Did Hugh skew it?

· Music

Over at Personal Democracy Forum, Micah Sifry reviews Hugh Hewitt’s book Blog (about the political blogosphere) and finds it useful but hopelessly biased toward the right. This shouldn’t be surprising, given Hewitt’s day job as a right-wing talk radio host, but it’s still somewhat disconcerting given the misleadingly neutral-sounding title of the book. It seems that one thing that hasn’t changed about the Web is the way people writing about tend to model Narcissus, gazing into it like a big mirror.

Thinking out loud

· Music

In My Back Pages, billmon explains why he reopened the Whiskey Bar and what motivated his continued approach to blogging:

So what are you supposed to do when high officials in your own government – in power, right now – brag publicly, if anonymously, about committing (or at least enabling) bestial war crimes? What do the Nuremberg Principles have to say about that? And what if said government has just been returned to office in full and reasonably fair elections, by will of the (small d) democratic majority?

I don’t know. I suppose I could have gone down to Virginia and stood outside the entrance to the CIA or the Pentagon with a sign hung on my chest — “Arrest the War Criminals” – until they hauled me away. Or abandoned my job and my family to go join the camp of permanent protestors living across the street from the White House in Lafayette Park – until I, too, could hear the secret radio broadcasts in my teeth.

Or I could have bought myself a gun, tried to identify the fuckers, then hunted them down and shot them in the street like the rabid dogs they are. It’s probably what Hunter would have wanted. But, leaving aside the morality of playing judge, jury and executioner in my own private war crimes proceedings, what good would it have done? They’re replaceable parts. You destroy one and they just run the forklift back into the warehouse and take out another. Meanwhile, you’re on death row.

In the end, I decided the one thing I couldn’t do was remain silent – which as everybody who’s ever watched Perry Mason knows, gives consent. But I also didn’t have much of an interest in writing another manifesto – I mean, war crimes, Nuremberg, Geneva Convention, blah blah blah. Nobody even hears that stuff any more. We learned that after Abu Ghraib. So I simply pulled together some quotes – just the facts, taken from the most authoritative and reliable sources I could find. And I thought, ‘OK, that’s it. You’ve done what you can do. Now you can pull the plug.

(I almost haven’t the heart to tell him that John Perry Barlow wrote the words to “Hell in a Bucket,” not the bard, Robert Hunter.)

Annotating the Winer/Trippi podcast

· Journalism

Over at Civilities, Jon Garfunkel has done provided us all a useful service by partly transcribing and commenting on the recent Dave Winer interview of Joe Trippi that deals with Zephyr Teachout’s take on the Dean campaign’s hiring of Jerome Armstrong and Markos Moulitsas as consultants (Dissecting the Most Important Podcast Interview to Date).
Disclosure: From July through November of 2004 I worked with Jerome and Kos’s consulting firm, Armstrong Zúniga, primarily on user-interface design issues for a few of their clients’ sites.

Bloggers in the Oval Office

· Music

Quoting The bloggers in the Oval Office… (BuzzMachine):

Omar and Mohammed just told me about their visit to the Oval Office this week.

They said President Bush assured them that we would finish the job this time.

They told the President that they were grateful for their liberation and that the coalition did a great job.

Bush asked them about security in Iraq. They told him that they feel safe now. They talked about hearing the news reports of gigantic explosions in Baghdad, in their city, but they don’t hear or see the evidence. It’s a big place, Iraq; the brothers keep repeating that.

Bush also went to Omar, as a dentist, and said he wanted him to fix a cavity.

Mohammed said the President understood what blogs are and their importance and they found the staff in the White House views reading blogs as part of their jobs now. The brothers said they were in the White House not just as Iraqi citizens but as representatives of the blogosphere.

: Here’s my earlier post about meeting the guys.