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October 2005 Archives

Wexler Requests CRS Study on FL Underground Power Lines

In light of the largest extended power outage in American history, today, Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL) requested that the Congressional Research Service (CRS) provide a comprehensive study into whether it is beneficial and cost effective to convert Florida’s power system to underground power lines.

"Wexler: In Aftermath of Hurricane Wilma Burying Florida’s Power Lines Must Be Considered," Office of Congressman Robert Wexler (D-FL), Press Release, October 28, 2005


October 31, 2005 12:54 PM   Link    CRS    Comments (0)

Additional Campaign Metrics We'd Like to See

We'd like to see some additional info about campaigns from The Rhodes Cook Report, Cook Political Report, Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball, Ron Faucheux's Political Oddsmaker, CQ's Politics in America, and The Almanac of American Politics; they should add descriptions of campaign volunteers. For example, as reported by Alarming News (writing about New York City Council District 4 and 5 candidates):

If you're looking for hot straight guys, join the Joel Zinberg campaign. Want to meet gorgeous women and gay men? Patrick Murphy is for you. If you're all about the Abercrombie big teeth look, Dan Garodnick is your man. And if you're looking for a real mishmash of people old and extremely young, Jessica Lappin has got what you need.

"The politics of attraction," Alarming News, October 29, 2005

. . .

October 30, 2005 02:54 PM   Link    Humor    Comments (0)

Ads on blogs

What influence should advertising have on a blog?

My answer is "none." And what's more, it should not make a difference whether an advertiser chooses or passes on advertising with one's blog. Advertisers are in the advertising business. Bloggers are not. (If they are, then they're already in trouble.)
. . .
Advertisers pull ads from publications and broadcasts all the time, for all sorts of reasons, and I really don't think the blogger is well served by fretting publicly about it. That's life in the media big leagues.

"Ads on blogs, ads not on blogs ... and bloggers blogging about it," mediagirl, October 27, 2005

We agree: an ad being carried on a blog does not imply agreement with or endorsement by the blogger of the advertiser. Bloggers, like other media, are free to reject ads; in the blogads world, bloggers are free to reject any ad placed through blogads.

October 30, 2005 02:15 PM   Link    Fourth Estate    Comments (0)

Photos through a microscope

BoingBoing describes the winner of this year's Nikon Small World Photomicrography Contest: "this first-prize entry of a fly's face at very high magnification is magnificently squicky." October 27, 2005.

Muscoid fly (house fly) (6.25x), by Charles Krebs
Muscoid fly (house fly) (6.25x), by Charles Krebs, Charles Krebs Photography, Issaquah, WA

We also like the 15th place winner:

Geranium flower (20x), by Dr. Shumel Silberman

Geranium flower (20x), by Dr. Shumel Silberman, Ramat Gan, Israel

The 2006 Small World Calendar is available for purchase here.


. . . . . . . . .

October 29, 2005 07:17 AM   Link    Technology    Comments (0)

"Washington is the dysfunctional-marriage capital of the country"

"Washington is the dysfunctional-marriage capital of the country," according to former divorce attorney Mark Barondess. "The only place worse is the Los Angeles area."

"The Breakup Artist," by Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, The Washington Post, October 28, 2005

October 28, 2005 09:49 AM   Link    Living in DC    Comments (0)

"Iran's New President Says Israel 'Must Be Wiped Off the Map'"

Iran's new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, told a group of students at an anti-Israel event on Wednesday that Israel "must be wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA news agency reported.

He was speaking to about 4,000 students at a program called "The World Without Zionism," in preparation for an annual anti-Israel demonstration held on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.

"Iran's New President Says Israel 'Must Be Wiped Off the Map'," by Nazila Fathi, The New York Times, October 27, 2005

Headline roundup from Google

October 27, 2005 08:46 AM   Link    Foreign Affairs    Comments (0)

Put your money where your mouth is

Long Bets is a web site where you can bet money on your own or others predictions. All winnings are donated to a charity of the winner's choice. This page describes how to make a bet.

Here are some of the predictions on Long Bets.

October 26, 2005 02:19 PM   Link    Prediction    Comments (0)

Don't even *think* about it ...

To ride the Metro, you can't jump the fare gate ... even if you are making a movie.

More good stuff in today's Reliable Source - no Jerry Garcia stamp this year; are diamonds a First Lady's best friend?

"Kidman, Fare Game," by Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, The Washington Post, October 26, 2005

October 26, 2005 09:38 AM   Link    Living in DC    Comments (0)

"Block Flash popups in Firefox"

Here’s a great tip from Pete Bevin (via Dvorak) if, like me, you’ve been seeing a rash of popup windows in Firefox recently. It turns out these are being generated via Flash and escape the popup blocking in the browser.

”It turns out that some clever people figured out that you could launch popups from Flash, getting around the Firefox default settings.

Fortunately, you can get around it:

To find out how to turn these annoying Flash popups off, read the post "Block Flash popups in Firefox," theofficeweblog, October 19, 2005

October 24, 2005 09:06 PM   Link    Technology    Comments (0)

"Fear Vectors" and "Fear Management"

Last August, in a Shiite neighborhood in eastern Baghdad, a suicide car bomb went off near a police station across the street from an open air bus station. Ten minutes later, as people crowded in the station to watch the rescue across the street, another suicide bomber drove his car into the station itself. The carnage was widespread but far from over. Twenty minutes later, as the victims of the first two blasts were removed to Kindi hospital only 200 yards away from the terminal, a third suicide car bomb went off at the hospital's side entrance.

What's interesting to me in this incident is the effort spent by the attackers anticipating where crowds would form. This is clearly a substantial tactical advance over earlier efforts (and like most developments from the proving ground in Iraq, something we are likely to see later). The attackers weren't thinking in terms of a single event but rather a series of events where they controlled the outcome.

"Fear Vectors," Global Guerrillas, October 22, 2005

October 23, 2005 04:13 PM   Link    Research    Comments (0)

"Prepackaged News Story Announcement Act" - S. 967

In a little noticed development Thursday, the Senate Commerce Committee approved the "Prepackaged News Story Announcement Act," legislation requiring "that all prepackaged, government-produced news stories - which are designed to be indistinguishable from those created by independent news organizations - include disclaimers notifying the audience that the government produced or funded the news segment." The bill will now be considered by the full Senate.

"Calling Out 'Propaganda'," PublicEye, October 22, 2005

Truth in Broadcasting Act of 2005 (Introduced in Senate), S. 967, Thomas

October 23, 2005 03:39 PM   Link    Agencies    Comments (0)

NYT web traffic bigger than ... Daily Kos (barely) and Gizmodo (3x)

N.Z. Bear, keeper of the TTLB Blogosphere Ecosystem, notes that even the traffic numbers the NYT boasts about make it only slightly bigger than Daily Kos. ... But, hey, it's 4 or 5 times bigger than a lone law professor blogging in his spare time from Tennessee! ... P.S.: Don't worry, Pinch. Eric Alterman says Wall Street doesn't care about these quotidian Web stats. Not one tiny bit!

kausfiles, by Mickey Kaus, October 23, 2005, 12:10 pm

I don't know about you, but " we're slightly more popular than that Kos guy!" doesn't strike me as a huge boast for a $3.3B media company. Maybe stick with "The New York Times: eight times more popular than those chicks that can't stand Kirstin Dunst's outfits."

" More Popular Than A Blog (Barely)," the truth laid bear, October 22, 2005, 6:07 pm

See "Bloggers 'Probably Not' Considered Journos," Hobnob Blog, October 14, 2005

October 23, 2005 03:08 PM   Link    Fourth Estate    Comments (0)

DC is like "high school with twice the stress and all of the infighting"

"This place is a much more sophisticated junior high school," 30-year-old Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., said recently in an interview. "There are the nice guys that everybody likes, the jocks, the geeks, the bullies -- they're all here. It's a representative democracy."

"Young Lawmaker Likens Congress to Jr. High," by Elisabeth Goodridge, AP, October 22, 2005

Meg Greenfield "likens D.C. to high school with twice the stress and all of the infighting" in Washington (Cahners Press 2001).

She saw Washington as high school, complete with freshmen, terms, classes, summer vacations and ''put-downs by the big kids.'' ''Political/governmental Washington,'' she argued, ''is psychologically fenced off from the larger community within which it makes its home, free -- like irresponsible youth -- of all but the minimal obligations of citizenship to that community, and absorbed to the exclusion of all else in its own eccentric aims and competitions.''

Washingtonians were usually achievers in high school, she wrote, whether through grades, manners, looks or various accomplishments, and they bring those same skills to bear in the capital, while competing as they always have. Perhaps her most telling observation concerns the way Washingtonians talk of beyond-the-Beltway America as ''out there,'' which she called ''the near equivalent of the schoolkid's term 'the real world.' It means where everybody else is, where we have to go some day when this is over . . . becoming just like all the rest. Both terms connote a less rewarding and more onerous environment in which to live, even if you are feeling oppressed by your homework and your tests or by your political pressures or gargantuan departmental workload. Like 'the real world,' 'out there' seems less sympathetic and less exciting.''

"Big Potomac High School: Posthumously, Meg Greenfield says what she thinks of Washington," a review of Meg Greenfield's "Washington," by Adam Clymer, The New York Times, April 29, 2001

October 23, 2005 12:00 PM   Link    Humor    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (1)

"Vast Majority of Workers Skip Tax-Saving FSAs"

"Federal employees work too hard for their salaries to give any of it away. But that's exactly what happens when they pay for medical or child-care expenses with out-of-pocket dollars, instead of dollars from their FSAFEDS account," said Frank D. Titus , assistant director for insurance programs at the Office of Personnel Management.

"Vast Majority of Workers Skip Tax-Saving FSAs," by Stephen Barr, The Washington Post, October 23, 2005, Page C02

October 23, 2005 06:37 AM   Link    Career    Comments (0)

Jets - Hello Kitty, Salmon Thirty Salmon, Simpsons

Here's a Hello Kitty plane, EVA Air (Taiwan)

EVA Air Hello Kitty jet
The plane's interior features Hello Kitty-related items as well, ranging from boarding passes, baggage tags, dining utensils, and lavatory papers to flight attendant uniforms.

"Hello Kitty jet," popgadget, October 22, 2005. More images here.

And the "Salmon Thirty Salmon," Alaska Air

The “Salmon-Thirty-Salmon,” sporting the glimmering image of a wild Alaska king salmon, is among the world’s most intricately painted commercial airplanes. Complete with shiny scales, a dorsal fin and gills, the livery on the Alaska Airlines 737-400 passenger aircraft is the result of a dedicated team of 30 painters working nearly nonstop for 24 days.
Alaska AirSalmon-Thirty-Salmon
The plane already needed a new paint job, and Alaska Airlines covered about $75,000 of the tab, company spokeswoman Amanda Tobin said.

The federally funded Alaska Fisheries Marketing Board paid for the rest of the roughly $300,000 project, said Bill Hines, the board's executive director.

"Alaska Airlines lands 120-foot king salmon," by Elizabeth M. Gillespie, AP, The Seattle Times, October 2, 2005

The $500,000 paint job is part of a campaign to promote the Alaskan seafood industry, and was paid for by the federal government. It's a pork project that some are calling "fishy."

"Only Congress can turn fish into pork," said Keith Ashdown of Taxpayers for Common Sense. "Paint jobs for private airplanes are one thing, but Uncle Sam should not be paying for it."

"Some Call Flying Fish Just Plain Pork," ABC News, October 4, 2005

And the Simpsons Jet, Western Pacfic Air (no longer in business)

Western Pacific Simpsons jet

October 22, 2005 03:57 PM   Link    Humor    Comments (0)

Congressional Bloggers

How many Members of Congress have blogs? We count nine.

We have a list here. If you know of others, please post in the comments or send us an email: hobnobblog -at-

Also See

"How Congress Uses Blogs," from Congress Online Newsletter (Congressional Management Foundation), July 1, 2005

"A Capitol Hill Presence in the Blogosphere: Lawmakers Try to Balance Value of Openness With The Medium's Blunt Tone," by Brian Faler, The Washington Post, October 11, 2005; Page A15

October 21, 2005 09:31 AM   Link    Technology    Comments (0)

"Capitol Hill Blog Row"

Today I joined other bloggers (listed here) at the first ever Capitol Hill Blog Row (almost all of today's posts below are dedicated to the event). The event was organized by the House Republican Conference and when all was said and done we bloggers had the opportunity to talk with 23 members of the Republican caucus.

"Thoughts on Capitol Hill blog row," by Tim Chapman,, October 20, 2005

Roundups: Eric Pfeiffer, Suitably Flip, and Right Side Redux (with links to video)

See "Bloggers 'Probably Not' Considered Journos," Hobnob Blog, October 14, 2005

October 21, 2005 06:47 AM   Link    Congress ~   Fourth Estate    Comments (0)

CRS reports about the confirmation process

Reports about judicial nominations and the confirmation process from the Congressional Research Service (CRS)

Also See

"CRS reports about presidential nominations," Hobnob Blog, October 12, 2005

"Senate Judiciary Committee, Nominations," a collection, from the Library of Congress, of "floor debates (Senate debate while in Executive Session), votes, hearing transcripts and Senate statements (statements made about the nominees outside of Executive Session) of four Supreme Court nominees which were not confirmed by the U.S. Senate": Robert H. Bork; G. Harrold Carswell, Clement F. Haynsworth; and Homer Thornberry.

October 20, 2005 01:13 PM   Link    Congress ~   Research ~   Senate    Comments (0)

Upcoming Training

Upcoming Training

October 20, 2005 09:38 AM   Link    Training    Comments (0)

Google Print - AAP Sues Google

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) today announced the filing of a lawsuit against Google over its plans to digitally copy and distribute copyrighted works without permission of the copyright owners. The lawsuit was filed only after lengthy discussions broke down between AAP and Google’s top management regarding the copyright infringement implications of the Google Print Library Project.

The suit, which seeks a declaration by the court that Google commits infringement when it scans entire books covered by copyright and a court order preventing it from doing so without permission of the copyright owner, was filed on behalf of five major publisher members of AAP: The McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson Education, Penguin Group (USA), Simon & Schuster and John Wiley & Sons.

"Publishers Sue Google Over Plans To Digitize Books," press release, Association of American Publishers, October 19, 2005

We are experimenting with Google Print and have made four titles available:

We are cautiously optimistic that the increased exposure online will lead to more sales of our books.

October 19, 2005 05:38 PM   Link    Technology    Comments (0)

"Air Force testing new transparent armor"

The US Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base is testing a new kind of transparent armor, clear aluminum aluminum oxynitride, that can stop hardcore .30 and .50 caliber armor-piercing bullets.

"Transparent armor," BoingBoing, October 19, 2005 (with link to AF press release)

October 19, 2005 05:28 PM   Link    Technology    Comments (0)

"Top 10 Questions To Ask During Law Firm Interviews"

It's callback season at law firms around the country, and that means thousands of law students are donning suits and interviewing for summer associate positions. The most awkward part of most interviews comes near the end, when the attorneys in charge run out of things to say and fallback on an old standard: "So, do you have any questions for me?" Most law students don't know how to respond. I thought I would help out by recommending some good questions to ask:

Our favorites:

1. "How would you describe the atmosphere here — Is it more like a labor camp or a slave ship?"

10. "Where else are you interviewing?"

"Top 10 Questions To Ask During Law Firm Interviews," by Orrin Kerr, The Volokh Conspiracy, October 19, 2005

Lots of good suggestions in the comments, too:

"Am I expected to check my Blackberry at 3:15 a.m.?"

"When I spend twenty hours writing the notes and putting together the PowerPoint slides for a partner's seminar presentation, how does that REALLY count toward my hours?"

Other Resources

October 19, 2005 04:54 PM   Link    Career    Comments (0)

"Am I a bad member? You decide."

Kevin Holland belongs to four associations and asks, "Am I a bad member? You decide." He then lists 15 items, including

    6) In each case, I receive far too many promotional emails from the association proper. They almost always get deleted right away. As a result, I know that I have missed out on programs that would have been beneficial to me. Yet I feel no regret.

    10) When I need information about something related to one of the associations, I usually visit their websites looking for it. I almost never find it. Yet, the next time I’m wondering something, I still return, ever hopeful.

    13) I occasionally get formally-written memos from an organization’s elected and/or executive leaders talking about their strategic plan, or restructuring, or annual goals, or rebranding, or whatever. In any event, I couldn’t care less.

    14) Does anyone really need another yellow-page-sized association membership directory?

Read the whole thing and ask yourself, "Am I a bad member? Or a typical member?"

"I’m a Bad Member … Or Am I?" The Association Blog, October 12, 2005

October 19, 2005 06:28 AM   Link    Associations    Comments (0)

"Trust, integrity, and the personal reputation of executives"

Daniel Gross, writing about Refco, reminds us that even modern companies depend "ultimately on the kind of assets that built American capitalism in the 19th century: trust, integrity, and the personal reputation of executives."

"21st-Century Bank Run: Watching a $4 billion company fall apart in a week," by Daniel Gross, Slate, October 17, 2005

October 19, 2005 05:10 AM   Link    Business    Comments (0)

Who will replace Alan Greenspan?

Facing reporters in the Rose Garden recently, President Bush fielded a question about a high-profile, high-stakes nominee who, if confirmed, would instantly exert great influence over policies familiar and vital to Americans' everyday lives.

No, not one of the eight questions tossed at Bush about Supreme Court pick Harriet Miers. The one about his upcoming nominee to chair the Federal Reserve when Alan Greenspan steps down in January.

"Fed replacement means high stakes for Bush," by Elizabeth Wilner, NBC News, Oct. 18, 2005

Alan Greenspan will retire as Fed chairman on January 31st, after a mere 18 ½ years in the job. So George Bush needs to nominate a successor soon.
. . .
If Mr Bush means what he says about the next chairman being politically independent, then we believe the best choice would be Don Kohn, a governor on the Federal Reserve Board, who is not affiliated to any party. Mr Kohn has another big advantage. As a staff member before being promoted to governor in 2002 on Mr Greenspan's recommendation, Mr Kohn has been attending the Fed's policy-making meetings for almost 24 years, even longer than Mr Greenspan. His vast experience of monetary-policy decisions and financial crises would be invaluable in troubled times. He is highly regarded by economists in the Fed and on Wall Street, and having worked with Mr Greenspan for so long, his thinking on interest-rate policy and financial markets is also close to the chairman's. He would offer continuity and a safe pair of hands.

"A hard act to follow," The Economist, October 13, 2005

ScrappleFace hints it will be Laura Bush ...

October 18, 2005 04:14 PM   Link    Comments (0)

One glass of wine in DC won't result in DUI ...

unless the glass is very large or you are very small...

The D.C. Council voted Tuesday to void the city's "zero tolerance" drunk driving law that allowed drivers to be arrested for minor amounts of alcohol in their bloodstream.

The council voted 9-3 to pass emergency legislation to bring city laws in line with those of Virginia, Maryland and other states. Council members acted quickly after news reports highlighted a few cases where drivers were arrested after having a single glass of wine. Members said they were worried about a drop-off in business for District bars and restaurants and concerned that the city's law was fast becoming a national joke.

Like other states [Ed. When did DC become a state?], the bill would make clear that drivers with less than .05 blood alcohol are presumed to not be intoxicated.

"DUI Bill Passes D.C. Council," by Eric M. Weiss, The Washington Post, October 18, 2005

Other Resources

October 18, 2005 03:52 PM   Link    Living in DC    Comments (0)

SAFE: Design Takes On Risk - at MoMA

Just in time for the wave of catastrophes plaguing our fragile planet, some top designers unveil a series of aesthetically pleasing objects that could be handy in dangerous situations, from the banal to the apocalyptic. . . . Directly inside the entrance to the exhibit stands a paper home that could withstand the huffing and puffing of the breathiest big bad wolf. Two people can assemble the fire-resistant Global Village Shelter in 15 minutes, unfolding it like a giant work of origami.

"Designer Gear for the Apocalypse," by Aaron Dalton, Wired News, October 17, 2005

From MoMA:

SAFE: Design Takes On Risk, the first major design exhibition at MoMA since its reopening in November 2004, presents more than 300 contemporary products and prototypes designed to protect body and mind from dangerous or stressful circumstances, respond to emergencies, ensure clarity of information, and provide a sense of comfort and security. These objects address the spectrum of human fears and worries, from the most mundane to the most exceptional, from the dread of darkness and loneliness to the threat of earthquakes and terrorist attacks.

SAFE: Design Takes On Risk, MoMA, October 16, 2005 - January 2, 2006, 11 West 53rd Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, New York, 212-708-9400


NYC Subway MTA map | Straphangers interactive map | schedules | HopStop

October 18, 2005 09:58 AM   Link    Technology    Comments (0)

Open Source Warfare

The patterns of conflict we see today in Colombia and Iraq are a break from the previous framework (which may be an example of punctuated equilibrium). Unlike the previous models of guerrilla wars which sought to replace the state, these new wars have moved to a level of decentralization that makes them both unable to replace the state and extremely hard to eliminate. Is this new evolutionary equilibrium a fifth generation of warfare? It is extremely likely. This new form of warfare, or what I call open source warfare, is what this site (and my book) is dedicated to understanding.

"War's New Equilibrium," by John Robb, Global Guerrillas, September 20, 2005

October 18, 2005 09:09 AM   Link    Research    Comments (0)

Most emailed headline on ABC News?

October 17, 2005, 8:00 pm ET

According to the ABC News web site, the most emailed headline of the last 24 hours is ...

Continue reading "Most emailed headline on ABC News?"

October 17, 2005 07:51 PM   Link    Fourth Estate    Comments (0)

Washington is a Small Town

Words of wisdom...

"You have to take every job looking over your shoulder," said [Russell] Merbeth, 46, now a lobbyist with Eschelon Telecom.
[Headhunter Joseph] Kirby says that many of the professionals he views as aces share two notable talents. "They have developed in themselves a pretty good ability to read the tea leaves in terms of which way things are headed," Kirby notes. "And they have an uncanny ability to be adaptable and almost chameleon-like, without having people think they're talking out of both sides of their mouth. There's a certain art to that."
"Throw out your 10- and 20- and 30-year plans," said [Carl] Feldbaum, 61, who retired from BIO [Biotechnology Industry Organization] earlier this year. "Hang a little bit loose, because you're not sure what opportunities are going to come your way."
"If you want to make a career in Washington, it's just like living in Ketchum, Idaho," Feldbaum said. "If you have any intention of cheating the corner grocer, the next day everyone in town knows it. And no one ever forgets."

"A Guide To Getting Ahead," by Mark Kukis, National Journal, October 14, 2005

October 17, 2005 02:04 PM   Link    Career    Comments (0)

Is there a country that does not have beer?

"You can't be a Real Country unless you have a beer and an airline. It helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer."

Frank Zappa

October 16, 2005 01:04 AM   Link    Humor    Comments (0)

"Find a question that makes the world interesting."

If you want to do good work, what you need is a great curiosity about a promising question. The critical moment for Einstein was was when he looked at Maxwell's equations and said, what the hell is going on here?

It can take years to zero in on a productive question, because it can take years to figure out what a subject is really about. To take an extreme example, consider math. Most people think they hate math, but the boring stuff you do in school under the name "mathematics" is not at all like what mathematicians do.

The great mathematician G. H. Hardy said he didn't like math in high school either. He only took it up because he was better at it than the other students. Only later did he realize math was interesting-- only later did he start to ask questions instead of merely answering them correctly.

When a friend of mine used to grumble because he had to write a paper for school, his mother would tell him: find a way to make it interesting. That's what you need to do: find a question that makes the world interesting. People who do great things look at the same world everyone else does, but notice some odd detail that's compellingly mysterious.

And not only in intellectual matters. Henry Ford's great question was, why do cars have to be a luxury item? What would happen if you treated them as a commodity? Franz Beckenbauer's was, in effect, why does everyone have to stay in his position? Why can't defenders score goals too?

"What you'll wish you'd known," by Paul Graham, January, 2005

October 15, 2005 11:35 AM   Link    Career    Comments (0)

Media Training

Media Relations 101, for the newer public or government affairs professional. October 20, 2005

Advanced Media Relations, for public relations professionals with at least 3 years' experience. October 21, 2005

October 14, 2005 06:03 PM   Link    Training    Comments (0)


We thought averyone knew about "Porkbusters," but we've talked with some folks who didn't seem to be aware of it. The ball got rolling after Katrina.

Start here, then go here.

October 14, 2005 05:59 PM   Link    Budget    Comments (0)

"Bloggers 'Probably Not' Considered Journos"

Bloggers would "probably not" be considered journalists under the proposed federal shield law, the bill's co-sponsor, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), told the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) Monday afternoon.

Lugar emphasized, however, that debate is not yet closed on how to define a journalist under the proposed law.

"As to who is a reporter, this will be a subject of debate as this bill goes farther along," he said in response to a question from Washington Post Deputy Managing Editor Milton Coleman. "Are bloggers journalists or some of the commercial businesses that you here would probably not consider real journalists? Probably not, but how do you determine who will be included in this bill?"

The bill is necessary to help the United States regain its status as an "exemplar" of press freedom, Lugar told the IAPA. "Even as we are advocating for free press (abroad)... we'd better clean up our own act," Lugar said.

"Shield Law Sponsor: Bloggers 'Probably Not' Considered Journos," by Mark Fitzgerald, Editor & Publisher, October 12, 2005

October 14, 2005 07:00 AM   Link    Congress    Comments (1)    TrackBacks (1)

"Fear has lost its relationship to experience"

Fear has lost its relationship to experience. When confronted with a specific threat such as the plague or an act of war, fear can serve as an emotion that guides us in a sensible direction. However, when fear is promoted as promiscuously as it is today, it breeds an unfocused sense of anxiety that can attach itself to anything. In such circumstances fear can disorient and distract us from our very own experiences. That is why fear has acquired connotations that are entirely negative.

"The market in fear: Politics has become a contest between different brands of doom-mongering," by Frank Furedi, Spiked, September 26, 2005

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt, First Inaugural Address, March 4, 1933

October 13, 2005 01:59 PM   Link    Comments (0)

"The Politics of Polarization"

Sixteen years ago, Bill Galston and Elaine Kamarck wrote a paper called "The Politics of Evasion," arguing that Democrats were pursuing the wrong strategy and could not win the presidency without taking more-moderate stands and emphasizing different issues. It made the case for the kind of politics Bill Clinton brought to the 1992 campaign and, to a considerable extent, to his presidency. Galston and Kamarck both served in the Clinton White House, and with distinction. They are two of the smartest and most intellectually honest Democratic thinkers I know of.

Now they have written a paper called "The Politics of Polarization," which makes many of the same points.

"The latest from Galston and Kamarck," by Michael Barone, Barone Blog, October 12, 2005

October 12, 2005 10:09 PM   Link    Comments (0)

"Cyber Loophole"

The Washington Post editorial of yesterday, discussed here, draws a familiar distinction, between blogging and other activities on the Internet, that those arguing for regulation have come to rely on. They have been arguing that blogging of some kind should be protected, but that the remaining territory of the Internet is fair game. Their defense of the blogger is not entirely unqualified, since it has been proposed that bloggers’ immunity from regulation end with any active engagement with candidates or parties, such as in accepting money from them. There is also the ominous suggestion that blogging, while needing protection, should be "defined." Overall, however, the blogger is the object of much solicitude, since she represents in this debate the unimpeachable value of individual self-expression. The general sense of blogging—its very personal uses by a large and growing part of the population—is nicely captured in an article also appearing in this morning’s Washington Post. Yiku Noguchi, "Cyber-Catharsis: Bloggers Use Web Sites as Therapy," Washington Post (Oct. 12, 2005) at A1.

"Cyber Loophole II: 'Blogging'," by Bob Bauer, More Soft Money Hard Law, October 12, 2005

October 12, 2005 10:57 AM   Link    Agencies    Comments (0)

CRS reports about presidential nominations

There are several CRS reports available about presidential nominations (pdf)

October 12, 2005 06:35 AM   Link    Congress    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (2)

Working with and Influencing Federal Regulatory Agencies - Oct. 17, 2005

Working with and Influencing Federal Regulatory Agencies: Understanding The Regulatory Process, is a recently revised version of our admin process course. More than just a description of the regulatory process, the course will also cover how and when the regulatory process can be influenced.

October 17, 2005
9 am - 1:30 pm
DC Bar Conference Center, 1250 H Street NW, Washington, DC (Metro Center station)

For more information about the course, click here.

October 11, 2005 09:57 PM   Link    Training    Comments (0)

hobnob blog

Welcome to Hobnob Blog.

Hobnob Blog will include links to web sites and blogs of interest to those who work in Washington, including Hill staff and anyone working in government relations and the policy process. We will also have information about TheCapitol.Net, its training, and its publications.

TheCapitol.Net is a non-partisan firm offering training and publications that show how Washington works (TM). For more, see About TheCapitol.Net.

We will be posting sporadically over the next few weeks, while we limber up our blogging fingers.

October 11, 2005 04:28 PM   Link    Comments (0)