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Tuesday, August 31, 2004

RNC Night 2
Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele spoke a few minutes ago and challenged stale conventional wisdom by stating how giving people more freedom helps to lift people up:
You can't help the poor by destroying the rich.

Now Governor Arnie is giving a rousing speech advocating freedom and optimism, urging critics not to be 'economic girlie-men'.

Coming up soon, W's daughters, then First Lady Laura.

BTW, transcripts & videos of Monday night's major speeches are linked here. Presumably, each day's speeches will be added.

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More on the Old Media Meltdown
Glenn Reynolds has an article at TechCentralStation.

That decline is partly technological in origin. Monopolistic or oligopolistic newspapers and broadcast outlets were the result of technology: economies of scale and scope that rewarded consolidation and led to virtually no competition among newspapers and very little among broadcasters. Now that's changing, as alternative outlets like talk radio, cable television, and, especially, the Internet, have almost completely removed the traditional barriers to entry and allowed competition.

But the loss of those barriers isn't the biggest problem faced by the mainstream media. The biggest problem is that, like most monopolists, they've spent so many years enjoying their position and not worrying about quality that they're left floundering now that competition is exposing their faults. Like the folks at GM who couldn't understand why people were buying Toyotas all of a sudden back in the 1970s, today's Big Media folks are shocked to see ratings and circulation numbers falling while readership for Internet sites skyrockets. And, like the auto executives, they're even starting to mumble about the need for protection.

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Monday, August 30, 2004

Old Media Meltdown
Beyond the specifics regarding John Kerry and Viet Nam, the Swift Boat Vets episode signifies the shift in influence from the Old Media to the Alt Media, according to John Podoretz in the NY Post.

Meanwhile, a Reuters editor became unhinged in his response to a prolife group's press release.

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RNC on a Roll
With a narrow but increasingly consistent trend in the polls favoring W, the Republican Convention is off to a buoyant start. John McCain is currently speaking with a strong defense of W's leadership in defending America.

UPDATE (~10:45 PM) A moving Sept. 11 commemoration included three widows of heroes from that terrible day and a rendition of Amazing Grace. Rudy Giuliani coming on now.

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Friday, August 20, 2004

Apocalypse Now
I haven't covered much on politics or anything else recently, but the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth seem to have evoked a desperate anti-free speech legal action by the Kerry campaign and some hysterical responses from the Old Media, such as Chris Matthew's implosion last night. Once again, the power of the Alt Media, including the blogosphere, to end-run the Old Media control and slant of information is contributing to the vitality of our democracy.

I've been reluctant to go full throttle on this whole thing since I appreciate the service of anyone who has served in combat. However, Mr. Kerry opened himself to this controversy by playing up his Viet Nam experience so prominently at the Dem Convention. Maybe he should get back to advocating for his Iraq policy of the week.

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Robot on the Way
I'm behind in my blogging, and I know it's old news, but NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe's recent announcement on Hubble robotic servicing could mean some exciting and challenging work for me and my coworkers over the next few years.

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Friday, August 13, 2004

Charley Hits Florida


NOAA

While Bonny fizzled out, Charley has done 'significant damage' in Florida and will likely be near here in the Middle Atlantic region tomorrow evening.

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Tuesday, August 03, 2004

A Bold Agenda on Taxes
House Speaker Denny Hastert says its time to end the cumbersome tax system we all know and hate. This could become a centerpiece of W's second term domestic agenda.
"If you own property, stock, or, say, one hundred acres of farmland and tax time is approaching, you don't want to make a mistake, so you're almost obliged to go to a certified public accountant, tax preparer, or tax attorney to help you file a correct return. That costs a lot of money," writes Hastert. "Now multiply the amount you have to pay by the total number of people who are in the same boat. You can't. No one can because precise numbers don't exist. But we can stipulate that we're talking about a huge amount. Now consider that a flat tax, national sales tax, or VAT would not only eliminate the need to do this, it could also eliminate the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) itself and make the process of paying taxes much easier."

One promising alternative is proposed by Americans for Fair Taxation.

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On to Mercury

NASA

The Messenger spacecraft is on its way.

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