Senator Ted: People Suck

On a more serious note, I couldn’t help but pause when I heard this nugget from Senator Ted last night:
“There’s a reason why this land was called ‘the American experiment.’ If dedication to the common good were hardwired into human nature, we would never have needed a revolution. If each of us cared about the public interest, we wouldn’t have the excesses of Enron. We wouldn’t have the abuses of Halliburton. And Vice President Cheney would be retired to an undisclosed location.”
Leave aside the tortured rhetorical right-turn into Cheney-bashing, and just focus on those first sentences. The good Senator expresses a rather grim view of human nature, doesn’t he?
If you truly believe that each of us has no interest in the common good; that we don’t care about the public interest — well, I guess some of the nanny-state policies so dear to the hearts of Democrats actually do start to make some sense.
Me, I’ll stick to believing that most people are basically decent, and that left to their own devices they’ll generally do just fine at behaving like moral people with some concern for their fellow citizens. And I’ll thank Senator Ted for the illuminating — if disturbing — glimpse into his own dark view of humanity — and himself.

And he means it, too

Senator Kennedy, at the convention today: “We bear no ill will toward our opponents. In fact, we’d be happy to have them over for a polite little tea party. I know just the place: right down the road at Boston Harbor.”
Call me crazy, but is it really such a good idea for Ted Kennedy to be making vaguely threatening comments involving bodies of water?

Not that you asked, but…

Not to backseat-blog or anything, but here’s a bit of advice for my colleagues who actually travelled to the convention:
a) Get the hell out of “blogger alley”
b) Stop talking to each other
c) Stop taking pictures of each other
d) Stop simulblogging speeches that are being covered live by television.
e) Stop doing interviews with big media. (Yes, even fake big media).
This has been a public service announcement. Please resume blogging.

War of the Memes Goes Mainstream

Glenn points to David Brooks’ observation that the 9/11 report makes a clear statement about what we are actually fighting:
We are facing, the report notes, a loose confederation of people who believe in a perverted stream of Islam that stretches from Ibn Taimaya to Sayyid Qutb. Terrorism is just the means they use to win converts to their cause.
It seems like a small distinction – emphasizing ideology instead of terror – but it makes all the difference, because if you don’t define your problem correctly, you can’t contemplate a strategy for victory. . . .

As I reminded Glenn (and he kindly linked to), I addressed very similar themes in my post The War of the Memes, way back in 2002. In my opinion, it is probably the best piece of blog writing I’ve done to date (for whatever that’s worth), so I’ll take any excuse to refer folks back to it. Take a look; if you find it worthless, you probably shouldn’t bother coming back around these parts, because I’m unlikely to get much better than that… 🙂
-NZB

Convention Blogging Resources – II

At the moment, I’m pretty convinced that better coders than I have quite adequately provided the kind of convention portal sites that I was considering hacking together. I might still toss something up if I see a gap (suggestions welcome), but for the moment, I’ll be watching the following:
Dave Winer’s ConventionBloggers.com, which presents the latest posts from convention bloggers, and also has a combined XML feed for the more feed-inclined. (Only downside: I think any bloggers who don’t have an XML feed won’t show up here; though I don’t know if there actually are any). Dave also has a page with just images, although as he warns, “There are already some nipples visible in the flow. If you’re under 18, please avert your eyes. ” — i.e., may not always be safe for work depending on what bloggers choose to toss up.
Feedster’s politics page, now showing “The Latest in Today’s Politics from the Official DNC Bloggers.”
Cyberjournalist.net has the most exhaustive list I’ve seen of both the credentialed bloggers, and other bloggers who were either disinvited or are attending in other capacities.
And the aforementioned Technorati Politics Page — still yet to be unveiled!

Convention Blogging Resources

Folks:
I’m looking to find out if:
a) Anyone has collected a full list of bloggers going to the convention next week
b) Anyone is planning on providing a resource page to link to the work of those bloggers.
I see the Dave Sifray and the Technorati crew are now linking up with CNN and planning a politics page, but they haven’t released it yet so I’m not sure precisely what it will contain.
And yes, I’m considering what I might be able to do to provide such a portal, if nobody else is stepping up to the plate. Feedback is welcome as to whether this would be useful.
Thanks all!

Oh, did I forget to mention I’m under criminal investigation?

So help me think through this. Sandy Berger has been under investigation since October of last year, and it appears he knew about it. He’s acting as an advisor to the Kerry campaign. Choose the option that most likely describes reality:
A) Berger told the Kerry campaign he was under investigation, and the campaign saw no reason to worry about it and distance Kerry from Berger. Conclusion: the Kerry campaign is run by idiots.
B) Berger did not tell the Kerry campaign he was under investigation. Conclusion: Berger concealed vital political information from his party’s Presidential campaign. Corollary: Berger is not just careless with classified information, but is also an idiot.
There is more to this story, of course: I hardly know where to start with all the things that don’t make sense. But if anyone can see a scenario other than the two above that could possibly fit the facts, chime right in…

Who Watches The Watchers?

The LA Times’ Alex Jones sniffs disapprovingly at bloggers in what Stephen Green accurately describes as a hit piece yesterday, tut-tutting that simply because bloggers have credentials for the conventions, that doesn’t make them real live Journalists-with-a-capital-J.
Jones’ is right to be worried, but not for the reasons he expresses in his column. The convention coverage provided by bloggers will be significant and interesting not because it will reveal anything all that exciting about our political process. It will be interesting because it will reveal a great deal about our media process.
For the first time, we will have a large group of Pro-Fessional Journ-O-Lists and bloggers working the same event in close proximity. Sure, the blogger’s initial focus will be on the pols and their staged rituals and behind-the-scenes antics. But I predict that much of the most compelling coverage from our colleagues journeying to New York and Boston will come when they turn their attention to the parallel shadow dance that our press corps performs alongside the public, visible routines of the political operators. Want to know how that news sausage is made? You are about to find out.
They may not know it yet, but the bloggers aren’t there to cover the convention. They are there to cover the journalists. So my advice to Mr. Jones, and any other pro journalist out there venturing to the conventions: I suggest you put on your best suit. You are being watched.

Alliance Blogrolls Working Again

Believe it or not, I think I’ve finally implemented sufficient validation / cleanup code to restore all alliance blogrolls to working order. The biggest problem actually seemed to be some blogs which included carriage-returns in their titles, which messed up the Javascript code.
All blogrolls should now be working; if they aren’t, please comment here…

Democratic Convention: Capacity Problem? What Capacity Problem?

So the Democrats caught quite a bit of heat for “disinviting” some bloggers who had been told they would be credentialed for the convention. The Democrats claimed an oversight about the capacity available; Jeff Jarvis quotes today’s New York Times editorial on the subject which suggests about 20 bloggers were turned away.
Well, apparently they found a few more spots, because there are now five slots open and reserved for bloggers — or anyone else — who win a fundraising contest:
To celebrate the beginning of the Campaign for a New Majority and the launch of Majority Makers, we are giving away FIVE TRIPS TO THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION IN BOSTON!
That’s right, the top five “NetRoots” fundraisers on Majority Makers will receive a Convention package, including:
Round trip transportation to Boston;
Four nights accommodations in Boston;
Convention credentials; and,
An invitation to a very special convention event.

I guess we have to conclude that using those five slots to “un-dis-invite” 25% of the bloggers that were jerked around either didn’t occur to them, or was deemed not worth the effort.
I received the heads-up on this campaign via a DCCC email titled “Got credentials?”, which read:
This program strikes us a perfect fit for the blogosphere, which knows well that George W. Bush couldn