Saturday, August 16, 2003

Friendly Hints

Iraqi advice for Americans suffering from power blackouts. Hey, who should know more?

Maybe there are followers of Saddam Hussein who are sabotaging their power stations. That's what happens here.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003


What the heck. Bandwagons are fun. At least for now, I've added the "Fair and Balanced" subhead to the blog title.

Seems that Leftie humorist Al Franken is coming out with a book called Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right. Problem is, Fox News claims a trademark on the phrase "Fair & Balanced", so they're suing Franken and his publisher. This is, of course, ridiculous. So somebody in the Blogosphere (Neil Pollack?) decided that August 15 should be "Fair and Balanced Day". Political blogs of all stripes are sprouting the phrase in question. So I'm jumping on too, in my inimitable day-late-and-dollar-short fashion.

Fox News should really know better. Lies promptly went to number 1 on's bestseller list, even though the book won't be out for a month. General consensus is that Franken is going to hand Fox News their arse on a plate. Reasons:

  • Fox News's trademark is "Fair & Balanced". Franken's title uses "Fair and Balanced". Little things like this matter with trademarks.
  • You can't copyright book titles. I dunno about trademarks here.
  • It's a parody. There's lots of latitude for parody.

The Blogosphere's resident law professors Balkin, Reynolds, and Volokh all say that this is a crock. Should tell ya something -- they're not exactly left wingers, but law and sense trump politics for honest people.

I'm sure we can look forward to Franken's book being every bit as "fair and balanced" as Fox News.

What's with it with Franken and titles, anyway? The only title I've seen that's worse than Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them is Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot, also by Franken. Al, playground taunts like these went out in the sixth grade. Titles like this aren't funny and just make you look like a jerk.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Conservative vs. Conservative

John Derbyshire over at National Review mentions the case of some Mexican immigrants who were burned out of their house by some people who don't like Mexicans very much.

Derbyshire's point is that the reporting of the incident never mentions whether the victims are legal or illegal immigrants. To him, this is a vital point -- sort of whether they should be considered human or not. I give Derbyshore credit -- he comes across as a normal, compassionate human who feels that he has to shoehorn his normal feelings into an ideological mold. There's far too much of that going on nowadays, and has been simce I got interested in politics in the 1960s.

The "illegal immigrant" business points up an interesting conflict among the various flavors of conservative. On one hand, the "classic" conservatives say "keep the immigrants out". California's Proposition 187 (which says basically "no state services for illegal immigrants") is a "classic" position. However, we also now have the "cheap labor conservatives", who just love illegal immigrants. Illegals work cheap and don't dare complain.

It's also a conflict of ideology vs pragmatism. Check who does most of the housekeeping, childcare, and lawn care. When it comes to getting their own lawn mowed, an amazing number of people jump into the "cheap labor" camp. Our immigration laws are a horrible mess and the enforcement is a disaster (made worse by shipping everything over to the "Department of Homeland Security") Nothing is going to get done until some of those "cheap labor conservatives" (some of whom consider themselves to be quite liberal!) get busted for employing illegals for child or lawn care.

(Link via TBOGG)

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