August 11, 2007

Random Thoughts concerning sexism in the lefty blogosphere:
1. By and large, political bloggers generate 90% of the publicity, but get only 10% of the traffic, in the blogosphere.

2. There is no female blogger, or female-centered blog, on the left that has anywhere near the traffic or the influence of Michelle Malkin, who has two sites in the Technorati 100. Arianna Huffington's blog may be bigger, but the fact that she lends her name to a site does not change the male-dominated world of the lefty blogosphere.

3. Much of the success of the lefty blogosphere in the last election cycle stems from the fact that it was an excellent tool for fundraising, organizing, and publicizing. When the entire government is run by the other side, and the Fourth Estate seems little more than a mouthpiece for the organs of power, an angry, fighting populism is the most effective way to rally the opposition. Bloggers who have the testosterone flowing are more likely going to get traffic and influence debate than bloggers who are more studious and calm in their approach.

4. That sort of attitude occurs more naturally in men than it does in women. Female anger manifests itself in a different way than male anger does; when female bloggers attempt to ape the style of an Atrios or a Kos, they tend to badly misfire, as the John Edwards campaign learned to its regret a few months back. To quote Garance Franke-Ruta, "[I]f you're an angry man you're righteous. If you're an angry woman, you're crazy or a bitch." When the Democrats take over after the 2008 election, that sort of testosterone-laden anger won't be as pivotal, and female bloggers on the left will gain more influence and relevance.

5. While there are a few female bloggers who are ensconced among the Queen Beez of the lefty blogosphere, their influence and importance tend to be a fraction of their patrons at Daily Kos, MyDD or TPM (which, contrary to what Jane Hamsher says, is a blog, and not a direct rival of CNN). Little Green Firedogs, Feministing and Pandagon are popular sites, but tend to be more in the nature of novelty acts than blogs which set the agenda (Ned Lamont got his ass kicked, remember, and Kobe Bryant and the Duke Lacrosse players were ultimately freed).

6. Digby has the best political blog, right or left, in the blogosphere. TalkLeft is the best issue-oriented blog. Period. Neither site is run by a man. There are plenty of good blogs out there that are written by women, even good political blogs. But it's pointless to pretend that the lefty blogosphere isn't afflicted by the same problems as the rest of society, no more than major league baseball or the performing arts, to name two predominantly white, male institutions, are.

August 09, 2007

What we all need when we're down:

Like the Laffer Curve and the West Coast Offense, it was originated on a cocktail napkin !!
Headline of the Day: Of interest to polished pols and those who work the pole....

August 08, 2007

This isn't exactly the Birth of Metal. Something was lost between Idea and Execution:
Tillman's Legacy: I haven't bothered to weigh in on the ongoing feud between certain right wing bloggers and the New Republic, since it was hard to know who to root for, but Josh Marshall hits it right on the head:
Beauchamp makes his charges. The US Army allegedly investigates and finds the highly embarrassing charges to be false. But no information will be released about which of his charges were false, how they were false or how they were determined to be false.

They then punish Beauchamp by preventing him from having any communication with the civilian world. And if that's not enough, an unnamed military source tells the Standard that Beauchamp has undergone a successful self-criticism session and has recanted everything. But an Army spokesman tells TNR that he's not aware of any confession or recantation.

We can at least be thankful that the matter is being handled with such transparency.

Maybe Beauchamp was always a teller of tales. He wouldn't be the first nor even the first to have wormed his way into the pages of The New Republic. But it's hard not to have some suspicion that the Army has put itself in charge of investigating charges which, if true, would be deeply embarrassing to the Army; that it has provided itself a full exoneration through an investigation, the details of which it will not divulge; and it has chosen to use as its exclusive conduit for disseminating information about the case, The Weekly Standard, a publication which can at best be described as a charged partisan in the public controversy about the case.

This hardly inspires much confidence.
Like the Tillman Affair, we made need a Congressional investigation to figure out who's telling the truth. Considering that the Weekly Standard's principal source has been a former gay prostitute, a fact which they failed to disclose, I'm betting on TNR.

August 07, 2007

To no one's surprise, the TV station that employs the "reporter" who's been sleeping with the Mayor has seen its ratings skyrocket. When you consider that Srta. Salinas had already been taken off the air, it cannot be said that Telemundo's credibility has been harmed among the only group that matters: the viewers. [link via HuffPost]

August 06, 2007

This is the sort of legal cause people that inspires people like myself to go to law school....
Prof. Kleiman examines the current fallout from the collapse of the real estate market, and states a rather obvious point, which is that Congress should revisit the 2005 BARF legislation to make it easier for delinquent homeowners to obtain bankruptcy relief. The first place to start would be to modify or annul 11 U.S.C. §1328(f), which forbids filers from obtaining a Chapter 13 discharge if they had received a Chapter 7 discharge in the previous four years (a so-called "Chapter 20"), or another Chapter 13 discharge within the previous two years. Or at least that's what it appears to say; the whole measure seems to have been drafted by the Regent U. Law School after a weekend kegger, and the courts have pretty much thrown their hands into the air trying to figure it out.

Chapter 13s are the preferred alternative for debtors who wish to keep their homes, while paying off the arrearage every month over a 3-5 year period. The standard bankruptcy, under Chapter 7, is geared toward protecting those who are current on secured loans (like houses and cars) but delinquent on unsecured debts (ie., credit cards). Section 1328(f) was designed to thwart those who had defaulted on everything except their mortgage from obtaining bankruptcy relief; a family with high medical debts or huge arrearages on their credit cards could no longer give priority to keeping their home over their unsecured debts, then filing again if their financial difficulties continued to the point that they fell behind on their home. With foreclosures spinning out of control, Congress will have to do something to save the mortgage industry, and the draconian features of the BARF legislation aren't helping.
Three reasons why the attempt by GOP attorneys to redistribute California's electoral votes from a winner-take-all system to one based on the capture of Congressional districts is overblown:

1. The 2008 Presidential election will not, in all likelihood, be that close. The last ten Democratic wins (going back to Wilson) did not require all of California's votes to reach 270; in fact, two of the winners (JFK and Carter) didn't even win California. Close national elections tend to be the exception, 2000 and 2004 aside, rather than the rule, and the massive unpopularity of the President and the Republican brand indicate that the country will see a Democratic landslide next year. As in 1992 and 1996, expect to see the networks call the election for Hillary or Barack before the polls close in California.

2. Passage of the initiative in California in June, 2008 will probably lead to a flood of other initiatives in Republican-leaning states to impose the same law before the November elections. Losses incurred in the Golden State can easily be made up by passing the same law in Texas or Florida. If the Democrats continue to control the nation's state legislatures after 2010, expect to see similar laws get enacted everywhere, along with some intricately gerrymandered districts drawn with an eye to 2012.

3. The Democrats will have to spend money to defeat such an initiative, if it manages to reach the ballot. That's good, especially for Democrats. Any initiative that faces any sort of progressive opposition is usually doomed to fail, and anything that sparks partisan interest by the Democratic Party will lead to more voters being registered and more activity to spur political interest. A higher turnout will mean more voters in November, and possibly a pick-up of several Congressional seats.

August 05, 2007

Making It: This is what happens when one loses the Lean and Hungry Look. A scene from YearlyKos:
Not that anyone didn't know this already on some level, but it really was striking to get the visual of yesterday's gate crashers quite literally mingling with the dread establishment at a cocktail party. The question that nobody seems to know the answer to, though, is whether the revolution ended because the revolutionaries won, or because they sold out? The boring, but probably boring-because-accurate, answer is that it's a little of both.
Won what, exactly?
Now is the winter of our discontent, baby: