WSJ

Lest anyone think I’m bluffing in my threat of a few days ago to go Republican, my first issue of the Wall Street Journal came yesterday. Would I be subscribing if I had not gotten a notice from the United frequent flyer program that my miles are expiring and that I could convert them into magazine/newspaper subscriptions? Probably not. But I’ve always liked the WSJ. As much as I loathe the opinion pages, particularly their solidarity with the more religious elements of the Republican party and other things that a Real Conservative should have no truck with, I think their news coverage is quite refreshing, often pretty offbeat, and often full of things that Real Liberals should care more about. Some examples from yesterday’s papers include Mall cops’ somewhat dubious anti-terrorist training, a new stock exchange for Kuwaiti women (apparently, even a segregated trading floor is progress), and an update on the trial of someone involved with the Daniel Pearl murder. (Daniel Pearl himself being a pretty good example of the more liberal journalist types who are part of the WSJ’s news organization).

That said, while their online subscription business might be profitable, their utter invisibility to any major search engine makes me think that there is a huge boat they’ve missed. I had no way of even linking to excerpts of any of those articles above, and instead linked to at least one competitor.

It’s also nice to read something that’s not on a damn computer screen.

Oscillons from the Anti-Sun

Last Friday I picked up the newish Sterolab compilation. I’ve taken a pass on the last few Sterolab albums, and I almost took a pass on this. I already had much of it, but the kicker was the enclosed DVD, containing videos and some BBC performances I’d not seen. I decided to get it just for auld lang syne. Watching it on Sunday, my reaction was much as I expected, a mix of the peppy energy of the music itself, tinged with a great deal of melancholy, because:

  • I miss the 90′s
  • I miss Mary Hansen (sort-of brush with sort-of fame: she stood next to us during one of Sterolab’s opening acts (was it Mouse on Mars?) at a show at the Roxy).
  • We got to keep the lift, hope, and struggle

Santorum vs. the National Weather Service

Sure, liberals are going to get their dander up about Rick Santorum. But, part of why I believe Santorum is toast is that I also believe that if you are an honest to goodness Real Conservative, Santorum should have your Spidey sense tingling, too.

For example, check out this insane bill that he’s proposed, which is basically meant to keep the National Weather Service from providing services that for-profit (and State College, Pennsylvania-based) AccuWeather also provide. Now, note that he’s not proposing something wacky but that you might actually be able to make a Real Conservative argument for, like dissolving the NWS, bastion of big government that it is. He’s talking about making sure that a private entity, which uses NWS data to create its products is not undercut by the NWS itself. As the Slate article I linked to above points out:

One possibile response is that it isn’t true—that AccuWeather might be mildly inconvenienced by the government’s dissemination of weather information, but that consumers will always want AccuWeather’s prettier weather maps. If it turned out that the federal government was withholding vital weather information from AccuWeather to such an extent that the company couldn’t make its prettier maps, the true free-market solution would be for AccuWeather to start collecting its own damn data—not for AccuWeather to go crying to Santorum for legislative relief.

What can you do? Write your senator about this!!!

Step 1: Avoid Urban Outfitters

So, step 1 in the overthrow Santorum effort would be to avoid Urban Outfitters. Check out this story from the Philadelphia Weekly from a couple years back:

When PW asks [Urban Outfitters President Richard] Hayne about his financial support of Santorum, he initially denies it. And when presented with a computer printout of Santorum’s campaign donors from the Center for Responsive Politics website–which cites a $4,650 contribution from Urban Outfitters–he responds: “I’ll have to look into this. I don’t think this is right.” In fact, he and his wife have contributed $13,150 to Santorum and Santorum’s Political Action Committee over the years.

(Besides the Santorum contributions, there’s lots of other somewhat surprising stuff about Urban Outfitters in there.)

Mass Liberals against Slick Rick

Ok, I have not ridden the political steed for some time. But, by God, I have despised Rick Santorum since the first time I saw him, and as a former Pennsylvanian, I see it as my duty to do whatever I can to make him lose his senate seat in the upcoming election. Which is possible.

I saw him in person in 1993 when he was just a representative for the Mt. Lebanon area, when I worked for the now-defunct In Pittsburgh newsweekly (a weekly “alternative” paper far superior to the irksome Boston Phoenix, in my humble and biased opinion). I was working on a story on what would become of the Perot voters after the 1992 election, and Santorum was addressing a post-Perot “United We Stand America” group. All I remember was being utterly stunned that this young guy could stand up deliver a passionate rant about how the biggest threat to the Republic was pregnant Mexican women illegally crossing the border to sign up for welfare and steal healthcare. Honest, kids, I couldn’t make that up. (The second-most stunning thing being how the Perot-ites were eating it up; it sort of made the latent xenophobia and racism of Perot’s anti-NAFTA stance (remember the “giant sucking sound”?) come into sharp focus).

Anyway, I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do yet, but it is my next cause. I mean, if we can’t get a complete nutcase out of office, I’m giving up and joining the Republicans.

The Sox/Globe cartel

Well, the current Boston Phoenix cover story on the Sox-Boston Globe-NESN connection is sort of a non-story. I share their suspicion that there’s something supremely fishy that the town’s biggest newspaper owns a piece of the Red Sox, and the Red Sox own their own cable network. Particularly when there’s something that might not sit well with the fans (e.g. Curt Schilling moving to the bullpen, even temporarily) I feel like the NESN crew try especially hard to look on the sunny side.

But the Phoenix story really fails to dig up any real evidence of chicanery, and their argument is just “you, know, it’s the principle of the thing”:

There would be a hue and cry, critics say, if Globe publisher Gilman served in an investor-management role with an entity such as Raytheon, but it’s deemed less serious because the holding is a sports team — no matter that baseball has long been a big business and that the Red Sox play a multifaceted role as a storied cultural institution with considerable civic influence.

But I am definitely keeping an eye on this story, because I feel like eventually, there’s going to be something shady that actually goes down. The abuse of power comes as no surprise.