Will This Democratic Bet Pay Off?

The GOP have become masters of the Big Lie in recent years, and when they go for it, the Dems typically try to take the high ground. It almost never works.

This time, with the Right engaging in some of the most disgusting and revolting tactics i've seen in many decades as an American political activist, Democrats are being advised to keep revealing the lies for what they are, speaking the truth, avoiding the confrontations the Right is trying so hard to create, and generally try to win on the merits. Typically, this approach has not worked well for the Left but this time the country is in such bad shape and the GOP is appealing to such a small and shrinking minority, it just might work and carry the day on Health Care reform.

If it does, it will be a rare victory and it my be enough to set the GOP on its backside for the next couple of election terms. I think the American people are really fed up with the lunatic fringe and that's about all that's left in the Republican party activist ranks any more. And the horribly uncivil way they are disrupting Congressional town meetings during the August recesses is so despicable that even many members of the Grand Old Party are cringing and disavowing any knowledge of their actions. Couple that with the coming spate of bad news about the Bush Regime and Prince Machiavelli Cheney's back-room machintions, and you have the ingredients for the first Democratic sweep in a lot of years.

The trouble, of course, is that the American voting public have extremely short memories. If the country turns out to be anything less than perfectly run over the next 7+ years the GOP will rally with another negative campaign and perhaps the rise of some honest conservatives and the pendulum could well swing the other direction. So we have to enjoy the fruits of our victory while we can still taste them, assuming this "try to be honest" bit actually works.

Twitter Demise Rumors Greatly Exaggerated

An <a href="http://www.adotas.com/2009/08/twitter-we-barely-knew-you/analysis by Gartner</a> says Twitter is already on the way down the extinction slope. Maybe it's Gartner that's obsolete.

I was intrigued by the fact that the three comments provided by readers were all of the same basic tenor: Twitter changes the news most importantly. The idea that reporters have become essentially reviewers of the news (and, I'd add, filters — not always beneficially; see Fox News) and that Murdoch and others who want to own the content are dead but don't have sense enough to lie down yet is cogent. If you save a child's life in a fire and the police award you a medal and the local reporter interviews you and the police and writes a story, who actually made and owns the news? The one with the least valid claim is the newspaper that publishes the reporter's story, followed by the reporter (who at least can be argued to add some value), and then by you, the child you rescued, and the police, who combined to make the news happen.

Now, let's be clear here. The reporter and, through his employment agreement, the newspaper, own the story he gathers and writes. If five different media outlets cover the story, each owns its own version of the event reporting. But the news itself? That isn't owned by anyone. It happened. It's an event, not a product. So if your neighbor caught the actual rescue with his iPhone 3GS video camera, he may have the best story of all despite his not being "mainstream media." Notice that in all cases, the news makers don't own any of this. That's because they're the event, not the product.

So if Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we think about, gather and react to news — and it seems to me it's too early to declare that to be true but all indications certainly point in that direction — then it's demise is not only not imminent, it may be a harbinger of the world of news to come.

I still think there's a role in this for professional reporters and editors who can filter the news, pick out the reliable information from the propaganda and lies, combine multiple viewpoints into a single story, and write readable copy. But those people need to adjust their horizons about what their jobs are, how they do them, and how important their role in the whole process is. Twitter or its progeny will become the new instant-news outlet, putting more and more emphasis on professionals to provide commentary, context, analysis and thought. If they adjust to this new need, they can probably hang around another decade or so, but probably not longer. Somewhere out there, there's a 14-year-old beardless youth working on the tool that will render them obsolete as well.

The Times it is a-changin'.

And Now Some Posterous Things That Aren’t So Good…

My last post via Posterous revealed some issues. Some of these may be misunderstandings on my part or lack of documentation on theirs. Others may just be flaws or not-yet features. But here's what I observed:

  1. You cannot embed HTML in your emails to be posted via Posterous. It doesn't even interpret the HTML correctly on the Posterous blog post, let alone anywhere else.
  2. I thought I understood how tagging worked but I don't. The docs say I should use a line like ((tag: Posterous, peace)) to get my posts tagged, but unless I'm using that wrong, it didn't work for me on any of the services I use. The line appeared but the tags weren't created for me in my WordPress blog or, for that matter, on Posterous as far as I could tell. In FaceBook, the tags — which was the first line in the text of my message — showed up exactly as I entered them while Twitter was smart enough to strip them and start with the initial text of the actual post.
  3. What I'd prefer to do is to have my posts link back to my real blog rather than my Posterous blog, but so far that seems to be a to-come feature. They may be adding that to their hinted-at future premum product. If that's part of the upgrade package, I'll probably buy it just for that.

The first problem is no issue; I just need to learn to use gMail's rich text editor instead of slapping in manual HTML codes (old habits die hard). That's what I've done here and I'll bet my numbered list above shows up where it can and should. Tags are an issue; I need to figure that out. But with so much richness that does work, I'm not going to let a few quirks bother me. I'll learn to adjust.

Posterous Is So Much More Than I Thought

I had a few odd moments today to take a closer look at Posterous and I was a little stunned at some of what I found. This program, which sucked me in by being the place which would take an emailed blog post (like this one) and send it to my Twitter, FriendFeed, FaceBook and blog accounts, is starting to look like an extremely well-thought-out — dare I say, next-generation — Social Networking tool.

Here are just a few of the things it says it can do (I haven’t tested these yet but I plan to do so soon):

  • post (and host!) images, videos and sound files, including enough intelligence that if you post a link to a YouTube video, it substitutes the YouTube player tuned to that movie in its place
  •  create an iTunes-ready podcast from an mp3 file attached to your email (I’m anxious to try this one right away; I’m launching a podcast later this year) and/or drop your attached mp3 file into a Web music player right in your post
  •  allow a private, password-protected blog/site
  •  create a cool image gallery to go with a post that includes two or more photos (it also resizes images to make them suitable for Web display automatically)

They call this rich content blogging and as far as I know this is the first tool on the market that makes this process so easy. Watch for more comments in coming days and weeks.


"I give thanks for everyone who is contributing to the evolving consciousness of global peace enveloping the world."

That is the closing paragraph of today's "Daily Word" meditation. (Here is the entire meditation.)

Peace is impossible for the world and inevitable for each of us. The key is to get enough individuals to be the peace we want to see in the world. When that happens — not if — the world will find itself suddenly and magically transformed into Peaceful Planet.


Posterous Appears to be the Answer

Well, it appears that Posterous is the solution to the problem of multi-network posting that I've been seeking. I'm posting this note via my gMail account and it promises to appear on  Facebook,  Twitter,  FriendFeed and my brand-new WordPress blog. Posting Nirvana!

I'll want to experiment with things like embedding images and media in an email to see how it handles that more complex stuff, but for now it's cool to have a single way to post to all of those services when I have something I'd like to say on all of them.

Posterous Looks Good So Far

I've been looking for some time for a way to post comments in one place and have them automatically update my Facebook, Twitter, FriendFeed and my personal Drupal blog. Looks like I  might have found it in Posterous. I'm just finishing up round one of my experiment with it and this is the first post I've tried since I set it up to auto-post to those locations. So we'll see what it does with this information.