Monday, April 12, 2004

Open Letter to TPM

Re: Martial Law and Delayed Elections?

Hi Joshua,

I’m a regular regular reader who really appreciates your viewpoints, thx!

This weekend a friend of mine pointed me to this article

"Will the 2004 Election Be Called Off? Why Three Out of Four Experts Predict a Terrorist Attack by November"

Now, this may be a far left viewpoint, but I wonder if there is any meat to it? And if so, does it help or hurt to start talking/blogging about it? Is there any law that spells out what a sitting president can or cannot do in such a scenario?



6:19:20 PM    trackback []     

Hey, that's my brother's poster!

Let the record show that March 10, 2004 at 5:55pm (PST) was the first time I observed a reference to the 2004 United States presidential election, with this provocative sign advocating against Bush's re-election in Teal. More will surely arrive, as we near November, and New World Notes plans to cover this online campaign right up until the ballots start coming in. (And maybe even into inauguration day, if any celebrations/mourning ceremonies happen to go on in here.)

Of course, NWN seeks to be at all times a non-partisan publication, so I'll be on the lookout for all variations of campaigning, regardless of political stripe-- pro-Bush/anti-Kerry, pro-Kerry/anti-Bush, even pro-Nader/anti-Nader, their in-world advocacy will be reported on here.

[New World Notes]

5:49:25 PM    trackback []     

  Wednesday, April 7, 2004

It's a boy!

Healthy baby boy delivered at 1:50 a.m.Saturday! More at soon. I will be off until April 12th. Email, blogging, etc. will take a back seat until then!

[Roland Tanglao's Weblog]


4:37:08 PM    trackback []     
The Rice speech is now confidential?

And there it is, the issue Bush doesn't want us to know about... his national defense strategy was missle defense, not terrorism defense. He was wrong in a big way, and he won't admit it.

You'll remember a few days ago I posted a few comments about the speech Condi Rice was scheduled to give on September 11th, 2001 -- a speech endorsing National Missile Defense as the cornerstone of a new national security policy as well as a response to a speech by then-Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Joe Biden the day before.

Obviously, the speech is a sore matter for the White House since on the very day the country was hit with what was arguably the worst foreign attack on American soil in the country's history, Rice was scheduled to endorse a new defense strategy and technology which would have done nothing whatsoever to prevent it.

Not surprisingly, the Commission would like to see the speech, only parts of which the Washington Post was able to get access to in their article last week.

But the White House is saying 'no': the speech is 'confidential'.

But you have to ask, why?

Confidential work product?

Unless the argument is that we can't let our enemies know the depth of the poor judgment displayed by the president's national security team it is searchingly hard to fathom what possible national security issue could be implicated by handing over the speech since it was -- do we have to say it? -- a speech! A speech for public consumption. [Talking Points Memo]

4:36:23 PM    trackback []     

  Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Dennis Miller's brain fries on air

Funny account of Dennis Miller's nutty behavior on his talk show. The guest was NSNBC liberal Eric Alterman.

"You look so pissed off," said Mr. Miller.

"What do you mean, I look pissed off?" asked Mr. Alterman.

"I don’t even know what to say. You’re looking at me like—you’re just sitting there." Mr. Miller did an impersonation of what looked like a drunken, mentally disabled guy passing out. "Give me a question and I’ll ask you a question. What do you want to talk about?"

Mr. Alterman laughed nervously.

"Well," he said, "we could talk a little bit more about the way he misled the country." (Meaning George W. Bush.)

Said Mr. Miller: "This is what I’m looking at, here, like this."

He pretended to be asleep.

When Mr. Alterman finished his spiel, Mr. Miller went bolt upright and snapped at the camera: "All right, you’ve been great. Come back anytime."


Here's the video of the interview. Actually, Miller seems like his cranky old self to me. (Thanks, Francis!)

[Boing Boing]

My goodness, Dennis is looking more and more pathetic. So sad.

4:42:43 PM    trackback []     
The Loop is the Problem

The lead summary from this evening's uber-insider Nelson Report ...

Clarke Terrorism Charges...White House must head-off before it gets "outside the Beltway"

Summary: the 9/11 Commission has always been a high risk potential for the Bush Administration, hence the very careful limits put on official cooperation. Hearings this week, "bombshell" book by former WH staffer Richard Clarke, have high risk potential to change attitudes "outside The Beltway". Polls consistently show the public still puts "trust" in double digits for Bush over Kerry on terrorism war. So White House reacts quickly, and very very firmly, to anything resembling a credible criticism of Bush...see the deconstruction of ex-Treas. Sec. O'Neill, UN inspector Blix, and now Clarke. The White House's top terrorism expert going back to the Reagan Administration provides anecdotal and eye-witness testimony apparently corroborating many other sources that Iraq was THE fixation, at the expense of all else. VP Cheney's rebuttal that Clark "out of the loop" is confusing, if Clarke was given the terrorism oversight job by NSC chief Rice. This one will bear watching...the polls will tell the tale.

More soon. And later, the gaggles start flowing ...

[Talking Points Memo]

It seems to me that Cheney's assertion that Clarke was "out of the loop" speaks to the very problem being uncovered here, that the Bush administration had its own loop, its own agenda. Clarke should have been in the loop, but was excluded in favor of Wolfowitz's zeal to take down Hussein. And Bush, being lazy or slow, relies far more on his advisors than a president should.

11:26:18 AM    trackback []     

  Monday, March 22, 2004

The New Ride

Over the last week, we sold the VW and leased a new BMW.

I test drove an Acura TSX a few weeks ago, and left rather unimpressed. With 200 horsepower but only 4 cylinders, it just didn't jump when I said boo. It certainly has a ton of features standard, and the price is good... I just didn't love it.

Fortunately, while my heart and my mind argued, BMW started advertising an aggressive lease offer for their 325i model. With the VW was sold, we decided to lease for a few years, then re-evaluate our car needs, rather than committing to a 4-5 year loan and 6+ years of ownership. (That's not to say we won't need a car in 6+ years, we just might not need two cars.) Plus, we'd need less money up front, and our monthly payments would be lower.

And so, with J & P out in NY, and my heart and mind in agreement, this last weekend was the perfect time to go get a car. I went down right at their open, and found a nice enough salesman to test the car.

One word: sweetbutter. OK, I cheated, that might be two words, but goddamn it is sweet like butta'. Sure it has less HP than the TSX, but it is, by far, much more nimble and responsive. The interior is plush, and the body lines are sexy. It purrs in idle, and growls in the acceleration. It handles like taffy on shoes, which is in wild contrast to the Jeep. So far, I love it.

For the first time in a long time, driving into work today was actually fun. Imagine that! I can hardly wait until P & J get back to see it.

10:34:51 PM    trackback []     
Stuart vs Miller

Like many of you, I'm a big fan of the Daily Show. And like NJ, I sometimes get my news there first. The first fifteen minutes are always great, but I usually tune out of the interviews. Occasionally, Jon can get some serious political guest, someone who is actually involved in the political scene. These interviews are always more interesting.

I've also been trying to give Dennis Miller a try. Whooof... the show is struggling to find itself. After only a few weeks, they zagged hard and added a live studio audience. Now, Dennis is struggling to remember how to work an audience, and it shows. Dennis is also painfully republican, the kind that can't clear their eyes long enough to admit that there has been some questionable behavior in the Bush II administration. (I'll need to take some notes to find a specific example. Ping me if I go to long).

Anyway, my point here is that Jon writes/delivers really good political satire, whereas Dennis is a better interviewer. Stuart does a better job of pointing out the conflicting statements among politicians of all stripes, while Dennis is getting some serious guests and asking them politically topical questions. Now if these two pieces could be put into one show...

I think the ratings speak for themselves, though. Jon is clearly on top in this matchup. And unfortunately, I think Miller is going to have a hard time establishing himself. When he first started advertising for his show, the GOP was looking strong, the Demos had their hat presupposed on a crazy Dean, and it seemed like a great time for CNBC to take on the right-wing Fox. Now, however, after Dean gave us permission to be mad enough to nominate Kerry, Dennis finds himself ill-prepared to answer legitimate challenges from the left.

For instance, his punchline to the Clarke allegations runs the line of "Well, you weren't a very good counter-terrorist, were you?", alluding that Clarke himself failed to stop 9/11. This completely ignores all the facts coming out and takes that blind defensive position that occasionally makes Dennis look apathetic. If only he could aim his superior intellect at all politicians, he'd take Jon in a heartbeat.

10:00:52 PM    trackback []     
WARNING: Assertion of First Amendment Rights


7:00:17 PM    trackback []     

Article on SFGate today about a woman who was breastfeeding at the Marin JCC, and was asked to cover up by the staff. This is illegal.

Gessner insists the center's policy is consistent with the law.

"We just requested that she cover up," Gessner said. "If she didn't want to comply, that's her decision. We didn't ask her to leave the building or go somewhere else. I breast-fed my child both in public and in private. There is a discreet way to do it. We feel our policy is a responsible position."

Here's the answer: your policy should be to tell patrons who complain about breastfeeding that "It is legal, and encouraged, to breastfeed children. Period." If the complaining patron doesn't like it, the complainer can leave.

As the articles noted, what's most disturbing is that this happened in a health and fitness JCC. The irony...

11:12:00 AM    trackback []     
Live for the moment

Reflecting on a friend who has passed on, Jack Harrington writes about the importance of the here and now.

Kids understand. They live for the moment. It's adults who learn to glide through the years.

[Driving Sideways]

Well said!

10:11:13 AM    trackback []     

  Sunday, March 21, 2004

GarageBand Feature Request 2

Here's another feature request for GarageBand 2:

  • Punch In/Out - with HID support, then someone will sell USB punch-in pedals.

8:23:08 PM    trackback []     
Bush Reality

Talking about the Clarke interview that is airing on 60 minutes tonight, Josh makes some excellent points:

Rather than adjust to this different reality, on September 12th, the Bush war cabinet set about using 9/11 -- exploiting it, really -- to advance an agenda which had, in fact, been largely discredited by 9/11. They shoe-horned everything they'd been trying to do before the attacks into the new boots of 9/11. And the fit was so bad they had to deceive the public and themselves to do it. [Talking Points Memo]

3:00:20 PM    trackback []     
'All marketing should be permission marketing'...

'All marketing should be permission marketing'
: Ten years ago, Procter & Gamble CEO Ed Artzt gave a now-legendary speech shaming the ad industry into innovating and embracing new media. I was starting online then and it made waves.
Now, 10 years later, another P&G exec, Jim Stengel, gives a followup speech to the industry and gives them a bad grade, a C-, for their efforts so far.
A few good lines:

In 1994, we anticipated an explosion in TV channels, resulting in significant fragmentation in viewers. Today, the average U.S. household has more than 90 TV channels—this is up from an average of 27 channels in 1994. Share for the big four networks during primetime has dropped from 52.4 percent to 30.6 percent.
Specialized networks offer advertisers access to more segmented audiences, but in much smaller volume. And we’ve lost whole segments of consumers whose needs aren’t being met by today’s programming. We must accept the fact that there is no “mass” in “mass media” anymore, and leverage more targeted approaches.
And I especially like this:
All marketing should be permission marketing. All marketing should be so appealing that consumers want us in their lives. We should strive to be invited into consumers’ lives and homes.
When we think of permission-based marketing, most of us think about opt-in online newsletters. We really need to expand this mentality to all aspects of marketing. We must develop creative that both maximizes the channel and appeals to the consumer. For each element of the marketing mix, we should ask ourselves “would consumers choose to look at or listen to this,” and let that be the benchmark.
I like that: All marketing should be permission marketing. Right.
Yet I think he's still not looking at that from quite the right perspective. Almost, but not quite. He's still thinking about all this in terms of old-time creative and old-time media: Is our commercial good enough to show you?
Instead, they should be thinking: Is our information good enough to serve you? And he can even start to think about having mutual friends (see Chris Locke's Gonzo Marketing on the idea of underwriting citizens' media).
For this new medium offers more than eyeballs. It offers relationships. And, more important, it offers the consumer control.
So rather than trying to create a commercial you force upon a consumer that so darned good he might tolerate if given a choice, realize instead that consumers do now go to advertising when it's useful: I go to Handspring's site to learn about and buy their phone.
More important, I go to fellow consumers -- with whom I have a relatsionship of trust -- to learn about products. I went to the TreoCentral forums to learn more about Handspring's phone before and after I bought it.
That's a helluva different from happening to see a good commercial about the phone.
That's the future of marketing.
As Fred Wilson said one morning, "The push model of advertising is over. It's over. It's just a matter of time before people realize it. It's toast."


12:58:26 AM    trackback []     
Our Brains Cheat During Learning
Roland Piquepaille writes "Researchers have shown that our brains might cheat when learning, switching to 'automatic pilot' mode whenever it's possible. Instead of trying to answer a question by reasoning, our brain explore a catalog of previous answers to similar questions just to save time and avoid thinking. They also made a fascinating discovery. This cheating mechanism also exists in people suffering from amnesia. More details and references are available on my blog including a spectacular image of a cut-away view of the brain taken with the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology used by the researchers to detect regions where brain activity was reduced when performing repetitive tasks, a concept named 'neural priming.'" [Techdirt]

Isn't that called a 'cache'?

12:55:19 AM    trackback []     
GarageBand Feature Requests

I've been using GarageBand for a few weeks now, and I'm really liking it. Here are a few features I'd like to see in GarageBand 2.0:

  • Takes - each track can have any number of takes. Besides being able to "Create New Take" and select from among existing takes, there would be ways to delete takes, name takes, and convert to/from sections of song. In other words, I record myself playing a riff over and over, cut the track up into sections, and convert each section into a take. Then I can alternate between takes until I find the one I like.
  • Names - I want to be able to add a name to each track, and to each section of track. GarageBand does a great job of naming things, but I want to also describe how each instrument "feels" in each piece.
  • Tap Tempo - pick a trigger, any trigger.
  • Ratings - be able to rate songs, tracks, sections, and takes. Sho/Hide stuff with certain ratings.

What are your GarageBand Feature Requests?

(I wonder if Apple people are reading weblogs?)

12:54:35 AM    trackback []     

  Thursday, March 18, 2004

fake news reports

Somehow I missed these over the last few days. Thank goodness for the Daily Show, which is, as usual, my most reliable source of news.

Bush administration creates Medicare ads that look like news reports, complete with fake reporter:

Karen Ryan isn't a reporter. But she plays one on TV.

That's troublesome to stations like WTVQ in Lexington, Ky., which ran a report on the new Medicare prescription drug benefit that concluded with the voice-over, "In Washington, I'm Karen Ryan reporting."

The problem is that Ryan was reading the script of a so-called video news release, a sales pitch packaged as a ready-to-run TV news segment.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services contracted a public relations firm to produce the video news release, or VNR.

The administration pressured a staffer not to release estimates of the true cost of the Medicare bill:

Rick Foster, chief actuary for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has said that then-[Department of Health and Human Services] chief Thomas Scully threatened his job if he answered questions from congressional Democrats about the cost of the bill before a series of key votes last summer.

"Tom Scully sent an e-mail directing that we not respond to these requests and warning that the consequences of insubordination were extremely severe," Foster said. "I took that to mean that if I sent the responses, they would go ahead and fire me."



11:04:45 AM    trackback []     

  Monday, March 8, 2004

How earphones are changing the way people behave

The BBC has an interesting article on Dr Michael Bull, one of the few academics, possibly the only one, to spend time researching what people do with music players, why they listen to them and what difference they make to their lives.

"There's the visual domination of explaining urban experience," he says, "but if you look at it through sound you get different explanations."

We live in a visually dominated culture and suffer constant bombardment by visible messages.

Adverts, shop fascias, street signs, the clothes of fellow pedestrians, newspaper headlines, magazine front covers, car designs create a visual cacophony.

Through interviews with Walkman owners and now iPod buyers, he found that listening to music acts as a shield, aura or cocoon.

Using headphones helps to keep the world at bay and reclaim some space.

[Smart Mobs]

This is why I listen to my iPod at the gym.

10:03:40 AM    trackback []     

Email Subscription
Enter your email address below to subscribe to!

powered by Bloglet

Steve Cooley
Tony Gentile