Shouting 'Cross the Potomac
but never a Monday morning quarterback
adrag1 at msn.com [until the QP server gets fixed]
willv at comcast.net
Virginia Pundit Watch Will Vehrs' Weekly Column at Bacon's Rebellion
DC Metro Blog Map
UVA Center for Politics and Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball Predictions 2002
Spinsanity - Countering rhetoric with reason
On the Third Hand
A blog by a proud member of the Bellicose Women's Brigade
Mark A. Kilmer's Political Annotation
A Nickles Worth of Free Advice
Where HipHop and Libertarianism meet
Note To Self
"Crash"'s way kewl blog
The Rallying Point
Mind Over What Matters
Off the Kuff
What She Really Thinks
Talking Points Memo
the talking dog
The Rittenhouse Review
The Lefty Directory
Common Sense and Wonder
Jim Miller on Politics
Croooow Blog: Rantings and ravings on the news of the day.
The Road to Surfdom
The Volokh Conspiracy
perfunctory links(We think it's "the Mother of links pages for news and pundit junkies" - eds)
Independent Gay Forum
Town Hall: Conservative News and Information - The Conservative Movement Starts Here
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
'Twas the Foam From the Begin — 1981 That Is...
Tony AdragnaGlenn wonders whether there's discussion in the report supporting the theory that "an EPA mandate to reduce ozone-depleting chemicals released into the atmosphere"[my emphasis] contributed to Columbia's catastrophic failure — or, did the fact that the foam was environment friendly per se doom the shuttle?
Yes, the foam strike caused a breach in Columbia's wing, but foam was shedding from the external tank and causing damage to the orbiter prior to the reformulation
6.1 A HISTORY OF FOAM ANOMALIESNASA was going where test pilots dare not — outside the envelope. When they discovered that the system wasn't working as designed, they decided it wasn't a problem so long as the Orbiter kept going up & coming down.
Except, it was a problem known about since Columbia's first flight in '81, and her final crew paid the price for what "[o]ver the course of 113 missions... came to be regarded more as a turn around or maintenance issue, and less as a hazard to the vehicle and crew."
The panel's "findings" in this section start on the bottom of pg 130 (pg 10)...
Tuesday, August 26, 2003
Well, I've Got Nothin'...
Tony AdragnaAn old Baltimore Sun editor, and a real mensch, once spoke, "[I]f you haven't any opinion, and if you don't want to take a line, don't print the editorial. You don't have to print it. " On the news of the past few days, I've no opinion not already expressed at one time or another, so I've taken Mr. Mencken's advice.
But, I do want to share some of Mencken's orts of wisdom
Nature abhors a moron.All those quotes are, I think, relevant to discussions we've recently had, or coulda had if we felt compelled to have something to say everyday...
Sunday, August 24, 2003
Updated 5:30 PM
Plebeian Punditry Purmutates Polisphere
Tony AdragnaSorry, Will, but you know of my love for the alliteration...
That last quoted graf gets at my answer to Brian Lamb re "empowerment." We don't need rely on politicians or newspaper editors to get our viewpoints out into the public debate. Nor do we need the financial support of special interest goups or political machines to get our message out.
All we hafta do is login, type, and publish.
Some time ago, responding to a question put by another Brian, I wrote: "political blogs are 'value added' to the extent that they contribute to democratizing the debate -- that's the best future we can hope for..." Are we there yet?
I think so.
I think this also ties into our discussion on plabiscitary democracy, where Zathras writes
Anyone who has spent more than a week observing a legislature knows that it isn't just having a majority that counts; it's having the ability to decide which questions your majority answers. In a California plebiscite, the voters don't make those decisions any more than they do in states that have no initiative procedures in their constitutions. Interest groups and activists make the decisions for them. This doesn't mean that the end product will always be a bad one, but it does mean that's the way to bet.Why is it that "voters don't make those decisions" about which questions get answered? We voters should get to make those decisions, at least indirectly through our representatives. Shouldn't we? If you respond that we do get to make such choices every two years or so at the ballot booth, I'll hafta go make sick — the partisan rhetoric, often devolving into polemics, is less about issues than about getting electetd, irrespective of whether the seat is truly contested.
OK, special interests can use the intiative process to bring their questions to the front. But so can regular citizens. And it's regular citizens who get to decide the answer, instead of leaving it to the political class.
There's still something missing from the plebiscitary democracy movement, though, and that's informed debate between regular citizens. It's great that politicians & jouranlists are reading blogs, but I'm more interested in the democratic nature of blogging. The Greeks went to the Agora to debate in public, unlike the Romans who debated within the Senate's confines — could blogging be the forum that breaks the hold that special interests, politicians, and the news media have long had on which questions get answered?
Stephen Farnsworth answers that question, correctly I think...
Update: Got a letter from Nico, who said some very gracious things [which I modestly won't post] then comments & asks
The problem with (and at the same time the power of) blogs is that they represent the single voice. If the politician/representative now wants to find out what the general opinion, say in a state (or even a big city), is, how would he do that?Well, politicians already have their ways — focus groups, town hall meetings, opinion polling. Politicians also have people working for them who shouldn't have any problem tuning into a good cross section of the blogosphere. As I said above, though, I'm mostly into how "regular citizens" can tune into each other's opinions, debate & learn from each other, and come to their own conclusions on important questions of the day.
The best blogs, in my opinion, include comments sections [I must pause here to do something I've not done in awhile — Express my profound gratitude to Kathy Kinsley]. I can always count on QP being not a "single voice," as those comments from our readers are just as much a part of the blog as are the entries by me & Will.
I think Will was right on during our C-SPAN appearance when he noted that anybody with internet access ought be able to do what those government folks in Virginia are doing. And it doesn't need the regular browsing of more than probably 10 or 20 blogs to get a good sense of what's going on, so long as your reading list isn't one-sided. And if there's a comment section, then jump right in...
Front Page Blogging
Will VehrsHey Tony, we got a nice mention today on the front page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Pam Stallsmith has an effective summary of the blogging phenomenon and its impact from a Virginia perspective. I particularly liked this series of quotes she included:
The press office of Gov. Mark R. Warner, which monitors news coverage of the administration, keeps its eye on bloggers.
If you're visiting QP based on Pam's story, a hearty welcome. Please check out The Refuge to comment and/or join--we'd love to hear from you.