Monday, August 29, 2005

CNN flips out

posted by Rob at 2:33 PM

This morning, CNN meteorologist Chad Myers lost it on air. Oh what a glorious sight. The video is here.

TVNewer reports:

CNN meteorologist Chad Myers "flipped out" on Daybreak anchor Carol Costello at 4:32am, according to several e-mailers. "She started to interrupt him and he yelled at her...and threw his papers to the floor. They later pretended it was in jest but it appeared to be a genuine outburst."
Meanwhile, over at FOX News, Shep gets the f-word .. at the speed of live!!!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Prespective on the Iraqi Constitution

posted by Rob at 8:46 AM

The latest from Mark Steyn:
Iraqi nation-building coverage is like one almighty cable-news Hurricane Ahmed. The network correspondents climb into their oilskins and waders and wrap themselves round a lamppost on the boardwalk and insist that civil war's about to make landfall any minute now, devastating the handover/elections/constitution. But it never does. Hurricane Ahmed is simply the breezy back and forth of healthy politicking.
He then lays out what is happening:
What the naysayers cite as the main drawback of Iraq -- it's not a real country, just a phony-baloney jurisdiction cobbled together to suit the administrative convenience of the British Colonial Office, never gonna work, bound to fall apart -- is, in fact, its big advantage: If you want to start an experiment in Middle Eastern liberty, where better than a nation split three ways where no one group can easily dominate the other two? The new constitution provides something for everyone:

The Shia get an acknowledgment that Islam is "the official religion of the state," just as the Church of England is the official church of that state -- though, unlike the Anglican bishops, Iraq's imams won't get permanent seats in the national legislature.

The Kurds get a loose federal structure in which just about everything except national defense and foreign policy is reserved to regions and provinces. I said in the week after Baghdad fell that the Kurds would settle for being Quebec to Iraq's Canada, and so they have.

The Sunnis, who ran Iraq from their days as Britain's colonial managing class right up to the toppling of Saddam, don't like the federal structure, not least because it's the Kurds and Shia who have the bulk of the oil. So they've been wooed with an arrangement whereby the country's oil revenue will be divided at a national level on a per-capita basis.

If you'd been asked in 2003 to devise an ideal constitution for Iraq's very non-ideal circumstances, it would look something like this: a highly decentralized federation that accepts the reality that Iraq is a Muslim nation but reserves political power for elected legislators -- and divides the oil revenue fairly.
Don;t expect to hear this type of analysis anywhere near a MSM camera,

Friday, August 26, 2005

How loathsome is CNN III

posted by Rob at 4:26 PM

Classic Larry King. Classic why CNN is loathsome (via TVNewser):
"There was a revealing moment during the interview when Costas had engaged Armstrong in a very interesting discussion of the blood testing, and how tests were supposed to be anonymous, etc. Nice two shot of them chatting, etc.

All of a sudden, King loudly interrupts, "Are you and Sheryl Crowe going to get married?" Armstrong looks startled, and Costas, reacting very quickly, says, "Well, I wasn't going to ask you that question at this moment, but what do you have to say about that?"

Armstrong says it's something he'd tell Sheryl before he'd tell Larry or a national audience, to which King says, "You mean -- ASK -- Sheryl." All through the answer are shots of Sheryl and Lance, obviously queued up for the answer.

Cut to commercial. It was a perfect illustration of how Costas does business and how King operates. Doesn't matter if the question makes sense, it's on his list and they have the pix, so go with it."
I hope rumors are true and Costas is the future for this show.

Local media bias on antiwar parent?

posted by Rob at 2:02 PM

Maybe I'm getting too sensative to this, but given the fawning mainstream coverage of Cindy Sheehan I can't help it.

I read today in the local weekly paper The Mountain Times about a local vigil centered on the Sheehan saga in Crawford:
Lynn Searfoss, whose own son served in the war in Iraq, organized the vigil on short notice after learning about the vigils being organized as part of Cindy Sheehan’s civil action. ...

Several anti-war groups organized vigils across the country, but Searfoss said she didn’t follow the issue closely and doesn’t research anti-war actions.
After reading that, of course I ran to Google and put in her name. According to this article, Searfoss is "involved with Military Families Speak Out, a group that opposed the conflict." That group's website is here.

I also found this article, which reports:
Searfoss is a moderate protester, with most of her action taking the form of writing letters to government leaders and representatives. She is active with Veterans Against the Iraq War, a campaign mostly based on the Internet, and also signs anti-war petitions. She’s also been part of a few local anti-war protests.
That group's website is here. Note it's covered in what BOTW calls "Sheehanoia."

I mean no disrespect to Searfoss or her heroic son. They are both great Americans.

What annoys me is the constant caricature by media - big and small - of anti-war protesters as naive, wide-eyed Bambis with no agenda other than protecting their children. Searfoss can fairly be described as an active anti-war protester, yet the local story seems to take care not to describe her in such a way.

If you read only that article, you'd think Searfoss was a brave mother upset at her son's situation who, one bored, directionless night, was trolling the Internet and accidently came across a national protest movement. That's not the case.

I know the reporter who did the local story. I know his political leanings. I doubt the absense of these facts is an accident.

UPDATE: Similar thoughts over at the professor's place.

Hysteria over the Iraq constitution

posted by Rob at 8:05 AM

Good points made by Michael Barone:
They make the point that Iraqis are not necessarily going to make the same constitutional and policy choices that Americans would. This is of course true of other democracies. Britain has an established Church of England, and the prime minister effectively (and the Queen formally) chooses the Archbishop of Canterbury. Canada provides public funding for Catholic and other religious schools. France bans girls from wearing headscarves in schools. Germany prohibits the publication of Nazi materials. We don't do any of these things, and most Americans wouldn't want to. But who would argue that Britain, Canada, France, and Germany are not acceptable representative democracies with acceptable levels of human rights? They just have different histories and different traditions, and have made different choices.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Comparing timelines

posted by Rob at 9:18 AM

Further comments on Inside 9/11.

There's a Inside 9/11 website now up centered on the show. It includes a timeline that details the events on 9/11. Of course, there are other timelines out on the net which include notes National Geographic doesn't, specifically the status of fighter jets that day. It's interesting to compare the timeslines and their details.

Here's some details from a timeline set up by Appalachian State professor Matthew Robinson:

8:46 am – Otis fighter jets ordered up

8:53 am – jets airborne (7 minutes after first crash and 7 minutes after scramble order) and ordered to military-controlled airspace off Long Island ... in holding pattern from 9:09 to 9:13 am when they are told to assume combat air patrol over New York and they did (10 minutes after second crash) ... supposedly headed toward United Flight 175 instead ... they do not reach New York City airspace until 9:25 am (32 minutes after take-off) ... Andrews Air Force fighters (Washington DC) are 207 miles away from DC over North Carolina and are ordered back to Andrews.

Here's Inside 9/11:

8:46 a.m. - F-15 fighter jets are dispatched from Otis Air Force Base in Mass., but because Flight 11's transponder is off, Air Force pilots do not know which direction to travel to meet the plane. NEADS personnel spend the next several minutes watching their radar scopes waiting for Flight 11 to reappear.

8:53 a.m. - Unaware that their intended target has already crashed into the World Trade Center, the F-15s from Otis Air Force Base are sent to military-controlled airspace off Long Island and ordered to remain in a holding pattern until between 9:09 and 9:13 a.m.

9:25 a.m. - The Otis Air Force-based F-15s close the airspace over Manhattan.

Note that Dr. Robinson's site doesn't have the jets in the air until 9:53 a.m. Inside 9/11 infers that they are already in the air and ordered to Long Island.

A minor point I know, but several conspiracy theories on the Internet revolve around fighter jets and the response time of the North American Air Defense Command. National Geographic never outright addresses any of those details. Instead, much attention is given the general confusion of air traffic control, NORAD and the pilots themselves. This was expressed primarily by playing audio tapes from that morning.

For example, as Dr. Robinson details from United Flight 93 (He has sources other than from the 9/11 Commission in red):

9:19-9:26 am – United Airlines tells pilots to secure cockpit doors. Controller Ed Ballinger has already been doing this for several minutes. It could have and should have acted sooner based on what FAA and airlines already knew, if the information had been shared.

Flight 93 received warning at 9:24 am (37 minutes after first crash and 21 minutes after second crash) ... “Beware of cockpit intrusion. Two aircraft in New York hit Trade Center buildings.” Warning comes 32 minutes after United knew Flight 175 was hijacked. ... additional informal message also sent by Ballinger to Flight 93 at 9:00 am

9:26 am – response from (Flight 93) pilot to cockpit warning

“Ed, confirm latest message please. Jason.”

9:27 am – last normal transmission from plane

Hijacked at 9:28 am ... dropped 700 feet suddenly ... around this time a call from a passenger indicates hijackers have gun, bomb

9:36 am – Cleveland Center asked Herndon Command Center if military had launched fighter aircraft to intercept aircraft ... said they would make call if needed ... Herndon Command Center told Cleveland that FAA had to make the decision to seek military assistance and were working on the issue.
The show emphasises the time lag from when the warning was sent to Flight 93 to when the pilot responded. Before he received a confirmation hsi cockpit was invaded. That conversation at 9:36 a.m. between Cleveland Center and Herdon Command Center is played on the show.

The Inside 9/11 website offers a well organized gallery of video interviews of the sources used in the special. By dragging your mouse over certain topics (World Trade Center, Iraq, etc) you can see which interviews deal with those topics.

It'd be nice if the audio from the flight towers and pilots were online there as well.

Two Sticks, a Dash, and a Cake with a Stick Down.

posted by Rob at 8:25 AM

That's the answering machine message left by Mohammad Atta, letting Ramzi Binalshibh know the date of al Qaeda's attack on America: 11 - 9, or, 9-11.

I had never read/heard that bit of information. It was one of several new details I learned last night watching National Geographic's special Inside 9/11. It was a two-part, four-hour exploration of the 9/11 plot. Its story started in the early 80s and, frankly, the ending gave me the same chills I felt that Tuesday morning. It was three lines, I believe attributed to Osama bin Laden. I only remember the first two:

We love death. America loves life.

There was then threat that more death is coming.

Another detail I never knew. According to the show, it appears the word was out on the attack. A teacher in Brooklyn noticed one of their students staring out the window. The student was a Pakistani immigrant. He motioned toward Manhatten and told the teacher (paraphrase):

See those two buildings. They won't be there next week.

The teacher didn't think anything of the comment. After the attacks, the FBI confirmed that the conversation did take place. No other details were offered.

With regard to political implications, I thought the show did a pretty fair job with regard to Presidents Clinton and Bush. Both can be faulted for putting politics over national security. Much attention was given to how impeachment took Clinton's attention. Memos regarding terrorist plots and plans were stalled during the early Bush months.

Best Insult I've Read In Awhile

posted by Rob at 8:21 AM

From Bill Simmon's Page 2 review of Sunday's WWE pay-per-view SummerSlam:

9:15 -- Just my luck, Undertaker is wrestling tonight -- it's his 14th straight Summer Slam, although it feels like it's his 1,400th. I'd rather watch the Chyna-XPac sex tape on a 200-foot plasma TV than see the Undertaker wrestle again.

I didn't see SummerSlam, but I have seen portions of the Chyna-XPac tape, which was titled "One Night In Chyna." Prior to viewing that I had never seen an actual bull queer naked.

I also enjoyed this observation from Simmons:
8:45 - Some good comedy - Eddie screws up a powerplex from the top of the ladder, followed by the crowd quickly pulling the old-school ECW chant, "You [bleeped] up! You [bleeped] up!" That's always fun. Why couldn't fans in every sport do that chant whenever players screw up? Wouldn't a Yankees-Sox game be more fun if the Fenway fans chanted that after a Jeter error? All right, I'm babbling.

That chant runs through my mind whenever the Panthers nab an interception.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Why I Love Mark Steyn

posted by Rob at 8:38 AM

It's due to paragraphs like this:

They're not children in Iraq; they're grown-ups who made their own decision to join the military. That seems to be difficult for the left to grasp. Ever since America's all-adult, all-volunteer army went into Iraq, the anti-war crowd have made a sustained effort to characterize them as "children." If a 13-year-old wants to have an abortion, that's her decision and her parents shouldn't get a look-in. If a 21-year-old wants to drop to the broadloom in Bill Clinton's Oval Office, she's a grown woman and free to do what she wants. But, if a 22- or 25- or 37-year-old is serving his country overseas, he's a wee "child" who isn't really old enough to know what he's doing.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

What do they hate us?

posted by Rob at 4:56 PM

That's what Cindy should be asking, according to Best of the Web:

A local insurgent attacked a settlement near Crawford, Texas, yesterday, Reuters reports:

Some 800 white wooden crosses, bearing the names of soldiers killed in Iraq like her son, have lined the road near the area where [Cindy] Sheehan has pitched a tent. Witnesses said they saw a truck dragging a pipe and chains drive over some of the crosses on Monday night.

Larry Northern, 46, of nearby Waco, Texas, was arrested and charged with criminal mischief in connection with the incident, Crawford Police Chief Donnie Tidmore said.

Now, we have no truck with mischievous criminals, but at the same time it's important to understand what motivates people to do things like this. After all, one man's vandal is another's freedom-fighter. The Sheehanoids should be asking: Why do they hate us?

Think about it: If outside settlers were occupying your land, demonizing your leaders and slandering your country, wouldn't you have feelings of rage and hopelessness? Again, we're not condoning what Larry Northern allegedly did. Our point is that only by understanding what drove him to this desperate act can we put an end to the cycle of recrimination.

How loathsome is CNN II

posted by Rob at 11:22 AM

Poor, poor Wolf Blitzer. He's now forced to fill a daily, three-hour hole of live programming on CNN. It was inevitable something like this would happen, but a bit surprising that it took just a week.

Here's Wolf on a computer virus scare at CNN yesterday, which turned up later to have been not so major (emphasis mine):
"A second worm, presumably, is affecting a lot of computer systems out there in the United States, North America, around the world, in Europe, and Asia, and that individuals who are watching us right now on CNN and CNN International, it would be a good idea for them to take a step back and shut down their computers, their home computers."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

How loathsome is CNN?

posted by Rob at 4:45 PM

Here's a sample rating scorecard for the cable news networks. Notice that:

O'Reilly's 11 p.m. REPEAT draws a larger audience than any CNN program of the night.

FOX News draws almost as many viewers in the 25-54 demographic during the day as CNN does in OVERALL viewers.

A repeat of that Grace show on Headline News almost out draws Aaron Brown's live show.

The much-hyped "Situation Room" attracts half the crowd than does FOX News.

Good came from his duty

posted by Rob at 4:31 PM

Best of the Web today notices an AP dispatch reporting the following:

The capital's Sadr City section was once a hotbed of Shiite Muslim unrest, but it has become one of the brightest successes for the U.S. security effort.

So far this year, there has been only one car bombing in the neighborhood, and only one American soldier has been killed.

A year ago, militiamen garbed in black and armed with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades roamed the streets in open revolt against the American presence. But U.S. troops quelled the uprising, and today calmly patrol the district, aided by loyalists of the radical cleric who spurred the violence.

Adds BOTW:

One additional bit of context: It was in Sadr City that Casey Sheehan was killed in action in April 2004. America's success there is further evidence that he did not die in vain.

I can't wait for the Twin Towers ride

posted by Rob at 12:00 PM

Respect the Box has a post this week I've been wanting to write for years. That "kiddie" slide is immensely popular here in western North Carolina. Just about every school fair or fall festival features it. Each time I see on, I have this thought - when, oh when, will they release the Trade Center version, complete with trampolines so you can re-enact those who plunged to their death.

UPDATE: Here's a scene from Woolly Worm Festival 2003. Note the top right corner. You can see it here too from another angle.

UPDATE II: If the slide's not enough for you, you can make it a challenge too!

The first 2008 campaign spot

posted by Rob at 8:24 AM

Of course, it features Hillary. Of course, it's funny as Hades. I especially enjoyed the scene of Kerry and Edwards. Watch it here.

Everything to know about TO

posted by Rob at 8:16 AM

Peter King over at offers a nice summation of the TO-Eagles situation. No side comes out clean - Owens is a crybaby whiner; the Eagles are naive.

If you're following the bigest story in the NFL right now, it's a must read:

All McNabb did was fight with Reid and Eagle ownership to bring Owens to Philly 19 months ago. Last year, I interviewed Owens and McNabb together in the dorm suite they shared with Dhani Jones at training camp for a Sports Illustrated piece. Every time I asked Owens a tough question, McNabb piped up with something like, "Judge him on what he does this year, not what happened in the past."

He's been judged. We're all now just waiting for the execution.

What's sad is, we know how this could play out. Owens tells the Eagles "screw you."
The Eagles sit him for the season, depressing his trade value but also diminishing his endorsement possibilities. After the season ends with the Eagles losing early in the playoffs, Owens will either be traded or released. He'll sucker some other team - say, Atlanta - to sign him to one of the richest contracts in history. The Falcons will then go on to the Super Bowl, while the Eagles fall one round short.

Just watch.

Monday, August 15, 2005

The Movie No One Is Talking About

posted by Rob at 6:54 PM

Watch out Michael Moore!!! You may be crushed by penguins!

Who's in charge of the opposition

posted by Rob at 4:27 PM

As the Iraq War continues, anti-Bush forces finally have a leader.

John Kerry? No.

Hillary Clinton? No.

Howard Dean? No.

John Edwards? No.

Matter of fact, this person isn't a professional Democrat. Two weeks ago no one heard of her. Today, she's all over the news and giving high-profile speeches.

So I guess for Demcrats, the presidential nomination process is over. It's Sheehan/Hackett in 2008!!

UPDATE: Best of the Web today touches on the issue of Sheehan. We argee with the last line (emphasis mine):

The journalists will soon move on, and her political allies may do so as well. For them she is a mere instrument. The White House press corps will discard her as soon as they return to Washington where there's real news going on. Serious opponents of the war in Iraq will cast her aside if her foul statements make her an embarrassment. When that happens, we can only hope that someone still cares about Cindy Sheehan - not as a story or a symbol, but as a human being.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

posted by Rob at 1:30 PM

I'm not sure which is worst - that this girl hopes to attend my grand alma mater, or that she wants to be a teacher:
i know i wanna go to Appalachian State University. I love that campus..the teachers are sooo awesome. I met a chemistry teacher there, DANG HOMIE! He was SEXY! He was like...33, snap..he was sexy. Anyway, back to college. The programs they have there rock, It's like..impossible to fail unless you REALLY wanna fail. cuz they have alll of these tutors and stuff that give you they're full attention to help you study and stuff..and that's all on your terms. It's wicked.
Then there's this comment on her page:
I support you as being a teacher Amy, go to ASU and do not listen to anyone advice except yours :)..follow your heart and do what you know what is best
**just shakes head**

The importance of education

posted by Rob at 11:13 AM

One of my favorite topics of discussion is education, and one of my favorite columnists is Michael Barone. So of course today's Barone column on education and economic mobility is a must read:

"We cannot help noticing," Mount concludes, "that the old class system has been reconstituted into a more or less meritocratic upper tier and a lower tier which is defined principally by its failure to qualify for the upper tier."

Which is exactly what Richard Herrnstein and Charles Murray predicted for America in their controversial book "The Bell Curve," published 11 years ago. Herrnstein and Murray noted that intelligence is both measurable and in some large but unquantifiable part hereditary, an unexceptionable finding for experimental psychologists but maddening to social engineers. As college education becomes open to all with the requisite intelligence, graduates will tend to marry graduates and produce children with similar intelligence, while others will tend to produce children without it.

"Unchecked, these trends," Herrnstein and Murray wrote, "will lead the U.S. toward something resembling a caste society, with the underclass mired ever more firmly at the bottom and the cognitive elite ever more firmly anchored at the top."

Which leads to the question children ask on long car trips: Are we there yet?

My sister never went to college. She's the top wage earned between my college-degree owning self and my other non-high-school-degree owning sister.

My mom's sister also never went to college and is the most wealthy person in my family. My dad never went to college was somehow earned the rank of supervisor at his job, where all othersupervisiors carry "BS" or "MA" after their name.

All three people - my sister, aunt and dad - have one trait in common. They worked their butt off. Whatever is takes to get the job done is done. Education is important, but so is motivation.

Perception is reality

posted by Rob at 11:03 AM

It appears the water which nurtures the national media - the Associated Press - is getting a wakeup call on Iraq coverage:
Rosemary Goudreau, the editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune, has received the same e-mail message a dozen times over the last year.

"Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?" the anonymous polemic asks, in part. "Did you know that 3,100 schools have been renovated?"

"Of course we didn't know!" the message concludes. "Our media doesn't tell us!"

Ms. Goudreau's newspaper, like most dailies in America, relies largely on The Associated Press for its coverage of the Iraq war. So she finally forwarded the e-mail message to Mike Silverman, managing editor of The A.P., asking if there was a way to check these assertions and to put them into context. Like many other journalists, Mr. Silverman had also received a copy of the message.

Ms. Goudreau's query prompted an unusual discussion last month in New York at a regular meeting of editors whose newspapers are members of The Associated Press. Some editors expressed concern that a kind of bunker mentality was preventing reporters in Iraq from getting out and explaining the bigger picture beyond the daily death tolls.

"The bottom-line question was, people wanted to know if we're making progress in Iraq," Ms. Goudreau said, and the A.P. articles were not helping to answer that question.

"It was uncomfortable questioning The A.P., knowing that Iraq is such a dangerous place," she said. "But there's a perception that we're not telling the whole story."

Friday, August 12, 2005

A Loss is Really a Victory.

posted by Rob at 11:36 AM

Nope. I'm not referring to this. I'm talking about DreamWorks Animation:
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc on Thursday reported a $3.7 million net loss in its second quarter due to a large number of retail returns for DVDs of its films "Shrek 2" and "Shark Tale."

But the loss was smaller than analysts and the company predicted last month bolstered by sales of consumer products from its recent film "Madagascar" and from library titles. A tax gain also buoyed earnings by 2 cents.

Shares of DreamWorks were up 3 percent to $24.80 in after-hours trade on Thursday after closing at $24.11 on the New York Stock Exchange.

So no one wanted to buy their latest movies, and the government helps a bit, so reporting a loss is actually good news. Makes sense to me.

Can a brother not afford a suit

posted by Rob at 8:46 AM

Whenever Michael Jordan did a television interview, he was almost always stylin' and profilin'. Expensive suit, clean cut smile, buffed bald head. Same for Magic, and several other black professionals.

Then came Kobe with his "Sweats in Sweats" interviews on ESPN. Now Terrell Owens under does him, wearing a ragged t-shirt with a screenprinted photo of his momma on the front. And let's not forget the NIke hat on backwards. And scum of an agent wearing a dirty t-shirt with jeans and shabby sports coat.

*THAT* was the scene on ESPN last night during halftime of the Packers-Chargers game. What an embarressment. As much as I don't want to hate, TO is an A-HO.

Sit out. Who cares. Let's see how valued you are after a year with nothing to do but situps in the driveway.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Man no longer create Magic

posted by Rob at 5:15 PM

At least, not by hand. It's now all computers, all the time, at Disney:

At the end of last month, Walt's joke came true. The studio bearing his name announced that, due to a "changing creative climate and economic environment," it will be shutting DisneyToon Studios Australia next year. The studio, which turned out sequels (such as "Tarzan II," "The Lion King II" and "Bambi II") was the company's last remaining facility creating hand-drawn (or 2-D) traditional animation. To compete in the 3-D computer-generated imagery (or CGI) arena, the house that a hand-drawn mouse built will become a pixels, rather than a paper-and-pencils, place.As the old animators often asked themselves, "What would Walt think?"
Here's what he'd think - "Finally I can get the third-world children off the drawing board and on the keyboard!"

Progress stands still for now man, or no faceless-giant-corporate-monolith-that-seeks-to-suck-the-life-out-of-all-it-touches-but-alway- with-a-happy-face.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Beer Wars Spill Onto Parents

posted by Rob at 5:31 AM

Interesting op-ed in the Washington Post today. It details arrests and convictions of various parents who responsibly oversaw parties for their minor children when beer was served. One example is a couple from Rhode Island:
When they learned that their son planned to celebrate the prom with a booze bash at a beach 40 miles away, William and Patricia Anderson instead threw a supervised party for him and his friends at their home. They served alcohol, but William Anderson stationed himself at the party's entrance and collected keys from every teen who showed. No one who came to the party could leave until the next morning.
Of course the parents have been charged with misconduct by police, and the local MADD chapter is all a'giddy to guillotine the parents. The MADD people are just that, mad.

But I do have issues with the whole" they're going to do it anyway, so why not watch 'em and make sure their safe." Makes me wonder what their solution will be when the kids want to have sex.
What is unexcusable are authorities overstepping their bounds:
The Virginia case mentioned above is troubling for another reason: The cops raided that home without a search warrant. This is becoming more and more common in jurisdictions with particularly militant approaches to underage drinking. A prosecutor in Wisconsin popularized the practice in the late 1990s when he authorized deputies to enter private residences without warrants, "by force, if necessary," when there was the slightest suspicion of underage drinking.
That's unAmerican and dangerous. I would hope that parents involved in such an illegal or unwarrented search would take the case to the Supreme Court. Maybe then this country will seriously argue the merits of sending 18-year-olds to war but barring them from ordering a drink at Hooters.

Going after App State

posted by Rob at 5:06 AM

Columnist Mike S. Adams has taken on Appalachian State in two columns this week, both available at The first went after the campus equity office. The second attacked the women's center.

Both columns are written, in my opinion, by a smart ass trying to be funny but failing. His "jokes" fall flat and make him come across as the bad guy, but he makes good points in both. Too bad his attitude make the columns almost unreadable.

Someone at Appalachian had read them though. The women's center suddenly editted its website today, as Tim Ellsworth notes. You can read a cached version of that page here.

The women's center is one of those "unofficial" liberal groups on campus who operate with state funds while pretending to have no political agenda. (Notice how their the contents of its library is absent from the site. I doubt it's comprised of many conservative materials).

You can't erase such groups - they are too well engrained in the higher education culture - and beating them with literary spotlights only emboldens them. It gives them a chance to stick their chin out, put hands on their hips and pout "The Women's Center holds no political affiliation. We are also a group of women and men that are volunteers who are simply interested in women's issues."

Yeah, people who read Adams will now know App has a hypocritical harrassment policy and a campus organization who defies it until it's pointed out publicly. In a few months those quotes - or some like it - will be back up, the group will still get state funds to sell breast cakes, and Adams will be trying to piss off some other college with his brand of unfunny humor.

For now, Appalachian is a can and Adams is walking down a long road. I can't wait for column III.

Monday, August 08, 2005

State gambles on education

posted by Rob at 10:52 AM

It was inevitable, really:
North Carolina would start a lottery, advertise it and spend the profits on teachers, school buildings and scholarships for the needy under a final budget plan worked out by House and Senate negotiators Friday.
I have no problem with a lottery if a private company operates it. The state should not. But since everybody else is doing it .....

RIP Peter Jennings

posted by Rob at 10:32 AM

Back in the 1980s as I rose every morning to go to school, my mom always had the ABC News morning show on. In the evening, after dinner and before mom's 7 p.m. bedtime, it was Peter Jennings to which we turned. He was the man I enjoyed hearing from as I turned from child to pre-teen to teenager.

Tom always looked a bit too clean and spiffy. Dan tired too hard to be cool. Peter came across as a real person. He downplayed himself and simply told me what was happening in the world.

At least, that's how I remember him. When I went to college and later found the internet, I gave up evening news. But this morning I find myself thinking back to then as I read what's happening now:

Nearly four months to the day since he announced in a hoarse voice on his evening newscast that he had been diagnosed with lung cancer, longtime ABC "World News Tonight" anchor Peter Jennings died Sunday, according to the ABC News network. He was 67.

RIP Peter Jennings.

UPDATE: Tim Graham reminded me of one of Jenning's endearing traits:
His way of defining the news was to begin most newscasts with "We begin tonight with," with the royal "We" marking what would be seen as important.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Why only missing white women matter

posted by Rob at 10:27 AM

Simple fact of television (and really most of media) - people like to watch people who look like them. That's why BET draws a black audience, Telemundo draws a Latino audience, and why only stories of young, missing white women make the mainstream evening news.

The LA Times offeres plenty of proof supporting that latter fact:

Photos of LaToyia Figueroa, 24, show the kind of smiling, attractive young woman whose disappearance has become a staple of television news coverage, particularly cable news, in recent years.
Except for one thing, a growing chorus of critics say: Figueroa, five months pregnant and the mother of a 7-year-old, comes from a lower-income black family, while the missing women regularly portrayed on television are overwhelmingly white. ...

The decapitated body of Evelyn Hernandez, 24, who was nine months pregnant, was discovered in the San Francisco Bay a few months before Peterson, but she did not touch off a firestorm of coverage. Nor did the disappearance of Ardena Carter, 23, a pregnant black graduate student who was last seen alive on her way to the library in Georgia in 2003. The remains of Carter and her unborn child turned up in the woods two months later.
The Times finds only one excuse for the lack of attention. An MSNBC spokesperson says it's because "there's an involved family that tends to be sophisticated in how to use the media."

Is being able to "use the media" as simple as crying into microphone pleading for your loved one's life, which is all I ever see when these cases are first reported? Or is there more to it than that? Is there behind the scenes manipulations we don't know about?

Or is MSNBC full of a Novak one-liner? Sure looks that way (emphasis mine):
One media-savvy relative says her efforts to draw attention to the disappearance of her niece, 24-year-old Tamika Huston, failed to win the attention of local media outlets whose stories might be picked up by national news. The African American woman didn't come home one day in June 2004 in South Carolina. Rebka Howard, her aunt, is a Miami public relations executive, but her media contacts and family news conferences failed to generate the kind of immediate attention they had hoped for.
Stories such as this remind me of all the snide smiles and rolling eyes come Republican National Convention time. That when Peter, Tom, Dan, Katie, Matt, Paula, Wolf, Lou, Diane, Larry, Barbara and their ilk point out the lack of black faces in the crowd. Thanks goodness someone has to do the weather or they'd have no color either.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Swore I'd leave you and I did

posted by Rob at 1:46 PM

I just found a new favorite band. Thanks to asu_mountaineer for introducing me to International Orange. Only a native could fall in love with a song like this. And since I am a native, yes, I love it.

Quite Frankly, I won't watch

posted by Rob at 12:06 PM

Some numbers are in on ESPN's latest overly-hyped talk show, "Quiet Frankly" with Stephen A. Smith. According to USA Today:

... the debut of Stephen A. Smith's hourlong Quite Frankly ESPN2 talk show Monday drew 0.3% of U.S. cable TV households, 0.1% on Tuesday and 0.3% on Wednesday. That's slightly below what ESPN2 averaged in the show's 6:30 p.m. ET time slot for July — and below ratings for ESPN/ESPN2's recent coverage of the U.S. Open of Competitive Eating.

Sports Illustrated had an article last week on Smith headlined, "Stephen A. Smith is misunderstood." I would beg to difer. Smith is simply Ahmad Rashad with an attiude - a suck-up sports reporter basking in the glow of those he covers.

I first saw Smith during the 2004 NBA playoffs. It was not a great first impression. The Finals featured the underdog Pistons vs. the Shaq/Kobe Lakers. Smith - who at the time I simply referred to as "that angry preacher-sounding guy - was ruthless in verbally raping the Bad Boys.

The series hasn't started but Smith said it was over. Done. Complete. Just skip the four-game sweep and hand Phil another trophy. This is a paraphrase, of course. He was much more brutal in his actual comments.

Well, like curent ESPN2 viewers, the Pistons refused to listen to Smith. They handily won the series. Smith sheepishly admitted his error, but in my mind the damage was done.

I hope the best for Smith and his show, but - like anything with Jim Rome - I won't be watching.

UPDATE - Brilliant idea for a sports show over at The Sports Frog. I'd watch it!!!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Feel the "Sting" of Muggsy

posted by Rob at 4:18 PM

When Muggsy Bogues was sent packing by the then-Charlotte Hornets, it was a nail in the coffin with regard to my love of the team (The later revelations of Mack Daddy Shinn banging his Ho-net cheerleaders packed the dirt on said coffin).

So when I read the news this morning that the closest person I have to an idol is a head coach in the WNBA, I reacted much like most people around Charlotte Observer writer Scott Fowler:

It's one of those stories with a great "What?" factor.

The news that Muggsy Bogues was the new coach of the WNBA's Charlotte Sting spread around the Carolinas on Wednesday.

The person who just heard it would scream: "What?"

Then he would laugh.

Yes, the Sting have a worse record than Ashley Simpson. Yes, it's a leage that ranks beneath professional curling and the NHL in popularity. But if it's good enough for this guy, it's a great opportunity for Muggsy.

He was Rick James, b*tch

posted by Rob at 2:15 PM

Sad, sad news. Chapelle’s Show is no more:

While talking to the New York Post, cast member Charlie Murphy stated that he did not believe there would be a third season of the show. The third season was set to debut in the spring of 2005. That debut was postponed indefinitely when Dave Chapelle took off for South Africa. While rumors spread that Chapelle was battling drug addiction, word surfaced from his camp that he was just taking some time to relax, and clear his mind. Murphy told the newspaper that material has been shot, but that it will mostly be seen in the form of a DVD. “We shot about eight shows for the third season and they're hilarious. They'll be released on DVD, I'm sure. But that's it.”
No show has made me laugh as much as Chapelle's Show. Not only it has challenged me on whether "I Know Black People," but it's shown me the secrets of Celebrity Trial Jury Selection and what the different races look for in music.

Chapelle was the man. I wonder if he'll have to give back all $50 million.

Schools destroy reading

posted by Rob at 1:35 PM

At least, according to an op/ed in USA Today by teacher Patrick Welsh:
Take the McDougal Littell text that we finally adopted for 9th- and 10th-graders. It starts off with a unit titled "Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Hebrew Literature," followed by sections on the literature of Ancient India, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Ancient China and Japan. Then comes "Persian and Arabic Literature" and "West African Oral Literature" — and that's only the first third of the book.

There are still more than 800 pages to plough through, but it's the same drill — short excerpts from long works — a little Dante here, a little Goethe there and two whole pages dedicated to Shakespeare's plays. ...

Both books are full of obtrusive directions, comments, questions and pictures that would hinder even the attentive readers from becoming absorbed in the readings. Both also "are not reader-friendly. There is no narrative coherence that a student can follow and get excited about. It's a little bit of this and a little bit of that," says T.C. Williams reading specialist Chris Gutierrez, who teaches a course in reading strategies at Shenandoah University in Virginia. For kids who get books and reading opportunities only at school, these types of textbooks will drive them away from reading — perhaps for life.

This is bascially how I recall every textbook from high school through college. But is it really the responsibility of a textbook to make reading fun? I though that was what Encyclopedia Brown was for?

Greg's six favorite words

posted by Rob at 12:07 PM

Here they are - Your guide to lesbian sex scenes.

Now for the disappointing part:

It probably shouldn't surprise any of us the the bulk of the entries in the Encyclopedia of Lesbian Movie Scenes come from European films of the '60s and '70s, "erotic thrillers", and an ad hoc genre labelled "Documentary/Amateur" that seems to consist mostly of scenes from various permutations of The Real World and the German version of Big Brother.

But there are also a ton of screencaps from selected scenes from real movies, such as Marlene Dietrich's cabaret kiss for Gary Cooper's benefit in Morocco; to Kate Beckinsale and Frances McDormand's swimming pool frolic from Laurel Canyon; to a handful of frames from the "Margot's Lovers" montage from The Royal Tenenbaums.
This entry has the Best. Lesbian. Movie. Title. Evar.

John Bolton's first day

posted by Rob at 11:10 AM

As "reported" by James Lileks:
Anyway. The limo pulls up to the glistening U.N. building at 7:59 a.m.

There are, of course, protesters. They chant: "Hey hey! Ho ho! Bolton John has got to go! Hey hey! Ho ho!" But Bolton strides right through the crowd and enters the building, leaving the protesters stunned: It didn't work! The chant didn't work! Frantic calls are placed to ANSWER, CORE, ACORN, NARAL and the National Guild of Pronounceable Acronyms (NGPA); the leadership is informed that the magic chant has failed. Lucifer has entered the temple! Repeat, Lucifer is in the temple! Call George Soros and have him fund a new one STAT! No, that doesn't stand for anything. ...

3:17 p.m. -- The afternoon sun is getting hot; Bolton discovers the shade is stuck. He calls building services. He is informed that the shade has been stuck since 1966, that the U.N. Commission on Window Treatments was convened in 1967 to address the matter, and is scheduled to meet again in 2006, once India withdraws its objections to giving the rotating chairmanship to Yemen -- as one of the founding countries, it has the right to the chair, but when the nation split in two its claim to the chair was remanded to a subcommittee, which went on a fact-finding mission to a French drape manufacturer and never reported back aside from annual expense accounts from a beach house in the south. The Plenary Commission on International Shade Accords, a separate body, has recommended that any action on drapes or curtains be postponed until the U.N. building is renovated, or that a large movable curtain be erected across the street to block the sun, but this debate has been stalled over an amendment condemning Israel's treatment of Venetian blinds in the Gaza Strip. Of course, now that Israel has begun withdrawal from ...

3:24 -- Bolton hangs up, cuts the cord, and the shade comes down.

I hate Bill O'Reilly

posted by Rob at 5:15 AM

Actually, I don't. I just find him unwatchable. It's not just because he wears *way* too much eyeliner (go ahead, tune in and tell me he doesn't) but he's insufferable.

But you can't argue with the numbers. The man continues to spank CNN, as does everyone else at FOX:
The Scoreboard: Tuesday, August 2

The hourlies:

8pm: O'Reilly: 2,549,000 / Zahn: 623,000 / Grace: 734,000 / Countdown: 363,000 / CNBC: 165,000

9pm: H&C: 2,297,000 / King: 1,336,000 / Prime News: 452,000 / Situation: 177,000 / Mad Money repeat: 131,000

10pm: Greta: 2,328,000 / NewsNight: 845,000 / Grace repeat: 471,000 / Scarborough: 321,000 / Deutsch: 75,000
Wow. Bill is attracting FOUR TIMES of Zahn, who was once hyped as the great-legged hope of CNN. Which makes re-reading stories like this all the more cringe-worthy:
CNN executives have been heartened by the positive response to Zahn and Brown—an ABC News alumnus—and were slapping high-fives with the recent announcement that Chung, a former co-anchor of the "CBS Evening News," was also leaving ABC for CNN.

In a perceived coup for the network, Lou Dobbs returned and revitalized CNN's business programming franchise, and several old-timers remain, among them Wolf Blitzer, Bill Hemmer and Judy Woodruff. Still, many find themselves playing a supporting role to a flurry of new hires from ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, even MTV.

While CNN's ratings spiked far ahead of Fox in September and October, Fox has come roaring back as the war news has died down. In just-released January ratings, Fox, which in the last year dramatically increased the number of cable systems on which it is available, passed CNN to become the most-watched news network, averaging 656,000 viewers on a 24-hour basis, versus 596,000 viewers for CNN.
That was back in February 2002. Here's the numbers for July 2005:
Total day averages: FNC: 988,000 / CNN: 436,000 / MSNBC: 201,000
Somewhere, Ted Turner is crying.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

You know you want to

posted by Rob at 7:00 PM

see this movie:

Will Stronghold (Michael Angarano) is about to enter Sky High, a high school where future superheroes are trained. Will's parents, Steve Stronghold/The Commander (Kurt Russell) and Josie Stronghold/Jetstream (Kelly Preston), are the most famous superheroes in the entire world. In the world of Sky High, superheroes are common and accepted - Will sees news reports of his parents saving the world from evil robots and other assorted bad guys. has it at 62% fresh.

By the way, War of the Worlds is already playing at the $2 theater here in Boone.

How to make a buck off poor black kids

posted by Rob at 6:52 PM

That should be the name of Ron Clark's webpage. If castor oil has no impact on your bowls, reading that site will:
Ron Clark has been called "America's Educator." His work with disadvantaged students in rural North Carolina and in inner-city Harlem garnered worldwide attention, and he was invited to the White House on three separate occasions to be honored by the President and Mrs. Clinton.

Mr. Clark's tireless work and dedication to making a difference in the lives of children has also led him to be named Disney's American Teacher of the Year. Since receiving that distinction, he has been interviewed by Katie Couric on the Today Show, and has appeared twice on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Ms. Winfrey even featured him in her magazine and named him her first "Phenomenal Man!"
Sweet jesus. This guy's been slurped more than a K-Mart Icee. The people on their knees for him - Clinton, Oprah, Couric - should be ashamed.

Oh my stars and garters. It gets worse. The dude even has an "Ask Ron Clark A Question" section on his site.

*SIGH* I guess pimpin' is easy, espeically when it's kids.


posted by Rob at 3:31 PM