Monday, January 17, 2005

A number of things ...

First, John Basedow is missing in the Tsunami disaster ... urban legend? I don't THINK so ...

so give some freakin' money to the Red Cross.

Second, I've been made aware of what is quite possibly the best Web Site ever ... www.baysideclothing.com. YES. That's right. Check it out.

Third, Ian Weed is awesome.

Fourth, I'm reading an Ann Coulter book and enouraged my mom to read a Sean Hannity book. I think every liberal-leaning person in America should read the opposition, no matter how angry it makes you ... because that's what the friggin' conservatives do - it's called oppositional research, or oppo, and I have a friend that was employed by the Bush campaign who did just that. Let's use their own weapons against them, people.

Fifth, I've got some more stuff up at the DailyTrojan, especially an article about MMORPGs, which I think is really interesting and important - but you be the judge.

I'm also gonna post some old articles and things that got published/didn't get published/I think are worth reading. You be the judge.

"How am I supposed to live without you," ... best song ever.

Monday, October 11, 2004

It's been awhile



It's been awhile since I posted anything different up here. Got nothing to say, really, just wanted to fill some space. Had a great weekend at the game. Here are some fun links:

www.rangoononline.com, check out the McGriddle Me This link.

Check out www.jibjab.com, of course.

This just in ... Dan Mezzanotte asked me where he could score some bubonic chronic, says Amit Kooner. Wha>?

New Orleans is flooded with a foot of rain? Say it ain't so, Reuters. Say it ain't so.

On the Reuters note, Christopher REEVE JUST DIED. This is serious. Everyone reading this, please have a moment of silence, please. Rest in peace, Superman.

Check out the Daily Trojan as always.

The CollegeHumor site has a great thing on away messages that will be funny if you've been an undergraduate in the last 1-6 years.

http://www.collegeslackers.com/.As if annoying games.com and e-mail didn't take up enough of your time.

Oh boy. Check out the Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude site, and join the frat, dude.

That's it. Sorry 'bout the slacking (and the sophomoric humor. Sue me.)

-AbsolutSwampedWithWork

Monday, October 04, 2004

An open letter to my future son:

I always wanted to be able to talk to my father, back when he was my age. I always wondered what my father was really like when he was young, when he was in college. So here I am, talking to you, son.
Tell me, how am I doing so far as a dad? I earnestly hope I’m being a good father to you, I do. I don’t know how I can be; right now everything seems so terrifying and overwhelming and I’m just a graduate student desperately trying to take care of myself. I can’t imagine that I’m taking care of you, when you read this, at least half as well as my parents took care of me.
I can’t tell you how frightening becoming an adult often is. One day you wake up and realize that this is it: You’re paying bills and scraping by, cleaning your own kitchen and making your own mistakes. One day you realize how hard it really is.
It’s scary, too, because suddenly things start to really matter to you; who you are, what kind of world you live in, how you care for your friends and family.
The world that I live in, son, is one you’re probably familiar with through the history books or through some of my long, boring stories about the turn of the century. I woke up one morning in college and watched as terrorists destroyed the world trade center with thousands of Americans in it. I watched as President Bush took troops to Afghanistan and then into Iraq. We, as a nation, are very afraid right now, because we’re fighting an enemy we don’t know and can’t really see, and we’re not quite sure why they are so bitter and want to hurt us so badly. I’m watching the presidential debates carefully now to see whether or not I really believe our president did the right thing, or whether I think this John Kerry guy deserves a chance to be commander-in-chief.
About me? Well, what can I say that won’t incriminate myself, son? I had fun growing up in suburban America, but I tried far too hard to fit in, losing some of my real friends and gaining some very shallow, very expensive friends in the process. I devoted a lot of my time to my church, and made my real, lasting friends there.
I left home to go to school in New Orleans, and spent a good deal of time there trying to figure out who I was. I went from someone who drank too much and stayed out too late to someone who was obsessed with his religious faith, and back again, trying to rectify the gap between my father’s old-school values with my very hedonistic and very natural lifestyle. I still struggle with my religious faith today, but in New Orleans I found great friends to help me find who I really was.
They also helped me through the sudden death of your grandfather, my father. It was difficult. I still hurt from the loss. But I chose not to bury myself in a bottle; instead I try to live up to his legacy. His shoes were pretty big, and I can only hope to fill them half-way someday. How did I do? Do you think he’d be proud?
And now I’m in Los Angeles, and I’m single again, having rushed in to a very serious relationship in college without really understanding what I was doing. I’m cautious about loving someone else, now; I guess I’m a little scared of being hurt again.
I’m here at USC, trying to live up to my father’s legacy. I’m in journalism school in a sprawling city that has millions of distinct voices and thousands of stories to tell; but it is also a dangerous, racially tense city with big dreams and even bigger, darker realities. I want to make a positive impact on this town the way he did with Detroit.
I want to become a journalist as human and as honest as he was, and I want to make a difference in people’s lives with the words that I write. I try so hard to emulate him.
I think I’m on the right track, but money is tight and I’m afraid I might fail. Failing might mean failing him, and I so desperately want to be true to his memory, his legacy. I want him to be proud of me.
How’s your mom? Do we still hold and kiss each other? Can you tell that I love her? I hope so. I’ve dreamt of meeting a woman who would be a caring mother and a good friend. Tell me, do we tell each other jokes and make each other laugh? Do we make you feel safe?
I hope to God we do.
That sort of love seems so rare in the world I live in now, son. The Internet has made everyone an instant critic, with these “bloggers” and media pundits criticizing the candidates as they speak. People seem so cynical, of love, of friendship, and of government. Everyone here changes lanes and rushes from one internship to another job, from bar to coffee shop to office to home. There’s a popular book here about how to divorce a woman with class. Even people who care about politics or the environment or sports find much of their passion rooted in cynicism and fear. I don’t think that these people have much time to just sit and chat anymore.
I doubt that will be much different in your time. People are fired more and move around more, and communities are less and less prevalent. I hope I’ve found our family true friends and a community that make you feel safe and loved. I hope I’ve found us a place where we can be financially secure, where our neighbors stop and chat with us, and where we feel safe. We should all be so lucky.
Remember that once, your dad was a kid like you. Worrying has probably taken its toll by the time you read this, turning me into an old man. But I’m not as stuffy as you probably think; once, I was just like you.

Monday, September 27, 2004

Free Press vs. Drudge

Time to analyze the differences between my two favorite news sources on the internet, the Drudge Report and the Detroit Free Press.

We're looking at the coverage of the Presidential race over Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of last week, from the 21st to the 23rd, as well as some recent additions over the weekend.

First up, that irresponsible, incorrigible Drudge and his wacky, frequently-updated, and recklessly-biased site, the Drudge Report. Here goes.

Today's Drudge looks a little like this:

'Fahrenheit 9/11' Re-release Fails to Crack Top 20...

Crowd cheers after Heinz Kerry rebuts heckler...

Rash of Kerry sign thefts; one thief caught on tape...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Nine-Year Old Supports Kerry In School Discussion Groups...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

MAG: BUSH TEAM WANTS TO SEE KERRY SWEAT AT DEBATES...

Candidates Gear Up...

CBS PLANS FOR 'SPRING' DAN RATHER RETIREMENT...

VARIETY: All eyes are on Rather's future...

Bauder: A Complicated Question...

‘Severe Distress’ was Sumner Redstone’s reaction to CBS controversy...

MOONVES: 'WE ARE RISK-TAKING. WHEN YOU EXTEND YOURSELF, IT SOMETIMES BECOMES CONTROVERSY'...

.........................................

And that's just today, Sunday. Obvious obsession with Rathergate. The internet gossip and chatter over Rather's retirement is front and center. For a visual, Drudge usually finds pictures of the democratic candidate that are wholly unflattering, and pictures of Bush that are mildly flattering or nominal. For instance, in this installment, there is a picture of Kerry playing football, but he looks as if he is reeling and grimacing in a very unattractive way (just check the site).

There's an attempt to frame the news in a negative light, which is irresponsible as all hell, but Drudge makes no secret of his agenda.

Some recent articles from the past few days that Drudge linked on his site:

SUMNER SURPRISE: CBS BOSS ENDORSES BUSH!
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Kerry Faults Bush for Pursuing Saddam...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
TERESA PREDICTS OSAMA 'CAPTURE' BEFORE ELECTION...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Man who swore Bush into Air Guard speaks out...
House Republicans Unveil Sweeping Sept. 11 Bill...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. Sees Chances of Saddam Trial in 2004 'Remote'...
Kennedy: Bush makes USA more vulnerable to nuke attack... VARIETY: All eyes are on Dan Rather's future... *
Candidates Gear Up... *
‘Severe Distress’ was Sumner Redstone’s reaction to CBS controversy... *
MAG: BUSH TEAM WANTS TO SEE KERRY SWEAT AT DEBATES... *
FBI PUTTING TOGETHER AGGRESSIVE PRE-ELECTION COUNTERTERROR PLAN *

Notice, first and foremost, the stories that are in capitals and how that affects how you read them. Notice also Drudge's use of quotations. Oftentimes, Drudge will use quotation marks and short, snappy lines to sensationalize a story that really isn't as exciting as the headline makes it.

That, in my opinion, leads to misinformation and gossip.


Ok, now, on to the Detroit Free Press.

First and foremost (this is on Sunday) there is a huge article about union influences and how they will affect the election. In a state so heavily reliant and proud of its union histories, this makes sense. here's the link.

Ok, so over the past week, especially in the timeframe we mentioned earlier, here's what the Freep's coverage has looked like (scroll through this, browse it ... there's a lot there):

Monday, September 27, 2004

BRIAN DICKERSON: Why election may be less than perfect
"Let's say you tried to have an election, and you could have it in three-quarters or four-fifths of the country, but some places you couldn't because the violence was too great. Well, that's -- so be it. Nothing's perfect in life. So you have an election that's not perfect. Is that better than not having an election? You bet."

ELECTING THE PRESIDENT: The voting
Generally, about half of Americans of voting age cast a ballot. Back to 2000: 51.3 percent of the voting-age population cast ballots for president, according to the Federal Election Commission. Percentages since 1960 have definitely declined.

In Detroit, Edwards criticizes Bush backers over ad
Vice presidential candidate John Edwards chose a sparsely attended church service in Detroit to deliver a blistering attack against the Bush-Cheney campaign for an ad that began airing this weekend.

New law could have effect on college vote
Getting young people to vote is a challenge in itself. Those between the ages of 18 and 24 are the least likely age group to vote, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, which reported that only 32.3 percent of the registered voters in that age range cast ballots in the 2000 presidential election.

Presidential debate schedule
Foreign policy and homeland security are the topics of the first presidential debate on Thursday. The other scheduled debates: Oct. 8: Town hall meeting with an audience of "soft" Bush and Kerry supporters selected by the Gallup organization. Oct. 13: The economy. The lone vice presidential debate will be Oct. 5 and cover all subjects.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

ELECTION 2004 | ANALYSIS: Kerry sharpens focus and revives campaign
WASHINGTON -- After watching their candidate on the defensive for weeks and fearing that he might have blown the 2004 election, Democrats are growing more optimistic that John Kerry is back in the race.

State voter rolls at all-time high
Potential voters are being registered at what appears to be a record rate in Michigan this year as activists and interest groups seek every possible advantage in the weeks leading up to the Nov. 2 election. The number of registered voters stood at 7,044,214 on Friday, its highest level ever, officials at the state Bureau of Elections said.

Friday, September 24, 2004

BATTLEGROUND IN OHIO: Nearby Toledo is a must-win
TOLEDO -- Nick Haddad has seen the ads so often that he can recite details. One says President George W. Bush wasted billions on the war in Iraq. Another that comes to his mind is "that Swift boat thing" about Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and how some veterans say Kerry didn't earn his Vietnam combat medals.

DEBATING ISSUES: Candidates shift from Vietnam to war in Iraq
WASHINGTON -- After weeks of attacks over who did what during a divisive war four decades ago, the presidential candidates are finally talking about the war dividing America today. Supporters of Sen. John Kerry and President George W. Bush welcomed the shift from so much debate over whether one deserved his Vietnam medals and whether the other fulfilled his stateside duty.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Bush, Kerry define stances on Social Security and Iraq
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- President George W. Bush's call to partially privatize Social Security would grant a $940-billion windfall to the financial-services industry while cutting benefits for senior citizens, his rival, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry, charged Wednesday.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Cheney says Kerry can't effectively fight terror
LANSING -- Vice President Dick Cheney continued his campaign tough talk on terrorism and the Iraq war Tuesday, saying Democratic presidential challenger John Kerry has "a pre-9/11 mindset" that doesn't recognize the urgent need to attack terrorists abroad before they can acquire nuclear or biological weapons to attack the United States again.

Kerry backers offer Nader backers a vote trade
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry's supporters have a vote-trading plan to prevent third-party independent candidate Ralph Nader from being a spoiler in states where the outcome of the presidential race is close.

Parties target those who just need a bit of prodding to vote
WASHINGTON -- Some call them "the unreliables" -- huge numbers of prospective voters who favor one party or the other but have spotty records of showing up at the polls. Six weeks before Election Day, both parties are mounting unprecedented efforts to get these highly prized people to cast their ballots -- not on Nov. 2, but as far in advance as possible, in some cases this week.

SWITCHING BATTLES: Anti-Bush group relocates to other states
Americans Coming Together (ACT), the political fund-raising group behind high-profile rock concerts meant to increase turnout for Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, is closing all 10 of its offices in Michigan and reassigning most of its 100 staff members to other battleground states.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

ELECTION 2004: Bush is surging in swing states
WASHINGTON -- President George W. Bush is cutting into Sen. John Kerry's base, leading or drawing virtually even with the Massachusetts congressman in six of seven swing states that Democrat Al Gore won four years ago, according to a new Knight Ridder-MSNBC poll and two other single-state polls.

ELECTION COVERAGE: Contrite CBS: Bush memos iffy
NEW YORK -- CBS News apologized Monday for a "mistake in judgment" in its story questioning President George W. Bush's National Guard service, saying it was misled by the source of documents that indicated an officer was pressured in the 1970s to go easy on Bush.


The Free Press has, in my opinion, some of the best designed archives, especially when it comes to political coverage. Here we have, arranged by date, the articles by the Free Press staff, along with the byline and first paragraph of the article, or the "lede."

Their coverage is relatively balanced, and balanced against a backdrop of the strong unions and the blue-collar readership that Detroit is so proud of. The Free Press and Michigan readers are decidedly leaning to Kerry, as Michigan has been one of the hardest-hit states (in some estimates) by job loss and outsourcing, not to mention the steady decline of union strength.

In their "analysis" sections, you find a definite lean to the Kerry camp, especially over the three days we were assigned to cover.


So, in summary, Drudge is an irresponsible gossipmonger who, nontheless, breaks news like it's his business and finds sensational and interesting, if biased, stories first.

And the Free Press can still do some things right: One of those things being a healthy political coverage that focuses on how the Presidential race will affect the local markets of Michigan voters, as well as unionized Detroiters.

-AbsolutFinished

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Abyrne and Kamakazi

You guys can go straight to hell. P.S. click on the link. It's funny, I swear.

I'm only kiddding. Or am I?

Woodward on Larry King

Caught Woodward on Larry King tonight. Whew. That dude is dry.

For someone who's famous, he didn't really have a lot of coherent things to say. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Bob. I get it. I wasn't impressed. I mean, the guy's got about a million connections and sources and he broke the Watergate scandal. He's written all these books, which are dry as well, but he's gotten a little irresponsible in his own age.

Tomorrow, Edwards appears. Check it out.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

John Kerry's Tonight Show appearance

Ok, so I caught John Kerry's Monday night appearance on Dave Letterman. I must say, that was needed.

See, you can tell the Clinton advisors have gotten to him already. He's got to get out and get his name in the lights, be personable and funny, and, while all of that might be a stretch for Kerry (he’s no Clinton), he did show his human side to millions of Americans who've never had a chance to get to know John Kerry.

He made jokes. He laughed. He laid out his (mostly) clear four-point plan to get out of Iraq, which (mostly) made sense. He seemed a little nervous, and a little serious, which, in my opinion, is good.

Because at least now there's a face on John Kerry.

I sat and watched it at a friend’s house, and he told me he didn’t know who he was going to vote for. He sat and watched Kerry, knowing I’m a bit of a politics junkie, and asked me “How’s he doing?” I told him I didn’t know.

He laughed a little, got lost a little when Kerry does what he often does – digressed. He liked the Top Ten. A few minutes before the appearance was over, my friend got up and said goodnight, but not before he figured out a little bit who Kerry is.

At least now Kerry's putting his hat in the ring, win or lose. He appeared on Leno, he was on the Daily show once. But that's not enough.

He needs to do more of these appearances, soon. He's got to find a way to connect to the voters and get his name in the papers when it doesn't involve his military service or an attack from the Bush camp. And he's done that, and can do it again with Larry King or MTV or whatever talk show he can do without looking like an ass.

Kerry's not above a little grandstanding, apparently, and he shouldn't be. He even gave a top ten list: top ten plans in the new Bush tax plan. Some were funny, and some were lame, but at least HE TRIED. A little self-effacement wouldn't have hurt, but all in all he did a good job and should pick up a few votes for it. More of the same, John, more of the same.

It's the 21st century. Make a better, more personal blog. You send e-mails to supporters, which is good; but make some of them personal. They don’t all have to be about policy. Appear on television more often; they'd love to have you. I read that BET has asked Kerry and Bush to appear in two thirty-minute sentences; if you agree, Kerry, you'll look like the bigger candidate to just about every last black voter out there, and you'll earn the respect of a lot of white voters too (just don't look too stiff). Let yourself be interviewed by reporters. Kick a little butt in the debates. That's the only way you're gonna win the election, John.

Bush can't make Kerry look like a waffler or an idiot if we like him too much. Heck, he can, but we just won't care, the same way we didn't really care all that much that Clinton was a little bit of a liar every now and then, the same way we don't sometimes care if Bush comes off as arrogant. If we like the guy enough, well then, we'll let it slide.

Kerry, show your human side the way you did on the tonight show. Show us what you're really made of. Tease yourself about your campaign managers and don't pay any attention to the Bush camp.

Show us who you are, John. Make us trust you. Make us laugh. Then you’ll be laughing all the way into the White House. But if we don’t know you, John, your issues won’t matter all that much.

The ball’s in your court, Kerry. Make it happen.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

NY Post, LA Times, Washington Post

Ok, so the NY Post is the equivalent of a tabloid version of the NYTimes. It has shocking headlines, and I believe that it is the crappy paper that the movie "The Paper" is based on.

Anyway, the only real political coverage I could find on their site was two sections, one on the DNC one on the RNC. Both seemed pretty balanced to me, but I'll look again ...

Ok, so I might have been wrong. Perhaps it's just the sensationalism style of the Post that agrees with the Repubican's style, or perhaps it's the loyalty they show when the convention is held on the home court, but they tend to emphaisize the messages and quips a bit more clearly than most.

Maybe that's just because I'm used to a liberal media. Anyway here's an article on Cheney... Cheney Reaction, man that's witty.

The articles attack Kerry relentlessly, with a bit of a lean because their stories are perhaps stronger, but they have fairly intense coverage of both days. Honestly, not much is said about Edwards, which you could say is error by omission.


On to the LA Times, aka Liberal-Asitgets Times. It's got its own section on the Election, 2004. After clicking on it, I'm assaulted with a story about Edwards right away, and a very postiive, upbeat one at that. I want to point out one line in the story in particular:

(Edwards' unvaried repetition of the same remarks day in, day out, also doesn't lend itself to widespread coverage.)

... but the L.A. Times deemed his story worth telling. Tells you something about the L.A. Times, doesn't it?

In contrast, here's a piece on Cheney. The most recent article headlining Cheney (it's from Friday) has Kerry attacking him about his ties to Haliburton. Look farther back, to Wed, and you have an article about Cheney's draft deferments that (albeit not generously) forgives him.

The L.A. Times, though, through their relatively soft headlines and supportive articles for Edwards, appears to favor one VP candidate over the other - or maybe it's just that Dick is old news.

Who knows.

Ok, last but not least, here is the Washington Post's neocon coverage of the VP race. Let's check it out.

Ok, first an article entitled "Cheney Is Voice of Fear in War On Terror". Ok, a little critical, but right on the money IMO.

Here's an Edwards story on his visit to a mill town:

But here's the clincher, a comparison of Edwards' and Cheney's styles:

And I think that says it all. That seems pretty fair, balanced and honest to me. So far, I'd say the WP has the most balanced coverage of the VP candidates.

To recap, the Washington Post has the most fair and balanced VP rat race coverage, followed by the New York Times, the Post, and the LA Times, that biased liberal rag (just kidding). Till next time-

-AbsolutSwampedWithWork

Alek's Moltov Cocktail

Here's the recipe to Alek's special Moltov Cocktail:I've got to try one.

And I quote, "finally I got my Molotov cocktail which I made. It needs: 2 parts champagne, 1 part cherry brandy, 1 par curacao, 1 part vodka, and 1 part gin.
Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm."

Thanks Alek.