Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Whether your celebration tonight be wild or tame, be careful and stay safe. Use DD's, and even if you do, remember that the other guy on the road may not be using one.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

France uses tsunami as an excuse for an international dick contest

Well, well, well. A tsunami hits, thousands upon thousands die, and the wise old nations of Europe use it as an opportunity to flop out their national penises in a game of "whose is bigger?" Pardon my language, but that's how I'm viewing this story. Lovely. The leaders of some of the most important nations on earth have the maturity of 15 year old boys. Haven't heard the story? I think these are some key parts of the article:
One-upping the United States, France nearly doubled its aid pledge for tsunami victims to $57 million Thursday and briefly claimed the role as leading donor nation, following barbs from Washington about French generosity.

But Britain quickly topped France by more than tripling its donation to $95 million and Sweden promised $75.5 million. Spain's Cabinet, meanwhile, approved a $68 million package, although about a fifth was in loans rather than outright grants.

And this:

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's boast that France vaulted to "the head of all the contributors" appeared to be a response to comments from Andrew Natsios, chief of the U.S. Agency for International Development, which distributes American government aid.

Nice to see everyone is being generous out of the goodness of their heart, and not out of an effort to look better than the other guy. (Heavy sarcasm).

Does this mean we win?

Chicago landmark (to me) coming down in the name of progress

The Chicago Sun-Times building in downtown Chicago (which suffered a small fire the other day) is coming down in the name of progress. As most fans of the Apprentice already know, Donald Trump purchased the Sun-Times building recently and is building a Trump Towers in its place. This saddens me because I am a geek and a loser.

As a child, I read the local newspaper almost religously. My favorite columnist of all time was Mike Royko. I did not always agree with Royko's politics, but I always enjoyed his columns. After Royko died, I devoured every book I could on Royko. Although I've never been to the Billy Goat Tavern (one of Royko's hangouts), I always took great pleasure in standing between the Trib and the Sun-Times buildings on Michigan Avenue, knowing that my op-ed hero had worked in both buildings. Soon the squat Sun-Times building on the river will be gone, and in it's place will be a gleeming tower of Trump opulence, and my joy of standing between the two buildings will be gone, as will be one connection I have to my favorite columnist.

Nick Coleman's lack of Professionialism

As those of you who tool about the blogosphere know, Time Magazine's Blog of the Year, Powerline, has had a long running feud with their local newspaper the Minneapolis Star-Tribune (which they refer to as the Strib). Being that I grew up on the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, the Chippewa Herald, the Star-Trib, and the St. Paul Pioneer Press, I've watched with detached bemusement. I was always a Pioneer Press guy because their paper cost a quarter and they had better Wisconsin coverage, so I have no sympathies in this fight for the Star-Trib. Star-Trib columnist Nick Coleman decided to go after the guys at Powerline with this column this week, and it is one of the most unprofessional pieces I've ever seen from a columnist. I'm not going to add much commentary to this, as it seems much of the blogosphere is already buzzing about it, but if I edited or published the Star-Trib, I wouldn't be very happy about this. They had the chance to take the high road, and Coleman has dragged them into the gutter. The Star-Trib doesn't have a lot to gain in this fight, so it should have been one that they worked to avoid.

Bomb laden bus driven onto Virginia Military Base?

TMJ4 TV out of Milwaukee is reporting that someone has driven a bus onto a military base in Virginia and is threatening to blow it up. Sounds like a mentally unstable individual, not terrorism, but more to come.

  • The military base is Norfolk Naval Station
  • Not a lot online on this story yet. WVEC TV is covering it (registration required)
  • Another link to local information on this.
It was a hoax.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bush finally kowtows to UN wisdom

After receiving criticism from the United Nations, aid organizations, and for not sending enough aid money to Tsunami ravaged areas of Asia, the Bush administration today agreed to further balloon the US deficit by providing a $35 billion aid package to the Asian nations.

"We have have heard the cries, and we realize that we were blatantly wrong in not promising scads of unsecured funding to Asia to cover all the costs of the tsunami," said Bush Press Secretary Scott Mclellan. "We are confident that throwing all of this money around will make the world love us. After all, that is the goal of the United States-to be the most popular nation in the global lunch room."

Kofi Annan thanked the United States for coming to its senses on Wednesday.

"This is clearly a small step in the right direction for the United States. This just goes to show that our emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland was correct when he said politicians 'believe that they are burdening the taxpayers too much and that the taxpayers want to give less. That's not true. They want to give more'. Tax payers of all rich countries are very generous people who believe as we do that their money should be spent by government dictate."

Annan also offered this warning to the United States.

"I hope that the United States doesn't think that they can just throw money at the world's problems and walk away. Nothing makes the people of the world hate Americans more than their arrogant attitude that their riches can solve the world's problems. President Bush is going to have to come to the site of this disaster and apologize to the world, since this disaster is his fault. Had he signed on to the Kyoto agreement, we would not have global warming, and this tragedy can be clearly attributed to global warming."

Annan went on to praise the other nations of the world, as well as to announce UN plans for the tsunami ravaged region.

"I can't say enough for the generosity of the remaining nations of the world. We passed a hat around the UN offices and came up with 37 Euros. I'd like to remind stingy Americans that 37 Euros comes up to about 43 of your dollars. France alone scraped up 6 Euros. Norway, one of our most generous aid givers, agreed to raise taxes in 2005 to come up with their 8 Euro donation. China even offered to dispatch one of their armies to the region to help restore order under the Chinese flag. As for the UN, we will be organizing a US Aid for Food program, which will be headed by my son. I'm also looking at buying a new yacht sometime after we get the program set up."

Ted Kennedy (D-MA) commended the Bush administration for its new found generosity, and then criticized the administration for its runaway spending.

(The above was satire. Well, okay, maybe it was more blatant sarcasm. But its my site, I'll call it what I want.)

Yay me!

I am the first to admit that I am partially HTML illiterate. That's why I'm so happy for me right now (though I do hold my breath). For the first time since I added my Technorati Profile, I was able to get my Truth Laid Bear status up by futzing around with my template. I was also able to center my Technorati Profile, although now I have an ugly tan block extending to the right of the rest of the body. Another project, another day, I guess.

Using this Blogger stock template irritates me to no end. Now that I've had a few tastes of mid-level blogging, I want this site to have the independent authority that comes with it's own unique look. Problem is, I don't know how to do it. I've been pondering having Lisa at Just a Girl skin me, but I think I'd be best served moving off of Blogger if I do that. And then that also leads into the fact that I'm not sure I want to invest capital into the site yet. Grrr. I have no delusions that Jiblog could be the next Instapundit, but I would like to see Jiblog as a nice mid to upper level site.

If I were a scoche more HTML literate, then the Badger Blog Alliance would be more than this empty shell right now.

Oh yeah, Firefox sucks.

(Just kidding. I use it about 30% of the time now. I'm just trolling for comments.)

Priorities-where are yours?

Prior to my discovery of the blogosphere, I kept an irregular paper journal of my thoughts. I own 3 of them. Only one has writing in it. The entries in it range from 1998 to 2004. I have this vanity problem, so as I would write in it, I'd imagine some historian coming upon it at a yard sale 500 years from now, and using to help build context into a topic he was researching from our times. Hey! I said I have a vanity problem. Anyway, that thought popped back into my brain tonight, and I realized that future researcher would have a field day with me. Here we are, witnessing first hand perhaps the worst natural disaster of our lifetimes, and I pretty much ignore it in favor of professional American football.

It's really not that I the Asian Tsunami is any small matter. For me, it's an issue of scope. We are at what, a 60,000 death toll? And that number seems to be rising by the hour. Outside of publishing a compendium of first hand accounts, I don't know what to say about it. This is a disaster that really defies words.

All I can say on the topic is that sometimes poverty leaves humanity vulnerable to such events. That is truly the case here, and several big blogs are pushing economic growth as the solution to these disasters. I offer one note of caution, though. Sometimes modernity and arrogance leads to great tragedy, too. We are ripe in the Western world for an epidemic illness or a natural disaster which we feel invincible to because of our technology and our wealth. When it comes, be it next week, next year, or in one hundred years, it will humble us. And there will be no one out there to offer us in the first world any aid.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Pro Football Hall of Fame declines waving 5 year wait rule for White

In a move I find strangely fascinating, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has decided not to wave it's 5 year waiting period for sure fire first ballot Hall of Famer Reggie White.

Why do I find this so fascinating? Well, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is not the most difficult of Hall of Fames to gain entry into. The standard for enshrinement is much lower than it is for say, baseball players at Cooperstown. In fact, baseball may have the most difficult Hall of Fame to become enshrined in. I'll make a rough comparison. I'd say James Lofton is the Dale Murphy of football. They both had some great, dominate years, followed by mere good years. Lofton is in Canton, Murphy has to buy a ticket to get into Cooperstown. Now when a definite first ballot Hall of Famer, Roberto Clemente, died in a plane wreck, the Baseball Hall of Fame did the right thing and waived the waiting period. The almost pedestrian Pro Football Hall of Fame cannot do the same for White? We are not talking about a guy who may or may not make it, and for whom sympathy could push him in if the waiting period were lifted. We are talking about a guy for whom enshrinement is a matter of when, not if.

If I could be permitted to expand this out into a bigger issue (since this is my site, I can), I'd like to compare the Pro Football Hall of Fame's approach to the trend in society for everything to be equal for everyone, and that everyone feel good about everything. Adhering to a policy of everything being fair and equal, and everyone feeling good, has two side effects. Bad decisions are made in the name of fairness, and the bar to excellence is lowered. The Baseball Hall of Fame, on the other hand, has some very high bars a player has to vault to be included. The Baseball Hall of Fame is not about everyone feeling good. If it were, players like Dale Murphy, Fred Lynn, and Jim Rice would be enshrined. Instead, the Baseball Hall of Fame is a celebration of excellence. It recognized the excellence of a Clemente, and used common sense to waive it's waiting period. I'm sure the Pro Football Hall of Fame recognizes Reggie White's excellence, but common sense is apparently second to giving out equal treatment.

K. I've made my mountain out of a mole hill today. In a decision I do respect, Packer President Bob Harlan basically told those opposed to the lowering of the flag at Lambeau to half staff to bugger off. Hooray for Harlan for exhibiting good common sense.

The Packers have decided to no longer lower their flag to half staff for the deaths of former players.

The controversial Reggie White

If you are Christian or if you are Republican, certain media outlets are incapable of speaking nicely about you without a not so subtle jab, even in death. Take as examples the following jabs in pieces on the passing of Reggie White:

New York Times Obituary
White created a stir in March 1998 with a speech to the Wisconsin State Assembly. In it, he referred to homosexuality as "one of the biggest sins in the Bible" and used ethnic stereotypes for blacks and whites.

AP (via St. Pete Times):
White worked tirelessly with disadvantaged youths. But his image was tarnished when he gave a speech in which he denounced homosexuality and used ethnic stereotypes. White later apologized.
First and foremost, how necessary were these comments? What purpose do they serve besides tossing some tar and feathers on a dead man? Secondly, I'm willing to bet that neither source ever read or listened to White's comments. I viewed White as a man who had the faith of child, which is high compliment to a Christian. I also viewed him as a man who was able to maintain or re-discover a certain amount of his innocence. In that context, his comments were not malicious. In fact, his comments that included stereotypes were actually meant as complimentary. When he said that Latinos were able to fit a lot of people into a house, he was not making a joke of it, he was saying that the Latino heritage was blessed with a strong family ethic. When he said that Native Americans were good at sneaking up on people, he was trying very clumsily to say that this was why they were not enslaved by whites. What White was attempting to do in that speech was show that all people bring very different gifts to the larger table of humanity, and thereby reflecting the face of God. Did he do it clumsily? Yes. Did it have malign intent? Certainly not. As someone who could possibly be offended by part of White's comments, I found them baffling at first, but certainly not offensive or mean spirited.

In regards to White's opinion on homosexuality, again, White did not do anything more than make what is a statement of fact to most Christians. White has every right to disagree with any lifestyle he chooses, as long as he does nothing to harm people. He didn't. In fact, he was willing to reach his hand out to homosexuals:
Now, I believe that one of the reasons that Jesus was accused of being a homosexual is because he spent time with homosexuals. I've often had people ask me, would you allow a homosexual to be your friend. Yes, I will. And the reason I will is because I know that that person has problems, and if I can minister to those problems, I will.

If a homosexual did not choose to accept Reggie's outstretched hand, that was that person's choice.

I'm going to do something I rarely do. I'm going to agree, in part, with Eugene Kane of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. In a column on White, Kane had this to say:
As Packers fans mourn White's death, it's best to keep him in perspective. He was a great athlete who wanted to have a positive influence beyond the gridiron, and he did.

Sometimes he might have promised us a bit too much. But let's admit it - it was the promise of Reggie White that always captivated us.

I think that's what we will miss most.

Kane pretty much hit the nail on the head with those words. White was a very good person. He was also human. He made mistakes, as we all do. I'll give an example. When White's church burned down, Wisconsin Packer fans donate $250,000 to rebuild it. It was never rebuilt, and White would not comment on where the money went. A lot of people in Wisconsin began to grumble, especially as evidence mounted that the Pastor of the church had a drug problem. It was a story that WTMJ 620 AM was still following up leads on. On the day of Reggie's passing, WTMJ Sports host Bill Michaels was sent an email, instructing him to watch the episode of "Behind the Glory" on Reggie White. In the episode, White discusses how he had become aware of corruption and addiction issues with the Pastor of the church, and how instead of funneling money back into that problem, instead used it as loan money to help rebuild infrastructure in inner cities. Reggie's mistake? He did not tell the people of Wisconsin about all of this, the people who donated the money. People became concerned with what Reggie had done with the money they had donated, and Reggie's respect for the privacy of and love for a very troubled Pastor kept him from doing so. But was there any ill intent on White's part? No.

My point? Read White's speech below. Then tell me that what White said was so bad that major media outlets need to snarkily jab at him and his family in his death.

More sources of information:
Michelle Malkin
Focus on the Family
White's Comments to the Wisconsin State Assembly in 1998 (recommended reading)

Update writes a respectable obituary for the Minister of Defense.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Blogging etiquette

Drew over at Darn Floor discusses blogs as a first source of breaking news in this post, in which he discusses learning about the passing of Reggie White here at Jiblog. While I think he is correct that more and more people are getting their breaking news from blogs (I get a lot of breaking news myself from The Corner, Instapundit, etc, etc.), but his post lead me to think about my failing as part of the news breaking process as a blog: I failed to offer up my sources. It was this part of his post which got me thinking about that:
Obviously Jib heard it first via a traditional news outlet; or even if he read it first on another blog, that blogger might have heard it first by the mainstream news. But either way, it may be that blogs get news out more quickly to more people.

One of the reasons blogs work well as news breakers is because they act as news aggregators, giving their readers links to additional information. A blog that covers a breaking news story but which does not offer its readers additional information sources really is not doing a great job. I did not really do a great job.

On Sunday, My parents had just left our house, heading back up north after a very nice Christmas visit. I had sat down in my recliner when I overheard on the news that a Reggie White had died at age 43. Since I had overheard it, the news was out of context for me. I immediately turned to the web. I went to ESPN, Fox Sports, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in the hopes that I had heard wrong, or that it was not "our" Reggie White. All sources I had checked had only very brief information, so I decided against linking to them, instead going with a brief eulogy to White. What I ended up doing was creating frantic searches for information amongst my readers, instead of being the place where they could also immediately link to mainstream sites to confirm what they read here.

A succesful blog is a thorough blog. Lesson learned.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Christmas Miracles

Christmas is over, and you have the post Christmas blues. You hop on the net, and you come to Jiblog. Jib proceeds to depress the living hell out of you. You need Christmas Miracles, as presented by Michelle Malkin.

The situation in Iraq, another view you aren't seeing

If you read this blog, you know my position on Iraq. If not, scroll down a bit and you'll learn it soon enough. So I'm not going to add any comment to this excellent article at Strategy Page. It does a nice job of breaking down how and why things have occurred in Iraq since conventional warfare activities have ceased.

Asteroid impact on April 13, 2029?

Well, the news is just all happy go lucky this post Christmas season, isn't it? In other news, we learn that there is about a 1 in 42 chance that there will be an asteroid impact with earth on 4/13/29. That is still a pretty small chance, but it is a number most of us can understand, which makes it seem pretty big. My question is, what happens if NASA comes back over the next couple of years and refines that forecast to say, a 20% chance, or maybe a 50% chance? How does mankind react? Do we set our best minds to the solving the problem? If so, do they succeed? What about the rest of society? Do people radically alter their behaviors, turning our laws of economics, as well as our moral standards on their head? In other words, would people turn to a dangerous live for today mind set? And where would God fit into all of this?

Personally, I think we'd see a little bit of all of that. I think our best minds would succeed in averting disaster. I think there would be both a spiritual revival as well as a live for today, do what feels good movement. If I were an economist or sociologist, it would be a one fun, if morbid, topic to investigate.

Good news. We can all take April 13, 2029 off our calendars as "end of humanity day". The latest observations indicate that there is next to no risk of impact from this asteroid. I hope none of you awkwardly hit on anyone with an end of the world come on line in the last few days.

Tsunami kills over 13,000 and counting

I can't help but weigh in on the Asian earthquake and tsunami, even though I'm not sure I have anything new to add to the issue. The death toll is stunning, though. The current AP death toll sits at 13,390. That is more people than the populations of each of the three cities I've resided in during my life. That number is very likely to rise as more help arrives in the affected areas.

The Sidney Morning Herald reports that the death toll was exacerbated by the failure of affected countries to have monitoring and warning equipment, and that likely is true. This event provides us with a very distant reminder that nature rules the roost around here. As much as we like to think we can control it and affect it, our efforts have about as much affect as a spit wad shot at a freight train.

R.I.P. Reggie White

Jiblog offers its condolences to the family of Reggie White, who passed away this morning of a massive heart attack. While we did not know him but from afar, Reggie seemed to all Packer and Eagle fans to be a very special football player, but more importantly, a very special human being. The world is better off because of him, but this morning we are a little worse off without him.

It is uncomfortable to mix football into a situation like this, but since it is through football that we got to know him, I think it appropriate. Packer fans will mourn Reggie deeply. Reggie's unfathomable decision to come to Green Bay made football in the city and the state respectable again. Not only was he a great football player, but he gave credibility to every single person in that locker room. Rarely have I seen any professional sports team which so openly embraced God. We all looked forward to have Reggie as a part of our lives for years to come as we d0/did with the likes of Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Max McGee, Willie Davis, and Ray Nitzchke. Our heart breaks that we will not have him periodically in out lives for the years to come, and our hearts break for all who knew and loved Reggie personally.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry Christmas to All! (even you libs)

Thank you to everyone who has stopped by Jiblog this year. It's been fun for me to revive my dormant writing skills, but it wouldn't have been as fun without readers. I wish you all a Merry Christmas from a frigid Wisconsin, and I hope your Christmas is safe, enjoyable, and memorable.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Merry Christmas v. Happy Holidays

IF you are the type who follows the political commentary media closely, then you know that a big topic of discussion this month has been the Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas debate. A lot of conservative commentators have been unhappy creeping elimination of Christ from Christmas, and one of the areas they have focused on is "Happy Holidays", that generic catch all term that so many people say in place of of "Merry Christmas" today. I'm going to agree with these commentators-it is a sad state of affairs that make "Merry Christmas" a politically incorrect statement. And now I'm also going to hang my head and admit that the money whore businessman that I am for much of every week says "Happy Holidays" almost exclusively to anyone who isn't family or a close friend.

Here's my reality. Unlike the conservative commentator, whose success depends partly on how many people he/she can piss off, my success depends partly on how few people I can piss off. There are a few hot button areas where I do not go with my customers; one is politics, and the other is religion. When it comes to politics, if a customer brings it up, and I completely whore myself out. I have one customer who thinks I'm just to the left of Stalin, and that makes him happy. When it comes to religion, I do everything in my power to avoid it. That means pondering to the lowest common denominator, which means at this time of the year, when you have to acknowledge Christmas in some way since most business either shut down or are dead because of vacations, 'Happy Holidays' becomes the accepted term.

I noticed something the past week. People want to say 'Merry Christmas', but they are afraid to. I've exchanged Merry Christmas a few times with customers, and every time they have been halting, uncomfortable greetings. Not because people don't want to say it, but because they are afraid to say it. Not afraid because they think they'll be imprisoned, but because they are afraid they will lose a valuable business contact or customer. In some ways, 'Happy Holidays' is almost a clandestine 'Merry Christmas' amongst believers. Hear me out on this. In my experience, the most die hard anti-Christians will not acknowledge Christmas in any way, shape or form. They will not utter Happy Holidays to you. Happy Holidays is the de facto way a celebrator of Christmas can say "I observe and celebrate Christmas, and I hope you enjoy the holiday as much as I will." What is most sad is that we have come to the point where there is such a poisonous anti-Christian element in American society that we feel that we have to do this.

Having said all this, I'm not going to excuse 'Happy Holidays'. I choke on it every time I say it because I feel like I'm Peter and the rooster has just crowed for the third time. Christmas is the crown jewel holiday of this holiday season, and we should not hesitate to wish others a Merry Christmas, even if the other person is not a Christian. Christianity is, after all, the most inclusive religion the world has ever experienced, and it is only right to extend the greeting to all. I just think that those who see 'Happy Holidays' as some sort of an attack against Christmas are missing a little piece of the story.

Put a Mosul on it

How long will the insurgents be able to hide in Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city that happens to be in Sunni-Kurdish territory? Zarqawi has spent time in the area before when he ran the Ansar al-Islam camp prior to the U.S. invasion a couple years ago. He’s not real popular there. Either are the Baathists, for obvious reasons. Chemical Ali’s trial is approaching – he was the first of Saddam’s henchman to appear in court a week ago. The Kurds need to be reminded on a daily basis of what Ali did to them back in the 80s. That should fuel the fire a little bit.

I don’t suspect the general populace in Mosul will care much for the Baathists and foreign terrorists who have inhabited their city after being chased from Falluja. I’m hopeful the Iraqis will finally step up to the plate and take a couple hacks this time around. The Kurds are ruthless warriors who like to fight dirty, just like the insurgents. I seem to recall that Israeli anti-terror forces were in Kurdish territory a year or so ago, training them on counter-terror and –insurgency techniques. I could be a different story than Fulluja.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Spread Eagle-not an unusual name

In my wanderings, I stumbled across a list of unusual place names at Wikepedia. Intrigued, I was curious to see if some of the odd places I've been to like Climax, MI and Newcomersville, OH, were on the list (Climax was). I was shocked to learn that Spooner, WI, is on the list, but not Spread Eagle, WI. Oh the humanity.

Monday, December 20, 2004

More on the idiots of the great white North

This is a little dated now, but I just found out about it this weekend. Some idiot in Mankato, Minnesota, was selling bumper stickers that read "Save a hunter, shoot a Mung". We'll have to wait until next fall to see if Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota have held onto their collective sanity, but that bumper sticker is a page straight out of anti-spear fishing idiots' book. Their slogan was, "Save a Walleye, Spear a Squaw". It's nice to see the dumb asses are creative in getting their moronic message across. It is also nice to see that these mentally challenged ignoramuses can spell. Maybe I'm just a bleeding heart conservative for thinking that people could handle this whole thing with maturity.

Post holding Times accountable

The New York Post holds the New York Times feet to the fire after the Times attempts at rehashing the crazy vet myth. Read Stolen Valor and don't let the MSM try to trot out the tired old stories from Vietnam.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Keep the MSM's Feet to the Fire

For the past two weeks, I've been distressed by some events that have made big headlines. Among these events are Humvee armor issue and the worsening of the environment in Iraq. I believe I will be writing further on both of these topics, but tonight will be brief in order to get to my larger point, which is that the mainstream media may have a more successful time of spinning the news to tell the anti-war story they want to tell now that the election is over, because a large portion of us are no longer vigilant about getting "the rest of the story". We should be.

I offer exhibit one. A little short of two weeks ago, a soldier got his 15 minutes of fame, thanks to a tough question to Donald Rumsfeld, which was fed to him by a reporter. I'll give Rumsfeld credit. When you go into a Q&A, and you don't ask for the questions in advance, you're doing a no bullshit interview. The downside to this is it leaves you open to looking like a fool when you get hit by a tough question. Well, we already know that the reporter had a huge hand in creating a story rather than covering it. We'll leave aside the ethical issue with that, and instead look at the fact that large portions of the media ran, no, sprinted with this story, but made no effort to balance it out.

First, the Humvee was not designed to be an armored personnel carrier. It was designed to be a hardier version of the Jeep. This is the reason that the Army has had to retrofit these vehicles. In adding weight to the vehicles, they are also altering the performance of the vehicles. Now our situation right says that we probably should make that trade off, but that trade off is going to get other soldiers killed. The speed, mobility, and the gas mileage of the vehicles is going to decrease, which is going to make the vehicles easier targets. Also, because the vehicles were not designed to carry this extra weight full time, there are going to be more breakdowns of the vehicles. Breakdowns at the base snarl operations. Breakdowns on patrol can get you killed.

Second, the military was much further along in this process than we were led to believe. On this, I defer to Powerline (those guys at Powerline are damn good). They are linking to a press conference that discusses this issue. I am going to excerpt here the same passage they do:
The first point is that you'll recollect that one of the questions was the status of the 278 ACR; in other words, the date that we had the visit by the secretary of Defense, we had a question about their up-armoring status. When the question was asked, 20 vehicles remained to be up-armored at that point. We completed those 20 vehicles in the next day. And so over 800 vehicles from the 278 ACR were up-armored, and they are a part now of their total force that is operating up in Iraq.

Q On the 278th, can you repeat this? At the time the question was asked, the planted question, the unit had 784 of its 804 vehicles armored?

GEN. SPEAKES: Here is the overall solution that you see. And what we've had to do is -- the theater had to take care of 830 total vehicles. So this shows you the calculus that was used. Up north in Iraq, they drew 119 up-armored humvees from what we call stay-behind equipment. That is equipment from a force that was already up there. We went ahead and applied 38 add-on armor kits to piece of equipment they deployed over on a ship. They also had down in Kuwait 214 stay- behind equipment pieces that were add-on armor kits. And then over here they had 459 pieces of equipment that were given level-three protection. And so when you put all this together, that comes up with 830.

Q At the time of the question -- summarize this, now -- that unit that the kid was complaining about was mostly armored?

GEN. SPEAKES: Yes. In other words, we completed all the armoring within 24 hours of the time the question was asked.

Q If he hadn't asked that question, would the up-armoring have been accomplished within 24 hours?

GEN. SPEAKES: Yes. This was already an existing program.

So, what does this mean? It means that Rumsfeld was ambushed on a problem that had already been identified, and which was well on its way to being resolved, particularly for the unit in question. We came away from this story that this was a rampant problem, that soldiers were scrapping for their own lives, when in fact the military was well on its way to resolving the problem.

Next on my hit list is the coverage of the situation on the ground in Iraq right now. Are things getting worse? You bet they are. The media is not incorrect in telling you this. They are not rounding this story out, either, though. Successful elections in Iraq will be a big defeat for the insurgents. They are throwing everything they have at us and at the provisional government right now in an attempt to stave off that defeat. This is a pretty big moment of truth for this war. Think of it as this war's Tet. The question is, do we repeat our mistake here at home of giving up on the war just as we have an opportunity to win, or do we gut things out like our parents and grandparents did during World War II and see this thing through. I guarantee you, if the elections are successful on January 30, the insurgency will be significantly weaker on February 1st, and we'll be in a situation to start pounding nails in their coffin. But if we lose faith in the next 30 days, if we turn in mass against the war just because we don't have the patience for it, this thing is going to go on longer and be deadlier than it needs to be, just like it did in Vietnam.

I fear that now that the election is over, people who questioned everything they read and heard earlier this year are falling back into the habit of just casually listening to what is going on, and no longer looking for the rest of the story. Remember this: The media has a vested interest in undercutting the war effort. Things going badly means ratings, and ratings mean money and fame, and money and fame mean more to them than your relative over in Iraq, no matter what they tell you. Keep their feet to the fire.

Tech Central Station has a good article on the armor issue.

For the record...

Col. Ollie did not succeed in his goal to get me incarcerated during my birthday festivities.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Silver lining to Vang murders rapidly tarnishing

Ugh. Not too long ago, I wrote a hopeful little post discussing the chances of the Northwoods coming out of the Vang-deer hunter murders a stronger place. Here's one line from that post:
With any luck, outdoors organizations in Wisconsin will develop programs which will further this communication.
Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. The Eau Claire Leader-Telegram reports that Norman Rademaker, a member of the the Exeland Rod and Gun Club, warned the Hmong to stay out of the woods in future hunts, insinuating that it will only lead to further violence. With any luck, this guy is just is just an isolated idiot. What scares me is that this will lead to a lot of otherwise isolated idiots banding together to become an unruly mob of idiots. Just the same, the Leader-Telegram reports the reaction of the crowd to Norman Rademaker's comments:
Rademaker’s comments drew gasps from some and groans from others. Several people responded to the remarks, saying it’s unfair to blame all the Hmong for the actions of one.

That is a hopeful sign. I do not recall much sanity around the idiots of the spear fishing controversy. This is also a hopeful sign:
Instead, he said, conservation groups around the state may raise money to pay for added hunter education efforts.

Still, I know that there are enough fools like Mr. Rademaker around to get their idiotic voices heard next fall. What is more concerning is that violence during the Chippewa spear fishing controversy was largely quelled by the presence of a lot of police and non-violent witness programs which filmed and photographed the events. Hunting is such a dispersed activity that this type of presence cannot be duplicated, which could lead to individual morons doing very stupid things next year.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

No, a powerful parenting tool

Here's where I speak of that which I do not know. Parenting. Mrs. Jib and I have not yet journeyed down the road of bearing and rearing children. I think I come from some talented parenting stock, though, so I'm going to pop off on the topic so all of you parents out there can roll your eyes and take pot shots at me.

I think the most beautiful word a parent can say to a child is no.

No must be firm, and it must be meant. When the child disobeys 'no', there must be consequences for that action. I'm open to various parenting techniques when it comes to the consequences, but it must be swift and real.

'No' has really stuck in my brain the last 24 hours. Last night, Mrs. Jib and I settled in to watch Nanny 911 over our dinner. The Nanny had her hands full. Not only did she have petulant children to deal with, she also had petulant parents, particularly the mother. The two children were hell raisers. They hit each other. They hit the mother. They threw stuff at the mother. They were addicted to pacifiers and sippy cups. They stuffed a banana in a sink and turned the water on until the sink over flowed. The children had no respect for the mother what so ever. The father, a military man, they more or less respected. The mom they seemed to relish disobeying. Why? The mom felt the children did not feel loved when she told them no, or when she tried to discipline them. She was incapable of a firm no, and the kids ran wild over her.

Today I was driving home for lunch, listening to the Charlie Sykes show on the radio. Sykes was discussing the Governor of Illinois' plan to criminalize the sale of mature video games to minors. Sykes was raising the concern that Governor Blegojevich's plan was dabbling in censorship. His first caller was a woman who supported the Governor's plan. Her position was that parents need the help, and have needed the help for a long time. Sykes conceded that it is tough to raise kids today, but he asked her, "what about no?" The woman said that no was good, but kids are just so tempted by these things, just like they are with Nikes. I was left thinking that this woman was incapable of a real, firm no to her kids.

I speak as the child of parents who said no so much I thought it was my first name until I was 7. It was a no that meant no. Crying was futile. As Mrs. Jib and I said simultaneously when discussing this, my Dad's response to tears was, "I'll give you something to really cry about." Frankly, no was good for me. It taught me that life would not always go my way, that I couldn't always have what I wanted when I wanted it, and that there were consequences for my every action. 'No' is but one tool that a parent needs to use, but it is a very important one. I can't help but think that fewer parents would be pulling their hair out if they could establish no with their kids. No is a beautiful words.


...I smell cavatini and sweet, cheap red wine.

Apologies to the party of 7

My apologies to the party of 7 who actually stop by here regularly (I can use the party of 7 again because my lack of posting has murdered traffic to the site). Work and pre-Christmas activities have put a significant dent into my blogging time. When I have had spare moments, I have spared you all from awful posts like the pictures of clouds that I took in Detroit, or my thoughts on why, during rush hour traffic in Chicago, I decided that we should pave paradise and put up more parking lots and highway lanes.

I should be back at this regularly by the end of the weekend. Tonight the lovely Mrs. Jib and I are going to enjoy a nice dinner together at home (unfortunately, this always happens during a barfing scene on E.R.), tomorrow I am going to celebrate my birthday (Christmas Day) a little early with free beer at the Nitty Gritty in Madison, and then once the hangover wears off on Saturday, I'll be good to go again.

Jenna Bush, Teacher

I was driving down to Chicago yesterday for a meeting when I tuned my trusty AM radio into one of my favorite Chicago channels. The hosts of a morning talk show were discussing Jenna Bush's decision to apply to teach at a low income school in Washington DC, and they were taking calls on it. Here are the thoughts of some of the callers, no doubt Kerry voters:
  • She used a fake ID in college. That may be a felony. Teachers can't have felonies on their record
  • She used a fake ID in college. She can't be trusted with our children.
  • Her father was an alcoholic. She liked to drink in college. Alcoholism is genetic, so she's an alcoholic. No school should hire her.
I have a couple of thoughts on all of this, but I am going to skip my desire to lambaste the left for being pathetic since the callers did not identify their political affiliations. These people taking shots at her are pathetic, though. And woefully out of touch with reality. I can say from experience that their are some very, very good people who go into teaching. I have many friends who fall into that group. They are the few that deserve all the praise that is heaped onto teachers. There is another, larger group of teachers that are not so good. They were absolute hell raisers in college. Class was an afterthought. They went to school for Business, or for the Sciences, and they quickly learned that they couldn't cut it in those fields. Some were even kicked out of school for their miniscule grade points that were lower than the blood alcohol content most nights. When they gave college a second shot, they found that they could get by in the education field. They were not particularly inquisitive, and they did not have much of an interest in the kids they would be teaching. It was the only field they could graduate in. This is part of the reason that every month or so we hear a new story of teachers having sex with students.

This is the reality of our school system. I think I'm being a little generous in saying that a third of all teachers really shouldn't be teachers. Now here we have a young woman who raised some hell in college, but has made the decision to work in a school district that isn't exactly sought after by new grads. That says to me that she has an interest in helping kids that many teachers do not. As daughter of a sitting President, she could have chosen the poshest of private schools to teach in, and she'd have gotten the job. In my mind, that means she'll be a better teacher than many of those already in the system, who wait for summer vacation with more excitement than the students. If the critics of Jenna are this shaded from reality, then maybe they should take the time to learn about those already teaching in their school districts.

Monday, December 13, 2004


I'm back (back..back...back). Wow, quite the echo in here.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Do we overestimate the knowledge of the average voter?

Don't answer that. The answer is yes. And notice I said knowledge, not intelligence. Let me set up why I've come to this conclusion.

This morning I was listening to the local Detroit news on TV when I heard them mention that Mitch Albom would be sigining his new book at a Borders in Birmingham at 7 pm this evening. My ears perked up at that, because I actually knew where that Borders was located. I had stopped there during my last trip to Detroit. I decided that if my schedule permitted, I would go over there and get a copy for my parents. They had loved Tuesday's with Morie, and I figured they'd get a kick out of having a personalized, signed copy of 5 People You Meet in Heaven. My schedule ended up allowing me to head over there, so I bought my copy and stood in line for an hour and a half to get my copy signed.

When you stand in line for an hour and a half, you get to know the people around you better than you know some of your friends, and this line was no different. Within the first 15 minutes, I knew the 2 women in front of me worshiped Bill Clinton. I also knew the 4 behind me all listened to Rush Limbaugh, purely, they claimed, because he was a heck of an entertainer. Based on this, I felt the four behind me were probably of a kindred political spirit to me. I was wrong.

After we had been in line for an hour, the oldest of the group of four, a gentleman who had been just a little too young to serve in the Second World War, kicked off the political talk. All four began to bash the living hell out of Bush. This surprised me, as they had talked glowingly of Limbaugh. I missed good bits of this conversation because it hadn't fully caught my attention, and I'm not a chronic eaves dropper. By the time I started listening, they were talking about 2008. They talked about Dole running again (they meant Gore). They talked about how that Guiliano guy didn't stand a chance. But apparently McLain does (the Die Hard guy is running?). They were mixed about the good looking one (they nailed down Edwards name after several references as "the good looking one"). They did get Kerry's name right and Hillary's name right, but they did say that Bill Clinton could be Hillary's VP, which is not correct. Finally, the elder statesman of the group, the old guy who kicked off the conversation, said, "They just don't make 'em like ol' Give 'em Hell Harry anymore. Boy I liked him." I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt on that comment only because I cannot prove him wrong. I did want to interject, "Congrats. You were part of a mere 38% who liked Harry when he left office." I'd bet dollars to donuts that guy did not like Truman when he left office, because he seemed to be a very "do the in thing" type of guy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we talk about how we need such incredibly high voter turnouts. Do we really, though? I'd say that no more than 25% of the voting public is well informed on the issues. The remaining are voting in a giant popularity contest. Is that a good idea? Are we not forfeiting our control over the very federal officials we piss and moan about constantly when they know they can get elected by avoiding those of us who are informed and pandering to the less informed amongst us? If you want to do your GOTV events in 2008, fine, so be it. But maybe we should work in a KWTHYTA campaign as well. (That would be a Know What the Hell You're Talking About campaign).

Jib in Michigan

Yesterday included a long 7 plus hour drive to Michigan for me. I enjoy driving, but this drive was particularly exhausting because talk radio stunk. We really are in a slow news cycle right now. I tried to get worked up about Harry Reid's comments on Clarence Thomas, but I don't honestly believe Reid's a racist. I just think he made a very poor political comment. Clarence Thomas would be the Supreme Court justice that the Democrats would go the furthest to see denied Chief Justice because they dislike his intreptation of the constitution the most. Reid chose his words very, very poorly. Other than that, blah. I got to listen to some nutcase, conspiracy theory believing, Bush hating liberal nutcase for a while here in Detroit, but his topic was so nuts it isn't even worth commenting on. Left leaning individuals blame talk radio for firing up the right. I say pshaw. Give me a commentary piece anyday.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Jiblog on the road...again

Jiblog will be reporting for sunny...Michigan this week. The large number of car hours logged on these trips are usually good for some inspired writing, if I'm not worn out from the work days. Keep checking in for updates.

Origins of the Loose Lips Award

Since I've revived the Loose Lips award, it is only appropriate that I provide the historical context. This image is a famous war propaganda poster from World War II, and the inspiration for Jiblog's Loose Lips awards during our War on Terror.

Frank Rich on the 'Arts'

Well, I was going to comment on this article by Frank Rich, but I never really could get into going after such an easy target as Rich. I'll let Drew at Darn Floor do the talking on this one.

I was going to say that the article shows that you don't really need talent to have a high profile column like Rich's, and that 3/4's of the blogosphere could do his job, but I changed my opinion of that. I'm not sure there are many people who can write articles that reach out to to the New York Times target market of the loony left as well as Rich.

Orange, the new black

I have to admit, orange may be my least favorite color. I'm changing my mind though. Since the opposition in Ukraine has made orange their symbolic color, I have a new respect for the color, and I even find myself wanting something orange to wear so I can quietly show my support for their cause. It is clear the election was terribly fraudulent, and the opposition has peacefully begun to remedy that injustice.

Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit is endorsing an idea that is spinning about that George Bush should wear an orange tie to boost the morale of the opposition in Ukraine. While I love the idea, it isn't practical. The President has to maintain the best relations possible with Russia and the Ukraine, regardless of the outcome of the new election. Wearing an orange tie would be a powerful snub of Vladimir Putin, and it would also put Victor Yakunovich even further in Putin's hip pocket should he win. Such a small thing would boost a group of people who deserve it, but it would also likely make things much more difficult for them.

Added note: Interesting post on the Ukranian election from All About Latvia.

Tommy Thompson and his resignation speech

Tommy is now an official winner of the prestigous "Loose Lips" award, but I have yet to really expound on the man for Jiblog's worldwide audience. Tommy has actually been an enigma to most of the nation as Bush wisely buried him in a cabinet position where Tommy's mouth would do a minimal amount of damage over 4 years. Well America, now you know a little bit about Tommy Thompson. He has a big mouth and he doesn't know when to shut it sometimes.

I should start by saying that, unlike a majority of my fellow Wisconsinites, I was never a big Tommy Thompson man while he was the state's governor. He came down on the opposite side from on an issue I felt strongly about, the right of Chippewa to exercise their right to spear fish. Still, I was never rabidly opposed to him. This state loved the guy, though. The problem is, Tommy was prone to disengage his brain and let his mouth run away from him. One of his most famous gaffes came as we debated in this state whether or not we'd build Miller Park for the Milwaukee Brewers. Talking to an audience outside of the 5 counties that would be assessed a sales tax to pay for the stadium, Thompson told them they should support the deal, as they wouldn't have to pay for it, anyway. Refering to Milwaukee, which many parts of the state see as a money hog, Thompson said, "Stick it to 'em!" 620 am WTMJ still plays that quote. The Bush administration has to be relieved that this was the only mess Thompson created for them, and that he waited until after the election to do it.

After I first read Thompson's comments, I thought that there was no way way he would be able to challenge Democratic Governor Jim Doyle in the next gubanatorial election. Then I caught a little bit of an afternoon show on WTMJ radio. The host asked for opinions on this, and at first it ran heavily against Thompson, but then the tide turned very suddenly. Tommy fans came out of the wood work to defend him. Some said it was a stroke of political genius, because it will force the Bush administration to quickly deal with a problem that Thompson was obviously concerned about. Others had no idea that our food supply was in danger, and thought Thompson did the public a service by informing them of this so they could be vigilant (those individuals have obviously been living under a rock). Still others said this was vintage Tommy Thompson, a guy who tells you the way it is, whether it is popular or not. I left that segment convinced that if Thompson were to challenge Doyle, his arch nemesis here in Wisconsin, that Tommy would probably win, and by a very wide margin.

I'm stupefide by it all. I can only agree with one thing said by the Thompson supporters: It was vintage Thompson. But it wasn't because he was shooting straight or because he was making a courageous stand. It was because it was flat out stupid. Had Thompson said, "I remain very concerned about vulnerabilities of our food supply to attack," I probably never even would have though twice about it, because that is well documented. What Thompson did, though, was very visibly point out what could be our biggest vulnerability, and practically screamed in terrorists' ears, "Hey! Hit us here before we can secure our food supply better!"

Thompson won elections here in Wisconsin because he reminds people of that guy at their local pub that says a lot of things that make sense, and who is a good time to get drunk with. That's it, period. I was always a bit surprised that his name came up when the VP slot opened in 1996 and 2000, because there have been too many rumors and 2nd hand stories for that guy not to have a few skeletons in his closet. On top of that, he's a good state politician, but he is not a guy for the national stage. This week, America, you got to meet our Tommy, who we got to know over 14 plus years. Thank us, because were about to take him back before you get to know him too well.

Commercial for Adult ADD, That's Shiny

Okay, question for everyone. The other day I saw a commercial for a medication available to adult attention deficit disorder sufferers. It was a 30 second commercial. Why? Isn't that about 15 seconds to long if you want your message heard by adult ADD sufferers? I mean, after all, I don't have ADD and I only made it through about 12 seconds of the commercial before I began to think, "MMMM! Beef jerkey is yummy!"

France to 'trash' D-Day site

If this isn't symbolic of French disregard and lack of appreciation for its own freedom. British vets are protesting a plan to build a dump at the site of a D-Day air jump landing. Although I have a history education, I'm not usually one that says we have to preserve everything remotely historical. I'm also not one who thinks that France has to be completely beholden to the allies who liberated them, but to build a dump on this site is almost offensive. I could understand it if they could develop the land, because in some small way that would be a testament to the sacrifice made by the young men of other nations. But a dump? Shameful.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

George W. Bush appoints George P. Bush President

Majority hating Republican George W. Bush today announced he would resign from his cabinet position of "President", but first appointed his successor, George P. Bush, citing a little known replacement clause in the constitution and his hatred for majorities.

"My fellow Americans, it pains me to announce today that I am resigning from my cabinet. I am appointing George P. Bush to fill the role of President in my cabinet for the next four years. I've decided that white people really are to blame for all of our countries problems, and I feel that young George P. Bush can help lead us out of these troubling times. I'm proud to have played a part in George Bush becoming the first Latino President of the United States of America."

The soon to be former President explained that he has recently realized that he has never liked majorities, and only winning the 2000 election in the electoral college was his subconscious way of sticking it to the majority. Bush had assembled one the most diverse cabinet in Presidential history, and solidified it with today's announcement.

"I feel one term is long enough for a white man to be in the oval office. I look forward to returning to Austin, spending time with my family, and to opportunities in private sector. My only regret is that I do not have a black or an Asian relative with the name of George Bush who I can help serve this country in a capacity that I never can as a white male."

In related news, stories are filtering in of mobs in the streets of major cities as desperate liberals
scurry to come up with new cover stories for why Democrats are the party of minorities.

(The above is satire. If you took it seriously, the Democratic National Committee is looking for a new Chairman. You should apply)

Eminem, certified idiot

The music video for Eminem's song Mosh has been re-edited. Originally it showed him leading a mob to the polling places. Now that the election is over, it has been edited to show him leading a mob on the Capitol during Bush's State of the Union Address. There was a time and a place when promoting a violent coup was not free speech, but rather a treasonous activity. That aside, this re-edit really symbolizes the gross hypocrisy of some on the left. They play up the fact that the people need to choose, the people need to have their voice heard, and they push to line up as many people that share their views to vote as possible. Then when they lose, instead of admitting that the people's voice was heard, they act like spoiled two year olds. At that point, they start to contradict their earlier statements by have fantasies about coups and assassinations, which are not activities that echo the voice of the majority.

Friday, December 03, 2004

A bunch of Yahoos

Why is it that yahoo's news headlines of the day always include weird items you can't really find among the headlines of the day at places like Fox News, MSNBC or CNN. Today yahoo highlighted a story that "Bush didn't win Ohio by as much as initially thought." The story goes on to point out that Kerry lost by roughly 17,000 fewer votes, but still lost by like 120+ thousand. Why does Yahoo decide this is a key story?

Loose Lips awards, Vol III

Wow, it's been a while since I've done the Loose Lips Sink Ships awards. I can't think of a more deserving candidate for the award today than outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary and former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson. Thompson is not a man known for carefully chosing his words, and today would be a good example. To wit:
"For the life of me, I cannot understand why the terrorists have not attacked our food supply because it is so easy to do,"
Uff da. Tommy, why don't you make it even easier by telling them how to do it. This is clearly an example of loose lips that could conceivably hurt or kill Americans. Freedom of speech is wonderful thing, but so is knowing when to keep your trap shut.

Political Silly Season and why Jib stays away from it

Tommy Thompson is retiring early to a life of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer at his brother's bar in Elroy, Wisconsin.

State of the blogdom address

It's been a hell of a year for the blogosphere. What started out in 2004 as a somewhat niche web trend exploded into an all new game that has the mainstream media's attention. Blog is even the word of the year. Much of this was spurned on by an especially passionate presidential election, and the next few months help begin to sharpen our view of what the blogosphere's future is.

Bush's victory will no doubt be a continued boon for the lefty blogs. It is much easier for most people to write when they have a belly full of fire, and it is much easier to have a belly full of fire when "the other party's guy" is in the Oval Office. Unfortunately for the lefty blogs, their are a lot of popular loony left blogs which taint their names a bit. It is going to be interesting to see what happens in the world of right leaning blogs, however. This area really began to take off this year as Republicans and Conservatives felt slighted by the MSM, and as they rallied to Bush's defense. Posting frequency and traffic to many of these 2nd tier and lower blogs has dropped off in the last month, and we are going to learn a lot about the resiliency of these sites between now and the election. Logic would dictate that momentum will be on the side of lefty blogs for a little while as conservative and Republican blogs refashion themselves.

2004 also saw the introduction of my favorite little corner of the web, Jiblog. It has been an enjoyable, frustrating, maddening learning experience. While Jiblog did not receive any "Instalanches", it did receive a "Hughicane" right before the election, when Hugh Hewitt linked to my post on Curly's Curse (which, by the way, stood up, although I think I could have written about the curse much more clearly than I did). It also received a mention at Salon's blog, which made the way for some damn interesting comments. I've also had the displeasure of the hangover that occurs after a massive spike in traffic, when your traffic quickly dips down to previous levels. I've been very happy with certain pieces I've written, and a little disappointed in others. All in all, I look at Jiblog as it stands right now and I'm pleased with the results from its rookie year, but I also want to take it to some new levels in 2005. Between now and Inauguration Day, I'm going to be looking long and hard at where I want this site to go and how to get it there. I know one goal right off the bat: I want this site nominated for a Weblog Award in 2005 (and not by myself this time), and I want it to be a finalist. A lofty goal, yes, but why set goals that are easy to obtain?

One of the great things about this site has been the interaction with many intelligent and funny individuals. I cannot thank everyone, but a few stick out. J. Rice, thank you for being Jiblog's first regular, and for doing a lot of commenting. It made the place look inhabited in the early days. RPM, thank you for being Jiblog's first regular opposition voice. The place is a lot more fun when there is a little debate going on. Geoblackwl, you and dawniebean are a "hoot", to quote one of my newest colleagues at work. Keep posting at your sites, your material is always very fun. Drew at Darn Floor, you did a great job covering the Sawyer County murders. I slacked off on it a bit because you took the wind out of my sails by saying what I wanted to say before I could some days. Col. Ollie, thanks for the assistance as the election heated up, and I hope you continue to post here. You do some of the best satire around, but you are free to write about whatever you damn well choose. I also need to thank Blogs for Bush and their Blogroll for Bush. It was gratifying to see that people actually came to the site once Jiblog became part of the blogroll. I also need to thank everyone who has visited, who has commented, and who has emailed me. Those three things make this worthwhile for me, even if you disagree with me. If I missed anyone, I apologize. If you pop in a dream or nightmare of mine tonight, I'll be sure to update this post.

One final thing for tonight. I have decided that I am going to roll out a very basic "Badger Blogger Alliance", and I'm going to do it sooner rather than later. Do not get to excited about it right off the bat, because I see this as something that will grow with time, but it will be a nice way for Wisconsin Blogs to tie together, share some traffic, and give Wisconsin blog readers a place to go to get a local fix. I'll have more details in the coming days.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Why Jib is not going to quit his day job

I want a photo for Jiblog, so I had a brainstorm: why not combine two of my favorite things? Unfortunately, none of the pictures turned out as I envisioned them. Back to the drawing board.

Jonah Goldberg and thresholds of knowledge

Today, Jonah Goldberg at The Corner mentions that a recent survey shows that “Half of Britons have never heard of Auschwitz”. Before we tut-tut about that too much, it probably wouldn’t hurt to open our eyes and get a good, hard look at reality. Those of us with inquisitive or educated minds get all upset when we see surveys that show that a lot of people do not know about something we think they should. That’s valiant, in and of itself, because we want all people to share in the knowledge we have. There have been times in human history where those who had knowledge knew that knowledge meant power, and did not encourage the accumulation of knowledge amongst the masses. Today we demand that everyone have a certain base level of knowledge. As much as the world has changed, however, it still has stayed a little bit the same. There are a good many people who only care, or who only can care, about the details of day to day life. Their world is this moment and the next. They do not invest much of their time or energies into matters of importance to the masses, they trust others to do that for them. They invest their time and energies into the minutiae of daily life, either because they choose to or because life requires that of them.

Our Founding Fathers understood that there will always be this class of people who do not have voluminous knowledge on matters of importance to humanity. This is in part why many of them feared direct, pure, free for all democracy, and why they supported a representative system so strongly. They trusted that the people could choose a representative who did have a lot of knowledge, and who would look out for their interests, to a point (their system actually had more layers for the choice of representatives than our system today does). Today we have somewhat forgotten this, and we expect the impossible, that everyone have the burning desire and the capability to learn.

Now, having said that, I’m going to contradict myself a bit. It is most desirable that a society has as large an educated populace as possible. Over time, the bar for that term “educated populace” gets higher, and that too is good for a society. At one time, the ability to read was the standard for whether you were educated or not. Now it is, among other things, whether you know what Auschwitz is. It is in our best interest for all us that we have as large of a percentage of people who know basic history as possible, and high expectations like those of Goldberg are good things to pull societies collective education forward. Education and knowledge are the gears that drive humanity forward, and the better our gears, the more quickly we can progress. I applaud Jonah for his high expectations, I just don’t think this is a matter worthy of depression over. He does concede that many more people are aware of the Holocaust, and it is from the Holocaust that we learn the biggest lesson. While as a society some of the details of the Holocaust may have become fuzzy in the last 60 years, especially for younger people, it is the larger lesson that is important that we hold onto and spread to new generations.


Okay, I’ve read the comments, and I decided it wouldn’t hurt anything to merely try Firefox. I’ve been using it sporadically on my personal laptop for 3 days, and on my work laptop for a day. First impressions? I recognize the power it gives a user to add on elements that they want, and to exclude those they do not. I’m not one that needs to have that decision making power, though. Give me the whole package, and I’ll decide what I do and do not want to use. Second, Netscape 7.2 has not wigged out on me once since I installed it, and that has impressed me mightily. Today I was checking out my feeds on Bloglines, and Firefox went a little nutty, shut down, and never gave me an error message. I was not overly fond of that. It reminded me of my nightmare years with Netscape.

I will give Firefox a fair and open trial run here, but my first impression is that I stand to gain little or nothing by switching from Netscape 7.2 right now. And yes, there is no better browser for viewing midget porn than Firefox (inside-ish joke).

Correction: It should read "elderly midget porn". IE is better for straight midget porn.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Hmong v. White racial tensions in Wisconsin's Northwoods

Darn Floor has a post about the media overplaying racial tensions in Northern Wisconsin right now (for the purpose of simplicity, Northern Wisconsin will refer to all of the state north of the Iowa state line). I agree with him. The media is trying to grab onto to something that isn't really there to the degree they want it to be. I do think that there is potential for a small backlash against Hmong community with this court case, though. Here is my comment to his post.
I think that when it comes to the race card on this issue, any disparaging comments are made in private. My experience on this is a little moldy, as I haven't lived in the area full time for ten years, but I do know people that have made disparaging remarks about the Homong community to close friends, family, in discrete settings. I cannot remember anyone ever doing that in public, though. It's really no diferent than any other immigrant group. The established community doesn't undertand them, and they mutter things under there breath about them.

Most communities with large Hmong populations have had 20 plus years of experience with the Hmong by now. It has been an immigrant group that has largely been a well behaved part of the community, so I think the larger community can clearly see that this is an isolated incident that has no strong relation to race. It helps that Vang was from Minnesota. It also helps that this occured in the lessor populated Sawyer County. If this had happened to well known Eau Claire business leaders, and Vang had been from Eau Claire, that may have changed the formula a bit.

The only thing that concerns me is Vang's lawyers. I fully expect them to play every race card they can, and things like that, in my experience, really get under the skin of Wisconsinites in the Northern & Central parts of the state. If we get a torrent of "it wasn't his fault because of his race," then I can see a small backlash developing. The media has overplayed the racial tension story line so far, though.

Northern Wisconsin may still be a very white area, but its thoughts on racial relations have come a very long way in 25 years.