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The Whip

Morning Whip, 3/28/05

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The Whip Haven't heard of Sungard? That's OK, most people haven't. They provide computer services, primarily to financial companies. They're going private, in what is reported to be the second largest deal of its kind. The company had planned to spin off their disaster recovery business but that transaction is apparently on the rocks.

Somehow, a bag with a gun inside got through the security checkpoint at the Cincinatti airport.
The passenger and the bag were never found. . . . Confident the concourses were free of weapons, TSA officials reopened the concourses at 9:05 a.m. All passengers had to be rescreened before entering . . .

Finally this morning, Snookums and I saw a couple of pretty good women's basketball games last night. Vanderbilt lost to Michigan State, and Stanford beat Connecticut. We found ourselves in the Stanford section, about six rows behind John Elway whose daughter plays (or, more accurately, sits on the bench) for Stanford.
Attendance was disappointing, as Mechelle Voepel of the K.C. Star notes.

Morning Whip, 3/27/05

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The Whip Happy Easter, everyone.

We're working our way towards the Final Four on both the Men's and Women's side. Illinois and Louisville punched their tickets for St. Louis on the men's side, and LSU, Duke, Baylor, and North Carolina advance to the Regional Championships on the women's side.
The Women's Kansas City Regional kicks off tonight, where we'll see Michigan State-Vanderbilt and Connecticut-Stanford. Snookums and I will be there.

Closer to the Palatial Abode, congratulations to Washburn University for winning the Division II women's basketball national championship.

OOPS! Secret data returned to thief.

Jeremy Rifkin is worried about "chimeric experimentation," with an op-ed that begins with the line
"What happens when you cross a human and a mouse?"
Can someone tell me why we take this guy seriously? If you want to understand the moral implications, you're better off reading Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents or watch The Secret of NIMH than listening to Rifkin, who's been freaked about bioengineering for quite a while. Someone needs to explain to Jeremy how genetics works . . .

Morning Whip, 3/24/05

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The Whip Why socialized medicine is a really, really bad idea, from Toronto's Globe & Mail: He said a diagnosis of sleep apnea requires a sleep study and, in some parts of the country, the wait list stretches up to four years for the test.

Boulevard Beer Burgeons. Expansion plans of one of the country's best beer companies.

The Federal Election Commission has issued a proposed rulemaking on Internet Communications. They're requesting comments, folks. First glance doesn't appear as bad as the Blogosphere originally thought. They still need work though.

Specifically, the Commission proposes to retain a general exclusion of Internet communications from the definition of "public communication," except for those advertisements where another person or entity has been paid to carry the advertisement on its website, because these communications would constitute "general public political advertising." . . . Because only Internet communications that constitute "general public political advertising," as defined by the regulation, would be included in the proposed definition of "public communication" in section 100.26, the Commission anticipates that the proposed definition would have an extremely limited impact, if any, on the use of the Internet by individuals as a means of communicating their political views, obtaining information regarding candidates and elections, and participating in political campaigns.

All comments must be in writing, must be addressed to Mr. Brad C. Deutsch, Assistant General Counsel, and must be submitted in either electronic, facsimile, or hard copy form. Commneters are strongly encouraged to submit comments electronically to ensure timely receipt and consideration. Electronic comments must be sent to either internet@fec.gov or submitted through the Federal eRegulations Portal at www.regulations.gov. Any commenters who submit electronic comments and wish to testify at the hearing on this rulemaking must also send a copy of their comments to internettestify@fec.gov.

Morning Whip, 3/23/05

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The Whip My Snookums is happy. Tennessee Lady Vols basketball coach Pat Summitt is now the winningest basketball coach in Division I history, passing Dean Smith with 880 career wins by beating Purdue in the NCAA playoffs, sending Tennessee to the Women's Sweet 16. UT responds by naming the floor at Thompson-Boling Arena The Summitt. Strike up the Band! Rocky Top!

Congress Shall Make No Law. Why is this so hard to understand? Today's Wall Street Journal editorial on "campaign finance reform" and its caustic effects on freedom of speech: McCain-Feingold has failed spectacularly in its stated goal of reining in fat-cat donors. Yet its uncompromising language has helped to gag practically every other politically active entity--from advocacy groups to labor unions. Now the FEC is being asked to censor another segment of society, the millions of individuals who engage in political activity online.

News from Science (Science Daily, to be exact):
Boston University Team Finds Link Between High Cholesterol And Better Cognitive Performance. (Bacon and eggs with butter, please, I know what I'm doing.)
Research Says Your Happiness Makes Your Partner Happy But Only If You Are Married. (Yes, dear . . . )
Light May Arise From Relativity Violations. (I see . . . )
Wolves Alleviate Impact Of Climate Change On Food Supply, Finds New Study (Yellowstone Wolves Combat Global Warning - chuckle).

Tragedy and Farce: Schiavo and Jackson.

Morning Whip, 3/21/05

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The Whip The Story That Wasn't: Anti-Iraq War protests fizzle coast to coast. Crowds in anti-Bush bastions like San Francisco and New York are reported in the hundreds. CNN gamely titles their story "Thousands of protesters mark Iraq war anniversary" anyway. In the text of the story, "about a thousand" protesters marched in Chicago, but in the photo caption, this gets transformed into "thousands."

Nice spin, CNN.

In a related story, the press is in a tizzy about Video News Releases --government-produced video clips that are presented by the news media as internally-produced news features ("stop me before I drink again!") This article amusingly mentions Sunshine Week, a press-backed program to promote open government. Fair enough, there's plenty of needless government secrecy to expose. It seems however that the problem with the VNR's isn't so much government secrecy, but press secrecy. How about a Sunshine Week to promote open press? Media Research Center, anyone? (OK, I've now completely alienated any center- to left-leaning readers, if I hadn't done that already).

Conveniently enough, a behind-the-scenes-in-the-newsroom article is on Poynter.org entitled The Day I Shadowed A Reporter wherein a TV producer finds out what it's like on the mean streets for beat reporters. Sample:
We did spend most of the day in the car, driving around searching for interviews and information. We were covering a story about a potentially dangerous man who was robbing flower shops and preying on women. The safe environment of the newsroom was gone. Now we were out with the public. The walls that once closed in on me seemed more like a security blanket, protecting me from the problems and concerns of the people. I was now standing in places this suspect had been, and it was a chilling reality that made me understand the job of a reporter was more than just telling a story; reporters are advocates for the community, too.I thought producers started at the bottom and worked their way up, Lou Grant-fashion. I guess not.

Shifting our attention, we turn to the Tragedy-Into-Farce department where we have a Bo Gritz sighting in the Terri Schiavo affair. (This should do the trick to alienate the right wing, leaving me with no readers whatsoever. Hey, it works for South Park!)

Morning Whip, 3/20/05

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The Whip I've stayed away from the Terri Schiavo story, mainly because I find the entire affair incredibly distasteful. But now, Congress is involved. I still don't know what to think, other than This Should Not Be Happening.

SecDef Rumsfeld was on Fox News Sunday this morning. I wasn't able to catch the full interview, but snippets sounded typically Rumsfeld-amusing. If I can I'll find a transcript somewhere on the web and comment on Rummy's comments.

Gas prices continue rising. Many news stories are of the "sky is falling and Joe/Jane Sixpack Whines" variety, but there don't seem to be many stories giving a reasoned analysis of why this is occurring. We have nonsensical linkages of the Iraq war to the gas price spike. Some articles mention speculators. Increasingly, industry observers are thinking that this is indeed a price bubble. But underneath the bubble, there is a long-term shift in the energy market driven by increased energy demands, primarily from China and India. Prices might come down a bit, for a little while, but long term, get used to higher gas prices, folks.

Send in the Panthers. Apparently, Bucknell couldn't round up their own band to play at the NCAA tournament, so they offered t-shirts and $150 in pizza to the Northern Iowa band to play the Bison fight song during their win over Kansas. Given the result, perhaps Bucknell will extend a permanent offer to the UNI band, as well as change the pronunciation of their mascot to the Bi-SOHN after the CBS TV commentator persistently mangled the relatively simple name for the American Buffalo (was it Billy Packer?). (My friends from NDSU pronounce it "BI-zunn" by the way).

Finally, how high are you on the Ladder of Accountability?

Morning Whip, 3/18/05

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The Whip Computer running slow? Haven't updated your antivirus? Don't have a good spyware detector? Maybe yours is one of the million home computers which have been hijacked and used to attack other sites.

Do everyone a favor and get patched, get antivirus, get anti-spyware, and for heaven's sake quit using Internet Explorer. Go get Opera or Firefox.

What is a journalist? One answer from the Christian Science Monitor. Do you think the "mainstream" media is nervous?

This just in: being fat is bad for you. Make sure you eat plenty of carbs in a low-fat diet. Yeah, that's been working so well to date--obesity and diabetes rates are way down . . . oh, they are up? Oops.

Morning Whip, 3/17/05

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The Whip Happy St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Not quite "Bush Was Right" but close: Arabs Wonder at Shift Away From Autocracy.

Conference 32? Division I independents are talking - a conference stretching from Virginia and Georgia to Utah. The Fort Wayne newspaper has this take from the IPFW point of view.

OpinionJournal's Best of the Web on the hoo-hah regarding Harvard's President Larry Summer's dreadful suggestion that women and men might perhaps be different in some ways. I might have let this one go, but for this paragraph:
The Harvard faculty majority are acting like a china service in a bullring. Their attitude, with its toxic mix of self-pity and thuggery, is common on campus and is often characteristic of an alienated political minority. You can imagine some hysterical Harvard prof shouting, "Larry Summers is not my neighbor! Now you sit down!"

"Toxic mix of self-pity and thuggery." Very nice turn of phrase.