Friday, December 31, 2004

the comic genius of Amie's little brother

This is from the user comments section of's review of The Sponge Bob Squarepants Movie.

"This movie is degrading. I have a 4 year old brother who is in love with Sponge Bob and acts just like him. After watching the show my family was at a small restaurant having a good time when my little brother pulled down his pants howling with laughter. My parents were so appalled that Sponge Bob is no longer allowed."
   -Amie, age 17

Q & A, Episode Dos! Guest is Brian Williams

to watch the show click here

Again, this theme music is just so relaxing. I'm not even being sarcastic. I bet 10% of "Q & A" viewers fall into a blissful sleep before the show even starts, dreaming of Brian Lamb fanning them with a copy of the US Constitution.

Speaking of, Lamb is interviewing again, and the interview is in Brian Williams' office.

Williams just said that he is writing a book about the death of president Garfield, so I guess he must have a pretty legitimate knowledge of history. And now Williams is going into the details of the story. (Garfield was shot leaving Union Station to join his wife at the Jersey shore.)

I had no idea Brian Williams was such a geek. Good for him. I just assumed he was a sharp looking anchor guy. The book actually does sound really fascinating. Listen to Williams here:

"The story of Garfield's death involves really the invention of modern air conditioning. It involves Alexander Graham Bell. It involves complete strangers doing what just seemed to them to be the patriotic American thing and making his train ride to the Jersey shore, his last wish, more comfortable by stuffing straw and dirt under the train tracks wherever they could, by lining up along the train tracks as their president drove by. It involved 500 men pushing the train car up freshly laid track to the front door of this seaside inn in Elberon (ph), New Jersey. In a very dramatic final scene, where he only lived for a few days, but did get to taste the sea air he thought would have a restorative power."

Williams says it will be like the book "Isaac's Storm" in size, scope, and "gee whiz power." I've never heard of that book, so here's the Amazon link.

Wow, Williams is really selling his book well here. This is must see material for anyone who wants to know about the art of pitching a book. He's passionate about the subject matter and he knows exactly what makes the story interesting.

He just mentioned this Beschloss guy for the second time, this time between McCullough and Doris Kearns Goodwim, so I've got to google this guy. Here's a short bio. He probably met Williams at the annual Handsome Historians Luncheon.

Williams was friends with Ed Gillespie (chairman of the Republican National Committee)in college. It's amazing how big shots know each other like that.

Arggh. RealPlayer just crapped out again, now I have to reload the show again. In the meantime, I love how the slogan for "Q & A" is "Interesting People. Informative Conversations." Only C-SPAN could come up with such an undynamic motto. The word "informative" just doesn't have pizzaz. No business actually subject to market forces could ever have such a bland slogan. Imagine... "Rocco's Pizza: Delicious Food, Reasonable Ambience."

Ok, we're back. And, we're not back. Thanks RealPlayer. Awesome. The only good part about this is that I get to hear the theme song every time I reload the program. So it could be worse.

Ohhh, so Williams is from the Jersey shore! Yeah Jeeerrrsssaaaay!

Ok, RealPlayer just shut down again so I guess I am just going to read the transcript. This is a real low point in the evolution of C-Spantastic. I am not on a treadmill and I'm not even watching C-SPAN, on television or on my computer. At this point the web site should probably be called Transcriptarriffic. Or Lazybumtacular. Anyway, onward...

Williams never graduated from college. Interesting. I guess his obsession with keeping track of current events has more than compensated for this...

I made a deal with myself at age 14 never to let a day go by without finishing that day's newspaper, usually the "New York Times." When I come back from vacation, it's not uncommon that I'll tell the person who's bringing in the paper at our house to save them all and I'll sit down and get through every newspaper. It's just a thing I have. My biggest worry is that a fact will get by me, that there will be a fact in the ether as you speak of out there, that I wonÕt know about and I hate that feeling.

The fact that Williams is secretly a geek made me like him, and the fact that he is from Jersey added to that, but this is the line that has truly warmed my heart:

"I don't need more than two pairs of shoes. I'm not into shoes; my dad wasnÕt into shoes. I don't understand people who have a closet full of them."

The three papers delivered to Williams' house:

1) USA Today
2) Wall Street Journal
3) New York Times

Other periodicals he says he reads:

- The Weekly Standard
- Time
- Newsweek
- Claremont Review of Books
- New York Review of Books

I'm excited to check out the Claremont Review of Books, I've never heard of that.

Williams says he has called in to the Rush Limbaugh show. "I think it's my duty to listen to Rush."

Now Williams is just putting on a geek clinic. Amazing. Bask in the geekitude which follows...

LAMB: How many books do you read on average, I mean day to day?

WILLIAMS: Well I probably have five going at any one time and among them, presidential fact books, I'll reread a chapter on Chester A. Arthur for fun or to help myself go to sleep at night. And a lot of political nonfiction I will just read in a three-day sitting or over two plane flights. I'll keep one book in my briefcase. For the long time it was a book called "Cod," about the cod fish and its importance in the American economy. And that was a great piece of airplane reading.

My biggest fear in life is being on a plane with nothing to read. I look at these people who take the free magazine out of the seat back pocket and I shake my head and I say what did you not know about your day today that you werenÕt going to need reading material? I get shaky when I think about the prospect of a plane flight without a book.

That is just great stuff. Any book lover knows exactly what he is talking about.

It's breaking my heart that I'm reading the transcript of this and not seeing it.

He even says he flies Jet Blue with his family. Goodness. I wish I had a daughter so she could marry this man.

Here's his tip for picking a tie that will look good on television: look at it from about 10 feet away.

Williams just made a comment about Lyndon Johnson's jowls, which is interesting because my comment about Roger Ailes jowls drew complaints from 1moreslogger, a loyal C-spantastic reader

Okay, so that's the end. What a show! I can't wait to actually see it. I think Brian Williams is the Tony Robbins of the news industry. It's comforting to see someone who reads a lot actually succeed. With Bush getting a second term I was starting to get the feeling that reading books was actually harmful to one's chances at achieving worldly success. Like him or hate him, Dubya is not a "reader" and yet he's a political wonderboy. Anyway, God bless Brian Williams, new anchor of the NBC Nightly News and President of the Ambitious Bookworm Club.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Grumpy Amazon Reviewer of the Day: Jake FOGERTY

Click here to see Jake's body of work.

"You know what "deja vu" refers to, but what about the meaning of "vu deja"? Vu deja can occur when you go to a new place for the first time and you know, that you have never been there before." Jake Fogerty

At first it looks like Jake is going to hate everything, but not so. Wait until you see his review of "I am Sam," where he passionately defends this movie against people who give it a poor review. Of course, Jake's more critical reviews are admittedly his best work, and have a more comprehensive, poetic feel to them (see: Badder Santa: Bad is Only One Way to Describe This Flick). One of my favorite things about Jake's reviews is his tendency to compliment a musician he has just given a one-star review to. After his review of Johnny Cash's America III (Give Me a Break!, Oct. 30, 2000), Jake says, "Love you Mr. Cash. You were one of the best..." Other highlights are Jake's extensive coverage of the "Pickin on" series of bluegrass cover discs, especially his review of "Pickin on U2" (You Two, Will Agree! August 13, 2001).

Bush's response to tsunami = sub-par

I really do want to give Bush a chance, but 50,000 people have died and he doesn't even want to leave his ranch, much less stop "clearing brush and bicycling." It's enough to drive a person crazy.

Can't you picture the history books in 2030: "The most effictive period of George W. Bush's presidency began on June 12, 2006, the day he finished clearing the last of the brush at his Texas estate. With his time and energy now freed to focus on political matters, Pres. Bush showed an almost preternatural skill for stewarding the nations of the world towards a peaceful and productive co-existence."

In regard to Bush's lack of a public response to the tsunami, White House spokesman Trent Duffy said, "The president wanted to be fully briefed on our efforts. He didn't want to make a symbolic statement about 'We feel your pain.'" That is just garbage. Pure garbage.

How would Americans have felt if other world leaders decided to stay at their vacation home after 9/11 instead of publicly expressing their sympathy and support. Imagine if Gerhard Schroeder had decided to remain cloistered in some mansion in the German countryside, busily mowing his lawn and making bratwurst while his aids told the press, "Chancellor Schroeder believes it would be manipulative and maudlin to express his sympathy at this time."

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Q & A, the first episode!! guest is Roger Ailes, CEO of FOX

This is the first episode of Q & A. I'm watching it online, if you want to see it click here and then click on the "watch program" link.

Wow, first of all, this theme song is really relaxing. Listening to it, I picture myself being woken up at sunrise by a beautiful maiden carrying a tray of hot pancakes.

And Brian Lamb is hosting? That's a surprise. I guess the end of Booknotes just means that he doesn't have to interview authors anymore.

The guest is Roger Ailes, Chairman & CEO of Fox News, and he has a pair of jowls to die for. [NOTE: I have removed a sentence here about jowls, sports bras, jogging, and pastry chefs that offended my father, P. "Bam Bam" Bana.] Now I feel bad about making fun of Roger. If you're out there Roger, feel free to make fun of me because I get a rash between my thighs when I walk more than 7 miles on a treadmill. Not even spraying PAM on my legs helps.

"Hate is something that you have to get over in your life... I can't think of anybody I hate." That's a nice sentiment. I give Rog credit for saying something like that.

Rogelio just dodged one of Lamb's patented 'what is your evidence for what you just asserted' questions. Look at this exchange...

LAMB: What evidence did you have at that school that the teachers did not like America?

AILES: Everything is negative. Everything is about -- look, 95 percent of our people are working, the other 5 percent are basically pretty well taken care of by the government. Health care is not bad here. Bill Clinton did all right under it. Most people who want surgery don’t go to Canada, they try to come here. This is a country where everybody is trying to get in and nobody is trying get out.

So it just occurs to me that some of that ought to be taught in context. Not that we don’t have problems, not that we don’t have deep problems in our cities, poverty and some other things, but this is the society that has cured and will continue to cure many of those problems. And I think that the context of all that has to be taught. And I don’t see it being taught very often.

LAMB: Mr. Ailes, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

Okay, so that last part is from Billy Madison, but all of Ailes answer to the question is taken from the transcript word for word.

First of all, his answer does not contain anything that even comes close to being "evidence." And secondly, just because America is doing pretty well compared to the rest of the world does not mean that we should all just pat ourselves on the back and not get too upset about our failings.

A country (and an individual) should not judge themselves based on how their neighbors are doing, they should judge themselves based on their potential. Michael Jordan never said, "Well, I only scored 28 points tonight, but that's still more than most players usually score."

The question isn't, "Is the employment rate in the United States higher than it is in other countries?" The question is, "Are hard working Americans at the bottom of the social ladder being treated as fairly as hard working Americans at the top of the ladder?" The question isn't, "Is America's health care system better than Canada's?" The question is, "Is America's health system as good as it can possibly be?"

Mr. Ailes knows this well enough. He loves to remind people that he started out as a ditch digger, and it is clear as day that he is not the type of person to ask himself, "Well, how am I doing compared to other people who started out as ditch diggers?"

And this spicy little exchange about Ken Auletta shows that Ailes isn't as devoid of hate as he seems to think he is:

LAMB: In a recent "New Yorker" piece, Ken Auletta wrote that you've never worked in news, and I wondered if he...

AILES: Coming from an old Democratic consultant, that was an interesting comment.

LAMB: Well, I...

AILES: That's what he did for a living, except he lost his races, I won mine, but...

Easy tiger! On side note, I wonder what races Ailes won. (Update: he was a consultant for Nixon, Reagan, and Bush the Elder.)

This next quote is Ailes at his best. I agree with him here, and I have a feeling that it's insights like these that have helped him succeed in the news industry:

It's what I used to call the "orchestra pit theory of politics." Two guys on a stage, one guy jumps up and says, I've got the solution to the problems in the Middle East. Other guy jumps up and falls in the orchestra pit. Who do you think's going to be on the front page of the paper? Who's going to lead the evening news? The guy laying on the bass drum.

Brian Lamb just asked Ailes how long he will stay in the news business and Ailes said, "As long as I'm having fun." And he seemed pretty sincere about it.

Hahah, this Ailes line is kind of funny:

I mean, focus groups, you go to a mall, you get 12 people who need $40 and somebody to talk to, and then you try to get them to explain how to do your job. That strikes me as pathetic.

I don't really agree with him there, but I am amazed that he has done as well as he has with that kind of attitude. Because really, what is a television audience but a huge focus group? You are eventually going to let 200 million people tell you how to do your job, why is it so unreasonable to see if 12 people can give you an insight into how those 200 million are going to react.

One thing that is striking about Ailes is that he seems to have a lot of faith in Americans. He says things like, "The public understands reality," and "The American people are very smart... and to underestimate them is a mistake." Even if he isn't entirely sincere, I give him credit for being savvy enough to look like he isn't paternalistic in his views of the common man.

Interestingly, this H.L. Mencken quote, which expresses the exact opposite opinion, ends with what many people would see as a perfect description of Fox News:

No one in this world, so far as I know... has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plainpeople.
The mistake that is made always runs the other way. Because the plain people are able to speak and understand and even, in many cases, to read and write, it is assumed that they have ideas in their heads, and an appetite for more. This assumption is folly. They dislike ideas, for ideas make them uncomfortable. The tabloids, seeking to force such things upon them, will inevitably alarm them and lose their trade. The journalism of the future--that is, the mob journalism--will move in the direction that I have indicated.

Also, Ailes says that when he left NBC to come to Fox, 82 people resigned and came to work for him at Fox. That is pretty impressive. I'm not convinced that most of those people didn't just feel like it was the best thing for their career, but I'll give Ailes the benefit of the doubt.

Wow, Ailes worked as a debate coach for Reagan. That's interesting.

And he was friends with Bob Squire, who was a big time liberal consultant, so that's interesting. He wrote the obituary for Squire in Time magazine.

Rogelio puts a big emphasis on how television personalities have to "get through the screen," as in, have a presence that makes the viewer feel engaged. That's a great concept.

The rest of the show has a lot of good stories that made me like Ailes more than I did at the halfway point of the show. I would recommend this show to anyone that just assumes that the CEO of Fox News must be some psycho conservative bastard. If anything, he comes off as an interesting iconoclast in the media industry with an uncanny sense of what works in television.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

funny picture link: sp?

(Somehow I didn't catch this story until yesterday, so if you've already seen it I apologize. If not, you are in for a treat.) This picture is from the White House Conference on the Economy. That's Bush on the left and Joshua Bolton, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, on the right.

In all fairness, at first I didn't notice that "challanges" was spelled wrong. But still, when a team of people messes up on a Power Point slide they know thousands of people will see, it makes you wonder what kind of ridiculous errors they are making on projects they know will receive little or no public attention. At first I thought that picture was hysterical, but now I'm starting to feel like it's equal parts funny and sad.

Here something to cheer people up, the full list of Andy8407's Amazon reviews. He's Amazon reviewer ranking is currently 3753, and his use of capital letters and eclectic subject matter will warm your heart. Plus, only 1 in 24 people found his review of "The Golden Girls - The Complete First Season" helpful, so I think he could use some support.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Picture of the Day: He's No Fran Drescher

When I first heard about the scandal that caused Bernard Kerik to withdraw his name for the post of Secretary of Homeland Security, I thought the whole matter was blown out of proportion. But that was before I saw what his "former housekeeper and nanny" looked like.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

dj cee-span / if a bill got an attitude...

Yo! C-SPAN is playing the classical song sampled on
"Look at this Face" by Handsome Boy Modeling
. Sweet! Any song with Chris Elliott in it has me at hello.

I wish there was a C-SPAN 4 that would play rap songs during the
interstitial sequences. I think that would get more young people
interested in the political process. Or maybe politicians could start
juicing up their speeches with rap slang. Rep. Duncan "Hines" Hunter
could be like, "Mr. President, unless we can ensure this intelligence
bill will not interfere with the military chain of command, we need to
drop it like it's hot."

(Oh, by the way, the Republican who was talking about renewable energy
was Craig "Mack" Thomas, from Wyoming, not Gordon "Lonnie" Smith.)

12/7 Senate Jam Session, cutting back on treadmill action

This has been a pretty interesting session. Byron "Allen" Dorgan, a
Democrat, just finished talking about protecting American industry
against the exportation of jobs- something I don't entirely agree with
because I think you should worry about people having jobs in other
countries too. And to be honest, I care more about a fourteen year-old
in China that has to work as a prostitute than I do about some factory
worker in North Dakota that can't afford cable. I mean, I care about
both of them, and it's a tragedy that anyone has to live without cable,
but if I had to pick one to help first I'm sticking with the adolescent
Chinese sex worker.

And then some Republican Senator who's name I missed (Gordon Smith
maybe?) just mentioned the importance of alternative and renewable
energy sources, so props to him. So this has been a great bipartisan
session for me.

Now they are playing classical music while the Senate gets ready to
take care of the intelligence bill. I think C-Span should have a little
caption that tells what classical song they are playing. Why not, you

Also, I have (temporarily) subtly modified the premise of this blog, in
that instead of walking on a treadmill while watching C-SPAN, I now eat
fried eggs. All the sweating was getting to me, and I think the eggs
are good for my skin.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

The final episode of Booknotes!

The guest is Mark Edmundson, the author of "Why Read?" He is a professor of English at the University of Virginia.

Nice, now they are showing a clip from a tour of Shelby Foote's house. He was the guy with the southern accent from the Civil War show on PBS. Foote is saying that when he has a stretch of free time he rereads Proust. I think he must be talking about "The Remembrance of Things Past" but I'm not sure. He showed the back cover of the book, where he signs the date every time he finishes reading it. Damn, he has read it 9 times. It's 3000 pages.

Edmundson on Thoreau, "There is no writer who knows more about the perils of consumerism."

He just gave a good defense of allowing students to say racist and homophobic things in class. He said that he thinks a lot of right-wing Rush Limbaugh type conservatism comes from the fact that students don't feel comfortable saying those type of things in class, especially because teachers and professors tend to be liberal. So what happens is that those ideas just fester because they never get a chance to see the light of day. I think that's a good point. In a lot of ways it is probably better to encourage people put to their offensive opinions in the field of discussion sooner rather than later.

Interesting, this guy says he usually reads lying down. Also, he is wearing a leather blazer.

He just said his son is the best blues guitar improvisor that he knows, because his son just "lets it fly," and that this inspires him to be more improvisational when he writes. So that's a neat idea, that a father could admit to being inspired by his son.

Brian Lamb is so straightforward and sans bullshit its amazing. Ha, which is funny, because he just asked a question about why authors throw in phrases from other languages that a lot of readers won't know. He was basically implying that authors just do that to show how smart they are. But I just threw that in because there was a kid in my high school who used to say "sans" ("without" in French) and it would always crack me up. "Dude, I'm sans paper, can you lend me a piece."

Now Edmundson is saying that the vast majority of students feel like politics is a big sham and that every politician is the same as the next. Which is interesting, because that's exactly what my younger brother, a junior in college, says. And it is just too skeptical a view for my taste. I know that there is a lot of bullshit in politics, but there is no denying that a lot of important things get accomplished through politics. To dismiss the whole thing as a sham is to consciously reject one of the most effective avenues for positive social change.

When you think about it, the people who think politics is a sham usually think that is because they think that politicians are drunk on power and corporate money. But both of those things prove exactly how crucial politics is. Those "corrupt" men and women wouldn't want those positions if they didn't actually provide genuine power; and corporations wouldn't give all that money if it didn't actually influence things in the direction they wanted. So it is extremely counterproductive for young people who are skeptical of politics to refuse to interest themselves in it, because by doing so they cede all that influence to the very people they are complaining are corrupt.

So I guess the upshot is, it's okay to think politics is a sham, but that should make you more interested in following it, not less. Its not good policy to turn your attention away from the parts of life that are riddled with immorality simply because those parts of life are ugly to look at.

Great clip of Cornell West: "If you are really going to live life intensely then something in you aught to die every day, some bad habit, some pretension..."

Another great clip of Milton Friedman, talking about how "well meaning people who want the best for the world often make choices that have the opposite effect," an idea which he is taking from a book by F.A. Hayek called "The Road to Serfdom." That book sounds sweet.

Wow, so that is the end of Booknotes. I can't believe it just ended like that. 800 episodes, and no sappy montage, no "I hope you had the time of your life" by Green Day. Not even a final statement by Brian Lamb. It's pretty awesome when you think about it. There couldn't have been less drama.

One thing I love about Booknotes is the way Brain Lamb asks questions like "What town were you born in?" and "Where did you go to high school?" Questions like these make you realize that in most interviews people are treated purely in terms of what they are famous for. Writers are asked deep questions about language and art and style; an athlete is asked about what it's like to have thousands of people cheering for her, or to sit on the bench during a big game. But when Brian Lamb asks someone something like "Where were you born?" he is putting the spotlight on their common humanity. They cease to be a star or a pundit on a plane apart from everyday people. And that is something you almost never see in the media, because it is exactly the extraordinary qualities of people that makes viewers tune in. Media outlets have a vested interest in creating superstars, and conversely, don't really stand to benefit from treating people like typical human beings. So good people are made to look better than they are, and bad people are made to look worse. So god bless C-SPAN and Brian Lamb for having the guts to dwell on the ordinary, and for making an effort to show that famous people are human beings too.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

12/1 Washington Journal

We're in the middle of open phone lines, and that was two psycho callers in a row. Back-to-back dingers, baby, Conseco and McGuire style. Those two ladies were the bash brothers of politics-loving nutso spinsters.

If this continues C-SPAN is going to need a new phone line, just for psycho people. They could get rid of the independent line, or at least make independents share a line with crazy people. Steve Scully could be like, "Okay now, remember the number is 202-628-0205 for people who support President Bush, 202-727-0002 for people who support the Democrats, and 202-628-0184 for independents and people who are completely off their rocker."

I'm going to start keeping track of which line the crazies use the most. It's got to be either the Republican or the Democrat line, because being moderate just doesn't seem to jive well with being mentally unbalanced. "Oh, Frank? He's crazy as a goddamn loon, but politically he's pretty middle of the road."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

post script

I jogged another mile while watching the head of the Motion Picture Association talk, so that's 5.8 miles for the day. And I did that mile in 10 minutes, which I think is the first time in my life I've ever run a mile in less than 14 minutes. So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

Picture of the Day: Priorities

money for Nasa for 2005 = 16.2 billion dollars

money for world aids for 2005 = 2.8 billion dollars

Yeah, a lot of my neighbors are sick and need help, but I've already budgeted most of my money for the flying car I'm building in my garage.

(4.71 miles)

Photo of the Day: Smokin Sensi

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R - Wisc) takes time off from protesting the new intelligence-overhaul bill to accept the Vibe lifetime achievement award.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

that's it for today

9.24 miles. So I'm pretty happy with that since I've been off for a couple of days.

9/11 Commission Press Conference

Thomas Kean is talking, saying "Give us a vote" on the security bill.

He's just explaining all the stuff in the bill. It sounds pretty good to me. I just don't see why we should think that Kean doesn't have everyone's best interest in mind here.

Wow, the bill even has stuff about promoting economic development in the Muslim world, I think that's a great idea.

Now Lee Hamilton, the vice-chairman of the commission, is talking. He's addressing the main criticisms of the bill.

He just said, "The window of opportunity for reform will not last long..."

So that's not very comforting for people who say this bill is missing important stuff. In fact, that is their argument. That wasn't the smartest thing in the world for Hamilton to say.

Now we've got some good milling around here. So that's the end of that. I have to say that I'm with the 9/11 commission on this issue. I just don't see any reason to believe they are trying to sell the country down the river.

8.06 miles

9/11 Families for a Secure America

This I'm going to report pretty much straight up...

Peter Gadiel is talking, he's the president of Families for a Secure America.

His main problem is the lack of border security and secure driver's license provisions in the pending security bill. Those are the same complaints that Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc) had, so this guy supports him, and he's upset at Sen. Lieberman and Sen. Collins. He says Lieberman is insisting on "open borders."

(The other guy against the bill is Rep. James Duncan (R-Cali)

This article explains the basics of the situation.

Oh, so this organization was formed specifically to 'weigh in on this issue."

The problem is that even the guy who headed the 9/11 Commission, Thomas Kean, is trying to get this bill to pass. "Pass this bill. The choice is between this bill and the status quo. The basic structure of the intelligence community hasn't changed since 9/11. The status quo failed us."

This woman, Debra Burlingame, just said that Chairman Kean is wrong, and that "he should read his own report."

This is interesting because I am sure that this woman and Thomas Kean both have the best of intentions.

Bruce DeCell, father-in-law of a 9/11 victim, is saying that Sen. McCain lied to his face, saying that there was a provision for secure driver's licenses in the security bill. DeCell says that he pointed out to McCain that this wasn't true, and then McCain said that he didn't want to talk to him anymore.

So why aren't these provisions in the bill? I wonder what that part of the story is.

I guess part of it is that immigration reform is a politically difficult issue.

They have this line up on posterboard: "For terrorists, travel documents are as important as weapons." That is a really powerful line.

A questioner just said that people are saying, "Let's act now on matters of consensus." That is an awesome line. It boils so much down to a simple sentence.

Peter Gadiel just said that people in Congress are being "bought," receiving money from people who profit from open borders.

Oh, so Lieberman says that these provisions are unnecessary and violate civil liberties.

6.02 miles

Panel on the Ukrainian Presidential Election

(this show is already in progress)

This looks really boring. This is going to give that tax reform panel a run for its money.

This guy asking a question is wearing an orange tie. I would have recommended against that. What's done is done, but next time... He just used the phrase "diplomatic capital." And remember when Bush said that the election had given him "political capital?" It's a good concept. Like, imagine if I grew a pony tail before hanging out with my girlfriend's family. That's like "negative social capital." But it could be good, because I would have to work harder to get into good standing with them, like going to law school or something. Ponytails are like the "ankle weights" of social capital. Because then when you chop it off you still have your law degree, so it's like you have bonus capital that you don't really need anymore. Then you can use that capital for whatever you want, like wearing a hockey jersey to the opera or something.

Jennifer Windsor, Exec. Dir. of the Freedom House, is telling it like it is.

There's only five minutes left in this show. Oh how I wish it would never end.

Some guy just asked how much religious values played a role in the Ukrainian election. Which makes me think, when you have everyone all over the world with all their religious values, and the world is becoming more and more interrelated, I think that religions that claim to be the "only true way" are bound to slowly lose ground. The more contact you have with people of different faiths, the more cosmopolitan you become. It's inevitable. It's the same way with foods. When you are little you think pizza is the best food in the world. But then eventually you try General Tso's chicken, and you realize that is pretty good too. Next thing you know you're at a food court eating Mongolian Barbecue and a chili dog and washing it down with rice milk with boba. Of course there are going to be 60 year old people who still swear that pizza is the one and only god, but there are going to be more people that realize that each storefront at the food court is a different path to the same place.

I'm at 4.28 miles.

C-Span deux, Tax Policy, New America Foundation

Ok, this is going to be tough. Watching people talk about tax policy is like my own personal nightmare, so I'm going to have to put a lot of heart into this.

EUGENE STEUERLE, SENIOR FELLOW AT THE URBAN INSTITUTE, ON THE MIZZZIIIKE! YEAH! Ooh, he's getting giddy talking about economists. Spicy. He's done.

Who's up, who's up. Swing, batta, batta,

Who's this guy? MICHAEL GRAETZ, TAX LAW PROF AT YALE! WEARIN A BOW TIE! Apparently studying taxes makes you go bald, because both of these guys have a landing strip on the top of their head that a 747 could land on. He's done.

KAREN KORNBLUH, WORK AND FAMILY DIRECTOR OF THE NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION! Ok, everyone reading this has to do a shot every time Kornbluh says "asset building." Starting....NOW!


BOW TIE GUY, saying boring stuff! What does OECD mean? This guy is talking about getting 150,000,000 people out of the income tax, so props for that. All these people say "my" when they are talking about anything to do with their tax plan. ("The thing with MY 14% is where I'm going to put that money...") I think they should have to name their tax proposals, like "Big Betsy," or "Franky Flowers."

Eugene "Stewie" Steuerle is talking about income tax vs. consumtion tax. I think they should tax people for having E's in their name, this guy would be screwed.

Whoa, look at this guys hair! I have a hard time believing he know's anything about taxes, because he's got hair like Ted Danson on cheers. DALTON CONLEY, SOC PROFESSOR AT NYU, LOOKING GOOD!

Bow Tie Guy just said "regressivity." He's saying that we shouldn't waste our time rehauling the payroll tax. What's the difference between the income tax and the payroll tax.

Ooooh, new speaker... MAYA MacGUINEAS, FISCAL POLICY PROGRAM DIRECTOR AT THE NEW AMERICA FOUNDATION. I don't understand what she's talking about, but it sure sounds like she knows what she's talking about. This lady just exudes confidence. She could tell me my pants were on fire and I would believe her even if my legs didn't feel warm.

Combover guy looks like a combination of Rush Limbaugh and John McCain. Check it out: He's responding to burning pants lady. "The system on the whole is progressive so you miss the point when you emphasize the regressivity."

Yo! I think that's my cousin asking a question! No way!

Bow Tie Guy is the author of "Death by a Thousand Cuts" in case you were wondering. Now he's talking about the AMT, the automatic minumum tax.

Stewie just quoted Herb Stein, his favorite economist. "If something can't continue it won't." I think that's a pretty good line. Also, I would like to have my own favorite economist. I'm going with Adam Smith. Why not go with one of the big guns right?
Adam Smith really is the bomb actually, it's a travesty that people use him to defend unrestrained capitalism even when it screws over the common man. The whole reason he liked laissez fair was that he saw that leaders were using regulation to screw over the common man.

This guy asking a question looks like Al Franken, if Al lost 40 pounds and was homeless.


By the way, I got rid of the rule where I sprint while people are milling around on C-span. It was a good rule, I know, but I just can't afford to sweat like that. I get all itchy.

So that's the end of that show, I'm at 3.24 miles, going 3.1 miles an hour...

11/30 Ode to New Jersey #3

I was away for the holidays, but now I'm back in the saddle. I just finished watching the end of Tom Ridge's resignation speech, that was pretty boring. Although he did say that he was looking forward to going to his son's rugby games, so good for him.

Ode to New Jersey #3

Oh New Jersey,
how unfair that people make fun of your pollution,
while you are manufacturing stuff
to make their lives better.
That would be like if I was building stuff for people in my room,
and people made fun of all the smoke in the air,
and the soot on the walls,
even though I was building them cool stuff.
"Why is it so smoggy in here?"
they would say,
as I handed them a brand new toaster or a bagel slicer.
Plus, there would still be plenty of beautiful places in my room,
just like the flowing rivers and emerald forests
that glimmer just beyond eyeshot
of your glorious highways.
Oh New Jersey,
you are the Jesus of states,
looking down with love on the people who curse you
while you lie on the cross,
dreaming of manufacturing compassion,
while they hammer nails into your tollbooths.

Monday, November 29, 2004

11/29 Washington Journal - Medical Marijuana

Rob Kampia, Exec. Dir. of the Marijuana Policy Project, is talking about the lady (Angel Raich) that needs to smoke pot every two hours in order to get through life. She has an inoperable brain tumor, scoliosis, and other problems. Rob is saying that the question before the Supreme Court is whether Congress has the constitutional authority to ban all uses of marijuana, including medical use, even when that activity does not involve interstate commerce. Specifically, the question is whether a person should have the right to grow their own pot when they have the backing of their doctor and the laws of their state.

Rob's position is this: if the concept of restricting Congressional power to activities involving interstate commerce is to have any meaning at all, it cannot apply to a sitation such as someone growing marijuana for personal medical use.

So David Evans, Executive Director of the Drug Free Schools Coalition, is saying that letting states to allow people to use pot medically would create chaos. "Go through the approval system... if we have each state deciding what is and what is not a medicine we're going to have chaos; we will not have a consistent, science-based approach to medicine approval."

First of all, though, the issue isn't whether giving Congress power over this activity will lead to chaos. The issue is whether it would be Constitutionally valid for Congress to have power over something like this.

So even though Dave-bo isn't saying it, I think his argument must be that allowing people to grow pot for their own medical use would have serious implications for interstate commerce, and that's why Congress should be able to ban it.

So I guess the real question is: how do you define whether an activity involves interstate commerce?

To which Rob says: If growing pot for your own medical use is interstate commerce, then everything is interstate commerce; if you are going to say that then Congress has power over everything that anyone does.

What can Dave-bo say to this? I guess his point is that growing greens for personal use is a very specific situation which comprimises the national drug approval system, and so it would be possible to give Congress power over that activity without irrationaly expanding their power to include all activities in general.

So then the question becomes this: Does the activity in question have to specifically involve interstate commerce? Or is it enough for the activity in question to affect interstate commerce indirectly?

So it boils down to how you define interstate commerce, at least in terms of how the Supreme Court is going to decide things.

Now Dave-bo is complaining that Rob's organization wants to legalize marijuana. Which is basically irrelevant in arguing the merits of the legal case, so minus 2 points for D-bomb because he's changing the whole subject of the debate.

Oooh, this was a great question by a caller from California: "The Declaration of Independence talks about the pursuit of happiness being a god-given, inalienable right. Note, not 'the wise pursuit of happiness', and certainly not 'the government approved pursuit of happiness.' Doesn't a right that must be approved by the government cease to be a right, and therefore isn't drug prohibition, like alcohol prohibition, profoundly unamerican?" Schnap!

Dave-bo's response: "I don't see anything in the Constitution which says we need to have chaos in our medical system." Blah.

One problem with debates like this is that there are several questions being argued over, but comments about each question bleed together, and the different issues are never articulated. So here are the different issues at stake here:

1) Should Congress have the power to ban the medical usage of marijuana?
2) Is banning marijuana unconstitutional in general?
3) Is banning marijuana morally correct, regardless of what the constitution says?

Questions 1 and 2 are not really moral questions, they are matters of legal logic.
Question 3 is a moral issues, regardless of what historical documents and legal decisions may say.

Now Dave-bo is talking about how Rob got arrested for growing marijuana when he was in college at Penn state. That's just a low blow. David Evans just took this civilized debate and flushed it down the toilet. Nice work Dave-bo. Classy.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Photo of the Day: Florida Senators

Senator-elect Mel "Pedro" Martinez is a Republican and Sen. Bill "Willie" Nelson is a Democrat, but these ragtag senators are already getting along famously. Niicce.

11/23 Open Phones

Connie Doebele is the name of this host! Whew, I thought I would never find out. C-span is the worst about showing the names of these Washington Journal hosts.

Someone just called in to give web sites about the Ohio recount and 2004 voting issues:

Keith Olberman's Blog

She said Olberman is the only person in the mass media talking about this stuff. So props to him and his ESPN roots.

Another lady just called in to complain about some talk show host calling Condi RIce "Aunt Jamima." Wow, and it was a "liberal" talk show host. I didn't see that coming. Here's the the story.

Connie just mentioned this story at USA today about Americans' access to high speed internet. I think those statistics are really interesting. 1 in 4 white people have broadband internet at home, compared to 1 in 7 black people and 1 in 8 latinos. For all Americans, it's 1 in 5.

Ok, so imagine that once a week, every adult in the US has to look up a number in the phone book. Let's say for people with broadband internet this takes 1 minute, and for people without broadband internet this takes 3 minutes. That's 2 extra minutes a week for 80 % of the adult population in the US. So that's 104 wasted minutes per year (2 x 52) per person. If there are 240 million adults in the US, that's 200 million that don't have the internet, so a total of 21 billion wasted minutes every year (104 x 200 million), or 39,000 years. 39,000 years of people's time! Wasted every year using the yellow pages because they don't have access to the internet!

Of course the other side of the coin is time wasted while surfing the internet. So you can probably disregard that whole point.

11/23 Washington Journal, Dr. Stephen Galson, FDA dude

Vaughn Ververs in the piece. Nevermind, he's done.

Here we go, Dr. Stephen Galson, acting Director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation & Research, is freestyling. Isn't it kind of strange that these FDA people keep on dressing up in military uniforms?

Wow, this guy just said that the FDA guy who testified last week was "totally wrong." Which just seems really defensive to me, like this guy has been told to do damage control.

Yeah Jersey!! This Jersey caller is just tearing up the hizzy, this is amazing. He's defending the doctor that Steve-bo was saying is totally wrong.

It's interesting to watch guests flinch at the exact moment they realize the caller is tearing them a new one.

Someone should call up and ask Dr. Galson whether Vioxx caused his sideburn hair to fall out, and if not, where are his sideburns.

A Virginia caller just asked why drugs with proven negative effects are released while marijuana, which has no negative effects, is still illegal. Steve-bo just said that "all drugs have negative effects." What a cop-out.

This is starting to get painfully boring. It's making me want some Vioxx.

New Hampshah just called in and complained about how Steve-bo used the term "folks" when he was talking about meeting with people from the drug industry. At first he just shrugged off the question ("I'm a friendly kind of guy"), and I was going to complain, but now he's going back to the question. Props to him.

He just said that better drug safety would require more funding for independant testing. "The two biggest funders of drug testing are the drug industry and the government." So that seems like it's one of the major factors in this whole discussion.

Wow, this guy has a public health degree from Harvard. So he's got the credentials, he just doesn't have the go-get-em attitude like he's going to go kick some drug industry ass in order to defend consumers.

Oooh, the host just asked about the military uniform. He said public health officers are a uniformed corps, or something like that. Blah.

Ouch, this California caller just said that Steve-bo has a "smart alecky smirk" that makes it look like he thinks all the callers are wrong. Now I kind of feel bad for him. "Thank you for the pointer about my television work." So he handled that pretty gracefully.

I think the military uniform just adds to people's expections that this guy is going to kick some drug industry ass, and that he shouldn't be calling people "folks" or smiling while people are asking him tough questions. In my opinion, the FDA's primary spin focus should be showing the American people that they aren't in bed with the drug industry; they shouldn't be wasting bullets trying to defend themselves against the criticisms of that Dr. (Graham) criticizing them from within their own ranks. People appreciate that guy's balls, speaking out against his own bosses and the drug industry, calling it like he sees it, so it's just bad public relations for the FDA to criticize that guy.

Ok, this is so boring my eyeballs are stinging. Ok, I think that's done.

2.88 miles

11/23 Sprint and Ode to New Jersey #2

First the sprint, this morning I'm going to go .15 miles at 8 miles an hour...

Niiice, that was more challening then yesterday's starting sprint.

Ode to New Jersey #2

Oh New Jersey, your population is the densest in the Union,
but the census can't measure soul per square mile,
and if they could, you would win.
You would win like Jersey Bagels
in a national bagel tasting contest,
like Bruce Springsteen
in a singing contest,
like Bon Jovi
in a tool bag contest.
I take that back,
because what do we Jerseyan's have,
if not the brotherhood
of being made fun of.
"New Jersey is the armpit of the nation,"
people tell us,
and us Jerseyites must bear that cross together,
like a middle schooler
wearing Z. Cavaricci's in 1993,
like an Italian wearing a gold chain
on his way to Obsessions Nite Club in Randolph.
I take it back Mr. Jovi,
I take it all back.


HAhahahhah, the host on Washington Journal just thought that a caller was saying that you could buy a Molitov cocktail at airport duty free shops. Hahahah, "I love a good Molitov Cocktail but the tax is ridiculous, it's just not worth it anymore."

Monday, November 22, 2004

and...I'm spent

I am itching all over. I just discovered that I am allergic to the fabric softener that I've been using (Stop 'N Shop 'Pure Softness' Mountain Scent). At least I'm pretty sure that is what is causing me to uncontrollably itch my entire body.

And I got all sweaty while sprinting during the milling after Conrad's speech, and the sweat aggrevated the itchiness.

McCain, in his speech in New Hampshah just said the common bond of Americans is "faith in the principles of liberty and equality under the law," which is true, except he forgot to say "except for gays." I have a big problem with people who mention liberty and equality in America and forget to mention "but not for gay people." If you leave that out then gay people are going to get the impression that they too deserve the same rights as straight people. We all know that the rights of two people in a hateful, abusive hetorosexual marriage should be more sacred than those of two people in a respectful, loving homosexual relationship.

Ok, so that's the end of McCains speech and I think that will be it for me today. We'll see.

Sen. Kent Conrad, Diggy from North Dakota

He's a ranking member on the Budget Committee.

He looks like a republican doesn't he? By the way, I'm toying with the idea of calling Democrats "Diggy"s and Republicans "Rizzo"s. How to people feel about this?

The dems just love general Shinseki don't they? That sounds like a Japanese beer. "Let's see, I'll have miso soup, the Las Vegas roll, and a bottle of Shinseki."

Hahah, Conrad just called the tax clause "a little nugget."

Crap, milling...

agggh, that was hard.

1.64 miles total

Sprint and Ode to Jersey 1

First, the sprint...

Wow. Ok, first of all, I just realized that what I call a sprint is for most people called "jogging." My pace was 8:30 minutes per mile. That's jogging right. Regardless, for the purposes of this blog it will be referred to as sprinting. And .1 miles was pretty easy, so maybe next time I will do .15

Ode to Jersey

wait, first of all C-span is having audio difficulties, so there is someone at a podium ranting and you can't hear anything he's saying. It's hysterical. Ok, there is goes, I can hear him now. It's Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota.

Ok, here we go...

Ode to Jersey #1

Oh New Jersey, Massachusetts didn't feed me Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese Sandwiches,
but you did.
California didn't feed me pizza with a perfect crust,
with mozzarella cheese intermingled with tomato sauce like pollution in the night sky,
but you did.
North Carolina didn't provide me with flotillas of strip malls,
franchises strung together like pearls on a necklace,
chain stores lined up, hand in hand, like brothers in a retail square dance,
but you did.
Oh New Jersey,
you provide me all those things and more,
and not because you have to, but because you want to.
Oh New Jersey, you rain down blessings on me,
like the Nets rain down shots that almost go in,
like acid rain that falls on your face but doesn't burn.

New Rules

I decided to make up some new rules to spice things up:

1. I'm going to start every C-spantastic session by sprinting at least .1 miles.

2. Since every house session starts with a prayer, I'm going to start every C-spantastic session with an "Ode to New Jersey"

3. Every time C-span shows people milling around I will sprint until they show something else

I think that's it for now.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Today's Photo: The Bondster

I guess that explains the last minute "Crotch Rot Clause" Bond added to this week's omnibus bill.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Senate Committee - Oil for Food

Sen. Norm "Vince" Coleman (R-Minnesota) is introducing the session. He's the Chairman of the Governmental Affairs Subcommittee.

This is from last monday so it's kind of old news, but I don't really know much about the whole Oil for Food scandal so I feel like I should watch it. I guess the main problem is that this might have been the result of some curruption at the United Nations. Oh, and Cole says that blue chip companies also gave Saddam illegal kickbacks.

Now Carl Levin (D-Michigan) is being boring. He seems like a nice guy though. He's talking about how effective the economic sanctions were. I mean, that's pretty boring, but if you are interested in international diplomacy it must be a pretty crucial topic.

Ok, so this is how I read what he's saying: one problem with the Oil for Food program is that it allowed Saddam to pick which contractors got contracts, and that allowed him to pick ones that would give him kickbacks. Is that right? Someone help me here.

(message on the bottom of the screen, unrelated to Oil for Food: Since Oct 1, most government spending has been done with temporary money. That money runs out tonight, so that's why they are in such a hurry to pass this bill today. Still though, I would rather just have them get some more temporary money and just read the damn bill. Oh, I guess the Republicans are the ones that wrote a lot of the bill, so that's why they aren't that keen on giving people time to read it. Maybe that's it.)

6.84 miles

11/20 House Proceedings

The House starts the day with a prayer from a chaplain? No way. Who knew? I think that's kind of suspect, but he ended with a good line, "..because in America, we not only hope to be blessed, but we hope to be a blessing to the world."

Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-Florida) is complaining that the house is about to pass a bill that 99% of house members haven't read. Seriously, that's just common sense. And plus, he's wearing a purple tie. What's not to like? Hell, I think house members should have to pass a goddamn exam on a bill before they vote for it. Wouldn't that make sense? Why should someone who can't demonstrate adequate knowledge of a bill be allowed to vote on it? ("This process smells, and the odor wafts from sea to shining sea... I ask, why the rush?" - awesome line by Alcee) Oooh, I like this idea. Imagine Congressmen huddled in a hallway scrum after their grades are posted. Or imagine Orrin Hatch gossiping at the Senate cafeteria after a tough budget bill exam, "I like totally failed that. No, seriously, totally."

Rep. Pete "Jam" Sessions has a jawline to die for. I didn't hear what he said, but he's got a good mug.

Now the minority whip, the Stenmeister, (Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland) is making fun of Jam because Jam said we should be proud of this bill and the process that lead to it, but Steny thinks that it's disgraceful. "I do not share the gentleman's pride in this process."

Now Jam is responding. He basically said, "We gotta do what we gotta do." Then he said he didn't have any more speakers and asked Alcee to do the same, but Alcee said he's got 2 more speakers, and passed the mic to Rep. Sheila "Jackson" Lee (D-Texas).

She says it's bunk that our troops in Iraw don't have the equipment they need. Amen to that. And then she said that even though they passed a bill about Sudan yesterday, there is still rape and murder going on there and that the US could do more. "As we proceed today, I don't know that we will be able to say to the American people that we have done our best."

Alcee just passed the mic to Barney Frank (D-Mass). "In our society there are essential needs that can only be met if we pool our money." That's a great way of putting it. That's the best plain english explanation of taxes I've heard in a while. "The majority has successfully hidden from the American people the full consequences of their philosophy." Another great line. Hahahah..."and there is money for Mars...and maybe, someday, the homeless can live their, because they are certainly not finding funding here."

MC Alcee, back on the mic. He's kicking the shaved head/beard look. He's really cruising now, that was a great speech. Awesome. I wish I had that on tape.

Back to Jam, and maybe it's just me but this sounds like hot air. Blah.

The guy running this House session is kicking the Billy Bob Thornton scraggly beard. I should know his name. It's not Hastert, this guy is pinch hitting for him.

Today's Saturday? When did that happen? I'm at 5.6 miles.

11/20 Washington Journal (part 3)

Ok, Sen. George "Marcus" Allen (R-Virginia) is rocking the microphone while Pedro beatboxes.

Interesting factoid: He says there is a phone tax that was started in 1898 as a luxury tax to fund the Spanish-American War that we still have to pay. You have to admit that's a good fact when you're trying to say how hard it is to get rid of little stupid taxes once you start them. Also, I would like to know more about the Spanish American War.

What does it mean when taxes are regressive? Oh, here we go, a regressive tax is, "A tax that takes a larger percentage from the income of low-income people than the income of high-income people." Examples are a cigarette tax and a gas tax. Wow, that is a great term. I am really exciting to be able to throw that term around. "What? You're crazy! The last thing we need is another regressive tax!" I can't wait to use it.

I think Allen is talking about how he just got a bill passed yesterday that stops all taxes on broadband internet access. I think that's a great idea. Kudos.

Someone from North Carolina just called in and Allen said, "Hey North Carolina! Thanks for electing a strong safety to the Senate!" So I give him props for getting exciting about something like that.

Ok, so that's it for Allen. I think he's a pretty down to earth, likable politician. He's a real asset to the Republican party. He looks cheerful, he's an engaging speaker, and he seems completely unflustered by people who disagree with him. In fact, he even seems to try and make a concerted effort to counter disagreements with charm and good will. Props to him.

11/20 Washington Journal (part 2)

Some guy is talking about the Tom DeLay rule change. I think that is a topic that Democrats could really hold against the Republicans, because I think even a lot of Republican people find it hypocritical and arrogant.

Richard Cohen, chief Congressional Correspont from the National Journal, is the guy's name. Someone just called in and asked why it's always Republicans that run up huge defecits. Cohen is saying that war and tax cuts might have something to do with it. Hmmm, I wonder.

Cohen just mentioned that in the 70's they passed a bill to get rid of the electoral college but it was rejected in the Senate. (Am I using words like "bill" right? I think my knowledge of Congressional vocab is woefully sub-par.)

(Oooh, book tv is on C-span 2. Very tempting, especially since Dicky Cohen isn't really setting my morning on fire. This lady is giving a speech on teaching techniques or something like that. She's not exactly a rock star. I actually think I might prefer the Cohen-meister. Back to C-Span uno.)

I can't be sure, but I think this lady from Illinois just called some Congressman a "pious face." I think that's a pretty good term for people that are crooked but still wear their religion on their sleeve.

This caller from San Francisco is talking about how important it is to call and write letters to Congressman, and not to feel like "there are a bunch of people in Washington that just run our lives, because we can be involved." That's a nice sentiment. God bless San Fran.

Here we go, a caller from Texas is asking about the anti-abortion clause that the New York Times article talked about. Props to Texas! I still don't really get it.

A little tip to C-Span viewers: when Washington Journal is on and Brian Lamb isn't the host, it's fun to imagine that he's the one playing the french horn during the segment breaks. Then during the rest of the show you can picture him sitting just off camera, waiting for the next break, his french horn in his lap.

11/20 Washington Journal (part 1)

They are talking about Nicholas Kristof's editorial in the New York Times today, called "No More Sham Elections."

Kristof's suggestions are.

1) have a nonpartisan group redraw house districts after each census
2) get rid of the electoral college
3) have donations funneled through a blind trust so politicians don't know who's ass to kiss

This guy uses a highlighter, unlike Brian Lamb. I have to admit that I think underlining in pen is a little less "high school."

Maryland, who sounds like he is calling while riding a horse, hahhaha, this guy is great, He called the third suggestions "crazy as all get out." He also says "there is no such thing as nonpartisan, that is so stupid, you don't stick your finger in the air and see which way the wind blows." I'm not sure I see the connection. Plus, even a partisan committee would still be less partisan than someone like Tom DeLay.

Utah just led his call with "Thank you C-Span." I think that's partly because, like me, he doesn't know what the hosts name is, but still, it's a nice sentiment.

This isn't on C-Span, but I think it's an important story from the times. Yesterday in Congress negotiators added an abortion clause to a must-pass spending bill. The clause would make it illegal for government agencies to withold money from health care providers that refuse to: offer abortions, pay for abortions, or provide abortion counseling or referrals. In other words government agencies are currently allowed to withhold funding from health care providers that refuse to provide one of these services. The current law only privides "conscience protection" to doctors who do not want to undergo abortion training.

That whole issue is too complicated for me to sort out though. Individual doctors currently get federal funding? Would this pertain to health care providers that refuse to do all of those things, or just one of them? And what exactly is a health care provider?

I think it's kind of a travesty that C-span is talking about this Kristof article instead of this abortion thing. Whether you agree with the clause or disagree with it, that is a piece of news that indicates the current political climate.

A lady from Kansas just called The New York Times a manual for liberals. hahahah. She said C-Span should try using conservative papers. "Which would you suggest?" the host said. "... well, surely there are some out there." Surely. Why don't you go read one and then call back next month? Ok, that was mean. I take that back. Because really, I don't blame people for not having the time to read newspapers and surf the internet looking for the ones they like. The only reason I have the time to do that is because I'm practically an invalid in terms of getting a job. That's what so sad, that being uninformed is often an indicator of how busy someone is just trying to make ends meet. So it's really not fair of me to make fun of uninformed people, unless I know for a fact they are unemployed and live with their parents.

The host is looking very ADD now while this reporter from Cleveland, Mark Naymik from the Cleveland Plain Dealer, is talking. I wish I knew the name of this damn host. Why doesn't C-Span show his name again? I'm going to see if C-span has a profile of him on their web site.

Ah-ha! A caller from Houston just said, "Hi, Pedro how you doing today?" Yeah! Two points for Texas! This guy is pretty good. He said he wants to thank C-span for what they are doing, but that when C-Span is highlighting an editorial they should say who the columnist voted for. I mean, that's not necessarily possible, but I think it would be fair to talk for a little bit about the where the writer has historally tended to fall on the political spectrum. Why not, you know?

A guy from Kentucky just called and said he thinks all three of Kristof's ideas are good. Yeah! Way to keep it realy Kentucky!

Friday, November 19, 2004

more of the house - education for individuals with disabilities

John Boehner (R-Ohio) looks like he is about to yield the remainder of his time to a tanning salon. How does a guy from Ohio get so damn tan? And how does a guy with a tan get elected to a public office in Ohio? It just doesn't add up.

Now CBS News's Bob Fuss is providing commentary while the vote happens.

I think it would be great if the newly elected members of Congress had to go through hazing during the lame duck session.

Now Rep. Henry "Bobby" Bonilla is kissing Tom Delay's ass.

Now Tom DeLay is ranting about how evil the Democrats are.

Now John "Dr." Doolittle (R-California) is waving some piece of paper around and talking about what a great man Tom DeLay is and what a witch hunt this whole thing is.

Now John "Gary" Carter (R-Texas) is saying the same crap. They are all pissed at some Democratic Rep. named Bell. I should probably know who that is.

Now Marsha Blackburn (R-Tennessee) is getting a chance to dis Rep. Chris Bell. This is quite a steamy posse session, everyone is gettting a turn. Who's up next...

David Dreier (R-California) is saying that this was an attack on every member of the institution of Congress. This is stupid because they have my attention but they aren't explaining what was so terrible about all of this. I've watched 6 people get up and jam on the microphone and I still don't know what the heck they are talking about.

John Linder (R-Georgia) is blowing more hot air.

In other news, 3 Republicans voted against the Education for Individuals with Disabilities Bill. That's touching, inspiring even. Because when you think about it, it's so condescending to have a special bill just to help people with disabilities get an education. Disabled people should learn to take care of themselves just like every other red-blooded American. If they weren't so lazy they probably wouldn't be disabled in the first place. I'd like to see one of those Republicans write a bill for people with disabilities that was more representative of the American spirit of persistence and individuality... "H.R. 967 Let's See Some Hustle, Retards."

Yahtzee - the house and the senate are both on

My dog just took a gargantuan piss in the middle of the tv room. I stepped in it while I was walking over to grab the remote control from the treadmill. Now I'm only wearing one sock. In other news, Tom Osborne (R - Nebraska) is talking about how schools aren't getting enough funding. He's done. Now Susan Davis (D-California) gets two minutes. She's talking about a bill that would make it illegal for cocker spaniels to piss in the middle of your den. "Mr. Chairman, there is simply no reason why any adult cocker spaniel should be pissing anywhere but outside."

Now Fred Upton (R-Mich) is also enthusiastically supporting this bill (apparently it has significant bipartisan support). "Mr. Chairman, it's a disgrace that in this day and age that innocent people should have to change their socks in the middle of the day because of canine urinary recklessness."

Ok, I'm going to post this and go clean the funk off the floor. Back in 5.

people at the c-span offices reading this?

According to my web traffic reports a person or persons from c-span might actually be reading this. It's killing me wondering what their perspective is. Is this blog a slander to everything they hold sacred? Are they just doing research before they sue me? The suspense is driving me insane!

So, if you are looking at this on a computer somehow related to c-span, I beg of you to let me know what you think. What do you like so far? What do you hate? Do you have your own nicknames for politicians? You can post a comment here or write to me at I'm begging here! Throw me a bone!

not about c-span but still noteworty

It would seem that my old arch-enemy Chauncy Middlemarch can't let me have the spotlight for even the blink of an eye; that old fox has started a blog of his own, The Tradewinds Have Names.

I haven't seen the Chaunce-ster since he beat me in the finals of the Central American Crossfire Championship. It wasn't a fair match (in classic Chauncy fashion he sprayed the trigger of his marble shooter with a fine mist of graphite powder to gain the upper hand) but by the time the referees realized what had happened he was on a steamboat to Panama, the championship belt stuffed under his poncho, the misty river air blowing through his hair like marbles rolling across laminated cardboard .

(Also, be sure to read the reviews of Crossfire at Amazon, they are the best.)

Amazing Dream

I had a dream last night that Kid 'N Play (both of them) got elected to the house of representatives and then Michael Moore did a documentary on their unique approach to public policy called "House Party 5: Wonkadelic." Ok, I made that up.

I'm watching Brian Lamb on Washington Journal. Have you noticed that his underlining seems kind random? He'll underline words like "have" and "nachos."

Hahaha, a caller just said that there are some reporters that are so eccentric that "you wouldn't want to let them in your house to eat a hot dog." That's as eccentric as you get!

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Senate Session on Judicial Nominations (c-span dos)

I'm back! I thought I was done but I was too sleepy to get any errands done. I was just lying in bed looking out the window, so i figured I might as well just get back in the saddle.

Sen. John Cornyn, R from Texas, is busy looking waspy. "We have people who come from across the planet, who pronounce their names in difference ways..." What? Who pronounce their names in different ways?

This guy is whining about the Dems Philly Busting Bush's judicial nominees. But didn't the Republican's filibuster far more of Clinton's nominees?

Now Byron Dorgan, D from North Dakota is responding. Oh I get it. Under Clinton, or part of his reign, the Republicans ran Congress so they didn't need to Philly Bust. They just never brought the nominees up for a vote. 60 nominees didn't even get voted on.

So Byron's saying the Dems have approved 201 and held up 10. So 93% have gotten passed. So how can the Republicans complain about this? Am I missing something?

The judge this is about has written articles that say he believes "women are subservient to men?" No way. Really?

What are cloture motions? I should know that.

"cloture - The only procedure by which the Senate can vote to place a time limit on consideration of a bill or other matter, and thereby overcome a filibuster. Under the cloture rule (Rule XXII), the Senate may limit consideration of a pending matter to 30 additional hours, but only by vote of three-fifths of the full Senate, normally 60 votes."

That's from a great page by the way, the US Senate glossary page.

Carl Levin, D from Mich, is now kickin it. He just brought up 93 % again. So what percentage of Clinton nominees got passed? Why don't they say that? And why is the Levster talking about Tom Daschle now?

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Missouri) is now talking about intelligence problems. Bond, Kit Bond. Niiice. Is he criticing Bush? Oh, no, he's justifying Porter Goss's changes to the CIA. "Why are we surprised?" Come on, this is easy to shoot down. People aren't complaining because Goss is making changes; people are complaining because it looks like his changes are just turning the CIA into Bush's bitch. This whole, "Well, we wanted changes, that's what Goss is doing" is pretty ridiculous.

According to that Goss could make it mandatory for everyone to wear jams shorts , and hire monkeys to replace all of the CIA's office managers. "Well we wanted change didn't we? What did you expect?"

"I hope we all agree that new blood is needed at the CIA." We don't need "new" blood, we need "competant" blood! This is just ridiculous.

Now Byron Dorgan (D North Dakota) is dropping science. He's talking about how Warren Buffet, the second richest man in the world, wrote an editorial where he talked about paying the same tax rate as his receptionist. Oh, this is about the dividend tax cut, which apparently Buffet isn't a fan of.

Oohh, here we go, this is the editorial by Buffett that the Dorgmonger is referring to.

Ha! The Dorg just said that he likes to roller-blade. That is precious. Imagine if Byron Dorgan was wearing roller blades right now, while talking at the Senate. Hahaha. That's great. Anyway, he's telling a story about how the founder of Rollerblade gave his workers a bonus and also paid the tax on the bonus for them.

This is an interesting line from the Buffet editorial: "But I was luckier in that I came wired at birth with a talent for capital allocation..." It's interesting that Buff credits his success to an accident of birth. I don't really see how people can take credit for their own success. What do they have that wasn't given to them? They were born into this world helpless, with a brain crafted by God/evolution, then raised by parents, then taught by teachers. Even if you were an orphan that never went to school there had to be people that helped you. And you can't take credit for the natural intelligence that was given to you at birth. Even work ethic is something that you got from the people around you; if you were born into another country you wouldn't necessarily be exposed to the culture of constant work that you see here in the US. I just don't see how the concept of "the self made man" can make sense.

Ok, I'm stopping now. 11.4 miles.

Senate Committee Vioxx Medication Withdrawal (part 3)

The president and CEO of Merck, Raymond Gilmartin, is being questioned. How great would it be if there was a flawless lie detector, and on the bottom of the screen when someone was talking there was a little graphic that showed you how honest the person speaking was. I have to admit that this guy looks pretty sincere.

I think I might stop at 9 miles so I can run errands during the rest of the day. I need to buy milk.

John Breaux said that this Merck guy might be the last person he will ask a question of, after 32 years of being a Senator. Did he get voted out? Why do people keep saying this?

Ok, that's 9, I'm calling it a day.

Grand Opening of Bubba's 'Brary

Ok, I'm breaking the rules here, going over to CNN to watch the opening of(the new Clinton Library. Bush just finished a speech and now Bono and The Edge are playing. It's raining.

It was fascinating to see Bush saying good things about Clinton and then even sharing an umbrulla with Hillary for a second. Now Bush and Bill are chatting. I've never seen anything like this. Bush seems reluctant to look him in the eye though. But still, it still looks like there's some goodwill there. It's not often that you get all the surviving presidents together. I think Ford is there. Maybe not.

Now Clinton is saying good things about dubya, and now he's thanking Bush senior for initiating education reform.

This is such a touching bipartisan love-fest that I feel kind of bad about comparing Bush to my dog. Maybe in a way we're all like my dog sometimes, crapping in kitchens without a second thought of who has to clean up after us.

Now Clinton's saying that he made sure the building was environmentally friendly in honor of Al Gore. How nice would it be to have a president that's an environmentalist? Aaaahhhh, the possibilities. Al Gore definitely would have done more in terms of stopping the polar ice caps from melting. (McCain called the Bush administration's handling of global warming "disgraceful.")

"I always kept track by a simple measure: Were ordinary people better off when I stopped, than when I started."

Oh, and by the way, a caller on this morning's "Washington Journal" said he thought Clinton was a great president, and listed a bunch of reasons, among them "getting all those niggers off welfare." I couldn't believe it! He just mentioned it in passing like it wouldn't even be contentious. He had an Indian accent so I think maybe he just didn't realize the word was offensive because he hears it in pop culture. Because also, at the end he said we definitely have to give Clinton "his props." I swear I'm not making this up.

This is a good speech. He's saying he thinks W. and Kerry are both good people who care about America. "Am I the only person in the United States who likes both George W. Bush and John Kerry?"

"Our differences matter, but our common humanity matters more." Great line.

Do you hear that? I think Chelsea has kind of an Indian accent! Where did that come from?

Now I'm actually going more that 3 miles per hour (3.1 actually). Normally I'm going like 2.7 or 2.8. I think the caffeine from my second cup of green tea kicked in, giving me a little bit of gas.

Ok, that's the end of that segment.


Senate Committee - Vioxx Medication Withdrawal (part dos)

Back to the "nice, moral geeks" theory. I guess in some ways it just boils down to the way people's brains are wired. Imagine you find a wallet with 1000 dollars in cash in it. The fact is, the more of a conscience you have the more pain you would feel at taking some of that money before returning the wallet. There are people so "morally sensitive," that taking 10 dollars from that wallet would cause them more pain than other people who threw the wallet in the gutter.

Maybe that explains part of the Bush paradox: he's screwing so many people over, but he looks so innocent, so well-intentioned! Maybe he just has a little gimpy conscience that doesn't worry too much about things. I like this theory. Bush isn't evil, he just happens to have a lazy conscience, a diminished capacity for imagining the suffering of other people. He's like molly! (my cocker spaniel) She doesn't know how upset I'm going to be when she takes a dump in the kitchen, she just knows she's in the mood to lighten the load. That's why Molly can be all buddy buddy with me right after making me clean up her turds. Bush is the same way! There's no such thing as an evil cocker spaniel, and I think Bush is kind of in the same boat. (And by this I don't mean to say Bush is an idiot, because that is a totally different irrelevent. You could be dumb and have a sensitive conscience, and a rocket scientist could be completely immoral. I just think he has a weak conscience.)

I like this Baucus guy from Montana. He seems pretty down to earth, asking hard questions without being combative.

Apparently countries in Europe re-check drugs on the market every five years. Another indication they are running a tighter ship over there.

Oooh, Baucus just got testy. "I would like you to address the question I asked."

Hatch looks like he has a dark side. He looks like the type of person that you wouldn't want to work as a personal assistant for.

Senate Committee - Vioxx Medication Withdrawal

Sen. John Breaux, dem from Lousiana, is asking Dr. David Graham questions. Graham is the Assoc. Dir. of the Office of Drug Safety at the FDA.

Breaus is giving this doctor a hard time.

Now Jim Bunning, Rep Sen from Kentucky, is up to bat.

Graham makes a pretty interesting point: He's saying that there is a conflict of interest when the organization that keeps track of drug safety (once drugs are released) within the agency that decides whether they should be released. Because it means that drug safety then has to tell the FDA that the FDA messed up.

Wow, before Graham said that there are 5 other drugs that he feels need to be looked at. Just to emphasize how bad things are. Now someone just asked which 5, and Graham flinched for a second, and now he's actually listing them. Are the companies that own these stocks going to do worse now? Acutane.

Hahah. Graham goes, "There was this program called SMART. Well, SMART wasn't very fact. In my view, SMART was dumb." heheh.

He just mentioned the asthma medicine Serevent. He said it might make you more likely to die from asthma.

Now they are talking about Beckstra.

Wow, the seats where the doctors are sitting look really intense. You are basically surrounded by questioners.

Now the other doctor is talking, Dr. Bruce Psaty. hahahh, he just said "thromboembolic event." Of course.

Sen. Charles Grassley, R from Iowa is asking people questions. He just asked Dr. Gurkirpal Singh a question, who happens to be joined the sesh bia satellite from Stanford. I can't hear what the hell he's saying. Someone is drinking water at the hearing and I can hear the ice clinking in the glass clear as day. But I can't hear two consecutive syllables of Gurki.

Max Baucus, D from Montana is asking questions.

The way Graham talks, I almost get the feeling like he is a victim of his own integrity. Or in other words, the type of person where doing the wrong thing just doesn't even seem like an option for him. He seems like the kind of person that would commit suicide if forced to do something immoral. For example, he could have made tons of money as a consultant for trial legal firms, but he turned it down to keep on working on "post-market drug safety." You know it, it basically comes down to conscience. Some people have an almost overactive conscience, and some people have almost no conscience.

The problem is that people with an overactive conscience don't tend to end up in power, because they aren't willing to cut corners morally in order to get ahead. (Plus, they are usually squeamish about being the center of attention.) That is one fundamental problem in society, the fact that power too often falls into the hands of the people who least deserve it. It makes sense really: power tends to end up in the hands of the people who want it, more so than the people who deserve it.

I'm really interested in this whole "conscience" trend. You have to imagine that one person in your high school class, or that one person at work, that is really timid and perfectly moral. It's like a specific species of person within the human species, Timidus Moralus Perfectus. But can you boil it all down to sensitivity? Because people who tend towards a big conscience are often socially anxious. Think about it. Nice geeks. I know you know them.

Orrin Hatch, R from Utah, sure is something. I think the treadmill is drowning out Dr. Gurk.

These doctors are so docterly.

There is a girl or woman sitting right behind Sen. Breaux who will occasionally just stare directly into the camera. It's kind of mesmerizing. You don't generally see someone just staring into a camera without saying anything on live television.

Now Graham is mentioning his problems with Crestor.

YO! The company that makes Crestor, Astrazeneca, just went down after this guy said this. I knew it, that's crazy. Look at the price at around noon today.

And check out GlaxoSmithKline , which makes Serevent.

Now I'm checking Beckstra. It's made by Pfizer, which is up for the day but still down since noon.

Now Sandra Kweder, Acting Director of the FDA, is soloing. What's the difference between a Director and an Acting Director?

Ok, I'm going to post this before I accidentally delete this. I'm at like 6 miles and my knee is feeling better.

House Session - US House of Representatives - The Debt Limit

Rep. Jim McGovern from Mass is working the microphone. He just got back from the Vibe awards. Just kidding.

Whoa! The House is on C-SPAN uno and the Senate is on C-SPAN dos! Yahzee!

I feel like the House is kind of like the minor leaques of the Congress, so it's kind of tempting to stay on the underdogs. But then again, their on Uno and the Senate's on Dos.

Ok, I'm sticking with the bush league of the congress for now. Rep. Tom Reynolds, R from New York just finished. He said he would yield the balance of his time, so something like that, so casually, he just blurted it out as he was sitting down like he didn't give a deuce.

Oh I see, Jimmy Massachusetts keeps on asking if he can respond in the middle of Tom "Kevin Mc" Reynolds time.

My gut is telling me that the Dems are just being brats over this debt ceiling thing. You know what would be funny though, would be to call Reynolds's office and ask him for help in raising the debt limit with your wife, who refuses to let you go further than $100,000 in debt to First Bank of Secaucus.

Ok, now Charles Stenholm is speaking his mind. He's a Dem from Texas so you have to like the way that sounds.

800 Billion dollars! Wowsa! It's fun to imagine how much that would be in different items, like Jello. How big would 800 billion dollars of Jello be?

Oooh, now Reynolds is quoting from Clinton's request in 96 to raise the debt limit. Touche. And now Louise Slaughter is quoting Bush the elder! Spicy!

(In the interest of full disclosure I am not on the treadmill right now. I'm in the kitchen waiting for a "Lean Cuisine" Chicken Enchilada Suiza to finish heating up in the nuker. What's that you ask? Let's just say, my friend, it involves a Sour Cream Sauce and Mexican-Style Rice.)

Niiice. Now Spratt is showing the tax revenue predictions that Bush used in 2001, and comparing them to the actual results. I like Spratt's posters. A+ for him going the extra mile. He should show all the zeros and just underline the beginning, like the 800 in 800,000,000,000. When you are trying to get people to think something is a lot of money I think you are always better off showing all the zeros.

I like how they divy up the time in little groups of minutes.

Wow. Earl Blumenauer, D from Oregon, has got style. This is guy is pretty entertaining in my opinion. This guy is really funny. I would love to see Chris Kattan play Earl B. in a movie. Millions of people would watch that. That bowtie is huge! He's got old school glasses, a light pink shit. This guy is a piece of work. He really used those 3 minutes well.

They haven't posted a title under this guy. I don't think C-SPAN knows who he is. Is it "same seats" at the House? "Same seats" was the best in elementary school when you had good seats. You would just call "same seats" and you were on easy street. You didn't have to shove people out of the way, you didn't have a care in the world.

I think Tom Reynolds would be good for playing a Police Comissioner in an action movie. Check it out. Here's The Commish himself , and this is Tom.

Oooh, Peter DeFazio is going off! Sweet! He's going nut! I love these Oregon reps! Their great! DeFaz is pissed. This is awesome. It makes you want to just walk out your front door and find a conservative to beat the piss out of. Wow, I didn't realize I had that kind of anger in me. I have to ask whether speeches like that are healthy.

Now, Tommy Reynolds is quoting other democratic reps who supported "raising the roof" in 96. Hahahha, raising the roof. Why say ceiling when you can say roof?

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton from DC is talking. What is a delegate? What the heck is going on here?

Louise "Sergeant" Slaughter is wrapping things up for the Dems.

Tom just said this may be the last time he leads a debate or whatever you call what just happened. That was so sad, did he get voted out? I didn't realize the Commish had such a tender, sensitive side. I think if he had shown that earlier I would have been more swayed by his arguments. "Guys, can we please raise the debt limit? I haven't been having feeling myself lately, I miss the leaves on the trees, and this would really be a little sparkle of sunshine in my bonnet."

The Best Dream in the World, By Dan Bana

I had a dream last night that they did a recount and found out that Kerry actually did win Ohio. Oh it was sublime. It was like the Red Sox coming back from 3 games against the Yankees but better. I can't explain how good it felt. It seemed so real!

So, I would like everyone to stop for a second and pray that this happens. Let go of all your athiest leanings and commune with Jehovah, the God of Moses and Muhammad. It's a hail mary, I know. But it never hurts to try.

Because really, if Rublicans can run elections even twice as good as they have run the Iraq war, then a 5 percent margin of error would be miraculous. Seriously. We should probably count the ballots three times, just to be sure. In fact, I think recounts should be mandatory no matter what. Think about it. Whenever there is something that you really want to count right you do it twice. That's why when supermarkets inventory their stock they have two people each do the same eisle. And if their numbers don't match up then they count it a third time. That is really what makes the most sense.

Now my left elbow is starting to hurt, this is getting bad.

Federal Debt Limit and Budget Deficit (Call-In) Call-In Federal Debt Limit and Budget Deficit Federal Debt Limit and Budget Defecit (Call-In)

Aight, here we go. Sen. Kent Conrad, dem from north dakota is a ranking member on the Budget Committee.

Right now it seems like the Democrats are being really "alarmist" about the American debt. I can't tell if I should really be upset about this. It's like the Dems want to use this to skewer the republicans, they say over and over again, "We owe money to JAPAN and CHINA!" I think it's like this is something that the Dems know will really be scary to down home americans. But I always feel like running up debts is like the national pastime of running any kind of state. Granted, it would probably be better if a state wasn't in debt, but is it the end of the world for a state to run a debt? How dangerous is it?

The true magnitude of raising the debt ceiling is something that you just can't rely on partisan people to give you the straight dope. Even a lot of pundits and intellectual talking heads are partisan on stuff like that. RIght? Who can I really turn to in order to answer a question like that? (If anyone is actually reading this, I would love for people to respond to this in the comments section, about how urgent the matter of the national debt is. )

If I make any typos in this post, please excuse them, I think I'm getting a little delerious from this whole process.

Should I go back and edit my entries or just leave them filled with typos and half thoughts?

Wow, this guy from South Carolina is laying into Conrad. He has a thick ass accent and he really knows his stuff. He's just going off and the host isn't even cutting him off. He just cut him off.

Not Con is disputing the other guys facts. I should really learn those facts if I want to understand this debate. But this was great television. This is the kind of exchange that I think could really change minds.

Ah, you know what I think one aspect of this whole deal? SInce Clinton was so kick ass about cutting the size of government and reducint the debt, those items are now Dem turf. So now Bush is probably doing things that the Democrats used to do, but now the Dems feel like they should be able to get upset about this stuff, since they were so good from 90 to 98. Clinton basically co-opted fiscal conservatism from the republican stack of chips. Is that right? I should think about this some more.

This show is really good, I hope they show this again so I can hear this exchange again. You could see Conrad swallow when he realized the caller was basically tearing him a new one. But that was a great phone call.

Ok, I'm muting conrad again. I was thinking that there should be a web site that takes every news story, organizes it by specific "event", and then shows you what each paper has to say about it. The problem with the Google approach is that

1) it organizes things by priority, which is good for seeing the latest and most prominent, but it basically shuffles the stories on a daily basis, making it difficult to easily track a specific serious of issues without having to look through the rest

2) it heads groups of stories with a unique headline - there would be an advantage to giving the story groupings a generic name, like "DeLay Rule Change" or "Defecit Cealing Raise"

One interesting way to keep a sense of urgency while keeping the spacial regularity of where issues fall on the page would be to have the headlines be a range of colors, depending on how rapidly publications are releasing new articles about this topic. So if 10 articles came out about how great taco bell was in the last 25 minutes, "The Greatness of Taco Bell" would be in red, while the diviness of the buffut at Sizzler ("Sizzler Buffet Divinity"), which has only gotten covered once in the last week, would be blue. BUT. each topic would be in the same place on the page, so if you only cared about the Bell and not the Sizz, you would know where to look to keep abreast, without having to scan the page.

Wouldn't this be a good idea? Does someone want to do this and give me a sinecure when you build an empire? Is there something already like this?

I think I might take a break from C-span and see if I can do this with this morning's papers. Or not. I can't decide.

The show is over anyway. I'm at 1.65 miles. And my knee is already starting to hurt, so that's no good.