Monday, February 20, 2006

President's Day post
It is interesting to ponder the consolidation of these two important holidays in February - Washington's Birthday and Lincoln's Birthday - into one generic "President's Day." Was this an anti-union conspiracy? A way of taking a holiday away from the average working man [or woman]?
In the rage to name everything after Ronald Reagan, where is the "Reagan's Birthday" holiday, along with Washington and Lincoln? Not that I think the guy should get a day of his own but I'm just surprised his fans haven't tried to promote it. You can almost hear how that would go over in the halls of Congress: 'Oh, well, we can't do that, it would go against capitalism, forcing companies to offer a paid holiday on Feb. 6, blah, blah, blah ...' [and what's with the February birthdays?].
Andy Rooney had a great bit on "60 Minutes" last night lamenting that naming the holiday after all the presidents insinuates that they have all been worthy of a holiday. It was a good point; made all the more relevant when you think how great Lincoln was compared to recent batch of boneheads we've had in the Oval Office.

Speaking of presidents, has anyone else been watching this issue of handing over our ports to a company owned for a foreign government, specifically, the UAE ["Democrats plan bill to block Dubai port deal"]? What good is a War on Terror if we are handing over regulation of some of our biggest ports to company which could be potentially infiltrated by terrorists? It almost seems as though the administration is trying to allow a dirty bomb into the country! They are doing nothing about the porous borders; they are doing nothing about trying to heal the problems our nation has with the Muslim world; now, they want to hand over operation of our biggest ports to a strange company owned by an unstable Middle Eastern country? Insane. At least that is what one dad of a 9-11 victim thinks: ["'President's gone insane' - 9/11 dad "].
"'I'm a lifelong Republican and I think the President's gone insane,' said Gadiel, 58, who heads 9/11 Families for a Secure America.
Two of the 19 9/11 hijackers were citizens of Dubai, the Arab emirate whose bid to run ports in New York, New Jersey and four other cities was okayed by the White House even though investigators have found signs that money used to finance terrorism flowed through Dubai banks."
Well, yeah, insane just about nails it, eh? No true conservative and no one in their right mind would allow this to happen. But without checks and balances, without fighting opposition parties, this kind of stuff is bound to happen. Thankfully, some folks seemed to be trying to stop it.

Speaking of the "fighting opposition," here is interesting column by another Nader defender - Bob Koehler, of Tribune Media Services - about his problems with some folks on the Web: ["The Nader Effect: Democrats are chasing ghosts instead of Republicans"]. I especially like this:
"While the ghost of McGovern, who was mauled by Richard Nixon in 1972, is the most deeply ingrained and enfeebling, seeming to guarantee uncritical Democratic support ("we love America, honest") for every cynical Republican military or civil-liberties outrage concocted in the name of national security, the ghost of Nader is the most life-threatening. Its effect is emetic, causing an immediate discharge of rationality among the party faithful at every hint of a challenge from the party's values base. The Nader Effect causes Democrats to upchuck the very medicine that will save it."
Exactly. The medicine is simple: Stand for something. Imagine, that a column entitled "Give Peace a Vote," would garner such madness from those people who propose to be the saviors of the nation? Koehler's offense, of course, was suggesting that someone better could represent the 8th District of Illinois instead of the incumbent Democrat. And, with Democrats like this - she voted for the bankruptcy bill, the estate tax repeal, CAFTA, the AHP bill that guts state healthcare protection laws, the Enron/Halliburton energy bill, the PATRIOT Act, the Real ID Act, the Iraq War, another bloated defense budget, the flag desecration amendment, and the recent leave-no-millionaire-behind "tax relief" bill, according to Independent candidate Bill Scheurer's Web site [] - who needs Republicans?
Plus, why are they eating their own ["Backroom Battles "]? This is the kind of potential candidates the Democrats need:
"Hackett, an Iraq War combat veteran, was hailed last summer as just the kind of “fighting Democrat” the party needed to reinvigorate its base and end its years in the congressional wilderness. After narrowly losing a race for Congress in a lopsidedly Republican district outside Cincinnati last August, the telegenic veteran—famous for dissing President Bush as a “chickenhawk” and “sonuvabitch” while on the stump—was courted heavily by Democratic leaders, including Sens. Charles Schumer and Harry Reid, to take on DeWine. But no sooner did Hackett enter the Senate race last October than Brown announced his candidacy for Senate, reversing an earlier decision he had made to stay out of the race."
Now don't get me wrong, Rep. Sherrod Brown doesn't sound like a bad guy. But why should Schumer and Reid even be involved in this? They are from New York and Nevada, respectively, not Ohio.

Retirement. Once you hit 40, you start thinking about it. You may not be doing much about it, but you are starting to think about it. I worry about it too and not just because I have a very young son and I am wondering about all those things he may need in the future. But, I wonder if I will ever see retirement and whether or not that is such a bad thing.
And, this isn't just about Social Security solvency or beach homes, this is about retirement in general ... the act of not working ... on something. I wonder if I will really ever be able to retire. Not just because I may not have the money to retire, but the fact that I probably won't be able to stop working.
I like working. I like working hard. I always have even when I was doing menial things like washing dishes. There is no indignity in work and the more fulfilling, the better. Plus, what can you do in retirement when you have done almost everything you've ever wanted? Can you spend the whole rest of your life living on a beach catching up on your reading? I go stir crazy after a week away from work. How am I going to handle not working at all?
Anyhow, this whole thread of thought recently came to me after I read this article: ["Retirement age 'should reach 85'"]. Hey, I'm all for working late in life ... but 85? That seems a bit much. I might not fully retire but I don't want to wait until 85! Come on.

2008. Interesting articles in the Sundays this week about 2008: ["Primary buzz is building early"] and this: ["Pols lining up at the gate for 2008"]. As well as this from earlier in the week: ["Conservatives Divided on '08 Candidate"].

Saturday, February 18, 2006

March Noise Magazine Top 30 Chart
Reporting stations: WAAF, WBCN, WFNX, WMBR, WMFO, WTCC

1. Campaign for Real Time – Yes … I Mean, No
2. Compass – Munchy the Bear
3. Galaxie 500 – Peel Sessions
4. Rooftop Suicide Club – Always Like This
5. The Bags – Night of the Corn People [Reissue]
6. Chris Brokaw – incredible love
7. Certainly Sir – Tan
8. The Beatings – Holding on to Hand Grenades
9. Rick Berlin – Me and Van Gogh
10. Chop Chop – Chop Chop
11. Constants – The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril
12. Damone – Out Here All Night EP
13. Karacter – Karacter
14. Mascara – Spell
15. The Dents – Time for Biting
16. The Glass Set – The Glass Set
17. Victory At Sea – All Your Things Are Gone
18. The Curtain Society – Every Corner of the Room
19. The Cyanide Valentine – Let it Rot
20. Digney Fignus – Trouble on the Levee
21. The Hidden – Smash to Ashes
22. Slim Jim and the Mad Cows – homebrewed
23. Tiger Saw – Sing!
24. The Texas Governor – The Experiment
25. The Bleedin Bleedins – Life Without Computers
26. UV Protection – Consumer Material
27. Ad Frank & The Fast East Women – The World’s Best Ex-Boyfriend
28. The Chainletter – Home for Troubled Boys EP
29. Lincoln Conspiracy – “Our Blue Sky Is Not Falling Down”
30. Auto Interiors – Let’s Agree to Deceive Our Best Friends

Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Press releases
In the news business, you get a lot of press releases. It seems unending at times. Sometimes, the press releases are things you can use; other times, it's just some public relations flack trying to get some press. Sometimes, the PR flack doesn't know what he is doing and sends the press release to a strange, abandoned company email account. This separates the wheat from the chaff; and whether a PR rep truly knows about your media company or whether he is sending it out blind to flog the idea.
Anyhow, I got this one earlier today. It isn't something we would necessarily use but being a blogger, I'm intrigued by its findings and concept. Also, a quick Google of "Pierce Atwood LLP" revealed no known articles about the firm and blogging. This leads one to believe that this random press release didn't get much play.

5% of workers polled by Employment Law Alliance say they maintain a blog
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (February 7, 2006) – Web blogs are booming, but the latest survey conducted by the Employment Law Alliance (ELA) is reporting that while millions of workers – perhaps as many as 5% of the American work force -- are maintaining the online personal diaries, only about 15% of employers have specific policies addressing work-related blogging.
Some estimates put the number of workplace bloggers as high as 10 million. And with only a minority of companies regulating blogging at work, the conditions are ripe for disputes if employees use blogs to vent workday frustrations.
“The problem is not that an employer learns in a blog that an employee is dissatisfied, but that the dissatisfaction is made available to an unknown, potentially limitless audience,” says James Erwin, a labor and employment law attorney at Pierce Atwood LLP, a law firm with offices in Portsmouth and Concord, New Hampshire.
Work-related blogging was once thought to be benign, but it is now one of the hottest, and most complex and far-ranging issues in the workplace, according to Stephen J. Hirschfeld, the CEO of the ELA and a partner in the California-based labor and employment firm of Curiale, Dellaverson, Hirschfeld & Kraemer, LLP.
Blog-related issues cover a broad spectrum well beyond concerns by employers over the web-posting of company secrets. For example, can the employer regulate off-duty blogging because they believe the content injures the company’s reputation, is embarrassing to a company, or disparages a company’s products, management or customers?
“An employer does not want to intrude into an employee’s private life, but a company needs to protect its reputation for the sake of the entire workforce and the future of the business,” adds Erwin.
Erwin recommends all employers include a blogging policy in company handbooks, detailing what is and is not allowed and the consequences for violation. The practice of firing a worker for what is deemed inappropriate blogging even has its own name, doocing (named for a fired worker who maintains the website).

The telephone poll of 1,000 adults, with a confidence interval of +/- 4%, was conducted over the weekend of January 22, 2006. Besides finding that 5% of American workers maintain personal blogs and that only 15% of their employers have a policy directly addressing blogging activities, it also revealed that:

• 59% of employees believe employers should be allowed to discipline or terminate workers who post confidential or proprietary information concerning the employer
• 55% think employers should be allowed to discipline or terminate employees who post damaging, embarrassing, negative information about the employer
• 23% support fellow workers being free to post criticism or satire about employers, co-workers, supervisors, customers, or clients without fear of discipline

Of the employees polled who work for a company with a blogging policy:

• 62% say the policy prohibits posting any employer-related information
• 60% say the policy discourages employees from criticizing or making negative comments against the employer
• 58% say the regulations deal with all blogging regardless of content.

Dr. Ted Reed, President of the Reed Group, LLC, a Philadelphia-based research firm and Survey Director for ELA, says the poll is indicative of a steady growth in adult blogging. A 2003 national survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that approximately 2% of American adults who used the Internet maintained a blog. “Based on our current research, we can have as many as 10 million bloggers among the American workforce.”
Pierce Atwood LLP is the ELA member law firm for Maine and New Hampshire. The law firm is the largest based in Northern New England and has more than 120 attorneys who serve regional, national and international clients from offices in Portland and Augusta, Maine. As part of the firm’s continuing growth strategy, Pierce Atwood LLP established a Portsmouth, New Hampshire office in 2001, and expanded further in 2003 when it acquired the well-respected law firm of Sanders & McDermott in Hampton. In December, 2004 the firm opened a Concord, New Hampshire office. For more information about the firm, its attorneys and services, please visit
Contact: Jennifer WhittierPhone: 207-791-1244
The Employment Law Alliance is the world’s largest integrated, global practice network comprised of premier, independent law firms distinguished for their practice in employment and labor law. There are member firms in every jurisdiction in the United States and over 65 countries around the world. For further information, including access to the survey charts and graphs, visit
1,000 days ...
In 1,000 days, there will be another presidential election.