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November 2005 Archives

Current Party Numbers in the House

With the resignation of Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham from the House, the party numbers in the House are:

See our Congress by the Numbers.

The Clerk of the House shows different figures (only 1 vacancy, due to the resignation of Christopher Cox on August 2, 2005 to become chairman of the SEC) because the House is currently not in session and thus can not technically "receive" Cunningham's resignation.

Reminder - a good way to keep current with the latest congressional news is a free subscription to the CQ Midday Update.

November 30, 2005 03:05 PM   Link    Congress    Comments (0)

The Blues

Musical Perceptions has "some very fundamental rules" of blues music. Our favorites:

1. Most blues begin with: "Woke up this morning..."
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9. You can't have no blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.
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19. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
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21. I don't care how tragic your life is: if you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues, period.


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November 29, 2005 11:53 AM   Link    Entertainment    Comments (0)

Victor Borge

Terry Teachout remembers Victor Borge:

I doubt that many people under the age of forty remember Victor Borge, the comedian-pianist who died in 2000 at the miraculous age of ninety-one. He was a star for a very long time, first on radio, then TV, and Comedy in Music, his 1953 one-man show, ran for 849 consecutive performances on Broadway, a record which so far as I know remains unbroken. From there he went on the road and stayed there, giving sixty-odd concerts in the season before his death.
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He usually made a point of playing a piece from start to finish toward the end of every concert, and I remember how delighted I was each time I heard him ripple through one of Ignaz Friedman’s bittersweet Viennese-waltz arrangements, which he played with a deceptively nonchalant old-world panache that never failed to leave me longing for an encore. Alas, he never obliged, and in later years I found myself wondering whether he’d really been quite so fine as my memory told me.
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Borge, it turns out, could play with the utmost stylishness and sensitivity whenever it suited him to do so. You'll never hear a more elegant piece of piano playing—not even from Ignaz Friedman himself.

"Unsullied," by Terry Teachout, About Last Night, November 29, 2005 (there are links to audio recordings in the original post)

November 28, 2005 09:05 PM   Link    Humor    Comments (0)

This Week in Reviews - November 25, 2005

Periodically, we will publish This Week in Reviews, a roundup of reviews of DC-area restaurants, with quick links to DC-area restaurant reviews and mentions from the previous seven days in blogs, magazines, and newspapers.

For a roundup of New York City restaurant reviews from NYC food bloggers and media, see This Week in Reviews at A Guy In New York.

Technorati Tags: , ,

Did we miss your favorite review?

Let us know: hobnobblog -at- ... we're especially interested in hearing from DC bloggers ...

November 25, 2005 12:40 PM   Link    Dining    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (5)

Happy Thanksgiving

We'll be out of town visiting family and friends in Colorado; back Monday.

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2005 06:08 PM   Link    Comments (0)

Are Law Degrees "Doctorates" and are Lawyers "Doctors"?

There's a thread on The Volokh Conspiracy that has many posts on whether a lawyer who has a JD degree (Juris Doctorate) can be called "Doctor".

There are basically 3 law degrees awarded in the U.S.: JD, which used to be an LLB (Bachelor of Laws) until it was changed in most law schools in the 1960s and 70s; LLM, a Master of Laws, which is usually 1 or 2 years of study in a specific field such as taxation, real estate, estate planning, etc., and which many practicing lawyers obtain; and SJD (Doctor of Juridical Science), which is a research degree and usually only obtained by law professors.

In those jurisdictions that require a law degree to sit for the bar exam, the required degree is a JD or an LLB, not an LLM or SJD.

The JD degree requires approximately 3 academic years of full-time study; most PhDs take at least 3 or 4 years to complete and require a thesis that must be defended (ABD means "All But Dissertation," which means that the person has completed all course work for the PhD but has not completed and successfully defended their dissertation).

Comments are open - weigh in with corrections, additions, etc.

November 22, 2005 10:10 AM   Link    Living in DC    Comments (0)

Metro Crowded, Fed Retirement, Cold Thanksgiving, Pajamas Media

If you're looking for elbow room when you ride the Metro during rush hour, you may be out of luck.

Metro officials say ridership is up considerably from the same time last year and the trains are only expected to get more crowded.

"Metro Rider? Learn to Mash In During the Rush," WTOP, November 21, 2005

In response to a congressional concern that federal employees need more help planning for retirement, the Office of Personnel Management is developing a "retirement readiness index profile" for government workers.

The readiness profile, which will be rolled out in late spring, will give employees age-based profiles that diagnose their state of readiness on various factors, including finances, that they should consider when planning for retirement.

"OPM to Prod Federal Employees to Get Cracking on Retirement Planning," by Stephen Barr, The Washington Post, November 21, 2005

The weather for the upcoming week isn't going to make many people happy. We start the week off with rain, then it turns windy and cold. No sunny, mild afternoons. Snow lovers may enjoy seeing the season's first flakes Thanksgiving morning but it's likely just to be a tease since it will change to rain and/or melt.

"The week ahead: White Thanksgiving?" by Jason Samenow, capitalweather, November 21, 2005

Pajamas Media / Open Source Media is hitting some rough water as it launches:

Cardinal Martini has a good overview of the OSM kerfuffle to date: "The Peasant V. Open Source Media Empire"

We'll just add that the Government Relations Blog Network, a mini-network on blogads, is still accepting members.

November 21, 2005 06:35 AM   Link    Living in DC    Comments (0)

FEC Advisory Opinion 2005-16

Election Law blog reports that "the FEC approved by a 5-0 vote Advisory Opinion 2005-16."

The opinion gives an election-related website (or blog) with a definite partisan position the ability to claim the same exemption from certain campaign finance laws that the mainstream press may claim when reporting or editorializing on election-related issues.

"Significant FEC Advisory Opinion Gives Breathing Room for Election-Related Blogging, For Now," Election Law, November 18, 2005

Fired Up! LLC, a for-profit entity formed in Missouri that owns and operates Internet websites, sought the Commission's opinion on whether the costs of the materials published on its websites are covered by the press exemption and thus would not be considered contributions or expenditures under the Act. The draft Opinion concluded that the press exemption would apply.

"Summary of 11/17/05 FEC Meeting," More Soft Money Hard Law, November 17, 2005

This is a tremendous victory for online free speech and will impact on the current debate in Congress. Kudos to Marc Elias and Brian Svoboda of the Perkins Coie law firm who are responsible, as well as the five FEC Commissioners who understood that neither the First Amendment, the statutes nor common sense could tolerate a different result.

"FEC: Blogs Are As Much "Press" As Everyone Else,", November 17, 2005


November 19, 2005 06:30 AM   Link    Agencies    Comments (0)

Telecommuting and Federal Agencies

One of the biggest advocates for telecommuting intends to keep the pressure on federal agencies next year.

Rep. Frank R. Wolf (R-Va.), chairman of a House Appropriations subcommittee, has included a provision in a spending bill to require certain agencies to prove that more of their employees are telecommuting or risk losing $5 million.
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The [House Government Reform Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce and Agency Organization] estimates that the federal workforce uses 31.1 million gallons of gasoline each week, and Porter is interested in looking at ways to get workers out of their cars.

"Wolf Again Putting Pressure on Agencies to Increase Telecommuting," by Stephen Barr, The Washington Post, November 16, 2005

"Agencies Required To Prove Increase In Telecommuters Or Risk Losing Funding," Press Release from Office of Frank Wolf (R-VA), November 9, 2005

Subcommittee on the Federal Workforce and Agency Organization


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November 18, 2005 12:55 PM   Link    Agencies    Comments (0)

This Week in Reviews - November 18, 2005

Periodically, we will publish This Week in Reviews, a roundup of reviews of DC-area restaurants, with quick links to DC-area restaurant reviews and mentions from the previous seven days in blogs, magazines, and newspapers.

For a roundup of New York City restaurant reviews from NYC food bloggers and media, see This Week in Reviews at A Guy In New York.

Did we miss your favorite review?

Let us know: hobnobblog -at- ... we're especially interested in hearing from DC bloggers ...

November 18, 2005 10:20 AM   Link    Dining    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (7)

The Ins and Outs of Blogs and Blogging

These are the materials that accompanied our telephone seminar, The Ins and Outs of Blogs and Blogging, held November 10, 2005. An Audio CD is available. The faculty member for this course was Jeff Faria, of Jeff Faria Communications, Hoboken, NJ.

Where the word 'blog' came from.

Why blogs have become important. There are actually two significant, converging trends that have made blogs important.

    (1) Search engines favor blogs. For reasons we won't go into in this session, search engines give priority to web sites that are updated frequently, and have lots of links. The higher-ranking blogs (the top 1,000, say) have more links, and update far more frequently, than all but a handful of web sites. This puts blogs, which cost relatively little to run, on an equal or superior footing with expensive sites created for major corporations, as far as search engines are concerned. Since search engines are the gateway to the web for most users, this is extremely important.

    (2) The public is increasingly dependant on information available online, and blogs are continually online. We have noticed that search inquiries come to us at all times. For example, we get inquiries for Halloween items in July, and election commentary long after the campaigns are over. Before the 'net, an individual writer could not compete with The New York Times or Time Magazine. Today, print media generally puts its material behind a paid firewall a few days after it is published. Most radio and TV broadcasts are not searchable online at all (although that is beginning to change). Book publishers are battling to keep copyrighted material OFF the search engines. What this means is that, when someone is looking for information, blogs today actually have built-in advantages over major media and large corporations. For this reason alone, anyone who wants to get a message out on the web should have a blog.

How to begin blogging. Assuming you're not a tech wizard, we suggest a basic Blogger account. It's the easiest to set-up, and you can always move to a more sophisticated platform once you understand the reasons for it. One big advantage of using Blogger is that is comes with a well-developed help system. Blogger answers every question you'll have about setting-up a basic blog. Then you can begin and see how you feel about it.

Different types of blogs. Different blogs set out to accomplish different things. No blog should try to accomplish everything. Many blogs are political blogs. This is one of the most common types of blogs, and the most highly trafficked. You can work political topics to drive traffic to your site, but this is not a pursuit that will satisfy everyone. We don't expressly recommend it. We recommend sticking with a subject that you know, or are passionate about and want to know. We also recommend writing about your town, or some other personal experience that not everyone will have. Blogs like this are called long-tail blogs. Political blogs deal with issues of the moment. Their posts are soon forgotten. Long-tail posts are of lasting interest. People come back to them for years after they are written. If you write a political blog, you're only as good as your last post. If you write long-tail posts, the issues you write about will get traffic for years, and you will not need to work as hard or as often to drive traffic.

Who reads blogs? Among the stats from this recent survey from blogads: Only 20% of people who read blogs have one of their own. The largest percentage of blog readers are in California, and 80% are men. Most-read magazine among blog readers is The New Yorker. The majority are 31-40 (23%) or 41-50 (23.1%).

What you can accomplish. Some blogs make money. (As a rule, they don't make it without a lot of commitment and hard work, but it can be done. Here is a blog about blogs that make money. Some blogs promote products and drive traffic to commercial sites such as Amazon. Here is an example of such a site, for the book Freakanomics. Here are some more posts about commercial blogs. Blogs can be a launching pad for ideas that eventually make money, or advance a goal. A few bloggers have gone on to become minor media stars who write books and are asked to comment on talk shows. Michele Malkin and Glenn Reynolds are two who come to mind, but there are many more. James Lileks has used his very candid online writings to strengthen his career. He has even written about his periods of unemployment, which are quite uncommon these days.

Businesses that blog. Businesses blog for a number of reasons, and the subject requires a session in itself, so we won't try to cover it here (this is a 'general blogging' piece). IBM, for one, has 15,000 internal bloggers (who are officially encouraged) getting IBM's message out. Many marketing firms and PR agencies are finding increasing interest in seminars and other blogging training. Without going into it here, let's briefly note that corporate blogging is not just another form of advertising or marketing.

Decide what you want to accomplish. We assume you want to do something more than post your kid's pictures for Grandma, or you wouldn't be listening to this lecture. However, if your needs really are that simple, or if you're not really sure why you're publishing a blog, this is about as far as you need to go!

Blog every day. For most blogs, you want to put up one post every day, even if it's only a few words. If this already seems like too much, then blogging may not be for you. The reason for blogging every day is to accommodate the habits of blog readers. If you want to develop a readership (outside of friends and family), you must realize that your readers will look to touch base with you regularly. If they do not see something new from you every time they stop by, they will most likely go elsewhere. Also, writers often say that it is important to simply force yourself to write on a daily basis. Otherwise, writing will get pushed down the priorities list to a point where it may never get done! (Bill Cosby is one writer who recommends daily practice of the craft.)

General blogging advice

Learn to write. Basically, this means learning to re-write. Don't assume, or even try, to get our thoughts in order on the first try. Here is a fine post on how to write effectively for the web. Until you have developed your writing chops, avoid the temptation to "become a humor writer"! There are too many mediocre attempts at humor out there on the web.

Publicizing your blog. Blogs come with built-in tools for publicity. There are also external add-on tools, such as Site Meter. Then there are Carnivals. Publicity means participation. Learn to communicate with other bloggers. Visit them and understand what they are writing. Once you find some blogs you like, comment on their posts. Add them to your blogroll. And treat them the way you want to be treated. (Many blogs today are group blogs. Think of the people you encounter as becoming potential partners one day.) Remember that no blog is an island.

Finding other blogs. One way to find blogs you want to associate with (and be associated with) is to go through the blog roll of a blog you like. Once you've started looking you will have no trouble finding blogs. It's finding "the good ones" that's tricky. Once you find a source that steers you in a direction you wish to go, keep returning to that resource to see what else they have.

Working hard at blogging and attendant publicity can be isolating. It can even be depressing. We won't tell you how hard you should work or when you should take a break. We can only tell you that isolation is a very common theme.

This post is linked at

Copyright 2005 by TheCapitol.Net, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Republished on Hobnob Blog with permission.

November 17, 2005 11:50 AM   Link    Training    Comments (0)

Federal Agencies and BlackBerrys

The Justice Department has filed a legal brief in a patent dispute, asking a federal court to delay any immediate shutdown of the popular wireless e-mail system to ensure that state and federal workers can continue to use their devices.

"Government Enters Fray Over BlackBerry Patents: Agencies Depend on Devices, Lawyers Say," by Yuki Noguchi, The Washington Post, November 12, 2005

[T]oday, a federal judge in Virginia dealt another setback to Ontario-based Research In Motion (RIM) in the patent infringement case that’s being waged by NTP against RIM. (See “Setback in Court for BlackBerry Maker” in The New York Times.)

First, why isn’t anyone paying more attention to the RIM patent infringement case? We’re talking about a ban (a ban!) on BlackBerrys in the United States! Knowledge workers in the U.S. spend more time with BlackBerrys than their significant others. Unless a settlement happens (maybe that’s RIM plan of last resort?), this is going to be real interesting to watch. Do CIOs who have rolled out hundreds of BlackBerrys have any kind of backup plans in place for their workers who have grown quite fond of their BlackBerrys?

"BlackBerrys in the News," CIO, November 10, 2005

Don't stand between bureaucrats and their BlackBerrys.

Eager to keep federal thumbs tapping, the Justice Department this week stepped into a long-running patent dispute that threatens to pull the popular and addictive BlackBerry hand-held e-mail device off the market.

The feds want to ensure that even if a judge stops BlackBerry sales and service, government workers won't get cut off.

"Cut Off Their BlackBerrys? Feds Give It Thumbs Down," by James S. Granelli, Los Angeles Times, November 12, 2005

It is said that 10 percent of all Blackberry users in the US are Federal Employees that use their devices to communicate while out of the office. So there was no surprise that the US government put their own two cents in the NTP vs RIM patent infringement case.

"Blackberry Users Are Some Powerful People," BlackBerryCool, November 13, 2005

This memorandum offers advice concerning the use of computers, cellular telephones, and handheld wireless e-mail devices (e.g., Palm Pilots and BlackBerrys, etc.). Whether government-issued or personally owned, the use of these devices is prohibited for distributing partisan political messages while in uniform, on duty, or in a Government building or vehicle.

"Federal Hatch Act Advisory," USDA Office of Chief Financial Officer, Ethics Office, August 8, 2002


November 14, 2005 11:51 AM   Link    Comments (0)

Cool Tool - 6GB Creative Zen Micro

The Long Tail explains why he picked a 6GB Creative Zen Micro instead of an iPod Nano ... the Creative Zen Micro has ... removable mini-disk ... a removable and rechargeable lithium-ion battery that gives 12 hours of play per charge ... FM radio ... built-in voice recorder ... personal organizer that synchs with Outlook ... random shuffle ... for under $200 ... Rhapsody to Go is a music service (like iTunes) that works with the Creative Zen Micro ... for $15 per month ...


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November 12, 2005 10:56 PM   Link    Tools    Comments (0)

"Olny srmat poelpe can"

aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.

"Olny srmat poelpe can," TEDblog, November 12, 2005


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November 12, 2005 01:00 PM   Link    Research    Comments (0)

Veterans Day 2005

Thank you to the men and women who serve and have served our country.

In Flanders Fields
By Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918), Canadian Army

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

A roundup of Veterans Day-related posts and news

November 11, 2005 12:21 PM   Link    Holidays and Celebrations    Comments (0)

Government Relations Blog Network - headline roundup

Hobnob Blog is a member of the Government Relations Blog Network at Blogads, a new and growing group of some of the best independent blogs on the web. Check out some of the posts from blogs in the network:

For more information about the Government Relations Blog Network, contact Chug Roberts at governmentrelationsblognetwork -at-

November 11, 2005 10:33 AM   Link    Government Relations Blog Network    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (1)

This Week in Reviews - November 11, 2005

Periodically, we will publish This Week in Reviews, a roundup of reviews of DC-area restaurants, with quick links to DC-area restaurant reviews and mentions from the previous seven days in blogs, magazines, and newspapers.

For a roundup of New York City restaurant reviews from NYC food bloggers and media, see A Guy In New York.

Did we miss your favorite review?

Let us know: hobnobblog -at- ... we're especially interested in hearing from DC bloggers ...

November 11, 2005 09:45 AM   Link    Dining    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (4)

"Trust No One"

Interesting post at fishbowlDC about a forthcoming National Journal report that included this question:

Q. Has your experience in government and politics given you more respect for the news media, or less?

See the post for the results and some accompanying comments: "Trust No One"

November 10, 2005 06:20 PM   Link    Fourth Estate    Comments (0)

Pentagon's Accounting Reforms

The Pentagon is making progress getting its financial books in order, but senior officials said Wednesday that they still do not know when they will wrap up an audit of Defense Department spending.

It may take at least four or more years, they said.

"Accounting reforms in progress at Pentagon," by Megan Scully, CongressDaily, November 10, 2005

Also see

If you need a better understanding of the federal budget process, see our basic and advanced budget courses:

Also see our Federal Budget Links and Research Tools page.

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November 10, 2005 12:55 PM   Link    Comments (0)

Cool Tool - Egg & Muffin 2-Slice Toaster and Egg Poacher

[T]he idea of being able to have perfect egg mcmuffins (without meat) at home was enticing. After making a couple, I'm hooked. The product does exactly what it's supposed to do, making sure both the egg and the muffins are perfectly done at the same time (it waits a while to toast).

"Awesome, awesome, awesome," by Matthew Haughey, a whole lot of nothing, November 8, 2005 (via A Full Belly)

Toaster, egg cooker, and meat warmer--this innovative unit combines all three functions into one easy-to-use appliance. The unit can be used solely as a full functioning toaster, or it can simultaneously toast bread, poach or steam-scramble an egg, and warm a pre-cooked slice of meat--or any combination of these three functions--to make the ultimate breakfast sandwich at home in just four minutes.

Back to Basics TEM500 Egg & Muffin 2-Slice Toaster and Egg Poacher,

November 10, 2005 06:25 AM   Link    Tools    Comments (0)

Paperless Hill offices?

The National Taxpayers Union (NTU) tracks lawmakers’ spending habits, as well as the amounts each congressman returns from his or her MRA to the U.S. treasury at year’s end. The NTU will release its most recent study later this month.

Citing an early finding of the report, NTU spokesman Peter Sepp told The Hill that total House spending on printing and document reproduction rose to $16 million in 2004 from $11 million in 2003.

“This is a strange trend in a Congress that is supposedly committed to information-age technologies like BlackBerrys, e-mail and websites,” said Sepp.

"Lawmakers spend on big screens, popcorn," by Jonathan E. Kaplan and Mandy Kozar, The Hill, November 8, 2005

The paperless office has been discussed for years and hasn't arrived yet.

Far from ushering in a "paperless office," for example, computers, e-commerce, fax machines, and other information technologies have fueled paper demand, creating more "information consumers" who routinely print web pages, e-mails, and other verifications of electronic information.

"No End to Paperwork," Editor, Wendy Vanasselt, 1998, updated June 2001


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November 9, 2005 01:35 PM   Link    Technology    Comments (0)

Panexa, Dihydrogen Monoxide, and Klein Bottles

Panexa, from MERD, is a new drug that does everything ... even cures dihydrogen monoxide poisoning!

"The wonder drug that does whatever you think it does" mister snitch!, November 4, 2005

Need a zero-volume bottle?
Searching for a one-sided surface?
Want the ultimate in non-orientability?

Check out the Acme Klein Bottle to store that dangerous dihydrogen monoxide ...

November 9, 2005 07:30 AM   Link    Humor    Comments (0)

Good BBQ in DC?

dcfud has a "BBQ link edition, including our reviews of local-ish BBQ and reviews from other great local sites" ... "The Search for Great BBQ: A Clip Show Special" ...


November 8, 2005 01:30 PM   Link    Dining    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (2)

DC Smoking Ban

Legislation that would ban smoking in all District bars and restaurants by January 2007 was approved yesterday [October 26, 2005] by the D.C. Council's Health Committee.

The committee's action means that the full council could vote on the measure as soon as December. Smoking ban legislation has been stalled in committee for two years, but proponents say a council majority now favors some form of a ban.

"D.C. Panel Approves Smoking Ban: Council to Vote on Measure to Take Effect in January '07," by Eric M. Weiss, The Washington Post, October 27, 2005

[Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington Executive Director Lynne] Breaux painted another image of what life would be like post-smoking ban: "Can you imagine a lobbyist, or a Congressman for that matter, without a cigar and a cognac?"

"Proopsed Smoking Ban Has Bars on Capitol Hill Fuming," by Moira Bagley, Roll Call, November 3, 2005


Read the bill here (7-page pdf) - from Smokefree DC

Ban the Ban - "Stop the Smoking Ban in D.C."

Smokefree DC - "Smokefree Air for Washington Workers"

Restaurant Association of Metropolitan Washington - "Fighting for the Right to Eat, Drink and Be Merry"

"Puffing for Property Rights," by Radley Balko, CATO, June 13, 2004

November 8, 2005 09:45 AM   Link    Dining    Comments (0)

Cool Tool - Flight Tracking from FlightAware

FlightAware is "A free and powerful flight tracker that will change how you think about flight status, tracking, and analysis."

Check out this very cool movie ... "Animation of all flight movements tracked by FlightAware during a 24-hour period in September, 2005"

Live Flight Tracking: "View schedule and track activity for any private (IFR) or commercial flight. See scheduled, enroute, and recent flight activity for any airport."

via Lifehacker

November 8, 2005 12:05 AM   Link    Technology ~   Tools ~   Travel    Comments (0)

Politics and the Internet - potpourri

Reports and Articles


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November 7, 2005 06:30 AM   Link    Technology    Comments (0)

"A Setback For Bloggers" - H.R. 1605

Bloggers were the focus of attention for about an hour in the House yesterday, and they managed to win the backing of 225 lawmakers for a bill designed to limit the application of campaign finance law to blogs and other Internet communications.

But the final tally, 225-187, fell 47 votes short of the two-thirds majority necessary to pass the Online Freedom of Speech Act under a procedure designed to expedite passage. For now, that puts the debate about applying campaign finance law back at the Federal Election Commission, where a court-mandated rulemaking has been under way since this summer.

Yesterday's House vote is not technically a defeat for the legislation....

"A Setback For Bloggers," Beltway Blogroll, November 3, 2005



November 6, 2005 12:05 AM   Link    Fourth Estate    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (3)

"The Military Applications of Silly String"

Silly string has served me well in Combat especially in looking for I.A.Ds., simply put, booby traps. . . . When you spray the string it just spreads everywhere and when it sets it lays right on the wire. Even in a dark room the string stands out revealing the trip wire.

"The Military Applications of Silly String,", November 4, 2005

via BoingBoing

November 5, 2005 02:31 AM   Link    Research    Comments (0)

Dual Lock Fastener Tape

To me, as a commuter, one of the most impressive parts of the EZ Pass toll-paying system is the hardcore industrial "velcro" tape they give you to attach your transponder to your windshield. . . . I use mine to attach my iPod to my dashboard, and tools to the wall in my workshop. S.S. Flanders

"Dual Lock Fastener Tape: Heavy duty velcro," Cool Tools, November 4, 2005

November 4, 2005 09:43 AM   Link    Tools    Comments (0)

Dilbert Blog

Dilbert, er, Scott Adams, has a blog.

Welcome to my first blog entry.

If you’re reading this on company time, congratulations on beating the system. If you’re reading it on your own time, you really need to find a job where they pay you to do this sort of thing.

"Dangerous Donuts," Dilbert Blog, October 24, 2005


Dilbert - home

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November 3, 2005 01:07 PM   Link    Humor    Comments (0)

Michelin New York 2006

The brand new Michelin New York City (red) is not available until Friday, but the stars are out. A Guy In New York has the list and links to reviews of the thirty-nine restaurants that got at least 1 star.

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November 2, 2005 03:15 PM   Link    Dining ~   Travel    Comments (0)

"When lobster was fertiliser" - What we can learn from old restaurant menus

Glenn Jones, of Texas A&M University, is a palaeo-oceanographer—an archaeologist of the oceans. He investigates both the mysteries of the deep and the secrets of the past. He and a colleague once estimated the temperature of the sea floor a century ago by studying the “isotopic composition” of mollusc shells. His latest method of inquiry, on show this week at the “Oceans Past” conference in Kolding, Denmark, is a little easier to understand. He reads old seafood menus. Lots of them. Mr Jones reckons he and his team have trawled through 40,000 or so, dating back as far as the 1850s.

Why? His menus, mostly from American cities on either coast, have allowed him to track the price of seafood back 150 years, much further than anyone has gone before. The menus show that the bountiful seas of centuries past have become more miserly in recent decades. From the early 1920s to the late 1930s, for example, a San Francisco restaurant would charge only $6-7, in today's money, for a serving of abalone, a type of mollusc. By the 1980s, however, abalone was selling for $30-40 a meal. The collapse of abalone stocks prompted a 1997 ban on commercial harvesting off California's coast.

"When lobster was fertiliser," The Economist, October 27, 2005

Continue reading ""When lobster was fertiliser" - What we can learn from old restaurant menus"

November 2, 2005 07:02 AM   Link    Research    Comments (0)    TrackBacks (1)

CRS Reports on Terrorism

A roundup of recent CRS reports on terrorism.

More CRS reports dealing with terrorism from FAS.

November 1, 2005 07:34 AM   Link    CRS    Comments (0)