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September 5, 2008
Mayors and OrganizersBy Greyhawk
Glenn Reynolds: "JIM LINDGREN -- WHO LOVES HIM SOME NUMBERS -- DOES AN ANALYSIS and concludes that in spite of the press treatment, Obama's speech included more negative attacks than Palin's."
Here's Lindgren's Obama count, and here are his numbers on Palin's speech. He concludes "If one compares Palin’s speech to Obama’s, it appears to me that they used similar amounts of sarcasm (not much), but Obama made considerably more extensive negative comments about McCain and Republican administrations than Palin did about Obama and Democrats."
We should pause here to acknowledge the official Obama campaign response to the Palin speech: "McCain is Bush" - and note that much of what follows is not part of the official Obama campaign response.
But it is important to recall that Palin's most quoted line "I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities" is actually not an attack, but a direct response sparked by the official Obama campaign response to McCain's original announcement of his Veep choice: "Today, John McCain put the former mayor of a town of 9,000 with zero foreign policy experience a heartbeat away from the presidency".
I score that one a tie, 1 to 1. Can we get on with a discussion of the issues now?
No. Here's a new bumper sticker, coming soon: Jesus was a community organizer. Pilate was a governor. Do Obama supporters really want to reinforce that "Messiah" thing? Given the known answer to the "do they really want to emphasize the experience issue?" question, I'm going to guess "yes". After all, if anyone points out the messianic aspects of the Obama campaign, the accused can respond by accusing the accusers of shouting antichrist...
And so on, and so on, and so on....
Can we ever get around to issues? Well, maybe - here's how. Time Magazine has already done an article detailing Palin's time as mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. (Short version: no one liked her, she did what she wanted, not what they wanted, and got re-elected "by a landslide".) Now they can do a piece on Obama's time as a "community organizer". They can tell Americans exactly what it is that Community Organizers do, who pays their salaries (or how they get money for food), etc. etc. Then they can turn to Obama specifically. What were his goals? What did he accomplish? Are there any before and after pictures of the communities he organized? Are there folks available for interview whose lives were improved by his efforts? Are they proud to see where he is today? How do they expect their lives to change if he becomes President?
If the candidate is willing to participate, they could get a heck of a cover shot, Obama in the streets he knew so well, surrounded by those whose lives he touched those many years ago. Who wouldn't drop the cash for a magazine story detailing Obama's career as a Community Organizer? (Here are some starting points, if you're interested.)
Not only would that sell, it would finally put to rest these sorts of claims from an Instapundit emailer (I added the hyperlink in the quote below, by the way):
My casual discussions with ladies around the hospital where I work indicates that they have never heard of ACORN and have never heard of Bill Ayers. I suspect that they don't know anymore about Tony Rezko either. But everyone seems to know about Bristol Palin's fiance.
Posted by Greyhawk / September 5, 2008 8:38 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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