May 7, 2009
Conservatism's Not a Dirty Word
At least according to the Denver Women's Republican Club. This Saturday, at the University of Denver's Sturm Hall, they're holding a free forum on the future of conservatism and the Republican party - the two aren't identical - with a free continental breakfast.
It features some terrific speakers: Karen Kataline, Ben DeGrow, Ryan Frazier, Mark Hillman, and others.
See the whole flyer, with directions, the full program, contact information, and further reassurance about the free food.
They've worked very hard to put this together, and it should be well worth the time.
December 16, 2008
RMA Blog Talk Radio V
Another edition of RMA's Blog Talk Radio is in the books. Listen here
, as Michael Sandoval
, Ben DeGrow
, and I talk with each other about the flux in Colorado politics, and with State Rep. Kevin Lundberg
about state issues ranging from the budget, to PERA, to Medicaid reform, and education tax credits.
Jim Cannon, RIP
Yesterday, we were all stunned by the news that Jim Cannon had passed away.
Jim was one of the RMA's founding members, a true patriot, and fine friend. He had been in a rehab center for some time, but the last time I spoke with Guy, he expected him to be home for Christmas.
I'll remember Jim for two things. His own courage in the face of a lingering, malicious disease, and how he used his blog for the troops.
Whenever I had a chance to visit Jim, which wasn't often enough, he was always upbeat and cheerful, regardless of how he may of been feeling on the inside. That's hard, to make your hospital visitors feel better.
Jim was also always on board with any initiative for the troops, particularly his Letters from Home project. Through his ever-changing URLs or email addresses, that was a constant.
Blogs often go dark, but not like this. Go by and leave a comment on Thinking Right.
December 8, 2008
Rocky for Sale
As by now everyone know, the Rocky Mountain News has been put on the block. This at a time when the Tribune Company has filed for Chapter 11, when over 30 papers are for sale nationwide, and there don't seem to be any buyers for large-market papers. The business reasons for this have been chewed over ad infinitum, but the chief culprit is declining ad revenue, which only looks to get worse. (I'd also suggest brand equity; the Rocky used to win the lion's share of the journalism awards, but the Post had a better brand, in part because broadsheets seem to carry greater credibility.)
Editorially, this is an opportunity. It's an opportunity for center-right bloggers, who will now be able to go after the Post as it inevitably spins off to the left, becoming our version of the Strib. It's an opportunity for us to do more original reporting, since it's possible the Rocky won't be there to do it.
It may be a big opportunity for the Examiner, which may try to pick up some of the loose talent soon to be running around Denver looking for work. The online paper is based here in town, and could rapidly turn its local edition into the flagship for the country.
It's also an opportunity for the talent at the Rocky, who could try the same thing on their own. Shed the national reporting, bring in some entrepreneurial-minded management, ditch the printing presses and expensive delivery system, and turn the paper into an online, state- and local-oriented newspaper. Charge a nominal fee for a subscription, and go back to a no-holds-barred style, that takes on the Post directly.
November 25, 2008
Blog Talk Radio
Every Tuesday night at 9!
Tonight, I'll be joined by Michael "Slapstick" Sandoval, Randy "Night Twister" Ketner, and Ben "I'm here to educate you" DeGrow, as we bat around the week's news, and interview Michael Kerr, of Red County. It's not just Orange County any more!
November 19, 2008
Last night saw the debut of the RMA's Blog Talk Radio show. Michael "Best Destiny" Alcorn, Randy "Night Twister" Ketner, and I had a great time introducing ourselves, the show, and interviewing Seeme Hasan of Muslims for America. Even if we didn't agree with everything she had to say - in particular as regards CAIR - we think it was a valuable interview.
We had 46 live listeners, and as of right now, we've had 69 listeners to the archive, either streaming or download. Not bad for opening night.
Remember, Tuesday nights at 9:00!
November 12, 2008
Pause for Maintenence
I have decided that I really, really, really need to upgrade this blog to MT 4.2, or whatever version they're on now. Despite the screams of, "Don't!", I hear coming from Jonathan, the likes of which are usually directed at horror movie characters who have clearly never seen a horror movie, I persist in my madness.
Tomorrow night is the Independence Institute dinner, and Friday is Shabbat, and I'll be in Aspen for the weekend, and then Sunday evening is Backbone Radio, after which Monday has its own set of terrors, and Tuesday a BTR radio show. So if not now, when?
Wish me luck.
With the end of the campaign, and the success of the Blog Talk Radio show we did there, the RMA has decided to take to the netwaves and continue the show as Rocky Mountain Alliance Radio, also on Blog Talk Radio. We'll be on Tuesday nights at 9:00 PM (to start), and of course, the archived shows will be available for download or streaming any time thereafter.
Our first show will feature Randy Ketner (a.k.a. the Night Twister), and Michael Alcorn from Best Destiny.
No "Fairness Doctrine" here!
March 31, 2008
The Rocky Mountain News gets it:
Maybe you're thinking of setting up your own blog to comment on the affairs of the day. By all means, join the fray. But please make sure you don't run afoul of a judge who considers your opinions a political contribution that should be regulated by federal campaign law.
We're not joking. This nation that so enshrines free expression still hasn't decided for certain whether bloggers should have the same leeway that, ahem, newspaper editorials and other traditional forms of opinion enjoy. Fortunately, Congress will soon have an opportunity to give Web blogs more durable First Amendment protection.
Not sure you're going to see the same sentiments expressed on CBS News or at the New York Times any time soon, though.
September 5, 2007
That giant sucking sound you hear is the last of my free time leaving the building. I've signed up to be one of the guest bloggers on the Denver Post's Gang of Four blog, on its PoliticsWest site run by Stephen Keating. Stephen's basically a conservative, which explains why the site is fairly balanced.
Another Virginian, from Tidewater no less, Jim Spencer, will blog from the left.
The idea is to provide a western, and Colorado, perspective on politics both national and local, through this election cycle. Right now's kind of a probationary period, so stop by and see what you think.
August 6, 2007
Gompers They Ain't
A union is basically an attempts to form a monopoly over labor. As with any monopoly, it needs two things to work: 1) A "moat," or a non-reproducible qualitative advantage, and 2) high barriers to entry. Blogging has neither, which is its appeal. There's little that bloggers - even the best - do that can't be done by a million other people with time and interest. And the blogging universe exists precisely because there are virtually no barriers to entry.
What on earth a blogging picket line would look like, anyway? Denial-of-service attacks?
Then there's the fact that such a monopoly would produce what all monopolies produce - a lower-quality, lower-quantity, less-responsive, less-innovative product than we had before. Kind of like the MSM>
Which is also why we have blogging.
There must be a reason why there aren't any well-read economics or business bloggers behind this idea of a "Bloggers' Union." Aside from the obvious.
July 30, 2007
I mean it this time. After a couple of fits and starts, I'm going to take the Level I exam in December, and I'm going to be blogging about the studying.
A few starter posts to get things going...
July 13, 2007
January 4, 2007
Back to Blogging
Happy New Year! I suppose I could catch up on all the missed holidays, but at some point, you just write off lost time and get back to the cycle.
Back from an extended blogging vacation, relaxed, refreshed, and having missed tremendous amounts of major news, such as Iran's adoption of the Nazi salute and the goose-step. It's not as though you actually run out of things to say, but it's easy to see why blogging and talk radio are such a natural fit. Both of them consume tremendous amounts of material, and you'd better not repeat yourself too often, else you may as well just post links back to prior posts.
One of the interrupting events of mid-December was a long, quick drive back east to Long Island - driving a 26-foot truck. Now I like driving, especially long distances. Here to NY - ok. From the house to Wal-Mart - not so much. But I basically had two days to get the truck to Long Island, so I-80 it was. I'll say this for the Interstates, they have speed, which is just as well, since the things are routed away from anything you might want to stop and see, anyway.
In this case, it was also a chance to kluge together some interesting technology. DC-AC converters have come down dramatically in price, and I traded in my Comcast cable modem for a Sprint wireless card (although I still have my old wifi card for when I'm in a town lacking a digital signal but possessed of a wifi-enhanced coffee shop). Iowa may have wifi-enabled all of their rest stops, but that was just a redundant system as far as I was concerned. (That may be a red flag for all those governments putting money into muni-wifi. Or it may be an excuse to turn it into another stagnant public utility.)
So after having driven from Peru, IL to the exit for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, I am reminded that half the so-called highways on Long Island don't take truck because they were built when the largest thing on the road was a drafthorse. I know Robert Moses tried his best, but there's not enough air in any tire to get a 12' truck under a 10' 6" clearance. This was at 1:00 in the morning, having driven 800 miles already, needing to have the truck at the door by 9:00 the next morning, and low on gas, and having drunk enough diet Coke that my back teeth were floating. Having crossed The Broncks, heading for the gloriously named Throgs Neck Bridge, no neighborhood was safe to empty and refuel in, and the refreshing early-morning traffic jam made changing lanes an adventure in itself.
Ah, the magic of technology. With only the guidance of a warning sign somewhere in one of the 45 highway-to-higway interchanges in the Bronx, saying, "Trucks - Expressways Yes! Parkways No! It's The Law!," I pulled up Mapquest on the laptop in the seat next to me, and had a full-screen GPS helping me find the Yellow Brick Expressway. This would have been completely impossible even three years ago.
Soon, it'll be an option.
October 24, 2006
Vanity of Vanities
Haveil Havelim #90 has arrived. Thanks to Soccer Dad once again for spending way too much time reading and evaluating blogs.
September 12, 2006
Christina Foust is an assistant professor in DU's Department of Human Communication Studies (the mind balks at the alternatives), and has been kind enough to invite me to speak to her class later in the quarter. He class focuses on the conservative and anarchist movements as examples of successful self-organization, and I'll be talking about the role of blogs in the conservative side of that equation.
I'll be speaking on Election Day, by which time we'll have a better sense of the immediate future of the conservative movement in Colorado. Hopefully, we'll still be doing better than the anarchists.
September 8, 2006
Back on Air
Honestly, I don't know why we bother with vacations. You go off someplace, fight like a madman to carve out a few days for yourself to see family, squeeze in a day to sing "16 Tons" with the pipefitters union, and then when you get back, you realize that the treadmill's still running and the handrails have gotten awfully far away.
So it's rework the model for this company and finish killing off the widows and orphans on this other 20-page term paper, help spruce up the revenue model for another company, and prepare talking points for meetings. All the while whittling down the options for the next report. Suddenly it's Friday and the blog's been dark and you didn't even notice because you were worried about the friends' dog coming for another weekend sleep-over, and why that full moon in the middle of Elul leaves you more frustrated than anticipating.
And if you go from writing CF from a living to writing reports, from code to words, suddenly putting in another hour each evening to polish up your fun writing seems, well, less fun.
On the other hand, the 20-page term papers are basically drained of every ounce of personality, as personality is considered incompatible with seriousness of purpose. There's a reason Mr. Potter is Lionel Barrymore. The blog tolerates these references. That's because you're probably not reading this at the same moment that you're deciding whether or not to write a multi-million dollar check to the author. (If I'm wrong, don't tell me; just send the check.) In a way, this makes sense. I like the cheerier attitude out west, but I'd still rather have the bank tellers dressed in dress shirts and slacks. Let the security escort for the pay train wear jeans.
It's also hard to write about stocks all day and then war at night, and it's even harder to find something original to say about either. I know baseball, road trips, and Googie architecture can seem trivial compared to Iran's Armageddijad, but even FDR understood the restorative power of a few hours at the ballpark now and again. Sage could choke on Fala, but the idea's the same there, too.
I was going to write that war even intrudes on business, but perhaps there's a way to make business intrude on war. I'll be hosting the Carnival of the Capitalists this week, despite my own lack of recent business writing, and I'm going to be running a special 9/11-and-business section. So maybe all is not lost.
July 19, 2006
As I mentioned, I had pretty much forgotten about the whole thing until she started in on Jeff Goldstein. While I'm glad - I suppose - that the lunacy of one bad hire by Arizona's higher-ed system has come to light, perhaps helping them to patch some holes in their pre-hire psych profiling - I think it's a mistake to cast this too much in Left-Right terms.
On the other hand, the Left does seem much more deranged these days. I like Jed Babbin, but to stay awake on the drive home, I switched over the Air America for a moment, and was struck by the content-free nature of the broadcast. I'm sure Randi Rhodes (she of the machine-gun sound effects) thought that 15 minutes on Newt Gingrich calling the GWOT, "World War III," while Michael Ledeen called it "World War IV" was the talk-radio equivalent of Scrappleface, which says a lot about the left-wing sense of humor. (The fact that she referred to Michael Ledeen as a "world-champion warmonger" just shows that she's off her AADD meds.)
There are ranting right-wing local talk shows, and pro-war types with nothing interesting to say. They don't tend to be national personalities or in line to be Speaker of the House.
June 20, 2006
Series 7 Day
Radio silence for a while Wednesday. I'll be taking the Series 7 in the morning, and then taking a conference call in the afternoon.
April 28, 2006
Denial of Service Attack
This site was temporarily off line this morning as part of a denial-of-service attack by Saudi Jihadists, possibly against an Israeli site, also hosted on Hosting Matters.
While disappointed that I wasn't the target of the attack, I'm glad to be back on line.
April 18, 2006
Passover is really hell on blogging. I'll be missing the next two days for the end of Passover, the last two days of which (one day in Israel) are a non-work holiday. Great for spiritual and religious development. Terrible for billable hours. Terrible for blogging.
March 29, 2006
CJR's High Journalistic Standards (Update)
Columbia Journalism Review's Daily takes note of my comments on Hugh's interview yesterday with Michael Ware. In doing so, they exhibit the kind of straw-man argumentation that's made the MSM a kind of Jefferson Society with keyboards.
But the View isn't done. "[Ware] could do a lot more reporting under the protection of the US military than he either knows or acknowledges." (Ware doesn't know the embed option exists?) "If he's really concerned about either his safety or that of his staff, there does seem to be an answer."
This was the part of the interview I was referring to, and going back and reading it, it appears I misheard:
But I mean, what I'm saying to you is that if you think anyone would have the right to complain or to take umbrage at what I do, it would be the troops here on the ground. It would be U.S. military intelligence. It would be the U.S. military. You'd think that they wouldn't give me embeds, wouldn't you? You'd think that they wouldn't grant me backgrounders, or wouldn't take me out on special events. You'd think that they wouldn't give me access to the generals, or to military intelligence. You know, in this war alone, I've been in combat with virtually every kind of U.S. fighting force there is, from the SEAL's, to the Green Berets, to Delta, to Infantry, Airborne, Armored, Mechanized. I mean, I've been there, done that in combat. I've been in every major battle of this war, except from Najaf and the first battle of Fallujah. That includes the battle of Tal-Afar, the Battle of Samara, and the Battle of Fallujah, with front line units. I witnessed an event that the Pentagon subsequently asked me to write about as a witness, which is now a matter for the Congressional Medal of Honor nomination. And I am mentioned in that citation. So if anyone would have a problem with what I do in exploring the issues of this war, you'd think it'd be the military. Yet strangely, they don't.
When I heard this on the air, it sounded to me as though Ware was complaining that he might be denied access based on how he reported. Going back and reading it, he's clearly not saying that. But he does say this about other reporters:
And something happens, something that may not exactly play well back home. And yet, it's something that you know, well, people outside of this experience would never understand that. I mean, how do you relay that without betraying the trust and the confidence of the troops? And for some journalists, they have to bear in mind well, if I write a negative story about the military on this embed, will they give me another embed? So there's always these pressures from all the players. (emphasis added. -ed)
And yet, there's plenty of evidence that most reporters don't get out much beyond Baghdad, and those that do limit themselves to military press events. Bill Roggio reported that while he saw reporters on the ground outside of those events. Ware appears to have been all over the place, and does seem to have availed himself of the military's openness in a way that is unusual for western journalists.
Incredibly, the CJR responds to my complaint as though I had the right interpretation, and proceeds to defend the press on that basis.
UPDATE: In reading even further, I found another quote which supports my initial interpretation, that Ware seems to believe that the military picks and chooses its embeds based on their coverage. Ware's ostensibly referring to what other reporters believe, but then goes on to describe a case where he claims the Iraqi government came after him for a story he wrote. So he's also clearly tying this to his own experience. Whether his later comment is a clumsy recovery aimed at buttering up his, er, bread-and-butter is unclear, but it's certainly at odds with the second quote, from earlier in the interview.
March 17, 2006
This week has been a blast, getting to know new readers, and hopefully having some new readers getting to know me. The Powerline guys have been incredibly generous.
The Fickle Finger of Fate is probably scheduled to move on tomorrow, when I'll be on the weekly Shabbat hiatus, so I'll thank them now, and hope that some of you who've visited will be tempted to come back from time to time.
New Header Graphic
Thanks to reader Arthur Lemay for the new, less-jarring header graphic, which lines up the mountain vista much more smoothly.
The Wal-Mart/blogger story, and the New York Times getting scooped by its own subject (Hat Tip: InstaProf), has gotten me thinking about my own newspaper-blogger relations, and what newspapers seem to expect from bloggers.
A few months ago, I contacted a reporter for one of the local dailies about what I considered to be either bias or sloppiness in one of her stories. After a somewhat unsatisfactory exchange, I finished off the correspondence by saying that I intended to publish it on the blog for people to judge, and that this was her chance to respond to criticism I was planning to level.
She reacted as though I had sent her electronic anthrax. "Don't publish this; I never intended to participate in your private forum." I shopped around for some opinions, and eventually decided to respect her wishes, not wanting to antagonize people unnecessarily. Still, even now, I have a hard time seeing why a correspondence concerning her very public work should be kept confidential after the fact.
And then, last week, I received an email from a section editor from one of the local dailies ("local" ranging from Ft. Collins to Pueblo) saying that he was canvassing Colorado blogs for story suggestions, There was no request for confidentiality included. I replied with a fairly comprehensive but constructive critique of the paper's reporting on the subjects, with some specific examples. I got back a respectful reply, and he even took the time to correct one criticism I had made.
When I told him I'd like to publish it - and let's face it, a major daily asking for advice from bloggers is news - he replied that the whole thing had been off the record and he'd prefer not to let that be known. Although he did say that my critique was my own, and I could publish that as a stand-alone piece. Again, it seems to me this is expecting a courtesy he'd never extend to, say, a mayor who went around calling newsrooms asking, "How'm I doin'?"
Since I agreed to keep these exchanges off the record, I'll continue to do so for these cases. But it seems that the newspapers are expecting a degree of freedom that they'd never extend to other public figures. So from here on out, all bets are off unless they specify and receive agreement up front.
UPDATE: I would like to point out a distinction here. On a couple of occasions, Jim Hughes of the Denver Post has called to interview me for a story about blogging. It never occurred to me then to "scoop" him by running that fact. The two instances cited above are substantially different.
It's not news that a reporter interviews people for a story. That's his job. It is news when a newspaper seeks out bloggers' advice on how to do its job. It's also news when a reporter agrees to discuss her story that's already appeared in print, and answer questions about the topic at hand. After all, she's emailing with a blogger.
March 15, 2006
Yearning to Blog Free...
Instapundit reports that Bill Frist has introduced HB 1606, the Online Freedom of Speech Act into the Senate. Here's the text of the bill:
Paragraph (22) of section 301 of the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 (2 U.S.C. 431(22)) is amended by adding at the end the following new sentence: `Such term shall not include communications over the Internet.'.
Colorado Representative Marilyn Musgrave is a co-sponsor in the House. Might make an interesting question for her Democratic challengers.
In Presidential terms, this is going to force McCain to take another stand that likely to be unpopular with the Republican base. Since the announcement appeared on Frist's funraising arm, VolPac, my guess is that the two are not entirely unrelated. It's harder to do this sort of thing in the Senate than in the House, of course, but count on seeing more of this sort of thing.
Of course, the the New York Times has come out against the bill as inimical to
its interests fair campaigns
Politicians who chafe under the law's "soft money" ban would be free to run unlimited ads online, empowered by private donors who would not even be required to file campaign records. A similar loophole attempted by the Federal Election Commission has already been struck down in court for inviting "rampant circumvention" of the anticorruption law.
A far preferable alternative measure would fully protect the growing legions of bloggers, but not at the cost of turning the Internet into a tool for the abusive enrichment of candidates. A critical question is whether the Republican leadership will deny the public a fair debate over this issue by bottling up the alternative bill this week.
It is imperative that the courageous lawmakers who supported the McCain-Feingold reform law four years ago stand together against making the Internet a cornucopia of political corruption. Wavering Democrats, in particular, need a strong leadership call to stand fast, despite campaign-year cravings for more money. Voters need to pay particular attention to which lawmakers endorse this unfettered sale of political influence.
One gets the sense that for the Times, as for Gorbachev's USSR, its internal contradictions are finally forcing it to implode. How paying me for a campaign ad on my site enriches the candidate is hard to see. Admittedly, it's a little like office accounts, and we'll be waiting to see what the Denver papers have to say about it. But it's much more like 527 activity, which the Times and the Denver Post only seem to oppose on a
partisan sporadic basis.
The call to "wavering Democrats" would have a lot more punch if Harry Reid hadn't introduced an identical bill - SB 678 - last year.
A better alternative wouldn't be HR 4900, but to scrap the whole thing from start to finish, admit reality, and start over with a bill that permits complete political speech and requires disclosure as to who's paying for it. The Times like HR 4900 because it essentially captures Internet speech under the same rubric as the rest of campaign finance law, albeit with some exemptions that can be closed over time.
One problem is the sheer size of the Net. Any enforcement would be spotty at best, and therefore subject to partisan tinkering, or the appearance thereof, which is at least as bad.
Secondly, the Times can afford to hire lawyers to defend itself and its employees, if it chooses to do so, and if you're Judith Miller, you know what I mean. Since most of us do this for the fun and not the money, it raises the cost of compliance beyond what most of us are willing to pay. Sure, the limit's $5000, but why are attorneys and accountants entitled to a cut of anything over that?
Finally, when the Feds walk in and sieze the computer I blog from, they're also taking my business, means of livelihood, family finances, and so on. Try do that to ol' Pinch and see what happens.
Still, HR 4900 does conclude with these soothing words:
Not later than 150 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Election Commission shall publish a single policy guideline for the use of individuals engaging in online communications which describes in plain language the rules and regulations applicable under the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to individual Internet activity.
That makes me feel much better.
March 11, 2006
Welcome Powerline Readers
It's an honor to be the first Powerline Blog of the Week selection, and not just for the traffic. I've been reading their stuff (and sending the occasional email) since Hugh Hewitt first starting mentioning them, and they hit the big time almost immediately. They've been incredibly generous with both time and links, and this is just the latest example. Take a look around here, and around the rest of the Rocky Mountain Alliance & Friends, and then keep up to date with Powerline News.
Since, as Hugh says, if I don't tell you about myself, nobody else will, here goes.
I grew up in Fairfax County, just outside Washington, DC. Fairfax County had then and has now fine public schools, largely because it taxes the rest of the country to get them. I recevied a BS in Physics and Math from the University of Virginia, where I was also President of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society. I then went on to a career in defense and intelligence contracting. When the Internet (well. HTML, really) came along, I left that career for one in web development, and have been mostly contracting in that field for about 10 years.
I moved to Colorado 9 years ago this week, and last year, I earned my MS Finance and MBA from the University of Denver, and have been trying to change careers into investment and portfolio analysis.
In addition to blogging here, I am also a contributing editor at Newsbusters.org, on the masthead at Oh, That Liberal Media, and a contributor to Blogcritics.org.
February 13, 2006
View From a PDA
Now available on cellphones and wireless PDAs. I've added a link over on the left sidebar, but here it is, to bookmark right now.
It's basically the text of the postings for the last day, without any sort of formatting, sidebars, ads, or navigation. Hey, your cellphone web-minutes, aren't free! At least not yet.
December 30, 2005
Here's another reason the Washington Post is threatened by Bill Roggio:
Newspapers are seeking blacker ink next year by raising advertising rates. But with growing competition from new media for both advertisers and readers, it will be a tough sell.
Rate increases may be difficult to pull off as a two-decade slump in newspaper circulation appears to be worsening. Circulation -- a key metric for setting advertising rates -- fell 2.6% on average at daily newspapers in the sixth-month period ending Sept. 30, a bigger drop than any comparable sixth-month period since 1991, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations. Many younger people have failed to pick up the habit of reading papers and a lot of older readers are switching to reading the news online or catching it on 24-hour news channels.
Only a newspaper could figure that it could raise the price of a commodity with declining value.
December 12, 2005
The Weekly Carnival
Hevel Havelim, or however they spell it, is up over at Whispering Soul, and SamaBlog's got the weekly econorama. Check them both out.
December 8, 2005
Scott Adams has a blog. As himself, not in character. Sometimes he's serious, usually when he's talking about humor.
Sometimes, he's hysterically funny.
December 5, 2005
Ah Well, At Least I Got the Last Word
The Denver Post runs a brief profile of Jim Paine, proprietor of PirateBallerina, bane of Ward Churchill and his would-be protectors. I think Hughes overplays Paine's desire for privacy a little, since he has done email interviews with a number of bloggers, but on the whole, the piece is fair enough. Yours truly is quoted at the end, taking reporters to task for not doing their jobs.
What caught my eye was a some bellyaching from one of the professors who resigned from the academic committee investigating Churchill:
Paine had accused Johansen of being prone to "mutual back-scratching" because Churchill once endorsed a book he edited....
Johansen, who teaches journalism, said in an e-mail that Paine's gotchas are baseless and that he walked away from the committee because of what he saw as a nasty media environment surrounding the Churchill story, he said.
"Some in the Denver media seem to have surrendered their critical faculties to the bloggers," he said. "Paine steps up, rings his little bell and the dogs come running - or so it seems. From the outside, the level of hysteria is almost comical. As for myself, I wondered what has become of a sense of simple decency. ... A blog can be a democratizing influence, for sure, but so is a lynch mob."
I suppose some of this is the difference between teaching journalism and practicing it. If there was a record to be set straight, I'm pretty sure Johansen would have been given plenty of ink to do it. And you'd think that of all people, a professor of journalism would know how to get his side of the story into the papers. If he were really that upset, and really concerned with the integrity of the place, he could have made his case while still on the committee, or ridden it out.
But some of it is also the academic coccoon talking. Most of us without tenure consider oursevles to be "on the outside" of academia. Only light distorted by the thick glass separating college and the real world could persuade Johansen that he was on the outside looking in. After all, much of academia grandfathered out its critical faculties long ago, preferring orthodox, uncritical ones.
October 6, 2005
While I have no loafers in which to be light, and in which I wouldn't be light, in any case, I do like design. From the Cooper-Hewitt to the Denver Art Museum to The Look of the Century, I like design. When I look at typefaces, or at prospective logos for my current employer, I ask what decade it reminds me of, and then, whether that decade has the associations I want. It's art married to function at the most basic level, but it's practical art in a very American sense.
The next time some Frenchman calls you a Philistine, show him this. If you want, mention that it ran on time, too. And if you really want to rub it in, remind him of the name of the designer. Yes, they're still around.
So, over there, on the left, after the Jewish blogs. there's a new section on design. It'll be a while before I can write intelligently about it, but when I read something interesting, I'll pass it along.
(Very) Minor Celebrity
So we're walking to a friend's house for lunch yesterday after shul, and after about 15 minutes' discussion with the couple who are also guests, the subject of this blog comes up.
"Oh," says the wife, "what's the name of your blog?"
"Since we're in Denver, it's called View From a Height."
"Are you, like, sometimes on the radio?"
"Well, as a caller, locally occasionally as a guest."
"We know you. You're with that Rocky Mountain Alliance thing that Hugh Hewitt is always talking about, aren't you?"
That's never gonna get old. Of course, fame's the easiest one, and also the least substantial. Better than "I've heard of you" is "you write really well," or "you changed my mind about something," or "I learned something on your blog." Because Hollywood is filled with basically inconsequential people we've all heard of.
None of those, however, is nearly as good as, "here's the advance check for your book."
September 23, 2005
The Alliance Storms LPR
I'm pleased to announce that the Leadership Program of the Rockies has accepted the Alliance's own Ben DeGrow into the class of 2006.
For some reason, I'll also be joining Ben, bringing to three the number of Alliance members who've gone through the program. I'm really looking forward to this.
Power, Faith, and Fantasy
Six Days of War
An Army of Davids
Learning to Read Midrash
Deals From Hell
A War Like No Other
A Civil War
The (Mis)Behavior of Markets
The Wisdom of Crowds
When Genius Failed
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
Back in Action : An American Soldier's Story of Courage, Faith and Fortitude
How Would You Move Mt. Fuji?
Good to Great
Built to Last
Financial Fine Print
The Day the Universe Changed
The Multiple Identities of the Middle-East
The Case for Democracy
A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America's Last Years in Vietnam
Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory
Beyond the Verse: Talmudic Readings and Lectures
Reading Levinas/Reading Talmud