Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Mea Culpa

I was wrong. The city of New Orleans pulled it off without a hitch. It was obvious that there had been a great deal of gearing up for the arrival of the librarians. Service in hotels and restaurants was occassionally iffy either because of shortages of staff or lack of training and experience. It was obvious that many staff had been hired recently to cover the volume of business that ALA brought.

I never heard an official number of attendants. Some of the vendors in the exhibit room said traffic was considerably less than normal for this conference.

Last year's meeting in Chicago had 27,000 people. This year was not close to that.

Apparently there are a number of large conferences who are looking to schedule New Orleans who have been waiting to see how ALA goes. The success of this meeting should be a good sign for business in New Orleans.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Off to ALA

For more than ten years, I have been avoiding the annual meeting of the American Library Association. It is huge, over done and over scheduled. However, time has finally caught up with me and I am going this year. To New Orleans. For the first really big convention to be in the city since Katrina. Attendance often tops 15,000 librarians.

I suspect that this is going to be a huge fiasco and that the city is in no way prepared to handle this many people. I would like to be wrong, but stay tuned.

More when I get back.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Body Armor

All the discussion of equipment and protection for the troops has obviously led to an opportunity for innovation in new types of armor. There will be some really cool stuff coming down the pipe. Here is one.


That's right liquid armor. This stuff is designed to cover those parts of the body not covered by the ballistic armor currently in use. This is intended to reduce the number of soldiers wounded.

If it works this will be great.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Iraq media coverage

J.D. Johannes, a former marine and reporter who produced syndicated TV reports from within Iraq is interviewed at TCSDaily. One of his comments on the main stream media members is

Also, and this is probably the most disturbing part, many journalists have not figured out that they're being targeted by the enemy on purpose to help shape the coverage of the war. The insurgents don't want the reporters out and about running around. They're completely satisfied with the "balcony" report and some video shot by a stringer of the daily car bomb. That's the message that the insurgents want to get out. They don't realize that warfare is both the kinetic and non-kinetic. And, therefore, they miss how they're being played by the insurgents. I wish more reporters realized that.

I am not sure what the solution for the reporters is. Being directly targeted makes going out more dangerous not less, but giving in lets the enemy set the agenda. They also hate high profile journalists getting blown up. It makes for very bad morale in the news room.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Zarqawi's Demise

It was good news this morning when the demise of the unlamented terrorist Abu Musab al Zarqawi from a number of 500 pound bombs was announced. I was intrigued by the timing. On June 7 (yesterday) the Strategy Page had a piece commenting on the growing rift between Zarqawi and al Qaeda. He was becoming a loose cannon that was causing more problems then he solved. They concluded:

"Given that Zarqawi has become a loose cannon and that his actions are handicapping Al Qaeda's efforts, it seems reasonable to expect that an accident may befall him at some point in the near future. If handled right it can be made to look like he went out in a blaze of glory fighting American troops or that he was foully murdered. Either way, al Qaeda gets rid of a problem and gains another "martyr."

The he dies and one the New York times webpage this afternoon is a story that the information that led to Zarqawi's demise came from within his organization.

Could these things be a coincidence or is it all a plot by Karl Rove? Only time will tell.

Keith Olberman led off on Countdown yesterday with my point. I must have been precient.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter has gone from being a shrill and annoying ideologue to certifiably nuts. She launched an attack on some of the widows from 9/11 who had expressed views contrary to Coulter's. These women lost husbands, their children lost fathers, in that attack. Coulter has lost nothing other than weight apparently. They have every right to speak out and express criticism if they so choose. Coulter has the same right, which she takes advantage of far to frequently for my taste.

Her shrill diatribes against the left do nothing by make the right look bad. She makes me ashamed to be a conservative.

The most egregious thing though is that on Joe Scarborough's show on MSNBC tonight, a Republican party flack showed up to support her. Whichever person at the RNC approved that should pull their head out of whichever hole it is in and realize that supporting stupidity is never a good idea, particularly in an election year.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Summer Movie Body Count

Entertainment Weekly is keeping a running tally of how many people die on screen this summer. It runs from May 5 to September 8 and includes movies that open on more than 1000 screens to keep the project managable.

So far Poseidon is leading the way with 3994 deaths, most of them from going down with the ship.