Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Blast from the past

Kaus from 2002
As a friend of mine once quipped, Carville and Matalin are famous because she's the woman who ran the worst presidential campaign in history, and he's the guy who beat the worst presidential campaign in history.
There are many paths to celebrity and most have nothing to do with competence.

Friday, February 24, 2006

The new tech boom

The Boswell of Silicon Valley offers some smart advice to would-be entrepreneurs.

I thought his assessment of the opportunities in the Blogosphere was especially good:
3. Marketing the Blogosphere -- OK, here's another blog-world opportunity. As I just noted, of those millions of blogs out there, the ones most likely to survive are those that nail down some serious advertising -- more than the current run of T-shirt makers and art galleries. Someday General Motors will place ads on Lileks, Kos and Little Green Footballs, but not for a while (most newspapers will have to die first).
The big, established advertising agencies are sticking to what they know best -- placing ads in the mainstream media -- stuff they know their advertisers read and trust, and where there are established reader profiles and metrics. Still, sometime in the next five years, hundreds of millions of advertising dollars are going to shift over to the blogosphere. Find yourself a place in the middle brokering that shift. Aggregate blogs, develop reader profiles and demographics, put together realistic rate sheets, and pitch, pitch, pitch. You'll starve for a while, but if you are good and can survive, when the big agencies finally come knocking, you'll enjoy one handsome buyout

I think he is on to something, but i think there is another option that is also out there. I discussed it in this post.

The indispensable innovator is the advertising genius who will make internet advertising a serious competitor for print, TV, and radio. Once that happens, ad money will flow to the audience bloggers attract.

But right now, blog ads and pop-ups just don't fit the needs for most big advertisers.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Andrew Jackson

Dean Barnett is exactly right:
there is no denying Jackson's accomplishments. He is the Godfather of our democracy as surely as Washington is the father of our country.

Many, if not most, of the traits that distinguish American politics from European politics trace back to Jackson. The French can understand Jefferson. The English can see Washington through the prism of Cromwell or Wellington. But Jackson and the culture he embodied remains an enigma to Europe and our own coastal elites.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Nancy Grace: Defending the Bill of Rights is like working at Auschwitz

CNN's ratings star unloads this in a USA Today profile:

CNN Headline News dynamo Nancy Grace has no love for defense attorneys — especially those who know that their clients have killed people but use every possible legal maneuver to get them off or get them better deals. In other words, for doing their jobs.

"What they do is entirely acceptable under the Constitution and the court of law, but I just don't personally like it," Grace says. She quickly notes that her best friend is Renee Rockwell, a defense lawyer and regular on Nancy Grace.

But, she adds, "when people say defense lawyers are just doing their jobs and are necessary for our system, you could say that about a lot of people who claim they're just doing their jobs. You could say that about the guards at Auschwitz."

I am not really surprised. I just expected he to be a little more careful in expressing her disdain for a the idea of a fair trial. Someone like Grace was in at the start of most lynch mobs. We despise lynch law but CNN somehow gives this woman a talk show.

And shouldn't attorneys be held to a little higher standard when it comes to these kind of outbursts?

More on Grace here and here.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Madden and the SuperBowl

This is one of the best articles i've read on Madden's worse than mediocre performance at SB XL.

A few snippets on the two plays that drew the most post-game bloviation:
The fourth play of the series is the first of several that have dominated post-game conversation. On a play where the coverage of the Steelers’ secondary was every bit as good as the blocking of the Seahawks’ line, resulting in a seemingly endless downfield search and scramble by Hasselbeck, Darrell Jackson completed his route, then had to ad lib in an attempt to work himself free. In an end zone where he could have gone in any direction to try to elude Chris Hope, Jackson ran directly at Hope as though he was run blocking, forcing Hope to brace himself, then pushed Hope hard enough with his right hand to make the safety take a step backwards and propelled himself away in the opposite direction. Madden initially characterized the play as “When you think of push offs, that’s not the kind you think about.” Perhaps it would be easier to call if it looked more like a Seinfeld episode in which Elaine gives Jerry a double fisted pounding to the chest with an emphatic “Get out!”, but, short of that, it was a push off, as Madden would later confess. If it was a legal technique that Jackson used, then offensive coordinators around the league would be clamoring to teach their receivers the maneuver and had the official not called it, the league would undoubtedly be sending the Steelers another apology after the game. But Madden’s characterization of the play leaves many, particularly those with sympathetic to the Seahawks and officiating antagonists, believing it’s a call that should not have been made and that the referee who called it somehow doesn’t understand the spirit of the rule, when it was the analyst who was wrong.
Of course, another play that stirred controversy was the holding call that nullified a long Seahawks’ pass to Jeremy Stevens. Replays showed that Locklear did in fact grab Haggans’ jersey and pulled down to knock Haggans to his knees. Stating almost indifferently that he didn’t see any holding and that “you can call holding on any play” is simply not good enough, not in the Super Bowl, not on a play as critical as that. It was incumbent on Madden to study the play and make a declaration one way or the other, then support his argument. He was the expert.
Clark Haggans was a mismatch for Locklear. He provided the only consistent pressure the Steelers had all day. The fact that Haggans got a great jump on the holding play because he could anticipate the snap count since Hasselbeck hadn’t changed up the cadence was never mentioned. Had he been credited properly during the broadcast, it’s possible that it would be Haggans not Hines Ward going to Disney World.

Credit where due: Tunch Ilkin, the Steelers's radio analyst, pointed to Haggans as an “under the radar” guy who would come up big against Seatle.

Demurral: I don't share Pasek's confidence in Tony Kornheiser. For my money, Kornheiser has become lazy and over-extended and substitutes a third-rate Borscht-belt routine for real thought and reporting.

What i think is funny is how Pasek praises Kornheiser:
Had Tony Kornheiser believed that a call was bad, you can be sure he would not only say so, but he would say so in several different sarcastic ways, then he’d proceed to question the referee’s eyesight. One of the delicious inputs we all anticipate from Tony will be to belittle on our behalf those who deserve it. Bad referees and pompous players like Randy Moss whose effort often doesn’t match their paycheck are sure to hate Tony’s input, words that will undoubtedly polarize viewers into two categories: those who will laugh loudly at what he says, and those on the other side of his tongue who will think violent thoughts when informed of what he’s said.

Kornheiser may do all of that. I'll hold my applause, though, in light of this bit of Tony history:

When Stephen Rodrick noted that "sports television turns [pundits'] columns into shrill, non-reported versions of their televised rants" in Slate earlier this year, Tony Kornheiser (who, in addition to his responsibilities as a Washington Post columnist, hosts a morning radio show and co-hosts Pardon the Interruption in the afternoon) had a conniption fit, calling on the Post (which had recently purchased Slate) to fire the writer.
It will be interesting to see how the thin-skinned Kornheiser handles the reviews when the season opens. Equally interesting will be Theisman's reaction when Kornheiser goes into his comedy routine to cover-up his lack of preparation.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

I guess Texans are right

They are tougher than the rest of us. And politer, too.

Wounded hunting partner regrets trouble

His face marked with tiny birdshot wounds, the lawyer shot by Vice President Dick Cheney while quail hunting left a hospital Friday, saying "accidents do and will happen" and apologizing for the trouble the incident had caused the vice president.

"My family and I are deeply sorry for everything Vice President Cheney and his family have had to deal with," Harry Whittington said, his voice a bit raspy but strong in his first public comments since being shot on a south Texas ranch six days earlier

Seventy-eight years old, gets hits with a load of birdshot. Walks out of the hospital in a week. And apologizes for the bother caused to the shooter.
Bryant Gumbel

His remarks on the Winter Olympics were not the first time that he played the race card under the guise of sports commentary.

Here's an example from early in his career as recounted in Mark Kram's excellent Ghosts of Manila

Seven months after the first fight, Bryant Gumbel, the editor of Black Sports, grafted on the temper of the day and stripped some more flesh from Frazier. He was a mediocre writer and thinker, excellent qualifications for the large success he would have on television's Today Show with a shallow, hard-worked ultra-sophistication, a cool broker of opinion next to Howard Cosell's weaselly conniving. Gumbel never let a bandwagon pass without jumping on it or trying to blow out its tires, depending on the mood of the day; the ultimate limo liberal. Durham said: "He's got soft written all over him, a country club black." Gumbel said he walked home after the fight with tears in his eye for Ali; a hired weeping pallbearer for the times and its temporarily stalled here. Strapping up his backbone, he wrote a piece meant to further Ali's campaign for victory by proclamation, to blur Frazier's definitive prize: Is Joe Frazier a White Champion in Black Skin?"

Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier
Ghosts of Manila: The Fateful Blood Feud Between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier

Friday, February 17, 2006

The MSM's insular echo chamber

Rabbi Daniel Lupin on one reason for the media's Cheney obsession:
Not only have most liberals never gone hunting, most don't even know anyone who goes hunting. In fact most wouldn't know a Browning A-Bolt long action Stalker from an office stapler. They simply cannot believe that someone who hunts actually made it to the White House.

What they don't realize is that they sound like fools to large parts of the country where hunting is a common pasttime.

See also this.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A good way to cut down gun crime

The Cincy Enquirer has a good story about straw purchasers and LE efforts to combat this often overlooked crime. What an idea--- target the criminals who buy guns for other criminals.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This race is about to become interesting

NRO has a good article on James Webb's run for Virginia's Senate seat. (HT: Irish Pennants)

I wrote about Webb and the GOP here. A smart, courageous man who understands the demography his state. George Allen could be in big trouble.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

I liked this


The comment thread started back in November, it is still going with over 700 entries.

Friday, February 10, 2006

SuperBowl Wrap-up

I liked this one for a bunch of reasons.

A couple of choice bits:

So, that officiating … really not nearly as bad as a lot of people want to make it out to have been. The refs made a lot of good calls that get blown all the time: they rightly picked up the flag against Michael Boulware for helmet-to-helmet contact; they correctly overturned Hasselbeck's fumble; they didn't flag anyone for any ridiculous almost-but-not-quite-out-of-bounds late hits. Most of the whining has been that certain things that are in fact penalties should not have been called. Sorry … what? That's the best you can do? "Yeah, he did it, but it shouldn't have been flagged." Oh, okay.

-Let's see if I can cover these without wasting too much time: Darrell Jackson pushed off. Roethlisberger's ball probably crossed the plane, and if it didn't, there was no way to tell from the replay. If a pass rusher is between a lineman and the quarterback and his progress is impeded, he's being held. No, one foot in-bounds and one calf touching a pylon is not a completed catch, no matter what John Clayton said three years ago. Not every horse-collar tackle is illegal, and Porter's wasn't the sort that is. Am I missing any?

The truth is, most of the whining is as bad as it's been because of the apparent results of the plays that they negated. Not nearly as big a deal would have been made about the push-off on Jackson if it hadn't been an apparent touchdown. No one would have questioned the hold on King of Holding Sean Locklear if it hadn't wiped out an apparent long gain. Of course, such whining ignores the possible contributions that said penalty-drawing actions made to the plays in the first place. Would Hasselbeck have completed the pass as he was being drilled by Clark Haggans ? I tend to doubt it. Would Jackson have been able to change his momentum enough to catch the ball without pushing off? Who knows. Physics suggests otherwise. Would Hope have had a chance to jar the ball loose if he hadn't been pushed? Seattle's receivers' tremendous demonstration of good hands throughout the game suggests that he might have.

I'm still waiting to hear the uproar over the catch-and-fumble that Jerramy Stevens got away with, or the block in the back on Roethlisberger after his second interception. I'm not saying that Pittsburgh didn't, overall, get the benefit of the officiating. It wasn't nearly by the margin that a lot of people want to make it out to have been, though.

But this one is my favorite:

Hines Ward doesn't care who the safety is.

Showing of Danish flag roils town

But many people in town saw the foreign flag display as insensitive and inflammatory. Several town employees told Stankiewicz they did not agree with his decision and worried the flag could provoke violence against Town Hall in light of the attacks against Danish and other European embassies throughout the Middle East. Stankiewicz described their concerns as an ''overreaction."