Monthly Archives: January 2006

Brownshirts Without Shame

No better than modern brownshirts: The Carpetbagger Report | That Ann Coulter, what a kidder.

After all these secret service trips to investigate high school students based on what they do for class assignments, I trust a full squad of investigators will soon be giving this kook the third-degree?

Posted in Politics: US | Leave a comment

Modern Times

Tar me with the brush of political correctness if you must, but I think that this event, announced in the latest UM undergrad student newsletter, is a weird thing for a student group at a university to be doing:

Miss UM Tickets ON SALE NOW!
The Miss University of Miami Scholarship Pageant is next Wednesday, February 1 at 7:30 pm in the Gusman Hall. Tickets are on sale now in UC 228! They are only $5 for UM students. Come out to support UM’s most beautiful and talented women at this preliminary to Miss America. Group rates and discounts are available – please contact [——–] at [——-]@miami.edu for more information!

Seems it’s been running for a while: here’s an article about the 2002 coronation.

OK. OK. They get scholarships if they win, &tc &tc. Still think it’s passé at best.

Posted in U.Miami | Leave a comment

What He Said, What I Did, What They Said

This is right: Hullabaloo: Gentleman’s Agreement. That’s the “what he said” part of this post.

Isn’t it odd that major corporations foster so much hatred on the air? It’s clear that Limbaugh and the Fox types are not joking. They are not even “joking”.

So it’s nice to see someone doing something to strike back. I suspect that Chris Matthews would not have been my top choice, or probably even one of my top three, for an advertiser boycott, but you start where you are. And where we are right now is An Open Letter to Chris Matthews.

So here’s what I did. I wrote emails to Intuit and to Toyota because I’m a long-time buyer of their products. And I also used the comment form on their web site. And I said that, much as I like their products, I wouldn’t buy again until they disassociate themselves from this filth. For Toyota it’s a car. For Intuit it was TurboTax: I said I would switch to Tax Cut (I didn’t say I would drop Quicken, because the truth is I probably wouldn’t).

That was last night. This morning I got a phone call from a very concerned marketing VP at Intuit. That’s the company that doesn’t do tech support and never answers my email about bugs in Quicken. She just saw my email and she want me to know that Intuit is very concerned about my opinion, that this is the first she’s heard of this and of course they are concerned. She’s put in a call to the marketing people, but of course Intuit has no control over what shows its ads run on.

I suggested to her that in fact networks make accommodations all the time if a sponsor doesn’t want to be on a show, and if her people were telling her different, maybe she should ask some questions.

Meanwhile, I’m thinking there were over 100,000 visits to the Open Letter site before I got there. I can’t really be the first person to actually write to Intuit, can I? (Although I used the web comment form as well as email, so who knows?). But never mind. I take her to mediamatters.org and to the An Open Letter to Chris Matthews site, and she professes amazement. I say that while Matthews has a First Amendment right to say what he likes, I am a Democrat, and I find it very offensive to have Democrats compared to terrorists. And if Intuit is paying for that with their ads, I think they are responsible for it and they’re associated with it, and I don’t want their product any more.

And so Ms. VP says she’ll call me back if the ad policy changes. I say I’d love it if they change the ad policy,and I look forward to hearing from her soon, and we part best of friends. Or something. And I’m not holding my breath, but who knows.

Posted in The Media | 6 Comments

Still Waiting for the Right Phone

If only this Duo-mode GSM WIFI Phone — quad band no less! — was a flip phone form factor, I’d buy one just for the coolness of it all.

As it is, even though my old phone is gradually getting electronic Alzheimer’s, I can’t find a flip phone that does what it did when it worked right. Certainly, neither of these seems like the ticket.

Posted in Shopping | Leave a comment

A Strange Kurdish Parable

I love this story. Although I’m not utterly sure I know what it means, I can certainly think of times that it would have been appropriate. Jonathan Dworkin guest blogging at Political Animal tells a Kurdish parable:

A man is crazy. He believes he is a flower and birds are trying to eat him. A doctor takes him to the hospital. After months of treatment he improves. “I am not a flower,” he tells himself. As he is walking home from the hospital he looks up at the sky. “I know I am not a flower,” he thinks. “But those birds still want to eat me. How do I convince them that I am not a flower?”

Posted in Etc | 3 Comments

Are Non-Refundable Air Tickets Actually Refundable?

In the course of a very interesting and serious rumination about proposed air travel regulations ostensibly designed to allow the Center for Disease Control to react to epidemics — but which conveniently enact the surveillance regime on air travelers that this administration has been seeking for some time, Ed Hasbrouck throws out this great aside,

If you are ever denied transportation by an airline, ask them for a copy of their conditions of carriage, which they are required to have available at every check-in counter. Ask them to tell you under which specific clause of the conditions of carriage you are being denied transportation. Try to get them to put that in writing, preferably either on airline letterhead over the signature and legibly printed name of the station manager for the airline at that airport, or as part of a complete printout of your passenger name record , in which the reason you were denied transportation, citing the specific clause of the conditions of carriage, has been entered. (If you made your reservations from Canada, the European Union, or certain other countries, you are entitles to see what’s in your PNR. But not, unfortunately, if you made your reservations in the USA.) If the airline balks at giving you reasons, point out that your eligibility (or not) for a refund of your ticket is dependent on the reasons and the clause of the conditions of carriage under which you were denied transportation. So you need documentation of the reasons for their denial, in order to establish your refund claim. (If the airline refuses to transport you because you refuse to consent to being searched, you are entitled to a full and unconditional refund, even if your ticket would otherwise have been an entirely nonrefundable. Presenting yourself at the airport, and refusing to consent to search, is perhaps the most foolproof way to obtain a refund of an otherwise nonrefundable ticket.) The airline cannot refuse to transport you, except as provided by specific terms of their published conditions of carriage, without grave liability under the common carrier clause of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978.

I’m sure it would be one @#%@$ of a hassle, but it’s an interesting idea nonetheless.

Posted in Shopping | 3 Comments

It Worked for Harry Truman

It’s good to think that someone in the Senate remembers a little history. Truman became Vice President because he got famous for chairing an investigatory committee, the Senate Special Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program (aka “the Truman committee”).

Harry Truman remembered the ‘war profiteering’ from WW I and determined to try to root it out from the war effort in WW II. The effort made him a popular hero, even as the Washington elites turned up their noses.

Comes now Senator Byron Dorgan, taking aim at “waste, fraud and mismanagement” in the GOP crony capitalist management of the government. Unlike Truman, he hasn’t got a committee to chair, which makes running an investigation much more difficult. The Blogging of the President suggests Dorgan will use a media strategy instead.

I’d like to believe that can work. But it’s very hard to break through. (I expect some white women will go missing in the event this sort of thing gets any traction.)

Posted in Politics: The Party of Sleaze | Leave a comment