November 19, 2004 | 4:00 PM ET

The other day I promised blog links on the UN food-for-oil scandal, but despite the attention given this matter by anti-UN bloggers, I haven't really run into anything of note on blogs themselves.  Instead everyone seems to be pointing to the work being done by the Wall Street Journal here and here.

For a few days now I've seen this Secrecy News link floating around.  It tells the story of Congresswoman Chenoweth-Hage getting in a bit of a tussle with airport security.  She tries to pull the old "Show me the law that says you can do that," and like others before her, she has her hat handed to her.  I ignored the link for this space because everyone knows (and knew even before 9/11) not to screw around with airport security, and frankly, it is old news by now that the under the rubric of security, the government can arrest you without telling you what law you've broken, deny you a lawyer or contact with anyone else, try you in a secret court, ship you to another country to be tortured for information and lock you up indefinitely.  Every now and then someone tries to confront this system to make a statement, and the outcome is always the same.

Anyway, now I'm posting that link to accompany this one, in which Steven Aftergood, who writes Secrecy News, explains in Slate the background of the secret laws we can only hope to obey.

Interrogating the interrogator

I ran into this post yesterday and today the story is popping up all over.  The quote they're worked up over:

To pay for them, the administration is considering eliminating the deduction of state and local taxes on federal income tax returns and scrapping the business tax deduction for employer-provided health insurance, the advisers said.

Your waiter hates you as much as you think.  Or more.

Josh Marshall continues to distinguish himself as one of the few bloggers who actually comes up with original material to report.  For the last few days he's been compiling a list (with the help of his readers) of Republican legislators (is that a redundancy yet?) who supported the DeLay rule.  If only there was some profession dedicated to holding elected officials to account for the actions...

Speaking of rules: Official rules for calling shotgun.

How long does this take to repeat itself?  Longer than my attention span.

Though I may have my American citizenship revoked for admitting this, I don't give a crap about football, so I didn't see the now-infamous towel scene at the start of the most recent Monday Night Football that has the whole nation abuzz.  Of course, blogs point the way.  iFilms has it.  This is such a non-scandal I'm not even posting a warning about the content of the link.  It's seriously nothing.

So I have to wonder, why make something of nothing with the MNF story?

  1. A slow news day, nothing else to talk about?  Maybe the busybodies could engage in some creative office hijinks instead.
  2. It's all a publicity stunt?

In the vein of the religious right flexing its political muscle, can you imagine this happening in the U.S.?

While we're overseas: Europeans devote 20 per cent of media activity to the Internet (and nearly 40 percent of Americans say they participate in online communities).

Today's Commuter Click:  "Film-makers use jump cuts, freeze frames, slow motion. Musicians remix, scratch, sample. Can't we writers have some fun as well?"

Yesterday we noted Rush admonished for mocking "PEST" and the Democrats consulting psychological professionals to deal with the election loss.  Those who can't afford such a thing can find advice online for free.

What will they think of next?

Searchengine Lowdown calls Gary Price "the blogger of all things scholarly" in pointing to his review of the new Google Scholar (mentioned yesterday).  Naturally that made me do some clicking.  Some of Resource Shelf is a bit beyond my interest (or understanding), for example a headline like "In-Q-Tel Partners with Convera to Expedite Development of Distributed Indexing Capability."  But even for a non-librarian like me, links like this are cool.

This USA Today link is making the rounds.  The photo of focus is #2 which many have taken to be evidence of the discovery of Sarin nerve gas.  Captian Ed has the best examination of this story that I've seen -not to mention a handsome example of how fact-checking takes place on blogs.

November 18, 2004 | 6:32 PM ET

"I'd rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6."  That's jurors vs. pall bearers.  I've heard this expression used by cops with reference to airing on the side of caution in dealing with a potentially dangerous suspect.  I suppose it's possible that the derrivation is military, but something tells me police officers have faced the possibility of appearing before a jury for longer than members of the military.

Any time Google so much as sneezes it becomes the talk of the online community.  Today's more-than-a-sneeze: a new scholarly research tool.

Following the research theme, bloggers are excited to note that the Library of Congress plans to make a massive archive of old newspapers available online.  It'll look like this.

This site isn't in English, but that's OK because it doesn't have words, and that's OK because the pictures speak for themselves.

Did you see West Wing last night?  In one storyline we hear the downside of many fossil fuel alternatives.  I'm wondering if there's some connection to why this came up on blog lists today.  (Compare with this week's Newsweek Live Talk .)

Related:  Wonkette denies the blog storyline was based on her.

Still related:  Law Dork finds himself at the center of a discussion of who is a journalist.

The Rittenhouse Review thinks he's caught Senator Santorum (a popular liberal target) in a scandal.  Maybe it's my attention deficit disorder kicking in, but I found myself unable to follow the entry because I was too distracted by the part explaining that the senator's children go to school online.  Am I completely out of the loop or is that unusual?
Update:  Oops, looks like I'm behind the curve on this story.

And speaking of santorum...

Texas children spared from the gateway activity of crossdressing
Innumerable homosexual conversions avoided

(OK, my headline is a parody, but the story isn't.)

This popular linkis a parody, but not everyone thinks lawsuits by large entertainment corporations is funny.  What I'm talking about is that got a cease-and-desist order from Disney.  You'll recall yesterday's item about the Grey Album in which a DJ took copyrighted material from two groups and re-mixed them together (called a "Mashup" remix).  A group called The Kleptones have done something similar, using, among other things, music from Queen, which is owned by Disney.  The musical result, though illegal, is quite good, so I suspect Disney will have a hard time preventing its distribution.

Staying with music and the Internet (for 400, Alex), for a variation on the Commuter Click idea:  The top 40 bands in America today as compiled by top MP3 bloggers (Yes, there is such a thing, where have you been?)  There should be enough downloads on this page to take with you on the ride home.

Roger L. Simon gets a tip on a possible freedom/anti-Kim movement in North Korea.  Talk about a revolution that will not be televised. 

Video of the day

What if there'd been no Web?

How to start a war and end up making Canada the 51st state.

That's what I clicked.  What'd I miss?

November 17, 2004 | 6:04 PM ET

Oil-for-food scandal links?  I didn't come across any stand-outs today (which doesn't mean there aren't any), but tune in tomorrow because this has been a pet project of the blogosphere so we're due for analysis or a round-up now that the House investigation is producing new headlines .

At the risk of getting the same scolding as Rush Limbaugh, I have to say I've never heard of Post Election Selection Trauma (PEST) and I'm not sure I believe in it now that I have.

I have to wonder if it's just coincidence that at the same time I click this story about a new Senate copyright bill I also click today's video link, the latest incarnation of the symbolic Grey Album project.

In food news, the new Hardee's burger garners both admiration and scorn.  Similar things could be said of this well preserved holy sandwich (Batman). 

Speaking of well preserved.  Hey, you never know.

Never let it be said that bloggers suffer from self-esteem issues.  A campaign is afoot to nominate bloggers as Time's people of the year. 

On a similar theme, James Lileks wins clicks for this post -I think because of his line about Condi Rice going to Saudi Arabia and driving herself around.  What caught my eye was the interesting suggestion that the media clean out old staff the way the president has his cabinet. 

Not on that theme: I'm not certain, but I don't think the booing of Brokaw in Oklahoma was because Sooners fans are anti-old-media bloggers.  I think it was his association with Nebraska.

Just for fun because I clicked it and was amused enough to actually sit through all 2 minutes plus of it: On the heels of last week's how to learn a language link comes this lesson.

The decline in the young teen birthrate is the lowest in almost 60 years.  What I expect to find in this story but didn't was a mention of the rise in the abortion rate.  I don't know what the relationship is between the two stats.

Kevin Drum sees yesterday's commuter click about Iran (and other related lines of discussion) in a broader context that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere.

One pride and joy of the Internet community is the Wikipedia -basically, an encyclopedia written by the public.  It sounds like a crazy idea.  How could it be accurate?  How could it not be vandalized?  But somehow it works pretty well.  Now I keep running into this Tech Central Station piece in which Wikipedia is called A Faith-Based Encyclopedia.  The matter is intelligently discussed by Kottke's readers.  Related:  Wikipedia on podcasting.

Speaking of the Internet as a repository for information, I'm always intrigued to see an old link show up on a blog index because it's often a sign that someone is doing some digging (meaning, real reporting).  In this case, the link in question in this Daily Howler piece about Condi Rice.  It turns out the person doing the digging is the Daily Howler himself, reminding folks of a link in his own archives.  Could Rice be in for a rough confirmation process?

Jane Galt's Monday post on welfare and the poor rises to the top today.  She's also points to Slate's running dialogue on welfare reform, which is well suited to being today's commuter click.  Remember this next time you're grumpily flipping through cable news channel coverage of celebrity trials looking for a real discussion of issues that matter.

November 16, 2004 | 4:18 PM ET

Bloggers have brought this New Yorker piece about plagiarism to the fore.  It's an interesting story in itself, but it also touches on two subjects that often arise in blog circles:  legal and ethical liability in what we write, and the questions of intellectual property and who owns the things you can't touch.

Enough bloggers continue to find stories supporting their fears that the U.S. is succumbing to the puritan patriotic right that I'm still able to see the trend in what I'm clicking. 

  • Colorado teens learn that not only is it illegal to threaten the president, but you're well advised not to wish he dies -or to wish for the death of any unnamed 'Masters of War.'  In the wake of the stoyr, the lyric page is popping up.  If there's one thing that should have kept these kids from wanting to perform this song (which I gather has been made popular by the Fahrenheit 9/11 movie), it should be Eddi Vedder's performance of it on Letterman last month.  Kids, you can't follow that.
  • A boycott has been organized against Proctor & Gamble for following the gay agenda.  I thought this was going to be about some kind of perceived subtext (like Tinky Winky being the gay Teletubby) but it's actually about a targeted marketing campaign.
  • Feeding the fear of a draft: Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in. 

Geek corner:  No one ever denied that there isn't a disproportionate geek population online.  They made their presence felt today.

Again, you may not be one, but you better try to understand them or one day you could end up on the confused side of a lost election.

The Hitchhiker's Guide trailer could have been today's video, but this one actually came up more often.  It's an ad for a car, which you might think disqualifies it from consideration by independent bloggers, but dancing robot cars are hard to trump on principle.

My clicking came full circle when I found myself on my home site.  Kevin Sites maintains this status as the biggest moth near the Iraq War flame.  This time things are probably a little hotter than he'd prefer.  What's fascinating is to see the shift in tide (if you'll pardon the introduction of a new metaphor) in how Sites is regarded.  Yesterday he was the darling of the pro-military crowd, daring to bring the closest, realest, most raw stories from where the soldiers are doing the real work.  Today, that very reporting has filled our Letters to the Editor box with disparaging accusations.  (I know the letters page isn't updated yet, but trust me, we're getting those letters.)

Last week I pointed to the Jones Soda Holiday Pack.  Today I clicked and actual review of how they taste.

Glenn Reynolds draws clicks for thinking out loud about abortion and the duty to rescue.  What else I find interesting about this piece is that while so much attention is focused on how divisive the war has been to the country, it has also made uncommon bedfellows who could ultimately have some interesting and productive dialogue.  People who are hawkish on the war are not necessarily social (or religious) conservatives, though those groups have formed bonds with each other in uniting to support the war effort.  Again, the conventional wisdom is that there is infighting in the Republican party, but though I'm sure Glenn got his share of hostil e-mail, his post demonstrates that infighting is not inevitable.

Ben Hammersley is poised to take us a step ahead.  Or, depending on your circumstances, leave us a step behind.  If what he's talking about goes over your head, here's an even shorter summary of how I understand it:  His program (when he writes it) will take streaming audio and turn it into something you can put on your iPod, leading to the foreseeable ability to produce your own personalized radio.

I came across several versions of this story in today's clicking.  Look for Arnold in '08?

The Daou Report: Monitoring the dichotomous.

"We should care because if the FCC has the power to act on anything that has something to do with communication, we have only the FCC's self-restraint to rely on when it comes to all internet communications.  We should care because we want open platforms and open communications to continue."  - Here.
Revenue driven media necessarily has to make news judgments based in large part on how many people will be interested in the story.  As a result, we see a lot of important stories go by without making much of a splash.  Add, then, to our list of why blogs are so important, the fact that they are often written by people with interests outside the scope of revenue media and are therefore willing to cover stories that would otherwise have been missed.  This post is a little dry, but you should care about the implications.

The story behind that seductive smoking soldier.

Today's commuter click:  The Iran Connection

That's what I clicked.  What'd you get?

What is this?

The modern news consumer ignores Weblogs and online citizen journalism at his own peril.  But not everyone has the time to keep track of what's going on the Web.  With this blog we hope to track the highlights of what's being discussed online so when news breaks from the Web, we're ready.

Who the heck is Will?

Will Femia is a Weblog enthusiast who, through good fortune and dumb luck, was introduced to the form as his position as chat producer for careered into obsolescence.  On any given day, Will can be found having already spent an unhealthy amount of time squinting at a computer screen.

Where do you get the links?

My first turn is on the major blog indices like Blogdex, Daypop and Blogburst.  After that I pass through some of the A-List bloggers whose readership is high enough that even if what their linking to isn't on a "most-linked" list, chances are good a lot of people are thinking about it. 

The idea that all of the Internet could be read, processed and highlighted here is, of course, ridiculous.  I hope to be able to turn to reader submissions to fill in some of the holes I'll no doubt leave.

One lesson I learned from past blogspotting is that blogs form natural echo chambers.  Bloggers link to the people they like to read.  Friendships form, common interests are explored -all part of what makes Weblogs such a great social and networking tool.  The problem for the blog reader is that it's easy to get stuck in a rut as members of blog cliques refer to each other, leading the reader in the same circles.  Sometimes it's easy to get out of the rut by looking for blogs on a new topic, but since this blog will focus primarily on news hobbyists, we'll also try to keep an eye on the non-A-List bloggers, sometimes with random clicking on lists like, and again, from reader recommendations.

What’s the story?

At the beginning of 2002, then editor-in-chief of Merrill Brown sent a characteristically brief note commanding that we take a look at a new trend in personal journalism called Weblogs.  Shortly thereafter we launched a new set of blogs including Alan Boyle’s Cosmic Log and Eric Alterman’s Altercation.  By Autumn it was clear that blogs were not a fad that was going to go away.  To follow the new trend we started Blogspotting, a blog about blogs.  But the novel new publishing format that got its start among techies and hit a growth spurt in the wake of the 9/11 attacks saw such a surge in popularity and readership through the War in Iraq and into the presidential campaign season that a gateway blog about blogs was entirely superfluous.  So after a year of Blogspotting we brought the project to an end.

Now, another year later, the status of blogs and online citizen journalism has continued to grow.  This time blogs aren't the subject of the news, they're making it -and they're spreading it and analyzing it and interpreting it.

Why didn’t you keep the Blogspotting name?

While it’s clear that Weblogs are the driving force behind the elevation of citizen journalism to mainstream attention, it’s not purely blogs that are making news, and it’s not blogs that ARE the news anymore.  Jib-jab is not a blog.  Amateur political commercials are not blogs, even the landmark CBS Bush National Guard document story, the breaking of which is largely credited to blogs, really got its start on a message board

If you were indulged a digression, what would you say?

I remember talking with gay friends in the late 90’s who explained to me that the gay pride parade was old hat because we were now “ post-gay.”  By which they meant that their sexuality was taking a back seat to other parts of their lives.  In short, they were over it. 

Seeing the spate of articles about the role of bloggers in this past election, getting phone calls from a Nightly News producer for advice on booking bloggers to talk to Brokaw –but to talk about something other than “what is a blog?”- it occurred to me that we are now “post-blog.”

If this is the beginning of the blog, what are the posts below?

Think of it as pre-season play.

You are so biased!  I've never seen such a left wing elitist tool of the right wing corporate machine!

Give me a break man, it's just what I clicked.  I will say this though, I'm not going to knock myself out counting how many links each side gets like the beleaguered parent of spoiled twins trying to cut even pieces of cake for dessert.  This business of splitting every issue between partisans so they can spin all the fact out and leave the nation more divided and less informed is nothing less than a plague.  Complain all you want, I'm not playing that game.  This blog is just what I clicked.

November 15, 2004 | 5:59 PM ET

The fascinating continuation of the "We're sorry" global dialogue I mentioned last week.

Bloggers are very focused on what's going on inside the CIA right now.  Though many are looking at the question of a Bush/CIA rivalry, there can also be found some classic blog counterspin to keep the CW pliable.

In the midst of all of the talk of people leaving the CIA and the Cabinet, here's another that should be of interest to news hobbyists.

Slate's profile of James Dobson gets click attention today as stories about the Christian right asserting its influence continue.

Wizbang brings to our attention the continuation of the CBS CSI apology story.  I guess someone lost their job over it.  Here's an idea for CBS.  Put together a little video summary of the story along with the complete remainder of the show on your Web site for free.

Speaking of video, it seems like every day there's a new piece of online video being passed around.  So, here's today's video of the day.  Note: This lanuches the video directly.  I'm not sure what page is hosting this (or how long their bandwidth can sustain it) but it's pretty impressive video footage of fighting in Iraq.

Atlantis found? Again?  Doesn't it seem like every six months scientists think they've found Atlantis?

Blogging the Band Aid recording.  I thought this was a hoax at first because I'd heard nothing about it.  Maybe I'm old, or maybe they're not promoting it well this time... or maybe there's not much "we are the world" going around much these days.

Powerline blog brings us the shot of Carville with egg on his face.  We have the video here .

Jeff Jarvis is passionate and outspoken on many subjects but probably none more (lately) than censorship and the FCC.  His post today is already seeing a lot of clicks, but his whole thread about ABC affiliates being afraid to show Saving Private Ryan have been rousing.

Blogcritics takes on The Incredibles.

Coming soon to a network news magazine show near you, the fascinating story of how Kerry hatred brought together a family spit by war.

Blue states have lower divorce rates.  Though the experts line up to give their take, frankly, your explanation is as good as anyone else's.

Speaking of stories that line up the experts, NYTimes Ombudsman Daniel Okrent isn't such a fan.  (Atrios takes a swipe, but to my mind, this is yet another straw on the back of the "fair and balanced" canard.)

It was a bad election for old media It was a bad election for new media.  Um... for whom was it a good election?

Today's commuter click:  Even though I'm trying to move past the equine necro-flagellation of post-election thumbsuckers, I'll be looking over this essay when I have some extra time.

Also:  Journos and Bloggers: Can Both Survive?

That's what I clicked.  What'd you get?

November 12, 2004 | 4:46 PM ET

With a lull in political news, it's harder to discern a theme in what I'm clicking today.  Science seems to be filling the vaccuum, however:

"Next time my vacation's not aestival"

A pro-Bush answer to the " we're sorry" item that has been growing since last week has emerged.  What I like most about these galleries is what a beautiful collection of American portraits they conatain.  Years from now (provided our storage media doesn't degrade to a pile of plastic) people viewing these photos will see a lot more than the signs the people are holding.

Speaking of apologies, CBS is sorry.  But not for what them to be sorry for.

Vote Fraud Theories, Spread by Blogs, Are Quickly Buried
Alternate headline:  Blogs squander credibility, confirm paranoid stereotype, big media gleeful

The latest bit of online video propaganda, this time from the anti-Americans.  Artfully done.  Certainly a concern when the corporations that profit from war are so involved in the actually execution of the war.  However, and maybe it's the accent, I'm not so crazy about Americans referred to as if they were zoo animals.

Somewhere in the U.K. there is a very embarrassed mother.

The revolution will bear a superficial resemblance to English.  ( Why do you say that, Will?)

We pause to answer some correspondence (from me).

Dear Will,
Why is it that none of your links are about the main news stories we see on MSNBC?

Dear Me,
A common, though not often, or well expressed, view of the role of the Weblog (or even the blogosphere as a whole) is as a supplement to corporate media coverage.  So in some cases, if the TV has a story covered, piling on with blog links just feels unnecessary.  Other times, the role of the blog is as an alternative to traditional media.  If I'm sick of hearing about Arafat's death and that's all that's on TV, I might go online to see what else is out there.  Though I'm using some editorial judgment in deciding what to click and what to post here ultimately this blog is not meant to be about news judgments, it's just what I clicked.

P.S. If you really want an Arafat link, this is the one I spent the most time reading.  No doubt someone has objections to is (there is little that can be said about the Mideast situation that someone doesn't have an objection to) but the part of me that likes small, easy to digest bits of info that build into a larger context for news found the piece interesting.

Dear Will,
So far you've called it corporate media, traditional media, big media and legacy media.  What's the difference?

Dear Me,
I don't have a good word yet for what we call the old media so I'm trying out all different ones.  Even though the Web has come to refer to the MSM (mainstream media), that's the term I like the least.  When blogs are getting more traffic than the newspapers of major cities, guess what guys, you're mainstream media now.  Until I see a clear winner in the naming of the established media, I'm going to continue to try on new terms.

Kevin Sites continues to attract positive attention to himself through his compelling battfield reporting.  He was a pioneering warblogger in the first stages of the war in Iraq, and now that the war is being re-engaged (or whatever the military term is for what's going on there), he's leading the pack again.  As I write this, his name is the top search term on  and his blog is seeing a click resurgence.

This has been e-mailed to me a few times.  The two bits of news I get out of it are that the sale of Slate will be announced by end of the year, and MSN is thinking of spreading the wealth to/with individual bloggers.  In spite of the fact that my boss's boss's boss is the one quoted and pictured, I have no extra insider info on either story.

Speaking of e-mail, this link was sent into the Letters to the Editor mailbox last night, so it's interesting to see it show up on blog lists today.  It's another look into that burgeoning world of video games.  If a politician wins by a landslide by campaigning on the issue of white collar labor conditions, you may have seen the roots here.

Today's Commuter Clicks: 

That's what I clicked.  What'd you get?

November 11, 2004 | 4:46 PM ET

For reasons I'm inclined to blame on a general disdain for international news but others may point to as a sign of a bias, a story that has had a lot of attention online but very little in broadcast media is the murder of Dutch fimmaker Theo van Gogh by a muslim extremist who was apparently upset about a film van Gogh had made about Islam.  The latest click to follow in the story is the film itself, free on iFilm.  (I was pleasantly surprised to find it's in English.)

As an interesting counterpoint, I clicked this as well today.

The latest bit of salt in the nation's wounds is a chart from Michelle Malkin showing that red states are more giving than blue ones.  The chart is meant as a counter to the IQ chart getting caught up in spam filters everywhere.  On Malkin's chart, a state's generosity is determined by subtracting average tax deduction for charity from the average income.  The number of reasons why this chart is meaningless makes my head spin, just as the meaninglessness of the IQ chart makes my head spin, but that hardly matters.  Bunk is no foil for petty spite.

We pause for some correspondence regarding the above item.

Dear Will,
If you're so above this stuff, why do you link to it?

Dear Me,
Here's why I think it's important to pay attention to these things even though they're ridiculous:  People believe them.  And even if they don't, it stays in the back of their mind and forms part of the subconscious processes by which people understand these things.  One of the amazing opportunties in the blogosphere and the Web at large is that we can see the interpersonal gossip and gab that people use to form their opinions.  The rumors that spread on assembly lines and between office cubicles, the cartoons that are posted on break room bulletin boards, these items are open to the world office now, and it is in our interest to pay attention to them, not only for the sake of human understanding but to prepare ourselves for the potential shock of a loss in a close election every four years.

In what feels like a related stream of thinking is this widely distributed, though frankly kind of mean, Onion satire.  No, we love poor people more.  No, we do.  No, we do.

If there's a Christian right, does that mean there's also a...   'Liberal Christians Challenge 'Values Vote'   My Jesus can beat up your Jesus.

NBC family member Larry Kudlow is keeping his own blog.  His post today is on the subject of the strength of the dollar (mentioned here yesterday).  Says Kudlow, "The Wall Street Journal is too worried about the dollar."

The theme of this week's Carnival of the Vanities is "Things Having Nothing To Do With Partisan Politics" but still only about half of the bloggers manage to meet the standard.

It took me a minute to figure out why so many people were linking to an old Newsweek story from back in May.

What?  L.A. officials are mowing down protestors with tanks in a Tiananmen-esq act of state aggression???  Um... actually, no.  ( See Update II)

Just as some Democrats are being criticized for trying to re-live the 2000 election vote scandal, some evidence suggests maybe they should have considered re-running their 2000 election candidate.

I ended up clicking Digby again today, which is odd because he's not one of my regular reads necessarily (No offense, man).  What caught my eye was his second update.  Is it the job of blogs to flog?

This means nothing to me, but it means enough to a sufficient number of people online for me to have stumbled upon it and clicked the link.   What does mean something to me, particularly since I sit in a cubicle adjacent to Tom Loftus is that video game numbers rival movie sales and there's a whole generation of kids who play games instead of watching TV or reading books.  The revolution may yet come by way of joystick.  You might want to click.

Why Polar Express is so creepy.  I knew it wasn't just me.

Today's commuter click: The French paradox.  How do the French eat French food and not get fat?

Rest in Peace Lance Cpl. Wood .  Proud thoughts to all of our veterans.

November 10, 2004 | 4:46 PM ET

Increasingly I find myself clicking links that take me to this Frontline page about "The Persuaders."  It may be that there are a lot of marketing bloggers out there, but I suspect it is more likely that bloggers are particularly sensitive to when someone is trying to manipulate their opinions, so this subject interests them.

The "stolen election" discussions continue to rage online, though Keith Olbermann remains the only significant legacy media coverage.  In what may be a sign that things are finally starting to wind down, Atrios posts a calm down entry.

This may take even more of the wind from the sails of fraud accusations.

And red state/blue state second thoughts on Talking Points Memo makes me wonder if the nation'al divide is finally starting to scab -at least on the left.

As Bush voters continue to push back against red state stereotypes, the Christian right (or whatever the PC term for them is) is apparently not so willing to give up credit for Bush's victory.

Speaking of divides, in what The Hill describes as an "uproar" over Senator Arlen Specter and chairmanship of the Judiciary Committe, Hugh Hewitt sides with Specter and directs us to The Corner as the epicenter of Specter criticism.

On the theme of religion's rise to power, Slate's Christopher Hitchens gets link attention for making the point that the secularist left should spend less time worrying about American Christians and more time encouraging the defeat of global Islamic fundamentalism.

The Web anxiously awaits the release of Star Wars III and sees potential in Johnny Depp's portrayal of Willy Wonka in the coming Charlie and the Chocolate Factory remake.

Jones Soda does seasonal flavors.

This link has been living on Blogdex for days.  I don't see much broadcast media energy devoted to the weakening dollar, but we are starting to see e-mail about it in the Letters to the Editor mailbox.

I'm beginning to sense a trend.  I'll leave The Daily Howler to identify media plot lines, but in the blogosphere we're definitely seeing a trend in "look how America is regressing" links.

That's what I clicked.  What'd you get?

November 9, 2004 | 4:46 PM ET

Today's Belomont Club post on progress in Fallujah is already on the blogdex list.   I don't have a quip or comments, it's just an interesting read.  Actually, here's a quip.  Cable news talking heads, eat your heart out.

By the way, the established place for good news from Iraq is Chrenkoff.

Of course, the blogosphere is never lacking in alternative perspectives.

CBS throws a punch at bloggers as typists, rather than journalists.  Dear CBS, don't you know they eat that stuff up?  Especially from YOU!

Early Christmas message.  Hopefully making toys makes Santa's elves happier.

Think Americans are values driven?  Care to put money on it?

Now I've seen everything.  A newspaper offering advice on how to grow your blog traffic.  Now who's got advice for newspapers on how to grow circulation numbers?

I mentioned yesterday that Olbermann is looking to bring some fact-checking sanity to all the "stolen election" hype.  Since he's made today's Blogdex list, and the Blogpulse list, and is mentioned on Kausfiles, and is on the top ten search terms list for, it looks like there's a lot of interest.  I finally clicked a link that is trying to keep track of all the threads.

A week or so ago I clicked on Buzzmachine in the midst of a pretty passionate discussion of dirty linking.  Leaving the specifics of that post aside, if you link to something, do you in some way endorse it or encourage it?  Is it a dirty trick to claim innocence while you link to someone more willing to do political dirty work?  I find myself on the fence on this issue.  Yesterday I clicked a link story about the nature of Yassir Arafat's illness and how he got it.  It's pretty much an open secret/rumor, but I couldn't bring myself to link to it on the grounds that as far as I know it's pretty speculative and very outrageous (and could probably get me sued).

Today I clicked on this piece by Digby further exploring the Bush vote/Slave state idea.  I have to say, I hate this entire line of discussion.  But if I click it in the course of following what bloggers are linking to and talking about, am I bound by the objectives of this column to include it?  If I link to it with this qualification that I don't like it, am I really being one of those weasely bloggers who communicates to his readers through a subtext of extreme links under moderate words?  No doubt this issue will come up again.  This time I'm staying with the Digby link because a lot of people are talking about it and it seems like the kind of thing that will become part of the Left's conventional wisdom, so it's best to understand where it's coming from now than to have it come up as a surprise later.

(Side note:  Transparency in editing, 'interesting insight' or 'shut up and post the damn link'?)

As far as I know, this is a first.  The owner of the Dallas Mavericks fined for comments on his blog?

The New York Times' David Brooks continues his series of I-told-you-so columns with one about the power of the exurban vote.  But Kevin Drum says Bush's support

was up by 10 points in urban areas and down by 2 points in rural communities, including a surprising 9 point decrease from residents of small towns.  This goes against a whole bunch of conventional wisdom (including mine) about the growing urban/rural divide in America. If anything, it seems to have narrowed in this election.

Sometimes, the more I click, the less I know.

Here's something we may make a regular feature:  the commuter click.  Every day before I go home I print up something that's longer than I want to read off the screen but well suited to my commute home to New York City from MSNBC HQ in New Jersey.

I can't say I recommend them because I haven't read them yet, but if I clicked them, it means someone out there recommended them.  Today I'm taking Jay Rosen's review of BloggerCon III and his piece about an opposition press and this Wall Street Journal piece about post election blog traffic.

That's what I clicked.  What'd you get?

November 8, 2004 | 3:11 PM ET

Dear Newsweek colleagues, when a blogger feels the need to do this you may want to consider redesigning your navigation.

"Every hour, 10x10 collects the 100 words and pictures that matter most on a global scale, and presents them as a single image, taken to encapsulate that moment in time." --Farther up the food chain, it appears image aggregation isn't a perfect science.

More fun with maps.  (Or is it a promo for Spider-Man III?)

Speaking of maps, how do you offend 59 million people?  I heard a pundit make this point on TV the other day, but this is the first time I've seen it in map form.  Unless I'm missing something, the idea is that Bush got the pro-slavery vote.  I dont' reckon that's helping the healing.

On that note, it's looking like it's going to be a trend to try to show the nation regressing.

From maps to charts.

The idea that the election was hacked/stolen/unfair continues to live loud online.  Cable colleague Keith Olbermann is advocating some genuine fact-checking be applied.

The role of online "viral video" was well in the spotlight in the last few news cycles.  From the anti-Bush ad contest, to the Bush ad in which the President comforts a little girl who lost a relative in 9/11, to the Jon Stewart Crossfire video.  Here's the latest one that I've clicked.  I'm not sure how convincing it is.  If Democrats manage to drag an Ohio vote scandal into the light of TV media play, we may see it more often.

Here's another in what's looking like a real trend in "I voted for Bush but I don't fit the Redneck Jesus zombie, homophobe stereotype the media is painting of me" pieces on the Web. 

Can I activate it with a communicator that's pinned to my chest?

Roger L. Simon has a secret source that a lot of "Liberal Hollywood" is actually for Bush.  Says Simon, "I'm sure this is astounding news to the Democratic Party."  I have to wonder if it isn't also astounding news to the Republicans.

The revolution will be podcast.  ( and this one)

This is surely a hoax, right?

What'd you click?

• November 5, 2004 | 12:11 PM ET

  • Date | Time

When I talk about "link commerce," I'm talking about the links people are trading with each other.  The theme of today's trades and I'm stumbling upon them seems to be among progressives entertaining the notion of leaving the country (particularly to Canada).  Pf course, there's more than one way to get to Canada.

Others are less interested in actually leaving than they are in redrawing maps to better suit Tuesday's election results.  When Charles Pierce wrote in blog that he doesn't recognize America anymore, it would appear he wasn't alone.

Speaking of maps and recognizing America, I also found myself clicking on a lot of aggregated data today.  Some folks found comfort in Boing Boing's Purple Haze map, while the subject of greater discussion was USA Today's County Map, handily disected and cross compared on Crooked Timber.

These map games are really part of a larger discussion taking place online (I'll add, more thoroughly and more effectively online than in any other media I've seen) about the much ballyhooed "divided nation" reflected in this years campaigns.  What is the nature of this divide and who is actually divided from whom?  It seems there are as many answers as their are bloggers.

One common realization is that as gratifying as it may be to indulge in the blog-rants of the like-minded --the echo chamber effect- in the end too much of that kind of intellectual diet does more harm than good.  Glenn Reynolds threw some stones from that glass house in his post on this site yesterday .

Beyond explaining and complaining about the divide (or using it to redraw national borders) is the question of bridging it.  Jason Kottke takes the novel approach of pointing out that we're all stupid -even if some politicians exploit that fact better than others.

Adam Yoshida's frank post is similar to a lot of the mail we're seeing in our Letters to the Editor mailbag, that just as some blue voters aren't interested in joining the red country, some Republicans aren't interested in reaching out or finding a middle ground.  Common reasoning is that if Bush bashers weren't so divisive, in their attacks, the country would be less divided.  Presumably there is a liberal blogger out there making the exact same argument in reverse.

I also clicked on Michele Catalano's effort to bring some sobriety to the discussion:

I voted for George Bush.
I am not a redneck.
I do not spend my days watching cars race around a track, drinking cheap beer and slapping my woman on the ass.
I am not a bible thumper. In fact, I am an atheist.
I am not a homophobe.
I am educated beyond the fifth grade. In fact, I am college educated.
I am not stupid. Not by any stretch of facts.
I do not bomb abortion clinics.

You will not be thrown in jail for the sole reason of being a liberal.
Your child's public school will not suddenly turn into a center for Christian brainwashing.
Your favorite bookstore will not turn into puritan central.

This is not Nazi Germany in any way.
You will not be forced into concentration camps.
You will not be burned in human-sized ovens because of your religion.
We will not be forced to wear uniforms and march in line every day.
You will not live in fear.
If you think this is a country in which you have to live in fear, I have some friends in Iran who would like to have a little talk with you.

What did you click?

  • Date | Time

What does this do?

I clicked on this but thought it wasn't really worth mentioning until a half hour later when I was still reading it: Veiled Conceit, a NY Times weddings blog.

Photos from insde a life-sized Simpson's house.


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