The former GOP House leader has a new blog - liberals need not apply. Plus, Time magazine hails 2006 as the the year of "user-generated content." And, does Google make a good spy?
Rep. Tom DeLay, former House majority leader, has entered the blogosphere. And liberal bloggers are not rolling out the cyber welcome mat.
Calling himself a "rookie blogger," DeLay's site is a forum for his new organization, GAIN (Grassroots, Action, and Information Network). He writes on the blog that "the importance of the blogosphere in shaping and motivating the current conservative movement is unquestionable- not only has it served as an important tool in breaking through the liberal MSM clutter but it has helped to keep our elected officials true to principle."
While many of the posts are not actually by "Tom" himself — he said on Hardball that the ideas were his — he does weigh in occasionally. Last Saturday, for example, he wrote about the Iraq Study Group's report, or as he calls it, "The Way Backward—A Cynical Strategy for Surrender."
"And here I thought DeLay couldn't get anymore embarrassing. Once again, he's exceeded my expectations," Steve Benen blogs at The Carpetbagger Report.
DeLay was quick to anticipate the outspoken ways of bloggers. According to USNews.com, the site will have a way to "filter out" those with dissenting views, and according to numerous reports, many negative comments that escaped the filter have already been removed from the site.
James Risser, over at TomDelaydotcom.blogspot.com, claims to have rescued and posted many of those negative comments about DeLay.
Many liberal bloggers were amused that DeLay's blog received so many negative comments in the first place. "Folks like DeLay are not exactly down with the reality of democracy in such unadulterated form," a blogger at Blue Meme writes.
"Mr. Delay, welcome to the blogosphere. I hope you can do for the conservative blogosphere what you did for Republicans in Congress," Jon Swift mocked.
And, of course, some bloggers were ready to take a political jab at DeLay. "In spite of its sophomoric polemics and nasty tone, the blog is a jaunty read. But I think its attempt to use witty anti-left banter to try to distract readers from the tragedy of our foreign policy will fall flat," Morra Aarons writes at BlogHer.
Thanks, Time Magazine!
Time magazine's annual "Person of the Year" contest has been chosen and well, "You" took the honor. 2006 was the year of "user-generated content," the magazine hails, much to bloggers' delight.
The magazine describes their choice this way: "It's a story about community and collaboration on a scale never seen before. It's about the cosmic compendium of knowledge Wikipedia and the million-channel people's network YouTube and the online metropolis MySpace. It's about the many wresting power from the few and helping one another for nothing and how that will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes."
The topic was one of the most popular in the blogosphere, and won unabashed praise from bloggers. One blogger, William Beutler, says he suggested the idea back in October when Google acquired YouTube.
"This is awesome. Time is recognizing in a very real way that what happened in the past few years is special and important," John at JJB blog writes. "That because of our new tools and models, power and change are distributed and contributed instead of passed down from above."
Jeff Jarvis says Time was smart to choose more than just one person. "There are many worlds within our world and many leaders in them. So if Time were doing its job properly, it would highlight a million people of the year," he writes at BuzzMachine. "But, of course, it can't. The form doesn't allow it. And the form is what led to massthink. But mass is over. And I see this as Time's admission of that. And so for that, I applaud them."
Many bloggers took Time's choice personally, and posted their would-be acceptance speeches for the award. "The common people have made the Time's Person of The Year!," a blogger at Just Thinkin' adds.
Still, some bloggers question the choice. "Congrats bloggers, you beat Ahmadinejad!," Taylor Owen at OxBlog writes, referring to the Iranian president, a possible runner-up. "Why can't Time pick an unpleasant character as person of the year? Is it because it is released over the holidays? Is it bad for sales?"
"Time magazine is offering their readers an ego trip for Christmas," a blogger at The Flypaper Theory writes, adding that it's "not a bad marketing stunt either."
Gawker also thinks it's a big marketing gimmick. "See, this way they get to roll in YouTube, MySpace, Wikipedia, even Web 2.0 -- anything with a hint of buzz, warranted or not. And since a bunch of Yous use a lot of these tools, we're all meant to be flattered and intrigued by our collective appearance on the cover," they write.
Well, like it or not, it seems to have worked.
If you've ever wanted to know just how U.S. intelligence works, perhaps you don't need to look further than your own computer.
When the State Department recently asked the CIA for names of Iranians who could be involved in their country's alleged nuclear weapons program, the agency refused. So, according to the Washington Post. The United Nations has been using high-frequency hits produced by searching "Iran and nuclear" to determine who deserves a travel ban.
Of course, as anyone who has Googled, well, themselves, knows you have to weed through many sources that turn up. Eventually, the CIA approved a handful of the people derived from the 100-plus that came through Google, according to the Post. European officials told the newspaper their governments did not rely on Google searches but came up with nearly identical lists to the one U.S. officials offered.
The story had many bloggers asking if Google is really the best way for the government to gather intelligence. "Why, pray tell, is the U.S. State Department using Google to determine who should go in the UN draft of sanctions on Iraq by doing Google searches?," Rowan writes at Uncommon Thought Journal. "Nothing against Google in any of this. I think it is an excellent search engine and use it all the time. However, I would think that our government had a more sophisticated and targeted 'tool.'"
"Good work, everyone. There's nothing that says 'intelligence reform' less than relying on Google searches and refusing to share information between organizations," Carolyn O'Hara writes at Foreign Policy's blog.
Some suggest it's a sign of the U.S.' intelligence failings. "No wonder their intel is so far from reality (As we saw the CIA's intel on Saddam's WMD)as all those come from crowdsourcing/public not from real investigation," Kams writes at Bloggism. Doug Mataconis at Below The Beltway agrees, asking, "Shouldn't we have better sources of intelligence?"
Other bloggers are troubled by the notion of the government Googling them. "The thing that scares me most is not that Google has people's net history information (emails, clickstream, calendar, etc) to make ad decisions, but it is that government agencies (both the US and foreign) can utilize the laws of their country (or create ones in certain cases) to access that information," Cyan Bane writes.
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By Melissa McNamara