Thursday, December 27, 2007

“REPLY ALL” Named Economic Impact Problem Of The Year

The Horrible Truth About The "Reply All" Button - This entry was posted on Thursday, August 31st, 2006 at 4:06 pm and is filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed, bookmark the Permalink in your Browser, leave a response, or trackback from your own site. Image Credit: SPACE MONKEYS

“REPLY ALL” Named Economic Impact Problem Of The Year

Information and the ease at which information is created and moved is blossoming into a great problem. So much so that it has caught the attention of a noted consultancy firm as 2008’s Problem-Of-The-Year!

The problem and its growth is “Information Overload”. It costs our economy in productivity and time some serious money. In 2006 the estimated cost came in at $650,000,000,000 … that’s six-hundred and fifty BILLION. A figure that is roughly equal to the Gross Domestic Product of the 16th largest economy in the world, The Netherlands.

Buildings along canal in Amsterdam’s consulate row area. The Netherlands is often called Holland. This is formally incorrect as North and South Holland in the western Netherlands are only two of the country's twelve provinces. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (6-15-2002)

Economic costs are run up when we are distracted and interrupted from our core duties and have to take the time to get re-engaged after responding to needless or repetitive communications.

This from the Associated Press via WIRED TECH BIZ News -

Researcher: Info Overload Costs Economy

By ANICK JESDANUN - AP Internet Writer - Dec 26, 12:04 PM EST

Think twice before you copy someone on an e-mail or hit "reply all." Such practices have made today's workers less productive, a research firm concludes.

After years of naming a product or person of the year, Basex Inc. decided to forecast "information overload" as problem of the year for 2008.

"It's too much information. It's too many interruptions. It's too much lost time," Basex chief analyst Jonathan Spira declared. "It's always too much of a good thing."
Workers get disoriented every time they stop what they are doing to reply to an e-mail or answer a follow-up phone call because they didn't reply within minutes. Spira said workers can spend 10 to 20 times the length of the original interruption trying to get back on track.
Spira has a number of recommendations: Resist the urge to immediately follow up an e-mail with an instant message or phone call. Make sure the subject line clearly reflects the topic and urgency of an e-mail. And use "reply all" sparingly.
Reference Here>>

Poll Answers

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tracking Santa The NORAD Way Christmas 2007

Illustrators’ Visions of Santa Claus - Over the years, great illustrators have created and shaped the popular vision of Santa Claus. Clockwise from top, left: Thomas Nast, who gave Santa Claus a form almost like the modern idea in the mid-1800’s, with his clay pipe and arm full of toys (including a sword). You can see some of his visions of Santa here. /// J. C. Leyendecker, who really created the modern vision of Santa, and painted a number of memorable Saturday Evening Post covers featuring the jolly elf over the years. You can find them in the SEP cover archive. /// Norman Rockwell, along with Leyendecker, provided numerous SEP covers with images of Santa, often with clever takes on the vision of his traditional role. The SEP cover archive has a section devoted to Rockwell Christmas covers. /// Haddon Sundblom was an American illustrator who became noted for his yearly portrayals of Santa Claus for the Coca-Cola company. There is a section on the Coca-Cola site, and an album of Sundblom Santas here. Image Credit: Charley Parker

Tracking Santa The NORAD Way Christmas 2007

Christmas is a time we come together to celebrate forces that are beyond our own experience. On December 25, the birth of the son of God is the source of the excuse for additional forces we know are beyond our own experience to come to life.

The one force that creates the most wonder and awe is the force of Santa Claus and his amazing journey around the world as he drives his Reindeer powered Sleigh. The Sleigh, loaded with gifts, stops at every home throughout the world where Santa knows people believe in giving and the amazing grace of God and his power.

Santa is even known to stop and leave a gift where some people are not even aware they actually believe in him and/or God’s power because he knows what resides deep in all people who wish for a better world but have not found a conscious way to its understanding.

Technology and the internet were made for times like these.

This from the How Stuff Works website -

How Santa's Sleigh Works
by John Fuller – How Stuff Works

Christmas Eve, millions of children around the world will settle uneasily into bed, hardly able to contain themselves. What vision could possibly dance through their heads, turning them into twitchy, restless insomniacs for just one night? Is it the Sugar Plum Fairy from Tchaikovsky's ballet "The Nutcracker" or the sugarplums from Clement Clarke Moore's poem "The Night Before Christmas"? Can sugarplums really do such a thing?

Chances are the children are thinking about
toys, Santa Claus and his team of reindeer -- if the children have been nice this year, jolly old St. Nick should be landing his sleigh on their roofs sometime late in the night.

Everyone has their own traditional image of Santa's sleigh, but could there be more to it than just a sled and a team of reindeer? Although no one may ever know for sure just how Santa operates, we at HowStuffWorks have what we think are the most logical explanations for how the big guy accomplishes all that he does:
science and technology.

Sure, demystifying Santa's modus operandi puts us at risk of getting nothing but
coal in our stockings this year, but it's all for the noble pursuit of yuletide knowledge. After all, have you ever wondered how Santa's sleigh flies? What about the reindeer? And how does Santa fit all of those presents into one bag? In the next section, we'll look at the possible technology behind Santa's sleigh.­

Rustic on the outside and state-of-the-art on the inside, Santa's sleigh would have to be a marvel in engineering. These are the main parts of the sleigh that would be needed to get Santa across the world in one night.

The Sleigh's Interior

The front of the sleigh's dashboard would be dominated by Santa's own GPS navigator -- the elves would map out millions of destinations before Christmas Eve, just to make sure Santa doesn't miss anyone. The device would also have a built-in Naughty-or-Nice sensor that keeps Santa updated on children's activities. This is important, as even the most minor of naughty deeds committed within the last few hours of Dec. 24 can determine whether or not a child receives a shiny lump of coal.

speedometer on the far left of the dashboard would allow Santa to monitor his flying speeds. On the far right would be a radio communicator -- Mrs. Claus sends broadcasts, and the elves update Santa with weather reports and toy inventory.

For in-flight entertainment, we'd like to the think that the elves would have installed an
iPod dock -- perhaps even a red-and-green iPod, which would come with enough memory to play Christmas songs for the entire year through. There would also be a hot cocoa dispenser in the middle of the console, and fuel for the reindeer (in the form of carrots) in a compartment located on the left side of the sleigh.

Transdimensional Present Compartment (The Bag)

Ever wonder how Santa fits all of those presents into one bag? Think of a transdimensional present compartment in the form of a traditional gift sack, which would act as a portal between the sleigh and the North Pole. However, we'd also like to think that Santa may have harnessed the power of nanotechnology and found a way to miniaturize millions of presents into one large bag. But this information remains unconfirmed.

The Stardust Antimatter Propulsion Unit

What is antimatter? Is it some kind of magical substance Santa uses to power his sleigh?

Antimatter is the opposite of regular matter -- the mirror image of normal particles that make up everything we can see or touch. The big draw to antimatter is the amount of energy it helps create. When antimatter and matter come into contact, they annihilate each other -- breaking apart into tons of smaller particles -- and 100 percent of their masses convert into energy.

Although antimatter propulsion rockets are mainly used in science-fiction shows to allow spaceships to travel at warp speed, the possibility of designing one is very real --
NASA is currently developing one that would get us to Mars within a matter of weeks. [source: NASA]

Santa's would have to be way ahead of the game, however, and we'd like to imagine that he has his own custom Stardust Antimatter Rocket. It would be small enough to install in the back of his sleigh and fast enough to deliver every present to all good children across the globe. Of course, if the rocket ever malfunctions, the reindeer would be there to back Santa up.
References Here>>

Track Santa Claus across the globe as he performs his amazing task and journey -

Santa maintains a huge list of children who have been good throughout the year. The list even includes addresses, ZIP codes and postal codes. The list, of course, gets bigger each year by virtue of the world's increasing population. This year's population right now is 6,634,570,959!

Santa has had to adapt over the years to having less and less time to deliver his toys. If one were to assume he works in the realm of standard time, as we know it, clearly he would have perhaps two to three ten-thousandths of a second to deliver his toys to each child's home he visits!

The fact that Santa Claus is more than 15 centuries old and does not appear to age is our biggest clue that he does not work within time, as we know it. His Christmas Eve trip may seem to take around 24 hours, but to Santa it could be that it lasts days, weeks or months in standard time. Santa would not want to rush the important job of bringing Christmas happiness to a child, so the only logical conclusion is that Santa somehow functions on a different time and space continuum.

We believe, based on historical data and more than 50 years of NORAD tracking information, that Santa Claus is alive and well in the hearts of children throughout the world.

Santa Claus is known by many names, but his first recorded name was Saint Nicholas. Historians claim that the history of Santa starts with the tradition of Saint Nicholas, a 4th Century Christian priest who lived in the Middle East in an area of present day Turkey.

Saint Nicholas became famous throughout the world for his kindness in giving gifts to others who were less fortunate. Typically, he placed gifts of gold down people's chimneys - sometimes into stockings. It may be that the Santa we know and love emerged from the legacy of Saint Nicholas. Clearly, Santa's basic approach to gift giving is strikingly similar to that of Saint Nicholas. What we know from history is that the tradition of Santa Claus and Saint Nicholas merged.

Could they be the same person? Only Santa Claus can tell us for sure.

Long before the Wright brothers flew the first airplane or the Montgolfier brothers flew the first hot air balloon, Santa knew he had to find a way to travel quickly from house to house at great speed. We know from our Santa Cam images that Santa's choice for quick transportation was a herd of flying reindeer. Of course, to this day, detailed information on these reindeer remains a mystery. We do know, however, that Santa somehow found a way to get the reindeer to help him with his worldwide mission of gift giving. A veil of sweet mystery hides the rest.

Virginia's letter, written in December 1897, is the most famous example of a child wanting to know about Santa.

Editor’s Response>>


We at MAXINE, Symblogogy, & Oblate Spheroid wish each and everyone a "Merry Christmas To All And To All A Good Night!"

Friday, December 21, 2007

It Takes A Village To Kill A Terrorist

Hugh Hewitt while broadcasting live from the exposition floor of Blogworld & New Media Expo. in Las Vegas - 11-08-2007. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (MAXINE)

It Takes A Village To Kill A Terrorist

Yesterday afternoon, Hugh Hewitt was interviewing a Sergeant Long of the U.S. Marines and a Consultant to the Marines on asymmetric war tactics whose name I missed (I looked for transcript information on the interview) when the following exchange ensued.

The Consultant on war tactics stated that most of the larger battlefield successes on the ground in Iraq happened when the leaders and citizens in each of the small villages throughout the countryside became feed up with the violence. He went on to state his point just so, “It takes a village to control the insurgency in Iraq.”

Hugh asked, “So, it takes a village to kill a terrorist?” and the Consultant enthusiastically, and without hesitation responded, “Yes!”, then Hugh mused, “It takes a village … I like that.”

Over this Christmas holiday season, when a family member or friend wants to discuss the politics about the war in Iraq, just remember that when one happens to discuss the value of “The Surge” and its dramatic success, the Marines did not do this in a vacuum. They had help through a valuable partnership and relationships with the Iraqi people that had been built up with the boots-on-the-ground over the last four years … “It Takes A Village!”

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Patreaus Did Not Betray Us - Senate Did

Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander for U.S. troops in Iraq, appears at a graduation ceremony for 700 Iraqi National Police cadets in Baghdad, Iraq, on Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007. Image Credit: AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed

Patraeus Did Not Betray Us - Senate Did

In a move that can only be shouted back to the "Leftosphere" ... "FACTS DO MATTER"!

It was only a little over one month ago as was observed here, at MAXINE, that the Blogging community that held far left points of view - Markos Moulitsas Zúniga (Daily KOS), Jeralyn Merritt (TalkLeft), Joe Sudbay (AMERICAblog), and Jerome Armstrong (MyDD) - felt that the facts on the ground in Iraq did not matter.

In a unanimous show of support for ending our involvement in Iraq, these Bloggers spoke for the vast “Leftosphere” when they expressed their views during a conference module held at Blogworld & New Media Expo, Friday, November 9, 2007, in a Las Vegas Convention Center. The module was entitled “Right vs. Left: Who’s Winning The Battle Of The Blogosphere?”

Well, “FACTS DO MATTER” and the proof in the putting just came through last night when the Senate passed a spending bill combining funding for 14 Cabinet departments with $70 billion for U.S. military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

When General Patraeus came back to address the Senate after his plan for “The Surge” in Iraq was finally underway, the people on the left proclaimed in an ad in the New York Times that General Patraeus Betrayed Us.

After this very lopsided vote by the US Senate (only 17 Senators voted no to funding the troops), the ad the left should be purchasing to run ... should read - Patraeus Did Not Betray Us - Senate Did!

This excerpted from the Associated Press -

Senate OKs $70B for Iraq, Afghanistan
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer - Tue Dec 18, 11:00 PM ET

By a bipartisan 76-17 vote, senators approved the massive bill, which bundles 11 annual appropriations bills funding domestic agencies and the foreign aid budget for the budget year that began Oct. 1.

Earlier, by a 70-25 vote in the Senate, President Bush and his GOP allies won a major victory in passing a measure providing $70 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — without restrictions that Democrats had insisted on for weeks.
Reference Here>>

Poll Answers

Sunday, December 16, 2007

When Green Thinking And Consumerism Collide, the digital home of NBC Universal's new initiative to bring an environmental perspective to our networks, our platforms, our audiences, our communities ... in fact, to everything we do. We kicked the initiative off with a week of green-themed programming and we'll be continuing the commitment to our efforts throughout the coming years. /// "Going Green" is no small undertaking - whether you are a big media company or an individual hoping to make a change - so we'll be posting all of our exciting news on this site along with green tips, green clips, and a fast-paced blog covering everything we're doing at NBC Universal, and beyond. /// We hope you'll dive in, join the conversation, and help us make "green" as universal as we can. Caption and Image Credit: NBC Uinversal

When Green Thinking And Consumerism Collide

Question: What costs more in electricity per year - A CRT style television or a brand new, solid state HD Plasma flat panel television?

Ever ask yourself, “When is enough, enough?"

In February 2009, our television technical standards are due to changeover to High Definition broadcast transmission standards. The impacts of this changeover will have a pretty large effect on our habits, or so we are told.

On the one hand, we need to be conscious about treating our Earth right ... on the other hand, we have a requirement to embrace technological advancement.

This changeover, as mandated by FCC law, excerpted from Wikipedia –

The FCC has notified U.S. television broadcasters that the standard for transmitting TV over-the-air shall change from analog to digital. While there are many technical, political, and economic reasons for and implications of this change, the end-result for some segments of the American TV audience will be an improvement in picture and sound quality.
From a consumer standpoint, every conventional TV with an antenna will become obsolete, unless connected to a digital tuner. After the switch to digital transmission, TVs will be unable to receive terrestrial analog RF TV broadcasts unless connected to a set-top box or other device that contains a digital tuner. Roughly 20% of viewers receive analog broadcasts over the air, and will be affected by the analog shutoff. The majority of TV watchers will not be affected. The 80% of television viewers that use cable or satellite television will not be immediately impacted. Virtually all satellite users and an increasing number of cable users already use set top boxes to view programming, and analog cable television is being phased out in many markets. For people unable to buy new digital TVs, Congress is arranging to offer cash vouchers for the purchase of digital tuners.
The last major change in TV transmission standards took place when compatible color broadcasts began in 1953. That change was engineered to be backwards-compatible, meaning that existing black-and-white TV sets would receive and display "compatible-color" broadcasts (in monochrome) without modification. The impending change to digital from analog is not backwards-compatible.
Reference Here>>

Funny that - we have global climate change and we have a global consumer change-over and neither are “BACKWARDS-COMPATIBLE”!

Where is the “Green Peacock” flying over at GE/NBC/Universal when we need it?
Just last month (November 4, 2007 to be exact), the viewers of all of the NBC broadcast television properties – NBC, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, SciFi Channel, USA Network, Telemundo, to mention a few, were treated to a healthy dose of how we all can become better world citizens if only we begin to think and behave green. “Green is Universal” was the catchy phrase. After all, we are reminded over and over that Al Gore told/lectured us that the Globe Is Warming!

We consume resources at a record level and that, as we were reminded on NBC “Green Week”, if we all replace out incandescent light bulbs with the new Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL's) we can save the planet. During the broadcast day we were treated to “Green Friendly” TIPS like - Tip #2 - By allowing more natural light into your home, you can lower the use of electricity; artificial light adds up to almost 15% of the home's total electricity. That there is some mighty fine copywriting, we'd say!

Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) - CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs because they generate the same amount of light using less energy. CFLs generate light with trapped gas, while standard incandescent lightbulbs use filaments to generate light. Caption Credit: NBC Universal -- Image Credit: Wikipedia

And this little green glossary definition found on the NBC “Green Is Universal” website -

Energy Efficiency Energy - efficiency is a measure of how much energy is needed for a product to perform its function. For example, CFLs are more energy efficient than incandescent bulbs because they generate the same amount of light using less energy. Reducing energy use is important to reduce human impacts on climate change.

Not one word was mentioned about the possibility of saving gobs of energy by just turning off our brand new, big screen, flat panel plasma TV!

Plasma Television - Behind the screens are millions of cells, each one for every pixel on the screen. Inside these cells are two gases, neon and xeon, and some chemical called phosphor that glows when hit by light. This chemical was founded in 1669, accidently, by a German scientist Hennig Brand who was doing some experiments on his urine. When electrical currents run through each cells, they charge both gases into a plasma state, or ionized state. This plasma emits UV light to hit the phosphors that glows afterward. In each single cell there are 3 subcells that contain 3 different phosphors – red, green, and blue phosphors. By controlling the current that goes into each one of the subcells, the amount of red, green, and blue glows combine into millions of color combinations. Image Credit: Ken Crane’s - Panasonic HD plasma television (biggest available) spanning 103 inches and weighing 485 pounds

This excerpted from The Wall Street Journal -

That Giant Sucking Sound May Be Your New TV

By Rebecca Smith, The Wall Street Journal - Last update: 11:01 p.m. EST Dec. 12, 2007
Consider that a 42-inch plasma set can consume more electricity than a full-size refrigerator -- even when that TV is used only a few hours a day. Powering a fancy TV and full-on entertainment system -- with set-top boxes, game consoles, speakers, DVDs and digital video recorders -- can add nearly $200 to a family's annual energy bill.
While most new types of TV sets use far more electricity than the old-fashioned gadgets they replace, some upstarts are bigger energy hogs than others. In general, liquid crystal display, or LCD, screens use less power than plasma sets of comparable size. And in the largest screen sizes, projection televisions typically use less electricity than LCD or plasma models.

A 28-inch conventional television set containing a cathode-ray picture tube, or CRT, for example, often uses about 100 watts of electricity. A 42-inch LCD set, a typical upgrade item, requires about twice that amount of electricity. But the real beast is the plasma set. A 42-inch model often sucks up 200 to 500 watts, and a 60-plus-inch plasma screen can consume 500 to 600 watts, depending on the model and programming, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

In the biggest screen sizes, a projection television is a better option from an energy-use standpoint because it consumes about 150 watts to 200 watts, far less than a plasma or LCD screen.

Assuming each screen is on five hours a day, the annual energy bill for the conventional 28-inch television set would be about $30 a year, compared with about $130 for the 60-inch plasma model, assuming power costs 12 cents a kilowatt hour. By the time other devices are added -- including game consoles, speakers and DVDs -- the cost to power the whole works can top $200 annually. (How to do the math: Something that draws a constant 100 watts of electricity uses 2.4 kilowatt hours of electricity in a 24-hour period or 876 kilowatt hours in a year. At 12 cents a kilowatt hour, the annual cost would be $105.12.)
Doug Johnson, senior director of technology policy for the Consumer Electronics Association, says the industry is working to improve disclosure and energy efficiency. He says comparing television energy use to refrigerator energy use is "hackneyed," adding, "when was the last time the family gathered around the refrigerator to be entertained."

Graphic Credit: MarketWatch, The Wall Street Journal

But consumers making an effort to go greener at home -- and who also want to ditch their bulky old TV set -- can be in a bit of a bind. The energy savings gleaned from swapping out incandescent light bulbs for energy-efficient compact fluorescent lights, for example, can easily be canceled out by the pileup in entertainment gear.
Set-top boxes, which deliver programs and movies through the Internet, cable or satellite dishes, also can be energy hogs. In fact, they typically consume about -the same amount of power whether they are being used or standing by.
According to a calculation by the Natural Resources Defense Council, a typical high-definition cable box with a built-in digital recorder consumes about 350 kilowatt hours of juice annually, more than a conventional television set and clothes washer combined.
For its part, the EPA appears to have settled on a process that will allow consumers to compare sets of the same size, across technology types. The agency expects to have improved Energy Star labels on television screens by November 2008 and to get them on set-top boxes, also in active and standby modes, by December 2008.
Reference Here>>

At MAXINE, our wallets and brains are exploding due to the collision of well intentioned and possible necessary technical changeover and nature.

The real and perceived change from both directions, the law of the FCC and the natural forces found here on Earth for hundreds of millions of years, require our attention and action, both are immovable forces, and both are not backward-compatible.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Voting Machines Sinking On Security In California

ES&S iVotronic voting machine - Image Credit:

Voting Machines Sinking On Security In California

A team from the office of the California Secretary of State found that voting machines manufactured by Dibold and Sequoia have significant security vulnerabilities. A new round of testing that focused on the machines sold by ES&S found that these machines were just as insecure than the rest.

Image Credit: California Secretary of State

While we all would like to see honest and open elections take place here in the good ol” Golden State, we are not delusional. We know that being a conservative in California places us solidly in second place.

Why would any conservative fear insecure voting machines here in this state?

Image Credit: California Secretary of State

This excerpted from Ars Technica, LLC -

ES&S e-voting system used in California cracked wide open
By Ryan Paul Published: December 05, 2007 - 09:01AM CT

Earlier this year, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen established strict new standards for electronic voting machines, requiring independent code audits, Red Team security testing, and support for paper records. The Red Team testing process primarily involves subjecting the machines to review by security experts who attempt to hack the software and bypass the physical security mechanisms. Recent Red Team tests of ES&S voting machines have uncovered serious security flaws.

The first round of tests focused on the physical security of the Polling Ballot Counter (PBC), which the Red Team researchers were able to circumvent with little effort. "In the physical security testing, the wire- and tamper-proof paper seals were easily removed without damage to the seals using simple household chemicals and tools and could be replaced without detection," the report says. "Once the seals are bypassed, simple tools or easy modifications to simple tools could be used to access the computer and its components. The key lock for the Transfer Device was unlocked using a common office item without the special 'key' and the seal removed."

After bypassing the physical security of the voting machines, the Red Team researchers were able to gain direct access to all of the files on the systems, including password files. "Making a change to the BIOS to reconfigure the boot sequence allows the system to be booted up using external memory devices containing a bootable Linux copy," according to the researchers. "Once done, all the files can be accessed and potentially modified, including sensitive files such as the password file which can be cracked by openly available cracker programs. New users may be added with known passwords and used by the same attacker or other attackers later."
The Election Loader System is populated with data from an Election Distribution CD, which is generated by a special Election Converter Application. The researchers were able to break the encryption used on the generated CD to "breakdown the CD, revise the election definition, and replace the CD with a new encrypted CD with an alternate election definition." The researchers note that this tactic could be used to alter vote tallies.
The results of the Red Team test, which demonstrate beyond doubt that the security of ES&S voting machines is utterly inadequate for use in elections, make it seem unlikely that ES&S will be able to continue peddling their defective products in the state.
Reference Here>>

Image Credit: California Secretary of State

Liberals with socialist, bigger government leanings (read that Democrats and Decline to State) will always get elected by large margins ... and our state, which sports a 10 billion (with a “B”) budget deficit, will eventually sink from the lack of fiscal responsibility.

We, at MAXINE feel that having incorrect and corruptible automated voting results in California is a little like moving chairs on the Titanic. Who cares?

Let the voting begin. Paddles will not matter!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Mitt Romney's Best "Take-Away" Quote On Religion

“Liberty Is A Gift Of GOD,
Not An Indulgence Of Government”
--- Mitt Romney, December 6, 2007 ---

Actual full quote from the speech reads as follows - "Americans acknowledge that liberty is a gift of God, not an indulgence of government. No people in the — No people in the history of the world have sacrificed as much for liberty."
(ht: image credit -

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Financial Awareness To Avian Flu Threats Still Key

Dr. Daniel Miller, John Lange and Kent Hill address journalists at avian flu workshop in New Delhi. Image Credit: Cheryl Pellerin/State Dept.

Financial Awareness To Avian Flu Threats Still Key

Over the last four years, cases of Avian flu infection have been reported from sixty countries. Through the processes of improved detection and containment these reported threats had been kept in check, but the risk of a global pandemic affecting humans remains a real potential catastrophe.

Of 335 humans infected since 2003, some 205 have died, in twelve nations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

A ministerial conference that started today in India has assembled hundreds of health officials from over 100 nations representing health and mobilization groups to discuss effective strategies and structures to combat this continuing threat. Money and the management of cost effective options to counteract this pandemic threat are expected to dominate the main topics of discussion.

This excerpted from -

Bird flu still a global threat, say experts

Posted : Tue, 04 Dec 2007 13:14:00 GMT - Author : IANS -

New Delhi, Dec 4 - Developing countries need to look at low-cost options to fight pandemics like avian influenza, India's Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said at the three-day International Conference on Avian and Pandemic Influenza in the capital Tuesday.

Addressing over 600 health professionals from 105 nations and 20 international and intergovernmental organizations, Ramadoss urged them to focus on empowering communities as the most powerful tool to combat epidemics.

The conference, which is from Dec 4-6, is the fifth in a row of similar conferences organized across the world to discuss issues of geographical spread of avian influenza - and the health challenges that come with it - and threaten the global community at large.

Jacques Diouf, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that avian influenza could still cause a global pandemic and requires continued vigilance and control efforts, particularly in animals.

Diouf warned in his speech that the spread of avian influenza typifies the potential emergence of major health crises with an increased risk of pathogens traveling over large distances in very short time periods, favored by globalization and climate change.
Most of the human deaths from the disease have been reported from Asia, the latest from China on Sunday.

'The World Bank has projected that for a reasonable level of preparedness for avian and human influenza, developing countries would need to spend at least $ 2.2 billion over two to three years period,' Ramadoss said at the inaugural session of the meet.

He said that the current gap for mobilizing resources for the country programs is $960 million, or over 40 percent of the identified needs. From earlier conferences, $649 million is available to help fill this gap.

'But these resources are in the form of loans, while grants would be a more appropriate form for financing this global public good.

'While this gap must be minimized, I would urge that we need to look at low cost options also,' Ramadoss said.

With avian influenza prevention and control programs being in place for almost four years, many countries have been able to contain or even eradicate the disease.
Reference Here>>

Grants may be called for in favor over loans at this conference, but it strikes us here, at MAXINE, that the loan path keeps all of the parties responsible to how the money is spent while health officials keep their eyes on the pandemic threat.

And this from the U. S Department of State -

The United States, which has contributed $434 million to its international effort against avian flu, hopes to mobilize more resources during the New Delhi ministerial.

“On Thursday [December 6],” Ambassador John Lange, head of the U.S. delegation, and special representative for avian and pandemic influenza at the State Department
said, “I will announce a new U.S. government pledge to this effort in terms of our international assistance.”

This would make the United States the major contributor to Avain Flu mobilization resources. Of the $649,000,000 of funds from previous conferences, the United States has already contributed $434,000,000 or over two-thirds of these available mobilization resource funds.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hugh Hewitt Gets It Right - CNN & YouTube, Left

Steve Grove, Age 30, director of news and politics for YouTube. Image Credit: From Hugh Hewitt's weblog website

Hugh Hewitt Gets It Right (as in correct) - CNN & YouTube, Left (as in biased)

Two days ago, Hugh Hewitt was able to interview Steve Grove, director of news and politics for YouTube. Mr. Grove was on Hugh Hewitt to be interviewed because CNN was getting ready to televise a debate of the candidates for the presidential nominee for the Republican Party. YouTube, an internet based video posting service, was a co-sponsor of the debate and was set-up to supply questions submitted from all over the United States. The presumption was that if people who were not in attendance, the audience would not be stacked and further, the questions would not be either … a true and open “town hall” style question and answer debate.

In the interview, Hugh’s suspicions that the people set up to run the debate might alter this presumption of openness of the debate came through as he began to ask Steve Grove questions while Mr. Grove was pushing through a list of talking points. What Hugh was able to ascertain through his interview process was that the staff at CNN would be in control of what questions from YouTube would be prepared for airing and that YouTube had received about 5,000 entries.

Hugh was interested in the process as to how these decisions were going to be arrived at and IF these decisions were going to have any balance.

This was posted Tuesday at Hugh Hewitt’s blog website -

Should We Trust CNN And YouTube In The Debate Wednesday Night?
Posted by: Duane R. Patterson Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 8:24 PM

July 26th of this year, Hugh warned against the wisdom of GOP candidates participate in a CNN/YouTube debate format.

One day later, I posted one of the early YouTube debate question entries, which reinforced Hugh's concerns. After a brief debate about whether or not Republican candidates should participate in this type of format, it was eventually agreed to and a date was set for Wednesday, November 28th.

A day ahead of the debate, Hugh was joined on the radio show by Steve Grove, director of news and politics for YouTube.

It is an interview that has to be heard, not read. Here it is.

As you listen, ask yourself if you trust CNN and YouTube to put together an honest, thoughtul and fair debate between the GOP presidential candidates.

Reference Here>>

We now know that the debate was stacked with Democrat party partisans asking their pre-selected and CNN vetted question via YouTube video snippets, and further, some of the people featured in the aired YouTube question were actually in the audience at the debate … so WHY the YouTube ruse?

The ruse is the responsibility of CNN's D.C. Bureau Cheif David Bohrman, an award-winning producer and veteran news executive. He joined CNN as senior executive producer of the network's flagship evening newscast back in 2001.

This from Machille Malkin -

In a now richly ironic interview with before the debate, David Bohrman, a CNN senior vice president, explained why videos were picked not by popular vote, but by supposedly seasoned CNN journalists: The Web is still too immature a medium to set an agenda for a national debate, he claimed. “It’s really easy for the campaigns to game the system.” “You’ve seen how effective the Ron Paul campaign [supporters] have been on the Web,” he noted. “You don’t know if there are 40 or 4 million of them. It would be easy for a really organized campaign to stack the deck."

What does Bohrman have to say about his crack staff now?

This from Hot Air –

Debate questioner is affiliated with Hillary’s — and Kerry’s — campaigns; Update: Plantmania!
posted at 11:09 pm on November 28, 2007 by Allahpundit

As incredible as it may seem, given all the flak they took for not vetting questioners after the last debate, CNN not only approved a question from someone affiliated with the Clinton campaign without identifying the affiliation, they invited him to the debate so that he could ask a follow-up.

One of the lefty blogs whined after my post about the last debate that those crazy wingnuts shouldn’t be surprised to find former state Democratic Party officials asking questions at what was, after all, a Democratic Party event.


Should I not be surprised to find a Democratic campaign operative — not just from this campaign but from the last one too, per the end of
this post — asking questions at the Republican debate either?

Just identify the guy, CNN. His question’s perfectly fair. And, apropos of nothing, Hunter’s answer is awful.

Update (Bryan): Not that we need anymore proof, but Kerr’s name appears in
this Clinton press release. It’s about halfway down the list.

Update (MM):
Another one…and another one…and another one…
Reference Here>>

We at MAXINE ask, why do we need Anderson Cooper and CNN to moderate the debate? Why not just issue political operatives from the various campaigns of the opposing political party a microphone and have them run the debate … that’s right, with the General in the audience to field a follow up question, CNN already did!

More evidence of democrat operative questioners from Michelle Malkin.

Additional last thoughts from Hugh Hewitt, himself -

Thursday, November 29, 2007
The Amazing Kreskin
Posted by: Hugh Hewitt at 8:25 PM

By having YouTube be the resource for most of the questions, the sponsoring "News" organization brings a level of deniability and a removal of responsibility for being professional and journalistic. In short, CNN allows itself to be politically partisan.

"CNN - The Most Trusted Name In News". Yaa, Right!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Stem Cell From Skin Cell Discovery A Stronger Solution

The recent report suggests that skin cells has four genes that are needed to reprogram human somatic cells that carry the essential characteristics of embryonic stem cells. Image Credit: Half Life Source, LLC

Stem Cell From Skin Cell Discovery A Stronger Solution

The medical ethical debate of using cells from human embryos to create, grow, and develop implanted replacement cells for damaged cells in living humans, may be over and with good reason.

It was believed that the only way to get cells that could be used the create cells that function for different parts of the human body was from material that held the beginning of life. These cells were believed to be the only cells that were “Pluripotent” – the ability to be programmed to become a cell that would function for the specific function the group of cells to be implanted or replaced.

Stem (pluripotent) cells can now be converted from living human skin cell tissue. The skin cells, once converted, act as dynamic as original stem cells harvested from embryos but with some greater advantages.

Let us set aside the fact that once an embryo is compromised when the stem cells are harvested from the embryo (this means that the embryo will not be able to develop into a new human life), the stem cells that are used to grow the replacement cell structures, once implanted, stand a chance of being rejected by the human body in which the repair takes place.

When stem cells are created from the skin of the human host patient and then used to create the specific cell structure needed to repair a damaged area of the same human patient, there is no rejection of the implanted repair cells.

This excerpted and edited from Half Life Source, LLC -

Skin Cells to Replace Embryonic Stem Cells
A new breakthrough in scientific research suggests that reprogrammed human skin cells behave like embryonic stem cells.
By John Lester - Half Life Source - Published: Nov 26, 2007, 1:46 PM EST

The scientific research was carried out in the lab of UW-Madison biologist and professor of anatomy at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, James Thomson, the scientist who in 1998 was the first to recover embryonic stem cells from human embryos. This time the detailed study was led by Junying Yu of the Genome Center of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin National Primate Research Center.

Embryonic stem cells are valued above all others, because until now they are the only kind remarkably shown to be truly "pluripotent", that is having the capacity to become any of the 220 discerning types of cell in the human body. They have the undeveloped potential to generate new heart, liver, brain, muscle and bone tissue, and replace diseased or damaged tissue in people who are ill with cardiovascular, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and a whole range of the other diseases including diabetes.

Scientists at UW-Madison said that the new method developed by Yu and colleagues brings the new generation of pluripotent stem cells within easy reach of many labs of "moderate sophistication".

The other advantage of the new method is the fact that using cells drawn from the patient's own skin, the stem cells can be customized to the patient, bringing numerous benefits, such as the elimination of immune system rejection.
Reference Here>>

Further, we at MAXINE believe, even if the source skin cells come from a non-patient host show signs of rejection when implanted in the patient ... this is a far better solution than compromising an embryo and the potential of a new human life for the same result.

And this opinion from the San Jose Mercury News -

Breakthrough shouldn't derail current research
Mercury News Editorial - Article Launched: 11/27/2007 01:38:58 AM PST

The wisdom of California's stem-cell research strategy shone through last week amid the news of an exciting potential breakthrough by scientists in Japan and Wisconsin.

Researchers announced significant progress in advancing the possibility that human skin cells could be reprogrammed to behave like embryonic stem cells.

Any development that brings us closer to curing some of the world's most devastating diseases should be greeted with open arms - but a possibility years in the future is no substitute for the work going on today thanks to the foresight of California voters.

Opponents of embryonic stem cell research, including President Bush, are already arguing that the skin cell advance should end the use of stem cells derived from human embryos. That would be short-sighted from a scientific and moral view.

Stem-cell research has the potential to cure such dreaded diseases as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, and could provide solutions to spinal cord injuries, leukemia and juvenile diabetes. Scientists are years away from knowing if human skin cells will actually work as a substitute.

It was the president and others playing politics with stem-cell research that prompted Proposition 71 in 2004. Californians realized that if the research was going to succeed, it would require a steady flow of funds. The world's brightest scientists need that assurance if they are going to devote their careers to a project.

As a result of the 10-year, $3 billion investment, the best stem-cell researchers in the world have been flocking to California. If the Japan and Wisconsin research continues to show promise, California could shift some of its dollars to that effort. But it must stay committed to the work already under way here.

President Bush's stem-cell strategy is to deny federal funding for research because it destroys human embryos. But his moral objection doesn't apply to hundreds of thousands of human embryos discarded every year in the name of in vitro fertilization.

This infuriates the great majority of scientists, who believe the federal policy has set the nation back at least five years in making medical advances.

The 2008 presidential candidates need to tell voters where they stand on federal funding for stem-cell research. With federal support, cures could come far more quickly. But regardless of who is the next president, Californians will have the satisfaction of knowing they've assured progress on stem-cell research for years to come.

Reference Here>>

At MAXINE we ask, if the ship is headed in a damaging direction (damaging to the potential of a new human life), why not just change the direction of the ship?

There is the additional argument against socialism (the investment of public monies in private research with little or no accountability) but that is a completely different argument - one that the San Jose Mercury News is unwilling to address.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Ten Ways To Start A Conversation At The Thanksgiving Table

Friends, Family, Food, and Conversation – All are in great supply at Thanksgiving time. Image Credit:

Ten Ways To Start A Conversation At The Thanksgiving Table

After arriving at our Thanksgiving destination this afternoon, we at MAXINE turned on our internet connection and launched to listen to Hugh Hewitt for his drive-time pre-Thanksgiving warm up show.

After talking with Mark Styne and reading some of the new and damning accusations that are coming out on Romney and Huckabee, Hugh proposed that we explore ways on how to start contentious conversations with the political Left … and later, the political Right members of the friends and family gathered at the table for the Thanksgiving Feast.

The following is a sample of what conversation starters Hugh, members of the audience, and we at MAXINE came up with:

For Leftys -

ONE) Hillary looks like she has gained weight.

TWO) I really believe that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are two of the greatest Americans to have never to become President.

THREE) I understand that Halliburton has been nominated for an award as one of the most transparently run corporations in America.

FOUR) That Nancy Pelosi gal over in Congress sure is a lot easier on the eyes than old Denny Hastert.

FIVE) I’m thinking of investing my 401K in Dibold Corporation, you know, the voting machine company. I understand that now is a good time to get in.

SIX) The run up and then the going into Iraq was one of the best foreign policy processes and decisions of the past decade.

SEVEN) I’ve studied the proposition and water-boarding is really not that big a deal.

Eight) I wonder what they are eating in Guantanamo tonight?

Nine) Bring Ann Coulter’s book to the table and open it then say, There is something for everyone in here, you know!

TEN) Isn’t it amazing that all of those people who award the Nobel Peace Prize didn’t know that Al Gore is a fraud?

For the Righty’s –

ONE) Rosie O’Donnell would have been good for a whole hour over at MSNBC.

TWO) You know, Valarie Plame really was an undercover CIA agent.

THREE) Sean Penn knows how to use his celebrity to show how courageous Americans can be.

FOUR) The dream act was a pretty good idea at solving our immigration problem.

FIVE) The facts about what is going on in Iraq do not matter.

SIX) I think issuing drivers licenses to the undocumented is a good idea, it promotes safety.

SEVEN) I heard that for some of us, Thanksgiving is a time for mourning.

Eight) What are we going to do now that we have all of these groups developing research using the Embryonic stem cells now that stem cells can be made from skin? I say keep ‘em in place. The Embryonic type have to be of better quality.

Nine) Do you think they are going to swap pesos with the AMERO, one-for-one?

TEN) Gee, I wonder what Al Gore is eating right now?

Now then, just add paced amounts of alcohol and blend gently. Make sure that you stock up on steaks in the garage refrigerator … they make a good poultice for a black eye.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at MAXINE!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Mark Cuban - Support The Troops - An Open Comment - UPDATED With OReilly's Response

Mark Cuban while delivering the final Keynote speech for Blogworld & New Media Expo, Las Vegas Convention Center 11-09-2007 - Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - MAXINE

Mark Cuban - Support The Troops - An Open Comment

On Friday, Mark Cuban went off on a rant at his blog (Blog Maverick) about how FOXNews is somehow devoid of principle for taking his company’s advertising dollars because its chief political and cultural commentator is not in favor of Cuban’s latest Hollywood effort to Hate America.

Redacted, a bloody and hateful mock documentary-style movie put up by Brian De Palma was released throughout Mark Cuban-owned theaters yesterday. One suspects that this movie is so out-of-bounds at a time of live war … that regular distribution through wide-release, corporation owned theaters, was out of the question.

FOXNews is a capitalistic corporate enterprise that is willing to take anyone’s money, save child molesters – even Mark Cuban’s. Mark Cuban, however, is willing to spend his own money to Hate America and openly hurt our troops who are in harm’s way with an art piece that characterizes our military fighting forces as rapists and murderers through the mock documentary depiction of the actions of less than five people.

How cynical is it that when forced with not having any distribution takers … Mark Cuban places the movie into theaters he owns … it’s nice to be the Billionaire.

Mark Cuban while being introduced at the final Keynote for Blogworld & New Media Expo, Las Vegas Convention Center 11-09-2007 - Image Credit: Edmund Jenks - MAXINE

An Open Comment From MAXINE To Blog Maverick –

Support Our Troops

Please do not paint a whole volunteer, heroic, brave, and loyally connected-to-America group of honorable people and have them be compared with the actions of a couple of deviants.

I witnessed your performance at Blogworld. Your comments were spineless and hateful. Only about a third of the crowd in attendance at your keynote - just to hear you speak - applauded your comments about your pathetic Hollywood exploits. Your disrespect of Bill OReilly's honest attempt to push back on Brian De Palma’s “Hate America First” art piece just shows how corrupt and devoid of value your character has become. You really stand for very little except for attention to yourself and money.

Mr. Maverick, I ask you … where is the good? Where is the grateful? Where is the honorable? I suggest that you have no rudder. A ship without a guiding rudder is of little value to itself and to others it may serve.

I ask you to support our defenders and pull the movie from the theaters. Be really big and do not sell the DVD version so that our enemies will not be able to copy, broadcast, and paint the 99.9% of our defending forces by the artfully portrayed actions of the less than .01%

Become a defender yourself. Become a ship with a rudder … what a loving and grateful statement the actions in the above paragraph would make. Truthfully, I don’t believe you have the backbone to show Brian De Palma who’s the boss. We ALL know De Palma will never achieve “rudder status”.

As OReilly would be fond of saying … “What say you? … you HAVE the last word.”

Image Credit: EUR FILM REVIEW: Redacted

The above open comment is posted in response to this from Mark Cuban at Blog Maverick -

Bill OReilly - Principle vs Money ?
Nov 16th 2007 5:45PM

To say Mr OReilly has had it in for me the last month or so would be an understatement. Every day he seemed to take pride in calling me every name in the book and questioning my patriotism. I've already covered my feelings on that subject in blog posts here and here. I've talked about what I, or anyone can do to serve their country here.

What I was curious about was whether this really was important to Mr OReilly, or whether he was just a ratings whore and would say whatever he needed to say to get more people to watch.

I needed to design a very simple test to determine Mr OReilly's motivation. It occured to me to see if FoxNews would take an ad for the movie Redacted.

I had someone call FoxNews and tell them specifically, unequivocally that we wanted to run an ad for the movie Redacted. The same movie Bill OReilly was so upset about.

They said no problem. Do you want to run the ads in both the live show and the repeat ?

Our first reaction was that this was just the sales department and at some point , someone at FoxNews would step in and stop the ads from running. The call to say they were stopping the ads never came.

The ad ran in both shows. Here is a link with Bill's smiling face at the end.

So Mr OReilly , the king of the OReilly Factor, the man who called this movie Anti American and said erroneously it could cause harm to American Troops, was willing to overlook those points and take our money to promote the movie.

We aren't talking about an ad in a show that Mr OReilly has an interest in. This is an ad in the TV show that bears his name. This is a show that he controls from top to bottom. He knowingly took multiple ads for a movie that he he hasnt seen, but believes to be vile. What does that say about Mr OReilly

Of course Mr OReilly can make the argument that he is not involved in the sale of ads, he leaves that to other people. OK, but lets think about the scenario at Fox News if that is the case.

If Mr OReilly doesnt know about the ads, I would think that the people at his show would know and care about his positions, wouldnt you ?" So the question is, do they know that Mr OReilly is all about the money first , last and every bit in between and thats why they took the ad ?

Or is it that they know exactly what Mr OReilly stands for and hate him for it, or could care less what he thinks and they took the ad to spite him ?

Is it that no one involved with Mr OReilly actually watches the show ? Which is why after the ad ran in the live show, no one caught it and had it replaced in the replay ?

its about responsibility Mr OReilly.

And while Im on the subject of Mr OReilly and his ethics, let me add a couple thoughts:

In response to Mr OReilly's comments that "he is going to be my worst nightmare". Well you have succeeded Mr OReilly. The people who take you literally took it upon themselves to call my businesses with bomb threats, threaten employees, myself and others with physical harm and wish every manor of death , injury and illness on us all. They also managed to fill up the telephone lines of the Fallen Patriot Fund so that we couldn't conduct business, and maybe its coincidence, but the fund's website went offline for the first time ever yesterday.

What say you Mr OReilly?
Reference Here>>

UPDATE: 10:15 PT - 11-18-2007 - Mr. OReilly's answer to the Hate America and Hate American Troops, Mark Cuban

This in from HOT AIR -

Hot Air exclusive: Guess who’s visiting the troops at Bagram Air Base? posted at 10:34 am on November 18, 2007 by Bryan

Former Marine and embedded blogger
Matt Sanchez spotted Fox News Channel’s Bill O’Reilly arriving and getting ready to spend some time with the troops. Says Matt:

O’Reilly pulled into Afghanistan to say hello to the troops, but was spared the red carpet treatment.

Here he is at Billeting getting a standard-issue pillow and blanket. Image Credit: Hot Air

Reference Here>>

'NUFF SAID, Mr. OReilly!

... What say you Mr. Maverick?

Well the audiance voted and this is what they had to say to the unguided/rudderless and un-American Mr. Mark Cuban:

This from The New York Post, Page Six -

Richard Johnson - New York Post - Page Six - November 25, 2007

IT'S hard for Hollywood pacifists like Brian De Palma to capture the hearts and minds of America if Americans won't see their movies.

While the public is staying away in droves from “Rendition," “Lions for Lambs" and “In the Valley of Elah," audiences are really avoiding “Redacted," De Palma's picture about US soldiers who rape a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, then kill her and her family. The message movie was produced by NBA Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who insisted on deleting grisly images of Iraqi war casualties from the montage at the film's end. Cuban offered to sell the film back to De Palma at cost, but the director was too smart to go for that deal.

“Redacted" - which “could be the worst movie I've ever seen," said critic Michael Medved -took in just $25,628 in its opening weekend in 15 theaters, which means roughly 3,000 people saw it in the entire country. “This, despite an A-list director, a huge wave of publicity, high praise in the Times, The New Yorker, left-leaning sites like Salon, etc. A Joe Strummer documentary [of punk-rock band The Clash] playing in fewer theaters made more in its third week," e-mailed one cineaste. “Not even people who presumably agree with the movie's antiwar thesis made the effort to see it."

Reference Here>>

UPDATE: December 27, 2006 - Boxoffice Mojo


Domestic: $ 65,388 29.7%
+ Foreign: $154,919 70.3%
= Worldwide: $220,307


As: - 3.7%
Bs: - 1.9%
Cs: - 0.9%
Ds: - 2.8%
Fs: - 90.7%

Ultimately, the public has the final say as to weither a movie is good or has a meaningful, worthwhile message. The public has clearly stated to Cuban and DePalma that their movie product and artistic effort neither good or has a meaningful ... or worthwhile message, and they said NO, Uh-Uuh, terrible, F, don't spend your money, it's a hatchet job, $220,307 in gross receipts after one month ... distributed into theaters owned by Cuban!

Mark Cuban, please do not release this disgusting movie to DVD. The only people who will buy this excuse for an anti-war film will be the type of people who just assassinated Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto. It has great propaganda value to those who actually want to damage others as opposed to the U.S. Military who are actually trying to free others.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

“Facts Don’t Matter” Says The “Leftosphere”

AARP's Divided We Fail Mascot - Please notice which political animal symbol ... and part of the political animal symbol mascot (the head, with brain) has its feet firmly planted on the ground [just the facts]. - Image Credit: AARP

“Facts Don’t Matter” Says The “Leftosphere”

Facts Don’t Matter! - A stunning revelation stated almost in emphatic unison from three of the most respected and read political weblog posters presenting at Blogworld & New Media Expo.

This bold announcement came out at a lightly-attended conference module held as part of the “Political Track” at Blogworld last week.

Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (MAXINE)

The module held Friday, November 9, 2007, in a Las Vegas Convention Center conference room was entitled “Right vs Left: Who’s Winning The Battle Of The Blogosphere?” It featured a discussion panel of six political commentators (three from the conservative viewpoint and three from the liberal, uh, progressive viewpoint).

The “Right vs Left: Who’s Winning The Battle Of The Blogosphere?” panel moderated by Hugh Hewitt. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (MAXINE)

The members of the panel included on the Right - John Hinderaker (Powerline), Dean Barnett (contributor to, Weekly Standard, & National Review), Henry Copeland (Pressflex, Blogads), and on the Left, Jeralyn Merritt (TalkLeft), Joe Sudbay (AMERICAblog), and Jerome Armstrong (MyDD).

Moderating the discussion panel was radio talkshow host, Hugh Hewitt. He conducted the session using a question / answer approach that allowed panel members to answer each question in rotation. The subject matter was very interesting, the questions posed by Hugh Hewitt were very probative, and the panel members responded with surprising candor.

Midway through the event, audience participation was encouraged intermittently, with questions and additional comments coming from the floor.

Daily KOS Logo - Image Credit: Daily KOS via Wikipedia

Even though the audience for the “Right vs Left: Who’s Winning” session was lightly attended, the members in the audience included some of the most notable political players in the “Blogosphere”, including representatives from Red State and contributors to Pajamas Media. Perhaps the most outspoken audience figure was Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, founder of Daily KOS, who assumed a bit of a role as frequent “admonisher of the moderator” and additional spokesperson for the left.

Pajamas Media podium logo used at the Blogworld & New Media Expo tradeshow floor. Image Credit: Edmund Jenks (MAXINE)

Among the more interesting topics discussed:

1. New Media (NM) and Mainstream Media (MSM) - How can new media superstars be brought together with mainline old media? Or are we looking at an Echo Chamber VS. Monopoly situation?

During this discussion, it was unanimously observed that the Left has a distinct edge over the Right. With only four (4) Rightist bloggers in Washington D.C. and thirty (30) Leftist bloggers, panelists agreed that the Leftist bloggers are better organized and more collaborative, helping the Left to widely communicate its positions. The New Media portal strength of the Drudge Report was also seen as a factor in limiting the growth of Rightist bloggers in D.C.

Panelists seemed to agree that activities of the new media world are distinct, and pointed to the social impact of “blog swarms”, “action alerts” and eventual movement of new issues from the new media world over into the mainstream media world. It was never made clear who the initiator of the message really is … MSM or NM.

Image Credit: & Hugh Hewitt

2. Media’s Treatment of the War in Iraq – A question from the audience was asked, “What about the recent facts on the ground in Iraq? What happens if developments in Iraq go well? Do these facts change or color the effort to pull all of our troops out when it appears we might become victorious for the hearts and minds of the people of Iraq?”

The responses to this question from the audience member were shocking.

First to respond, Jeralyn Merritt stated, in unequivocal terms “Facts Don’t Matter!” The questioner from the audience interjected, “What? Facts don’t matter?” Merritt responded again, “That’s right. Facts Don’t Matter. We want our troops home. Until they are home, the war was just a mistake.”

Hewitt then asked the other members on the panel who were representing the Left, “Do facts matter in Iraq?”

Not only did the other two panelists from the Left (Sudbay and Armstrong) repeat the phrase in agreement, “No, the facts don’t matter”, but Daily KOS founder Markos Zuniga (from the floor) weighed in by repeating the phrase loudly, to the surprise of a few of us in the room. “No. The Facts Don’t Matter.”

The unison was stunning in its word-for-word declaration. This is more than just a talking point. It is a template.

Leftist parties present (on the panel and from the audience) repeatedly stated that 70% of the American populace want the troops out of Iraq and that the US should end the war there now without regard to any other issue.

Image Credit: BlogAds

This event was eye-opening for us at MAXINE. We suspect that the real reason the opinion weblog sites on the Left operate in unison lies in the fact that Mainstream Media is firmly based in promoting Left-of-center political viewpoints. With the MSM as a powerful and centering force, the “Leftosphere” is able to act as an unfettered and undisciplined subset, “MSM.2”.

Further, there is no such thing as an echo chamber for opinions from the Left but with this union, it is more like a megaphone or P.A. effect. The same thoughts and opinions broadcasted and then re-broadcasted through the different mediums.

One of the most disturbing developments of this POV is that on-air news personalities now feel they have to jump into blogging in order to remain relevant. This is a mistake if the MSM news outlets want to be perceived as (just the facts) Real News Outlets! If this catches on, the MSM will become a subset of … your guessed it … ITSELF!

Image Credit: website

The above “Facts Don’t Matter” incident stands as a glaring example of the unfettered and undisciplined nature of the Leftosphere.

With this template that “Facts Don’t Matter”, it makes one wonder what other issues that affect our safety, our culture and our lives is this applied to?

It is time to think about the next election, and it is time to think about it with this “Facts Don’t Matter” template as a backdrop.