Friday, January 14, 2005



What can YOU do?
-- Go to the above link and watch.
-- E-Mail Congress - ask them to stand up and challenge Bush's deceitful policy on Iraq.
-- E-Mail President Bush - tell him you know policy in Iraq is a failure and is based on a lie. When saving face means sacrificing and taking more precious lives, it's time to put it to a screeching halt.

This dismal puzzle has already been done for you.

credit: Christian Science Monitor, Bennett Cartoons

Want a laugh?

Want a laugh?

If you've seen the film Napoleon Dynamite, this is a must-see.

Blogging, Journalism, and Credibility

Blogging, Journalism, and Credibility

On January 9, I'd written about the upcoming invitation-only conference Blogging, Journalism, and Credibility to be held at Harvard on January 21 and 22. The schedule is here.
At Greensboro101 and Ed Cone, I was referred to a link at Raving Lunacy about the conference and
The 'Head Lemur' breaks down the strange fellowship of Blogging as tool, Journalism as occupation, and Credibility as goal. He comments that, while only time and events will bestow credibility to anybody, it's undeniable that the Internet is becoming the primary source for news and information for more and more people, and that there is both promise and danger to the intersection of blogging and journalism. Be sure to read his entire blogpiece.

Ed Cone, who will attend the conference, says that Greensboro has
"interesting things going on here with our traditional journalists as they try to figure out how blogging and newspapers co-exist."
Looking ahead to the time he gets to the Harvard conference, Ed says:
I think I have something to tell the media elite in Cambridge next week, and that is the way traditional and alternative journalism are being practiced on the web here Greensboro. It's not about blogging as punditry, or blogs as the bane of reckless TV journalists, it does not answer burning questions about the place of bloggers in the social hierarchy of Manhattan and DC, but it does address the issues of blogging, journalism, and credibility.
As a community blogger working in harmony with the Syracuse, NY newspaper, The Post Standard, I can relate to Greensboro blogger David Wharton, who will blog about a local issue one day and blog about the tsunami the next.

I wish Ed Cone and all attendees the best of luck at the conference.

Meet the next-door blogger/

Meet the next-door blogger
By Brian Cubbison, Assistant News Editor
Syracuse Post Standard, January 13, 2005

My interaction with the Greensboro101 bloggers was printed on Page 2 of The Syracuse Post Standard yesterday.

If you live in Cazenovia, Parish or Camillus, your neighbor might be a blogger. is nurturing local bloggers who write about their neighborhoods. It’s a trend that’s also taking roots in communities in New Jersey, North Carolina and Washington state.

Jim Jurista writes the Cazenovia Free Press. The technology consultant writes about national politics or village events, such as the Cold War and a men’s night out.

Lou Guindon writes Positively Parish, sometimes in the classic style of a weekly newspaper: "Mr. and Mrs. James Anderson and Lloyd and Arreta Ware had dinner at a local restaurant Friday evening and then enjoyed a duel of cards, the men beating the women. Arreta’s home made chocolate cake soothed the ladies, but they pledged to get even another time."

In Faith Meets Life, the Rev. Jim Corl, of Christ Church in Manlius, wrote a post-election blog about values.

Donna Reynolds, of Syracuse, writes a daily blog, That’s Entertainment. This prolific freelancer is an assistant editor for Reality News Online, among other projects. She’s your source for Survivors, Idols, Amazing Racers and Elvis water on eBay.

Orange fans write blogs about Syracuse University sports. Downstate and Jersey fans weigh in on the Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Jets and Giants.

Gridiron Grit covers local high school football and Track Smack follows auto racing. Dr. Scott Petosa, tennis coach at LeMoyne College, writes The Fitness Fanatic.

When the News and Record of Greensboro, N.C., wondered how to turn a traditional newspaper into an online destination of the future, it turned to the local bloggers at and the visionaries at the Press Think blog at New York University.

From Camillus, Jude Nagurney Camwell urged them on. She writes The Rational Liberal at She vouched for her experiences with and The Post-Standard and urged on the Greensboro experiment. "The people in Greensboro have such talent — and such heart!" she wrote. "I wonder — is it something in the drinking water?"

Maybe blogging is in your water. To check them out, or to start your own, go to

— Brian Cubbison, assistant news editor

For more, plus links to sources mentioned here, see the News Tracker blog at newstracker/

* The soundtrack:From "Hometown Hero" by Mary Chapin Carpenter.

Copyright 2004 The Post-Standard

Press Think Comments on Rathergate

"If the anchorman is on the hook, you don't let him do the news from the hook position."
- Jay Rosen, speaking about Dan Rather
Press Think Comments on Rathergate

Don't miss Jay Rosen's Press Think coverage in the aftermath of the release of the CBS report on "Rathergate". I had recently said that Mary Mapes' superiors should have been held responsible. Mr. Rosen seems to agree, and gives his reasons. He says:
My other major reaction is that, like others, I am shocked that CBS News President Andrew Heyward still has his job. This is the reason.

As soon as the reporting of the Air National Guard story came under question, CBS had not one but two problems. The evidentiary problems with the story were one. The involvement--no, the immersion--of Dan Rather in the events thereafter was the other. Rather is the star of CBS News, the face of the brand, the personification of the news division. The anchor. Immediately it was clear that he had "bigfooted" the rest of the division and took over defense of a case in which he was accused. In effect, he was making policy for the network, as when he said that there is no investigation underway at CBS. There were huge dangers for Rather, for CBS News and for the network itself in allowing Rather to become so involved in defense of the story, which muted everyone else "under" Rather, leaving only Andrew Heyward, the boss, who did not act. He was the one who could have protected the brand and his friend, Dan Rather, by speaking truth to (star) power. The responsibility was his alone and he failed in the clutch.

See Mr. Rosen's Short Letter to Dan Rather.
"So I kind of resent your attitude toward your numerous critics who operate their own self-published sites on the Web. They were being more accurate than you were, much of the time. I don't speak for them, but I know my own archive." Plus: Lose the spokeswoman, Dan. Hire a blogger.
Not a bad idea, eh?

Democracy is a Means, Not an End

Democracy is a Means, Not an End

Democracy is a Means, Not an End
by Michael Munger

Think carefully when reading this article by Michael Munger, Chair of Political Science at Duke University.
"When we help a developing nation design its government, we need unashamedly to advocate something like the U.S. model."
We may be totally disgusted (disappointed, at best) with the President with whom we are forced to endure for the next four years, but at the same time, we need to be careful not to abandon the hope of the PROMISE built into the American framework created by the Founders of this nation.

We can began to take matters into our own capable hands and become active in ensuring that the PROMISE is delivered, or we can watch the PROMISE of America die.
"We live together because social organization provides the efficient means of achieving our individual objectives and not because society offers us a means of arriving at some transcendental common bliss. Politics is a process of compromising our differences, and we differ as to desired collective objectives just as we do over baskets of ordinary consumption goods."

--James Buchanan, The Limits of Liberty

A good part of that PROMISE depends upon having a CONGRESS which fulfills its responsibilities to the American people. We are a people who must remember we have the Bill of Rights to protect us from the realistic tyranny that "liberal America" (I prefer to call us "Progressive America") is experiencing today.

If you are a liberal thinker and a Progressive in contemporary America, you are (sadly) in the (large-sized) minority. When you look at the big picture, a government poised to recognize pure democracy, in the United States today, is not something for which a truly liberal thinker would thirst.

Frankly, we have too many under-educated and misinformed people to trust the masses. If this sounds haughty to you, I ask you to consider that it is a reality. Americans have been systematically misinformed with false information (the most recent example is the WMD issue in Iraq). With an right-elitist mainstream media taking control of the radio and television airwaves, propaganda is allowed to reign, where a good and decent Civics/History education and an academic ability to discern truth from propaganda once took priority. Intellectualism, frighteningly, is a dirty word with today's American majority.

I do not believe, from his track record to date, that President Bush has ever carefully considered how his decided encouragement of a 'tyranny of the misinformed majority' has effected the nation he is leading. He has done tremendous damage to the spirit of civic unity of the people of America. Even after suffering the 9/11 attack, the U.S. is just as politically divided as in the Civil war era. Bush could never unite America because he has absolutely no spirit of civic compromise.

That said, we have a serious problem, in my opinion, with the Congress we have today. When I say "serious", I mean life-or-death for the PROMISE of democracy within the framework of government.

Those in the Legislative branch are not appropriately or adequately acting out the will of half the nation, fully knowing that the President exclusively embraces the (slim) majority in a nation so politically divided. 50% of the American culture and society is being politically ignored by a Congress which is too easily cowed by right-heavy popular media. They are also a Congress which has been virtually purchased, with political contributions, by corporations. ( No conspiracy theory - one look at the Open Secrets website will prove this to be true ). The fact that so many retiring Congresspeople move on to become high-paid lobbyists, perpetuating a corrupt system, takes the small amount of hope and trust that Progressive America has had in the "American PROMISE" and blows it away with an ill wind.

Chances are very good that there will be a need for Supreme Court nominations within the next four years. The odds that President Bush will offer any Judicial nominees who are from a moderate ideology is slim-to-none.

Progressives must understand that the Legislative branch is the only current hope for a change.

American Progressives tend to place all the blame for political isolation on the Bush administration, while neglecting to understand that our Congressional representatives have a duty to enact laws in accordance with the culture that actually exists in their nation. Does the Right have political capital to spend? Yes, thanks to dubious 2000 and 2004 presidential elections. Does that require them to be duty-bound to the majority and to the wishes of the Executive, exclusively? Of course not! Yet, a wholesale political neglect of half a nation has taken place for the past four years, and I see little indication that we will soon see a change.

What has become of the American public's trust in their Federal government? We must ask ourselves: Is (small "d") democracy working against the liberal Progressive in America today?

Mr. Munger recognizes the serious problem facing today's America when he says:
"Policy makers must understand the twin anachronisms that complicate the failures of voting institutions and democratic ideologies in the U.S. There really are two distinct anachronisms, each of which requires immediate attention.

First, our technology of democracy is too old, and prone to abuse or at least distrust. We must bring voting technology into the 21st century, because we accept much less than is possible. We must immediately solve the problem of guaranteeing mechanisms for recording and counting votes that are beyond reproach. As the election of 2004 shows, we are nearly out of time.

Second, our ideology of democracy, our notion of what democracy can accomplish, is anachronistic also. But in this case, the anachronism is not out of the past, but out of a utopian science fiction future. So, we must also take voting ideology back to the 19th century, where it belongs. We have come to expect much more than is possible from democracy, and democratic institutions."


Headlines - A US National Guard unit has defied a Pentagon request that sought to stop television news crews filming six flag-draped soldiers' coffins arriving in Louisiana. - "Louisiana community mourns fallen soldiers" Quote: In civilian life, Bradley Bergeron was an air conditioning technician. Kurt Comeaux was a probation officer, and Warren Murphy was a tugboat deckhand. You could find Christopher Babin behind the wheel of his truck. Armand Frickey and Huey Fassbender III worked in restaurants. Each of the six also had another job: Members of the Louisiana National Guard. - "Church at war? :: An Overview of the Religious Front" by Abid Ullah Jan, the author of "A War on Islam?" Quotes: "Everyone who loves peace on this earth earnestly hopes that this is a war for oil but reports that emerged from left and right suggest otherwise..[..]..On the media front, ABC, CNN, NBC, etc. are as much for the global domination as Fox News. The New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times are as radical in proposing solutions as the Washington Times. Friedman and Safire are as radical as Daniel Pipes.."

TLS - Tsunami myths by Wendy Doniger, Quote: "Philosophy doesn’t do the trick for most people; Leibniz failed, Voltaire failed, and in India, too, the myths pick up the pieces where philosophy throws up its hands. The great myths may help survivors to think through this unthinkable catastrophe, to make a kind of sense by analogy, to say, “This is not unlike anything else; this is like that. This tsunami is like the doomsday flood."

Democrats: How Long Before We Proudly Admit We’re a Party of Progress?

Democrats: How Long Before We Proudly Admit We’re a Party of Progress?
by Jude Nagurney Camwell
From: American Street January 13, 2005

I wonder how long the Democratic party thinks Progressive Americans can hold out on promises which never come close to realistically materializing? How long could any person dedicated to the principles of their party hold out hope for "the future" while core principles of the party are trampled upon and trivialized by both major political parties?
"[Tim] Roemer as head of the DNC sounds like a desperate effort to figure out which way the wind is blowing, long after the 2004 wind blew the Democrats away."

Boston Globe columnist Joan Vennochi is clearly not a proponent of Roemer's campaign for DNC chair. She views the current "win-at-all-costs" philosophic thrust of the DNC as nothing more than institutionalizing John Kerry's losing campaign strategy:
"When it comes to controversial issues, duck. Stand for everything and nothing. Whenever possible, avoid direct answers on issues like war and abortion."
Where the party's half-assed embrace of true values and principles may gain few firmly-entrenched Bush voters into the 'big tent', it may cause an elephant-sized hole in the rear of the tent where progressives have run from the circus of vague complacency that the Democratic party has become.