Monday, June 28, 2004

Dumb People

These people are stupid.

Is it better to do something stupid because you get paid to, or because you want to? Or because you ruined your son's life as a joke?

Sunday, June 27, 2004

Nader and Cheney Melt Down?

Wow, Ralph is turning into a snarky, crotchety old prick. Look at how he takes a potshot at Michael Moore after whining that Moore no longer considers him a friend:

Your old friends remain committed to blazing paths for a just society and world. As they helped you years ago, they can help you now. They are also trim and take care of themselves. Girth they avoid. The more you let them see you, the less they will see of you. That could be their greatest gift to Moore the Second—the gift of health. What say you?

What a miserable old guy...I've got it on good sources that he also has hallitosis (Nader that is).

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Cobb wins, Nader done?

According to Chris over at My Due Diligence, David Cobb won the Green Nomination effectively ending Nader's strongest threat to Kerry. Apparently, NAder will have trouble getting on more than 15 ballots nationwide.


Green Party Convention is Underway

The Green Party convention is underway in Milwaukee, WI and, again, a third party gets a national convention that is infinitely more fun than the Dems or the GOP get (see my post on the Libertarian convention for another example).

David Cobb is currently the frontrunner with around 240 committed delegates out of the needed 400 for the nomination. Nader and his running mate, Peter Camejo, currently have around 180. Yet, Nader said he won't take the nomination. He wants delegates to vote "no candidate" so that each state party has the ability to endorse whomever they want, in this case Nader. What this could possibly accomplish for the Green Party, I have no idea. According to Chris over at MyDD, the latest vote count is:

No Nominee 267.5
David Cobb 240.5
Uncommitted 173.5
Others 64.5

With "No Nominee" actually representing Nader/Camejo.

What it comes down to is this, the Greens are fundamentalists. Fundamentalists inherently only care about being right. To the Greens who consider endorsing Nader, they need to understand that they will never be an acceptable 3rd party if they ruin this election. If their ideological purity is more important than reality, they will never appeal to the average citizen; who tend to consider themselves pragmatists.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11

So I just returned home from seeing Fahrenheit 9/11 and it was truly well done. Not fair and balanced, but at least it didn't claim to be.

To tell the truth I found myself crying at numerous times throughout the movie. The first time it caught me by surprise. Right before the opening credits, Moore sets the scene on September 10th, 2001 as Prince George goes to bed in Florida. And it all seemed ridiculous. And it makes me immensely sad and angry. My country, the greatest country that has ever been, is such an easy and obvious target for mockery. We should be proud of who we are. What has happened to us?

Sure there was selective editing and yes it was biased. But that doesn't change things. George Bush is royalty, he's the king's spoiled son who is smooth enough to get over repeatedly. I have no doubt that Bush runs the country as a CEO, delegating and letting his deputies argue out their decisions before he sides with one. He just has horrible judgment in his deputies and doesn't understand morality as I understand it. Understand this (talking to you Mr Jarvis), it's entirely possible to despise this guy without thinking that he's either a moron or evil. Life's been too easy, predictable and behind closed doors for him.

Moore handled 9/11 itself brilliantly. Avoiding gore or graphic images. He shows the pain that those of us who have lived through these events deal with. The pain, shock, fear, anger and visceral hatred that we experienced.

We see how Bush tried repeatedly duck the 9/11 inquiries and hear from a widow of one of the victims of 9/11. The poor women talks about how without some closure to the attacks, she can't think of what she'd be living for in 5 years. And she thanks the camera and walks away.

Moore meanders through his story about the Bush's relationship with the Sauds and really sounds like a xenophobe. As if being Saudi makes one inherently evil. This is the section that I really had a problem with and my sister, Lee, said exactly what I was thinking. The movie continues (and I won't give a complete play by play) to talk about how this country has now been paralyzed by fear a lot of that through the administration's manipulations. That paralysis by fear helped the president to dupe us into invading Iraq.

And this is where I felt pain. Seeing this young poor soldiers sent off to a war that is unnecessary. Losing their lives. Losing their souls. Moore speaks of how Bush's immoral act of sending these boys to war has caused them to lose parts of their souls. Horrible. Young men and women (disproportionately minorities) who signed up with the military to see the world and go to college; put into a no win situation.

It's a sad time for this country. I hope we pull through.

By Digby, he's got it!

Digby hits the nail on the head today with a closer look at our increasingly manic Vice President. I hate to see a miserable, heartless, manipulative man be exposed in front of the whole world but, oh wait a second...I'm loving every damn moment of this!

As Atrios pointed out yesterday in quoting Dennis Prager, this is no small matter to conservatives who think I'm cursed for my language (see below for reference to my vituperative sins):

"As for the liberals who think that using the f-word in public is no big deal, it is good to have them say so. Anything that clarifies the massive values-differences between the Left and the Right is helpful. We who are not on the Left think public cursing is a big deal, because we believe that people can pollute their soul, their character, and, yes, their society, just as they can pollute their rivers and their air and their lungs."

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Who the hell is this guy?

Who the hell is David Bossie?

What is the purpose of Citizens United?

And when did they become the right wing's policeman?

Quoting their purpose:

Citizens United is an organization dedicated to restoring our government to citizens control. Through a combination of education, advocacy, and grass roots organization, Citizens United seeks to reassert the traditional American values of limited government, freedom of enterprise, strong families, and national sovereignty and security. Citizens United's goal is to restore the founding father's vision of a free nation, guided by the honesty, common sense, and good will of its citizens.

As Media Matters recently noted, the mainstream press has done a pretty good job ignoring Bossie's past, um, indiscretions:

Neither The Washington Post's May 11 item nor the May 10 Associated Press article cited by the Post gave any additional information about Citizens United or David Bossie. Bossie was fired from his job as an investigator working for Representative Dan Burton (R-IN) on the House Government Reform and Oversight Committee in 1998. Bossie was fired -- as the Post reported in a front-page article on May 7, 1998 -- for his role in releasing edited transcripts of former Clinton administration official Webster Hubbell's prison conversations. Then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Burton, in response to the controversy, "I'm embarrassed for you, I'm embarrassed for myself, and I'm embarrassed for the [House Republican] conference at the circus that went on at your committee."

The Washington Post's own reporting has previously shown that in 1992, then-President George H.W. Bush said of an organization run by Bossie, "We will do whatever we can to stop any filthy campaign tactics"; and that his son, George W. Bush, sent a letter to 85,697 major donors urging them not to contribute to the Bossie organization. [The Washington Post, 7/15/92]

Happy Birthday to Cousin Scott and Father Dad

What did we ever do before blurry camera phones?

(Thanks to Angela for hosting.)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Would you pick an F'ing VP already?

From today's the Note

"If you have never been a would-be source for, or a reporter on, a round of veepstakes, you can't even begin to imagine the amount of time that gets wasted on thousands of daily exchanges (phone, e-mail, IM, face to face) that go a little something like this:
Reporter: What's going on?

Source: Y'all are in the media -- you tell me.

Reporter: It's looking like X (fill in name of potential Kerry running mate here).

Source: Yeah, it sure does.

Reporter: Really? Are you hearing that?

Source: Ya.

Reporter (excitedly): Really? From where? How solid?

Source: Fournier just told me he was hearing that.

Reporter: (sighs)

(Fournier is the AP's Political writer)

I think the one item of consensus is that none of us know what in the world is going to happen. But that fact doesn't sell many papers.

Trampling on the First Amendment

Everyone should read Jeff Jarvis' entry today in BuzzMachine on the Senate's "Indecent Indecency Bill". For all of us who missed it, the Senate has raised the FCC's ability to fine indecent broadcasters by a lot.

The crux of what Jarvis is saying is:

The Senate has now passed its indecent indecency bill; the House already passed its version; they'll be reconciled soon and signed by the President. And then anyone -- you or me -- who utters what the unelected FCC decides is indecent, after the fact, can be fined up to $3 million a day.

The Senate is a stinking pile of monkey shit.

As Jarvis points out, if he had said this on broadcast media he would have been liable for hundreds of thousands of dollars, personally.

It's a sad day

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Blast off to Democracy?

I remember attending the Dean Meetup at Essex Lounge and having this kid approach me and tell me that he was launching an organization called "Music For America". He handed me a business card, which didn't contain any contact info. I don't want to tell you what I thought of this college kid.

Well MFA has really blossomed. They are almost a MoveOn part 2. Really playing up the grassrotts and doing cool things without carrying 2 million members (they are both a blessing and a curse). But still, I'm really not sure what they do.

This new video by Music for America, Partisan Jab: Blast Off to Democracy is awesome. Although it requires registration, I won't mind these guys spamming me.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Where is the new medium?

Not saying anything new here; just putting my thoughts down on a screen. But mass media is dead.

TV is getting fractured into hundreds of individual channels, TiVo (DVRs) and even Internet delivery of content - making each individual into their own General Manager. The ad market has been falsely buoyed this year due to the elections, but the bottom is bound to fall out of the market come February 2005, just after the Superbowl.

Newspapers and magazines are losing market to free online content. Things are so bad that they've turned to their own blogs to staunch the flow. Again, the online reader becomes his own editor creating his own daily digest (you can read the Angry Chicken Daily by reading my links on the right hand side).

Billboards have proliferated on every available surface; cheapening each ad's value.

A couple of examples of new content using the Internet as the medium:

-Kinja has an interesting strategy of aggregating blogs and (eventually) putting advertising into each person's own personal digest. They have the customer define their interests, and then package those interests with contextual ads.

Friendster is in the market of using members as content; so their question becomes: is self-identifying data that is shown publically sufficient to market to? I would posit that the self description one posts on Friendster is less honest than what their true interests are; making targeted advertising less effective.

Again, the question is: Where is there new content? How do you get your customers to create content that you can repackage with contextual marketing that the customer wants? Where is that line? Where is that opportunity?

If you tell me the answer, I'll give you a 10% cut off the profits.

Phase III has begun

Phase I - Find an apartment - Complete

Phase II - Quit smoking - 50 days done

Phase III - Get in shape - Has commenced with an hour on my stationary bike everyday

Phase IV- TBD - Any suggestions?

Pray for Common sense

Talking with my cousin yesterday, the chicken's mind was sent reeling how someone of intelligence might be able to overlook Bush's clear incomptence and duplicity. Our only hope is to Pray for Reason.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Plane Thoughts - 6/10 10:10 ET

Somewhere between Buffalo and Des Moines right now, flying to Vegas.
The flight was delayed over 3 hours before we took off. Continental
has really dropped a lot in my book. Not only was the flight delayed 3
hours, they never once felt the need to inform us of anything, besides
intermittently updating the departure board. Each time it was changed
the ETD was clearly implausible. They didn't overbook the flight, they
ended up with a smaller flight than they had planned. How in the hell
does something like that happen?
Things were so ridiculous, that the counter never told anyone that a
line was forming to make sure you had a seat. They basically let the
knowledge spread by word of mouth.

Four goombas wouldn't stop yelling until we lifted off. They just
started in again.

The airline food that was served blew my mind.

First off, they served cheeseburgers. Just an extremely bizarre
choice. More weird, people ate it.

In addition to the cheeseburger, there was a small pack of Fritos, an
"Atkins Endulge Vanilla Creme Wafer Crisp", and a sealed pack with
Listerine PocketPaks inside. What an obvious yet ingenious way for a
cheap airline to save a couple of million dollars.

The Atkins Wafer Crisps were rather interesting. they were supposedly
coated in "Chocolate-Flavored Sugar Free Cooating". A very apt
description. The taste was something of an appproximation of what
chocolate would taste like without any of its enjoyable attributes.
Almost like the chocolate you can taste by imagining chocolate.

Watching Lost in Translation right now, check back in in a few.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

RIP Mr Charles

Ray Charles is dead. I don't care who everyone else is mourning. Tomorrow is my day of mourning for him

My $.02 on Reagan

So we can't deny that Reagan ended the Cold War and returned a lot of our pride in this country. He should be respected for this.

However, my thoughts turn back to a class I took in college where we took apart the song I Remember America (Windows Media link) by John Stewart, which (I believe) was Reagan's re-election theme song.

Reagan tried to make people idealize this faded image of America with apple pie, smalltown football games, Wally, the Beave, etc. Unfortunately, this America never existed. Yes, we were proud, strong and confident after WWII, but his gauzy eyed view of what America was is almost entirely based on where Reagan was from, Hollywood. Do blacks, gays, minorities harken back to "America of yore"?

When Reagan remembered America, he remembered an America where Conservatives understood everything. There were no hippies, no gays, no attention to the poor, no concern about the environment, no concerns about the Middle East, or the Third World. Reagan recalled a time when we Americans didn't worry about anything; perhaps ignorance was bliss...

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

From the "Go Figure" Dept.

Those of you who have been following know that Inez Tenenbaum is the Democratic Senate nominee for South Carolina. Now, I'm not sure about this, and I'm sure they wouldn't admit it, but is there really a Jewish Latino running for Senate in South Carolina? Even scarier, the race is supposed to be a tossup. I'm really losing my bearings...

Saturday, June 05, 2004

New Nominee for my Fundraiser

Maybe I can encourage my Republican friends to donate to Vernon Robinson, he's running for the House of Representatives from North Carolina and is one of the funniest guys EVER. Don't believe me? Check out this radio ad of his.

Robinson is now embracing the moniker the Black Jesse Helms.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Celebrating of My New Home - Tell Me Your Opinion!

Sitting here watching the SD Special Election results roll in. Looks like Herseth will win, but it could be a long night.

I'm having a hard time getting any of my friends to comment on any of my diatribes on my blog, so I want to float an idea that I had for my housewarming party and ask you to respond. As most, if not all, of you know I just relocated to a decent studio on the Upper East Side, near the building I was raised in. Numerous friends have asked about a housewarming party and a few have even mentioned that they intend to get me a housewarming gift.

My thinking is to turn my housewarming party into a fundraiser for ACT (Americans Coming Together) and I will buy all the beverages and food and tell my friends to come and donate the money they normally would have spent on drinks to either cause. People who wanted to give me a gift will be encouraged to donate that money to the cause. There will be no preaching or lobbying at the party; people will just be given an active forum to donate. My non-politically inclined or even the few Republicans should not feel unwellcome or left out.

My thinking is that since most of my friends are not very politically inclined, they never give to important causes. Even if it is only a $10 donation, giving money to a cause is very empowering as it reminds you that you have power in this country (especially in New York City where our votes often seem pointless as the outcome is extremely predictable). So my questions are:

Is this a fair request?

Will people be offended?

And another thought, if my point is really to spur involvement,

Should I have info and forms for Republican PACs also?

Please let me know your thoughts...

Bush's Brilliance - Answering the unasked questions

I've been saying for a while that the most impressive thing that I've seen about the Bush administration is his ability to undercut his opponents' arguments by making a caricature out of their argument and then refuting that caricature. This technique was most obviously displayed during his recent press conference in the East wing. There were several examples of this including:

"QUESTION: Mr. President, why are you and the vice president insisting on appearing together before the 9/11 commission?

BUSH: ...because the 9/11 commission wants to ask us questions, that's why we're meeting. And I look forward to meeting with them and answering their questions.

QUESTION: I was asking why you're appearing together, rather than separately, which was their request.

BUSH: Because it's a good chance for both of us to answer questions that the 9/11 Commission is looking forward to asking us. And I'm looking forward to answering them."

This inverted the question to appear as though the reporter was asking why the President would attend the meeting at all, not why he was insisting on having Cheney with him. By misconstruing, or rephrasing, a question, the President has proven himself very adept at avoiding tough answers by making his questioners seem absurd.

Today's Wash Post has an article by Milbank which describes this technique to a tee, better than I ever could have:

"It is an ancient debating technique: Caricature your opponent's argument, then knock down the straw man you created. In the 2004 campaign, Bush has been knocking down such phantoms on subjects from Iraq to free trade."

Please check it out as he catalogues numerous examples of Bush using this technique. My favorite:

"Some say, 'Well, maybe the recession should have been deeper,' " Bush said last summer. "That bothers me when people say that. You see, a deeper recession would have meant more families would have been out of work."

Now who could argue with that?"