November 28, 2006

The National Republican Senatorial Committee Wants What?

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:40 pm

Like Viking Spirit, I received the e-mail from Liddy Dole today asking for contributions to help the National Republican Senatorial Committee retire their debt (the balance of which I do not recall her specifying).

Unlike Viking Spirit, I muttered something unmentionable under my breath and deleted the e-mail. Viking Spirit did NOT do that, and I’m glad.

Scratch that; I’m mad:

I can’t believe that the NRSC has the cajones to ask their supporters for more money, especially after their financal decisions cost the GOP a majority in the Senate. You’re probably asking yourself, how did the NRSC cost the GOP a majority? Well, it’s quite simple actually. They pumped almost a million dollars into Lincoln Chafee’s primary race against Steve Laffey in Rhode Island. Here are the exact numbers:
- Expenditures AGAINST Laffey: $653,871
- Party cooridnated expenditures for Chafee: $148,000
- Independent expenditures on behalf of Chafee: $29,356
- Contributions to Chafee-$22,557
- TOTAL: $853,784

Why pump that much money into a primary, in a state where our prospects were bleak as-is, and for a candidate that rarely votes with the Republican Party?

We lost the Montana Senate race by 2,847 votes and lost the Virginia Senate race by 7,231 votes. If the NRSC would have put money into those races instead of wasting it in the Chafee v. Laffey primary, we would have swung at least one of those races into the Republican column, and we’d have a Republican majority in the Senate.

Technically, one switch would have led to a 50-50 tie, which the Vice President would break when tie votes actually occur in the Senate. But of course, Viking Spirit’s point stands. Even a few hundred thou in a state with the sparse population of Montana could easily have turned the tide. Virginia would have been more difficult to turn, but it was doable. And what about Missouri? Or well-timed hits on the Dems’ corrupt candidate in New Jersey?

Excuse me while I get ill. Help in reducing Ditzy Liddy Dole’s Deficit will have to come from someone other than me.

I’m Sorry; I’m Not Buying AP’s Explanation of the Burning Six Until …..

d….. they publish the names of the Burning Six victims.

I mentioned this strange lack of detail earlier today. This cannot possibly be an unreasonable request. If they exist, they have names.

Michelle Malkin just made another observation in an update at her post — AP isn’t even showing pictures of the bodies. Is it because they can’t? The pic they’re using isn’t even of any of the alleged victims!

AP, it’s time to put up, or shut up. Names. NOW.

ALSO: Actual relatives would be a bonus. Spare me “afraid to talk” line. Not ALL would be afraid to talk. Where the bleep are they?

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UPDATE, Nov. 29: Flopping Aces notes some geographic issues (start at “UPDATE V 1130hrs PST”).

UPDATE 2, Nov. 29: “Mr. Desperation,” John Daniszewski, has an intersting history of bias in Middle East reporting himself (here and here) while he was at the (natch) Los Angeles Times. Do you really need to ask what direction it’s in?

UPDATE 3, Nov. 29: One Identified (last para; HT Flopping Aces)

One witness said he and other people from the neighborhood took the six immolation victims to the Sunni cemetery near Baghdad’s Abu Ghraib suburb and buried them after the gunbattle. That witness said one of the victims was the Mustafa mosque muezzin or prayer caller, Ahmed al-Mashadani. He did not know the names of the five others, but said they were all members of the al-Mashadani tribe.

UPDATE 4: Go here for Nov. 29 evening status.

Vic Wulsin Concedes: This Calls for a Song

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,OH-02 US House,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:03 pm

Here’s the news (letter to supporters here).

Everyone sing along, to the tune of that classic sound of the season, “Let It Snow“:

They had big bucks from Emily, NOW, and NARAL,
And the Enky to carry the nuke ball,
But “The party didn’t help us,” they chant,
Let ‘em rant, let ‘em rant, let ‘em rant.

Now they really can’t abide by Jean Schmidt,
They thought bringing Murtha in might seal it.
But figure out how to win, they can’t,
Let ‘em rant, let ‘em rant, let ‘em rant.

Oh Vic Wulsin anNoyed us high and low,
Talking about how Piketon would glow.
But when her union letter was exposed,
That idea was truly hosed.

Now they’re looking at twenty-oh-eight,
They imagine their prospects are great,
But I’d say that their chances are scant,
So …….
Let ‘em rant ….. let ‘em rant ….. let ‘em rant. :–>

The Latest on the Crumbling Credibility of Iraq War Coverage

After this post, I suspect I will not be able to keep up with the latest items in this area.

What follows are new items from last night and this morning.

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Gateway Pundit has a detailed rundown on fake “police official” Abdul Razzaq, about whom Centcom has officially stated:

Also, we definitely know, as we told you several weeks ago through the MNC-I Media Relations cell, that another AP-popular IP spokesman, Lt. Maithem Abdul Razzaq, supposedly of the city’s Yarmouk police station, does not work at that police station and is also not authorized to speak on behalf of the IP. The MOI has supposedly issued a warrant for his questioning.

Fake “Lieutenant” Razzaq has been quoted or paraphrased eleven times in AP stories between April and November of this year.

_________________________________

Dan Riehl is all over Sameer N. Yacoub, whose “reporting” goes back to the burning and hanging of contractors in 2003 (Daily Kos’s infamous “Screw them” moment), and even to being a mouthpiece for Saddam Hussein. I count about 20 AP stories here just going back to early 2005.

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Meanwhile, we’re supposed to just buy in to NBC and MSNBC’s “big decision” to begin calling the situation in Iraq a “civil war.” There’s only one problem — see if you can tell what it is from their first announcement (I bolded the hint; video at link):

The news from Iraq is becoming grimmer every day. Over the long holiday weekend bombings killed more than 200 people in a Shiite neighborhood in Baghdad. And six Sunni men were doused with kerosene and burned alive. Shiite muslims are the majority, but Sunnis like Saddam Hussein ruled that country until the war. Now, the battle between Shiites and Sunnis has created a civil war in Iraq. Beginning this morning, MSNBC will refer to the fighting in Iraq as a civil war — a phrase the White House continues to resist. But after careful thought, MSNBC and NBC News decided over the weekend, the terminology is appropriate, as armed militarized factions fight for their own political agendas. We’ll have a lots more on the situation in Iraq and the decision to use the phrase, civil war.

Yeah, but as to the bolded incident they cited to support their “civil war” claim ….. “there is no report of any such incident” (that’s a polite way of saying “Unless someone shows us something, IT DIDN’T FREAKING HAPPEN.“) You might expect a retraction, or even a bit of contrition. I believe you will be disappointed.

UPDATE: Via Michelle Malkin, AP has told USA Today, quite brusquely and quite defensively that they stand by the story (“The attempt to question the existence of the known police officer who spoke to the AP is frankly ludicrous and hints at a certain level of desperation to dispute or suppress the facts of the incident in question…” — what is this, a politcal campaign? [Yes? -- Ed.]). Fine, AP. Where are the bodies buried, and what are their names? Surely a local Iraqi paper would have identified them.
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Finally, when the Washington Post can’t find any current bad news out of Ramadi, it recycles a three-month old report about how bad things were (HT Prairie Pundit), and pretends that it’s still the way things are. Trouble is, embedded Bill Roggio knows better (here and here, just for starters). Zheesh.

Centcom.mil and Google News: Open Letter to Google News Official and Google Public Relations

Filed under: Business Moves,US & Allied Military — Tom @ 11:57 am

The following was just sent to the e-mail address provided at the site for Google’s company blog, with a copy to Google’s Public Relations Department:

SUBJECT: Inclusion of the US Military’s Central Command as a Google News site

Dear Gblog and Public Relations:

This inquiry would appear to be properly routed to Nathan Stoll, who is identified as Google News Product Manager at a recent Google Blog entry. It is also being sent to Google’s Public Relations Department at the suggestion of the person I spoke with at company headquarters yesterday.

First, I am seeking a response as to why, of all the news that comes out of Centcom.mil, only this single site’s news is appearing at Google News:

http://www.hoa.centcom.mil/

At least the following news sources from centcom.mil are NOT appearing on Google News (I did several “inclusion” searches on URL variations at Google News yesterday to confirm this):

http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Shared%20Documents/Photos.aspx

(Photos)

http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Shared%20Documents/Sub%20Pages/Video.aspx

(video)

http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Audio/Forms/AllItems.aspx

(audio)

http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/CoalitionPages/Coalition%20Main%20Page.aspx

(Coalition in Iraq and Afghanistan)

http://www.cfc-a.centcom.mil/

(Afghanistan)

http://www.mnf-iraq.com/

(Iraq)

http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Shared%20Documents/newsroom.aspx

(Newsroom)

http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Lists/Press%20Releases/Current%20Releases.aspx

(Press Releases)

Only the Press Releases appear to have any visibility in Google of the URLs listed above — and the press releases are (inexplicably to me) found in Google’s Blog Search:
Search–
blogurl:centcom.mil

Actual search URL: HERE

Even those results are currently four days behind what Centcom has at its press releases page (you have to go the second page of Centcom’s results to find entries that match Google’s blog search’s most recent listings):

http://www.centcom.mil/sites/uscentcom1/Lists/Press%20Releases/Current%20Releases.aspx

I also would like to understand not only why Google has ignored most news from Centcom, but also why it has relegated Centcom press releases to blog level, while including sites that are truly blogs like Huffington Post and Red State in Google News itself.

To the extent that Centcom personnel have failed to apply for Google News Source status, Centcom’s lack of presence is somewhat understandable (though I doubt that all of your “legitimate” news sources formally applied for inclusion). Any shortcomings relating to applying for approval are being remedied. I have recommended most of the above sites for Google News inclusion, and I expect that officials from Centcom will formally apply for inclusion of every site they believe to be newsworthy.

Response Expected

I am formally requesting an official explanation of why things are the way they are with Google News and the various Centcom news sources, and what actions, if any, the company plans to take to ensure that other valid US military news sources besides Centcom are considered and screened for inclusion in Google News. I look forward to your reply in this matter. I would be particularly interested in knowing whether Centcom at some point actually did apply for Google News approval and was turned down. I am in contact with officials at Centcom, and will certainly compare their answers to yours.

The contents of this e-mail are being posted to BizzyBlog.com in expectation of your response. Your non-response, if that is what you choose, will, of course, be duly noted.

Regards,
Tom Blumer
BizzyBlog.com

I will report back on response, or lack thereof, within a few days.

_____________________________

UPDATE, 3PM ET: I did receive an e-mail from a Dan Pastor at Google at about 2:45 this afternoon. He said that “I’ve sent it to the appropriate person at Google News, and they should be in touch with you shortly.”

UPDATE — Centcom.mil, Google News, and Yahoo! News: Brain Shavings Explains It All (and I Almost Understand It)

This post follows up on yesterday evening’s entry on how:

  • All but a very small piece of the news coming out of Centcom.mil is not making it into Google News — the only exception is the news from the “horn of Africa.” News about Iraq, Afghanistan, other countries in the Coalition besides the US, daily news releases, and daily press releases are not getting in.
  • Yahoo! News appears not to be picking up any news from Centcom.mil whatsoever.

I’m reproducing the parts of Puddle Pirate’s entry at Brain Shavings that directly relate to the Yahoo! News and Google News search engines, because those are currently the primary Internet arenas of the information war. Unfortunately, Centcom is (mostly) not playing in those arenas, and that needs to change — FAST. I hope as many eyes at Centcom see this entry (and the original) as possible. I am pleased that someone who signed off as being from Centcom Public Affairs has already read over and promised to follow up on the info in Puddle Pirate’s entry. There is more info at Brain Shavings for those who want to add Centcom feeds to their own individual Yahoo! and Google accounts and/or web sites.

So, here goes:

….. CENTCOM’s feeds apparently aren’t included in Yahoo’s news site, nor are they available in its news search engine … which is where the vast majority of Yahoo’s news-reading users will go. Yahoo has yet to regularly crawl any blogs or RSS feeds for inclusion in their news search results (although at one time they did so).Yahoo really doesn’t need to do much to add CENTCOM to its search results. After all, Yahoo always has fresh content from my puny blog available in their search results within moments of publication. That’s because I have FeedBurner set up to ping Yahoo whenever I post something new. The price? Zipski. It’s free. If CENTCOM would just take advantage of a free service like FeedBurner to publish their news feeds, they would get more attention. More importantly, by taking care of the feed updates and pinging ahead of time, CENTCOM would have an easier time persuading Yahoo to add them to the news search engine.

Now on to Google.

Google’s blog search engine actually does include CENTCOM news in its results, but almost nobody would think to look there for news from a major organization like CENTCOM. Since Google already keeps track of RSS feeds from thousands of sites, it should be a snap for them to include CENTCOM’s news releases in Google News’ search results (note to CENTCOM: FeedBurner pings Google too, so my puny blog’s even listed there). Google News includes posts from blogs like RedState, TownHall.com, Power Line, The Jawa Report, and The Huffington Post. Those sites are hardly unbiased. CENTCOM certainly has a stronger claim to being a news source than those blogs do, and if CENTCOM adopts the same approach to Google as outlined above for Yahoo, it shouldn’t be long before things improve.

Who would think that Google would treat the news out of Centcom as if coming from a blog? I’m not one to jump to conclusions, but from here that classification appears to be the result of a conscious decision by people at the company, and is NOT a decision I believe most people, if given the opportunity, would instinctively make. Especially in light of the actual blogs that are included in Google News, Centcom’s exclusion, accidental or intentional, is an outrage.

I will soon be sending a couple of e-mails to Google in an attempt to determine how Centcom was afforded this (in my opinion) very dismissive treatment. Having asked to have the various Centcom sources included as Google sources yesterday, this may become moot, but I’d still be interested in the (lack of) thought process that led to Centcom’s blog classification.

This isn’t necessarily to go lighter on Yahoo! News, which as Puddle Pirate notes, doesn’t include Centcom, but, like Google, has noooooo problem including the enemy in news searches (obviously, I’m referring to #2 below):

YahooNoCentcom

YahooAlJZ

And the military isn’t totally off the hook, either. It shouldn’t have taken a non-techie blogger to figure out that the military’s side of the War on Terror isn’t getting out to two of the biggest (actually, I think Google News and Yahoo! News are THE two biggest) Internet news search engines. All right, that’s spilt milk, but now that the problems are known, PLEASE, let’s get them fixed, and make sure that the situation is continually monitored.

It’s becoming more clear with each passing day hour that the establishment media is either gullibly or intentionally allied against what our military men and women are doing. The media’s story is not only ignoring good news (which most of us have known for three-plus years), but is also all too frequently either negligently or deliberately passing on lies about what is happening.

It is wayyyy too much to ask of the mil-supportive side of the blogosphere to debunk the all the lies and take up the slack indefinitely. The military and the Administration all the way up to the President need to be doing much more, and need to be doing it much more proactively.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (112806)

Law-firm “diversity” in Minneapolis-St. Paul now extends to cases taken

It started out as a who’s who of Twin Cities law firms joining forces to lure minority attorneys to Minnesota.

But the Twin Cities Diversity in Practice group set off a tempest when it excluded a firm that handled a pair of landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases challenging affirmative action.

The group’s leaders said letting the Minneapolis law firm of Maslon, Edelman, Borman & Brand join the effort would hamper its mission: to make the bar more racially diverse.

This is politcally-correct peer-group revenge dressed up falsely as concern over “tolerance” being exercised by a bunch of petty losers.

_____________________________________

Though I haven’t received my copy yet, Delta has apparently written to me and 4 million other members of its Frequent Flyer SkyMiles program asking for our “support” against a takover by US Airways. I am not sure where I stand on the takeover; normally I’d be OK with it, but the fact that Delta is in bankruptcy has me concerned that the buyer may be gaming the system to get going-concern assets at fire-sale prices. But my reax to the letter is: I “support” combining the milage balances I have in both programs so I can get more free trips. :–>

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Quite the breakthough (HT Boring Made Dull via Instapundit): It turns out that curing cancer has a lot to do with stem cells, a direction that no one but a few outliers in Canada were pursuing. Read the whole article and go “wow.”

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When is a soldier who hasn’t reported for duty for 18 months be “AWOL” and not a deserter? Only when the uninformed Associated Press is covering the story (HT Gribbit).

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Lindsay of Lindsay’s Lessons went shopping on Black Friday and lived to tell about it. She has some very good survival tips to put on ice for next year.

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NixGuy is keeping his perch at the AOL Elections Blog going, which of course means he gets a spot on the Main Blogroll here. One of his latest has to do with busting the myth of disconnected, alienated suburbia. Guess what? “….. interaction goes down as population density goes up.”

Ho-Hum Hiring Headline (112806)

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy — Tom @ 6:12 am

From Delaware Online:

As it prepares to launch its first online checking accounts, fast-growing ING Direct is set for its biggest work force expansion, with plans to add 500 jobs in Delaware in 2007.

The nation’s largest Internet bank is also in the market for another Wilmington office building in addition to its offices on the Riverfront and Delaware Avenue, said Arkadi Kuhlmann, ING Direct’s chief executive.

“We need another building, and we need another 500 people here,” Kuhlmann said. “Next year, we’ve got a lot to do. The business is there, and the business is growing.”

Quote of the Day: Channeling Bobby Kennedy at the LA Times

From commenter Wesson at Patterico’s blog:

Some men see things as they are and ask why? Others dream things that never were and ask, why not report these things as fact in my Los Angeles Times article?

SarBox Dereg: Thanks for Nothing, Mike Oxley, Denny Hastert, and Bill Frist

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:02 am

Retiring congressman Mike Oxley, along with retiring Senator Paul Sarbanes of Maryland, is responsible for creating the odious Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reporting law in 2002 that has imposed tremendous costs on companies with little tangible benefit.

For at least two years, business leaders and others, even including latter-day convert Alan Greenspan, have been very clear that there have been, and continue to be, serious problems with the compliance aspects of the law, as audit fees have on average at least doubled, and management and info-tech time and talent have been drained by what has mostly been, in essence, busywork. But both Congress and key Bush Administration officials were afraid to do anything because of the risk of being seen as “selling out” to business. Though Oxley, in August of 2005, admitted in a London speech that some of the law’s reforms are “excessive,” he exercised no leadership to do anything about it.

Now there is a change in control of Congress, and unless a December session of Congress attempts to address the problem (trying to prevent doubling over in laughter), Democrats are going to be able to claim credit for whatever degree of Sarbox deregulation takes place (headline at link: “Dems to ease Sarbanes-Oxley corporate rules”). Even if it’s minor, which I expect, I anticipate that it will be hailed by the press as some kind of pioneering breakthrough.

Thanks for nothing, Mike. And you too, Denny. And let’s not forget Bill.

_________________________________

UPDATE: When Eliot Spitzer is against modifying SOX meaningfully, you know the idea of reform is a good one (link requires paid subscription):

“The argument that we are failing in competitiveness because of regulations is incomplete,” he told Financial Times.

“We’re failing in competitiveness because of failed business models and the lack of smart investment in technology. General Motors is not failing because of regulations but because it hasn’t produced good products.

What an unbelievably weak example. Earth to Eliot — why are so many big companies like Georgia-Pacific going private? And why are so many IPOs going overseas? Hmmm?

UPDATE 2: Andy at Buckey Ag chimes in from personal experience.

Positivity: Nanoparticles Target Brain Cancer

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

This seems far enough along to warrant acceptance as excitement about a positive development (especially see the last paragraph):

U-M researchers use nanoparticles to target brain cancer

Nanoparticles can carry drugs designed to image, treat tumors, study finds

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Tiny particles one-billionth of a meter in size can be loaded with high concentrations of drugs designed to kill brain cancer. What’s more, these nanoparticles can be used to image and track tumors as well as destroy them, according to researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Researchers incorporated a drug called Photofrin along with iron oxide into nanoparticles that would target cancerous brain tumors. Photofrin is a type of photodynamic therapy, in which the drug is drawn through the blood stream to tumor cells; a special type of laser light activates the drug to attack the tumor. Iron oxide is a contrast agent used to enhance magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI.

“Photofrin goes into tumor blood vessels and collapses the vasculature, which then starves the tumor of the blood flow needed to survive. The problem with free photofrin therapy is that it can cause damage to healthy tissue. In our study, the nanoparticle becomes a vehicle to deliver the drug directly to the tumor,” says study author Brian Ross, Ph.D., professor of radiology at the U-M Medical School and co-director of Molecular Imaging at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Photofrin has been used to treat several types of cancer, including esophageal, bladder and skin cancers. It works by traveling through blood vessels until it reaches the vessels supplying blood to the tumor. When activated by light, the Photofrin collapses these blood vessels, starving the tumor of the blood it needs to survive.

Results of the study appear in the Nov. 15 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

“Thinking outside the box is a must for developing brain cancer treatments. Drugs don’t get into the brain when delivered in the normal way, which explains in part why some current treatments for brain tumors are generally not effective. Targeting the tumor vasculature with nanoparticles containing a payload will overcome these issues,” says study author Alnawaz Rehemtulla, Ph.D., professor of radiology and radiation oncology at the U-M Medical School and professor of environmental health sciences at the School of Public Health.

Treating brain tumors is traditionally difficult because of the blood-brain barrier, which prevents harmful substances from traveling through the bloodstream into the brain. In order for chemotherapy to treat a tumor, it must penetrate this barrier.

Researchers tested the nanoparticles in cell cultures and animal models. The studies showed the nanoparticles traveled to the tumor, resulting in less Photofrin exposure throughout the body and enhanced exposure within the tumor. This allowed a larger window for activating the drug with light. It also would eliminate a common side effect of photodynamic therapy, in which healthy skin becomes sensitive to light.

In rat studies, researchers found those treated traditionally with Photofrin survived 13 days, while rats treated with Photofrin incorporated into a nanoparticle survived an average of 33 days. Forty percent of the rats remained disease-free six months after treatment.

The researchers also found twice the amount of the contrast agent at the tumor site when using targeted nanoparticles, suggesting the nanoparticles were attracted to the tumor site.

The advantage of this delivery system is the ability to attack the tumor with higher doses of a drug while sparing normal tissue from a drug’s toxic side effects.

“Our research suggests that you can take a drug that may be toxic to normal tissue – it could be any type of drug, not just photodynamic – and you could deliver higher doses of that drug for a more powerful punch,” says Rehemtulla, co-director of Molecular Imaging at the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center.

If nanoparticle delivery proves to be safe in humans, it will allow researchers to re-examine previously developed drugs that were discarded because they caused too many dangerous side effects in patients.