Saturday, February 12, 2005
The Triangle bloggers conference went pretty well. Sat a chair over from Dave Winer, with whom I had a mild disagreement over the importance of attracting traffic. He seemed to think the whole practice was slightly vulgar, and mostly done for the wrong reasons. That's easy to say when you're already attracting scads of traffic, I pointed out. We eventually ended it by agreeing we're both whores.
Art...from one of our own...
A real pleasure to meet Jeannie and her wonderful husband, photographer Tony "Plutonium" Patterson...who, along with Mister Cone, made me feel at home during the first blogger conference last year.
Support your local musicians...and bloggers!
Then convince them to come to "The Evening Muse" in Charlotte, and ask for Lea Pritchard. She's one of us, and a tremendous supporter of the musical arts in Charlotte.
See her other pics here...and words here.
Just got safely back a few minutes ago, and will be posting more after I get a little rest. What a love group of people doing such splendid work! A big hand for everyone there!
Friday, February 11, 2005
Eg for i port i gaer a Florida og skemmti mer tvilikt vel.
You think that's bad? Check this!
Eg byrjadi a ad fara i hid fraega Wal-Mart i fyrsta sinn. Eg naestum tapadi mer. Tetta er huge og ekkert sma mikid haegt ad kaupa. Eg hefdi geta verid tarna i marga tima og bara skodad.
En tad er nu ekki gott ad sleppa mer lausri i svona bud - FULLT AF DOTI !
Not even close!
But then they keep trying...
Tad eina sem eg keypti var sukkuladi fyrir sukkuladibollana okkar i spainu.
Einu sinni i viku ta byr einhv. til nammibolla fyrir alla i spainu og tad var komid ad mer nuna.
Eftir Wal - Mart for eg og fekk mer morgunmat, tad eru jol hja mer ef ad eg fae gott ristad braud og tad er i bodi 2 sinnum i viku, tegar eg er a Florida.
And at least they get Tad, i, Mart, Florida and sukkuladibollana correct, although they did forget to capitalize the "i". Granted. That one's tough.
Practice! Practice! And don't let anyone call you names. But if they do, forgive them.
You'd break spellcheckers, but you can try.
Never rule out hiring an editor.
Beb Henry at the Observer dares confront the big boys.
Welcome to the blogosphere, friend! Please come to Chapel Hill! I'll buy you a beer!
Please Welcome Bob (and John) to the blogosphere. I hope they will help shoehorn Charlotte into the 21st century by nudging the Observer forward...and outward. May the good folks in Greensboro and the Triangle welcome them...and us.
Thursday, February 10, 2005
I have been observing the strange wandering in the dark for a few months now, but also remember wishing dear Charlotte would wake up to the web. And alas, it finally happened, and was, in fact, embraced. But for Charlotte, which is to say, the Charlotte Observer or in this case, John McBride -- see I can compliment! -- the learning curve is slow indeed. Even negative.
I have been waiting for the Observer -- good people all, and people I defended earlier today from charges of being Communist sympathisers -- to mention the word, blog, in their paper, like I said, for months. And finally something squeaks out, in the Business section, and is negative and basically shrugs it off, as if the handful of flip blogs visited were representative of the whole. But alas, there are as many kinds of blogs as there are kinds of newspapers. And the quality of writing in blogs, is both better and worse than in newspapers. And certainly more raw, less edited. Less "interested". Or, if "interested", explicitly so.
I worked at the Observer back in the 80s, and know they are not stupid people. The author of the piece, John McBride, is an old acquantance, even. Played softball together. Partied. Had a few words. And probably a few brews. He is a bright guy, and a real sweetheart of a personality. Why he is writing about blogs, and disparagingly, is beyond me. Had we kept up, he certainly would not hold the opinions he does.
I'd like to challenge him to come to Chapel Hill this weekend then write about it. Or talk to the editor of the Greensboro News & Record -- a newspaper that is destined to make history...and the future.
Here are some excerpts from John's piece:
Will blogs liberate us or just bog us down?
Last year, blog readership jumped 58 percent in America, so now would be an excellent time to acknowledge our limitations.
If we can.
The problem is we don't always know when we stink. A Cornell University study showed that people who bombed tests of logic, grammar and humor "grossly overestimated" how well they did on the tests.
"Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions," said the authors, "but their incompetence robs them of the metacognitive ability to realize it."
OK. So John starts out talking about blogs, and jumps right into scientific proof that many people "stink" but think they don't stink. Not a very positive approach to freedom of speech, of which blogs represent the ultimate expression. He goes on...
Yeah. Their metacogni-whatchamacallit was robbed. That's what I was going to say.
It's not that they didn't get the jokes. They didn't get the jokes and they thought they were Chris Rock. They were, as the authors put it, "unskilled and unaware of it."
Which brings us to the Internet.
Again, drawing the comparison. Making jabs. And the word is metacognitive. Remember your greek? Meta=tag. Cognitive=of or related to Cognac. Getting tagged on Cognac. Do it all the time.
More than 90 percent of people who use search engines online say they are "confident" of their searching skills, according to a recent study by the Pew Internet and American Life Project.
But only 38 percent of them could tell paid search results from unpaid search results.
Hello? We're hot stuff with Google -- but we don't know an ad when we see it? These must be the same people who hate getting spammed -- and then buy the herbal remedy the spam hawks.
It's easy to shake our heads and wonder how people can be so dumb. If you've ever watched "Jerry Springer" or driven in Mecklenburg County, you've done it. People really can be stupid.
Apparently John has not been introduced to the concept of aggregators, as that is, more and more, how people find blogs. Not simply Googling. But again...why the hostility? Why the condescension? Because of "compensation?" Jeff Gannon was compensated. Steven Glass was compensated. Jayson Blair was compensated. So are Rush Limbaugh, SEAN HANNITY, Colmes and all the other, apparently smart writers and pundits.
But let's be humble. We all have limitations. On some level, each of us has a few lights out in our metacogni-whatever marquee.
Which brings us to blogs.
At last count, there were 8 million blogs, the new online journal craze that's sweeping the nation. The numbers are growing fast. Anyone who can get online can start one for nothing and say whatever they want.
Do I detect a little envy here? :)
Forget about metacogni-whosis for a minute. Eight million people writing what they know online!
Blogging may represent the ultimate triumph of free speech. Everyone's a publisher with no limitations on space or distribution. Write as much as you like -- no extra charge for paper or postage.
This is no small advantage. Who knows? Maybe he is secretly promoting blogging, only subreptiously, so he won't get whacked by the man upstairs.
Or blogging may represent the ultimate in banality. Actual quote from a randomly selected blog: "Finally got my birthday card from my parents. It came today, but the neighbor got it in her box by mistake. I'm glad they didn't forget." Oooooo -- author!
OK. Go pick a random quote from a random newspaper. Here. I will...
"DENTURES: ACHIEVING THE 'EXTRAORDINARY' for those with higher expectations." Well...talk about banality! Oh, and there is a horoscope, and a car ad, and granted, some good stuff too. Lots of it, actually. Perhaps a little slow on the uptake, regarding blogging and that vast social reality dubbed the blogosphere. This is where is is missing the main point, I believe.
Or blogging could represent advertising's best hope. Pay a few popular bloggers to mention how great WhizBang Widgets are and forget about all those people who can recognize an ad.
Oh. So I see. It's about the integrity of the newsroom, and the wall of separation between the ad department and the "serious" news. Were it only true! But fact is, most bloggers do it for free. Like that feller in Joni Mitchell's song. And although many are, admittedly banal, adolescent, even jaded...there are many more examples of the same in the printed world...and there are many blogs that would bury the Observer in the sheer quality and quality of information provided. Group blogs, for example cover a much vaster array of political matters, and with much greater depth.
Or it could usher in a new era of misinformation. What happens when the unskilled-and-unaware-of-it crowd corners the blog market?
The unskilled-and-unaware-of-it crowd haven't the wherewithal to pull such a thing off.
Or blogging could mean 8 million people talking and nobody listening. One town square, 8 million soapboxes, no ears.
Too late. John needs to marinate in the culture for a while before writing about it, methinks. If he had done so, he would already know that the above scenario is not going to happen. In fact, were he to put forth a little effort, he might find himself being the Ed Cone of Charlotte. But it seems unlikely at this point.
Or maybe blogging will mean all of this. Or none of this. I stink at predictions and pronouncements, and I know I stink. But you should see me Google.
Blogging already IS. And it doesn't reflect well on the Observer that they would release something so unresearched. It's almost as if they are biased against blogging. And if this is, indeed, the case...they are the big losers. Not the bloggers. Bloggers will do fine with or without them.
John. You're a smart guy. Come to Chapel Hill. Shoot! Krantz came to Greensboro! Dave Winer is going to be there. Ed Cone and Dan Gillmor is going to be there. Jay Rosen will be there, only in spirit. In fact over a hundred bloggers will also be there, and many of them are just as bright, if not brighter, than you or me.
Help bring Charlotte up, and into the future. Don't be such a Luddite! You aren't one!
Help John by sharing your wisest blogs with him. And be nice. He really is a swell fellow.
DO TRIANGLE OR BE SQUARE
On February 12, 2005, Chapel Hill, North Carolina will be The Nuculus of the Blogosphere.
Chapel Hill, home of the most ancient of public universities, the grandparent to all the rest, by name the University of North Carolina, or what some people call Chapel Hill, Carolina, the Kremlin, the Harvard of Publics, and our dear village idiot has tagged it the UConn of the Yukon -- wrong on all points -- is hosting the next in a series of historical events in which you, dear bloggers, may participate. In attendance will be today's Thomas Paynes, Ben Franklins, Mark Twains, Ed Murrows, Walter Cronkhites, and A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhubpadas. There will also be your Ernest T. Basses, your Goobers and Gomers, as well as your exemplary handygriffins.
Sign up here and learn more about the festivities...
Some of the participants are listed below. Their name is linked to a google search for their name so that participants can learn more about each one. Of course references may also refer to others who share their name, and in some cases, I searched their screen name, as I knew there would be too many references to their real name. It's mostly for my own benefit, but you may find it useful as well...
UPDATED FEB 3 2005
"Lex Alexander" : http://blog.news-record.com/lexblog/
"John Joseph Bachir" - http://blog.johnjosephbachir.org/
"David K. Beckwith" : http://anonymoses.blogspot.com
"Silflay Hraka (!) " : http://silflayhraka.com/
"Jean Bolduc" : http://jeanbolduc.blogspot.com
"Frank Boosman" : http://www.boosman.com/blog
"Leslie Boyle" : http://warmchocolatemusic.blogspot.com/
"Badi E. Bradley" : http://capriciouspeacock.blogs.com/
"W Jeff Brown" - http://www.allheadlinenews.com/
"Steve Burnett" : http://badger.livejournal.com/
"Craig Caskie" :
"Janet Chui" : http://www.livejournal.com/users/marrael
"Rafe Coburn" : http://rc3.org
"Catherine Collingwood" : http://www.cathcoll.net
"Ed Cone" : http://edcone.com
"Henry Copeland" : http://www.blogads.com/weblog
"Jay Cuthrell" : http://fudge.org/
"Didier Deshommes" : http://aida.homelinux.net/wordpress/
"Bret Dougherty" : http://www.unc.edu/~bretd/
"The Debra" : http://reasonandradical.blogspot.com/
"Patrick Eakes" : http://www.patrickeakes.blogspot.com/
"George Entenman" : http://entenman.net/
"John Ettorre" : http://www.workingwithwords.blogspot.com/
"Herb Everett" : http://www.ramblinprose.com/
"Susan Eversole" : http://www.livejournal.com/users/sfevers/
"David Feld" : http://www.epicquest.com/pi/
"Fred Fenimore" : http://fredsspot.blogspot.com/
"Stephen Fraser" : http://www.salutor.com/
"Jeff Giddens" : http://segatech.blogspot.com/
"Dan Gillmor" : http://dangillmor.typepad.com/
"Mike Graves" : http://meekmok.com/robogoth/
"Sally Greene" : http://greenespace.blogspot.com/
"Herb of Ramblin' Prose" : http://ramblinprose.blogdns.com/
"Andy Hill" : http://www.panix.com/~ah/portfolio.html
"David Hoggard" : http://www.hoggsblog.com/
"John Hood" : http://www.johnlocke.org/lockerroom/
"B. Adam Howell" : http://www.benjaminadam.com
"Ben Hwang" : http://life.firelace.com/
"Virginia Ingram" : http://www.virginiaingram.com/dontreadthis/
"Brad Jasper" : http://www.blogcatalog.com
"Dave Johnson" : http://mistersugar.com/tamtam/blogtogether/show/DaveJohnson
"Jeannette Johnson" : http://home.earthlink.net/~so_anyway/
"Paul Jones" : http://www.ibiblio.org/pjones/blog/
"Tim King" : http://www.tvjunior.com/blog/
"Derek Lane" : http://www.livejournal.com/users/dereklane/
"Robert Littlejohn" : http://thephiloblogger.blogspot.com/
"Maximilian Longley" : http://www.livejournal.com/users/lilburne/
"Jason Erik Lundberg" : http://www.journalscape.com/jlundberg
"Ben MacNeill" : http://trixieupdate.com/
"Karen A. Mann" : http://www.mannsworld.blogspot.com/
"David Matusiak" : http://ibiblio.org/matusiak/
"Lance McCord" : http://mccord.ourmemorybox.com
"Fiona Morgan" : http://fionamorgan.blogspot.com/
"Jason Morningstar" : http://www.meekmok.com/sassy
"Eric Muller" : http://www.isthatlegal.org/
"Mary Nations" : http://www.exploringedges.com
"Jayson Ovittore" : http://jovittore.blogspot.com
"Tony Patterson" : http://home.earthlink.net/~half-lifeblog/
"H.L. Person" : http://hlperson.com/
"Alvin Phillips" : http://alvinphillips.com/
"Stewart Pittman" : http://lenslinger.blogspot.com
"Sue Polinsky" : http://www.livejournal.com/users/southernrants/
"Jeffrey Pomerantz" : http://www.ibiblio.org/pomerantz/blog/
"Robert Reddick" : http://mocklive.com/
"Cathy Resmer" : http://cresmer.blogspot.com/
"James E. Robinson, III" : http://www.robinsonhouse.com/
"John Robinson" : http://blog.news-record.com/jrblog/
"Sam Ruby" : http://www.intertwingly.net/blog/
"Brian Russell" : http://www.audioactivism.org/
"Laura Seel" : http://chewok.blogspot.com
"Steve Segedy" : http://www.meekmok.com/muaddib
"Ruby Sinreich" : http://orangepolitics.org/
"Roch Smith, Jr." : http://www.greensboro101.com/
"Terry Smith" : http://www.bloglines.com/blog/TerrySmith
"Josh Staiger" : http://www.joshstaiger.org/
"Christian Stalberg" :
"Fred Stutzman" : http://chimprawk.blogspot.com
"TheShu" : http://www.greensboroistalking.com
"Mark Tosczak" : http://ncblogs.com/
"jw" : http://www.howdoyoulikeme.blogspot.com/
"Ken Waight" : http://www.lyinginponds.com/
"David Warlick" : http://davidwarlick.com/blog/
"Justin Watt" : http://justinsomnia.org/
"Todd Wilkens" : http://moresmarter.net
"Dave Winer" : http://archive.scripting.com
"Andy Wismar" : http://andywismar.com/themiddle/
"Rob Zelt" : http://www.robzelt.com/blog/
"Evan Zimmerman" : http://ncblogs.com/
"Tom Zito" : http://www.meekmok.com/mr_ed
"Bora Zivkovic" : http://sciencepolitics.blogspot.com
"Anton Zuiker" : http://mistersugar.com
N&R blogs letters
This is fast turning into one of my favorite reads: the News & Record letters to the editor are online and generating significant interest and comments. Almost every letter posted has at least one comment; most have more. This "town square" thing is happening before it's ready to be launched. "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans..."
Once I gather my thoughts, I'll have to come back to this.
Sunday, January 19, 2003
Blog innovator, Dave Winer, goes to Harvard...He has been offered a fellowship at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School.
DaveNet : Chapter 5 in which Dave goes to Harvard
Posted by: Anonymoses Hyperlincoln / 1/19/2003 10:58:40 AM
The year was 1994. The first generation of the WWW had come out, and exuberance was being born in America and to a lesser extent, the world. It was a world of infinite possibility, infinite sunlight. And Dave Winer was one of the first people on the scene. I remember. I wanted DaveNet. He got there first. And, I might, did a better job that I could have ever done. I would up with Megajesus, which died the first month I failed to pay my bill. I returned as Microjesus, yes, but that just didn't have any of the cashay that Mega had. And so he soon became MrWondrous, and a few others, and has now found its way into the present moniker. You know...Moniker Lewinsky! It's called sleep deprevation.
Anyway...hope to see him at my dear father's alma mater soon. May he find some that that exuberance of old!
She is so great...especially her song, "1984"...
From her lyrics:
"down at headquarters, there's a big database
with black and white photos of the side of your beautiful face
and your library record, and all your test scores
and an invitation to party like it's 1984
Purchase her CD from Buzzflash.
baby, don't look so nervous, they just want the facts
and it's all written out in the usa patriot act
cause we don't take no chances in a nation at war
so tonight we're gonna party like it's 1984"
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
And you were there for the dubbing!
Tue Feb 8th, 2005 at 12:16:31 PST
Alternet has the most comprehensive news article anywhere about Rob Stein's powerful PowerPoint presentation.
Read the article and store its contents for future reference. You'll be hearing a lot more about Stein and his PPT in the coming months and years. "
Excerpts from Alternet:
If you want to know how the conservative message machine was built and what progressives can do to respond, just ask Rob Stein.
Consider that the conservative political movement, which now has a hammerlock on every aspect of federal government, has a media message machine fed by more than 80 large non-profit organizations – let's call them the Big 80 – funded by a gaggle of right-wing family foundations and wealthy individuals to the tune of $400 million a year.
And the Big 80 groups are just the "non-partisan" 501(c)(3) groups. These do not include groups like the NRA, the anti-gay and anti-abortion groups, nor do they include the political action committees (PACs) or the "527" groups (so named for the section of the tax code they fall under), like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which so effectively slammed John Kerry's campaign in 2004.
To get their message out, the conservatives have a powerful media empire, which churns out and amplifies the message of the day - or the week - through a wide network of outlets and individuals, including Fox News, talk radio, Rush Limbaugh, Oliver North, Ann Coulter, as well as religious broadcasters like Pat Robertson and his 700 Club. On the web, it starts with TownHall.com
Fueling the conservative message machine with a steady flow of cash is a large group of wealthy individuals, including many who serve on the boards of the Big 80.
Rob Stein has brilliantly documented all of the above in "The Conservative Message Machine Money Matrix," a PowerPoint presentation he has taken on the road across the country, preaching to progressives about the lessons that can be learned and the challenges that need to be overcome.
However, "progressives should not emulate what conservatives have done," says Stein, a former activist and chief of staff under Ron Brown at the Commerce Department in the Clinton administration. "Conservatives have built remarkably successful institutions and strategic alliances in the 20th century that presumably are consistent with their values and, we know, are effective in promoting their beliefs.
"Progressives have different values, this is the 21st century, the conservative infrastructure is in place and will continue to grow, and so we have to do it all differently," Stein adds. "We must build from both the ground up and from the top down. We must be technologically sophisticated and new media, narrowcast-savvy. We must build institutions capable of great flexibility to deal with the rapid pace of change in the world. We need a new generation of leaders able to integrate the local/global complexity of the world to manage our institutions in 2010, 2020 and beyond."
It Didn't Happen Overnight
The story of the conservative rise that Stein portrays begins back in the early 1970s, when there was panic among conservatives, especially in corporate boardrooms, that capitalism was under serious attack, and something drastic had to be done about it. The National Chamber of Commerce asked Lewis Powell, a former head of the American Bar Association and member of 11 corporate boards, to write a blueprint of what had to be done. The result, says Stein, is one the most prescient documents of our time. The memo lays out the framework, the goals and the ingredients for the conservative revolution that has gained momentum and power ever since. Two months after penning the memo, then-President Richard M. Nixon appointed Powell, a Democrat, to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Stein describes how the message machine works. If Rush Limbaugh wants something on vouchers – it's immediately in his hands; if Fox News' Bill O'Reilly needs a guest to talk about the "death tax," he's got him from one of the think tanks. Stein estimates that 36,000 conservatives have been trained on values, issues, leadership, use of media and agenda development. These are not the elected officials, but rather the cadre of the conservative network. Stein figures that the core leaders of the Big 80 groups he studied are about 2,000 people who make between $75,000 and $200,000 and have all been trained in the Leadership Institute.
The wealthy conservative families that have been the early bread and butter of the movement and continue their support are relatively well known at this point, including Scaife from Pittsburgh, Lynde and Harry Bradley from Milwaukee, Joseph Coors from Colorado; and Smith Richardson from North Carolina. Important networking goes on at the Philanthropy Roundtable, where groups are showcased.
But the key today to keeping the message machine fed is what Stein calls the "investment banking matrix," which includes key conservatives like Grover Norquist, Paul Weyerich, and Irving Kristol, who raise, direct, and motivate. Stein estimates there are about 200 key people who invest an average of $250,000 a year and about 135 of them also serve on the boards of the Big 80 groups
"Each of these groups are 'mission critical,' and they are strategic, coordinated, motivated and disciplined," says Stein, adding that the investment bankers monitor them closely.
Then there is the conservative media machine, which operated at full power to get George W. Bush re-elected in 2004. Conservatives and their allies were able to magnify their message through a network of right-leaning TV and radio channels, including Rupert Murdoch's Fox News Channel, which provided Bush and Co. with a 24/7 campaign infomercial - for free. Here was a news network with more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined, constantly repeating, often verbatim, the messages out of the White house and the Bush campaign.
More help for Bush came from the far-less known religious broadcasters. "Under the radar screen, the Christian Church community has created a formidable electronic media infrastructure and now plays a major role influencing public opinion," says Jeffrey Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. The religious media are producing and distributing "news," commentary and cultural guides, and their reach and influence are undeniable.
As veteran investigative reporter Robert Parry argues, Bush's electoral victory proved that the conservatives have achieved dominance over the flow of information to the American people - so much so that even a well-run Democratic campaign stands virtually no chance for national success without major changes in the media system. "The outcome of Election 2004 highlights perhaps the greatest failure of the Democratic/liberal side in American politics: a refusal to invest in the development of a comparable system for distributing information that can counter the Right's potent media infrastructure," according to Parry. "Democrats and liberals have refused to learn from the lessons of the Republican/conservative success."
The Road Ahead
Now, for the audience hearing Stein's presentation – in the face of such devastating information, and the power of the conservative juggernaut – one might expect that paralysis and depression would set in among the listeners. But in fact the opposite has been happening. The problem is being named. It is visible, concrete, it makes people angry and then determined to act.
And, says Stein, there are "very important lessons" to be learned from the conservative experience over the past 40 years. For starters, progressives must learn to find common ground and set aside some differences they may have. "A movement is built upon 'marriages of convenience' among disparate, but inter-related, strains of a broad coalition which is able to agree upon some core values," Stein believes. "It is okay for there to be disagreement within the family; not everyone will be equally interested in the same set of issues."
Citing the example of the Apollo Alliance, Stein says progressive groups "must develop well-managed, highly effective, issue-focused strategic alliances which transcend their institutional egos and their competitive instincts."
Stein sees reason for hope, citing the progressive momentum and energy evident during the 2004 presidential campaign in groups like the Center for American Progress, AmericaVotes, America Coming Together (ACT) and the Campaign for America's Future.
"However one evaluates the actual performance of these initiatives – and obviously they all have strengths and weaknesses – they represent a new breed of collaborative enterprise," says Stein. "AirAmerica, Democracy Radio, and Media Matters are also important new beginnings. And this is all happening because a highly energized, more strategic community of high net worth individuals made significant new financial commitments to all of these enterprises. This is exceedingly hopeful."
"A movement must have a diversified funding base of small, medium and large donors," Stein says. "The large donors must have the following attributes: be passionately progressive, intellectually curious, want to be operationally involved in the organizations they fund, willing to work and learn together as a community of donors, be willing to write very large checks every year to the groups they fund, and encourage their family and friends to also invest."
There are a lot of eyes on Stein as he moves forward to build a deeper, more dependable funding base for progressive infrastructure. Stein's effort is called the Democracy Alliance. He describes it as a network of high net worth individuals committed to promoting progressive ideals by investing in strategic, long-term local, regional and national capacity building.
THE FULL REPORT
I have no problem with your saying you have spoken with me. I have no reason not to ensure that the truth is told and I am tired of the way in which the Republicans have smeared my family and myself for no reason other than to perpetuate their lies to the American people. I did not like fascists when I fought them as a diplomat for 23 years and I don't like them now in my own country.
...if we allow ourselves to be intimidated and silenced by the liars, our democracy will not survive. We have to continue to confront them.
My complaint is not so much about the smear campaign as it is about the laziness of so-called objective journalists who failed to even do basic research.
What do you think of the process of research that's going on at Daily Kos on this issue? How does it fit into your view of the role of citizens versus the role of official media in information gathering and reporting?
I think that in the absence of a responsible national media, the blogs play an important role in trying to shed light on various issues, including the bona fides of so-called White House correspondents as well as tackling questions overlooked or ignored by the national journalists. I also believe that the nature of the profession has changed to the detriment of good investigative journalism. No longer is there a quest for the truth so much as there is this apparent need to present both sides of an issue even if one is nothing but lies and distortions. Giving the same value to fiction as to fact in the interest of so-called fairness is to mislead the American people and the press has become party to that.
Lisa Williams has done a smart, 4-minute video explainer about podcasting.
Now, if we could only give the genre a more accurate name. It's about sending MP3s to devices of various kinds, not solely the iPod. Watch Williams' piece anyway. "
Yes, we're talking about "Jeff Gannon, Washington Bureau Chief, Talon News" -- Talon News being the rinkydink wingnut "news service" chaired by the same guy who runs GOP USA (the wingnut site that is less upscale than Renew American, but slightly more professional than BushCountryUSA, and apparently run by various members of the Texas GOP).
Anyway, ever since it was revealed that "Jeff Gannon" is a pseudonym (even though he apparently gets daily White House passes issued in that name), bloggers have been trying to ascertain his real identity. Susan G. at Daily Kos (with the assistance of her readers) has been very energetic and organized in this endeavor, and has uncovered a great deal of interesting and suggestive info about "Jeff" and his associates.
So, just who is Jeff? Well, his Talon News bio has been delated, but it formerly indicated that he was a obtained a B.S. degree in Education from the Pennsylvania State University System, and attended a two-day right-wing school of journalism ("the Leadership Institute Broadcast School of Journalism"). Oh, and he "lives on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC."
His posts at his site "ConservativeGuy.com" also seem to have disappeared, but Susan and her readers found an archived copy of his "Who is Conservative Guy?" bio -- and it seems to indicate that "Jeff" can't hold a job:
I've been a preppie, a yuppie, blue-collar, green-collar and white-collar. I've served in the military, graduated from college, taught in the public school system, was a union truck driver, a management consultant, a fitness instructor and an entrepreneur. I'm a two-holiday Christian and I usually vote Republican because they most often support conservative positions
And yet, despite that lack of background, and the fact that Talon News isn't really a news organization, somehow the White House lets Jeff into the press conferences ever day, and regularly takes his questions.
Don't believe it? Well, here's part of a program note from Sean Hannity's radio show from last year:
Tuesday, February 10, 2004
Sean spends a moment with Jeff Gannon, Washington Bureau Chief for Talon News.com. Jeff talks about his daily meetings with White House Press Secretary Scott McCellan.
And now Jeff has his own weekly radio program on "RightTalk," along with such notable wingnuts as Paul Weyrich and Grover Norquist.
Well, today Atrios seems to have IDed Mr. "Gannon":
Sources allege that Jeff Gannon's real name is James D. "JD" Guckert, though I have not been able to confirm this.
I can't seem to find out anything more about Jim/Jeff. I guess he's just one of those people who haven't done anything that made the papers (or the internet). That is, until 2003 when he changed his name and suddenly became a White House reporter, thus beginning his close association with Ari and Scottie and President George! (And he was doing this on a daily basis, and for a fake news service that one wouldn't think could afford to pay much of a salary.*) And then the very next year, he was getting classified (although probably fake) memos which appeared designed to discredit Valerie Plame.
Only in America!
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Tuesday, February 08, 2005
National Review: "I haven’t read Jude Nagurney Camwell before, and she may be the most brilliant blogger to walk the earth"
also...check out her amazing blog, called simply...Iddybud.
Jay Rosen at PressThink.org has done some great writing about the Jordan comments. An associate professor at New York University’s Department of Journalism, I’d like to think his interest and thoughts on this story help refute the idea that this is just an obsession of a bunch of right-wing cranks typing in their pajamas.
Today he links to Jude Nagurney Camwell, blogging at The American Street, and writes, “Read it. Her voice matters.”
It is true. Her voice matters, and she is the most brilliant blogger to walk the earth. Well, certainly one of them.
Famous writer Seymour Hersh said in an interview, “It's going to go very bad, folks. You know, if you have not sold your stocks and bought property in Italy, you better do it quick. Europe, Europe is not going to tolerate us much longer. The rage there is enormous. I'm talking about our old-fashioned allies. We could see something there, collective action against us. Certainly, nobody - it's going to be an awful lot of dancing on our graves as the dollar goes bad and everybody stops buying our bonds, we're spending $2 billion a day to float the debt, and one of these days, the Japanese and the Russians, everybody is going to start buying oil in Euros instead of Dollars. We're going to see enormous panic here. The damage the Bush free-falling Dollar policy is doing is enormous.”
Goldberg seems to like embarrassing himself, so he won't let go.
Let us see what has been established. First, I alleged that Goldberg has never read a book about Iraq, about which he keeps fulminating. I expected him at least to lie in response, the way W. did when similarly challenged on his book-reading. I expected Goldberg to say, "That is not true! I have read Phebe Marr's book on modern Iraq from cover to cover and know all about the 1963 failed Baathist coup!" But Goldberg did not respond in this way. I conclude that I was correct, and he has never read a book on this subject.
I am saying I do not understand why CNN or NPR would hire someone to talk about Iraq policy who has not read a book on the subject under discussion. Actually, of course, it would be desirable that he had read more than one book. Books are nice. They are rectangular and soft and have information in them. They can even be consumed on airplanes. Goldberg should try one.
MORE FUN WITH JUAN...
An argument that judgment matters but knowledge does not is profoundly anti-intellectual. It implies that we do not need ever to learn anything in order make mature decisions. We can just proceed off some simple ideological template and apply it to everything. This sort of thinking is part of what is wrong with this country. We wouldn't call a man in to fix our plumbing who knew nothing about plumbing, but we call pundits to address millions of people on subjects about which they know nothing of substance.
Poor Jonah can't get anything right when it comes to me. He tries to imply that I don't speak Arabic, citing a comment by As'ad Abukhalil on my recent al-Jazeerah appearance. As`ad praises me for apologizing to al-Jazeerah readers for not speaking Arabic in the bulk of the interview. What he didn't say was that I began by speaking in Arabic and I apologized in Arabic. I said I preferred to speak English because the subject required exactitude.
When we were bantering before the show in Arabic, and I explained how I felt to Fuad Ajami and the others, Fuad quipped that my Arabic was better than some (highly westernized) Arab rulers. I know three kinds of Arabic-- Modern Standard, Lebanese dialect and Egyptian dialect. My Arabic is not free of solecisms because I didn't start it until I was an adult, and sometimes something from one of the three slips into the other. But I did live in the Arab world nearly 6 years altogether, and do speak the language. Sorry, Jonah, the problem with not knowing what you are talking about is that you get things wrong.
I challenged Goldberg to a public debate on the Middle East, since that was the subject on which he attacked me. His response was not, quite frankly, the response of a man to a challenge. He wanted to put on all kinds of pissant conditions on the subject of the debate. It is sort of as though Wyatt Earp challenged a bad guy to a shootout after the outlaw burped rotgut whiskey in his face and called him a wimp. And when Earp challenges the black hat, the guy turns to jelly and says, "O.K., but you can't use that Colt, it has to be little bitty derringers like the one I use to shoot people in the back at night."
If he thinks he knows what he is talking about in print, why wouldn't he risk talking about the same things verbally and in person? I'll tell you why. It is because when writing an op-ed, he can get away with only seeming to grasp the facts, whereas in person he can be busted and shown to be only a poseur.
Goldberg also makes an elementary error in arguing that the fact that people in Iran are disillusioned with Khatami now, in 2005, has any bearing on their attitudes in 1997 when they first elected him. As a historian, Jonah, let me explain to you about this mistake. It is called "anachronism." It occurs when people argue that present conditions explain past ones. It doesn't work that way. Mostly because time's arrow goes forward, not backwards. I should explain that one too. It is called "the second law of thermodynamics." Apparently this law does not exist in Punditland, where the grand pooh-bahs are all permitted 3 anachronisms before breakfast.
In the end, I am saying that Goldberg's punditry is empty. All he has to offer us is a party line and a strongly held opinion. Not all pundits are in this category. Goldberg is particularly unsubstantive.
But Goldberg is just a dime a dozen pundit. Cranky rich people hire sharp-tongued and relatively uninformed young people all the time and put them on the mass media to badmouth the poor, spread bigotry, exalt mindless militarism, promote anti-intellectualism, and ensure generally that rightwing views come to predominate even among people who are harmed by such policies. One of their jobs is to marginalize progressives by smearing them as unreliable.
The thing that really annoyed me about Goldberg's sniping was it reminded me of how our country got into this mess in Iraq. It was because a lot of ignorant but very powerful and visible people told the American people things that were not true. In some instances I believe that they lied. In other instances, they were simply too ignorant of the facts to know when an argument put forward about, say, Iraq, was ridiculous.
The corporate media failed the United States in 2002-2003. The US government failed the American people in 2002-2003. That empty, and often empty-headed punditry, which Jon Stewart destroyed so skilfully, played a big role in dragooning the American people into a wasteful and destructive elective war that threatens to warp American society and very possibly to end the free Republic we have managed to maintain for over 200 years. Already severe challenges to our sacred Constitution have been launched by the Right. Goldberg is a big proponent of "profiling," which is to say, spying on people because of their ethnicity rather than because of anything they as individuals have done wrong. That is only the beginning, if such persons maintain their influence on public discourse.
Including works by the philoequinographical Marky Marc Chagall, the often wassily Kandinsky, Pollack's ochre and vermillion period, Miro's "Ubu Roi" and more, and the fabulous e-shy surrealist, Max Ernst.
Monday, February 07, 2005
JERUSALEM - The Israeli and Palestinian leaders will declare a formal end to more than four years of fighting at Tuesday's Mideast summit, both sides said Monday. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators finalized the agreement during last-minute preparations Monday.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
The last weeks of 2004 saw several explicit warnings from the antiwar Right about the coming of an American fascism. Paul Craig Roberts in these pages wrote of the “brownshirting” of American conservatism—a word that might not have surprised had it come from Michael Moore or Michael Lerner. But from a Hoover Institution senior fellow, former assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, and one-time Wall Street Journal editor, it was striking.
Several weeks later, Justin Raimondo, editor of the popular Antiwar.com website, wrote a column headlined, “Today’s Conservatives are Fascists.” Pointing to the justification of torture by conservative legal theorists, widespread support for a militaristic foreign policy, and a retrospective backing of Japanese internment during World War II, Raimondo raised the prospect of “fascism with a democratic face.” His fellow libertarian, Mises Institute president Lew Rockwell, wrote a year-end piece called “The Reality of Red State Fascism,” which claimed that “the most significant socio-political shift in our time has gone almost completely unremarked, and even unnoticed. It is the dramatic shift of the red-state bourgeoisie from leave-us-alone libertarianism, manifested in the Congressional elections of 1994, to almost totalitarian statist nationalism. Whereas the conservative middle class once cheered the circumscribing of the federal government, it now celebrates power and adores the central state, particularly its military wing.”
But Rockwell (and Roberts and Raimondo) is correct in drawing attention to a mood among some conservatives that is at least latently fascist. Rockwell describes a populist Right website that originally rallied for the impeachment of Bill Clinton as “hate-filled ... advocating nuclear holocaust and mass bloodshed for more than a year now.” One of the biggest right-wing talk-radio hosts regularly calls for the mass destruction of Arab cities. Letters that come to this magazine from the pro-war Right leave no doubt that their writers would welcome the jailing of dissidents. And of course it’s not just us. When USA Today founder Al Neuharth wrote a column suggesting that American troops be brought home sooner rather than later, he was blown away by letters comparing him to Tokyo Rose and demanding that he be tried as a traitor. That mood, Rockwell notes, dwarfs anything that existed during the Cold War. “It celebrates the shedding of blood, and exhibits a maniacal love of the state. The new ideology of the red-state bourgeoisie seems to actually believe that the US is God marching on earth—not just godlike, but really serving as a proxy for God himself.”
It is impossible to overstate my pleasure at being on the same side of the barricades with him today. That side is, of course, that of the antiwar movement; the side of a conservatism (or liberalism) that finds Bush’s policies reckless and absurd and the neoconservatives who inspire and implement them deluded and dangerous.
(“Now the word ‘freedom’ has become a newly invoked justification for the occupation of a country that did not attack us, whose people have not greeted our soldiers as liberators. … The world knows that all manner of traditional rights associated with freedom are threatened in our own country. ... The essential element of a democratic society—trust—has been weakened, as secrecy, mendacity and intimidation have become the hallmarks of this administration. ... Now ‘freedom’ is being emptied of meaning and reduced to a slogan. But one doesn’t demean the concept without injuring the substance.”)
...And yet the very fact that the f-word can be seriously raised in an American context is evidence enough that we have moved into a new period. The invasion of Iraq has put the possibility of the end to American democracy on the table and has empowered groups on the Right that would acquiesce to and in some cases welcome the suppression of core American freedoms. That would be the titanic irony of course, the mother of them all—that a war initiated under the pretense of spreading democracy would lead to its destruction in one of its very birthplaces. But as historians know, history is full of ironies.
George would make Leni and Dolphy proud...
"Well git me a pencil then, boy!"
Please allow Science And Politics to fill you in. An excellent summation of the latest...
Female soldiers dress down & get dirty for mud romps
In front of a cheering male audience, two young women wearing only bras and panties throw themselves into a mud-filled plastic kiddie pool and roll around in a wild wrestling match.
At one point a man in the audience raises a water bottle and douses the entwined pair.
At another, a "referee" moves in to break up the scantily clad grapplers.
A young blond lifts her T-shirt to expose her breasts. A brunette turns her back to the camera and exposes her thong undies.
The photos were taken in Camp Bucca, the military prison at Umm Qasr in the hot sands of southern Iraq near the Kuwaiti border.
The women are not coeds but military policewomen who had left their uniforms in a pile not far off.
The men are soldiers, too.
brought to you by...
USA - The Moral Leader of the Free World
Now where have I heard this before?
Oh yeah! Here, here, here and here. I guess it was obvious.
As Russell Ackoff says, one can solve, resolve or dissolve problems. It is best to dissolve them.
The so-called Social Security "crisis" only became a crisis when Bush gave it all away with his permanent tax cut. Dissolve the crisis by simply making adjustments to the frivolous anti-Robin Hood permanent tax giveaway to those who need it least...yet are now threatening those who actually do need it. The many. It is not fair, and should be reversed so as to remove the unheathy threat to the American citizens.
Is this what he really meant to say?
Is it true?
Where are these things occurring?
What is going to be done to find out where it is occurring, and to make sure it is halted?
Who will be prosecuted for torturing Americans in American prisons... on "midnight shifts"?
These are Americans who are being tortured.
Ted is what John would be, were he alive.
And yet, there are a lot of people who loved John Kennedy yet hate Ted Kennedy.
Brainwashed mostly. They should think about the contradiction though, or at least ask themselves how they could harbor such antinomies.