You Jerks!!

You remember that skit on Saturday Night Live, “Ruining it for Everyone”? It was a talk show where they interviewed the first guy to put razor blades in candy, the first guy to pick up a hitchhiker and kill them, etc. “Next week: we’ll interview Patient Zero!” It was really funny.

I think we can safely say that spammers have joined their ranks.

Email spam sucked. Comment spam in blogs also sucked (trust me on that). Trackback spam in blogs sucks even more. It forced the blogging software developers to design anti-spam packages. Yuck.

Well, now it’s gone one further. Some blog-savvy folks know that the Washington Post has partnered with Technorati to provide links to bloggers who are talking about their articles. It’s a smart move, opening up their pages to bloggers just as the New York Times is circling the wagons with their new TimesSelect service.

Until now, that is. Looks like the spammers have figured out that they can get free advertising on the WaPo’s site by creating a fake blog and linking to a WaPo article. See this WaPo article for an example. Click here to see the page of referring blogs, both of which are spam.

My real web-geek question is why are they using Drupal, and not something easy to set up like Blogspot?

Drudge on DeLay

I’m on a roll here, folks. (I’ll be out of town for 4 days next week, so maybe I’m just overcompensating)

So how to I judge how freaked out the GOP is about this DeLay thing going down? As I explained earlier, I see how their first-responders (the conservative news organs) are handling the story. Earlier today I looked Fox’s reaction, which was spin, spin, spin. Now we look at Drudge. As of this afternoon, Drudge has nada, zip, not a thing on the DeLay indictment. Just stone cold silence. Though he does have links to Madonna’s new song and Google’s plans to build a new office building. This is truly the stuff of scandal!

What to make of Drudge’s silence? You’d think there’s something he could say about it. Like, “Dems send out fundraiser cashing in on DeLay indictment…” or “DeLay indictment is not NEARLY as bad as that one thing that Clinton did 10 years ago that everyone’s forgotten about…”

You know, something.

But instead it’s total silence. What to make of that? Is he trying to shift the news cycle to the California wildfires and the supreme court nomination? Probably. Will it work? I doubt it.

Update 7:50 pm PDT: Drudge is now linking to this Byron York article which simply states that Prosecutor Ronnie Earle is having a film made about him. Big whoop. Careful, Dems — this could be a trap, like what happened with Dan Rather. Let the Dems go on the attack, and then when it comes to nothing, accuse them of a witch hunt.

Tread light on this one. As the Post said today, this might just be a lot of sound and fury. Am I being paranoid? Just ask Larry David.

Nay!

The vote on Roberts came down pretty much how I expected, 78-22.

The Slant wonders (happy birthday, man!!) why Hillary would vote no:

Is puzzling. Kerry’s a no-brainer. He’s obviously sticking left. But I don’t get Hillary here– she has her liberal bona fides. She doesn’t need liberal cred. She needs centrist cred. And by most accounts, Roberts is a pretty good match for Rhenquist’s seat.

I think the simple answer is that, while Hillary does indeed have generalized “liberal bona fides,” she’s going to need 110% of the support of women’s groups for the rest of her political life. And that means “no” on any pro-life judges. She has little to lose with her “no” vote. It’s not like her opponents (either in ’06 or ’08 are going to use her vote against her, really. They already have enough anti-Hillary ammo that’s much more lethal than, “she voted against a guy you’ve never even heard of, and on the off chance that you did hear of him, you probably have no idea where he stands! But remember, Hillary voted against him!” Not exactly the kind of stuff you can put on a bumper sticker.

Taken like that, it’s a no-brainer as well.

Take It Out Back and Shoot It

That’s my take on what’s going on with this latest monorail re-vote. We’ve planned and planned and planned. Seven years of planning and voting and more planning and yet more voting. And just when we’re about to start construction, someone finally pipes up and says, “wait a sec… we don’t have the money to pay for this thing!”

Now you tell us.

And so, with unknown anti-monorail activists leading in the polls for monorail board, it seems a foregone conclusion that the public’s sentiment has turned anti-monorail. This comes less than a year after the monorail beat out a “recall” campaign with 63% of the vote. And so, after all that planning, we’re now going to rush a fifth vote to the November ballot, and do it so quickly and haphazardly that there’s barely enough time to write the “pro” and “con” statements for the voters’ guide.

How much will the new, shortened line cost? Are there still plans to build the other 4 lines? What is Sound Transit planning for the West-Seattle-to-Ballard corridor? Do we have answers to any of these questions? Beats me.

7 years of planning. $200 million spent. And now we’re so embarrassed that we’re going to rush it on to the November ballot, where it will probably fail and die.

Take it out back and shoot it. Tell little Jimmy it went to go live on a farm in the country. It’s better that way.

Leftward Tilt??

Stanley Kurtz writes on the corner:

continue to get plenty of responses to my posts from earlier this morning and yesterday about the increasingly leftward tilt of Country Music Television (CMT). So far it’s unanimous. Everyone who’s seen both prefers Great American Country (GAC) to the more left-leaning CMT. As best I can tell, though, GAC is newer and poorer. Their production values aren’t as high as they could be, no doubt because they don’t yet have the resources of Viacom. (Lot’s of anger at the presumed politics of Viacom from readers, by the way.)

Good God, if CMT is too leftie (what, because they play a Willie Nelson tune every once in a while?), I can’t imagine what GAC is like. CMT videos are basically GOP talking points sung in rhyme. Montgomery Gentry is my personal fave (PS, pop quiz: whose videos are more “literal”, i.e. devoid of any subtlety or metaphor: country music or karaoke? I say country music!).

Finally, let’s just set the record straight about “liberal” Viacom. This is the same Viacom that owns CBS, yes? The Same CBS that refused to air Moveon.org’s ads during the SuperBowl? The same CBS that scrapped the movie, The Reagans? The same CBS that bowed to FCC pressure not to air Saving Private Ryan unedited, after it had shown it twice before?? Yeah, buncha commies over there, for sure.

DeLay on Fox

After hearing news of Tom DeLay’s indictment yesterday, I turned on Fox News, to get a feel for how the GOP establishment was going to try and spin this. And Neil Cavuto didn’t disappoint. He rounded up a few wall street analysts to discuss how much this would be bad for Wall Street (and by proxy, the economy, and by proxy, your job! bwa-ha-ha!). One of the analysts actually said, “well, it’s true Wall Street is scared that Hillary’s going to get elected and your taxes are going to go through the roof!”

Lord, these dudes are pathetic. On the positive side, they know they’re in a Code Red mess because they’re trying to counter-spin. Had this been a Code Yellow, they would have simply sent Geraldo and Greta to Aruba and gotten on with the day.

But as it was, they had this expert panel, who basically insinuated, “that’s right, Neil. If Tom DeLay goes to jail, then within hours your marginal tax rate will go to 90%, your retirement savings will vanish, your bible and flags will be confiscated and burned, and your children will be indoctrinated as homosexuals. Good Luck, Folks!!!”

Heh. and they talk of a “partisan witchhunt.” What a load of B.S.

Convergence on Iraq Opinions

I was watching Bill O’Reilly fight with Phil Donahue on the O’Reilly show the other day, and it was uncomfortable for a number of reason. First, watching O’Reilly get mad just makes my skin crawl. Second, Donahue was stretching a LOT to defend Cindy Sheehan, and thus making me feel some weird cognitive dissonance, because I didn’t want to be put in a position of either defending Sheehan or siding with O’Reilly.

But the most uncomfortable thing about the exchange was that the two were basically in agreement on the war, so far as American troops are concerned. Donahue says we need to leave, O’Reilly accuses him of “cutting and running.” But the honest truth is that the generals on the ground in Iraq all basically agree that we’re going to leave Iraq sometime within the next six months to a year. Even the 100,000 folks who protested in DC this past weekend, the ones who want us out of Iraq “now,” surely acknowledge that Bush can’t just pick up the phone and have 140,000 American troops and all their support equipment home by tomorrow afternoon, don’t they??

What I’m saying is, if we admit that it’s going to take 6-12 months minimum to leave Iraq, then even if the anti-war protesters get their way we’ll still have troops on the ground until well into 2006, which is to say exactly when the generals are planning on leaving anyway! In other words, there’s no tangible, tactical difference between the pro-war folks and the anti-war folks at this point. It’s just a lot of sound and fury. Mickey Kaus makes the point much more eloquently:

As Ignatius notes, in terms of what we should do now, as opposed to whether the war was the right thing to launch in the first place, there is vastly less practical difference between the “pro-war” and non-fringe “anti-war” positions than either side’s rhetoric would lead you to believe (and vastly less than the equivalent difference during Vietnam).

Can’t we all just get along? By this time next year we’ll have either zero or significantly fewer troops in Iraq, no matter who gets their way (unless you’re like Prof. Matski and you believe that we’re going to keep our troops there as a forward position against China). So what’s all the fuss about?

Signs You Live in a Small Town

Seattle has world-class-city ambitions. However:

The mayor’s proposal also provides for $500,000 to build more sidewalks in the areas of Seattle that currently have none, particularly in the northern and southern ends of the city.

More than 500 miles of city streets remain without sidewalks, Nickels said in his speech.

Big city, indeed. Also in today’s news, King Country planners are studying ways to make neighborhoods more walkable:

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer obtained an advance copy of the report. Among the findings is that residents walk more in neighborhoods that provide a wide variety of shops and services.

Umm.. yeah. And more sidewalks wouldn’t hurt, either.

Who Does Number Two Work For?

A little Austin Powers reference there, for all you fans.

I regret mentioning this on the show last night, but it’s important to point out that Al Qaeda’s Nubmer 2 man in Iraq was killed this week.

Many people see Al Qaeda as a many-headed hydra, and so tend to discount the importance of nabbing a high-ranking guy. And there is some truth to that. The organization is, in many ways, morphing into more of an ideology and less of a top-down force. But we shouldn’t underestimate the influence that these top-down leaders have on the execution and planning of the organization. They are important dudes. Militant Islam has specific political goals that it wants to achieve (the eradication of the U.S. military and Western culture from the Middle East, for starters), and it uses terrorism as a means to those ends.

There will likely always be angry fanatics who want to strap a bomb to their chests, regardless of how many top-level Qaeda commanders we capture. And that’s something we’re going to have to deal with. But the efficiency in which those fanatics are recruited, armed, trained, and turned on U.S. targets has everything to do with Qaeda’s top leaders and their political goals.