Posts from April 8, 2004


: Esther Dyson gets past the hysteria over privacy — the most overused word of the age, I’d argue — with Google’s G-mail and finds benefit to what they’re doing (it’s like someone on the street seeing you staring at a map and giving you directions). If you don’t want to use G-mail, don’t. If you want to get a free service, that’s the price.


: Condi Rice has been doing a very good job in her testimony before the 9/11 commission. Richard Ben Veniste, on the other hand, is an ass, acting like a prosecutor getting his moment in the TV sun. He’s hostile and political. That kind of behavior is both unproductive, it harms the mission of the commission and its reputation and thus the veracity of the report it will issue.

: Bob Kerrey says: “It’s not a war on terrorism. It’s a war on radical Islam. Terrorism is a tactic.”

: Kerrey is acting like Dennis Miller did when he interviewed Eric Alterman. Petulant little boy.

: Kerrey also goes political. Rice said Bush was tired of “swatting flies” and wanted to go after al Qaeda. Kerry asked what flies he swatted and says he didn’t swat any. “How the hell could he be tired?”

Rice gives it back a few minutes later and quotes a Kerry speech saying that the best thing we could do after the attack on the Cole was to go after Saddam Hussein. “It’s an asymmetic approach… It was a brilliant way of thinking about it. It was thinking about it strategically, not tactically.”

:Kerrey says in front of Rice, “We don’t want to use the N-word in here.” Exactly what N-word are you referring to, Senator?

: Update: Jason Calacanis says it was “M-word” as in “mistake.” I made an M-word.

: UPDATE: On Al Franken’s Air America show, Michael Kinsley said he hates to say this on Franken’s show but he feels some sympathy for Rice and Bush because Washington is a town that engages in “orgies of hindsight.”

If anyone truly had known what was going going to happen they would have done something to stop it, of course, he says. A reasonable voice.

: LATE UPDATE: Tom Shales says Condi won:

If it were to be viewed as a battle, or a sporting event, or a contest — and of course that would be wrong — then Condoleezza Rice won it. Indeed, the national security adviser did so well and seemed so firmly in command of the situation yesterday, when she testified under oath before the 9/11 commission, that one had to wonder why the White House spent so much time and energy trying to keep her from having to appear….

As usual, Rice was a model of dignity and composure, even when some commissioners got testy…. She probably could have done the whole thing with a teacup and saucer balanced on her head. She’s that cool.


: John Hawkins at Right Wing News has been digging through the Alexa ratings to find the top political bloggers. But even though Alexa is the only traffic measurement that cuts across all sites — which is a big issue for this new medium if we want to get attention from advertisers and media — it is imperfect, for it measures only those who happen to use the Alexa toolbar. Hawkins still wanted to try to rank influential political bloggers, so he switched to another — and, in some ways, more telling — measure: links. He went to Technorati, Daypop, Blogstreet, and the Truth Laid Bear Ecosystem and counted how many links went to the top 100 political blogs on his list; he weeded out those that didn’t make the top 100 on at least 3 of the 4 measuring tools; he threw out the low score; and then he ranked the 29 influential political blogs left. (I’m flattered that you’ve put me there even though I don’t always write about politics.)

The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern

: THE NEXT FINE: The Wall Street Journal says Stern is about to get the next fine for as much as $495,000.

: HOLD YOUR HORSES: Republican Senators were trying to push their indecent indecency legislation through on a fast track but they hit a speed bump:

Republican-led efforts to get a quick vote on legislation that would increase fines exponentially for broadcast companies and individuals committing indecent actions on the airwaves appeared to run into trouble Wednesday.

While Senate majority leader Bill Frist, R-Tenn., was pushing lawmakers for action, objections by Democrats to a vote with a minimum of debate and lawmakers’ desire to leave town for the annual spring recess make immediate action difficult.

Late Wednesday, Frist aides said that he was still hopeful the Senate could pass the bill before they leave, but aides to other high-ranking senators and lobbyists working on the bill thought enough senators were objecting to a quick vote that the effort would stall.

“I think there are enough senators concerned about it that it won’t go through on unanimous consent,” one lobbyist said….

While the underlying bill raising the fines broadcasters and individuals would pay for indecent broadcasts to a maximum of $500,000 has broad support, there are provisions in it that cause problems.