[star]The American Mind[star]

October 16, 2006

Charlie's Show Prep #181

  • Here's a shocker: Rep. Mark Green votes often in support of President Bush. Wow, news flash! A center-right Congressman is in tune with a center-right President.

  • To continue picking on Craig Gilbert: two months after Gov. Doyle started running an ad attacking Green for his similarities to President Bush Gilbert reports the ad is misleading.

  • According to Niall Ferguson you can stick a fork in the U.N Security Council, it's done.

  • Kim Jong-Il might have to give up his cavier and wine for a nuke.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 04:08 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Comments and Trackbacks Down

I've shut down comments and trackbacks in preparation for moving TAM to WordPress. When the new weblogging platform is in place (later today I hope) commenting should be easier to do on both your end (no more warnings about using words like "info" and blogspot.com will probably be kosher again) and mine (reduced spam). Just as important, I hope WP is more robust than the old version of Movable Type I've been using for over three years. My inability to quickly publish updates to the Cory Lidle plane crash last week pushed me to make the move. Publishing when I want to is one of the best aspects of weblogging.

If you really have the itch to comment on a post send me an e-mail (sean--at--theamericanmind--dot--com) for my consideration.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 03:36 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 15, 2006

Earthquake Hits Hawaii

A 6.3 magnitude earthquake hit the big island of Hawaii:

HONOLULU - An earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.3 struck Hawaii early Sunday morning, waking up residents and knocking out power across the island of Oahu.

The U.S. Geological Survey also reported several aftershocks. No damage reports were immediately available.

No tsunami warnings have been issued "based on magnitude and historic tsunami information."

"Magnitude 6.3 Earthquake Strikes Hawaii"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Natural Disaster at 01:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 14, 2006

Raj Makes the Cable TV Circuit

Raj Peter Bhakta's elephant and mariachi band stunt got some national tv coverage I'm sure he was hoping for. He may not make it to Congress but someone should give him a tv show.

"We Need A Fence, NOT A Farce"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Immigration at 11:48 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 13, 2006

National Book Award Nominees

Earlier this week the National Book Award nominees were announced:



The Looming Tower is my early favorite with At Canaan’s Edge on its heels. If Imperial Life in the Emerald City wins I'll chalk it up to judges' anti-Bush sentiment. There aren't any prominent conservatives as non-fiction judges.

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

Doubts Raised about North Korean Nuke Test

Something doesn't pan out about North Korea's supposed nuclear test. We have seismic readings but still no indication of any radiation.

Results from an initial air sampling after North Korea's announced nuclear test showed no evidence of radioactive particles that would be expected from a successful nuclear detonation, a U.S. government intelligence official said Friday.

The test results do not necessarily mean the North Korean blast was not a nuclear explosion, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the sampling results.

Nonetheless, the readings reinforce uncertainty about the size and success of Monday's underground explosion, which North Korea has trumpeted as a nuclear test. It also keeps alive lingering questions about whether it was in fact a nuclear blast. Data from seismic sensors has already indicated the explosion was smaller than expected, but that is not a conclusive finding on the question of whether the explosion was nuclear.

There are three possibilities:

  1. It was a very small explosion used only as a "proof of concept."

  2. The North Koreans failed.

  3. The North Koreans faked the test.

I'm leaning towards #2. Their missile tests this summer were also duds. However, it is possible Kim Jong Il was tired of Iran getting so much attention for their nuclear program. He might have wanted the United States' attention focused squarely on him to advance his interests. So he could have ordered a few tons of conventional explosives blown up to fake a nuke test.

The lack of evidence emboldens China and Russia from voting for a tough resolution on the U.N. Security Council. Their thinking has to be if there's not that much of a threat no need for such drastic measures.

"N. Korea Air Sample has No Radioactivity"

"Did North Korea Fake It?"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 05:43 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Air America: Bankrupt

The experiment of a profit-making liberal talk radio network has it the wall. Air America filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy:

Air America Radio, a liberal talk and news radio network that features the comedian Al Franken, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, a network official told The AP.

The network had denied rumors just a month ago that it would file for bankruptcy. On Friday, Air America spokeswoman Jaime Horn told The Associated Press that the filing became necessary only recently after negotiations with a creditor from the company's early days broke down.

The network will stay on the air while it resolves issues with its creditors, Horn said. In addition to Franken, the network also features shows from liberal talk show host Randi Rhodes and Jerry Springer.

The Smoking Gun has the bankruptcy filing. Al Franken is owed over $350,000 (even half of that would be nice to start bankrolling a future U.S. Senate campaign), and Chuck D of Public Enemy fame is owed over $10,000.

Brian Maloney reports the network was supposed to be bought by a Democratic moneyman, but those plans fell apart. Maloney wonder how Air America will continue to operate "because there simply isn't enough cash coming in to cover basic expenses, beyond payroll and perhaps a few utility bills."

Lefty weblogger Shakespeare's Sister writes,

Predictably, conservative bloggers are touting this as evidence that there’s simply no market for progressive ideas. I don’t actually think this is true. I’m ostensibly the perfect target audience for Air America, and I can’t frigging stand it.


And many of the criticisms of Air America being poorly run are valid. Even when I was trying to give Air America a good chance, they were completely screwing up in Chicago. On the air, not on the air, a different station, filled with static, off the air, what the f***? In one of the bluest cities in the country, and hence presumably one of the best audiences, they should have sorted that shit out long ago.

"Air America Radio files for Chapter 11"

"Air America Files Chapter 11"

"Air America Deflates"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Media at 04:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Visiting Team Getting to Lambeau Field Now More Complicated

When visiting football teams play the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field they stay at the Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton, WI roughly 30 miles away. For years the Brown County Sheriff's Department escorted the teams' buses to Green Bay. The practice of them stopping traffic outside their jurisdiction (Appleton is in neighboring Outagamie County) may shake up visiting teams' travel plans to the consternation of an Appleton hotel manager:

[Brown County Sheriff's Capt. Randy] Schultz said he plans to ask the state Legislature to allow the escorts much as funeral processions now are permitted. And he also said he has asked two hotels in the Green Bay area if they would house visiting teams and "both are substantially interested."

This is no solution to Jay Schumerth, manager of the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel, who notes all NFL teams contract to stay at the hotel and have done so since it opened in 1982.

"We've spent a lot of years building up our reputation, and then you hear something like this and it's like a kick in the teeth," Schumerth said.

According to Nancy Peterson-Bekx a former district attorney the escorts the sherff's department is doing violates Wisconsin state law:
Peterson-Bekx said Tuesday she was unaware of the stir caused by an opinion she has aired several times over her career as a police trainer. "The problem is the law is very clear on what an authorized emergency vehicle can do," she said. "And escorting a bus for an NFL team is not one of those circumstances.

"The potential problem, of course, is that if someone is going with the green light and plows into them, that caravan is entirely in the wrong from a legal point of view. The civil liability would be incredible."

Law enforcement officers may violate traffic laws only in an emergency situation, according to state law.

I'd like to think that since the escort has been occurring since 1982 that "if it ain't broke, don't fix it," but we live in a litigious society with people suing for much less than a car accident from an improper police escort.

"Forget the Police Escort"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Sports at 02:40 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #180

  • Mark Warner won't be running for President.

  • The LA Times has sent its own reporters to investigate how it can survive in the new media future.

  • Desparate times call for desparate campaign ads. Especially when they're about sex--and I'm not talking about Mark Foley.

  • Google will be assimilating the UW library and the Wisconsin Historical Society.

  • The UW marching band got a smackdown.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 04:37 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 12, 2006

"Of Course I Bear Responsibility...Write it Down"

Donald Rumsfeld doesn't pass the buck.

"Suffering Fools"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in War at 08:41 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Green Talks about Immigration

Rep. Mark Green is the son of immigrants. He understands them and appreciates the important role they play and have played in America's history. Green also appreciates the rule of law so one way to honor legal immigrants is to be tough on those who flout our laws. He recently talked to a group of supporters about immigration.

Green is mild-mannered in temperment and full of conviction. It's quite different from the "extreme" label Gov. Doyle is trying to put on him.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Congressional Candidate Runs for the Border with Elephant, Band

Trying to get an elephant and a mariachi band across the U.S.-Mexico border is one way to get some attention for your Congressional campaign:

Reports of an elephant crossing the river or people trying to smuggle an elephant across were rampant Tuesday while an elaborate political stunt was taking shape near the mouth of the Rio Grande.

It was a while later that the stunt, which was a photo shoot, was abruptly met by federal agents.

“The elephant never made landfall into Mexico, but I tell you something, he could have made 15 laps back and forth, but no one showed up,” said Raj Peter Bhakta, a former star on the NBC show “The Apprentice,” who also is a Republican candidate for the 13th District U.S. House of Representatives seat in Eastern Pennsylvania.

Three elephants, two African and an Asian, were taken out to a ranch near Boca Chica beach to perform, the 31-year-old Bhakta said.

He was in Brownsville to raise funds with friends and decided to get a first-hand look at border security while he was here, he said.

In Brownsville, he witnessed half a dozen men swim under one of the international bridges “with complete immunity” which in turn prompted him to take the immigration issue to the next level.

Bhakta decided to see if he could get an elephant accompanied by a six-piece mariachi band across the river.

According to his Web site, he is in favor of “sensible immigration reform” and supports a border fence, local law enforcement assistance with immigration laws and the use of the National Guard troops to help the U.S. Border Patrol.

“To my surprise, the band played on, the elephants splashed away, and nobody showed up,” Bhakta said of the stunt. “I’m astounded.”


He said he was “staggered” by what happened on Tuesday and was planning on sharing the story with his potential constituents.

“If I can get an elephant led by a mariachi band into this country, I think Osama bin Laden could get across with all the weapons of mass destruction he could get into this country,” Bhakta said.

The mariachi band was not immediately available for comment.

Too bad Bhakta is getting trounced in the money race. He's certainly creative.

"Running of the Elephants" [via Raj Blog]

[Added to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam.]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:23 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #179

  • Gov. Doyle can crow all he wants about holding down taxes. The Tax Foundation rated Wisconsin's tax environment for business 38th. Last year it was 37th.

  • Intelligence failures surround U.S. policy toward North Korea. That's an inexcusable broken record.

  • OPEC can't decide how to cut oil production so prices remain at yearly lows.

  • The GOP might have found a counter "October surprise" with Sen. Harry Reid's secret land deal.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 03:26 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

October 11, 2006

Waiting for the Conspiracy Nuts

The Angry Frozen Head is waiting for Jew-bashing conspiracy nuts to claim today's plane crash was part of the Zionist master plan.

[via digg]

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


A small plane helicopter aircraft just hit the Bellaire building in New York City. It's a 50-story building built in 1988. It contains 183 apartments. Two stories are on fire.

I firmly believe this was a terrorist attack. Planes don't just fly into buildings. Since it's become more difficult to hijack airliners--mostly due to passengers who will fight back like United 93--small planes would become easier, though less powerful tools for attacks.

"Plane Crashes into Manhattan Building"

UPDATE: NYC police and firemen now agree it was a helicopter instead of a small aircraft. ABC Radio reports traffic helicopters have crashed around the city. Usually pilots crash them into the East River.

UPDATE II: ABC Radio reports the staff of the Bellaire Tower say no one was hurt in the crash and fire.

Kim Priestap at Wizbang is also covering the story.

UPDATE III: Again from ABC Radio: The FAA says the aircraft was fixed wing and not a helicopter, didn't file a flight plan, and didn't talk to air traffic controllers.

UPDATE IV: The NYC fire department reports two people have died.

WTMJ radio reports an FBI spokesman has said there's no indication of terrorism.

ABC Radio reports people in the area say they saw a helicopter in distress.

UPDATE V: From ABC Radio: The Justice Department doesn't see this as a terrorist attack.

Here's the location of the building on Google Maps. It's almost touching the East River.

An apartment in the building is (was) going for $455,000.

ABC Radio now reports NORAD has scrambled fighters over cities as a precautionary measure.

UPDATE VI: Via Allahpundit here's the web page of the Belaire Apartments.

There's more coverage with video at Stop the ACLU.

UPDATE VII: After an initial fall the Dow Jones fought back to only being 15 points down for the day.

The market's concerns about this being a terrorist attack were eased. From reports from people in NYC seeing a plane looping strangely I'm thinking it wasn't terrorism.

UPDATE VIII: WNBC reports the plane was a Cirrus SR20.

UPDATE IX: ESPN reports New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle was killed when his plane crashed into the apartment building. Thanks, DJ, for the link.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:12 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Deficit Down Thanks to Taxpayers

President Bush can take credit all he wants for the 2006 budget deficit, "the smallest amount of red ink in four years" to use the AP's words. What disappoints me is how the deficit went down:

Both spending and tax revenues climbed to all-time highs in 2006. The sharp narrowing of the deficit reflected the fact that revenues climbed by 11.7 percent, outpacing the 7.3 percent increase in spending.

That's more money being sucked out of private hands and into a government that's incapable of spending it wisely. Imagine where the deficit would be if Congress could control its spending appetite and the President was willing to veto a spending bill.

"Federal Deficit Now Lowest in 4 Years" [via Blue Crab Boulevard]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 12:21 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

More Fun at Drinking Right

Last night's Drinking Right was another good time at Papa's Social Club. I posted pics at Flickr. Enjoy.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 11:48 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Vote in the Straw Poll

It's straw poll time. Take a moment from the current elections and choose who you want for the GOP nomination in 2008. I'm leaning Gingrich right now and am seriously considering Giuliani--if only he'd fix his partial-birth abortion stance.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 10:38 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #178

  • Thomas Sowell wants to be serious.

  • The Davenport, Iowa diocese became the fourth to declare bankruptcy over priest sex abuse charges.

  • Here's another "brilliant" idea from Chicago: banning chain stores in certain parts of the city.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 01:47 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 10, 2006

David Zucker's Spiked Anti-Democrats Ad

The GOP may not want to run this hard-hitting yet funny David Zucker ad, but I have no qualms. With North Korea's recent nuclear test it's fitting.

"Video: The Zucker Ad; Flashback: Zucker Ad Goofed on Kerry in 2004"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 04:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

TAM Technical Issues

The lack of hard-hitting commentary is due to technical issues. I'm working on the new version of TAM (3.0 I think), and it's going slower than I'd like. I hope to get it all working soon so I can focus on writing and my special announcement instead of dealing with website design, moving megabites of posts, spam blocking, etc. etc.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Weblogging at 04:05 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #177

  • Milwaukee's police chief wants more cops while some aldermen stick to 1960s thinking that social programs will stop the killings on Milwaukee's streets.

  • Business is "nervous" about a second Doyle term as governor.

  • Another Nobel Prize, another American winner. This time it's Edmund Phelps winning the economics prize for his inflation and unemployment work. He also happens to be a believer in the dynamic capitalism of the U.S., U.K., and Canada as opposed to the more corporatist capitalism of Continental Europe. He also opposed President Bush's tax cuts. Obviously he's a complex thinker not easily pigeon-holed.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 04:07 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 09, 2006


After watching the trailer for 300 I know I want to see this movie. It's stylized like Sin City--no surprise since the film is based on a Frank Miller graphic novel. It looks like nothing Hollywood puts out. There's dramatic scenes but stretched to the limit with a mythic color palette.

[via GallyCat]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Culture at 06:10 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #176

  • It's anecdotal but some evangelical voters aren't blaming the GOP as a whole for Mark Foley's scandal.

  • Bigger families are the trend, even in expensive Manhattan.

  • The American Academy of Pediatrics wants kids to have more free time.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 02:23 AM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

October 08, 2006

North Korea Goes Nuclear


North Korea says they tested a nuke. The USGS is calling it a 4.2 earthquake. "Light" by earthquake standards. Right now, we have to figure out if they're telling the truth. There was some event noticed by seismographs [also here, here, here, here, and here]around North Korea. Whether it was a nuclear test or not we'll have to wait and see. Geologists will have to study the p-waves and the s-waves to confirm the test.

Let's assume the North Koreans did it. They said they would, and why should we think they wouldn't? They weren't getting enough attention from only threatening to perform a test. Now it's kind of hard to ignore a fruitcake with a real, live nuke. I'd like to know how many North Koreans had to starve so Kim Jong Il could have his new, super-powered weapon? The starving masses will be pleased that "It marks a historic event as it greatly encouraged and pleased the KPA and people that have wished to have powerful self-reliant defense capability." Excuse me while I boil some tree bark soup to sympathize with their oppression.

The ball's in China's court. If they don't mind Kim Jong Il having nukes then they'll do nothing. And if that happens Japan will certainly have to build a defensive nuclear arsenal of their own which won't make Bejing happy.

"North Korea Says Nuclear Test Successful"

"Report: North Korea Tests Nuke; Update: Confirmed?"

"Norks Already Tested a Nuke? (Update: One Administration Official Confirms)"

UPDATE: Stop the ACLU went link-crazy so check him out for lots of reaction.

I'm uncomfortable with North Korea having a real, live nuke, but only difference is we now know it works. When India and Pakistan developed nukes I know many thought South Asia would be the next place for a nuclear war. It hasn't happened yet. Maybe there's something about possessing a weapon so destructive a leader becomes extremely wary of using it. One can argue that the U.S and U.S.S.R. didn't go to war because both sides knew it could quickly come to a nuclear holocaust.

There are two big problems with North Korea having nukes. The first is we don't know how rational Kim Jong Il is. If all he wants to do is live and stay in control of his communist state then he can be deterred. If he's a paranoid nutball then I'd start making plans for building fallout shelters. Second, he could pass on a nuke or its technology to terrorists. But even if terrorists succeeded in a nuclear attack on the U.S. the trail would eventually come back to Pyongyang.

If anything this will push Japan futher to build its military especially missile defense and could push them to build a nuclear arsenal of its own. That won't please Bejing.

UPDATE II: Cambodia doesn't approve of North Korea's test but doesn't want to do anything about it.

On the financial front Asian stock markets are down and oil prices are going up.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 11:54 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

October 07, 2006

Haven't Seen Green-Doyle II Yet

I put baseball and Battlestar Galactica ahead of the second Green-Doyle debate. It serves them right for putting a second debate on a Friday night. I guess neither candidate wants voters to actually see them discuss issues. Later today I'll try to watch the video (if I find a site that has it; nothing at WisPolitics) and offer my thoughts.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 01:56 AM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

October 06, 2006

iTunes Tax

New Jersey will become the next state to tax its citizen's downloads. Gov. Jim Doyle, who says he's never raised Wisconsin taxes, toyed with the idea last year. The Republican-controlled legislature stopped him. If he's re-elected expect him to try again to fund future big spending with an "iTunes tax."

"New Jersey's iTunes Tax"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:10 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #175

  • College students attack a Minuteman at Columbia University and shout at Bill Kristol in Austin.

  • Wacked-out Lefty Ramsey Clark thinks the "end of civilization as we know it in the birthplace of civilization, Mesopotamia" would happen if Saddam were hanged for his crimes.

  • J.B. Van Hollen doesn't support State Rep. Frank Lasee's idea to allow teachers to be armed in schools [PDF]. I wonder how the NRA feels about that position from their endorsed candidate?

  • Cheer because Battlestar Galactica's season premier is tonight.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 04:35 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 05, 2006

Foley IM was "Prank"

Drudge reports that the Mark Foley instant message that forced him to resign was "part of an online prank."

According to two people close to former congressional page Jordan Edmund, the now famous lurid AOL Instant Message exchanges that led to the resignation of Mark Foley were part of an online prank that by mistake got into the hands of enemy political operatives, the DRUDGE REPORT can reveal.

According to one Oklahoma source who knows the former page very well, Edmund, a conservative Republican, goaded Foley to type embarrassing comments that were then shared with a small group of young Hill politicos. The prank went awry when the saved IM sessions got into the hands of political operatives favorable to Democrats. This source, an ally of Edmund, also adamantly proclaims that the former page is not a homosexual. The prank scenario was confirmed by a second associate of Edmund.

The news come on the heels that former FBI Chief Louis Freeh has been named to investigate the mess.


UPDATE: There's a perception that I'm trying to defend Foley. Not at all. The IMs with Edmund could have been a prank on Edmund's part, with Foley still being a sexual predator who didn't deserve to hold office. Foley fell for the joke because he refused to control his impulses. That makes him more like that of an animal than a human.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 02:01 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Cheap Drugs Already Available at FL Wal-Marts

Wal-Mart pushed up its plan to sell some prescription drug for $4/month, four months sooner than expected.

Wall Street wasn't happy. The retailer's shares fell during the day. But Wal-Mart isn't stupid. They must think there's good money to be made even from drastically cutting drug costs.

"Wal-Mart To Sell Low-Price Drugs Sooner Than Expected"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Economics at 01:56 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #174

  • GM ends talks on an alliance with Renault and Nissan. The troubled carmaker actually wanted the two other companies to pay it to hook up.

  • In the wake of school violence State Rep. Frank Lasee wants to let teachers arm themselves.

  • Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke reminds us that Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable unless reformed.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 02:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 04, 2006

And the Answer Is...

Craig and Fraley hit it on the head. Little old me is 32. I don't feel bad about it since I've considered myself over-the-hill since 25. Only now I'm starting to get lingering aches and pains. Ugh! Let it be known I still get carded--and I don't mean at Pick 'n Save that cards everyone including my grandmother.

I had a quiet birthday. I avoided politics and weblogging. I hoped to watch a little baseball while enjoying some of New Glarus Brewing's finest. Because of rain in New York I watched The Nine. I'll need to watch another episode to determine if I care about these people.

If history repeats itself my family and I will probably do the dinner thing this weekend when we're not busy doing the work thing.

Thanks to all for their well wishes.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 11:32 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Guessing Game on My Birthday

Today's my birthday, and I have to work. Those are the breaks. I don't feel older or wiser. There will also be no wallowing knowing the fact I'm one year closer to my death. And I won't be punishing my readers with stories about how things were so much better "in the good old days."

For a little fun I'll let my audience guess my age. (DJ, don't say a word). I hope a few people who've met me in person will take a guess. Usually the guesses make me smile.

UPDATE: Ankle Biting Pundits has another guessing game: who will get the Mark Foley post-rehab interview. My guess is Larry "Softball" King.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Miscellaneous at 09:28 AM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Foley Money to Green Will Go to Charity

Mark Foley's sex scandal reaches Wisconsin. Foley's 1998 donation of $1000 to Mark Green will go to charity a Green spokesman said.

"Green to Donate $1,000 He Received from Embattled Congressman"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 09:22 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #173

  • SDC is spending $50,000 to boost its reputation.

  • The Washington Post, feeling left out in the Foley story, puts a hit piece out on page 1 starring a former Clinton and Kerry campaign staffer who felt uncomfortable that Mark Foley asked to buy him some ice cream. The paper admits, "None of those interviewed said they had received a sexual or suggestive overture from him during their time on Capitol Hill."

  • Tony Blankley defends the Washington Times editorial board's call for Speaker Hastert to resign.

  • The Dow hit a record high and oil prices continue to go down.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 01:29 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

October 03, 2006

Say a Little Prayer

Tee Bee had to fly to California because her mother became ill. We're thinking about you here at TAM HQ.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Wisconsin at 07:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Green Attacks Doyle on Illegal Immigrants

The ads are starting to roll out of the Mark Green campaign. His latest one hits Gov. Doyle hard on his special treatment for illegal immigrants.

He also harps on state taxes being too high. That's the big theme of his campaign, and he's staying on message.

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

North Korea to Conduct Nuclear Test

North Korea doesn't think it's getting enough world attention so it's announced it will conduct a nuclear test:

Using the acronym for the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's Foreign Ministry said in the official English translation of its statement that: "The DPRK will in the future conduct a nuclear test under the condition where safety is firmly guaranteed."

The statement gave no precise date of when a test might occur.

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso called the purported nuclear test plan a threat to peace, and said a nuclear test would have graver implications than North Korean missile tests in July. Aso called the North's self-described plan "totally unforgivable," and said Japan would react "sternly" if the North conducted a nuclear test, according to Kyodo News agency.

China, North Korea's neighbor, ally and chief benefactor, had no immediate comment. The North Korean announcement appeared to have caught Chinese officialdom off-guard, coming in the midst of a weeklong National Day holiday.

"N. Korea Says It Will Conduct Nuke Test"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Foreign Affairs at 08:20 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Page Wasn't "Warned" About Foley

It's important to know what happened and what didn't with Mark Foley. ABC News reported a former page remembers being "warned" about Foley. That former page, Matthew Loraditch, has clarified his statement:

Firstly, as to the ABC "Warned" story, while I may have inadvertently used the word, "warned," in communication, I can assure you it was not intended. The fact of the matter is in an informal situation a supervisor mentioned that Foley was a bit odd or flaky and did not connote by tone or otherwise that he should be avoided.

It's certainly possible the supervisor didn't warn Loraditch because higher-ups told him not too.

I wonder about this paragraph from the NY Times:

Matthew Loraditch, who worked as a page with Ms. Gallo and Mr. McDonald in 2001 and 2002, said a supervisor had once casually mentioned that Mr. Foley “was odd” and that he later saw sexually explicit text messages that Mr. Foley had sent to two former pages after they left the program.

Another former page, Patrick MacDonald also later learned "Mr. Foley had sexually explicit Internet conversations with several pages who had left the program." When did these two learn about the messages? Was it with the rest of the country last week, or was it weeks, months, or years ago? What did they do with this information? Did they contact anyone in the page program?

In Loraditch's statement he also defends the House page program's concern for page's safety:

Thirdly, I have stressed several key points in my contact with media that all situations with Mr. Foley occurred after we had finished our service as pages. That if anything had happed while we were in Washington, it would have been dealt with. That I have full faith and trust that any of the supervisors and staff we worked with would have properly dealt with any situation like the current one.

So, Foley might have been clever enough to merely make friends with pages when they worked in the Capitol. He might have been "window shopping." After the pages left the program did he made his horrendous electronic approaches. It's still creepy and disgusting, but Foley might have remember privious House page scandals and thought his approach was safer.

"ABC News Versus NY Times"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 08:15 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #172

  • Conservatives, including the Washington Times, are calling for Speaker Hastert's head. But before jumping on the resignation bandwagon let's be like Mark Levin and consider if the explicit instant messages were released a few weeks before the elections as a political move rather than "protecting the children."

  • The Tennessee Titans' Albert Haynesworth got a 5-game suspension for stomping on the face of a Dallas Cowboy. His suspension for on-field behavior tops the two-game suspension Green Bay's Charles Martin got for bodyslamming Jim McMahon.

  • Economics explains the Western world's growing waistline.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 04:01 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

October 02, 2006

Hastert Now Key to Congressional Election

Jib offers some good reasons why the Mark Foley scandal could seriously hurt Republicans in November. Much will depend on how much Speaker Hastert knew about Foley's disgusting communications with House pages. Drudge reports the Washington Times will call for his resignation. I think this was the breaking point for Tony Blankley and company. What we know is Hastert knew about odd e-mails. There's no evidence yet that he knew about the sexually explicit instant messages. With government spending rising faster than if Democrats were running the Congress along with the horrible prescription drug entitlement getting through the House the Times editorialists think enough is enough. Conservative values and ideas aren't advancing along with "inept performance", thus it's time for a leadership change.

If we learn Hastert knew more than he's let on and failed to protect pages the Times won't be the only ones calling for his head. That distain could translate into disgust among the GOP base who will prefer staying at home than dirtying themselves by voting for them. In the next few days Speaker Dennis Hastert has the hopes of a GOP House of Representatives in his hands. Foley claiming responsibility and running off to alcohol rehab won't help his party.

"Why Foley Could Be a Problem on November 7th"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 09:49 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What Hath McCain-Feingold Wrought?

Campaign finance "reformers" want to limit campaign spending and hold politicians more accountable. To them political speech and the money that buys the ads required to advance a message in our high-powered media age "corrupt" government. But what has the campaign finance reform First Amendment restriction law actually done? Radio yappers have been sued, concerned citizens have to keep detailed donation records, newspapers have been shut down, and political activists need permission from federal courts to run ads naming Senators and Congressmen. George Will reports on what's happening in Washington State:

When the state's government imposed a 9.5-cents-per-gallon increase in the gas tax, John Carlson and Kirby Wilbur of station KVI began advocating repeal by initiative. Proponents of repeal put up a Web site, hoping to raise 1,000 volunteers and $25,000. In two days they had 6,500 and $87,000. Needing 224,880 signatures to put repeal on the ballot, they got 400,996.

Appalled by this outburst of grass-roots democracy, some local governments, which stood to gain many millions from the tax, unleashed a law firm that would gain substantially from handling the bond issues the tax would finance. The firm set out to muzzle Carlson and Wilbur, using the state's campaign regulations.

It got a judge to rule that the broadcasters were not just supporters of the repeal campaign, they were agents of it. Why, they had even used the pronoun "we" when referring to proponents of repeal. Their speech constituted political advertising, and their employer was making an "in-kind contribution" to the repeal campaign. The judge said a monetary value must be placed on their speech (he did not say how, he just said to do it that day). The law says reports must be filed and speech limits obeyed or fines imposed.

State law restricts to $5,000 the amount a single giver can contribute in the three weeks before an initiative. If Carlson's and Wilbur's speech were monetized at radio-advertising rates, they would be silenced for all but about 15 minutes in each of the campaign's crucial last three weeks. They continued to talk (the repeal campaign, outspent almost five to one, lost 54.6-45.4) and, aided by the libertarian litigators of the Institute for Justice, have taken the issue to the state Supreme Court.

Will writes, "As a result, attempts to use campaign regulations to silence opponents are becoming a routine part of vicious political combat." Just ask Rep. Mark Green. Such tactics are the cornerstone to Gov. Doyle's re-election campaign.

Thanks, President Bush.

First, it's the commercials, then radio talkers, then the local newspapers. As the internet becomes more influential and important in the mediasphere websites and webloggers (professional and amateur) will be the next targets. Sen. John McCain would love to silence the DailyKos crowd if he nabs the GOP Presidential nomination just like Sen. Russ Feingold would love to shut up Matt Drudge.

Blue Crab Boulevard writes about the ominous time we now live in:

This is the disaster that McCain-Feingold hath wrought. This is what the men who would be president think of your right to say what you want politically. There is a horrible stifling effect here where people can be silenced by creative application of campaign laws. We are headed down an ugly road - and everyone, left or right should be frightened by this. Far from being the way the left will gain power. In the long run this will be the tool that crushes them.

It is wrong, whichever side advocates it. And it will be the downfall of this country in the long run.

Campaign speech restriction isn't about Left or Right; it's about right and wrong. It's about the right to unfettered political speech and how wrong it is for McCain, Feingold, and the "reformers" (with plenty of help from President Bush) to squelch it.

"Speechless in Seattle"

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 03:56 AM | Comments (42) | TrackBack

Charlie's Show Prep #171

  • At study says the nation's ill-maintained highways are costing drivers higher car maintanence bills. Here in Wisconsin our road problem is we'll build a four-lane highway to just about anywhere.

  • Xenophobia similar to what happened with the Dubai Ports World plan to buy some U.S. ports could be the biggest sticking point from leasing Mitchell Airport.

  • A judge approved a settlement between the Journal Sentinel and Shorewest Realtors over inflated circulation numbers.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Charlie's Show Prep at 03:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Foley Talking about "Sickos"

From the Pot Calling the Kettle Black Department:

Ex-Congressman Mark Foley had the audacity to go on America's Most Wanted and talk about "these sickos," criminals preying on kids.

[via Netscape]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 12:51 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 01, 2006

Foley Scandal Could Damage Like Dems Bank Scandal

The Mark Foley scandal could be to the House GOP what the House bank scandal was to House Democrats in 1992. At the time Rep. Newt Gingrich, then House Minority Whip, used the scandal to tar Democrats for corruption and incompetent management of the House. It was part of Gingrich's plan to paint the Democrats as out-of-touch, arrogant political fossils who no longer deserved to run the House. Rush Limbaugh and talk radio latched onto the story and bludgeoned anyone in its path.

The Foley scandal as the potential to seriously harm Republicans. The scandal could hurt Republicans by undercutting two foundations of their leadership. First, Republicans are known as the "law and order" party. They're the ones who want to be tough on crime and criminals and lambast liberals for being too soft. It could turn out House GOP leaders were too soft on an alleged lawbreaker in their caucus who was allowed to be the chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. Second, the Foley story argues against Republicans being the party better able to protect Americans generally. Security moms (and dads) could look at what's happening on Capitol Hill and ask, "Why didn't they do something about that pervert?"

There's also the question of the GOP's management skills. ABC News quotes two political analysts:

"It's a basic management issue," Torie Clarke, a former Republican Party operative, said on "This Week." "Republicans are in charge of the House and this looks like a House out of order."

Political analyst Stu Rothenberg agreed.

"It's another problem the House Republicans have to deal with on top of all the other stuff they've been buried under over the last two years," Rothenberg said. "It's more evidence of confusion among the House Republicans as they point fingers at each other."

I can see the Democratic Congressional ads: "Why vote for a Republican? They run things so badly they let a pedophile stalk children."

The Foley story has more potential for damage than Bob Woodward's State of Denial. With the book Woodward pieces together a lot of information that was already in public. It won't change minds. Bush backers will say Woodward is part of the liberal MSM that hates the President and is trying to get back into good graces for previous books that spoke well of the President. With the Foley story there's still more to be learned. Reporters are digging into what Speaker Hastert and Majority Leader Boehner knew and when they knew it--which could have been as far back as 2001. In Hastert's case there seems to be some confusion about if he knew about the creepy but not graphic e-mails and the disgusting IM message [PDF]. They'll also look into what the FBI did when they first received information about Foley's disturbing e-mails. Using Owen Robinson and dad29 as any indication of how rank-and-file conservatives feel the GOP could take a serious hit from their base. That's bad news with about a month left before Election Day. Hastert asking the Justice Department to investgate Foley and any possible cover-up is the right thing to do, but it makes for lousy political timing.

"Foley Scandal Sends Tremors Through Other House Races"


Tom Maguire wonders about the source of the electronic messages and who fed them to the media.

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Politics at 06:49 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Muhammed Bobblehead Sure to Agitate

Muhammad's been turned into a bobblehead. And the added bonus is the sparkling fuse attached to his head/bomb.


The figure's creator Timothy Ames may be an ex-Marine, but he should still watch his back. Islamists have killed and threatened to kill people for less.

"Bobblehead Muhammed?" [via Michelle Malkin]

Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Islam at 02:06 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack