Marginal Footnotes

Donald Rumsfeld, Lounger of Beaches
June 30, 2006, 2:21 pm
Filed under: Media, Politics, Uncategorized

Donald Rumsfeld, esteemed U.S. Secretary of Defense and poet laureate (no offense to Donald Hall), owns a home in St. Michael’s, an upscale beach town profiled, usefully, today in the New York Times. His house has a name, as of course all houses must, and it is awesome, the name.  



John Edwards, Master of Gimmickry
June 30, 2006, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Elections, Media, Personal, Politics, Uncategorized

According to Political Wire:

John Edwards unveiled a text messaging platform where users can sign up and give their name, email and cell phone number to receive periodic updates on the likely 2008 presidential candidate’s activities.

You can also join if you text message the word HOPE to 56658. You’ll get this message back: “Thanks 4 joining our mobile team. Please text me your name and email. Visit us at I’ll be in touch–John.”

So What Happens to the Detainees?
June 30, 2006, 12:09 pm
Filed under: Politics, Uncategorized

Eugene Robinson:

the Supreme Court finally called George W. Bush onto the carpet yesterday and asked him the obvious question: What part of “rule of law” do you not understand?

This is all very fun politically and I’m enjoying it as much as the next guy. One question though: once the detainees are released, which I know will not result directly from this decision but which I think at this point is inevitable, what happens? We’re not going to put them on trial. Military courts are out. We’re going to have to let them go. Presumably this will be an admission that (a) they are innocent, or at least not provably guilty of any crime and (b) the U.S. government made a colossal error in imprisoning (most of) them. Are we going to write an individual letter of apology to these folks? Buy them a plane ticket home? Bottle of wine? Cash? How do you compensate for obliterating years of a person’s life?


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Al Gore’s Non-Presidential Campaign, Part 354
June 29, 2006, 6:21 pm
Filed under: Elections, Environmental, Gore Marginalia, Media, Politics, Uncategorized

So Al Gore went on the Daily Show. Crooks and Liars has the video.


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‘More Beer for the Robots’
June 28, 2006, 3:51 pm
Filed under: Environmental, Films, Gore Marginalia, Politics, Uncategorized

A scary message from Al Gore:


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‘Insistent and Meaningless’
June 28, 2006, 3:26 pm
Filed under: Media, Politics, Uncategorized

Alexander Cockburn on Liberal Blogs and Bloggers:

In political terms the blogosphere is like white noise, insistent and meaningless, like the wash of Pacific surf I can hear most days. But MoveOn.Org and Daily Kos have been hailed as the emergent form of modern politics, the target of excited articles in the New York Review of Books.

Beyond raising money swiftly handed over to the gratified veterans of the election industry both MoveOn and Daily Kos have had zero political effect, except as a demobilizing force.

The effect on writers is horrifying. Talented people feel they have produce 400 words of commentary every day and you can see the lethal consequences on their minds and style, both of which turn rapidly to slush. They glance at the New York Times and rush to their laptops to rewrite what they just read. Hawsers to reality soon fray and they float off , drifting zeppelins of inanity.

Eventually certainly the honeymoon will end. Certainly people can only stomach the self-righteous, largely unsupported banter that qualifies as commentary on both sides of the blogging aisle. The blog world is just too angry, too reactionary, to be sustainable. There’s no humor. It’s undialectical; fascist (but in a bad way). No doubt experts (TPM, Arms Control Wonk, etc.) who happen also to be bloggers will continue to provide useful and interesting information which is structurally difficult for ‘traditional media’ to pursue, and thank goodness for that. But the current formulation of a bunch of misspelling pseudo-elites, terminally inconsolable and existentially demagogic, who prevail for reasons unknown, cannot and must not go on. 

So is there momentum for a shift? Are blogs and bloggers becoming too big for their own niche? Who knows. Here you have Cockburn, no friend of the right, lamenting the nature of predominant liberal discourse as it exists on the web, and he makes a good case. He makes a good case, too, for the dangerous repercussions it has for writers in traditional media. Christine Rosen just published an hilariously damning piece about Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit. John Dickerson recently speculated about the inevitable ‘traditional media’ turn on the blogs with which it is currently infatuated.

Anyway, where is the evidence to support the efficacy of the emergent virtual grassroots movement, nominally run by Markos Moulitsas Zuniga? We’ll see how it goes in November. It didn’t go so well in 2004. How long can a movement claim to be nascent before it starts producing results?    


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Hillary Clinton, Peter Daou, and the Lefty Blogtomatons
June 27, 2006, 2:20 pm
Filed under: Blog, Elections, Media, Midterm Elections, Politics, Uncategorized

First, congratulations to Peter Daou on his big, huge gig with the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign (I know, I know: she hasn’t announced (yet)). Says Daou:

I have been offered – and accepted – what I believe is a unique opportunity to help close the triangle: joining Senator Clinton’s team as a blog advisor to facilitate and expand her relationship with the netroots.  

The Hillary circle is notoriously difficult to penetrate, so the Daou tappage signals that the Hillaryistas are fully cognizant of the potential electoral irritation of lefty, anti-Hillary blogarrhea.  I remember when Peter Daou, after the Kerry loss in 2004 for which he worked as an internet advisor, started The Dauo Report, which summarized chatter on blogs in a so-stultifyingly-simple-it’s-genius formulation (righty bloggers on the right-hand side, lefty bloggers left, centrist bloggers center, etc.). I sent him an email at the time congratulating him on his genius and for simplifying my blog expeditions, to which he responded with a gracious ‘thanks!’. Later The Daou Report moved to Salon and I stopped reading it because of those silly ads Salon insists on making its readers navigate before reading its content.

Daou is of course well-respected in the liberal blogiverse, so I wonder what the reaction will be from the Daily Kos confederation, the majority of whose members, including the fearless leader himself, have made their hysterical despisal of Sen. Clinton known.  I might satisfy my curiousity by checking out The Daily Kos, but, like Marty Peretz, I prefer to be ill-informed about the commentary there. It makes speculation and mockery easy. My views on Markos’ views on Hillary Clinton are here.


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