Saturday, September 29, 2007
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Completely Unrelated Sidenote
Before writing this post, I Googled the alternate aina spelling of enna. Google wanted to know if I meant to search for Enna Jameson. Amusing.
For those of you coming here from outside Wisconsin, ain'a is perhaps the most well known word in a form of speech known as Milwaukee-ese. There, ya learned something today.
1. In Titanic, Jack Dawson proclaims himself a native of Chippewa Falls who fell through the ice at the then non-existent Lake Wissota. I propose a Jack Dawson statue that sticks through the ice on Lake Wissota every winter. If we could use the actual Leonardo DiCaprio, all the better.
2. This one is a must for this state, but we just have to decide where to put it: Red Foreman with his foot in Eric Foreman's ass. I propose we carve off a portion of the property that the Governor's Mansion is on, name it Point Place, and locate the statue there.
3. How can we not represent Chachi? I propose a statue of Chachi on a corduroy couch. I think this one will have to be located in one of Milwaukee's gentlemen's clubs, though.
4. Port Washington gets a statue of Frank and Carol from "Step by Step". I'm not sure what the final work should look like, but it will definitely include a Thighmaster.
5. Milwaukee gets yet another, this one of Alice Cooper. In Wayne's World, Cooper teaches more Milwaukee history than the Milwaukee School District.
Monday, September 24, 2007
A supporter of Rudy Giuliani's is throwing a party that aims to raise $9.11 per person for the Republican's presidential campaign.
Abraham Sofaer is having a fundraiser at his Palo Alto, Calif., home on Wednesday, when Giuliani backers across the country are participating in the campaign's national house party night.
But Sofaer said he had nothing to do with the "$9.11 for Rudy" theme.
"There are some young people who came up with it," Sofaer said when reached by telephone Monday evening. He referred other questions to Giuliani's campaign.
It is in bad taste and it can easily be turned against Giuliani as an example of his campaign using 9-11 for his own benefit. His staff needs to deep six this idea, and quickly.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
That's not to say a haphazard space program is a better space program. Quite the contrary. A diligent, well thought out program will have more success over the long run than a haphazard, unsafe program, and to a certain extent that was played out during the US-USSR 'space race'. We have developed accident paralysis in our space program, though. There is zero tolerance for accidents and deaths in our space program today, and that makes our program slow, cautious, and at times it almost completely shuts down our manned space program. China does not have that same accident paralysis. If they have an accident as they make their way to the moon, they'll dust off and move forward, and that benefits them because there has been no frontier opened by humans that has not come at a human cost. Because of that, I think we'll see China on the moon long before our program makes very much progress at all.
I'm a big supporter of a vibrant US manned space program because there will be huge economic and, with China's entry into space, military benefits to a more permanent human presence in space. I'm increasingly convinced that because of our space program's proclivity to accident paralysis, we are going to have to rely on a fledgling commercial space program to compete with China.
... MoveOn.org paid what is known in the newspaper industry as a standby rate of $64,575 that it should not have received under Times policies. The group should have paid $142,083. The Times had maintained for a week that the standby rate was appropriate, but a company spokeswoman told me late Thursday afternoon that an advertising sales representative made a mistake.
Perhaps this really is the case, but I sincerely doubt it. Once the Post went public with the Moveon.com rate, I'm sure the Times ended up with a rate crisis on its hands. The surest way to put a stop to it is to say that a rep screwed up, tighten the line on rates for a couple of weeks, and then let the reps go right back to the discounting they were doing before.
And given what I've said above, I disagree about my previous post on this topic putting me in any kind of awkward position.
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Thank you for registering for a chance to purchase tickets for potential 2007 Division Series games at Miller Park. Unfortunately, your entry was not selected for this ticket offer.
But don't forget, there's still a chance to see the Brewers in the postseason at Miller Park! By entering the Brewers' Postseason Ticket Opportunity, you've also registered to win the chance to purchase tickets to potential 2007 League Championship Series and World Series games at Miller Park. Drawing dates have not yet been determined, but you will receive an e-mail to let you know if you've won the opportunity to purchase tickets to those exciting games!
Thank you for entering, and good luck in future Postseason Ticket Opportunity drawings!
Drat. Oh well, I'm holding out for World Series ducats, anyway.
Friday, September 21, 2007
If you are unfamiliar with the Jena 6, head over to Instapundit to read a summary.
Back? Good. Okay, here's my issue. Surely people aren't protesting because these six are being charged and tried for beating the hell out of a kid, right? They put a pretty good smack down on the kid, and they deserve to be charged and tried. There is no justification for what they did, period. So is the protest over the nooses in the tree and the failure to expel the kids responsible for it? If so, why has it been so long in happening? So if that isn't it, then is the logic behind this that the Jena 6 don't deserve to be charged for beating the hell out of a kid because some other kids got off light for the repugnant act of putting nooses in the "white tree"? That's the only reason I can think of for people like David Bowie contributing money to the Jena 6 defense fund. And if that's the reason, I can't get on board with this.
Welcome, Instapundit readers. If you feel like casting some more light on this issue, feel free to join the conversation ongoing in the comments.
Belgium has given the world Audrey Hepburn, René Magritte, the saxophone and deep-fried potato slices that somehow are called French.
But the back story of this flat, Maryland-size country of 10.4 million is of a bad marriage writ large — two nationalities living together that cannot stand each other. Now, more than three months after a general election, Belgium has failed to create a government, producing a crisis so profound that it has led to a flood of warnings, predictions, even promises that the country is about to disappear.
“We are two different nations, an artificial state created as a buffer between big powers, and we have nothing in common except a king, chocolate and beer,” said Filip Dewinter, the leader of Vlaams Belang, or Flemish Bloc, the extreme-right, xenophobic Flemish party, in an interview. “It’s ‘bye-bye, Belgium’ time.”
Radical Flemish separatists like Mr. Dewinter want to slice the country horizontally along ethnic and economic lines: to the north, their beloved Flanders — where Dutch (known locally as Flemish) is spoken and money is increasingly made — and to the south, French-speaking Wallonia, where a kind of provincial snobbery was once polished to a fine sheen and where today old factories dominate the gray landscape.
“There are two extremes, some screaming that Belgium will last forever and others saying that we are standing at the edge of a ravine,” said Caroline Sägesser, a Belgian political analyst at Crisp, a socio-political research organization in Brussels. “I don’t believe Belgium is about to split up right now. But in my lifetime? I’d be surprised if I were to die in Belgium.”
I'm all for a breakup, if only because the nations of Flanders and Wallonia sound funny.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Once her son is off to school, Laura Mansfield settles in at her dining room table with her laptop and begins trolling Arabic-language message boards and chat rooms popular with jihadists.
Fluent in Arabic, the self-employed terror analyst often hacks into the sites, translates the material, puts it together and sends her analysis via a subscription service to intelligence agencies, law enforcement and academics.
Occasionally she comes across a gem, such as when she found a recent Osama bin Laden video — before al-Qaida had announced it.
Now if we can just replace Congress with a freelance Congress...
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Politics in Washington have been somewhat inconsequential. President Bush squandered any political capital he had after his re-election, and there are no more pet conservative projects in the pipeline because of it. Now in 2006, that provided plenty of fodder for blogging because the Bush Administration's failures in pushing so many conservative programs is, in my opinion, what lost Republicans control of Congress that year. This year has been devoid of much of what would normally get a conservative fired up, and both parties have resorted to little more than political jostling for 2008.
Meanwhile, the great conversations of war and peace have been played out, and here we are with two wars on our hands. An ambivalence has set in amongst the American public, and any increases in support of the Iraq war can probably be attributed to the fact that some Americans have resigned themselves to the fact that the easiest way out of Iraq will be to actually finish the job. North Korea has fallen off the map as Iran has loomed larger, but even with Iran there has no sense of urgency. China and Russia have been major players in the news, yet both still seem like tomorrow's problem. In our own backyard, we've failed to give enough attention to pressing issues like how a post-Fidel Cuba will affect us, or what will be the consequences of growing socialism/communism in Latin America.
Rather than attention focusing on the vital issues above, we've numbed ourselves by injecting heavy doses of Britney, Paris, Teen Pagent Queens, OJ, and other brain dead celebrities directly into our national veins. What disturbs me is the nation did something similar toward the end of the Clinton administration, and our desire to ignore real issues allowed our leaders to avoid the tough topics like the growing threat of terror. That threat still exists, and many others have been brewing on the horizon. I hope that we (myself included) snap out of our haze, and soon.
Sunday, September 16, 2007
The lovely Mrs. Jib and I were headed back from Madison this evening, and it was a dark drive on Highway 12. We got to a point about a mile west of Fort Atkinson when the high beams picked up something on the side of the road. It took a moment to make out what it was. It was a man standing just off the road. He was in jeans and some sort of long sleeved shirt. Neither of us could see his face or his head. In fact, there was just a kind of blackness where his head was. It appeared to the lovely Mrs. Jib that he was wearing some sort of black hood and looking down. The guy was directly facing traffic, which at that time of night consisted of us and another car about 3/4 of a mile behind us. His hands were down near his fly, but because he passed in and out of our headlights so quickly that neither one of us could make out what his hands were doing down there-or if something was out that shouldn't have been. There was no car parked near by, and we didn't see any bags. He was standing there, not walking anywhere, and he didn't hold his thumb out, so we don't think it was a hitchhiker, a broken down motorist, or even someone just out for a walk.
I'm not pleased at the possibility of someone getting off by flashing people in the dark of night just outside of the town that I live in, so I called it in to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department, if somewhat reluctantly (that's not the easiest thing to report). The dispatcher seemed rather disinterested by it and didn't even ask my name. If a deputy was dispatched, I'm sure that the person was long gone by the time they even got there. Just the same, if anyone else has a similar experience around this area, I encourage you to report it, just to be on the safe side.
Saturday, September 15, 2007
- BACHELOR TAX. A favorite strategy of governments to encourage population growth and raise money at the same time. Julius Caesar tried it in 18 B.C. The English imposed it in 1695. The Russians under Peter the Great used it in 1702, as did the Missouri legislature in 1820. The Spartans of ancient Greece didn't care about the money-they preferred public humiliation. Bachelors in Sparta were required to march around the public market in wintertime stark naked, while singing a song making fun of their unmarried status.
Thursday, September 13, 2007
The New York Times dramatically slashed its normal rates for a full-page advertisement for MoveOn.org's ad questioning the integrity of Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.
According to Abbe Serphos, director of public relations for the Times, "the open rate for an ad of that size and type is $181,692."
A spokesman for MoveOn.org confirmed to The Post that the liberal activist group had paid only $65,000 for the ad - a reduction of more than $116,000 from the stated rate.
A Post reporter who called the Times advertising department yesterday without identifying himself was quoted a price of $167,000 for a full-page black-and-white ad on a Monday.
This discounting flexibility is not without its problems for media. Most publications are really planned for ads to sell very near the published price, and it is in most reps interest to do so. In some segments of media, there has been horrible price erosion for ads because of discounting and predatory competitive discounting. This leads to some publications having little choice but to discount, sometimes significantly, in order to meet the budgets. In some segments, published prices have almost no meaning anymore. Yes, if someone calls out of the blue and asks for the price of an ad, they are going to be quoted published prices. But if there is any price erosion in that market at all, that first price is little more than the beginning point of negotiations.
Before we get ourselves too worked up over this, it should be known that display (not classified) ad sales reps typically have leeway in the prices they charge for ads. Some have the independence to do whatever they need to do to get an ad, some have to get approval for big discounts, but most do have the flexibility to discount. Call it media ad sales' dirty little secret. Price flexibility (i.e. discounting) is used for any number of reasons-a publication or rep may want to bring in a new customer that they see doing a large dollar volume of business over time. The rep or the publication might need to bring in last minute funds to meet a budget. The customer might already be a good customer that is doing an extra buy. The ad might be part of a larger "package" of advertising a customer has agreed to in exchanged for preferential pricing. An ad may have fallen out at the last second and the space needs to be filled. Finally, the rep in question might just be bad at meeting price objections and caves into discounting pressures easily.
I don't know the situation that ad reps for the New York Times are specifically facing. For all I know, this was a good ol' boy discount. I doubt that it is, though, because in most cases the higher ups aren't aware of the price of an ad until long after it is on the books and the ad is published. Some forms of print media are brutal ad markets right now, and I suspect the newspaper business is one of them. With the advent of internet advertising, some print mediums like papers are facing even more pricing pressure. I would think the New York Post is very aware of that, and I'm more than a little surprised that they launched this volley because I'm sure that a look at their books will show more than a few heavily discounted ads, too.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
An Erie cancer researcher has found a way to burn salt water, a novel invention that is being touted by one chemist as the "most remarkable" water science discovery in a century.
John Kanzius happened upon the discovery accidentally when he tried to desalinate seawater with a radio-frequency generator he developed to treat cancer. He discovered that as long as the salt water was exposed to the radio frequencies, it would burn.
The discovery has scientists excited by the prospect of using salt water, the most abundant resource on earth, as a fuel.
It is one thing to discover something, and it is quite another to apply it, make it practical for general use, and then make it sustainably profitable. If they can do that with this discovery, great, but then get yourself ready for greenies who are upset about what we are doing to the world's oceans.
Players in uniform shall not address or mingle with spectators, nor sit in the stands before, during, or after a game. No manager, coach or player shall address any spectator before or during a game. Players of opposing teams shall not fraternize at any time while in uniform.
At the very least, this rule is broken every time a player signs an autograph before a game or hands a ball to a kid during a game.
As for real time commemorations, do we ritualize them, doing the same thing year after year? If so, does that lose its impact over time? I'm not sure. All I know is that history will remember the date September 11 in much the same way that it remembers December 7, and much like Pearl Harbor Day, from this point on, our commemorations will slowly fade, marking time on anniversaries that end in fives and zeros. Neither day will ever be forgotten, but in the American way of always moving forward, while we will always offer our respects on both dates, we will not allow tragic events to dominate those dates forever. We do not forget, but we do carry on.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
Millard Fillmore, funny name and all, actually played a significant role in Wisconsin's history. Zachary Taylor had signed an order removing all Chippewa Indians to Minnesota. After Taylor died, Chief Buffalo of the Lake Superior Chippewa traveled to D.C. at an advanced age and convinced Fillmore to stay the order. Minus Fillmore's decision to allow them to stay in Wisconsin, there would be no Chippewa in Wisconsin today.
Friday, September 07, 2007
...a diarist at the Daily Kos:
"People of America: the world is following your news in regards to your invasion of Iraq, for people have recently come to know that, after several years of tragedies of this war, the vast majority of you want it stopped. Thus, you elected the Democratic Party for this purpose, but the Democrats haven't made a move worth mentioning. On the contrary, they continue to agree to the spending of tens of billions to continue the killing and war there."
...or an old Soviet communist:
"It has now become clear to you and the entire world the impotence of the democratic system and how it plays with the interests of the peoples and their blood by sacrificing soldiers and populations to achieve the interests of the major corporations."
...or Noam Chomsky and Al Gore:
He goes on to call Noam Chomsky "among one of the most capable of those from your own side," and mentions global warming and "the Kyoto accord."
I'm voting for Chomsky and Gore.
Thursday, September 06, 2007
Chemicals discovered in the United Nations' Manhattan offices - feared to be a toxic agent produced by Saddam Hussein's regime a decade ago - may be nothing worse than a cleaning solvent, sources said yesterday.
Preliminary tests show the substance, which was found Aug. 24, was not the potentially fatal phosgene, sources said.
I say "probably" because we'll likely find out tomorrow that instead of cleaning solvent it was the essence of the anti-Christ. There are two things you can never trust in this world, besides the government: The UN and anonymous sources.
Oh, just one more thought, and this one might get me crucified by the Frediacs, but Mr. Thompson, know your audience! I always cringe when I watch a politician go on Leno or Letterman and he or she is almost completely serious. There is a time for that, and late night talk shows are not that place. People want a little laughter before bed, and they certainly don't want to be reminded of the serious, humorless Bob Dole of 1996. They want to see if you have a lighter side to your personality, if you are someone they'd like to have a beer with. Don't like that? Then don't do the late night talk shows.
Meanwhile, gadget enthusiasts who snapped up the ballyhooed iPhone before Wednesday are coping with a bitter aftertaste now that it is $200 cheaper within 10 weeks of its introduction.
The price cut, from $599 to $399 for the 8-gigabyte iPhone, immediately set off a debate on online tech forums between early adopters who said paying a premium price came with the territory and those who said they felt burned. The price reduction was too much too soon, some complained.
Hey, deal with it. This happens every time a new technology comes out. I myself bought an expensive camera in late '05 that saw price cuts in '06 and then a replacement in time for Christmas of '06. But for that fleeting moment, I had a camera most people didn't. Granted, Apple dropped their price pretty quickly, but that's life with Apple, where you are lucky if you have the latest and the greatest for a year. At least they aren't rolling out a better phone in time for Christmas.
As for me, I think I'll wait until they are giving away iPhones with new contracts. In other words, I ain't ever getting one.