Monthly Archives: April 2009

When Is Enough Enough?

A few weeks ago, Bamos, a regular blogger at Daily Kos, posted an entry detailing a “social experiment” he’d conducted on Twitter. During the height of the ARRA legislation debate, when feelings were running strongest, he opened a Twitter account with the user name InTheStimulus.

His intention was to post a series of false “facts” about the stimulus bill and watch the reaction of the conservatives who were following him. His early tweets were fairly plausible but as time went on, they became increasingly outrageous. Judging from his post, his apparent motivation was to illustrate the stupidity of conservatives and he and the people who commented on the post were duly scornful and self-congratulatory. The story came to the attention of some Conservative tweeters and eventually to me, as I was one of the tweeps caught in the sting operation, as I detailed here.

Bamos’ blog post appeared to be the end of InTheStimulus; a search of Twitter returned an error. Bamos, however, was unwilling to drop his game. Rather than deleting the InTheStimulus account, he had simply deleted all the updates and changed his user name to TheAngryRighty. TheAngryRighty differed from InTheStimulus as there seemed to be no real attempt to deceive anyone. The updates were silly and TheAngryRighty was obviously a caricature created by someone with a fairly low opinion of conservatives’ capacity for rational thought.

Eventually TheAngryRighty stopped posting updates. That could and should have been the end of the story, but Bamos resurfaced. While his motive remained the same – to scam conservatives – his tactic was far less benign.

This time, rather than selecting an anonymous persona, Bamos chose to  impersonate GOP Representative Don Young of Alaska. At first, the updates were designed merely to portray Representative Young as a tech-ignorant buffoon but eventually an update was posted that started to generate some buzz.

Just received a memo from the White House: either I sign a loyalty oath to Obama, or "my life will be difficult". Insane. (I won’t!)

Reactions ranges from outrage over the request to dismay at the refusal to sign. In any event, it seemed like a prudent time to call foul. Quite aside from the fact that identity fraud is a crime, there’s no reason to think that Representative Young is anything other than a decent human being who’s chosen a life of public service. He deserves better.

As for Bamos, well, I guess he just doesn’t know when to leave well enough alone. Rather than learn something from his original experiment, he and his readers chose to cling to their prejudices, confident in their own superiority.

Enough, I say.


Filed under Uncategorized

In Which Michael Steele Miraculously Discovers His Spine

Upon news of Senator Arlen Specter’s abandonment of the GOP, Michael Steele had the following to say:

Let’s be honest-Senator Specter didn’t leave the GOP based on principles of any kind. He left to further his personal political interests because he knew that he was going to lose a Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record.

Then, in an e-mail sent yesterday afternoon:

I hope Arlen Specter’s party change outrages you. It should for two reasons:

First–Specter claimed it was philosophical–and pointed his finger of blame at Republicans all over America for his defection to the Democrats. He told us all to go jump in the lake today.

I’m sorry, but I don’t believe a word he said.

Arlen Specter committed a purely political and self-serving act today. He simply believes he has a better chance of saving his political hide and his job as a Democrat. He loves the title of Senator more than he loves the party–and the principles–that elected him and nurtured him.

He goes on:

Facing defeat in Pennsylvania’s 2010 Republican primary due to his left-wing voting record, and an end to his 30 year career in the U.S. Senate, he has peddled his services–and his vote–to the leftist Obama Democrats who aim to remake America with their leftist plan.

As recently as April 9th, Senator Specter said he would run in the Pennsylvania primary next year as a Republican. Why the sudden change of heart? Clearly, this was an act based on political expediency by a craven politician desperate to keep his Washington power base–not the act of a statesman.

This is stronger language than I would have expected from Steele and, frankly, based on some of the bizarre statements he’s made since becoming RNC Chair, I might have expected him to apologize to Specter for making the GOP such a small tent.

So congratulations, Chairman Steele, and here’s to hoping we’ll see more of the new you in the future.


Filed under Michael Steele, Politics

Excuse Me? Twitter Is Fueling Panic?

In a self-serving piece, CNN makes the case that Twitter is fueling unnecessary panic over the swine flu.

The swine flu outbreak is spawning debate about how people get information during health emergencies — especially at a time when news sources are becoming less centralized.

Buzz about swine flu on Twitter is stirring conversations about how people get health news. Some observers say Twitter — a micro-blogging site where users post 140-character messages — has become a hotbed of unnecessary hype and misinformation about the outbreak, which is thought to have claimed more than 100 lives in Mexico.

“This is a good example of why [Twitter is] headed in that wrong direction, because it’s just propagating fear amongst people as opposed to seeking actual solutions or key information,” said Brennon Slattery, a contributing writer for PC World. “The swine flu thing came really at the crux of a media revolution.”

Twitter’s popularity has exploded in recent months, and Slattery said it’s a new development that a wide number of people would turn to the site in search of information during an emergency.

Setting aside fears about swine flu, the reporter, John D. Sutter, leaves no doubts about CNN’s fears, stating that the controversy comes as news sources are becoming less centralized. As their market share continues to drop, any indication that people are turning elsewhere for primary news sources has to be discouraging and must be the reason Sutter chose to set the tone of the story based on Brennon Slattery’s input. Slattery, a writer for PC World, makes the claim that Twitter is propagating fear.

Maybe it’s just me, but a contributing writer for PC World isn’t where I’d turn to determine if a news source – any news source – was fueling panic in matters relating to public health. I might turn to the CDC. Oh! And look what they have to say.

A spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, however, said that the online buzz about swine flu is a good sign. It means people are talking about the issue, and that’s the first step toward learning how to reasonably protect yourself.

“I think it’s generally a useful development, but I would encourage people to look to other sources, especially established, recognized medical authorities,” said Glen Nowak, chief of media relations at the CDC. “It shows that people are engaged and they care and that it’s caught their attention — and those all are good things.”

How about that, the health experts at the CDC say, the online buzz about swine flu is a good sign and it’s generally a useful development. But that’s not really the focus of CNN’s story.

Even so, my sense is that panic may be rising, but, seriously, with congress investigating the outbreak, President Barack Obama requesting $1.5 billion to respond to the outbreak, and the World Health Organization raising the pandemic alert level from three to four (out of six), why blame Twitter for fueling panic?


Filed under Media, Public Health, Swine Flu

You Say Yes, I Say No

But does that mean we can’t respect each other? For some people, the answer, apparently, is “yes.”

I had an exchange on Twitter today with @X* which came about as a result of my declaration that I love Dick Cheney. I do. I can’t help it. I think his treatment by the press has been spectacularly unfair.

Here’s what followed:

@X: wow , I lost so much respect

@itsonlywords: Why, because I like Dick Cheney?

@X: yes, to the rest of the world, the man is a criminal

@itsonlywords: I’m sorry you feel that way.

No response. I couldn’t leave it alone, so I looked around for a stick with which to poke @X.

@itsonlywords: I’m curious. What is it exactly that you don’t like about Dick Cheney?

At this point @X could have responded with a list of reasons he doesn’t like the former VP, along with links to support his position. Or even a list with no backup. Then again, maybe not.

@X: if you have to ask, there is no use discussing it. We live in a different reality and world. Hes a criminal. I hope he rots

I believe in second (and even third and fourth!) chances, so I wasn’t ready to give up just yet.

@itsonlywords: No, seriously. List his crimes, I want to understand your position.

Apparently that question was so offensive that, not only did I not receive a response, @X blocked me. For those of you not familiar with Twitter, blocking a person prevents their updates from appearing to you.

Think about this. @X feels so strongly about Dick Cheney, it causes him to lose respect for another individual, yet when asked he can’t give even one reason why. Instead, he resorts to personal attacks, saying “if you have to ask, there is no use discussing it” (i.e., you’re too stupid to understand) and “we live in a different reality and world” (i.e., you seem to be a little off balance…are you off your meds?); he then repeats the claim that Cheney is a criminal, as though the mere fact of repetition makes it true. He feels so strongly about Dick Cheney that he calls him a criminal and hopes he rots, but can’t list a single crime.

Yet this belief, so passionately held, is apparently so fragile that it can’t withstand even the hint of a challenge. @X could simply have ignored my update about Dick Cheney; it was directed to another person, so no response was required from @X.

I found this exchange to be quite discouraging. I’ve been having great conversations via Twitter with people all across the political spectrum and this is the first time it’s ended badly. Obviously we all hold some opinions that are rooted in something other than fact. My high opinion of Dick Cheney, for example is based on my impression of him after listening to him speak and reading a few things he’s written. It may well be supported by facts, but I wouldn’t be able to cite them. Accordingly, I wouldn’t presume to challenge someone holding an opposing belief.

That a person can hold a belief so passionately with apparently so little factual basis for that belief and act so swiftly and decisively, with so little debate, leaves me without much hope for a return to civility in the public forum.

*@X’s name has been changed to protect his identity. In fairness, the possibility exists that @X could have defended is position with facts but chose not to do so; however it seems unlikely to me that a passionately held belief would not be defended if it were possible to do so.


Filed under Politics

More Corruption In King County

From the Seattle Times on Saturday, April 11:

“An eight-member jury ruled in U.S. District Court in Seattle Wednesday that Roads Division Manager Linda Dougherty and Roads Planning Section Manager Jennifer Lindwall took action against [Ho-Chuan Chen and Hossein Barahimi] in retaliation for their dissent.”

Washington residents will find nothing unusual in yet another tale of corruption in King County, but the rest of the country may be interested as King County Executive, Ron Sims, is on his way to that other Washington to serve in the Obama Administration as the #2 in command of HUD. (Full Article)

The Times article is incredibly sketchy coverage of an important story; to remedy that, Mike Costello has written an excellent piece for his blog, The Squeaky Wheel. Please read this piece and forward the link to readers around the country.

Dory Monson, a local talk show host, also covered the story on his show.

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Filed under KingCounty, Washington

The AP Maintains Their Journalistic Reputation

Hey, writing like this is why they get paid the big bucks while I work for free, right?

Several years ago, a crew member of a Taiwanese fishing boat hijacked for six months was killed by pirates, but no reason was given but it appeared to be an isolated incident, according to Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. No reason was given but it appeared to be an isolated incident, he said.

(Unfortunately, the full article is no longer available.)


Filed under Media

Jesus Conquered The Grave

Everyone needs compassion
A love that’s never failing
Let mercy fall on me,
Everyone needs forgiveness
The kindness of a saviour,
The hope of nations.

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My GOD is mighty to save, He is mighty to save,
Forever, author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as you find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.
I give my life to follow, Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender,
Yes, I surrender

Saviour, He can move the mountains,
My GOD is mighty to save, He is mighty to save,
Forever, author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We’re singing for the glory of the risen King, Jesus,
Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We’re singing for the glory of the risen King.

Saviour, He can move the mountain,
My GOD is mighty to save, He is mighty to save,
Forever, author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave.
Jesus conquered the grave!

You’re my saviour, You can move the mountains,
GOD, You are mighty to save, You are mighty to save,
Forever, author of salvation,
You rose and conquered the grave,
Yes, you conquered the grave.

~Ben Fielding & Ruben Morgan

More Easter posts:

Once, For All

Oh, Mighty Cross


Filed under Christianity

O Mighty Cross

Words and Music by David Baroni, John Chisum

O Mighty Cross Love lifted high
The Lord of Life raised there to die
His Sacrifice on Calvary has made the mighty cross
A tree of life to me

O Mighty Cross what Throne of Grace
He knew no sin yet took my place
His Sacrifice on Calvary has made the mighty cross
A tree of life to me

O Mighty Cross O Christ so pure
Love held Him there such shame endured
His Sacrifice on Calvary has made the mighty cross
A tree of life to me

O Mighty Cross my soul’s release!
The stripes He bore have brought me peace
His Sacrifice on Calvary has made the mighty cross
A tree of life to me

More Easter Posts:

Once, For All

Jesus Conquered the Grave


Filed under Christianity

Matthew 27:27-54

27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.

28And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

29And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

30And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

31And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him.

32And as they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross.

33And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

34They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.

35And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.

36And sitting down they watched him there;

37And set up over his head his accusation written, THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.

38Then were there two thieves crucified with him, one on the right hand, and another on the left.

39And they that passed by reviled him, wagging their heads,

40And saying, Thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest it in three days, save thyself. If thou be the Son of God, come down from the cross.

41Likewise also the chief priests mocking him, with the scribes and elders, said,

42He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

43He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

44The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

45Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour.

46And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

47Some of them that stood there, when they heard that, said, This man calleth for Elias.

48And straightway one of them ran, and took a spunge, and filled it with vinegar, and put it on a reed, and gave him to drink.

49The rest said, Let be, let us see whether Elias will come to save him.

50Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

54Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.

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Filed under Christianity

So Much For Multi-Tasking

Way to brush off a hostage crisis.

I’m sure Captain Phillips’ family is touched by the high level of concern demonstrated in this video and the President’s previous statements on this subject.

Oh, wait…there aren’t any previous statements. Just sayin’.


Filed under Barack Obama