Morning Whip, 3/27/05

Happy Easter, everyone.

We’re working our way towards the Final Four on both the Men’s and Women’s side. Illinois[*1] and Louisville[*2] punched their tickets for St. Louis on the men’s side, and LSU[*3] , Duke[*4] , Baylor[*5] , and North Carolina[*6] 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[*7] .

OOPS! Secret data returned to thief[*8] .

Jeremy Rifkin is worried about “chimeric experimentation[*9] ,” 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[*10] or watch The Secret of NIMH[*11] than listening to Rifkin, who’s been freaked about bioengineering[*12] for quite a while. Someone needs to explain to Jeremy how genetics works . . .

College Basketball Today

Congratulations to Virginia Union, winners of the NCAA Division II championship!

Yesterday with the big boys, Michigan State beat Duke, Kentucky over Utah, Wisconsin beat NC State, and North Carolina over Villanova. Big Ten flexing its muscle over the ACC.

LSU dismantled Liberty 90-48 on the Women’s side. In progress, Duke and Georgia. Later tonight, Minnesota-Baylor and Arizona State-North Carolina. Tomorrow: Texas Tech-Tennessee, Rutgers-Ohio State, Vanderbilt-Michigan State, and Connecticut-Stanford.

The New

As you can see, we’re out with the old and in with the new at I’ll continue to tweak and play for some time, but I’m pretty happy with the overall layout.

I’m not sure I like the sans-serif font type for the main entries (I tend to think serif fonts like Times Roman are easier to read) but we’ll see what kind of response I get.

Anyway, comment on this article to let me know what you think.

Goodbye, Greymatter

This weekend, will say goodbye to the Greymatter content/blogging system and introduce a brand new look to the site.

I’ve got the new Geeklog software configured to the point where I can start converting our site content, then finish up with some of the other stuff (like figuring out how to display the Google advertising bar and the Amazon donation button). It’s a bit awkward as I’m doing some fiddling and fudging between the two sites on the same server, and can’t have them both available on the web at the same time without doing things I don’t want to do.

The current bulletin board will go away, and it looks like the links page will be transformed as well. Both are actually OK, as the bulletin board wasn’t going anywhere, and I was never particularly happy with the links page. The new software actually has some combined blog/bulletin board function, so I think that will overall be an improvement. Downside is those of you who registered on the bulletin board will need to re-register on the site once the migration is complete.

So, coming to a Web near you, v2.0.

Morning Whip, 3/24/05

Boulevard Beer Burgeons[*2] . Expansion plans of one of the country’s best beer companies.

The Federal Election Commission has issued a proposed rulemaking on Internet Communications[*3] . 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 or submitted through the Federal eRegulations Portal at[*4] . 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

Morning Whip, 3/23/05

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[*1] in the NCAA playoffs, sending Tennessee to the Women’s Sweet 16. UT responds by naming the floor at Thompson-Boling Arena The Summitt[*2] . Strike up the Band! Rocky Top![*3]

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[*4] , to be exact):
Boston University Team Finds Link Between High Cholesterol And Better Cognitive Performance[*5] . (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[*6] . (Yes, dear . . . )
Light May Arise From Relativity Violations[*7] . (I see . . . )
Wolves Alleviate Impact Of Climate Change On Food Supply, Finds New Study[*8] (Yellowstone Wolves Combat Global Warning – chuckle).

Tragedy and Farce: Schiavo[*9] and Jackson[*10] .

Have the Republicans Jumped the Shark?

Everybody knows about Jumping the Shark[*1] . Some of my all-time favorite shows jumped the shark at some point. Babylon 5 Jumped when they ended the series one year early (year 4 vs. year 5). Buffy the Vampire Slayer Jumped when Buffy died (again) and the show switched to UPN. MASH Jumped when Trapper John left the series. Etc., etc. People argue about exactly when a favorite series Jumps the Shark, but almost everyone agrees that a show has Jumped.

Driving home from work today, I had the thought that perhaps the Republicans have Jumped the Shark with this Terri Schiavo deal. I keep hearing conflicting things. Her cerebral cortex has been largely replaced with cerebrospinal fluid[*2] , and that she’s conversing as best she can with her visitors[*3] . I don’t know anything about neuroscience, but I wouldn’t think both of these could be true.

On the one hand, the first-hand testimonials of her awareness from her family are not credible. I’m sorry, but in those situations, people see and hear what they want to hear. On the other hand, the actions of Mr. Schiavo are . . . questionable? Living and having two kids with another woman, for instance. So does he have a motive for letting Terri die? Maybe, but then how come he waits 15 years?

I don’t know where the truth lies. That’s the problem. So now the Republican Congress charges in and passes a law giving Federal Courts authority, and the Republican President signs it into law. What I really want to know is which political genius thought that this was a good idea, and what did he/she think they’d gain from opening up the political spigots? I can’t shake the feeling that this should have been (in basketball terms) a “no-call” on the part of the Congress and the President. It is the same feeling you get when you realize your favorite TV show has jumped the shark.

Morning Whip, 3/21/05

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”[*1] 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[*2] –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[*3] , 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[*4] , 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 entitled The Day I Shadowed A Reporter[*5] 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[*6] 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[*7] !)