Thursday, December 29, 2005

Breaking News: Plame Name Leaker May Still Be in Pullups

Via( Reuters)

HOUSTON (Reuters) - The Washington couple at the heart of the CIA leak investigation had their cover blown by their small son as they tried to sneak away on vacation on Thursday.

"My daddy's famous, my mommy's a secret spy," declared the 5-year-old of his parents, former diplomat Joe Wilson and retired CIA operative Valerie Plame.

The former spy, who just retired from the agency, and the diplomat have been at the center of a CIA leak scandal that has reached into the White House.

They said they were headed to an undisclosed vacation location with their twins but stopped for a brief interview inside the airport terminal.

We need to demand an immediate investigation and find out answers to two critical questions:

1. What did the kid know?

2. When did he know it?

If the press had really been on the ball they probably could have gotten the kid to cough up the "undisclosed vacation location" as well.

Heck, Woodward or Novak would have gotten it out of him!

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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The Gifts Santa Forgot?

I saw an ad for Target stores in my Sunday newspaper that said "Get The Gifts That Santa Forgot!".

I found it quite ironic they would invoke the word "Santa" on December 25th having not even mentioned the word Christmas or anything related to Christmas at any point during the Christmas season. The only clue Target gave that something was coming up (that I personally saw) was the slogan "Gather Round".

Could it be that Santa didn't think he was allowed to shop at Target this year or that just maybe they didn't have Christmas presents there? Is it really fair to jump on Santa on Christmas Day when you never told anyone he was coming in the first place?

I'm just asking.

By the way, I don't expect retailers to spread the word that the overwhelming majority of Americans believe that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, but I didn't expect until recently that they would be so afraid of the opinion of the minority that they wouldn't even mention the words Christmas or (gasp!) Santa Claus.


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Sowell on a Roll

Thomas Sowell has a great column today in Townhall.
In the column "Cheap Politicians", he says that we get what we pay for. What we're getting,especially these days, ain't a whole lot:

I don't make a million dollars a year but I think every member of Congress should be paid at least that much. It's not because those turkeys in Washington deserve it. It's because we deserve a lot better people than we have in Congress.

The cost of paying every member of Congress a million dollars a year is absolutely trivial compared to the vast amounts of the taxpayers' money wasted by cheap politicians doing things to get themselves re-elected. You could pay every member of Congress a million dollars a year for a century for less money than it costs to run the Department of Agriculture for one year.

There is no point complaining about the ineptness, deception or corruption of government while refusing to do anything to change the incentives and constraints which lead to ineptness, deception and corruption.

You are not going to get the most highly skilled or intelligent people in the country, people with real-world experience, while offering them one-tenth or less of what such people can earn in the private sector.

Sowell points out what most of us have known for a long time: The primary goal of any politician is to get re-elected, even if it means draining the federal treasury dry in order to do it:

How many people in the top layer of their respective professions are going to sacrifice the future of their families -- the ability to give their children the best education, the ability to have something to fall back on in case of illness or tragedy, the ability to retire in comfort and with peace of mind -- in order to go into politics?

A few people here and there may be willing to make such sacrifices for the good of the country but, by and large, you get what you pay for. What we are getting as cheap politicians are often a disgrace -- and enormously costly as reckless spenders of the taxpayers' money in order to keep themselves getting re-elected.

Whatever the problems faced by the country, the number one priority of elected officials is to get re-elected. Nothing does that better than handing out money from the public treasury. Cheap politicians are expensive politicians, currently costing the taxpayers more than a trillion dollars a year.

If you have trouble visualizing what a trillion is, just remember that a trillion seconds ago, no one on this planet could read or write. A trillion seconds is thousands of years. That's the kind of money our cheap politicians are spending in order to keep getting re-elected.

Has it always been this way? Not exactly:

George Washington, who took pride in his self-control, lost his temper completely when someone told him that a decision he was going to make could cost him re-election as President. He blew up at the suggestion that he wanted to be President, rather than serving as a duty when he would rather be back home.

What we really need in Washington are folks who don't want the job, have absolutely no desire to be re-elected, and will serve only out of a sense of duty.


Update: Betsy Newmark doesn't find the idea to be nearly as brilliant as I do. She makes the point that additional money won't necessarily lead to a better candidate and may make the candidates more desperate to be re-elected. I agree that if we don't get better candidates, the problems will get worse, not better. The scenario only works if the status quo is changed.

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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Santa to ACLU: No,You're Still On The Naughty List!

I just got my computer back and operational again, and thought I would do a little blogroll surfing. Having grown weary of politics as usual, it was refreshing to see this post at Stop the ACLU.

Apparently, the moonbats at the ACLU are soliciting help from none other than the big man in the red suit to help them in their efforts to put a stop to the Bush Administration efforts to wiretap and collect information on their Al Qaeda friends. Note the following:

Dear Mr. Kringle,

Although we here at the American Civil Liberties Union do not believe in the so-called Christmas holiday as we find it exclusive, we feel that in the event we are in error on this topic that we would be remiss if we fail to ask for your assistance in an important matter to our organization...

We here at the ACLU are firm believers in covering all of our bases. And in the event that we are incorrect about the legitimacy of the dreaded “C” word, we felt it important to solicit you for your assistance in this matter. We are also consulting a Voodoo Priestess, rubbing our rabbit’s feet, wishing on stars and 4 leaf clovers, and praying to the non-existent “God” that Christians and Jews say exists just on the chance that we have been incorrect in this field.

Note to Anthony Romero:

Santa's a little busy this week preparing for that little "C" word event that you don't believe in. Unlike you, he actually has plans on spreading a little cheer and goodwill during the, cover your eyes, Christmas Season.

You might also consider getting yourself off of the naughty list before actually asking for anything from the big man. He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're a flake, he knows if you've been bad or good... you get the idea, right?

Attention Trolls: Yes, I know the Letter to Santa by the ACLU is not real, but it's also not that far-fetched either if you really think about it.

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Thursday, December 15, 2005

Election Day in Iraq

I've been trying to keep up with the Iraqi Election on this historic day and the coverage is widespread. I've been too busy with work today to put together any kind of meaningful coverage, and besides, any coverage I could possibly offer would pale in comparrison to Omar at Iraq the Model. He has the most complete coverage I've seen, complete with pictures and on-the-scene coverage. Do yourself a favor and check it out!

From all appearances, the end of the day should show that more has been done, (a successful election and historic step towards a Democratic Iraq) than has been said (liberal whining and complaining).

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Tuesday, December 13, 2005

How Much Is A Life Worth?

Here are some executions that aren’t getting the same press coverage as that of Stanley “Tookie” Williams:

Albert Lewis Owens- February 28, 1979
Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang, and Yee-Chen Lin-March 11, 1979

They were brutally murdered for the grand total of $220. Apparently to Stanley “Tookie” Williams, the value of a human life is, or at the very least was, about $55.

I am not including the obvious pleasure “Tookie” got from it as evidenced by this excerpt taken from trial transcripts:

In reference to Albert Lewis Owens

Once back in Los Angeles, Williams asked if anyone wanted to get something to eat. When Sims asked Williams why he shot Owens, Williams said he "didn't want to leave any witnesses." Williams also said he killed Owens "because he was white and he was killing all white people." (TT 2189, 2193).

Later that same day, Williams bragged to his brother Wayne about killing Owens. Williams said, "you should have heard the way he sounded when I shot him." Williams then made gurgling or growling noises and laughed hysterically about Owens' death. (TT 2195-2197).

If his victims made any appeal for their lives to be spared, it was denied immediately. It’s quite pathetic that appeals by Williams allowed his life to be spared for an additional 24 years, 8 months from his initial sentencing to execution. The State of California apparently places a much higher value on human life than did Stanley Williams.

I would be remiss if I didn’t also include another contribution "Tookie" made to society; He was also the co-founder of the LA Crips gang which lists this among its noteworthy accomplishments:

This gang is responsible for the regular commission of crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, and drug sales. The gang has taken over large areas of many of our communities. As a result, hard-working, law abiding citizens are forced to live in daily fear that gang members might take their lives.
In 2004 alone, in the City of Los Angeles alone, gang-related crimes accounted for 291 homicides, 717 attempted homicides, 2616 felony assaults, 61 attacks on police officers, 2308 robberies, 44 kidnappings, 36 rapes, 754 acts of witness intimidation, 20 acts of extortion, and 188 carjackings.

The Hollywood crowd and countless other individuals have been on a crusade to save "Tookie’s" life. They’ve citied his children’s books as evidence of his transformation from a gang banging murderer to an inspiration to millions and have tried to convince folks that his execution would be a great injustice to humanity. If the Hollywood types want to point out true injustice, they should start with Albert Lewis Owens, Yen-I Yang, Tsai-Shai Yang, and Yee-Chen Lin and note the effect "Tookie" had on their lives. Of course, that is assuming they even know their names.

The injustice with regards to Stanley “Tookie” Williams is not what has been done to him, but what he has done to society and the length of time it took for the system to make him pay the price for it.

Justice was finally done this morning at 12:35am PT.

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Friday, December 09, 2005

Does it Really Matter Whether He Said “Bomb” Or Not?

I suppose this shouldn’t be very surprising:

MIAMI - The airline passenger shot to death by federal marshals who said he made a bomb threat was agitated even before boarding and later appeared to be desperate to get off the plane, some fellow travelers said. One passenger said he "absolutely never heard the word 'bomb' at all" during the uproar as the Orlando-bound flight prepared to leave Miami on Wednesday.

Federal officials say Rigoberto Alpizar made the threat in the jetway, after running up the plane's aisle from his seat at the back of the jetliner. They opened fire because the 44-year-old Home Depot employee ignored their orders to stop, reached into his backpack and said he had a bomb, according to authorities.

Alpizar's brother, speaking from Costa Rica, said he would never believe the shooting was necessary.

"I can't conceive that the marshals wouldn't be able to overpower an unarmed, single man, especially knowing he had already cleared every security check," Carlos Alpizar told The Orlando Sentinel.

While there is no question that this is a tragic loss for the family of Rigoberto Alpizar, I don’t believe federal marshals should be blamed for doing their job. They are not placed on commercial airliners to simply take up space; they are there to make split second decisions that can mean the difference between life and death for the passengers on the flight, and quite possibly, others on the ground.

The events that occurred on Wednesday are the result of a lesson learned in the aftermath of 9/11: Reaction to threats must be quick and decisive in order to be effective.

Hindsight allows an event to be analyzed in slow motion to determine many things, including mistakes made, but it is not a tool available to those who must react quickly in the face of a potential disaster. There simply is not enough time.

It may well be determined that Mr. Alpizar posed no real threat to the airplane when all the facts are in, but I’m not sure that really matters in the end. The marshals reacted to the information that was available to them, and by all accounts the threat was enormous. To me, the real tragedy would have been inaction.

Consider the events that transpired: Mr. Alpizar ignored orders to stop and reached into a backpack saying he had a bomb. Even if Mr. Alpizar didn’t say he had a bomb and everything else remained the same, I would prefer the air marshals not wait for him to prove it. Whether or not he had a bomb, I think, is irrelevant.

I may take some heat for this, but I have to ask the question: If a person is bipolar and has not been taking his medication to treat the illness, why is it necessary to bring that person on an airplane in the first place? It seems to me the last thing his wife should have done was to allow her husband to get anywhere near an airport in his condition. Even if she had told the air marshals he was bipolar and his illness was the reason for his behavior, are the air marshals supposed to take her word for it?

I admit the benefit of hindsight can also be applied to her actions that day and if she had it all to do over again, she may not have chosen to board the plane with her husband. Is it really fair to blame the air marshals for their reactions without also looking at what the victims could have done to avoid the situation all together? I don’t think it is.

Again, I’m not trying to be unsympathetic here, but facts are facts. Rigoberto Alpizar was acting in a manner that was likely to get him killed by an air marshal. Whether you think what happened was right or wrong, you can’t honestly blame the marshals for reacting to the situation and doing their job.

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Wednesday, December 07, 2005


The Carnival of the Vanities is up at Denali Flavors and The Carnival of the Clueless is up at Right Wing Nuthouse. Both are excellent reads. Check them out!

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Tuesday, December 06, 2005

When Senator Kerry Is On, They Should Call It "Disgrace the Nation"

Captain Ed pointed out yesterday, these remarks by Senator John Kerry on CBS’ Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer:

SCHIEFFER: All right. Let me shift to another point of view, and it comes from another Democrat, Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut. He takes a very different view. He says basically we should stay the course because, he says, real progress is being made. He said this is a war between 27 million Iraqis who want freedom and 10,000 terrorists. He says we're in a watershed transformation. What about that?
Sen. KERRY: Let me--I--first of all, there is so much more that unites Democrats than divides us. And Democrats have much more in common with each other than they do with George Bush's policy right now. Now Joe Lieberman, I believe, also voted for the resolution which said the president needs to make more clear what he's doing and set out benchmarks, and that the policy hasn't been working. We all believe him when you say, `Stay the course.' That's the president's policy, which hasn't been changing, which is a policy of failure. I don't agree with that. But I think what we need to do is recognize what we all agree on, which is you've got to begin to set benchmarks for accomplishment. You've got to begin to transfer authority to the Iraqis. And there is no reason, Bob, that young American soldiers need to be going into the homes of Iraqis in the dead of night, terrorizing kids and children, you know, women, breaking sort of the customs of the--of--the historical customs, religious customs. Whether you like it or not...
Sen. KERRY: ...Iraqis should be doing that. And after all of these two and a half years, with all of the talk of 210,000 people trained, there just is no excuse for not transferring more of that authority.

Captain Ed noted in particular (emphasis his), the portion in which Kerry referred to our troops as “terrorizing kids and children, you know women” in his assessment that Senator Kerry thinks of our troops are terrorists in Iraq.

I second Captain Ed in his emphasis. I can’t begin to match his analysis, but in reviewing the transcript I found some additional remarks by Senator Kerry that I found disturbing.

Here’s the first question and answer:

SCHIEFFER: ...the election. Senator, I want to go directly to what I think is the core question here. When the secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, was here three weeks ago, I asked him would the security of the American people, not the Iraqi people, but would the security of the American people be endangered if we brought home our American troops over the next six months? His answer was, `Absolutely,' and one of the
things he said was, `Turning Iraq over to the terrorists who behead people would make for a more dangerous world.'

How do you answer the question?

Sen. KERRY: Well, to begin with, I'm amazed Secretary Rumsfeld is still there. I believe Secretary Rumsfeld has misconducted this war in the most extraordinary way from the first decisions about when and how to go in through the last two-and-a-half years. And if there was ever a lack of accountability, it is the lack of accountability on the secretary. In fact, just this last week, General Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had to publicly correct the secretary of Defense about torture. The secretary of Defense said, `You don't report--our troops have no obligation to do anything except report torture.' And General Pace publicly countermanded him and said, `No, Mr. Secretary, they have an obligation to stop it.' I think we need a secretary of Defense who thinks like John McCain, not like Dick Cheney...

SCHIEFFER: All right. Well...

Sen. KERRY: ...and that's the starting point.

This section piqued my interest, but not for the obvious reason that Kerry didn’t answer the question. If you’ll note, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is quoted as saying “Turning Iraq over to the terrorists who behead people would make for a more dangerous world.”

Senator Kerry’s initial reaction to beheading is to make a reference to torture by our military as if the two topics are somehow comparable.

Schieffer again asks the question:

SCHIEFFER: Do you think the American people's security would be endangered if we withdrew our forces over the next six months?

Sen. KERRY: I believe that you have to begin with the fundamental truth of the ground in Iraq. That fundamental truth has been set forth by none other than General Casey, the commander of our forces. He has said that the large presence of American forces in Iraq feeds the notion of occupation and it delays--this is critical--delays the willingness and ability of the Iraqis to stand up for themselves. Now that truth from our commanding general, you take it on its face. Then you have to operate on that which means you begin to reduce the number of troops.

No one that I know of even on a six-month basis believes that that's going to leave us in a more exposed basis. Why? Let me tell you. We're not fighting World War II, Bob. The dangers in Iraq on a day-to-day basis to our troops are what basically, fundamentally, IEDs, improvised explosive devices, and suicide bombers. You don't need troops trained on the level of World War II or NATO troops and others in order to be able to do what we need to do, provide security in Iraq. And our troops could redeploy, pull back into a more garrisoned rear position. They don't need to leave totally so that you have no ability to intervene in the event that Iran played their games or Syria or others. We can provide for the security of our country but it begins with the understanding that success in Iraq is predicated on an exit strategy.

Senator Kerry is simply misleading here by implying things that were not stated by General Casey.

For the sake of argument, I’ll concede the point that the presence of our troops possibly “feeds the notion of occupation” if Kerry will concede that the absence of them does not eliminate the terrorist threat. I seriously doubt that is a concession Senator Kerry would be willing to make.

First of all, I’m not sure whether General Casey’s statement was taken in context or not. I’m basing my analysis on Senator Kerry’s statement, having been unable to find the full content and of General Casey’s remarks.

I don’t believe General Casey is making the argument that the Iraqi security forces are ready to handle their own security, and I firmly believe that General Casey considers that readiness to be the primary yardstick on which to base any withdrawal.

He is right about one thing, however: We aren’t fighting World War II. This is World War III. You simply can’t lessen the importance of the War on Terror just because the tactics are different.

Another interesting exchange:

SCHIEFFER: Well, let me just ask you this, because that is the basis of your plan, and the headline of your plan was draw down 20,000 troops over the holidays.

Sen. KERRY: Well, I also want to draw down more...

SCHIEFFER: But let me just show you what the secretary of Defense said...

Sen. KERRY: Sure.

SCHIEFFER: ...when he was here three weeks ago.

Sen. KERRY: Absolutely.

(Excerpt from November 20, 2005)

Secretary DONALD RUMSFELD (Department of Defense): We're now at 159,000. We're going to stay that size roughly through the December 15th election. We're clearly going to go back down to 138,000 after the election. And, as the president has said, as the Iraq--as we keep passing off responsibility to the Iraqi security forces, we have the prospect of bringing down the numbers of coalition forces.

SCHIEFFER: So you are...

(End of excerpt)

SCHIEFFER: So there you have it. He's saying exactly what--you're criticizing the president and saying...

Sen. KERRY: That was indirectly--that was...

SCHIEFFER: ...`Here's what he ought to do'; well, they're saying they're going to do that.

Sen. KERRY: That had never been said until it was said that Sunday, which followed almost directly on the speech I gave at Georgetown University, where I called on the drawdown and told them precisely why they could do that.


Sen. KERRY: That was the first time publicly they acknowledged what I had said. Now I believe the president needs to reiterate it, but it's not all he needs to say. He needs to make clear what this administration has never made clear: We will have no permanent basing and no permanent interest in Iraq. And part of the problem that feeds the insurgency today is that we are, like it or not, the inheritors of the legacy of both the British and the French. It is not a pretty legacy in that part of the world. And so the president needs to make it clear: 20,000 troops are coming out. We intend to shift additional responsibilities with a series of benchmarks- political, economic benchmarks, military benchmarks. And as those benchmarks are met, then we withdraw. And that negates what the secretary and the president have said. It does not make Americans more threatened.

It, in fact, improves the situation for Americans, because it will empower us to do more with respect to Syria, Iran, the region, the peace process, as well as free us up to do what we always should have been doing, which is getting Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida.

(Emphasis mine)
Senator Kerry actually thinks the post-election troop drawdown is his idea! It seems ironic to me that Senator Kerry will go to such great lengths to point out how poorly the administration has planned and managed the war, yet he will take every available opportunity to take credit for parts of that same war plan.

As much as I hate to trample on Senator Kerry’s fragile ego, this was not his idea. Note the following from GlobalSecurity:

More than 1,500 paratroopers from the 2nd BDE, 82nd Airborne Division began arriving in Iraq on December 4, 2004 in order to help provide security for the upcoming elections. This is a separate deployment from the scheduled OIF rotations.

The 2nd Brigade's 3rd Battalion, 325th AIR has been attached to the 1st Cavalry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team. The Second Battalion has been attached to the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team.

The Washington Post reported on February 4, 2005, that Pentagon authorities, in response to the success of the Iraqi elections, have decided to start reducing the level of U.S. forces in Iraq next month by about 15,000 troops. The reduction reportedly involves units whose tours were extended in light of the elections and the 1,500 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne who were rushed to Iraq for election security.

In February the Army's 18th Airborne Corps took over as the Mulitnational Corps Iraq headquarters. The Multinational Corps commands all coalition forces in country with the exception of special operations forces, the Multinational Transition Security Command Iraq and coalition forces involved in detention operations.

As a result of the January 2005 Iraqi elections, the deployment of a number of units taking part in OIF 2 was extended in a manner similar to units which took part in OIF 1; this time in order to boost the number of troops in Iraq in time for the elections. The extension combined with regularly scheduled deployments and reinforcements boosted the US force in Iraq from 17 to 20 brigades and to an official and approximate figure of 153, 000 troops. That number is expected to dwindle down to 135,000, as units get rotated out of Iraq, including units whose tour had been extended.

As far as the President not making his intentions clear as to our long term intentions in Iraq, perhaps this will refresh his memory:

The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people. Yet, we will ensure that one brutal dictator is not replaced by another. All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected. (Applause.)
Rebuilding Iraq will require a sustained commitment from many nations, including our own: we will remain in Iraq as long as necessary, and not a day more. America has made and kept this kind of commitment before -- in the peace that followed a world war. After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.

These are but a few examples, but I think it demonstrates how completely out of touch Senator Kerry is with reality. He seems to have no qualms whatsoever about selling his country down the river so long as the end result fits his political interests.

I can’t end without pointing out what I think is the most telling quote by Senator Kerry of them all:

“What I'm proposing is a strategy for success, and I think it begins with withdrawal. The
president will not accept that reality.”

The reason the president won’t accept that reality, Senator Kerry, is because it is simply not realistic.

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Friday, December 02, 2005

I Have A Plan!

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You may recall Senator Kerry mentioning his unmentionable war plan during the ‘04 Presidential Campaign and, like yours truly, you may have wondered what exactly the plan was. Well the wait is over, and it can be described in one word: Retreat!

Kerry said this on Wednesday in response to President Bush’s speech:

Secondly, this debate is note about an artificial date for withdrawal. Several times in his speech today, the president set up this straw man and then knocks it down. That's not what this debate is about.

The United States Senate had a vote — a Republican resolution and a Democrat resolution — and neither sought to seek an artificial date for withdrawal.

What it did on the Democratic side seek to do was set an estimated timetable for success which will permit the withdrawal of our troops. Everything that we have presented has been presented on the basis of how you succeed.

Using John Kerry’s new math, we have to conclude that Withdrawal=Success. Call me old fashioned, but I still use the old formula which is Victory=Success.

If I’m reading this correctly, Kerry is saying he and his party are not seeking an artificial date for withdrawal so long as the withdrawal begins before Christmas. I’ve got to say that’s even worse than “I voted for it, before I voted against it”.

It should probably be noted here that Senator John Kerry is not, at present, President of the United States. If that’s not irrefutable proof that there is a God and he loves us very much, then I don’t know what is.

(The Political Teen has the video and additional analysis.)

Update 12/5: South Carolina political consultant and commentatorJoshua Gross has an excellent post entitled " Murtha's Recipe for Failure" that details the hypocrisy of the left and illustrates the problem we face when victory is not the end result. It all boils down the where you want to fight the war, there or here.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

My Thoughts On The Ecosystem

During the Thanksgiving holiday, I happened to notice a significant change in the Ecosystem instituted by N. Z. Bear. Taking full advantage of the opportunity to sneak in a little blogging time between feedings at my parent’s house, I saw that I had dropped from Large Mammal to Marauding Marsupial. My initial reaction was shock and from accounts I have read, I was not alone

Since I have been blogging sporadically due to some previously discussed and, I might add, embarrassing computer problems, I can’t say the drop was totally unexpected. The rate of the drop, however, was incredible. I had been hovering in the 200-300 range and now found myself between 900-1000. This was quite a shock, to say the least.

After I regained consciousness and picked my jaw up from the floor, I started to look at the situation a bit more realistically. I thought back to the words of N Z Bear when he stated the rankings should not be taken too seriously. Blogging should be fun, but I’ve been guilty of taking my blog and myself way too seriously for far too long.

When I woke up and started looking at the situation through the prism of logic instead of ego, some things became clear to me:

• I never was a Large Mammal and probably am not a Marauding Marsupial now. I simply have not been around long enough, nor been consistent enough to justify the ranking I had attained.
• Links are not the same as readers and return visitors.
• Some links in reality are more valuable than others. If someone on their own decides to give you a link or send a trackback, I think it is much more rewarding than providing one yourself by linking an open post. In my personal experience, the feeling I get is much more euphoric when the attention is unsolicited
• There have only been a few occasions when I’ve gotten more than 200 hits in a day, yet my links were boosting me into the Top 200. Sure, I enjoyed the high ranking on a personal level, but was I really a go-to source for anything? I doubt it.

Please don’t get me wrong here: I love open posts and will continue to participate in them. I think it’s great that bloggers open their sites to others in order to help them become noticed. I realize they get a return link out of it that helps them, but they are willing to take the time and effort to set it up, so I think they deserve at least that much.
They don’t have to do it, and many don’t even need to do it, yet they do it anyway and for that they have my admiration and respect. I’ve always said that many of my closest friends are those I’ve never met and they reside in the blogosphere. The Open post is merely one of many reasons I feel this to be true.

If you stop and think about it, we all want readers and most of us would trade regular readers for links any day of the week. If that’s the case, then nothing has changed about Open Posts except for a few additional links in the Ecosystem. The Open Post over time should still help in a bloggers effort to build a readership and when the readership goes up, the ecosystem problem will take care of itself.

Another thing I realized was that except for a couple of words in a javascript link in my sidebar, nothing had really changed at all. All of my posts were the same as they had always been; my writing style was the same, my thought process was the same, and I was still the same person with the same core beliefs and opinions as I was the day before. I am no more or no less talented, influential, cited, linked or mentioned than I have ever been.

My ecosystem ranking, as it turned out, was driving my ego, not my writing. It didn’t make me a better writer; it made me obsessed with climbing an imaginary ladder to nowhere. I had it completely backwards! Writing should be the obsession that leads to higher rankings, not the other way around.

I believe with these changes, the Ecosystem will probably be a better gauge of the blogosphere than it was before. Sure, it probably won’t have the same effect on the ego as it once had for many of us, but I’m not sure that’s really a bad thing.

I think if we are honest with ourselves, we can begin to understand that the changes are intended not to do us harm, but to make us better. If a rise in the Ecosystem is due more to the judgment of our peers than to our ability to send multiple trackbacks, I think in the end the trip will be more rewarding.

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