blogosphere

Dick Cheney’s personal war and fighting terror with democracy not more terror…

Posted by on Feb 15, 2010 | 0 comments

Monday link dump…

  • Cheney: Waterboarding should have been an option for underbomber – “I was a big supporter of waterboarding. I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques,” he said. Of course, for years the CIA has maintained that torture does not produce actionable intel. And, of course, the public practice of torture (they went public with this remember) is more PR than anything. I am of the opinion that Cheney understands that torture does not create actionable intel. But, the propaganda value is simply too great in his view. This is the discussion we should be having…
  • Cheney Struggles To Explain Terror Contradictions – Dick Cheney has never been one for consistency of message, nor of adhering to the established facts. It’s unfortunate that he now feels comfortable undermining a sitting president (no matter his political affiliation) in order to secure his own personal legacy and save his ass.
  • Biden: Cheney ‘not entitled to re-write history’ – See above.
  • A Terrorist Tried In Federal Court: The Case Of Aafia Siddiqui – When we examine the facts, it becomes clear that the GOP is using terrorism as political fodder. So, facts such as this get brushed under the carpet. It’s bad for the coutnry and it’s bad politics. But, they are a party in decline after all…I am for trying terrorists in civilian courts. So is the Pentagon.
  • Critical Mass: Dem Agenda Opens Right-Wing Doors – Mandatory reading…
Read More

webuzz: obama, racism, media and other stuff

Posted by on Jul 24, 2009 | 0 comments

Weekend reading list….

Read More

“they’re stealing our best tricks!”

Posted by on Jun 16, 2009 | 0 comments

Don Surber on the (obvious) White House health care PR push…

A real debate would be between Obama and someone on the other side. Maybe Sarah Palin. Maybe Fred Thompson. Maybe Mitt Romney. There is no shortage of people who would love to clean his clock on this issue.

Mighty impressive list there. Nearly choked on my bagel.

Amusing how conservatives get their underwear in a twist when the Obama Admin uses the public relations tactics that the Bush White House perfected to a razor’s edge.

This is a close second:

When liberals write “faux outrage” they mean that conservatives have a legitimate concern.

Actually, no. When liberals write “faux outrage” they mean to call conservatives on their use of “paranoid style” and other mock forms of propaganda that are solely meant to incite an emotional response devoid of real facts.

It’s telling that Surber feels it entirely necessary to downgrade the point initially, since it does come from the king of right wing disinformation, Matt Drudge… Surber writes:

I was not going to bother with this issue. I saw the headline on Drudge — “ABC turns programming over to Obama; news to be anchored from inside White House” — and figured Matt was having a little fun with the news. A little summertime hype.

Always trust your gut Don. You had it right, then dropped the ball.

But, then… it’s all about us versus them, isn’t it?

Yup.

Read More

webuzz: right wing disinfo watch

Posted by on Jun 16, 2009 | 0 comments

While conservatives can’t seem to govern, they know who to sling propaganda with the best of them. The current theme is twofold: right wingers are the victims, and anything bad that happens, liberals are to blame for it. A few examples plucked from the interwebs…

Read More

math is hard

Posted by on Mar 27, 2009 | 0 comments

Best quote on the GOP’s budget shell game debacle:

It’s hard not to notice that there are no actual numbers therein.

From Charles Johnson, king of the stink pile over at Little Green Footballs.Here’s the link, but Chuckie has a bad habit of diverting links to his mistakes.

Read More

blogroll amnesty day!

Posted by on Feb 3, 2009 | 0 comments

We’ve come to that time of year when we celebrate the web traffic challenged amongst us, and we spread the love. What’s it all about? As Jon Swift puts it, Blog Amnesty Day is…

” a day when we salute all of the great smaller blogs that don’t get the recognition they deserve. […] So skippy the bush kangaroo and this modest blogger, with help from Blue Gal and many of our friends in blogtopia (a word I believe skippy coined back when blogs were still being etched on clay tablets) decided to turn this day on its head and transform what had been an attempt by some A-list bloggers to shut out the smaller blogs into a celebration of all the great talent that is just waiting to be discovered out there. Now it has become an annual tradition.”

Head on over to my Blog Amnesty page, and click on a blog you’ve never read. Go say hi.

I’ll be adding to that list all week, so if you want to be added, leave a comment.

The list of blogs I am promoting today:

EvolutionBlog
Motorman Mark
The Wacky World of Food
Orthodox Anarchist
Justin Ligreci
Diologic
Julian Sanchez

Read More

start your whining early, avoid the long lines

Posted by on Jan 19, 2009 | 0 comments

Sure to be the main theme of all right wing intellectual thought the next four years (and beyond) the jingosphere gets to whining early and often so as not to be caught without forks and knives once Obama is duly sworn in. The current completely made up scandal du jour?

“What recession? The $170 million inauguration”

Except it’s untrue. Eric Boehlert has the ugly truth. In a nutshell:  The costs quoted and compared – Bush spent 42 million, Obama spent 170 million  – are incorrect:

” …the unsubstantiated Obama cost of $160 million (inauguration + security) compared with the Bush cost of 42 million (inauguration, excluding security). Those are two completely different calculations being compared side-by-side, by Fox & Friends, among others, to support the phony claim that Obama’s inauguration is $100 million more expensive than Bush’s”

Sadly, it will be stated as the 100% truth within the hour and at a thousand dining room tables by supper tonight.

(via Digby, who notes how it’s part of the larger “big spending liberals” meme that conservatives will be peddling ad nauseum.)

Read More

Best Blog Posts of 2008

Posted by on Dec 30, 2008 | 6 comments

(Chosen by the bloggers themselves)

Jon Swift asked a bevy of bloggers to send him their best post of the year. My self anointed best entry is in there too, amongst the kitty kat komedy.

A few of my favs:

GOP vampires want to suck you til yer cold meat over at Welcome Back to Pottersville.

Tbogg rids the Earth of needless ideas

Rude Pundit votes to gloat after voting.

Happy New Year. See ya next year.

Read More

wingnuttia in shambles

Posted by on Nov 13, 2008 | 0 comments

Been quietly absorbing much of the reaction and continuing reaction to the Obama election and the unfolding reality of an Obama presidency. And, am (as always) probably overly fascinated with the reaction of the right wing extremist crowd.

It’s interesting that the dyed in the wool “Obama is a Terrorist/Marxist/Muslim/Arab/Negro/Liberal/Socialist/AntiChrist/Manchurian Candidate/Traitor/Not One of Us” crowd still pounds that bent and rusty nail harder and harder into the pulpy wood with great fervor as if we didn’t hear it the first 100,344,305 times they blurted it out, or that in the words of their fearless leader, the outgoing president of the USA, it’s a matter of: “Sometimes you have to catapult the propaganda” and thus, they hold out a glimmer of hope that it just might finally work if they keep on hammering and hammering and hammering and hammering and hammering….

They present incorrect badly thought out information, (comparing Connecticut and Hawaii birth certificates for example) and even when it is proven incorrect (by multiple sources, again and again), they simply plow ahead as if that truthful information doesn’t exist.

It’s deeply sad and frightening. The level of basic mental separation from reality is deeply alarming. Death threats against Obama are acceptable to these people.

Then there’s those that are wandering around in the desert, looking for a happy meal, anything really, but finding only sand and camel dung, desperatively searching for ammuninition, yet the reality of the times calls for food. Because you can’t eat bullets, or vitrol. In the end, all they really have is their hate. They certianly don’t have any ideas that will help America.

They are indeed, “Losin’ it.”

And, Obama is rising above it all. That’s leadership.

Read More

Hurricane Palin

Posted by on Sep 2, 2008 | 0 comments

As Barack Obama breaks the 50% mark for the first time in a new Gallup poll, Hurricane Palin roars into the rocky shores of Camp McSame, wreaking havoc that smells to the deluded conservative faithful like victory. Not difficult to understand considering the entire presidential campaign of “The Marverick” is falling apart at the seams. Never underestimate the power of denial.

The overriding conservative argument seems to be that it’s the fault of Liberal bloggers and the mysoginistic MSM for reporting the news that was announced willingly by the McCain campaign. They just made it worse!

Now, instead of it being a low lying silly blogger conspiracy story (that could so easily be dismissed as such, or simply ignored) about how Sarah Palin faked her own pregnancy to cover up for her daughter Bristol’s pregnancy, it’s a gossip story about the daughter of an anti-sex education, anti-birth control, anti-Choice, pro-abstainance conservative Christian VP nominee and a Theocrat who’s 17 year-old daughter is pregnant out of wedlock and the father doesn’t want kids!

Further, it’s mind boggling that conservatives are out there who think it’s 1) not a story. and 2) The fault of the media for reporting it. We are talking about the VP for the USA here, not class president. This stuff comes out. Which is why the McCain camp tried in vain to control it themselves with horrible results. It was transparent from the start. It never should have gotten this far.

You really have to wonder if Palin was properly vetted, (it appears not) but once they made the decision to go ahead knowing that Bristol was pregnant: did they really feel comfortable and thought it was prudent (ethically? politically?) announcing to the world the very private and personal details of a young woman’s life? And, using a conspiracy theory that was WAY off the national radar as a launching pad to which to hoist blame? It’s not a smart move from either perspective.

Young Bristol’s right to privacy is more important than the political campaign of John McCain or the political aspirations of her mother. And, what about the unborn child and the father? Their lives are now forever changed by the cynical and stupid decisions of a few politicians willing to throw people to the dogs to win an election. Mind blowing isn’t it?

What we have here is a presidential media campaign that has decided to use the pregnancy of a teenager as political fodder. And, that’s pretty atrocious. And, to make it worse: they made the decision to move ahead KNOWING it would be a media circus and then tried (and failed) to dump it into a slow news cycle. Wow.

They tried to sweep it under the carpet over the Labor Day weekend when most American’s turn off the TV and computers for some beach and BBQ time with the family. And, with Hurricane Gustav coming to bash New Orleans back into the Dark Ages, you couldn’t ask for better cover.

Alas, Gustav turned out to not be the storm of the century and the unmarried and pregnant teen of a VP nominee is definitely the story of the century. At least from a TMZ sleaze kind of perspective.

And, all the maneuvering and media bashing isn’t going to change that reality.

Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast thinks the entire thing could be a head fake. Something to consider.

The only other option is that the McCain people and the Maverick himself are really this stupid.

Read More

beating back the cult of anti-intellectualism

Posted by on Aug 23, 2008 | 0 comments

Via Sadly No!

Read More

those who feed hatred try to excuse it

Posted by on Jul 29, 2008 | 0 comments

There is, of course, no excuse for hatred. It’s the elemental root of evil in our world. Some have long argued that hate has a role in focusing a fight, whether it be toe to toe or a war. But those who’ve fought and shed blood know all too well that hatred usually becomes a burden and usurps the true reason for the fight in the first place. (Assuming the reason isn’t hatred in the first place.) As said in the Dhammapada:

Victory gives rise to hate,
those defeated lie in pain,
happily rest the Peaceful
surrendering victory-defeat.

Hatred loves generalities. Saying something like “liberals are evil” or similar is a generality that thrives on hatred. And, it’s an amazingly popular sentiment amongst many conservatives. One they see no problem with apparently. The eliminationist movement is alive and well in their world.

Thus, a lot of conservative bloggers are making excuses for the nutjob who shot and killed two people and wounded seven in a liberal minded Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church. It’s all the same approach, a variation on “the attacker was attacking a Christian church, not a gay or liberal establishment.” Sister Toldjah, who is too biased and obviously deceitful to post my comments to his post, goes for the “liberals kill people too” approach. Professor Glenn goes for the “he attacked Christians approach” and Instaputz hands him his head. (Instaputz has more here.) And, cause I like to save the worst for last: The ever incorrect Bob Owens, who’s site motto is: “Because liberalism is a persistent vegetative state” also goes the parsing route:

While many in the political blogosphere will no doubt focus on the fact that Adkisson said he hated liberals and gays, the fact of the matter is that the didn’t target a gay club or local progressive political groups, he specifically targeted a church. He did so after expressing beliefs to neighbors in the past that he had an abiding anger against Christianity, an anger that appears rooted in his childhood. The church appears to have been targeted because it embodied at least three things this pathetic human being hated, not just the one or two things I know certain critics will single out as they view the world through their own warped prisms. (emphasis added)

So, let’s see what the local police have to say through their “warped prism”:


And, we know from local news that the church in question was indeed a “liberal church” with a sign outside that says “gays welcome”:

Owen said Adkisson specifically targeted the church for its beliefs, rather than a particular member of the congregation.

“It appears that church had received some publicity regarding its liberal stance,” the chief said. The church has a “gays welcome” sign and regularly runs announcements in the News Sentinel about meetings of the Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays meetings at the church.

Owen said Adkisson’s stated hatred of the liberal movement was not necessarily connected to any hostility toward Christianity or religion per say, but rather the political advocacy of the church.

The church’s Web site states that it has worked for “desegregation, racial harmony, fair wages, women’s rights and gay rights” since the 1950s. Current ministries involve emergency aid for the needy, school tutoring and support for the homeless, as well as a cafe that provides a gathering place for gay and lesbian high-schoolers. (emphasis addded)

Note that sentence directly above in bold. Ah. So, Sister Toldjah and Gleen Reynolds and Bob Owens and are wrong. At least they’re consistent.

But wait, it gets worse. Apparently, the murderer was a fan of a number of right wing extremists such as Michael Savage, Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity:

Adkisson targeted the church, Still wrote in the document obtained by WBIR-TV, Channel 10, “because of its liberal teachings and his belief that all liberals should be killed because they were ruining the country, and that he felt that the Democrats had tied his country’s hands in the war on terror and they had ruined every institution in America with the aid of media outlets.”

Adkisson told Still that “he could not get to the leaders of the liberal movement that he would then target those that had voted them in to office.”

Adkisson told officers he left the house unlocked for them because “he expected to be killed during the assault.”

Inside the house, officers found “Liberalism is a Mental Health Disorder” by radio talk show host Michael Savage, “Let Freedom Ring” by talk show host Sean Hannity, and “The O’Reilly Factor,” by television talk show host Bill O’Reilly.

The shotgun-wielding suspect in Sunday’s mass shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church was motivated by a hatred of “the liberal movement,” and he planned to shoot until police shot him, Knoxville Police Chief Sterling P. Owen IV said this morning.

Adkisson, 58, of Powell wrote a four-page letter in which he stated his “hatred of the liberal movement,” Owen said. “Liberals in general, as well as gays.”

Dave Neiwert has the definitive post on this issue, he explains it all with much more intelligence and historical perspective than I:

Right-wingers love to “joke” about mowing down, rounding up, and otherwise “wiping out” all things liberal. It’s become a standard feature of conservative-movement rhetoric. And whenever anyone calls them on it, they have a standard response: “Aw, c’mon — it’s just a joke!

In reality, of course, rhetoric like this has historically played a critical role in some of the ugliest episodes in American history, as well as thousands of little acts of xenophobic brutality: functionally speaking, it gives violent — and frequently unstable — actors permission to act on these impulses. People like this always believe they’re standing up for what “real Americans” think — and the jokes tell them that this is so.

This was a violent attack on liberals. It was inspired by years of wingnuts talking about how much they hate liberals and wish they could do something about them. This man did. But watch the people who have been telling these “jokes” run away from any culpability for it.

Nuff said.

Read More

everybody’s talkin’ bout: online literacy

Posted by on Jul 29, 2008 | 0 comments

Starre reminded me about online literacy with this New York Times article today.

It’s an interesting debate: Is our experience online a cognitive process that is sub par to traditional processes such as reading or speaking?

Nicholas Carr in The Atlantic also addressed the debate, asking the question: “Is Google making us Stoopid?

For me, as for others, the Net is becoming a universal medium, the conduit for most of the information that flows through my eyes and ears and into my mind. The advantages of having immediate access to such an incredibly rich store of information are many, and they’ve been widely described and duly applauded. “The perfect recall of silicon memory,” Wired’s Clive Thompson has written, “can be an enormous boon to thinking.” But that boon comes at a price. As the media theorist Marshall McLuhan pointed out in the 1960s, media are not just passive channels of information. They supply the stuff of thought, but they also shape the process of thought. And what the Net seems to be doing is chipping away my capacity for concentration and contemplation. My mind now expects to take in information the way the Net distributes it: in a swiftly moving stream of particles. Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.

What’s important to remember is that media formats are only tools. The internet is only a tool. And, like all new media- written word, printed word, radio, TV- at first there is a predisposition to overly trust all the information conveyed by that media as truthful. It’s on the internet, it must be true, right? And, to be sure, there are those who really do believe this to be the case. The lack of critical literacy is the central issue at hand. It’s no great skill to surf the wave of information that is available to us. The great skill is to know whether that information is true.

If the internet is, as Carr describes “chipping away” at our “capacity for concentration and contemplation” then it becomes necessary to find new ways and manner of regaining that capacity.

Social networking provides a certain amount of this, but not nearly enough IMHO. So much of the “interaction” of online communities is really just restating preset opinions and agendas. Very little
actual discussion of ideas and exploration of concepts and debate occurs.

Many would say that is the exact problem with society in general. Look at the current election process. How much real discussion is going on amongst the rumors and attack ads? Not very much.

So, what’s at work here? Are we simply incapable of being serious about our own cognitive abilities to find solutions via real debate? Are we overly enamored of the junk information like gossip?

What does it mean when a society shuns reality based informatin for fantasy? Is it possible to turn the tide?

Are we too Stoopid to change?

I don’t think so.

Read More

clueless old geezer alert

Posted by on May 31, 2008 | 0 comments

The wingnut blogosphere is buzzing that Bob Dole has “unloaded” on Scott McClellan. Bob Dole? Bob Dole?!!!!

When they start yanking the dusty statues from the dark corners, it usually means the building is going to collapse.

Read More

the social media unrevolution

Posted by on May 1, 2008 | 1 comment

Or How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Echo

T
he great promise of the internet was that it would level the information playing field by allowing equal access to all information, and facilitate the production of new information. The relationship between the two would, in theory, allow for a more democratic bottom up approach to solution based innovation. In a nutshell: we are stronger as a group, and the internet will allow us to function at a higher level to solve our problems.

Or so we thought.

The onslaught of investment during the dot com boom of the late 1990’s was rooted in the idea that the internet was a new form of television, and that if we apply those creative, financial and production processes directly, it’ll work. It didn’t, for lots of reasons but mostly because there was no monetary infrastructure for online content and web users didn’t want their MTV on the web, they wanted to connect with others via the web. So, the TV web went away and the social web rose up. And, revenue from ads began to pour in.

It’s important to remember that in 2001 everyone was still wondering how and if Amazon and then Google were going to be profitable. Ad revenue finally kicked in. But, unfortunately it was too late for the web TV movement. Sites such as pop.com and pseudo.com died from lack of revenue before web ads had become viable. It took a few years to figure out how to monetize it, figure out what worked and what didn’t, and for essential tech advances to come into play. (Front loading ads on video, bad idea. Clickable hot spots in video and embedding, good idea. Pop ups, bad idea. Banners and text ads, good idea. Ad sense, good. Subscription, bad.)

In the past four years the reintroduction of “social media” and “social networking” (which was the attraction of AOL back in the mid 90’s) applied in tandem with marketing and ad placement has become all the rage. And, the rush was on to create content to take advantage of this newest “revolution”.

Except, none of the best practices of producing video content that we know work in TV to attract an audience have been put into use. Some of this is due to the over reaction to user created content, and the assumption that low budget and thus low production value would translate into revenue. There was an assumption made by many involved in the web 2.0 movement that simply putting content out there would translate into financial gain if they could get the page hits. Not necessarily true it would appear. It’s a gamble given the rather nebulous manner in which most of the content distributors are handling revenue sharing; one person’s money train is another’s dripping faucet. A verifiable form of revenue sharing and accounting still needs to be set up and agreed upon in order for the big money to spend big money.

Among independent web content producer’s there has been a strong push to attract venture capital, with very little traction because of the lack of dealing with the reality that investors – whether in film, TV, or web – don’t merely want a return on their investment but also to see and understand that they are getting something tangible and valuable for their money. They want a simple value for value exchange. They want to see something great too. And, there seems to be a real lack of understanding of that basic rule by many content producers in the web 2.0 world. The governing rule is: just get it online, who cares what it looks like, people will watch. And, it’s not true.

The problem is so acute that Bill Cammack, an Emmy Award winning editor who knows of what he speaks, works in the web 2.0 area and realizes this is an issue, felt it necessary to video tape a how to shoot video 101 class and post it on his site.

I admire Bill’s patience, he does a nice job of laying out the basics, he has provided a real service, and it shines a light on the central issue that the web production community will have to aim higher in quality of production value and creative ideas if we are going to attract the big money and then begin to also nurture those relationships in the long term. I think that Bill understands this as well.

In the next few years the web landscape could change pretty dramatically. Social networking combined with video and mobile technology is going to create the next information movement. How we use it is the question. I agree with Deborah Schultz on this. We need to do more to make social media more viable, more useful, more informative and more entertaining. And, it begins with the community and the work. We need to be more innovative, more interesting and more professional.

At the moment, I’ve also become a bit disenfranchised with the web 2.0 community because on one hand it loves to play footsy with itself, it functions as a giant echo chamber looped onto itself. And, in some quarters, it’s turned nasty. It also feels way too much like the nascent independent film movement of the early 1990’s. Everyone was running around spending their own money on projects looking for an angel to come down and pave their way to creative and financial bliss. Now, I don’t have a problem with the work, or the dream, but in how it’s done. From two decades of experience what I do know is that the people who succeed are those that work on the craft and create compelling and professional content. It’s a real skill and an art. Forgetting that is deadly. If you endeavor to reach out, and communicate with others with skill, it works and people watch. And, when that occurs, the money follows. And, if you are lucky, a lot of money follows.

And, of course, since it involves money, which has its own pitfalls. By the late 90’s, the indie film industry was overtaken by the Hollywood “indie” studios. Even if you could raise your own money, make your film and get it into a major film festival, that didn’t guarantee that it would ever get into theaters. The studios had too many competing “indie” films of their own to release anyway. Many studios would buy up small film festival entrants and put them on the shelf to languish, just to ensure the film wouldn’t be released, its topic too close or too good to compete with something they’d already produced. Or even better, they’d manipulate the festival buzz on a given film to ensure that it did not find a buyer.

Today, the internet promises to provide a venue to equalize the distribution playing field a bit. But, it is important for web 2.0 producers and filmmakers looking to the web as a distribution model to realize that right now as I write, the big fish in Hollywood are planning to do the exact same thing in distribution online as they have done in theaters and TV. That is: control a good portion of it. And, access to the internet, with very few exceptions, is through corporations that are currently creating long term relationships with Hollywood studios and independent studios.

This is why the professional writers and producers are holding back in getting too deep into the web production world. The money isn’t in place, and the distribution is not in place. Thus, the atmosphere for many in the independent web production world is one of the wild west- no adults, free to do what you want, there’s always a seat at the bar and the drinks are all free. Thing is, you look around and it’s the same faces all looking for the same person: the one who has the wallet to pay for the drink.

There will be a user created world, a semi-professional world, and a professional world in the next web movement. Quality and money will be linked at the hip. A few in the first will make money, a few in the second will make money, and everyone in the third will make money. The big pay days will be there. The others will be seen as necessary to maintain viable communities online.

The interesting show to me would be one that combined those worlds to their greatest advantage. Democracy in action. At least for a little while until the next next web comes along.

Read More