Sunday, July 31, 2005

Holding, With Links

I'm still a little lethargic after last week's heatwave, or at least that's my excuse for not producing quality posts.

So, instead, a wander across the web.

1. Steve Gilliard points to one former dot com entrepreneur who's now trying to market himself as a blogging impresario, a la Nick Denton of Gawker/Wonkette/Defamer, etc. Given the rich infrastructure of the blogging world--tracking devices, advertising, hierarchies, syndication software--and given the enormous buzz around the "power of the blogosphere" and all that, it would surprise me if there weren't snake-oil salesmen launching schemes.

2. The blogs are getting all fired up about the special congressional election in historically conservative Ohio district 2. The Republican candidate is a local politician, Jean Schmidt, and the Democratic candidate is the first veteran from this Iraq adventure to run for political office, Paul Hackett.

Hackett has won some love from left-leaning blogs for being willing to call Bush a chickenhawk--and then not to back down from the statement. From the clips I've seen, courtesy of Crooks and Liars, he seems like he's managed to find a judicious balance between direct Dean-like talk and policy-nuance; he's also working the returned-Marine bit like a champ.

Schmidt, on the other hand, is a menace: every word out of her mouth is a talking-point, most of which turn into slurs against "Liberals," which her opponent happens to embody. I get the feeling that she had expected her election to congress to be the natural stepping-stone in her fine career of service and that the stress of a contested and publicized election is getting to her. Ohioans deserve a congressional representative who can handle obstacles (and the English language) better than Schmidt does.

It would send a fine message to the Republican party if Hackett were to win.

And it gives me great pleasure to link to one of Billmon's commentors, responding to purist leftist critiques of Hackett's position that the US should work to repair Iraq. The unnamed commentor wrote:
Jesus Tapdancing Christ, this guy is a candidate for Congress, not the fucking Grail Quest.
That is a fabulous line.

3. In other tech-David against entrenched-Goliath news, Peter Ashdown, whose internet provider XMission must be making some serious money, has thrown down the gauntlet to Orrin Hatch. Ashdown's campaign, at this point, seems to be based on two points: 1) Orrin Hatch is a zombie who sold his soul a long time ago to corporate interests and the Republican party, and 2) the E.F.F. is absolutely right. I like him already. Here's a link to his campaign site. Curiously, in all of the media about Ashdown's campaign that I've read--and I'll admit that the number is more than five and less than fifteen--nobody mentions whether he's LDS or otherwise. Even the Deseret News published a full profile without answering this question. I'll take the silence as meaning not-LDS.

4. In order to watch one of those clips at Crooks and Liars, my system informed me that I would need to download updates to my RealPlayer. I haven't really kept current with my media players, but today, I figured: sure, why not get a nice new RealPlayer and stop using the Windows player? I downloaded the entire new version of Real, which took between 15-20 minutes with installation, and then clicked on the C'nL file I had wanted to view. Informed that Real needed some additional plug-ins to play that clip, then informed that Real couldn't detect the fact that I was online despite the six Firefox windows then running, I figured that there's no point in trying to be non-corporate and that all media players are evil. I am willing to be convinced otherwise.

5. MakingLight's sidebar links open up a whole new internet. This week, I've enjoyed the link to a list of ridiculous arrests and the link to a compendium of the most baroque extensions of Godwin's Law for online discussions. Both inspire reverence for the Law's ability to manifest itself in the smallest of details.


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