Rants & Ramblings

random commentary about culture, media, politics, technology and whatnot.

politics & bureaucracy

jul
25
2003

name your scandal

Washington Post columnist Al Kamen challenged his “In the Loop” readers to come up with a catchy name for the current controversies over WMDs, uranium, President Bush’s State of the Union, et al. (“WMD May as Well Be a Four-Letter …

campaign work

I took “Strategy and Message Development” this summer in GW’s Graduate School of Political Management. The focus of the class is learning how to craft a core campaign message and then parlay that message into a campaign strategy via speeches …

jun
30
2003

liability black hole

Since the TSA has taken over the business of airport security, they’ve asked airline passengers not to lock their luggage, as it’s all subject to search by TSA employees. The passage of unlocked luggage through multiple jurisdictions — the TSA, …

apple politics

Rush Limbaugh apparently blames Al Gore for Apple’s less-than-stellar market share. (“Why Does Apple Put Politics First?” - 06/27/03) Apple is apparently a company that is so constrained by the political views of its corporate leadership and board, which now …

jun
27
2003

strom thurmond

Former Sen. Strom Thurmond (R-S.C.) died last night at the age of 100. (The State (S.C.): “Strom Thurmond, S.C. Legend, Dies” - 06/27/03) I’m pretty sure the news orgs have had their prefab obits for Thurmond all set and ready …

jun
25
2003

sneak peek at dubya's campaign web site

A still-in-development version of the Bush/Cheney 2004 campaign site was mistakenly publicly available yesterday. Slate offers up a snarky review — and screenshots! — of the new site. (“Re-Elect Bush: Beta Version” - 06/24/03) The site is obviously still in …

jun
21
2003

ever the diplomat

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has apparently switched from offending foreign governments — thereby mucking up foreign relations during a sensitive time — to offending domestic municipalities. The Washington Post reports that in a briefing on Wednesday, Rumsfeld suggested that Baghdad …

jun
18
2003

the art of punditry

Wayne Slater offers a few basic tips in this month’s Texas Monthly on how to be a good television/radio political pundit. (“How to Sound Smart on TV” - July 2003) In short: Don’t worry too much about what they’re going …

jun
04
2003

chatter

FBI agents investigating online child pornography are getting a lesson in instant messaging from real authorities on the subject — eighth grade girls. Today’s Washington Post reports that the FBI is consulting with teens to learn the proper lingo and …

may
16
2003

and they're off…

The 2004 election race really starts heating up today, with the official announcement of President Bush’s re-election campaign. (Washington Post: “Bush Kicks Off Reelection Bid” - 05/16/03) Fundraising efforts may start as early as Monday. On the Democratic side, Senator …

may
04
2003

now and later

It’s amazing what a difference a few years makes. In Slate on Thursday, Michael Kinsley contrasted the mandates of the 1995 “Contract with America,” which included a proposed constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget for the federal government, and the …

apr
22
2003

committee to re-elect the president

The Bush re-election campaign has begun to ramp up… Today’s New York Times reports on elements of Bush & co.’s re-election campaign strategy. (“For 2004, Bush’s Aides Plan Late Sprint for Re-election” - 04/22/03) Slate’s “Today’s Papers” summation of the …

apr
20
2003

hyperdebt

Today’s New York Times has an interesting piece talking about the contrast of the U.S. as “hyperpower” — and “hyperdebtor.” (“The True Cost of Hegemony: Huge Debt” - 04/20/03) For the fact is that America is not only the world’s …

mar
30
2003

don't they have more important things to do?

Our war against the French continues… The Washington Post reports that a number of U.S. congressmen are lobbying the Department of Defense to cancel its military food-service contacts with Sodexho Inc., the American subsidiary of the French-owned company Sodexho Alliance …

mar
27
2003

slamming the french … again

The French continue to be slammed and shunned. WP’s Lloyd Grove reports: Yesterday, in “an important culinary note” from President Bush’s visit to Central Command headquarters in Tampa, the Houston Chronicle’s Bennett Roth led his White House pool report: “The …

mar
24
2003

a different cost of war

The U.S. is giving a number of our allies in the Iraq conflict added incentive to help out, in the form of financial assistance. Forbes has a list of funds the Bush administration proposes to allot to various countries involved …

the real cost of war

My friend Danielle forwarded this to me over the weekend. It’s interesting — and staggering — to consider the real cost of war. I got this info off of Patriots for Peace and Nonviolence.org. It is truly amazing to see …

mar
17
2003

chilling effect

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday that an anti-war protester travelling from Seattle to San Diego found a complaint about his “anti-American attitude” written on a card inserted into his luggage after a TSA search. (“Traveler with anti-war signs finds …

mar
14
2003

identity theft gets scarier

MSNBC reports on about a decidedly scary case of identity theft in Wisconsin. (“The darkest side of ID theft” - 03/09/03) Over the past five years, Malcolm Byrd has several times been arrested on drug charges, lost his job, and …

mar
11
2003

getting back at the french

CNN reports that two Republican congressmen have successfully campaigned to change the name of “French fries” and “French toast” offered at the House of Representatives’ cafeterias to “freedom fries” and “freedom toast.” (“House cafeterias change names for ‘french fries’ and …

on the job with ari

Once in a while, the Washington Post’s “KidsPost” section offers some of the most interesting content in the paper… Today’s KidsPost features an interview with White House press secretary Ari Fleischer, and an explanation of what his job is. (“The …

mar
02
2003

from perjury to the jury box

Being a former president might not save you from the courtroom, but it might save you from jury duty. The New York Times reports that a Manhattan federal court had an unusual prospective juror: Bill Clinton. (“Civic Duty, Sure, but …

feb
21
2003

telecommuting: not just for slackers anymore

Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has been phoning it in since late November, telecommuting from Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The Washington Post reports that Mineta, who has had chronic back problems, has “more or less lived at Walter Reed since …

feb
20
2003

probably not a nobel peace prize contender

Turkey recently asked the U.S. to up its compensation offer in exchange for Turkey’s help in a war with Iraq. The New York Times reports that the administration is privately furious with the move, and is characteristically fuming about it …