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Blog Box

February 25, 2005
Compiled by Bucky Rea, The Brown Bag Blogger

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The Koufax Awards got tallied and announced at Wampum Wednesday. For those of you who don't know the difference between the Koufax Awards and Webbies, think about it this way: the Koufaxes (or "the Sandies") are like the SAG or Golden Globe awards, while the Webbies are comparable to the Oscars. Getting a Koufax denotes being a class act while getting a Webbie, while certainly an honor, takes a little more politickin' than most of the celler-dwelling idealists who blogviate are up for.

Or, as Wampum puts it:

The Koufax Awards are intended to help forge a sense of community among lefty bloggers and their readership. We hope make introductions of bloggers to each other and to readers. We also hope to create a sense that we all live in the same virtual neighborhood and that it is a very nice neighborhood indeed.

So here's what we got:

Best Non-Sponsored Blog went to the Daily Kos. The most readable posting this week from the Kossacks concerned a disturbingly honest pro-Santorum chant from a group of College Republicans in the City of Brotherly Love. They sang "Hey-hey, ho-ho, Social Security has got to go!" No, really, that's what they said.

Best Pro Blog was Talking Points Memo by Josh Marshall, who continues to be what every blog oughta be: equal portions of fearless objective reporting and snarling partisan advocacy. It's probably not a coincidence that most liberal political successes in the past season, from derailing the Kerik nomination to the sudden backboning of the Democratic Caucus on the Social Security assault were causes in which TPM led the rallies. Josh's trademarked attention to detail is exemplified this week with his notations on apartment shuffling for a couple of conservative bedfellows.

The winning newbie for Best New Blog was Austin-based Mouse Words. Despite Amanda Marcotte's past obsession with women leaking blue fluids, the blogoverse is recognizing a new and unique voice from a red state embed who can give us the straight skinny on what the idiots are up to lately.

Digby of Hullabaloo got the nod for Best Writing. How else can you reward the guy who coined the delightful phrase The Manchurian Beefcake? No tired old "man date" jokes here.

Most Humorous Blog is the Jesus' General who deserves megakudos for keeping his satire ahead of the bad-as-satire antics of the political right, while the Best Expert Blog award goes once again to Juan Cole's Informed Comment.

These are the best of the left, kids. If you want to know how to do it, or if, like Chauncey Gardner, you just "like to watch," it's well worth your while to check out all the winners of the 2004 Koufaxes from the source itself.

Ruthless People

Via Steve Gilliard's eponymous blog, we find out that John Fund is a jerk. John Fund? Now why does that name ring a bell? Ah yes, about four years ago he was the conservative Wall Street Journal writer who found himself in the middle of domestic-abuse allegations against his live-in girlfriend, whom he talked into having an abortion about the same time that he was denouncing of Bill Clinton for having a sex scandal. The whistle blower in Mr Fund's case was the young lady's mom, who was miffed about Fund falsely suggesting a wedding was in the offing (and asking the mom to pay for it) and then beating up her daughter. Allegedly. But in Mr Fund's defense, I should point out that he does work for the Wall Street Journal.

So why is this important now? He's apparently ticked off conservative bloggers by commandeering two different bloggers' laptops and not letting the laptops' users have them while at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference. First he snagged the hook-up belonging to Adam Doverspike of RedState. Then later in the day he barged in on Robert Cox of The National Debate. As Gilliard points out, this is akin to taking a mechanic's tools or a baseballer's glove without asking.

However, like a good second string media bitch, Doverspike said he "didn't mind." After all, his work tools were being swiped by John-freakin'-Fund, who's only like the Burt Reynolds of the Wall Street Journal. It's practically an honor. Care to use my daughter while you're at it, sir?

Conservative bloggers seem to just love getting dissed in person by a real reporter. You can even see a shot of Fund puttin' the mack on righty blogger La Shawn Barber on her own website ("Starstruck? I think not!" - oh, gag). Cox of The National Debate was less resigned to his urinal-cake-like social stature (virtually every interview scheduled with bloggers at CPAC was a no show) and, according to conservative blogger Kevin McCullough, meekly asked "will you be long?"

Fund: "Nope I just need a minute more..." (he had already been on about 20 at this point...)

Cox: "I believe they had some software installed on these machines - so be careful - they may be recording your every keystroke."

Fund: (A dumb-founded look upon his face, a medium size gulp in his throat) "Um...ok...well that should be fine. I just wouldn't want anyone to read my e-mail..."

In the length of time that he persisted on Cox's machine I was able to snap the photos you see in this story and e-mail them one by one from my phone to myself.

Not long after that - Fund departs, no "thank you"s, no "I'm sorry for using your private computer, etc."

Gee, you'd think that a guy who abuses his girlfriend, talks her into an abortion, and then lies to her mother about his intentions would be a little classier than that. But then, just to double his goober quotient, Fund bumbled away from Cox's computer with his email account (Outlook, of course) still left open. Cox was too much of a gentleman to play havoc with the guy who stole his computer station, but he wasn't too much of a gentlemen to reveal that one of Mr Fund's super-urgent emails contained the subject line: "Smokin' Hot Dancer." Oh, yeah, that was work-related.

Steve Gilliard, who does not suffer fools gladly, did two other useful things this week. First he linked to transcripts from an old telephone conversation to let you know what kind of person John Fund really is. Then, on a totally different vein, he wrote the best Hunter Thompson obituary on the net, connecting the dots between the founding of gonzo journalism and the blogger revolution of today.

Tonight We're Gonna Party Like It's 1984

John Aravosis's boldly named AmericaBlog is the latest front in the nonstop War on Sanity. Seems that some people don't like what John's writing about the Gannon story. And that's okay. In America, we get to have our opinions. In fact, we even get to speak our opinions. It's only un-American when people try and stop us from speaking our opinions.

Case in point: somebody, and I'm not saying who, Karl, came up with the bright idea of looking up the phone numbers of people who'd posted comments on AmericaBlog and calling them up to ask them not to post on John's website anymore. Umm, I guess asking someone not to talk is technically part of free speech, too, but it's looking a little gray here. Unfortunately, it gets worse. The boneheads calling up the AmericaPosters tried to pass themselves off as being John Aravosis, the host and blogger-in-chief of AmericaBlog. Fraud, alas, is not just un-American. John explains the facts of life to his stalkers:

Defenders of Gannon are now phoning people who post comments on AMERICAblog, they pretend to be me, and ask the person to stop posting on the forum. This happened to a good friend of mine who posts here (guys, get a clue, don't call a friend of mine and pretend to be me), and now it's happened to someone else.

First off, when you use a phone, there's an electronic paper trail. Second of all, when you pretend to be someone else, you're very likely bordering on a crime. If this story is so hot that Gannon's, and/or the White House's defenders, are feeling the need to try to sabotage this blog, well all I can say is thanks, and I'm posting this publicly so perhaps we can get another media story out of this.


Then we get to the creepy part. John cautions his readers:

In the meantime, folks, maybe you shouldn't post your full name to your comments, and be assured I'd never phone any of you.

Hey you know what? Screw them! My name is Bucky Rea. I'm in the phone book. You wanna call me and tell me where I can post? Fine. I'll return your phone call and tell you where you can bite. (Well, actually, Bucky's not my real name. But I only changed it to make it easier to pronounce). John gives all of you one final caveat:

Folks, just a word of caution to everyone on visiting our site, but also to the good folks working like dogs at DailyKos, World o Crap, and everyone else on this story. I'm starting to sense some disinformation coming our way, especially in the comments section of the blog. We've all finally captured the attention of the mainstream media and made this story a story. We've also captured the attention of the Bush administration and other GOP bad guys, and I suspect they're trying to feed us bad info so we jump on it, print it and thus they can try to debunk all of our good work.

All I'm saying is that I recommend everyone be doubly careful about sussing out any information you find, see printed, or receive before running it on your blog, emailing it around as truth, etc.

Other Voices, Other Rooms

The best rundown of how Karl Rove might be linked to Jim Guckert, nee Jeff Gannon, nee Hotmilitarystud, is right now to be found on The Nashua Advocate. So that's where to get the best gossip now.

If anyone still cares about the occupation of Iraq, they can read about it from the indispensable Riverbend, who's currently filling you in on who the big players are in the recent elections.

James Wolcott continues to be the go-to guy for insight into the mind of James Wolcott. Don't spend a week without him.

Kos on Wednesday obtained and posted in zip-file format a 160 page book from Republican pollster Frank Luntz (R-MSNBC) on how the GOP can continue its 2004 moral blizzard into the 2006 election cycle. If you don't have time to read 160 pages of NewSpeak, The Carpetbagger rounds it down for you.

Luntz’s playbook confirms all of our worst fears about how Republicans run successful campaigns – namely lie, obfuscate, and deny your way to victory. Luntz essentially lays out the best way to make this strategy work in the most amoral way possible.

Read it, my fellow Americans. And weep.

Know a hot blog that needs some coverage? Send your recommendations to Bucky.

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