Thursday, February 12, 2004

Trippi Q&A transcript posted here. Thanks to Doug Kaye for documenting so much of the Teach-In.

3:09:52 PM    comment []

Jerry Bledsoe has a blistering article in today's Rhino (not yet posted) about Al Sharpton getting a human rights award from the Sit-in Movement at its fundraiser for the Greensboro Civil Rights Museum, held last week at the Koury Convention Center.

Bledsoe documents Sharpton's history of racially-charged flimflam and anti-Semitic rhetoric, which on more than one occasion has helped spark violence, then asks about the Greensboro group's leaders: "Did they not care that they might be forever tainting the sit-in museum with anti-Semitism, racial hatred and charlatanism in presenting this award to Al Sharpton?"

Bledsoe has a point -- there hasn't been much attention paid to Sharpton's uglier side during his presidential campaign, either.

He saves a little buckshot for the N&R (including, I suppose, me, as an op-ed contributor) for ignoring the issue entirely.

The Rhino, meanwhile, offers a big color frontpage picture of a smiling Sharpton with a beaming Skip Alston, with no other editorial comment in the paper.

3:07:23 PM    comment []

The Exclusive Jeff Bezos Interview

Our reporter runs into Bezos and a colleague, checking email on their handhelds after lunch on Tuesday. Hey, Jeff, how about a quick interview for my weblog?

Bezos: (laughs) I don't think so. I'm just going to check my email.

We chatted for a moment. I shamelessly but sincerely confessed to being an Amazon fan. He noticed my speaker badge and asked what I spoke about. I told him I interviewed Joe Trippi. Then Jeff Bezos interviewed me for a couple of minutes on what Trippi had said.

And then, incredibly, he gave me $17 million of Amazon stock. OK, that last part didn't happen. But he was very nice.

11:20:21 AM    comment []

"Halley Suitt has convinced a lot of geeks that they are alpha males." So said Adina Levin, over beers Tuesday evening, in consideration of my own possible alpha maleness. But she said it, you know, nicely.

Adina applied the same clear-eyed analysis to Trippi's talk: "He didn't take responsibility for the disorganization in his own campaign and the lack of precinct organizing savvy that made the Dean get-out-the-vote effort less effective than Kerry. He didn't take responsibility for communication failures and flaws."

I'm less interested in Trippi's mea culpa for those shortcomings than I am in understanding how and why they happened. Which was also missing from his talk, and which he did not answer in detail when I asked.

11:12:37 AM    comment []

The question came up on Monday: what happens to the energy and focus of online politics between presidential election cycles? "Local issues" and "governance," called voices from the crowd, including Ruby Sinreich and Jeff Jarvis.

Ruby is doing her part with, a site dedicated to the Chapel Hill area.

Here in G'boro, a laboratory for online politicos since the days of Tara Sue Grubb, David Hoggard is covering the hell out of local stuff. Yesterday's post on a controversial zoning decision drew quick comment from zoning board member Janet Wright, then more questions and responses -- and suddenly a conversation is happening. Hoggard also dealt yesterday with a major civic project in which he is a key player, and found an outside perspective (based on N&R reporting) on a deepening local scandal.

We were talking local blogging at dinner Tuesday night (when we weren't discussing international blogging with Pedram), and I said that Hoggard's blog had started too late to get much traction in his run for City Council last fall -- but that it may pay off next time around.

10:55:43 AM    comment []

If you delay a primary long enough, maybe you should just call it a secondary. Or something. Elros has the goods on North Carolina's rescheduled primary elections, now on tap for July 20, including the possible impact on our presidential delegate selection (we've got a not-to-be-sneezed at 107 delegates.)

The gerrymandering of North Carolina is absurd and undemocratic. I don't feel that I have a real congressional representative in DC, living as I do in a county that's been sliced and diced to fit into three different districts, two of which are designed to protect one party's power, with the third weighted toward candidates from Raleigh, which in NC political terms is another planet.

8:50:55 AM    comment []