:: ::


"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." --C.S. Lewis
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:: Monday, May 31, 2004 ::

Knock, Knock...

The correct answer was, 'I am one of you'; and the angel of darkness would have passed him by.

Chilling first person account of the recent Saudi hostage nightmare; only at Belmont Club.

Go there now [>]

:: Max 10:39 PM [+] ::
Iran, Iran.......

It's unfortunate the blogosphere is probably the only media to direct it's attention to a human tragedy such as this. And it's only because heroic people are willing to sacrifice their lives pictures like these escape barbaric dictatorships such as that found in Iran...(you'll never see images like these emerge from North Korea because most North Koreans have never seen a porcelain toilet, much less own a computer or digital camera).

Iranians are now battling institutionalized oppression on a scale truly unimaginable to Western sensibilities. One look at these faces and only the most inhumane sadist would see other than beautiful people struggling for freedom.

Should you ever, for even a moment, doubt millions upon millions of people the world over STILL look to America for their freedom...look again...and tell me these people don't want Democracy. To deny it is to deny reality.

The people of Iran know what's happening in Iraq; they're closely watching the tidal forces of our political season. They watch because they know their lives depend not on impotent, bumbling UN blue-helmets to alter this bloody course, but on the unwavering will of the American people to influence meaningful change in these iron-fisted dictatorships.

Via Roger Simon (of course) [>]

:: Max 9:33 PM [+] ::
Speaking of Bikegate

"Clad in leather, astride gleaming Harleys, they trailed American flags and the black flags that honor U.S. prisoners of war and military members missing in action. With horns blaring and fists raised, they rode into Washington more than 400,000 strong, according to organizers of the 17th annual Rolling Thunder "Ride for Freedom," to pay homage to buddies who never made it home."

(Insert photo of Kerry on 10-speed bicycle here.)
From the Washington Post:

Focus Swings to Vietnam, With a Roar (excerpt):

"Bush also met at the White House with the leaders of Rolling Thunder, a nonprofit group dominated by Vietnam-era veterans but dedicated to veterans of all wars. With a special White House escort, the group's president, Artie Muller, and seven other riders were able to steer their bikes straight up to the South Portico, where a smiling Bush greeted them with a big thumbs-up and led them to the Oval Office.

Rolling Thunder, which claims 82 chapters in the United States and abroad, has endorsed Bush over the presumptive Democratic nominee, Sen. John F. Kerry (Mass.), and the Bush campaign turned out to capitalize on that endorsement. Two members of Bush's Cabinet joined the Rolling Thunder parade: Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson, who showed up for his sixth Rolling Thunder ride decked out in black jeans, a black vest and black sunglasses."

Video footage of the Rolling Thunder spokesmen rumbling up the South Portico to the White House is video footage MSM and the alphabet channels will never-ever let you see: C'mon, the 'arch-conservative' Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi and Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy G. Thompson in their leathers?...I think not...way, way too 'controversial' for the evening news.

In order to understand this phenomenon you've got to visualize Bubba in exactly the same 'sound-bite' context. MSM sychophants would have sucked Rolling Thunder's f*****g tailpipes for a measley two seconds of video footage of a Bubba brown-nosing event; MSM is so predictably uninteresting it's sad. Really, it's no secret why Rather, Brokaw and Jennings are tanking in this demographic, but will someone please splain it to their sponsers?

Instapundit has the low-down on Rolling Thunder and their..umm..colorful Memorial Day visit with POTUS.

Update: Check out this Powerline post showing great pic of Potus with Muller and Nancy Sinatra on the South Portico.

:: Max 8:07 PM [+] ::
Bloggers Make Big Difference in Big Journalism

If you haven't been watching, The Online Journalism Review has a recap of some of the more notable instances of micro-media intervention in mainstream news and opinion, including Robert Cox's parody of the New York Times corrections page; a spoof so effective it actually spurred the Times to change it's correction policy:

The old policy was to let columnists make their own corrections. Thanks to Cox's efforts, the editors at the Times now will make the final determination on corrections, which will run at the bottom of future columns -- so that syndicated columns are corrected in all the papers in which they run.

And Cox isn't the only blogger who's made waves recently. Australian blogger Tim Blair unearthed a fabricated quote by Chicago Tribune correspondent Uli Schmetzer, whose career at the paper ended shortly thereafter. And blogger Patrick Frey, aka Patterico, helped counter a series in the Los Angeles Times about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia's conflicts of interest with a front-page L.A. Times story on Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's own conflict.

But Cox stands alone in that he brought a policy change to The New York Times, at a time when the newspaper is trying to be more receptive to readers' concerns. Cox runs The National Debate blog and Web site, which focuses on political media coverage, including a handy daily newsletter that tells you which pundits are on the various news shows that day.

Mark Glaser's worthwhile OJR essay is a conscise summary of the impact the blogosphere is currently having on contemporary journalism with pithy comments by Jeff Jarvis and of course, the Bolgfather himself Glenn Reynolds. The upshot?--accountablity, something that's been missing from main stream media sources for a very long time.

Patterico, Blair and Cox deserve some kind of Blog trophy for these meaningful contributions to journalism; I suggest the InstaPablacox Award for Excellence in Micro-Media.

RTWT [>]

:: Max 5:43 PM [+] ::
Check Engine Light Not Covered Under Warranty: Your Action Required:

A Wired News Report excerpt (by Julia Sheeres):

Rachel Seymour, a college student from Portland, Oregon, has had her 2002 Kia Spectra serviced 12 times for a Check Engine light problem. Each time, she's forced to take it to a Kia dealership, where a technician hooks her car up to a computer, runs a battery of tests and charges her $120 to diagnose and repair the same problem: a loose gas cap.

Seymour said she has no problem screwing a gas cap into place, and that the light has even come on while she's driving home from getting her car serviced. But the dealership has stubbornly stood by its computer diagnosis, saying the car's oxygen sensors are detecting vapors from a loose gas cap and triggering the Check Engine light -- a "consumer error" that is not covered under the car's warranty.

Fed up with wasting time and money, Seymour resorted to a low-tech solution to mask the high-tech problem: She covered the warning light with electrical tape so she wouldn't have to look at it.

"There is really no time in my schedule for sitting around a car dealership listening to some fat guy in a clip-on tie tell me that the problem is my fault," she said. "Instead of explaining anything to me they just pull out a warranty sheet with a highlighted portion indicating that they don't cover Check Engine light problems."

A bill floating through Congress could help people like Seymour by forcing automakers to share diagnostic codes with car buyers and independent mechanics. The MotorVehicle Owners' Right to Repair Act would give Seymour the means to determine whether the Check Engine light signaled another gas cap vagary or a major oil leak. The legislation would also allow Seymour to choose an independent -- and possibly cheaper -- repair shop instead of being forced to go to the dealership.

A simple little note to your Congressman now might save consumers millions in the future. I swear it took me five minutes--go to your State Representative Now [>]

:: Max 2:01 PM [+] ::
Don't skip Carnival of the Capitalists hosted this month by Small Business Trends. Otherwise, you're likely to miss an interesting article like this on the economics of oil production. Excerpt:

However, a new force of demand has come into play in the last year, a huge new factor: investment banks. Investment banks, particularly in the states, have realised that (by and large) oil is an upwardly mobile commodity. As such, they have started purchasing huge amounts of futures while also shorting the commodity, which (apparently, maybe an expert can explain this better) has the net effect of putting upward pressure on the prices... To the point that OPEC can no longer actually control the price.

RTWT [>]

:: Max 9:53 AM [+] ::

Unsolitary Solitaire:

The June issue of Wired magazine reports online gaming is reaching a new demographic: Geezers! Sites like Pogo.com offer lo-tech favorites like bridge, euchre and backgammon and according to the article, the 82.5 million players in the 'casual gaming' community take it very seriously. Wired reports:

The ruling class of online gamers isn't pimply young boys, it's moms--and grandmas. Ruth Lyon is a 66-year-old retired nurse in Honor, Michigan. Instead of watching Jeopardy or reading, she spends three or four hours a night playing euchre and bridge online with her son in California and her daughter in Ohio. And since she lives tucked away in a cottage on a remote lake, she finds it a convenient way to make friends. "It's amazing how many older people are doing this," she says. Online games also help Anne Richards, 56, feel less alone. Confined to a wheel chair, Richards spends a lot of time inside her Florida home. "What I really like is that it's a place to find some human contact," she says. "It gives me a place to go."

Lyon and Richards are among the millions--mostly women 35 to 54--who play casual games online. It's a gray market that earns companies $450 million annually, largely through advertising (less than 2 percent of players actually pay to subscribe). And talk about sticky: Pogo's players spend about 24.8 million hours on the site each month, says Nielsen/NetRatings. "Checkers is a big pickup scene,"

I just checked into Pogo and, as of 9:30 am central time, there were 148,027 people playing online games. Yikes!

:: Max 8:52 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, May 30, 2004 ::
This is a dangerous idea and must be stopped lest such extreme concepts be imported to the United States:

A right-wing think-tank will this week launch a national chain of cut-price primary schools in a drive to open up private education to middle-income families. The first New Model School will start work in September, charging less than half the average fees of many independent primary or "pre-prep" schools.

Teachers have already been appointed, and tomorrow the school starts advertising for pupils to join the inaugural class of five-year-olds.

So what are these people trying to accomplish?

The New Model School Company aims to establish a chain of local schools, each subscribing to the same ethos and curriculum. A New Model School can be created wherever there are enough interested parents to start one. Organisational structure and support will be provided by the New Model School Company. Curriculum materials will be developed by its sister organisation, the New Model Curriculum Company.

Who are they:

The individuals who have formed the New Model School Company were brought together by the social policy think-tank Civitas (www.civitas.org.uk). Our aim is not just to set up a single successful school, but to provide a model of excellent and affordable schools which will improve the lives of many children and their families.

Our ambitions for the school are far wider than success in exams. The final aim of education is the formation of strong moral character, good manners, and the development of well-informed judgement. Good citizenship is not a subject of the school curriculum, but an aspect of conduct and behaviour that arises from a knowledge of the foundations of the culture, its history, values, and institutions.

If you would like to know more about us, you can telephone Matthew Faulkner on 020 8969 0037. (emphasis mine. ed)

Samizdata's got the scoop [>]

:: Max 11:34 PM [+] ::

Tin-foil liberals--you know, the "Chaney/Rumsfeld/Perle/Wolfowitz are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse" wing of the Zoloft left are speculating that Nick Berg was brutally decapitated not by Al-Q but by those remote-controlled flying-monkeys of Halliburton--The CIA! An excerpt:

Iraq in flames, Washington an object of disgust. What to do? At this pivotal moment, CNN and Fox News are tipped off to a clip of an American citizen being beheaded. The victim is a 26-year-old idealist from Pennsylvania, Nick Berg. Despite the perpetrators being masked, the vile deed is deemed the work of al-Qaeda.

The clip was first "discovered" on an Islamic website in Malaysia. Its Arabic title reads "Abu Musab al-Zarqawi shown slaughtering an American". al-Zarqawi is a 38-year-old Jordanian militant who fled to Iraq in 2001 after reportedly losing a leg in a US missile strike. al-Zarqawi's face is widely known and he credits himself with the deed, so why a mask?

The timing of the video was brilliant for the West. Media pundits judged the crime a deeper evil than the systemic torture of innocent Iraqis. But some people sensed a rat. But if it was not al-Qaeda, who? Surely not Uncle Sam. That's too dark, even for the CIA.

Get all the sordid details at Spleenville>.

:: Max 10:38 AM [+] ::

Joshua Muravchik of the LA Times intends to cast his vote for Dubya.


Would some other president have made the same brave choice as George Bush to shoulder this "long twilight struggle"? Not Bill Clinton, whose eye was always on the electoral calendar. Not the elder Bush, who didn't think much of "the vision thing." And surely not John Kerry, who tells us that he voted against the Iraq war of 1991 although he was really for it and voted for the Iraq war of 2003 although he was really against it. Kerry offers, in short, all the leadership of a whirling dervish. Truman? Reagan? Perhaps. But 9/11 came when George W. Bush was in office. He has risen to the challenge of a vicious enemy. I wish I could vote for him twice this time -- to make up for having underestimated him so badly in 2000.

Get the rest of the story from Powerline>

:: Max 10:17 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, May 29, 2004 ::
Another interesting report to file under the heading 'All the News That's fit to Bury on Page F-22 of the Religion Section':

I doff my hat, briefly, to President Bush.

Sudanese peasants will be naming their sons "George Bush" because he scored a humanitarian victory this week that could be a momentous event around the globe -- although almost nobody noticed. It was Bush administration diplomacy that led to an accord to end a 20-year civil war between Sudan's north and south after two million deaths.

If the peace holds, hundreds of thousands of lives will be saved, millions of refugees will return home, and a region of Africa may be revived.

VIA The Blogfather of course (does this guy ever sleep?)

:: Max 1:02 PM [+] ::
Daily Ablution posts Tuesday Culture and Arts Report.

Really dahling I think you must check een...ee-teez, how you say...absolutely fah-bulous!

Also, don't miss this wry post on The Day After Tomarrow featuring the UK's Eco-Gestapo inspecting a hapless British homeowner's dishwasher.

:: Max 12:07 PM [+] ::
:: Friday, May 28, 2004 ::
This is a bit disturbing. Thought they were kinda on our side...hmmm.

Via Drudge>

:: Max 11:49 PM [+] ::
Wretchard has yet another terrific essay; this time on The Global Battlefield and it's an eye-opener. Here's an exerpt:

But the really frightening aspect of Col. Leonhard's argument is not that the military and political aspects of warfare have fused, but his realization that foreign battlefields and home front have merged into one integrated area of operations. There is now no real distinction between winning the "media war" and cleaning out a sniper's nest in Ramadi; between Abu Ghraib the prison and Abu Ghraib the media event. Many readers have criticized the Belmont Club's An Intelligence Failure as being too "soft" on the liberal press, arguing that the media's distortions are not simply the effect of incompetence but the result of a deliberate campaign of partisan information. Doubtless many in the liberal press harbor symmetrical resentments. Yet I have held back from framing the argument in these terms until I could place it in the framework of Col. Leonhard's concept of a global battlefield: one in which the WTC towers and the New York Times newsroom are front line positions no less than any corner in Baghdad; and where victory is measured not simply by the surrender of arms but the capitulation of ideas. We have begun the 21st century just as we inaugurated the 20th: at the edge of old familiar places and on the brink of the unknown.

This one is really worth your time; go to Belmont Club and RTWT>

:: Max 10:27 PM [+] ::
A Wee Bit of Context Please

It would appear that there are many stories like this regarding UN 'Peace Keepers' in Africa. Now it's hardly surprising that pathetic things like this happen. And it's not particularly surprising that we rarely hear about these stories via MSM. What is surprising is that a new form of communication, micro-media, is capable of targeting and disseminating this relatively obscure information efficiently and at lightspeed.

Notwithstanding the fact that such a story gives some greater perspective and context to the Abu Ghraib scandal (i.e., it's an anomaly), it lends the UN a riciprocal and similarly contextualized profile.

I have a prediction: given this new and immanently accessible form of mass communication, whistle-blowers of all stripes will surely alter the course of many major institutions; and for the better I hope.

A peripheral note; I am seeking health-care professionals to contribute essays, links and tips to a new Medicine Blog. The new blog will focus on the rising cost of health insurance, pharmaceuticals, car insurance, life insurance, etc. If you would like to contribute, click the 'Contact Max' link above.

:: Max 9:33 PM [+] ::
Election law stipulates 'hard money' campaign contributions be a matter of public record and fundrace.com has all the dope. Think of it as heroine for political junkies:

Name: Barbara Streisand
Address: 21650 Oxnard St Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Occupation/Employer: Actress/Singer Self-employed
Address: 21650 Oxnard St
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Contribution: John Kerry $1,000.00

Name: Barbara Streisand
Address: 21650 Oxnard St Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Occupation/Employer: Actress/Singer Self-employed
Address: 21650 Oxnard St
Woodland Hills, CA 91367
Contribution: John Edwards $1,000.00

Jeez...it would appear the DemoDiva didn't even max the 2K limit for both candidates!? And what about Dean and poor little Kucinich?! How unDemocratic of her.

:: Max 8:29 PM [+] ::
Real estate gurus will have a blast over at 'Curbed' a website featuring real estate news from the Big Apple. Here is a little excerpt:

From the classifieds:

RENT YOUR 3x3 foot SQUARE!!! $600

I am looking for 3 people (who will have separate shifts to share the space) to rent out my 'space' in my apartment. It's a 3x3 foot square which includes a pillow and a bucket. You do not have access to the apartment; however, I will allow you to walk from the door to your 'area' in a straight line. You're 'space' will be outlined by NEON Duct-tape on the floor!

The shifts are as follows:
one person from 9am to 5 pm, one person from 5pm to 1 am, and 1am to 9am. No overlapping as an overage charge will be placed on your rent. This is the right kind of deal for a student with a useless major (English. Drama, Pottery) or an actor who has no potential and will probably never make it, but lives off of daddy's trust fund.




There are about 4 of these 'squares' in my apartment, Will go FAST, REPLY ASAP, to MOVE IN ASAP!

OK so this works out to only about $800.00 per square foot annually?!...Yikes...talk about a hard pitch.

Via Buzzmachine>

:: Max 6:28 PM [+] ::
File this interesting report under the heading 'All the News That's fit to Bury on Page F-22 of the Religion Section':

An Unconventional Convention

Shia Muslims gather in Washington to express their support for the Coalition in Iraq, and ideas for going forward.

BEGINNING THURSDAY NIGHT, May 27, and continuing through Sunday, Washington's Wardman Park Marriott Hotel will host one of the most remarkable events of recent months: the second annual convention of American Shia Muslims, organized by the Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA). The most extraordinary aspect of this convocation, which is expected to draw 5,000 participants, is that a majority who will attend are firm supporters of the Coalition's operations in Iraq.

Via the Blogfather: Instapundit

:: Max 1:01 PM [+] ::
Amid all of the unprecedented and hyperbolic vitriol this election season, it might be good to revisit the contoversial 2000 Presidential election for a refresher course on the Florida recount. Upshot? Bush won...no matter how you hang your chad:

" The unspoken truth of the 2000 election dispute in Florida is always ignored by the left: Gore never led; not on election night, not after any statewide recount, not after adding the votes from county hand recounts, and not even in the exhaustive statewide post-election recounts conducted by the major state and national newspapers (in almost all of which Bush wound up ahead when any consistent method of counting was used.) Pick your method of counting chads, and it doesn't matter. Bush won.

Another myth is that Gore simply wanted all the votes counted. This is absolutely false. Gore lawyers and their supporters attempted to disqualify votes of some military voters overseas, and of absentee voters in several Florida counties. Both groups, not surprisingly, strongly supported Bush.

On the other hand, they tried to create votes that the machines had determined contained no vote for President (the "undervote"), but only in four heavily Democratic counties: Broward, Dade, Palm Beach, and Volusia. In each of these counties, Democratic Party officials would control the hand count of the "undervote." So this was no exercise in civic minded duty - the logic was to find votes for Gore, and cancel votes for Bush.

The left likes to say that the United States Supreme Court gave the election to Bush. They did no such thing. What they did was reverse the Florida Supreme Court's effort to keep on counting until Gore won. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Bush v Gore may not have been a model of jurisprudence, but the left also ignores the fact that the decision to over-rule the Florida Supreme Court was not a 5-4 decision dictated by the five conservative members of the Court, but a 7 to 2 decision. Even two liberals on the Court were offended by the machinations of the Florida court and its creation of a chaotic vote counting system for the "undervotes".

This is a classic American Thinker essay by Richard A. Baehr. As they say, RTWT.

Update: In the weeks preceeding the election, look for MSM to dust-off all of the hanging-chad video footage and replay it ad nauseum with the clear implication that the last election was stolen by Bush. Also, look for Algore to be color (?!) commentator on at least one of the alphabet channels on election night.

:: Max 12:21 PM [+] ::
Roger Simon points us to Claudia Rosett's report on the continuing 'mother of all coverups'; The UN Oil for Food scandal:

" There has also been the harassment recently of a British adviser to the IGC, Claude Hankes-Drielsma. This past February, Hankes-Drielsma lined up KPMG International, an accounting firm, together with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, a law firm, to carry out an audit of Oil-for-Food for the IGC. He testified before Congress last month that the KPMG investigation "is expected to demonstrate the clear link between those countries which were quite ready to support Saddam Hussein's regime for their own financial benefit, at the expense of the Iraqi people, and those that opposed the strict application of sanctions and the overthrow of Saddam." (Security Council members France, Russia and China come to mind.)

Last Thursday, the same day as the raid on Chalabi, an as-yet unidentified person hacked into Hankes-Drielsma's computer and deleted all the files, as Hankes-Drielsma recounted to me in a phone interview. The computer expert called in to cope with damage "said he'd never seen anything quite like it. They deleted even the backup files," says Hankes-Drielsma. Asked if he has been physically threatened as well, Hankes-Drielsma, says, "No comment."

Can someone explain to me why hard working taxpayers are funding this brutal dictator's Country Club? The real tragedy here is that it looks like the current administration is as reluctant to investigate this scandal as Kofi Annan! And it's pretty obvious why CNN isn't interested in attempting to pry the lid off this sordid cockroach-motel. As it appears now, the sheer scope and scale of this corruption is simply beyond comprehension; everybody, including the press, had an interest in this bloody arrangement.

By the way...did you know that the UN is suffering a serious financial crisis? Make your donation here.

:: Max 10:27 AM [+] ::
:: Thursday, May 27, 2004 ::
Hinderaker Fisks Gore's...umm..tedious and nonlinear hortatory speech over at Powerline:

"Liberals hate America. They never admit it, but it's true. Here is a small but revealing moment in Gore's hysterical tirade that shows, I think, what he really believes:

[Speaking of torture] "We all know these things, and we need not reassure ourselves and should not congratulate ourselves that our society is less cruel than some others, although it is worth noting that there are many that are less cruel than ours."

Got that? America is "less cruel than some," but "more cruel than many." We just need to apologize for our errors, bow our heads in submission, and take instruction from the majority of nations in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America who are so well qualified to give us lessons in the avoidance of cruelty. If you believe this, you may as well stop reading; you are a hard-core Kerry voter."

Looks to me like Dean sneezed and Gore caught dementia.

:: Max 9:50 PM [+] ::
You're Either With Us or You're DEAD:

"This enemy don't want to indulge himself in a productive talk, he never show himself in public except when he's loaded with explosives and stern desire to kill as many people as possible regardless of their religion, ethnicity and nationality. His main goal is of course destruction of the western civilization, but he wouldn't care if it involved taking the lives of even "Muslim brothers" during the course, as it's shown in Iraq. He says it frankly, "you're either with me or against me" it was his choice in the first place not ours. Those who don't believe in this will pay dearly, not at the hands of the Americans, for sure but at the hands of the terrorists whom they're appeasing.

There's no place in between in this war and that's because of the nature of the enemy. That's why I was never intimidated by the American administration's speech. I see it as the closest thing to reality and I greatly commend the wisdom and courage of the other coalition countries that decide to join the US by benefiting from the experience of the others."

Fascinating post from Iraqi blogger Iraq the Model. (emphasis mine)

:: Max 3:55 PM [+] ::
Conservative Blogging From Hollywood?!:

"Unlike most Americans, Peter's seen the rise of Islamofascism and its defenders up close and personal. He was in London when, two days after Sept. 11, the American ambassador was reduced to tears on the BBC political program "Question Time" by jeers from panelists and audience members, who suggested that America got what it deserved because of its support for Israel.

Even in England, though, it seemed a little tasteless to be so obviously anti-American while the Twin Towers were still smoldering. The Daily Mail described the "Question Time" show in a headline as "The Day the BBC Shamed Britain." One particularly rancorous audience member, a young headscarf-covered British Muslim woman, responded that she was being unfairly criticized for her tone because "I am a 'brownie.'"

A visit to Cathy's World is like...I don't quite know what it's like. If you haven't been there yet, by all means, check it out.

:: Max 3:14 PM [+] ::
"Government regulation of media. Government regulation of media. Government regulation of media."

"Government regulation of media is what Iran, China, North Korea, Cuba, and Saudi Arabia do -- not America. Listen to him -- he would have government regulate our news and entertainment. He's a friggin' ayatollah."

That Ashcroft is such an idi...wait a minute it's not Ashcroft?!...it's a Democrat?!!

Jeff Jarvis is all over it.

:: Max 2:55 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 ::
Wretchard does a terrific job with the NYT WMD debacle:

The problem with the media is it cannot accurately keep track of the facts. It is not institutionally equipped to grade the reliability of information brought to its front pages. It has no organized method of collaterally confirming stories based on sources that are unlikely to collude. It has no analysis cells to follow a story and continuously reevaluate the reliability of initial information based on subsequent developments

I happen to agree that had MSM been on top of the WMD issue the war in Iraq probably wouldn't have happened...isn't that the subtext Of the NYT's plea? It's good of them to do this...really, it is.

:: Max 11:52 PM [+] ::
:: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 ::
Micromedia is Big Media

At least according to this guy:

Three powerful trends are converging that may soon drain popular columnists and even cartoonists nearing retirement age away from mainstream outlets to micro-media, such as Weblogs.

For one, journalists are getting grumpier. Pew Research's survey of American journalists, released yesterday, reported that journalists are increasingly feeling that big media financial pressures are hurting the quality of news coverage. The percentage of national journalists surveyed by Pew who say that bottom-line financial pressures are hurting coverage was 66 percent this year, compared with about 40 percent in 1995.

Actually, this makes perfect sense when you realize MSM needs the talent more than the talent needs MSM.

Via BuzzMachine

:: Max 11:01 PM [+] ::
Radical feminist wonders if the new left is has been brainwashed:

Something has gone very wrong in America among its Thinking Classes who hate the very country that allows them to publicly criticize its policies and who love those countries in which dissent is punished by torture and execution. Stalinism, Hitlerism, totalitarianism--long nurtured by the former Soviet Union through both the United Nations, the Arab League, and the PLO--are living and breathing among our intellectuals, academics, and left-liberal media. American intellectuals also slavishly follow the lead of their European counterparts.

As a psychologist, I must ask: are our intellectuals brainwashed? What cult has done this to them? How might they be de-programmed? Are such accomplished and privileged adults still angry at their parents, spouses, or employers or are they angry at themselves for having failed to "overthrow capitalism" in their lifetime? If so, do they think that we all deserve to die for their failure? Do they honestly believe that the jihadists will provide the socialist or feminist Paradise for which they long?

It's a nice little essay. As they say, RTWT>

:: Max 2:59 PM [+] ::
From their mouths to Gods ears:

I had to leave Iraq because I didn't want to be one of Saddam's slaves. After so many years, I'm back to my country and I saw that people are not as nervous as they used to be. I saw hope in their eyes despite the security problems. All I have to say to our Arab brothers is,"We are practicing democracy. You keep enjoying dictatorship"
Ilham Hussain-Baghdad.

There's more over at Iraq the Model.

:: Max 2:10 PM [+] ::
The Statist Meme

Robert Clayton Dean has some really interesting comments on the Fourth Estate:

The media propagated the statist meme because it was both easy and it elevated them to the degree that centralized media is parasitic (or perhaps symbiotic) with a centralized state.

The comments come just as yet another survey is released demonstrating that the denizens of American newsrooms are significantly more "liberal" (in the newfangled sense of the term, the one where the jackboot is made by Birkenstock) than the general public. Perhaps the best illustration of the whole dynamic is that a survey showing the media is significantly more hostile to President Bush than the general public went out under the title Press Going Too Easy on Bush.

You can't make this stuff up. Now, I certainly have my beefs with the current President, but the self-appointed Fourth Estate has really gotten up my nose lately. They could play an important role in society, as a necessary feedback mechanism, but they have largely abrogated that role, in my view. Thank goodness that a new, distributed feedback mechanism is emerging in the form of the blogosphere.

Hop over to Samizdata and check it out.

:: Max 12:24 PM [+] ::
Physician; Heal Thyself

Virginia Postrel points us to Weintraub for one physician's solution to the health-care debacle: divest herself from "every insurance contract".

Dr. Marcy Zwelling-Aamot is sick of being told how to care for her patients. So the Los Alamitos physician - and president of the Los Angeles County Medical Society - says that as of July 1, she will no longer be working with health insurance companies.
"I am divesting myself of every insurance contract," said Zwelling-Aamot, an internist. "I can offer better care less expensively to my patients. I have a list, a waiting list, and I haven't even started advertising yet."

RTWT> (read the whole thing)

:: Max 11:34 AM [+] ::
Fakes And The Faking Fakers Who Fake Them

Jason's not taking it anymore and he's naming names:

"Essentially, it looks like they're quoting each other, or some apocryphal Q source material. They're not quoting General Mattis. They didn't even show up at the press conference, and they didn't bother to get a transcript or listen to the tape. But all these reporters are passing their crap off as if they were right from the source material.

Absolutely, completely pathetic.

If this is what passes for news coverage, then they ought to fire their reporters and hire some boy scouts to write for them. At least they'll be honest."

It's typical garbage like this that has eyeballs and advertising dollars moving to the world-wide-web. I just thank God for people like Jason and Glenn Reynolds for holding their friggin' feet to the fire.

:: Max 9:25 AM [+] ::
Never forget that freedom is a tenuous propostition at best...epecially if you happen to be Polish. Ever heard of Pulaski Day? Wonder why Australia's highest peak is named Mt Kosciusko? A guy named Arthur Chrenkoff has the answers:

There is an old Polish motto that says "For your freedom and ours." Many who live in advanced Western societies take their security and prosperity for granted. Poles, who've experienced so little of either over the past two centuries, are much more aware of how precious and precarious freedom is. They also understand that freedom is indivisible; that increasing it even in the remotest corner of the world enriches the whole of humanity. And so, for the past 250 years, Polish emigres and exiles have been involved in many a struggle for independence and liberty around the world – fighting for "your freedom" if they weren't always able to fight for theirs.

RTWT (Read The Whole Thing)

:: Max 8:01 AM [+] ::
:: Monday, May 24, 2004 ::
American woman marries Iranian man. They move to Iran where the woman boostraps a blog called View from Iran: 'Two partners, four nationalities, 2 religions, opposing politics, several cultures, and a digital camera...'

Via Roger L. Simon

:: Max 3:11 PM [+] ::
This..umm...anti Bush rally might have been worth attending....no I'm not kidding! Particularly if you had the panty concession.

From Florida Cracker via Tim Blair

:: Max 11:12 AM [+] ::
China and America: Siamese Twins?

Check out Simon World for a glimpse into China's economic outlook and how changes there might affect the global economy:

"We are at the top of the boom and China's banks have up to 50% of assets as bad loans. Imagine what they'll be like if the economy turns."

:: Max 9:28 AM [+] ::
Oxblog posts a revealing Fox News opinion poll. Question:

For you and your family, does it feel like the economy is getting better or worse?

BetterWorseSameNot Sure
All31% 49% 17% 3%
Dems11% 72% 14% 3%

If it were raining gold bullion the democrats would blame Bush (and then call for a Special Commission to investigate).

:: Max 7:13 AM [+] ::
:: Sunday, May 23, 2004 ::
Must Read

Yet another brilliant essay by the inimitable Victor Davis Hanson:

"We might have pointed out that the United Nations has done little to address world terrorism, less to stop mass murder in Bosnia, Rwanda, or Iraq, and nothing to remove the heinous Taliban or Saddam. Somehow an American statesman is more likely to be seen apologizing for sexual humiliation in an Iraqi prison than explaining to the world how the Oil for Food scandal robbed thousands of poor and hungry Iraqis of daily sustenance. Halliburton, under public contract and constant scrutiny to rebuild Iraq, is more likely to be the butt of world opprobrium than a Swiss multinational, which with Kojo Anan's help, robbed the poor to pay Saddam."

Read the whole thing.

:: Max 10:21 PM [+] ::
True Story:

I have this friend who was, at one time, head of sales and marketing for a big regional utility. Over a couple of beers, we had a conversation about global warming and he was lamenting the fact that to create electrical energy, massive amounts of coal are required. He described the near continuous streams of rail-cars loaded with coal that coal-fired plants burn, day-in-day-out, to generate enough power for an average sized city. He told me about the vast strip-pits where they mine the coal. He told me about the 120 million metric tons of the fly-ash by-product of coal burning and the resultant caustic slurry pits 'as far as the eye could see'. He told me about the C02 emmisions from coal-fired power plants that scientists think cause changes in our atmosphere. 'All in all' he said, 'coal-fired plants are just an environmental nightmare'.

Then he told me about nucear power generation. He told me that someday, he would take me fishing in one of the ponds at a nuclear plant. He said that the water in the cooling ponds was completely safe and that you could drink it (if you weren't too concerned about the normal bacteria found in any pond). He told me that nuclear power produces almost no C02 emissions.

This story is interesting only because my friend is a very well-connected liberal. Several years after we had this conversation, my friend resigned his lucrative position because he was so opposed to the environmental consequences of coal-burning power plants. He told me nuclear power was our only hope.

Interestingly, this environmentalist seems to agree.

:: Max 8:50 PM [+] ::
"I have sworn... eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man" (Thomas Jefferson).

Check out 'Big-Trunk's' Powerline post On Tyranny.

So buy the book and put it on the shelf right next to your copy of The Prince.

:: Max 8:09 PM [+] ::
This is why bloggers are making such a huge difference in our accessibility to the news. Tim Blair points us to Mark Steyn and "a story no American news organization thought worth covering last week".

:: Max 7:57 PM [+] ::
I had to turn Tim Russert off this morning. Thought I would blog about it but Mitch beat me to it.

:: Max 11:18 AM [+] ::
:: Saturday, May 22, 2004 ::
Lileks weighs in on Senator Fritz Hollings' controversial column:

"Listening to a radio host discuss this column by Fritz Hollings. What caused the war with Iraq? Simple! Charles Krauthammer used his super-powerful Jew Beams to cloud the minds of hapless pliable goyim. Then Bush realized he could win reelection by getting that overwhelming number of Jewish voters.

I know this sounds naive, but I still expect better from Senators. Better writing, better thinking. But I am coming to believe that the Senate is one of the biggest dunce-clubs around."

James Lileks deserves some kind of special blog-award for writing like this...go there now.

:: Max 12:28 AM [+] ::
:: Friday, May 21, 2004 ::
The following offer appeared in my email this morning:

"A New Way To Get The News You Want!

Digital Delivery is here!

As a registered KansasCity.com user, you'll be happy to know you can now get on-the-spot delivery of The Kansas City Star - no matter where you live or where you go!

Sign up for Digital Delivery today to download an exact replica of The Kansas City Star to your PC every morning...That's all the award-winning news, sports and everything else The Star offers - for less than $10 a month!"

"Oh--My--God Marge--wake up Granpa!...Digital Delivery Is Here! No...I'm not kidding...and it's only $10.00 per month! I'll bet they even have that new-fangled hypertext thingy!"

The Star is so out of touch it's scandlous. Like I really need an 'on-the-spot--exact replica' of a fish wrapper 'no matter where (I) live or where (I) go!'

:: Max 10:57 PM [+] ::
One Australian gets it. Bravo

:: Max 10:40 PM [+] ::
Psst...wanna buy a liberal talk-radio show?

:: Max 9:38 PM [+] ::
Master Iraqi blogger Salam Pax: victim of Blog burnout. Maybe now he'll get a real job...unbelievable.

Hat tip to Tim and Glenn for staying on his trail.

:: Max 9:26 PM [+] ::
:: Wednesday, May 19, 2004 ::
Blog Rollout!

My first post:

Prairie Fire is an executive summary of some of the most notable pundits on the web.

Although this site has a decidedly conservative tilt, ideologues of the Limbaugh wing of the Republican Party will be just as disappointed as hard-core, Kennedy liberals at the lack of incendiary rhetoric found here. Rather, they will find surprising links to 'the rest of the story'; the critical information you sense is missing from 'big media' including NPR, PBS, The New York Times and all of the increasingly irrelevant alphabet channels.

If you are new to web-logs (blogs), you have an interesting journey ahead. Many, if not all blogs are published and maintained by individuals rather than institutions and are even becoming a powerful online tool for commerce.

In the political realm, weblogs act in concert forming an entirely new kind of journalism, free from the agendized control that has become so gratuitously prevalent in the old media. Although weblogs are unconstrained by traditional editorial oversight, the 'blogosphere' itself serves to regulate the reliability of online content through instantaneous, often harsh, feedback. This is possibly the most compelling aspect of web-logging; autocorrection at near lightspeed and it is as immensely humbling as it is empowering.

Also included here are quick-links to breaking news, weather, business, science/technology and a special section, The Sandbox, devoted to bloggers on the ground in Iraq and elsewhere in the middle east.

The links on your left are your gateway to this new media. As The Blogfather would say: "just keep clicking".

Prairie Fire is published in Kansas City, Missouri.

:: Max 2:08 PM [+] ::

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