Wednesday, March 31, 2010

DTP Chief Resigns

Dear Board Members,
Yesterday I tendered my resignation as CEO of the Downtown Tucson Partnership effective May 7, 2010. I will be leaving Tucson to become the CEO of Des Moines' Downtown Community Alliance. I would like to thank all of the members of the board for their support and assistance over the last two years. In the period before my departure my focus will be on building a transition plan for the Partnership.
Thanks again, Glenn Lyons

Downtown Tucson Partnership CEO Glenn Lyons has announced his resignation to join a similar organization in Des Moines, Iowa.

Word is that the resignation caught most by surprise. Board Chair Larry praised, "Glenn will be missed. He has a real understanding of what it takes to build a dynamic, successful vibrant downtown."

The Des Moines' post of his starting with them on May 14.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Flower - The Distinction

What is the essence of a flower? By their nature, what do they do?


Biology involves a fundamental mix of attracting and being attracted, desiring and being desirable, the pleasure of taking and being taken. Flowers desire the bee, but more than that, flowers desire the bee's desire. They are successful. The bees become honey.

Rania is gifted and beautiful. Heterosexual males who see her dance in person divide their lives into two chapters: 1) before seeing her and 2) after. Those in the know notice the use of the hands and arms, the long hair, the facial expressions, the bare feet. Astronauts who see her dance up close forget they've been in space.

You do get that biologically speaking women are flowers men are most eager to pollinate.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The McCain Metaphor

Everyone here knows that Sarah Palin came to Tucson Friday to stump for Senator John McCain as he faces a primary challenge from talk radio gas bag and former Congressman JD Hayworth. The darling of the cable news shows, her speech was broadcast nationally, and what little I could stomach of what was summarized that evening was painful.

A month ago I dismissed Hayworth's challenge as tea party fantasy. Everything God in the GOP has endorsed McCain. McCain has money. McCain has name recognition. Hayworth's mediocre record in the House provides McCain ample ammo. This recognized, still, look at the footage from the event. One word just screams out from the screen, "Pathetic!"

I was embarrassed for the man. I mean embarrassed to where you feel sorry for the person. He's standing up there, trying to smile, laugh, look good, while Palin goes through her cheesy talking points and the lame joke about his age, and speaking of age (and yes, it happens, unless the alternative occurs first), he looked SO OLD and with his hair, SO WHITE, as if bleached, and awkward. He should retire.

John McCain is perhaps a perfect metaphor for the Republican Party at this point in its history: old, white, obsolete, tired, hot tempered, frustrated, and lacking new ideas, creative solutions, or 21st century thinking. It doesn't have to be this way. A fresher thinking GOP, views like those of Kathleen Parker, Colin Powell, Christopher Buckley, David Frum, etc. could adapt to the times. However, instead of concern over losing moderate and independent voters when it purges "moderation," the Republican Party is terrified of losing its base. Why concern over the base but not moderates? I have the answer, and David Frum captured it perfectly, "we're discovering we work for Fox News."

The truth hurts. Frum was immediately fired.

Neither McCain nor the GOP are coming forward with fresh arguments, intriguing perspectives, compelling insights, or real solutions to the problems facing the nation and the planet. If they were, we would not be discussing "You Lie!" "Baby Killer!" or "Hell No!" efforts to whip the Neanderthals into such seething hatred the loons are making death threats and smashing windows. Frank Rich's excellent 3/27/10 NY Times piece notes they stroke flames fiercer than anger about a bill.

SPLC Report: Rage on the Right.

Regarding its future, the Republican establishment faces a remarkably analogous situation to that John McCain faces in the 2010 election. They are both hopelessly entrenched in their world views, now outdated, obsolete, and intellectually bankrupt in a century with economics and demographics they do not understand. In one respect, however, John McCain profoundly understands something the GOP does not: the screaming to his right is foe, not friend.


Friday, March 26, 2010

My Old Kentucky Home

After making do in a crowded apartment for nine months, I am pleased to report the return to home ownership of a place remarkably like the house I had in Tucson's West University Neighborhood (SE corner of 4th St/2nd Ave) during "the math days" of 1988–1992.

Built in 1930, the KY place is also close to the university and downtown in a similar neighborhood. It features hardwood floors throughout except for tile in the kitchen and bathrooms. Hardwood stairs go to a bedroom with a full rebuilt bathroom, and a cellar/basement provides easy access to all electrical, plumbing, and HVAC.

Different from AZ, at this closing after the buyer has handed over the check and signed everything, the seller enters the room. In walked this petite lady in her eighties. She told me how the home was first occupied by a shoemaker from Scotland who had his own shop nearby on the main street. He raised four children, two girls in a room downstairs and two boys upstairs. Having only one bathroom then, the mother timed the children and rang a bell when time was up. The children lived in the house until they married. When all were gone, the shoemaker sold the house to the lady in front of me. When she had signed everything, she gave me a baggie holding the original skeleton keys for the original 1930 locks in the doors. The keys are 80 years old.

The 2004-2009 Tucson x4mr pad (loved this house) on Second Street near Craycroft that I sold upon leaving town. The large living room had a killer home theater system and a cinema buff's movie collection (over 500 titles). The daughter and a fair number of UHS graduates have some pretty incredible memories and stories about what happened in the pad while dad was conveniently somewhere else. I remember coming home one night...well, you get the idea.


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Retreating, Reloading, and Aiming

Unprecedented political sell out Sarah Palin, now slated to become the host of a new reality TV show, has posted a "hit list" map of 20 House Democrats who voted to support health care reform.

Using the intentionally inflammatory rhetoric of gun violence, Palin advises followers, "Don't retreat. Reload!"

She uses cross hair imagery on political opponents. This is actually happening. I think we've passed the point of no return to where real bullets are going to enter the picture.

However, in what I think is an illuminating metaphor for this entire fiasco of nonsense (involving a lot more than Palin's grotesque exploitation of current events for financial gain), notice the marksmanship of the Killa from Wasilla regarding Congressman Harry Mitchell, and in particular, Congresswoman Giffords.

Ann Kirkpatrick, Harry Mitchell, and Gabrielle Giffords are clearly identified in the first column. Yes, this is picking a nit, but why not? Everyone else is. Ann has a district comprising almost half the state, but which cross-hairs are intending to reach their CD-5 and CD-8 targets? See the Arizona cross-hairs? How's your geography? Palin is hunting for Harry in Sedona and for Giffords in Show Low.

Fussing about the sloppiness of Palin's map is choir blogging, but noting that her message now includes elected officials as targets in cross-hairs at a site telling nut jobs to "re-load" is not.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Repealing Reality

The passage of the landmark Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has produced a new movement in the country. Calling themselves "Repeal the Steal!" a new group has formed comprised of Republicans, Libertarians, Tea Party activists, and others, to lead an organized effort to repeal the legislation. Founders, leaders, and early members of the movement gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, to discuss strategy.

Once the repeal of one bad law became a serious consideration, the group realized that it could consider efforts to repeal other problematic legislation that should be overturned. In addition to health care reform, they identified other disastrous laws that have damaged their vision for the nation.

1. The Higher Education Act of 1965
The Higher Education Act of 1965 dramatically expanded access to the nation’s colleges and universities. Our education system is infested with Soviet loving commies and atheists. My son went to school, and they told him a bunch of gobbledygook about fossils and glaciers. Now he thinks the dinosaurs were millions of years ago and is even questioning God. He’s questioning God!

2. Civil Rights Act of 1964
Introduced by JFK in a June 11, 1963 speech and signed into law by President Johnson on June 2, 1964, the bill led to the end of segregation and discriminatory voter registration requirements. This law was one of the worst things to ever happen in America. Now every moron can vote, and that’s the reason we have who we have in the White House right now. We need to go back to the days where you had to take a test and prove you were smart enough to vote.

3.Women’s Suffrage (1920)
Congress passed the Nineteenth Amendment to the Constitution on June 4, 1919 and it was ratified on August 28, 1920. Families and decency went to hell when pansy ass liberals gave girls the right to vote. Now we got girls in the military. A man working for a girl is an abomination before God. Men with girl bosses causes homosexuality. All of the girls in Congress are lesbians, and they get abortions after their lesbian orgies. It’s an outrage and a humiliation! Could you imagine a country like England or Germany with a skirt in an important job?

4. The Abolition of Slavery (1865)
Passed by Congress January 31, 1865 and ratified on December 6, 1865, The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery in the United States. These people, if they are people, were better off as slaves. The free market insures that slave owners treat slaves well, because happy slaves are more profitable. Cruelty and mistreatment of slaves is a NAACP hoax. The founding fathers gave us freedom, and that included the freedom to have slaves. The liberals say they stand for freedom. What about my freedom to own slaves? Let's face it, almost all of them are now in jail anyway.

5. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938
Also known as the "Wages and Hours Bill," the legislation was the first to enact a minimum wage and require compensation at 150% rates for overtime in certain jobs. The act also prohibited the use of child labor for almost all employment. This abomination of a bill is a perfect example of big government interference where it’s got no business. I oughta be able to employ whoever I want and pay whatever I want. Why can’t a six year old make a little money after school? This law is unconstitutional, a violation of my rights, and puts us on the slippery slope to communism.

The Repeal Movement is rapidly gaining steam, "Our first priority is health care and keeping government from taking over existing programs like Medicare. We have God on our side. All that happens is part of God's plan."

When this was said, a previously invisible hotel worker stocking a table with refreshments shocked the room by turning and asking loudly, "Why did God make Obama president?!"

Everyone fell into an awkward silence.

Then a man stood up, seething, "God made Obama president," he contemptuously pointed a finger at a picture of Obama painted as a clown, "because someone like him becoming president exposes the truth about some of the people in this country."


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

No Britain - No USA

After ousting Winston Churchill for precisely the issue of health care, Britain created its Single Payer National Health Care System (NHS) in 1948. The country is now ranked 18th in the WHO health care rankings (metrics include longevity, infant mortality, medical mishaps, acute care beds per capita, etc).

The USA is ranked 37th.

Annual per capita cost in Britain: $2500.
USA: $6000.

While health care is not a good example, it is impossible to overstate the influence of British history on the United States. Columbia University Professor Simon Schama's 15-hour A History of Britain (2000) provides an easy to watch presentation that not only offers the novice a decent overview of the subject, but it also enriches an appreciation of what made the United States of America possible.

All too often those in the US think democracy and the ideas behind it were invented by the founding fathers of this country and those involved with writing the US Constitution. While obvious, more than a few lose sight of the simple fact that the US Constitution was crafted by those deeply embedded in British thinking. Jefferson, Adams, Franklin, Hamilton, Washington, & Co. weren't samurais from Japan. Their ideas and philosophies regarding government, governance, and citizenship were rooted in Britain's bloody struggle from monarchy to republic and democracy, a struggle that involved brutal clashes between king and parliament and the eventual emergence of "Prime Minister" Robert Walpole before they had a name for the office.

More out of natural political economic developments than design, Britain developed the two party system with the Whigs, supporting aristocratic families, and the Tories friendly to the monarchy. Diametrically opposed, they went to different taverns and had different social circles. Tories accused the Whigs of being fanatics. Whigs accused the Tories of being puppets. Think cats and dogs and boatloads of vitriol back and forth. I know, difficult to imagine.

The series was probably wise to only briefly mention the intellectual machinery under the hood of all this history, but it does note the influence of philosophers (most of them Scottish) like David Hume and, in particular, John Locke, without whom events would have unfolded very differently. As industrialization and economic expansion continued, Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations (Full Online Text) suggested the best thing the government could do was get out of the way and let the "invisible hand" of the market do its work. Despite ample mathematical refutation of this model (not to mention the recent financial meltdown), a lot of folks are still worshiping Smith's invisible hand.

Those with a casual sense of British history will find the series useful for improving the organization of their understanding of the various names and events including 1066, Thomas Becket, Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots, William of Orange, of course William Wallace (made famous by the film Braveheart), Bonnie Prince Charlie, Oliver Cromwell, William Pitt and so on.

The series followed with Howard Zinn's remarkable People's History of the United States really connects the dots regarding the founding fathers and the creation of the US Constitution.

Judy, one of the most spiritually advanced beings I have ever encountered, once noted, "No Jews - No Christians."

Christians are good at forgetting that.

Know the tune "My Country Tis of Thee"?

The original song (same tune):

God grant that Marshal Wade
Made by thy Mighty Aid
Victory Bring
May he sedition hush
And like a torrent rush
Rebellious Scots to Crush
God Save the King!

No Britain - No USA.

On Sunday the USA showed it is starting to understand what Britain understood about health care over 60 years ago.

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Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Lie

The lie, of course, is that Republicans are in the slightest position to throw a stone at anyone regarding fiscal responsibility. As has been distinguished, when in power the GOP spends more profusely than the Democrats, not less, and woefully disregards the slightest need to balance budgets. Dick Cheney, known for his lack of regard for public opinion, clearly articulated true GOP sentiments, “Reagan showed us that deficits don't matter.”

We all know which administration adopted policies that led to the first surplus since WWII, but why let facts interfere with the fun?

Taken in isolation, the hit piece is actually rather legit. Hayworth's hypocrisy is legion, and ironically, McCain actually has been a voice for fiscal restraint, but don't tell that to the seething AZ political blogosphere. McCain will prevail in August, and on the 25th you'll be able to hear the crickets chirping, unless of course you're at the victory celebration.

Having not been in Congress, on spending Jonathan Paton gets a bash Giffords free card he will no doubt use at every opportunity. After all, Arizona's budget is a national showcase for fiscal responsibility and excellence in government.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Second Shift

Berkeley sociologist Arlie Hochschild has an extraordinary book, The Second Shift addressing the street smart reality of what raising a family in the United States has become. Denoting the aggregate duties associated with parenting/homemaking, she examines how real couples organize to perform this function. Based on detailed observations over years, she uncovers rich and powerful distinctions including a solid, although ballpark, figure for its quantity, a solid month of work every year. For this job, and it is a job, she coins the phrase, "The Second Shift."

One of the first and most powerful distinctions involves each person’s “gender strategy.” Our family backgrounds equip us with a vast set of views as we start our own family, views about who should do what and how regarding the second shift. Naturally, the "traditional" gender strategy sees the man as the breadwinner and the woman as the homemaker/primary parent, a perfectly acceptable arrangement provided there is plenty of bread. The last decade’s gutting of the middle class has all but eliminated the traditional family with a stay at home mom.

Since both work, now what? Obviously, couples organize to handle the second shift, and here is where one’s gender strategy emerges. It is the framework inside of which one negotiates with one’s spouse the roles that each will play. Economic pressures do not change deeply embedded views about family, so many still retain the traditional strategy (both genders), hence the birth of the "Supermom" with the briefcase in one hand and the child in the other.

The "transitional" gender strategy recognizes the flaws of expecting an employed mother to shoulder almost the entire second shift. Note that control issues permeate all of this. Plenty of traditional women remain and don’t want men on their turf. Transitional men are more willing to really help. Transitional women are more willing to let them. Mom gets Johnny out of bed AM and dad puts Johnny back PM. She cooks while he sets the table and he washes dishes. Still, with transitionals mom remains the second shift captain. He goes to Safeway, but she wrote the list. He takes the kids to the Day Care Center – the one she selected.

The "egalitarian" gender strategy involves true gender neutrality and approaches the division of labor without regard for traditional gender roles. She may work longer hours to earn twice as much and drive the “good car.” He works part time and handles the diapers.

Sorry for the long set up, but now it gets interesting. Yes, we know our obvious opinions, but on the court in real time in real life, the gender strategy is almost entirely undistinguished, a vast sea of outlooks creating a framework for what we see and how we see it. A transitional woman, having worked just as long as her traditional husband that day, suppresses rage as he channel surfs while she struggles against exhaustion tending to the children. A transitional dad may do some laundry while mom has the kids at choir practice. When traditional mom gets back and sees the folded clothes, she is annoyed at the gross violation of turf, violently grabs her own clothes and refolds them, "Who taught you to fold a shirt?!!"

This never happens.

Consider how a traditional man with an egalitarian woman might play out, or an egalitarian man with a traditional woman. If you are married, can you identify your gender strategy? Don’t be so sure.

When I read the book and then played the tape, my marriage looked like one of the case studies. I am a transitional. I married a traditional who (I only learned years later) wanted to stay at home but never said so in a way that occurred as serious (she also wanted to lose weight, see Europe, look better..). She had a job, but she deeply resented having to work. We were doomed.

Hochschild’s work goes a long way in explaining what is crippling marriages in this country. Economics have forced mothers into the workplace with increasingly demanding jobs. They cannot handle the second shift alone, and couples must negotiate new ways of being a family. This book explores the real ways that this happens with real people. Those considering marriage, and in particular having children, should consider The Second Shift MUST read material.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Wine Problem

Those who enjoy thought provoking puzzles have probably heard of the wine problem in one version or another. It offers a particularly compelling example of a counter intuitive result.

There is a bucket of pure red wine and a bucket of pure white wine. The buckets are NOT necessarily of equal size, but they can be. One dips a cup (any size) into the pure red wine and pours it into the bucket of white wine. This is then well stirred. One then dips the same cup into the mixed wine and transfers it back to the red wine.

Now both are mixed. Is there more red wine in the "white bucket" or is there more white wine in the "red bucket"?

Intuition suggests more red is in the white because the first transfer was 100% red, while the return transfer contained a weaker mixture. The correct answer is that they are identical. After some thought I came up with what I consider a rather elegant proof using only eighth grade algebra, and it holds for any size of buckets or cup. Any one care to try? We can compare.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Pi Day!

CNN has a nice piece noting that today is Pi Day (3/14). Individuals exist that devote extraordinary, and I mean extraordinary, amounts of time and effort into contemplating and working with the number Pi, the ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter. People have memorized it to thousands of decimal places. Mathematicians have toyed with algorithms to identify patterns (all have failed) or automate its calculation (no luck). The number is irrational (cannot be expressed as a fraction) and transcendental (non-algebraic).

Darren Aronofsy's Pi is an outstanding film about a mathematician on the edge. His search for a magic number puts him in touch with Jewish numerologists seeking ultimate wisdom. It also puts him in the cross hairs of wall street executives.

What cooked my noodle in high school is that if you take e (the base of the natural logarithm) and raise it to the power of i (the square root of – 1) times pi, you get – 1. Start multiplying the exponent by a third number, and you have trigonometry.

Pi to 10,000 digits. Here are the first 1500. If you specify a numerical sequence, for example this year (2010), word is that you can find it somewhere in pi. I put 2010 in red.



Saturday, March 13, 2010

Something's Brewing

About a month ago stories started appearing about the emergence of another “movement” analogous to but very different from the tea party contingent that has spread across the country. Today CNN's lead story discusses the Coffee Party movement that continues to, well, percolate. Today is “National Coffee Party Day,” and the National Coffee Summit is scheduled for March 27.

Unlike the distilled white tea party movement, the coffee crowd is diverse, and not just ethnically. They also pack cerebral horsepower and consider what tea tends to ignore - facts.

MISSION: The Coffee Party Movement gives voice to Americans who want to see cooperation in government. We recognize that the federal government is not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges that we face as Americans. As voters and grassroots volunteers, we will support leaders who work toward positive solutions, and hold accountable those who obstruct them.

The movement now has over 135,000 fans on Facebook, and the growth is accelerating. By framing their purpose in the distinction between positive solutions and obstruction, their appeal to common sense is compelling. It also further corners the self-serving politicians who calculate that fame for being the progress killing vote is worth more than a positive vote for anything of substance.

March 8 CNN Video featuring Coffee Party founder Annabel Park.
Coffee Party USA Blog


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Governor Brewer Offends Tucson Cloth

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and Senate President Bob Burns recently appointed seven members to serve on the new Rio Nuevo Board of Directors. They are:

Jodi Bain, founder/principal of Bain Investments; vice president and general counsel for Town West Realty.
Edwin Biggers, former president of the Hughes Missile Group.

Craig Finfrock, owner and broker of Tucson-based Commercial Retail Advisors.

Carlotta Flores, owner and executive chef of Tucson's El Charro Café.

David Jones, president/CEO of the Arizona Contractors Association.
Alberto Moore, owner of the Tucson real-estate firm Alberto Moore and Associates.

Alan Willenbrock is vice president and financial adviser for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Tucson.
Notice who is missing? Much to the frustration and consternation of the Cloth, the above includes no clothophiles. If aligned, the above also have a majority.

"The Mayor knows who's boss," noted a city staffer on condition of anonymity, “and he worked hard to get Larry Hecker appointed. Everyone is shocked."

One idea to insure that the Cloth remains profusely funded is to require that all Rio Nuevo activities be coordinated by the Downtown Tucson Partnership. For a 35% oversight fee on all Rio Nuevo planning, studies, permitting, engineering, and construction, DTP will prepare Powerpoint slides and coordinate a $50/plate annual luncheon celebrating Rio Nuevo accomplishments.

"Larry and Dan will continue to be well provided for," noted a former Rio Nuevo employee. This will most likely be handled by requiring all contractors wishing to have any involvement with Rio Nuevo projects submit proof of their contracts with Larry/Dan Consulting, "It's no skin off the contractors' noses. They can just pass the costs along to Rio Nuevo by itemizing the Larry/Dan charges on their invoices."

"This isn't over yet," noted a prominent Clothmeister, "Dan gets to stay on until next year. We'll get Larry on that board one way or the other."


Saturday, March 06, 2010

AZ Political Blogosphere Traffic

Below are the latest Alexa rankings for many Arizona political blogs and a few campaign web sites. The lower the number, the higher the traffic, and that is the only metric, traffic. Rankings involve the entire Internet, so the numbers get big. Unless you are the press (CNN, etc.) to be be ranked in the top 500,000 is a big deal. You can probably guess what site is ranked #1 (Google).

Precision is not available in this conversation, but a ranking in the top million means the site has substantial readership with traffic exceeding 1000 hits a day. Naturally, media sites have a huge traffic advantage (over blogs) because “everybody” goes there for news. The Star gets well over 100,000 hits a day. For a blog or campaign site, a ranking in the top five million, suggesting at least 250-500 hits a day, indicates a major site that has captured the attention of those who navigate the neighborhood. If ranked between 5 and 10 million, while not in the majors, the blog is definitely being read and noticed with 100 – 200 hits a day, but as the rank falls below 10 M daily hits are going double digit and shrinking. At 15 M or so, the site receives maybe 50 hits a day. No precision here, but 15 M is probably a good ballpark line for answering the question, "Is anyone paying attention?"

A blog ranked below 20 million is essentially playing with itself, and if a site receives too few hits (less than ten or so a day), the ranking software dismisses it and returns no data.

The rankings change over time, and a blog rank can shift by millions in a single week.

The Arizona Daily Star 21,341
John McCain for Senate 129,256
Inside Tucson Business 283,338
Sonoran Weekly Review 305,627
Exurban League 353,148
Sonoran Alliance 387,353
JD Hayworth for Senate 475,314
Seeing Red Arizona 560,373
Tucson Tea Party 610,332
Border Reporter 812,549
AZ Netroots 884,756
Vote Jesse Kelly 1,117,871
Politico Mafioso 1,239,791
Blog For Arizona 1,393,528
Disloyal Opposition 1,723,683
IC Arizona 2,081,945
Rum Romanism Rebellion 2,108,162
Tucson Choices 2,359,651
The Arizona Conservative 2,542,883
Gila Courier 2,814,239
Brian Miller for Congress 2,938,204
Giffords for Congress 3,499,403
Espresso Pundit 4,227,556
Random Musings 4,982,447
Democratic Diva 6,112,442
American Conservative Republican 6,327,048
The Northern Muckraker 6,976,457
Man Eegee's Latino Politico 7,527,952
Papa Todd 7,698,377
Sustainability, Equity, Development 7,795,434
Paton for Congress 9,849,002
Deep Thought 11,531,810
Political AZ 12,387,265
Daniel's News and Views 13,443,450
Eye on the 9th Floor 13,790,772
Pullen for the Party 18,332,915
Poco Bravo 20,213,644
Jakubczyko On Life 20,367,932
Arizona Watchtower 26,633,512
Ash For Arizona No Data

Given the CD 8 GOP primary, it makes sense that the Kelly (dang, Jesse!!) and Miller sites would be generating more traffic than the Giffords campaign at this time. That said, Jonathan Paton is running for Congress, and at least recently, more people are visiting this blog than his campaign web site.


Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Reality Prostitution

The AZ Republican primary between JD Hayworth and John McCain further refines the distinction Choir Blogging. Hayworth is such a farce (birther pandering and renouncing) that even tea party leaders are afraid to endorse him, yet a perusal of the local blogosphere would have one think McCain is about to get trounced.

Like talk radio, choir blogging reinforces a point of view in a form of "reality prostitution," but instead of make believe love pretending you're desired, it's make believe reality pretending you're right. Inside of this distinction, comment threads tend to come in two flavors: 1) "mutual support", and 2) "talking to walls". For purposes of distance, leap back to 2006 and consider this 140+ talking to wall thread where a vitriolic exchange between less than a dozen people accomplishes positively nothing. Similarly, witness the inanity at a Daily Kos post insisting "Giffords must be stopped!" Near the end, Sirocco, then under the handle "Chessguy" noted, "Aren't we all just talking to walls?" Indeed. The key distinction is that reality takes a back seat to the facades.

An excellent example of "mutual support" recently occurred at a Sonoran Alliance post. The blog duly notes an event seen as a reason to bash McCain, and henceforth ensues an orgy of agreement about why "McShame," "McClueless," "Mc[whatever]" sucks and how JD Hayworth is going slaughter him. They are not interested in a remark noting McCain's growing list of endorsements and his HUGE name recognition advantage statewide. The key distinction is that reality takes a back seat to the facade. Hayworth will win, and she's really into you, really. You're special. With you, the money is just an extra bonus.

Once distinguished, choir blogging is exceedingly dull. Starting to think it's all choir, I almost quit entirely (and still might). Is it all choir? What isn't? Well, interesting or not, inside scoop from Tedski is not choir. Blog for AZ's detailed explanation of a bill is not choir. Well written first hand accounts of a rally or a debate are not choir.

Coming soon: Vendetta Blogging.

Qui ferait cela?