Saturday, March 27, 2010

TypePad Comment Feature Not Working

If you've tried to leave a comment on any thread here, you know that this feature isn't working at the moment. The problem started early yesterday when TypePad made changes to its application software. When I filed a help ticket, they responded that the problem had been fixed, saying, "We had made some changes to the application which resulted in this issue, but it has now been resolved and you shouldn't see this problem any longer."

Turns out the problem wasn't resolved at all, so I pointed that out to them. They then responded, "Thanks for following up and we apologize for the continued issue. Our engineers are looking into this further. We apologize for the inconvenience." Let's hope they get things up to snuff quickly. This is not a free software application and users shouldn't have to put up with this kind of snafu for long. We'll see.

March 27, 2010 at 10:25 AM in Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Sen. Tom Udall Talks with Rachel Maddow, Posts Diary on Daily Kos About Senate Rules Change Proposal

Sen. Tom Udall on Rachel Maddow Show tonight

As I reported on Monday, Sen. Tom Udall has proposed what he's calling a Constitutional Option that would permit the U.S. Senate to adopt new rules when it convenes a new session, just as the U.S. House does. The proposed resolution seems to be garnering a lot of attention and picking up steam, getting coverage on national blogs like Huffington PostFiredoglake, the Washington Monthly and others.

Today, Sen. Udall posted a must-read diary on Daily Kos discussing his Constitutional Option. It's been at the top of the rec list since it appeared, and has 256 comments and counting.

Even better, Tom appeared tonight on the Rachel Maddow show (Rachel!) for six plus minutes discussing his proposal, as well as the widening demands for getting rid of the filibuster due its use by Republicans as an attack tool to achieve gridlock on almost every bill proposed by Dems. Job well done, Senator!

Meanwhile, it's being reported that Senator Tom Harkin is working to gain support for changing parliamentary procedures to eliminate the filibuster and is planning to introduce legislation within the next couple weeks to start the ball rolling. In addition, a number of progressive groups and labor unions are working together to design a campaign to pressure Senators to get rid of the filibuster.

Getting rid of the filibuster, which might be achieved via Udall's proposal and others, is also getting criticism from -- you guessed it -- the Heritage Foundation and other right-wing outfits. Remember when Senate Repubs were threatening to adopt the "nuclear option" when they were in control of the Senate? I guess they think what's good for the goose is NOT good for the gander. 

Let's hope Dems don't listen to them and that some much-needed changes in the Senate rules can permit the majority party to get something done for America. Enough with having a handful of throwbacks block votes on the critical legislation we need to get passed in the U.S. Senate.

January 26, 2010 at 09:43 PM in Media, Sen. Tom Udall, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Stephen Jones: The Sad State of American Journalism

This is a post by contributing writer, Stephen Jones, who is a progressive political activist and a resident of Las Cruces, New Mexico.

I have a friend in her mid-seventies who is steadfastly resistant to the use of a keyboard and mouse. She gets all of her information from whatever noise spills out of her television, which is usually set on CNN.

“Did you hear about Nancy Pelosi and that 747 she uses on taxpayers money?” she recently asked me. This is a partisan “talking point” that the chatterers on her favorite “news channel” have been bringing up off and on for the past three years.

Because Pelosi is third in succession to the presidency, the secret service mandated the use of the 747. Pelosi, who prior to becoming Speaker of the House flew commercial, asked for a less fuel-hungry aircraft, but was refused, because a smaller aircraft needs to stop and refuel between Washington DC and her San Francisco home.

Everyone in the House on both sides of the aisle knows this and approved the 747. All of the chatterers know this too. Yet it sounds so good to charge Pelosi with wasting tax dollars, so they inevitably bring up the 747. The so-called “journalists” at CNN and other Cable TV channels rarely, if ever, call the political operatives on this “talking point” whenever they raise it.

Setting the record straight or contesting a political talking point faxed out each morning to the chattering class by their political overlords is not the only deficiency in what passes for journalism these days. Real in-depth investigative reporting is an even rarer occurrence.

It does happen, on occasion. Recently, the Detroit Free Press spent over a year uncovering deceit, abuse of power and corruption in the Detroit Mayor’s office, and as a result Mayor Kilpatrick was incarcerated and most of the Detroit City Council was hurled out of office by the voters of that city. There are other examples of real journalism around the country, and they should be hailed for their tenacity and integrity, but these examples have become, unfortunately, few and far between.

In place of journalism, we are treated to a steady diet of nonsense, printed or aired entirely to fill up time, to shock, to titillate, or to entertain. These non-stories and over-the-top phony controversies attract advertising dollars, but shed no light on the workings of our governmental or political processes. They certainly don’t inform the public. Instead they simply fuel the flames of an increasingly course and ignorant national discourse.

Only the National Enquirer or some lesser gossip tabloid would have bothered to run with such “stories” as the wild rantings of Orly Taitz and the “birther” movement, or the imaginary “death panels” of August. Twenty years ago the New York Times would have instantly exposed these absurdities for what they are. Now they simply print any press release that’s handed to them, or “tossed over the transom” by a political operative.

Television “news” has become a never-ending clown-show of raving political hacks. The more outrageous the attacks, the better for the cable networks, with Wolf Blitzer and all the rest playing the officially branded bobble-head for the viewing audience.

Today the aforementioned New York Times struggles to regain its reputation, after having failed to supervise or cross-check the reporters on its staff like Judith Miller who managed to prepare us all for an invasion of Iraq, based, as it turned out on stories printed under her byline that were written by Dick Cheney. As soon as Cheney’s story was planted through Miller, Colin Powell, Condoleeza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld hit the airwaves to cite Miller’s, or rather Cheney’s story about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as evidence turned up by the “respected” New York Times.

Our local newspapers aren’t exactly Pulitzer material, either. Last fall the stenographers at the Albuquerque Journal simply printed a story as hard “news” that “exposed” Lt. Governor Denish for “misuse” of public funds. The so-called news story turned out to be just another plant by a partisan operative of the other party. Meanwhile, on the southern end of the state, many on the staff of the Las Cruces Sun-News seem to be bewildered by the spell check function in Microsoft Word.

Perhaps I am being overly critical of all these hard working “journalists.” After all, it’s rough waiting for the next big balloon-boy story to hit, or for Aruba-girl to bob back up to the surface.

I am not one of those who is lamenting the eventual demise of newspapers or the shrinking viewership of television news, and particularly the twenty-four hour cycle cable variety. Most of their current agonies are self-inflicted. With what they have done for investigative reporting and hard news in the past few decades it is little wonder that the top rated “news” show is now John Stewart on Comedy Central.

Everything is not lost of course. There are authentic hard working journalists and reporters doing real work out there. Some are exploring ways to revitalize the old media, others have moved on to develop a world of journalistic integrity on the Web. And to those who say that users of the Internet can’t tell the difference between an opinion blog and news blog, I say nonsense. Readers can tell the difference between the two, just as readers can tell the difference between the “news” presented in the Onion and in the other print media.

Talking Points Memo, the Washington Independent and our own New Mexico Independent and other former opinion blogs are transitioning toward hard news blogs and have been stepping into the breach, trying to forge a new journalism. Even many of the advocacy sites, while not masking their political orientation, are working to present verifiable reporting and commentary to their users. Authentic journalistic integrity is not dead, it simply has moved on to other venues. Building the staff and the reputation to make these ventures profitable, effective, widely used and trusted sources of information with strong brands and reputations for integrity in their own right will take time and experimentation, but it will happen.

In the meantime we will all be riveted to the latest pronouncement by Wolf Blitzer as to whether Tiger Woods is managing to keep his pants on.

To read more posts by contributing writer Stephen Jones, visit our archive.

January 11, 2010 at 12:30 AM in By Stephen Jones, Contributing Writer, Journalism, Media, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Food for Thought: New Santa Fe-Based Sustainability Blog

There's a new, Santa Fe-based blog called Food for Thought that focuses on food sustainability and how to get there from here. As explained on the site, Food for Thought is:

A blog about transitioning in Santa Fe, New Mexico -- and environs. "Transitioning," in this context, means shifting from a non-sustainable, irresilient and unethical system to a sustainable, resilient and ethically sound one. This blog emphasizes food relocalization and local-regional food security as a means of facilitating and encouraging over-all transitioning in Santa Fe (and thereabouts). This blog is supportive of, yet not affiliated with, the Transition Network.

The blog is the project of James R. Martin, who "has been reading and thinking about "this sort of thing" since he stumbled upon a paperback copy of E. F. Schumacher's "Small Is Beautiful" as a youth," according to the site. Besides posts, the site includes links to many resources that deal with transitioning to a more sustainable way of living. Check it out.

December 29, 2009 at 12:58 PM in Environment, Food and Drink, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Sen. Tim Eichenberg Responds to Blog Posts About His Remarks on Lt. Gov. Diane Denish

Yesterday, there was a flurry of stories on local blogs, including this one, generated by remarks made by State Sen. Tim Eichenberg about the 2010 gubernatorial race to blogger-photographer Mark Bralley. In response, Eichenberg issued the following statement late yesterday afternoon:

I find it unfortunate that my comments were used to create division among Democrats and the Democratic Party, I will continue to support both! I realize my comments have stirred emotions on both side of the aisle but I hope they will provoke continued discussions on ethics reform, transparency and accountability.

As Lt. Gov Diane Denish continues the fight to bring meaningful ethics reform to Santa Fe, I will proudly vote for her proposals to make government more transparent and accountable to the taxpayers. She can lead New Mexico into the future and there is no doubt in my mind who I will vote for in November.

Additional comments on the situation by Sen. Eichenberg appeared in an article in today's Albuquerque Journal. Odd that he wouldn't confirm or deny he made the statements attributed to him about (and allegedly to) Dem gubernatorial candidate and current Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, while commenting on what they meant:

In a Journal interview Monday, Eichenberg wouldn't confirm or deny making the statements. He did say he spoke with Bralley at a weekly bipartisan discussion group held by Republican gubernatorial candidate Janice Arnold-Jones, but didn't know Bralley was a blogger or that the conversation was part of an interview.

... Eichenberg said the comments shouldn't be misconstrued as him supporting a Republican candidate.

"I am voting for Diane Denish. I think she will lead us to transparency and accountability in government," Eichenberg said, adding that Bralley wasn't doing Republicans any favors.

"I'm sad for (Bralley) because I think his advocacy for Janice Arnold-Jones would be better served by being positive ... rather than bashing the lieutenant governor through me," he said.

Mark Bralley works as a photographer for the Arnold-Jones campaign for Governor. Evidently, Sen. Eichenberg blames Bralley for the hoopla, suggesting he wouldn't have talked to Bralley if he had known he was a blogger or that Bralley considered their conversation to be an on-the-record interview. Eichenberg has a point about the ethics of reporting an informal conversation as a news item, but it's disappointing he has so far failed to admit to any personal responsibility in making inflammatory statements at a public meeting.

I think the damage is done to Sen. Eichenberg's reputation within the Democratic Party and among Dems generally, regardless of the circumstances surrounding his comments to Bralley. A word to Dems: Watch what you say to Republican bloggers and some of those who purport to be neutral online reporters. Too many are just out for a hot story line or gotcha quotes, and they don't really care if their reports damage Dems or the Party. Some are secret partisans always on the lookout for material they can use to cause divisions and make Dems look bad. Be careful who you trust -- not everyone is an up-front partisan who operates with discretion.

November 3, 2009 at 02:14 PM in 2010 NM Governor's Race, 2010 NM Lt. Governor Race, Democratic Party, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (18)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

(Updated) A Nasty Email from "Taxpayer Justice"

Update: After a little digging I discovered this website: identified as the "Hobbs Tea Party." I note that Jeanie Coates, who's listed as Coordinator, uses the same "taxpayerjustice" ID as the person who sent the email below, but with an @gmail address. I wonder if she wrote the email.
I got this loony tunes email this morning from someone called who's complaining about some post on the DFNM blog that isn't specified. I therefore have no idea what set the person off and motivated him or her to write this angry (and inaccurate) message to me. I guess the writer wasn't sufficiently proud of his or her muddled talking points to include a real name on the message.

I haven't yet answered the email and I doubt if I'll waste my time doing so. The tea party types usually don't listen to reason. In fact, they usually don't listen at all. They just spew. I can't imagine where this person got the idea that the blog I write receives taxpayer money. That's a hoot, isn't it? No, Mr. or Ms. or Mrs. Taypayer Justice, I produce this blog on my own, with no assistance from any government entities. Surprise!

At any rate, I thought it was a good idea to post the message to underline just how uninformed, rude and threatening the level of discourse has become in today's Limbaugh-Beck-Hannity-driven political environment. When a Republican U.S. Representative like Joe Wilson feels it's perfectly acceptable to yell out "you lie" at the President of the United States during a formal Joint Session of Congress, is it any wonder that members of the right-wing extremist GOP base feel justified in sending nasty, anonymous emails and generally acting like abusive, boorish, crude louts whenever and wherever they please?

The email (and, yes, it was all one paragraph as shown):

Funding for your organization
Sent By: "taxpayerjustice"
On: Sep 09/11/09 11:42 PM
To: "dfnm albq"

I would like to know where your funding comes from and if the taxpayers are contributing to your political agenda. This is going to stop if so, I can assure you so get ready to pack your bags and move to some other state! We, the people are sick and tired of paying for organizations like yours that campaign against the very freedoms we cherish! Yes, we need health care reform. We do NOT need what DC is currently shoving down our throats. I can't believe you would promote such lies as this article! How dare you promulgate lies to further your socialist agenda? I am here to tell you now that your free ride at the expense of the taxpayer is ended! I would like to see PROOF of your allegations, including PROOF that these are ALL US citizens! NO ONE in America is denied care! I am so disgusted with your propaganda. We are seeking out organizations like yours and we intend to see to it that all funding from taxpayer dollars is cut off to anti-American agendas like yours. By the way, if someone ELSE has to pay for it, it is NOT your right! This article makes a lot of assumptions and I would like to see the facts and just how you based your conclusions to come up with this. I will be surprised if I even get a response because any time people start asking your kind for proof or facts, we are ignored or never get what we request. Well, we are not tolerating any more of this.

PS: For more examples of right-wing raving, check out recent crazy emails sent to Daily Kos.

September 12, 2009 at 12:10 PM in Civil Liberties, Healthcare, Immigration, Obama Health Care Reform, Republican Party, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (7)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Short Break: Open Thread


I'm taking a short break from blogging and politics to unwind and relax. I'll be back posting before you know it, and I may stop in if something happens I can't resist discussing. Until then, please use this as an open thread if you want to discuss any topics. I'll also set up a few posts to go up automatically. And, as always, visit New Mexico FBIHOP, the New Mexico Independent, What's the Word with Peter St. Cyr and our other excelllent online news sources and blogs. See you soon!

August 12, 2009 at 08:14 AM in Open Thread, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Last Chance to Express Your Views at Online Health Care Debate

Today is Day 4 and the last day of the debate on health care reform at the ABQ City Seeker page at the online Albuquerque Journal. I got a little pointed in my summary of the arguments of some of the other participants, and they're responding in good debate form. Join the fray, but keep it civil. Click to access today's thread. Click for Day 1Day 2 and Day 3 of the debate. If you read all the posts and comments I think you'll agree that the threads are thought-provoking and educational. Thanks to all who participated and those who'll add their thoughts today.

July 10, 2009 at 02:07 PM in Democratic Party, Healthcare, Republican Party, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

DFNM is One of Top State Political Blogs According to Fix Fans

For the past couple weeks, Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza ran a feature where readers of The Fix were asked to weigh in on their favorite blogs that cover state politics. For the second straight year, the Democracy for New Mexico blog won a slot on the listing for New Mexico. What's even more exciting is that four blogs in a low-population state like New Mexico merited inclusion on The Fix list. In many more populous states, fewer blogs managed to earn a spot.

In addition to DFNM, readers picked Heath Haussamen, New Mexico FBIHOP and the blog that shall go unnamed that features leaking alligators. I also think it's great that two clearly partisan blogs made the cut, considering that The Fix is a nonpartisan outfit and its readers tend to be attracted to allegedly "neutral," news-oriented sites.

Congrats to all the blogs on the 50-state list. Starting tomorrow, links to all of them will be included on the left sidebar at The Fix.

April 8, 2009 at 03:06 PM in Local Politics, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (5)