Posts from October 11, 2004

Flashmobs arrive

Flashmobs arrive

: You know that a cultural trend has arrived (over the edge) when it becomes a prime-time plot: Just saw the beginning of CSI: Miami and a flash mob arrives on a golf course chanting something and throwing balls (leaving behind a dead ‘mobber). The pretty star (her not him) had to explain to the dumbfounded guest start what a flash mob is.

Can’t win

Can’t win

: Right before he engages in the time-dishonored tradition of cat-blogging, James Wolcott proves Dan Okrent’s point in his column yesterday: The NY Times can’t win when it comes to accusations of political bias in this campaign. It’s the Valley of Death: legions to the right of them, Wolcott to the left of them:

The New York Times under editor Bill Keller is a political catastrophe. He’s worse than Howell Raines, but smart enough to stay under the radar and not make Times coverage seem like his personal mission. Worth’s worthless front page article is only one example of the manure-shoveling the paper has been doing on Bush’s behalf, feeding the fury that paper’s ombudsman Daniel Okrent finds so inexplicable.

I’ll let my friends Jim and Dan duke it out.

Wolcott also tries to farm a chestnut I’d seen only in a comment on this blog, arguing that the Dean Scream and the Bush Snitfit were equivalent performances:

I was naive enough to think that Bush’s tantrum the other night at the townhall debate would get at least half of the coverage and mockery that Howard Dean’s infamous scream received, which was foolish of me. Our great editors and pundits have apparently decided to avert their eyes from a rageaholic president with presenile dementia who needs to have answers fed to him from a boxy receiver because–well, at least he’s not conceited.

That’s so much cat poop. The Dean Scream was an insane moment of overdone and staged joy in the midst of a loss. The Bush snit was about issues in a debate. Style v. substance, substance w/style. I happen to be a critic of both performers and so I’ll have to say they were nothing alike.

I want it and I want it now!

I want it and I want it now!

: The Times says that Verizon, my telco, is bringing fiber right up to the home to compete with cable access at higher speeds and competitive prices.

A journalistic longjump

A journalistic longjump

: Buried in a NY Times story on a battle over operating control of the German newsweekly Der Spiegel is this sleight-of-typing-hand:

Spiegel, which also produces television programs and has a popular Web site, is solidly profitable. It had record circulation of 1.1 million in 2003, as a result of its skeptical coverage of the Iraq war.

How is that said without attribution or justification? Could it be that circulation was up because of news?

We have a guest

We have a guest

: If he can get is visa, Salam Pax is America-bound.

Now for the Y Prize and the Z Prize…

Now for the Y Prize and the Z Prize…

: Now that the $10 million X Prize has motivated private geniuses and daredevils to go into space, wouldn’t it be great to use some rich guy’s money to motivate similar free-enterprise development in other areas that matter to our lives. Y not a $10 million Z Prize for:

: An AIDS vaccine.

: The first fuel-cel car driven across the U.S. (or any safe non-fossil-fuel alternative).

: The first city completely covered in broadband access for $25 per month or less.

: The head of Osama bin Laden.

: What else?

:

The Dark Campaign III: Out of the mouths of…

The Dark Campaign III: Out of the mouths of…

: My 12-year-old son was watching news coverage of the debate and campaign this weekend when he said:

It’s all about them making fun of each other.

The wisdom of youth.

The Dark Campaign II: Double negative

The Dark Campaign II: Double negative

: In the comments below, Laura Hagan delivers a fascinating analysis of my electoral paralysis. It’s about the DOs vs the DON’Ts:

Jeff, I sympathize….

Your fears about Bush are (for the most part) about what he would DO that would be wrong. He would appoint right-wing judges; he would work to reverse Roe; he will, and has, worked to pass a Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Stupid, divisive, wrongheaded moves all to pander to his Evangelical base.

By contrast, you are afraid of what Kerry would NOT do. You fear he would NOT act against our enemies without the imprimatur of the French. That he would dither….

For the most part, what you fear from Bush cannot be implemented by the President alone. But what you fear from Kerry CAN be.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Everything you fear from a Bush II administration, I do too. But he won’t be able to do it — for the most part — without significant help from Congress. Right-wing judges? They would have to be confirmed. The Dems aren’t even in the majority and they’re managing to block the judges they want to block. The gay marriage amendment Bush wanted? DOA in Congress. I don’t expect that to change under Bush II. What Bush wants that I don’t like isn’t going to be completely under his control.

By contrast, there is no power on Earth that can force a Kerry administration to bypass the UN when it’s necessary. There is no provision for Congress to sidestep the President and send troops. What you fear from a Kerry administration CAN be, and WILL be, implemented by the President alone. It will be solely up to John Kerry….

It’s ever-more fascinating to me how everything in this campaign is analyzed in the negative. We vote to keep the other guy out of office. We vote to stop something from happening. We don’t vote because we’re enthusiastic. We don’t vote because we want to accomplish something but just prevent something.

: UPDATE: Fred Wilson adds:

If this is the way the American electorate is viewing this election then the negative campaigning has taken over and people are losing their good judgement. We need to vote for what a President will do and not against what he might do. We need to realize that Congress will provide its required system of checks and balances over whomever gets elected. We need to pick a direction we want to go in and vote for it, not against it.