Saturday, June 30, 2007

Area Man Likes Booze, Looking up Ladies' Dresses

I would like to personally thank the editors of the Oshkosh Northwestern for not only posting the below letter online, but "spotlighting" it as well. When I speak ill of your operation in the future, please point to this as a reminder of a truly inspired editorial decision and I will promptly shut my yammering.

(Incidentally, is not difficult to imagine such an erudite fellow conjuring up the image of his grandchildren "looking like a dump truck"?)

Spotlight letter: Nothing like a good martini, garter belts and high heels

Last night, like every night, I made myself a martini. I filled a glass with several cubes of ice, poured a little extra dry vermouth over the cubes, shook the glass a few times, poured out the vermouth, filled the glass with gin and added three green olives – a drink with a marvelous piney aroma and appearance.

But it seems to me that the martini, a rock solid American institution, is dying, and this is a sad thing. Oh, there are martini bars out there, but they don’t serve real martinis; they are pink and blue. I find it hard to believe there is such a thing as a chocolate martini.

The martini is an honest drink, tasting exactly like what it is and nothing else. There are no fruit juices or chocolate in a martini, and it’s not served in a pineapple shell. The martini is a clear, clean, cold, pure and honest drink – especially for people with established values and a liking for purity, even in their vices.

I regret the passing of this friend from our culture, just as I regret knowing that I’ll never again see a pretty woman in nylons, garter belt and spiked heels. Now I read they want to do away with high heels and swimsuits in the Miss America Pageant. I suppose next it will be brown paper bags over heads and every contestant clothed in XXL potato sacks.

I want my grand daughters to have a shot at winning scholarships too, but if they look like a dump truck, they should change their appearance or enter a spelling bee.
Martinis, garter belts, bathing suits and high heels – why do good things pass away? Tonight I’m going to pour myself a martini, light up my pipe, sit in my backyard and give this matter a lot more thought.

Bill Bollom


Wherein New Words are Brought Forth from the Ether

Behold my valiant (and likely ultimately misguided) attempt to coin a phrase for posterity:

iPhlogging (©®™ MMVII).

Perhaps you will have heard it here first.

Friday, June 29, 2007

This is Your Brain...

This is your brain on drugs...


Too Much for Even Lyndon LaRouche?

Perennial Presidential candidate Lydon LaRouche (I - Bedlam) is not running this cycle. This will, perhaps regrettably, remove much of the nuance from the field of third-party candidates.

For a glimpse into just how creepy LaRouche's operation really is, check this Washington Post Magazine article from a few years back.


I don't know what to be more amazed with -- that an appeal for this guy made all the way to the Supreme Court:

Twelve years after Scott Louis Panetti wore a purple cowboy suit and subpoenaed John F. Kennedy, the pope and Jesus Christ while unsuccessfully defending himself in a Texas double-murder trial, the U.S. Supreme Court Thursday blocked the Hayward native's execution on grounds he is too delusional to be put to death.


"He suffers from a severe, documented mental illness that is the source of gross delusions preventing him from comprehending the meaning and purpose of the punishment to which he has been sentenced," Kennedy wrote. "This argument, we hold, should have been considered."


Panetti, 49, had been hospitalized 14 times for mental illness before the 1992 slayings, but the Texas trial court deemed him competent to defend himself and sane enough to get the death penalty. As quoted by Kennedy in Thursday's decision, the standby lawyer appointed to Panetti's 1995 trial described his conduct as "bizarre," "scary" and "trance-like," and post-conviction mental evaluations and interviews have yielded similar descriptions of Panetti's state.

...Or that four Supreme Court Justices (guess which ones...) actually thought subpoenaing dead presidents, the Son of God, and the Pope while donning western-leisure chic is not evidence of sheer lunacy.

MORE: Mother Jones catches on too.


The final installment of the Guardian film thingy:

Seen, in its entirety -- the whole way through, sequentially, in one-sitting or otherwise with the aide of a pause button: 84 (247)

Got through most of, but might have missed a scene here or there: 22 (62)

Have read enough articles about and/or seen enough clips via "Best [insert genre here] Movies of All Time"-type shows that frequently show up on cable channels like VH-1 or Bravo to get the point: 41 (141)

I got nothing: 198 (482)

Evidently arithmetic is not my forte since I'm short about 68 movies, according to these numbers. I suppose I could do the due diligence to correct these figures, but to be perfectly honest most of the fun of this exercise was arriving at a number, be it accurate or not.

The NW Discovers Fact-Checking!


Punishment too lenient, does not fit crime

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


More from the Guardian, installment #3:

Seen it: 40 (163)
Parts of it: 9 (40)
Can bullshit about it: 36 (103)
I got nothing: 103 (284)

Film I feel entirely justified for not having seen yet: Killer of Sheep.

Fucked Up?

Yes, yes it is.

More on Film...

I seem to have done better on the second installment of the Guardian's on going list. This fixture's numbers (total numbers in parens):

Seen: 60 (123)
Seen parts of: 18 (31)
Essentially know enough about without having seen at all: 38 (67)
No clue: 80 (181)

Movie that I actually own, but wasn't expecting to see show up on the list: The Golem
(Carl Boese, Paul Wegener, 1920)
A rabbi in 16th-century Prague conjures up a living clay man to save his community from expulsion by the emperor - for, ironically, charges of witchcraft. Once activated, the powerful creature eventually runs amok amidst the expressionistic sets, in many scenes that later found echoes in Frankenstein.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

That Didn't Take Long

Blackstone's stock dips below its opening price nary a week into the IPO.

James Taranto's Movie Review Chops

From Roger Ebert's review of "A Mighty Heart" in the Chicago Sun-Times:

We reflect that the majority of Muslims do not approve of the behavior of Islamic terrorists, just as the majority of Americans disapprove of the war in Iraq.

The trouble with this--aside from the suggestion that the liberation of Iraq is morally equivalent to terrorists' wanton murder--is that Americans' disapproval of the war in Iraq is contingent. Something like 70% approved of the Iraq intervention at the outset. Those who switched did so mostly because they have been persuaded that we are losing, not that the war was immoral.

Is Ebert simply saying that Muslims are as fickle as Americans? Who knows? His message is hopelessly muddled. That's why he should stick to what he's good at: reviewing movies.

This is courtesy of James Taranto over at the WSJ, who felt the need the bring out the Movie-critics-have-no-business-discussing-politics argument -- the Michael Medved Assertion, if you will. I was going to give a quick look at what kind of work Taranto has done in the field of cinematic review over the years, but frankly it's too hot to do even a mere Google search, so I'll just have to be content to remind him that this line of argument is a two-way street the next time he feel obliged to subject his readers to his filmic critiques.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Starbucks Vaudeville

It's the joke that just doesn't get old:

Tourist: What kind of berry is a triberry?
Barista: What?
Tourist: You're selling a triberry muffin. Well, what's a triberry? I've never heard of that before.
Barista: It has blueberry, strawberry, and raspberry in it. They call it triberry because it has three kinds of berries in it.
Tourist: So there aren't any triberries in it?
Barista: No.
Tourist: Then why do you call it a triberry muffin? That's false advertising.
Barista: As I explained, it's called that because it has three berries in it.
Tourist: But none of those berries are triberries?
Barista: No. There is no such thing as a triberry.
Tourist: I don't understand.
Barista: Look, do you want the muffin or not?
Tourist: I don't think so. I don't want to eat anything unless I know what it is first.
Barista: So what can I get you?
Tourist: Do you have a donut?
Barista: No.
Tourist: Never mind. [leaves]
Barista: Dumbass.

Reading God

An interesting snipet from a WSJ article on Christopher Hitchens:
Mr. Hitchens makes a passionate case against organized religion as well as theocratic, fundamentalist states. He writes that "religion is not unlike racism." "Literature is a better source of ethics and a better source of reflection than our holy texts," he says. "People should read George Eliot, Dostoyevsky and Proust for moral leadership."
In and of itself there's nothing wrong with the last statement, but I'd think a more comprehensive version of it would rather read "People should read their holy texts like they read George Eliot, Dostoyevsky and Proust." Much of books like the Bible and the Koran are dramatic narratives involving complex characters dealing with serious and timeless real world issues. In other words, a Biblical literary theory akin to "constitutional originalism" (which likely derived from how many people rather obtusely read the Bible) doesn't hold much water because because the events that occur in the Bible mirror, to some degree, events that occur during every generation, but never really mean the same thing because the context has changed.

Literature is keenly aware of this phenomenon -- think of Ezra Pound's declaration to "make it new" -- but the more fundamentalist the theology, the more attached to an established and entrenched interpretation that likely is well behind the modern context.

Film Literacy

While the Washington Post is rolling out the four part expose on the VP that everyone is anxiously dissecting (and much more on this when the whole things is released), feel free to distract yourselves with the Guardians four part series on the 1000 movies you have to see before you die.

Apparently, if I were to die tomorrow I would not have led a very fulfilling cinematic life. By my very quick (and probably unreliable) count there's around 200 flicks in the first installment, 101 of which I have very little knowledge of. Sure, I might have heard of title, but I couldn't tell you a damn thing about the plot or why it's important as a film. About 29 I have some familiarity with, but have never seen. There's 13 that I've seen enough of to get by in a conversation. And there's 63 that I definitely have seen.

Like all arbitrary and subjective lists of this nature, it has some quirks -- I don't think my life is in any way better for having sat through Con-Air -- but it's an interesting take on an ever-present question.

MORE: Matt Yglesias is similarly in awe of the scale of the project. Though I would have rather the editors included Porky's as opposed to American Pie as the token teen gross-out/sex-wager comedy.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

The World's Going to Hell: Vol. I

This one's just priceless:

Ever get the feeling, like the movie title, "Something Wicked This Way Cometh"?

Well, it's actually from Shakespeare -- but we can let that slide.

We're spinning like a coin in the charity wells in Wal-Mart, faster and faster into an abyss where there doesn't seem to be any way out. Everything that's made our American culture exceptional has been attacked and/or destroyed.

We're so comfortable, believing our electeds — while a tad nefarious — are really patriots, true to their oaths, wanting the best for America, only to discover "traitors ... within the gate ... walking the halls of government," working to deconstruct our Constitution.

Deconstruct our constitution? When was Jacques Derrida elected to office?

Americans from all persuasions stopped the sellout last week, only to discover the Bush/Senate cabal are back. This is about merging Canada/Mexico/U.S. and open borders to help facilitate the "North American Union."

I do enjoy how the "North American Union" thing has replaced the "global government" conspiracy theory that seemed to be all the rage among the militia nut-jobs during the 1990s.

Now moving on...

How do we stop it? We've forgotten God as a people, and this legislation is another warning He won't be patient much longer.

The church was very active in the public square, until President Johnson used the IRS (1954) to silence dissent. It worked; the silence was deafening in 1962 (God expelled), 1973 (abortion) and 2007 (open corruption and treason in government) and we still can't hear you.

Jesus said "occupy till I come," not warm pews and conduct "bless me clubs" while smugly looking down our noses at the world. Is he or the IRS our master?

Bible Bingo moment of the post: Mark 12:17 -- "And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's."

We're at a "cross" road: "If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:14.

Judy Bellin, New London

Get it? "Cross" road. Bellin could have just said "In just a few moments will be passing through Crucification Junction." -- this would have been far more direct.

Post Titles that Should be Band Names

Their Brand is Crisis.

[Even if it's already kind of like the title of a movie.]

There she is...

The lovely Sarah Owen did a bang up job with the annual Are beauty pageants demeaning to women? article that heralds the Miss Wisconsin festivities. For my money, so long as there are wet t-shirt contests on South Padre Island the answer to that question will remain "not demeaning enough."

Dial 1 for Asinine

Immigrants should learn native language

In response to Dave Johnson of Coloma:

Learning a new language is in fact a daunting task. However it is the situation every immigrant chooses to put themselves in.

I, personally, would never consider even visiting another country without learning at least enough to make my visit pleasant a priority.

I have personally observed immigrants use their "inability" to understand English to their advantage on more than one occasion.

Perhaps a better question for Dave to ask is what happened to the times when immigrants were happy to shed the binds of their former homeland to become English-speaking Americans?

I simply ask why should I, a taxpaying citizen whose father served 20 years in our nations military, have to "Push 1 for English"?

Michelle Carlson Oshkosh

[Dave Johnson's letter to the editor can be found here.]

There's something interesting going on in this exchange that I tend to think happens quite often during the immigration debate. David Johnson's original letter makes a simple -- and I would go so far as to say undeniable -- fact: learning a language is hard. I'm not even going to bother describing it as a "second" language because most people spend the entirety of their lives learning to communicate with others whether it's with a musical instrument, mathematics, or whatever. Most of the hard part of learning the basics of complicated professions such as law or medicine is simply getting getting to know the language of of the human anatomy or jurisprudence -- and nearly every other type of employment has its own lingo one has to grapple with.

Basically, what I'm saying is that people never stop learning "second" languages.

Johnson has some sympathy for this, but he doesn't exact get this point across in his letter because he's too busy insinuating people who haven't had the chance to learn a second language are lazy or stupid. Naturally people are going to be insulted by that, but Carlson's response is so pathetic that it almost proves Johnson's implication.

Let's just take a look at this letter line by line.

Learning a new language is in fact a daunting task.

Great. Couldn't have said it better. She starts out strong with a simple, easy to understand premise. I'm on board and as a reader am ready to give her my ticket to where ever the hell it is that she's going to take me.

However it is the situation every immigrant chooses to put themselves in.

Slow down there, Hoss. This is a statement that has two sides to it, one of which is entirely ignored. Sure, the decision to pick pick up one's stakes and make one's way to a new land is indeed a rational decision one makes, but very frequently the factors (such as the economic conditions of the country that's being left) that lead to that decision can be out of the control of the immigrant. People born in America don't really have any other place to go to if they're looking for a better environment for economic prosperity.

I, personally, would never consider even visiting another country without learning at least enough to make my visit pleasant a priority.

Ahhhh, now it comes out: "I, personally..." This isn't about any kind of policy discussion or social problem. This is simply a letter by someone who has been insulted and now wants to prove to others that she is not a knuckle-dragging mouth-breather, but is, in fact, a cultured world traveler who makes Marco Polo look like a punk. And what's with this absolutely inane claim that she would "never consider even visiting another country without learning at least enough to make my visit pleasant a priority." What the hell does that mean? I would never think about possibly considering pondering the potential option of maybe going some place?

And just what exactly does it mean to make a "visit pleasant"? Pleasant for whom? Will Ms. Carlson not be visiting France until she can properly order dinner in a restaurant from a menu written in French or will she do what every one does and ask the waiter if he speaks English?

Then there's the little bit about the "visit." Equating immigrating to a foreign country with a long weekend spent at the ClubMed Antigua does nothing for your case.

I have personally observed immigrants use their "inability" to understand English to their advantage on more than one occasion.

Go on...

No, please, go on...

If you're going to make such a claim, you sure as hell better back it up with an examples because I find it awfully hard to believe that that Pedro, just off the boat from Guatemala, will be able to walk into the HR department at Proctor and Gamble and successfully land a job by saying "I am worthy of gainful employment and will be a valuable resource to your commercial enterprise once I have mastered the Queen's English."

No one benefits by not speaking English in America.

Perhaps a better question for Dave to ask is what happened to the times when immigrants were happy to shed the binds of their former homeland to become English-speaking Americans?

And when were these? In Appleton a German language newspaper was published between 1871 and 1932. Does this mean Telemundo gets to stay on the air for 60 years too?

I simply ask why should I, a taxpaying citizen whose father served 20 years in our nations military, have to "Push 1 for English"?

If, as a member of the armed services, Ms. Carlson's father was stationed abroad this would certainly add a new dimension of insight to this letter. But there is no suggestion that this is the case. The previous service record of a family member is in no way germane to an argument that has absolutely nothing to do with the military. Ms. Carlson is simply using this tid bit to reinforce her patriotic bona fides despite the fact that it is utterly irrelevant to the argument.

And if she's really interested in knowing why she has to spend a whole 5 seconds listening to an automated voice instruct her to "Press 1 for English," I'd be happy to provide her with an explanation: Business exist to make money. Successful ones will make it as easy as humanly possible for someone to give them money. No one hands over their hard-earned cash if they don't know why they're doing it and overcoming the language barrier is the most basic way to overcome this deficit.

I doubt this will be the end of the discussion. I'm sure someone else will have found offense at Johnson's letter and there'll be some immigration demagoguery that sounds vaguely derivative of the standard taking points made by a few political leaders and members of the media. If you are planning on doing so, please keep in mind that this is basically "culture baiting," the bastard child of race baiting (which is no longer acceptable, thank God). Conservative culture warriors have been doing this kind of thing for generations and usually do it when they find themselves in trouble, so if you're looking to get bent out of shape over immigration, you might want to hold off until a Little Honduras starts sprouting up in your living room, because until then you're just going to be propping up someone who likely doesn't seriously care all that much abut immigration in the first place and isn't likely to do much about it in the future.

"It's the thought that counts, folks"

Michael Ledeen at NRO takes a shot at the chattering classes by rehashing a witticism delivered by Gen. Robert E. Lee and wonders if this can be considered the quote of the century (and one can only assume he's talking abut the 19th century):

It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant to edit newspapers! In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor/geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I'm readily willing to yield my command to these obviously superior intellects, and I'll, in turn, do my best for the cause by writing editorials - after the fact.

It's fairly obvious what the intent behind bringing this line up - it's a way of rephrasing Bush's "we should listen to the Generals" argument - but using someone with such a debated history as Lee as an authority is a rhetorical strategy that is fraught with hazards. Apparently a few readers (or "
several folks with time on their hands," as Ledeen so condescendingly puts it) chimed in to point this out to him while alerting him to the fact that, despite Lee's tactical genius on the battlefield, his side ultimately lost -- wherein Ledeen buttresses his argument by shrugging off the criticism and literally saying "It's he thought that counts, folks."

Nothing could be further from truth when it comes to war, where life and death -- often times the lives and deaths of thousands of human beings -- hinge on the operational minutia that occupy the minds of the commanders in the field.

The thing that I find absolutely astonishing about these two posts is that it's emblematic of the kind of thinking that is dictating the current administration's foreign policy decisions and has led to such catastrophes as the mess in Iraq. And what's perhaps even more amazing is that the few people left who actually support the war still believe that America has the Midas Touch of Democracy.

Folks like the neocons have honorable ends for the most part, and these are fairly similar to the goals of their ideological antagonists: both sides want to see classically liberal democracies flourish in the world. But the disagreement, as always, is over how to achieve that goal (and over why that end is a good thing, but that's a whole other can of worms). If the someone, like Ledeen is going to advocate for an aggressive policy of interventionism he can not simply suggest that its "the thought that counts" because, as we've all come to see so starkly, the thought -- no matter how good it may be -- doesn't rebuild a society by itself, that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and that, once you get there, the devil is in the details.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Friday, June 22, 2007

Takes Money to Make Money

I hadn't noticed this piece from earlier this month, but Oshkosh Truck has hired a new DC lobbyist, Will Stone, who used to be David Obey's chief of staff. That's a pretty good connection to have given that Obey is the chairmen of the committee that essentially writes the checks for the federal budget.

Truck runs a textbook lobbying operation. Their assistant VP for government relations in Truck's Washington office is Jay Kimmitt, brother to General Mark Kimmitt and Robert Kimmitt, the deputy Treasury Secretary whose name was floated around as a possible successor to Paul Wolfowitz as head of the World Bank. A few years ago Truck signed on to Joe Allbaugh's lobbying shop almost as soon as the former campaign director for President Bush's 2000 election left his gig at FEMA to get into the influence business.

Lobbying is a four-letter word in most circles, but there really isn't much of a market in the private sector for the kind of goods Truck is peddling and in the last few years they've been very aggressive about making their case in Washington. Last year Truck dropped $660,000 into their lobbying effort, considerably more than they did a decade ago and also more than any other trucking industry firm -- and if Truck's stock value has anything to say about it, they're getting their money's worth from it.
(Stock chart from

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How to Avoid Making a Fool of Youself at the Company Picnic

You may have this much to drink before you start hitting on the underage daughter of your boss who is interning at the company for the summer.

Did He Think No One Would Notice?

Someone should remind the pants-less wonder that while loss of freedom may be temporary, loss of dignity indeed lasts forever.

Getting the Most Out of CUSA

Alex Hummel's editorial in yesterday's NW brings up a fairly glaring inadequacy with the current Country USA situation, i.e. no shuttle buses to ferry concert goers to and from parts of town. I don't know who would be responsible for arranging something like this in the future, but it should be given at the very least a trial run. One would sort of expect that a consortium of owners at the Prime Outlets would chip in to get some kind of shuttle service rolling given the relatively close proximity to the new concert grounds. Distance shouldn't be an issue, though. Business owners downtown should think about doing the same.

The only real obstacle I can foresee in getting shuttle service on the road would be the organizers of Country USA. If you go to the official website and take a peek at all of the camping restrictions you'll quickly pick up on the fact that the promoters are trying their damnedest to keep patrons on the grounds for as long as humanly possible so that they can buy things like (very expensive) food, refreshments, and souvenirs. I can't argue with that policy -- they have just as much a right to make a buck as anyone else.

So if a shuttle service can't be set up in the future here's an impractical solution to the dilemma of better integrating the city of Oshkosh with Country USA: more music.

If Country USA is a 5 day event that starts on a Wednesday, why doesn't the city of Oshkosh host a two evening "pre-game" on the Monday and Tuesday nights before the concert? It could be called the Country USA Tailgate or whatever. The city could line up two nights worth of big name acts for Monday and Tuesday night shows at the Leach. Fans going to the festival could just take the whole week off (if they wanted) and spend at least one day -- and hopefully some of their disposable income -- in Oshkosh before setting up base camp at the new camp grounds. Once they get a little familiarity with the city's layout they'll be more inclined to go off the grounds for a few hours in the afternoon during a lull in the music to get lunch at a restaurant or a beer at watering hole or whathaveyou.

Don't get me wrong -- the shuttle service should be an essential part of the plan for the future, but it might not be a bad idea to take a page out of the Country USA promoters play book and try to keep concert goers in the city limits for as long as possible.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


You know that moment when you're a kid and you learn the awful truth about the unholy Tooth Fairy/Santa Claus/Easter Bunny trinity -- that moment that simultaneously cripples your youthful wonder in the supernatural while introducing you to the concept of the fallibility of authority figures? You know which one I'm talking about? Well, I sort of recall feeling something similar the instant I realized that most of what I read in Popular Science was never going to happen in my lifetime (case in point: flying cars).

But I have to admit that this month's issue did some yeoman's work trying to restore my faith in the absolutely scientifically implausible by running a pretty kick-ass article on "space diving," or perhaps more accurately the potential thereof. [Link to follow when it comes online.]

First of all, the article is all but guaranteed to be USDA Grade A quality solely by virtue of the fact that it was written by a guy who seriously goes by the name of Speed Weed. I couldn't possibly care less that his first name is actually William (and Speed is -- no joke -- his middle name), when you decide to trade on a professional name that sounds like something last year's sophomore class was really into, you really have no choice but to bring out the big guns.

Part of what makes the concept of space diving so alluring , or at least possible (to me in any event), is some absolutely riveting footage of Joe Kittinger jumping out of a hot air balloon at 102,000 feet:

Pretty dope, eh? The thing I always find mesmerizing about this video is just how fast this dude was traveling sans vehicle. I, for one, was always under the impression that I would likely soil myself were I ever to be hurling through the upper atmosphere at roughly the speed of sound. Some of the experts in Weed's piece speculate that a human body might have to endure a sonic boom beyond speeds of Mach 1 -- but:

In 1966 an SR-71 Blackbird broke up at 78,000 feet while traveling at Mach 3.18. The pilot, Bill Weaver, survived. He left the plane at three times the speed of sound but, because he was unconscious, he can't describe any [theoretical] shock waves he might have experienced. He sustained no lasting damage.

One can only hope something like that doesn't happen in the SR-72 (?)...

[There's plenty of incredible footage of Kittinger's jump on YouTube or Google Video, all of which is worth checking out, including this 23+ minute reel of raw (and soundless) USAF footage mostly comprising film of Kittinger getting into his suit.]

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

As Good a Place to Start as Any...

So the RNC goes out and gets itself a hot shot internet coordinator with some wicked web site bona fides: an original Slate veteran and current Yahoo! election guru. Not bad, especially considering the GOP has all but conceded Dem internet superiority in the last few years -- and if any one needs any proof of that statement I recommend them taking a look at Rep. Sensenbrenner's official (I'm not kidding) 2006 campaign web page, which is either on the vanguard of some imminent movement of internet retro-chic or was designed on the cheap by some kid who dropped his Intro to HTML class at MSOE before the professor could fail him.

So with all of the troubles the GOP seems to be having using the web to their advantage it would stand to reason that the dude they'd hire to be their cyber-Saviour would bring some aggressive, if not revolutionary, ideas to the table -- right?

Apparently Not.

Much-cited measures of online interest show the top Democratic candidates – Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.), Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.), and former Sen. John Edwards (N.C.) -- outpacing the Republican front-runners. Their videos are more frequently watched on YouTube, and they have more "friends" on the social networking site MySpace.

Krohn, however, dismisses those measures as "fads."

"There's a lot of activity going on on the web that's not being fully harnessed now, largely because of the fad factor," he said in an interview from Yahoo's Santa Monica, Calif., office.

He argues that the underused political frontier isn't new social sites like YouTube and MySpace but the (relatively) old titans of the Web, presumably referring to firms such as AOL, Yahoo, Microsoft's MSN and their Latino cousins.

"I look at the universe of some of the sites that have fallen out of favor that still have audiences that anyone would be attracted to -- audiences in the hundreds of millions," Krohn said, adding that he would not "rely so much on the sites that are so much in the lexicon today.”

Fads? Am I missing something? I'm willing to suspend my disbelief for a moment and buy that some of the Web 1.0 sites aren't being as utilized as they could be, but do people like Rupert Murdoch buy "fads" for $580 million? I don't think anyone's going to accuse this hire of being incredibly forward thinking, but perhaps it may do something to improve Sensenbrenner's online product.