Thursday, September 30, 2004
Of course the Northern Alliance turned out in force: Lileks (gently, 'cuz "he's a colleague"), Mitch, King, Captain Ed, Frater Elder and, with especial joy, Frater Saint Paul:
It wouldn't surprise me that a man who defines journalism as "to scrutinize the actions of those in power" would create delusions about his own power dependent life circumstances. How else could he sleep at night?Hey Nick: thanks for the softball! If you can't write decent commentary yourself anymore, you might as well create crap for others to comment on.
Thankfully, in this new world of media and information access, Coleman doesn't get the final edit on reality. Not even of his own life story. Nick, welcome to the future.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
It is hard for journalists who have led a sheltered life without public accountability to acknowledge that those days are over.Especially hard, it seems, for a certain local journalist who jumped up and down and cried foul this morning in the Star Tribune:
[This] is about the war against the media. A lot of it, we deserve. But a lot of the attack against the mainstream media is coming from bloggers, which is like astronomers being assaulted by people who swear that aliens force them to have sex with Martians.How dare we!
Now this outraged journalist--let's just call him Nick--has read some blogs. Enough to know he's kind of the chosen BlogBoob in these parts. You know, the one everyone (well, mostly Fraters) likes to make fun of. He's clearly cheesed about this:
And as for being a political stooge, unlike the bloggies, I don't give money to politicians, I don't put campaign signs on my lawn, I don't attend political events as anything other than a reporter, I don't drink with pols and I have an ear trained to detect baloneyReally? But are your fingers trained not to type it?
But somehow he's missed the fact that any mainstream media attempt to tell bloggers they're unworthy commentors and no one should be reading them just spawns lots of posting hilarity. Look what happened when a talking head tried to complain that a blogger is merely "some guy sitting in his living room in his pajamas writing." And don't even start about the ankle-biting.
We've got us some new post-fodder bloggers!:
- Bloggers and "talk-show barracudas" operate by "tossing stuff against the wall to see what sticks." (Great original metaphor Nick!)
- Bloggers = Venusians (A bit obtuse but I like it).
- When visiting a blog, better put on those "haz-mat gloves before you touch the mouse!" (Ooooh we're hot hot HOT!)
- Blogs : journalism :: ticks : elephants (Special SAT analogy dis) ... "Ticks may make the elephants nuts, but that doesn't mean they will replace them. You can't ride a tick." (With bonus strained explanation!)
- We're "hobby hacks, the Internet version of the sad loners who used to listen to police radios in their bachelor apartments and think they were involved in the world." (While wearing pajamas of course.)
- Bloggers are "graffiti artists [I'm an ARTIST!] ... who tag the public square" (that must be how we get that "street cred" you complain of).
- Blogger "tripe" ... "often as vicious as it is vacuous." (But magically delicious.)
- Right wing bloggers with respectable jobs sometimes post during business hours! (The horror!) Left wing bloggers "have made a practice of speculating on the president's penis size." (Where? where?)
But after all this penetrating analysis, Nick's still stumped by one question:
So, how is it that nakedly partisan bloggers who make things up left and right are gaining street cred while the mainstream media, which spend a lot of time criticizing themselves, are under attack?Hey Nick? Just a thought here from one us ankle-biters: Perhaps the mainstream media should take some of that time to check their facts. Plus, I think it's the clothed partisanship that's a problem, not nakedness. Free the people!
UPDATE: Wow! Nick made Memeorandum! He must be so proud.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
But wait. It gets worse:
The CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows that among likely voters, Bush was the choice of 52 percent, while Kerry was the choice of 44 percent and independent Ralph Nader garnered 3 percent. That result was within the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.OK, sure. Subtract 4 from Bush's 52 and add 4 to Kerry's 48 and the result is a 48-48 tie. But what is the likelihood that a candidate with an 52-44 lead in a poll with a sample size of 1,006 people and a 4% margin of error is actually tied?
In other words, based on this poll, there's a 97.72% probability that Bush is genuinely ahead.
Don't believe me? Just ask Kevin Drum's Excel spreadsheet, last spotted when the Kerry folks were whooping it up over a two-point lead in mid-August.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Yesterday the Strib took another step--it used one of the "f" words! The phrase "fake Bush documents" was allowed to appear . . . near the end of a column by outdoors writer Ron Schara on the bottom of the back page of the sports section. But still! This calls for a toast (with soft drinks, of course). Huzzah!
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Alas, Southwest Minneapolis is also undoubtedly the United States' most monolithic bastion of reflexive upscale liberalism between San Francisco and the Upper West Side of Manhattan. The DFL Party (Minnesota's twist on the Democratic Party, short for Democratic-Farmer-Labor) has had both city government and the area's state and federal legislative seats locked up for a generation or more, and the precincts of Southwest Minneapolis typically back the Democratic Presidential candidate by a three-to-one margin.
Thus it's par for the course to see Kerry/Edwards lawn and window signs greatly outnumber Bush/Cheney signs around here. Six houses on our block alone sport Kerry signs--and two of them have two signs.
Yet there are, er, signs of change afoot. A month or two back, you'd be lucky to see one Bush sign for every 100 Kerry signs; now it's more like a ten-to-one ratio. Plus, one of our block's Kerry houses recently downgraded from a large-ish window sign to a barely visible bumper sticker.
And then there's this. The very first house in the neighborhood with a Bush sign that I noticed is on a busy arterial street about three blocks away from our house. It was a standard-sized lawn sign, positioned perpendicularly to the street, obviously to maximize its visibility to passing motorists.
The appearance of this speck of Bush flotsam in the heart of the Kerry armada so enraged the guy in the house across the street that he put these up in his yard:
I took this picture yesterday. When the signs were initially installed they weren't perpendicular to the street like they are now, and like the Bush sign across the street was. They were parallel, so it seems clear that he was responding to his neighbor.
And how did our Bushie take this? Not sitting down:
Game on, Garth.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
Belches and, to a far lesser degree, farts from sheep, cows and other farm animals account for around 20% of global methane emissions. The gas is a potent source of global warming because, volume for volume, it traps 23 times as much heat as the more plentiful carbon dioxide.Turns out stopping those damn cows from burping is one way for nations to comply with that extremely polite climate change treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol. This is a big deal to places like sheep-choked New Zealand. Half of greenhouse gases produced by that country are from animal face farts. In desperation, New Zealand has even considered taxing the flatulence. Farmers there are understandably raising a stink.
So what to do? Scientists have tried getting the livestock drunk (or, more accurately, feeding them plants high in condensed tannins) and now someone has come up with a burp vaccine. Unfortunately, the vaccine so far only reduces methane production by about 8% so it's probably not worth force-feeding it to your little brother.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Firearms That Fit Nicely in Your LunchboxTo see last week's title, click here.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
"It will not stick or stain" promises the ad. Though the kid can't read yet, she's programmed to disprove these types of idle challenges. Turns out Silly Putty does stick ... to hairbrushes.
If I hear one more person tell me how lousy a candidate Kerry is and how he can't win... Dammit, of COURSE he's a lousy candidate -- he's a Democrat, for heavens sake! That party is so pathetic, they even lose the elections they win! What were you expecting, Bruce Springsteen heading up the ticket? Bruce would make a helluva president, but guys like him don't run -- and neither do you or I. People like Kerry run.(Via Serenity's Journal, via Alice in Texas).
Doesn't sound good to me. Plus, I hate Bruce Springsteen, even as a singer.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
I thought he was more of a pig man, myself.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Doesn't he know Bill Burkett now claims the source is some previously-unknown woman named "Lucy Ramirez"? Then he had a seizure.
McAuliffe: Will GOP Answer If They Know Whether Stone, Others Had Involvement With CBS Documents?
Washington, D.C. - In response to false Republican accusations regarding the CBS documents, Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe issued this statement:
“In today’s New York Post, Roger Stone, who became associated with political ‘dirty tricks’ while working for Nixon, refused to deny that he was the source the CBS documents.
“Will Ed Gillespie or the White House admit today what they know about Mr. Stone’s relationship with these forged documents? Will they unequivocally rule out Mr. Stone’s involvement? Or for that matter, others with a known history of dirty tricks, such as Karl Rove or Ralph Reed?”
I had no idea that politics were so weird.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Sunday, September 19, 2004
- The blogfather suggested sending pajamas to CBS for their reporters.
- N.Z. Bear proposed a special run of "blogger's pajamas" offered for sale over the internet (proceeds to charity).
- Suzy Rice created a Jammie Brigade logo.
- Mitch Berg agreed with Jo: the next MN Blogger Party should be a jammin' one.
- Winds of Change.net decided to be proactive and registered pajamabloggers.com and pajamasrevenge.com.
- A frightening number of folks suggested (or revealed) that the truth is they blog in their underwear, cups, or even in the nude (now this would appear to be a very effective method of link-whoring).
Friday, September 17, 2004
El Mundo must not be a very sticky site. They certainly give good traffic, even better than Hugh. Or perhaps we have great message consistency with the Spaniards.
[T]he lower stickiness of top right-wing blogs compared to top left-wing blogs leads to greater message consistency in their half of the political blogosphere than in ours. ... This consistency helps stories from the right-wing blogosphere reach the national media more often than those from the left-wing blogosphere.Oh yeah, they (specifically, myDD) say "sticky" means a blog has lots of toys for its visitors: "diaries, long articles, polls, comments, arguments, many special pages, etc." and doesn't just consist of links plus short commentary:
High traffic right-wing blogs, such as Andrew Sullivan, Hugh Hewitt, Real Clear Politics, Powerline and especially Instapundit (among the top seven right-wing blogs, only Captain's Quarters and Little Green Footballs have comments), tend to be less sticky than high traffic left wing blogs.Other lefty blogs have adopted the theory and added a splash of conspiracy: "the left seeks to highlight, explain and analyze (the vast majority of the time), whereas the right seeks to aid "their side" in gaining or maintaining power in a Manachean [sic] struggle against their left-liberal "enemies" (the vast majority of the time)."
Nope, the sheer lusciousness of the story had nothing to do with it. It's not every day we get to see a pompous media figurehead come face to face with the inconvenient fact he ignored to make his pretty story--although maybe it'll happen more often now that the blogosphere has started flexing its muscles. Nor did the story's apparent truth affect its meteoric rise. It was the non-stickiness of the right-wing blogs, dammit!
Then again, theories are fun. We at Spitbull like to have fun. So here's our theory: (1). Since the mainstream media already leans left, there's more demand from right side of the blogosphere than from the left for alternative or corrective news coverage. (2). Since the best talent on the left has already been sucked up by the mainstream media (see #1), the overall quality of the right side of the blogosphere, particularly at its upper reaches, is higher than that of the left. Would-be top lefty bloggers end up writing for the New York Times and Washington Post instead; would-be righty MSM writers get real jobs and blog in their spare time.
Now wasn't that fun? And pleasingly non-sticky.
Grandma Really Loves Your Cousin BestTo see last week's title, click here.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
You can do a lot in one single day; just imagine what can happen in three months
The ad shows shots of the New York City skyline before and after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The tagline translation is courtesy of Barcepundit (click through for a discussion of the translation nuances).
As one commenter growled,
Maybe they should have picked up the carnage of the Madrid train bomb with the same headline or is that too close to home?UPDATE: El Pais has reportedly apologized and launched an internal investigation.
Tuesday, September 14, 2004
FB: Now IBM Selectric, I need to ask you straight out: did you type these documents from the Texas Air National Guard?(Credit Daniel Drezner).
IBM SELECTRIC: *tokka tokka CH-CHUNG tokka tokka DING*
The interviewee's final word:
A good start, it seems to us. But where's the accountability?
A great deal has been made of the fact that some documents that are claimed to have been typed in the early 1970s look very much like documents prepared in Microsoft Word in 2004. This fact proves nothing, because (1) a document may well have been typed on a typewriter in the 1970s and (2) virtually the same document can be prepared on a computer in 2004.This is about as wide as a non sequitur can gape. Of course you can use Microsoft Word to mimic a typewritten document--if you're trying to. But that's not the issue. The issue is whether someone dashing off memos on a typewriter in the early 1970s could produce documents that precisely matched what you get if you type the same content into Microsoft Word in 2004 using Word's default settings--i.e., without trying to mimic a typewritten document. The answer to that is an equally and thunderingly obvious NO. Indeed, the biggest mystery about these forgeries is why they are so transparently anachronistic when it would have been almost literally child's play to make them look, er, chronistic.
I mean, sheesh, what is it with you lefties? Just because you hate George Bush with the white-hot intensity of the center of the sun doesn't mean that you have to defend to the death every last piece of dung that gets pitched at him. This one's a loser--let it go! It's OK--we won't think any less of you. And besides, the way things are going with the Kerry campaign, you're going to have another four years of Bush to deal with, so you'd better pace yourselves.
Monday, September 13, 2004
ATOMIZER ASKS HIMSELF THIS QUESTION EVERY MORNING
How can I be so thirsty today
When I had so much to drink last night?
Not that it takes very much to annoy her sister.
But it's turning out not to be such a bad things to have a dog for a daughter. She seems to be an obedient sort of dog, much to her sister's delight. The sister says "roll over" and the three year old happily obliges. Over and over. I gave her a bagel "bone" for breakfast and she quietly gnawed away at it under the table. I was pleased to learn that she fetches quite well.
I see possibilities here. I'm saving "dogs don't whine" up for this evening. Well, yes, I know they do but I'm hoping that she may fall for it given her limited dog experience. If that works, I'll trot out "but doggies love baths."
Sunday, September 12, 2004
The women who had arrived early to start up the cocktail hour looked up and felt we were in the middle of cult meeting. And yes, we snickered.
Just so you know.
Friday, September 10, 2004
This week's incorrect children's title:
We Adopted You Because No One Else Wanted YouTo see the last title, click here.
There. We feel better already. I'm sure the e-mails expressing relief will start pouring in shortly.
New digs, but everything else is the same. Next year maybe he'll do some redecorating.
Thursday, September 09, 2004
It's security, stupid. The only issue that matters is who is best going to keep murderers and psychopaths far from our shores. Everything else -- Bush's history as a jackass, slow job growth, forest management policy, deficit reduction -- is a side show. The collapse of Social Security is no longer the nightmare; Beslan is.Indeed, Beslan is.
As another of our favorite lefties (yes, many of my best friends are lefties and yes, sometimes I am too) recently raged of Kerry:
The nation is trying to figure out how to fight global terrorism and he's talking about having "not just a Department of Health and Human Services, but a Department of Wellness." How about a Department of F***ing Perspective?How can one understand the nature of the nightmare and yet go ahead and vote for Kerry, the daydream candidate?
But Saint, behold a real brand.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
- The Daily Show: At least we got a clear answer on one question. No flip-flopping on this issue:
JON STEWART: Please refute if you will. Are you the number one most liberal senator in the Senate?
JOHN KERRY: No.
JON STEWART: Okay.
And, although not so clear, the two Johns (Jons?) even discussed that taboo subject, Christmas in Cambodia:
JON STEWART: Sir, I'm sorry. Were you or were you not in Cambodia on Christmas Eve? (LAUGHTER) They said-- you said five miles. They said three. (LAUGHTER) (APPLAUSE) No, I-- (UNINTEL PHRASE). I think that's a very interesting--
JOHN KERRY: (UNINTEL) look at that profile.
JON STEWART: No, believe me, I know.
- September 2004 issue of GQ: Inquiring minds want to know. Who does John Kerry think is the sexiest film actress of all time? Charlize Theron (but wait, he can't pick just one: "Catherine Zeta-Jones ... and Marilyn Monroe. I thought she was funny. Complicated. And obviously very attractive, very beautiful.") And the fictional character Kerry most identifies with: "There's a little Huck Finn in me; there's a little Tom Sawyer in me ... I like the adventure ... I like Conor Larkin [from Trinity] too." But he dodged the earth shattering issue of whether the Stones or the Beatles are the better band--offering instead that his favorite Stones songs included ""Brown Sugar," "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Satisfaction," and "Little Red Rooster," and that he loves every Beatles song and the Abbey Road album and the White Album ... and "I love Dylan. He's brilliant."
When asked "Why are you having Kerry go on "The Daily Show" for his first national TV interview since Swifties for Bush went on the attack, instead of a traditional news show?" a Kerry spokeswoman reportedly snapped "How would that help us?"
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
I console myself with the thought that most kid outfits convey a clear message: "I do it myself!" This is how I rationalized my eldest's choice to wear duck boots, a tutu (over her jumper) and bunny ears on an outing to the furniture store many years ago. See! When well-rested, I too can scare up a sense of humor.
I've long since capitulated on the clothing battles. I do my best on the nails upkeep. But the hair! The three year old has unfortunately gotten the impression that girl hair can easily be shaped into elaborate and fantastic sculptures that enhance her appearance (the seven year old knows better). I blame her day care teacher and family (in particular, one of her aunts--you know who you are) who occasionally show off with amazing displays of kid hair art. So deluded, the three year old looks to me for the same treatment. I look to Dave Barry, groomer of a four year old daughter, who recently admitted his ponytailing technique wasn't up to snuff: "It looks like it's from a cubist pony whose tail grows out of the side of its butt."
He's right. It does. Even a three year old can tell.
(Credit: Newmark's Door)
Monday, September 06, 2004
[I]f the Gore states seceded from the Bush states and formed a new nation, it would have the same fertility rate, and the same rapidly aging population, as France -- that bastion of "old Europe."This from a recent article positing that a significant difference between Republicans and Democrats is their fertility rates. (Credit: Tyler Cowen posting at The Volokh Conspiracy).
Sunday, September 05, 2004
But I can't rest on my laurels. My latest offering: how on earth did I miss Communists for Kerry in my exhaustive survey of Internet lawn signs? Clearly they are a worthy counterpoint to Billionaires for Bush. Indeed, a confusing confrontation between the two ensued at the RNC. As the Communists described it:
Enterpreneurs and rugged individualists, they took a break from painful decision making to run in herds through the park and to chant some meaningless but energizing slogans - as if they were some real organized communists.But Mr. "Fags for Bush" is my favorite. According to all accounts, he is for real: a 41-year-old businessman from Austin, Texas who says: "People ask why I want to vote for a guy who will ban gay marriage. I don't want to get married; I want to live. If al-Qa'ida wins, I'll be the first one up against the wall." (he's reportedly a ProtestWarrior). And, he came prepared to convince folks that he is indeed gay:
But of course they are no communists, they are greedy capitalist pigs and bloodsucking parasites, Gulag meat whose estates will soon be confiscated for the common good and whose widows will be redistributed so as to benefit the most needy.
When one chum came up to him and said "You're not a real fag", the guy started dancing and singing show tunes. After like 10 seconds of this, the chum was yelling "All right! All right! You are a fag!!(Testimony from a commenter to Slash Point.) Now, where's the Fags for Bush website?
Friday, September 03, 2004
I told her no. But I do.
10:00pm Freedom good. Evil bad. I need another beer.If the GOP is serious about getting better traction with the ever-coveted 18-35 demographic, they should plop those eight simple words on a bumper sticker and drop off a pile at every bar in every college town in America.
Of course, given the insidious coordination behind the vast right-wing conspiracy, the Elder is probably on the phone discussing this with Karl Rove right now.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
But, it's all relative. After all, no one said anyone was going to burn in hell, a fate the recently launched London News Review dearly hopes will befall the keynote speaker of the Republican National Convention:
[I]f God exists then he's no kind of God unless he quickly fashions a hell for Democrat Senator Zell Miller to burn in. And even if the universe exists without a God, as many would contend, it is far from beyond the inarticulate power of this vast mass of galaxies, nebulae and planets to create - within itself - a dark and steaming corner where Mr. Zell Miller can dwell, for eternity, in unspeakable pain. We can call it hell or we can call it Georgia. Just so long as Senator Zell Miller suffers in it.(Credit: Rambling's Journal).
So thicken your skins! (I shout, hiding bravely behind my pseudonym).
But we have a consolation prize! A new kinder gentler more compassionate alliance is being formed and you can get in on the ground floor! It's very hush-hush and we believe we have an exclusive on this news. Just show up at the Minnesota State Fair's International Bazaar Beer Garden at 3:30pm this Saturday to hobnob and get in on the plot. If you want to limber up first by going on air to plug your blog to the vast NARN audience, visit the Patriot booth between 2:30pm and 3pm. RSVP to Mitch here.
And finally, here's the answer to the question you really want to ask us: Nepotism.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
We're gonna get creamed and I can't bring myself to watch the other side gloat. Here's a huge hall filled with people who want to amend the Constitution to restrict freedom, not protect it; who worship a gifted and soulless political operative who has lied to them at every step; who celebrate a corporate triumphalism that denies the value of the individual unless the individual toes their moral line; and who would deliver unto the Executive Branch the absolute power to operate beyond the bounds of basic American law.Maybe they're right. I myself haven't been able to sit through a full speech from either convention, in part because of the kid interruptions and in part because none of the speeches have set my hair on fire. Speech-wise, I'm a Tony Blair fan. Everyone else seems boring in comparison and I find myself doing a lawyer-like editing job in response to each sentence: "well yes, but what about _____?"
And we're going to lose to these people.
I have no idea whether others feel the same. Feelings of blogresponsibility have made me more politically informed than ever before, but I started from a very low platform.
UPDATE: Mr. Lefty Blogger (aka Functional Ambivalent) e-mailed us to set the record straight: he is not wringing his hands; he is vomiting.