The Next Phase of Porkbusters

Since the effort launched just five weeks ago, the blogosphere has had great success in raising the visibility of pork spending in the media and in Washington. Where just a month ago Tom Delay felt perfectly comfortable saying there was no fat left in federal budget after years of Republican rule, now, the political climate has changed, and there actually seems to be a real chance to change the culture of fiscal irresponsibility that has become the norm on Capitol Hill.
To that end, Porkbusters is shifting its focus from raising awareness of pork to calling attention to specific legislation that actually starts eliminating pork. The first bill that we are focusing on is sponsored by seven Senators who have styled themselves the “Fiscal Responsibility Team”: Tom Coburn, Sam Brownback, Jim DeMint, John Ensign, Lindsey Graham, John McCain, and John Sununu.
I had the pleasure of being invited to a conference call with Senator Coburn last week. I was impressed by what appeared to me to be his sincere desire to confront the idiocy involved in our current fiscal policies, even if it meant pissing off his fellow Senators.
Last week, Coburn and six other Senators released an “offset package” aimed at identifying budget cuts to pay for hurricane relief. The key provision in the bill for our purposes is that it would elminate all “offsets” ( i.e., pork) in the highway bill — wiping away a vast chunk of pork in a single stroke.
In addition, the proposal goes further, including the following:

Meryl: On the Market

Meryl Yourish is for a job:
To prospective employers:
I have an extensive background in publishing, both print and electronic. I have years of experience as a typesetter (Atex, AM Varityper) , a desktop publisher (Quark and Pagemaker), a web developer (HTML, Claris Homepage and Dreamweaver), and now I have experience on Vignette Portal and a proprietary content management system. I have experience with many of the major blogging tools (Moveable Type, WordPress, Blogger) and have been writing this weblog (until this year, in Dreamweaver) since April of 2001.

She’s a good one, so grab her while you can…

Welcome, Mr. Speaker!

Denny Hastert: Legislator. Speaker of the House. Little Rodent.
Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Speaker!
Here’s a few tips to get you going:
– You can see who’s linking to you by checking this page
– If you sign up for one of these, you can actually count, minute by minute, who’s visiting your blog.
It’s all just like polls, really, but you can check them all the time. You’ll love it!
Update 10/29:: Egads! The man is evolving before our eyes: he’s up to Marauding Marsupial

Civil Rights & iPods for everyone, not necessarily in that order

Does anyone else find Apple’s of Rosa Parks’ death as marketing fodder a bit crass, or is it just me?
In case they move it, as of now, the image below is on the Apple home page.

If you want to commemorate her life and achievements, fine, I guess. But slapping your corporate logo and slogan on the image is a bit over the top, no?
Apple’s about the only company I can think of that can get away with this stuff…

Morning Report: October 25, 2005

Today&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp october 25, 2005 &nbsp
(The Indigo Prophecy) – Mundo Geek ยป Vida inteligente en la geekosfera (6)
Cheerleading, Washington Post style – Power Line (5)
AL FRANKEN IS CRACKING UP – Michelle Malkin (4)
What To Ask Miers? – Captain’s Quarters (4)
Hewitt v. Hewitt: – The Volokh Conspiracy – – (4)
Rosa Parks – The Volokh Conspiracy – – (4)
PlameGate – Now That's News! – Wizbang (4)
Remembering the Original Rosa Parks – Wizbang (4)
Rosa Parks – The Jawa Report v3.0 Beta (4)
World Shaker – Billmon (4)

Yesterday&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp october 24, 2005 &nbsp
SEN. HUTCHISON'S BLUNDER – Michelle Malkin (30)
Ben Bernanke, economist – Marginal Revolution (28)
Hutchison Flip-Flops on Importance of Perjury – Think Progress (23)
Inline trackbackation? – NIF (23)
Carnival of the RINOs (10/24/05) – Louisiana Libertarian (22)
Ben Bernanke – Marginal Revolution (20)
Red Ensign Standard, Mark XXX – Quotulatiousness (18)
The Vetting Process Resumes, Sort Of – (17)
Inline trackbackation? – NIF (16)
MICROSOFT WORD: It's not a bug – (15) More Popular Than A Blog (Barely)

points out a New York Times press release which crows about the wonderful success of the NYT’s web site:
NEW YORK, Oct 20, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) — The New York Times Company reported that for September achieved record traffic of 21.3 million unique visitors worldwide, a 49% increase from September of last year, according to internal data. generated 561 million page views, up 17% year over year.
Mickey rightfully notes that somehow, the “stunning success” of the pay-for-punditry TimesSelect service seems to have been left out of the release. But if I were a NYT stockholder (and I’m sure glad I’m not) I’d be asking what they’ve got to be so proud of in the numbers they are reporting.
For context, here’s a table of the NYT’s September daily visits compared against those of some top-tier bloggers:

Site September Visits
NY Times 21,300,000
Daily Kos 20,480,000
Gizmodo 7,360,000 4,500,000
Gawker 4,500,000
Eschaton 4,160,000
Defamer 2,880,000
Go Fug Yourself 2,600,000
Power Line 2,300,000
Wonkette 2,100,000

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.”

Call to Bloggers: Take Your Stand on Miers

The Miers nomination is reaching a critical point, with of her withdrawl swirling and conservative fixtures such as Jonah Goldberg and George Will coming out in opposition.
Recognizing that the Supreme Court is deliberately designed as a non-representative part of our government, I’d still like to hear clearly from bloggers as to whether they give Miers a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.
So let’s make this simple: if you want to have your position noted, post your argument and include one of the following exact phrases (quotes and formatting are not required):
I oppose the Miers nomination.” – If you believe the nomination should be withdrawn or, barring that, she should be voted down in the Senate.
I support the Miers nomination.” – If you believe Ms. Miers should be confirmed.
I am neutral on the Miers nomination.” – If for whatever reason, you either have not yet made up your mind, or do not plan to take a position either way.
(For group blogs, you can also use the appropriate phrasing “We oppose”, “We support”, and “We are neutral.”)
I will implement some code this weekend to search for the phrases above, and generate a running list of bloggers for, against, and neutral on the nomination. This will be much more interesting than a standard online poll, as it will ensure “one-blog-one-vote”, and avoid the usual ballot-stuffing silliness of online surveys.
(And yes, for me to scan your blog properly you will need to be registered in the Ecosystem, which is painless, free, and can be done right here.)
I’ll let you know when the tracking page is online, but it will be tomorrow at the latest. So start declaring!
Update: The tracking page is done and is now online here.
Please note that your position will not show up immediately, as the scans are run regularly every evening. While I am personally online today, however, if I notice that you’ve stated your position I’ll update your position manually.

Champion of Rodents

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: mess with the little creatures. They’ll bite your ankles.
LONDON, England (Reuters) — A rat released on a deserted island off New Zealand outsmarted scientists and evaded traps, baits and sniffer dogs before being captured four months later on a neighboring island, researchers have said.
Scientists from the University of Auckland in New Zealand released the Norway rat on the 23.5-acre island of Motuhoropapa to find out why rats are so difficult to eradicate.
They got more than they bargained for…
Despite all their efforts, including fitting the rat with a radio collar, they couldn’t catch the crafty creature.
After 10 weeks on the island the rodent decided it had had enough. It swam 400 meters, the longest distance recorded for a rat across open sea, to another rat-free island where it was eventually captured in a trap baited with penguin meat several weeks later.

Morning Report: October 22, 2005

Today&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp october 22, 2005 &nbsp
Semper Liberi – Don Surber (13)
Think again – Power Line (7)
Light at the End of the Miers Tunnel?: – The Volokh Conspiracy – – (5)
The Friday Night Celeb Spot – Wizbang (4)
Lashing Out At Bloggers In Iran – The Jawa Report v3.0 Beta (3)
"Insiders see hint of Miers pullout": Saturday's – How Appealing (3)
A Miered Religion – Confederate Yankee (3)
The Quake That Disappeared – Confederate Yankee (3)
What The Hell Is At The Top Of The Page? – Vince Aut Morire (3)
Anticipa-a-a-a-ation – firedoglake (2)

Yesterday&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp october 21, 2005 &nbsp
Oh yeah, you know what day it is! – NIF (24)
BREAKING: DeLay’s Lawyer Lies About MoveOn – Think Progress (24)
Ye Ladies of Easy Leisure – Crooked Timber (23)
Friday Ark #57 – Modulator (19)
THE DAMNING FEMA E-MAILS – Michelle Malkin (19)
Open Trackbacks Friday! – Oblogatory Anecdotes (17)
Curses, Foiled Again! – Power Line (16)
TGIF Specials – Jo’s Cafe (15)

Morning Report: October 21, 2005

Today&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp october 21, 2005 &nbsp
Foiled Again! – Power Line (7)
“Cut Through the B.S. And Provide A Framework”: – The Volokh Conspiracy – – (5)
Was Marx Jewish? – The Volokh Conspiracy – – (5)
Issues Emerging in the Plame Investigation: – The Volokh Conspiracy – – (4)
CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Bush – Eschaton (3)
Why Is This Man Smiling? – Wizbang (3)
Jonathan returns – Voice in the Wilderness (3)
Yeah, yeah, yeah: Party break-up etc. – Hugh Hewitt (2)
Why Anchors Read The News… – Wizbang (2)
Report: White House Charges Will Relate to Cover-up – TalkLeft: The Politics of Crime (2)

Yesterday&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp october 20, 2005 &nbsp
Senate Overwhelmingly Rejects Three Coburn Anti-Pork Amendments – (35)
THE TROUBLE WITH HARRIET – Michelle Malkin (33)
Out on the Ledge
Patterico’s Pontifications (32)
Nice State You've Got Here, Too Bad if Anything Should Happen to It – Power Line (31)
Stop The ACLU Radio – Stop The ACLU (30)
The No Spine Zone – Think Progress (24)
More Democrats to be Indicted in East St. Louis – Gateway Pundit (15)
Colin Blow – Billmon (14)
Top Iraqi Terrorist Nabbed – Power Line (13)
Find updates throughout the day and more on the top posts page.

Morning Report: October 20, 2005

Today&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp october 20, 2005 &nbsp
Iraqi Terrorist Nabbed – Power Line (7)
Stop The ACLU Radio – Stop The ACLU (5)
RUSSERT, ROVE, AND PLAME: Perhaps w – (4)
Quote Of The Day – Virginia's DINO Soars Edition – Wizbang (4)
WIILLLMMMAAA! Brendan Loy has her c – (3)
Democratic Senators Who Live In Glass Houses… – Wizbang (3)
Stop the ACLU on the Radio – The Jawa Report v3.0 Beta (3)
Colin Blow – Billmon (3)
Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) – Patently-O: Patent Law Blog (3)

Yesterday&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp&nbsp october 19, 2005 &nbsp
THE TRIAL OF SADDAM HUSSEIN – Michelle Malkin (32)
Carnival of Feminists – Philobiblon (23)
Let justice be served. – (22)
Open Trackback Wednesday! – Oblogatory Anecdotes (15)
Bush knew Rove was the leaker in 2003. Lied in 2004 when he said he didn’t know who leaked. Obstruct – AMERICAblog: Because a great nation deserves the truth (15)
The U.N. Teams Up With The ACLU Against America – Stop The ACLU (14)
Open Trackbacks: Wednesday – The Political Teen (14)
Open Trackback Wednesday – Jo’s Cafe (14)
Not it – NIF (14)

For more and updates throughout the day, see the top posts page.

Let Them Eat Hi-Def!

From the department of
U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens said on Wednesday he plans to propose a $3 billion subsidy program to ensure older television sets still work when the transition to better quality, digital broadcasts is completed.
Stevens, an Alaska Republican, said the estimated cost of a box to convert the new digital signals back to analog so existing television sets continue to work is $50 each and he proposed the government subsidize $40 of that amount.

Senator Stevens, you are just not getting it.
Go directly to Budget Jail. Do not pass go. Do not collect $3 billion.
P.S.: What the hell is it about Alaska?

Top Posts: A New Look

The posts page has a brand-new layout, which I think provides a much clearer and more interesting view of the current hot posts being linked across the blogosphere.
Please check it out, and let me know your feedback on whether you like this layout, or the old one, better…
PS: I am strongly considering switching the Topics pages, and potentially even the Community pages, to a similar layout. So feedback is most definitely welcomed…

House Republicans & Bloggers

Congressional Republicans look like they are to get with the Porkbusters program, which is a good sign. And, they’re reaching out to bloggers, with a Capitol Hill blog row event planned for tomorrow:
For the first time ever, Bloggers are invited to meet directly with House Members and blog from the Capitol. Members will be stopping in throughout the day to meet with bloggers and discuss the House Republican record of successful economic policies, their commitment to fiscal responsibility, and the details of the historic proposed budget amendment that is expected to reach the floor later this week.
I got the invite, but being a left-coaster with a day job, won’t be able to make it. I also suggested to the organizers that they combine the in-person event with an open conference call (a speakerphone stuck in a corner of the room that Representatives could wander by would do) — they took this as a good suggestion, but the latest word is they don’t think it will be feasible for this week’s event.
So with both Glenn and myself not able to attend, it would be great if we could get some of those bloggers who are going to take advantage of this face-to-face opportunity to ask the Representatives about Porkbusters and what they’re willing to do to cut pork in their districts.
So if you’re planning on attending the event: please consider yourself a de facto Ambassador of the Porkbusters effort…!
Update: Matt Margolis has posted a contact form where you can submit questions you’d like bloggers to ask at the event.
Update Again: I’m going to set up a dedicated topic/community page for the event tomorrow which will show posts from those bloggers in attendance. If you are planning on attending, please let me know…

Help Desk Support

At long last, I’ve added helpdesk support system to TTLB.
Going forward, please submit helpdesk tickets for Ecosystem, PorkBusters, or other issues/questions you may have, rather than sending them to me via email. This will help me organize my support efforts, and more quickly and effectively respond to issues.