Saturday, January 20, 2007

Weekend links

What I'm reading this weekend:

Jim Rinck announces his candidacy for Grand Rapids Mayor reports Democratic Edge.

"I'm in," announces Hillary Rodham Clinton. "...I want you to join me not just for the campaign but for a conversation about the future of our country -- about the bold but practical changes we need to overcome six years of Bush administration failures."

Art Buchwald Inaugurates NY Video Obits I didn't watch the video, but paidContent reports that it begins, "Hello, I'm Art Buchwald and I just died." Interesting. And the Times reportedly has several more video obits in the can.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Weekend links

What I've been reading this weekend ...

No to Escalation. Congress can stop this, and there is precedent, as The Nation's editors point out. "Ratcheting up the pressure on Congress is urgent. Blocking the escalation is the first step toward bringing the troops home."

Saddam Cell Video Subverts News Packages. Writes Mark Glaser at MediaShift:
Having a more direct view of the Saddam hanging might give us a clearer, truer picture of the event, but it also is partially responsible for the death of at least seven children who hung themselves in copycat hangings. As the filtering power of the MSM lessens, the parental and personal filters of all of us must be strengthened. More than ever, we need to have better media literacy, know what is out there for us to see, and choose wisely in what we see and what conclusions we make.
random notes on blogging, from Hugh McCleod at gaping void: "Blogging is a great way to make things happen indirectly. I say that all the time, and will KEEP saying it till people finally get it [I’m not holding my breath]." The cartoon heading up the post is so true, too.

My dilemma with MichLib Local

The advent of Michlib Local has given me pause. Don't get me wrong -- it's a great idea to have diaries on MichiganLiberal categorized by county, city and township. In time it should become the place to go to read all of what's going on in any one jurisdiction. It could become one place we've all been wanting -- and needing -- to go to read the important information, news and viewpoints of those writing about their particular areas.

But Michlib Local makes me wonder what to do with this blog. I mean, why post here, when I can post there and add to the collective? What is the sense of continually crossposting at Coit Avenue and Michigan Liberal? Doesn't it make more sense to post at Michlib Local, where others can chime in, and where my information is added to the aggregate of stuff (even if the chorus only numbers 4 or 5) from my area?

When I first saw Matt's post, I thought, this is great! I can contribute posts to MichLib on local information and not have them "lost" among the many. And it seems to me that an aggregation of information and viewpoints from, say, Kent County, can give a more complete idea of the state of things here. Our "collective intelligence" becomes a rich resource and even can be an impetus to action.

Maybe I'm overthinking this. Maybe my situation is unique. I have two blogs: The more long-lived Things I've Seen is more of a friends and family thing, while Coit has leaned toward political commentary. Things I've Seen has also been the place where I've commented on life, media, communications, technology, and anything internet. When I began Coit, I started putting that kind of commentary there, until the governor's race heated up and I began to devote the bulk of my posting to it.

Now that MichLib Local has been introduced, I don't see much sense in continuing this particular local political blog. I'll never be the incisive political pundit that so many of the MichLib bloggers are, and I've been pretty lax on that front lately (mostly because I went to work full time in Sept.) Seems to me it makes more sense to shutter Coit Avenue, move all my blogging back to Things I've Seen, and post what little bit of local political fodder I do have to diaries tagged for MichLib Local.

But I really can't decide. Anybody else have any thoughts?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Weekend links

What I've been reading over the weekend:

  • Media Mouse also thoroughly probes CD03 Rep. Vern Ehlers's record to tell a more complete story behind the recent GR Press article, "Ehlers voices second thoughts on war":
    "... the way in which the article ends is misleading and portrays Ehlers as a reluctant supporter of the war when in fact he supported it early on and has continued to support the war by voting for every military spending bill. Ehlers has also refused to support a timetable for the withdrawal of United States troops from Iraq and voted in support of the Military Commissions Act of 2006."
  • "The Dumbness of Crowds" explores how New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki's "Wisdom of the Crowds" idea (his book has the same name) sometimes gets twisted. The Crowd is ... "a collection of individuals," says Kathy Sierra, "Individuals whose independent knowledge (and "independent" is a key word in what makes the crowd "smart") is aggregated in some way, not smushed into one amorphous Consensus Result." It is "collective intelligence."

    The idea of "Crowds" in this context "... was never meant to mean 'mobs,' 'groups acting as one,' 'committees,' 'consensus' or even 'high collaboration.'" A good example of the difference:

"Collective Intelligence" is about getting input and ideas from many different people and perspectives.

"Dumbness of Crowds" is blindly averaging the input of many different people, and expecting a breakthrough. (It's not always the averaging that's the problem it's the blindly part)