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108 posts from November 2005

November 30, 2005

Back from DC

Sorry about the sparse posting today. I just got home from a quick trip to Washington, DC. I was there for the New Democratic Network's conference on the role of the internet in American media.

Webcasts and slides of the keynote speakers' presentation are available:

  • Peter Leyden, The Making of The New Powers That Be: Five Tectonic Shifts Forcing a Restructuring of Media – and Politics
  • Luis Ubinas, Shifts in Media Advertising

The first talk was about how various demographic trends might effect the media market and, by extension, the scope and limits of political advertising. A good talk, but nothing I hadn't read before in various NDN reports. The second presentation was a review of the data about current and projected costs to expose X number of consumers to through different media--from broadcast TV and cable, to elevator ads, to the internet. I'm too exhausted to say much about the presentations, but I encourage readers to check out the materials online.

In other news, I had the pleasure of meeting Matt Stoller from Blogging of the President.

I'll be back in DC on Friday to participate in a panel on blogging at the Center for American Progress. More details soon.

FEMA auditors found contracting incompetence pre-Katrina

News from the Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch: FEMA's own auditors found serious contracting incompetence over a year ago.

November 29, 2005

Repeat abortions

Kevin Drum points to Garance Franke-Ruta's article on repeat abortions. (TNR, free registration)

Franke-Ruta suggests that pro-choice liberals are reluctant to publicly support post-abortion counseling.
Her primary evidence for this claim is that a NARAL spokesman declined to comment on strategies for reducing repeat abortions.

Franke-Ruta is attacking a straw man. She says that society needs to confront abortion as a public health problem as well as a philosophical and political issue. She is right, of course. However, NARAL's business is political advocacy, not public health. We don't ask NARAL for any other form of birth control advice. So, why do we expect the organization to take an official stance on this issue? Obviously, if someone proposes a law mandating abortion-related counseling (pre- or post-), NARAL should weigh in. Otherwise, questions about how to prevent unwanted pregnancy are more appropriate for Planned Parenthood or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.


The Blogging of the President suffered a great loss this weekend when BOP contributor Oldman passed away unexpectedly.

Co-blogger Stirling Newberry writes:

I am the bearer of bad news - long time Bop contributor Oldman died after a short illness over the holidays. While a longer post will come later, it seemed appropriate to note his passing, and regret that the world has lost a brilliant and original thinker who had great promise in his work.

My condolences. Oldman will be missed.

Update: Oldman's obituary

November 28, 2005

Reminder: Blog Against Racism Day is December 1

Just a reminder that Chris Clarke's Blog Against Racism Day is coming up on December 1.

Cunningham pleads guilty, resigns

Republican Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham resigned today after pleading guilty to conspiring to take bribes and income tax evasion

Hat tip to TPM.

Thanksgiving album update

Thanksgiving dinner was a big success. Here's a little more amateur food porn.

November 27, 2005

Sunday Sermonette: David Hume

This week's Sunday Sermonette comes from the Scottish philosopher David Hume:

Reason is, and only ought to be, the slave of the passions, and can never pretend to any other office than to serve and obey them.

Update: I think I should offer a bit more context for this quote. Hume isn't saying that passion should override reason when the two are pulling in opposite directions. He's saying that reason is a tool for getting what you want, i.e., that reason can't dictate ultimate ends.

Just say "nyet"

Moscow Wax Figure Exhibition Highlights Graphic Dangers of Drugs. [MosNews] Click to view full-sized images.

19 Caption: Queen’s frontman Freddy Mercury’s unknown image. The star is close to death from drugs / Photo: Nicholas Danilov,

[Ed: Freddy Mercury did not die from a drug overdose.]

18 Caption: A variety of addicts’ diseases / Photo: Nicholas Danilov,

[Via Neatorama]

Republicans dis The Boss

Okay, that's it. Frist's going down...down...down...