Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Not buying it

Mike Isikoff's book generated some buzz this week. In my line of work, I watch and measure buzz, both in the aggregate and by individual pieces of buzz. Using the same methods of observation and measurement, the fallout after Isikoff's book tells me one thing:

THEY want us to believe it's Armitage that was the source of the Plame leak.

And BADLY.

This morning there were (82) stories published across the internet on this subject, in both traditional media and internet-only outlets. More than half of the stories were "reverb" -- repeats of the same story published by a single source (i.e., AP or Reuters or other outlet).

More importantly, outlets directly connected to the Republican Party were pushing the perspective that the Plame Affair was over and that Armitage was the source; each of them carried the same story line, each of them with a slightly different windup, but ultimately the same conclusion. Their content has been picked up and now reverberates across the internet in different outlets, ones that typically mirror right-wing talking points.

I'm not buying it. There are too many holes yet. There are far too many reasons why parties implicated or involved in l'affaire du Plame would seek to throw Armitage on his sword, not the least of which is their partisanship. Frankly, the amount of buzz across the internet also tells me that the general public isn't buying it, either; if they were, the buzz would be more than three-fold on the publication of this "news" by Isikoff.

I'll wait until I see more conclusive evidence, or until the grand jury assigned to l'affaire du Plame is finished or excused.

Oh, there is one more thing this situation and its buzz tells me:

THEY know there's a BIGGER fish on the line -- THEY are redirecting your attention elsewhere, as they so often do.


Saturday, August 26, 2006

Blogging the MDP Convention

We're not quite there after all; blogging has not yet arrived as the political force it is elsewhere in the rest of the country.

The first clue should have been the locked door to the caucus room upon arrival this morning. (Photo taken at 9:53 am, with caucus scheduled for 10:00 am; staff at Cobo Hall said we weren't scheduled until 4:00 pm, yet Granholm's advance team is in the hall awaiting her arrival at any moment.)

Their hearts are in the right place, though; the party did realize they should have a caucus for bloggers. The event was a late addition to the agenda; the mailed hardcopies of the agenda didn't reflect the caucus, although the online copy did show a Bloggers' Caucus.

It was a rather intimate affair (once the doors were unlocked and folks and panelists could get in); I commented that I felt more like I was at a 12-Step Meeting for Blogoholics. There were between two and three dozen people in attendance. Quite a few were names I recognize from across the liberal blogosphere.

But what really cinched the arrival of blogs in political process was the repeated pleas from candidates dropping into the caucus to ask for help with promoting their stories and campaigns. We are all of us being enlisted to create the media that is otherwise unavailable to these candidates.

For this we can thank Ned Lamont's campaign in Connecticut; these candidates are aware of the benefits that bloggers brought to the table independently. While they weren't the end-all-be-all of Lamont's success, they did energize voters and make a difference in the outcome worth at least as much as typical swing vote volume.

But will we bloggers be able to pull that off in Michigan for Goverrnor Granholm and Senator Stabenow?

Whew. We have so much work to do.


Shark jumping LIVE at MDP

At the risk of sounding all teenage-ry, I just want to say: Oh. My. God.

I'm actually going to speak on a panel at the first Bloggers' Caucus at the Michigan Democratic Convention tomorrow.

Surely this means I have now jumped the shark -- or will do so, LIVE, in front of an audience tomorrow.

I'm pretty blase about blogging after four years at it, and a decade of participating in or hosting online communities. But here in fly-over country, blogging is still less than common. While I don't get asked, "What the hell is a blog?" as frequently as I did in 2002 and 2003, I still get the odd look from folks who believe that blogging is the exclusive domain of teenagers killing time or fomenting insurrection. (Teenager, no. Fomenting insurrection, possibly. The NSA surely knows.)

But in the morning I'll be speaking in front of peers -- a group of them, people whose blogging I admire greatly for their brainy brawn and for their terrific snarkiness. I'm so geeked I can't sleep; it's 1:45 am EDT and I don't know how I'm going to manage to force myself to drift off.

It's being in front of and with a great group of blogging peers that has me so shaken and stirred; I am less rattled by the prospects of at least one Senator, the Governor and possibly a Representative dropping into the caucus. Perhaps it's because I fear far less what these elected officials of Democratic and democratic values can do to me than what my blogging peers can do. Imagine me reduced to blithering like Farah Fawcett at William Shatner's roast -- and I wouldn't even be able to blame it on drugs, alcohol or excessive exposure to bleach.

Shark-jumping or no, I'm going to try hard to post about this inaugural event, maybe even have pictures to share. This isn't an earth-shattering event, but it still means something that a state party is willing to recognize bloggers with their own caucus. And maybe it will be an echo chamber, just a few handfuls of us who already know each other virtually if not in the flesh. Perhaps that will be important to note, too.

And now, off to bed...

[Cross-posted at RadioFreeBlogistan.]


Thursday, August 10, 2006

Imagine the questions

Imagine for a moment that you are the expectant wife of a soldier in Iraq.

He's supposed to be home any day now, either on a break or at the end of his tour, roughly the time the baby is to be born.

Only he doesn't make it -- and I mean this in the sense of a worst case scenario.

What are you thinking when you are not racked with emotional torment?

I know my thoughts would be all over the map, but there are a few that will challenge me most because I must answer them. They wouldn't be left unanswered.

Like, how do I file for death benefits?

How quickly can I get them?

Will it be enough for formula and diapers and baby food and baby clothes?

Will it be enough for the rent? or the car? or the doctor? or the insurance?

Will the government give me a hard time about the paperwork?

How will I cover the funeral expenses?

Will there be enough money for us to get by afterwards?

How will I do this all by myself?

How do I go back to work? How will I go back to school?

Who will be there for me in the middle of the night, when I'm too sick to care for the baby?

Who will be there for me through labor?

What happens if I get post-partum depression on top of my grief?

How will I handle seeing his eyes in my baby's face?


Ah, that this was only a mental exercise.

Somewhere, someone is now facing these questions on their own.

My heart aches for you, dear; I cannot sleep for thinking of you. I hope so very much that all the answers to these questions will be kind and generous ones.


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