Political Identity Online

Oliver Willis makes this interesting observation:

I’ve found this to be a remarkable phenomenon. In the blogosphere, you have almost a reverse dynamic to that found in the media. Overwhelmingly liberal bloggers identify themselves directly as Democrats. Yes, there are many who see the party as the lesser of two evils, and in their hearts would prefer Dennis Kucinich or Ralph Nader, but overwhelmingly I’ve found bloggers on the left have no problem saying “yep, I’m a Democrat” (I obviously count myself among that group).

But among bloggers on the right, it always seems that great pains are taken to make it clear that they are “independents” or “libertarians” – these are people who usually endorse much of the GOP agenda and reliably vote for Republicans – and they don’t identify as “Republican”. Yes, there are some like GOPBloggers who identify with the party, but that was essentially a recent development.

What does it mean? Well, liberals like to join movements, but as anyone who has watched the rightie echo chamber in progress can testify to, so does the left. It begs the question, are Democrats simply prouder of the Democratic party and what it stands for – for all the handwringing of “where do we stand” could it be that the donkey triumphs over the pachyderm? I think so.

NY Post: Let Schiavo Die in Peace

I’ve been trying very hard to not write about the Schiavo case, but today, the NY Post had this to say about it:

“The best of America – two sides fighting hard for their beliefs, using the law, not violence – is about to be overtaken by the worst of America; showboating, paranoia, lawlessness. Enough. It’s over. Let her die in peace. Terri Schiavo’s parents have fought the good fight, and they have lost.”

I think there isn’t much chance of a peaceful resolution to this issue. The extreme ideologies on both sides of the spectrum will continue to hash this out, especially as its drawn out with the consideration for autopsies, etc. This has become a political fight, and you can expect to hear about it again as Jeb Bush prepares to run for president in 2008.

P2P Battle Heats Up

Several Supreme Court Justices on Tuesday grilled attorneys for the entertainment industry who are attempting to sue companies who produce technology that can be used to distribute copyrighted material. This battle used to amount to little more than Metallica versus tweens who used Napster to pirate Christina Aguilera singles. Recently, however, the battle has shifted into an epic saga of The Entertainment Industry versus The Tech Industry.

The problem is if the Supreme Court dismisses the rulings of two lower courts that have already sided with Grokster, then the future of content-based technology can become severely threatened. If manufacturers, designers, and inventors think they might be sued if their technology is used to break the law, it’s likely their innovations may be seen as little more than liabilities — and consequently, go unreleased. If these laws existed 20 years ago, it’s possible we wouldn’t have VCRs, CDRW/DVDRW drives, iPods, or even dual deck cassette recorders (gasp!). I hope that the courts continue to find that technology doesn’t steal, people steal.

The music industry, with the help of Apple Computers, has made tremendous strides recently in offsetting profits lost to pirating with the help of iTunes, and it seems this would be a good time let technology continue to mature in a way that benefits both producers of content, and people seeking on-demand material.

Perry, Hutchinson Spar Early

In what is likely an indicator of how next year’s Texas gubernatorial race will be waged, Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson are taking Bush versus Kerry-esque shots at each other involving a battle to prove who once associated with a liberal:

Last week, Perry’s campaign circulated a video that showed the conservative senator speaking kindly of Clinton, and now a 1993 letter has emerged in which Perry called Clinton’s health care reform efforts “commendable.”

It seems that instead of going after each other on the issues, we can expect to Perry and Hutchinson to engage in a slap-fight involving much use of the “L” word.

Worse yet, we’re seeing even more bipartisanship:

The videotape, made by two men working for Perry’s campaign, showed Clinton with Hutchison at a recent event at a museum devoted to women’s history in Washington. It played up a brief hug and air kiss between the women and featured Clinton saying she is “delighted that Kay is my partner on so many fronts.”

Before Hutchinson has the ability to run on a platform claiming something along the lines of “uniter, not divider” (shudder), her campaign is being portrayed as a lib-happy democratic masquerading as a Republican. Read more from the Statesman, here and here.

Knight(s) to Leave Texas Tech?

Whenever the Texas Tech men’s basketball team has a (relatively) good or bad season, rumors are born that suggest coach Bob Knight is going to leave Lubbock and continue on to greener pastures. It seems that this year is no exception. I found this thread on the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal’s discussion boards today, in which the rumor of Knight going to Tennessee is being kicked around.

As a reporter Emeritus for The University Daily, I can attest that it seemed that nearly every month the sports desk would come abuzz with rumors of Knight leaving. Personally, I would be surprised either way. It’s not a tremendous secret locally that Knight and Tech Chancellor Dr. David Smith have little more than a nodding relationship at best (I was in the uncomfortable position of covering this story not long ago).

It does appear, however, that assistant coach and Knight offspring Pat Knight may be in the running for a job at Fresno State. Based on Pat’s rhetoric, I would say it sounds like a pretty sure thing:

“The thing is that actually taking the job isn’t just a stepping stone. This will give me a chance to do my own thing,” he said. “And it will give me a chance to do it from scratch. That’s what (Bob Knight) did when he came here; built it right up.”

Could it be that Pat is leaving in preparation of his dad’s departure? I wonder how long coach Bob would stay in Lubbock if chum and AD Gerald Myers were to ever leave?

Bring it On

Texas Tech’s loss to West Virginia last night in the Sweet 16 means only one thing to me: Bring on Baseball. I’m trying to not let a lot of the negativity surrounding baseball affect my love of the game. The biggest issue I’m reeling with right now is the Cubs loss of Joe Borowski — for about 6 weeks.

I bought a new iPod yesterday, and I’m really getting into podcasting. I spent an hour today listening to Bicyclemark’s Audio Communique, he discusses his world journeys the past several years, and explains how he ended up in Amsterdam. Very interesting.

iPodder is great software. The interface allows you to look through directories of podcasts by interest or popularity. I even found some aviation-related podcasts. Here’s how it works: you subscribe just like you would an RSS news feed. The podcasts you subscribe to automatically download and go to the media player of your choice (mine is iTunes), and updates to your iPod when you sync. Right now I’m subscribed to Adam Curry’s Daily Source Code, BicycleMark, MacCast, The Inside Mac Radio Show, and Illinoise!.

Tech Writing Jobs in Lubbock

I spent a good portion of the evening looking at online job databases, and it’s a bit discouraging to see the quality of jobs available. I graduate in May (pending the passing of my MATC portfolio) and it’s easy to get discouraged about jobs in technical writing and technical editing, at least in the Texas market.

Lubbock has been kind to me in many ways, but the town has a way of making one feel constricted — like something is happening everywhere but here. I have my heart set on Austin or Dallas if I stay in the state. Both communities have a lot to offer, and both show positive growth in the technology markets. If any tech writers read my blog, post comments or drop me a line, I’d like to discuss the employment outlook where you’re at.

Bonds Submits

I was a bit disappointed to read today that Giants slugger Barry Bonds may not finish the rest of the season:

“I’m tired of my kids crying. You wanted me to jump off a bridge, I finally did,” Bonds told reporters Tuesday, shortly after returning to training camp. “You finally brought me and my family down. … So now go pick a different person.”

Bonds is on the brink of shattering both Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron’s home run records. The fact is, the media is not responsible for the hooplah surrounding Bonds, despite what he says. Stop hiding behind your kids, stop blaming the media. Admit what you did in the past, and move forward and prove you can hit home runs without steroids. This is the time to do it. Do it with a knee injury, and allow yourself to be a great athlete who was always an athlete, one who simply made some mistakes in the past. Don’t play the babe in the woods. Don’t find scapegoats. Don’t be the guy who took a lot of steroids and was a great player as a result.

Barry, you were in line to become the greatest baseball player of an entire generation, if not all time. Why would you let media coverage of steroid abuse in baseball allow you to cancel the most important season of your career if you have nothing to hide?

Personally, I would welcome media scrutiny if I stood accused of something I had not commited. I would use media coverage as my vehicle for proclaiming the truth. Unfortunately, the truth about Bonds is not so flattering. Baseball has taken an impotent stance on resolving the issue from the inside, and even a panel of congressmen firing questions at former sluggers about drug use ultimately didn’t produce much results.