Democratic Underground

Blog Box

December 10, 2004
Compiled and written by Bucky Rea, The Brown Bag Blogger

Blogs are hot. Blogs are trendy. No, wait: blogs, my fellow net-Democrats, are totally post-modern-trendy-hot. An unremitting barrage of words, ideas, and stolen graphics zoom past you on a million web logs on the World Wide Information Super Autobahn every minute of the day. If you step out there, you get plowed over. If you blink, you miss something.

So I suggested a couple of weeks ago to DU that we, as a cybercommunity, really oughta keep track of some of the better jalopies zoom-zooming along out there in that gridlock of data and opinion. And EarlG was all like, "yeah, cool, but you read that stuff, Buckaroo, and tell me what you find."

And what did I find? I found that blogging is red hot. Blogging is sexy. No wait, blogging is red-hot sexy, independence-day sexy, auto-sexy, do-it-yourself sexy, hang-it-out-the-window-and-see-if-the-sailors-whistle sexy. Blogging, my fellow net-Democrats, has arrived. And Democratic Underground is here to make sure at least some of it is covered for you, even if you do blink.

Now on with the show...

Blogs in the News

Two metathings excited bloggers as December began: First, this past week it hit the news that, according to Mirriam Webster (I think she's the receptionist who prints out the hard copies from Dictionary.com), the word "blog" is the most important word of the year. Sorry, Mirriam, but blog was actually the most important word of 2002. Nice try. The most important word of 2004 is, of course, "squarepants."

The second thing getting the Bloggonians blogviating was a whim concocted by Frank Paynter for the IT Kitchen. He asked 35 bloggers about themselves and - wallah! - a meme was born. Soon bloggers were metablogging on blogging in hot meta-on-meta action. This is one blog posting where you must hang around afterwards and read all the comments just to get the full effect: a deafening roar of self contemplation among technically savvy shut-ins (thanks to ZenYenta for pointing to this).

The metathing that excited absolutely no bloggers at all? Bill Gates has started up a free* blogging service, too. Yawn. Looks like just more Gates-crashing to me.

Stories of the Week

But real news exploded from Blogland as well.

BoingBoing, the directory of wonderful things, continues to push the envelope of what constitutes "wonderful things" by being the first out the gate to publicize the latest collection of disturbing pictures of Americans in uniform getting tough on Iraqis who like to shoot at invaders. Thanks to all the postmodern bloggers out there, the pictures were not lost to history. For what it's worth, the photos so far seem to show no atrocities other than the atrocity that any unjustified vanity war is.

BoingBoing also got a chance to do a follow up on his ongoing coverage of the Hooters restaurants' attempt to place a trademark on boobies.

Talking Points Memo is hot on the trail of why new Homeland Security nominee Bernard Kerik bugged out of Iraq after fewer than three months when he was supposed to spend six to eighteen months there training Iraq's elite fighting police forces. The latest evidence suggests that Kerik was slated for replacement within six weeks of arriving in Iraq. But one should not be so quick to condemn Kerik for being so quick about leaving his security post in Iraq. Things are goddamned dangerous over there.

Kevin "the Animal" Drum dug up a gem seemingly lost during the big debate over moral values last October. Abortion rates went up during Reagan's term in office and went dramatically downward during Clinton's tenure. One would almost think that balancing the budget and managing a sound economy were moral issues. Guess what abortions rates have looked like under the lesser Mister Bush? Okay, now guess again. Not pretty.

And finally, in the news, Wonkette found something vaguely sexual-sounding to giggle about.

You Do the Math

The Revere Report continues to hammer away at the voting fiasco that used to be called Ohio. He give props to DU's own TruthIsAll for his ongoing fight by analysis and logic, the biggest WMDs in our war against the stupids (Truthy also is getting attention from the Blue Man's blog, Who Really Won?).

Rick "Revere" Wilkerson's intervew with Wayne Madsen from last week still remains a vital read for anyone wanting the skinny on what democracy activists are dealing with in order to get an honest and accurate recount in the states riddled with voting irregularities.

In the next two weeks we'll probably learn the long sought after question of what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. The only variable is whether you are gonna help make the force irresistible.

But the best display of deadly math skills last week came from DUer Bolo Boffin, who crunches some numbers from the Washington Post and OpenSecrets.org to figure out that Bill Frist lost over 40% of his current campaign chest in the stock market. Bolo also doesn't miss the obvious implications of what this means for Frist and Bush's plans for investing Social Security funds in the stock market.

Nice catch, Bolo. Someone remind me never to cross a Tennessee hobbit.

Professional Journalism

Atrios's Eschaton (yeah, try saying that three times fast) is dealing with a big ol' headache from a story CBS News did, focusing on bloggers. Among other things, CBS took Atrios to task for the "ethical problem" of hiding his political partisanship.

In the immoral words of Scooby-Doo... "huh?" Can any thinking person spend more than three minutes reading the Eschaton and not conclude that Atrios stands squarely and openly on the partisan side of the angels? I mean besides the geniuses at CBS, obviously.

Frustrated with the glib, half-fact-checked story about bloggers and Campaign '04 (because there's really not enough coverage out there on blogs right now, if you don't count the gazillion other major news stories about bloggers and Campaign '04), Atrios penned a poison letter to the network's top rhymes-with-brass:

Dear CBS & David Paul Kuhn

I'm writing to you regarding your recent story titled "Blogs: New Medium, Old Politics." Your article, which was concerned with, among other things, whether "bloggers are credible," contained some errors.

First, the title of this blog is "Eschaton" and not "Atrios." This is apparent from the big black letters at the top of the page...

It doesn't get prettier from there, but that definitely makes for the quote of the week.

Quickies

If you're wondering who's the better journalist, Lois Lane or Clark Kent, wonder no more. The Accordion Guy discovered the very first use of the word "blog" in literature. Lois Lane is officially designated "Mrs Blog" way back in the Eisenhower years. And the way the word is used, well... let's just say this can't be coincidence.

The Brand Democrat bandwagon, courtesy of blogging marketing whiz Oliver Willis, continues to grow, carried along largely by the enthusiasms of fellow independent bloggers. Most recently Joho the Blog, Lindsay Fincher, and Burnt Orange threw out some props to the smartest sales pitch this party's had in a long time. You should, too. And yes, I know it's arriving about two months too late. Just try and think of it as arriving 20 months early.

Bartcop fans out there, as if there were any Bartcop fans who are not at least a little bit "out there," were treated this week to a useful compare and contrast essay about Bart and Rush Limbard (as usual, Bart has no internal links within the page. You just have to scroll down a little over half the page and look for Bart's reply to the "meta-monkey mail" from Dan K.

Nostamj continues the poetic adventures of Mister Bosh, his archetypal anti-hero with a heart of stone and the brains to match it.

BusyBusyBusy, with one of the best blogrolls on the internet, quit picking on David Brooks and Nicholas Kristof for a bit last week and started smacking a little chap named Jeff Jacoby around. Oops, you blinked. Now BZ3 is back onto Kristof.

New Yorkers should be glad to see that Elliot Spitzer is now blogging at his website Spitzer2006.com. I have no idea what the "2006" there in his domain name might stand for.

T'bogg found the very honestest Bush image on the internet. And no, it doesn't involve a comb-over and short mustache.

Credit Whether it's Due or Not

One last quick reminder: the 2004 Weblog Awards are getting closer by the day. This wouldn't be news except, apparently, a predictable coterie of hysterical conservative bloggers are claiming that Kos is ballot-stuffing the competition. And their evidence? This damning statement found right on Kosblog:

Vote early and often. And by often, I mean "once." Because that's all that's allowed.

Oh my, such a scandal! Kosblogger David Weigel uses an extremely overused and entirely recognized cliché (voter early and often) and then proceeds to clarify that Kossacks (as they call themselves) can only vote once for real (as if anyone was gonna think otherwise).

And that's all there is to the bogus ballot stuffing claims - although at least one conservative blogger not linked to here is calling for the removal of the best liberal blog category for this bogus infraction.

If Internet popularity contests mattered for anything at all you could call this "DailyKosgate." But they don't so we won't. I only mention this stuff because it's a good example of how the conservative movement operates - and the host site of the awards does seem to be a bit of a winger. They find something to kvetch about and they don't quit whining until someone throws them some candy. Yep, this is how they're leading us into the Era of Responsibility. Sheesh.

Know a hot blog that needs some coverage? Send your recommendations to the Brown Bag Blogger.

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