Saturday, February 28, 2009

Grilling in

I've got bad teeth. I mean, really bad teeth ... the ones that are left, anyway.

Some of that's genetic, some due to the final disintegration from age of military dental work that lasted longer than they said it would, some of it because I'm a heavy smoker, etc.

I was hoping to move to the "final solution" -- mass extraction and dentures -- this year, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen. Extractions are expensive and I haven't been able to talk Tamara into getting me drunk and taking a pair of pliers to my mouth.

So ... grillz!

No, they're not custom -- the idea was to save money, remember? Got'em from Big Dawgs for $26.94 including shipping, and they arrived in two days even though I chose "standard" shipping.

So far, I kind of like them. They'll take some getting used to, but I'm told the same is true of dentures, partials, retainers, etc. And if they look far out, well, my real mouth looks like an alien landscape. They're worth a try.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Try, try again

My voice isn't fully back yet, but we're still going to take another run at The Big Shew: Darcy Richardson joins me at 5pm Central for "KN@PPSTER: Fridays Live at Five."

I may have solved the technical difficulties of running the show from Linux (they had to do with incompatibilities in the newer Flash plugin for Firefox, I think) -- I'll do some final testing today. If not, I'll bludgeon the kids into letting me borrow their laptop for an hour.

Update, 2:44pm Central Time: Well, maybe not. A mutual acquaintance just told me that Darcy was called into an emergency meeting and may not be able to get out in time for the show. Watch this spot for further updates.

Update, 3:02pm Central Time: Not gonna happen, folks. Darcy works in the financial sector, and if you're watching the news it's obviously turning into a really busy day over there. He's slammed and unavailable. If that leaves a hole in your schedule, you can probably find something good to watch at Hulu.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Test Post

Just testing the ScribeFire blog posting add-on for Seamonkey. Not sure why I'm testing it (no easier to invoke it than to just go to my Blogger dashboard, as far as I can tell), but it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Seems to work so far. Now let's see what happens when I hit "publish," and how it looks on the site.

Powered by ScribeFire.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Cloud cuckoo land?

During the course of my recent desktop meltdown, I spent a certain amount of time entertaining the notion of just buying a new rig, and one type that drew my eye was the so-called "netbook."

I ended up sticking with my beloved ShuttleX. I'm now running Puppy Linux on a 512Mb piece of disk territory, and storing some data on the larger OpenSuse installation which I feel no need to visit. Browsing with Seamonkey, a Mozilla fork that's about as good as Firefox for my purposes (except that I haven't found a Twitterfox equivalent for it yet). My current session is now into its fifth day. I can't remember going that long without a reboot. Ever.

Anyway, I came across an article on "netbooks" in the new issue of Wired, which explained them for me (I didn't think they sounded like a very good deal at first). Got me t'thinkin' ...

The basic premise that the "netbook" phenomenon relies on is that most of us who use the Internet do (or could do) most of the things we want to do online instead of inside those boxes on our desks (or laptops in our bags).

We don't really need a NASCARTM-grade CPU or eleventy terabytes of RAM. What we need is a screen, a keyboard/mouse, a browser, Java and Flash, and an Internet connection. And soundcard/speakers, of course, if we want MuzakTM accompaniment and such.

The era of "cloud computing" is, for all intents and purposes, already here. Especially for me. The only things I don't do online are a little text editing, calculating and graphics stuff ... and I could, and soon will, be doing them online now that I've noticed this whole "cloud computing" idea.

I'm using Puppy Linux because it's an incredibly light distribution which leaves most of my paltry 256Mb of RAM free to do the things I want to do instead of keeping the OS itself running. Far as I can tell, my ShuttleX now does the things I want to do faster than my kids' Vista laptop w/3Gb of RAM and faster CPU.

Even Puppy is really a much fatter OS than I need. If I can find an even slimmer OS that a) boots up, b) connects to the Internet, c) opens a browser (if I had my druthers, I'd probably still go Firefox rather than Seamonkey, but I'm not crying over the minor differences) and properly handles the sound, video, etc. generated from that browser's wanderings, I'm there.

Barack Obama's definition of "fiscal responsibility"

As best I can tell, that definition comes down to "after four years in office, I intend for the enterprise I head to only be spending half a trillion dollars more than it takes in each year, instead of a full trillion."

Thanks to handy Internet acronyms, I'm not left speechless: WTF?

I watched the president's speech last night. As always, he can be counted on to give good speech. He got in a good zinger about those CEOs and their private jets. For some reason, he decided to hold off on announcing that he'll be giving up his personal jet -- you know, the one he used last week when he flew all the way to Denver to sign a bill he could just as easily have signed on the top of Teddy Roosevelt's old desk in the Oval Office.

Make no mistake here: Barack Obama is a CEO, just like the ones he's chewing out.

Among the perks he gets as CEO of the US government -- perks he's evinced no intention of giving up to set the example for those he's scolding -- are a $400k annual salary, free residence in a palatial home (complete with groundskeepers, cooks, doormen, etc.), a 24/7 personal security detail, transportation to wherever he desires via limousine, helicopter or personal jet, and a "golden parachute" which includes a pension of nearly $200k per year for life, continuation of that security detail (and the costs of any accommodations required for it to fit into his lifestyle), and his own library.

What do we get for the millions of dollars we annually lavish on our golden boy CEO? A definition of "fiscal responsibility" that comes to a $1,600+ annual loss for each and every one of his company's 300 million "investors." This, from the guy who assures us that he's the one who can "fix" the economy. Jee. Zuz.

Friday, February 20, 2009

A peek inside AntiWar.Com

The last time I did one of my little "support AntiWar.Com" thingies, several people expressed skepticism as to how AWC spends its money. Although I was able to provide some response, I wish I'd had this article by Justin Raimondo to point you at. It explains where our money goes and what it buys. I think we're getting a great deal.

I can't think of any way to overstate the importance of AntiWar.Com, especially at a time when all too many Americans make the mistake of assuming that the Obama administration will be less recklessly belligerent than the Bush administration was. There's a shitstorm coming, folks, and AntiWar.Com may be the only outfit we can trust to deliver the real truth on it.

With a staff of 14 -- a smaller staff, I'd wager, than any single one of the hundreds of War Party mouthpiece publications constituting "the mainstream media," and no, I'm not on that staff -- AntiWar.Com provides the anti-war movement, and especially that movement's non-interventionist libertarian component, with its only truly effective media voice.

I'm proud to be a $5-per-month AntiWar.Com pledger. I hope you'll consider becoming one, too. I hope you'll also join me in sending them $10 right now. KN@PPSTER's daily unique reader average this week is 437. I make 438. If each of us does this, that makes $4,380 to help AWC through this fundraiser, and another $2,190 per month to help them along from month to month.

Here's where you can make that happen.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lost Bands of the 90s Quest(ion)

I saw Surfin' Moses (or maybe it was Surfing Moses) in 1997 at a "PointFest" concert. They had a song -- "Let's Go Bowling," and it was not the popular ska tune -- in heavy rotation on alternative radio at the time, and I considered their set the best of show.

Anyone know what ever happened to them? They seem to have completely dropped off the radar shortly thereafter. All I see on the Intarwebs about them are a few asides. They were pretty damn good. I'm pretty sure they were an NYC-based band.

Help wanted

AntiWar.Com is doing its part -- continuing to hammer hard on American status quo interventionist foreign policy while so much of the "anti-war left" is falling in line behind continuation of that policy now that "their guy" is in charge.

Help out. If you need a "matching goal" to inspire you to do so, I send AWC $5 a month and try to shake loose another $10 for each quarterly fundraiser as well. They're worth it.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Hell of a day so far ...

Even more so since the first draft of this post disappeared (apparently not just from my screen but from everywhere) when I hit "preview." I'm entering it in Konqueror 3.5.2, for reasons I'll shortly make clear.

Last night, my beloved ShuttleX (hand-me-down from the magnificent Susan Hogarth) laid down and died. Or so I thought (I wasn't the one using the machine at the time). Actually, it was an OS problem, probably caused by my recent attempts to optimize OpenSuse and KDE so that this marvelous but probably obsolete (1.7GHz CPU, 256Mb RAM) machine would run faster. On a restart, I couldn't log in except in failsafe, and I'm not enough of a command line jockey to figure it out from there and get things back up and running.

Anyway, I planned to get up this morning and go computer shopping -- I'd been thinking about it anyway and this whole chain of events just screamed "omen" -- but dammit, I hate to shop for a machine under the gun. So I pulled out my handy-dandy Knoppix bootable CD (don't be without one!), booted it, and verified that the machine itself is still apparently in fine fettle. Yes, it was a software problem.

I went ahead and installed Knoppix/Debian to the hard drive (after rescuing some files to pen drive from it), but it didn't take me very long to figure out that I'd rather go back to OpenSuse. For one thing, my attempts to upgrade from Firefox 1.5 to either 3.x or Debian's Iceweasel -- a Firefox rebrand due to some kind of hissy between the Debian folx and the Mozilla folx -- not only didn't work, but made even the old Firefox unusable.

Current situation: OpenSuse 11.x DVD ISO downloading on the kids' computer. In a couple of hours, I'll have burnt it to DVD, installed it on this machine, and grabbed some software that's not part of the basic install (Firefox upgrade if the latest version isn't on the DVD, Skype, Gizmo, etc.). Then I'll either be ready to start the work week, or out the door to visit Best Buy. Hopefully the former.

[Update, 4:45pmish: OK, The ShuttleX is now running OpenSuse 11. I've upgraded Firefox from the included 3.0.4 to 3.0.6, installed the plug-ins I can't live without, and logged into a number of places I might need to reach quickly in order to make sure I remember the passwords. Life is good ... or sorta good, anyway. Too early to tell whether or not this machine has the resources to handle this OS and these applications without bogging down. Guarded optimism in any case - TLK]

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Guys and Dollhouses

Just as I don't make it to the cinema very often, I also don't often make it a point to tune into anything specific on TV. There's always at least one set on in the house, but it's usually either the kids watching Nickelodeon or Cartoon Network, or just tuned to a cable news channel in case something happens that I probably ought to pay attention to. That, and Tamara watches ER on Thursdays -- sometimes I get sucked in by the plot, sometimes not.

Last night was one of those rare exceptions: Fox premiered Joss Whedon's new series, Dollhouse. Wasn't gonna miss it, and glad I didn't. If you did, the full episode is available for online viewing at the link above (may require Windoze, although the clips didn't) ...

... which leads me to an observation. Whedon's projects often "underperform" -- by broadcast network standards -- in the ratings, while on the other hand capturing a significant dedicated following. I can't for the life of me understand why Fox didn't take that into account in their promotional strategy. Here's what I mean:

A few days ago, I embedded a trailer widget for the upcoming film version of Watchmen in a post here at KN@PPSTER. I'm far from the only blogger who does such things -- can't swing a cat on most blogs without hitting a YouTube video, a promo widget for an upcoming film, that sort of thing..

I wanted to do the same thing with one of the pilot clips from Dollhouse ... but there's no easy way to make that happen. The only "share" option Fox offers is to fill out a form and email a few friends about their video clips. Someone more tech-savvy than me might be able to drum up embed code, but Fox isn't making it easy.

Um ... remember the Browncoats? Maybe they weren't able to save Firefly, but Serenity probably wouldn't have been made, and certainly wouldn't have been as successful as it was, without their enthusiastic involvement.

Dollhouse pulled down 4.7 million viewers last night. With proper promotion -- by which I mean making it easy for fans to give the show free publicity -- it probably could have drawn 6 million without breaking a sweat. The fans love Joss Whedon's stuff, and they don't have to be asked to promote it. If they're allowed to, they will.

Update: Hat tip to Brandon Sharitt -- non-Windoze types can find the Dollhouse premier (albeit still unembeddable) at Hulu. Also at Hulu, and !EMBEDDABLE!, the greatest TV series never made. And since it's !EMBEDDABLE!, I'm going to embed it:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Why they have to make everything so complicated?

Twitter, that is.

Great service, and capitalized to the tune of something like $20 [update: Er, million] last time I heard. But they still apparently don't have a revenue plan, and the ideas being thrown around (premium paid services for corporate customers, etc.) don't make that much sense.

Here's what DOES make sense:

A lot, maybe even most tweets include links. People see something interesting, they tweet it to their followers with link. People blog something, they tweet it to their followers with link. People arranging a meetup, they tweet their followers with a link to a map. Looking at my Twitterfox feed just now, every other tweet or so has a link.

Some of the links are pre-shortened by the users using TinyURL or Snipr or whatever. The long ones are automatically truncated by Twitter itself.

So, since their design already allows them to modify links, why not modify EVERY link Adjix-style, so that those clicking thru on it see an ad in a small strip at the top of the site they're going to? Then sell the advertising space on a CPM or PPC basis, of course. They could probably even make the advertising contextual based on the link destination or on information they've teased out of the tweeting and clicking users' relationships and behaviors.

For that matter, they could also override into the individual's tweetstream themselves -- every 5th tweet you send, every tenth you receive, you receive an "ad by tweet."

Doesn't seem like rocket science.

TweeterGetter redux

As noted in my previous post on the subject, TweeterGetter is essentially an Internet marketing chain letter, Ponzi, whatever you want to call it -- but one in which the currency is Twitter "followers," not money, and one which is transparent enough that allegations of a fraud or scam ring hollow.

Yes, the thing is going to tail off at some point. Yes, the people who got in early and/or promoted it will do better than the people who got in late and/or didn't. This should be obvious. Right now, though, the thing is only in its second day of existence. The "ground floor" is still open.

Before I go any further, I'll plug my TweeterGetter page. Check it out. If you're interested in building a larger Twitter network, it's a plausible way to do so at this point. I've picked up about 30 "followers" since signing on.

Here's how it works:

- You go to someone's TweeterGetter page, probably because they promoted that page to you in some way (like I just did).

- You fill out a form. This form, when submitted, sets you to "follow" five individuals on Twitter, plus the program's founder (who is making out like a bandit, and good on him!). It also posts a "retweet" on your Twitter account about TweeterGetter which goes out to all of your followers.

If it stops there, you've got nothing (except the following screen, which is an "upsell" of a "special report" on how to market using Twitter). After all, the people receiving your retweet are already your followers, right? The only people who benefit from it are the four people above you in the program, and the program's founder.

That part has thrown a few people for a loop, so let me explain the next part simply. It doesn't stop there, at least not if you're wanting to actually gain from the program.

Also created is a new TweeterGetter page, this one ending with your Twitter ID, ie:

If you promote that page -- email your friends about it, blog about it, use traffic exchange credits or paid traffic to put it in front of people, etc. -- then the people who sign up there will be following you (and the four people above you, and the program's founder) on Twitter. And the people who sign up under them, four more levels down, will also be following you on Twitter.

Like I said, eventually it will get down to a level where there just aren't any more interested and easily reachable recruits, and the last generation of signers won't really benefit. On the other hand, all they'll have "invested" is following five people and the program's creator, plus whatever promotional effort they made. It's not like you're being asked to have your gold teeth pulled and melted down or anything. And they (or me, or you) can stop following anyone, anytime, with a couple of clicks.

There is, however, a certain amount of angst going around about TweeterGetter.

JoelComm, who seems to be a bit of a Twitter expert, is cold to the idea because it does not, in his opinion, constitute "organic social networking." To each their own, I guess. I don't see that it's especially different from many of the techniques people use to score "friends" on MySpace or Facebook, or that non-organic artifices necessarily produce poor results.

RossGoldberg asks, and the question is relevant, "Why build up followers that don't know, like, or trust you?" He's apparently more interested in a small circle of friends than a large list of followers (and potential followees).

Personally, I think RossGoldberg is writing off a big part of the way the social milieu works. I don't see any particular reason why a friendship or relationship can't start with, rather than precede, a Twitter association.

I mean, sure, I go to the bar with my existing friends, but when I was single, I also often went to the bar and chatted up ladies I hadn't known when I walked in the door. And I still occasionally meet someone and develop some sort of continuing relationship with him or her because we both happened, for one reason or another, to be in the same place at the same time. Twitter is a place where you "meet" people you know. Ideas like TweeterGetter make it into a place to meet people you don't know ... yet. Nothing wrong with that.

I figure there's a good chance that a high percentage of my TweeterGetter-acquired "followers" will eventually decide they don't care for the stuff I tweet about (mostly politics) and "unfollow" me. That's fine -- if they're not interested, I don't want to clutter up their Twitter feed. I may eventually "unfollow" one or more of those I "followed" to get into the program. That's fine, too.

On the other hand, I expect I'll also acquire lasting relationships -- new readers for my blogs, or even new friends -- from the thing as well. For now, I'm at least as interested in the whole discussion about it as in promoting it. But yeah, I'll promote it. I just did. Again.

Long dark teatime of the "liberaltarian" soul?

Jonah Goldberg and John Hood and Goldberg again over at National Review ponder the Obama-spawned vexation of "liberaltarians."

Will Wilkinson responds.

Best summation points to Kip Esquire, in comment on the Wilkinson piece:

"Liberaltarianism" in its 2008 regeneration simply meant that libertarians placed dismantling the Bush Administration's catastrophic civil liberties and foreign affairs policies so much higher on the agenda than fiscal restraint (which neither conservatives nor liberals embrace today anyway) that they were willing to hold their noses, close their eyes and pull the lever for Obama -- despite knowing full well what the budgetary ramifications would be.

... which puts them in the position of having to deal with a whole new set of problems, this time coming from the direction that, in desperation, they endorsed. Too early to tell whether those problems will be "worse" in general, but they'll certainly be more ideologically complex for "liberaltarians" than for those who subscribe to other brands of libertarianism. I'll be interested to see which ways today's "liberaltarians" go over the next couple of years.

Interesting Twitter phenom ...

... in essence a Twitter-based chain letter. Harmless, though -- no money involved unless you go for the "upsell" afterward. Your only "investment" is agreement to follow five other participants' tweets, plus whatever effort you choose to put into promoting it.

Oh, yeah, promoting it. I should do that: Here ya go.

Last time I looked (an hour or so after joining) I had picked up seven new followers. Guess I got in somewhere not too far from the ground floor, anyway.

Update: A few further thoughts ...

As you can probably tell, I dabble in "Internet marketing" when I'm not busy saving the world from tyranny.

One of the constant proverbs of Internet marketing is "the money is in the list." Even those like me whose main interest is politics rather than some other kind of widget, know the truth of that. Selling one thing to one person in multiple iterations is a tough row to hoe. Better to build lasting relationships that result in repeat sales (or campaign donations, or volunteer hours, etc.) to the same customers.

Twitter is just a different kind of list, and it has some features that make it better, from the customer end, than bulk email or postal direct mail.

For one thing, all you have to do to get off someone's Twitter list is unfollow them, rather than futzing through some arcane unsubscribe mechanism that may or may not work. If your followers don't like where you lead them, they can dump you with a couple of clicks.

Additionally, since "follow" requests go one way (from "customer" to "vendor"), you don't end up on 14 lists you never asked to be on just because you gave your email address to some spammer who resold it.

Of course, in the chain letter mechanism, Gary McCaffrey (the guy behind TweeterGetter) is building one king-hell list, while those further down the chain build much smaller ones. But hey, that's all right. Looks like I'm at 10 new followers tonight, and counting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A little shameless peddling

Most of my sites, including Rational Review, are hosted at Hostgator and have been for several years. Since they have an affiliate program that pays me if you host YOUR sites there, I figure it's worth spending some blogspace on why I recommend them. So I will, below the big, garish linked graphic.

Q: If Hostgator is so good, why isn't KN@PPSTER hosted there?

I've thought about hosting it there, and may eventually, but I do have reasons not to -- none of which have anything to do with Hostgator. First of all, the blog's URL would change. Sure, I could post something here urging people to click on through, but I'd probably lose some traffic. Also, I'm eventually going to upgrade to "New Blogger," and at this time they only offer that for hosting at Blogspot.Com. Finally, I'm just a sucker for free storage and bandwidth, even though the amounts of both I get from Hostgator are more than sufficient to handle KN@PPSTER.

Q: Have you had any problems with Hostgator?

I haven't had any problems with Hostgator that were their fault, or that we didn't get resolved in a timely manner.

I use their "shared" hosting. It's a great deal, but it means that my account isn't permitted to use more than 25% of the resources on the server it shares with other customers at any given time. Early on, there were some problems with a WordPress installation (Rational Review's) that caused it to exceeded the 25% limit. We fixed the problems, and that was that. Rational Review alone (which is hosted on an account with a number of other sites of mine) runs about 50,000 visits and serves up more than 200,000 separate page views a month, and it's now been several years since I've heard a "you're hurting us" peep from Hostgator on that account.

I did have one client account last year that generated ire from Hostgator when 3,000 people tried to hit the site in a timeframe of a few minutes due to a popular Digg link. If you're expecting to get Dugg bigtime, or Slashdotted, etc., you're not going to want a low-level shared hosting account. You're going to want your very own server. But for most traffic situations, their shared hosting holds up quite well.

Q: Anything else that you really like about Hostgator?

Hostgator gives its customers access through a utility called cPanel, which is incredibly easy to use. They also include Fantastico, which allows for easy installation, upgrading and uninstallation of popular software packages like WordPress and Drupal (and a bunch of others). If you've ever had to install one of those things from scratch, you know what a pain it can be. Fantastico does it with a few clicks, including setting up any mySQL databases, etc. There are other extras (site templates, stat packages, etc.), but those two are the main attractions.

Hostgator isn't the only cPanel/Fantastico hosting service, but whatever you do, seek those two things out. Unless you're some kind of abnormal wirehead, you'll really appreciate them.

Q: Can I get a discount?

Glad you asked! Use the discount code "GREEN" (there's a space in the registration form for it) for 20% off your first month. They used to do the first month for one cent, but I guess those days are over. The reason the discount code is "GREEN," btw, is that Hostgator is a "green" web host -- they purchase wind power credits in the amount of 130% of their electricity usage.

"Your fair share?"

My latest over at Repudiate the Debt!


Coming up with an exact number for "your fair share" -- assuming there was such a thing -- of the US government’s asserted “national debt” would be a fool's errand. ... There is, however, a number being thrown around which assumes a more-or-less current number for the debt, a more-or-less current estimate of population, and an "equal share for everyone" distribution.

Countdown ...

I don't make it out to the theatre for a flick very often, especially on opening day ... but this one is definitely on the calendar.

Update: Can't believe I forgot to monetize! If you haven't already read it, you're going to want the graphic novel either before or after seeing the film. It's from Alan Moore, author of V for Vendetta (nice convenience buy throw-in there, eh?) -- different illustrator, though.

At least give us truth in advertising

Stop calling it "economic stimulus." It isn't.

Call it the "Omnibus PorkFest Appropriations Bill of 2009."

Or the "We Won the Election and Now You're All Going to Pay and Pay and Pay, MWUHAHAHA! Act of 2009."

Or the "Joint Resolution in Favor of Greasing Our Biggest Campaign Contributors' Palms with Taxpayer Money."

Or just refer to it truthfully as "emergency legislation for the purpose of extending the recession and maybe even bringing on a full-blown depression."

But please knock off the "stimulus" hooey. The only thing this idiocy "stimulates" is the highly evolved greed glands that accompany further speciation of bureaucrats and lobbyists away from the human race.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

About sums it up

Tyler Nixon on Obama:

... swaggering jackass ...

Same as the old boss, part 4: What's in the black bag, Barack?

As is so often the case, JD Tuccille hit this one before I got to it, and with more juicy detail.

Summary: Obama's pre-election posturing about "transparency" was, well, pre-election posturing. His administration is fully committed to keeping its dirty laundry, as well as the very dirtiest laundry of its predecessor administration, shut tight in a black wicker hamper under seal of "national security."

I wonder if the blueprints for Spandau are still extant. They'd make for a fine and foresightful addition to the "public works" portion of the "stimulus" scam. Just outside Nuremberg, Pennsylvania sounds about right.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Same as the old boss, part 3: The apparatchiki strike back

I see that I'm not the only one thinking: Where's Howard?

As a libertarian, I don't support President Barack Obama's healthcare nationalization/socialization goals, but if I did, Dean would be the obvious guy to try to achieve those goals as Secretary of Health and Human Services. He's a doctor. He's a former governor who accomplished some of the very same things in Vermont that Obama wants to accomplish nationwide. He's popular with the grass roots of the Democratic Party (for very good reasons) ...

... Ah, wait. That's it. He's popular with the grass roots of the Democratic Party (for very good reasons) ... and that drives the party's Dinosaur Caucus -- the ones who connived to lose the 2004 presidential election by backing John Kerry instead of Dean, the ones who fought tooth and nail to keep Dean away from the DNC chairmanship, the ones who lost Congress to the GOP in 1994 and who are pissed off that Dean's strategy won it back for the Democrats in 2006 and paved the way for Obama's election last November despite their pouty obstructionism -- batshit insane.

Whether from true personal inclination or because he felt forced to for some reason, Obama started handing out office keys like so much candy to the old Democratic apparatchiki before he even took the oath. Membership in The Gang of Old Folks That Won't Shoot Straight is apparently a required resume item for appointment to a cabinet office in the Obama administration. Unless the Obama administration is notably leakproof, Dean's name isn't on the short list for HHS or for anything else.

At the moment of truth, Obama seems to have choked. The Democratic Party that Bill Clinton left wasn't able to get the job done in the age of Bush ... but now that tired, discredited Democratic Party is attempting to seize back control from the other Democratic Party, the energized, victorious Democratic Party built from the ground up by Howard Dean and a few million real Americans, the Democratic Party that returned control of Congress to the Democrats in 2006 and put a Democrat in the White House in 2008. And they're apparently succeeding.

Leave it to the Democrats to snatch long-term defeat from the jaws of short-term victory. Of course, in some respects that's a good thing, I guess.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Historic parallels

Year: ---8.

An outgoing president has escalated a long conflict into full-blown war, ultimately to popular displeasure. He is not seeking re-election. His party rejects its anti-war wing and nominates a "stay the course" candidate.

The opposing party nominates, and elects, a candidate running on nebulous "new leadership will end the war and win the peace" rhetoric.

The new president introduces "bold" economic policies, including wage controls.

1968 or 2008?


Eugene McCarthy or Ron Paul?

Richard Nixon or Barack Obama?

The more things change ...

Same guy? Think about it ... ever seen'em together?

Friday, February 06, 2009

Busted show ...

Sorry, folks ... today's show just didn't work out.

I think the technical difficulties were on NowLive's end. I was able to call in, and my voice went out, but their system didn't recognize callers so that I could get the guest (Darcy Richardson) "on the air," nor did any of the canned audio/video I tried to play seem to actually make it into the broadcast audio.

I'll try again for next week -- with Darcy if he's available, with another guest or panel if not. In the meantime, check out his site (linked above) and consider ordering one or more of his books.

On that note, I attest that Others is damn good stuff -- sweeping in scope, and written in style evocative of Shelby Foote's The Civil War: A Narrative and Will and Ariel Durant's The Story of Civilization. If you're interested in third party politics in America, you're going to fall in love with it -- four volumes so far, three more coming.

He also has at least two forthcoming works apart from that series -- a second book on Eugene McCarthy's presidential campaigns (he's already written one on the 1968 campaign), and something tentatively and tantalizingly titled Collapse: How the Managerial Class Plunged the Nation into the Greatest Depression.

Today's pro-family moment

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Repudiate the Debt! (Update)

Thanks to George Donnelly for getting up a decent-looking Repudiate the Debt! site.

By way of promotion, instead of crossposting my latest piece, I'll tease here ...

Not content with their seizure of a large percentage of Americans' income year after year, our politicians and their corporate masters have built up a mountain of debt now exceeding $10 trillion and set to contiue growing at a future rate of more than $1 trillion per year according to the recently inaugurated President of the United States.

Helpless in the face of looming economic collapse, more and more Americans long to seize control of their own destinies but fear that they lack the means to do so.

That means, however, exists. It is the Achilles’ heel of the kleptocracy, and it is nothing more than a word:


... and point there.

Other news:

- Repudiate the Debt! Facebook Group founded yesterday, 261 members already and growing. Related "cause" also.

- Follow Repudiate the Debt! on Twitter.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Fridays Live at Five: Darcy Richardson, 02/06

All right, the voice is at least partially back! This Friday at 5pm Central, tune in to a new installment of KN@PPSTER: Fridays Live at Five.

My guest: Darcy G. Richardson, author of Others, an excellent four-volume (so far!) history of third party politics in America.

The putative topic of discussion is the opportunities for third parties over the next four years, but I expect a lot of topic deviation. Should be fun. Call online through the show's Internet "dashboard," or by phone at 310-984-7600 (when prompted for the show ID, enter 330022).