Archive for September, 2006

McCaskill-Obama and the best blogs you’ve never read

Friday, September 29th, 2006

– Claire McCaskill livened up what was a pretty boring week for Missouri political junkies by dishing some insider gossip: Barack Obama is running for president (link via johncombest.com). Of course, her campaign had to call the reporter back and, uh, Claire-ify what she said, but I trust that Claire knew what she was talking about in the original version of her comments. (Last year, I referred to Claire as a “thoroughbred.” It has proven to be an appropriate metaphor, considering how often her spokeswoman has had to follow behind her with a big shovel.)

– Jason Rosenbaum pulls out a last-minute victory in the “Best Blog Headline” competition this month. Rosenbaum successfully merged a Depeche Mode lyric with facebook jargon and probably caused older readers to think he was being profane.

– Speaking of profanity: I didn’t vote in this year’s Riverfront Times “Best of St. Louis” poll, but if I did, my vote for “Best Blog” would have gone to the editor’s pick, ByronCrawford.com.

Warning: Do not visit these pages (probably NSFW, BTW) if you do not have a sense of humor, or if you get all touchy when the issue of race comes up (Crawford is black, because I know you’ll wonder). By clicking on the following links, you forfeit your right to send me e-mails complaining about how offended you are.

Here are some politically-oriented posts:

Cynthia McKinney: Crazy Black Woman

Cynthia McKinney Sings the Hits

Illegal Immigration Reality Check

Those of you on the western side of the state who don’t already go to TonysKansasCity.com will want to check it out.

Read the above sites at your own peril. If they don’t make you laugh, click the little “X” box in the upper right-hand corner of your browser. And if you’re still offended by something they wrote, don’t bother complaining to me, because I don’t care.

Enjoy your weekend!

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.

1994: Generation X

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

A little over 12 years ago, an editor at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch called and asked if I was interested in writing an op-ed for the paper. The topic was Generation X. She gently suggested that I write about how the stereotype of my generation being apathetic was incorrect, and how my age group was actually very conscious of important issues of the day, like the environment.

In what would prove to become a pattern of personal behavior over the next decade, I told the woman what she wanted to hear, then went off and did the opposite.

Here’s the result, reprinted without permission from the September 28, 1994 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Our generation is being called lazy, disrespectful and apathetic by our elders. Once again, our parents are right. Generation X is apathetic because it was brought up in hypocrisy and wasn’t introduced to basic American values.

A few years ago, actor River Phoenix was a hero. When he wasn’t extolling the virtues of veggie burgers or whining about animal rights, he could be seen telling his fans to “Just say no.” Phoenix died last year after overdosing on a plethora of illegal substances. So much for the notion that veggies live longer.

Much more detrimental to Xers than misplaced idolization is the idea that kids shouldn’t be allowed to fail. Anytime a teenager fails, the failure is blamed on racism, sexism, homophobia or big bad conservatives like Rush Limbaugh.

Teens should be held responsible for their actions and not have excuses made for them when they fail. For strong-minded teens, failure leads to perseverance, and perseverance leads to sucess.

Most teenagers seem to believe that our country owes them something, rather than the other way around. At my school, some students even refuse to stand for our national anthem. If corporal punishment were still allowed, I’d volunteer to give these disrespectful morons an old-fashioned whack on the butt.

Why the lack of respect for our country? Maybe because students learn that America is inherently bad. We are still taught to feel bad about slavery. We are lectured on the violation of the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the heroism of Japanese kamakazis. And, of course, we Americans were terribly prejudiced not to embrace those peaceful communists like Mikhail Gorbachev (and Ho Chi Minh and Kim Il Sung . . .)

We are on the brink of a cultural war. These will be the defining years for Generation X. As we mature, we will realize that the conservative ideals our ancestors lived by and died for are the cures for social decay. When we face up to individual responsibility, we will make our country a better place.

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.

STLBJ subscription requirement: Their loss.

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

I’ve been linking to MOHELA articles for what seems like an eternity now, and this week’s edition of the St. Louis Business Journal has the most in-depth coverage of the issue I’ve ever read.

Want to read it?

It’ll cost you $85.

That’s right — the kinds of articles you used to find linked on johncombest.com are now available only to STLBJ subscribers. The new policy started several weeks back.

Unlike the mandatory registrations required by some other papers — which require only an e-mail address for entry — the Business Journal is limiting the availability of its print edition stories to those who subscribe to the paper.

Of course, as a free-market guy, I think the Business Journal has every right to do so. But just because they can doesn’t mean they should, for three reasons:

1.) Taking content offline won’t lead to more subscriptions. Straight business news stories are the STLBJ’s entrees, and the political pieces and editorials are merely side dishes. Taking the political articles offline won’t encourage anyone to actually purchase a subscription just to read an article or two a week.

2.) It fails to maximize the paper’s potential influence. For years, the most influential political leaders in Missouri — namely, you — have read the STLBJ articles every week at johncombest.com. Not anymore. How many of you read last week’s editorial on the minimum wage? Or this week’s piece on MOHELA? Didn’t think so.

3.) It’s counterintuitive. With few exceptions, print media outlets are making more of their content available online, not less. The result is more exposure for their reporters and columnists. A win-win for everyone.

I know of at least one person at the St. Louis Business Journal that understands this; that person e-mailed me a couple weeks back, and I know that they understand the Internet well enough to know what their paper is missing out on.

Unfortunately, when it comes to large media outlets like the Business Journal, most decisions on matters like these take place in the national corporate office, not the local bureau.

In other words, we shouldn’t blame the folks at the St. Louis Business Journal — we should blame whoever in the national corporate structure decided to restrict access.

One of three things will happen:

1.) The Business Journal will continue its policy of limiting access to paid subscribers only, and miss out on reaching the most influential people in Missouri politics — namely, you.

2.) A blogger — who is not a subscriber, but who got his hands on a login and password because he’s resourceful like that — will begin distributing the paper’s content on his website anyway. Corporate BJers will send a cease-and-desist letter, which will subsequently be posted on the blogger’s website. Bloggers from across the country and across genres, long annoyed by mandatory registrations, will speak out in favor of said blogger and create a veritable, uh, spitstorm of negative publicity for the corporate suits.

3.) The people in charge of such decisions at the Business Journal will make more print edition articles, columns, and editorials available free of charge on the STLBJ website. The paper will reach more influential opinion leaders, those leaders will be grateful for the access, and everyone will benefit from the arrangement.

What will it be? Stay tuned to this space to find out.

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.

This Week in Blogging, Sept. 26

Tuesday, September 26th, 2006

Thanks to Brenda McGowen of the Texas County Republicans, who took the original photograph of the McCaskill & Son mill that appeared on this site yesterday, as well as in the KC Buzz Blog, National Journal’s The Hotline (subscription only), and Hotline’s Blogometer yesterday.

Last week, this page pointed out that the McCaskill campaign blog hadn’t been updated in three weeks. The blog was updated later that day.

The Talent campaign blog has a link to a redstate.com interview with the candidate.

Randy Turner of The Turner Report dubbed the top recipients of lobbyist money the “Hall of Shame”, and Chuck Graham was the first inductee. Jeff Roe commented on his blog.

Roy Temple thinks that the Missouri Farm Bureau’s opposition to Amendment 2 is a sign that the group “is having doubts about Blunt’s re-election prospects.”

The ArchCityChronicle.com website has the Sept. 12 edition of the print publication available.

Meanwhile, my fellow right-wingers should hope that Larry Handlin keeps paying attention to his home state of Illinois (where all the exciting campaigns are taking place) and forgets about Missouri (nothing to see here, Larry, move along).

Paul Seale links to a report on the effects that a minimum wage increase would have on unskilled workers.

Mayor Slay is no fan of HR 5092.

Katie Favazza is no fan of Jack Danforth.

And of course, don’t forget the national and state political updates available daily at National Journal’s The Hotline, P-D Political Fix, KC Buzz Blog, KY3 Political Notebook, and CDT Vote 2006.

Comments to john {at} johncombestblog {dot} com. E-mail rules here.