Re: The B-List Is Closed

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I think Laura's point about niche blogs is important too. A new, small, general-interest blog has very little chance of getting noticed, but a new, small blog on an obscure subject is likely to get a lot of attention from folks interested in that subject, and if something happens to bring that subject more attention than usual, the niche blog will be in a position to gain a higher profile.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 10:55 AM
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2004 ain't no early days of blogging. 1999, more like.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:02 AM
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I was thinking of it as an end of an era. Blogs got bigger, or different, or something, in the 9/11-through-early-Iraq-War period, and that's the early era I was thinking of drawing to a close in 2004 or so.

If you wanted to call the pre-2001 period the real 'early days', you'd be righter than I was in the post.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:05 AM
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The general point stands, of course, and 2002-2004 is a perfectly reasonable place to date the early period of political/policy blogging. I'm just a scrooge on the conflation of weblogs in general with politics blogs.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:06 AM
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And I just clicked through to your blog! Snarky fox cubs! Congratulations!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:08 AM
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Justin Hall was doing links.net in 1994; Jorn Barger was doing Robot Wisdom (which I'd personally award the "first blog" prize) in 1995. Rebecca Blood, Girlhacker, Kottke and the original Blogger.com crew, LiveJournal, and Diaryland were all around by 1999.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:09 AM
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means that stuff here gets read by at least some large circulation bloggers

Like the time Delong and Setser had that big debate about hobo consultants and their implications for the transportation economy. Stanley has Ogged to thank for that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:11 AM
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I will put down the exclamation points now.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:13 AM
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This reminds me of when at UnfoggeDConII I mentioned to Saiselgy something he'd linked to on my (basically defunct) blog back in '02. "Oh yeah, [full name], I remember [full name], what ever happened to you?"


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:14 AM
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7: That was the exact moment I knew my shark had blogged the jump.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:15 AM
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5: Thanks! Only one cub in the works so far, which is just fine by me. Every time a medical professional looks at my chart and says, just checking, "[X] weeks along, one baby?" I say "Yes" and think "YAY."


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:17 AM
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"I know who the murderer is, Kevin blogged."


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:17 AM
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5: Ditto click-through and ditto congrats! What happy news.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:18 AM
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Congratulations, foxtail! That looks like an awesome fermentation crock. (But really, congratulations. Due date?)


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:18 AM
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If I had known in 2004 that it was my last chance to be a somewhat-known blogger, I might have tried harder.

(It's amusing how, to many physicists, blogging seems to be something they think has become popular in the last two years. I expect this trend of specialized topical blogs will keep growing for a while.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:19 AM
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As blogging has exploded, the older generalist blogs have formed a niche community with more direct connections to the MSM and policv establishment, and less interest in either other generalist blogs or different niches. This is to be expected.

I don't know how or what to think of these new networks and communities. Kotsko, for instance, who seldom comments here anymore, still maintains his generalist blog, but I am more interested in his Christian Leftist ? blog. Kotsko, at least for me, connects to the Left Marxian blogosphere, of which This is a long-standing example. And then there are the older left Marxists, like Lenin, Estes, Proyect. But I am not sure how much the three nets in this paragraph are aware of or link to each other. I certainly wouldn't expect the "big blogosphere" to read or link them.

And then there are the film blogospheres.

Look, when cable became common, the big 3-5 networks lost market share. When the Web came of age, the newspapers died. It isn't that the blogosphere is dying, the blogosphere is becoming unimaginably and incomprehensibly huge. If we stopped linking to the top three Iraqi blogs, it is in part because there are now 5000.

How do we maintain a macroblogosphere amidst such proliferation? I don't think we can.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:20 AM
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5: Woo-hoo!


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:24 AM
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2004 was like the high-middle era of blogging, when it suddenly went mainstream and a ton of major media started quoting bloggers quite randomly, with no attention to the validity or history of the source. I say this as someone who started blogging that year and then got quoted in some newspapers and MSM blogs and promptly stopped writing about anything anyone who doesn't already know me might be interested in.

I think before and after that period, mostly big-name established blog people get "picked up" by the MSM. But I could be wrong.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:25 AM
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14 - Late February.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:26 AM
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12 buries the lede.

The dame had balls, you had to give her that, and a Jetta.

Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:26 AM
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Personally, I've taken to reading only the organic hand-kneaded artisanal blogs.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:27 AM
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I edited the post to reflect foxtail's accurate point.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:29 AM
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Look, I don't know if the original motivation of Drum, Yggles, Klein was to use blogging to get into the MSM/policy establishment, and use their readers and 'b' blogs as a way to attract attention. And I don't know that the policy establishment (De Long?) started out wanting to absorb, limit, and co-opt that part of the blogosphere. But the smaller blogs imagining themselves as players of some kind is like the boutique entrepenurial(?) software writers and desktop builders of the 70s and 80s holding their own and thriving against Microsoft & Dell.

Wasn't. gonna. happen.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:29 AM
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||
Something smells terrible in my living room. All of a sudden, starting this morning. Kind of like rancid brussels sprouts, or maybe a dead mouse. I'm not sure. I spent the morning trying to pinpoint the source, and I can't. It is very unpleasant, and I have work to do!
|>


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:34 AM
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16 - I think Bob is entirely right; the fact that one could, if one wanted to, read probably two dozen counter-insurgency blogs is something newish. I'm sure the list of film blogs Bob and I read is almost entirely distinct*, despite considerable overlap in the oldey-timey movies we watch. There's always been a little of this with programmer blogs -- LISP blogs and Perl blogs and Python blogs and Ruby blogs and Java blogs -- but everything gets nichier and nichier.

* I'm guessing we both read Self-Proclaimed Siren and Lance Mannion.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:34 AM
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23: Microsoft, Apple, and HP were boutique, entrepreneurial computer companies of the 70s and 80s, no?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:35 AM
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Congrats RFTS and SO!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:36 AM
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It is a nice fermentation crock. We just pulled that first batch of pickles and packed them into jars yesterday. Very deli-flavored.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:36 AM
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23: Boutique software shops did hold their own, and in fact made up, and make up, the majority of the industry. Only the ones writing word processors or a few dozen other high-market-share apps were ever in direct competition with the big companies.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:39 AM
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24: This happened to me!!! Just today! A horrible rotting garbage smell that was ultimately traced back to a broken-down FreshDirect box that had a bunch of scallions hidden under a flap. They had liquefied. Ew.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:42 AM
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I don't know what kind of stretched pregnancy analogy is at work in 28, but congratulations nonetheless.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:42 AM
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26:Three among many. And the ways those three achieved hegemony has a direct relation the short history of the big blogosphere.

Too bad analogies are banned or I would explain everything.

(I really want to spend a lot of time on the Very Public Sociologist's synthesis of Marx and Foucault, linked above. There's the totality.)


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:44 AM
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And later you can use it for a swaddling crock! Congratulations!


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:48 AM
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Very exciting foxnews (that's a small F).

I primarily read blogs of people I care about as human beings, and maybe a post or two a day of the best local political blogs. This is a substantial change from 2004-06. I presume that my habits in this area, like nearly everything else about me, is utterly conventional.

If there was a good professional blog, I might read it, but the people who write in my field are, generally, not worthy of any attention at all. (I'd like to be convinced otherwise: LB, Di, others of the UBA, is there anything out there worth the value of a pixel?)


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:49 AM
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25:I read Siren and Bordwell and kinda randomly work off their blogrolls and links. IMDB, DVD Verdict, a guy who is blogging the Criterion collection, Sense of Cinema.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:52 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 11:52 AM
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To be fair, before 9/11, blogging was an entirely worthless activity.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:02 PM
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... fairly small-readership blog like Unfogged ...

So what is the readership of Unfogged?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:02 PM
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pre-2003: This weird thing.
2003: just before there was money in it.
2004: Campaign!

While Laura's an interesting writer with a lot of neat policy stuff to say, if she'd started blogging last year, none of the big blogs would have noticed that post.

Well, when a 'new' medium comes up in electronic land, usually there a few minor players, and then somebody stakes out a position and then people start accumulating. After a coupla years of that, suddenly normal people start moving in, and then some media types start setting up shop and trying to transfer their cachet in some other area into the new area. Then the triumphal waves hits (yeah, right) and then everybody piles on. Of course, well before then, Official Persons Are Taking Notice and policing the no-go areas, which has the side effect of strangling the movement of the hoi polloi from outside to inside. Then everyone starts talking like they were on TV, so it's echo chamber city. That's the usual pattern.

This post is an example of the 'now dying period' as the cachet of influence falls away because 'everyone' is setting themselves up in some new medium. ('Nobody goes there anymore because it's too crowded.') The interesting thing is that in electronica land, this process occurs very very rapidly, so people can experience the 'death of the medium' before they have actually established themselves by (pardon me) meatspace standards, even though they started early.

At any rate, text-based mediums are Not Popular - TV-type mediums are popular, so it's not like blogs were anything but a marginal enterprise anyways.

(Comes back: I see I agree with Bob.)

the mere fact that Ogged was a serious part of the liberal-hawk blog consensus (I know. Weird, isn't it? Try not to think about it too hard.)

Not weird. I was unpopular with Ogged for being a DFH (either H) long before I noticed this blog.

I don't know if there's any way for a goofy, random, fairly small-readership blog like Unfogged to get that sort of attention now without the history

Almost certainly not. If the top dogs are saying what the money people want to hear, then the only way for someone else to get in the door is to say something the money do not want to hear. Hell, half the interaction between other media and blogs is about keeping things the money people do not wish to hear out of the way, where it can't be seen.

I should insert some ecological comparison between blogs and the interaction of weeds and trees after a forest fire, but it seems too obvious, and it's Sunday anyways.

max
['Evolution in action.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:06 PM
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Some sweetness from Al Franken ...via Digby

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Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:08 PM
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Max, how did Ogged know you before you came over here?


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:11 PM
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My co-bloggers and I are currently in a long-running experiment to see what it will take to get all of the A-listers to, at long last, stop reading our blog.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:14 PM
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Yeah, whereas I read /Film, Siren, Mannion, Phil Nugent, Mark Evanier (to the extent he counts as a film blogger), and some of the Stomp Tokyo people. And Jon Rosenbaum, who doesn't really count as a film blogger, since his blog is mostly reprints of his 20+ years of reviews and essays. There's not really a central core to the filmblogging world now, and I'm pretty sure there never was (to the extent that something like MWO or Instapundit was a central political blog or Slashdot was a central nerd blog).

That's the case for a lot of these things -- maybe gadgetblogging is an exception, but I'm not sure that there's a single cluster for most genres of blogs, and that kind of makes sense. I can't imagine Ree Drummond, Heather Armstrong, Mimi Smartypants, and Mindy Roberts' fan bases overlapping all that much (well, maybe Dooce and Mimi Smartypants), despite the fact that they're all writing mommyblogs -- they're writers. It'd be like presuming that enjoying Didion's The White Album means you'll love Chuck Klosterman.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:17 PM
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If I had known in 2004 that it was my last chance to be a somewhat-known blogger, I might have tried harder.

Same here, maybe. I turned down an invite to a group blog back then and headed off to obscurity (which is what I wanted at the time: accepting the invite = real name).


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:17 PM
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and some of the Stomp Tokyo people

Whoah. I haven't looked at them in probably close to a decade. I used to read the Bad Movie Report, but then he disappeared and/or had horribly depressing health problems and basically it stopped being worth it to check.

This was before RSS; I guess I could try again.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:19 PM
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Boy, I can sure fucking bloviate about this.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:20 PM
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True fact: Al Gore invented blogging, and particularly the word "bloviate".


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:24 PM
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the mere fact that Ogged was a serious part of the liberal-hawk blog consensus

I think I tried to read the blog a couple of times near the beginning of the war (maybe got linked through John & Belle?) but was too upset/frustrated to stay.

It's funny, though; I hadn't completely realized he had any kind of higher profile than any other schmoe at the time. Of course, I have a sense-memory of a tidal wave of pro-war energy, which is maybe not entirely true, but feels close. It feels like most of my antiwar activity was offline; I sure wasn't reading a lot of antiwar anybodies, except if you count the Meeting newsletter.

Something smells terrible in my living room.

Are you sure it's in the room, and not, say, a dead rodent in the walls?

I should insert some ecological comparison between blogs and the interaction of weeds and trees after a forest fire, but it seems too obvious analogies are banned. (Still: Mushrooms!)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:25 PM
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43: Bringing up Ree Drummond made me consider food blogging; it does seem to me that there is significant overlap there between most of the major bloggers' fan bases. (Though I am sure there are exceptions, and Drummond might actually be one of them.)


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:26 PM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:27 PM
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Did anyone else get here through Invisible Adjunct? I only read the war politics posts when I went through the archives.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:28 PM
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Did anyone else get here through Invisible Adjunct?

I should have; I read IA a lot when I was thinking about and applying to grad school, but never managed to make it here.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:30 PM
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48- it doesn't seem to be worse near vents. And I would expect the cats to be acting crazier if there were a dead thing, but cats are unpredictable.


Posted by: Cecily | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:32 PM
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can't imagine Ree Drummond, Heather Armstrong, Mimi Smartypants, and Mindy Roberts' fan bases overlapping all that much

I think you'd be surprised at the degree to which these particular fan bases do, in fact, overlap -- Mimi Smartypants maybe excepted because I suspect many of her readers wish she'd never mention her kid at all. But there is, I'm sure, a big ravine in there somewhere, between the mommyblog universe filled with abbreviations like DD and DS, and the universe that features more liberal use of "fuck" and discussion of things other than parenthood and how uplifting it is.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:32 PM
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When I worked at a place with an awful and growing smell, it was hard to pinpoint where the smell was worse, but it was eventually revealed that the people in the upstairs office had not told anyone they'd called in an exterminator so no one had been expecting dead rodents in the walls.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:35 PM
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52: And yet you still applied.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:36 PM
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filled with abbreviations like DD and DS

Hm. Dirty Diaper. Diaper Service?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:37 PM
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43: Bringing up Ree Drummond made me consider food blogging; it does seem to me that there is significant overlap there between most of the major bloggers' fan bases.

Snark and I were just discussing this! I agree, though there are probably interesting divides between the fan bases for the major figures in the following rough categories:

- From-scratch home cooking (plus blogs with a similar focus on baking)
- Decorating-oriented baking (cake pops!)
- Special needs cooking (gluten-free, South Beach, perhaps to a lesser extent vegan)
- Focus on restaurants
- Other?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:37 PM
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56: I know. At least I was well-informed.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:37 PM
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Hm. Dirty Diaper. Diaper Service?

"Darling Daughter" and "Darling Son," I think.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:37 PM
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Oh look, I too can bloviate!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:38 PM
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58: I think there is probably some divide between "glorying in the unhealthiness of it all" vs. "minimize calories, maximize fiber" - but I'm not not sure exactly how to divide that line.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:39 PM
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divide demarcate that line


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:40 PM
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I honestly don't remember how I got here, but probably through Yggles, armsmasher, and Becks, so you can ban them.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:40 PM
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61: You make Al Gore proud.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:40 PM
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On the original topic, I got the impression that some of the A/B list politics bloggers started out as commenters on then-existing A/B list blogs and then moved on to their own. I guess I don't read comments pretty much anywhere on politics blogs anymore but already a few years ago it seemed like significant back and forth had become something between blogs rather than within them. I'm sure there are exceptions.

Also, the trackback has gone into a serious decline, hasn't it? I think that's another way people used to get noticed, but spammers have mostly killed it.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:44 PM
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OT: Does the use of Nyquil increase the duration of a flu?


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:49 PM
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I think I started coming here when Ogged was guesting at Drum's joint. Or possibly through BitchPhd. I can't quite remember.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:50 PM
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60 is correct. There is a gigantic gulf between mommyblogs and the politics blogs, a fact that I discovered when my wife learned about LOLcats a full year after I did.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:50 PM
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51: Labs met Ogged through Invisible Adjunct (who, if she were still blogging under that name, would also almost certainly be in that "surprisingly influential for the amount of readership" category), and I'm sure other people came here through IA too.

38: Got me, I never really got into figuring out how to monitor who or how many people were reading. (I'm sure it's not hard, it just never seemed worth the trouble.) I remember someone saying 700 unique readers a day a couple of years ago, which seemed like a reasonable ratio to the number of commenters, and we've probably fallen off some since then.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:51 PM
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I think the post misses an important point. While the B-list of blogs may not have changed much there has been considerable turnover in the people posting on B-list group blogs. So if you want to break into the B-list you don't necessarily have to start your own blog.

In this regard I don't think Unfogged has done a particularly good job of bringing in new blood and is slowly dying as readers drift away.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:52 PM
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66: Right -- I remember Digby was a commenter on Atrios, who got talked into blogging on her own (I believe Emerson actually talked her into it.) And while I'm not coming up with other examples, barring everyone who's actively blogging here including me, I think there are a bunch more.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:54 PM
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71: What, we don't get to have a late, decadent period? Enjoy the baroque interpersonal dynamics and quitcher bitching.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:55 PM
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And Lauren may take comfort in that I think the 'A' list has their prominence based on having been taken up by the dying MSM, which values generalists, and those 'a' list bloggers days at the very pinnacle of the Interwebs will be few. But of course the MSM is slow and stupid, and not seeing the massive move to niches, communities, and experts. I do think our 'a' list friends realized this long ago, and have tried to specialize and gain expertise.

I do appreciate the early bloggers for decredentialling expertise and authority at the very beginning of the leap in connectivity.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:56 PM
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And while I'm not coming up with other examples, barring everyone who's actively blogging here including me, I think there are a bunch more would unconscionably increase the number of lawyers.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:57 PM
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41: Max, how did Ogged know you before you came over here?

Comment sections of other blogs. Yggles and the like. I tend to get myself in trouble a lot. With the mouth, that is. Certainly, the FBI did not like me any too much.

48: analogies are banned.

Oh, rules, yeah, the really important ones. Yeah, totally paying attention.

(Still: Mushrooms!)

Mushrooms, though, are a late phase of devol... Oh. Pretty flowers.

62: "glorying in the unhealthiness of it all" vs. "minimize calories, maximize fiber"

The Red/Blue divide writ large.

64: I honestly don't remember how I got here

I remember flaming Yggles in 2002, and I am sure I wandered by here on a number of occasions, but it's all B's fault and she's banned.

max
['Do you know how rarely I get banned?']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:57 PM
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73: The quicheier, the better.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:57 PM
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I can't remember how I found this place. Maybe back in the day one of my cob-loggers put it on our blogroll. Or maybe it was via Crooked Timber or something of that ilk. I've always had a fuzzy sense of relative readership of different blogs (just as with music -- I have to remind myself that zillions of people aren't hearing The New Pornographers on the radio; similarly, it always seemed hard to believe that Volokh was more widely read than CT. Hmm -- does Volokh still exist? Haven't heard it mentioned in ages.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:58 PM
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Enjoy the baroque interpersonal dynamics and quitcher bitching.

This sentence contradicts itself.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 12:58 PM
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What's really killing this blog are people getting their lives in order.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:00 PM
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But 71 does have a point. Back when I was blogging more about policy and politics, I got some links from big blogs, which I enjoyed the heck out of, being vain like that, and I got them partially because I'm just that awesome a policy and politics blogger, but mostly because I was piggybacking off Ogged's (and Labs. Shouldn't forget Labs. Or Unf, or Bob. Someday, Bob will return, and bring us all Vietnamese sandwiches.) connections as a historic member of the B-list. If I hadn't been at this URL, no one I don't know personally would ever have read a word I wrote.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:01 PM
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Yeah, how do we attract an inpouring of fresh new losers?


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:01 PM
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80: that and the grammatical errors.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:01 PM
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Except for the people who already had their lives in order when they started commenting. I don't know what's up with them, but maybe they'll be the last ones left.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:01 PM
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If I hadn't been at this URL, no one I don't know personally would ever have read a word I wrote.

This is a feeling that I know.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:01 PM
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79: Heh. Indeed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:03 PM
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I started blogging really late, in 2006, and even then I found it not too hard to get linked by general purpose law blogs (back when I blogged about law) and general purpose lit blogs (backed when I blogged about lit) and then found myself over the years gradually morphing from general interest blogging to personal blogging--but because of the early audience, I found an audience that followed me. Now I don't blog at all. I haven't decided yet whether my unannounced vacation will turn into a permanent departure. It's just hard to come up with new things to say, especially when you wonder if anyone cares--there's tons of better, more interesting bloggers out there, and I'm just selfishly holding onto my lingering market share of those readers who read out of habit or because they feel like they know me. I've loved making real connections through the blog, but I grew uncomfortable with sharing so much of my inner life with strangers and trying to come up with new material for them. I am not as insightful as AWB, whom I marvel for continually being so incisive and intimate.

Plus, now that I've finally shaken off the habit of thinking "oooh, maybe this is worth sharing" or "ugh, when will I have an hour to write 2000 words on something", I feel pretty relaxed. I started running again. I cook every day. I am reading short stories by Miranda July today and some articles on organizational culture.

I miss participating in the internet sometimes though. I can't imagine that my upcoming visit to NYC would be half as fun if I wasn't going with my best bloggy friend and meeting up with other bloggers.


Posted by: Belle Lettre | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:10 PM
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If there was a good professional blog, I might read it, but the people who write in my field are, generally, not worthy of any attention at all.

I read Volokh as a legal/politics source of insight into what people I disagree with are thinking, but I'm reading it as politics, not really as law. I shouldn't really admit this, but I've never been able to get up much of an interest in legal theory -- law is the intersection of what legislatures do, and what judges do in relation to it, and neither of those things is all that motivated by theory. Most theory seems to me to be either largely bullshit, or over my head, I'm not sure which.

I'd read a litigation quoditian practice/war-stories blog if I knew of a good one, but I don't think you could ethically write a good one -- too much stuff you shouldn't say publicly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:11 PM
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I discovered Unfogged through Mark Schmitt. Bob was my favorite of the bloggers.

I can't neatly fit Fistful in your narrative.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:13 PM
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You know, I think half the problem is that LB has mellowed out way too much. Find a more stressful job, LB!


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:16 PM
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'Plus, now that I've finally shaken off the habit of thinking "oooh, maybe this is worth sharing" or "ugh, when will I have an hour to write 2000 words on something"'

I only blogged regularly for a year, but it took me three more years to stop doing that, or feeling guilty about not blogging.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:17 PM
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Dsquared also started out as a commenter (mainly at Brad's) before he became a blogger. Though he had a bunch of weird other Internet projects over the years, so he's an atypical example.

I ended up here from Crooked Timber. I followed bob and Emerson here. One day I discovered that they had abandoned me and that I had been left alone in the CT comment section with the trolls.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:19 PM
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None of the four fisful bloggers who comment here found Unfogged through each other, I'm pretty sure.

Volokh still has more readers than CT.

I miss Bob.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:19 PM
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89: Hrm. I think I know Fistful through Crooked Timber, and I think it's been around at least since the period I'm talking about in the post -- am I wrong about the dates? I don't read it all that regularly, because a lot of it seems to be European politics that I don't have the background to follow.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:20 PM
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90: Yeah, my big blogging days were when I had a job that was both very stressful and very undemanding. Now my job is both much less upsetting and requires more actual work and less face-time, so I don't have hours of being stuck at work when I can't go home but am not actually working. I end up working more, and spending more time with my actual family, and writing random stuff less.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:24 PM
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I guess the reason I used to see Volokh come up all the goddamned time was reading Crescat, and the LJ of a highly intelligent but weirdly conservative person I went to high school with. (The latter was -- and remains, but blogs less -- a conservative in the TS Eliot mode, apparently lacking causal contact with world events.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:25 PM
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Vaguely related: I find it remarkable and kind of funny that when Washington Monthly's only blogger got a different URL, most readers stayed with the old URL, and the new bloggers.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:25 PM
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97: they did?

I was super excited when Drum switched, because now he has a full RSS feed.

Well, maybe "super excited" is overstating it. Reasonably pleased, maybe.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:26 PM
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I think so, I checked the respective site meters the first 10 days or so, I guess because I had an inkling it would happen.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:29 PM
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I started blogging with a cob-logger recently, intending it to be a spur to try to produce more publishable writing, reviews and such. It hasn't exactly panned out, but it's new.

I asked my once-off book review editor if I could grab books from the pile even when he didn't have something to assign to me, and he said that they stopped doing book reviews entirely and he wasn't allowed near the pile anymore. Very sad.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:29 PM
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EotAW is fairly new and has maintained quality pretty well, but not at the pace they started out, even with the newer posters contributing. It's just hard to keep up a good pace.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:43 PM
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97: Makes perfect sense to me. Bookmarks and autocomplete are powerful. And whasisname, not-Drum (Steve B-something?) isn't that far off Drum in sensibility. I still read WaMo out of URL-related habit, but Drum as well. (I find Drum such a weird combination with Mother Jones. I like him, but he's so not leftist.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:44 PM
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I have no recollection of Bob, nor indeed any idea when I first started reading Unfogged. I think that I got to be a blogger at Fistful through commenting there; that much would fit part of the narrative. Gradual turnover among the writers at a group blog, along with slack and active periods for individual writers who stay with it further fits the pattern. I think we're firmly in the B list on the American side, given that a few A-list bloggers still seem to read us and that one or another of us can usually get one of the big person's attention when we want to, provided (a) we don't do it all the time, and (b) we actually have something cogent to say when we do.

I think that from the western shores of the Atlantic, Europe qualifies as a niche, but a big and diffuse one.

I have very little idea where we fit within a European blogosphere, or indeed if there is one to fit into. It's a good thing I'm in it for love not money; announcing I had no clue about the competition wouldn't be such a great idea.

74: Laura is an expert on several different things, but that's not all that she writes about.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 1:58 PM
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97, 102: Steve Benen, who I find not quite quirky enough to keep reading. I would check Washington Monthly on Mondays to see what Hilzoy had put up over the weekend, but alas. Drum is an odd fit for Mother Jones, but that incongruity is a good part of what makes the blog interesting for me.

93: Who's the fourth? Claudia?

94: Henry at CT pointed me to Fistful; and the dates are right. Our blog's first post went up on 1 September 2003.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 2:08 PM
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I started blogging in 2006 after having commented here for about a year. I got a fair amount of traffic early on from my connections here, but I never really figured out what I wanted the blog to be and I ended up going through several phases. At this point it's basically a personal blog with infrequent posts and a deliberately low profile and resulting small readership.

At the same time, I shifted my focus to a new blog in an almost entirely untapped niche. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of demand for it at this point, but anyone who is looking for information on the subjects I write about ends up there because there aren't many other options.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 2:11 PM
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97 gets it right. In fact, many people have let the words "Kevin Drum" on their blogroll link to Steve Benen's blog for a couple years now, while changing several other blogs to their new updated URLs.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 2:37 PM
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changing several other blogs to their new updated URLs.

Shhh! If he figures out that this happened, Wolfson will pitch a fit.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 2:57 PM
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Like a lot of other people, I suspect, I first started reading blogs around when they started becoming unavoidable to someone who spent much time wandering about online (sometime in 2001, in my case), then followed the bigger players from 9/11 through the start of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and then the 2004 elections. By that time, I'd grown thoroughly irritated with the sites I started out with (Atrios and dkos, as well as non-blog entities like Salon and Slate) and there was a lot more and better information elsewhere (not to mention more intelligent comment threads). The relative newness of the medium and the specific events that played out over that time went a long way toward defining the blogosphere and its readership; I wonder if professionalism and big-media access would have progressed differently otherwise.

I think I first got here through LGM or CT, started reading regularly after I ditched most of my previous blog reading, and started commenting when I discovered that it would meet my procrastination needs (then, of course, I got to know the many fine people here).


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 2:58 PM
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The fourth one is Charlie. Has our Claudia commented on Unfogged?


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 3:17 PM
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I don't think so. If she has, not enough that I recall her, and that would have to be not often at all -- while it shames me to admit it, I've read very nearly all the comments since sometime in 2005.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 3:27 PM
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I've read very nearly all the comments since sometime in 2005.

Ah. That's why you're one of the few people who seems to know what the hell is going on.

max
['The fish, they grow bigger in the retelling.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 3:36 PM
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(I'd like to be convinced otherwise: LB, Di, others of the UBA, is there anything out there worth the value of a pixel?)

CC: It sounds like you're basically a generalist. There's a HealthLaw Blawg that I've found interesting. Solo practitioners in niche areas who are trying to get business from other law firms seem to do a bit. There are some ERISA blogs.

The medical grand rounds series is weekly and summarizes a whole bunch of submitted posts. People take turns hosting on their blog. A subset of that is Health Wonk Review, and then famous establishment people get read. Charlie Baker, formerly of Harvard Pilgrim, now gubernatorial candidate got read for health stuff as did the blogging CEO of a hospital--particularly one like Paul Levy who really pushes transparency. I don't think that his CIO's blog is as popular.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 3:45 PM
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109, 110: Ah, ok. I only guessed Claudia because I was perfectly stumped, not because I had seen her comment here.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 3:57 PM
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I read deLong who linked to bitchphd. I think that's how I found unfogged.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 3:59 PM
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What's really killing this blog are people getting their lives in order.

I hope that's what it is. I miss Cala, and I hope she's doing well, but she might not be here, because she's having a hard time. I've been meaning to send her an e-mail.

I get yelled at for spending too much time here, so I suppose that that sort of qualifies as getting my life in order.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:03 PM
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The HealthCareBlog used to be awesome, when it was mostly Matt Holt. Now, it's more of an aggregator. He's succesfully launched his own Health 2.0 conference business, so he doesn't blog as much. It was about politics, and he's a good writer, but the aim was always somewhat professional.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:05 PM
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I found this place through blogroll clicking; I believe the route was saiselgy (back when he had a blogroll) -> catherine -> here. I believe I started to get hooked by a post about Ogged asking out a lifeguard over email, and the case of mistaken identity that ensued. I guess you could say I was drawn in because this seemed to be a bunch of smart people who didn't have to be serious and scream about politics all the time—I've always been more interested in this place as a "Society & Culture" page of the blogosphere.

I guess if everyone is getting their life in order I better get mine in order too; I don't want to be Left Behind.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:14 PM
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I would say the decline of Unfogged is related to the economic downturn, except that I think it started quite a bit before then. But perhaps it's been exacerbated. OTOH, I've been commenting more here in the past few weeks since I was fired and am now unemployed.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:22 PM
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That's yucky news, p.a. Sorry.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:25 PM
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Yeah, paranoid androis, I'm sorry. Were you fired, fired or laid off? If the latter, do you think that you could get a decent reference? Ever think of going back to schhol. If I remember correctly, you don't yet have your BA.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:26 PM
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118: Well, shit. Sorry, p.a. That sucks.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:26 PM
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120: Well, it's probably a little of both (laid off, fired). They're giving me good references, but I'm not entirely sure I'm going to stay in the field. I have a bit of savings.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:30 PM
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School is still a possibility, but not something I'm jumping after.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:31 PM
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I gave you pushy advice back at your blog a while ago -- unemployed, with savings, and no responsibilities is a great time to flip through a road atlas and pick anyplace at all you've ever wanted to live.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:35 PM
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I guess you could say I was drawn in because this seemed to be a bunch of smart people who didn't have to be serious and scream about politics all the time--I've always been more interested in this place as a "Society & Culture" page of the blogosphere.

Me too. It's why I avoid the (lately less frequent) politics threads here.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 4:42 PM
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Re: 42: "My co-bloggers and I are currently in a long-running experiment to see what it will take to get all of the A-listers to, at long last, stop reading our blog."

You will fail.


Posted by: Brad DeLong | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 5:10 PM
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PA - know that you're in good company with the rest of us who have met our destiny in this economy. Enjoy the autumn, it's a good time to be outdoors, if your previous gig didn't allow you to do it.


Posted by: mike d | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 5:18 PM
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My coblogger is working diligently to move my old blog up the ranks of the "quirky links" portion of the blogosphere. He'll describe a succesful post as "Kottke-bait." I've pretty much abandoned him to focus on parent-blogging.

I really don't remember how I found Unfogged. I might have to trawl the archives and look for an early post I commented on.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 5:43 PM
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The fourth one is Charlie. Has our Claudia commented on Unfogged?

I know Doug M. reads Unfogged, but I haven't seen him comment. Pretty sure Claudia's never commented here either.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 6:06 PM
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Feh. Also: I'm sorry PA, and I totally agree with LB's advice. Pack it up and go somewhere nice.

max
['Unless, you're already in someplace nice, in which instance hang on, and spend like a true pauper.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 6:31 PM
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126: I take that as a challenge. While I've already crochet-blogged, there are other, more arcane and duller fiber arts.

Since my last (and only) crochet post, I've taken up tatting. Duller, more difficult, and less well adapted to making anything either useful or attractive. And I'm willing to blog about it, if that's what it takes to really drive this sucker off a cliff.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:21 PM
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131: You could alienate everyone except me by Singularity blogging.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:33 PM
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What would that look like -- I start typing faster and faster and then stop forever and am never heard from again?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:35 PM
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Note that the comment Brad was responding to was referring to a blog other than this one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:39 PM
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Just gotta ruin the party for everyone, don't you teo?


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:42 PM
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It's kind of my thing.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:43 PM
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The hoo-hole seems to be back in force, doesn't it? I can no longer find the comment thread in which Tripp bestowed on me my first pseudonym.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:44 PM
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Speaking of which, how long have you been commenting as emdash? And why did I only realize who you were like two days ago?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:48 PM
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And where am I?

And what is this thing I'm wearing?

Are you my nurse?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:49 PM
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Have you tried Bing, the search engine that wants a woman who can get down and bowl?


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:49 PM
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So many questions.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:52 PM
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138.a: For a few weeks, I think, ever since I applied for a job I'm really hoping to get but for which I had better keep a lower public profile.

138.b: Probably because I haven't been commenting all that much.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 7:57 PM
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Makes sense.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:04 PM
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I'm sorry, PA. That super sucks.

I feel mildly defensive about the baroque period of Unfogged, but then I think, "Nobody could possibly have expected me to be a policy wonk when they brought me on. They must have known that what I'm good for is dependable prolificness and self-absorbtion."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:13 PM
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144.2: Dap.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:16 PM
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Speaking of Cala, did she leave for a particular reason (other than having a life, natch)? I kind of miss trolling her.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:21 PM
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I miss Cala, too. i've wondered what became of her. (Living on the air in Cinncinati?)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:22 PM
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Sometimes, I've found only Yahoo has what Bing (But It's Not Google) and Google does not.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:23 PM
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147: She's just abandoned us for more, er, West(ern) climes.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:25 PM
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Further west? What, Hawaii?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:30 PM
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[Catching up on the thread]

I'm sorry, PA. That sucks.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:31 PM
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150: Blame Ari.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:31 PM
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Actually, it did occur to me that opening up to guest posts might bring in some quality political blogging. And speaking of guest posts, maybe this is a good time to throw up the one in the queue.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:46 PM
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As far as search engines go, I'm not sure Cuil - they're still around, amazingly - understands the site: parameter.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 8:48 PM
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148: Yahoo worked much better. I think I found my first Unfogged comment ever, and it seems to be about farts.


Posted by: emdash | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 9:01 PM
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144: Dependable prolificity is not to be underrated in a blogger. Every groups effort needs at least one.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 10:39 PM
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prolificity

I'm pretty sure heebie lives in a pro-choice city.


Posted by: paranoid android | Link to this comment | 09-20-09 10:41 PM
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I think this thread sums up a fair number of the reasons for the mild decline of Unfogged (in quantity terms, even if quality may be harder to judge in retrospect). After all, the OP touches upon how A-list blogs so rarely link back to lesser-known entities anymore. I think I may have gotten here shortly after coming across Ezra Klein or Matt Yglesias, and loving the comments section. When no one links to Unfogged or other lesser-read blogs anymore, they lose that influx of new people and enter a slow decline.

Also, I totally blame most commenters getting other stuff to do during the day. LB got a new job; Apo got a new kid; Labs, Cala, Matt Weiner, 'Smasher, Emerson, Ogged, and several others just sort of floated off (mostly for reasons that I can't remember, if they were ever explained); several other less-prolific commenters here graduated (such as Teo) or got new jobs (this certainly cut down my commenting drastically) or got married (congrats!). It's the natural turnover that'll afflict any community based upon a few dozen clever people with spare time at work.

As for how new commenters come back in to replace the old, who knows. LB's right, though, it is a depressing thing to lose. The major blogs never have any comment sections worth a damn, so it's hard to find anywhere that has a reasonable conversation about politics anymore. My real-life friends tend to have extremely similar views, and there could almost never be a dozen of us or more all in the same place talking, so the internet comment sections provide a pretty unique venue when they get the right mix of distinct viewpoints, reasonable people, and good-faith discourse.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 12:10 AM
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81: (LB) If I hadn't been at this URL, no one I don't know personally would ever have read a word I wrote.

I don't know about that. I remember being delighted when you became a poster here. I'd always enjoyed your comments on ObWi and if you'd started your own blog I would have gone over to read that.

I wonder to what extent reading blogs via RSS feeds has helped to kill off blogrolls as an active resource?


Posted by: emranseo | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 7:46 AM
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Oops.

(Also, I haven't figured out who emdash is. Hints?)


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 7:49 AM
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Also, I haven't figured out who emdash is. Hints?

Three.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:00 AM
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144: I feel mildly defensive about the baroque period of Unfogged,

Oy, you shouldn't -- I completely sounded as if I was harshing on your posting style, which I didn't mean to and would be wildly ungracious of me if I did. You're keeping the place going more than anyone else is right now, with Stanley a close second. It's just a more interpersonal tone than the place had a couple of years back, which is great for the people already here, but maybe less accessible to n00bz.

159: Aw, shucks, thanks. But I still think coming into blogs when I did, I got a heck of a lot more readers here than I'd ever have been likely to starting a blog on my own.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:00 AM
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160: He's got baby twins, which were born before the name change.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:18 AM
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Actually, I've had the feeling I was about the last of the single handed politics blogs for a while; I think BeRube is right in that group blogging is sensible. I think I need a review of strategy...it feels more and more like work, and it's looking like the pay off for the 2003 generation of British bloggers is going to be a Tory government with Blairite stylings. (This is not my beautiful house! This is not my beautiful wife! OH GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?)

And I never have time to invest in the thing - I know the original (Blogger) version of the site looks increasingly first Bush administration, and this bollocks of having a parallel Wordpress version is silly. Plus the geek projects are stacked up waiting for attention.

Also, you mean the Washington Monthly isn't Kevin Drum any more? NO!

The nicheification thing is true; in a sense, all the specialisations have a sort of Haeckel ontology-replicates-phylogeny thing, in that they repeat the history of blogging in general. If you look in the comments at Andrew Exum's blog, it's gone from being obscure to being cool to being hot to being imported into the establishment, and now it's overgrown with trolls and a few stereotype regulars, most of whom are the old gang from Phil Carter's blog back in 2004.

(Phil, of course, is now the guy in charge of not having let all the prisoners go yet.)


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:29 AM
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(Phil, of course, is now the guy in charge of not having let all the prisoners go yet.)

Which leaves me waffling wildly between "That must mean they're working on it as fast as they can, and everything's being done in good faith," and "Fuck, another good guy got coopted." Maddeningly, I can't quite make the first of those make sense.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:34 AM
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I still miss Steven Den Beste

LOL. Imagine my horror when I went into the mobile biz and discovered people from Qualcomm who really were like that.

Meanwhile, hasn't anyone realised what we need? A blogger ethics panel, clearly.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:36 AM
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re: 164

The general tone of this weekend's LD conference has left me even more wracked with despair than I was before. I gave up my half-hearted and intermittently updated blog several years back because I couldn't think of anything to write that wasn't just the word 'FUCK' in 72pt caps.

I don't know how the various non-insane Brit bloggers haven't either gone insane themselves, or been reducing to posting lengthy fantasies of violent rebellion. I'm glad that there are some out there who are still writing stuff I want to read, mind.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:37 AM
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165: that seems like a false dichotomy and a half when you're talking about large government organizations.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:37 AM
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166: yeah, I knew a few people just like den Beste before there were even blogs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:39 AM
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168: Eh, if you throw some qualifiers into the first option ("as fast as they reasonably can", "essentially in good faith") I think it's fair. What's nauseating me about the current policy relating to detainees is that the principles that led to Bush's abuses aren't being forthrightly disavowed. If they'd stand up and say "We're not allowed to hold anyone without due process, barring straightforward prisoners of war being treated as such," I could forgive a whole lot of slow and confused process while they straightened stuff out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:42 AM
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170: well, I mean, I would split the difference between your two poles by saying that there are almost certainly people there working in good faith, but whether they will prevail or whether the process will be coopted by institutional pressures or bad (or at least non-good) actors is an open question, and totally opaque to those of us not working at the DOJ.

Which is orthogonal to what's nauseating you, of course.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:44 AM
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167: That's it - lengthy fantasies of violent rebellion! I'll be 20,000 readers up by next Thursday, or possibly the next Lyrical Terrorist.

Mind you, it is true that the end point of the current political trend will come when they throw an election and nobody comes, so at least it's within the abilities of the great British public to defeat them by sheer apathy.

Actually, I'm mostly fantasising about nonviolent rebellion. Say what you like about teabaggers, but they've succeeded in fighting a delaying action and occupying the media despite being in a really awful position objectively. I really think we ought to be pre-organising for a wave of protest the day after Dave from PR shacks up in Downing St.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:46 AM
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Oh, fair enough -- not everyone working in an organization with an evil policy is themselves a bad person, and it would actually be counterproductive for decent people to withdraw completely from debatably evil areas of government, because then they wouldn't be able to exert any pressure. Carter may be doing absolutely the best he can, regardless of the results. (And he's cute, which gets him some slack. No, wait, that's wrong. It doesn't affect my thinking at all, honest.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:48 AM
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167, 172: British politics, to the extent I understand it at all, which is much, is incredibly despair-producing. The population is politically so much more reasonable than in the US -- the reasonable center isn't terrified of creeping socialism, and the insane right is so much smaller. And yet the elected government is still awful.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:50 AM
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re: 172

My last hope is that some sort of atavistic base hatred of the Tories will make people pay attention and do something when Dave from PR makes policy decisions broadly in the spirit of the policy decisions that have already been made by the shower of thick evil bastards* that have been in charge for the past decade.

However, I'm not holding out that much hope. The last ten years have been utterly shattering. If we manage to slightly slow the terrible slide of the past decade, that'll be something.

* I'm increasingly disinclined to equivocate on this.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 8:58 AM
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It's the parties. It's also the long-term effects of Iraq; everything went into batshit war mode in 2002, and by mid-2003 the Labour party leadership was well aware everyone despised them and therefore wanted to get as many pet ideas through as possible before the Inevitable Doom. In 2005, they got back in by default and because Tony Blair promised to quit if we'd let the rest of the government survive...


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:01 AM
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164:(Phil, of course, is now the guy in charge of not having let all the prisoners go yet.)

No shit? The Intel Dump guy?

Balkin (or was it Lederman), Setser, Carter...this is becoming verrrrry interesting.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:04 AM
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re: 176

Yes. The problem is, the political consensus across all of the three main parties is just .. intolerable. I mean, christ, I'm politically pretty moderate, and I can't listen to anything being said by almost anyone from the main three parties without realising with a sinking feeling that much of what they are saying would have been beyond the pale under the fucking Thatcher administration, never mind an actual decent centre-left administration.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:08 AM
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Well. I was in a group blog; we got some fairly high-profile links (I think Andrew Sullivan, a few times, and some actual big media publication, maybe Time or something). But (a) the entire group basically burned out on blogging about six months ago and (b) I no longer have any particular insight into the blog's main subject (the middle east & Islam in general), and so I barely even bother to look at, never mind post at, my "own" blog any more.

On the other hand, I did get married out of the deal, so that's all good.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:08 AM
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well, except for Lounsbury.

Why are there so many good non-financial bloggers who work in finance, btw? Lounsbury banks in MENA: Dsquared is a broker in London; Jerome from EuroTrib mostly lends money to wind farms.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:12 AM
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177 - Yeah, he quit blogging at the Washington Post to do veteran's outreach stuff for the Obama campaign and is now the asst. secretary for detainee affairs at the DoD.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:21 AM
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L only came back a couple months ago. I think we had back-to-back new month posts with nothing in between; possibly more than once.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:21 AM
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174: I think this is wildly optimistic about what you could expect from British politics. While it is true there are relatively few Bible-crazies, there isn't either any deep constitutional or national tradition that the left appeals to. (Unlike the US, I'd argue). There really isn't anything organised, vibrant and national on the left at all, in the UK, imho, and there hasn't been since the 1980s or earlier.

But I think ttaM forgets just how godawful Thatcher (and Major) were, and how inadequately they were opposed, at least from within politics. e.g. I think it's real progress that we no longer have a government constantly screaming about how evil single mothers and gay people are, and an opposition that tries to avoid replying in case it draws attention to itself.

(summary: what is wrong has been wrong for a long long time, for fairly deep structural reasons.)


Posted by: Abelard | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:34 AM
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170: If they'd stand up and say "We're not allowed to hold anyone without due process, barring straightforward prisoners of war being treated as such," I could forgive a whole lot of slow and confused process while they straightened stuff out.

The boss does not wish to take that stance, as near as I can tell. In fact, it appears to me, that the stance they have is that the people in Gitmo (and elsewhere) are genuinely bad people, and the entire terror episode was an unfortunate oopsie, so we should just forget all that stupid stuff. It appears he told Holder to do the minimum necessary to make the imprisonment of those people legal and to close Gitmo because it looks bad. Holder appears to be heading off towards that goal, while being forced to do things his boss didn't wish to do.

Which is why, apparently, they decided to let the Red Cross talk to the prisoners, regardless of the prisoner's situation (which is the right thing to do), and sorta forgot to announce it or anything.

max
['The boss has definitely walked on.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:35 AM
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||ooh, but. is it very tin-foil-hat of me to wonder exactly how it came about that the slide cover had not been secured to the floor fittings?
|>


Posted by: Abelard | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:36 AM
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there isn't either any deep constitutional or national tradition that the left appeals to. (Unlike the US, I'd argue)

I'd be curious to hear that argument.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:41 AM
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170

... If they'd stand up and say "We're not allowed to hold anyone without due process, barring straightforward prisoners of war being treated as such," ...

They aren't going to say that because almost nobody in the US believes it (unless you redefine due process as whatever process we decide they are due).


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:41 AM
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re: 183

No, I definitely don't forget Thatcher or her administration. Purely as a matter of autobiography: growing up on a Scottish council estate in the 80s and leaving school at the peak of Thatcherism I'm pretty familiar with how it was. I was on a YTS at £27 a week the year they introduced the Poll Tax into Scotland.

I think it's real progress that we no longer have a government constantly screaming about how evil single mothers and gay people are...

Instead, we have a government that panders to anti-immigrant hysteria, and fear of the chav underclass. I think this current administration is at least as bad in many ways. They have achieved a few positive things, but I'm tired of cutting them slack for things they did between 1997 and 2001.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:42 AM
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Further to 183

And this government is quite happy to stoke a bit of anti-single mother hysteria, too, when it suits them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:50 AM
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British politics, to the extent I understand it at all, which is much, is incredibly despair-producing. The population is politically so much more reasonable than in the US -- the reasonable center isn't terrified of creeping socialism, and the insane right is so much smaller. And yet the elected government is still awful.

And they don't even have the excuse that we have, that our politicians can't get elected without taking ten times their annual salaries in bribes so they can run TV ads.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:52 AM
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186: the ACLU and the bill of rights? Not exactly the left, but still. I think of the American left as a phenomenon that existed from Big Bill Haywood until Walter Reuther. This is a bit idiosyncratic on my part, suppose.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 9:55 AM
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This is a bit idiosyncratic historically accurate on my part, I suppose.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 10:22 AM
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186: just as a tiny example: "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I can't think of an equivalent language that would work in British politics. "When the distant ancestors of Her Majesty nicked more stuff more violently than anyone else nearby, racial equality would surely follow".

188: I'm not sure that autobiography is relevant (though mine is nearly identical, in fact). I do think that the sheer nastiness of Thatcher-Major governments towards various groups is unmatched. (I showed my first year students a video of the Peter Lilley "got a little list" speech and they were all pale with horrified shock). But if you have a counterexample I'm willing to be educated.


Posted by: Abelard | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 10:33 AM
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The UK doesn't really have public financing. It's very underdiscussed issue there, tho it's true money isn't as important as in the US.


Posted by: David Weman | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 10:38 AM
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It's interesting reading this thread, this morning, along with this post.

I'll need to think about it, but it's interesting how the bball blogosphere is different from the political blogosphere. There are fewer superstars*, but perhaps more people with a consistent following. It's of interest to be because the first person whom I followed as a blogger who eventually turned pro was Kevin Pelton, and his career path has been very different from that of political bloggers that turn pro and, as such, it's an interesting case study different cultural (and financial) landscape between sports and politics.


* (Henry Abbott & Kelly Dwyer are the only professional bball bloggers that I can think of. John Hollinger might count, but he has never really been a blogger.)


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 10:39 AM
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They don't publicize much. GTMO prisoners could send heavily redacted ICRC postcards home by 2003-04 -- so at least families found out they were still alive. The call home program started in April 2008, I think: certainly on GWB's watch. The new videolink policy is just starting: I'm not sure what sort of technology you have to have at the other end. If a mom or dad has to travel to the US Embassy in Sana'a, for example, that's a damn long way if they live in Aden or, worse, Hadramut. Still, it's better than nothing.

Surely "due process" ought to include an element of simple fairness. After five judges tell the state that a particular bit of evidence is too unreliable to use in justifying imprisonment, maybe one might expect that the prisoner facing the sixth judge isn't forced to litigate the same issue. More important, though, is that we as citizens ought to be able to expect that our employees in the defense establishment not act like morons with respect to reliability of evidence or general risks to security. Is there evidence that Mr. Carter or his colleagues have made some (any) progress on this point?


Posted by: Suddenly Shy | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 10:45 AM
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193 -- Some of the most powerful arguments in GTMO lit come from Parilament's struggle with the Stuarts. The articles of impeachment of the Earl of Clarendon come to mind: in substantial part, the promissory note secured a patrimony that, in theory, long preexisted the founding era.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 10:51 AM
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Thanks LizardBreath and Unfogged commenters. I started working on a polished piece on this topic over this weekend. I'm quoting you, LizardBreath. I think that you're totally right that the only reason that people linked to this post is because I'm in the orbit of A-list bloggers. Can I send you a draft next week?


Posted by: laura | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 10:51 AM
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187 -- And preserving this is the exact reason that so much is classified. It certainly doesn't have anything whatsoever to do with the legal requirements for classification.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 10:53 AM
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(I showed my first year students a video of the Peter Lilley "got a little list" speech and they were all pale with horrified shock)

After reading about said speech, it seems to be expressing the feelings that all people in the USA are expected to have once they get past the period of undergraduate naivete.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 10:58 AM
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198: Sure, I'd love to review it. My email is either ElizardB@hotmail.com, or LizardBreath@Unfogged.com -- the first works better on weekends, the latter during the workday.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 11:00 AM
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That he hath advised and procured divers of his Majesty's Subjects to be imprisoned, against Law, in remote Islands, Garrisons, and other Places; thereby, to prevent them from the Benefit of the Law, and to introduce Precedents for imprisoning any other of his Majesty's Subjects in like Manner.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 11:07 AM
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197 - but these aren't tropes that someone would use in e.g. a popular political speech in the USA, are they? (and certainly not in the UK).


Posted by: Abelard | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 11:07 AM
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re: 193

I'm not overly interested in rhetoric as such. I think the legislation passed by this government is easily as authoritarian as anything ever passed by the Thatcher administrations, and their actions in any number of other areas match or exceed the Thatcher and Major administrations. The list is long, as I'm sure you know.

On the rhetorical front, I think their pandering to anti-immigrant hysteria has been pretty egregious, as has their chav-bashing. The fact that no front bench Labour spokesman has been quite a vocally nasty as, say, Tebbit in his prime is really neither here nor there. Whenever the right-wing press pushes the anti-immigrant, anti-underclass line we have a queue of Labour ministers lining up to essentially endorse the spirit of what was said, even if they may adopt more communitarian or social democratic rhetorical tropes in the process.

You can't really question the claim that the general Labour party approach over the last decade has been to pay hommage to Dacreism, rather than to combat it?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 11:18 AM
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Whenever the right-wing press pushes the anti-immigrant, anti-underclass line we have a queue of Labour ministers lining up to essentially endorse the spirit of what was said, even if they may adopt more communitarian or social democratic rhetorical tropes in the process.

This isn't something that differentiates the UK from the USA, of course!


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 11:34 AM
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204: I guess I do think the rhetoric is important, partly because of what it implies the relevant governments would have done if they could get away with it; how much there are beyond-policy resentments they want to build and manipulate.

Really really, I blame the media cycle in which the BBC picks up and runs with any piece of Dacre shite to hand, and the broadsheets pick that up and intensify it; and on and on. It's not just the result of the right-wing press; the bbc and indeed the Grauniad often run with exactly the same moral panics with just as much force. (Sangatte!) And of course it feeds our own prejudices. Apparently UK Border Force is one of the more successful of Sky's domestic productions. Imagine wanting to watch that.

I think politicians of all parties think themselves powerless against it, and do in fact generally hate it. Of course there was a late-20th-century experiment in putting Labour in the hands of a leader who didn't give a toss about the right wing press, who cared deeply about the left and was really an authentic left intellectual, etc. When for whatever reason that went tits-up (along with various other defeats for the left in the same era)... the only question was how best pragmatically to deal with Sir David English/Paul Dacre.

So, I'm really committed to making a trip to piss on Thatcher's grave when the happy day comes. Anyone else, not so much. They're basically what we deserve.


Posted by: Abelard | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 11:34 AM
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Apparently UK Border Force is one of the more successful of Sky's domestic productions. Imagine wanting to watch that.

The UK has a border? Gibraltar, Northern Ireland and the Chunnel I suppose.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 11:36 AM
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196: Surely "due process" ought to include an element of simple fairness.

Apparently not. Surely it does not do so in Amaerican courts; merely more so than for furrners.

After five judges tell the state that a particular bit of evidence is too unreliable to use in justifying imprisonment, maybe one might expect that the prisoner facing the sixth judge isn't forced to litigate the same issue.

They intend to hold the prisoners. They will not let them go unless they absolutely have to. They will make whatever arguments they have to to get there. They also will not punish anyone, particularly in the CIA, as that would hamper their freedom of action. The distinction appears to be that they will not engage in torture. Oh, and they will let anyone who can *prove* their innocence go.

More important, though, is that we as citizens ought to be able to expect that our employees in the defense establishment not act like morons with respect to reliability of evidence or general risks to security.

They're trying to beat Al-Queda. They'll do whatever it takes to win. They have no idea how to go about this. So 'whatever it takes to win' will be defined by the same people who thought the entire enterprise was OK in the first place.

Is there evidence that Mr. Carter or his colleagues have made some (any) progress on this point?

GTMO is out. The assrape is out. Unless the American armed forces are not involved, in which case, the assrape is fine. Everything else is still in. No principles will be established, for the straightforward reason that no one has got any.

max
['They're goign to comply, eventually, with the exact letter of the undisputed bits of the law.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 12:02 PM
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Further to 208: Rortybomb spends a lot of time channeling my brain, so I was pleased he wrote a post quoting Taibbi that I heartily endorse:

There is a larger story to be done about how Obama did a bit of a bait-and-switch, hiring progressives to run his campaign and jettisoning them once he got into office. I hear about this phenomenon from different corners of the policymaking universe, from health care to defense and intelligence spending. But my sense is that the switch was most violent in the realm of economic policy, which means stuff like this bears particular attention. Will Obama act on Volcker's recommendations? We should probably wait and see, but I'm not holding my breath.
And then Rorty responded to that with:
That doesn't quite capture what is sad about it though; I understand the idea of progressives in the veal pen when it comes to the Obama adminstration, but this is Paul Volcker. He's not ACORN. He's not Van Jones. He's a former Fed Chairman. (Though it would be amusing for Glenn Beck to go after him.) When I last mentioned this issue, note how positive the Volcker regard was at the Seeking Alpha comments and how disappoint everyone was that he's shut out.
I completely agree it is a total shame that Volcker doesn't have better access, or isn't more influential, with how the recovery is going. Here is me in May 2008, quite happy that Volcker had endorsed the Obama team - it may have meant little to you, but the finance community noticed. It was a serious member of the financial establishment who wasn't a Wall Street banker. He signed up after Bear but before Lehman, so at the point where we knew we had some serious financial worries in the pipeline for Obama if he won.
If I wanted Rubin and Summers to be running the financial crisis I would have donated money and volunteered for Hillary instead. At the time I thought the fact that Volcker and Warren Buffett were brought out during the campaign was a sign of things to come. The transition to the crew we have now has been disappointing to say the least.
That last bit applies as much to the approach to the legal aspects, the war and so on. The transition O. ran could have been a) a period of bipartisan adjustment in the middle of a crisis or b) Obama deciding to let his freak flag fly.

The correct answer is b). That is, recruit 'a team of rivals' and then pick and choose amoungst the easy answers, and let the hard problems hang, while inhabiting the role of The President. For example, the proper name for the 'Baucus bill' is actually the 'Obama bill' or the 'Administration bill'. So we have clarity on executive style: let someone else carry the ball and if decisions come out wrong, well, it's someone else's fault.

max
['The buck stops anywhere but here.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 12:32 PM
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They're going to comply, eventually, with the exact letter of the undisputed bits of the law.

This was always the difference between Bush and Cheney.

In a closed forum, we've been arguing today, in response to a journalist query, which is the most indefensible stand of the current Admin, wrt detention policy.

The record stands at 30-7, by the way, and that doesn't count cases the government has essentially abandoned. Not that much of the public has any idea how badly the defense establishment is doing among some very deferential judges.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 1:27 PM
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For sake of comparison, William of Orange won some 20% of the habeas cases following one of the Jacobite scares, and the US armed forces ended up freeing about 80% of captives following the drumhead analogues in both Vietnam and Gulf War I. So we're running a little ahead of history.

People referred to in 187 can bite me.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 1:33 PM
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210: The record stands at 30-7, by the way, and that doesn't count cases the government has essentially abandoned.

Rearguard all the way. The actions are absorbing all the energy that might go to something else, like prosecutions.

max
['Helpful to the potentially prosecutable.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 1:43 PM
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212 gets no argument from me. For people who don't want to focus on the past, they sure seem obsessed with the potential benefits of a couple weeks of basic training 8 years ago.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 1:50 PM
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THE IMPERIALIST POLICIES OF WILLIAM OF OBAMORANGE ARE FAR FROM A FRESH NEW START

STIMPEACH THE STADTHOLDER


Posted by: OPINIONATED GRANDMA | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 1:51 PM
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214: STIMPEACH THE STADTHOLDER

If we had a parliamentary system, a simple vote of 'No Confidence' would do.

max
['Dammit.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 3:10 PM
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re: 206

I'm not sure I'd necessarily disagree with that, yeah. I'm not particularly inclined to forgive the Labour party, though, but yeah, that all makes sense.

It's certainly true that the core of the Labour government of the past 12 years hasn't had the sort of dyed in the wool racism, homophobia and class hatred that characterised the worst wing of the 80s Tory party. But in terms of policies enacted they are really very bad indeed, so while I may not queue to piss on Blair's grave, I'd certainly contribute to the funds for the memorial pissoir.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 3:16 PM
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(a) the problem with the Labour Party remains the fact they're the labour party doesn't it? And the Lib Dems aren't that much better --- look at the al-Megrahi case. And again, the TUC. I mean, the really horrible thing is that the Marxists looked at the prospects of an electoral left party, and it wasn't a goer at the time, and it still isn't.

In Scotland, well, the SSP's deadish, and the SNP are nationalists, but at least they aren't scum.

186: just as a tiny example: "When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men - yes, black men as well as white men - would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." I can't think of an equivalent language that would work in British politics. "When the distant ancestors of Her Majesty nicked more stuff more violently than anyone else nearby, racial equality would surely follow".

The Whig Interpretation worked pretty well; there's a grand sweeping narrative of history that goes from the Norman Conquest through to the Labour Party quite nicely. Gothicism and all that --- the ancient rights & privileges of Britions & the Norman Yoke & Sacred Leagues and Covenants & the Revolutions.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 4:04 PM
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(And mind that there are parts of the Lib Dems that were pretty much Blairites avant la lettre.)


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09-21-09 4:06 PM
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129, 164: I thought that Doug M. commented here sometimes, but then that would make five, and I should trust David's memory more than mine on this matter.


Posted by: Doug | Link to this comment | 09-22-09 1:08 AM
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"When the distant ancestors of Her Majesty nicked more stuff more violently than anyone else nearby, racial equality would surely follow".

Well, more like "when a bunch of supposedly representative bourgeois MPs said "that German princess will do - she's Protestant and seems reasonably boring"...", given how the House of Hannover actually got the jersey.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09-22-09 2:50 AM
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217: I kind of like the Whig Interpretation as a national myth: take a line from Magna Carta through the Declaration of Arbroath (kings rule only with the consent of the governed) and the National Covenant (people have a right to a say in the laws under which they live), a quick detour to Charing Cross 1649 (kings who ignore the aforesaid will be radically edited), the Bill of Rights and the Act of Settlement, and there you are.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09-22-09 4:51 AM
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re: 221

Yeah, I'd settle for that.

Incidentally, I handled the Magna Carta* at work a year or two back. I don't normally get very excited about these things, but the Magna Carta was quite special, and I've not stopped telling people about it since.

* or, more accurately, 'a' Magna Carta, as there are several. This was one of the 1217 issues.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09-22-09 5:30 AM
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217, 221: I think the problem with these as national myth is that they don't take you anywhere terribly exciting - to the ancient liberties of freeborn men to own a small cottage with roses in the garden, or something. Nobody (apart from Tony Benn) would want to make it all about the levellers, for example. And if you recall the three-hundredth-anniversary of the Glorious Revolution, it was covered as part of national myth only inasmuch as it was a means for Thatch to try to piss on the French for 1789.

Which is to say - the materials out of which you could construct a potentially radical national myth are weak, and the actual national myth we have doesn't pay much attention to them anyway. My parents used to have a 1969-ish Guinness Book of Records featuring within its front cover a forty-odd generation male lineage of the Prince of Wales, definitively establishing him as the distant descendant of some Iron Age chap with a strong clubbing action. I think that's basically the national myth.


Posted by: Abelard | Link to this comment | 09-22-09 5:44 AM
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Well, right, it's hard to use the past for a radical national myth, since radicals were pretty well marginalized in the past. Same here in the US. Best we can do is Mario Cuomo's Wagon Train Speech.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09-22-09 7:27 AM
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If I can't dance, I don't want to join your revolution.

I could work as hard as any man, and eat as much too, if I could get it.

Take up the song, forget the epitaph!

.....well, they work for me...


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 09-23-09 7:58 PM
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The TSP has several applications even in its purest formulation, such as planning, logistics, and the manufacture of microchips. Slightly modified, it appears as a sub-problem in many areas, such as genome sequencing. In these applications, the concept city represents, for example, customers, soldering points, or DNA fragments, and the concept distance represents travelling times or cost, or a similarity measure between DNA fragments. In many applications, additional constraints such as limited resources or time windows make the problem considerably harder.
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golu11

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Posted by: mukesh | Link to this comment | 09-23-09 9:03 PM
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