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Friday, February 29, 2008 
hoosier plagiarist at the white house
tim goeglein is a fort wayne native who works in the white house as a special assistant to the president. he also writes occasional columns for the fort wayne news-sentinel on the side. or, perhaps i should say, he plagiarizes them. but at least he admitted it when he got caught.

update: lots more from leo morris of the news-sentinel as well as directly from the news-sentinel.

Thursday, February 28, 2008 
next week's news
earlier this week: Sex assault reported at home of Pacers' Marquis Daniels

today: Murder suspect nabbed after leaving Pacer's home

next week: Battle against supervillian Magneto destroys home of Pacers' O'Neal

...just you wait.

save big!
for years, i've been saying that i didn't believe the conventional wisdom that daylight saving time saves energy. now a new study suggests i'm right:

The switch to daylight saving time is costing residential electricity users in Indiana $8.6 million a year, according to a new study.

"The point of this study is just to shed light on the old myth that daylight saving time saves energy," said Matthew J. Kotchen, a University of California-Santa Barbara economics professor who conducted the study.

Kotchen said the energy-saving argument has been made since Benjamin Franklin raised the issue more than 200 years ago.

The study found electricity consumption -- when differences in weather and other factors were taken into consideration -- increased by up to 4 percent. The cost to individual households comes out to $3.19 a year.

$3.19/household might not seem like a lot, but it adds up pretty quickly when you're talking about millions of homes (or hundreds of millions nationwide).

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 
shorter rishawn biddle
shorter rishawn biddle: maybe this is the year indianapolis blacks finally start voting republican.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008 
WISH-tv files DMCA takedown against DCCC anti-elrod ad
four days ago, the democratic congressional campaign committee (DCCC) posted a youtube video that was critical of 7th district candidate jon elrod. the clip featured fragments of video from a WISH-tv report about elrod' working on his campaign while he should be representing his constituents in the statehouse.

the WISH-tv video that was used was fragmentary, and was properly attributed to WISH-tv. its use was no different than showing a quote or headline from a newspaper article, a long-accepted practice in political ads. i believe it was legally protected under the doctrine of fair use. but apparently WISH (or someone at the parent company, LIN) disagreed. they filed a DMCA takedown notice and had the DCCC video removed from youtube.

some right-wing blogs are rejoicing, erroneously asserting that the fact that youtube took the video down proves that WISH-tv's claims of infringement were valid. of course, this only demonstrates their ignorance of how copyright issues work under the DMCA. explains:

Question: Does a DMCA takedown mean the material taken down was infringing?

No. ISPs can take down material according to the DMCA anytime they receive a compliant notice alleging copyright infringement (see What are the notice and takedown procedures for we...?). The ISP does not have to investigate to determine whether the material was truly infringing before taking it down. The fact that someone has claimed infringement does not prove that infringement occurred -- there might be a fair use defense, or the claim might have been false or even frivolous.

In order to ensure that copyright owners do not wrongly insist on the removal of materials that actually do not infringe their copyrights, the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA require service providers to notify the subscribers if their materials have been removed and to provide them with an opportunity to send a written notice to the service provider stating that the material has been wrongly removed.

you see, when youtube receives a takedown notice, they typically remove the content immediately. little to no review is involved. the people who posted the video are notified, and they can file a counter-notice. only then does any in-depth review of the video's content take place.

people and corporations can and do overstep the boundaries and send out questionable or downright fraudulent DMCA takedowns all the time. sometimes they send out tens of thousands at a time. some people even even use fraudulent DMCA claims to attempt to silence their political enemies. (the church of scientology is famous for this.)

i suspect that the DCCC will file a counter-notice, and that the video will be back up within a couple weeks.

Sunday, February 24, 2008 
less isn't more
dennis ryerson at the indy star has finally learned what term-paper-writing teens have known for years: you can make your paper seem longer if you crank up the font size and the margins really huge!

unfortunately, nobody told the webmaster:

i must say, though, printing it on slightly smaller sheets of paper (or reducing the trim size, as we say in the 'biz) is a nice touch. none of my high school friends ever tried that one.

wack cylinders: new album preview and release
i scanned the calendar to find the perfect march release date for my new album, wack cylinders, and the answer jumped out at me immediately: march 9. that's the day daylight saving time goes into effect in the US. if i wanted to be really clever, i'd release it at exactly 3:00 EST, right after the time change, but it'll probably go up an hour or so earlier than that, sometime after midnight.

this march 9th, don't forget to set your clock forward, and don't forget to download wack cylinders (for free!)

if you're in the indianapolis area, come on out to the ugly monkey friday evening (feb 29). gerald stokes and i are scheduled to make some noise from 8-10pm, and if all goes well, i plan to preview much of the album then.

Saturday, February 23, 2008 
shorter gary welsh
shorter gary welsh: if you're not alarmed by the fact that andré carson is a muslim whose candidacy is supported by other muslims, then you're probably a far-left extremist like he is.

Friday, February 22, 2008 
forget it, greg. it's chinatown.
AM points to today's tully column, where we see that mayor ballard might be having trouble coming up with ways to cut the budget like he promised, but he's got some killer ideas for how to spend more:

[...] I was intrigued and a bit amused the other day when Mayor Greg Ballard mentioned something about a Chinatown to a local business leader, after a news conference on the city's 2012 Super Bowl bid.

A colleague and I quickly asked the new mayor about the Chinatown talk. Ballard smiled and told us -- perhaps to the horror of his press secretary -- about his desire to create a Chinatown somewhere on the Near Southside.


"You go around the world -- San Francisco or London -- and Chinatowns are some of the best places," he said. "It's just fun and cultural, and it would make the Chinese community feel welcome in the city."

this is possibly the second-dumbest thing a hoosier has ever said about chinatown. (the record, of course, is still held by jacob perry a.k.a. "the scribe".)

for one thing, as tully notes, you don't just build a chinatown—though that might be a cool feature for the next sim city game. chinese immigrants build chinatowns by immigrating to a city and taking over a neighborhood en masse. this isn't field of dreams; you can't just build a chinatown and expect a bunch of chinese people to suddenly show up and turn it into a thriving cultural hotspot.

i live on the northwest side. these days there are a lot of mexican restaurants in my neighborhood. the closest one, which closes down and comes back with a new name every three months, didn't even have english on the menu in its last incarnation. and if you go a few miles south of here, you'll find yourself in a burgeoning little mexico. virago & i think that's great, because we love real mexican food, and if they don't serve menudo (and maybe pozole) on weekends then it's not real mexican food.

that's how you build an ethnic community: with a steady stream of new immigrants over the course of a decade or two. but a lot of hoosiers don't feel the way i do. in fact, just yesterday, house republicans stormed out, enraged that they wouldn't be allowed to "strengthen" the immigration to sufficiently punish undocumented immigrants (much to the horror of the bill's sponsor, who had been insisting his bill wasn't racist). maybe i'm just cynical, but i can't see them being much happier about a similar wave of chinese immigrants, which would be a requirement for creating a viable chinatown.

and for another thing, though it's fun to daydream about indy having a chinatown or a world-class cricket tournament (another of ballard's grand ideas; he doesn't know how the game is played, but knows it's popular), mayor ballard was supposed to be the financial guy who turned slashed the budget (despite the looming recession) and simultaneously cut crime rates, without any tax hikes, major service cuts, or public safety cuts. but when challenged to identify actual ways to cut the budget, he stammered and hemmed and hawed. the man doesn't know how he's going to run the budget he has, and instead of finding the answer—or hiring a staff to do it for him—he's dreaming about big new projects. what next: a rollercoaster?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008 
the sad thing is... i could do this every day
from today's indy star story about indiana beach changing ownership:

Fe changes are in immediately store for the Indiana Beach operation, Spackman family spokesman Tom Spackman Jr. told the Herald Journal.

there's no way this sentence passed an editor's desk. and this story was posted at 9:12a.m., more than two hours ago.

Monday, February 18, 2008 
came and went

last week, someone started an angry pro-administration blog called ballard rules. this week, it's already gone, prompting speculation at about why it died so quickly and who was behind it in the first place.

one commenter suggested that it might be written by the people behind another angry right-wing blog, frugal hoosiers, noting that the "email me" link on the blog had pointed to a frugal hoosiers email address.

so i decided to follow up by checking the google cache—always handy when a blog gets deleted. lo and behold, i discovered that not only was this true, but the blog had been running on frugal hoosiers's typepad installation, where it is still visible, right down to the attacks on a two-month old baby. i figured i should take a screenshot for posterity, in case they take down that version, too.

so it's clear that the frugal hoosiers folks are somehow involved with the ballard rules blog—but not who authored it (there are multiple people behind the blog, and they also could've set it up on their account for some third party). and why they'd take down a blog that's a mere week old remains a mystery... though perhaps not if you read what passes for content there.

Sunday, February 17, 2008 
dead democrat jokes
via TDW, i see that rep. matt bell of avilla has been having some trouble with his comic delivery:

While introducing Gov. Mitch Daniels at a Whitley County Lincoln Day dinner, he told a disparaging joke about Democratic House Speaker Pat Bauer.

Bauer is used to being made fun of – his height, his hair – but Bell told a fictional story about him and some GOP colleagues who were driving along Interstate 69 when they came across an overturned bus on the side of the road labeled "House Democrats."

The joke continued with a local farmer telling the Republicans that it was a terrible tragedy with many fatalities.

"Were there no survivors?" asked the reps, to which the farmer replied that Bauer said he was alive "but you know how he lies" so he was buried anyway.

apparently the joke didn't go over very well, probably because it's poorly constructed. the meat of the joke comes from all those dead liberals; trying to twist it around to be about speaker bauer being a liar destroys the dramatic tension. besides, bell's audience probably thinks all democrats are liars, so singling out the speaker makes no sense.

here are some alternate punchlines he could've used that might've gotten more yuks. when asked whether there were survivors, the farmer could've said:
  1. "i hope not."
  2. "how can you tell? they're all brain-dead anyway!"
  3. "no, i made sure of that!" [*farmer reveals that he cut the bus's brakes*]
  4. "nope. i guess that proves seatbelt laws don't work!"
  5. "i didn't check. i don't believe in busing."
  6. "i didn't check. i don't believe in public transit."
  7. "yeah, they were delicious." [*farmer belches*]
  8. "yeah, but we took 'em behind the barn and shot 'em, 'cuz i recoken their lives weren't worth living like that." "you mean, because they're horribly disfigured?" "no, i mean because they're democrats."

or he could've just used a twist on a old classic:

Q: what do you call a busload of dead democrats?

A: a good start!

that would've had 'em rolling in the aisles.

radio free naptown
david linquist has a fairly long piece on about the current state of the indianapolis radio market after the recent shakeup that saw some formats go away and others swap frequencies. even if that doesn't sound interesting, if you listen to the radio (and 91.7% of americans do, according to the article), you might want to scroll down to the bottom for a reasonably comprehensive list of all the market's radio stations.

Thursday, February 14, 2008 
your cheating heart
first, we hear the latest revelations about the iu basketball phone calls scandal, which i alluded to in yesterday's update.

now, more about the nfl team everyone loves to hate. from stampede blue:

After a long meeting with US Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA), NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that New England coach Bill Belichick has been illegally taping opposing teams since he took over as head coach of the Patriots in 2000. This means that for 112 regular season games and 15 NFL post-season games, including 3 Super Bowls, Bill Belichick has been deploying videographers on the sidelines in an attempt to steal signs from the opposing team. Currently, there is no evidence in the NFL's possession that confirms Goodell's assertion, which he claims he got from Belichick himself. Goodell destroyed all tapes handed to them by Belichick... all six of them, and none going back further than 2006.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 
an embarrassing day
the full video of mayor ballard's house testimony is up, and reports are that it's even more embarrassing than i thought.

also, today news got out that two weeks ago, ballard's press secretary sent out a memo demanding that nobody in the administration correspond with WTLC. this is not only shockingly childish and unprofessional, but quite possibly illegal.

and republican congressional candidate and state rep jon elrod was caught on tape "writing campaign letters while on the floor of the House and handing them to a legislative employee to mail". while it appears that elrod technically broke no laws himself, the employee who mailed the letters did break house rules, and the whole situation was awkward enough that minority leader bosma had to sit the two down and give them a "stern talk".

update: oh yeah, and there was that whole iu basketball illegal phone calls thing, which is a bad scene, not that i really understand it.

potential mashup
how long until someone mashes this video with scatterbrain's "don't call me dude"?

i'd do it, but i have an album to finish.

hollywood goes back to work
the writers strike is over! word of a tentative deal has been circulating for about a week, but the new contract wasn't official until WGA members voted for it, which they did yesterday. the writers achieved some major gains—getting residuals for content on the internet and doubling the residuals they receive from DVDs—but didn't get everything they wanted. the cost of the strike was often steep, for both sides, but overall this was a successful strike for hollywood writers.

so now that everyone's going back to work, what's happening with your favortie shows? tv guide has a list that might hold the answer. many shows, such as the office, are expected to make more episodes for this season, to air this spring. others, such as heroes and 24, are being pushed back another season (which means we won't see the new season of 24 until next january). and other shows are sailing into quiet cancelation—i never would've expected it last fall, but i'm more bothered about journeyman being cancelled than about bionic woman. (then again, while i did enjoy journeyman, i never cared for most of the supporting cast.) perhaps most important of all, it looks like the final 10 episodes of battlestar galactica will indeed be produced, though we might have to wait a long time to see them. (new episodes being airing april 4.)

tips for marijuana growers
tip #1: don't invite the cops into your house.

According to probable cause affidavits filed with the charges, Capt. Greg Pennell and Officer Phil Kaiser of the New Albany police went to the couple's home in the 600 block of East Main Street on Monday "to follow up with Kersey on a report of an alleged computer crime."

When Kersey invited the officers in, the affidavits said, "we immediately noticed the strong odor of burning marijuana." Kaiser asked for permission to search the home and Kersey agreed, saying her husband sometimes smokes marijuana in the house, the affidavits said.

"Kersey led the officers to the cellar of the residence where an indoor marijuana growing operation was located and a large amount of green leafy vegetation, which later field tested positive for marijuana," the affidavits said.

Police said the plants weighed more than 23 pounds. They also found more than five pounds of "green leafy vegetation" in plastic bags kept in a cooler. The affidavits did not say if the vegetation found in the cooler had been tested.

Police then noticed a padlocked freezer from which "a strong odor of marijuana" was "emanating," the affidavits said. Police obtained a search warrant and opened the freezer, where they found 22 plastic bags containing almost 15 pounds of a substance that also tested positive for marijuana, the affidavits said.

tip #2: don't try to conceal your grow operation from your spouse, or she might break tip #1.

"Kersey initially told officers that the marijuana was her husband's and that he did not allow her in that part of the cellar," the affidavits said.

this part of the story almost doesn't pass the laugh test, but then why would she tell the cops they could look around if she knew there were some 30+ pounds of weed in the house?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008 
as seen on fox 59
air date: february 12, 2008

Monday, February 11, 2008 
ballard practices his n00b dodge
mayor ballard was at the statehouse today, testifying about the governor's proposed property tax caps. he testified that the caps are a great idea... as long as the state does a bunch of other stuff to help him deal with the massive budget shortfall. sounds like it didn't go over very well:

He told lawmakers that there's "fluff" in the Marion County budget. But he had few answers for them on where he would cut.

"Everything is on the table," he said, but repeatedly fended off questions by saying he had only been in office five weeks.

State Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne and a former mayor, said that answer wasn't good enough, and pressed for more details.

Asked if police would be laid off, Ballard said no. Asked if firefighters would be cut, Ballard said "I can't say. I just don't know. You're asking me questions that I don't know."

Moses fired back: "I'm asking questions that you must know."

And, he added, "I know you don't mean everything you're saying."

Ballard couldn't say everything was on the table, he said, and then say that police wouldn't be cut and that the possibility of raising local income taxes to pay for the property tax relief was not a viable option in Marion County.

so there's fluff in the budget, but he can't identify it (other than that he wants to start buying priuses). everything's on the table... except for the stuff that isn't. and that whole "it's my first day" excuse only goes so far—not to mention that you can't apply it selectively. the "newbie dodge", as you could call it, is similar to the "incompetence dodge" in that it effectively invalidates everything you do or say. if you haven't been around long enough to know any answers, then there's no reason to listen to you. you can't claim to be a voice of authority and simultaneously say you don't know what's going on because you just got here. it does not compute. stop wasting everyone's time and come back when you know something.

then again, what else could he have said? other mayors and county officials from the rest of the state know that the proposed caps will seriously dig into their budgets and force them to either raise taxes or make major cuts in services. but mayor ballard campaigned on a platform of "how dare mayor peterson raise our taxes" and "i'll cut the budget a whole bunch without major service cuts", so there wasn't much he could do other than ask for a handout.

he should've declined the house's invitation to testify. that way, he could've spared himself playing the fool, and the house wouldn't have wasted its time talking to someone who couldn't answer any of their questions.

bilerico in the news
the indy star has an article today about friend-of-the-site bil browning, who, with the help of others, has revamped the old bilerico blog into a national blog that's grown so successful that he can now live off its income.

to be honest, i sometimes miss the old bilerico. as a hoosier, i felt i could relate to it more than i can the current version, and there are only a handful of hoosier-oriented blogs worth reading, as opposed to a bazillion national political blogs out there. (plus, let's be frank, they used to link me on the blogroll but no longer do; that's their prerogative.) but supporting yourself through your blog is many a blogger's dream, and extremely difficult to achieve—and i do like some of the new features and contributors (though not all). so clearly bil's been doing something right.

congrats to bil and the whole bilero team. the article mentions bil & jerame plan on launching new blogs in the future, so keep an eye out for that, too.

Sunday, February 10, 2008 
happy birthday, virago!

we're not getting a cake this year because we're on weight watchers and are blowing most of our extra points on a nice greasy meal at red robin, so here's an old pic of 2006's birthday cake.

tully on delegates
the indy star's matt tully has a good column today about how indiana's democratic delegates will be divvied up, if indiana's primary turns out to mean something for a change, which is looking increasingly likely. then he finishes the column with a corny pun that made me crumple up my face as if struck by a pungent odor. oh well; most of it is good.

on a related note, if you're confused about exactly how many delegates clinton and obama have won so far, because every news outlet seems to give a different number, here are the new york times and newsday explaining why it's so hard to come up with an precise number.

Saturday, February 09, 2008 
elrod unbothered by ties to eric miller
last month, i reported that congressional candidate jon elrod had hired main-1-media—a firm with close ties to professional gay-marriage opponent eric miller—to design his website, this week, melyssa asked elrod about those connections and posted about it at the hoosiers for fair taxation blog:

Jon Elrod was asked about hiring 1 to 1 Media, the marketing company connected with Eric Miller's Advance America. Elrod said his campaign hired the company and he didn't know who was hired. He also said his website is built and he has no plans to change it. He mentioned he felt no need to speak out publicly on this because his record supporting the hate crimes bill and his stance against SJR7 speaks for itself.

not a particularly encouraging response. he didn't know who was designing and hosting his site, and apparently doesn't care. he might disagree with eric miller and his cronies on these two issues, but he doesn't mind giving them money—which he presumably continues to do, as his domain remains registered to main-1-media, which suggests that they are now hosting the site in addition to having designed it.

curiously, one of the commenters at that blog argues that eric miller "would never support someone like Elrod", citing as evidence, which is currently a redirect to this advance indiana post about elrod. i guess the idea is that elrod is a "fake" republican because he supports a hate crimes bill and doesn't want to write homobigotry into the state constitution. ironically, the AI post is supportive of elrod and was written by a fellow republican, but what i find most interesting is that nobody had registered before november. it seems like such an obvious domain. (incidentally, doesn't seem to be registered to anyone, so snap it up now!)

as for whether eric miller truly could support elrod, i can't say. but miller is crafty, and i imagine that, given the choice between elrod or the democratic nominee (probably andré carson), he would readily choose elrod. but would elrod support eric miller? in a way, he does already.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008 
have a super day
as every other blog aside from this one has already mentioned, yesterday was super tuesday, when about half the US holds its primary elections. on the democratic side, the big news is... still no clear frontrunner. clinton and obama are still quite close in the race for delegates. it could go all the way to the convention, which would be exciting if a bit crazy.

but more specifically, this means that indiana's near-last-in-the-country presidential primary might actually mean something! hoosier voters might get an actual chance to go into the booth on may 6th and cast a real, meaningful vote for the democratic nominee. that hasn't happened in my memory, if in my lifetime.

this might force me to choose between clinton and obama. i'd be happy to vote for either of them, as either would be a billion times better than the republican frontrunner, john mccain, and a bazillion times better than our current president—not to mention that either will put an end to the 200 years of white dudes holding the office. if i had to pick today, i'd probably pick obama: he's more the "inspirational" candidate while hillary is a more "practical" candidate, and i gotta go with inspiration over pragmatism. but i don't have to pick today.

as for mccain wrapping up the republican nomination, it's a bit of a surprise. over the past eight years he's sold out everything people used to like him for, and the conventional wisdom a few months ago was that his campaign was dead. but the field of republican candidates is such a pack of jokers that i guess mccain doesn't look like as a big a loser as the rest. even the right-wing pundits hate him now, with even ann coulter saying she'd rather support hillary.

the may primary was already going to be a big deal for 7th district democrats, as we'll be choosing who will run for julia carson's old seat in the fall as well as who'll be running for governor against mitch daniels. if we get to actually vote for the presidential nominee for once, that can only improve turnout. (in contrast, the republican primary in the district will be relatively lame, with their nominees for those three races pretty much settled already.)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008 
expect us?
i wonder whether anyone will show up on february 10 to protest at the local scientology mission in south indianapolis (6451 rockville rd)?

i doubt i'll be there, as the 10th is virago's birthday and i don't imagine she'll want to spend her special day at an 11am protest. but it could be interesting to check out.

Monday, February 04, 2008 
yes we can!
people are talking about's pro-obama video, which is admittedly pretty good. but, because i have a five-year-old nephew, whenever i hear that phrase i can't help but think of bob the builder.

Sunday, February 03, 2008 
kind of cold-blooded, i know, but someone had to do it, and it might as well be me.


Friday, February 01, 2008 
if you hated my old blog design...
then i have good news and bad news.

the good news is that i have an all-new, all-different design that you might prefer! the bad news is that you might like the new design even less.

i'd been thinking of redesigning the blog for awhile, and decided to finally do so to coincide with the impending release of wack cylinders, my first solo album since 2004. believe it or not, wack cylinders will be my first release to feature databent album artwork, so to commemorate the event, the blog now features not one but five databent backgrounds!

the three major complaints i heard about the old design were
  1. the animation was distracting
  2. the white-on-black text was hard-to-read
  3. some thought the color scheme was loud or ugly

as you can see, #1 is solved—there's no animation anywhere. #2 is also no longer an issue. as for #3...

the blog now has five different backgrounds. when you visit a page, one of them will load at random. if you don't like that one, you can select your favorite in the sidebar in the right column. if you despise all of them, i've given you two extra options—a dignified solid white or solid black background. (if your javascript is disabled, you'll just see the white background.) as time goes on, i'll probably remove old backgrounds and replace them with different ones to keep things fresh.

this new design is a big change in several ways; most notably it's a fixed-width design, so the text doesn't sprawl all the way across the page as it used to. this should make it a bit easier to read. however, it could make some older posts look a bit squished. also, if you have a puny screen size (800x600 or smaller), you might have to scroll a bit, and you definitely won't get to see much of the cool backgrounds. (the backgrounds are designed to look different at different screen sizes, but only start looking good at 1024x768 or larger.)

leave your comments, and especially your bug reports.

p.s. wack cylinders will probably be finished this month, and released no later than march. to hear some sample tracks, check my mp3 page, myspace, or

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