Bear Droppings
Thursday, February 28, 2002
An interesting thing I have noticed here in DC. When I get into a conversation with someone working for the Administration (either in the White House or for a Department) at some social event, at some point in the conversation I hear the following.

Administration Staffer: You know I knew I would have long days when I took this job, but I am working 12-14 hour days every single day. I mean, I am not really complaining, because my boss is putting in the same hours, but I didn’t expect it really.

I am left wondering, is this normal for past administrations? Or is this a unique case? These people have generally worked in Congress and know the long hours there, so it’s not like it’s just some kid straight from college. When I heard it last summer I wasn’t all that surprised, I knew that the Administration was playing catchup and so it made sense. Even as recently though as this week, I heard this comment.

Interesting….not sure what to make of it.

Word of the day:
clueless fucknozzles
Thank you.
The New York Times has a Op-Ed column by a Youngstown local explaining Traficant's popularity.
Mr. Traficant is an old-school politician where everything political is local. Throughout his career in Congress, he has publicly recognized the achievements of everyday people. Personal contact with constituents and bringing home federal dollars, like $25 million for a community center, has earned him a reputation for getting things done. Angry and combative, Mr. Traficant gives voice to the community's rage when he rails against free trade, illegal immigrants and foreign steel, which many here cite as the causes of Youngstown's ongoing economic malaise.
I think this article captures him well, especially the fact that he is always working for Youngstown. One day last year I ran into him outside an elevator, I mentioned how much I enjoyed his One Minute Speeches. We got to talking and when he found out I worked for a IT trade association, the first words out of his mouth "You have to get your companies to open offices in Youngstown." He was completely serious. For all of the silliness you see hear and enjoy, he really does care about that area.

Business Journal has a letter on the Traficant Star, a story I hadn't heard about before. They also have a story on Traficant co-sponsoring a bill while the trial is underway, but that really isn't news, members sign on to legislation while out of town all the time. It almost seem like the Journal is acting like a blog providing links to the New York Times and the Cleveland Free Press today, very cool guys. Funny thing is the Free Press story is something I have been looking for a background piece on Judge Wells.

"Why are we proceeding? I have to go to the bathroom!"

Quotes like this are the reason I am following the Traficant trial. Thanks to the AP Wire.
Micro$oft wants to dismiss the states who don't want to accept settlement. Okay let's remember in the finding of facts they were guilty, and now they want to set the terms of their punishment? Arrogant? I think the best part is the following quote
The states' remedies include creating a version of the Windows operating system stripped of any middleware applications.

"This would destroy Windows desktop operating systems as a stable and consistent development platform," said Microsoft.
Obviously who ever wrote it either
A Had a great sense of humor
B Never actually used Windows (especially 98)
Stable and consistent, that's funny!

Imagine your the President of Recording Industry at your years biggest celebration event. You get 2 minutes to talk to everyone watching on television. You could talk about the achivements or new opportunities, but instead you only talk about peer to peer services and blame them for for crappy content, bad year of sales, and everything else under the sun. The problem is the artists know better, the consumers are slowly getting to know better and you are starting to resemble a bit of history.

I think we have their attention and they are scared.

Wednesday, February 27, 2002
Strolling through the logs I have seen a few people have dropped by because of my Warren Zevon comments, in the hope of trying to help other fans like me, I'd like to point to some new factoid or scoop. Lacking that I'll for the moment I will just mention this interesting site on Zevonaticism. (But I'll keep my eyes open for news)
Been busy working, yes I do actually work. Traficant trial is on a break, but the coverage continues on...

Readers can submit their opinions and get posted at the Business Journal. Not many posted yet, but I do rather like this one
Since the government has to pay for Mr. Traficant's trip to Florida and there is a scheduled launch at the Cape at that time, maybe they can arrange for Scotty to finally beam him up!
There is also kind of a wrap up story of the trial thus far here.

Mark Gillispie has another article on the trial here Mr. Gillispie has pretty detailed coverage of Robert Bucci testimony from yesterday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002
Ken Layne has a great post on Fox News website about the Music industry, I just wish I was as eloquent. Also this NY Times story on the subject.

Ugly day on the Traficant trial before their trip to Florida. Coverage by Business Journal and the AP Wire, neither one looks very good for JimmyT.
There is an interesting thread over on Kottke site on blogging well worth the read. The interesting thing that got me thinking is Jason Beaumont says
webloggers casually bandying about the term "personal journalism"
I know I perhaps have even done so in my Bio page, perhaps personal broadcasting is a better term? (Thinking aloud)

The truth is, these web publishing tools like blogger, give us not just the opportunity to express, but more accurately broadcast to a world people our thoughts, dreams, rants, and stories. How your cat is acting strange, Ben Brown's hobbies to keep himself (and us) entertained, my obsession with reporting on a weird Congressman from Ohio, it's all here and more, perhaps it is uniting consciousness and the Gaia theories. I don't know, but it is powerful, a soapbox for all, and most of the time fun....

Rageboy rocks, er I mean is the anti-Christ!
The FBI takes the stand against Traficant.
No usable fingerprints were found on the cash or envelopes, fact Traficant repeatedly emphasized during his cross-examination of Bushner.

After court recessed for the day, Traficant told reporters: "There's no prints on anything ... And there's no videotapes, no audio tapes. You mean to tell me they couldn't get a way to get some physical evidence on me?"

<Robert DeNiro Voice> You got nothing! Nothing! </Voice> Well, for Traficant's sake I hope they don't ;-)

Business Journal again has a decent write up of yesterday's events, and it seems things got better for him as the day progressed yesterday, since the day didn't start off well if you believe the reports.

Mark Gillispie of the Plain Dealer, showed his usual tact in today's story

U.S. Rep. James Traficant is not a lawyer, and it showed yesterday.
Hmmm I wonder if he was there for the late afternoon session because he completely missing the point that they had no physical evidence on the money, or perhaps it's just his ain't Traficant bias showing through again? One is forced to wonder.

As I have said in the past it's always good to see friends do well. When I was at NAU, Keely Varvel was one of the folks who welcomed me into Model UN and I have never forgotten, so congratulations on your new job.
Monday, February 25, 2002
I saw the JimmyT report on CNN and unfortunately, it was only a short segment and the reporter hadn't even been to the trial herself, she was based in DC, so all and all a waste of time. Second hand reports from a second hand source, with information like that you might as well just read Bear Droppings for your information. (Actually a habit I highly recommend)
Traficant's cross-examination of Paul Marcone doesn't sound like it's going well for JimmyT. I may blog later, tonight, JimmyT will be on CNN so it should be interesting. The show is supposed to look at why they keep sending him back to DC, could it be because he's an effective legislator, even without a party?
It seems to be a bad sign among blogs, when a blog links to an article on Blogging, all that being said I will do it anyways, I like the reasons he discusses for blogging, the benefits and considering all the bad press of late for blog of late, I think it's a nice shot in the arm.
I say the following in all sincerity, Mike over at perpetual beta is a god among men, he helped me fix my archives in one simple little lesson. I am in your debt sir, next round is on me! Having my archives back is a wonderful thing, there is no Shakespear in there, but to me it's all gold. :-)
Stories like this do more than show that Clear Channel doesn't respect nor listen to it's listeners, it also serves to demostrate their lack of understanding of the power of technology. Fundamentally, the Internet and technology will (and perhaps already is) push(ing) radio into a smaller and smaller market, with Satellite radio services developing and increasing wireless internet, we will see people going to niche radios that are driven by individual tastes rather than corporate playlists. It's funny actually how these companies may be slitting their own throats and not even realize it.

As an example, a friend has added a mp3 playing stereo to his car, he bragged to me how it could hold 7 hours of music on one disk, that is generally longer than most people need for a roadtrip, but all he has to do is change discs every once in a while, that is not a whole lot of work. The music is his favorite, not Clear Channels market demographics.

Granted there is nothing to stop them from plugging into the niches, but honestly I don't think they are that smart. And unless they develop their employee voices, I don't think any efforts by these companies will not do them any good.

I was mistaken, tomorrow is the day they go to Florida for the trial, today we get a cross examination of Paul Marcone, former Chief of Staff.
Some things go too far, this means war. There is already a slow food movement, perhaps we need a slow beer movement too. A fast Guinness would be the devil's work indeed. My friend Charles put it best
Next they will be trying to add Coors to Black and Tans.
Guinness is defined by it's slow pour, few better things in life than watching that foam gentle rise to the top of a glass, one of life's simple true pleasures.
Traficant article from Friday here, there is also an AP story from the same day. No trial while they are down in sunny Florida for depositions, so it will probably be a quiet week for Traficant issues.
Sunday, February 24, 2002
The Washington Post had an opinion piece from Phoenix by a new resident, I think it explains why I don't live there, nor probably ever will, again. Some places are just too hot. Too many strip malls, too little sense of community. The article is an interesting accurate description of life there.
Friday, February 22, 2002
If these two guys come your way asking for help, do yourself a favor...

Run Away!

Now on that I have done my Friday Five, time for the important stuff, Traficant had an interesting day yesterday with Paul Marcone, former Chief of Staff, on the stand. While Marcone did testify that he warned Traficant about possible ethics violation in regards of office space issues, Joe Bell has noticed something interesting out of Traficant's cross examinations.
Traficant has tried to act chummy with all the former employees who've testified against him in the last two weeks, says reporter Joe Bell, who is covering the trial for 27 First News and the Daily Business Journal Online. Of every one of them, Traficant has asked, "Did you do anything wrong while you were in my employ, or did you see me doing anything wrong?"

Everyone, Bell reports, has answered, "No."
This may end up being a powerful part of the case, so far alot of hearsay, but noone has said "I told him it was illegal, and he said go ahead". It has been circumstantial evidence and anecdotal evidence, it will be interesting to see where the case goes. In a related story we have more about staff testimony, but more interesting an angle on Demjanjuk, the FBI, and the KGB worthy reading, I don't even want to try to explain it all here.

From the Beacon Journal Representative Sawyer who Traficant will face for the 17th district, assuming he stays out of jail, has 6 primary challengers. I guess alot of people don't think he will properly represent the region, or that he is assured a victory because of the districts being redrawn. Interesting, while Republicans in the area
think it plays to their strengths, by having a three way race, Traficant is so popular in the Youngstown portion I suspect it will ultimately benefit him, either way Traficant or Republican, no complaints from me.

Mark Gillispie from the Plain Dealer has an article on the farm and people working there. While the Plain Dealer's coverage has varied in quality I will say this page rocks, nearly rivaling the Business Journal page for quality and quantity of Traficant coverage. I just wish they kept this page linked on the front, because I found it a few days ago, lost it, and it resurfaced this morning. The most interesting thing I found on this page was a story, by Tom Diemer, discussing how, though the Democrats won't work with him, it hasn't stopped Traficant's ability to get government funding. Interesting a man has basically been kicked out of his party but he gets government dollars for home, still think he can't win a three way race?

NY Times has a quick blurb on Traficant running for re-election, but to be honest I think the blurb about Condit's wife is more interesting reading.

I am sure there will be more to report later...

Friday Five
1. Hey, baby, what's your sign? Do you think it fits you pretty well? Cancer, I would say it fits well.

2. What's the worst birthday gift you've ever received? My grandparents had gotten me a gift but had put it into a cowboy boots box. I had no interest in getting cowboy boots, but as I opened it I tried to be polite and nice. Then they told me to open it and to my relief it was something else, but they could tell I wasn't happy with the idea of cowboy boots, so that has been a family joke ever since...but those 15 seconds after opening the box were sheer hell. :-)
Postscript: Jason from JSNotes another DC Blogger, notes just above my FF, getting the flu as a worst birthday. I have a similar story and was sick as well. I didn't count it as my worst for while I couldn't go have a beer, I had gotten to start having beer legally three months early.(I was studying in Germany) ;-) Besides when your gf gives you an ice cream cake and a bottle of champagne for your 21st, because she knew what a big deal it is in America (she wasn't American), it was nice even if I couldn't enjoy it on my birthday.

3. What's the best birthday gift you've ever received? My Mac G-3 laptop I recieved for my last birthday. Old, used, but runs and it's portable.

4. What's the best way you've celebrated your birthday thus far? Still looking for that birthday.

5. What are your plans for this weekend? Golf and some side projects, perhaps go see Carbon Leaf.
Thursday, February 21, 2002
This doesn't look good for Traficant folks.

On the plus side Inside Business, a magazine covering Northeastern Ohio, has Traficant in their yearly Best of Business list under "Best Self Defense" Let's hope so...

Robert Kaplan has recieve alot of note of late, between his new book getting covered in the press and his biography sketch in today's Post, his star has been on the rise in the last 8 months. I had the chance to listen to him speak back before he was in such demand. I was impressed by his thinking and understand of foriegn cultures, although I did think he had a tendency to be a bit light-weight in concrete examples and history. But then as I find out in today, he wasn't a history major. He is just a traveler and journalist trying to explain other cultures, something I like and respect. Forewarned he does have a fairly pessimistic point of view, which taken as an honest examination of the problems and issues is important and necessary. Worth checking out if your interested in foriegn affairs.
The City paper, one of those chain alternative weekly papers around the country, has an interesting story on bread in the DC area and the difficulty in finding it. Funny thing is I sware I read that same story out in Arizona 5 years ago, change the store names and it was basically the same piece....always a difficult thing in America to get good bread in most towns or if you can get really good bread it costs an arm and a leg. One of my favorite things about Europe I really miss, really good bread, for a reasonable price. The simple things in life, no?
Postscript: Funny thing the Post ran an opposite story, not enough buyers on Saturday, but I think the City Paper is closer to the truth.
Note to self: Never ask for Traficant's help in regards of legal issues, besides all of his current problems, when he is helping others he doesn't seem to have a good track record either.

Postscript: According to this, the hearing for Demjanjuk was in the same courthouse as Traficant's trial and Traficant mentioned it during his case. Crazy small world.

If we let the Roof Rats win in Arizona then the terrorists have already won!
(Hey, I thought it was funny)
Now on to the Traficant news and this morning there is alot of it, yesterday some damn fool (me) got it into their mind that it might be a good idea to sign on to Yahoo's free service of mailing you every time a set phrase or word. Naturally I typed in Traficant, clicked enter and went about my merry way. This morning 3/4 of the mail in my Yahoo inbox is related to the trial, on a certain level it's nice, because now I don't have to go digging through all the sites, but if you sign up for the service expect email, ALOT of email.

First off we have an AP story reported in NY Times, it is most repeated information that Bear Droppings covered yesterday, but there is an interesting quote about his re-election race.

He said Wednesday that he plans to run in the newly formed 17th Congressional District, but added that his trial leaves no time to mount a primary campaign for the Democratic nomination.

``If I'm convicted I have no shot as it is,'' Traficant said. ``If I'm not convicted, I have to run in an area that I've never run in before ... At this point I think the dynamics of this case have put me into a position where I don't have much choice.''

From the Beacon Journal we have a confirmation that he won't run as a Democrat, but as an independent. Hmmm, Northeastern Ohio a pro-union Independent vs. an anti-union Demcrat in a heavily Union district, I wouldn't take any bets on this race.

Mark Gillispie at the Plain Dealer has the story on the boat repair issue we covered yesterday, he does a decent write up unfortunately we have covered it six times by now and it doesn't shed much of anything new...a shame the Plain Dealer doesn't let him post the night before. Mr. Gillispie notes that "The congressman helped launch Richards' career and made him his chief of staff when Richards was just 27." There have been Members of Congress that are just 27 and Chief of Staffs at that age, while not the norm are not all that uncommon, I have known a few, it takes alot of work for those people, but they generally have earned such a position. The quote seems a veiled insult to Richards, but perhaps that's just my read.

Business Journal has a write-up of yesterday's trial, JimmyT running as an independent, and the Florida trip.

The Yahoo coverage is mostly stale at this point, things I have covered from other stories (since they run the wire services news), but I will go through them quickly.
AP- Traficant will run as Independent
AP- Traficant to Seek Re-Election
AP- Favors to Rep. James Traficant detailed in trial; congressman plans to run as independent
AP- Favors to Traficant Detailed in Trial
Now to actually get work done...

Regardless of all the political hay Waxman is trying to make, don't believe all the hype that this is all on one side of party lines.
Wednesday, February 20, 2002
Fix My Boat
The boat article is now making the wire services.
I can't believe I missed this, I got into a conversation about JimmyT with the co-worker from Youngstown and they mentioned there was an article in the Post today, how could I have missed it, thankfully it's more or less the AP wire story reported elsewhere.
Boat Repairs, Horse Breeding ­- Even a 'Girlfriend' Traficant trial story or Title of the next episode of Sally Jesse be the judge.
The Hill, on of the Congressional newspapers has a story on Traficant running for re-election, best section of the article
Even if he runs as a Democrat, congressional Democrats will rally around Sawyer, said Kim Rubey, a spokeswoman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC).

“We’re confident that a real Democrat will represent this district,” she said. “We do not consider Mr. Traficant to be a true Democrat. He votes and works with the Republicans.”
My God someone who thinks for themselves and works with others (especially when his own party ignored his legislative priorities), we can't have that in the Democratic party! It would be unamerican, of course in Arizona you know what we call someone who goes across party lines and acts on his own, John McCain. That being said McCain has changed alot of positions in the last 2 years that he has had a long history of supporting, I am not sure that he will be re-elected 4 years from now.

I'm, shocked, shocked to learn that Traficant is back in the news again...AP via Yahoo reports that his former Secretary took the stand and reported on cash deposits to his account.

The Beacon Journal has pretty much the same story off the AP wire, but they do have one interesting additional quote

``I opened an envelope and said, `Oh, my God, look at this,' '' she testified in Traficant's bribery trial in U.S. District Court.
They also have another wire story here. A shame because they had the best reporting and now they are letting the AP wire do the work, which doesn't seem to be all that interesting, frankly.

The Plain Dealer is actually improving it's coverage and has an article on the hearsay issue, perhaps I missed it in the other articles, but now I understand why they are allowing the hearsay (though why they won't wait until they speak to Henry DiBlasio first I am still not sure). Evidently Charles O'Nesti is dead hence they are allowing it, until they see if DiBlasio will corroborate the testimony. The Plain Dealer also files the story Bear Droppings noted yesterday that JimmyT will be running for election in the 17th district. Go Get'em Traficant! (If I was in the 17th district in Ohio I would vote for him.)

Saving the best for last, the Business Journal has some of the most detail reports on the trial, yesterday reporting late and really getting into depth on the mysterious cash deposits issue. If your only going to read one Traficant story today I would recommend this one.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002
Alot of hearsay going on at the Traficant trial, and it is being allowed for now. Rather odd that they would allow it, but then again, I am not a lawyer so don't ask me to explain. Evidently the reasoning is that..
Judge Wells says Bobby's hearsay testimony about O'Nesti is admissible, because there is no question that O'Nesti is unavailable to testify. But unless the government proves DiBlasio is also unavailable (he lives in Florida and is said to be in ill health), hearsay testimony regarding statements he allegedly made will not be heard by the jury.

Judge Wells issued her ruling in favor of admitting the testimony today, although Bobby's testimony about DiBlasio's statements is conditional pending his formal refusal to testify.
As I said I am not a lawyer, but doesn't this implicitly taint the jury?

Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night stays Traficant from his appointed duties, that's right folks he's running for re-election. Come on you didn't think 10 federal charges would slow him down now did you? The story also has segments of Traficant's cross examination of his former office manager.

Just one more example of the recording industry saying one thing and doing another....(from /. which also has the usual interesting comments)
In the next few weeks and months the copywrite issue will get more media coverage. As an aspiring writer I can understand wanting to protect your material from others stealing it and claiming it as their own. It has gotten overboard, is there any good reason an item I copy write should be protected until 70 years after my death? Just not practical nor realistic in the internet age, I would think somewhere around 25 years before it goes to the public domain seems reasonable, but then again if I were someone it would mean I would lose about half my inventory (or more) and be forced to stop living off the dead and have to be a center for creative and interesting ideas again.
Open Law has a good write up of the case and briefs on it.
Welcome back folks, I had a good weekend, I hope you did to, hopefully it was a long weekend like mine. Any who justice progressed while we were off enjoying ourselves, so here is a catch up report on the latest Traficant happenings.

From Friday afternoon testimony from a JimmyT staffer reported "A Lot Of Cash Came Into Traficant's Office", you know though this isn't all that surprising, from personal experience I can say especially in election year checks that were supposed to go to the PAC or the campaign office's ended up at our door, our standing policy was to get them out of the office ASAP. I will agree having staff taking the checks to the bank is alittle odd, just to prevent anything even looking bad it was campaign staff, not congressional that did that kind of thing, but for all I know his district staff could be his campaign staff in their spare time...(I know how that sounds but it happens more often than you might think.)

Saturday brings us this report that Traficant has a staff aide helping him in his defense, taking notes, handling files, etc. This one looks bad, staff on the public pay role shouldn't be doing this sort of thing, it hurts his case and his good public name *snort*, if it's true.

Nothing to report from our usual favorite today unfortunately the Beacon Journal's website sucks and so does it's archive. It also wants to charge you $2.95 an article for something old, <Dennis Miller Voice> I don't mean to go off on a rant here, but what do you do with old newspaper wrap a fish in it or toss it out, so does that mean it's more valuable or less than the $.50 you paid the first time around? You want to pay for your hosting costs fine, I don't mind a $.30 charge for an article after a few weeks if you really think you need to charge something to cover your costs, but to charge more than the original product for only a small portion is assine and as a consumer I ain't going to do it. <⁄Dennis Miller Voice> Doc has been talking about this sort of thing for a while and recently discussed it in the context of respecting existing weblinks. Okay, okay off the soapbox.

Plain Dealer also has a story on the staffer at the trial in alittle more detail.

Now over to the Business Journal, like everyone else they have a story on the staffer at the trial, but they also have an interesting little story on two rulings by Judge Wells. One is on a witness in the case viewing the trial and other gets Traficant an all expense paid trip for three days to Florida and a NEW CAR! (kidding about the car). The Government and our buddy JimmyT get to go down for a deposition for a IRS official that is not well enough to travel, and the government is even going to pickup the travel costs. Enjoy the Sun Guys! (These guys will do anything to get out of Ohio in the winter I tell you.)
If you interested in the text of the rulings first the government's motion to permit IRS summary witness and then granting government's motion to depose witness on videotape.

Friday, February 15, 2002
Edward Boyd has started zonitics a blog on Arizona politics, having lived there for a good part of my life, I find it interesting and a good read on the topic. Good Luck Edward! (Found thanks to Instapundit)
Does this page look bad? Too bad. :-) Go get Netscape or Opera, actually it's now readable in I.E. but I am working to give I.E. viewers the same cool woodback the other 5% of the viewers get....
Interesting write up on Blogger and blogging in general, MinuteMan Thomas reporting ;-) (Thanks to Adam Curry, yup that MTV guy)
A friend and I have joked over how she gets silly books to her niece on boogers, poop, and other body functions, so this story goes out to you hon'. In London, they have a whole Museum to the subject, Megacool!

Followup: This goes along with this story put online for Renee yesterday, a few candy hearts for the cynical.

Since I didn't have many Traficant stories this morning I got wondering about Judge Wells background and see what I could find out. My search led me to the Daily Business Journal from Youngstown and it has a great section on the trial, not to be missed.
Time for the Traficant update once again the Beacon Journal proves they are The Official News source of the Trial! (and Bear Droppings). Traficant and Judge Wells were at it over evidence rules and procedure, not surprising since he isn't a lawyer. We also have another report from the Journal discussing Traficant interviewing his former staffer.

No one otherwise had stories to report....

Friday Five
1. What was the first thing you ever cooked? Probably this peanut butter, maple syrup, and brown sugar mix I used to make as a kid, or else I don't know, I have been cooking for 20 years at least.

2. What's your signature dish? I don't have a set dish, I like to come up with ideas, or play and alter other receipes. I would guess either my stir-fry or breakfast burritos.

3. Ever had a cooking disaster? (tasted like crap, didn't work, etc.) Describe. If you experiment, you get odd combinations that don't work, nothing major. The biggest mess I ever made was a buddy and I were brewing beer, the wort (water, malt and hops before yeast) wasn't boiling so I turned up the heat, he noticed at the same time and while my back was turned, he put a lid on the top, about 3 minutes later it exploded out the top and all over the stove and part of the kitchen, it took a good 30-45 minutes to clean up, but in the end the beer turned out fine.

4. If skill and money were no object, what would make for your dream meal? Start with alittle Sushi, then Alaskan Crab Legs, then a nice salad to cleanse the palete, and finsh with Cioppino(sp?, it's a spicy seafood stew). I would be stuffed after all that, but if I had room for desert there is this warm chocolate pudding cake my mother used to make, that with a scoop of GOOD(not generic) vanilla ice cream.

5. What are you doing this weekend? Docent at the museum and there is a project I have been working on, maybe alittle golf if I find time.
Thursday, February 14, 2002
Busy day, so I haven't posted much on Traficant, not for a lack of stories, just the opposite actually too many of the stories and I haven't had a chance to review them all.
Yahoo has the following from yesterday
Former Traficant Staffer Testifies
Aide Tells of Kickbacks to Ohio Congressman
Traficant Denies Taking Bribes this one was a shocker...
And the Post has resumed coverage as well.

And then from today we have a number of stories...
These stories interest me, was it paid or gave? because if he gave that implies a voluntary sense to it, but if he paid, that seems to have a more manditory term.
Traficant Witness: I Paid Kickbacks
Traficant Witness: I Gave Kickbacks

Traficant Says He's a Victim As He Opens Own Defense from the Post, but the article goes on to say "The flamboyant Traficant, a renegade lawmaker" Renegade?

The Traficant trial started a term heading for the rubbish bin of the English language to come back from the dead, "donnybrook" is mentioned in this article on Chris Shays. I smell meme!

The New York Times has the campaign finance vote from last night, evidently Traficant missed the vote, I can't imagine where he was, if anyone has an idea let me know... ;-)
They also cover the testimony during the trial.

The Beacon Journal, is starting to become the Bear Droppings official trial source, has a great article let's listen in...

Traficant told jurors that the government claim that he was in ``cahoots'' with a shady Youngstown grocer was ridiculous.

``The man is suing me. Beam me up if I'm in cahoots with a man who is suing me,'' said Traficant, using the Star Trek reference he often utters in his House speeches.
Come on you knew he would get a couple "Beam Me Up"s into the courtroom.

Also the Journal has a few more good quotes in this article
But he compared the trial to a football game and said the game cannot be judged on the first quarter. I still haven't forgiven that he was drafted by the Steelers.
Paul Bray, 41, of Boardman, a Youngstown suburb within Traficant's district, was a courtroom observer who was attracted to the trial by curiosity.

"This morning I had an open mind," he said. "But after I saw what they did to him this afternoon, he is getting railroaded here. He was getting cut off, there were times when the judge would stop him even if the government hadn't objected. They should let him speak and ask questions."
Yeah, let the man speak!

From the Plain Dealer - Traficant ex-attorney tells court he torched evidence of kickbacks
You know if I was a lawyer, I might consider burning evidence a crime or something...

And I end tonight's coverage with a great interview and story, not by Channel 5 but by WKYC this time, go check it out. I haven't checked for any stories since lunch time, I am sure there will be some additional stories out there.

Another Olympic blog, this time by a journalist.

Follow up: Interesting Joshua, the author of the above, had the same feeling as I did about the 80 Hockey team, it was all well and good, but the Cold War is over. Life moves on...high school redux perhaps?

Princess Renee has a little Valentines day story to share, so I am hosting it, go read the story here.
You know your a geek when?
You use your website to propose marriage. Congrats CmdrTaco & Kathleen.
John Barlow has an intelligent Editorial piece called "the end of sharing" Go! Read! Now!
It must be my day to write about copyright, patent, and other IP issues. Dan Gillmore writes an interesting weblog and column for Mercury News out in Silicon Valley, today he takes on the issue of that the "entertainment industry continues to treat its customers like thieves, and the tactic of choice is to screw up the technology that give customers more choices". Someone smarter than me once said "never bet against your customer" and that is what this industry has been doing for years. It probably started earlier, but the case of CD's and pricing is a good example, consumers have been told for years the price would drop on CDs and it never has in fact today I have seen them running upwards of $20. Crazy since they are cheaper to produce than tapes, which are less expensive. You can tell me all about marketing costs, but let us be honest if your not between the ages of 9 and 24 you don't fit in 90% of the marketing plans (Boy Bands, Brittney, Flavor of the Month) and it is silly for us to pay marketing on products we don't buy. That honestly I think is why Napster took off, people rationalized, 'I have been screwed by the record labels for years and now it's there turn', alittle bitter but probably true. This naturally leads to that point, well what about the artists, their hard work should be paid, and I completely agree, we just need to find a good middle road. I love find out about local bands especially online listening to their music and then go and buy their album or pay to see their show. A great example of this is Carbon Leaf, they have gotten some airplay on DC 101 and I looked them up online and I have 5 songs of theirs in Winamp on my music rotation, they are going to be in Arlington soon and you know I'll be there to support them. If not for the 'net I probably would have thought when I heard about their show "yes that song is good, but I don't know anything else". Support live shows is one angle to finding the answer on this issue.

I don't have any other answers on the artists compensation, but let's start the conversation and see where it goes. Scary to think, but Courtney Love is actually one of the smartest people talking about this issue right now.

Let's find an answer people, to make the artists and the consumers happy, that's what matters.

Wired has an article on why the BT patent case is BS. People have gone over board with patents and non-disclosure agreements, my boss mentioned to me the other day that when he goes out to Silicon Valley about half of the businesses have you sign a non-disclosure agreement as you sign in. Madness really, unless your working for the military on highly classified documents, there is no reason for it, in the long run your not protecting knowledge, but assuring ignorance. Bemer, the gentleman that actually invented hyperlinks, has a great quote in the story "Advanced technology only happens when people take a basic idea and add to it," Bemer said. "All this new patent stuff is crazy and counterproductive." I think he's deadon right, but not just about technology all human endeavors.

Remember the words of Issac Newton "If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants." I don't think the giants ever ask him to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002
Great story to post later...from live at the anthrax, er um......Hart Senate Bldg
Postscript: I started this entry online at a buddies office in Dirksen actually 10 ft from the Hart bldg, just for arguements sake. The Internet Caucus event was interesting, they companies passed out all the fun toys, any one want an Xbox hat or a Yo-Yo, let me know, but it was also a good chance to see people from the Hill I don't get to see everyday now that I am working down in Rosslyn.

In regards of the Hart building, surprisingly no smell really, I had heard it smelled when they first re-opened the building. I got to ride on the elevator that brought the letter to Daschle's office. From there we went to my friend's office, but with a quick stop at the bathroom, while in the bathroom at the Hart building we noticed something rather interesting on the walls on the top was a white powder from the cleaning of the building. The powder had been attempted by someone to be wiped off the walls and was to a certain point, but you could tell the person who had done the cleaning wasn't all that tall and hadn't taken any effort to get a ladder to wipe off the last foot of the wall between their arm length and the ceiling. In a way disturbing, in a way funny, in a way I wasn't all that surprised. But if your going to be visiting the Hart building fear not, things are safe *cough* *cough*

I solved my mystery of Blogger ate my achives....if you use Blogger keep your archives in either Monthly or Weekly format....when you switch from one to the other it destroys them. As I mentioned to a buddy "I ain't real smart but after hitting myself in the head with a shovel a couple of times I figure out that hurts and stop doing it".
Now time for an Eyewitness 5 report with a sound/video interview from this morning. Also we have an article where Prosecutors say "Traficant Took Bribes For Horses' Care" bribes for horse care? what da fark is that?

Would the conversation been something like this....
"How do you want me to vote?"
"Vote against the trade deal"
"Mmmm 'kay, here wash my horse and it's a deal..."

Nope, no donnybrook here, move along, move along, nothing to see here.

Hmmm I got the page to look the way I want in Opera, and hence I suspect it looks good in Netscape, but it still looks bad in IE.
Some people I know have been very into the Olympics this year, I haven't gotten over the fact that IOC are being jerks in regards of webcasting and internet reporting, so I am ignoring them until they get their act together. Regardless, if your interested in the Winter Olympics you should check this blog out, it's a behind the scenes view of the events, very cool.
I knew JimmyT would not let us down, opening statements for the trial were today and "Traficant told jurors
on Wednesday his bribery and corruption trial is a vendetta by the FBI and the IRS, and he will fight "like a junkyard dog" to prove his innocence." Go get 'em JimmyT!

An interesting thing that I have noticed is that this story says he may get up to 43 years in jail, here it said 63 years, perhaps it's just a typo. Yahoo was also kind enough to offer us a picture of Traficant on the way to the courthouse this morning.

A couple of times he has stated "My people were excluded" from the jury pool, because there are no Youngstown residents in the jury. I doubt this will be much of a factor in the trial, but he is going to play it for all it's worth. The best quote from his opening statement so far is "You know what I did: I fought like hell for my people." Testify JimmyT, Testify!

For those of you in DC with an interest in tech and politics you might want to drop by the Congressional Internet Caucus Tech Demostration and Reception tonight. It's usually a pretty interesting event, I just invited a friend let's listen to the exchange (the names have been changed to protect the guilty)

Anonymous staffer: we've been fighting off a possible amendment since Thursday, and finally convinced leadership not to offer it
Anonymous staffer: so now i just have to stick around until midnight-2am and see how the vote goes
Thomas: fun.......not
Thomas: well come over to the Internet Caucus for dinner
Anonymous staffer: too far
Thomas: the Hart bldg is too far? (staffer works in a House Office Bldg, a couple of blocks away)
Anonymous staffer: too anthraxy
Thomas: oh but in a good way, besides it now comes in that Chlorox clean scent
Anonymous staffer: i'm sure it does
Thomas: besides the burning of the chlorine in your lungs hides the burning of the anthrax, so it's all good
Anonymous staffer: excellent
Thomas: besides I hear they are passing out free cipro at the door

I am left wondering why he wouldn't want to join in on the fun...but if your up for an adventure drop by

Good Morning Sportsfans, I know you'll be shocked to learn that JimmyT was in the news again this morning. His jury has been picked and here we go live to our field reporter from Yahoo(AP). NY Times has the same wire article. Otherwise not much to report, it's been a pretty quiet day on the JimmyT front.
Tuesday, February 12, 2002
Did you know JimmyT had a football career in the past, according to the post earlier today, he was, well here at Bear Droppings we spare no expense (nor any actual effort) to find the truth and here it is a write up of JimmyT's football career.
So I was doing a quick scan of weblogs and came across this tibit "I believe it was Henry Kissinger who said that a "moderate" Iranian is one who has run out of ammunition." One of the funniest things I have heard in a while, but seriously I have been finding myself reading more often InstaPundit. A very interesting perspective on media, tech, and liberty, so if you have some free time go check it out.

Quick Followup: Glenn pointed to this and I died very true. Okay kids it's a "One time at Band Camp moment..." :-)
While on the Hill, whenever Jerry showed up on camera on CSPAN one guy in the office would shout out, "Hey Jerry you wanna another sandwich" in a thick New York accent, very odd, but very everytime I see his face all I can think is "Hey Jerry you wanna another sandwich!" (Hey it's funny to me and it's my blog so there!)

Happy New Year!

Year of the Horse hmmm, I am on the prowl for a Chinese Astrology predictions for the year, so if you come across one, please send it my way, thanks.

Yet, another reason why hotmail sucks, I know, I know I rant about it, all the time and honestly this security flaw might as easily occured on Yahoo, but why doesn't it? Why don't hackers focus on other systems? You'd think this would make M$ system more imprevious to flaws they would work to get beyond it. But for all the security hacks, they don't ever seem to take the problem that seriously. Another company's current motto is "Unbreakable", perhaps M$'s should be "Breakable"? (And yes, I am aware they are breakable, but at least they are working towards something...)
"Dude we got like Gold Medals!"
"Excellent, Ted!"

Finally a sport we can dominate, no other country has as many Dudes as America man.

The Plain Dealer mentions Tom Sawyer will be running for election, same district as Traficant, the interesting point is it mentions a few other competitors for the seat before Traficant, granted the man will likely be sitting in jail by time of the election in November, but a sitting member of the House should be afforded alittle dignity ahead of a state senator or two. No class Mark Naymik, why would be so disrespectful? You don't want to be starting a donnybrook with JimmyT.

At least Craig Webb of the Beacon Journal can give Traficant his due in a similar article the Beacon is running today. Imagine a member running in 60% new district and Mr. Naymik barely mentions Traficant the current holder of the seat, I wonder why he doesn't like JimmyT? (BTW, Good article Mr. Webb)

One last Traficant story this morning, the Beacon Journal has an article on if the Jurors think they can be fair to him. "Traficant, who is representing himself, asked the prospective jurors if the fact that he was once drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers reflected negatively on his character." I will forgive him this which is tough as I am a Brown's fan, but I will do my best ;-)
After all nobody is perfect...

From Yahoo/USA Today late yesterday yet another article proving Traficant is, well, one of a kind, ''I have become more steadfast in my pursuit of challenging these bastards than ever,'' Traficant, 60, says of the FBI agents and government prosecutors who built the case against him. ''They better not make a mistake or I'm going to shove it up their backsides.''

This morning in the NY Times there is a good Op-Ed piece on a Marshall Plan for the Middle East in the wake of September 11th. Right after those events I had a similar thought, but after thinking about it for a while it's an extremely tough concept to sell. Why, for the following reasons...

1- Americans will be too short sighted in expectations of such a program and demand an immediate affect, something that would likely take 10-30 years with any such program.
2- America if it handled the plan poorly would be accused of Colonialism, which given past history of the region, it's not surprising people would have such a reaction.
3- Government officials would get reemed by the press by any funding it did not like the spending on or was wasted. That brings us back to control of the money, which smacks of Colonialism...(like helping Russia after the Wall fell, alot of the money went to the Oligrachy)

At the end of the day it's a tough sell and a complex one, things that never bode well for DC politics, I think Powell has the ability to sell it, if he really wants to, but his attention is focused on other matters at the moment. While an aid program serves our long term interest I suspect the chances of that happening are slim and none.

Monday, February 11, 2002
Judge Overrules Rep. Traficant, why do I suspect this is a headline we will see alot of during this trial? At least he won't let me get bored tracking his trial, Strom Thurmond hasn't been in the media for 3 weeks nor issued a press release this year, I am starting to wonder if he's alive at all, presuming so it would be Day 90 of the Strom Thurmond Death Watch(TM)

M$ has a new effort called "Trustworthy Computing", a public effort to improve security and privacy in M$ products, considering their reputation on such issues a good idea. Now go to Yes, this IS intend to do that, think about it, laugh and go about your day. (Thanks to David Weinberger for pointing it out)
Moving Day?

Good morning all, I hope your weekend went well, mine was quiet, but good. As usual no posting here, in case you don't know since I sit in front of a computer all week I make an effort not to get online from the time I leave work Friday afternoon until Sunday evening (at the earliest). Friday afternoon I was at the golf range and Saturday morning I golfed 9 holes with buddies of mine, I even had a par, which is damn good for me.

Now on to the important part of the morning the James Traficant wrap up.
First RollCall has an article on how Sawyer will be running against Traficant for the seat in November. For those of you who missed it, due to population decline Ohio lost a Congressional seat and JimmyT's district was the one they eliminated. It won't be the same not having him in Congress, for those of you who don't know, on Capitol Hill many staffers of both parties mornings are made by his one minute speeches which rant over the latest govt hypocrisy or anything else that strikes his fancy. Closests thing to a weblog by a Member of Congress.

Also from Saturday Yahoo (AP Wire) has an article on how Youngstown is trying to shake it's bad image. A co-worker is from there and they mentioned the town was horribly corrupt and all the locals know it. That supposedly is part of the reason there has been no economic come back since the 70's when the steel mills shutdown. "Kids go away to school and don't come back," Mr. Green said. "Kids who quit school are staying because where else is there to go?" (from the article)

This morning there is an article in the USA Today it is mostly an overview of the case and Traficant, but interesting read nevertheless. My favorite quote out of this article is what would happen if he managed to win this case? "Oh God, yeah," Ditzler says. "And he becomes even more of a cult figure than he is now." Not that I think that's possible ;-)

From the Beacon Journal this morning we have a write up on how jury selection is going in the trial. This article is also listed in the Plain Dealer as well.

Friday, February 08, 2002
Tired of all those AOL CDs? These guys have an interesting idea....I just hate to lose the balance in my coffee table ;-)
DC based news has dried up on Traficant, but luckily for us Ohio papers continue to cover the case....
Friday Five
1. What's the most romantic thing you've ever done for someone else? Hmmmm perhaps when a gf was busy studying late on a snowy winter night after all the coffee shops had closed, I went to the store bought chocolate flavored creamer, brought it back made a pseudo-Mocha using regular coffee and the creamer for her, Mocha was her favorite drink. Either that or general random acts of kindness, my family is big into "Happy Nothingday"s, we love to give unexpected surprises.
2. What are your erogenous zones? I'm a guy, guess.
3. How old were you the first time you had sex? Care to expound? I was 20 and nope.
4. What's the most unusual place you've ever had sex? Computer lab or my college dorm's tv lounge not sure which was the most unusual.
5. Do you have plans for Valentine's Day or is it just another Thursday? Celebrating AZ statehood day....(yeah just another Thursday)

Thursday, February 07, 2002
The Berlin Wall coming down was a definitive moment to me, while I was headed towards working politics before that those events in November it did crystalize my interest in working in politics and international affairs. So here is a link to a tribute to Chris Gueffory the last person to shot while trying to cross the Wall. He was shot 13 years ago, yesterday. We can't let people like this be forgotten.
Lunch Review - DC Chophouse
I had lunch at the DC Chophouse today. As when I have eaten there in the past the food is very good though alittle expensive, but their lunch prices aren't bad. The Chophouse is right around the corner from the MCI Center so it can afford to charge the high prices. I had meatloaf and mashed potato, yum. They had a great wine and sauted mushroom sauce over the top of it. A buddy of mine had the steak tips and it had a similar gravy over it, we were both impressed. I don't get out to really good restaurants that often, so I enjoyed the lunch, it was a great heavy lunch to get you through a cold day meal. Also the beers they serve there are always good (of course I won't say if I had one for lunch since it was a work day ;) If you're near MCI Center looking for a good meal, with good service and don't mind paying for it, DC Chophouse is a great place to go. Interesting, the Chophouse is owned by the same folks at the Rock Bottom brewpub chain (from their website). I was going to list the Washington Post's review, but mysteriously they have no information on their site, like it up and disappeared, odd because I know the Post has usually very good listing of local restaurants.
"Judge, Traficant bickering over jury", oh let's not have a donnybrook now, can't we all just get along?
Wednesday, February 06, 2002
Traficant has let the trial get very far without complaining already. "I'm not being tried by a jury of my peers," he states here. Stay Tuned...
Nothing will stop the German's from drinking, not even the state of Utah. "To get round the restrictions, diplomats from Germany, Italy, Austria, Slovakia and Switzerland have set up temporary consulates which can sell alcohol tax-free."

You have to love it.

One last Traficant note (for the moment, not forever for sure), he also has an article in The Hill today.
If you hadn't noticed the Traficant trial has started in full-swing, stay tuned to Bear Droppings for all the latest coverage. This morning articles though are basically the same material repeated. Interesting the Judge said he didn't want a "donnybrook", a term Traficant used in his last trial. I wasn't famaliar with it, so here is a definition.

Main Entry: don·ny·brook
Pronunciation: 'dä-nE-"bruk
Function: noun
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: Donnybrook Fair, annual Irish event known for its brawls
Date: 1852
2 : a usually public quarrel or dispute
(Thanks Merriam-Webster)

Traficant Defending Himself in Court (AP)
Lawmaker Is Cautioned on Trial Behavior (NY Times)
Traficant Plays Role of Underdog (Beacon Journal)
Judge warns Traficant: You behave' (The Plain Dealer)
and lastly an interesting profile from Feb. 3 in the Washinton Post

Remember ''Donnybrook" our word for the day ;-) (I'm hoping it does turn into a donnybrook, that way it's all the more interesting.)
Tuesday, February 05, 2002
Thomas Friedman's book "From Beirut to Jerusalem" was required reading in my first International Poli Sci class and I have been reading his work every since. He is very sharp on international issues and he is generally ahead of the curve on things, especially Middle Eastern issues. Although, I think he's a bit hypocritical, because he practically preaches about openness (esp. to the Middle East), but doesn't have his personal email address available online. Otherwise a keen mind. He brings up an interesting point in his recent column about how America's technical superiority maybe be too far ahead of our own Allies. This really isn't all that new an issue, it's been on going since the end of the Cold War, but he has an interesting angle on it. A lot of it does go back to the fact the Europeans are unwilling to spend extra money on defense (esp. considering their high social budget expenses). Culturally he might be right for the most part, but considering recent events and the known slippery border in the southern EU countries, it has surprised me they haven't worked on a more public front to cut back illegal immigration from outside the EU. I do suspect he is right this may be a future source of tension. Although causing the end of NATO is rather silly, because most folks working in Defense and European politics know NATO has been an alliance searching for a mission since '89. If the European countries don't move away from conscription to professional stand alone force (regardless of Brussels or Nationally based), I suspect this will be a significant issue in the next 10 years. By making a professional permanent force, I think they will be better ability to afford equipment parity with the United States. Just my $.02

If your interest in SCA and up in the Pacific Northwest you might go look up my friend Brian's page. (Especially in the Spokane area.)
Here we are at WrestleMania 2002 with James 'Never a Slave to Fashion' Traficant!

Do you have a quote for the audience JimmyT?
Traficant: "Bring It On"

Ladies and gentleman, I wish I could invent copy this good.

Axis of Diet Evil perhaps? Would it be an Evil Petty Zoo? Thanks for the link Caroline. I am left after reading the article wondering which Axis the French would join...
still messing with the settings, it looks like crap on IE, but okay on Opera....
Monday, February 04, 2002
Can't get enough of Traficant (from the Sunday Wash Post)

And yes, I know he's going to jail.

Very cool to see people you worked with do well and become important and stuff. :-) Ralph was the Policy Director when I was interning for TD, I even worked on some projects for him. He has a good interview today at ZDNet on tech policy and the next year, check it out. (Even though he works for a different IT Trade Group) It's nice to see good people do well in life and get recognition.
Sunday, February 03, 2002
All I have to say tonight is that recent NFL adage "Defense wins champonships, Offense wins SuperBowls" was proven wrong, alittle more offense and the Browns will take it all next year! Congrats Patriots!
Friday, February 01, 2002
playing with the if it looks funny, that's why...(I'm sooooooooo blue)
There is an interesting write up on Blogger in the Guardian. Now that I have been using this system for a few months, I figure I can do a review of it. I do like the simple direct interface. I wish it worked on other browsers as effectively, it was a real pain trying to blog over the holidays at my folks house. (Mom has an Audrey and Dad has an old Mac w/Netscape, neither one looked right). Occasional Blogger flakes when I am trying to post a link, place bold, or italics. It posts them into the article, but not between the highlighted text. Not sure why it happens. Archives, well as you know blogger ate all my 2001 archives the other day and while I didn't have any Shakespear in there it did rather tick me off. Other than being wanting to able to have people add comments, I am pretty pleased with it. In the next few months I may migrate completely to hosted by like my static homepage (although this means finding another engine to power my blog) or start up my own domain and name outside of bears and blogger, but potentially keeping blogger as an engine for it. That way I can have an external host for my archives with little worry of future issues.
This whole AOL vs Trillian things ticks me off, I have friends on ICQ, Yahoo, and AIM, there is no good reason to run three different programs eating all those resources on a pc, when one program can run all three for half the resources drain of one of them. Email works across systems, so should messengers, remember it's the number of people you can reach that makes the internet valuable, not the walls between systems. AOL get a Clue!
Wil Wheaton won a bunch of blog awards the other day which I thought was cool. Webgrrl of the DC Social Bloggers group used to have a link to his page, but she seemed botheredby the fact that someone with such a new blog would win so much. This article (actually stolen from Wil's site) I think explains why he won, and why he's getting 90,000 hits a month. Interesting and true article...even seemed humble about the whole deal. Just my take...
Friday Five
1. Have you ever had braces? Any other teeth trauma? Other than wisdom teeth removed, nope no trama or braces.

2. Ever broken any bones? Nope

3. Ever had stitches? Nope

4. What are the stories behind some of your [physical] scars? Weird minor scars from cuts when I was camping as a kid, most of them tough to find.

5. How do you plan to spend your weekend? Fighting off the end of my current cold. Sunday helping out at Museum as a docent, followed by watching the Super Bowl.

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