Friday, May 25, 2007

DON'T March on Washington, They're Home! Camp out on Congressmen's Front Lawns
A Memorial Day Prayer
Guest Perspective/Ralph Lopez

I'm writing this, like many of us, harboring disgust; disgust at the Democratic leadership of course, disgust at the MoveOn people for backing the initial compromise that led to this cave-in, disgust at our own helplessness in forcing our congressmen to act like a real opposition to end, in Studs Terkel's words, this "incredibly obscene war." Which every day is earning us more hatred and taking resources from the task at hand in Afghanistan, and northern Pakistan.

A part of me is even mad at the guys who, after March 2003, signed up for getting themselves killed. Naive enough to believe a filthy liar like George W. Bush when he said Iraq was somehow related to 9/11, and we had to take the fight to the enemy. Bush, who let bin Laden escape at Tora Bora when he could have killed him, so bin Laden could kill another day. Whose Vice President Dick Cheney, did business with Saddam president as recently as 1998, through Halliburton.

I'm tired of getting teary when I read about another of their funerals, their mothers screaming or collapsing as my mother would have, had she had to bury me before my life ever really began. How evil this all is. Then I think: What if I had been held, as a matter of life or death, to all the decisions I made when I was 20 or 21? I'd be in real trouble. The fact remains: These are my American brothers, and I love them and don't want any more of them to die in Iraq.

The Democrats' excuse is they don't have a veto-proof majority. But it doesn't take a veto-proof majority to start the investigation of the 360 tons of lost high explosives in Iraq back in 2004 that are still killing the troops today.

An investigation that would weaken Bush's political position so much he would have to be the one to compromise. It's disgusting to see the Democrats weak and cowed by threats that they could be accused of "not supporting the troops." It makes you wonder what the NSA has found on these guys. That they resist kicking and screaming from going into the battle. I'm dead serious. Bush must have the mistress and male prostitute tapes on these congressmen all wrapped up, for them to let him sneer and preen and strut like a man who holds all the cards.

The press keeps saying there was "a bruising struggle" over the Iraq veto fight. Are you kidding me? They didn't even break a sweat.

Congress is home for the week beginning now until June 4. It's important to not give them a moment's peace, and at the same time to give them a clear idea of what we expect. Once again, a page from the Republican playbook.

When they came after Clinton from minority standing they hammered and hammered at many variations of thong underwear, until his position was so weak he couldn't proceed with his admittedly modest, centrist agenda. That's how you play, when you play to win. Three hundred and sixty tons of HMX high explosives, one pound of which can turn over a tank, is considerably more serious than thong underwear.

This constant reminder of incompetence or worse would cut the Republicans off at the knees when they try accusations of not supporting the troops. Not securing the HMX, which the administration knew of, and generals were begging him to secure, was like "invading the US for [weapons of mass destruction] and not securing Los Alamos Laboratory" in the words of Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project.

Someone has to camp out on each of these congressmen's front lawns. If they throw you off, the sidewalk is public property. But remember, print out "The Democratic Offensive That Wasn't") and hand it to everyone you see, even the cops. Ralph Nader said we must perfect the art of "buttonholing" them, must another page from the Right Wing. Whether they are in church, at a picnic, trying to have a cup of coffee, anywhere, hand them the print-out, so they can't play dumb, and tell them THIS is what you expect. We did their work for them.

All they have to do is follow the plan. If not, start a search committee for who's going to run against them in the primary, even if it's years away. Start watching who they show up with in restaurants in D.C. Maybe that's the mistress.

Why bother? Because you are paying them. If your cellphone company sold you a lemon and you were stuck, wouldn't you go and scream at whomever sold it to you? Just because it was the right thing to do and they deserved it? Do you like the tax bite that comes out of your pay every week? Because that's the money that pays these guys to represent you.

Freedom isn't free. If we think it's time-consuming to give these guys a week of hell, next week, as we are all barely making ends meet, remember that Fort Ticonderoga was held in freezing winters by Americans whom, for footwear, had their feet wrapped up in rags. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Who is the first to start "Camp Casey, MyTown, USA"?

In last week's Annapolis speech Bush again beat the horse to death that there are 'still people who want to attack us, who want to harm us.' Um, we know that, George. But you DAMNED well ain't protecting us. You're making it worse.

If, by the more than 3,400 American deaths in Iraq, we have been shaken to the core from the post-9/11 fear paralysis which caused us to blindly follow anyone who promised safety, in the process overturning the Constitution, and if, through this, the politics of pure fear are uprooted, the Constitution saved, and the constitutional republic restored, then those deaths were not in vain, and the gift, in life's strange way, is that which they were fighting for in the first place.

Ralph Lopez is a former state Rep. and state Senate candidate from Cambridge, Mass. and author of "American Dream." He also writes his own blog, Ralph Lopez World.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Top 30 Noise Chart June
Reporting stations: WAAF, WBCN, WFNX, WMBR, WMFO, WTCC, WZBC

1. Shadows Fall – Threads of Life
1. Dinosaur Jr. – Beyond
3. Polyethylene – What Goes on Inside Houses
4. The Bags – Mount Rockmore
5. The Luxury – This is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things
6. Cheater Pint – “Control Freak”
7. The Everyday Visuals – Things Will Look Up
8. The Glass Set – Something Unknown
9. Los Wonder Twins Del Rap – Feast of Steven
10. Don Lennon – Radical
11. Bang Camaro – Bang Camaro
12. Tiger Saw – Tigers on Fire
13. The Underpainting – The Underpainting
14. Spouse – Relocation Tactics
15. Auto Interiors – Let’s Agree to Deceive Our Best Friends
16. Black Fortress of Opium – Black Fortress of Opium
17. The Charms – Strange Magic
18. Hooray for Earth – Hooray for Earth
19. The Vinyl Skyway – From Telegraph Hill
20. The Appreciation Post – Brighter Sides
21. Christians and Lions – More Songs for Dreamsleepers
22. Girls Guns & Glory – Pretty Little Wrecking Ball
23. Hands and Knees – Hands and Knees
24. Mystery Tramps – Cure for the Common Misconception
25. Stephen Brodsky’s Octave Museum – The Octave Museum
26. Reports – Reports
27. The Prime Movers – Back in Line
28. The Winterpills – The Light Divides
29. Willard Grant Conspiracy – let it roll
30. Pernice Brothers – Live a Little

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Off ...
Politizine will be off this weekend. See you again on Sunday.
Waking up to this ...
Makes me wonder about a lot: ["Book Excerpt: The Assault on Reason"].
The Web is all abuzz about a potential Al Gore candidacy and actually has been for years. And, I think it would be interesting too, especially with the current field.
But after reading this excerpt, I wonder about two things: 1) Is this really the platform he would run on, and 2) As I have said before, where the hell was this guy in 1999?
Had Gore said ANY of these things in 1999 - not all, just a few - he probably would not have lost the election. Well, alright, he really didn't lose the election in 2000, we all know that the Supreme Court pretty much stole it from him. But most of you probably get the point I am trying to make here. The excerpt is almost a religious sermon about our declining value system which is something most conservatives have been complaining about for years. Just throw in a few dead babies/fetuses here, and a dash of brimstone and fire about gay love over there, and poof, Gore is holding a old fashion religious revival.

$3.05 a gallon
That's what I paid for gas yesterday morning in Massachusetts. It is interesting that prices remained high even after many of us participated in the May 15 Don't Buy Gas Protest which did not lead to lower gas prices, as hoped and predicted. I think this is the first time, maybe the second time, in which I have paid $3 a gallon for gasoline.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Nice guys finish ...

Congratulations to Eric Moskowitz who leaves The Concord Monitor this week to work at The Boston Globe. Moskowitz will be covering local news at the Globe, according to his co-authored "Capital Beat" column published in Sunday's Monitor.
It is interesting that the Globe would be hiring any reporters after slashing so much payroll and offering buyouts left and right. Although, Moskowitz probably won't be making as much as most of the buyout folks were making, so it is probably a net win. In addition, the Globe needs reporters, so they will continue to hire them, despite saying they are strapped.
Moskowitz has always been commended for being a nice guy. Some in Concord circles have questioned whether or not he has the guts for real, serious reporting. But in the four years he's been here, we've seen it glimmer every once in a while in the pages of the Monitor. And, yeah, he is a nice guy.
But before he goes, two quick exit notes and some free advice, from someone who lived, worked and played politics and media in Boston for almost 18 years:
1) When supposed "disgruntled" employees come to you with information about potential scandals, misuse of funds, or conflicts of interests, ignore your editors and investigate the story, even on your own time. You never know what motives your editors will have for killing the story. And, yeah, they will have motives.
Five words for you: Catholic priest sex-abuse scandal. The Globe editors listened to corrupt individuals within the church and buried this story much to the chagrin of the reporters. The Boston Phoenix's Kristine Lombardi was actually the first reporter to break the story, way before the Globe people even looked at it. After the Globe started sniffing around, then-Cardinal Bernard Law met with the editors and attacked the abuse victims and the story was squashed. Thank God, truly, Thank God for the Phoenix, which continued to produce stories about the problems until the Globe could no longer listen to Law or hold back the story. The stories resulted in some truly evil people being banished from the church. In the end, the reporters at the Globe didn't give up on the story even though their editors did. Later, they would get the grand prize, a Pulitzer, for their coverage and all the glory for the story even though they weren't the first ones to break it.
2) When a Boston area politician - whether it is Mayor Tom Menino, good guy Councilor Stephen Murphy, Somerville Mayor Joe Curtone, or even parking delinquent District Councilor Mike Ross - says there is no story in whatever you are asking them about, there IS a story. Trust me, I'm speaking from experience here. Politicians lie and they're experts at it in Boston. More often than not, it's in their fiber. It's the big time, but they will chew you up and spit you out as fast as you arrive if you aren't prepared. Don't get caught up in that whole "we all want to be friends" crap that pollutes Concord media and politics right now. You aren't their friends: You're the watchdog. There are no friends in Boston, just backstabbers and one-uppers who are trying to keep their heads above water. They will climb all over you in order to keep getting air. Don't let them use you. And remember: A good reporter never gives up a story, no matter what anyone says. Remember that and you will do great things there. Best of luck.

There is no New Boston, part, whatever

In continuing to point out the fact that there really is no New Boston, look at yesterday's special election results from District 2, the Southie/South End city council district, where Southie resident and City Hall insider Bill Linehan beat openly out South End resident Susan Passoni: ["City Hall veteran to succeed Kelly"]. It should, however, be noted that 52.6 to 46.5 [that has to be a typo, they don't add up to 100 percent] is hardly a landslide. As Passoni says, she'll look at the election data and make some decisions in the future about November. And, frankly, she should. A higher turnout, especially in a city-wide race, could have boosted her over the top.
In one other nail into the progressives' coffin, Jack Connolly defeated Marty Martinez for the special election at-large seat in Somerville, my other old stomping grounds. Martinez was the darling of progressives there; Connolly is Old Somerville [or Sum-ah-villz, as I like to call it]. The seat was vacated when Denise Provost was elected to the State House of Representatives. There was some pretty good press coverage on this one in the Somerville Journal and the Somerville News online, if anyone wants to check it out.

Update: Chris Lovett, of NNN in Boston, has this post on the District 2 race, including the fact that Eddie Flynn, ex-Mayor Ray Flynn's son, plans on a second run for the District 2 seat: ["District 2: One Decided; Two Undecided"]. I believe it will be Eddie's fourth run at a council seat.

Update 2: I failed to mention what a good guy Lovett is and how impressive his Civic Boston site is. NNN is a great local news channel produced by cable access funds. It's too bad we don't have that quality of cable access service here in New Hampshire. Nice job, Chris!

More fallout from the GOP debate

Exclusively, the Rep. Ron Paul edition. Check out some of these links:
["Watch the Do-nut, not the hole"]
["Paul victor-apparent of second straight GOP debate ..."]
["Thoughts on tonights Foxnews debate"] [sic]
["Who Won the GOP Debate?"]
Over at Daily Kos, they offered another post-debate poll: "Who did the best job of winning Republican primary votes (remembering that you, in all probability, do not think like a Republican primary voter)." Sure, it's a trick question.
Here are the results, with 4,260 voting: Paul, listed twice, 35 combined percent, Rudy 14, "Newt, Thompson (Fred div.), misc." 11, Mitt 11, Huckabee 7, Gilmore "(the Girl who didn't make the series finale tonight)" 6, McCain 5, Tancredo 3, Hunter 1, Thompson "Tommy division" 1.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Supposed clutter

As I've said before, I haven't decided which presidential candidate I am going to vote for. It's too early in the process and, frankly, I want to see what happens as the campaign goes along. That is the point of being a political junkie, after all, to watch the process and then decide who to vote for at the last minute.
But the other part of this is that each and every voter should have the opportunity to hear from all the candidates running or at least the serious ones who are going to make it on enough primary ballots to have the potential to win the nomination.
However, in this ever impatient media and political punditry world in which we live in, it seems as though some people don't want the people to hear from all the candidates. And it is not a new phenomenon. It has happened since probably 1992, when the word "electable" and "electability" first seemed to enter the news media lexicon.
At that time, those terms were used to reference former California Gov. Jerry Brown's insurgent campaign for the presidency. Brown hawked his campaign with an 800 number - standard operating procedure today - and limited his contributions to $100. Therefore, he was not considered serious. In the end, Brown was the only man left standing against Bill Clinton in the later primaries. And I've always contended that had Paul Tsongas not jumped back in the race to deflect votes from Brown late in the race, the We, the People campaign might have forced a brokered convention that year.
In virtually every election cycle since 1992, when Americans put themselves up for review by the voters for any kind of office, a tier system is created by the media to separate the "electable" from the rest of the field. The thinking is that, Well, the lower tier candidates can't win, so they shouldn't be included in the debates. But, no matter if there are three candidates or 30 candidates in a race or included in debates, there is only going to be one winner, and a whole bunch of losers. So, the process of winnowing down the number of people who participate in the debate is pretty foolish.
Currently, there are 10 serious Republicans running and eight serious Democrats running for president. In New Hampshire and Iowa, there will be others running. But for the most part, these are the most serious candidates. There have been a bunch of forums and a few debates and some people have complained that the debate formats haven't allowed the candidates enough time to respond to serious questions. They also blame the numerous candidates on the stage as the reason for this problem. But the blame should be squarely placed on the debate organizers, not the number of candidates. So far, MSNBC and FoxNews, which held a GOP debate tonight, have been the two entities which have offered time for debates. We should be grateful to them for putting these debates together so early in the process. But why just 90 minutes? Why not two hours or three? Give the candidates 2 minute opening and closing statements to make their points and then go after them with the 30 and 60 second answers for questions. Have a short break in between to let the candidates refocus and allow comment from the hosts, not unlike a chess match or something. Voting is, after all, a civic duty. It isn't a movie or a lineup of prime time sitcoms. If it takes time for eight or 10 candidates to answer questions, then give them the time. Don't take away choices from the American people.

But that's just what some are suggesting and they've got their targets squarely on former Alaskan Sen. Mike Gravel. Since the first Democratic debate, Gravel's campaign has gotten a bunch of press, Internet support, and even donations. Both Democrat and independent voters want him in the race. Here is one of those recent pieces published today in the Washington Post via the Concord Monitor: ["Gravel brings the clutter"].
But is Gravel really clutter? Is he clutter, especially compared to some of the other candidates? Earlier today, the May edition of the Daily Kos Straw Poll was put up and after almost 17,000 votes, Gravel had more votes than more "serious" candidates like Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, and Dennis Kucinich. Gravel had more than three times the amount that Biden and Dodd received. And, he had more than Biden and Dodd combined. So, among the rank-and-file Democrats - not the cats who dole out the checks, but the actual voters - Gravel has more support than two middle tier candidates like Biden and Dodd [Edwards led the poll with 39 percent, Obama had 24 percent, Richardson had 8, and Hillary had 6]. In other words, it is hardly clutter to have Gravel and Kucinich in the race while Biden and Dodd, who also have no chance in hell of winning, are in the race and included in the debates.

Over on the GOP side, it is a similar situation. Ten candidates are on the stage, almost all of them basically saying similar things, if not the same things. Sure, Rep. Ron Paul is making some pretty good points, including accurately putting partial blame for 9-11 exactly where it needs to be: On our government's foreign policy. But beyond Rudy Giuliani saying he is pro choice and Duncan Hunter attacking NAFTA and GATT/WTO, there isn't much difference between the candidates. But who cares? Let them all debate [after tonight's debate, watch for the move to strike Paul from future debates].

Keeping with this same theme, FAIR, the liberal media watchdog group, put together this great collection of quotes which shows how the Democratic lower tier of candidate has been pummeled in the media but the lower tier Republican candidates have been cheered: ["Democratic Excess"]. One has to wonder if it is just the cocktail crowd stuff rearing its ugly head again. And what is all this stuff about the liberal media if the two most liberal candidates running for president - Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich - get hammered by the media?

Update: In the post-debate FoxNews roundup, Sean Hannity attacked Paul for his comments about 9-11 and Paul whacked him right back. After Hannity kept saying that Hussein gassed his own people, Paul made the point back at him: "We gave them the gas, we gave them the gas!" Wow, finally, some facts and realities get into the discourse.
Paul also polled strong with the FoxNews debate audience, leading the field for most of the night before Willard Mitt Romney caught up and passed him by a percentage point or two.
Also, here, a syndicated columnist attacks the clutter issue: ["What's wrong with candidate clutter?"].
Sometime tomorrow, I'll comment on this one and the potential Hagel independent run: ["Bloomberg poised for third-party campaign"].

Sunday, May 13, 2007

New Sitemeter features

More charts and graphs: Sitemeter now converts visitor data into pretty cool bar graphs. Above are some of the data from Politizine over the last 12 months.
One of the cool things about my blog - and other blogs - is that I have a Sitemeter program which gives me a bit of information about some of the people who visit the site. It doesn't give me name, rank and serial number. But, it does give me other information.
For example, if a company has an ID on its ISP address, it identifies the company. It also tells me the time the person visited the site and how many pages they checked out during their visit. If the server is located at a work address, it will tell me that too. If you have Comcast, Verizon, or AT&T, it won't tell me your home address is, but it will tell me a nearby town where your signal was routed too. It's a pretty cool program.
Another one of the neat things about it is that I can see all the people who are goofing off at work, Googling to find about the new Buggati or Tina Fey's scar ... workers at Microsoft, Sara Lee, and IBM [Psst ... your secret is safe with me].
Well now, Sitemeter offers these very cool bar graph charts on the site. So I can look at the data in graph form, as you can see above. Instead of just putting down a bunch of numbers, the visuals really let you see the fluctuation of the site visits. For example, traffic was slower during the summer months but then grew during the fall and winter months. This is probably because people spend less time in front of their computers during the colder temperatures. February is also slower, probably because the month is slightly shorter. A few days can make a difference.
Whether this is critical or not, I don't know, but it seems like most visitors come for a page or two but not to really explore the site extensively. The site has a bunch of regular readers, which is cool. But the bulk of the traffic comes from people Googling specific topics of interest. Which is just fine by me. A very cool new feature.

Computer chess

I admit that I've been a little distracted of late especially since I found out that my new computer has a computer chess program on it. I didn't know it was on there and when I was exploring some of the files on my computer, poof, there it appeared in the games category.
I haven't played chess in a long time. I used to play all the time when I worked at this clothing store in Harvard Square lugging boxes around in the early 1990s. The manager of the store, Dimitri, liked to play, so during lunch hours or when things were super dead, we'd go over to the tobacco shop where they had some tables up in the balcony of the store, and play. He would chain smoke and I would drink juice and enjoy the pipe smoke and hang. Hey, it beat lugging boxes around.
It wasn't like we did it a ton of times but we played enough to get me interested in the game again. And I like playing chess. I'm admittedly lousy at it. I don't learn any of the openings or anything like you're supposed to do. I just move the pieces around on the board and see what I can do without a prepared strategy. Kinda like life. I think that is why Dimitri liked playing with me. I was totally unpredictable at my playing so it would throw him off and he would have to work against the chaos. I would occasionally win. Most often, I would catch him making a stupid move and bam, that was it. The majority of the time, I would say about 80 percent, he would win.
On the computer game, I'm stuck at the 5th level with a 31 percent win/8 percent tie ration, which isn't too bad considering I haven't played in years.
Anyhoo, during most of my down time of late, I've been playing computer chess instead of blogging. I will try and catch up with the blogging later this week.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Okay ...

So, is the latest position on the war for the GOP just posturing or are they going to finally come to their senses and bring the troops home?: ["GOP Senator: Patience on Iraq Is limited"].
Jeez, patience, wow. Tell that to the folks back home. Tell that to the folks in Kansas who have so many troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan that they can't clean the state up after those massive tornadoes this week. Tell that to the families waiting for their loved ones to get home safely.

2008 roundup: Another "Law & Order" star and indie Angus King talk about Unity08: ["PostTalk"]. Biden has this pretty cool head to head site comparing his answers at the recent South Carolina debate to other candidates on the stage: ["Head to Head 08"]. Florida moves its primary way, way up: ["Florida ignores national party threat, sets early primary for Jan. 29"]. Some disillusioned Bush supporters are flocking to Barack Obama, allegedly: ["Republicans defect to the Obama campaign']. MSNBC had a poll on its site after the Reagan Derby Debate the other night and with more than 65,000 responses, Ron Paul swept all categories: ["Vote on the Republican Candidate Debate"].

Strike two for former Bass aide: Oh man, this has gotta suck for Charlie Bass: ["Former Aide Runs Far Afield of Main Street"].

Jesus?: No, not Hey-zeus, this guy claims he's Jesus, yeah, Jesus, the real thing: ["Growing in Grace"].

Hmm ...: The SEC is investigating suspicious trading in the wake of Rupert Murdoch's bid for the WSJ: ["US regulators probe trading in Dow Jones before Murdoch's bid"]. Very interesting.

Shortcuts: Learn about digital filmmaking at these seminars: ["Digital Filmmaking Workshops"]. I just found out that Al Quint continues to publish stuff about punk rock only now, he does it on a blog: ["Suburban Voice"]. You can also download his Podcast here: ["Sonic Overload"].

Yikes: New N.H. Poll Numbers

A new poll out of New Hampshire by SurveyUSA shows Hillary and Romney with pretty solid leads. Romney, who has been mired in third and fourth place for most of the race, has bolted up to 32 percent. This is probably due to a heavy ad schedule and frequent - but short - trips into the Granite State. Giuliani and McCain are virtually tied at 23 and 22, and Fred Thompson, of TV's "Law & Order," who hasn't even announced he is running, at 11. Gingrich has 4, with other candidates drawing 5 collectively and Undecideds coming in at 3.
Over on the Dem side, Hillary has 40, with Obama and Edwards virtually tied at 24 and 22. Other candidates received 10 percent with Undecideds making up 4 percent.
There are some interesting - and not so surprising - details inside SurveyUSA's numbers.
To start, liberal and moderate Republicans are driving Giuliani's numbers, with moderates and conservatives drive Romney's numbers. Twenty six percent of Giuliani supporters and 22 percent of McCain supporters voted for Kerry in 2004. Thirty eight percent of pro-life voters are going with Romney even though the guy was pro choice just a couple of years ago. Thirty seven percent of Romney voters believe global warming is "made-up" while 34 percent are against stem cell research, even though Romney supports it. Forty one percent of labor union supporters are backing Romney, while 36 percent of gun control advocates also support him. Romney's support is across all age groups. Giuliani fared best with younger demos while McCain fare better with 35-49s and 65-pluses.
With the Dems, there are also some interesting assumptions in the poll. Not surprisingly, Clinton held down the most women voters, 46 percent, but also leads with men, at 32. Clinton does best across the political spectrum, drawing 48 percent of conservative Dems and 40 percent of liberal ones. Obama does best with liberal and moderate Dems while Edwards is best with moderates and conservatives. She also draws the bulk of votes of pro-life Dems, 39, and those who think global warming is "made-up," 51. Twenty nine percent of Hillary voters cast votes for Bush in 2004, as did 29 percent of Obama and Edwards voters. Thirty eight percent of Dems who believe in the 2nd Amendment are supporting her even though she is a notorious gun-grabber. Clinton also leads all age brackets, with Obama drawing highest amongst the 18-34 crowd, and Edwards drawing well from the 35-64 crowd.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Debate ratings
This little nugget was posted over at Drudge this morning: FoxNews scored higher ratings than MSNBC during the GOP debate on Thursday. The O'Reilly Factor had more than 2.3 million viewers while the GOP debate had almost 1.8 million viewers. At the same time, CNN had just 599k viewers. FNC's ratings dropped to a little more than 2 million during the 9 p.m. hour. So, more people were watching FoxNews talking heads talk about the GOP debate than were actually watching the debate. You can't make this stuff up.
Contrast that with the Dem debate the week before: Almost 2.3 million people were watching that debate compared to more than 1.5 million people watching "Sell-a-book" & Colmes over on FoxNews. You can't make any huge assumptions about these numbers. I don't think the low GOP numbers are caused because of a dynamic shift in how the American public views the Republican Party. The lower numbers could be because it was on a Thursday night or some other reason. Although, there have been a lot of complaints from Republicans about the "mediocre" field of candidates. It kinda reminds me of what the Democrats went through in 1992.
Twenty years of community radio
Congratulations to my friend "Drugless" Douglas Dinsmoor who celebrates 20 years of community radio on the air later today. Here is the text of his email, including a link to the Webstream:

Hey -

This is kind of a big show for me. It was May 7, 1987 when my trembling voice was first heard cracking over the airwaves, fulfilling my long-held dream of being a DJ.

Saturday will be my 823rd show, and it marks 20 years in community radio. I'm very proud that every single moment of my radio career has been as a volunteer.

It's doesn't happen often in life, but it's been my good fortune that the reality has been even better than the fantasy.

Please tune in and help me celebrate:

Saturday, May 5
89.3 FM to stream the signal

Noon - 3pm MT
2 - 5pm ET

11 - 2pm PT



Thursday, May 3, 2007

Sunday ... er, Thursday night link dump

Well, this was supposed to be a Sunday night link dump but I started it and then, got distracted. So now it's a Thursday night link dump. I haven't done one in awhile so I thought I would take a moment and put together one since I'm doing nothing but watching the stupid television. So here's a bunch of stuff which I thought was worth reading.

First, who needs a record company?: ["The songbird who's outselling Take That with her homemade album"]. This is one of the great things about technology and the good side of the state of the music business. An artist doesn't need a record company anymore. Everything can be done online, without the middle people. Sure, the artist still needs PR - how else do you think this newspaper got the story? But other than that, what else is a record company good for anymore? Crappy radio? Crappy videos? Payola schemes? As Jello Biafra used to sing, "If The Doors or John Lennon were getting started now, the industry wouldn't sign them in a million years." And yet, there they are, staples of the classic rock radio format, playing the same songs over and over and over ...

Flying desserts: Sticking with music for a minute, what happens when the singer of your "famous" punk rock band doesn't want to do the nostalgia/reunion/401k tour crap? Well, you find another singer - or two. Hmm. OK. So, what happens when you're a fan of said band and you aren't happy with this? Umm, well, you plunk down some money for the tickets and you shower the band in Jell-O: ["The 'Dead Kennedys' Get Jello-ed by Axis of Evil"]. This is well worth the six-plus minutes of your time. And while you're there, check out these two other clips of Jello back when he ran for mayor of San Francisco: ["Jello Biafra clip"] and ["Biafra Election News"].

Rush and the Fairness Doctrine: Speaking of You Tube videos, has anyone seen this?: ["Obama the Magic Negro"]. This was put together by Rush Limbaugh contributor, Paul Shanklin, who has done a ton of these over the years, including some pretty hilarious anti-Clinton stuff. However, with all the Imus stuff which went on a few weeks ago, you have to wonder why this is allowed on the air without criticism. Of course, a reintroduction of the Fairness Doctrine, which is badly needed, would change all that: ["Dingell Backs Return of Fairness Doctrine"]. Dingell and others are correct to take this on. It's badly needed. And if reimplemented, folks like Limbaugh and Imus wouldn't have to worry because after three hours of their shilling, someone on the other side of opinion would get three hours to counter their nonsense.

Sunday shows: Media Matters released a report a few weeks ago analyzing the Sunday morning talk shows. In previous reports, they have shown the Sunday show guests to be overwhelmingly conservative. After seeing the report, a number of producers stated that the slant was there because Republicans controlled the House and Senate, and therefore, were in a more influential political position. But guess what? Seven months after the Democrats swept into power, the slant remains: ["If It's Sunday, It's Still Conservative"]. I used to be a regular watcher of "Meet the Press." I often joked that it was my church or, that I couldn't go to church because "Meet the Press" was on at the same time. Of late, probably since after the midterm elections, I haven't watched the program, mostly because I've been doing other things on Sunday mornings. So, I haven't really noticed whether there was a difference or not. The other part of this, of course, is the issue of journalists. I get sick of seeing and hearing the same Washington beltway-types on the roundtable shows. Personally, I don't mind some of the opinions of George Will, David Broder or the insipid Cokie Roberts. But, I would like to see some fresh blood on the programs. This is one of the reasons I prefer to watch the weekday political shows like "Hardball" or even "Scaraborough Country," which has actually been pretty good of late. I would like to see some different political reporters every now and again, not just the same ones, over and over again.

The Death of Internet Radio is coming: ["CRB Denies Appeal of Internet Radio Royalty Rates"]. I'm beginning to wonder if the next step for Internet radio is to go directly to the artists and say, Hey, if you waive your huge royalty fees, we'll play your music on our Internet radio stations. Or, just play indie people who aren't interested - or obsessed - with the fees. I bet there are a lot of cool - and good - bands out there who are interested in the airplay.

Update: It looks like there will be a delay in implementation while the fee structure gets another look: ["Music webcasters' fee increased delayed"].

Other stuff: It looks like some Gore folks are forming a political team after all: ["Gore campaign team assembles in secret"]. It doesn't mean he is running but who knows. More fallout from the Gravel appearance ... in other words, he is getting some much-needed press: ["Mike Gravel: After Debate, Little-Known Democrat Draws a Crowd"]. Rate hikes for small publishers? Maybe: ["Stamp Out the Rate Hike"]. More cool space stuff: ["Potentially Habitable Planet Found"].

They're calling it the Reagan Derby ...

MSNBC's GOP debate was held tonight and they're calling it the Reagan Derby, probably because it was held at the Reagan Library. Interestingly, the debate was co-sponsored by The Web site, an up and coming political news blog. I only caught a quick few minutes of it because it's "Grey Anatomy" night here at the house and I could only catch a bit of it on the commercials. Similar to what Daily Kos did for the Democratic debate, the Drudge Report has a poll going. With more than 8,400 respondents, Giuliani leads with 25 percent, Romney with 24 percent, Thompson 19 percent, Paul 10, McCain and Tancredo had 6, Huckabee and Hunter had 3, Brownback and Gilmore had 2.

Update: Over at Kos, they have a poll: "Who Won/Lost-Least Miserably?" Guess who's winning? Zombie Reagan comes in with 42, Paul 19, Romney 10, Huckabee 8, McCain 6, Giuliani 4, "Newt/Fred Thompson," Tancredo, and Tommy Thompson 2, Brownback, Gilmore, and Hunter 1.

Second update: On the Drudge poll, with 24,500-plus voting, Romney has 32, Giuliani 23, Paul 13, Thompson 10, McCain 6, Tancredo 5, Huckabee and Hunter 3, Brownback and Gilmore 2.

Third update: The Kos poll has Paul at 22, Romney at 12, and Huckabee at 6, and the rest in lower digits. With almost 39,000 voting at Drudge, Romney has 34, Giuliani 22, Paul 14, Thompson 8, and McCain 6, with the rest below that.