The Publisher's Desk
From The Publisher's Desk: November 06, 2005
STG - Susan Tom Gets What She Deserves!
09:38 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
I first heard of Susan May 11th, 2004. As I wrote on our Iraq page then:
That post did three things. First, it rallied the blogosphere, and we ultimately raised $15,000 in three days for the education trust. Second, it was the germ of an idea that ultimately led me to create Strengthen The Good, a non-profit network of bloggers committed to raising awareness for small charities around the world. Third, it introduced me to Susan, whom I've since come to consider a friend, and her kids, who are as much an inspiration as is she.
Well, Susan finally got what she deserved. ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition built her a house. The episode airs tomorrow night at 7:00 EST (it's a two-hour special), and I strongly encourage everyone to watch the show. It's a program that often brings people (including me) to tears; Susan's story will inspire you to change the world, in whatever small or grand way you can. It did for me, and I'm a better man for it.
Thank you, Susan, for being a hero, and congratulations on getting what you've so long deserved.
From The Publisher's Desk: August 02, 2005
Site Matters - Hacked
07:58 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
Our forum was hacked, and it's trashed. Hopefully we can retrieve the database, as it contains (in addition to the threads authored by the participants) a significant historical record of global response to the Indian Ocean Tsunami.
We're working on it, and we're talking with some other folks who were hacked by the same
Apologies to everyone who enjoyed the forum; it seems some people out there need to prove their place in the world through the small-minded defacement of others' work.
From The Publisher's Desk: July 25, 2005
Site Matters - Kill Spam Dead!
07:40 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Lots of complaints recently about trackback spam at TCP. They're well-deserved; with five blogs running and some 17,000 inidivdual posts, there's a lot to spam.
Over the weekend we installed Brad Choate's new SpamLookup plugin, and it seems to be doing the job: no new trackback spam since Saturday. It may produce a false positive from time to time, though, so if your trackback doesn't go through, send us a note and we'll take care of it for you.
Thanks for reading the Post.
From The Publisher's Desk: June 24, 2005
Site Matters - Thanks!
06:35 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Michele and I were named as “Honorable Mentions” in the Always On/Technorati Open Media 100 list. Thanks to them, and thanks to our readers.
From The Publisher's Desk: June 12, 2005
Book Reviews - The Gift Of Valor
11:06 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Because of my role at Command Post, I'm occasionally sent a book to read, sometimes with a request for a review and sometimes not. Last week I was offered a review copy of Michael Phillip's new book, The Gift of Valor. It arrived Thursday; I read the bulk in two sittings (on the plane to and from Minneapolis on Friday), and the remainder this morning.
My main comments on the book are tangential to the core facts of a review, so I'll get the core facts out of the way first:
Now to my main comments. I first leaned of Corporal Dunham when I read Phillip's first Wall Street Journal article about the Marine on 25 May 2004 (link via Blackfive). I remember being touched by the story; my feelings after finishing The Gift of Valor are deeper, stronger … more moving and substantive.
I finished the book just an hour ago, reading the final chapters on our back deck, warmed by the Sunday Pennsylvania sun as it rose through the white pines of our back yard. The air was warm but not hot, a soft breeze coming from the South, a trio of male cardinals chasing each other from tree to tree in the yard.
Kate by my side. Warm and freshly-ground coffee in my mug. The dog in the yard, happily munching on a stick, on the lookout for squirrels.
When I finished the book, I was moved.
Some of my reaction was a function of contrast: the obvious juxtaposition between my life in reading the book, and the lives of Corporal Dunham and his peers in living it. This book gives you a very clear window into the reality of the war in Iraq, the reality of war in general, and the people who shape and are shaped by that reality day in a day out.
It makes a Sunday morning on the deck with your wife seem a rich blessing, which frankly, it is.
Some of my reaction was melancholy at the death of Corporal Dunham. Some will call his death a waste, others a sacrifice, others still (including me) an act of courage and honor. History will apply that final lens, but regardless of that judgment, he was clearly a fine and good young man, and Phillip's descriptions of his life, his family, and his character struck deep chords.
And finally, and perhaps most of all, my reaction was humble awe not just of Corporal Dunham, but of the support of those around him through his journey: the Corpsmen, his fellow Marines, the nurses and doctors, the administrators … the infrastructure of the US military and the U.S.M.C, which brought humanity and caring to every step.
This is where we find the real story of The Gift of Valor: in the valor of not just those who serve, but of those who serve those who serve. This is a book about not one, but hundreds of heroes.
Of the Major who waits hours for his men to receive medical attention before revealing that he, too, has been shot.
Of the neurosurgeons who leave wealthy practice in the States to make a gritty practice in the sands of Iraq.
Of the nurses who refuse to leave an injured Marine alone for even a moment, hour upon hour.
Of the administrators at Bethesda who drain their personal savings throwing barbecues for the families of the injured, weekend after weekend.
Of the people of Scio who drain their rainy day funds to send Corporal Dunham's family to Germany, if needed.
There are two passages in this book that, for me, eloquently struck this chord of systemic caring. Both are in the book's final pages, as Corporal Dunham's family struggles with the decision of whether or not to honor the Corporal's living will request to not receive life support if in a vegetative state.
The second — too long to recreate here — describes how General Michael Hagee, the Marine corps commandant, skipped a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to present Corporal Dunham's Purple Heart in person, and to be at his parent's side to tell them what kind of a Marine their son was.
Perhaps I'm naïve. But I've never held the view of the Marine corps, or of our military in general, as an infrastructure that would provide such humane caring for its people: to ensure a wounded soldier, even one in a deep coma, is not left without a hand to hold; to demonstrate that parents facing the most difficult choice they can make are a greater priority than the planning of our military's highest council.
Time and again The Gift of Valor tells these tales: people, caring for each other, loving each other, in the eye of a storm of pain and risk and death. It's terribly moving.
One of my favorite films is Love Actually. It's one of those movies that, if I catch a glimpse of it on TV, I'm committed to see the rest of the thing out. The film opens with a narrative by Hugh Grant, in which he says:
And so it is with valor. The dictionary tells us valor is "courage and boldness, as in battle; bravery". The message Michael Phillips brings us is that, yes, Corporal Dunham had the gift of valor. But the bigger message is that people all around us … doctors, nurses, administrators, the school principal down the street … they also carry that gift, for they have the courage and boldness and bravery to love.
And in that, valor is all around.
From The Publisher's Desk: May 25, 2005
Blog Spotting - Mike Moran; Blog Panel
05:59 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
While at the DNC in Boston I bumped into Mike Moran at the hotel bar. Mike was behind Hardblogger, and we had a good chat about blogs and journalism (while having, I seem to recall, some of the finest chowder of my life).
He's now posting over at Sword and Pen for the Overseas Press Club of America … check it out.
He's also taking part in a June 1st panel on blogs and international news, along with Joe Trippi, Paul Mirengoff, Marshall Loeb, and Rebecca MacKinnon. Hmm … CBS and PowerLine, together at last … should be interesting. It's in NYC; go here to learn more.
From The Publisher's Desk: May 23, 2005
Blog Spotting - Alan's New Blog
03:49 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
You may now also find me here.
From The Publisher's Desk: May 05, 2005
Site Matters - Notice to Emailers
09:06 PM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
I've had a bit of an Outlook crash. Well, a huge Outlook crash.
If you have mailed me at my TCP address in the past month or so, or if you sent a mail that you thought deserved a response and didn't get one, please resend your inquiry to micheleREMOVETHIScatalanoATgmailDOTCOM.
Thank you and I apologize for not getting back to you.
From The Publisher's Desk: May 04, 2005
Go See - The Substance Of Style
07:01 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
A quick book suggestion: I recently picked up a copy of Virginia Postrel's The Substance of Style, which I'm very much enjoying. She's been a fan of Command Post since the start, and SOS is well worth the time and $ if you're at all interested in culture and aesthetics. Check it out.
From The Publisher's Desk: March 06, 2005
Site Matters - On My Way Back ...
12:05 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
I've been on vacation and without net access for the past week. I'm back online now, though, and will be plowing through the emails that have come in since I started my break. If you sent one, be patient: I'll get to them all.
From The Publisher's Desk: March 05, 2005
Go See - Gunner Palace
08:39 AM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
GUNNER PALACE reveals the complex realities of the situation in Iraq not seen on the nightly news. Told first-hand by our troops, 'Gunner Palace' presents a thought provoking portrait of a dangerous and chaotic war that is personal, highly emotional, sometimes disturbing, surprisingly amusing … and thoroughly fascinating.
See the trailers here.
A list of screenings is here.
From The Publisher's Desk: February 18, 2005
Blog Spotting - ¡No Pasarán!
07:01 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
What expats and the mainstream media (French and American alike) fail to notice (or fail to tell you) about French attitudes, principles, values, and official positions.
Check it out.
From The Publisher's Desk: February 16, 2005
Trivia/Quizzes - All The President's Hair
11:34 AM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
Think you might know a thing or three about US Presidents? (Alternately, have five minutes to kill?) Then try identifying some of them by their hair! Be sure to give it a few tries as there are more presidents than hairdos-to-guess per game.
Go on, guess the President's hair!
From The Publisher's Desk: February 14, 2005
Site Matters - The New Treo 650 ...
08:00 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
… works great with Movable Type (as you can see by the fact that I'm posting this with the Treo right now).
From The Publisher's Desk: February 12, 2005
MSM - What CNN Can Learn From Pep Boys
08:15 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Pep Boys is a pretty unassuming company. Sells car parts. Does some simple service. Straight forward, easy to understand, not involved in all sorts of complex financial circumstances, international industries, or sophisticated financial instruments (like, say, a BP or an Exxon/Mobile or a Merrill Lynch).
Yet consider what Pep Boys needs to do to satisfy the SEC and the investor community:
… and frankly, a dozen other things: analyst calls, annual meetings, etc.
Why must simple Pep Boys do this? Why subject poor Manny, Moe, and Jack to such rigor?
Because people are tangibly invested in the company, and as such, they demand as transparent a view into the stewardship of that investment as possible.
It's been that way for a long time, but ENRON, in particular, has made transparency the watchword of the decade for publicly traded companies, their boards, and their CEOs and CFOs.
Which brings me to CNN.
Eason Jordon. Wow. And this was a blog event, from the beginning to the end.
Like Dan Rather.
Like Howell Raines.
Here's the lesson for these and similar folk in mainstream media:
Information has always been a commodity in the public discourse. But now, for the first time in history, the channels of distribution have sufficiently fragmented that information (and news) is no longer something that's held, it's something that flows. From the “Law of the Flow” section of my APME speech:
If you’ve ever taken a class in macroeconomics, you might remember learning about “stocks” and “flows.” In economics, a stock is something that is accumulated over time … furniture in your house is a stock.
Because of The Flow, people now are exposed to more information, are naturally more dependent on it, and are better able to judge its quality than ever before.
It's the currency of exchange for daily life, and mainstream news organizations (at least before the blogs) have been our banks of information: they held the currency, and they distributed it to the populace. And in serving that role, we made a similar investment in the mainstream media: We invested our faith.
Which is where CNN has something to learn from Pep Boys. Publicly traded companies must now begin to provide high levels of transparency if they hope to keep the faith of their investors. The same is now true for MSM news outlets. For … well, forever, really … they’ve been able to live in a world with no transparency, and make choices about how to handle the investment of faith by others without accountability to the investor.
Not any more. Now The Flow, facilitated by the blogs, are pulling back the covers on our banks of public trust. Dan Rather, Howell Raines, Eason Jordan … they were the CEOs of those information banks. For decades they've made choices of how to handle the consumer’s investment without providing any visibility into direction or intention. They've had their ENRON here and their WorldCom there … we just never learned of them. Now, the blogs are forcing transparency upon you, and some consumers are rightly finding that their investment hasn’t been treated as well as the like.
So they’re placing it elsewhere. They're placing it here.
In the closing pages of BLOG Hugh Hewitt writes:
The key to keep in mind is that trust drives everything. To build and maintain trust is a tremendously difficult thing, requiring patient attention to detail and discipline over long periods of time.
Yep. Trust drives everything. Always has. The difference now is that the media not only needs to earn it, they need to prove they deserve to keep it. Doing so is going to require true change in the structures and policies of these institutions. Good intentions and a commitment to better ethics won’t suffice (it certainly wouldn’t for Pep Boys) … and the resulting change is going to require a transformation of enormous consequence, the beginnings of which we have yet to even see.
From The Publisher's Desk: February 07, 2005
Blog Spotting - DeepBlog
10:18 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
Visited DeepBlog yet? Just checking.
JBTP - Campaigns & Elections Blogging Panel
06:09 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
I'm taking part today in a panel on blogging, journalism, and politics at a Campaigns & Elections seminar in D. C. Among the other participants are Hugh Hewitt and Matt Gross. I'll moblog anything interesting from the site, and have a post-panel post this evening.
From The Publisher's Desk: February 06, 2005
Go See - GO IGGLES!
09:58 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
OK ... totally off topic for Command Post. But it's my page, damn it. And the fact is, as a Philadelphia resident, I can no longer contain myself. So ... all together now:
Fly Eagles fly, on the road to victory.
E. A. G. L. E. S. EAGLES!!!!!!Update: Ugh.
From The Publisher's Desk: February 02, 2005
JBTP - Are Bloggers Journalists?
07:55 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
The Christian Science Monitor takes on that question, including whether journalists warrant press protections.
My two cents: If in addressing the issue of protection you’re comparing the guarantee journalists have to that enjoyed by physicians and attorneys, it strikes me as a false comparison. Unless there's a form of “official” accreditation or licensing for journalists, we're not journalists.
Of course, given that there is no such accreditation or licensing, that means that journalists aren't journalists, either. So we're all either in the protection soup, or we're all out.
The fact is, the protection journalists have enjoyed re: their sources is a legacy of their being the only news distribution channel in town. They’re not anymore, and as such, they’re no more or less official in their roles than are the bloggers … unless we want to say that the fact one might get a job with the New York Times counts as a vetting and accrediting process equal to that of passing the Bar.
Which, we know, it does not.
(Tip to Power Line)
Blog Spotting - Sullivan's Giving Up The Dish
07:40 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Andrew Sullivan is giving up his Daily Dish:
After much hemming and hawing, I've decided to put the blog as you've known it on hiatus for a few months. The Dish will still exist, the site will be updated weekly with new feature articles, and I'll still post when I feel like it. But it won't have the regularity or content of the past four and a half years. Why? The simple answer is that I want to take a breather, to write a long-overdue book, to read some more, travel to Europe and the Middle East, and work on some longer projects. Much as I would like to do everything, I've been unable to give the blog my full attention and make any progress on a book (and I'm two years behind). It's not so much the time as the mindset. The ability to keep on top of almost everything on a daily and hourly basis just isn't compatible with the time and space to mull over some difficult issues in a leisurely and deliberate manner. Others might be able to do it. But I've tried and failed. Besides, this is my fifth year of daily blogging - I was doing this when Clinton was president and Osama bin Laden was largely unknown - and I've always thought it's a good idea to quit something after around five years or so.
Virginia Postrell comments intelligently, as usual:
Even the few brilliant scholars (Tyler Cowen, Eugene Volokh, Grant McCracken) who make blogging seem like it should foster serious thought limit their posting to topics they want to mull over in public. Current-affairs blogging of the Sullivan/Instapundit/name your favorite type is inherently quick, dirty, and disposable. It may add to the public discourse, but it doesn't tend to deepen the blogger's own thinking. That, plus sheer laziness, is why this blog has never promised more than a few posts a week, and why I've given up my think-magazine-editor instincts to voice an opinion on everything. For a full-blown argument, I want to write something for a sizable audience and get paid. And I don't really want to post half-baked ones.
I appreciate the point of view. Luckily for us, we have lots of contributors to carry the torch.
From The Publisher's Desk: February 01, 2005
JBTP - Who's Blogging From Davos?
05:45 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Brett Stephens at Opinion Journal:
The theme for this year's meeting of the World Economic Forum is “Taking Responsibility for Tough Choices,” and on Thursday afternoon the choice before me is this: Do I sign up for the session on Arab Reform with Gamal Mubarak, heir apparent to Egypt's throne? Or do I plump for the “Reinvent Yourself” workshop with Angelina Jolie?
… the weak dollar, the blogosphere, dangerous ideas … what? The blogosphere? Who's at Davos talking about the blogoshpere?
Ahh, here it is … “Welcome to the Blogpolis”:
By providing highly personalized, real-time political information, blogging is reshaping how citizens make political decisions, for good and ill. 1) When do bloggers provide better information and analysis than conventional media? 2) Are bloggers effective media watchdogs? 3) Can bloggers be a positive political tool, and not just a threat to the powers that be? 4) What is the relationship between bloggers and democratic values?
Moderated by Richard Sergay, Senior Producer, Internet and Technology Unit, ABC News.
Ahh, here it is. The blogging panel included:
But seriously: If you wanted a panel about blogs as a political tool, and their role at the nexus of politics, media, and the public, wouldn't you want someone around who had actually, you know, used them as such? A Matt Gross … a Mike Krempasky … somebody?
I'm just sayin'.
From The Publisher's Desk: January 31, 2005
Go See - A Big, Wet Sloppy Kiss ...
07:26 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
… to my blog partner, friend, and general all around action hero cool chick, Michele, on the four year anniversary of her taking mouse, and blog, in hand.
The 'sphere has never been the same.
You rock, pards. Like RJD.
From The Publisher's Desk: January 27, 2005
TCP Polls - Doug Feith Leaving Defense
09:04 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
New poll up on the main page: Is Doug Feith leaving Defense a good or bad thing?
And if you don't know who Doug Feith is, you need to read Command Post more! Here's a primer …
From The Publisher's Desk: January 23, 2005
Contributors - Welcome Keith of Sortapundit
12:22 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
We're proud to add Keith Taylor of Sortapundit to our ranks of contributors. Visit his blog and help welcome him to the Post.
As for Michele and me: Welcome, Keith!
MSM - Objectivity & Truth
10:16 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
The Philly Inquirer's Chris Hedges has a think piece up today titled Journalists' objectivity needs balance of truth. In it he notes:
Balance and objectivity, without a strong commitment to the truth, can turn journalism into farce. It was impossible to witness the army massacres in El Salvador or the murder of children by Bosnian Serb snipers in Sarajevo without being revolted. I hated these crimes. I took risks, along with many of my colleagues, to expose and explain them. And I wanted, through my reporting, to get the world to wake up and put an end to the wholesale murder of innocents.
And then this:
Balance and objectivity have become code words to propagate the insidious and cynical moral disengagement that is destroying American journalism. This moral disengagement gives equal time, and sometimes more than equal time, to those who spread falsehoods and distort information. It tacitly sanctions the dissemination of lies. It absolves us from making moral choice. It obscures and often shuts out the truth.
“Entertainers posing as journalists.” Wow. Wonder how he feels about Dan Rather.
From The Publisher's Desk: January 21, 2005
Go See - And About Lincoln.ppt?
11:08 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
JBTP - Wow. Belmont & Jarvis.
11:03 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
This is a great post. “Abramson shuddered.” I bet. Enough said.
Site Matters - Shout Out To You, Mr. Hastings Law Reader
06:10 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Michele just sent me this. Nice to know we've entered the ranks of the academy, if only through a back door. And if you're reading this, Mr. Hastings Law Student, thanks for stopping by. How IS contacts, anyway?
From The Publisher's Desk: January 20, 2005
Site Matters - The Command Post: How We Can Get Better
06:47 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
Typing this from 37,000 feet and US Airways flight 1640.
I’ve just completed Hugh Hewitt’s book, Blog. Hugh’s folks were kind enough to send me a complementary copy before its release, but true to form I was only able to start it two days ago. The good news is that I read it in two sittings, most of which were on airplanes, which supports Hugh’s hope that it be a fast read.
I don’t write this to post about Hugh’s book, as much as I liked it. I’ll do that in another post. I’m writing this post to talk about Command Post, and what’s next for me with the site.
Fact is, we’ve been really lucky here. Our post-election traffic has held up quite well, stabilizing at about the same level as it was before the conventions and Election Day. What’s more, the tsunami proved what we’ve seen with the war and with the Northeast blackout and with hurricanes and a host of other stories: when news breaks, people around the world can rely on our network of bloggers to aggregate new fast, accurately, and with more global depth of coverage than just about anywhere else out there. People may not come here every day, but they come here when a story hits.
That’s wonderful, and it’s the point of the site: a sort of “middle ground” in journalism. Not mainstream media, and not the pure opinion of most blogs, but a third alternative, primarily about the news, that’s an awful lot faster, easier to access, and personable than the MSM sites.
And if you trust Command Post more than CNN or FOX, more power to you.
But reading Blog was a catalyst for a bunch of thinking I’ve been doing about the site, and where I’ve settled is that I in particular can get much better as an administrator and contributor. So, without consulting with Michele (she’s reading this for the first time, too … sorry pards, had to get this on, well, not paper, but screen), here’s what I’m thinking about my commitment to Command Post:
So … that’s a start. I don’t expect, nor do I have dreams for, Command Post to be a great revolution in media. That’s already underway. It’s called the Blogosphere, and we’re but a small part. But this is a labor of love, and in the very least, it’s been a personal investment of time, energy, thought. And because of that, it’s an investment I want to be proud of. We’ve done well, being a resource of citizen-journalism for people over the past 18 months, but we can do better. And if I can keep the commitments above, at least for my part, we will.
Just thought you should know.
Thanks for reading the Post.
JBTP - We’re Incorporated
06:23 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
Michele and I wanted to let you know that we’ve incorporated The Command Post. The official name of the firm is “JBTP, LLC”, with “JBTP” standing for “Journalism By The People.” We took this step based on the advice of Hugh Hewitt, which he dispensed during a conversation he and I had at the DNC in Boston. It doesn’t mean much in a tangible way … it’s not like we’re making a ton of money doing this … but it will help us account for our travel expenses at speeches and panel discussions, and our donations, a bit more cleanly.
More important, I think it’s symbolic of our little corner of the Blogosphere becoming “real” enough that we had to treat it as so. Which, I think, is symbolic of the Blogoshpere itself becoming increasingly “real.” (As are the incorporation of Strengthen The Good as a 501©(3) non-profit, the formation of Red State as a 527 … I’m sure there are others). To that we owe thanks to Hugh and Reynolds and Lileks and APME and many other sponsors and interested parties, but most of all we owe thanks to our contributors and our readers. For all of you: We’re grateful. It’s fun doing this, but only because Michele and I have had occasion to feel part of something larger than ourselves.
Some of you know that I fly almost every week. If you happen to see a guy in his mid-30s tapping a blog entry on a black IBM Thinkpad on your next commercial airline flight, it’s probably me. Say hello, and I’ll buy the drinks.
Caption Contests - Inauguration Caption Contest!
08:55 AM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
Jenna loves Ronnie James Dio!
Trivia/Quizzes - Inauguration Trivia!
07:23 AM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
[Not really news, so I'm just sticking this here]
__________ was the shortest inaugural address at 135 words. (1793)
________________was the only president to walk to and from his inaugural. He was also the first to be inaugurated at the Capitol.
The first inaugural ball was held for _____________.
____________ was the first president sworn in wearing long trousers.
____________was the first president to affirm rather than swear the oath of office.
_________________'s was the longest inaugural address at 8,445 words.
The first inauguration to be photographed was _______________'s.
__________ was the first to include African-Americans in his parade.
___________s mother was the first to attend her son's inauguration.
____________ inauguration was the first ceremony to be recorded by a motion picture camera.
__________'s wife was the first one to accompany her husband in the procession from the Capitol to the White House.
____________s second inaugural parade.
____________ was the first president to ride to and from his inaugural in an automobile.
__________'s was the first inaugural address broadcast on the radio.
_________'s was the first to be televised.
____________s inauguration had first poet to participate in the official ceremony.
____________ was the first (and so far) only president to be sworn in by a woman.
_________'s inaugural parade featured solar heat for the reviewing stand.
_____________'s second inaugural had to compete with Super Bowl Sunday.
The first ceremony broadcast on the Internet was _____________'s second inauguration.
Bonus: Name the six presidents who did not take their oaths in Washington, D.C.
[Trivia from infoplease.com. Leave your answers in the comments - I'll post the correct answers tonight.]
From The Publisher's Desk: January 19, 2005
Contributors - New Contributor: Joshua of One Free Korea
06:50 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Please help us welcome a new TCP contributor, Josh Stanton. Josh publishes his blog One Free Korea from Washington, DC. Josh served in Korea, and is a former Army JAG prosecutor and defense counsel. Welcome, Josh!
Go See - Helmets To Hardhats
06:07 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
We were asked to exchange banners with Helmets to Hardhats, a company funded by the Department of Defense to help transitioning military and veterans find careers in the building and constructions trades. We don't run banners (as you can see), but we're more than happy to give the site a plug. Check it out.
From The Publisher's Desk: January 18, 2005
JBTP - The 10 Most Important Ideas of 2004: Blogs & The Internet
04:34 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
Via Weinberger: How to Save the World's list of the 10 most important ideas of 2004, blog/Internet style. My favorite: “The blog is a journal, and online journalism is our game.” Or as we like to say: “Journalism is history written on the run, and we record the race.”
From The Publisher's Desk: December 22, 2004
Site Matters - Bye Bye Wiki
07:22 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
It was a good concept, and we had some good content, but the spammers are crushing the Command Post Wiki, so we've taken it offline for now. When we get a decent form of spam control, we'll consider relaunching it. Thanks to all who provided content … and thanks for reading the Post.
Site Matters - Now Open: Command Post Forum
07:08 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
We've had requests to open a forum for some time, and decided to take the plunge. Visit the Command Post Forum, and enjoy.
From The Publisher's Desk: December 21, 2004
Resources - New Search Tool: IceRocket.com
07:25 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Bloggers live and die with their search engines. Reader Blake Rhodes recently emailed to note that he and Mark Cuban have launced a new search engine called IceRocket.com. One of the features: blog-focused searches.
Blog Spotting - Redstate's Announcement
07:10 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
While on the topic of Mike Krempasky, he's also sent this:
Gah. The government makes it so hard to be politically active these days - in any number greater than “one”, that is.
You may read their full announcement here. Congratulations, Redstaters. And it terms of a blog turning into an organization? No worries, it can be done: Strengthen The Good became a 503/c non-profit in November.
JBTP - Get Credentialed For CPAC's Annual Meeting
07:06 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Mike Krempasky at Redstate emails to say that the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has agreed to credential bloggers “as real media - the whole nine yards” for its upcoming national convention. If you're interested in applying, visit this page at CPAC.
Blog Spotting - Systemperturbations.com
06:54 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Through the course of my Command Post life I've followed (and once or twice corresponded with) national grand military strategy guru Tom Barnett. (Attentive readers will recall my linking to TB's blog from time to time.)
I've also built a nice online relationship with his webmaster and business partner Critt Jarvis, who's launched a blog of his own: Systemperturbations.com. The content's great, and I love the look (for what that's worth) … check it out. Great job, Critt.
From The Publisher's Desk: December 20, 2004
TCP Polls - Don Rumsfeld's Job Secuirty
06:31 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Is Rummy's job at risk? Vote in the TCP Poll on the main page.
Site Matters - Beware the Bold Tag in Comments
06:15 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
For some reason … perhaps our move to dynamic page generation for individual archive pages? … bold HTML tags are turning on, but not turning off, in the comments. If you'd avoid using them for the time being, I'd be appreciative. Thanks.
From The Publisher's Desk: December 07, 2004
STG - A Dose of Good Karma!
04:01 PM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
Debi's Garden of Angels is a project involves “providing dignified burials to infants when they're found, and encouraging parents to avoid making that choice in the first place.”
That's a beautiful thing, no?
Open Thread - Who's The Next Intel Czar?
08:21 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Presuming the intel reform bill passes, who do you think the president will tap to run our 15 intel organizations? Toss your two cents in the comments …
From The Publisher's Desk: November 29, 2004
Blog Spotting - Little Harlan Is All Grown Up ...
06:53 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
From The Publisher's Desk: November 22, 2004
Blog Spotting - Strengthen The Good: Send Your Books And Help Spread Freedom And Opportunity!
12:20 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Want something the feel good about? Check out the latest profile at at Strengthen The Good: the work of Douglas Dart at The The C.S. Lewis Bilingual Gymnaziumin in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The gist: Douglas and his family are in Bratislava for a year, teaching English and American Studies to Slovakian teenagers, at a small and poor school set among the towers of a Soviet-era apartment block. They call English “the language of freedom and opportunity” … but they have no English-language books.
So I thought we could help build a library, and have something to feel good about along the way.
Got an extra copy of The Fountainhead or Old Yeller or the works of T. S. Eliot lying around? Here's your chance to use it to do some good. Visit STG to learn more. And remember: Don't just fight evil; strengthen the good!
From The Publisher's Desk: November 15, 2004
Blog Spotting - STG On NYT
07:59 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
From The Publisher's Desk: November 13, 2004
JBTP - AP CEO Tom Curley: Internet Represents Future Of News
11:34 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
The future of news is online, and traditional media outlets must learn to tailor their products for consumers who demand instant, personalized information, the head of The Associated Press said Friday.
More interesting, though, are these lines from Curley's speech:
At the start, I'd like to make a subtle, but critical, overall observation about the magnitude of the revolution we're undergoing. The Internet has become our new business environment, not just another medium for distribution. …
Yes, yes, yes, and yes. Law Of The Flow, Law Of The Many. Recognize the shift in power from distributor to consumer. Mass customize. Engage and welcome participation. Curley clearly gets it.
And there's also this:
So, are we being beaten at our own game?
A refreshingly positive perspective. You may read the full text of Curley's speech here.
Resources - Great News For Treo Bloggers
10:43 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Great news for those of you who (1) use a Treo phone and (2) post to a Movable Type blog: if you download the latest version of the Xiino web browser to your phone, you can use it to directly manage and post to your blog—without any third-party “moblogging” software … which is exactly what I've done here.
JBTP - Jay Rosen On Newpaper Accountability @ The NY Times
10:07 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
Jay Rosen has posted an interesting piece deconstructing a memo in which New York Times assistant managing editor Allan M. Siegal lays out plans for a special committee to improve “accuracy and accountability” at the Times. Worth the read … and here's a taste:
Should we be responding systematically to outside critics who attack our believability for political or commercial reasons of their own? What is an effective vehicle for doing this? A column by the editor or editors on how we work?
From The Publisher's Desk: November 12, 2004
Blog Spotting - Defense Tech Blog Goes Big Time
08:51 AM EDT | Posted By Michele Catalano
Noah Shachtman and Defense Tech have been invaluable sources for Command Post since its inception.
Today we offer congratulations to Noah on the news that Defense Tech has teamed up with Military.com to bring you a slicker version of the already excellent blog.
In addition to the new design for Defense Tech, we'll be adding more features in the months to come. But starting today, readers can expect an expanded roster of news, tidbits, rumors, and analysis about the future of national security. We're also setting up a forum, so you can discuss the latest in military technology, defense news, and security trends. Expect more soon, including interviews with some of the key figures behind the changing face of defense.
If you aren't already reading DT, go on over and check it out. Well worth an addition to your bookmarks.
From The Publisher's Desk: November 11, 2004
JBTP - [Updated] Jarvis Fisks Randall Rothenberg
12:25 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
I LOVE this. Go get em', Jeff. A sample:
I really should stop giving attention to big, old media Flintstones who bang their clubs on their heads and insult bloggers (also known as the public) to get attention. But I guess I can't resist revealing the idiocy of these blind fools.
That is, he plays editor of a magazine nobody reads for an overpriced consultancy desperate for attention. I'll tell you: I'm a consultant. And that line rings so true, words fail. Love that line. L.O.V.E. it. Read the rest.
Now, if it's OK with you, I'm going to return to being unemployable … and you should go back to being aimless.
Update: The comment thread for this entry over at BuzzMachine is worth reading … especially the comments by “Observer.” The comments reminded me that Rothenberg is a person, too … one with respect in certain quarters … but that still doesn't mean I (or you) have to appreciate being cast as the great unwashed (in this case, unemployable and aimless).
It's this holier-than-thou, pedantic tone that some MSM observers keep invoking that's the problem. Don't mind the bloggers … they're just a bunch of agoraphobic, dateless—and now, unemployable—geeks in their pajamas. Bullshit, and any observer who tosses such Ad Hominems about while also staking a claim to professionalism should be ashamed of himself … including Randall Rothenberg.
From The Publisher's Desk: November 09, 2004
Blog Spotting - Mader Blog
11:29 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
From The Publisher's Desk: November 08, 2004
JBTP - Blogs, Exit Polls ... And Clarity From The Wall Street Journal
08:11 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
I continue to follow the exit poll issue with interest (given that we, too, posted the early numbers, with our traditional “GRAIN OF SALT” warning). (For a sense of the MSM tenor, check this pedantic screed by Eric Enberg. Somebody want to fisk that, please?)
Indeed, some of you might have seen our name in the AP story on the issue. As I tried to express to David Baude, the point of interest for us wasn’t just the numbers … it was that they were out, and that they would soon be everywhere. As I said then:
“I didn't struggle with the decision, because I knew it was going to become a global news item within about 30 seconds. Our approach is: We post, you decide.”
That point … that the democratization of information had made it no longer possible for the media to embargo the information … has been lost on lots of folks.
But today, the Wall Street Journal gets it:
For years TV coverage of Election Day has operated on two levels, one for outsiders and one for insiders. Outsiders wait for the polls to close and the precinct reports to roll in; insiders watch their fellow insiders telegraph what the numbers are saying, usually through dissections of the mood in Camp A or B.
Exactly. As I noted to the Associated Press Managing Editors:
Here’s the lesson from Command Post: information in general, and news in particular, is now a flow, and not a stock.
I'm not a professional journalist, nor do I profess to be. But it seems to me that the MSM absolutely must grasp this point. It's no longer “if,” it's “when.” And if they thought the diffusion of polling data was troublesome this year, wait until they experience 2008.
And what are their choices? Not conduct exit polling? Not likely.
The fact is that the MSM have spent the past several election cycles solving the wrong problem. Rather than finding better ways to obscure the available information until the polls have closed, they should be finding better ways to report an election presuming information transparency while the polls are still open. Because in 2008 the polling data will be out there … blogs or not.
Resources - WSJ Online Free This Week
07:20 AM EDT | Posted By Alan
FYI, the Wall Street Journal Online is having an “open house” this week in which non-paying readers have full access to all its online content.
From The Publisher's Desk: November 07, 2004
Site Matters - Changes To The Command Post
06:17 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
To help kill the pain from this, I've made some changes to the site.
Based on reader feedback, we've expanded the “show the category just before the title of the post” layout to the rest of the news pages and Op/Ed.
(Contributors: please start adding categories to all posts, but also please try not to add new categories unless you think they'll remain relevant over time … I want to keep the category set as reasonable in size as possible.)
I've also added categories to the post titles on the main page … and, based on a nice suggestion in the comments, have also modified the main page to show the number of comments for each post (helping you see what's “hot” for discussion).
Hope you like these changes …
Now, back to the race (yes, I watch NASCAR. My driver? This guy.)
From The Publisher's Desk: November 05, 2004
Site Matters - Question For The Readers
05:47 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
Do y'all like the way we led the headlines with the category (in red) on the 2004 page during the election (and how the category also shows up on the main page)? I'm wondering about extending that change to all the news pages, and would love some user feedback …
JBTP - Blogs And ForPol (And A Dash Of Self-Affirmation For Flavor)
05:12 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
I see (tip to Reynolds) that Dan Drezner and Henry Farrell have a piece in Foreign Policy on the effect of blogs on media and foreign policy. It echoes some of what I said to the APME, and I'm glad to see these themes get wider exposure (especially since Dan and Henry, are, well, smart as hell) … the law of the flow …
North Korea is perhaps the most blog-unfriendly nation. Only political elites and foreigners are allowed access to the Internet. As might be expected, there are no blogs within North Korea, nor any easy way for ordinary North Koreans to access foreign blogs. However, even in that country, blogs may have an impact. A former CNN journalist, Rebecca MacKinnon, has set up “NKZone,” a blog that has rapidly become a focal point for North Korea news and discussion. As MacKinnon notes, this blog can aggregate information in a way that ordinary journalism cannot. North Korea rarely allows journalists to enter the country, and when it does, it assigns government minders to watch them constantly. However, non-journalists can and do enter the country. “NKZone” gathers information from a wide variety of sources, including tourists, diplomats, NGOs, and academics with direct experience of life in North Korea, and the blog organizes it for easy consumption. It has already been cited in such prominent publications as the Asian Wall Street Journal and the Sunday Times of London as a source for information about North Korea.
… the law of the fast …
The comparative advantage of blogs in political discourse, as compared to traditional media, is their low cost of real-time publication. Bloggers can post their immediate reactions to important political events before other forms of media can respond.
… the law of the few …
These prominent blogs serve as a mechanism for filtering interesting blog posts from mundane ones. When less renowned bloggers write posts with new information or a new slant, they will contact one or more of the large focal point blogs to publicize their posts. In this manner, poor blogs function as fire alarms for rich blogs, alerting them to new information and links. This self-perpetuating, symbiotic relationship allows interesting arguments and information to make their way to the top of the blogosphere.
… and the law of the many …
As the museum looting controversy reveals, blogs are now a “fifth estate” that keeps watch over the mainstream media. The speed of real-time blogger reactions often compels the media to correct errors in their own reporting before they mushroom. For example, in June 2003, the Guardian trumpeted a story in its online edition that misquoted Deputy U.S. Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz as saying that the United States invaded Iraq in order to safeguard its oil supply. The quote began to wend its way through other media outlets worldwide, including Germany’s Die Welt. In the ensuing hours, numerous bloggers led by Greg Djerijian’s “Belgravia Dispatch” linked to the story and highlighted the error, prompting the Guardian to retract the story and apologize to its readers before publishing the story in its print version.
From The Publisher's Desk: October 21, 2004
JBTP - Thanks (For Your Patience)
07:07 PM EDT | Posted By Alan
I'm moblogging this from my gate at the Minneapolis airport. I don't have many moments this week, but I have one now, and I want to say thanks for all the comments and feedback about the speech.
I've been working on my thoughts about the reaction (and your comments) and will post them soon.
Thanks again …