Sunday, August 08, 2004

A fairly deafening silence on the Malkin book prevails in the blogosphere. The Muller/Robinson takedown is tough to argue with, even for people who would argue with a brick wall. Instapundit linked without comment to Malkin's post in response to Muller. A blog ad is running with an approving quote from Mark Steyn. And Jeff Jarvis chose to quote her approvingly on something unrelated today. Maybe tomorrow when the book is formally released...

9:28:37 PM    comment []

Howard Coble's new campaign website is trying a trick from the Dean playbook -- the deadlined fundraiser, in this case a modest attempt to raise $3,000 by midnight Monday. It's been up for a few days, and the total as of yesterday morning (the latest update) is an unimpressive $200 from 3 donors.

Meanwhile, the Bowles for Senate campaign has raised over $24,000 from 257 contributors in a similar effort over a similar timeframe.

What's the difference?

Credit Coble's staff with pushing ahead with Web campaigning in a race it is sure to win, but I think part of the answer lies in the static website the campaign is using. Bowles (in a much more competitive race that covers a much larger territory) is using a blog and email broadcasts, too. You need a dynamic site to draw traffic and create excitement and community.

At least Coble is ahead of his Democratic "challenger," Will Jordan, who has not even put up a website yet. The web is cheap, easy, and can reach a large number of people in a hurry; it should be part of any insurgent's campaign from the start. Jordan emails me to say he's considering a web strategy. He should have started months ago.

11:59:18 AM    comment []

Leon Wieseltier takes a  quick break from savaging Nicholson Baker's new novel ("This scummy little book...," begins the cover review of this morning's NYT book section) to throw a quick jab at "the deranging influence of blogs."

From his perch above the fray, unsoiled by proximity to the blogging masses, Wieseltier pines for the high-minded days of some golden era past. "It was never exactly a disgrace to American liberalism that it lacked its Limbaugh," he writes, accurately enough, but without really addressing the reasons liberal Limbaughs -- and for that matter the blogs he so disdains -- have proliferated.

11:40:37 AM    comment []

The opportunity cost of the Iraq war, displayed in graphic form. I would add to the cost the lack of focus on the people who actually attacked us on 9/11.

The big question: Is the cost justified by the benefit of the war?

10:33:38 AM    comment []

My grandmother died after a long decline.

This is a story my mom told me. About the time she (my mom) graduated from Bryn Mawr -- a scholarship kid from a public high school in St. Joe, Missouri -- she came home to visit her parents. My grandfather was ill, and he was pushing my mom to move back to Missouri to become a nurse or a teacher, follow a traditional path. But my grandmother recognized that her daughter had found a path of her own, and that although it would take her far from home, she needed to be free to follow it. And so she took my mom into the hallway of the hospital and told her, "Go." The best gift she had to give, the hardest one to give, and she gave it.

She was a sweet grandmom, gentle and softspoken, but tough as hell.

Here's what her hometown paper said: 

Dora S. Spector was born Oct. 11, 1909 in St. Joseph, Mo. and died on Aug. 6, 2004, of natural causes in Missoula, Mont. She was 94.

Dora was a full partner in the family sporting goods store for over 30 years. After retirement, she took classes at Western Missouri State College. She was known for her success with plants and her home was full of flowers. She belonged to the local YMCA fitness center, and accumulated many miles on her regular walks. She learned to win at the age of 70 at this facility. She loved to read and continued to do so until the end of her life.

Dora moved to Missoula in 1987 with her husband, Frank Spector. When she moved to Montana, she left the town in which she was born, lived, married, and raised her family for over 75 years. During the first several years in Missoula, Dora was the caretaker for her husband, who was in failing health. She survived a serious respiratory illness in 1987 and lived alone in her apartment after that time, spending much time visiting with her husband at a nursing facility. She worked as a volunteer for the Fort Missoula Historical Museum and also for the Western Montana Radio Reading Service for over 13 years. She made many dear friends. Dora continued to try new things during the later years of her life. She went on her first hayride at age 87 and learned how to use a computer at age 89. She had owned dogs from childhood and loved other animals as well and she found a way to have a pet in apartments by owning birds.

Dora was preceded in death by her three younger brothers. Her husband died in March 1992, after over 60 years of marriage. [Survivors]

I had four living grandparents until I was almost 30. Lucky, I was, I had something special with each of them. Then two died in the same week. My grandfather Cone lasted a long time, we had some fun together with the kids before he died a few years ago. And then there were none.

10:22:47 AM    comment []

Junk Journalism

The N&R runs an op-ed piece blasting "Super Size Me," the movie about the guy who makes himself sick and gains a bunch of weight by eating nothing but McDonalds for a month.

The movie makes the unremarkable argument that a steady diet of high-fat, high-salt processed food is not very healthy. The op-ed makes the very remarkable argument that two other people ate nothing but McDonalds for a month, but they also exercised and they lost weight.

And so...what? It's really OK to eat this crap morning, noon and night? The article was so ridiculous that I immediately thought, this is some industry propaganda from one of those front groups that say whatever their corporate paymasters tell them to say.

Writer Ruth Kava is identified only as director of nutrition at the American Council on Science and Health in Washington. A quick Googling turned up this description of the group: "(I)t takes a generally apologetic stance regarding virtually every other health and environmental hazard produced by modern industry." Critics do credit the organization with a strong anti-tobacco stance, but note that it was founded as "a tax-exempt organization composed of scientists whose viewpoints are more similar to those of business than dissimilar."

Nothing wrong with industry having its say. Nothing wrong, for that matter, with a certain amount of salty sugary processed drive-thru cuisine, of which I am a lifelong fan. But something wrong, very wrong, about the bizarre argument made in Kava's article, and in the way this propaganda was spoon-fed to N&R readers.

9:37:25 AM    comment []