The Audacity of Lipstick
It had to be done.
First, automatically sign me up for your newsletter. That’s right. I love getting newsletters I never, ever signed up for. I love it like all other spam. And that’s exactly how I treat these. I label them as spam in gmail. Gmail remembers that and also uses that to classify your item as spam by other readers.And from the Insurance Journal, of all places, comes some very serious advice:
Send me your off-topic press release plugging a political candidate or political position. This is particularly effective when you can read my blog and tell pretty quickly that I find that particular candidate to be a shit head and that particular position to be retarded.
With legal trouble and the resulting expenses potentially just one mouse click away, individuals and business entities creating, sanctioning and/or hosting blogs should apply basic risk management to the posting of a blog. Following are a few questions that every blogger should ask of the content contained in their blog:Read and heed.
• Do readers consider the blog a credible source of information and depend on it for up-to-date information (a matter of opinion that can be judged based on analytics and comments)?
• Is information in the blog accurate or is the blog rife with mistakes and misstatements?
• Have facts been checked (as required by due diligence standards) or have they simply been accepted as heard or read elsewhere without further verification?
• Have facts been attributed to the original sources?
• Are information sources reliable?
• Are rumors and gossip printed as fact?
• Are opinions labeled as such?
• Are comments in news and opinion pieces fair and based in fact or could they be considered malicious, libelous or defamatory?
• Is the information original work or plagiarized from another person or entity?
• Has permission been secured to include content or photos found online (leads to the possible charges of copyright infringement)?
• Are paid advertisements clearly separate from news and editorial content?
• Are procedures in place to allow quick response if someone demands correction, retraction or removal of information?
• Is the source of the blog clearly decipherable or is it written anonymously (hiding behind anonymity brings the veracity and intent of the blog into question)?
In your autobiography, you admit to using marijuana and cocaine in high school and college. Yet you largely support the federal drug war — a change from several years ago when you said you'd be open to decriminalizing marijuana. Would Barack Obama be where he is today if he had been arrested in college for using drugs? Doesn't the fact that you and our current president (who has all but admitted to prior drug use) have risen to such high stature suggest that the worst thing about illicit drugs is not the drugs themselves, but what the government will do to you if you're caught?I hold no hope these questions, or their pale imitations, will ever be presented to Obama, especially in any debates. The networks have already been caught being used and abused by the Democrats with planted questions.
Yes, many of us are journalists who try to keep secret our political leanings. But many in the room were students. Or PR professionals. Or invited guests from Chicago with no ties to the media.After all, donations that can be identified as coming from media workers favor Democrats 100 to 1!
You’ll hear no scrutiny of how many white journalists applaud when McCain shows up (he was invited but did not attend UNITY). Still, the UNITY president, Karen Lincoln Michel, felt it necessary to deliver a warning.
“This is a live event on CNN,” Michel told the audience just before Obama took the stage, “The whole world is watching.”
Watching to see if we’d applaud, and if we did, if we’d do so too enthusiastically. As if our silence is proof of our professional pledge of objectivity and clapping means we’re Obamaniacs.
Thing is, I can be quiet on the outside and jumping for joy on the inside. Most black folk who work in corporate America have mastered what W.E.B. DuBois called “two-ness,” this deft dance between who we are and who white America wants us to be.
“I would ask that I am treated like other candidates in terms of expectations,” Obama said, and with that, summed up the trials and tribulations of many of us who labor to represent our communities accurately in predominately white newsrooms — even in predominately black cities.
So no, I didn’t clap. On the outside. I know how to be two in one, how to deal with the double-consciousness of which DuBois wrote.
But on the inside, I was beaming. And no number of lectures can dampen my pride, if only at the historic essence of the moment.
Another reason for Obama's confidence -- the press -- is also an unfaithful partner. The Project for Excellence in Journalism reported yesterday that Obama dominated the news media's attention for a seventh straight week. But there are signs that the Obama campaign's arrogance has begun to anger reporters.It's a cult of personality.
In the latest issue of the New Republic, Gabriel Sherman found reporters complaining that Obama's campaign was "acting like the Prom Queen" and being more secretive than Bush. The magazine quoted the New York Times' Adam Nagourney's reaction to the Obama campaign's memo attacking one of his stories: "I've never had an experience like this, with this campaign or others." Then came Obama's overseas trip and the campaign's selection of which news organizations could come aboard. Among those excluded: the New Yorker magazine, which had just published a satirical cover about Obama that offended the campaign.
Even Bush hasn't tried that. But then again, Obama has been outdoing the president in ruffles and flourishes lately. As Bush held quiet signing ceremonies in the White House yesterday morning, Obama was involved in a more visible display of executive authority a block away, when he met with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani at the Willard. A full block of F Street was shut down for the prime minister and the would-be president, and some 40 security and motorcade vehicles filled the street.
Fresh from his presidential-style world tour, during which foreign leaders and American generals lined up to show him affection, Obama settled down to some presidential-style business in Washington yesterday. He ordered up a teleconference with the (current president's) Treasury secretary, granted an audience to the Pakistani prime minister and had his staff arrange for the chairman of the Federal Reserve to give him a briefing. Then, he went up to Capitol Hill to be adored by House Democrats in a presidential-style pep rally.Milbank explains it all for you, if you read carefully. It's all about making Obama look presidential now so that he feels presidential to voters by Election Day. Never mind that he's not got the experience, track record, or rising level of accomplishments; he seems presidential on television. The media treat him as presidential and that will help sell him to American voters.
Along the way, he traveled in a bubble more insulating than the actual president's. Traffic was shut down for him as he zoomed about town in a long, presidential-style motorcade, while the public and most of the press were kept in the dark about his activities, which included a fundraiser at the Mayflower where donors paid $10,000 or more to have photos taken with him. His schedule for the day, announced Monday night, would have made Dick Cheney envious:
11:00 a.m.: En route TBA.
12:05 p.m.: En route TBA.
1:45 p.m.: En route TBA.
2:55 p.m.: En route TBA.
5:20 p.m.: En route TBA.
The 5:20 TBA turned out to be his adoration session with lawmakers in the Cannon Caucus Room, where even committee chairmen arrived early, as if for the State of the Union. Capitol Police cleared the halls -- just as they do for the actual president. The Secret Service hustled him in through a side door -- just as they do for the actual president.
How do terrorist groups end? The evidence since 1968 indicates that terrorist groups rarely cease to exist as a result of winning or losing a military campaign. Rather, most groups end because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they join the political process. This suggests that the United States should pursue a counterterrorism strategy against al Qa'ida that emphasizes policing and intelligence gathering rather than a “war on terrorism” approach that relies heavily on military force.And these paragraphs from the introduction to the report:
A recent RAND research effort sheds light on this issue by investigating how terrorist groups have ended in the past. By analyzing a comprehensive roster of terrorist groups that existed worldwide between 1968 and 2006, the authors found that most groups ended because of operations carried out by local police or intelligence agencies or because they negotiated a settlement with their governments. Military force was rarely the primary reason a terrorist group ended, and few groups within this time frame achieved victory.And this:
These findings suggest that the U.S. approach to countering al Qa'ida has focused far too much on the use of military force. Instead, policing and intelligence should be the backbone of U.S. efforts.
religiously motivated terrorist groups took longer to eliminate than other groups but rarely achieved their objectives; no religiously motivated group achieved victory during the period studied.And this:
What does this mean for counterterrorism efforts against al Qa'ida? After September 11, 2001, U.S. strategy against al Qa'ida concentrated on the use of military force. Although the United States has employed nonmilitary instruments — cutting off terrorist financing or providing foreign assistance, for example — U.S. policymakers continue to refer to the strategy as a “war on terrorism.”Part of the problem here -- I've read the abstract and the summary but haven't completed the actual 253 page report yet -- is some seeming confusion within the report itself.
But military force has not undermined al Qa'ida. As of 2008, al Qa'ida has remained a strong and competent organization. Its goal is intact: to establish a pan-Islamic caliphate in the Middle East by uniting Muslims to fight infidels and overthrow West-friendly regimes. It continues to employ terrorism and has been involved in more terrorist attacks around the world in the years since September 11, 2001, than in prior years, though engaging in no successful attacks of a comparable magnitude to the attacks on New York and Washington.
Al Qa'ida's resilience should trigger a fundamental rethinking of U.S. strategy. Its goal of a pan-Islamic caliphate leaves little room for a negotiated political settlement with governments in the Middle East. A more effective U.S. approach would involve a two-front strategy:
* Make policing and intelligence the backbone of U.S. efforts. Al Qa'ida consists of a network of individuals who need to be tracked and arrested. This requires careful involvement of the Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as their cooperation with foreign police and intelligence agencies.
This suggests that the United States should pursue a counterterrorism strategy against al Qa'ida that emphasizes policing and intelligence gathering....Well, correct me if I'm wrong here, but that's exactly what we are doing inside the United States! The FBI, CIA, state and local authorities, the theater of the absurd that is airport security, and Homeland Security are doing that every day. FISA, wiretapping, surveillance, all the things the Left is in such arms about are part of the very strategy RAND espouses. Why don't the recognise that?
All you insomniacs and public policy wonks can take heart. U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., wrote to ask Comcast on Thursday to restore C-SPAN2 coverage of U.S. Senate debates and other programming when the Senate's not in session.There might be a story in why Comcast (hack*spit*ptui*ptui) removed CSPAN2 from basic analog cable, or in what's the difference between "analog" and "digital" cable, but the hook is Steve Cohen.
But the company has a better idea.
You can switch to its digital basic service and see it for the same price as the basic analog service from which C-SPAN2 was removed on May 22, said Sena Fitzmaurice, a government affairs spokesman for the company in Washington.
What many locals long suspected is now official. Memphis is one of the least-walkable cities in the nation, according to walkscore.com.Some website with a press release said it, it must be "official." Gah.
Memphis ranked 35th out of 40 big cities on its America's Most Walkable Neighborhoods list released earlier this month. Unswayed by Marc Cohn's anthem "Walking in Memphis," the Web site found that 71 percent of Bluff City residents live in "car-dependent neighborhoods."
"We did not visit the cities as part of the ranking," said Walk Score executive Matt Lerner.So, a more correct intro would be something like, "Advocacy group thinks we're a badly designed and laid-out city."
The findings were based on maps of how close residents lived to parks, stores and jobs. Street designs where compact grids were favored over winding roads. And the reported availability of public transportation, bike lanes, sidewalks and sophisticated crosswalks....
Lerner said one reason the South didn't fare well is because our cities are characterized by sprawl.
Lerner and friends Mike Mathieu and Jesse Kocher started the Seattle-based company last year to promote mixed-use communities.
Walk Score celebrated Downtown, Midtown and East Memphis as the most pedestrian-friendly local neighborhoods, because of residents' proximity to a plethora of businesses.
Let us count the ways:VDH seems to assume (possibly rhetorically?) that Obama will win. I'm not so sure.
1) Obama’s tax code, support of big government programs and redistribution of income, and subservience to UN directives delight the European masses—especially at a time when their own governments are trying to cut taxes, government, seek closer relations with the US, and ask a petulant, pampered public to grow up.
2) He offers Euros a sort of cheap assuagement of guilt—in classic liberal style. When Obama says falsely that he does not look like other Americans who have addressed Germans (cf. Colin Powell or Condoleeza Rice who have represented US foreign policy abroad the last 7 years), Europeans feel especially progressive—and therefore need not worry that no one of African ancestry would ever become a European Prime- or Foreign-Minister.
3) Europe is weak militarily and won’t invest in its own defense. But with Obama, they believe the US will subject its enormous military strength to international organizations—usually run by utopian Europeans. So they will play a thinking-man’s Athens to our muscular Rome. They especially lap up Obama’s historical revisionism in which he lectures about the world’s effort to feed Berlin or tear down the communist wall, never the solitary, lonely efforts of a Harry Truman or Ronald Reagan to confront the evils of communism when almost everyone else preferred not to.
4) Style, style, style. Remember socialist Europe is where we get our designer eyeglass frames, Gucci bags, and French fashions. Instead of a strutting, Bible-quoting Texan, replete with southern accent and ‘smoke-em’ out lingo, they get an athletic, young, JFK-ish metrosexual, whose rhetoric is as empty as it is soothing. The English-only Obama lectures America on its need to emulate polyglot Europe; while a Spanish-speaking George Bush is hopelessly cast as a Texas yokel.
5) Obama reassures Europeans that they, not American right-wingers, “won” the classical debates of the 1990s over economics, foreign policy, and government. He is a world citizen, who buys into human-created massive global warming, wind and solar over nuclear and clean coal, high taxes, and cradle-to-grave entitlements, and resentments of the rich. There is a certain European “We told you so” that comes with his election. In short, we elect a world citizen with a European view, and put behind us the embarrassments of a Texan or cowboy actor.
The final irony?
The hated George Bush is still around; Chirac, Schroeder, Villapin et al. are history. Iraq is secure. Iran is becoming isolated. North Korea supposedly is denuked. And America is reassuring a jittery Europe that we will stick by them in a world of bullying Russians and Chinese.
A Modest Prediction
In 5 years, Europeans will prefer George Bush to a “We are right behind you” Obama.
"You go into some of these small towns in Pennsylvania, and like a lot of small towns in the Midwest, the jobs have been gone now for 25 years and nothing's replaced them. And they fell through the Clinton administration, and the Bush administration, and each successive administration has said that somehow these communities are gonna regenerate and they have not. And it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."No sense reminding those voters what Obama thinks about them, right? It will only make things worse for him!
UNIVERSITY students are entering into "sham" marriages in a bid to get financial support to cope with rising tertiary costs.Gaming the system! Gotta love it.
As the Victorian Government moves to pressure Canberra for improvements to support schemes such as Youth Allowance and Austudy, students admit they are resorting to drastic measures in a bid to qualify for government aid.
One student from the University of Sydney told The Age he married his housemate a few years ago in order to become eligible for the Independent Youth Allowance.
Under the scheme - which critics claim is either too hard to obtain or insufficient to make ends meet - students can receive between $194.50 and $355.40 a fortnight if they can prove they are "independent" through a range of criteria, such as earning $18,850 after spending 18 months out of school, having deceased parents, or being married.
"We went to the registry on Thursday and by Monday we were at Centrelink. [Note: the Australian welfare office.] It seemed like the easiest, clearest solution - simply because there was no other accessible means for us to survive," said the student, who did not wish to be named.
[Defence Minister Joel] Fitzgibbon told The Age that while Labor opposed the invasion of Iraq, Australia now had an obligation to help get the country on its feet.What does that have to do with America?
He said that on his recent visit to the United States he assured senior members of the Bush Administration that Australia remained committed to the Iraq "project".
That completes a comprehensive adjustment of the ALP's policy on Iraq and a significant shift from the impression created by Labor in opposition that Australia's role in Iraq was all but over.
In the lead-up to the 2007 election, Labor promised to withdraw Australia's combat troops from southern Iraq. To meet that undertaking this year, it brought home the 550-strong Overwatch Battle Group and 70 instructors....
"I reassured the US that we remain committed to the Iraqi project, including our P-3 Orions, the security detachment in Baghdad and the frigate protecting the offshore oil export terminals," he said.
"While the Labor Party opposed the intervention, having been part of it as a country we've got a responsibility to see the project through.
* Mixed activity uses - MaybeMemphis only hits two of those keys. ML wants to stretch some of the "maybes" and "nos" into yesses but I think he's trying to massage bad news into supporting his vision of what he wants. (She? Don't know.)
* Population of captive users - Yes
* Programmed activities - No
* Efficient public transit - Maybe
* Strong anchors - No
* Centralized/coordinated retail management - No
* Extensive parking - Yes (currently 22,600 spaces)
* High tourism area - Maybe
* College town or near college neighborhood - No
And one very community-involved downtown resident and business owner replied that there's already a test - the cops drive on it all the time and use it as their personal parking lot. She was vehemently against the proposal, based on her firsthand experience through 24 years of different phases. She was one of many that expressed frustration with the trolleys.Ahh ... the Pinch was booming when there was activity at the Pyramid and the city was trying to make it the expansion zone for downtown activity. That was before South Main took off on its own and the Pyramid closed. That's the problem with downtown: remove the government subsidies and it falls into disuse!
A spokesperson for Carriage Tours of Memphis compared Main to surrounding streets, asking for proof that traffic makes any difference. A few people pointed out that if the answer was vehicle traffic, South Main and The Pinch District would be booming.
Open up Main Street to vehicular traffic, with parking along the side, same as other downtown streets. Parallel parking would offer more slots, but I'm not sure there's space enough.There's an idea I just toss off above that I need to think on some more -- the idea that cities don't really need centralised downtowns anymore, now that communications technology is maturing and so much data doesn't require hardcopy to be kept on file.
Talking about inter-related problems, parking downtown is the elephant in the room that city leaders seem to want to ignore. Why hasn't the city been working to develop a space that can be converted into another parking garage, city-subsidised if need be? Instead, they keep bringing in more and more businesses and events, then let the city-as-it-is absorb the extra vehicles as best it can. Which means overstuffing the private lots. That makes no sense.
It also used to be that you could catch all the city busses you need almost anywhere downtown. When the dimwits decided to put the new MATA bus terminal at the FAR END of downtown (and it turned out to be the wrong end when the Pyramid flopped and the Pinch didn't become the growth area) it created an untenable situation.
Few people want to walk eight blocks or more from wherever they are downtown to the bus terminal. Almost as many don't like paying extra for a trolley ride or a connector bus to get there, besides the hassle of having to walk to where the trolley runs instead of catching the old busses that ran nearby.
I understand the wisdom of decreasing bus traffic so as to increase space for other vehicular traffic, but the city and MATA went too far the other way.
SCM, you might also want to look into the federal subsidies for the trolleys downtown and along Madison. The first was due to expire this year, I think, and the Madison line is due to expire soon after. That's several millions of dollars going away from MATA at a time when their fuel prices have nearly doubled. Tell me that's not a recipe for cutbacks and diminished service.
For the life of me, I do not understand why MATA hasn't been investigated. It's over-ripe for it.
And not to be too snarky about it, but the same urban design "leader" types who are redesigning downtowns today to resemble the downtowns of fifty-sixty years ago are the same twits who talked cities into creating those urban malls in the first place! Fashions and trends, my friend, and the easily-folled, gullible types who buy their blather.
Cities had strong downtowns until the Sixties because of the weight of historical inertia. It's where the businesses always had been. The majority of people at the time lived within a few miles of there, and the transportation web was designed around that centrality. Easily done; easily followed.
Then came the "sprawl" as you call it of the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies. It was, in my mind, the explosion of the middle-class in America which is, I think, a good and healthy thing. Folks moved farther out to find space, instead of living in cramped neighborhoods (drive through Cooper-Young and really look).
Business moved to follow them and, logically, the centrality of the downtown to a city disappeared, except as government, police and the legal establishment are "central" to daily lives. Folks didn't want to drive all the way downtown to search for parking, so offices followed too.
The idea of a "central downtown" is a holdover from an earlier era. Especially in the technology/information age, it's not really necessary. Government could, and should, build more satellite offices to cut down on travelling downtown. Police already have satellite precincts.
And using government as a tool for forcing people to move back into denser, smaller-lot or tower living is non-democratic. We used to live that way, which is why the wealthy moved out along Peabody and Madison and Monroe decades ago. The old neighborhoods between the Pyramid and Rhodes College were the sprawl of their day, but with better built, longer-lasting homes. The Parkway Villages and Westwoods of the Fifties and Sixties are a problem in the brewing that's being looked at from the wrong angle.
Anyway, enough of that. With the large populations of 21st century cities you need lots of space. That requires cars (albeit better designed ones!). That means streets and parking. Let's optimise those first.
At $3.5 billion a year, his service plan, laid out last December and expanded on only slightly Wednesday, has been derided by conservatives as an example of big government. He would expand the AmeriCorps program established by President Bill Clinton by 250,000 slots, double the size of the Peace Corps by 2011, expand the Foreign Service, and create an Energy Corps to conduct renewable-energy and environmental-cleanup projects. Veterans would be enlisted to help other veterans find jobs and support, and a Social Investment Fund Network would support the nonprofit sector.Note the part about the tax credit for college-student service.
An American Opportunity Tax Credit would offer $4,000 to college students for 100 hours of public service. A planned expansion of the Army and Marines by 92,000 would be fostered with pay raises, more family-friendly policies and an end to recruiting impediments such as "stop-loss" decrees that prevent service members from leaving on schedule.
This year Shelby County, where Memphis is located, passed an ordinance banning beer sales at strip clubs, requiring dancers to wear pasties, mandating a six-foot separation at all times between entertainers and customers, and forcing all employees of girlie bars to undergo criminal background checks and obtain permits. At press time, the rules were being challenged in court.Scroll to the very bottom for an explanation of the measures and for a highly hilarious corrections list.
Sex: 32 Tobacco: 2 Alcohol: 25 Guns: 4
Movement: 19 Drugs: 25 Gambling: 21 Food/Other: 22
"In a year in which newspapers are having some difficulties on the business side, it's a sign of good health in Memphis that The Commercial Appeal's journalism continues to shine," Peck added.Isn't this a non-sequitur? How does the CA's winning awards relate to the industry's circulation and advertising crashes? The awards are issued by folks within their own industry, independent of any influence by or on the general public. The public is voting with its eyes and dollars on the value of newspapers -- they are reading less and buying significantly less advertising. The CA can win all the awards it can; it doesn't affect their problems.
The other first-place awards from TAPME were:The plug might more accurately say, "... the impact of Greater Memphis on immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries." That would be far more accurate.
Daniel Connolly for Features Reporting, for his stories on the impact of immigration on Greater Memphis.
Studio sources tell me that record-breaking advance ticket sales for Warner Bros' Batman: The Dark Knight "continue to grow at a pace unlike any other film in history". Even the number of locations in North America where the comic book caper will be playing -- 4,366 -- is an Industry record. There are also approximately 3,000 theaters that will start screening the actioner at 12:01AM Friday. Meanwhile, every IMAX show in New York City this weekend is sold out. By all accounts this should be Hollywood's best-ever 3-day overall North American weekend at the box office: the number to beat is last year's $151+ million....
But the WB insiders point to all the increased competition at the megaplex now as opposed to the beginning of May. Whereas my box office gurus are predicting domestic gross as high as $130M for the wildly anticipated Christopher Nolan/Christian Bale film because of all those record-breaking early ticket sales at North American runs, including IMAX. That would put it 3rd in terms of all-time opening 3-day weekends -- behind Spider-Man 3 ($151.1M on May 4-6, 2007)and Pirates Of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man's Chest ($131.6M on July 7, 2006).