Saturday, March 2, 2013

Must Reads

David Von Ebers: Why I Can't Stand Bob Woodward

Paige Lavender: David Axelrod To Bob Woodward: Why Didn't You Say 'Don't Threaten Me?'

The Rude Pundit: Random Observations on Yesterday's Supreme Court Hearing on a Challenge to the Voting Rights Act

Bob Cesca: Secretary Kerry Has Balls of Steel

Chez Pazienza: Down the Outrage Hole (Again)

Van Cliburn 1934-2013

Van Cliburn died this week. Had it not been for Mr. Rogers, I wouldn't have known who Van Cliburn was in my younger years.

And looking back, I find it amazing that our Cold War with the Soviet Union permeated everything. It consumed us. And it was all a dick swinging contest. Not only in regards to military supremacy, but the Space Race, sports, music, Rocky IV, everything was a contest. I didn't know why we hated the the guys wearing the CCCP shirts, but I knew we were supposed to hate them.

And in 1958, Van Cliburn was a part of that.


President Obama's Weekly Address - March 2, 2013

Congress Must Compromise to Stop the Impact of the Sequester

Friday, March 1, 2013

Rebuttal of the Rebuttal: Say What, Zach!?

Posted by DesertCroneNM

I read Zach Green's rebuttal of his critics with amusement and a little dismay. Asking legitimate questions about Unite Blue hardly qualifies as a smear campaign. In fact, I asked some of those very questions myself and was very irritated with the evasive non-answers I received. I felt many of the answers Zach wrote in his blog post defy common sense. (Previous post: Four Reasons I Broke Up with Twitter . . .)
First: Zach claims he supported Buddy Roemer's campaign because "'Buddy Roemer only had one issue: get money out of politics.'" No, Zach, Mr. Roemer had other issues: supporting the Keystone Pipeline, a wall along the border with Mexico, supports a flat tax, things the Tea Party is good for America (which voids his support of the Occupy movement, don't you think?), raising the eligibility age for Social Security, anti-choice, support of DOMA, and the repeal of Obamacare -- which are all anathema to liberals. Some liberals have dismissed Zach's connection with Roemer by saying that they liked Buddy while at the same time excoriating President Obama for even mentioning chained CPI. I find that odd. But like Roemer (once member of the Democratic Party and then the GOP and now Independent), Zach seems to change his associations according to the political winds. For example, Zach also hosted a Tea Party town hall on Twitter.  In fact, S.E. Cupp even tweeted her appreciation:
I'm a loyal, lifelong liberal Democrat. I'm not interested in following an organization that seems to have no political loyalties whatsoever. I have said from the time I became aware of Unite Blue, it is a money-making venture. In fact, Adam Green, Zach's father, writes in his blog:
So does this mean that Twitter development is done, and devs (developers) will just move elsewhere? No way. Devs go where the customers are, and the customers are using Twitter in increasing numbers. I do development as a business and as a businessman, I go where the money is. That is still Twitter.
Show me the money!

Second: In his rebuttal, Zach wants us to believe that he's quite naive about cookies. He writes in response to the question: Are you tracking us across the Internet with cookies?
Before people started asking this I didn’t know it was even possible. Our CTO says it is apparently. We’re not doing it, nor do I understand why we would.
 I have such a difficult time believing that the co-founder of a Twitter consulting company doesn't understand the purpose of collecting information from cookies and IP addresses. Zach's tweet below is why I am very skeptical about his naïveté about cookies. 
Hmmmmm.  What data might that be?  And how do collect that data? Cookies? IP addresses?

Third: Here's what Zach wrote about how one joins Unite Blue.  In reply to Did you steal ConnectTheLeft’s Lists?  Zach says,
No. Every member of UniteBlue has to tweet  'I want to join @UniteBlue' to get on our Lists. It started from scratch. Others can feel free to use our Lists how they like. They are public. 
Come on, Zach. You know that's just not true. I never tweeted I wanted to join Unite Blue, but there I was following Unite Blue and on the list as well. Oh, and that second account you started--We Demand A Vote--I never followed it either. Yet, there I was as a follower.  And many other twitterers have the same complaint. Again, many of us never ever tweeted "I want to join @uniteblue."  We weren't even aware of such a group till around the first of February, when we were deluged with hundreds of followers and DMs from Unite Blue.  During that time I was getting about forty follows a day, and my number of followers jumped from 1730 followers to approximately 2050 in less than a week.  So, no Zach, you didn't start your list from scratch. And this reminds me of another question. Why, if you started Unite Blue in September 2012, did we just start seeing Unite Blue follows and hashtags in February 2013? What a coincidence that UB appeared about the time TGDN also appeared on the Twitter scene. 

Also, Zach knows that you can change the name on an account and still keep all the followers, follows, and Tweets from the previous account. He knows this because his father and's CTO, Adam (not the same Adam Green from Bold Progressives), explains it so well in another blog post (which has since been pulled so here's a shot of the cached file):

We recently had a client that paid us to help build up a series of accounts for his political campaign. Most of the effort went into growing a qualified follower list for a single engagement account. This is the account that interacted with supporters and sent out various versions of the campaign messaging to test them for later use in the candidate’s own account. When the campaign finally came to an end, his staff deleted this engagement account. What a waste! Most people don’t realize it, but you can change everything about a Twitter account and still retain all the followers.  We’ve changed the screen name of accounts lots of times, and all the followers were always retained. As long as the account’s new purpose and message is similar to its previous incarnation, this seems completely ethical, and there are no restrictions on this from Twitter. You can change everything about an account, and since it retains the original user id all the links for followers, retweets, etc. still work in Twitter’s database. We’ve never had a complaint from a follower of an account that had this type of conversion.
So the next time you or a client are tempted to erase an account after you no longer need it, don’t do it. Recycle, reuse, repurpose applies to Twitter accounts. Think of all the energy used to power the servers building that account. Save it for another use.
Last, I would urge you to read another post by Adam Green. Basically, Adam discusses how he created a Twitter group, compiled a list of names, and then provided that list to a client.  Sound vaguely familiar?  (Oops! This post has been removed, too. But here's a screen grab)

I find it odd that the two of Adam Green's blog posts that closely describe Zach Green's actions with UniteBlue have been deleted from his father's blog site,  But then again, I have found many things about Zach Green's venture to be odd.  However, what I find strangest of all is that liberals would so quickly and enthusiastically jump on the UB bandwagon without any curiosity about the owner of the bandwagon or its purpose.

Much grattitude to my niece @jhw2212 and Jennifer on this blog for her research, proofreading, and support.

Four Reasons I Broke Up with Twitter Or How Zach Green Stole My Playground

Posted by DesertCroneNM

Let me start with this disclaimer--I do not follow Shoq, Simon, or Karoli. Based on what some of Twitter pals have told me, dissension has broken out between their factions over who turned the Connect the Left (CTL) twitter account to Unite Blue (UB).  I don't care about that. In fact, I don't care how Unite Blue took control of the Connect the Left Twitter account. What concerns me is that UB did take take over the CTL. On February 6th, I blogged about my concerns about Unite Blue. I still have those concerns and more. Since I wrote that blog, I've taken a hiatus from Twitter.

I love Twitter. I have made some wonderful and lasting friendships there. Although I first got on because I'm a political junkie, I enjoy the nonpolitical chit chat as much as the political discussion. I have access to many interesting links and thoughtful blog posts by @smartypants32, @D_V_E, and @root_e to name just a few of my favorites.  Twitter also brings a social life right into my home, which is what I like the best.

I am a month from being 65, disabled because of severe arthritis, and degenerative spinal disease which leave me in chronic pain. There isn't an hour that goes by that I'm not in pain; therefore, I am stuck at home most of the day.  I don't want anyone's sympathy because I have a wonderful life in spite of that. What I am trying to convey is how important Twitter is to me because I'm not very mobile. On Twitter I can talk politics, mindlessly chit chat with friends, crack a few jokes, even whine and most importantly, I can forget about the pain.

Once you understand my relationship with Twitter, maybe you'll understand how difficult it was for me to leave. Some of my tweeps told me to ignore Unite Blue, and others told me to unfollow or block UB members. Both are difficult for me to do. I have a lot of longtime followers who are now UB members, and when at least every other tweet has to do with UB or has so many hashtags that take up half the 140 characters, those tweets are difficult to ignore. Nor do I want to unfollow tweeps whom I've followed and who have followed me for 2-3 years. I keep hoping they'll come to their senses soon.

I decided to take a break from Twitter. I don't how long I'll be gone--maybe I'll be on tomorrow, next week, or even next month. But as long as these four conditions exist in my time line, I'll be on hiatus.

Cultish behavior of members: The other morning when I got on Twitter, I saw many disturbing tweets that suggested folks go through their followers and drop anyone not following UB to make room for UB members. Sadly, many of the tweeps who were unfollowed have thousands and thousands of tweets while many UB members I've seen have less than a thousand tweets. UB is clearly about quantity, not quality. For many, loyalty to UB has become more important than loyalty to liberal causes or values or even longtime followers. Many tweets contain gushing endorsements of UB, proclaiming that Unite Blue has changed their lives or that UB is the most important thing that has happened to them. Other tweets brag about UB ratings, whatever that means. Although these tweets irritate me, I don't want to unfollow longtime tweeps. I just want them to get a grip.

Divisive: Since I first blogged about UB, I've received many DMs from tweeps expressing concerns about UB, but, fearful they themselves might be spam blocked by members, they are unwilling to speak out. Several of us who have done nothing more than ask legitimate questions, questions everyone should be asking, have been demonized by some UB members. In fact, I see more loyalty to UB by some than to the Democratic Party and/or liberal causes.  Unite Blue? How about Divide Blue?

Fear-based: I think the TGDN (Twitter Gulag Defense Network) threat has been highly exaggerated.  I have seen one follower spam blocked and others have told me that maybe one or two of their followers have had their accounts suspended, for which there could be a variety of reasons. This frenzy of fear reminds me of the way Bush's  Homeland Security kept anxiety levels high by using the the color-coded terrorist alert.

Inorganic: Unite Blue was not a spontaneous, organic movement. It was started by a Twitter consulting company. It wasn't started from scratch; it co-opted an already existing Twitter account.

Zach Green or @140elect stole my playground. He turned my TL into something unrecognizable--a nonstop stream of praise for Unite Blue, UB hashtags and knee jerk reactions to fear of TGDN.   I'll unite behind the Democratic Party, fellow liberals, and most certainly behind Barack Obama, but I don't see where Zach Green shares my loyalties.  I don't want to be part of the Green Gang on twitter, and  I want them to get off my playground. I miss my "old" buddies, and I want them back, not the zombiefied UB followers I see now.  (Follow up post.  Rebuttal of the Rebuttal: Say What, Zach?)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Must Reads

Mr. Brink: Glenn Beck: Progressives Have Infiltrated The WWE

Chez Pazienza: This Week in Republican Stupid

The Rude Pundit: Let Us Now Praise Skeletor for He Has Made Florida Suck a Little Less

Charles Pierce: The Shame of The Sham Shaman

Steve M.: Douthat: The Permanently Underemployed Have All The Luck

Driftglass: The Both Sides Duet

Abby Zimet: Choked To Death On Waste