Updates and Sundry Things

Like most blogs from the heady days of the Blogosphere, this site has been basically dead for a number of years. Like most everyone else, I moved to Twitter. However, since Elon Musk purchased the site and has begun ruling it like Anthony Fremont I have moved most of my social posting to Mastodon, where I can be found at @jayreding@mastodon.world. Mastodon seems like a much better alternative to Twitter – it’s 100% open source, it’s completely federated so that no one company or person can own it, and it seems to work fairly well.

It is interesting to watch the life cycle of yet another social media platform run its course. I remember the days when MySpace was all the rage on the nascent Internet. Then MySpace fell to Facebook, which was cool until it became everyone’s least favorite way to find out that their uncle as a racist asshole. Then Facebook gave way to Twitter, which was always a hellsite, and is even more so now. Whatever replaces Twitter—whether it be Mastodon, Counter Social, or something else, will likely have its rise and fall.

That does give me a certain nostalgia for the good old days of the blogosphere, tempered only by the fact that so many of my blogging associates have succumbed to mindless Trumpism. There was a time when InstaPundit was my first and most often-visited site. Today, it’s just another cesspool of mindless partisanship. While I don’t mind partisanship, as readers of this site in its heyday will attest, I like a much more mindful partisanship than just “other side bad.” And most of the remainder of the blogosphere is basically partisan dreck.

While I would love to return to long-form writing (which is why this site remains up, although the archives are currently not available), it may be a while before that happens, if ever. Between a full-time job as an attorney, being a parent to two very active kids, and the rest of life, time is a precious commodity. However, at some point I may decide to return to active blogging, if nothing else but for the nostalgia.

To everyone who supported this site all those years ago, you have not been forgotten. Please feel free to follow me on Mastodon and maybe, just maybe, this site might have some actual content again for the first time in years.

Kos v. Rove

Newsweek has announced that Karl Rove will be the right-wing answer to Markos “Kos” Moulitsas.

It’s actually an interesting matchup, all things considered. Kos’ raison d’être is to get Democrats elected. He’s a party hack. Karl Rove’s job has been to get Republicans elected. He could be fairly called the same thing. On that score, it’s a relatively even game.

On the other hand, Karl Rove has years of political experience, is a genius when it comes to the tactics and skills needed to organize a campaign, and is a decent enough writer. Kos, by any real comparison, is an amateur whose been able to raise some decent amount of money, but whose political achievements are minimal at best. Karl Rove defeated John Kerry, a well-financed national candidate. Kos has at best thrown money at candidates who were likely to win anyway. About the only credible claim he can make for political success is supporting Jon Tester in Montana, and even then it was because Tester was running against a very vulnerable Republican.

The other reason why Kos is on the losing end of this deal is because Karl Rove knows how to argue. Politics isn’t about screaming and yelling and declaring your position to be the only right position and treating all who disagree as heretics. It’s about being persuasive and framing issues. Kos has never been able to do that. He preaches to the choir, and that’s why his appeal is limited to only those who already agree with him.

That’s the essential problem with Newsweek’s matchup. Setting up two partisans and letting them fight gets boring after a while. Is either of them going to say anything surprising? Would either of them go “off script?” It doesn’t seem likely.

A battle between someone like Jonah Goldberg and Peter Beinart is interesting because both of them share some principles and are willing to discuss real issues. A matchup of someone like Joshua Micah Marshall versus John Hinderaker would be fascinating because both are partisans, but they’re intelligent partisans who aren’t afraid to get into deeper discussions than “my candidate is good and yours sucks.”

While the Kos/Rove matchup could be interesting, Newsweek is taking the easy way out. After a while, the same old fights get boring. Then again, I suspect that if this works it will be because of the NASCAR effect: people will watch to see what happens when somebody ends up crashing all over the guardrail. There’s a certain amount of appeal in that, but Crossfire this ain’t…

UPDATE: Power Line has the best take on the pairing:

The two are perfectly matched. Rove led the Republican party to ascendancy in the state of Texas. He then helped steer George W. Bush to the Republican presidential nomination in 2000, and managed Bush’s two successful general election campaigns.

Markos helped spearhead Howard Dean’s march to the Democratic nomination in 2004. Then, in 2006, he was instrumental in unseating Sen. Joseph Lieberman. More recently, Markos was the first to realize that Mark Warner would emerge as the frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic nomination.

Apart from ideology, the only difference I perceive is that Rove surely writes better than Markos.


Inmates Given Keys To Asylum

Apparently Markos “Screw ‘Em” Moulitsas has been hired as a columnist by Newsweek.


Is Newsweek really hurting for writers who hurl invective like a monkey flings feces? Who has the writing talent of a college freshman? Who is the very model of a partisan hack? Exactly what do they gain?

If Newsweek wanted an interesting, insightful and worthwhile liberal to contribute something meaningful to their publication, there are plenty of them out there. (Although, to be frank, they’re not hurting for left-wing voices.) At the very least, there are some thougtful liberals like Joshua Micah Marshall who would be more deserving.

They’re apparently going to “balance” Kos with a right-of-center blogger, yet to be announced. Then again, I doubt anyone would want the job of “balancing” Kos unless it’s by giving him medication. I’m not sure of a writer whose name doesn’t rhyme with Fan Molter that even comes close to the level of pure ideological spite and relentless cheerleader-ism that Kos spews on a daily basis.

Then again, it’s probably good news for the Republicans in the race—the more exposure people like Kos get, the more people see the true face of the Democratic Party. Given Kos’ ability to put his foot firmly in his mouth and then berate anyone pointing it out, giving him a larger voice in the media has got to have reasonable Democrats cringing.