Saturday, February 12, 2005

Fidel restricts smoking in Cuba! What’s next forcing an adult to wear a helmet while biking? According to the CNN article the ban was based on the health concerns of tobacco use, the “It’s for Your Own Good” reason.

In the U.S. “It’s for your own good” (IFYOG) people have been waging a war on smoking based on the health risks of tobacco. This outgrowth of Nanny Statism has been expanding since FDR's regime start sucking the independence and self-reliance from the American character. IFYOGs usually have a smug superior attitude towards the great unwashed masses that were completely unaware of smokings hazards, leftist wacko; sorry I meant leftist wonk is an IFYOG. When you come across one of these people you will notice how utterly annoying they are and they should be avoided, I find them more dangerous to my health than second hand smoke.

Now there is a second front opened in the battle to control your life, private employers who refuse to hire workers who smoke at home citing increased costs in their health insurance plans. Can a private company tell their employees what to do at home, especially when that activity is legal? Why not check credit card receipts for excessive purchases of alcohol or Twinkies? How about denial of employment due to riding motorcycles or the neighborhood you live in?

Liberal blowhard often frequents a club called Bogart’s, they play very loud techno/dance music, after a few hours of it my ears ring into the next morning. I guess I could petition the city council, don't I have a right to go to Bogart's and not have my senses assaulted? Bogart’s should be forced to play music I like at acceptable volumes. Are IFYOGs going to call for a ban on loud music due to concerns for my health, when is that employer going to deny me a job to avoid caring for a middle aged deaf man and is the government going to refuse me disability pay due to my behavior?

This is the big problem with both 3rd party pay and single payer health plans. When insurance companies or governments find their costs rising it is natural to try and control behavior that causes lead to these increases. I’ve often heard that free speech means allowing speech one might find offensive or hateful. Freedom also means the right to act stupidly when to comes to your own body.

Friday, February 11, 2005

2005 Triangle Blogger Conference

2005 Triangle Blogger Conference

Triangle Bloggers Conference to gather area bloggers, journalists and activists to discuss community building

Journalist Dan Gillmor to give public presentation on grassroots journalism

Chapel Hill, NC – Local writers, journalists, politicians and activists will gather at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Saturday, February 12th for the Triangle Bloggers Conference, a free public discussion of online communities and community building with weblogs. The conference runs from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in Murphey Hall.


Maybe there's more Raleigh blogging than I thought...

Proverbs 16:18

From PBS:

"Columnist George Will told The American Experience, 'the stricken fields of American politics are littered with the bleached bones of those who underestimated Ronald Reagan.' "

I'm not saying I'm buying into it, but could a crazy little former governor from a crazy little New England state change the world of American politics, to the great surprise of the VRWC?

I don't feel good when Katrina vanden Heuvel is on Hardball talking about Howard Dean bringing issues like "media consolidation" to the foreground. In a list of the top 10 issues on the minds of Americans, media consolidation is probably 423rd, right behind Statehood for Puerto Rico.

In his defense, boy, can he raise some money! Of course, first you get the power, then you get the money - but it might work in reverse too.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Fear and Loathing: no politics, no sports, just sick desperation.

Here’s an amusing (or pathetic) story from last night. Now this women is not my normal type, well she is my type in the sense that's she's a women whose breathing and willing to share a pitcher with me but I don't usually meet too many redneck women. She was very attractive and looked to be around 30-35 years old but mentioned something about her adult children. We met at a bar in Raleigh but she suggested we move to a bar in Garner which was a bit more redneck than I'm used to and had a motel behind it, which did perk my interest to why she wanted to come here. We're talking for about a half hour when 2 drunk guys (about 21-25 years old) walk in and go to the bar, apparently one of them had injured or dislocated his shoulder and instead of going to the hospital decides to drink 151 rum to ease his pain. I don't know why I felt the need to offer advice but I suggested that rather than going to the emergency room, they make an appointment with a doctor in the morning and it would cost them a lot less money. The non-injured guy looks over at this women and starts yelling at her, she starts yelling back.

I barely know this women am I supposed to do the "defend her honor" type of thing, get the fuck out of there or sit there like an idiot. Not wanting to abandon her or get into a fight I chose to sit there like an idiot. It turns out that was her son (she is older than I thought) who then runs out of the bar yelling and screaming. The police come to arrest the kid, his mother runs out to help keep him out of jail and winds up getting hit in the eye. The kid goes off to jail to sober up, this women comes back in with her eye red and starting to swell and I'm still sitting there like an idiot. She grabs my beer, chugs it and says "order me up some Crown", at this point I could use some liquor myself but I'm worried about the police presence in the parking lot. I order her the Crown and I decide to get a light beer and look for my cue to exit. A few off-duty Garner police come in to play pool, she knows them and starts to cry and plead her sons’ case to them. Seeing my chance to escape, I paid the tab and said with a strait face "I had a wonderful time tonight", she laughed at that and apologized for all the drama. I said same time next week?

Too Late for Katie, Town Tackles a Drug's Scourge

From the NY Times:

"John Neace forces himself to pass by the run-down apartment buildings every day. Inside, the police say, Mr. Neace's 10-year-old daughter stumbled on someone with methamphetamine last month. Her drowned body was found five days later at a nearby creek, small hands tied tightly behind her back.

...

'If we had a brothel move into town, people would close it down instantly,' said the Rev. Jon Pearce of the First Baptist Church here. 'If we had an X-rated movie house come, it'd be gone within a week. But this has been here. It is a monster. We didn't know what kind of monster it was.'"


I'm pretty hard-hearted, but this story made me cry. It's so sad what happens to these small rural communities, a cycle of unemployment, meth, oxycontin, and death.

At first glance, it's easy to think it's just like in the inner cities, drugs and violence appear when people are cut off from opportunity. The county where L-Hack and I used to work is a hotbed of meth activity in North Carolina, but they're only 30 minutes from Raleigh. There's a lot of growth in the area, but it's more sprawl than in-place development. As the suburbs expand, the meth labs close down, but that's not a solution. You can't build a city everywhere.

Is this the cause - is this just the final act in "creative destruction"? When the industry is destroyed, the population that went with it becomes a surplus that liquidates itself with drugs and violence? Is this the generational effect of change? The people don't change, they just disappear. Some leave these towns and places, some get overrun by urban sprawl, and other stay on until they all commit a genocide on themselves?

North Korea MIGHT HAVE Nukes

The world is a-twitter about the possibility that North Korea has a nuclear weapon. Keep in mind, they did not conduct a successful test, and no one has seen it. I'm not suggesting that it should be ignored, but I wouldn't take this at face value with out some more investigation.

Of course, the right-wing blogosphere blames Bill Clinton. Assuming the DPRK has a nuke, it is possible that they developed it since 2000. This goes to my "deterrence/accelerant" theory that says if a nation could be scared into capitulation by pre-emptive war in Iraq, it is just as likely to serve as a motivating factor in the development of a nuclear device.

Even still, there's not really a point in assigning blame because if a country wants a nuclear weapon, it's going to get one. The only way to stop a country is to buy it off, or blow it up.

With that being said, I have to question U.S. intelligence on this. Can they confirm it? Did they know and not tell the public? If they didn't know, why not?

Point is - they dropped the ball on 9/11, Iraq and potentially the DPRK. Are we supposed to trust the intelligence community about Iran? I guess we have to, but this isn't a very good track record. Does Iran, in fact, have nuclear weapons already? Are they really developing them? Where are the sites?

Second question - where the hell is China on this? They continue to financially back Kim, they put no pressure on him, and look at the outcome.

This is just reason #453 why we shouldn't be doing business with China. It's time to cut them off like the Soviets - tell U.S. companies you have to divest of Chinese assets and then refuse treasury bond payments to them.

People seem to think we're going to default on the bonds in the Social Security trust fund (yes, there is a trust fund full of government bonds). Why default on a loan Americans made to the government while paying off the Chinese, and letting them feed that money into the DPRK. With the money saved in not having to make debt interest payments to the PRC, we could pay U.S. companies for losses incurred in the divestiture.

Stop screwing around with Iran, move a pile of nuclear missiles into South Korea and Japan like we did in Western Europe during the Cold War and aim them at the DPRK and the PRC.

Sooner or later, this is going to happen anyways. We can choke the Chinese and North Korean economies like we did with the USSR and either we'll drive the communists into submission or we'll have M.A.D. The world lived in the shadow of potential nuclear holocaust for almost a half-century. We can do it again.

In the end, it will all be over in about 30 years or 15 minutes...but it will be over.

California Revolution - It's about time for Pay-for-Performance

California Revolution (washingtonpost.com):

"One initiative would empower school districts to award teachers merit pay based on performance as the districts decide to measure that. Merit pay pits Schwarzenegger against the 335,000-member California Teachers Association and other teachers unions. "


It's about time that someone gives some serious attention to pay-for-performance for teachers, but this in only one step in a transformative process.

My sister is in education, like most of family, and we talk about this all the time. It's about time to treat teachers like professionals - same as doctor, lawyers, and engineers. This will bring prestige into the field and attract new people into the profession. With the prestige comes pressure to deliver, but delivery should also include financial rewards.

This isn't a fight that teachers unions should be engaged in, but it doesn't obviate the role and importance of a teachers' union. First, in states like North Carolina, teacher salaries are an embarassment - no wonder, there's no union here. Of course, there's also a teacher shortage here. A teacher's union insures a minimum salary floor. High floor, more people want to join the profession, and a much larger pool from which to draw the most talented becomes available.

The second role of the teachers' union - screening talent and enforcing standards. Professional educators, not legislators or bureaucrats, should be determining the standards of education and measuring the capability of educators. In a partnership with the public, unions can adopt rigid standards and give themselves a strong leg to stand when arguing for a high salary floor.

Finally, hold legislators feet to the fire. If the teachers' union leads the charge for accountability and maintains rigid standards for entry into the field, they serve as force to make sure legislators live up to their end of the bargain - funding for minimum salaries and pay-for-performance. If the teachers' union slips in performance, they can't argue for more money, but if they're the driving force behind good education and they still don't get the resources they need or deserve, a strike is well-warranted.

The union shouldn't fight pay-for-performance, it should lead the charge, but it still can and should play an important role in public education. Unlike a business, good performance doesn't insure cashflow, so the union has to keep the legislature honest and not allow them to decide tax cuts or roads are a reason to shirk an obligation to funding quality education. It can also provide the leadership on issues of education like the AMA does for medicine in areas like testing, vouchers, and other related things that are best served by people "in the know", not politicians.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Bubba in Raleigh

Bill Clinton Daily Diary:

"I forgot to say earlier how much I like Raleigh. I’ve been there many times, both in public and in private. I’ve also been to Durham and Chapel Hill. With a bus. There is this Tri-State bus service connecting these three towns."

...

"I haven’t been in Raleigh in a long time. What I mean is, I haven’t been there walking around town for quite a long time. As president and former president all you get to see is hotels, limousines and hotels. So my memory is a bit hazy. I remember Raleigh quite well though. There is a statue of president Polk in front of the State Capitol.

By the way president Polk is the one, who declared war on Mexico and annexed Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. Next to it is the business center with all the banks. If you walk from the Capitol to the business center, if I remember right, the central bus station is to your left, near by. Very close by is a McDonald’s I remember very well. I used to sneak out of my hotel room to go stock up on fast food there. "


Bill Clinton was in town for the Emerging Issues Forum this week. I'm not sure what he's talking about the "business center with all the banks" downtown (Fayetteville Street Mall?), but there is a McDonald's within walking distance of the Capitol.

White Flag

I've been pretty fired up over the last couple days, mostly because it's been a slow news cycle and I'd rather do anything than re-read Pivotal Politics. It's making my head hurt.

That being said - L-Hack, I've been taking a lot of shots, but rather than let this degenerate in the online equivalent of "Crossfire", I propose a cease-fire.

Effective at midnight, Friday - no more personal attacks. I'm going to stop right now and leave you the next two days to fire return salvos.

You were posting some thoughtful stuff on foreign affairs and you need to get back to that, not dealing with my Hannity nonsense.




BTW - Pivotal Politics is actually a pretty decent book, it just has a lot of statistical analysis that's a little tough to get through in some parts.

Stem Cell Research - A Reasoned Defense

From A letter to America:

"It should be understood that the stem cell research debate is different from the abortion debate. Human embryos are the by-products of in vitro fertilization, which is one of the many medical procedures developed out of compassion for childless couples to remedy infertility. The process of in vitro fertilization is inexact at this time, and often that procedure produces far more human embryos than could possibly be used by the families involved in their creation.

At present, these extra embryos are either frozen or discarded. If these embryos are going to be thrown away, why can’t we use them for good? Why can’t we use them for research that could possibly cure someone? It seems that a truly compassionate and conservative President could support this type of initiative. Especially, since this research has the potential to help millions of Americans."


It's nonsense that federal funding isn't available to do research outside of the allegedly contaminated lines. Federal research funding is part of what made America the intellectual powerhouse it is today.

No pharmaceutical company came up with the vaccine for polio. No pharmaceutical company came up with the AIDS test. The SARS vaccine is under development at Novavax, a pharma company, but funded by NIH money.

The 1998 winners of the Nobel Prize in Medicine were NIH-funded researchers at US medical schools. Their work was the key to the development of Viagra, Pfizer's big money maker.

This is just the NIH - the NSF projects only add to this list.

If we can accept scientific advancement is good public policy, give researchers the money and get the hell out their way. Don't pay lip service to "supporting science" then restricting avenues of exploration.

Leftist Wonk - See, I told you...

From Wizbang:

"Ellsworth [Kansas], along with other small Midwestern towns, is running a modern day Homestead Act-like program to attract new residents; giving away land for families to build houses on."


Rock on!

Funny that this is applauded on a Right-wing blog. Shouldn't the market really be deciding who lives where - what is government doing?

Oh yeah, working in the community's interest. That's what it's there for - I almost forgot. For a minute, I only thought government was a tool for a small majority to inflict vendettas against people with a different opinion and to start wars in the Middle East.

Scumbags

From the Baltimore Sun (via Daily Kos):

"A longtime campaign operative of Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. resigned his state job yesterday after admitting he had been spreading rumors on the Internet about the personal life of Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley."


Of course, this is nothing new, with the so-called "research report" the RNC released on Sen. Reid.

I'm a big fan of O'Malley, and in a state like Maryland, a Republican governor is a once in a generation occurence. The GOP will get their comeuppance in the next election.

Come on L-Hack, give me the standard excuse - "Bill Clinton did it, something like it, or worse...yadda, yadda, yadda...America-hater"

Cut that man a check

The republicans have got this Churhill guy all wrong. The RNC should pay him for the kind of publicity he gets. It would not surprise me if he was planted by Rove himself. Be loud and proud Ward.

The Rude Pundit - Spewing Truth from Every Orifice

The Rude Pundit in three new posts admirably defends Ward Churchill and exposes more Right-Wing hypocracy from Bill O'Reilly and PNAC.

The capstone - Bush as degenerate gambler, China as loanshark. A must-read.

Deception and Lies Tour '05 - Promotional Tour or Show of Force?

From the News & Observer:

"In picking North Carolina for his visit, Bush chooses a state that voted for him twice.

He picks a state where the two Republican senators support his wishes to change what some consider the country's most sacred public program.

But he picks a state where five of the seven Republican U.S. House members are lukewarm on the idea -- at best."


They're certainly not in what TPM calls, the "Conscience Caucus", but you can understand their restraint given the circumstances in NC - very rural, very pro-Bush.

This visit isn't about "promoting" his Social Security "plan", this is about squeezing the NC Congressional Delegation. Richard Burr and Liddy Dole (and L-Hack) may be his lapdogs, but he doesn't quite have the House members.

I can envision the conversation now:

"Well, you have to vote your mind, but I sure wouldn't want to see you have trouble in the primaries. Now, I like you fellas, but I've heard there's some folks that could give you a little trouble next year - I just met a nice young minister from Winston-Salem not too long ago that was talking about getting into politics. I could give you some protection, but I'm gonna' need you to get on board. How 'bout joining the team on this one?"

Like the guy in Full Metal Jacket that says - "All I ask of my men is that they obey my orders as if they were the word of God"

More Right-Wing Hypocracy, and a Frightening Trend

From Samantha Bennett's column in today's Pittbsurgh Post-Gazette:

"The Bible Belt has the highest divorce rate in the United States, according to federal figures.

The national average for divorce is about 4.2 per thousand people. Nevada's rate, as you might expect, is more than eight per thousand (many probably drive-thru), but Tennessee's is 6.4, Arkansas' is 6.1, and Alabama and Oklahoma both clock in at 6.

For folks who are so fiercely concerned about the sanctity of marriage, they sure have trouble keeping one together.

Some of the lowest divorce rates are found in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and the New England states. You know, not the real America."


No great shocker here - we learned during the campaign that the Midwestern bible-thumpers were full of BS.

This one sent me for a loop:

"In a nation that is repeatedly told it loves freedom and liberty and is willing to go to great lengths to spread freedom and liberty elsewhere, we are raising kids who are pretty comfortable with the idea of state-censored newspapers.

When it was explained to them the First Amendment is not a band but the No. 1 hit on the Bill of Rights that grants us freedom of religion, speech, press and assembly, one in three high schoolers surveyed said it goes "too far" with the freedom.

...

Even their adult oppressors are more tolerant. Get this: In answer to a question about whether people should be allowed to express unpopular opinions, only 83 percent of students said yes, while 99 percent of school principals and 97 percent of teachers did."


This is just another part of the "brownshirting" of America. Yesterday, I posted on conservatives getting concerned about this trend. Of course, these aren't the wingnut drones that listen to Hannity and Limbaugh and Hewitt and get all their news from Faux.

The American Conservative had the audacity to write thoughtful pieces on why any candidate for President in the last election was worth a vote.

When you start producing a generation of Americans that believes in censorship and limits to expression, you've got bigger problems than Social Security and Medicare funding in 2020.

L-Hack criticizes me for dour my outlook is - well this is something to look forward to! Better not let anyone know you're not down with Jeebus. In 2020, these thugs might have you locked up for expressing an unpopular opinion. Of course, you may have your own "troop" of the "Republican Youth League", dedicated to such noble pursuits as political education, pogroms, and eugenic research.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Yankee Madmen - A Shot Across the Bow

Leftist Wonk - Where the hell are you? I have to fight off the Hannity clone all by myself, when he's backed by the right-wing conspiracy and getting new material each hour from his press office, Fox News Channel.

Your laziness is giving the left a bad name.

L-Hack - you were worried about this becoming a far-left blog; it's the same old tired stuff. Even worse, the news cycle sucks right now. I don't have the time or the inclination to pour through the federal budget, and the State of the State address isn't for two weeks...

Unless we get another snowstorm in Raleigh, I'm going to have to stick to TV blogging.

Finally - a Conservative Blog that doesn't make me want to puke

Cathy's World is from Catherine Seipp, a contributor to the National Review Online. I say "Conservative", but it's not really.

She comments on TV a lot, and I like TV a lot, so that's all right by me.

Same with Ann Althouse. She's claims to be moderate, but I've found anyone that calls themself "moderate" is typically anything but. Nonetheless, she makes some thoughtful posts and from what I read so far, she lacks the "shill" qualities of GOP carnival barkers like Instapundit.

I didn't want to be the one to say it, but...

From Kausfiles at Slate:

"We shouldn't rule out the possibility that some of Jordan's charges, as applied to individual U.S. soldiers, are true. I know one journalist, embedded in Iraq, who says he was later physically intimidated and threatened (i.e. temporarily kidnapped) by U.S. military personnel unhappy with what he'd written. He decided not to make a big stink about it. Truth should be an available defense for Jordan."


I hate to keep dredging up this Eason Jordan thing but you know, the Right-Wing blogosphere was all over this guy's alleged statement without once stopping to ask if it's true.

I'll admit, my first thought was - "crackpot", but then I thought about it a little more. First of all, if he said what is alleged, it might have been relayed. You might question the veracity of the reports, but you have to respect a boss that backs his guys in the field, even it's unpopular.

Secondly, what if it is true? What is we don't want to admit it, but it's legit or just slightly overblown? If it's true, why cover it up? It makes things dangerous for all the journalists in Iraq, and you better forget about "embedded" access ever again.

I don't know, but I always think there's a little truth in every lie.

More bait & switch from GOPers

From The Corner on National Review Online:

"SCIENCE DOES NOT KNOW ANY BOUNDARIES. Unfortunately law doesn't all that many, either, when it comes to human embryos.

BBC:
The creator of Dolly the sheep has been granted a licence to clone human embryos for medical research.

Every one of these news stories should be a nudge to the U.S. Congress. As science goes to work unhampered in California and New Jersey. "


Wait, I though the GOP was the party of States' Rights and limited government interference?

Ohh, I forgot, that's only if some court tries to step on Texas "regulations" that permit poisoning the Rio Grande. In that case - "How dare you interfere in business! Texas can do what it wants!"

I can't really type with "righteous indignation", so you'll just have to imagine it in your ears. I tend to think of L-Hack's voice...

"All you want to do is spend my money America-hater! We won an election by a few percent - we have a mandate! Our election means our 'ideas' are right! I didn't get to vote on the Theory of Evolution - how can you teach it to my kids! Wrong side of history, intellectually dishonest moonbat..." And so on...

Bamboozlepalooza Comes to Raleigh

From WRAL.com:

"Bush will make a policy speech on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Meymandi Concert Hall at the BTI Center.

The White House has not commented on the trip.

Bush is expected to talk about his plan to reform Social Security."


Don't miss the Deception & Lies Tour '05 - "Social Security Collapse", with opening acts, "Iran will have Nukes Tomorrow" and "America doesn't Torture Prisoners"

Admission is free, but your children will have to pay for it later.

Hunger for Dictatorship

From The American Conservative:

"But Rockwell (and Roberts and Raimondo) is correct in drawing attention to a mood among some conservatives that is at least latently fascist. Rockwell describes a populist Right website that originally rallied for the impeachment of Bill Clinton as “hate-filled ... advocating nuclear holocaust and mass bloodshed for more than a year now.” One of the biggest right-wing talk-radio hosts regularly calls for the mass destruction of Arab cities. Letters that come to this magazine from the pro-war Right leave no doubt that their writers would welcome the jailing of dissidents. And of course it’s not just us. When USA Today founder Al Neuharth wrote a column suggesting that American troops be brought home sooner rather than later, he was blown away by letters comparing him to Tokyo Rose and demanding that he be tried as a traitor. That mood, Rockwell notes, dwarfs anything that existed during the Cold War. “It celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth—not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself.”


Who are these people? Lew Rockwell is the president of the libertarian Mises Institute, and Justin Raimondo is described in the article as another libertarian.

Paul Craig Roberts is with the Hoover Institution and is a former Reagan official and editor of the WSJ!

This isn't Kos or Eschaton or some left-wing kook - this is a conservative magazine citing conservative writers talking about a concern in the popular political ideology in America. This isn't Michael Moore talking about Nazi parallels - this is The American Conservative.

Yeah, it's Democrats that hate America, just like the Jews and Communists caused all those problems in Germany in the 20s.

No wonder you need prayer...

From Daily Kos::

"The percentage of 10th grade boys reporting sexual activity 'jumped' from 24% to 39% after participating in abstinence education"


I hope the President's supporters are praying because if they fall for nonsense like "abstinence-only education", God help them. The stuff doesn't work, period, but people still keep buying into it. There's no spin or marketing here, right? It's the "ideas", right?

Of course, this nonsense got a boost in the budget - you know, the one that's supposed to cut ineffective programs.

Oh those Republicans with their responsible spending, what will they do next?

Who's really f**king America

You're just so clever, pulling out the same hackneyed act that Hannity does every night from 6-9. "America Hating" - how fresh. I'm surprised you didn't follow it up with "Take my Wife, Please." Get that act on the road. Have you ever wondered why Hollywood is overwhelming Democrat -they're actually entertaining.

I don't claim to be clever, so I won't try to be, but if you want to know who's f**king middle America, why don't you look in the mirror.

Hey Mr. Moral Values, it's been 25 years and abortion is still legal. You've been buying that bill of goods for a quarter-century from your leaders, when do you expect to take delivery?

Twenty-five years ago, you pretty much had gay people terrified in the closet. Now they're all over TV and in your workplace and teaching your kids. What are your leaders doing about that?

Smaller and more responsible government - it's only gotten bigger and more wasteful under Republican leadership. Plus, they've brought you such wonderful small government initiatives like the War on Drugs, No Child Left Behind, and a Medicare drug benefit, the largest entitlement program since the 1960s. The funny part is, you still think Ronald Reagan stood for these things - he was the worst Democratic charicacture come to life - spend, spend, spend.

Your leaders keep promising you things and you keep buying their bullshit.

I'm in a win-win situation...

If you're right, I'll be rich and prosperous and safe and if you screw America, you'll be out of power and at least I'll get something I want. You'll just be left with disillusionment, a bunch of lies and IOUs from your leaders.

Monday, February 07, 2005

The second coming of MTV2

This article on CNN describes how MTV2 is trying to remarket itself to 12-24 year-old guys.

""We want Green Day to be a kind of house band for MTV2, the way people feel about MTV being the Eminem Network," says Tom Calderon, executive vice president of talent and music."


Problem is, for tween guys, they want the "Eminem Network". They love that guy. Indie-rock plays to the older high-school/college crowd, but if it's on MTV2, how "indie" can it really be?

Isn't that just like the "indie" rock that backs most shows on the WB - essentially a vehicle for marginal artists on the WB record label.

Look, MTV2 came out in 1996, when I was in the marketing demographic, and it didn't catch too much fire then. Granted, it's in more homes now, but music is so fragmented today that no network can appeal to everyone. Don't forget - the height of MTVs resurgence with TRL was all based on artists geared to 12-year-old girls. They alienated everyone else in that bubblegum blitz, and they won't come back.

The brand is ruined.

The Southern Strategy

Here is a picture of liberal blowhard(about half way down with the fuck middle america sign), showing off his new marketing campaign slogan. This kinder gentler approach is meant to influence red staters into voting democratic. As we all know, conservatives have not been winning elections for 25 years on ideas but on the way they sell their ideas. A new way for liberals to package their beliefs is all that stands between them and the perfect society for the rest of us. I personally don’t feel they’ve been condescending enough so I have a few slogans for the Progressives “marketing campaign”:

– We hate ourselves almost as much as we hate America.
– Depression era economic policies and a Vietnam defeatist foreign policy.
– We’re your betters, YOUR BETTERS!!!
– Tofu in every pot and a Yugo in every garage.
– We hate you and defeatism too.
– We’re all doomed anyway so you might as well vote for us.
– WWFD (What Would France Do).
– Canada doesn’t want us either.
– We’ll stop calling you stupid, racist, homophobic, morons to your face.
– We report, we decide.
– We’re here, we’re queer, we don’t want anymore bears!

To be honest, L-Blowhard’s campaign is quite an improvement; he used to carry a sign that said “Destroy Middle America”. With this kind of genius behind it there is no doubt that the “Reality Based Community” will be back on top. HRC-08









Maryland's Perennial Disgrace (washingtonpost.com)

From the Washington Post:

"LET'S SAY YOU have the good fortune to be elected a state senator in Maryland. Well, here's the first perk you need to know about: Over the course of your four-year term, you will be handed $552,000 in state scholarship money -- $138,000 a year -- which you may dole out to the college-bound children of your constituents nearly any way you like. Want to award four-year grants to the dimmest sons and daughters of your wealthy financial backers? Go right ahead! If you play your cards right and get reelected once or twice, chances are you will be able to grease the palms of a majority of the constituent families in your district. Members of the House of Delegates, too, control state scholarship funds, but in much smaller amounts than are available to senators -- about $31,000 a year."


I remember learning about this when I first moved to Maryland right after graduating from college. At the time, I thought PHEAA did an excellent job in providing grant money for PA college students. Since I was at an in-state public school, the grant money was very useful and it kept my debt burden very low.

I was appalled by this program in Maryland.

First, public money for "scholarship" programs is a bad idea - it's a bad investment of public funds. Even though they may have a high level of achievement and accomplishment, why should the public subsidize the education of children whose parents can afford (and will pay for) a college education? Need & merit is a much better criteria on which to judge the distribution of public "scholarship" funds. If I had to choose need OR merit, I'll still choose "NEED".

The real problem is, like the editorial goes on to describe, the awarding of these "scholarships" doesn't even have to be based on need or merit. They can be given to the kids of political supporters in your district - patronage and incumbent advantage rolled into one package. The Daley political machine never had anything this good.

The State of Maryland is doing its youngest voters a great disservice with this program and they really need to listen to Gov. Ehrlich and put the money into a general fund. Imagine that - I actually think the Republican has the better idea on how to manage a redistribution program. That should tell you how bad this Maryland "scholarship" program actually is.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

American Dad - Wasn't Impressed

First, let me start by saying, I'm a huge fan of Family Guy, and typically, anything that pokes fun at the Right is A-Ok with me, but this wasn't that great.

It's too close to Family Guy - talking alien and goldfish swapped for Stewie and Brian...ehhh...but, the 19-year-old dog was pretty funny.

As for the Simpsons - I hate when famous people are on the Simpsons as themselves, unless it's an add-on to the main story that doesn't revolve around a celebrity (think Paul & Linda McCartney at the very end of the "Lisa Becomes a Vegetarian" episode).

I like it best when famous people are the voice of a character - Beverly D'Angelo as Lurleen Lumpkin or Michelle Pfiefer as Mindy.

With that being said, Ned's "Passion of Cain & Abel" was first-rate. The gore, the violence, the "Massachusetts Approves Gay Marriage" headlines...it's doesn't get any better than that. It almost made up for a pretty crappy episode.

If you've got the lead-in from the Super Bowl, you really have to do better than this effort. If you have "celebrities" on the Simpsons and you have to make them wear sweatshirts with their names on them because people can't recognize their voice or charicature, they probably shouldn't be on the show.

Super Bowl - Wrong Again

After the Steelers lost, I pretty much stopped watching football, but I did make a Super Bowl prediction, more on an ideological basis than a football basis, but a prediction nonetheless.

Like the majority of my football picks this year - wrong again. In about 1:55, I suspect I will have been "on the wrong side of history".

Coming off a year where I picked the most correct college bowl game winners in a field of 12, my NFL prognosticating skills are just awful. Hopefully I'll find the magic again with baseball coming soon.

Let's go Buccos!

Raleigh City Manager Releases Snow Report

The Raleigh City Manager has released his report (PDF via N & O) on the snow disaster a couple of weeks ago that basically crippled Wake County, NC

Communication and better citizen education about how to handle a wreck and use the cell phone in a storm...blah, blah, blah...

The meaningful recommendations - police escorts for plows and pre-salting of the roads on a "flurries only" forecast. Boy, that's insightful. I hope we didn't pay a consultant for this.

[On an aside - there isn't a whole of Raleigh blogging going on. I know there isn't much here, but this isn't Mayberry. I would have thought there would be some more.]

Eason Jordan - Give it a Rest

The Right-Wing Blogosphere really wants this story to catch fire, and I'm not going to give them the satisfaction of a link. (I don't think my two readers care or they'll miss my traffic).

I'll give you the gist - a CNN executive said at the Davos Economic Forum that the U.S. military deliberately killed 12 journalists in Iraq. I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here since no one's seen the transcript, but some people report verification (how "independent" is anyone's guess.)

Look, the guy's a idiot and he said something stupid. The President said there were WMD in Iraq and he's not been impeached! What are you complaining about?

Seriously, I don't like to engage in these situational ethics, or what I call the "jackass race", so Eason doesn't get a pass for that, but this demonization has to stop.

They're going to tell you, "He made these statements in front of important global leaders at Davos." You know what, Jacques Chirac didn't like U.S. military policy already.

Tony Blair, what do you think was going through his mind? "Well, I backed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, but now that this CNN middle manager has made a wild accusation without proof, I can't be involved in this anymore."

Do you think they're running around in Fallujah, "Our cause is validated - some people on the Internet are talking about some guy we never heard of talking about U.S. soldiers killing reporters. I was all ready to stop the beheading and get on board with democracy, but I don't know now."

Give me a break!

They did this to Ward Churchill - a grade-A moron no doubt, but they drummed up all this "indignation" and created a shitstorm over nothing. What, the 30 kids at Hamilton College that were going to hear him speak? Yeah, he's really got a big microphone there.

If they say it's about "principle", well, anyone that tells you it's about "principle" - you can bet it's about something else, usually "money", but "pride" and "spite" work equally well.

You reap what you sow, and if you continue to do this, someday, someone who doesn't agree with you is going to be in power over you. I think Instapundit gets this - he can talk about affirmative action and feminism all he wants because of "academic freedom". Once the gloves are off, and people start becoming victims of the Internet posse, don't be shocked if liberal chancellors start marginalizing or eliminating conservative faculty. The more likely outcome - faculty will close ranks and if you think it's difficult for conservatives to get tenure in some departments, wait a couple years. The purge of what conservative voices there are in the media will be swift and severe.

I know indignation can keep you warm at night, but you have to let some of this stuff roll off your back or it's going to come back around on you someday. Besides, I don't want the media talking about this stuff - I want them focused on Social Security and tax reform and things that actually matter.

"Wrong Side of History" - Worst Phrase Ever

Whenever you read the blogosphere, there's certain terms or phrases that you'll see over and over. While I'm not great fan of the very overused term - "meme", the one that really gets my goat is "wrong side of history".

This is a favorite of the Right, as in, "Democrats are on the 'wrong side of history'", particularly in terms of Iraq, but I've seen it for gay marriage and Social Security too.

Let's think about what this phrase means.

In the present time if you are on the "wrong side of history", you are either:

1. Acting in a way contrary to historical precedent

or

2. In a position today because a past event created a situation that left you on "the wrong side of history."

Apply this to Iraq. It's a current event, so the second definition is out. It would be appropriate to say, "Native Americans are on the wrong side of history" because "history", as in European colonization, left them in a lessened position relative to their pre-event status.

We're stuck with the first definition. The historical record in this country in a law of occupation to institute democracy isn't good - it's Vietnam. If you go to Iraq and think it's not going to go according to an extrapolation of history, you're betting against history. In this case, the Right is actually on the "wrong side of history" because things appear to be going well in Iraq.

Now, if Iraq goes well and we're a few years down the road (and the present is "history", not the "present"), the Right could say to Democrats - "You WERE on the 'wrong side of history'". If it negatively impacts Democrats at that time, like in my Native American example, you could say, "Democrats ARE on the 'wrong side of history'"

I'm not doing this just to pick on the Right. This was a favourite of Bill Clinton and it's also a NYT favorite - it just doesn't make any sense. and it's often used out of the proper context because it sounds cool.

I guess it's better than "meme", so I won't complain too loudly.

Cheney - Not Running in 2008

From CNN.com:

"'I will say just as hard as I possibly know how to say ... 'If nominated, I will not run,' 'If elected, I will not serve,' or not only no, but 'Hell no,' ' Cheney told 'Fox News Sunday,' making clear he intends to retire from politics at the end of his current term."


Thank goodness. I'm not shocked by this, but I'm still pleased to hear that the Dark Lord of the Sith is bowing out of government.

AcomData HD = Ulcer

A little over a year ago, I bought an AcomData External HD. They were on sale at Best Buy, I needed something quick, and I was low on cash.

This morning, it stopped working and I was in a panic. I use it to back up my laptop, and I also keep electronic copies of my papers and drafts from past semesters on there.

I thought it was all gone - I was terrified. I hadn't heard a clicking or grinding so I still had some hope. I took a big ol' screwdriver and cracked the case open. Got the Samsung IDE HD out of it and took it over to L-Hack's.

Everything sounded good - went to CompUSA and bought an aluminum housing. Everything is fine.

I can't understand why the power source or the USB/IDE translator went bad after a year. I hardly ever use it. All's well that ends well.

I'm a little concerned about the heat dispersion from this new case. The AcomData thing had a fan it in and this case doesn't. If anyone has any experience with these enclosures, I'd love to hear your comments.

I've Dumped Outlook in favor of Thunderbird

Everyone has been touting Mozilla Firefox as a browser alternative to IE, but I've been really interested in using Thunderbird as an alternative to Microsoft Outlook.

I have about 6 different e-mail accounts, including an IMAP account through NC State and a Hotmail setup in Outlook, so it's not a simple configuration or setup for me. After a few hours of configuration, mail import, address book migration, and the use of Mr. Postman to retrieve my Hotmail, I'm completely migrated.

This morning, I uninstalled Microsoft Outlook, installed the Mozilla Calendar add-on, and I'm very impressed. The RSS feeds aren't as useful as "Live Bookmarks" in Firefox, but I'm going to give them a try for a couple weeks.

I had to reinstall AVG to get e-mail scanning for Thunderbird, but other than that, very little impact on my system. Very pleased, very pleased indeed.

Chris Matthews Show - Making My Skin Crawl

Hugh Hewitt and Katrina vanden Heuvel - I can't imagine two people I'd less like to spend 30 minutes with - possibly Gilbert Gottfried and Sean Hannity. It's like a race to see who can be more pompous.

Memo to Hewitt: Dude, I know you think blogs are going to change the world, but they're like "Sex and the City" - trendy and self-absorbed.

Does anyone know how to pronounce NUCLEAR correctly? I'm from Pittsburgh and I can't say the word "down" or "that" correctly, but even I know NEW - CLEE - UR.

Sam Donaldson said it best, young people don't have any effect on the Social Security debate - the older people in this country will decide what's going to happen. The AARP hates the private accounts and without them, the Medicare drug plan wouldn't have passed. Without them, Social Security reform will not pass.

Gore - comeback in 2008 on a populist platform? Running against the 78-year-old John McCain? vanden Heuvel could be Dean's biggest fan. "He's going to do this, he's going to do that..."

Sam Donaldson - John Roberts will be next CBS anchor.

Fineman - Mitt Romney in 2008. Yeah Mormons!

Fineman picks the Pats over the "Iggles", just like an Allderdice grad - but he knows how to say NUCLEAR.

Yankee Madmen Adds a New Madman

Yankee Madmen is happy to introduce a new contributor: Leftist Wonk.

Tim Russert is Really Earning his Money Today

Meet the Press is like a Murderer's Row of Washington blabbermouths. Donald Rumsfeld and Ted Kennedy. Rumsfeld brought his own transcripts to the show and I don't think Kennedy stopped talking the whole time. They must have read the Slate article on how to beat Russert.

G7 sticks to currency policy, China doesn't budge

From CNN:

"China, invited to Group of Seven talks, came under renewed pressure to ease its currency peg to the dollar but said it had no timetable for action on G7 complaints that it keeps the yuan too low, making life hard for other trading nations."


Yeah, they're only interested in free and fair trade...When will someone stand up to these guys?