Monday, July 28, 2008

The "After The Next" Blogpower Roundup--The World And The US Election

Colin has asked your friendly fake consultant to prepare the Blogpower Roundup after Chervil's...and since I often write about politics to Americans from a "world view", I'm hoping to enlist the community's help and do a Roundup at the same time.

Here's what I have in mind: how does the world view the US and our upcoming election?

Specifically, I'm looking for the answers to these questions:

--How does opinion lean in your community toward each of the two candidates?

--What is the biggest bone of contention between US policies and public opinion in your community?
How does each candidate appear on this issue where you live?

--What are we doing right?
Which candidate seems more likely to continue those policies--or do them better--from your perspective?

I'm hoping to feature longer quotes with analysis in between--and a bit of "compare and contrast" as well.

The output from this may become a multi-part "mini-series", as some of my recent stories have been; and since I post story output on more or less 15 sites we'll get a good audience around the States.

I'm giving you a bit of notice on this one...I hope to "drop" the story on or about August 25th; so a likely deadline would be sometime on Wednesday the 20th.

I'll follow this up with a reminder in about a week and another ten days or so before the deadline.

I'm taking my last big break before the election from today until the 10th, so I won't be responding to your emails (to fakeconsultant at msn dot com) during that bear with me.

All that said, this should be a chance for everyone to have some fun, tackle a set of big issues in a way most Americans never see...and maybe sway the minds of a few voters come Election Day.

Full Disclosure: My political views will not affect who gets what coverage, and opposing viewpoints are absolutely encouraged.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Blogpower Roundup --- JMB Style

Launceston Castle, Cornwall

It's a bit intimidating doing a Blogpower roundup after the sterling efforts of Ian Q_T and Matt Wardman. But to encourage others, I am going to lower the bar so that volunteers will rush forward thinking that they can do better than JMB.

Oh, there is no theme nor any particular order, so just follow the butterfly mind, with which I am equipped, as I present to you some posts which took my eye while I trolled through my BP folder in bloglines this past week, plus the one lonely nomination.

I could not resist the above image of Launceston Castle in Cornwall which the Cornish Democrat used for his post asking once again what exactly is Cornwall, a county or a duchy and why is there no definitive answer.

Now which BP post should I choose to highlight the huge news of the week for the UK people? Miss Wagstaff, a Welsh blogger, uses a billiards/pool analogy in Reds cleared. Brown pocketed. Not many balls left on the table to announce the resounding defeat of the Labour candidate by the SNP in the Glasgow East bye-election, a seat held by Labour for more than 60 years.

Tom Paine certainly gives his forthright opinion of Al Gore in The Englishman on "Saint Al. How many others hold this opinion I wonder: Al Gore may just be the most dangerous man alive. Strong words indeed, do read the rest of it.

In a very pertinent post, Gracchi considers Friendship and the Internet and the difficulties of using only the written word when in real life we rely so much on physical signals and clues to aid in communication. He concludes: internet friends ........ are harder to understand simply because the keyboard is not as subtle an instrument as the human face. Excellent post Gracchi.

While on the topic of friendship, Crushed takes the opportunity of a birthday celebration, Happy Birthday, Chimney Sweep! to highlight the longtime relationship he has with his two closest friends.

Colin Campbell shares memories of the misery outdoors in Scotland in July prompted by reading the Midge Report in Midge Ure (gone) to be Scottish Tourism Ambassador. The forecast might read like this: Extremely itchy with some light scratches. Long term outlook (wait for winter) Good.

I was truly amazed to read the Pub Philosopher's post Are black people being banned from bars in Beijing? Only during the Olympics you understand, well maybe not, as one of his links leads to an article about racism in general in China.

Thunderdragon is a serious Conservative political blogger but every now and again a more lighthearted subject shows up on his blog as it did in Newspaper Typos in which he give us some interesting examples. Lard Thatcher?

Heather Yaxley in Communicating Road Measures is Confusing muses about the partial adoption of metrification in the UK, especially the fact that they never converted to the metric system for distance and speed measurement. It makes for a very confusing system indeed. When we in Canada adopted the metric system in 1970, later than the UK, we pretty well went the whole hog with a few exceptions. 50 km equals 30 miles and 4 litres equals one gallon. One metre is 40 inches while 10cm equals 4 inches. 20 degrees Celsius equals 68 degrees Fahrenheit. Not so difficult really, even for an old lady like me. I can even do the calculation F-32 = 9/5 C, not in my head of course, but then you can get a widget to do it, you know.

Brrr! Frost on the eucalypts

Speaking of temperature, Chervil is in the midst of winter Down Under and in Frost in my Garden she shows us that Australia, her part at least, is not always a land of warmth and sunshine. Minus 8 degrees Celsius! That would be very cold for Vancouver and we have central heating which she does not. Keep well wrapped up Chervil.

Calum Carr in Lightweight Posts -- But not This One tells of some incidents which did not make him the most popular guest in his hotel during his recent vacation at Oban, that very beautiful little port in Scotland, "Gateway to the Isles", which I remember very well from my trip there in 1960. Probably a few changes in 48 years I would think, well maybe not.

Mutley, while promising an interesting read in his post with the titillating title Sex Post!!, somehow seems to spend most of the time discussing the cabbage soup diet. No wonder you have to resort to internet dating Mutley!

Jeremy Jacobs celebrated his birthday this past week, on the same day as Louise Brown the first test tube baby. 30 years of being in the limelight....... Hard to believe it's that long ago. On the other hand it seems as if it has always been an available option, since it is so common now. Jeremy is not telling which birthday he was celebrating. We would never tell, Jeremy.

Ever the crusader, Matt Wardman takes up the cause of the cartoonist Dave Walker who received a cease and desist letter threatening legal action unless he removed 75 posts from his Cartoon Church blog. Matt is keeping an eye on the situation with his post Press Room for the Dave Walker / SPCK case which he will continue to update.

George, feeling very sorry for himself

You did not think I would do a roundup without George, did you? Well Liz blogged about George getting neutered this week in At the Vets'. But did it stop him roaming? Answer: It doesn't Bode Well. But He's still gorgeous.

In Little C: The Duck Whisperer Ruthie tells of how her 3 yr old son became the Pied Piper of the Local Marsh as he persuaded a goodly number of ducks to follow him on his tricycle ride. Sceptical? There are photos over there to prove it, you know.

The Fake Consultant this week highlighted in his post entitled On Extraordinary Awards, Or, Wounded Troops, Wounded Again how the US Department of Veterans Affairs is trying to illegally revoke disability awards that veterans would otherwise be granted. He sees the fingerprints of George Bush, who nominally "supports the troops", all over this latest manoeuvre to deny awards already granted to veterans.

The Norfolk Blogger gives advice to parents for the end of the school year in Gifts for teachers - What NOT to buy. Nope, a mug with World's Greatest Teacher is just not that original folks. He does have other suggestions however.

Recently returned to the Blogpower fold, Conservative blogger Andrew Allison, in his post A three-mile round trip to get your bin emptied, highlights the extent to which some councils have no concern for the convenience of their constituents. And he can't even blame it on Labour!

Remember last week's roundup discussed the more than 6000 speed cameras located in the UK? Well this week BP's newest member, No Clue, highlights the latest service to avoid getting caught by same in "Beat jams, avoid fines and relax this summer!" sez TomTom. The "clever people" always come up with some way to get around these things, so why do they bother installing them. By the way, quiet as the grave at No Clue now.

Log Cabin at Whistler, BC

Lastly, since I am not at all reticent about including one of my own posts, in Canadian Log Cabin -- Real and Virtual I compare my rented Canadian log cabin in Second Life with the real thing, the very upscale ones I found in Whistler, BC, where the Alpine Events of the 2010 Winter Olympics will take place.

There, that should keep you busy for the rest of your Sunday. Sorry, it just grew like Topsy. Enjoy!

Crossposted at Defending the Blog and Nobody Important.

Friday, July 25, 2008

New Member --- No Clue

It gives me great pleasure to welcome the Devonshire Dumpling of No Clue as a new member in Blogpower. Despite the Devonshire moniker, she says: I'm a Londoner born within the sound of Bow bells (so I am an East-Ender) now living in Devon with my spaniel named Raki and my cockatiel called Harry. Does that mean I would not understand a word she said, as I once discovered to my horror when I did a locum in an East End pharmacy? If you are not familiar with her site please go over and explore and introduce yourself in the comment section.

Her site has now been added to the blogroll and I am sure she will be displaying it along with the BP banner very shortly, as a fully fledged member. Could anyone displaying the html BP blogroll please make this addition to it and Matt could you please change the master post? Thank you.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Blogpower Market Share

This is a current breakdown of who visits the Defending the Blog Site. It is very consistent with the geographic breakdown of our members locations.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

No Clue

We have a new application for membership in Blogpower from Devonshire Dumpling of No Clue . The blog is well established and she says, The Dumpling, together with her trusty aide and reporter (Fly on the Wall) both aim to bring you enough news from the media spectrum that will cure your insomnia almost immediately! Good news for Matt M and myself.

Some of you will already be familiar with her since she is a recent member of Bloghounds.

Please take a look at No Clue and make your feelings known in the comment section here. Any objection will move the discussion and voting to the mailing list, with comments subsequently being closed here, in the usual manner.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Blogpower Roundup - The Civil Liberties Edition

This is the second in the lastest series of Blogpower Roundups, and this is my roundup of some of the current live issues around Civil Liberties.

q-icon-blogpower-smallWhile there are differences between bloggers on some questions at the edge on just what comes under Civil Liberties, there's usually a strong consensus around the right to self-expression, and that restriction of topics that we can write about or the excessive monitoring of online activity are BAD things.

Heather Yaxley has reflected on the whole theme of Defending Blogs.

In this roundup, I've covered recent Blogpower posts, and highlighted a number of other posts that I have come across. As it is a thematic roundup, I am going back several weeks.

Colin Campbell's comment about extra speed cameras in South Australia prompted me to do some digging into just how many speed cameras we have now in the UK. The answer: one hell of a lot - perhaps 7,000-10,000 plus all those installed in cars and on motorcyles.

By my count there are 75 links in this post. Enjoy.

(This post is © Matt Wardman. It may be quoted up to this point by anyone as an excerpt. Blogpower members may reproduce in full without limitations.

Update 22/7: Another Blogger threatened with Libel Action in UK

This is since lunchtime today (Tuesday).

Of all people Dave Walker - the Artist in Residence at the Lambeth Conference - has been sent a cease and desist letter at half-a-day's notice to take down all posts (75+) relating to the reporting of the new management of the SPCK bookshop chain, which he has been covering for 2 years.
"Dave Walker, who has been flying the flag for the beleagured SPCK bookshop chain, has been threatened with libel by the St. Stephen the Great Charitable Trust (SSG), who took over the chain last year. Since then, most (if not all) of the SPCK bookshops have closed, and there have been various questions about management practices. One former bookshop manager, Steve Jeynes, tragically took his own life just a few weeks ago.

Dave has been keeping a close eye on all of this, and providing a forum for people to share news about the chain. He has been told he'll be sued unless all SPCK posts are removed from his website."

Ed: This does not seem like a good way to do it quietly - the place is crawling with Journalists looking for "different" stories.

Blogpower Posts

I'll start with a rundown of Blogpower posts relating to Civil Liberties questions.


Watching them Watching You

Colin Campbell writes about plans for $3.5 million worth (roughly 1m UKP if my conversion rates are q-photo-speed-camera-specsright) of new speed cameras in South Australia. That involves 20 new red light and speed cameras, and will mean 90 would then exist in Western Australia (population 2 million people).

I thought I'd have a look at our situation since I'm currently involved in an argument about it elsewhere.

In the Old Country this Parliamentary answer shows just under 5,000 fixed speed camera sites (i.e., excluding red-light cameras) operating within the National Programme in March 2007, excluding sites established in each area before that area came into the national programme, or schemes not covered by it (I'm not sure how many of these there are). It quotes 439 such sites in London.

These people say that there are about 6,000 speed cameras operating nationwide, and that one on one road in my neck of the woods (Nottingham) has caught 76,000 motorists in 5 years.

For a comparison number, this Parliamentary Answer identified 681 sites for London "Safety Cameras" (it's in quotes as it is an official phrase), which includes Red Light cameras and Speed Camera sites in London in 2006-7.

I am not clear whether these these numbers exclude the almost 700 cameras at roughly 160 locations (and 10 mobile units) used for enforcing the London Congestion Charge. Incidentally these cameras operate 24 hours a day, despite the Congestion Charge being in operation for only around half of that period. Apparently they are on overnight because it is too expensive to switch them off - not very green.

The most comprehensive database (from Pocket GPS World) includes 7048 mobile camera sites plus another 948 pending. Some mobiles cameras are always operating at a number of these sites and there are 995 Red Light Camera Sites, and 4457 fixed camera installations (3545 Gatso, 17 temporary, 343 SPECS - average speed monitoring, 332 Truvelo, 188 Monitron and 32 Redspeed). The terms are explained here. Meanwhile the Government does not collect complete national statistics (see Parliamentary answers linked above). Hmmm.

This is all published data, it should be reasonably accurate if you read the qualifications. Adding them up, the UK fixed speed camera total is likely to be somewhere north of 6,000, with an unidentified number of mobile speed camera teams operating at designated sites, and perhaps another 1,000 to 2,000 more red light cameras operating.

On those mobile camera teams, one figure is that in 2005 the BBC identified 3500 of them.

And then there are all the cameras installed in traffic cars and police bikes, but I don't have numbers for those.

So ... enjoy your camera freedom while it lasts, Cobber. Or move here if you want to experience your future now.

On a very serious camera related Civil Liberties point - the right to restitution after a manifest injustice - there has been a recent case in Lambeth where the method used to issue tickets was thrown out by the Ajudicator on Appeal (380k pdf). A zoomed in camera reduced the apparent depth of field in the photo and hence undermined objectivity and fairness in the decisions, but the Council tried to justify holding on to the rest of the £628,000 that had been raised by the particular camera.

My concern is twofold: Firstly, I think speed (note: not red light) cameras are a monumental white elephant - because I think that the same objectives can be delivered more effectively by other means without the monitoring and enforcement bureaucracy. Secondly, as shown by the case quoted above, the rule of law is sometimes simply flouted by those who should be enforcing it without fear or favour.

Meanwhile, James Robson and Heather Brooke have recently identified that our Police Forces spend 40m UKP a year on Public Relations. I have no idea how much of that goes on justifying cameras.

And two more issues

At the moment there is no end of Civil Liberties causes to be chasing. Here are two more that I have not mentioned yet.

Harry's Place Legal Action

Harry's Place are under threat of legal action for simply reporting a story. More background here and here at Ministry of Truth, and at Bloggerheads.

Story "Borrowers"

[21/7/2008 5:45pm Paragraph re-edited for precision, and clearly to distinguish between the event and my interpretion].

There are cases where particular newspapers and their websites are taking blog stories and using, or even simply reproducing, them without asking permission first or when permission has been denied. This has been going on for years, but perhaps it's time to tackle it head on.

In one example recently the Mail on Sunday reproduced a story from the blog "My Private Secret Diary" without receiving permission to do so. As Jonny Norfolk stated in a letter sent the mail after the fact:

The piece (in its entirety) consisted of copyrighted articles lifted without my knowledge or consent from a website for which I am the registered owner…

Reproducing material a) in a way that falls outside copyright law and b) without permission is a simple violation of the law, and bloggers are as entitled to legal protection as any other writers - like everyone else. Reproducing material in a editorial context, for reporting or for review is one thing; reproducing whole articles without permission for your commercial publication is entirely different. What is worse, the Mail on Sunday does this as a matter of policy. When questioned they said:

We generally take the view that blogs published on the internet have already been placed in the public domain by their authors.

There you have it.

From outside Blogpower

It's traditional to include several stories from non-Blogpower sources. These are resources that you may not know about.

MySociety is a charity run by Tom Steinberg (interview with Nestoria Blog) which does projects aiming to help citizens make a difference in simple ways. Most people have heard of They Work for You, but there are other projects that can be useful. Here are two more.
  • HearFromYourMP encourages and enables MPs to run email lists for their constituents, and to allow those constituents to discuss ideas in a way which doesn't bombard them with email.

  • WriteToThem is the definitive place to contact any of your elected representatives. Enter a single postcode and it'll tell you who all your local representatives are, and a bit about who you should contact for which reasons. Note that this site covers Local Councillors as well as MPs and MEPs.
q-icon-bloghoundsBloghounds is a new blog network being set up by the founder of Blogpower, James Higham - now up to around 20 members.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation - the granddaddy of Open-Internet organisations - has had an office in Europe for a little more than a year. Watch the EFF Europe Webpage to keep an eye on EU and European Parliament related developments.

Finally, an object lesson in the collatoral damage caused by insufficiently tightly targeted restrictions. The EFF "Deeplinks" Blog has a post showing how a (laudable in my view) attempt to restrict child pornography on Usenet by closing down 88 groups, is resulting in some cases in the unnecessary closing of a total of 19,000 groups:
Attorney General Cuomo has pressured these companies into censoring enormous amounts of First Amendment-protected material after an investigation found 88 groups containing child pornography, or 0.5% of the active discussion groups in the alt.* hierarchy. Verizon and Sprint are taking down one gigantic subset of groups, the very popular alt.* hierarchy, AT&T will block all alt.binaries.* groups, while Time Warner Cable and AOL are shutting down their Usenet service entirely.
Yes it needs to be done, but that approach will lose the support of a lot of people.

And finally, China has finally blocked The Onion Router (read it to find out what that is), despite the promises for more openness in the year of the " Potemkin " Olympics.

And the BBC iPM programme has been doing some excellent work - they have recently covered the Lambeth story above, and also a story about the new Communications Data Act. They did a brief roundup (MP3 file) on 21st July.

Wrapping Up

OK. Enough. I've only covered half of the Blogpower blogs, and I'll do another roundup before long based on the other half.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Get Listed In The 2008-9 Blogging Guide

Cross-posted from Question That

For political bloggers, particularly those based in the UK

Iain Dale is looking for blogs to be listed in the 2008-9 Guide to Political Blogging, which will be published in September by Total Politics in association with APCO Worldwide.

If you have a blog and it isn't listed here, or it is but it is in the wrong category (see below - some libertarian blogs are under 'Conservative', for example), leave a comment here...

Conservative blogs; Green blogs; Labour blogs; Left-wing blogs; Lib Dem blogs; Libertarian blogs; Non-aligned blogs; Plaid Cymru blogs; Right-wing blogs; SNP blogs; UKIP blogs.

Also, separately, The Witangemot Club (campaign for an English parliament) has opened the voting for its annual blog awards this week. Vote here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Blogpower Roundup - Ian_QT

As Blogpower's newest member, I am only too happy to host the 2nd in what I hope will be a long-running series of weekly Blogpower Roundups.

Because Blogpower encompasses a wide variety of types of blogs, I have divided this roundup into 3 loose categories: Politics, Humour, and Miscellaneous.

Starting with Politics...

If I have the capacity to nominate a 'Post of the Week', then I hand the virtual golden statue to CityUnslicker of Capitalists@Work, for his summarization of the state in which the UK economy finds itself after just over 12 months of "Brown-out".

Brown, of course, doesn't see it quite like that - apparently us consumers are to blame (Critical Faculty Dojo)! On a related issue, Grendel is justified in telling Brown to get stuffed. Wolfie at Two Wolves really gets across quite how ridiculous Brown's paternalism is - and who the real culprits behind the 'food crisis' are.

Across the Atlantic, a 'food crisis' of a rather different type. An Insomniac highlights the absurdity of 'Wafergate' and the non-existent 'right not to be offended' that a certain type of religion-adherents can't get enough of exercising.

The 'Big Brother By-election' (Guthrum) in Haltemprice & Howden came and went this week. Was David Davis a fool or a hero for calling it (Tom Paine)? Were the Green party justified in claiming their second place (with under 8% of the vote) was a success (Norfolk Blogger)? Was the £200,000 spent a waste of public money, or relatively trivial (The Thunder Dragon, Matt Wardman)?

Another sort of liberty - that of the blogger: Harry's Place was sued by the British Muslim Initiative this week (Pub Philosopher, among others). My politics are a long way from those of HP, but this is one blog that needs defending at present. In Wales, a threat to online free speech of a different type as sacked civil servant blogger Christopher Glamorganshire takes his case to tribunal (Miss Wagstaff Presents).

The Tin Drummer ladles on the irony in his approach to a worrying story that belongs in the realm of satire, as does Benedict of A Conservative's Blog over the astounding tale of the confessing murderer who was sent to the back of the queue in a South London police station. Paulie (Never Trust a Hippy) wonders why the Irish were asked such a stupid question on June 12th.

At Cynical Chatter, The Morning Star chronicles his battle with depression, here describing the associated feelings of lowered self-esteem. Calum Carr campaigns for Mental Health For All at his blog pseudonymously, however he and his wife were named in an article published in the Edinburgh Evening News in which he details their struggle to get help from the NHS.

In London, Heather Yaxley of Greenbanana looks at the Porsche/GLA congestion charge controversy from a PR point of view. In Iran, Gracchii (Westminster Wisdom) gives a political view of 'Persepolis'. Finally, Bearwatch speculates on Zimbabwe.


Some politics/humour cross-over to start with: Letters From A Tory is being crippled by Royal Mail cutbacks!

More satire from The Fake Consultant: All Suspicious Persons Will Be Monitored! and from Adelaide Green Porridge Cafe who asks if Scottish people are sick of being made fun of?

I know, I know, we shouldn't feed trolls. But sometimes it is just irresistible. Dirty European Socialist has pushed all the right buttons by starting a one-man 'Boycott The Tory Blogs!' campaign. Andrew Allison and Guthrum take the piss.

Apparently the search term that leads more people to Harry's Place than any other is 'roaring fork peace coalition adam holland'. No, I'm not too sure about that either. Split your sides with plenty more where that came from at The Wardman Wire.

Perhaps not to everyone's taste, but Theo Spark's camel-toe video (definitely NSFW) find made me grin, as did this photo of a very pointless 'special offer'.

The Poor Mouth marks the start of the Scilly season with a rather ill-thought-out job advert.


There's been some stupendous photography showcased on Blogpower's blogs this week. DeeJay of Age Is All In The Mind got this post off to a great start with their safari photos from Tanzania, one of which illustrates this round-up.

Finding Life Hard has been holidaying in France, Sally In Norfolk has been Sally In Ireland this week, while Canadian JMB at Nobody Important has been a tourist in her own country, taking some lovely photos on a family day out in Steveston, British Columbia.

Closer to home, MJW at Observations From The Hillside has a review of the Ealing Beer Festival.

Onto food & drink: Coffee blog Cafe Grendel has a cafe review from Perth, WA with photos. To make something to eat with our coffee, we have tempting recipes from Chervil at Green Living - St Martin's Bread; and Sicily Scene - Pan Bagna.

Back in front of the keyboard again, Crushed By Ingsoc envisions his Internet Eden. Bob Piper has an overview of the main players in the UK political blogging scene from a left-blogging perspective. At Question That, I get down to the nuts & bolts of social bookmarking tools as I finally move into 2008 in the way I save pages for later reference.

Finally, Tuscan Tony has a test for you all. No sneaky peeking at the answers!

Non-Blogpower Blogs:

A few highlights of the week from outside the Blogpower community:

  • Let Them Eat Bighand Thornyhead! The day after Gordon Brown exhorts us to cut down on food waste, take a look at the feast he is sitting down to (via Guido Fawkes)

  • Chris Dillow on the uselessness of aggregate statistics when talking about violent crime rates.

  • A Very British Dude on why he is in favour of direct democracy.

  • Runaway leader of my personal 'best new blogger award' nominations, Leg-Iron of Underdogs Bite Upwards, on why photo-bloggers had better watch out. From the same blog, some rare praise for David Cameron.

  • What if somehow New Labour were to win the next election? Old Holborn at LPUK blog is drooling in anticipation. No, really.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Blogpower Roundup Peace Love and Goodwill Edition

In the spirit of moving forward, I have decided to author a regular roundup of Blogpower Posts that have caught my eye. Please go and take a look for yourself.

First up Ellee Seymour worries about the cost of groceries. Not the expensive stuff, but some of the loss leaders that the supermarkets are trying out.

The days of cheap food have gone. Or have they? Tesco and Asda are waging a price war to entice shoppers, with Asda already selling ten staple items, including bread, eggs and butter, for only 50p from today.

And what kind of a life can a 2 pound chicken have? Answers on the back of a savings coupon to this blog. And Happy Birthday Ellee.

Chervil always has some good sustainable ideas and her latest is the no dig garden. I built one of those at our last house, and unfortunately it still involves spades.

Ruthie has had it with snarky bloggers. Surely not us Ruthie?

Too many online discussions are marked by hatred, ignorance, and a dogmatic us-versus them mentality. The false bravado of anonymity only throws fuel on the fire.

Obviously the Internet can be a useful tool for the news media— the ease of fact-checking, the ability of bloggers and individuals to weigh in quickly on important issues, the instantaneous dispersement of news to the masses.

But when it comes to the consumption and discussion of hard news, I'll take a newspaper I can hold in my hand and an earnest face-to-face debate any day over the split-second snarkiness of the virtual world.

Very topical for Blogpower actually. Pass the Newspaper?

Make sure you don't piss of this blogger? I wonder how close that is to Theo's Blog Central Control Tower?

Matt Wardmann on the other hand suggests that we just need to take time out.

It’s incredibly hard to withdraw. A 24/7 society no longer has natural space for slowing down and silence. One counsellor, dealing with inmates in a young offenders institute, discovered that many of the young people were coming to her worried by the voices they could hear in their heads. She realised that, disconnected for the first time from a constant world of noise, it was the first time they’d been able to hear their own thoughts.

Pub Philosopher on the other hand highlights how bloggers really made a difference in China.

Kizzie brings a human face to the tragedy that is Zimbabwe. Warning, very confronting post.

Perhaps a trip to Ladakh would help to sooth the soul. The Conscious Earth wraps up his trip to this part of the world with some fantastic photographs.

Tuscan Tony sympathises with the police in Wales when facing crank calls. I wonder if they came on a bicycle and did they have mandatory UFO identification training?

Welshcakes on the other hand wishes her water supply was a bit more rationale. I can sympathise, living in water challenged South Australia. When I lived in the Philippines however, we had two hours of non potable water a day first thing in the morning. If you didn't catch it then it was a half mile walk to get more in the evening. I developed a taste for Coke in the morning and San Miguel in the evening. At least they were potable.

Speaking of utilities, Wolfie looks back at enthusiastic American promotion of Nuclear Power in Iran. OK it was before the Mullahs. Sort of similar to the US backflips in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Following up on this, Jams O'Donnell focuses on the first draft of the US invasion plan for Iran I can say that I have actually watched this movie with the kids. Even they were incredulous.

Tom Paine considers the role of books in his life over a Moscow lunch.

I glance at my watch. I gaze at the dust-jacket, irritated. A life measured in books. Since childhood, an unbroken hiss of author noise muffling my own thoughts. Books measured by the time they linger. This one was too good; too fast. The world is loud and annoyingly clear without the author’s hiss. I listen.

Grendel has useful advice for those like me who are on Scout Group Committees. I just joined last month. I have been allocated the needed task of Quartermaster. Grendel will be fundraising, which as he observes is an important role for groups like this. I am sure he can put his real life skills to work there.

Ian Grey, recently departed from Blogpower has thoughts on other things.

Ian, one of the founder members of Blogpower has contributed a lot to the organisation taking on many roles, most recently one of the administrators during a very tumultuous time. We wish him well in his new friend of Blogpower role.

And that is all I have time for today. If you are interested in doing a roundup for whatever reason or focus that you are interested in that incorporates a Blogpower focus, then just let me know and we will set you up with a login.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

New Member ------ Question That

It gives me great pleasure to welcome Ian_QT, of Question That, as our newest member of Blogpower. I know he has some links already to members of this group but if you are not familiar with his site please go over and explore and introduce yourself in the comment section.

His site has now been added to the blogroll and I am sure he will be displaying it along with the BP banner very shortly, as a fully fledged member. Could anyone displaying the html BP blogroll please make this addition to it?

As a member of the Libertarian Party in real life, I wonder if Ian would like to join the chapter of the UK Libertarian Party in Second Life, recently formed by fellow Blogpower member Tom Paine and Bag.