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    Thursday, February 24, 2005

    Koufax Awards

    The Koufax award winners for liberal blogging have been announced. Many of the winners are people I link to at the right.

    I'm posting this for the small subset of regular readers here who probably aren't regular readers of Pokerblogen. Although I don't know why you wouldn't want to be regular readers of that fine blog...

    Tuesday, February 22, 2005

    Linkage Time

    I don’t like to do the linkage thing. I’ve got no problem with people who do (unless that’s all they do – does Instapundit ever actually, you know, write anything?), but this is supposed to be me, and I don’t know how much “me” you can put in when you are linking to things other people have written. Nonetheless, here’s some linkage for you:

    I don’t know what it says about my politics, cause I don’t feel like a centrist, but it seems like I link to things Ed Kilgore posts at New Donkey more than anyone else. There are four great posts up right now that he put up Monday. One is on the ugly smear campaign that has started against AARP. (And pretty soon the folks behind the Swift Boat Veterans will be joining the battle!) The second is on the likely Republican presidential candidate in 2008. The third is on the recent poll that showed Republicans by a 3-1 margin believe George W. Bush is a better president than George Washington. The fourth is on Hunter S. Thompson.

    You can see the ad here, along with a piece by Steve Gilliard that captures my thoughts on it.

    What the cretins at USA Next don't get is that AARP isn't a campaign. They aren't an adhoc organization which comes together and falls apart in 18 months. They are here today, and will be here tomorrow, with a mailing list in the tens of millions. If this becomes about the survival of the organization, this fight could get much nastier than these folks can imagine. By suggesting that the organazation of widows and veterans can be slandered like a man, well, it's a campaign born of arrogance. They aren't called a powerhouse for no reason.

    Ever seen an ad with a dead child and a smoking gun attacking the NRA? No? Not because people haven't been tempted, but because alienating millions of NRA members who aren't gun nuts was not just risky, but stupid. It would backfire, badly.

    Well, calling AARP homoloving pacifists is not just insane, but stupid. Because AARP has several Congressmen by the balls and could turn a town meeting into a very nasty affair. Poltics is not for the gentle and easy going. The USA Next guys can pull that shit with politicians, who have limits on their behavior, but there is nothing to stop AARP from unleashing PI's, demanding their allies in Congress investigate them, and all kinds of shit which they cannot imagine. Notice how everyone treats the NRA gently. Well, AARP is spending $10m now, they can up that figure as needed without begging for a dime, and my bet is that they will, because they will see this as a threat to their organizational integrity. AARP has years of chits and favors saved up, and while the Bushies may act like that's no big deal, Congress members from states like Florida and Arizona don't have that luxury.


    This is unfathomable to me. One of the key elements in Bush’s victory was the senior vote. It seemed like after years of hearing Democrats say “The Republicans are coming after your Social Security check” seniors said “We don’t believe you” and voted for Bush. So what’s the centerpiece of his domestic agenda? Coming after their Social Security check. But not just their Social Security check, their lobbying organization. And not just by arguing that they are wrong, but by arguing that they support gay marriage and are against the troops. C’mon! WTF!?!?! It’s as if the worst excesses of blogland are working their way up the food chain. No civilized debate, just yelling and screaming and trying to drown out any opposing voice.

    Finally, there is this other piece by Steve Gilliard
    on outlaw journalism and blogging. Yesterday on Daily Kos, Kos referred to Thompson as the world’s first blogger. I agreed then, and the Gilliard piece explains why:

    Which is why Hunter Thompson was a hero. He was honest to a fault and mean to a fault. In a world where journalism has become about asking questions politely and fiction about settling grudges with parents and schoolmates, he was about something far more important.

    Blogs follow in the tradition of outlaw journalism, but without the flourishes he liked. It's not about just being outrageous, most of the bloggers are little different than their peers in newspapers, clean living young men and women. They don't get drunk and naked for fun, they pay their bills, stay faithful and maybe have a beer too many. However, it is the spirit of what Thompson meant, to be outside the laws of journalism, not the rules, but the laws. The laws of not offending advertisers and friendly pols. The laws of family friendly copy. Those laws. Not the rules about honesty and decency.



    Thompson understood the danger of objective journalism, which was a creature of the post-war period, Roosevelt would have laughed at the concept, battered by Father Coughlin and the Chicago Tribune, which is that the dishonest and the disingenious can have their way with the honest and decent. He called for subjective journalism long ago and our temporary experiment of objective journalism is ending, because it only serves the status quo, which is not most of us.

    It's odd to think of the outsider Thompson having won the day about what we call journalism, but blogging allows for a world of outlaw journalists, working cheap and fast and supporting each other in ways he couldn't imagine. It's not a bad legacy.


    Thompson taught that it was okay to put oneself into the story, that indeed, if you weren’t willing to put yourself into the work, and be honest in doing so, then it probably wasn’t worth doing the work to begin with.

    Monday, February 21, 2005

    Hunter S. Thompson, RIP

    There was madness in any direction, at any hour. You could strike sparks anywhere. There was a fantastic universal sense that whatever we were doing was right, that we were winning. And that, I think, was the handle. That sense of inevitable victory over the forces of old and evil. Not in any mean or military sense – we didn’t need that. Our energy would simply prevail. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave.

    So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look west, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high water mark – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.


    Been my writing idol since high school. First person I ever read who understood that there is a rhythm to words and writing and reading that is as important to the writing process as the rhythm in music. I don't try to write like him, but I do try to incorporate the lessons I learned from him in what I write.

    Friday, February 18, 2005

    On Gannon/Guckert

    Perhaps it’s na├»ve, perhaps it’s overly optimistic, but I would hope that the background check that was run on anyone trying to obtain access to non-public areas of the White House would catch whether or not a person had ever worked as a male (or female) escort. I would hope that the check would also catch whether or not a person was working with an operating organization (Talon News, Gannon/Guckert’s “employer”, did not begin operations until almost two months after Gannon/Guckert’s first appearance at a White House press briefing.) I would hope that by the time someone was leaked an internal CIA document that a background check would have uncovered whether or not there was anything in the reporter’s background that would make the reporter a blackmail risk. I would hope that before a person received an invitation to an exclusive White House Christmas party two years in a row that that person had been vetted to the point that the vettors would know whether or not the person solicited themselves for $1,200 for a weekend (or $200 an hour, if you can’t afford the whole weekend) to men looking for a butch former military man to top them. I would hope that people would realize that this is an important story, that if this had happened in the Clinton White House the Republicans would already be talking about filing impeachment papers on it. (Side note - saw an interesting piece today where someone said that the biggest reason conservatives hated Clinton was that it was impossible to paint him as gay, the biggest smear they like to put on Democrats.) I would hope that people on all sides could see that, unlike the Jordan/CNN comments that were made offhand and immediately retracted, this is actually significant. But hey. That’s just me.

    Tuesday, February 15, 2005

    TV Shows I'd Like To See

    Tony Almeida, Private Eye

    I'm sure Matt's with me on that one, even if no one else knows what I'm talking about. Just like I'm with him on Joe Vs. The Volcano, even if no one else knows what he's talking about.

    Monday, February 14, 2005

    Kid Cuteness

    So, Friday night we were trying to decide where to go out for dinner. Andrew suggested McDonalds or Burger King, but we said no. He then said Red Lobster. (He and Ethan both have a strong love of seafood that they seem to have been born with. It's understandable with Andrew because of all the time he spent in Alaska. But Ethan has been landlocked [except for trips] since birth.) When asked why he replied "Because it's my favorite restaurant that doesn't give out toys."

    Wednesday, February 09, 2005

    Know What Sucks?

    What Sucks Is:

    Breaking up with your significant other five days before Valentine’s Day.

    What Really Sucks Is:

    Breaking up with your significant other five days before Valentine’s Day on the ped mall in the area right outside the public library near the fancy-schmancy playground over the noon hour while tons of people are walking by including some on their work break going to Daydreams to pick up their weekly comic book pull list.

    Now, I’m willing to believe that he cheated on her. I’m willing to believe he banged her roommate and several other girls on the dorm floor. (I almost replaced banged, the least offensive thing she yelled, with shtupped on the premise that shtupped was inoffensive and funnier. But as I thought about it, it is pretty funny to see a good-looking blonde scream “You banged my roommate” to her ex-boyfriend on the ped mall in the area right outside the public library near the fancy-schmancy playground over the noon hour while on your work break going to Daydreams to pick up their weekly comic book pull list. So I left it in.) I’m willing to believe he took money from her purse. I’m even willing to believe he did go to class that day and just didn’t want to give her his notes cause that’s just the way he is. But I’m not willing to believe he deserves to get yelled at on the ped mall in the area right outside the public library near the fancy-schmancy playground over the noon hour while tons of people are walking by including some on their work break going to Daydreams to pick up their weekly comic book pull list for his sins. He deserves to get yelled at, oh yes, he does, and he certainly doesn’t deserve a hot girlfriend. But he doesn’t deserve it happening in public.

    On the other hand, it was a nice bit of street theatre for my lunch break.

    Link Tweaks

    I've tweaked them slightly, but I'm not going the Greenman/Matt/Kris route and linking to every Iowa blogger. Why? Cause I've decided that I'm not going to link to anyone that I don't visit everyday. (The only exceptions - the blogs for my niece and nephew and Will Kenyon's blog.) If I'm not a regular reader, I don't see the need to send you, my regular readers, there. I know, the linkage thing helps keep the Circle of Blog alive, but I'm still not doing it. Sometimes you just have to be contrary.

    Speaking of which, one of these days I'll do a post explaining why I support the Iowa Rainforest project and why I think it will be a success.

    Oh, and at somepoint I need to add the Survivor Thoughts link.

    Tuesday, February 08, 2005

    Musical Tag Part Whatever



    Via Teresa, via Greenman, via Matt, I've been tasked with answering the following four questions about my musical taste.

    1. Last CD you bought

    Just bought a bunch last week – I got the soundtrack to the Buffy musical (I previously owned it, but it got lost and I needed to replace it), The Very Best of Tom Rush: No Regrets, Elliot Smith’s From A Basement On The Hill, and Dazed and Confused Volume Two – More Music From The Movie.

    2. Last song listened to before this message

    No Regrets by Tom Rush off the aforementioned The Very Best of Tom Rush: No Regrets. No Regrets is the song I bought the cd for – pure impulse buy on my part. I was walking to the register at Best Buy and it was just sitting on a DVD end cap – someone must have been walking around with it and then sat it down. So I picked it up. It’s an incredibly sad song about lost love, but an incredibly beautiful one as well.

    3. 5 songs you listen to a lot or mean something to you.

    This is a tough category. I’m sure if I answered this in a week, I’d have some different answers. No order to these, or no more order than just the order they come to me.

    How Do You Like Me Now – Toby Keith

    I found the lyrics on a break-up song site, but that’s not accurate. The man and woman in the song never dated, and what little relationship they had was over long ago. No. This is the single greatest F-U song of all time, passing the Tubes classic Talk To You Later for that distinction. Here’s the middle section:

    When I took off to Tennessee
    I heard that you made fun of me
    Never imagined I'd make it this far
    Then you married into money girl
    Ain’t it a cruel and funny world?
    He took your dreams and he tore them apart.

    He never comes home
    And you’re always alone
    And your kids hear you cry down the hall
    Alarm clock starts ringing
    Who could that be singing
    It’s me baby, with your wake up call!
    How do you like me now?

    How do you like me now,
    Now that I'm on my way?
    Do you still think I'm crazy
    Standing here today?
    I couldn’t make you love me
    But I always dreamed about
    Living in your radio
    How do you like me now?


    Tennessee Plates – John Hiatt

    I’ve got to include some Hiatt. But what song? For now, this tale of two losers who decide to steal one of Elvis’ cars

    She saw him singing once when she was seventeen
    And ever since that day she's been living in between
    I was never king of nothin' but this wild weekend
    Anyway he wouldn't care, hell he gave them to his friends

    Well this ain't no hotel I'm writin' you from
    I’m in the Tennessee prison up at Brushy Mountain
    Where yours sincerely's doin' five to eight
    I’m just a Stampin' out my time makin' Tennessee plates


    He Didn’t Have To Be - Brad Paisley

    A song about being a stepfather:

    I met the man I call my dad when I was five years old.
    He took my mom out to the movie, and for once I got to go.
    A few months later, I remember lying there in bed.
    I overheard him pop the question,
    And I prayed that she'd say yes

    And then all of a sudden, oh it seemed so strange to me.
    How we went from something’s missing to a family.
    Looking back all I can say about all the things he did for me,
    Is that I hope I'm at least half the dad he didn't have to be


    I hope and pray someday Andrew feels this way about me.

    Tough Little Boys - Gary Allen

    And about being a father. Let’s see if I can make Matt cry!

    Scared me to death when you took your first steps,
    I'd fall every time you fell down.
    Your first day of school,
    I cried like a fool and I followed your school bus to town.

    Well I didn't cry when old Yeller died
    At least not in front of my friends.
    But when tough little boys grow up to be
    Dads they turn into big babies again.

    Well I'm a grown man and as strong as I am
    Sometimes it's hard to believe
    How one little girl with little blonde curls
    Can totally terrify me

    Well I know one day I'll give you away
    And I'm going to stand there and smile.
    But when I get home and I'm all alone,
    I'll sit in your room for awhile.
    Cause when tough little boys grow up to be
    Dads they turn into big babies again


    Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic - Police

    One for Lesa. My favorite love song of all time, and a song you absolutely MUST crank up as loud as possible when it comes on the radio.

    I resolve to call her up a thousand times a day
    And ask her if she'll marry me in some old fashioned way
    But my silent fears have gripped me
    Long before I reach the phone
    Long before my tongue has tripped me
    Must I always be alone?

    Every little thing she does is magic
    Everything she do just turns me on
    Even though my life before was tragic
    Now I know my love for her goes on


    4. Who am I going to pass this stick to?

    Uhm, since all my local blogging pals are taken, let’s pass this on to some OT friends

    Jolene

    Kimmah

    And, uhm,

    Pooh

    Wednesday, February 02, 2005

    All The Cool Kids Are Doing It

    I too have added Haloscan comments to my blog.

    Tuesday, February 01, 2005

    I Am Misinformed Part Duex

    So, apparently the PC has some length rule regarding letters. (Thanks Matt for pointing that out.) So here's the shortened version:

    I don’t feel misinformed about the original intent of the Englert. After all, I was the first secretary of the Englert Board of Directors. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the Englert’s mission statement:

    The mission of the Englert Civic Theatre, Inc. is to own, maintain and operate the Englert Theatre as a community arts center and performance space, enhancing the vitality of Iowa City's historic downtown by preserving its last historic theater.

    The Englert Civic Theatre, Inc. will provide diverse programming, educational opportunities, and exposure to the performing and visual arts. Our focus will be to highlight the talents of local performers, artists, and ensembles.

    Mr. Kerchner’s statements indicate that his vision of the Englert is at odds with our original vision. Perhaps that original vision is no longer viable. Still, it would seem that the current Board would at least make an effort towards fulfilling that original vision before abandoning it for the vision of a Little Hancher. After all, abandoning that original vision means abandoning the people who shared that vision, and if the Englert chooses to abandon them, will it be any surprise if they in return choose to abandon the Englert?

    David Pierce

    Now With 50% More Card Throwing!

    Much poker goodness to talk about at Pokerblogen. I'll post an update there today as well.

    I? Apparently I Am Misinformed...

    I see (via, oh, EVERYONE) that Eric Kerchner responded to my letter to the Englert. Here's the response I'm sending back.

    Oooh. Electronic dueling! Isn't it fun?

    To The Editor

    I don’t care to get into a feud with Eric Kerchner on the letters page of the Press Citizen. Indeed, I wouldn’t be responding to Mr. Kerchner’s response to my letter if it weren’t for several factors. First, I find it interesting that Mr. Kerchner chose to say I was misinformed about the Englert. That’s interesting to me because I was part of the group of people working to buy and renovate the Englert before the theatre closed. It’s interesting to me because I was an original member of the Englert Board of Directors and also the first Secretary of the Englert Board of Directors. I venture that I’m in a far better position to speak to the original purpose of our efforts than Mr. Kerchner.

    But don’t take my word for it. Here’s the mission statement from the Englert Web site:

    The mission of the Englert Civic Theatre, Inc. is to own, maintain and operate the Englert Theatre as a community arts center and performance space, enhancing the vitality of Iowa City's historic downtown by preserving its last historic theater.

    The Englert Civic Theatre, Inc. will provide diverse programming, educational opportunities, and exposure to the performing and visual arts. Our focus will be to highlight the talents of local performers, artists, and ensembles. (emphasis added)

    Second, Mr. Kerchner has completely avoided the topic of my letter. I never said that I have any qualms with Leo Kottke (or any other touring artist) performing at the Englert. And I would have had no qualms with Mr. Kerchner stating that the Englert was the perfect venue for a performer like Mr. Kottke. My concerns lies with his statement that Mr. Kottke was the “perfect show” for the Englert. To me, that statement shows either a complete misunderstanding of the reasons we began the effort to save the Englert or a complete disregard for those reasons. Sadly, I think it’s more the latter than the former. It’s hard to tell, though, because Mr. Kerchner doesn’t address those concerns in his response.

    Mr. Kerchner’s statements, and the events he has booked, indicate that his vision of what the Englert should be is completely at odds with the original vision of a community arts center and performance space. That may be all well and good – that original vision may not be a tenable foundation for a successful theatre. But his vision is also at odds with the vision we presented to the Iowa City City Council when we asked the council to purchase the facility. It’s at odds with the vision the Englert Board presented to the Internal Revenue Service to obtain non-profit status. It’s at odds with the vision we on the Englert Board presented to the state of Iowa to obtain the CAT grant. And it’s at odds to the vision we presented to the people of Iowa City to obtain their time and money. As such, it would seem that the current Englert Board of Directors would at least want to make an effort towards fulfilling that original vision before abandoning it for Mr. Kerchner’s vision of a “Little Hancher in Downtown Iowa City”. After all, abandoning that vision means abandoning the many people who shared that vision, and if the Englert chooses to abandon them, will it be any surprise if they in return choose to abandon the Englert?

    David Pierce
    Past President, Iowa City Community Theatre
    Past Secretary, Englert Civic Theatre Board of Directors