“If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
I feel very fortunate that I have collected a group of bloggers who happen to be wonderful people: good writers, deep thinkers, analytical commentators, wry wits . . . and lest I forget, genuinely kindhearted individuals who share their thoughts, stories, and insights with anyone who wants to visit. And sometimes, one of them writes something that is so in keeping with exactly how I am feeling about something, that the best course of action is to repost what has already been written.
Why you should vote for the Democratic Party in November
My fellow Americans,
You have been offered the rarest of reprieves; please do not throw it away. Two years ago the underpinnings of our economy, rusted through by deregulation and burdened by the weight of unjustified tax cuts and unfunded wars gave way into free fall. In that moment of sober terror Barack Obama led the Democratic Party to a historic victory; the hard right wing of the American political spectrum was electrified in a way they had not been for at least a generation and immediately attacked everything about Obama from his policies to his ancestry. His enemies have accused him of being ‘brainwashed’ by the Christian pastor Jeremiah Wright while vilifying him as a secret Muslim; according to these critics, he is both a pawn of Wall Street and a Socialist. He is a snobby elitist who identifies with the wretched depraved poor of the third world. Most of all, he is Not Like Us.
That the economy has actually been growing for the last year or more is of little consequence. That taxes are lower now than during Reagan doesn’t matter. Combat forces have left Iraq, terrorist plots are being disrupted at home, and insurance companies will no longer be able to discriminate against you because you had cancer or they don’t like the way you look. It’s astonishing how Americans who had been so passionate about invading Iraq made no note of leaving it, to say nothing how after the great anxious concern they have long displayed over the threat of terrorism they don’t seem to appreciate when our current government actually susses one out. And it’s downright weird how so many regular Americans feel such concern for the welfare of insurance companies these days.
We Americans, however, are renowned for our ability to get downright weird. You know what I mean. How’s that ammunition stockpile working out? Good thing you invested in that, right? Because Obama wants to take your guns, right? Seeing as how during the past two years gun restrictions have actually been loosened and no move has been made by the Administration to interfere with the right to gun ownership in any way one would think that this particular anxiety would relax, but that’s asking a lot from people who think that the President is a Muslim. They must feel very tense.
My fellow Americans, I love you, I truly do. I know how angry and betrayed you feel right now; the game of musical chairs Mr Bush was playing came to a very sudden end, even quicker than they ever expected it would, and most of you were left without anywhere to sit. Mr Obama wanted the job and he has a lot of responsibility to bear, but he is not to blame for America’s problems and has in fact been demonstrably effective in every measure even if he has fallen short of achieving all that has been hoped for. People were hoping for quite a bit more than is reasonable to expect, but that is the way of things, isn’t it?
I am in no one’s pocket; my own are empty as yours. I see our roads and bridges crumbling, our gas lines and sewers are leaking; this is not time to cut taxes and reduce public spending. Shutting down the government is not going to make our nation stronger or our economy thrive; it is a meaningless sabotage, a reckless partisan stunt that hurts Americans and only helps Republicans. This is not idle speculation, it is the stated goal of both Tea Party and Republican leaders; I don’t know if there’s ever a good time to elect officials whose stated goal is to wreck the government, but that time is certainly not now.
Glenn Beck wants you to remember what you felt like on 9/12/01, which, if you are anything like me, was a mix of rage, confusion, grief and fear; it was an intense raw shock that made people irrational enough to think invading Iraq was a good idea. I think it would be better if you thought about the present; take a deep breath and a close look at the people you may be sending to Washington and reconsider. Please.
“No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.” ~ Buddha
Not going to write about Haiti tonight. It’s too emotional, and three posts in a row are enough, for now. Like my friend Maureen at White Orchid, my mind has been on the past lately, although I am not certain as to why. Well, the genesis began with a contact on Facebook from a person with whom I used to work at the Museum. From there, though, my mind has been traveling down different paths, and I have been dreaming of different people, so I thought that I would make tonight’s post about some of those people, not all of whom I would like to see again.
For various reasons, I will not identify these individuals by name.
“You never really know your friends from your enemies until the ice breaks.” ~ Eskimo Proverb
First there was the gay man who I used to love. I knew that he was gay, but that did not stop me from loving him, from thinking that we could be together in one of those strange but true platonic relationships based on friendship and mutual respect. When I first met him, I thought that he was funny, talented, and kind. It was only later that I realized that yes, he was funny when he was high. He was talented at making people believe that he was what he was not, and he had a vicious cruel streak that spared no one.
Why would I spend time with someone like that? I asked my therapist the same thing. She said, and I agree, that my marriage to my ex was so strained by the point at which this man entered my life that I was starved for attention, and my gay friend certainly gave me that. He took me to dinner, bought me things, even gave me a job when I needed one. But what I did not realize then but realize now was that there was a cost for everything.
Yes, my marriage was already in trouble when I met this person. My ex and I were spending more and more time apart and with our separate groups of friends, but I know that spending time with this person did not help an already-strained situation. In the end, I finally broke with this person when he revealed his nasty true self by involving my mother in a situation over which I had no control.
When Corey and I got married, I wanted to use my friend as my caterer. I gave him a $1,000 cash deposit. Our wedding was small, and we wanted to keep it intimate, so the catering was pretty straightforward. One thing that I did not count on was that when Corey and I went away for our honeymoon, my employer’s payroll company direct-deposited my check into my savings account. As a result, the checks that I wrote to the caterer, florist, and someone else (cannot remember who), all bounced.
This was not my fault. I had no way of knowing that my money had been deposited into my savings account as I was out of the country. When we returned from our honeymoon, I walked into a firestorm. This person, my supposed friend and one-time companion, had been calling my mother, telling her horrible things about me. The worst part was that she believed him (of course). I haven’t seen him since my wedding, and as far as I’m concerned, hell can have a raging ice storm before I would give him the time of day.
Is that gracious of me? No. But I have a long memory, and some things should not be forgiven.
“It takes your enemy and your friend, working together to hurt you to the heart; the one to slander you and the other to get the news to you” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Then there was the friend who was a friend but then she wasn’t. I know that most of you have had this kind of person in your life. To be honest, I have found that when it comes to other women, in most cases my relationships tend to be more complicated than say my friendships with men, and this particular relationship was incredibly complicated. This female friend and I grew very close from working together on so many projects. We spent time together outside of the office, and she became very involved in my life.
But it was a taxing relationship. To her credit, she was going through a bump in her life, learning more about herself and her own marriage, but it caused her to be needy, and I tried to help fill that need. Let me pause here to say that this is precisely how I get into trouble in almost all of my female friendships: by trying to be there for them to the point that I begin to lose myself or to have my judgment clouded.
Anyway, the thing was that she talked about me to other people, and I knew this. She also never hesitated to let me know what other people were saying about me. It bothered me, of course, but my response was passive aggressive: Do nothing but be hard to get along with. Another thing about this person was that she was extremely judgmental and did not hold back with her pronouncements. Granted, I was pretty judgmental myself back then, so that part of our personalities probably meshed well.
Our relationship didn’t exactly die; it frittered away. We stopped working together on projects, and what had brought us together no longer served as an adhesive. My relief at not having her in my life is a sad reflection on my own state of mind at the time. Instead of working on the relationship, I just let it go. When I think back on my state of mind at the time, it was precarious at best. It was just before I made the final decision to end my first marriage, a long, painful process that had only one possible outcome. The truth is that it was just too hard to be around some of the people from my past. What that says about me I don’t know.
“The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him, his own.” ~ Benjamin Disraeli
And then there is another woman from the same time period with whom I became friends. What I remember the most about this woman was her grace. She was (probably still is) intelligent, articulate, and calm. Oh, she could get riled, but in the face of some pretty nasty situations, she always held her own.
What I remember most about our relationship is that she truly nurtured me, and we respected one another. She told me that I was talented, and she gave me a forum in which to express my talents. People like that drop into our lives seldom, but how they affect our lives stays forever.
As with most people, we drifted apart more from circumstance than anything else. Our jobs took us into different places, and she moved out of the area. I have since learned that during the time that we have been apart she has been very productive. I wouldn’t expect anything less from her.
“Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
I’m not exactly sure what made me make that little trip through the past. I believe that it was Lee Iacocca who said that when you die, if you have five good friends, you’ve had a good life (or something similar). I agree.
People come and go throughout our lives. Some things are constant, and some people are constant. Some friendships last a year, while others last a lifetime. The length of the friendship does not determine the quality. What makes the friendship valuable, worth the time that you have invested, is if when you think of that friend, a smile crosses your lips and your heart feels a sense of peace. Otherwise, what was the point? I only know that “in my life, I’ve loved them all.”
More later. Peace.
(More pictures from our December trip to Ohio in the blizzard)
The incomparable, divine Bette Midler singing “In My Life”
Lyrics to Lennon & McCarthy’s “In My Life”
There are places I’ll remember
All my life, though some have changed
Some forever, not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places had their moments
With lovers and friends, I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life, I’ve loved them all
But of all these friends and lovers
There is no one compares with you
And these memories lose their meaning
When I think of love as something new
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I’ll love you more
Though I know I’ll never lose affection
For people and things that went before
I know I’ll often stop and think about them
In my life, I’ll love you more
“It would appear that we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements as they tend to sound pretty silly in 5 years.” ~ Johann von Neumann (1949)
Had an appointment with my headache doctor this morning. New strategy: Lots of magnesium and no more of that specific class of preventive meds that have been giving me so many negative side effects. Also a new medicine for migraine onset. The doctor gave me a couple of samples (did you know that pharmaceutical companies are doing away with reps and delivering samples to offices? I didn’t either. I love samples). When I showed the samples to Corey, he said, “Haven’t you already tried that one?” I’ve tried so many different ones that I really cannot say whether or not this is a repeat. We’ll see.
Anyway, here’s hoping that this latest combo will work . . . who knows. Got 14 trigger shots from neck down, and then I came home and crashed, really crashed. Probably had the soundest four hours of sleep that I’ve had in the past three weeks. Go figure.
While waiting for the doctor, I skimmed a copy ofNewsweek, and I came across an article that says that Google is losing money on YouTube. Apparently, when ruler of the information highway first acquired YouTube for $1.65 bilion in 2006, Google thought that it was buying a cash cow. Wrong. YouTube, which most everyone knows, is a site that supports user-generated content. This content, which is uploaded to YouTube at something akin to the speed of light, eats up bandwidth (for storage, retrieval, shuttling, etc.). According to a report cited bySlate Magazine, those who know these things (you know, forecasters, them), say that YouTube’s broadband connection will probably runs around $350 to $400 million a year.
Then, Google has to pay for the rights to show licensed material that is submitted by professionals. That’s another $250 million or so. The result is that by the end of 2009, YouTube will have cost Google an estimated $500 million or more, depending. These are all industry estimates as Google isn’t too keen on revealing exactly how much of their $6 billion in profit is being dropped on YouTube.
“I see little commercial potential for the Internet for at least ten years.” ~ Bill Gates (1994)
Apparently, Google thought that they would be able to support YouTube with sidebar tile advertising on the site. What they didn’t count on was that advertisers really don’t want to spend thousands and thousands of dollars to have their product placement next to a video of a skateboarding dog (although I don’t really understand why because that dog is awesome (kidding, just kidding)). So the stream of advertising revenue has been, shall we say, running dry, which makes YouTube a big old albatross around Google’s neck.
Granted, Google’s profit neck is pretty hefty, but almost half a billion dollars is a big money pit.
According to the article, YouTube is “the third-biggest site on the Internet, with 426 million monthly visitors who upload 20 hours of video every minute.” That, my friends, is a lot of streaming and a megaton of bandwidth. I’ll bet those former PayPal employees who created YouTube are patting their pockets knowingly. Their sale of YouTube to Google, making the site a subsidiary of Google, garnered the former owners a nice profit, and they got out while the getting was good: before the explosive expansion of YouTube.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Personally, as you probably know from reading my blog, I love YouTube. I think that it’s one of the best inventions since Twizzlers in a four-pound plastic tub. I mean think about it, YouTube brought politics into the homes of millions of people last year. Because of posts by ordinary people, we were able to see pictures of President Obama’s speech at the Democratic National Convention that showed angles different from mainstream media.
The political process—something too many Americans ignore—became the subject matter of countless videos uploaded by ordinary people. Thanks to YouTube, videos of the Presidential inauguration became almost instantly available, a bonus for those of us who were unable to attend the historic event.
Not to mention the fact that YouTube is a great source of music videos created by people with computers and an eye for images that pair well with a song. YouTube allows the world access to bands and musicians of which they may have never heard.
YouTube also brings stark images of our fallen warriors coming home, of our dedicated service men and women in the field—things we used to be able to see only on the evening news, and then for only a moment or two.
Granted, YouTube is also a source of complete idiocy: Videos of celebrities making complete fools of themselves, images of people falling off ladders, minutes of nothing but callers to radio shows revealing their ignorance. It’s free entertainment for the masses, and the masses cannot get enough of it.
“The next best thing to knowing something is knowing where to find it.” ~ Samuel Johnson
All of that being said, I have no doubts that the brains at Google will eventually come up with some way to crunch the bandwidth problem so that the profit to loss margin for running YouTube can be reversed.
And YouTube has taken its place in Internet culture: For every silly baby face video, there exists another video of an, as yet, unknown guitar player in his bedroom. Remember the unknown Korean student who played Pachelbel’s Canon on the electric guitar? His video is ranked as the 6th most viewed video in the history of the site. Oh, and he isn’t unknown any more. Initially known as “funtwo,” the extremely talented guitarist was identified as Jeong-Hyun Lim, and his hands are amazing.
Undoubtedly, YouTube has become an integral part of computing for millions of people. Internet Cafes: the new social scene. Cruise one, and chances are good that someone is going to be streaming YouTube. Isn’t cyberspace a wonderful thing?
“This is just the beginning, the beginning of understanding that cyberspace has no limits, no boundaries.” ~ Nicholas Negroponte
I thought it only fitting to close this post with my latest discovery, which I got from Tweetzy Deetzy on Twitter. Here is Finland’s Apocalyptica doing “Nothing Else Matters.” Awesome and then some.
WARNING: This blog is longer than my longest blongs, but the information that it contains needs to be read by anyone who cares about freedom of speech.
Images of Freedom of Speech by L. Liwag
“There is no crueler tyranny than that which is perpetuated under the shield of law and in the name of justice.” ~ Charles de Montesquieu
Outing Mudflats: Doogan is a DoDo
I just found out from visiting one of my regular sites, WillPen’s World, that something truly incredible has happened to one of my favorite blogs: Mudflats (http://www.themudflats.net). I’m sure that many of you probably read Mudflats as it is a very well-written, informative political blog. In fact, Mudflats was voted best political blog of 2008, and I helped to put it there, me along with thousands of other faithful readers.
However, I recently learned of something very dismaying: Representative Mike Doogan of Anchorage, Alaska has gone out of his way to out the writer of Mudflats. That’s right, he spent his time finding out the real name of the author so that he could out her.
Here is what Doogan had to say in outing this blogger:
Anonymous Blogger Anonymous No More
The identity of the person who writes the liberal Democratic Mudflats blog has been secret since the blog began, protected by the Anchorage Daily News, among others. My own theory about the public process is you can say what you want, as long as you are willing to stand behind it using your real name. So I was interested to learn that the woman who writes the blog is Anchorage resident Jeanne _____.*
Apparently, all of this ill-conceived, pompous drivel was a result of Doogan’s unhappiness with the Mudflats post on the politician’s rude e-mails to his constituents and took it upon himself to find out the real identity of the popular blog’s moderator. How very mature of him.
“If you don’t understand that you work for your mislabeled ‘subordinates,’ then you know nothing of leadership. You know only tyranny.” ~ Dee Hock
As Dawn Teo reveals in her post on HuffingtonPost.com about Doogan’s actions, ” He had saved up all of the emails from constituents on the Troopergate issue, and in December he responded to all of them at once, CC’ing a list of about thirty perfect strangers together in one email, telling them,
Are you people nuts? You send me—and everybody else in the legislature, from the looks of things—Spam and then lecture me on email etiquette—as if there were such a thing? Here’s an etiquette suggestion: Abandon your phony names, do your own thinking and don’t expect everybody to share your obsessions.
Yes America, this is how an elected official actually responded to concerned constituents. I know that I would be supporting and campaigning for someone who addressed me in this fashion. Apparently, Doogan doesn’t care about being re-elected, or at least, that is how it appears. But what really torqued Doogan out of shape was when AKMuckRaker of Mudflats posted an entry in which Doogan’s rudeness is made public for all to see; in addition, the moderator (whose name I will not use out of respect for her desire for privacy, even though she has been outed), took Doogan to task for his lack of etiquette in e-mail.
Even though Mudflats was completely within its rights to voice opinions anonymously under the guise of AKMuckRaker, Doogan’s vanity got the best of him, and he made it his quest to find out the moderator’s name, even e-mailing people to try to get them to identify her. Of course, no loyal reader would reveal such information.
Obviously, Representative Doogan does not know his history. Consider the anonymous authors of The Federalist Papers—Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison, who published their 85 letters using the name “Plubius.” Or how about Thomas Paine’s anonymously published Common Sense, or for that matter all of the work that Benjamin Franklin published under the pseudonym Silence Dogood. We’re talking about the nation’s founding fathers and favorite citizens. Doogan, in his self-righteous justification for outing the blog author, forgot one of the most important lessons of U.S. history: Opposing political views are what made this country.
“The framers [of the Constitution] knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.” ~ Hugo Black
What Doogan did not count on was the support that Mudflats enjoys nationwide, nor did he stop to consider that bloggers are a very steadfast and loyal group. We look out for our own as we realize that if something like this can happen to one blog, it can happen to all blogs. Bloggers come from all walks of life, countries near and far, different religious and political backgrounds, but we all realize that being able to write about issues that concern us is a precious right, one that we will not cede without a fight.
As a former journalist, Doogan should have had better sense than to make public the name of someone who deliberately chose to remain anonymous. In fact, what Doogan did could be considered illegal as defined by the U.S. Supreme Court:
As JJEagleHawk pointed out in Daily KOS:
Justice John Paul Stevens wrote that “an author’s decision to remain anonymous, like other decisions concerning additions or omissions to the content of the publication, is an aspect of the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.” In a concurring decision, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote “we should determine whether the phrase ‘freedom of speech, or of the press,’ as originally understood, protected anonymous political leafleting. I believe that it did.” Please note that, in this same decision, Justice Stevens also said that anonymous speech protects “unpopular individuals from retaliation—and their ideas from suppression—at the hand of an intolerant society.”
A lawyer who contacted Daily KOS made this very insightful point:
This is a violation of federal law and of the state common law right to privacy. The fact that he did it on state time and in his capacity is what is called “state action” for a section 1983 civil rights claim. The Mudflats blogger, who was absolutely entitled to comment on matters of public interest and equally entitled to do so anonymously, has a significant lawsuit against this clown . . . In addition to awarding damages, they also award attorneys’ fees. That is the only way to stop this sort of abuse of public position.
“I can remember when Democrats believed that it was the duty of America to fight for freedom over tyranny.” ~ Zell Miller
By the way, did Democrat Doogan use his state office and state computer in his search for vengeance? Was it on the time of the citizens of Anchorage that Doogan chose to behave like a schoolyard bully? How did he obtain this information? Did he use his political connections?
Important things that should make the people who elected this man to office might want to consider. And consider they are. I have read many blogs posts reacting to Doogan’s petty antics in which they promise to vote for anyone but Doogan and to offer monetary support to anyone willing to take on Doogan in the 2010 election. Count me in on that pool; I’ll add Doogan to Michele Bachman as people I will help to defeat even though they do not represent my state.
Fortunately, the support for Mudflats’ moderator has been very vocal and has not been limited to small-time bloggers. For example, Scout Finch on Daily KOS had this to say:
Whatever your reasoning, you’ve certainly caught our attention. And if you think we are going to scuttle back into the shadows and let this pass, you’ve got another thing coming. Your petty, vindictive, unprofessional, unethical, and perhaps even illegal actions are certain to come back to haunt you.
But one of the responses that really speaks to the heart of the matter is by DemFromCT in The Patrick Henry Press News:
I’m sure Alaskans can appreciate your focus on outing a blogger who is most known for exposing the hypocrisy, questionable ethics, and corruption of Alaskan officials. I’m sure they appreciate your focus on warring with bloggers instead of taking on the difficult economic and social issues Alaskans find themselves faced with this winter, including those who can’t afford to heat their homes. But, instead, here you are — gloating about your efforts to ruin somebody’s life.
For her part, the moderator of Mudflats was been extremely professional and considered in her response, especially considering that she is not the professional writer and Doogan was. Here is a sample of Mudflats’ comments in regards to the whole situation:
I was a bit surprised to see my real name, as you can imagine. But after the initial surprise wore off, it really hit me. This is an elected State Representative, of my own political party, who has decided that it’s not OK for me to control the information about my identity; that it’s not OK to express my opinion on my own blog without shouting from the rooftops who I am.
“Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” ~ C. S. Lewis
I know that I am a bit late in joining the game, but I’ve never let that stop me before. What Representative Mike Doogan of Alaska did is reprehensible, but at the same time, it shows exactly how insecure he is.
I have enjoyed visiting Mudflats ever since I began blogging last year. During the election, it was the one source to which I turned to find out what was really going on with the Governator. This blog has been an incredible resource, both through its moderator and through the comment threads. What Doogan did was unconscionable, not because we now know the author’s name as she should be proud of what she has created here, but because a politician should not have the time to go searching for a blogger’s identity.
Politicians should be working on fixing this country, fixing their states. The economy is in the crapper, Doogan. Your ignoramus of a governor is going to refuse money from the Federal government without considering how much Alaska needs this support. As for yourself, look at your state and tell me that the time you spent in outing an intelligent, well-versed, source of news for thousands of people is more important than the bigger issues facing your constituents and all Americans right now.
Doogan, your priorities are incredibly out of whack. Oh, and about 2010? I wouldn’t count on it if I were you. Unfortunately for you and those of your ilk, bloggers have a very long reach, which too many politicians tend to forget.
See these other blogs for more information about Doogan: