Saturday, April 30, 2005

My Magic Wand CBS Fix

Years ago I learned a valuable business lesson from my father: you can't make people buy what you're selling. You have to make whatever it is people want to buy.

H2 has challenged bloggers to come up with ideas that might help fix the CBS Evening News brand/image problem. This is a Herculean task, given the gaping wounds left by Rathergate, the increasingly hostile and biased 60 Minutes, and the lack of a trusted, recognizable anchor. Personally, I haven't watched CBS Evening News in, well, forever. B-O-R-I-N-G.

I agree with others who've said that by the time 6:30 has rolled around, many people have gotten their news from the internet, the 24 hour news channels, and talk radio. So what to offer those that still tune in? We can work with the assumption that in order to attract viewers, CBS will need to offer both flash and substance. Give viewers a reason to tune in. It's a fine line, but keep them just a little off balance. Report the day's news, and throw in some surprises. Have a host that smiles every now and then! I like the idea of doing the show from somewhere other than New York, LA, or Washington. This shouldn't be too difficult, given today's satellite technology. Most important is the idea that CBS needs to work under the assumption that their viewers are smart. Talking down to viewers will insult them and drive them away. A smart broadcast will attract smart viewers.

For a host, I like Larry Kudlow. He is a sharp guy, and will keep things moving quickly. What a difference compared to Rather! Kudlow is center-right, and has no problem disclosing this. He has had many bloggers (including Hugh) on his CNBC gig, and clearly understands the blogosphere (though I think it would signal an immediate departure from the past, I admit CBS would never hire someone who's pro-blogosphere, given the circumstances around Hurricane Dan's exit).

I like the daily panel discussion on FNC's Special Report, so why not copy it? All TV does these days is recycle ideas, so it's not a stretch. I have no problem with a 2 on 2 battle (liberal/conservative) with Kudlow moderating. Let everyone get their ideas out, then let viewers decide. Let's face it, we all have our opinions, so let's toss out the notion that CBS has been "objective." Similarly, toss the notion that all viewers want "objective" news. FNC's success proves this point.

Make the total broadcast an hour long, starting with 20 minutes of the days headlines. Give the panel the middle 20 minutes. End with a 10 minute segment with a blogger du jour, and wrap up with an honest representation of viewer feedback. Above all else, keep things moving. And give people a reason to laugh now and then.

I've outlined my CBS dream above, and I recognize fully that it will never happen. CBS is starting from scratch. They can continue their ratings slide by force feeding their news to liberal blue hairs, or they can embrace the future and start attracting middle America, younger and center-right viewers with a new approach. I hope for the latter, but expect the former.

UPDATE: 05/01/2005 @ 12:00pm: Special thanks to Hugh Hewitt for linking to this post. I appreciate it and welcome all H2's readers!

DC Cherry Blossoms Posted by Hello

Vic Hanson is a Genius

Victor Davis Hanson, as many of you know, is one of my all times faves. He has to be the clearest thinking man on the planet, and redefines the term "civil discourse." I think the sign of a great communicator is someone who is able to convey ideas in a way that is easily understood. His writing is one of those rare combinations of simplicity and intelligence. I marvel every time I read his articles, usually slapping my forehead and saying something like, "He's so right on [issue X], and makes it sound so simple. Why didn't I think of that?" Read his piece, On Being Disliked, at National Review. Read every word of it. Then have a great weekend!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Ted's Sled

As I mentioned this morning, I saw Zell Miller in the Las Vegas airport last Sunday. On Thursday afternoon, I had two hours to kill in Washington DC before heading back to L.A. I thought it was going to be a very productive week in terms of celebrity sightings after I saw Ted Turner's car in a parking lot near the Vietnam War Memorial. But I was wrong, I never actually saw Ted (though I'm still convinced this is his car). As you can tell by the sticker, he's not too happy about the recent revelations in Jane's new book.

Ted's Sled Posted by Hello

Celebrity Sightings, Travel Edition

I need to mention that not all my travels this week were terrible. I had a celebrity sighting at Las Vegas's McCarren Airport on Sunday: the gentleman subject of this blog piece at PowerLine. I have to agree with Scott Johnson, he's one of my favorite Democrats too. My growing list of famous people who I have either met, shared a flight with, or seen in airports the past few years include (not in any particular order):

Muhammed Ali - ORD
LaVar Arrington - IAD
Gray Davis - IAD
Jim Boeheim - CLE
Quiet Riot - DFW
Doc Severinsen - LAX
US Men's National Rugby Team - CDG
New Zealand All Blacks - LAX
Tim Hardaway - MIA
Keri Russell - DFW
Zell Miller - LAS
Pat Buchanan - ORD
Bill MacDonald - LAS
Paul Prudomme - MSY
Eric La Salle - LAX
Nikki Sixx - LAX

This eclectic list is sure to grow, as there's a lot of business travel left on this year's calendar (and I may also remember some that I haven't yet listed)....

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Back on the Blog

I feared there would be light blogging this week, but nothing since Sunday is just ridiculous. Sorry folks. Blogging from a 200 year old building (my hotel the last 3 nights) is not impossible, but highly impractical. Jet lag, meetings and travel have been brutal. I'm hoping for some inspiration tomorrow, maybe even with pictures, so stay tuned....

Today was a terrible travel day, with weather delays, mind-numbing TSA stupidity, and abject rudeness from my fellow travelers. I normally avoid Boston's Logan Airport if at all possible, and today's experience provides me with no desire to go back. Long story short: As I was in the security line, 5 people decided they were too important to wait like the rest of us, so they cut the line. Minor annoyance, so I focused my chi and resumed the requisite "X-ray crawl." I approached the line's end, and was instructed to put a cup of coffee (Starbucks, paper cup) in the x-ray machine. Then I was told to take off my sneakers, which ticked me off a little since not all airports require this, and TSA is supposed to be consistent on their procedures. More chi. More focus.

So the cup went into the scanner and a puddle of steamy java came out. Then two other TSA guys started yelling at me before I pointed them to one of their own colleagues. He tried to blame me at first, then after I stood up for myself (and the truth), he admitted that he had told me to put the coffee on the conveyer belt. The other TSA chowderheads then started (rightfully) yelling at him, because that line had to be shut down for conveyer belt cleaning and they were all worried that coffee might get into the x-ray equipment. It was a big mess. There were probably between 100-200 people who were in line behind me, now stranded. So I go to my beloved Red Carpet Club, hoping to get online with their wireless HotSpot, only to find that at that location, the airport's pay-as-you-go network is the only one available. Ugh, only at Logan! I didn't feel like spending another $8, another minor annoyance. Not a fun day.

Tonight I arrived to my hotel just in time for this week's surprising American Idol results. Somehow, some way, Scott and Anthony both avoided the axe once again. I'm considering a reassignment of the "Undead Radioactive Singing Cockroach" moniker to one of those two clowns. Constantine, in a shocker, went down like a chump. Though I was never a big fan of his, Constantine's performance last night was truly wretched. I believe that Scott and Anthony both have less talent, but oh well, the tribe has spoken. With five to go, my prediction for the final will be Carrie and Vonzell, in that order. Bo finishes third. Take it to the bank.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Good Times

As I mentioned earlier, I had an excellent weekend in Las Vegas. I haven't had much opportunity for blogging, too busy with really fun stuff. I can't decide the weekend's highlight, as there was so much to chose from. Always a strong effort was Cirque du Soleil's Mystere. Or there was the absolutely crushing bocce defeat my CPA friend and I handed my two high-school age cousins. Final score: 22-nil. Ouch babe. Honorable mention would be Friday night's dinner that we had with a fabulous childhood friend and her husband. A very nice time was had by all, catching up with the old and meeting the new. On Saturday afternoon we had a family BBQ/reunion where 3 of my grandmother's sisters came out from Long Island, along with some cousins. Some of them I haven't seen in 20 years. Even though the afternoon went by so quickly, it was a wonderful visit with some truly wonderful people.

I'm going with the bocce lesson. Shane and Bryce must learn. Sorry, but that was just so much fun.


I'm in Las Vegas this afternoon, getting ready to head east again (on a red-eye, ugh) for another business trip. In honor of an excellent weekend here in the 'City of Sin,' I've elevated Vodka Pundit to the vaunted M3C Blog of the Week position. Here's a great example of why I make Vodka Pundit a regular read. Another major scandal involving two uber-heavyweights of the Democratic Party and no one in the MSM finds that an important news story? Heh.

I continue to marvel at the outright disregard for honesty that the MSM demonstrates. It's so transparent and I have to admit chuckling every time I hear a bright-eyed journalism major proudly exclaim their reasons for going into the profession: "To change the world" or "To make a difference."

Just. Report. The. Damn. News. Please. That's what a real journalist does.

I expect very light blogging this week (as if the past few days were just the opposite). Keep checking back, I've got my camera with me so I hope to get some good pictures of springtime in New England. I remembered to bring the USB cable too (finally!).

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A.I. Viewers Vote to Drill Anwar

Anwar Robinson was sacked tonight on American Idol. I was a little surprised, frankly, because he really can sing well. Much better than that Anthony Federov guy, but oh well, the popularity contest must go on. The next two weeks should see Anthony and Scott also go the way of the dodo, if talent levels were to dictate results. They were in the bottom three (again) tonight, and both have been teetering on the brink of elimination for weeks now.

AnWar is not the answer. Posted by Hello

Hillary in the News

Yesterday I read two pieces where speculation for Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential bid was the focus. An article by Jay Cost and found at admonishes: "Don't Overestimate Hillary." Cost argues that Hillary is not as smart as her supporters think she is, that Hillary is obvious and ham-handed in her maneuverings, and everyone knows (even her supporters) that all her moves are calculated and artificial. In other words, she lacks sincerity. I think Cost is correct with these assessments, and the fact that the only election she's won was in the bluest of states against a very weak opponent.

The second piece I read was actually speculating about Newt Gingrich's presidential aspirations, however, Gingrich himself has made the prediction that Hillary will be the Democratic nominee in 2008.

And today we see that Hillary has raised more money than any Senator (so far) for next year's senatorial races. This is not really news, as the Clintons have always been excellent fundraisers. But pragmatically speaking, money drives politics, and having a lot of money always helps. So that's something we shouldn't underestimate. And (for reasons beyond me) Hillary has a lot of passionate supporters, a luxury that John Kerry never really enjoyed. Yet Kerry garnered a huge number of votes, over 59 million total. So could a candidate with a very passionate core of supporters, aided by a huge war chest, win the presidency in 2008? Perhaps.

I'm waiting on my copy of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. But from the excerpts I've already read, the Democrats were highly organized last election. The various 527s are passionate, extremely well-financed, and highly motivated (sometimes by the wrong emotions, but motivated nonetheless). We know the MSM will be effusive with their praise for her. Time will tell if Hillary can put together a disciplined coalition. Despite her failings, I don't think we should underestimate her chances of becoming president. It will take a seriousness of purpose and a lot of hard work, but she can be defeated.

UPDATE: I originally intended to publish this piece yesterday (Tuesday), but I had problems with the Blogger mothership and it literally ate portions of this post. It's been reconstructed for the most part, but I just wanted to get it out rather than change all the dates and times, etc.

Sometimes I Don't Feel the Love

I read some of this garbage last night and I have to say, it still has me in a really bad mood this morning (hat tip: PowerLine). Here's some more reader comments from Daily Kos, probably THE most influential and highly-read lefty blog. Something is wrong with people who can instantly snap into such hatred and negativity. Remember the good ol' days when it took something important, like a really bad hamburger, to make someone so angry?

I have no problem with honest, intellectual debate with anyone, even if one or both parties is factually challenged. I just can't understand getting this worked up about a man, literally within hours of him taking a new job. We have a huge problem in this country with the abject hatred and just plain nastiness on the left. I hoped things had peaked during the last election, but I fear it's worse now, if that's even possible. My solution (and one guaranteed to make them even angrier) is to smile, forgive them, and maybe pray a little.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

State-of-the-Art Homelessness

I MUST move out of this state. For me, it's simple: if we make it easy and comfortable for people to be homeless, then what we will get is more homeless people. This place does not seem like a solution to the problem of homelessness, but I'm willing to entertain arguments from those who think otherwise.

Habemus Papam

So it was just announced that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany has been elected Pope and he has selected Benedict XVI as his name. As the frontrunner going into the conclave, and one of the oldest cardinals, I fully expected him not to be elected (as I usually discount anything the MSM says). I was wrong. But I'm hopeful that, as one of the closest, most trusted cardinals to John Paul II, Benedict XVI will continue much of John Paul II's good leadership and work. I suspect that he was quite instrumental in carrying out JPII's wishes the past few years as JPII's health deteriorated. So a continuation of the past 26 years would be a good thing, in my view. And perhaps the cardinals saw the love that 4 million pilgrims brought to Rome during John Paul II's funeral and also concluded that (especially with such a fast conclave) a continuation of John Paul II's papacy is good, and necessary.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Err America

I had a moment of very weird timing just a few minutes ago. I'm reading this L.A. Times article by Brian Anderson on the floundering Air America radio network (hat tip: Real Clear Politics), while behind me I have Brit Hume's Special Report on the TV. I'm really tired tonight for some reason, and floating in and out of Brit's telecast. All of a sudden, I notice that he's talking about the very topic I'm reading. And he's interviewing Brian Anderson, the author of the article I'm reading! Very odd coincidence.

Anderson bends over backwards to present the liberal explanation for Air America's underperformance:

So why do liberals fare so poorly on air? Some on the left say it's because liberals are, well, smarter and can't convey their sophisticated ideas to the rubes who listen to talk radio.
Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Though Anderson ably defends conservatives on this point, of course I want to add My Three Cents: liberals will continue lose elections as long as they underestimate their opponents (I'm working on another piece that covers this topic--more weird timing). And if liberals is so derned smart, how comes they keep losing elections to all those stoopid rube who all time votes conservatives"?

Of course, those paying attention will remember how I mocked Air America three weeks ago. But it looks like things are worse for the liberal radio network (now one year old) than even I could have hoped. Anderson reports that Air America is losing roughly $8 million a year, and is near last in the ratings in all of the major markets. It's just a matter of time before they're toast, folks. Read Anderson's piece, it's very interesting. Then cue the dirge.

Wes Roth, Moving On Up

So I went to check The Roth Report this evening, and Wes announced he has taken a Senatorial Intern job in Washington. His site will no longer be active, which is disappointing on many levels. But I'm happy for Wes. He really stayed on top of the news, and made life easy for many of us who relied on him for breaking news and his very good blog roll.


I've made Wizbang! a regular read lately. And though I did not win their Weekend Caption Contest last night, I harbor no ill will towards them. I'm not going to complain about rigged electronic voting machines, or say that the readers didn't hear my message, and I'm certainly not going to claim I was disenfranchised. No. Next week I will work harder to deliver a more streamlined, funnier, and more disciplined caption.

In all seriousness, there's much to enjoy at Wizbang!. Check them out when you have a chance. You'll find good humor, sound political views, and timely news links. They have their [expletive deleted] together.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Gravy Train Update

Found this today at National Review Online (hat tip: Wizbang!). I'm really liking the Wizbangers lately, look for a lot more from them in the future.

Why the Democrats have chosen to make a stink about who Tom DeLay has on the payroll is beyond me. Clearly, many members of both parties employ their family members, and it isn't (as far as I can tell) against the rules. Did the Democrats just assume that no one was going to check out what they are up to? Have they heard of that thing called the blogosphere? This seems like such a non-issue to me, I must be missing something.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Another Call to Action

Here's a great piece by Wendy Long (via: Real Clear Politics) that busts all of the liberal talking points (or myths) on judicial filibusters. The Republicans need to prove they have a backbone, and now. In an unrelated Wash. Times piece from Wednesday (I meant to link it Wednesday, but forgot to as I worked on the Frosted Flake), Tony Blankley also urges Republicans to be tough, found here, also via RCP). Both articles are must-reads.

Hugh Hewitt has dedicated the entire week, both on his blog and his radio show, to covering the issue of judicial filibusters. Last night he suggested (here) contacting Republican Senators that may be wobbly on the issue. I consider this issue more important than the Terri Schiavo matter (and tangentially related, by the way). I urged action then, and I do so again today. H2's quote:
The seven Republican senators thought to be on the fence about ending the filibuster: Alexander, Chafee, Collins, Hagel, Snowe, Sununu and Warner. Here's the contact info.

Calls to the Congressional switchboard, 202-225-3121, can also link you to Senator Frist's office where you can politely urge that a vote on ending the abuse of the filibuster be scheduled, announced, and defended.
Polite firmness and civility is key. We want results. We do not want to stoop to childish tactics like throwing pies and tantrums comparing wafflers to fascist dictators. I have some more thoughts on the politics of this, which I'll save for later. Now is the time for people to make a few phone calls and/or send out some e-mails. Hopefully some of you will take me up on this challenge.

If it turns out that some of the Senate's Republican wafflers vote with the Democrats, then later we can discuss punishing them (via the ballot box). As Mr. Hewitt says, there is no point in having a Republican majority if they aren't going to push the Republican agenda (an agenda they promised and were elected to advocate, by the way).

To close, I want to make it clear that I try to be very cautious in picking and choosing causes to get behind. I don't ask anyone to do anything I'm not willing to do myself. And I don't want to waste anyone's time by asking readers to take action on frivolous causes. In other words, it is my fervent belief that this is one of those rare and important issues where we as citizens need to do that which is right. I hope you will agree and thanks to all for their help.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I Knew There was a Reason for the Spike in Traffic

Welcome to everyone referred here by The Roth Report! Crucial thanks to Wes! I appreciate the link!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Frosted Flake

Barbara Boxer is an embarrassment to the state of California, and to the U.S. Senate. She is also, in my opinion, one of the two most 'unsmart' Senators currently serving and it annoys me beyond description that we will hear her drone on for another six years minimum (she was just re-elected to the Senate in November). Yesterday Boxer called on newspaper editors to assist Democrats in their fight over judicial filibusters (hat tip: Wes Roth). But before I tackle that story, I want to list some of the recent accomplishments of our state's junior senator:

In January, Boxer protested Bush's election certification and threatened to hold up proceedings until "voter disenfranchisement issues" in Ohio were resolved. Frank Salvato described Boxer's tantrum (found here) as a "waste of time and taxpayer money on a political stunt." Salvato continues by calling it "an unethical, albeit constitutional, narcissistic desire for attention and political divisiveness." I couldn't agree more. All I would add is that we can expect a lot more of her shenanigans in the future because Boxer is from a very blue state and she doesn't have to face the voters again until 2010. That's the perfect scenario for obstructionist Senators (unlike Tom Daschle, who was up for re-election last year in a very red state. He lost.)

Babs wasn't finished embarrassing herself in January, though, with her objection to Bush's certification. Remember her shameful and pompous grandstanding at Condoleeza Rice's Senate confirmation hearings at the end of January. Another shining example of "a narcissistic desire for attention" at a time when Rice's confirmation was never in question. So much for bipartisanship, eh Senator?

In the "guilt by association" department, let's not overlook who Michael Moore supports.

Last month Boxer went to go visit troops in the Middle East. Here's a photo of her with some young Marines. None of the Marines look too pleased to be lunching with Boxer, but perhaps that's just my own bias creeping in. Or maybe it's because they know how vocal she's been in opposition to the "unilateral war" in which they risk their lives on a daily basis. Or maybe they've just surfed over to Oh, before anyone accuses me of harvesting this picture from an extremist right wing website, I'll save you some time and link to where I got it, found right here. Judge for yourself:

Senator Boxer's Marine Corps. photo-op Posted by Hello

Last week, Boxer threatened to hold up confirmation of Stephen L. Johnson, President Bush's choice to lead the EPA. More narcissism . More obstructionism (see a pattern yet?) This time, the issue for Boxer was a little known program where everyday people are paid so the pesticide industry (American Chemistry Council) can measure the effects (if there are any) of pesticide use on children. Basically, people were paid to go about their normal lives and then let some scientists take samples every 3-6 months. They were never told or even encouraged to change their regular habits. Of course, the facts about the program's true nature didn't stop Boxer from lying about it on her website, where she described it as "an immoral program to test pesticides on children." Read the EPA link and show me where the immorality is! Their PDF dictates the exact opposite, in fact. Boxer makes it sound as if George Bush himself concocted some Saddam-like chemistry torture test where the eyelids of loving parents are forced open with toothpicks so they must watch their little babies ("of color" no less) get dipped into flaming vats of DDT while evil, laughing Republicans in white lab coats record (and then gamble on) the results.

If we go further back in time, to last year, for example, we find that on the floor of the Senate Barbara Boxer referred to the Madrid train bombings (an Al Qaeda act of terror) as a "rail accident." So I guess, using her terminology, the World Trade Center collapsed as a result of an "aerial accident?" Nothing criminal here, but I provide this statement as more evidence of Boxer's utter lack of competence (not to mention her insensitivity towards the Madrid bombing victims) when it comes to holding elected office. To steal Charles Johnson's term, Boxer is an "idiotarian."

Of course, before she became a Senator, Barbara Boxer was a representative from California. She holds the great distinction of "second most prolific writer of bad checks" (bouncing 143 checks over 39 months, totaling $41,417) in the house banking scandal of 1992. A crime that would land any one of us in prison for a very long time apparently (in California, anyway) enables San Francisco liberals to elevate themselves to the greatest deliberative body in the world, the U.S. Senate. But, according to Barbara Boxer, that's "none of your business." I could go on forever, but I think you get the picture.

On to the matter at hand, the aforementioned solicitation of help from MSM newspapers. Though I linked it above, here are some key quotes, with some M3C analysis thrown in to aid digestion.
"You need to explain why a vocal minority in the Congress is essential for a democracy and why it is essential for you," she told several hundred editors at the opening session of the American Society of Newspaper Editors conference.

A "vocal minority" is essential for democracy? Since when? I thought free and fair elections were essential for democracy. I thought an atmosphere where an opposition can exist is essential. I'm willing to bet that if everyone agreed with Boxer's view of the world, her desire to create and protect a vocal minority would evaporate. And should I even comment on media bias when a hard-core liberal like Barbara Boxer is the opening speaker for the American Society of Newspaper Editors? Since they have invited her to speak, can we put to rest the notion that they are objective?

When asked later what newspapers should specifically do to highlight the issue, Boxer pointed to both news coverage and editorials explaining the effect of limited filibusters. "I think editorials would be very helpful," Boxer told E&P. "When people hear filibuster, they don't get what it really means. It would be helpful because the press understands it."

Yes, the press understands that which the stupid voters don't. If the stupid voters understood what filibusters are, then they would rise up and no longer be a "vocal minority." So Boxer enlists her friends in the press to help.

Boxer cited the efforts by Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), the House Minority Leader, and others in the GOP to weaken minority-party rights, as well as DeLay's threats to impeach judges who have gone against his views. She said newspapers need to cover both issues closely so that readers can remain informed, but also so newspapers can protect their own freedoms.

Boxer cleverly uses the Democratic playbook here: use every issue as an opportunity to demonize Tom DeLay. No specifics here as to what it is exactly DeLay is doing, of course. However, I'm still a little confused how Tom DeLay (a House Representative) can somehow influence Senate politics. I know he's the moonbats' poster child for evil, but this is a stretch, don't you think? For the record, DeLay has called for impeaching judges that ignore the law. That's very different than impeaching judges that "go against his views" and it seems perfectly acceptable to me. As a side note, I think the lazy E&P writer missed the fact that DeLay is House Majority Leader; it's the Democrats who are in the minority, and their leader is Nancy Pelosi.

"They're going after judges, they're going after the filibuster, and it is dangerous," she told the news leaders. "You have a dog in that fight. Your whole basis of what you do is exercising that freedom of speech. These checks and balances are crucial for all of us. We exercise them."

Yes, the old "freedom of expression" canard. Yawn. The press' "dog in the fight" is the Democratic party, who they almost monolithically support. Republicans may go after (they haven't yet) a filibuster which is being misused, a filibuster of judges which is not spelled out in the Constitution. That means it's unconstitutional, and something all honest Senators should oppose.

"There is a big story to be told out there, and I hope you will tell it as you see it. ... They are going to change the rules of the Senate that have been around for 200 years. These rights are important, this leverage is important. And your rights to tell stories the way you want are in many ways tied to this. You are in this battle."

"Tell it as you see it?" She's asking them to tell it as she sees it! That's the point of her speech, and this article, so spread the word, editors! And the fact is that Democrats are using filibusters to oppose judicial appointments, a tactic until now, never used in 200 years. She has the facts completely wrong, clearly an effort to help shape public opinion.

Boxer also pointed to the War in Iraq, reminding editors that one of the Republican arguments for being in Iraq is to give the citizens their freedom. "I think it will fall on deaf ears if we don't protect freedom of expression here at home, or minority rights," she said. "I've always believed it to be patriotic to speak out, even when you are alone. It isn't fun, but it is necessary to do."

Yes, all those people being locked up for expressing their anti-Bush views is astounding, isn't it? Just how many have there been, Senator? While you're at it, tell us how many Americans (here in the U.S.) are dying from roadside bombs, IEDs and suicide bombers.

That's it. I rest my case. It's a lovely day here, our weather is making up for all that rain we had this winter. And I'm ready for a beer.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Saying One Thing, Doing Another

PowerLine is so, well, power-laden. They make it very easy to win arguments.


This is not my idea of a joke. Drum roll's time to welcome Patrick Ruffini into your web lives. I'm a little overdue (okay, waaaaaaaay overdue) in changing out the (almost) "Blog of the Week" feature. So everyone go check out Patrick's blog. He's an excellent writer and has done a lot of work for the GOP and last year's Bush/Cheney campaign. Patrick usually has some inside info. that interests me, so hopefully a few of you will enjoy his scoops as well. And his blog looks damn nice to boot!

Sorry for the light blogging today, folks. I could leave you with all the usual excuses but who cares about that stuff anyway? I would, however, like to throw out a special "shout out" to Enzo's dad. Hope to see you this weekend!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Answering Mr. Fantasy Man

A few days ago I posted a short blog entry called "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy." And at the risk of losing a loyal reader (and my current favorite commenter), I need to address the one and only comment I've received (thus far) on that entry. Here's Ceci's comment in it's entirety (all spelling and grammar errors are left as they were written):

how true. it is fortunate for us democrats that the republicans have taken their "moral stance", rolled it up, and smoked it. even figures like dobson are starting to get concerned. have you read what newt geignrich is saying? he's pretty embarrased about the whole re-writing the ethics rules to accomodate delay's lifestyle thing. not to mention the lack of WMD, the economy, social security, international relations, and won't see a republican house, senate, and president for another 100 years. and it's all their own doing. that's the beauty of it...the democrats (as you have pointed out)couldn't find their ass with both hands and a flashlight, but they'll still win the next one after these embarrasments.
Can someone please explain (Ceci, perhaps, if he sees this) which of the "issues" he lists that weren't around before the last election? It seemed all John Kerry did was hector us about "the worst economy since Herbert Hoover" and how "Bush's arrogance in leading the unilateral war in Iraq has alienated us from our allies." reminded us in commercial after commercial how "Bush Lied, People Died" (a WMD reference). If those issues didn't matter last November, why will they next year?

Here's another great Michael Barone analysis of "The Hardest Numbers." Sorry, Ceci, but I trust that man's analysis of numbers and facts over yours of emotion and wishful thinking. Here's a key quote from Barone's piece, I'll leave it up to everyone to read the whole thing for more detail:
The implications? In the long run, Republicans are well positioned to increase their numbers in both the Senate and the House. Some Democrats hold seats because of personal popularity or moderate voting records. But when they retire, Republicans may well succeed them. In the short run, very few Republicans run great political risks by supporting Bush. Significantly more Democrats run great political risks by opposing him. Obstruction doesn't work well for Democrats in Bush seats: Just ask former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. And at the moment, on Social Security, as Democrats Stan Greenberg and James Carville wrote last month, "Voters are looking for reform, change and new ideas, but Democrats seem stuck in concrete."

I agree with Michael Barone, the next election, in some ways, is eons away. A lot can happen between now and November 2006. But the Democrats, currently lacking any message beyond their opposition to Bush's proposals, and with far more seats at risk in red-states as compared to Republican seats at risk in blue states, have their work cut out for them. I'm not saying the Republicans will have an easy time of it, but predicting sweeping Democrat victories is simply not realistic.

To make a statement that we won't see "another Republican House, Senate, or President for another 100 years" is nothing more than the most foolish of left-wing fantasies. If there's anyone alive today still voting on issues that are 100 years old, then I might be inclined to agree with Ceci. And if I thought I'd be around in 100 years to collect on the debt, then I'd wager house mortgages that his prediction won't come true.

UPDATE: 4/11/2005 9:36pm: Here's another excerpt from Byron York's Book, "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy."

I Hope Paul Krugman is Next

So it looks like Maureen Dowd has been demoted (hat tip: Wes Roth). What a shame. I just hope all those other biased, MSM big-media types recognize the power and influence of My Three Cents before someone else gets needlessly hurt. Weeks ago I said Dowd didn't have a clue (found here), and today, finally, the New York Times is catching up. Heh.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Coffee Geek "Has a Plan"

I should open up a coffee shop. Or maybe as I weave my way home after 10 weak coffee days on the road, I'm simply a little cranky. Or maybe for some odd reason I feel a need to share how I've learned to make a really flavorful cup of coffee! I've mentioned before that I've become quite a fan of the Bodum Nouveau coffee press we have at the casa. And it took awhile to perfect the process, but in case anyone's interested, here's the ritual:

  1. Fill pot with filtered tap water (filtering removes chlorine taste). I can't bring myself to use bottled water, that seems a bit excessive.
  2. Bring water to a low boil. Ideal temperature is between 190-200 degrees F.
  3. Pre-heat a stainless steel vacuum insulated coffee cup with boiling water (pre-heating can take 5-10 minutes, I do it first to save time. The cup warms up as the coffee steeps).
  4. As water comes to a boil, grind fresh, whole coffee beans (1 rounded tablespoon of beans per 4 oz. water).
  5. Dump freshly ground beans into coffee press.
  6. Pour water into press, then quickly stir mixture with a small wooden or plastic spoon (metal could crack the press' glass vessel).
  7. Place lid on top to keep heat in.
  8. Let it steep for 4 minutes (I set a timer). Watch for the bloom!
  9. Push down plunger slowly and evenly.
  10. Dump pre-heated water first, then pour fresh coffee into the vacuum insulated cup.
Done properly, a nice foam layer (the bloom) forms on top. I add a little half & half, but normally eschew the sugar. I'm sure everyone has their own cream and sweetener preferences. Also, I expect to soon upgrade the bean grinder to a burr grinder, which evidently produces more evenly ground coffee (instead of the "boulders and dust" inconsistency of a cheap rotary blade grinder). Lastly, I'm working on a little foam cozy to place (or wrap) over the press while the coffee steeps. This will help keep the temperature from cooling too much as the coffee steeps. And the vacuum insulated cup, though not mandatory, helps keep the coffee hot much longer, it's sturdy and is nice for those drives to work. So I'm not far from perfection, I believe, with a few more upgrades to the process. But nevertheless, my 10-point coffee plan as outlined above will make you a very fine cup of coffee.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

I Love the Internet

I'm in yet another Red Carpet Lounge this morning, 'tween flights, on the way home. Since I didn't have much time this week for Lileks, I thought I'd catch up today. Okay, I admit it. I'm really looking for something to do other than watch some appalling network's (CNN) coverage of some over-hyped non-event (Charles and Camilla wedding), hosted by one of the most annoying, over-caffeinated TV personalities on the planet (Richard Quest).

Among his assorted brilliance, Lileks links to this. All of a sudden I'm in a good mood again.

The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy

Byron York has a new book out called "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy." I've read two excerpts this week at National Review Online. Interesting stuff. Here is a great link from yesterday, and one from today. York's book essentially follows the rise of from it's founding through the 2004 Presidential elections.

I'm fascinated by politics, the gamesmanship, the intrigue, and the passion of people on all sides. And I admit that I may have underestimated the Left's organizational effort last year. The excerpts I've linked above show a highly organized and motivated movement. I want to pick up "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy" to learn more. The money spent was absolutely mind-boggling (George Soros alone spent $25 million to try and unseat George W. Bush). As far as intrigue goes, the Democrats actually (somehow) acquired a CD-ROM Karl Rove's secret campaign plans! How they failed to win anything substantial in November can only boil down to a few possibilities: 1) John Kerry's utter lack of likability, 2) The party's lack of a substantive message (other than "We hate Bush!"), and 3) The profound distrust many Americans have for the Democrats in a time of war.

More to follow once I finish the read....

Friday, April 08, 2005

That's the Plan, Howard?

Tonight I saw this short article on Howard Dean's plan to win back "Red America." I have two immediate thoughts: First, is the liberal plan for every problem to just throw more money at it? Problems with the school system? We need to "invest" more! Medicare? Increase funding! NIH? Throw money at it! Budget deficits? Don't cut spending--Heaven's no--raise taxes! Ad nauseum....

Second thought: The Democrats (and their 527 friends) spent more money than any campaign in history last election cycle, and they still lost seats in both the Senate and House, to go along with failing to win back the White House. So their first reaction is to go back to the same old playbook and spend more money. Heh.

Now, in all honesty, I must close with the following thoughts. I'm not happy with the amount of money the Republican-controlled government is spending these days. I don't think for a minute that things would be better if the Dems had control, though. Quite the contrary. The Republicans have some work to do (and fast) in getting control of the Senate judicial filibusters, mopping up Iraq and Afghanistan, the GWOT, and then they will need to rein in budget spending so they can lower my taxes.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Pass the Hand Sanitizer, Please

Just the headline I want to read in between flights at the airport. Heh.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

This Time it's for Good

Au Revoir!
Auf Wiedersehen!

So long, my old friend. Posted by Hello

Quandary for the MSM

So the Minuteman Project is underway in Arizona. Depending on who you ask, they may be making a temporary difference, or may be detracting from the Border Patrol's efforts in handling, ahem, "undocumented" workers from Mexico. I had a thought yesterday:

Who does the MSM support in this effort? Clearly, President Bush doesn't like the Minuteman Project, calling them "vigilantes." And the press doesn't like President Bush, that's a well-documented fact. But the press also doesn't like the Minutemen (this article refers to them as "racists"). So who will the press support in this debate? How are they going to inject their bias into a story where both sides (in their view) are a problem?

A Thousand Thanks

Today we go over 1,000 individual (or is it "unique"?) visits since I put up the sitemeter counter. On one hand it seems like a lot of hits, and on the other, it seems like nothing. Anyway, I guess it's a milestone of sorts and if I haven't said it recently, I really do appreciate everyone who takes the time to check out My Three Cents. I've received some very nice (complimentary) e-mails, which are always appreciated. And some of the comments have been pretty, um, interesting, shall we say? I must be doing something right.....

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Webster's defines tolerance as: "A fair, objective and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, practices, race, religion, nationality, etc. differ from one's own; freedom from bigotry."

Lately it seems that the meaning of the word as been hijacked. The definition of tolerance is not: "You are a bigot unless you agree with me." I think it's fair to have honest, thoughtful disagreement on any issue. Even if someone isn't breaking the law, or somehow hurting another individual, we should be free to disagree with their beliefs (or actions) and even pass judgment without being called a fascist or being accused of "imposing one's belief" on someone else. In other words, I think it takes things too far to ask someone to openly embrace a practice or policy at the risk of being called intolerant (or something worse).

My thoughts on this issue are incomplete, but I marvel at how hostile (and how quickly that hostility manifests itself) some people in our society get when it comes to discussing morals, values, and religion. It's been "out there" for some time now, but I'm reminded of it again with all the coverage of Pope John Paul II's passing. I'm a little short on time today, so I'm going to leave it like this for the moment.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Terri Schiavo Afterthoughts

Over the weekend I missed blogging on a lot of big news, with the Pope passing away being the most significant event by far. However, even though Terri Schiavo's autopsy has been performed and she has been cremated, her story is not over. We will see another autopsy of sorts take place over the next few months, perhaps longer. The post-mortem I refer to will shine a light on the true feelings of Americans towards "the disposable among us."

The tip of the iceberg is found here, a poll by Zogby International (hat tip: PowerLine). I'm going to predict big problems for the politicians who did nothing for Terri Schiavo, and another black eye for the MSM, who once again failed to get a big story correct.

UPDATE: 4/4/2005 7:50am: Heh. As soon as I post something I find more information. Hugh Hewitt linked an article this morning that is a must-read. It's written by John Leo for U.S. News & World Report, called "End of the Affair." Here's a few samples:
The behavior of conservatives: Uneven and sometimes awful, with lots of vituperation and extreme charges.

The behavior of liberals: Mystifying. While conservative opinion was severely splintered, liberal opinion seemed monolithic: Let her die.

The behavior of the news media: Terrible. "Pro-life" columnist Nat Hentoff of the Village Voice called it "the worst case of liberal media bias I've seen yet."
Read the whole thing. Maybe this will be even more of a black eye for the media than I originally thought.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Utah Flyfishing, Fun for the Whole Family

I got away this weekend with my father for a little flyfishing in Utah. Here are few photos of us both from Saturday's action. We had a great day and caught a lot of fish (mostly brown trout, with a few very fat rainbows and one whitefish). Peta activists please remain seated, all fish were released back into the river unharmed (bruised egos notwithstanding). As always, click on photos to enlarge.

Dad battling another big Brown trout. Posted by Hello

We were blessed with wonderful weather and spectacular scenery. It's amazing what clear skies and snowcapped mountains do one's outlook on life. I'll be on the road this week again for work, so this weekend was great for decompressing before having to face the airport crowds and TSA dolts.

One very nice Brown trout. Posted by Hello

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