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Current Events

Fear Monger

How do you win an election when you’ve driven up the national debt, sent 90% of the active military into harm’s way to neutralize weapons that don’t exist and ostracized yourself from the world community by ignoring them and mis-pronouncing the names of their leaders.

You scare the bejezus out of the electorate, that’s what!

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Current Events

Mexed Missages?

Phew! The first presidential debate is over and President Bush grasped to his single flip-flop theme like a mouse to a reed in a stormy sea. Bush kept coming back and accusing Kerry of changing his position on issues, over and over with such regularity that I began to think this was all he had in his bag of tricks. As one pundit said on the local TV station here, “It’s one thing to have conviction in your ways but you can’t pound the pulpit for 90 minutes and say the same thing.”

Towards the end, in exasperation, Bush blurted out, “You cannot lead if you send mexed missages.”

You could almost hear the groans from the Bush green room.

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Office

The Political Bias of Algorithms

In a review of the Google and Yahoo news sites in Online Journalism Review, Ethan Zuckerman puts forward a very interesting theory as to why the alternative news sites bubble up to the top of the relevance ranking algorithms at Google News.

“I think what you’re seeing is an odd little linguistic artifact,” said Zuckerman, former vice president of Tripod.com and now a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society who studies search engines. The chief culprit, he theorized, is that mainstream news publications refer to the senator on second reference as Kerry, while alternative news sites often use the phrase “John Kerry” multiple times, for effect or derision. To Google News’ eye, that’s a more exact search result.

A second possible factor, Zuckerman said, is that small, alternative news sites have no hesitancy about using “John Kerry” in a headline, while most mainstream news sites eschew first names in headlines. The inadvertent result is that the smaller sites score better results with the search engines.

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Current Events

NJ Mother thrown out of Laura Bush Rally

Not local news for us anymore but Sue Niederer, a mother who lives up the road from our old house in Pennington, was thrown out from a Laura Bush rally in Hamilton, NJ.

When Bush mentioned the troops abroad, Niederer shouted, “When are yours going to serve?” referring to Bush’s 22-year-old twin daughters, who aren’t in the armed services.

“Seth died for President Bush’s personal vendetta” his mohter says in a seperate interview with the local paper. Seth Niederer was married less than six months before he was shipped out to Iraq and leaves behind a 25 year old widow.

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Current Events

North Korean Nukes?

Mushroom Cloud Reported over North Korea – do we have another member of the nuclear club, was it an accident or a test? Or is it just a forest fire?

What disturbs me more than anything in this ever-connected world is that no on knows for sure and this is something that happened on Thursday!

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Current Events

Balloons

The presidential campaign is not even over but I think they’re right to say that this is the dumbest quote from the 2004 campaign:

“Go, balloons. I don’t see anything happening. Go, balloons. Go, balloons. Go, balloons. Stand by, confetti. Keep coming, balloons. More balloons. Bring them. Balloons, balloons, balloons! More balloons. Tons of them. Bring them down. Let them all come. No confetti. No confetti yet. No confetti. All right. Go, balloons. Go, balloons. We’re getting more balloons. All balloons. All balloons should be going. Come on, guys! Let’s move it. Jesus! We need more balloons. I want all balloons to go. Go, confetti. Go, confetti. Go, confetti. I want more balloons. What’s happening to the balloons? We need more balloons. We need all of them coming down. Go, balloons. Balloons. What’s happening balloons? There’s not enough coming down. All balloons! Why the hell is nothing falling? What the f— are you guys doing up there? We want more balloons coming down. More balloons. More balloons.”

–Democratic Convention producer Don Mischer, overheard on CNN having an apoplectic seizure when the balloons failed to drop from the ceiling of the Fleet Center in Boston

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Current Events

Dancin’ In the Streets

Songwriter for The Grateful Dead and, more recently, The String Cheese Incident, cattle rancher and co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, is organizing spontaneous outbreaks of senseless dancing in and around the Republican National Convention. It’s become a movement

We just had another brilliant expedition into elephant country. We encountered many of our quarry, converted a few, and made the rest so nervous you would have thought their thin smiles might shatter their faces. One of them said that he knew we were mocking George Bush. “How are we doing that?” we asked. “By dancing,” he snarled.

And that, my pesky friends, is paydirt

Dancarchy Reigns!

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Current Events

Krugman v. O’Reilly

Caught the tail end of the “gloves come off” debate between Paul Krugman and Bill O’Reilly on CNBC tonight. The sparring melted down to the point of name calling with Krugman, The New York Times Op-Ed columnist dutifully trying to read choice quotes from a transcript of choice O’Reilly quotes while the conservative host from Fox chastised him for taking queues from Media Watch.

Not sure if this got us any closer to the truth but it was a highly entertaining political cat fight in which host Tim Russert wasn’t even able to get a word in edgewise. I sense, as did Mr. Russert, that this debate will be continued.

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Office

Bush’s Blog

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You know your industry is getting into the mainstream consciousness when The Onion does a parody piece on it.

In other news, this blog got it’s first Comment Spam this morning, in a strange sort of way, I feel that I’ve arrived.

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Office

Bloggers and the DNC

A lot of people are reading about weblogs and bloggers for the first time in the media coverage of the recent Democratic National Convention. While the debate in the traditional media over what exactly qualifies as a jounalist comes off sounding a tad defensive, it’s instructive to read some of the coverage of the convention from a blogger’s point of view. I particulary enjoyed Jessamyn West photo blog coverage which turned the camera on the cameramen with clever meta commentary on the side.

DNC Day 1
DNC Day 2
DNC Day 3
DNC Day 4
DNC Day 5

I particularly liked this shot which shows Moveable Type in action (on a Mac and a PC as well!) at the convention.