Saturday, April 30, 2011

In Reply: " doesn't mean they didn't commit the crime. It just means they couldn't be tried for doing so."

Revised and extended, in reply to the following comment at the Common Sense Political Thought post "Pool Reporter Banned For Publishing Video Of Protest":
Hube says:
30 April 2011 at 11:36
"No, only Armitage. Cheney and Libby were not involved in outing Plame.
What Hitch said, Perry.

Nevertheless, let’s play a game and actually agree with your point. So what? It wasn’t a crime now, was it? Else, Armitage would have been prosecuted, would he not? And that’s my point: Armitage was not prosecuted for outing Plame, which the Left claimed consistently was a crime. Yet Libby was convicted of lying about a non-crime. Still, perjury is perjury, right Perry? Just ask Bill Clinton."
It's my understanding that it was in part Libby's dishonesty that prevented other people (including, perhaps, the actual leaker(s), and perhaps including Armitage.) from being prosecuted. Because Libby committed perjury, Fitzgerald was unable to gather the evidence required to charge other targets of his investigation. There's knowing a guy is guilty, and then there's being able to prove his guilt in court.

So, while these others may be legally presumed "innocent," it does not mean they did not commit the crime. It just means they couldn't be tried for doing so. Nor does it mean that intelligent folks can't weigh the evidence and draw their own conclusions as to those responsible for leaking Valerie Plame's name, or their reasons for doing so, in the same way folks judge the moral guilt of OJ Simpson, in spite of what the jury decided. There will always be a cloud hanging over the head of Cheney, Rove, and a few others in this regard... ...though legally, they never were charged, tried, or found guilty.
Posted 30 April 2011 at 14:12

Friday, April 29, 2011

In Reply: "Generating interesting comments is all about what a good blog does."

In reply to the following comment at the Common Sense Political Thought post "Trying Something New":
"Perry’s definition of a “good blog”:
Generating interesting comments is all about what a good blog does.
Sorry to break it to you, Perry, but there are many political blogs that don’t allow comments of any sort that have a higher readership than APB. Blogs cannot be judged by the number of comments made. That’s a very unwise yardstick to use. That’s like judging a college class by its in-class participation. My calc-based physics class had virtually zero in-class participation and 80 percent lecture. And it was a very high-quality and demanding class."
If ya ask me, blogs can be judged by any criteria one wishes. If hits is important to you, judge based on hits. (In my opinion, hits say nothing about quality. I'd much rather watch a PBS documentary on monarch butterflies than American Idol, but the Neilson "hits" say AI is a more valuable contribution to American society.) Those who value numbers can count comments if they wish, though I don't think that's any better than counting hits... That said, more power to the hit or comment counters. They know what they like, anyway... If good writing and high quality commentary rings your bell, judge blogs based on that... It's all a matter of what the blogger values, and what the reader values, and I'm not sure there is any one right answer that fits everybody, or should...

For the record, I'll take a relatively low hit blog (not that I'm casting any aspersions on CSPT; quite the contrary, in fact.) that allows and appreciates commentary over those high hit yield one-way lecture blogs any day of the week. I'm with Perry, in that I value well-written posts that generate interesting comments for and against, and like him, I believe that that is an important measure of what good blogging is. If I want cut and pasted articles and "talk at me, rather than with me" verbiage, I'll read a newspaper or a book. Other folks milage may vary, and more power to 'em if it does... There's all kinds of blogs for all kinds of people...

Posted 29 April 2011 at 15:16

In Reply: Hits, Coblogs, and Not Calling Folks Cobags Just Because You Disagree With 'em

In reply to various comments at Trying something new - Common Sense Political Thought

As far as blog hits, every blogger has to decide how important those hits are, and what s/he is and isn't willing to do to "earn" them. I'm sure CSPT (and American Power, for that matter) could easily double or triple their hits by appealing to the lowest common denominator with stories, photos, and keywords offering sex and violence, but that comes at the expense of integrity and quality writing. Meet The Press (or FoxNews Sunday) could greatly increase their "hits" by being more like American Idol or Glee, but to the extent that they do so, the cease to be quality news shows. (For those in the know, even RSM's "Million hits rules" seem kinda cynical to me... Rule 5 softcore T&A and keyword placement comes off as a bait & switch... Sure, folks give a hit to see the daily or weekly softcore "bikini babe," "naughty pics," or "nude video," (all recent top hitting page headers at AmPow) but that doesn't mean they're reading the political content or have the slightest bit of interest in it. Unless one is looking to do whatever it takes to earn money via ads, or hosting "whose got the biggest blogging penis?" ruler parties, I don't really see the point. But then, maybe I'm just jealous... I get about 5 hits/day...)

As far as having Left and Right authors on the same blog site, I've found it always sounds better in theory than it works in practice. When it works best, it's two bloggers who know each other well and respect each other as people, taking "point/counterpoint" on agreed upon issues. And even then it sometimes devolves...(Hell, even group blogs where the authors all purport to be on the same side have issues with finding a coherent identity, both from within and without. I'd daresay we're seeing a little bit of that right here in this thread and the "open letter" commentary, though it's mostly via criticism from without.)
Those in favor of trying the Left / Right thing certainly ought to do so... but on a new blog, that hasn't already established an identity and way of doing things. Good luck.

From what little I've seen, I like the way Dana runs this place, and support the changes he's trying to make to the tone of the commentary. (I'm not a big fan of editing other folks comments, though. I understand why, but I wish there was another way, and wonder whether a straight removal, with an opportunity to rephrase and repost by the comment author, might not be better...) As long as he's consistent and even-handed, I suspect folks will get the message and either adhere to the standards or give up and spew their bile somewhere else. Echo chambers, right and left, are boring places, in my humble opinion... How many times and ways can a person peck out the comment "I agree," (or the old AOL variant, "me, too.")? While I'm sure it's an ego boost for some bloggers to see those like-minded fans agreeing with 'em in comments and via personal e-mail, that illusion of conformity comes at too high a price.

It is possible to disagree without being disagreeable, and while no one's perfect at it all the time (least of all me--I've most definitely been disagreeable, and no doubt will be, again), I applaud those who try...

Posted 29 April 2011 at 14:24

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In Reply: "...the blogger is God, and can run his blog "creation" any way he sees fit..."

In reply to Open Letter To Dana Pico - Common Sense Political Thought (and to this comment, a little. [Appended at the end, because it shows how afraid of being challenged the man really is...])

Not being a regular here, I have no idea who is and isn't causing trouble, or on what political side they hang their hat(s) but, having read the Comments & Registration page, it seems like Dana has a pretty good policy... in theory, anyway. No matter how good the policy, one does have to use it when necessary for it to be effective, of course.

There is no reason that any blogger should have to put up with verbal abuse, spam, or bigotry of any kind in their comment sections. If that is the nature of the poison in question, the only argument for keeping it posted (as I often do on my blogs) is to let it stand as a monument of the bad behavior and thus shame the person posing it. Those who don't wish to do that should feel no guilt in removing such posts.

Once you get beyond that into ideological territory (like "the same tired arguments" or "fact-free commentary,") removing comments after the fact gets more sticky. I know in my case, it does get tiresome to see the same individuals make the same generalizations about the same social or political groups, and I'd imagine that they (and perhaps others, not involved) find it tiresome to read my same rebuttals to making such generalizations. Whether their generalizations or my rebuttals therefore deserve to be removed from the comment stream is another matter, however.

Removing commentary before the fact (running moderated comment sections, and only allowing "approved" comments to appear) is cowardly. It is possible to edit or remove offensive (or even simply tiresome) commentary after the fact in just about every blogging software, so to do so before the fact, just in case, is evidence that one is not willing or able to address dissent, and prefers to create the illusion that everyone agrees with whatever it is the blogger is selling.

In the end, the blogger is God, and can run his blog any way s/he sees fit, whether that means taking on all points of view, banning all points of view other than his/her own, or something in between. And whatever a blogger chooses to do, folks are going to judge, and some will be critical of the decisions the blogger makes. It's impossible to please everyone whatever blog/comment philosophy one chooses, and you win some and you lose some... As others have said, it really does come down to one's ideological makeup and the kind of blog one wishes to run. I'm on the side of diversity, but have little issue with taking a firm hand when diversity leads to namecalling, threats, and other unpleasantness, as long as one is open and evenhanded about it.

(Sure, I could address the allegations levied against me, but there's little point. Some folks potentially reading this (including at least two of the folks on the list of authors, here) were witness to what did/didn't happen between Dr. Douglas and I over the course of the last several years, and for those uninformed but interested, there is a plethora of archival verbiage available on our blogs and elsewhere on the web for folks to read and judge, should anyone's interest be piqued. 'nuff said, I think.)

Submitted Posted 27 April 2011 at 14:36 (I hit "post," and it vanished... and when I tried again, the system said it was a duplicate comment, so go figure... Moderation? A glitch? Banned, by reputation!?! I'll report back, should anything change.)
6:01 PM: 2:40 PM comment still not posted. After noticing that blog owner posted a comment (& presumably, cleaned out any/all comments held for moderation at the post, as well), submitted/successfully posted a link to this comment at original post.
6:30 PM: Original comment was caught in spam filter... Just my dumb luck... (New comment from Dr. Douglas over there, too. Same old tired and song and dance, right down to the "Bwahahahaha!".)

Donald Douglas' 26 April 2011 at 21:26 comment:
I’ll be perfectly honest: A few trolls aren’t gonna kill the traffic to the blog all that much. What’s gonna matter the most is high-impact content and networking with folks who can send readers and increase traffic numbers. Glenn Reynolds has no commenting feature. I’ve never asked, but obviously it’s not worth the time. I used to get well over 50-60 comments on blog posts routinely, but many of the commenters were left-wing radical progressives who later participated in reprehensible attacks against my livelihood. Repsac3 in particular is a well known troll around the blogosphere who sponsors intimidation campaigns against me. He’s banned. But I had to go to comment moderation in order to do it, since he refused to stop commenting, and that ruined the spontaneity of my community. It’s never been the same, but RacistRepsac3 isn’t the only one. Now by moderating I find a lot of comments that would get through without pre-apporval, so in some sense it’s a wash. So, decide what you want: Do you folks want a blogging and commenting community free of “poison” or are you looking to have a high impact on political debates, and thus high volume traffic? That latter’s going to take way more work than running a community of like-minded bloggers, and I doubt the return will be better.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

X-Post: Donalde Defines "Truthiness" Using Spring Spheres

American Power: Spring Spheres

After echoing this wingnut meme about a progressive attack on Easter, in the form of a sixteen year old girl who wouldn't give her last name or identify any of the schools or teachers involved (her own, or the teacher/school where this event was rumored to've taken place) telling a rightwing radio jock the story of a Washington third grade classroom where Easter Eggs must be called "Spring Spheres," lest Christianity break out, Donald Douglas UPDATES to admit that there is some question as to the story's veracity. (It seems that no legit news organization or religious/educational/political/??? official in the state of Washington or anywhere else can find any proof that this is anything more than propaganda designed and used to attack "the left" for a "PC 'War On Easter'" that never actually took place.)

Of course, The Donalde cannot manage to actually make that admission...
UPDATE: An anonymous leftist commenter slams this as a fake story. So, for the record, here's the other side: "Can KIRO Prove Its "Spring Spheres" Easter Egg Story?"

Naturally progressives would go on the offensive against this, given how much they hate all American holidays, especially Christian holidays.

It doesn't matter to Dr Douglas and those who think like him whether or not the story is actually true... It fits the bullshit meme he's trying to sell (Progressives hate American holidays (and Christian holidays, especially), so the fact that no one can prove the story is in any way true is beside the point. It feels true to The Donalde, and that's all that really matters...

Donald Kent Douglas is acting more like a wannabe Bill O'Reilly (internet division) everyday:

And of course, this isn't the first time Donald has offered up this kinda "Sure the story may be fake, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't believe it" thinkin':
After telling Donald that a picture of Code Pink with a banner that said "We Support The Murder Of The American Troops" was photoshopped, this was Donald's reply: "I don't care if the picture was photoshopped ... I believe that Code Pink wants out troops dead, which is why they "support the resistance" in Iraq, nihilist raghead fighters who are murdering Americans." (Follow this link, and navigate to "Americaneocon's" May 25, 2008, 8:42:30 AM EDT comment.) ((And for reference, here's the link to the post those Echo comments were attached to, before Donald moved to Blogger's comment system and left his old haloscan/echo/js-kit comments floating in the aether...))

Matt Gurney on progress: Jesus replaced by eggs. Eggs replaced by spheres | Full Comment | National Post
DAMMIT JANET!: That's Spring Spheres to you, bunny!
Fabricated Eggs by Dominic Holden - The Stranger, Seattle's Only Newspaper

An American Niiiiihilist X-post

Monday, April 18, 2011

X-Post: Raaaaacist Inciiiiivility (and more of Dr Douglas' guilt by association thinkin')

Saturday, April 16, 2011, 11:15 PM - American Power: Even More Progressive Civility!: "Leftists truly are the biggest racists, just ask REPSAC = CASPER = RACIST."

Saturday, April 16, 2011, 9:30 PM - American Power: More Progressive Civility: "Friends of REPSAC = CASPER, no doubt."

No explanation, no link to any "raaaaacist" or "inciiiiivil" thing I've ever said or done in either post... Just Donalde Douglas once (or twice) again blowing smoke, playing at guilt by association ("If that guy who said something racially offensive is a progressive, and repsac3 is a progressive, that clearly proves..." It's just that easy to accuse folks, when you're Donald Douglas.) and hoping someone will actually pay attention to him. Sad.

It occurs to me that he may've been pissed that I tweeted about a fellow Orange County Republican and Tea Party activist earlier on April 16th: Racist Orange County Republican Email: President Obama and His Parents Are Apes - Orange County News. Maybe (employing that same guilt by association thinking he's famous for) Donalde thought I was tweeting about him, and thus lashed out... I mean, it's not as though he's never said anything racially offensive about black people or otherwise been bigoted toward those with whom he doesn't agree politically, is it?

One clue about civility, Donald... Whatever one thinks about the idea of talking more respectfully (even to those with whom one disagrees), it isn't about judging the behaviors of others... It's about doing the right thing, oneself. There will always be bigots and other incivil people. It shouldn't be about finding examples of people on "the other side" acting uncivilized or bigoted and trying to tar everyone else on that side with the bad behavior of the few... If ya ask me, the question one should ask oneself is whether one wishes to be counted among the uncivilized, oneself. While you can't control "them," you can choose to control yourself... ...or choose not to, I guess...

I'm just sayin'...

Others: memeorandum: Marilyn Davenport's Racist Email Denounced By OC GOP

American Niiiiihilist X-post

Nerd Score (Do nerds score?)