Monday, December 25, 2006

A good year for Virginia political bloggers, but...

All in all, it’s been quite a year for Virginia’s blogosphere. Two aggregator sites were established -- Virginia Political Blogs and Blognet News -- which have magnified the reach of blogs on the left, right and wherever, by creating a new way to easily follow a particular story as it ripples across the landscape, or just peruse the news and views.

They provided an overview that had not existed before.

Two blogger confabs were held: the Sorensen’s Institute’s in Charlottesville in June, and the Blogs United in Martinsville for free Speech in August. Topics to do with political blogging were discussed; presentations were made by invited individuals who served/posed as experts.

With both conventions there were bloggers who came away from them singing the praises of the collegial spirit they found, although both events also has their critics.

There have been other efforts/proposals during the past year which sought to have bloggers from both sides of the aisle working together. Conaway Haskins’ SOB’s idea was one with merit. Another was spawned here at SLANTblog -- and pulled off with with a great deal of help from Vivian Paige -- it was a call to bloggers to try being more original for three days of posting. It was dubbed Weekend Without Echoes.

Then came the somewhat unexpected rapid tightening of the Webb vs. Allen senatorial race. A chilly, more partisan wind began to blow, as the season changed and the nation came to Virginia’s blogosphere to find out what the macaca was going on. We all watched in amazement as the originally thought-to-be-unbeatable incumbent committed YouTube suicide before our very eyes.

Since that election, the result of which tilted control of the U.S. Senate to Team Donkey, the grumbling denials of reality by the bitterest of Republican bloggers has torn at the fabric of what bloggers during the summer saw as nonpartisan, common interests.

Now, at year’s end, there’s an effort afoot in the Virginia blogosphere, coming from a handful of rightwingers who apparently want to do whatever injury they can to Virginia Political Blogs. They are currently trying to sell the absurd idea that Waldo Jaquith removed a blog from his VPB aggregator’s blog roll because the hard-hitting propaganda being used by that anonymous blogger to defend Virgil Goode’s awkward position was just too damn effective. That it had cleverly one-upped some lefty bloggers, so it had to go.

Horsefeathers! That is a cheap and dirty effort to create an instant myth out of thin air. Put it in the echo chamber and see who will believe it.

Waldo removed the material because he wanted no part of promulgating sicko material he felt was beyond the pale (decapitation photos) appearing on his web site. Remember folks, it’s his web site, he has charged no one a fee to have their posts amplified by appearing there, and he has made no promises to the bloggers.

Is this rather nefarious effort being pushed by bloggers, who are demonstrating their conclusion that having a aggregator site -- which automatically puts all their commentary beside all the commentary of their opponents -- has not been working to their benefit? Generally speaking, their repetitive fear-mongering and sloganeering to support George Allen didn’t do much to carry the day against the arguments presented by bloggers writing in support of Jim Webb.

More recently, they weren’t really helping Virgil Goode with his self-inflicted troubles much, either. Sorry, A-Team and B-Team, and GGD, but it’s true.

Then came the V-bomb (V for violence). A blogger (GGD) posted pictures of terrorists decapitating their captives, which meant they would also automatically appear on Waldo‘s aggregator site.

When Waldo saw the pictures he promptly removed them by deleting the link to the V-bomb blogger. He says that was the only quick way to get rid of the pictures on VPB.

So, the above-mentioned pack of conservative bloggers now wants to hound Waldo out of the aggregator biz, calling him a selective censor who makes his calls based on partisan considerations. Throw in some jealousy over the fact that Waldo Jaquith is frequently quoted on blogging topics by the mainstream press and you’ve got the foul-smelling witch’s brew that is bubbling in the blogosphere.

For some background on this story click here, here, and here. To find more, go to one of the aggregators mentioned above. There’s plenty to read, if you are so inclined. With some of the same spirit used to attack the Sorensen Institute’s blogger convention as being too lefty, some of the same players are again seeking to divide the burgeoning blogosphere into name-calling partisan camps.

This pack may next ask Waldo to remove their links from his links list of blogs-to-be-presented at VPB. If they object so strongly to what he is doing -- why not? However, for that ploy to pay off they would have to convince some of the more respected conservative bloggers to take up their side in this totally contrived war of words, and also push away from VPB.

Will the heavyweight conservative and Libertarian bloggers follow V-bombing GGD and his/her barking pack of supporters in trying to kill off VPB, by pulling out of Waldo's VPB blogroll?

Stay tuned ... the answer will be apparent in the next few days.

21 comments:

Dave said...

you forgot cat and her va blog carnival.

spankthatdonkey said...

Terry:
Please reread your post, you are so 'obsessed' with your conspiracy theory you unknowing repeated it twice...

then there was... then there was..

and here you are so in denial-

"Waldo removed the material because he wanted no part of promulgating sicko material he felt was beyond the pale (decapitation photos) appearing on his web site."

Maybe you and Triscula can sit down and reread my comments to her in your previous post, and figure out that you and Ms Triscula, would suffer the same fate as a Mr Nicolas Burg suffered at the hands of these people... remember him?

When a group of foreigners declare war on this nation, you and I friend need to drop the partisanship and work together for our own common good...

Joe said...

"When a group of foreigners declare war on this nation, you and I friend need to drop the partisanship and work together for our own common good..."

Blind faith, no matter what policy persuasion, is a terrible action to take. And make no mistake, this is what you are implying, by suggesting FT to agree to your ideas. I personally have faith in the unfettered marketplace, where only the fittest survive. What this blind faith does is destroy the marketplace of ideas. No longer can we refine our policies, no longer can dissenting ideas be heard. The day argument and debate dies is the day we have lost. Thus, those who attempt to squash these debates prematurely are wittingly or unwittingly assisting the very enemies they wish to defend against.

teacherken said...

I would argue that not all of us thought Allen unbeatable. I had been arguing, offline, since early October of 2005 that he was a paper tiger - people like Lee Diamond and Josh Chernilla heard my analysis at that time.

I didn't say he WOULD be beat, merely that he COULD be beat, because he had never had a serious statewide race, nor had he run statewide in other than an insurgent capacity, and now he would be defending his (lack of a meaningful) Senate record.

as to spankthat donkey, your post is totally nonreponsive to the point both Terry and Waldo were making. There was a reason that networks and the print press chose not to run with beheading material when it first became available. People do not need to see it to know that it has happened. And Waldo rightly felt that it was inappropriate to force upon the viewers of what was HIS site.

Here I might note I would be equally supportive of him banning a liberal blogger who chose to show people blasted apart by US bombs, or the bodies of civilians killed by US or Iraqi security figure a bit too quick on the trigger finger.

Are there people trying to kill Americans? Yep. Have we killed many civilians and written it off as "collateral damage" and thereby further alienated Iraqis, Afghanis, and those in the Middle East looking at both conflicts. To quote from a television show you may be too young to remember, you bet your sweet bippie.

Please note - if you think that showing pictures and videos of decapitation has anything to do with helping bring the slaughter to an end, you are sadly mistaken. what worries me is that you - and others - seeming to justify the post and criticizing Waldo for his actions don't seem to care that your rhetoric merely inflames the situation for those over there, American and allie, and those Iraqis attempting to work with us.

I am fairly close with a key person involved in staffing the ISG report, someone who has been to Bagdhad and not just the Green Zone multiple times. I am friends with several military who are recently returned. None of them support your rhetoric, or in fact your position.

Geb. Jones, former Commandant of the Marines and just retired chief of NATO, was offered the position of Centcom, but would only take it on several conditions, one of which was to pull Amricans troops out of Bagdhad, because their presence in the Capital only inflmaes the situation and causes more unnecessary violence. His terms were not acceptable to the administration, so he passed on the opportunity.

Last point - I was acquainted, albeit not a close friend, with Tom Fox, the American Christian Peacemaker Team member kidnapped just after Thanksgiving in 2005 and executed later. BTW, contrary to some early reports, he was not tortured. I know his attitude about seeking retribution - he spoke about it when back in the states between trips to iraq, in his writings, and his thee fellows kidnapped with him have made clear their - and his - attitudes against retribution. Posting of things such as that waldo removed have only the purpose of inflaming, which as our time in Iraq has already demonstrated, does ought but increase the violence and the atrocities.

spankthatdonkey said...

Teacherken:
You seem to spend a lot of time on talking about your credentials, and not the subject at hand.

The MSM didn't want us to see the images of 9-11.. Why? Because it instills in the American People why we fight...

That is the strategy of the political left... and because the Conservatives.. and yes Karl Rove was brow beat into it... you guys won....

We Conservatives are fighting your further efforts to censor why we are fighting...

That is the bottom line here.

Joe:
I think you are admitting that we are winning this debate, by saying we are trying to squash it pre-maturely. We should not be debating 'if' we should fight but how and when.

This is not a joke, Virgil Goode is right, the Europeons had unfettered immigration of cheap labor in the form of Muslims, and are now paying the price. He is simply saying, do not let that happen here...

Imagine that our Mexican immigrants were muslim and not Christian, we would be having a totally different Homeland security debate, if that were the case, and I would hope you agree?

Joe said...

"I think you are admitting that we are winning this debate, by saying we are trying to squash it pre-maturely. We should not be debating 'if' we should fight but how and when."

...What.

I'm sorry, I'm just not making the leap in logic from point A to point B. How did what I say at all suggest to you that you are winning the debate? I didn't even say a single word about who was winning or losing. However, since you did bring that into question, I'd hate to point out that,

"Virgil Goode is right..."

is a view held by a minority of anyone that has come out against the issue.

And you never exactly defined what it is we are fighting. Is it Terrorism? We can't beat a method, only the people who use it. So then are we fighting fundamentalist Islam, or Muslims in general, as you seem to imply? If it is the latter, I'd suggest you re-evaluate who it is that is trying to kill you as you say, and how you could even consider winning such a battle. If it is the former, do you think the current methods are working? Our own government has acknowledged we have produced more terrorists than we have eliminated so far. We've lost a great deal of soft power internationally by hamfistedly flexing our "hard" military might. These are important reasons as to why the Republicans lost both chambers and Bush only has a 30% approval rating.

I think we need to secure our country from attack, and work to eliminate the strength of rogue groups, but our methods are completely different. Fight in your mind apparently means military force, whereas I'm not so sure that is as effective as we'd hope. In conclusion, if you and I potentially disagree on who it is we are fighting, and how to fight back, how at all have we come close to closing debate? As I said prior, to close it now would be the same as preventing the intellectual marketplace from working.

I'm Not Emeril said...

What no one seems to be discussing, yet it's the inevitable end point of where this is going, is where does the moderation line get drawn?

I've agreed from the beginning that Waldo can do whatever he wishes with his aggregator. I was extremely amused at the angst he showed on the day he asked if he should end it. I was also amused at those who felt it would be the end of the world if he closed it down.

My amusement aside, where does he now draw the line? The line is out there, and we all know it's there somewhere, but none of us know where exactly it is.

Is that line drawn solely on graphic violence? Or does it extend a little further into the realm of general ethics? Are George Carlin's 7 words to be figured into where the line falls? If not, why not? Some of those words are just as offensive to some as that image GGD posted is to others.

By banning General Grevious' Dog Waldo has now let the ethics cat out of the bag. We must now follow some sort of ethical guidelines, (so far undescribed), in our writing if we wish to remain on his aggregator. Where does that ethical line get drawn? Is that ethical line stable? or does it waver for liberal and conservative blogs? Does that ethical line pertain only to graphics and dirty words, or does it cross over into thoughts, ideas, and even gossip and innuendo?

As I've said publicly many times I like Waldo. I have spent some limited time discussing ideas and policies with him and found him to be an intelligent, interesting individual. But that was based just on a few hours of conversation.

I've since read his work more in depth. My most recent post shows Waldo's occasional lack of ethics for all of the Virginia blog community to see. Are we to use his standards as our lowest common denominator? I, for one, will not. I subscribe to a higher standard and would hope most of you do too.

Joe said...

@Alton

I think there have been numerous questions asked, but without anyone having authority over anyone else in the blogging scene, people are reticent to give defined stances on what is and is not acceptable.

In specific regards to the aggregator, I've already said that it should simply filter out all images and show their image tags, thus allowing the reader to make the choice to see it or not. In that same comment, I also established why I felt pictures to be separate from written text.

teacherken said...

gee, spank seems to think the part where I am responding to Terry (because at that point I was rushed and ran two separate sets of thought into one comment -- given lack of threading it didn't seem to make a difference -- somehow should be added together to the comments I made about the people I know who have been in Iraq having a very different perspective.

attacking Iraq had nothing to do with making our country secure from Iraq, and if anything has engendered such disgust it has increased the possibility of attacks against Americans, overseas and at home. And the way this administration has effectively broken both the army and the marines, and wrecked their equipment, and stripped the National Guard and Reserves of both equipment and men, I fail to see how a continuation of this kind of stupidity is supposed to make people here more "secure" -- which is why so many professional military have pointed out that it doesn't.

As to your obvious prejudice, well that speaks so loudly I find no need to address it.

Oh, and on formal debate points you'd be losing pretty badly in most of these exchanges.

spankthatdonkey said...

alright Joe:
Statement- Europe has allowed an unfettered immigration of muslims only for their cheap labor. They have now found their 'hands tied' in dealing with Islam, because they have so many Muslims now within their borders.

Can we start there? (one paragraph or less)

spankthatdonkey said...

Teacherken:
I was addressing Terry repeating his conspiracy theory he attributes to certain Conservative bloggers (which really means me). Either he was obsessed, or imbibing, as I am myself... maybe both...

Now as for you,
I love it when someone scores a debate in their own favor, that is better left for others to judge.

your statement:

"attacking Iraq had nothing to do with making our country secure from Iraq,"

So in no way does the invasion of Iraq, and the fact we have not been successfully attacked here in the US by Islamist terrorists have a cause and effect, or correlation?

Oh, and thanks for declaring me prejudice (not like that isn't in the Left of Center play book, I imagine homophobe is next?)

Joe said...

@SpankthatDonkey

That would be unnecessary clutter on this blog, since it is outside the scope of the initial questions. I'd be glad to continue this exchange, but please email me at
Extraneous.Debates(at)gmail.com

This isn't a joke.

spankthatdonkey said...

Joe:
In lieu of Terry, you and Teacherken are all I have to debate with tonight....

Let's get it on, or I will be forced to watch Braveheart for the umpteenth time.....

Terry won't mind, he is jealous that NLS hits 100 comments on anything he posts.... Think of Terry... It's ChrisTmas!

Joe said...

@spankthatdonkey

There is -nothing- wrong with Braveheart. ;^D But thats probably the last thing I'm saying on this entry's comments.

spankthatdonkey said...

See what kind of friends you have Terry :-)

Kevin said...

"The MSM didn't want us to see the images of 9-11.. Why? Because it instills in the American People why we fight..."

I'm sorry but what did I see on my TV for 3-4 months after 9-11? I thought it was images of the buildings falling down. The second plane hitting one of the Twin Towers. People scurrying in fear as a plume of ash and smoke filtered through the streets. The smoke billowing from the Pentagon. Tearful stories of survivors of the attacks and the victims families. The field in Pennsylvania where Flight 93 crashed. The unity of Congress and the Executive branch with Democrats in full support mode. President Bush standing on top of the remains of the Twin Towers with a megaphone...did these images occur on ALL the major news networks or was I just mistaken?

You might say the MSM doesn't show 9/11 footage now not even Fox News. Couldn't the case be made that our country needs a chance to heal? Couldn't you say that there has been missteps by the Bush administration that might lead to people not wanting to have the will to fight. The Republicans have had the levers of control for the last six years...not the Democrats or the MSM.

"So in no way does the invasion of Iraq, and the fact we have not been successfully attacked here in the US by Islamist terrorists have a cause and effect, or correlation?"

We were not attacked before invading Iraq too...right? So no there is no correlation and it probably cannot be "proved" otherwise because we cannot have a do over and try it another way. Can we instantly nullify your theory if we are attacked when we are in Iraq?

Do you really think that the Islamic terrorists are just sitting around going "Concentrate all resources on Iraq? We can't spare one person to attack the U.S." Remember that's all it takes is one person. Do you think that terrorists can't multitask? Why haven't we captured the leader of Al Qaida? You remeber him right...Osama bin Laden. We could have made Afghanistan a parking lot and taken him out but for some reason we didn't...why?

There are probably dozens of reasons why we haven't been attacked in the last 5 years. From increased scrutiny at airports to increases in cooperation between friendly nations in tracking terrorists, have probably given us a better shot at fighting terrorism here and abroad. In all honesty, there is probably a tangental effect from the invasion of Iraq on terrorism here. But remember terrorist attacks don't come in bunches on our soil. They are generally spread out when they come from the same organization.

F.T. Rea said...

Dave,

Now there’s a blog post (http://johnathanmaxfield.blogspot.com/2006/12/report-on-condition-of-general.html), made ostensibly by GGD, where he/she is openly trying to drive bloggers to your aggregator, Blognet News, as part of a strategy to boycott of Waldo’s aggregator, Virginia Political Blogs.

Chit-chat aside, I think you can see where this is going. What’s your stand on this tactic? Where’s your statement on this low-road campaign to hound Waldo out of the aggregator business?

If they come for Waldo today, when will they come after you?

Triscula said...

Well, I think now it's pretty evident what this has been about all along. This sort of adolescent trolling and jealousy that has been on parade over the last few days is very unflattering and sadly it ends up reflecting poorly on VA political blogging in general. Congratulations SPD, GGD, et al. In the race to the bottom you all have certainly proven your worth.

I hope that conservative bloggers that are interested in serious political and social discussion will stick with VPB.
The aggregator and the Virginians who use it as a source for looking at a broad view of political positions on issues will certainly benefit from their continued presence.

I hope Waldo will shrug this whole business off and move on to other topics. This silliness wasn't worth all of the time and attention it's been given to begin with.

People who are really bent out of shape about not being able to see gruesome pictures on VPB can head on over to Ogrish.com where they can amuse themselves for hours on end staring at images of executions, beheadings, killings, etc. Knock yourselves out.

Dave said...

Thanks for asking the easy questions FT. You're an evil, evil man.

Here's why I don't run full posts: I am trying to respect copyright whether I am asked to or not. If I want to fully reflect what is going on in a state's blogosphere, I need to aggregate even where I haven't asked permission, that's why I stick well within "fair use" and all my excerpts link twice, once in the head and once in the ... thingy.

Waldo and his aggregator, seem to me to be mostly acting with people's permission and my understanding is that he will drop anyone who asks. That makes him legally safe. However, by using full posts, he is paving the way for less ethical aggregators like blogowogo.com which is for-profit, uses full posts, gives tiny hard to find links back, has comments on each post so readers don't need to click through to comment and, I have been told, refuses to drop feeds when asked.

I think the ethical thing for Waldo to do is excerpt, preserving the reason for people to click through to the full blog. I also think that if Waldo is going to have rules for which bloggers may be banished, he should at least make some attempt to spell them out.

As for a boycott, I will make a couple statements of fact and then an observation or two. First Waldo has developed a significant readership and I understand that some people still click through to leave comments. The reason some have questioned Waldo's ethics but not asked for their blogs to be removed is that those bloggers feel they might lose traffic and/or influence if they were no longer in Waldo's aggregator. As for the boycott, bloggers should do what they think is in their interest. They shouldn't boycott Waldo because they think it will help BNN.

Dave said...

One other thought regarding your, will BNN be next comment. I am not making promises to anyone that I won't someday boot someone out of BNN for ethical/ legal reasons or become more selective in who I accept.

If that means I get boycotted too, then I guess there will be a need for a third Virginia aggregator.

I'm Not Emeril said...

Since I was one of the few who originally brought up the full post issue, and now the issue is being used by some to justify a boycott of VPB. I go on record here stating that I am not calling for a boycott of Waldo's aggregator, nor am I asking to be removed. I did not ask to be published there, Waldo chose to include me, and he can just as easily choose not to.