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Sunday, August 29, 2004


It's running out on the folkbum three matching challenge. We're up to $250 for Bryan Kennedy (before the matching), though we're still waiting for some contributions to the others.

Step up, people.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

I'm on

Sarah and I got back into town late yesterday. I'm trying like mad to make up for the time I've lost getting ready for the start to the school year, so unless you want a lecture about Hamlet, I don't have a lot for you tonight. Just this:

The Chairman over at the Iron Blog is facing some tough times. Click the PayPal link at the top of the page over there and send the nice man some turkee.

I did finish reading Blogging America, and it's worth the $12, even if you're not in it. I will try to get a review up before next week.

Don't forget the matching I've offered through my ActBlue list!

Oh, and Scott went to the rally with John Edwards that I missed, less than a mile from my house.

Friday, August 20, 2004

I'm off

I'm heading to St. Paul on the Amtrak tomorrow (my back is not well enough for me to drive). So there.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Some Miscellaney

Depending on how much real work I do yet tonight, and how I feel, I may have another post tonight.

• I'm liking the Emerald Nuts commercials. I so seldom see commercials, because of the TiVo, but I'm watching a lot of Olympics live. So I see some. And the Emerald Nuts, I like.

• I don't like the prime time Olympic coverage. Watching the live stuff in the mornings is pretty cool, though, and you can really see how bad they butcher things for prime time.

Bryan Kennedy is trying to raise $25,000 in web dollars by the 9/14 primary. If you donate to Bryan through my ActBlue link, I will match you fifty cents on the dollar up to $250 total through the end of August. So, guys, I'd like to see you get on that, because though $750 is only 3%, it's a start!

• The ActBlue deal counts for the other folkbum 3 candidates as well, so I will match your contributions to Russ Feingold and Tim Carpenter, too.

Iron Blog is hot again this week--it's about guns. And they still need judges and challengers!

• Seen on Hotmail's home page today:
How to get Gwen Stefani's look!
What not to tell the boss!
I think not telling your boss that you want Gwen Stefani's look is step number one.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


I've had my suspicions for a little while now, but it's been confirmed: The Wisconsinite has closed up shop. I have to say that I am very proud of having been even a small part of that effort (I had two op-eds published in its pages), as it was a fine paper; I always learned something new. I hope that many of the great people involved in the effort will land on their feet in other, equally stellar publications.

At some point, I'll go ahead and put the second of those two op-eds up here, since that issue never made it up on their website.

But posting will be light again for the rest of this week, as there has been illness in Sarah's family, and I'll likely be off to St. Paul for a few days.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Wanted: Judges

Not wasting enough time on blogs right now? Well . . .

Some of you know this, but I participate in a debate forum known as Iron Blog, based roughly on that camp Food TV show "Iron Chef." I'm Iron Blogger Democrat, and every three or four weeks or so, I get to beat the blogophrorical snot out of some Challenger on some hot topic chosen by the Chairman.

But I'm not up this week; instead I'm pitching IB because one of the key elements of the Iron Blog is that it has judges from around the blogosphere scoring the debates. Trouble is, even though it really only takes about an hour or two for any Battle you're judging, there aren't enough volunteers from either the right or the left to judge right now. If you think you might be able to help out judging once a month, please email the Chairman and volunteer.

Thanks much!


One curiosity settled: Theresa Nielson Hayden explains why the colors are the way they are.
I’ve known people who think official color reassignments are a conspiracy theory. The short answer is that they are a conspiracy, but they aren’t theoretical. [. . .]

Who does this to us? An outfit, founded in 1962, called the Color Marketing Group. These are the people who wished avocado green and harvest gold kitchen appliances on America, and put the 1980s into those mauve-pink shades that looked so peculiarly horrible on so many of us.

Basically, the CMG is a trade organization, with 1,500 members drawn from a bunch of different industries. Twice a year they get together in Alexandria, VA, to come up with long-term and short-term color predictions. The long-term prediction is a set of sixteen colors that will be profitably marketable two years hence. That is, the 2003 palette was distributed to manufacturers in 2001. The short-term prediction is a palette of colors declared to be currently the thing.

It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Nobody’s obliged to follow CMG’s lead; but a manufacturer who ignores them is likely to find that all his competitors’ products are in fashionably compatible colors, while his own clash.
What I want to know now: Where do they meet, and where can I get enough hand grenades?

Big Shoes

Via Ms. Frizzle, I found My ecological footprint is an embarrassing 22 acres. They say that globally, there exists only four and a half biologocally productive acres on the planet per person; if everyone lived as I do, we'd need 4.9 earths.

On the other hand, the United States average is 24 acres, so I'm doing a little better. Less driving would help, and less reliance on supermarket food versus local suppliers. And apparently my single-family home is dragging me down, too.

What's yours?

And on a completely unrelated subject, doubles table tennis just doesn't seem Olympic to me. But this handball thing is interesting . . .

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Maybe it's Olympic Fever

Or maybe it's the painkillers. But I just ain't posting like I should be.

And, given how the painkillers are making everything fuzzy, that's probably a good thing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

I got mine

My copies of Barbara O'Brien's Blogging America got here. I've read the first few dozen pages, and it seems very well done so far. I hope to have it finished and reviewed in the next week or so.

Don't you think you need one? (I get no royalties or kickbacks, by the way.)

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Folk the vote

As you may or may not know (or can guess from my blogonym), I am an amateur singer-songwriter. But I do have plenty of friends and acquaintances in the "professional" world of folk music, and one of my favorite labels, Waterbug Records, has scrabbled together a great new collection for the accoustically-minded anti-Bush crowd: Election 2004 Anti-Theft Device, featuring 15 songs from some of my friends and favorites: Sons of the Never Wrong, Andrew Calhoun, Kate McDonnell, Dan Bern, and more.

There are MP3s to sample at the link (for a voluntary MoveOn donation), as well as ordering info. The CDs are just $5 each, so for the price of one regular CD you can get one for yourself and a few to pass around. They'll even negotiate bulk rates for you if you want more than 20.

Waterbug is an excellent, independent label, one of the few small folk-music labels that hasn't been eaten up by the Rounder group or other conglommerates. They're very good to their artists and deserve your support even if you don't want to buy this CD (and, I mean, for $5, how could you not?). Via Sarah.

And don't forget the folkbum 3!

Friday, August 06, 2004

Open Thread

Posting will be light if not non-existent until, oh, say, Tuesday. Discuss amongst yourselves. Suggested topics:
• The Revolutionary War was neither revolutionary nor a war
• The best ways to bring in the noise and/or the funk
• The rumored mafia ties to Folkbum's Rambles and Rants: true or not?
• To be or not to be?

And don't forget the folkbum 3. Grand total raised so far? ZERO. ZILCH. NADA. Come on, everybody, step up to the plate here . . .

It must have been my vote for Carl

You are Jimmy Carter. You are very smart and
decent, but your need to know everything causes
you to concentrate on the little things while
missing the big picture.

Which Recent President Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Via Mustang Bobby.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Help Me Get on TV!

Yesterday, I spent much of the afternoon standing around while they filmed a campaign commercial for Tim Carpenter, waiting for my call and trying very hard not to eat the donuts (I'm back on the diet) on the snack table.

And then, after about two hours, I got my four minutes in front of the camera. Yay!

The trouble now, of course, is scraping up the cash to put the thing on the air. Unlike some other candidates I could name, Tim is not flush with party-connection cash. So he needs your help, and, by extension, so do I. Tim needs $100,000 to put the commercial on the air here in the moderately expensive Milwaukee market. What can you do to help? Well, $100,000 would be great, but, sadly, that's illegal.

But if you believe in Tim, or, hell, if you just believe in your humble folkbum and want to see him on TV, head on over to ActBlue and donate to Tim through my list. Remember to add $.29 so they know it's from me. Well, I mean, it's from you. But it's through my list. To Tim. Wait, I'm confused. Just click and give.

Emailing this to Big Dan would be cheating

But if he just happens to swing by while working on his next Iron Blog post, well, that's not cheating, is it?

Juan Cole says exactly what needs to be said:
Although it may be true that al-Qaeda is as determined to destroy the US as the Axis Powers were in World War II, this observation is a Himalayan exaggeration if it is meant to suggest a parallel. Al-Qaeda is a few thousand fanatics mainly distributed in a handful of countries. If Zacharias Moussaoui and Richard Reid are any indication, a lot of them are one step away from from collecting old soda cans on the street in their grocery carts while mumbling about the radios the government implanted in their asses.

So while their determination may be impressive (or just creepy), they are not comparable to the might of three industrialized dictatorships with populations in the tens of millions. Some 13 million men served in the German army (Heer) alone between 1935 and 1945. (And WW II killed 55 million persons, not 3 thousand).

I repeat, al-Qaeda proper only has a few hundred fighters, those who pledged allegiance personally to Bin Laden, and a few thousand if you count other Afghan Arabs and their ideological soul mates. Most of them are not wealthy or trained or competent, and a lot are just crackpots.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Well, Duh

You speak eloquently and have seemingly read every book ever published. You are a fountain of endless (sometimes useless) knowledge, and never fail to impress at a party.
What people love: You can answer almost any question people ask, and have thus been nicknamed Jeeves.
What people hate: You constantly correct their grammar and insult their paperbacks.

What Kind of Elitist Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Although, really, I could have been any of them, except food and wine. I'm one of the damned liberal elite, hands-down. Via Ms. Frizzle.

By the way

The roof is all better now. We had a good crew who got the job done well last week.

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The Rally I Didn't Go To

Kerry Rocked the Park. I didn't go. Why? Well, I'm still tepid-y on Kerry. I will vote for him, maybe even canvass for him, but I have no plans, for example, to put a Kerry-Edwards sticker on my car.

And besides that, I hate people. Especially thousands of sweaty people in a crowd.

But Owen (my sworn nemesis, you remember him) wishes he could have been there to watch this exchange between THK and the crowd:
The high-stakes intensity of the campaign could also be seen Monday in noisy confrontations between Kerry and Bush supporters and the use of bullhorns and air horns by a small group of Bush supporters to try to disrupt the speeches, prompting Kerry and his wife to respond to what the candidate termed "goons."

While she was introducing her husband, Teresa Heinz Kerry referred to the group's audible call for "Four more years."

Said Heinz Kerry, "They want four more years of hell."

The Kerry crowd followed with chants of "Three more months."

Kerry also responded to the pro-Bush chanters, saying they wanted to "drown people out" with their megaphones.

"We don't want to be drowned out," Kerry said. "I want to thank George Bush for sending the goons here tonight to excite us to do a little more work! Thank you!"
How can we prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future?

Clearly, the solution is to demand that Kerry rally ticket-holders sign loyalty oaths and kick out or arrest dissenters in the audience.

No, wait. That would be unAmerican.

Update on Yesterday's post

Yesterday, I mentioned that Michael Moore might not be our best spokesman, based on his O'Reilly interview and his insistence on calling Bush a liar. My strategy, on the other hand, would be to call on Bush to take responsibilty for the demonstrable errors on his watch rather than to keep blaming others.

Of course, I didn't mean to imply that Bush isn't a liar. He is.
[N]o matter how much defensive spin spews from the White House, the Bush administration cannot escape the documented fact that it was clearly warned before the war that its rationale for invading Iraq was weak.

Top administration officials repeatedly ignored warnings that their assertions about Iraq’s supposed Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and connections to al Qaeda were overstated. In some cases, they were told their claims were wholly without merit, yet they went ahead and made them anyway. Even the Senate report admits that the White House “misrepresented” classified intelligence by eliminating references to contradictory assertions.

In short, they knew they were misleading America.

And they did not care.
Just to make that clear.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Why Michael Moore isn't the Left's best spokesman

So I finally got around to watching the bbig Michael Moore-Bill O'Reilly matchup from last week, recorded at the DNC in Boston. I've said it before and I'll say it again--Michael Moore is not the best spokesman we can find. First of all, he wilted against O'Reilly (a transcript is here), resorting to cheap theatrics rather than making salient points. For one, Moore's "would you sacrifice your children" stunt fell completely flat--both in the transcript and on TV.

For two, there's a very simple and very telling point to be made about the whole "Bush Lied" business that O'Reilly went after Moore about:
Now, one of the issues is you because you’ve been calling Bush a liar on weapons of mass destruction, the Senate Intelligence Committee, Lord Butler’s investigation in Britain and now the 9/11 Commission have all come out and said there was no lying on the part of President Bush. Plus, Vladimir Putin has said his intelligence told Bush there were weapons of mass destruction. Wanna apologize to the president now or later?

MOORE: He didn’t tell the truth, he said there were weapons of mass destruction.

O'REILLY: Yeah, but he didn’t lie, he was misinformed by — all of those investigations come to the same conclusion. That’s not a lie.

MOORE: Uh huh. So, in other words, if I told you right now that nothing was going on down here on the stage…

O'REILLY: That would be a lie because we could see that wasn’t the truth.

MOORE: [. . . A]ctually it’s President Bush that needs to apologize to the nation for telling an entire country that there were weapons of mass destruction, that they had evidence of this and that there was some sort of connection between Saddam Hussein and September 11th, and he used that as a-- [. . .]

O'REILLY: Just the issues. You’ve got three separate investigations plus the president of Russia all saying… British intelligence, U.S. intelligence, Russian intelligence, told the president there were weapons of mass destruction; you say he lied. This is not a lie if you believe it to be true, now he may have made a mistake, which is obvious…

MOORE: Well, that’s almost pathological. I mean, many criminals believe what they say is true; they could pass a lie detector test…

O'REILLY: All right, now you’re dancing around a question…

MOORE: No, I’m not. There’s no dancing.

O'REILLY: He didn’t lie.

MOORE: He said something that wasn’t true.

O'REILLY: Based upon bad information given to him by legitimate sources.
There's a simple fact about the Bush administration that needs to be spread far and wide: This administration refuses to take responsibility. The recession? Not our fault. September 11? It's Clinton's fault. The leak of a covert CIA operative's name? Not really illegal! (Shades of "no controlling legal authority" there?) Job numbers suck? It's not our economic policy, it's factors beyond our control! Vice President Cheney dropped an F-Bomb on the floor of the Senate? He was just trying to feel better.

Leaving aside for a moment that the administration ignored initial intelligence warnings that the case for war was weak, pressuring intel agencies to up the ante, if you will, there's an easy answer to idiots like Bill O'Reilly: He doesn't have to admit that he lied. We just want to hear somebody in the administration take responsibility for the mistakes that were made. And, if Bush really is the CEO president that he claims to be, then he should be sending heads rolling over all of this. A good CEO might even step down over so many serious errors on his watch.

So, that's your new task. Whenever somebody tries to say it isn't Bush's fault--tell them it's time for him to take responsibility for all the things that "aren't his fault."

Sunday, August 01, 2004

I'm breathing again

You may or may not have noticed that I was busy over at the Iron Blog this week. I was up against the Cool Blue Blog guy, and he's the most challenging opponent I've had so far (no offense intended, Owen). Well, I'm proud to say that I have won my third Battle without a loss. This was a tight one, one I was quite panicked about waiting for the verdict. But I pulled it out in the end. Whew.

Go read the whole thing:

Opening the Battle.
His opening.
My opening.
His first rebuttal.
My first rebuttal.
His second rebuttal.
My second rebuttal.
His Closing.
My Closing.
Judges' comments and verdict.