Archive for July, 2008

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“Controversial” Campaign Ads- Free Bang For The Buck

July 30, 2008

Lately I’ve gotten the impression -and maybe this is just me- that the McCain camp’s ads are getting a lot more attention than Obama’s lately.  There’s more and more talk that McCain is taking the “low road“, but I’m beginning to wonder if this should really be considered the smart road.  After all, as NewsBusters noticed, the latest McCain ad appeared to get a ton of air time on the blogs and CBS, NBC, ABC, etc. in the last 24 hrs., because someone decided that the ads themselves, along the accompanying reaction, was deemed newsworthy.  As I read, I couldn’t help but think that McCain’s team had gotten a lot more exposure for their spots with all that than it actually paid for through regular time slots. 

As it turns out, I’m not the only one to come to this conclusion, as memeorandum also has this up from the NYT: With Commercial, McCain Gets Much More Than His Money’s Worth

WASHINGTON — The number of times Senator John McCain’s new advertisement attacking Senator Barack Obama for canceling a visit with wounded troops in Germany last week has been shown fully or partly on local, national and cable newscasts: well into the hundreds.

The number of times that spot actually, truly ran as a paid commercial: roughly a dozen.

One has to wonder -or possibly even assume- that the media may be the unwitting participant in an a clever strategy.  A plan that centers around churning out campaign ads that create a buzz not as a mistake made by a marketing team that is out of touch with what might cross lines, but as a critical part of the design.  With such a concept, I suppose the balancing act involves crafting the ads in such a way that they don’t turn too many people off, while simultaneously creating the appropriate stir that results in all the free air time.  Another possible danger would be that, once it gets to a certain point, there will be considerable debate between the camps and pundits alike over whether the whole fracas can be taken up with the FCC.   After all, the networks were so worried about the “equal time” provisions that NBC actually considered make-up time for other GOP candidates to compensate for Fred Thompson’s appearance in Law and Order reruns.  That dynamic would expose the transparency of the tactic to a wider audience than a single NYT post (and certainly this blog), and could work against McCain…assuming the Katie Couric’s out there can refrain from replaying the ads in question hundreds of times in the process.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Official Chamber “Generation Kill” Thread

July 27, 2008

You know, I was going to cancel my HBO subscription (and save myself $12 a month) because all the good Sunday shows appear to have disappeared, but I thought I’d hang on to it a little longer to give this one a chance.


Click image for HBO’s official site

I’ve watched the first 2 episodes now, and I gotta say that so far it’s pretty entertaining.  Here’s the extended trailer:

The series is based on the book written by embedded Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright.

My favorite character so far would probably be Lt. Nate Fick (video profile), an honor he earned in episode 1 when CPL Ray Person asked him about a silly rumor of Jennifer Lopez’s demise.  Fick looked at him and appeared to look as if he was about to bust out laughing, but quickly composed himself and cooly responded:

“Ray, the battalion commander offered no sit-rep as to J-Lo’s status”

Anyway, I just thought I’d create a thread to discuss the show, since I plan on watching all of the episodes now.  I’ll add no more updates here in the main thread (spoiler concerns), so I’ll open it to the comment section.

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Iraq Not To Go To Beijing

July 24, 2008

With all the talk lately about how dramatic the success of the “surge” has been in reducing violence and moving the Iraqis towards meeting those 18 benchmarks, I found it a little surprising and disconcerting to see this headline appear on Drudge: Iraq banned from Beijing Olympics

The reason?

The team was already the subject of an interim ban after the Iraqi government replaced the country’s Olympic committee with its own appointees.

Under the IOC charter, all committees must be free of political influence.

Iraq had been planning to send a team of at least seven athletes to the Olympics which start on 8 August.

Two rowers, a weightlifter, a sprinter, a discus thrower, a judoka and an archer were in the frame for the trip to Beijing.

“The deadline for taking up places for Beijing for all sports except athletics has now passed,” said IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies.

“The IOC very sadly has now to acknowledge that it is likely there will be no Iraqi presence at the Beijing Olympic Games, despite our best efforts.”

In other words, the Iraqis couldn’t manage to scrape together a viable NOC (perhaps having something to do with the fact that their previous president had been kidnapped and remains missing), even though they had athletes trained and ready to compete. I know its just the Olympics and all, but that isn’t exactly a great sign of progress.  In fact, since the Iraqi soccer team finished a surprising 4th in the 2004 Athens Games, this development could be symbolic of a step backwards.  After all, along with 200+ others, even the tiny nation of Tuvalu managed to complete this simple task, giving her 12,000 citizens someone to root for come 08/08.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Update: Yay! 2 Iraqi Athletes Set for Beijing After IOC Lifts Ban

BAGHDAD, July 29 — Two Iraqi athletes will be allowed to participate in the Beijing Olympics after a last-minute pledge by the Iraqi government Tuesday not to interfere politically in the country’s Olympic movement.

Five members still didn’t make it in (missed the registration deadline), but I suppose 2 is better than none.   Hopefully the deal is on the up-and-up, or I may have to admit that good ol’ Tex has a point.  (h/t Gateway Pundit, via Memeorandum)

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Introducing ChenZhen’s New Blog!

July 22, 2008

Well, its technically a blog…

It’s ChenZhen’s Diggs!

Now, I say its technically a blog because it uses the wordpress.com site and has a comments section and all that, but its main purpose is to serve as a link aggregator for Digg (appropriately, I chose the Digg 3 column theme).  Since Digg makes is easy to generate RSS feeds for everything, I can track topics, websites and even other Digg members’ activity right in the sidebar.  So, the “blog” is really just a tool that I (or, now, anyone else) can use, and it pretty much runs on autopilot.  And since there appears to be a higher maximum number of RSS feeds with the Digg theme (the Chamber’s theme only allows a maximum of 9), I can really go nuts with it.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Off For A Short Vacation

July 18, 2008

I’m going to work tomorrow and leaving directly for a little fun in the sun here in the glow of our beautiful Minnesota summer.   The destination:  Big Rock Resort in Walker, MN.   I’ll be hypermiling the whole 3 hr trip, although it might be a good idea to put some extra weight (in the form of a spare wheel and jack) into Slow and Low.   Blowing a tire on my way to work without a spare would be an inconvenience, but having it happen in the middle of nowhere would positively suck, after all.

Anyway, I’m guessing that there will be no internet access where I’m going and won’t be able to respond to any comments or emails, but I’ll leave the light on for ya.   If any of those lame spammers get through the filter, please ignore them.  Or, stab them with a fireplace poker or something, and I’ll clean up the mess when I get back sometime late Tuesday.

In the meantime, you can enjoy a little kung fu video:


Chen Zhen kicks ass even when blindfolded, don’tcha know?

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Obligatory 9/11 Billboard Thread

July 16, 2008

Oh, this is nice:

I suppose one could say that at least the guy who paid for that is being polite with the exploitation of 9/11.  You know, saying “please” and all.

Beyond that, I’m not sure it makes much sense, given the fact that it was a Republican president who was in office when the depicted attack took place.  The same guy who sat and thought about it for 7 minutes (probably trying to remember if they’d gotten the memo), and decided to scrap the mission to get the guy responsible, instead insisting on a trillion dollar boondoggle that will haunt us for decades.  

But, “please”… anything but a Democrat. 

Note to Mike Meehan:  That money would have been better spent buying a damn clue.  Put the kool aid down and back away.

Someone really outta set up a fund to raise money for an adjacent billboard.  You know, something like this:

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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Can You Drive 55?

July 13, 2008

Sen. John Warner (R-Virginia) recently proposed that Congress consider reinstating the 55 mph national speed limit (as they did in the 70’s in response to the Arab oil embargo), citing the ability to collectively conserve gas and reduce the strain that the prices of it are putting on the country.

I suppose the pertinent question would be that, even if they did, would people ignore it? 

 
(you really won’t get the full experience of this post unless you hit play, BTW)

Anyway, I’m pretty sure I’d be able to handle it…

For starters, I believe that one of the main reasons why I was able to achieve 32.28 MPG (135% of the EPA’s ratings) on my last tank in the Cougar was because of my strict adherence to the posted speed limits (60 mph for 90% of my commute), instead of my speeding ways of the past.  This sensitivity to the consequences of aerodynamic drag has saved me a lot of gas (and money) over the past few months, so considering the fact that this proposal would mean that the speed traveled in my daily jaunt would decrease by only another 5 mph, I decided to take a closer look at the math and try to quantify my additional sacrifice in time if this were to happen (as this would presumably be at the heart of the complaining that would inevitably follow):

My commute consists of about 20 hwy miles, so the math at 60 miles in 60 minutes is pretty easy.  Adjusted for 55 mph, I get a time of just under 22 minutes (Time=distance/speed, or if you’re bad at algebra, see a calculator), meaning I’d arrive at work ~ 2 minutes later than usual.  And on an annual basis, 5 days/week at 52 weeks/year with 4 minutes added to my round trip would cost me about 17 hours. 

Big deal?

Nah.  I’ll look at it as more LOL’s, ’cause I’d get 17 more hours of conservative talk radio, inspiring more Chamber material, and therefore… more fun for everyone!

Go Sen. Warner!

As for the rest of the nation, however, who knows?

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