Archive for July, 2008


“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. Political Blogger Alliance


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.


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. 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)


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 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 ?


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?


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: Political Blogger Alliance


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?


“Mac” Week

July 13, 2008

Is it just me, or has there been a lot of “Mac” in the news lately?

IndyMac seized as financial troubles spread (July 12)

Freddie Mac’s Next Hurdle: Raise Cash (July 13)

Bernie Mac makes off-color joke at Obama event (July 12)

Hmmm…should I check Apple’s site for some new development?  There could be some big news right around the corner.

Nah.  I’m actually kind of hungry now, and I might as well celebrate the discovery of the nexus with a…. 

Seriously though, I think I sense a business opportunity.  There’s definitely a market for a “Stick-Up-The-Ass Remover”, as evidenced by some of the hysteria out there over the Bernie Mac thing.  On the other hand, there was at least one blogger out there who put the truly cosmic impact of a couple of jokes by a comedian friend of Obama’s into the proper perspective.   Still, as I’ve highlighted before, there are plenty of Weenies out there, so maybe I really am missing out on the opportunity to make a boatload if I don’t at least look into some R&D on this.  But the first thing I should do is protect the name of my invention, so its gonna be Stick-Up-The-Ass Remover ™ © ® Political Blogger Alliance


The Obamamobile?

July 11, 2008

I thought I’d post an addendum to my “Obama compounds” thread, and highlight one more I spotted.  This one, however, might be a little less ambiguous: Analysis: Obama could get mileage from NASCAR

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The political and sporting worlds collided Friday afternoon when CNN’s sister publication, Sports Illustrated, reported that Sen. Barack Obama is considering sponsoring a car in a NASCAR race next month.


But isn’t exposure what this is all about? If Obama decides to do it, he will get great media attention for entering the world of NASCAR, and not just from the pack of political journalists following the race — that is, the race for the White House. He’d also get attention from sports reporters and commentators who cover the race — that is, auto racing. It’s not a bad way to reach out to voters who may not be following the campaign daily.

I’d be inclined to agree with Mark Preston’s analysis; this is a brilliant idea on many levels.  One question is whether the network that covers the race will give it the buzz, or if they will instructed to treat it like any other sponsor on any other car, and virtually ignore it.   Another is the intuitive one, which is, how well will the car itself perform?   If the driver is able to spend a good portion of the race in the top 10, then it will get a lot more exposure.  If it trails the majority of the race, a viewer might not even notice that its there.    I’ll have to check the odds in Vegas before the race, I guess.   The last question would be what effect a wreck might have.  If one is to assume that the majority of the fans at the race lean right…would the crowd cheer if the Obamamobile hits the wall at 150?   I suppose it wouldn’t matter since, luckily for Obama, the roar of the engines takes the crowd out of it for the TV audience.

Exit question: What dynamic is created if McCain follows suit? Political Blogger Alliance


Well, Shucks, The Iraqis Want A Timetable

July 9, 2008

-First, the story: Iraq Wants Withdrawal Timetable In U.S. Pact

-Second, the obligatory memeorandum link to the discussion.

My initial thought when I saw this headline was… “duh!”.  I mean, anyone could have seen this coming from a mile away.  For years, poll after poll after poll indicated that the Iraqi people wanted this.  Heck, the Iraqi parliament voted in favor of a timetable over a year ago. 

My second thought basically revolved around wondering how the “timetable for surrender“, “cut and run” and “retreat and defeat” crowd will cope with this revelation.  Will we see the equivalent of “we know what’s best for you” type rhetoric?   After all, that’s basically how a stubborn insistence on rejecting an agreement to set dates will come across.  Kind of a tough spot there.  So if they don’t go down that road, will they take the lead from General Petraeus, and begin to use the term “disengagement” instead of “withdrawal”?  After all, the former sounds like the result of a well-thought-out and tactically sound cost/benefit analysis, and the latter sounds more like the “run for your lives!” stuff.  That might serve as a pressure relief valve for the cognitive dissonance.  Or will they spin it as consistent with their stance, and creatively conflate “they stand up, we stand down” with the news, sweeping the “timetable” part under the rug?  (Oops, asked and answered.)    And in light of this little nugget…

“There should not be any permanent bases in Iraq unless these bases are under Iraqi control”, Rubaie said



 …do you suppose their might be a revision to the idea that it is at all plausible that we’ll have a violence-free troop presence in Iraq for 100 years, just like Japan, Germany, and South Korea?

Or do they just sit there like a deer in the headlights? Political Blogger Alliance


32.28 MPG! A Plateau For Slow And Low?

July 2, 2008

I’m outta control!

OK, I’m going to come clean here.  For this most recent tank, I made an effort to avoid using the Coug to run short errands (I rode my bike), or going to lunch at work (for that I borrowed a car on the lot; one of the benefits of working at a dealership).  In other words, these miles were almost all work commute, which is about 90% highway.  Also, I had the benefit of very little gridlock this last week or so.  Still, that’s knocking the cover off the proverbial ball by just about any measure. 

Is this about as good as I can expect from this machine?   Not sure.  The next logical step, I suppose, is to purchase and install a ScanGauge, and use it to really tweak my driving habits.   With that little gizmo I could discover the cruising speed at which Slow and Low achieves maximum fuel economy, since at this point I’m not exactly sure if its at 55, 60, or even 70mph (I’ve been setting the cruise at 60, which is the speed limit on 694).  Also, since it gives real-time MPG readings, I could really master the throttle and the most efficient acceleration.   Could I drop some more weight, add some aero mods, and employ even more hypermiling techniques?  I suppose.  With that, maybe I could squeeze another mile or two out of a gallon.  Maybe.



Confirmed: Cindy McCain Is the Crypt Keeper

July 2, 2008

OK, I know I don’t venture into superficial criticisms very often (if ever) here in the Chamber, and I have to say that, even while posting this, what I’m about to do here feels somewhat beneath me.  But there’s something that has been bugging me for quite some time, and I need to get it off my chest:

Cindy McCain looks like the damn Crypt Keeper.

Now, I had to make sure that I wasn’t the only one who had felt this way, so I did a quick Google search, and it turns out that I’m certainly not the first blogger to note there are similarities.   So, I decided to perform a quick quasi-scientific digital analysis (in other words, I pasted two pics together in my paint program), and this popped out:



I’m gonna submit this to Digg.  It’s been awhile, so what the heck…