Right Blogosphere vs. Left Blogosphere

Ken AshfordBlogging, Democrats, RepublicansLeave a Comment

Chris Bowers at MyDD has an excellant post comparing the right wing political blogosphere with the left wing political blogosphere. It is worth a study, not just a mere read, so do it.

The basic thrust is this:

  • The left wing blogosphere gets more traffic
  • The left wing blogosphere has been more influential in affecting actual political change (raising money for candidates, getting MSNBC to dump Luntz, affecting certain legislation, etc.)
  • The right wing blogosphere enjoys the (misleading) public perception of being more effective, largely because of their success with Rathergate.

But the main thing that Bowers says . . . and I agree . . . is that the right wing blogosphere has an atmosphere and culture of independence. Even as they tend to support and defend Bush loyally, they see themselves as always outside the political system looking in. And despite their culture of independence, they act with a herd mentality on the issues, thereby setting the blogsphere agenda to a large extent.

By contrast (according to Bowers), the left wing blogosphere does not see itself as "independent", but rather, as an adjunct of the Democratic party. It is openly and admittedly and unashamedly partisan. This does not mean it cannot be critical of the Dem party, and indeed, the left blogosphere often engages in in-fighting much more than the right-wing blogosphere. But in the interest of what is best for the party and (by extension) the country, there is far less of a herd mentality with the left wing blogosphere. One guy can go off about social security, and others can gripe about electoral votes in Ohio, and another can harp on the Plame affair, or whatever. But despite the diversity of interest, there is a strong solidarity with and for the Democratic party.

As Instapundit says, that "sounds about right".

Bowers concludes that the left’s solidarity and the right’s independence spells good days for the left, and harder days for the right.

It is ironic that at the very moment when the right-wing blogosphere is being lauded for its influence, it is increasingly becoming clear that it has structural and institutional weaknesses that will prevent it from ever becoming more influential than it was during the Rather story. At the same time, our partisan nature makes us strong. As long as we think of the Democratic Party and the lefty-blogosphere both in terms of we rather than it, we will remain strong and continue to grow in influence. Wingers like to think of themselves as independents no matter how conservative they actually are, but that very independence is making them weak. Through our solidarity, we grow strong. Through our solidarity, we will continue to grow and change the Democratic party.

I’m not sure I share Bowers’ optimism there, but I hope he’s right!

Bush’s Daughters Are Whores

Ken AshfordBush & Co., Godstuff, Sex/Morality/Family ValuesLeave a Comment

So says the stick-up-the-butt Christian group known as the Coalition for Passing Judgment on Others Traditional Values in this open letter to George Bush, which I will publish here below the fold. (The reason I refer to Jenna and NotJenna as "whores" is because according to Ezekial 23:5, Oholah was a prostitute — although this largely depends on the version of the Bible you prefer).

UPDATE: For the irony-impaired, illiterate, or simply confused readers out there, I personally am not suggesting that the Bush daughters are "whores". In fact, if you read the first two words of the above post, you can see that I attribute that sentiment to a right-wing moral values group — a group that I DEFINITIVELY do not align myself with. Not only do I have no knowledge of the Bush daughters’ sexual life . . . I also have no interest. So along those lines, I wish to unequivocally state that I do not know whether they are "whores" or not. Nor do I care. I do, however, think they are airheads (although that is not relevant to this post).

Sorry if I confused anybody.

Stupid Product

Ken AshfordWar on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

You be the judge.

Yes, friends — that unbiased rag known as World Net Daily rises to new heights in fear-marketing to the paranoid, as it shills that latest in technology.* Yes, it’s the . . . NUKALERT!

In this day of nuclear-terror vulnerability, KI4U Inc., markets several products to help families survive any type of nuke incident, including a personal radiation detector that could be the most important "key ring" you’ll carry.

That’s right — NukAlert is a key ring, and it could save your life!

While the device detects harmful fallout from a nuclear-plant accident, it also will detect dangerous radiation levels that could be the result of nuclear terrorism or a "dirty bomb" attack. When radiation is detected, the device chirps a certain number of times. Referring to the back of the monitor lets the owner know how severe the radiation is based on the number of chirps.

Cool! Now I will know when my flesh is being eaten by those silent-but-deadly radiation rays.

A visit to the manufacturer’s website yields this information:

Carried everywhere your keys go, with NukAlert’s 24/7 constant monitoring, you’ll always be promptly alerted to the unseen, but acutely dangerous, levels of radiation if/when present. A benefit of the NukAlert, not to be overlooked, is that it will also confirm when and where those higher levels of radiation are not present, too.

That’s how you know it works! You carry it around…. if it doesn’t beep, and you are still alive, then you have proof that it works! And if it does beep, you can go to your death enjoying the slow pulsing rhythms of your . . . um . . . $160 key chain.

It’s also good for holding keys too, apparently.

* Actually, it’s a rather old technology, but I digress.

A Man With Integrity

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

So rare are people in the Bush Administration with integrity, that I delight when I see one acting in a very straightforward and honest manner.  And I must pass it on.

The man is Dick Armitage, the Deputy Secretary of State under Colin Powell.

Actually, he’s now the former Deputy Secretary of State.  Maybe that was why he was so honest when he sat down for this interview:

And Armitage’s disappointments? Not a lugubrious person, Armitage doesn’t nominate disappointments spontaneously. But he’ll answer a question honestly: "I’m disappointed that Iraq hasn’t turned out better. And that we weren’t able to move forward more meaningfully in the Middle East peace process."

Then, after a minute’s pause, he adds a third regret: "The biggest regret is that we didn’t stop 9/11. And then in the wake of 9/11, instead of redoubling what is our traditional export of hope and optimism we exported our fear and our anger. And presented a very intense and angry face to the world. I regret that a lot."

Me, too, Dick.  Me, too.

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Progress in Iraq?

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

The security situation in Iraq is so critical now, NBC News has learned, that the Iraqi interior ministry has recalled two full battalions — about 2,000 men — from Saddam Hussein’s army, the same army the United States dissolved. All of them are retrained as special police to battle terrorism expected at polling stations on Jan. 30.


Meet the new boss, same as the old boss . . .

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Mississippi: Still As Backwater As Ever

Ken AshfordRaceLeave a Comment

While the rest of the country was celebrating Martin Luther King yesterday, the State of Mississippi just couldn’t bring itself to the table.  Well, not all the way. 

Instead, Mississippi celebrates the birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Martin Luther King.  Yes, THOSE two go together really well.

Anyway, enjoy this actual recording of a phone call to the Mississippi Department of Taxation (mp3) made yesterday.

Once Again, I’m Smarter Than The Bush Administration

Ken AshfordIraq, War on Terrorism/TortureLeave a Comment

Although admittedly, it is not hard.

Iraq New Terror Breeding Ground

By Dana Priest

Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 14, 2005; Page A01

Iraq has replaced Afghanistan as the training ground for the next generation of "professionalized" terrorists, according to a report released yesterday by the National Intelligence Council, the CIA director’s think tank.

Iraq provides terrorists with "a training ground, a recruitment ground, the opportunity for enhancing technical skills," said David B. Low, the national intelligence officer for transnational threats. "There is even, under the best scenario, over time, the likelihood that some of the jihadists who are not killed there will, in a sense, go home, wherever home is, and will therefore disperse to various other countries."

Low’s comments came during a rare briefing by the council on its new report on long-term global trends. It took a year to produce and includes the analysis of 1,000 U.S. and foreign experts. Within the 119-page report is an evaluation of Iraq’s new role as a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists.

President Bush has frequently described the Iraq war as an integral part of U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. But the council’s report suggests the conflict has also helped terrorists by creating a haven for them in the chaos of war.

"At the moment," NIC Chairman Robert L. Hutchings said, Iraq "is a magnet for international terrorist activity."

Before the U.S. invasion, the CIA said Saddam Hussein had only circumstantial ties with several al Qaeda members. Osama bin Laden rejected the idea of forming an alliance with Hussein and viewed him as an enemy of the jihadist movement because the Iraqi leader rejected radical Islamic ideals and ran a secular government.

Bush described the war in Iraq as a means to promote democracy in the Middle East. "A free Iraq can be a source of hope for all the Middle East," he said one month before the invasion. "Instead of threatening its neighbors and harboring terrorists, Iraq can be an example of progress and prosperity in a region that needs both."

But as instability in Iraq grew after the toppling of Hussein, and resentment toward the United States intensified in the Muslim world, hundreds of foreign terrorists flooded into Iraq across its unguarded borders. They found tons of unprotected weapons caches that, military officials say, they are now using against U.S. troops. Foreign terrorists are believed to make up a large portion of today’s suicide bombers, and U.S. intelligence officials say these foreigners are forming tactical, ever-changing alliances with former Baathist fighters and other insurgents.

So Iraq is a breeding ground for terrorists now.  Just what I and the left have been warning against since the beginning of the War.

And let’s remember what Kerry was saying, back in October of 2002:

If we go it alone without reason, we risk inflaming an entire region, breeding a new generation of terrorists, a new cadre of anti-American zealots, and we will be less secure, not more secure, at the end of the day, even with Saddam Hussein disarmed.

More on Payolagate

Ken AshfordRight Wing and Inept MediaLeave a Comment

Frank Rich is right:

But perhaps the most fascinating [Armstrong] Williams TV appearance took place in December 2003, the same month that he was first contracted by the government to receive his payoffs. At a time when no one in television news could get an interview with Dick Cheney, Mr. Williams, of all "journalists," was rewarded with an extended sit-down with the vice president for the Sinclair Broadcast Group, a nationwide owner of local stations affiliated with all the major networks. In that chat, Mr. Cheney criticized the press for its coverage of Halliburton and denounced "cheap shot journalism" in which "the press portray themselves as objective observers of the passing scene, when they obviously are not objective."

This is a scenario out of "The Manchurian Candidate." Here we find Mr. Cheney criticizing the press for a sin his own government was at that same moment signing up Mr. Williams to commit. The interview is broadcast by the same company that would later order its ABC affiliates to ban Ted Koppel’s "Nightline" recitation of American casualties in Iraq and then propose showing an anti-Kerry documentary, "Stolen Honor," under the rubric of "news" in prime time just before Election Day. (After fierce criticism, Sinclair retreated from that plan.) Thus the Williams interview with the vice president, implicitly presented as an example of the kind of "objective" news Mr. Cheney endorses, was in reality a completely subjective, bought-and-paid-for fake news event for a broadcast company that barely bothers to fake objectivity and both of whose chief executives were major contributors to the Bush-Cheney campaign. The Soviets couldn’t have constructed a more ingenious or insidious plot to bamboozle the citizenry.

Liberal media?  Don’t make me laugh.  The right wing blogosphere blather over Dan Rather is peanuts compared to the bought-and-paid-for-news-events.


Ken AshfordGodstuffLeave a Comment

I would love to have the time to read more magazines.  I just don’t.  If I want information, I usually go on-line.  Which is a bit of a shame.  Magazines are fun — you can take them to bed, or sprawl out on the couch, and just flip through them.  And when they come in the mail, it is like a small present.

And there are so many magazines to choose from.  Like Home School Digest.  It bills itself as "The Quarterly Publication for Family Discipline".  Wow.  A magazine devoted to family discipline.  Cool.

And in it, you find informative articles on a variety of subjects, such as Rod "Whatever Works Is Right: The Dangers Of Pragmatism" and "God’s Man At Bearcat Tool And Die." 

And then there are the ads.  Like the one at the right.

What is it for, you ask?  Why it is for spanking.  You know . . . "spare the rod, spoil the child"? 

And what a quality product, too.  Look!  It has a non-slip surface!!  Great!  Now I can throw away that old spatula that I used to use!  Thank you, "The Rod".

My only complaint is not with the product, but with the advertisement.  It doesn’t exactly leap out at you, does it.  Fortunately, the good people here have come up with what I think is a killer marketing concept for "The Rod". (Hat tip: Jesus’ General and Hairy Fish Nuts)

Ladies and Gentleman, introducing:


Victory in Georgia

Ken AshfordGodstuffLeave a Comment

From the Associated Press:

ATLANTA – A federal judge Thursday ordered a suburban Atlanta school system to remove stickers in its high school biology textbooks that call evolution "a theory, not a fact," saying the disclaimers were an unconstitutional endorsement of religion.

"By denigrating evolution, the school board appears to be endorsing the well-known prevailing alternative theory, creationism or variations thereof, even though the sticker does not specifically reference any alternative theories," U.S. District Judge Clarence Cooper said.

The stickers were put in the books by school officials in Cobb County in 2002. They read: "This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered."

"This is a great day for Cobb County students," said Michael Manely, an attorney for the parents who sued over the stickers. "They’re going to be permitted to learn science unadulterated by religious dogma."

Doug Goodwin, a spokesman for Cobb County schools, had no immediate comment.

No Shit, Sherlock

Ken AshfordHealth CareLeave a Comment

The New England Journal of Medicine reports on a study which concludes that medical interns who have been "working for 32 consecutive hours with only two or three hours of sleep" are twice as likely to get into car accidents on the way home from work. 

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Medical School, also concluded that when medical interns who work for more than 24 straight hours are more inclined to make "serious medical errors".

Read more here.

I have concluded, in my own parallel study, that researchers are Harvard Medical School have way too much time on their hands.

No. THIS Says It All . . .

Ken AshfordIraqLeave a Comment

Courtesy of The Poor Man:

Rathergate vs. Saddam’s WMD – A Quantitative Comparison

Rathergate Saddam’s WMD
Investigation recently concluded? Yes Yes
Use of highly questionable supporting documents? Yes Yes
Central claims disproven? No Yes
Media spread questionable information? Yes Yes
Number of firings resulting from investigation 4 0
Number of high-profile reassignments resulting from investigation 1 0
Number of wars started using flawed justification 0 1
Cost to American taxpayer $0.00 ~$150,000,000,000 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of American soldiers killed as a result 0 1,357 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of British soldiers killed as a result 0 76 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of other non-Iraqi allied soldiers killed as a result 0 84 (as of 1/12/05)
Number of Iraqi policemen killed over last 4 months as a result 0 1,300+
Number of Iraqi civilians killed as a result 0 10,000-100,000+
Number of al-Qaeda training camps destroyed as a result 0 0
Number of terrorist plots against the US foiled as a result 0 0
Percentage of Iraqi people who view the US as "occupiers" as a result no data available 92%
Saddam Hussein removed from power as a result? No Yes
Saddam’s torture chambers shut down as a result? No No
Iraqi people enjoying freedom as a result? No No (as of 1/12/05)
US’s reputation severely damaged as a result? No Yes
US’s military stretched thin as a result? No Yes
Posts mentioning story on NRO’s "The Corner" 10 0
Advantage blogosphere? No Please