mm290: Gassing ’bout birds and supermen

February 19, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Quirky things going on out there, folks. None seem expansive enough to go all expansive on you, so we’re going to have another episode of SASB:

shortattention_thumb2 ©

Gassing…

A couple of scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have, they claim, found a way to turn airborne carbon dioxide back into gasoline.

nytimes

Scientists Would Turn Greenhouse Gas Into Gasoline

By KENNETH CHANG | Published: February 19, 2008

The scientists, F. Jeffrey Martin and William L. Kubic Jr., are proposing a concept, which they have patriotically named Green Freedom, for removing carbon dioxide from the air and turning it back into gasoline.

The idea is simple. Air would be blown over a liquid solution of potassium carbonate, which would absorb the carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide would then be extracted and subjected to chemical reactions that would turn it into fuel: methanol, gasoline or jet fuel.

This process could transform carbon dioxide from an unwanted, climate-changing pollutant into a vast resource for renewable fuels. The closed cycle — equal amounts of carbon dioxide emitted and removed — would mean that cars, trucks and airplanes using the synthetic fuels would no longer be contributing to global warming.

Of course, there’s a hitch, there’s always a hitch.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm285: Mayor Mike tells some hard truths

February 14, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

Time for another in the continuing saga of Michael Bloomberg, billionaire mayor of New York City, and his interesting feints at running for president this year.

At the bottom of this post, we’ll provide our ever lengthening link list, as this story has intrigued this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© for many months now.

Yesterday, 13-February, President Bush signed the tax rebate legislation that he, George III, promises will lift this nation out of its recessionary funk.

The mayor, who knows a thing or two about matters financial (made his not inconsiderable fortune reporting financial news to professionals by harnessing novel technology to do so), spoke quite colorfully today.

He characterized the rebate as “like giving a drink to an alcoholic,” and said the nation “has a balance sheet that’s starting to look more and more like a third-world country.”

Not sure, but Burkina Faso might have just been insulted.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm280: Bloomberg for Vice President? Take 2

February 9, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

It’s Slippery Saturday (in these northern climes) following Tsunami Tuesday. And we’re wondering where Michael Bloomberg fits in the election puzzle.

As faithful reader knows, we’ve been following the non-candidacy of Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, since we staked out this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©. As a review, you might consult the following:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm057: Bloomberg for President?
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?
mm248: Political Potpourri
mm254: Bloomberg – just won’t go away…
mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger

As this has been an eventful week in the endless saga of Campaign 2008 (began the day after the November, 2006 elections), we wondered how Mike’s plans (or non-plans) might be affected by the tumultuous events.

Read the rest of this entry »


mm263: This man -so- wants to pull the trigger…

January 23, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

bloomberg Now that we’re three weeks into 2008, and Blue Monday is behind us, we’re ready to once again consider the presidential prospects of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Anyone stumbling more than once over this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© will recall that Mayor Mike’s non-campaign has intrigued us for many months.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm057: Bloomberg for President?
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?
mm248: Political Potpourri
mm254: Bloomberg – just won’t go away…

Faithful reader may further recall our R-word post of a few days ago. Paul Krugman was analyzing the Republican and Democratic candidates’ plans for dealing with our current increasingly dire economic distress. We commented that Krugman’s analysis left out a key player.

Can’t help but wonder what Michael Bloomberg thinks… Mike, Mr. self-made billionaire, what gets us out of our funk, fast?

Apparently, the mayor, or his people, were thinking along similar lines.

nytimes

Bloomberg Rips Federal Stimulus Package

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS | Published: January 23, 2008 | Filed at 7:37 p.m. ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the White House and Congress on Wednesday are negotiating a shortsighted economic stimulus package after years of lousy financial management.

At an evening session of a meeting of the U.S. Council of Mayors in Washington, DC, Bloomberg laid into the administration’s proposal.

The billionaire mayor, who is said to be considering an independent presidential bid yet denies that he is a candidate, said the $150 billion stimulus package being hammered out between Democratic and Republican leaders won’t be enough.

The man knows his numbers; recall that starting from a good idea, he worked smart enough, and hard enough to become a billionaire.

”There’s just one problem: It’s not going to make much of a difference because we’ve already been running huge deficits,” Bloomberg said.

Some of those urging Bloomberg to run for president say his record as a CEO is his biggest selling point in a time of economic turmoil.

And, as MUDGE asked the other day, does he have a better plan in mind? Actually, yes.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Bloomberg Rips Federal Stimulus Package – New York Times

Makes sense, doesn’t it? A few hundred dollars of tax rebate isn’t going to save anyone’s house.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Plan to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure for the long term, rather than playing political games with earmarks year to year.

Makes sense, doesn’t it? Ease immigration – get more motivated, vigorous workers into the country to help us work our way out of our economic funk (can’t grow by shrinking!).

As I hoped, on this issue, the man makes sense.

Your country needs you, Michael Bloomberg!

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm254: Bloomberg – just won’t go away…

January 14, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

The current issue of Business Week contains an interesting interview by Maria Bartiromo of Charlie Cook, a Washington DC based political analyst. You may have seen his talking head during an election night or two on NBC.

Political Guru Charlie Cook on the Primaries

FACE TIME By Maria Bartiromo | January 21, 2008

magazine cover

https://i0.wp.com/images.businessweek.com/story/08/370/0110_mz_facetime.jpg

Charlie Cook, political analyst photographed on 8 January 2008 in Washington DC Chris Usher

MARIA BARTIROMO

What will be the biggest issues in the election?

CHARLES COOK

I think it’s going to be the economy and America’s place in the world. And one of the things that’s sparking Obama’s rise is the idea of restoring respect for America.

Who displays the best grasp of economic issues?
Mike Bloomberg. What’s interesting is that if you look at polls of Democratic voters, they are very concerned about the economy. Republican voters just don’t seem to be showing that much concern about where the economy is going. But once the GOP nominee emerges, the economy is going to assert itself as a very, very big issue in the general election.

Guess it’s not just New York types who like Mike. Second question – out flops Bloomberg.

Could he win?
[Third-party candidate] Ross Perot was at 30% percent and in first place at one point in June, 1992, and an independent candidate would need to be able to get 37% to 39% of the popular vote to start winning a bunch of states by small margins and assemble the 270 electoral votes necessary. It’s plausible. A very bright, very impressive person spending $1 billion, with no fund-raising expenses and no nomination fights, could win if the stars line up right in the sense of both parties’ nominees emerging badly damaged.

We just posted this grid a few days ago, but here’s what we’ve been talking about since last June:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm057: Bloomberg for President?
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?
mm248: Political Potpourri

Bartiromo’s interview of Cook covers all of the major candidates of both parties, but Bloomberg was discussed first.

Definitely attention grabbing.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Political Guru Charlie Cook on the Primaries

MUDGE thinks that third party candidates stir the pot; sell advertising and commercials; buy advertising and commercials; and generally pique the interest of the commentariat. Oh, boy, a three-way!

But could there be more going on? With the economy seemingly headed for recession (ugh, the dreaded “R”-word!), perhaps having a leader who is recognized as very smart where economic issues are concerned might be seen by more than just political types as salutary for the U.S.

Last time we facetiously (that’s our story now) proposed an Obama-Bloomberg ticket, but I’ll bet Business Week would love a Michael Bloomberg-Warren Buffett ticket!

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm250: Stay home, Mike?

January 11, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

The continuing saga of Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, and his feinting and hinting about a presidential campaign hit the front page of NYTimes Friday.

One measurement that this story has legs is its regular appearance since mid-June in this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm057: Bloomberg for President?
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?
mm248: Political Potpourri

Now Mayor Bloomberg’s newspaper of record broadcasts a discouraging word. Perhaps the voting public, especially those voters who are his constituents in New York, are becoming a bit testy over his aforementioned feinting and hinting.

The peg for today’s story was Bloomberg’s trip to Oklahoma City this week, where bunches of former (I almost said politician, but my experience is that there’s no such thing as a former politician. Politician, or deceased politician are the two varieties) elected officials gathered to assess the terrain: Is the U.S. ready for a serious third political party, and is Michael Bloomberg the man to become its presidential candidate?

The Times indicates that people might have begun to classify Bloomberg with Fred Thompson, who took all summer to decide to run (or merely took a nap all summer?). We can see how Thompson is faring.

Couldn’t resist running the photograph that accompanied the on-line version of the story.

bloomberg8111

The caption is in MUDGE’s favorite type, 2-point Myopia, so we’ll tell you the woman in white at his right is Diana Taylor, his companion, and Silda Wall Spitzer, wife of New York Governor Eliot Spitzer is at his left.

nytimes

Calls Grow for Bloomberg to Make Up His Mind

By DIANE CARDWELL and RAY RIVERA

Published: January 11, 2008

Nearly every day a tiny new development trickles out from the stealth presidential campaign of Michael R. Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York.

He has talked with Chuck Hagel and Sam Nunn, potential running mates. He has delivered a tart critique of the presidential field. He is conducting intricate polling to test his appeal in all 50 states.

Mr. Bloomberg’s dalliance with the idea of running for president has stretched on and on, with his enthusiastic approval despite the public denials. But even before actually entering the contest, Mr. Bloomberg may have already risked losing something: people’s patience.

So here’s why this story continues to intrigue:

To be sure, there is little indication that ordinary voters around the country have given much thought to a Bloomberg candidacy, especially given the dramatic primary races in the two major parties. But his enormous wealth and willingness to spend it make him someone who cannot be ignored within the political world.

But, all may not be well at home, while Mayor Mike tours the world, and Oklahoma.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Calls Grow for Bloomberg to Make Up His Mind – New York Times

Interesting also the news that Unity08, a high profile interest group working nationwide toward a viable third party, written about here several times until we became concerned about their motives, is cutting back its activities in that direction.

One dirty tricks theory of U.S. politics says that third party candidates cause so much mischief to Democratic candidates (think Ralph Nader) that Karl Rove and his ilk must be the éminence grise behind them.

In that light, maybe Mike should stay home?

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm248: Political Potpourri

January 9, 2008

MUDGE’S Musings

We are all of us under bombardment. If it’s not politics, it’s electronics (the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week).

What’s an overstressed blogger to do? How to choose?

It’s 2008 — politics wins. Actually, it’s been 2008 politically since November, 2006.

From the veritable cascade of information flowing out of the results of the New Hampshire primary Tuesday, as well as germane political news of a more general nature, we’ve put together another in a series we at Left-Handed Complement like to call:

shortattention_thumb2 ©

As this is our second effort in the past 16 hours or so, we will restrict ourselves to more cursory commentary. These are three stories that faithful reader should read for understanding.

There will be a test!

The New Hampshire results, especially Hillary Clinton’s surprise narrow victory over the sweetheart of Iowa, Barack Obama (a five-day honeymoon — that’s Britney Spears class!), most embarrassed the people who conducted the polls that had everyone, especially Obama’s team, believing in his invincibility.

nytimes

opinionatornytimes

They Were Misinformed

By Tobin Harshaw | January 9, 2008,  9:33 am

Well, it was a shocking defeat for this group, and today they’re going to have to take a long hard look at what went wrong. No, I don’t mean Team Obama — that crowd can move ahead — I mean the pollsters who were so certain that the Clinton campaign was D.O.A.

We’ll start, as usual, with Mark Blumenthal at Pollster.com, who dissects the final poll by CNN and the University of New Hampshire:

The discrepancy between the last UNH poll and the result seems concentrated in a few key subgroups. I will post the exact numbers tomorrow once the we get a final exit poll tabulations, but virtually all of the difference seems to come from women and college educated voters. For the moment, when comparing the UNH poll to the exit poll, I see a net 17 point gain for Clinton among women compared to a 5 point gain among men, and a 13 point net gain among college educated voters compared to a one point net loss among those with no college degree.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

They Were Misinformed – The Opinionator – Opinion – New York Times Blog

Back to the drawing board, pollsters. And, it’s game on for this political season, as the long-held (okay, five-day-long-held) sureties dissipated in Hillary’s “comeback.”

shortattention_thumb2 ©

It’s the season, and we’ve been increasingly concerned about vote fraud, most specifically when it involves voting machines (lately here and here).

This past weekend, the NYTimes magazine ran an extended feature on voting machines, and the crises in confidence they’ve caused in many states.

We all know the story of Florida in 2000 (which was a paper based system, in a state that politically gives Myanmar some competition), but disturbing stories are told all over the country.

nytimesmagazine

Can You Count on Voting Machines?

By CLIVE THOMPSON | Published: January 6, 2008

Jane Platten gestured, bleary-eyed, into the secure room filled with voting machines. It was 3 a.m. on Nov. 7, and she had been working for 22 hours straight. “I guess we’ve seen how technology can affect an election,” she said. The electronic voting machines in Cleveland were causing trouble again….

As the primaries start in New Hampshire this week and roll on through the next few months, the erratic behavior of voting technology will once again find itself under a microscope. In the last three election cycles, touch-screen machines have become one of the most mysterious and divisive elements in modern electoral politics. Introduced after the 2000 hanging-chad debacle, the machines were originally intended to add clarity to election results. But in hundreds of instances, the result has been precisely the opposite: they fail unpredictably, and in extremely strange ways; voters report that their choices “flip” from one candidate to another before their eyes; machines crash or begin to count backward; votes simply vanish. (In the 80-person town of Waldenburg, Ark., touch-screen machines tallied zero votes for one mayoral candidate in 2006 — even though he’s pretty sure he voted for himself.) Most famously, in the November 2006 Congressional election in Sarasota, Fla., touch-screen machines recorded an 18,000-person “undervote” for a race decided by fewer than 400 votes.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Voting Machines – Elections – Ballots – Politics – New York Times

We have a lot to worry about, people!

shortattention_thumb2 ©

Couldn’t resist this one.

A fellow WordPress blogger (there are only a couple of million of us) had the following unique take on two men in the news (and present always, or lately, in this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere©).

Always, Michael Bloomberg:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?

Lately, Barack Obama (see above, and here, for example).

Why not put them together? asks this distinguished political expert, blogger Jon Taplin.

jontaplinsblog

Obama-Bloomberg?

January 7, 2008 · 7 Comments

Obama- Bloomberg

With Drudge predicting Hillary’s exit and Barack Obama increasingly building excitement towards locking up the nomination on Feb. 5, I’m thinking about the role Mike Bloomberg could play as Obama’s running mate. The Republican battle could last all the way until a brokered convention in August. Romney has too much money to retire easily, McCain could take New Hampshire, Huckabee wins South Carolina, Rudy wins Florida and the Feb 5 races could be split with no clear winner. That leaves Barack with time to consolidate the Democratic Party, raise money for the general and choose a running mate while the Republicans remain in a squabble, spending their limited resources on the primary.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Obama-Bloomberg? « Jon Taplin’s Blog

What a concept! It’s got legs, brains, $$$.

Would billionaire Mayor Mike settle for being anyone’s second banana?

Don’t you just love political season (except of course that it has apparently become the first true perpetual motion machine)?

And that’s L-HC’s first ever (that we can recall) Political Potpourri. Does anyone doubt that there’ll be more?

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?

December 31, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

This nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© has been following the tease of a possible third-party candidacy for president by Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City for almost its entire existence:

Mayor Michael Bloomberg of NYC for U.S. President 2008

mm024: Bloomberg?
mm038.1: Jews Sorta Like Bloomberg Even Though…
mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility…
mm054: Chicago Tribune news: An Idea for Bloomberg
mm058: What Kind of President would Michael Bloomberg?
mm064: How to take down plutocrat Michael Bloomberg…
mm066: Michael Bloomberg’s Knightly Ambitions
mm069: The Votes Are In for New York’s Mayor Mike
mm086: Bloomberg Takes School Plan… to Midwest
mm110: Grading Mayoral Control
mm117: The cure for the Electoral College is worse…
mm208: Overdue a Bloomberg post
mm238: Bloomberg’s candidacy — closer to real?

Last summer the Bloomberg stories were thick on the ground, but had faded to the background as the skirmishing among the mainstream candidates heated up in Iowa and New Hampshire (and how do you feel about the reality of those tiny states with their tiny populations of single-issue largely rural [or in N.H.’s case, refugees from urban life] overwhelmingly homogenous Caucasians usurping your opportunity to influence the election process?), and Bloomberg himself publicly resisted overt movement.

Now, finally, on the cusp of 2008 itself, the third-party initiative opened itself for public view, and as far as NYTimes is concerned (and in this particular case, all politics are local, indeed), it’s all about Mayor Bloomberg.

nytimes

Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President

By SAM ROBERTS | Published: December 31, 2007

Buoyed by the still unsettled field, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run.

On Sunday, the mayor will join Democratic and Republican elder statesmen at the University of Oklahoma in what the conveners are billing as an effort to pressure the major party candidates to renounce partisan gridlock.

Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized the session with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested in an interview that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, “I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent.”

Finally, Bloomberg has been showing some signs of interest…

And Mr. Bloomberg himself has become more candid in conversations with friends and associates about his interest in running, according to participants in those talks. Despite public denials, the mayor has privately suggested scenarios in which he might be a viable candidate: for instance, if the opposing major party candidates are poles apart, like Mike Huckabee, a Republican, versus Barack Obama or John Edwards as the Democratic nominee.

This is getting serious, indeed: tickets are being explored.

Mr. Boren declined to say which candidate would be strongest, but suggested “some kind of combination of those three: Bloomberg-Hagel, Bloomberg-Nunn.” He said Mr. Bloomberg would “not have to spend a lot of time raising money and he would not have to make deals with special interest groups to raise money.”

“Normally I don’t think an independent candidacy would have a chance” said Mr. Boren, who is the University of Oklahoma’s president. “I don’t think these are normal times.”

Certainly not normal times, indeed.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Bloomberg Moves Closer to Running for President – New York Times

It increasingly sounds like Michael Bloomberg could be talked into a run. And, yr (justifiably) humble svt believes that he’s got the chops to run a strong campaign (are we not all crying out for a change for the better?).

Most importantly, I believe that he would be ready to get immediately to work to fix the dysfunction he would inherit.

Bloomberg’s record of accomplishment as mayor of our biggest, toughest to govern metropolis is outstanding, and, we hasten to add, unlike a former mayor of NYC with troubling friends and private life, is not solely built on the manufactured post-perceptions of one horrible day.

Speaking of the times, we musn’t lose sight of the dire state of our vaunted democratic nation.

Thus, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share this video, not our usual style here at Left-Handed Complement.

Business as usual doesn’t cut it any longer.

Run, Michael Bloomberg, run!

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE

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mm229: Writer’s diarrhea, continued

December 21, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

(… the opposite of writer’s block, right?)

Our wonderful host, WordPress.com, lets us know on its Statistics page what were the leading posts on one’s site for the day, and the day just past. They even provide a link that allows one to learn how many cumulative hits a particular post on one’s site has received over its life.

We mention this because for the first time someone actually was listed as having read post “mm167: Writer’s diarrhea” from 11-October-2007.

So I reread it; damn! I’m good! 😉

Odd that this popped up when it did; it’s the rare post on the topic of blogging; now that WordPress can show how in the Categories listing on the sidebar many times “blogging” has been used as a category, one can learn that it’s been called out here in this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© only 15 times in 240+ posts. And of course, I’m certain that constant reader knows that clicking on any category will bring up all of the posts for which the category has been invoked.

So, I reread the entire category; damn! I’m consistently good! 😉

Most days we try not to be too self-referential or navel-gazing, within the constraints of course of the entire concept of blogging, which is built on self-reference and navel-gazing, and the often much too intimate sharing of one’s quotidian banalities.

Ahem. So here we try not to spend too much time in such pursuits, attempting rather to peg the day’s post on one or more external hooks, external being the zillion page world wide web. Once pegged, then one is permitted to be self-referential and navel-gazing, because it’s now in an external context.

No secret that among the zillion blogs out there (WordPress.com says that as of this writing it has 2,020,627 blogs with 71,011 new posts today, and they’re just one good sized corner of the ‘sphere, and I do mean good — love you guys!), there are predictable concentrations of subject matter: religion, politics, the politics of religion, the religion of politicians, etc. This nanocorner has even been known to indulge its political side once or twice (hence the name of the place, (Left-Handed Complement, you know) one supposes).

So yesterday I was harvesting promising stories for potential future posts, and I found this one, on a site that MUDGE is distinctly undercredentialed to be reading, The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Fascinating to me that before I even went to look for my own entries on the topic of why we blog, and why we choose to read certain others’ blogs, someone came to WordPress’s notice, and mm167 showed up in the stats. Meant to be, I guess.

chroniclehighered

The Polarization of Extremes

By CASS R. SUNSTEIN

In 1995 the technology specialist Nicholas Negroponte predicted the emergence of “the Daily Me” — a newspaper that you design person-ally, with each component carefully screened and chosen in advance. For many of us, Negroponte’s prediction is coming true. As a result of the Internet, personalization is everywhere. If you want to read essays arguing that climate change is a fraud and a hoax, or that the American economy is about to collapse, the technology is available to allow you to do exactly that. If you are bored and upset by the topic of genocide, or by recent events in Iraq or Pakistan, you can avoid those subjects entirely. With just a few clicks, you can find dozens of Web sites that show you are quite right to like what you already like and think what you already think.

Actually you don’t even need to create a Daily Me. With the Internet, it is increasingly easy for others to create one for you. If people know a little bit about you, they can discover, and tell you, what “people like you” tend to like — and they can create a Daily Me, just for you, in a matter of seconds. If your reading habits suggest that you believe that climate change is a fraud, the process of “collaborative filtering” can be used to find a lot of other material that you are inclined to like. Every year filtering and niche marketing become more sophisticated and refined. Studies show that on Amazon, many purchasers can be divided into “red-state camps” and “blue-state camps,” and those who are in one or another camp receive suitable recommendations, ensuring that people will have plenty of materials that cater to, and support, their predilections.

Credit for finding this article goes to the consistently phenomenal and charter member of the blogroll blogroll2 Arts & Letters Daily, a regular read long before we ventured into the scary practice of creating content (derivative though it may be frownie_thumb[1] ) rather than simply consuming it.

Of course, Cass Sunstein’s focus is on those Web 2.0 sites that tailor content to the scourings of past choices; Amazon.com still represents the ultimate commercial application: you bought this, other folks who bought this bought that, we think you might like the other.

There are news aggregation sites that do the same, picking up on what you click on, and presenting you with more of the same. Thoof.com is an extreme example, and Mixx.com an even more recent and slightly more high minded one.

In Sunstein’s observation, backed by the Colorado experiment cited, once one finds oneself with like-minded people in such sites, reading like-minded bloggers, that mass of like-mindedness tilts one further toward the extreme end of whatever spectrum is on the table.

The Internet makes it exceedingly easy for people to replicate the Colorado experiment online, whether or not that is what they are trying to do. Those who think that affirmative action is a good idea can, and often do, read reams of material that support their view; they can, and often do, exclude any and all material that argues the other way. Those who dislike carbon taxes can find plenty of arguments to that effect. Many liberals jump from one liberal blog to another, and many conservatives restrict their reading to points of view that they find congenial. In short, those who want to find support for what they already think, and to insulate themselves from disturbing topics and contrary points of view, can do that far more easily than they can if they skim through a decent newspaper or weekly newsmagazine.

And the person with moderate views leaning in one direction continues to read, the leaning’s become a tilt, which reinforced by continual one-sided content, becomes polarization.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

The Polarization of Extremes – ChronicleReview.com

Thus far, 7½ months in, we don’t feel too polarized, except maybe on a few choice topics: Bloomberg for President, One Laptop Per Child, UAVs, web conferencing (boy am I overdue there!).

Covers a spectrum, one hopes, of interests and political positions, nothing too middle of the road, but nothing extremely polarizing either.

We’ll endeavor to remain open minded. Tell us if we’re not, won’t you?

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE


mm208: Overdue — a Bloomberg post

November 29, 2007

MUDGE’S Musings

During the past long, hot summer of an impossibly early 2008 election season, this nanocorner of the ‘Sphere© developed an interest in the potential presidential candidacy of the current mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.

For example, you might wish to refresh your memory here, here or here.

In contrast to a certain Republican candidate, Bloomberg is the mayor who walks the talk, whose reputation is built on six years of outstanding accomplishment, not just one horrible day, and has no indicted close friends.

But it’s been quiet for a long time on the Bloomberg front. Perhaps it’s because he keeps denying he’s a candidate.

Why let reality stand in the way of such an intriguing possibility?

bloomberg

Bloomberg’s Latest Itinerary Lists China and Indonesia

By DIANE CARDWELL

As Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg again prepares to trot around the world with a gaggle of cameras behind him, a question is emerging: Is he traveling so much for the city? Or for much-denied presidential aspirations?

The mayor — whose official trips this year have taken him to Mexico, Paris and London as well as New Orleans, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Seattle and St. Louis — will fly to China and Indonesia the week of Dec. 9.

He is taking along Deputy Mayor Kevin Sheekey, who has been promoting Mr. Bloomberg’s presidential prospects almost since the mayor was re-elected in 2005. The mayor is also bringing his companion, Diana Taylor.

Assorted other aides — including, perhaps, Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development — will make the trip, too. A mayoral spokesman said yesterday that the list had not been set.

[Please click the link below for the complete article — but then please come on back!]

Bloomberg’s Latest Itinerary Lists China and Indonesia – New York Times

As a non-resident of NYC, I have no problem with its mayor’s global junkets.

And were he actually running for president, his junketeering would more than likely take him to Bennington (New Hampshire) not Beijing; Shenandoah (Iowa) not Shanghai; maybe even Indiana not Indonesia.

But in a field of windbags and executive pygmies, of discredited Republican religious loonies and Democrats with imaginations so limited that they’ve spent an entire year of congressional leadership dithering to no effect, Bloomberg certainly stands out as a person, self-made and accomplished, seemingly capable of governing on a national scale.

Run, Mike Bloomberg!

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE