life for theirs.
A wife and daughter will forever miss him. Me, a little weblogger half a continent away can only say, "thank you."
"Eric Allen: All the Right Things"
Bucher-Van Hollen Tension Boils Over
There's a reason they invented e-mail. So participants in this conversation won't cringe when they re-read this conversation on a public weblog.
It seems the Bucher-Van Hollen aggitation is spreading from the two candidates. We've got spouses involved, supporters involved, even spouses of supporters (who are supporters themselves) involved.
Hey all, chill out--literally! It's the middle of August, and it's too warm. Everyone should grab a cold beer and relax.
As to the Bucher ad, John “Jay” Balchunas’ name is all over the newspapers. Him being murdered is a documented fact. Bucher mentioning it wasn't exploitation unless you call regurgitating the news "exploitation." Those who were griping need two beers to relax.
"Bucher Pulls Murdered Agent's Name from Ad"
Birthed from Terri's Fight
Last month, Michael Schiavo, the man who won the right to starve his wife to death, flew to Connecticut to endorse Ned Lamont. Schiavo has started TerriPAC to go after "politicians who tried to stop Ms. Schiavo’s death." Terri's parents, Robert and Mary Schindler, have started their own Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation Center for Health Care Ethics. Michael Schiavo has done fairly well with a near-broke PAC that's raised more than $26,000 solely from the internet. But the Schindler's organization's $379,855 head start means they have a better chance at shaping the debate on how best to treat the severely disabled.
"Husband Takes Schiavo Fight Back to Politicians"
August 18, 2006
Debating National Security
John Podhoretz wants a national security debate "right now - right this second."
If Democrats are going to take control of the House and Senate in November, they will have the power to change policies they think aren't working. So what policies are those, exactly?
"Dems: Bring It On" [via Betsy's Page]
France Surrenders Before Going into Lebanon
When the Israel-Hezbollah War starts again I'm blaming France:
France on Thursday rebuffed pleas by U.N. officials to make a major contribution to a peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, setting back efforts to deploy an international military force to help police a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, according to U.N. and French officials.
France was a prime mover on the U.N. Security Council to send in 15,000 troops to bolster the Lebanese army. Yet, when push comes to shove the French run away like--well--the French.
But wait! There's more!
Chirac also told Annan that "France was prepared to assume command" of the bolstered U.N. force, according to the statement.Wow. France is willing to order around the international force but not to risk their own rears.
France had a moment to step up to the plate and show the world they could still be a world player. They're failing like--well--the French.
August 17, 2006
Paul Bucher Radio Ad Jumps on Bolton Story
State Attorney General candidate Paul Bucher released a radio ad that takes advantage of news that a backlogged state criminal lab allowed a rapist to run free eventually killing a state Justice Department agent.
In 2006 a 15-year old girl was gang raped. Anthony Bolton later took the girl in his car, raped her, then dumped her half-naked in a park. July 9, 2004 the state crime lab received DNA evidence from the victim. From Bolton's DNA already on file from a previous drug conviction the crime lab finally connected Bolton to the rape in February 2005. That was almost four months after Agent John "Jay" Balchunas was murdered.
This news is damning to incumbent Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager. She runs the crime lab. The backlog of needed DNA testing is widely known. Now, we learn her mismanagement of the crime lab allowed a rapist to run free and kill a law officer.
So while the number of cases waiting on DNA testing at the state crime lab doubled between 2003 and 2005 Peg thinks it's important to do things like prosecute a murder case in Northwest Wisconsin and run off to Hollywood to be on Tyra Banks' show.
"DNA Test Late; Man Free to Kill"
[Ad via WisPolitics]
Judge Rules Terrorist Spying Unconstitutional
U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit ruled the NSA violated the First and Fourth Amendments with their warrantless terrorist surveillance.
So, I think (as Orin's post suggested), the real foundation of this decision is FISA. If Congress prohibited this sort of eavesdropping via FISA, and didn't carve out an exception under the AUMF, then the program is indeed illegal (since I don't think the President's inherent power argument much works here, even as to violations of a statute). If FISA doesn't apply, though, then the program is permissible, because there's no First or Fourth Amendment violation here.
Opponent of the NSA program Jack Balkin even thinks Judge Diggs' ruling isn't so hot:
It is quite clear that the government will appeal this opinion, and because the court's opinion, quite frankly, has so many holes in it, it is also clear to me that the plaintiffs will have to relitigate the entire matter before the circuit court, and possibly the Supreme Court. The reasons that the court below has given are just not good enough. This is just the opening shot in what promises to be a long battle.
KipEsquire at Overlawyered sees Judge Diggs' Fourth and First Amendment analysis as weak. Her strength was on separation of powers.
While the ACLU and their Democratic allies are cheering they should realize they're handing a political issue to the GOP in the fall elections. The Democrats still don't have a coherent national security strategy. It amounts to "President Bush is screwing up Iraq, a war we shouldn't be in anyway so let's bring our troops home; and, oh by the way, Osama bin Laden is still running around, but let's ignore that British bombing plot that used intelligence methods Judge Diggs would find unconstitutional. American public, please trust us with defending the nation against the Islamist terrorist hordes."
Another rallying cry for the GOP base is the fear a Democratic-controlled House of Representatives would impeach President Bush. Rep. John Conyers would run the Judiciary Committee and has put in plenty of work preparing to impeach Bush. Think it wouldn't happen? Many Democrats didn't think the GOP would impeach President Clinton over lying to a grand jury about a sex scandal. Karl Rove is drooling with the opportunity Judge Diggs laid before him.
"Judge Nixes Warrantless Surveillance"
"NSA Surveillance Program Ruled Unconstitutional"
UPDATE: The Justice Department has appealed Judge Diggs' ruling. The press release also states, "The parties have also agreed to a stay of the injunction until the District Court can hear the Department's motion for a stay pending appeal."
[via California Yankee]
August 16, 2006
Landis' Father-in-Law Dies
When it rains it pours. Tour de France winner Floyd Landis will soon deal with hip replacement surgery. Then he'll fight doping charges. Now, he also has to deal with the loss of a close relative:
David Witt, the 57-year-old father-in-law of embattled Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has died, authorities said Wednesday.
It might have been a suicide which puts even more stress on Landis and his family.
"Cyclist Landis' Father-in-Law Dies"
Crazy Vermont Woman Forces Plane to Boston
A United London to Washington, D.C. was diverted to Boston's Logan Airport because of a passenger behaving suspiciously due to claustrophobia. One passenger said she wasn't permitted to use the on-board lavatory by a flight attendent. She then pulled down her pants and was about to relieve herself anyway. That's when things got ugly. Flight 923 was diverted to Boston, and a fighter escort followed the plane in. In Boston the Vermont woman was arrested.
This wasn't a terrorist attack even though earlier reports said she carried a note about al Qaeda.
Passengers were forced to leave the plane and had their baggage laid out across the tarmac to be searched by dogs. After seven hours passengers were allowed back on the plane to finally arrive at Dulles Airport.
UPDATE: A FBI spokesman listed what the woman was carrying on the plane:
The woman was carrying hand lotion, matches and a standard Phillips screwdriver, Marcinkiewicz said. Up to four books of matches and screwdrivers shorter than 7 inches are allowed on flights, according to the Transportation Security Administration. But under the tighter restrictions, hand lotion is not.
She also said the woman started her trip in Dubai.
Astronomers think calling Pluto a "pluton" will fix their planet problem. To me, it sounds like something from Flash Gordon.
"Pluto's New Place in Space Could Be as a 'Pluton'"
August 15, 2006
Charlie Sykes is on vacation so his show prep will be as well.
More Money Posts than You Can Shake a Stick At
BarryBlog hosts this week's Carnival of the Capitalists.
TracFones and Terrorism
Once upon a time I had a TracFone prepaid mobile phone. Since I barely make any calls a monthly bill is a waste of cash. The TracFone I had was almost the same as the one used in the IED found in Iraq last year.
I wonder how the company is handling the bad publicity. TracFone: Official Cell Phone for Islamist Terrorists. It hasn't hurt the stock price of the company's parent company American Movil.
Olbermann Has Really Gone Wacky
Last night was one of the few times I turned on Keith Olbermann's Countdown. I have to say, "Never again!" During the two minutes of my viewing I watched how Keith tried to pin numerous terrorism stories onto a timeline claiming President Bush used them to advance his political agenda. At the end Keith toppled his own conspiracy theory by admitting you could link the stories to just about anything. In other words, Keith's lips were just flapping in the wind.
Olbermann Watch puts it this way:
Then there was Krazy Keith's Top Ten List of terror incidents that coincide with politics: a "pattern of exploiting fear for political gain". Don't get the impression that there's much new here. He replayed the same interminable propaganda piece he ran last October. The only difference is that back then, MSNBC forced him put on an opposing point of view. Even that minimal concession to journalistic integrity was dispensed with on tonight's Hour of Spin.
"Countdown with Keith Olbermann - August 14, 2006"
Charlie's Show Prep #154
Sullivan's Supposed Double Vote
The drama behind Jim Sullivan's voting record continues. Bill Christofferson writes the accusation of Sullivan voting twice in 1996 is a pack of lies:
The charge is totally bogus, and was dismissed by the district attorney's office in 2000, when Sullivan was running for Wauwatosa alderman. (He won.)
Ah yes, E. Michael McCann's office said there was nothing there. Therefore there was nothing there. This is the same district attorney's office that plea bargains at the first sign of prosecutorial difficulty and wouldn't go after vote fraud in the 2004 election. Steve Biskupic's U.S. Attorney's office has been doing most of the hard work.
Jim McGuigan adds quotes from letters from E. Michael McCann's office.
In Sullivan's case I can see where sloppy record keeping could be the source of the accusation. In the Whitefish Bay voter records it lists two James Sullivans living at 627 E. Carlisle Ave. One with a birthdate of 12.26.1967, the State Senate candidate, and one with a birthdate of 10.27.1936. The younger Sullivan is listed as voting in the general election on 11.05.1996. The older Sullivan is listed as voting in elections in 1998 and 1999. It's not outlandish to conceive Sullivan, Sr. going to vote in 1998 and giving his name to the poll worker only to have the wrong Sullivan marked off. What would be very interesting is if both Sullivans had voted.
To make things a little more interesting I received a forwarded e-mail from J.J. Blonien to Stan Zurawski, Sullivan, Jr.'s accuser. Blonien claims, "Jim Sullivan Sr. was not living in the home on Carlisle during November of 1996, and that candidate Sullivan was watching his parent’s home." Where was Sullivan, Sr.? How would Blonien know this? Who's going to find Jim Sullivan, Sr. and ask him where he was on the night of 11.05.1996?
I could care less about Tom Reynolds' political future. He's a strange man with strange views. I was all set to blast the hell out of him if he killed a school choice bill last March. I'm more interested is documenting voter fraud so laws can be changed to reduce it, and those who commit it are punished.
P.S. Christofferson and McGuigan don't understand the meaning of "lie." Neither man has any evidence Owen Robinson knew he was passing on a falsehood. If the accusation isn't true the worst that can be said is Owen didn't look into the story enough and ran too soon with it. McGuigan wanted to do a little smearing of his own, and decided to bash "right wing bloggers" plural. If he wanted to really do that he should have linked to more than one right wing weblog following the story.
UPDATE: Jay Bullock, A.K.A. Folkbum, corrects me. I incorrectly claimed Michael F. Hart was a part of E. Michael McCann's District Attorney's office. He's James Sullivan, Jr.'s lawyer. So it would make sense for him to legally defend Sullivan, Jr. against false accusations.
August 14, 2006
Green Ad on YouTube
I asked the campaign, and they delivered. Mark Green on YouTube.
Castro Makes TV Appearance
Fidel Castro, his brother Raul, and Hugo Chavez were shown on Cuban television hanging out in Fidel's hospital room:
Cuban state television on Monday aired the first video of Fidel Castro since he stepped down as president to recover from surgery, showing the bedridden Cuban leader joking with his brother and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
"Cuban TV Airs Video of Ailing Castro"
State Senate Candidate and Double Voting
First the Spice Boys found State Senate candidate Donovan Riley double voted in 2000, once in Wisconsin and once in Illinois. Now, Owen Robinson received evidence from a reader that State Senate candidate James O. Sullivan might voted twice in a 09.98 election.
Are Democrate State Senate candidates so infatuated with voting they like to do it twice? And these are just two people who got caught. How many do you think get away with it each election?
P.S. Mayor Barrett, we found your vote fraud example. He's a member of your own political party. I eagerly await you to decry his illegality and ask him to end his campaign.
"The More You Vote, the Better You Feel"
"Pattern of Dems Double Voting"
Ticket to Ride... er Weblog... er Whatever
If Glenn Reynolds ever hosts an open house I know where he can get tickets made.
Green's First TV Ad
Rep. Mark Green has finally joined the air wars with his first tv commercial. In it he goes right at the Doyle campaign's rhetoric that Green is "too extreme."
Dare I say it's almost Feingoldian?
[via Boots & Sabers]
Did the NFL Ban the Spike?
Scout.com's article on new NFL rule changes has to be wrong. According to their interpretation the league banned the post-touchdown spike [emphasis mine]:
Individual players are prohibited from using foreign objects or the football while celebrating. They are also prohibited from engaging in any celebrations while on the ground. A celebration shall be deemed excessive or prolonged if a player continues to celebrate after a warning from an official. Previously, players were not prohibited from using props or celebrating on the ground.
Taking the football and slamming it into ground looks like a violation of the rule to me.
A Hampton Roads (Virginia) Daily Press story puts the rule change this way [again emphasis mine]:
Another rules change will prohibit an individual player, not just two or more, from engaging in prolonged, excessive or "premeditated" celebrations. Players also cannot use a prop, such as the ball, to celebrate - a point illustrated in the video shown Thursday at Redskins Park by Washington running back Clinton Portis' resuscitation of the pigskin last season.
As a response to Chad Johnson's hijinks this is quite extreme. What next, banning the Lambeau Leap?
"NFL Rule Changes for 2006"
Fidel's Photos Faked?
There's been some talk about the authenticity of this photo of Fidel Castro released Sunday.
The photo looks real to me except for the missing age spots Sticky Notes noticed.
While Sunday's photo is good evidence that Fidel is still alive these photos of the Cuban dictator with Hugo Chavez posted by Sean Gleeson may indicate his health isn't so great. Gleeson writes,
The photos seem to show Fidel and Hugo writing notes to each other on a little tablet. I thought, perhaps Fidel was writing because he has lost his voice. But then, why is Hugo writing back? Has Fidel gone deaf too? Or perhaps they had secret matters to discuss, and couldn’t mention them aloud with Raul in the room.
Packers Dismal Pre-season Opener
For those, mostly Packers die-hards, the first pre-season game against San Diego was a bust. The offense couldn't do anything and the defense looked out of position all game. People may start getting worried about first-round draft pick A.J. Hawk. At times he looked overwhelmed by the Chargers' veterans. But he still ended up with five tackles, two solo and three assisted. That's better than number one pick Mario Williams' debut.
But oh do I wish Reggie Bush was wearing green and gold.
Charlie's Show Prep #153
August 13, 2006
Armstrong to Landis: You Talk Too Much
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong told Floyd Landis to keep his mouth shut and stop publically defending himself against doping charges:
"In this day and age, you're not going to get a fair shake in the media," said Armstrong, who rode his bike for charity Saturday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Unfortunately for Landis this process could take months. After his hip surgery Landis will undergo tests and evidence will be gathered so his doctors and lawyers can mount a defense for why foreign testosterone was found in his system. Hearings and appeals will take a long time. Even if Landis is cleared he may never get out of his cloud of scandal.
"Armstrong Urges Landis to Lay Low"
Castro Releases Letter on 80th Birthday
Fidel Castro appears to be looking good after surgery. I'll let the blogosphere's photoexperts go over it, but the picture looks legit to me. Too bad.
"Castro "Better" on 80th Birthday"
August 12, 2006
Eating at the State Fair
For me the whole purpose of the Wisconsin State Fair is food. For others it's their once-a-year chance to see cows, horses, chickens, and cute little bunnies. But since I grew up in a farm community I had my fill of the wonders of heifers soon into my second year of summer work on my uncle's farm. So the state fair for me is stuffing my face and wandering past the political booths.
One requirement is to have a pork chop sandwich.
The Wisconsin pork producers didn't let me down this year. The pork was juicy, tender, and had a touch of smoke from the port-o-pit BBQ. Some BBQ sauce makes up for the lack of fat. Emeril Lagasse is right, pork fat is soooo good. Most modern pork is more healthy but too lean.
My first experience with fried cheese curds was at the Minnesota State Fair. That's their trademark fair food. No fried cheddar goo for me since the line to this stand was too long.
What I will stand in line for are the world famous Wisconsin State Fair cream puffs. The line looked daunting, but it moved quickly. Within five minutes of getting into line I had my sloppy state fair tradition.
I would have liked to wash down my cream puff with some flavored milk, but the line at Sen. Herb Kohl's milk stand was too long. I'm pretty sure the line was bipartisan. Only the wacked-out vegan anarcho-syndicalists don't like a glass of milk for a quarter.
I won't forget to mention state fair politics. At the GOP booth it was your standard political party booth. Mark Green signs dominated with other candidates' signs playing supporting roles. At the Democratic Party booth I noticed Kathleen Falk had a great big sign with Peg Lautenschlager's sign hidden below it because it was much smaller. Should we take that as a signal of party feeling in the Attorney General's race?
One final bit of state fair politics involves the anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment on November's ballot. Pflag Milwaukee bought some advertising in the expo hall.
August 11, 2006
U.N. Approves Israel-Hezbollah Ceasefire
The U.N. Security council passed a ceasefire resolution that will bring in 15,000 U.N. peacekeepers to bolster the Lebanese army:
At the heart of the resolution are two elements: It seeks an immediate halt to the fighting that began July 12 when Hezbollah militants kidnapped two Israeli troops along the Blue Line, the U.N.-demarcated border separating Israel; and it spells out a series of steps that would lead to a permanent cease-fire and long-term solution.
Israel will withdraw in parallel from Hezbollah-controlled southern Lebanon when the U.N./Lebanese forces move in. Israel will still be allowed to continued defensive operations. They'll be able to launch attacks at Hezbollah rocket positions.
The resolution will stop the killing, but unless Hezbollah is disarmed and not allowed to simply build up its military stores with Syria's and Iran's help war will return.
Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert asked his cabinet to accept the deal while at the same time he ordered troops to push into southern Lebanon. He must see his window of opportunity closing and wants to damage Hezbollah as much as possible before the ceasefire is implemented.
Captain Ed sees the resolution as putting blame on Hezbollah. The terrorist organization indeed was the
Andrew McCarthy at The Corner declared an Israel defeat:
Hezbollah wins this big just by being legitmized. Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, not a country. The resolution we are signing on to, however, addresses it as if it were a country. The resolution doesn't purport to direct any UN member nation to make Hezbollah cease firing — least of all Lebanon, the purported sovereign of this territory. Instead, it appeals to Hezbollah directly — in the same paragraph in which it addresses Israel, as if there were no difference in status between the two — and "calls on" it to stand down.
If Hezbollah is perceived in the region as being the victor then it will gain public support and make it difficult to be disarmed. An armed Hezbollah means future war with Israel since the goal of the organization is the destruction of the Jewish state.
"Security Council OKs Mideast Peace Deal"
"Olmert Accepts UN Ceasefire Deal"
UPDATE: John Hawkins writes, "Actually, I think Israel has accomplished more than most people realize."
Mexican Caught Smuggling Cheese
A smuggler was caught bringing cheese, not illegal immigrants nor drugs, into the U.S.
Officers using an X-ray machine saw the outline of 16 bulky packages stashed in a secret compartment behind the seat, which they initially believed were packets containing illicit drugs.
At least with NAFTA he shouldn't have to pay a ridiculous tariff.
There's a Wisconsin joke in this story somewhere. Help me out.
Van Hollen Letter to Bucher
In an open letter to his opponent Waukesha District Attorney Paul Bucher GOP Attorney General candidate J.B. Van Hollen admits yesterday's radio debate was a disaster for both candidates. Van Hollen wants both of them to "stay united in our goal to restore focus and integrity to the office of attorney general." He wants the focus to be on what each GOP candidate can bring to the Attorney General's office instead of nit-picking about what each did or didn't do in their long law enforcement careers.
Here's the whole letter:
August 11, 2006
Wisconsin Attorney General Debate
Staying up really, really late following the U.K. airline bombing story meant I slept through yesterday's Attorney General debate between Paul Bucher and J.B. Van Hollen. After listening to it (hey, Charlie get your podcast RSS feed fixed) I'm so glad Scott Walker and Mark Green aren't facing each other in September's primary. If Bucher and Van Hollen are any indication Walker and Green would have tore into each other but would have had more money so they'd do it with television and radio commercials. And Gov. Doyle would cruise to victory.
Despite both candidates saying they only disagreed with each other's management styles and issues you could feel the bad vibes between the two. That was capped by Van Hollen telling Bucher off-air that his management style "sucked." Van Hollen has apologized on his weblog saying, "I regret that I lowered myself to this level with my language choice." Bucher decided not to accept the apology.
Van Hollen has demonstrated he occasionally says wacky things. His "suck" remark goes right up there with saying earlier in the year, "We have in Wisconsin terrorists who are training and raising funds."
Bucher reinforced former governor Lee Dreyfus' endorsement that he would be a pugnacious Attorney General. Bucher verbally pushed Van Hollen on every question treating his opponent like a hostile witness. That's fine if you're a prosecutor in the courtroom, but not so good you're trying to impress voters you can run the state Justice Department.
Democrats Kathleen Falk and incumbent Attorney General Peg Lautenschlager haven't been as loud going after each other like Bucher and Van Hollen. Yesterday's debate won't hurt the GOP candidate that wins the September primary unless the animosity moves to their commercials. Then voters could have a bad taste for both Bucher and Van Hollen.
The debate wasn't as decisive as I hoped. Both Bucher and Van Hollen would make good conservative Attorneys General that would far surpass the Doyle-Lautenschlager regimes. I will take issue emphasis, character, and electability into consideration when handing out a TAM endorsement.
Here's some other blogospheric reaction:
"GOP Candidates Come out Swinging"
Charlie's Show Prep #152
August 10, 2006
August Drinking Right Pics
I put some of my Drinking Right pics up on Flickr. It was my first time playing with the web service. Now, if only I could integrate it with the great photo program Picasa. Enjoy and get off my back--I mean my "narrow rear."
Computers Allowed on Planes
Flying won't be as bad as I thought. You can bring a notebook computer into the plane's cabin:
[Green Bay's Austin Straubel International Airport Director Tom Miller] did mention a rumor floating around that people can't bring laptop computers on a plane. He says that is not true, and they will be inspected at the checkpoints like before. It's only liquids and gels that are added to the list of contraband carry-on.
Presumably that also means portable DVD players and iPods are kosher too. They will be until al Qaeda finds a way to pack them with explosives. Terrorists will always be one step ahead because governments and airport security has to defend against everything. Terrorists only have to get it right a few times to do massive damage. This fact reinforces my argument for travel cards and common sense profiling.
"Shampoo, Toothpaste Among Airport Security Restrictions"
We Must Consider Travel Cards and Security Profiling
Islamist terrorists may think they're scaring us with their attacks and their threats of attacks. No, what they're doing is annoying us to death. If the government continues its ban on passengers bringing liquids into the cabin of an airplane we'll take another step down that path.
What would have really terrified average Americans was attacks on places they went frequently. Hitting the Pentagon and the World Trade Center made for spectacular television, but most Americans never went near those places. Imagine the fear induced if a few days after the Sep. 11 attacks a truck filled with fertilizer and heating oil exploded outside a Columbus, OH shopping mall. Then a few days later al-Qaeda let natural gas leak into an elementary school in Milwaukee, WI and then lit a match. Those acts of barbarism would truly scare people. They wouldn't know where they could be safe. After Sep. 11 there was some cocooning. The phenomenon would have been more widespread with more widespread attacks. Instead, Islamist terrorists stick to the big, bold bombing like something out of a Hollywood movie. They're either not the brightest people on the planet, or else their egos are so big they believe the only thing good enough to impress the world and their god is something spectacular.
There are two ways to stop airline travel from becoming one of Dante's rings of hell and save the airline industry. First, the government could issue travel cards to passengers who are willing to undergo background checks. They would get the cards if they passed. With the card they could bypass some of the security non-cardholders would have to go through. It wouldn't stop people from flying, it would only ease some security hassles for some flyers.
Second, we could finally resort to racial and religious profiling. After reading enough stories describing terrorists we have a good sense of who they are: they're muslim males in their 20s or 30s. In the case of CNN terrorism expert Peter Bergen he is "always concerned about citizens of Pakistani descent." I'm sure security firms, police, and government intelligence services could put together a more finely-grained profile. Those fitting the profile would undergo greater scrutiny. They wouldn't be banned from flying only be looked at more closely unless they were determined to be a threat. Those fitting the profile could also be eligible for a travel card where they would undergo a background check. Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) won't like it, but let them regularly fly seven-hour flights in a humidity-free airplane with your contact lens solution in your checked bags while your waiting for some water from an overworked flight attendant.
Travel cards and profiling aren't perfect. Cards no matter how sophisticated can be hacked or duplicated. Al-Qaeda could recruit suicide bombers who don't fit the profile. But no security system is perfect. We need to see what makes more sense treating every airline passenger as a potential terrorist or dropping our collective fear of "offending someone."
"Travelers Forced to Throw out Liquids"
"The Hunt for Terrorists Runs Up Against Political Correctness"
Terrorist Attacks Thwarted; Air Travel Disrupted
Don't fly today.
It's not that I'm worried about a terrorist attack, Scotland Yard seems to have that under control with 21 arrested (British-born and Muslim, no surprise) and their investigation continuing. No, I wouldn't fly today because of all the new security restrictions: passengers can't take any liquids on board; no carry-ons like briefcases and computer bags; parents have to taste their child's milk or formula to prove it's the real deal; the few items you can carry with you into the cabin have to be in clear plastic bags. The thought of flying for seven hours without being able to turn on my computer, listen to my iPod, or read my book gives me the hives. I understand the reasoning behind the restrictions, but they really turn me off from flying. Too bad Amtrak is an uneconomical, pathetic replacement for travel outside the Northeast Corridor.
The no carry-on restriction and liquid ban better be temporary, or else the airlines will be hurt. One reason some people own a notebook computer is to get work done while in the air. Forcing computers and mobile phones to be stowed in the belly of a plane will have many business travelers saying, "Air travel is too much of a hassle; I'm going to teleconference." And that might be just what the Islamists want.
There was mention that U.S. airlines were targeted, but I heard no such confirmation from Scotland Yard. If United, American, Northwest et al. were targeted I'd see that as the Islamists trying to hit the U.S. economically. The first reports said 20 planes from four U.K. airports were targeted. That dropped down to six planes. I think Islamists, probably al-Qaeda, wanted to hit U.S. airlines, cause a massive security response that would turn off many from flying, and send the industry into another financial malaise just when it's starting to regain its footing. A secondary effect is the ailing airlines would reduce consumer confidence possibly causing a recession.
The U.K. is at their highest security level. The Department of Homeland Security raised the general terrorist threat level to orange ("high") while the level for incoming planes to the U.S. from the U.K. is red ("severe"), the highest possible level. London's Heathrow airport isn't taking any incoming planes and canceled shorter-range flights until this afternoon (London time). The CEO of the organization that runs Heathrow said something I've never heard from a CEO. He told reporters people shouldn't come do business with him today. It was an unusual statement for an extraordinary time.
Walid Phares at the Counterterrorism Blog asks some good questions. The best one being,
Is there a "Jihadi factory" in the UK which is targeting domestic and Transatlantic transportation; a factory that produces suicide bombers heading towards the Middle East, London subways and passengers flights towards the US? Who is ordering these strikes and are they located inside the British isles?
"'Mass Murder Terror Plot'"
"'Airlines Terror Plot' Disrupted"
"UK Police Thwart Massive Terror Plot"
"Sky Terror in UK: US Security Alert to ORANGE (High). May Go RED -- Fox"
August 09, 2006
Cuba Fears the U.S.
Cuba says it's the United States' fault for the news blackout on Fidel Castro's condition. Even with U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and no sign from President Bush that American troops would take part in any operation in Lebanon National assembly speaker Ricardo Alarcon still fears the "Yanqui" crossing south from Florida and taking things over.
It's the typical Communist Cuban way: where there are problems blame the Americans. It's kept Castro's prison island safely in his hands for over 40 years. Why mess with a good thing?
You want to see a real threat from the U.S.? Let see an Indian casino open up in Havana along with a Dodge dealership. No, scratch that, a Kia dealership. One of those Korean buckets of bolts would seem like a luxury to those who've been jury-rigging their cars for decades.
"Cuba 'Faces Threat from US'"
Ace hands out some good lines about the ever-expanding head of Mr. Kos after Ned Lamont's primary victory:
He's out for blood. Lieberman must be stripped of all committee memberships, immediately, etc.
"The Kosfather Puts Out A Contract On Lieberman"
Charlie's Show Prep #151
August 08, 2006
Drinking Right Tonight
Sorry, guys. You could always pick my brain after buying me a drink.
Charlie's Show Prep #150
August 07, 2006
New TAM Features
If you have no idea what social bookmarking is let me give you the rundown. All these services allow people to share webpages they find with others. Furl (my fave), del.icio.us, Spurl, and MyWeb are all online bookmark sites where you can jump from computer to computer and always have access to your bookmarks. The services aggregate the choices of all their users and show you what's hot on the web. Digg and reddit are news sites where the users are the editors. Anyone can sign up and post stories. Other users vote on them and the ones with the most votes go to the front page. It's a way to glimpse what thousands, if not millions, of people are interested in. Both are ways to find interesting stories that might fall through the cracks of orthodox news sites controlled by formal editors.
So if you like a TAM post you can now easily save it with something like del.icio.us or Furl, or you can submit the post to digg or reddit and see if other people like it.
Behind the scenes at TAM HQ I'm preparing for some major changes. I'm moving TAM to new, up-to-date weblogging software (WordPress) and allow for easier design and feature improvements. I hope the software will help me combat the comment and trackback spam that wastes my time. I will have a new redesign to go with the software improvement. Let me know if you have any suggestions.
Waiting for Outrage after Hezbollah Attack on Peacekeepers
Hezbollah mortar rounds injured three Chinese peacekeepers. A U.N spokesman said, "A mortar round from Hizbollah impacted inside the headquarters of the Chinese contingent in the al-Hinneyeh area. They received medical treatment in position. Their condition is stable and they were not evacuated."
Let's wait and see if Kofi Annan will accuse Hezbollah of intentionally targeting U.N. peacekeepers (an oxymoron, I know). That's what he did last month when Israeli forces hit a UNIFIL position. He accused Israel of "apparently deliberate targeting" of U.N. peacekeepers. [via Wizbang]
Alaskan Pipeline Could Take Months to Repair
Fixing the Prudhoe Bay pipeline in Alaska won't be a quick fix:
BP said Monday it discovered corrosion so severe that it will have to replace 16 miles of pipeline at the huge Prudhoe Bay oil field — work that could shut down the nation's single biggest source of domestic crude for months and drive gasoline prices even higher.
When I was finally getting used to $2/gallon gas now I'll have to tolerate $3/gallon for a fairly long time. Those tiny, European Smart cars are looking pretty good right now.
"BP: Pipeline Closing May Last for Months"
Web: Raging Teenager
Yesterday, 08.06, the World Wide Web turned 15. I don't know what I'd be doing without it.
"Happy 15th Birthday, WWW!"
Charlie's Show Prep #149
GOP Attorney General Debate Next Week
Next Thursday's Attorney General debate will be very important. I'll be making my endorsement soon after. Misters Bucher and Van Hollen, impress me.
"Van Hollen and Bucher to Debate"
August 06, 2006
Landis Taking Testosterone Doesn't Make Sense
Floyd Landis' publicized urine tests are very damaging. It will be hard enough for him and his experts to explain why his body had such a large ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone. It will be harder to explain why tests showed some of the testosterone wasn't made by Landis' body.
What has me scratching my head is why the ratio was too high after his legendary/infamous stage climb in the Alps that brought Landis back into Tour de France contention. I've read nothing that taking in testosterone before a race would benefit a cyclist. If he wanted a boost he should have taken amphetamines yet he didn't test positive for them. Testosterone is used over weeks and months to build up muscle. We haven't heard Landis testing positive after previous stages.
Here are a couple possibilities:
I'm an Occam's Razor guy so I usually avoid conspiracy theories. So I have to go with the notion Landis cheated. I just can't figure out why when what the evidence we has says wouldn't help him.
August 05, 2006
Landis' Second Sample Forces Disciplinary Procedure
Floyd Landis' "B" sample was found to have an outlawed ratio of testosterone to epitetestosterone. It was also confirmed that testosterone not produced by Landis' body was found in the "B" sample. The results confirm the original findings from a French laboratory.
Landis was fired from his Phonak team, his case has been referred to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency for investigation, but he still retains the Tour de France championship even though "Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme said Landis no longer was considered champion, but the decision to strip him of his title rests with the UCI."
Landis continues to claim he has never doped, but it's up to him, his lawyers, and doctors to explain his test results.
"Landis's Second Sample Confirms Original Finding"
August 04, 2006
Landis' Second Sample Results to be Released Saturday
The results of Tour de Franch winner Floyd Landis' "B" urine sample will be announced by a French lab tomorrow morning. It's expected that sample will show a ratio of testosterone to epitestosterone higher than cycling rules allow. If that happens Landis could be stripped of his Tour title, fired from his team, and banned from cycling for two years. However, this is a process that will involve doctors and lawyers so it will take time:
Assuming that Landis's case is not resolved by a "savior ‘B' sample," it could be several months before the case is ultimately resolved, although there is considerable pressure from both sides to move the matter through the system as quickly as possible.
But if an unnamed six-time major race winner is telling an Italian paper the truth, "No one can win [a major cycling race] without doping."
"The Landis Case: Savior 'B' Samples a Rarity"
"Mum's the Word on Test of Landis"
"Landis Awaits Backup Sample Result"
Second-Annual State Fair Invasion Tomorrow
I invite all TAM readers to the Wisconsin State Fair tomorrow for the second-annual Badger Blog Alliance invasion. We'll be gathering at the microbrew tent starting at 12:30 and going until we've tried all 30 beers available at the tent or untl we've eaten too many cream puffs and cheese curds. There will be good talk, some laughs, and a few cameras for historical purposes. Hope to see you there.
Meat in the Universe
Here's a very short story on why we still haven't heard from the space aliens yet.
Pumping Up Raul Castro
Cuba's government newspaper Granma published a history lesson on the bravery of Raúl Castro Ruz, Fidel Castro's brother and temporary leader of the communist Island prison. During his trial in 1953 by Batista regime prosecutors Raúl defiantly said,
When they took a statement from me in the Bivouac, I assumed responsibility for the Movement because I supposed that they had killed Fidel, I knew that Abel had been assassinated and somebody had to assume responsibility for that action which was frustrated in the first attempt. But, with Fidel being alive, fortunately, things have fallen back into place. I am a simple soldier who was assigned a post and a mission.
In bold letters the Granma story reads, "This is a story that should not be ignored in the context of today’s events."
Fidel's recovery must not be that assured that the state press needs to pump up Raul as a hero of the Revolution who is willing to take command when needed but also cede power. It's an interesting bit of cult of personality in the making.
"When Raúl Castro Assumed Responsibility for the Assault on the Moncada Garrison"
"Cuba Launches Campaign Touting Fidel's Designated Successor"
Top Wisconsin Sports City
Milwaukee beats Madison as the top Wisconsin sports city according to The Sporting News.
NFL Refs Get New Uniforms
It must be the season of new, ugly sports stuff. First, we had the Milwaukee Admirals' new logo of a skull that should make Disney and Johnny Depp's lawyers cry foul. Then Brian Fraley found NFL referees will ditch decades of tradition to look like jockeys.
"Fashion Statement: NFL Refs to Sport New Uniforms"
Lamont Runs Far, Far Away from Unhinged Weblog Supporters
The man who wants to beat Sen. Joe Lieberman, Ned Lamont doesn't "know anything about the blogs" after one of his most fervent supporters Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake posted an altered image of Lieberman in blackface on The Huffington Post.
That's interesting since webloggers have driven the anti-war Left nationwide into a fury to end Lieberman's pro-war "Joe-mentum." Daily Kos and the gang the Townhouse gang have raised money for Lamont, helped him with his online presence, helped make Lamont video weblogs, and even got in his first campaign commercial.
Lamont doesn't "know anything about the blogs?" Huh, his campaign would be nothing without them.
UPDATE: As noted my regular reader DJ Hamsher issued a psuedo-apology. She wrote, "I sincerely apologize to anyone who was genuinely offended by the choice of images accompanying my blog post today on the Huffington Post." It's fake because she didn't really apologize she's just sorry anyone took offense at Sen. Lieberman in blackface. It would be like me telling an irrate customer at the bookstore, "I'm sorry you feel that way." Hamsher doesn't feel bad about the racist picture, she's just bothered that it tarred Lamont.
UW-Madison Flexible Silicon Research
UW-Madison's research is more than just stem cells:
The same high-quality form of silicon that is used inside many new computers could soon be rolled up on a sheet of plastic. Researchers from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, have shown that the type of high-speed silicon used for the past few years in Intel's microprocessors, called "strained" silicon, can be made thin enough to be transferred to a flexible substrate.
I'm hoping that any businesses resulting from this research can endure Wisconsin's harsh tax climate.
Charlie's Show Prep #148
August 03, 2006
Pedophile Claims Civil Right to Rape Boys
Here's one of the most disgusting legal defenses I've heard:
A suburban Cleveland man accused of sexually assaulting nine disabled boys told a judge Wednesday that his apartment was a religious sanctuary where smoking marijuana and having sex with children are sacred rituals protected by civil rights laws.
Plan B Discussed on The View
Elisabeth Hasselbeck, she's so cute and she believes human life begins at conception. Here's a discussion on Plan B from The View where the pro-abortion-on-demand opinion was dominant. Hey, it is the entertainment business.
She's also the only reason to ever watch a season of Survior.
"Elisabeth Hasselbeck 'Loses Her Mind' (Video)"
August 02, 2006
The Double Standard Facing Israel
Ed Morrissey had a good op-ed in the Washington Examiner on the double standard facing Israel and her enemies. Here's a portion:
The U.N. Security Council held a rare Sunday session in response to the tragic Qana bombing. Governments from Britain to Bahrain scolded the Israelis for their disproportionate response to the war Hezbollah provoked, and the Lebanese government in Beirut decried the “massacre” at Qana.
"This is the Soft Nihilism of Low Expectations"
Charlie's Show Prep #147
August 01, 2006
Outside Testosterone Found in Landis' Urine
A test to determine whether testosterone found in Tour de France winner Floyd Landis' urine was synthetic found some of it wasn't produced by his Landis' body:
The French national antidoping laboratory in Châtenay-Malabry performed a carbon isotope ratio test on the first of Landis’s two urine samples provided after Stage 17, the person, who is in the cycling union’s antidoping department, said in an interview yesterday.
Landis' doctor Brent Kay hoped this latest test was a false positive. About the testosterone to epitestosterone ratio that put Landis in this situation Kay said, "Although Floyd’s was elevated, it’s not off the chart or anything." That's not reassuring to Landis' fans. Now, with evidence of outside testosterone Landis and his medical and legal team will have even more explaining to do.
"New Finding Challenges Tour Champ’s Claim"
Charlie's Show Prep #146
BBA Again Invades Wisconsin State Fair
From my BBA post:
The BBA invasion of State Fair will this Saturday Aug. 5 starting at the microbrew tent. I'll be there at 12:30 and will stay until 2:30-3:00 at the latest. This date and time are finalized, signed, sealed, and delivered. Only a Jim Doyle-size contribution will get me to change it. (I'm waiting, Potawatomi tribe.) However, if you ask me nicely I might show up on Aug. 12 because I might want a second day at the fair to see the exhibits.
You can even wear "Green Team" shirts.