September 02, 2016

Newspapers' latest slouch toward Gomorrah — paid letters

As in paid letters to the editor, courtesy of the Bismarck Tribune. (I saw it via a Facebook friend, via Romanesko.)

Here it is:
The Tribune will charge a $50 advertising fee for endorsement letters for candidates and measures. Political letters can be sent to the same addresses as above, but writers will be contacted to provide $50 by credit card. The same rules of length apply to political letters.
First, what exactly is an endorsement letter? Is Grandma Midge writing in to say "I think City Councilman X has done a good job the last three years" an endorsement, if he's running for re-election?


Astroturfers will pay your $50; real people will stop writing letters to the editor about local candidates.

Astroturfers like Keybridge, notorious ghost-writer of op-eds, with whom I am professionally as well as personally familiar. (It spam-emails nondaily and daily papers alike.)

Maybe there's a way around it, like there is around cheaper paywalls. One Romanesko commenter notes:
Maybe I'm reading this wrong, but it sounds like the paper is charging for letters that endorse a candidate or measure, so not all political letters. Which makes me wonder if letters railing against a candidate can run for free, since they're not an endorsement.
Well, it's worth a try.

Another notes the reality.
And so this is how it all ends. Not with a whimper or a bang, but with rampant stupidity.
Geez, I need a change of careers.

Plus, if at, let's say, $200 a year, one reader cancels a subscription, four paid letters just treads water offsetting the subscription.

Bismarck is NOT a herring; it's a stinking lutefisk.

September 01, 2016

Alt history — Germany owns the Virgin Islands in World War I

Not totally implausible.

Old Brandenberg had a colony on Africa's Gold Coast from 1682-1721, when it was sold to the Dutch.

Picture them keeping it, then later acquiring one small West Indies island.

Then, as part of the Second Schleswig War against Denmark in the 1860s, imagine that Bismarck demands the Danish Virgin Islands, as well as Schleswig and Holstein, be handed over to the German Confederation, if not Prussia. Imagine that he takes them, along with those two lands, after the Seven Weeks War.

And, then, 1914.

Germany has a naval base in the Caribbean during World War I. A direct threat to neighboring Puerto Rico, should the U.S. have entered the war as it did. It primarily would have housed commerce raiders but could have done more.

Imagine that the Kaiser, or somebody, would have said, "Yes, submarines aren't sexy, and Captain Mahan might not have incorporated them in his book on sea power, but they're cheap, they're a new, disruptive weapon, and a submarine base in the German Virgin Islands will allow them to roam all across the North Atlantic.

August 31, 2016

Colin Kaepernick vs. #NFL lackeys over #BLM and First Amendment

I hadn't originally planned a second post on Colin Kaepernick and his pledge to continue to remain seated during the National Anthem.

But, given the array of flak he's drawn, and the curious connection of most of that flak, no, this deserves a second post.

Follow the money, I'll say, by and large.

Per YahooDrew Brees, I "get." (I don't "accept," though, especially as Kaep had already said this isn't anti-military.) That said Brees (along with many a black athlete, whether hypocritically or seriously, winning or losing, has been a public, seemingly conservative, Jesus confessor.

But, let's move on.

Richard Sherman, with:
"At the same time, you’ve got to honor your country."
Still gets it half-wrong, as I see it.

That's just the old "my country, right or wrong," in new dress. And, it's kind of surprising coming from him. But not totally surprising. His "protests" have generally been confined to games and halfway football-related.

And Jerry Rice [Tap-Dancing with the Stars?] and an admitted Stickum cheat, has reportedly now taken the Sherman fade route.

"Honor the flag" from Rice is as half-wrong as is Sherman's comment.

Running to daylight and the end zone, even more, is Tiki Barber, who's now been getting Twitter-flamed. Maybe when black athletes get rich enough (see Jordan, Michael) they start shading their opinions more, or at least get tempted to. Jordan has now finally found a voice and LeBron James never ignored his. That said, if Kaep were the starter in the Bay???

And, Rodney Harrison has really doubled down on teh stupidz, saying Kaep isn't black. I guess Obama isn't either? 

Jerry Rice may not be getting paid to protect the NFL's legacy, but all the others above are.

Sherman and Brees are both players. Barber has a CBS Radio sports talk show. Harrison is a talking head for NBC.

On the side of sanity, fortunately, Jim Brown (no surprise) totally supports him. But, he was called out for that by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.

Starting to see a pattern here?

It's not just football. I referenced MJ above. NBA players and GMs in general weren't very supportive of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf during his own National Anthem protest, which still doesn't sit totally well with his then-head coach Bernie Bickerstaff. (And, this was before 9/11; could you imagine the reaction to Abdul-Rauf doing that in the name of Islam today?)

Ken Silverstein notes that peer pressure can be pretty big as part of the Kaepernick ... "lynching," to quote one of our nation's Nine in Black.

Besides those above whose livelihoods might be even slightly threatened, there's the general circling of the wagons, the protecting of the legacy.

Now, I don't think any of this is being orchestrated by Roger Goodell, the man behind the Shield. Doesn't have to be. Have you heard one word from him in support of Kaep?

Nope. Crickets.

And, getting back to black, because Kaep said this was in part about Black Lives Matter.


Isn't this a bit like saying, "Shut up and let massa pay you"?

Speaking of, Francis Scott Key's song has plenty of room for fodder here.

First, as The Intercept notes, the third verse salutes the killing of slaves. Or rather, slaves attempting to escape to the British vessels that bombarded Fort McHenry and led to Key's words.

But, other people have other reasons to balk at the song.

The fourth stanza, per Wiki, is explicitly Christian, claiming America's motto is "In God is our Trust." And, now you know where Salmon P. Chase was inspired to inscribe our coinage in 1864; "In God We Trust" likely started with Key.





August 30, 2016

TX Progressives talk state elections, community newspapers

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges support for Louisiana flood victims as it brings you this week's roundup.

Off the Kuff points out that at current levels of polling, Democratic statewide candidates in Texas have a legitimate shot at getting elected.

CouldBeTrue of South Texas Chisme knows Texas Republican racism, meanness and greed is behind the withholding of birth certificates to Hispanic children born in Texas.

Hearst's acquisition of nearly two dozen small newspapers circling the city of Houston points out one of the few bright spots in the industry, writes PDiddie at Brains and Eggs; the rise of community-based papers.

Socratic Gadfly, noting when all parties have "issues," defends Green Veep Ajamu Baraka from Swiftboating, while noting he opened himself to it by being a conspiracy theorist.

Bay Area Houston complains about Gilbert Pena in HD 144.

Dos Centavos eulogizes John Gabriel.

======================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

The Bloggess celebrates technology in parenting and friendship.

Grits for Breakfast calls for decarceration and closing prisons to reduce TDCJ's budget.

The TSTA Blog reminds us that campus miracle workers can only do so much with limited resources.

The Austin Chronicle posits nine reasons why Donald Trump came to Austin.

Better Texas Blog eulogizes Nelda Laney, wife of former State House Speaker Pete Laney.

The Schulenberg Forty-Eighter discusses how to fight oil pipelines.

Thoughts on Colin Kaepernick and the Star Spangled Banner (updated)

As Colin Kaepernick pledges to continue to remain seated during the National Anthem, here's a few quick thoughts.

First is the "why now" question. I don't know, but let's hope the MSM asks. That said, it appears at least tenuously connected to Black Lives Matter issues.

And, Francis Scott Key's song has plenty of room for fodder here.

First, as The Intercept notes, the third verse salutes the killing of slaves. Or rather, slaves attempting to escape to the British vessels that bombarded Fort McHenry and led to Key's words.

But, other people have other reasons to balk at the song.

The fourth stanza, per Wiki, is explicitly Christian, claiming America's motto is "In God is our Trust." And, now you know where Salmon P. Chase was inspired to inscribe our coinage in 1864; "In God We Trust" likely started with Key.

Update: Per Yahoo, Drew Brees, I "get." (I don't "accept," though, especially as Kaep had already said this isn't anti-military.)

Richard Sherman, with:
"At the same time, you’ve got to honor your country."

Still gets it half-wrong, as I see it.

That's just the old "my country, right or wrong," in new dress. And, it's kind of surprising coming from him.

And Jerry Rice [Tap-Dancing with the Stars?] has reportedly now taken the Sherman fade route. As has Tiki Barber. Maybe when black athletes get rich enough (see Jordan, Michael) they start shading their opinions more, or at least get tempted to. Jordan has now finally found a voice and LeBron James never ignored his. That said, if Kaep were the starter in the Bay???

And, Rodney Harrison has really doubled down on teh stupidz, saying Kaep isn't black. I guess Obama isn't either? 

Ken Silverstein notes that peer pressure can be pretty big as part of the Kaepernick ... "lynching," to quote one of our nation's Nine in Black.

On the side of sanity, fortunately, Jim Brown (no surprise) totally supports him.