I just ordered a new digital camera, a Panasonic Lumix LX1. 8 megapixels, image stabilization, raw format, 16:9 aspect ratio, video capability—it’s pretty cool. Some reports say that it can be noisy over 100 ISO, but I’m willing to put up with that to get the rest of the great features. Photos here should be cooler than ever starting in a week or so.
MEDIA ANALYST: BLOGOSPHERE HIPNESS IS GOOD FOR YOUR SEX LIFE.
Nestled among the media’s meditations on the popularity of blogs is a theory that lends new meaning to "cyber sex." According to Simon Dumenco, a prominent U.S. media analyst, people read blogs at least in part because they "want to get laid."
In this week’s Media Guy column for Advertising Age magazine, Dumenco contends that knowledge of the hippest, hottest blogs can increase hook-up opportunities and boost sexual attractiveness. He maintains some people are using niche blogs such as Gawker.com and Defamer.com to gain pop cultural insights that make them more socially desirable and ultimately more likely to get lucky.
The Big Picture weblog: doing my part to help readers get hooked up.
The following letter, from the Mayor of a city in Iraq, is being published by blogstorm, rather than by MSM. A Google news search indicates that as of 8:48am Pacific Time, of MSM, only the New York Post has published this so far. The letter appears to have been first published by The Mudville Gazette. It’s now posted on such blogs as GayPatriot, Power Line, Right Wing Nation, Suitably Flip, TigerHawk, and many more.
In the Name of God the Compassionate and Merciful
To the Courageous Men and Women of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who have changed the city of Tall’ Afar from a ghost town, in which terrorists spread death and destruction, to a secure city flourishing with life.
To the lion-hearts who liberated our city from the grasp of terrorists who were beheading men, women and children in the streets for many months.
To those who spread smiles on the faces of our children, and gave us restored hope, through their personal sacrifice and brave fighting, and gave new life to the city after hopelessness darkened our days, and stole our confidence in our ability to reestablish our city.
Our city was the main base of operations for Abu Mousab Al Zarqawi. The city was completely held hostage in the hands of his henchmen. Our schools, governmental services, businesses and offices were closed. Our streets were silent, and no one dared to walk them. Our people were barricaded in their homes out of fear; death awaited them around every corner. Terrorists occupied and controlled the only hospital in the city. Their savagery reached such a level that they stuffed the corpses of children with explosives and tossed them into the streets in order to kill grieving parents attempting to retrieve the bodies of their young. This was the situation of our city until God prepared and delivered unto them the courageous soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment, who liberated this city, ridding it of Zarqawi’s followers after harsh fighting, killing many terrorists, and forcing the remaining butchers to flee the city like rats to the surrounding areas, where the bravery of other 3d ACR soldiers in Sinjar, Rabiah, Zumar and Avgani finally destroyed them.
I have met many soldiers of the 3d Armored Cavalry Regiment; they are not only courageous men and women, but avenging angels sent by The God Himself to fight the evil of terrorism.
The leaders of this Regiment; COL McMaster, COL Armstrong, LTC Hickey, LTC Gibson, and LTC Reilly embody courage, strength, vision and wisdom. Officers and soldiers alike bristle with the confidence and character of knights in a bygone era. The mission they have accomplished, by means of a unique military operation, stands among the finest military feats to date in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and truly deserves to be studied in military science. This military operation was clean, with little collateral damage, despite the ferocity of the enemy. With the skill and precision of surgeons they dealt with the terrorist cancers in the city without causing unnecessary damage.
God bless this brave Regiment; God bless the families who dedicated these brave men and women. From the bottom of our hearts we thank the families. They have given us something we will never forget. To the families of those who have given their holy blood for our land, we all bow to you in reverence and to the souls of your loved ones. Their sacrifice was not in vain. They are not dead, but alive, and their souls hovering around us every second of every minute. They will never be forgotten for giving their precious lives. They have sacrificed that which is most valuable. We see them in the smile of every child, and in every flower growing in this land. Let America, their families, and the world be proud of their sacrifice for humanity and life.
Finally, no matter how much I write or speak about this brave Regiment, I haven’t the words to describe the courage of its officers and soldiers. I pray to God to grant happiness and health to these legendary heroes and their brave families.
NAJIM ABDULLAH ABID AL-JIBOURI
Mayor of Tall ‘Afar, Ninewa, Iraq
This letter, widely publicized, would show the American people how wrong the impression is that they have been getting for years about Iraq from MSM.
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This site is now running on a new web host, HostingMatters. This weblog appears to have outgrown its previous web host, which had otherwise been excellent, and which told me the site was using too many system resources.
On this new host, The Big Picture weblog has faster pageloads than ever.
I JUST GOT BACK from a fantastic panel event with Victor Davis Hanson, Walid Shoebat, and Phillipe Karsenty. It’s way past 12 am here. I haven’t even seen the SOTU yet (I Tivo’d it). I’ve got tons of notes; I’ll try to write them up and post them later today (Wednesday).
I’d like to thank Don Bridge for his excellent posts here over the last two weeks. They enabled me to take a vacation from blogging, which I greatly needed. I could tell it was working because over the past week I’d started to see quite a number of news items I wanted to post about. In recognition of Don’s excellent articles, which I have very much enjoyed reading, I have invited him to continue to guest-post for another two weeks.
I have a major case of blogger burnout, and will be taking two weeks off from blogging.
In the meantime, I’m turning this space over to guest poster Don Bridge. Don is a good friend. He’s also a former blogger whose work I enjoyed. He tells me that his articles will be very different from what I usually post. I approve whole-heartedly and look forward to reading them. Don, welcome back to the blogosphere, and have a great time posting!
As promised, here are photos from the OSM launch event in New York earlier this week.
Roger L. Simon speaks to Austin Bay. Upper right—John Podhoretz.
Roger addresses the crowd at lunch.
It was a fun event. I met tons of cool people, including (with the exception of those I already knew) most of those pictured above—as well as Tim Blair, Kevin Aylward, Stephen Green of VodkaPundit, Prof. Glenn Reynolds, journalist Daniel Akst, and many more.
I’m sitting here in the Rainbow Room, for the start of the OSM launch event. I’ll try liveblogging the event once it begins.
10:13 am. The event is starting. Andrew Breitbart is giving a kickoff introduction of Charles and Roger. "It’s amazing that the two of these guys have realized that the future is online and the future is the internet."
10:15. am. Roger is starting his speech. "With hundreds of thousands of fact checkers online, we have the opportunity to be more credible than MSM." "We do not intend to overthrow the mainstream media, but to enhance it." "OSM is not going to be all politics. Far from it. There’ll be issues from fashion to spelunking."
10:27 am. Charles Johnson has been introduced by Roger, and is now giving us a guided tour of the site (OSM.org). "I want to thank you all for coming. Look at you all This is great. We have a veritable constellation of the blogosphere here." "We’re going to have live newsfeeds from several MSM sources." "One of the really exciting features that we’re going to be introducing is something called BlogJams—an online equivalent of a Sunday-morning talk show."
10:36 am. Roger’s introducing the OSM team. I just was introduced and had a chance to get up and wave. Although I didn’t actually wave.
10:38 am. Tom Julian is now introducing the first panel, "Are Blogs the New Black?" The panel also includes The Manolo, who is present invisibly by telepresence. Tom said the Manolo can’t be called a man or a woman since he is anonymous. The voice of the Manolo was then heard, saying "Of the course The Manolo is a man." He sounds _exactly_ like you’d expect him to.
Elizabeth Hayt: "Blogging is for rich people with too much time on their hands. I never read blogs." Elizabeth said when she told this to OSM she was told, that’s great, that’s why we’re inviting you. My thoughts: this is excellent. Everyone is enjoying her point of view, and it’s contributing to the discussion.
The panel is continuing with fashion bloggers Kim Weinstein, Kristen Kelly, Krista Webber and The Manolo.
The Manolo: "Hello to the people who used to be in their pajamas."
11:12 am. Roger is now introducing the political panel—Claudia Rosett, John Podhoretz, Richard Fernandez, Larry Kudlow, and David Corn. David Corn: "Blogging couldn’t exist without MSM. A lot of blogging is debating and figuring out what the news is really about."
Fernandez: "What happens in blogs to a certain extent is this analytical function. You can never write from authority when you are writing a blog post. What you have to do is say from a given set of assumptions, here is the conclusion you would arrive at yourself if you were presented with the same facts." "For the first time in history you have a network that flows both ways between the players—where the audience can come up and be the players." "In a sense this is the revenge of a guy with a day job."
Podhoretz: "People deserve the authority that they earn based on a long-time experience that the reader has with the writer. It’s the words themselves and the text itself that conveys the authority—the authoritiy adheres to the work itself." "Two married missionaries—bloggers—were largely responsible for the world finding out about the orange revolution in the Ukraine."
Kudlow: "I love blogging. It’s great stuff. It allows me to vent, and I hope somebody reads it at the end of the day."
Corn: "There is a trend in MSM where news is becoming niche-ified. Remember, if you wanted to get sports news, you used to have to sit through the local news. Now you have 5 ESPN channels. So it gets harder to have a debate, because everyone gets self-ghettoized." "OSM brings people together so you can have the real contest of ideas."
Podhoretz: "You have a more cosmopolitan possiblity now than you did 25 years ago. The MSM [is still biased]—the misdiagnoses of what happens in the world. All due to a blindness that is reinforced by others in MSM."
Rosett: "Thre transaction costs have dropped. When I started there was no Google, there was no Internet. Today you can Google it up, and transaction costs have dropped dramatically."
Corn: "I was pursuing a story recently, making many phone calls, trying to track down the facts. Then a blogger posted a story, presenting one view of the events as fact. I presume he talked to one of the same sources I did, and just put it up there. Is that the same as the Lincoln-Douglas debates [of 1858, in which MSM accounts contradicted each other]? I don’t know, but it really ticked me off." [Note—this dialog is as ver batim as I could get it, typing live. It’s unlikely to be word-for-word accurate.]
This is a hot panel. I believe OSM.org has a link for streaming audio if you want to hear it live.
Podhoretz has just said that the MSM voice of omniscience is dead, and has been since Charles Johnson documented that the CBS faxes were forged.
Kudlow: "We’ll now all be accountable."
Corn: "Yes. There is this transparency that is being imposed upon all of us."
Podhoretz: "People in newsrooms, using AP feeds, from 1940 to 1980 were the only people who could read Supreme Court opiniions on the day in which it was released. The NY Times might decide to print the whole opinion, so that a day later a law professor like Glenn Reynolds could read it, and a few days later, after sufficient research, could write an article, demonstrating that the report in the NY Times was incorrect. Today that Supreme Court opinion is up on the Internet is up in 3 hours."
It’s now open to questions fromt the audience. Great questions are coming in. Someone is saying "The notion of objectivity is a 20th-century phenomenon. The bloggers have made it partly because they are both assertive and modest."
Glenn Reynolds: "I’d like to see MSM do more hard news reporting. MSM has cut back on this to save costs, and has substituted zip and opinion. They’ve thrown away their killer app, the what happened when and where, and I think it’s been a mistake."
Update, 4:14pm: The event is now concluded. Everything went well. After the political panel, we adjourned to the dining room for lunch. At lunch, Glenn Reynolds introduced keynote speaker, Judith Miller, who said: "I strongly urge you to support the Free Flow of Information Act—a name I like a lot. It’s not a reporter protection act—it’s a freedom of information act."
After Miller, Senator John Cornyn of Texas appeared via video hookup to discuss the shield law. Cornyn believes no meaningful distinction can be made between MSM reporters and bloggers as journalists.
He also made some interesting comments on the McCain-Feingold legislation: "McCain-Feingold was well intended, but it’s clear it hasn’t worked very well if the intention was to keep vast sums of money out of the political process." "We really haven’t solved our problems—for example, the 527’s—and the solution is not to go further and regulate the blogosphere."
I’ll post pictures from the event after I get back to LA.
As Director of Research for Pajamas Media, I’m off to New York for the launch of Pajamas Media tomorrow. I’ll take pictures and post a report in this space on Thursday or Friday. Have a great week!
I’m travelling this week. Posting may be light for a few days.
Primary functions: Provide operational support of Internet servers (MacOS X, Linux) and office IT (MacOS X). Manage network infrastructure and tools to enable secure, distributed collaborative work. Ensure the safety of information assets and protect business functions from IT failure modes. Provide technical input to assist in project planning.
Associate project management, 15-20 hours per week; at our office in El Segundo, CA (adjacent to LAX); part-time telecommuting possible; ideal for college student.
Primary functions: project and client management. Expected to play a variety of project support roles and learn the skills and experience necessary to be a project manager. Typical roles will consist of supporting our business functions with day-to-day project activities, facilitating sub-tracks of work, and maintaining aspects of our relationships with a network of bloggers.
More info on both positions is available on the PJM Help Wanted page.
It’s great to get back to blogging after a few days off due to intense business activities. Unexpectedly, traffic to this site was up over the past few days even with no posting. I have no explanation for that at this time.
A few notes unrelated to politics:
Blogging here will be light Wednesday. I look forward to posting on Thursday.
THE BLOGOSPHERE HAS COME THROUGH IN RESPONSE TO GLENN REYNOLD’S CALL FOR POSTS IDENTIFYING WAYS TO HELP ON HURRICANE KATRINA RELIEF. He’s received more links than he can handle.