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Amanda who?
Posted by: Dale Franks on Sunday, February 04, 2007

A lot of people on the starboard side of the blogosphere seem to be bit heated that Amanda Marcotte, from Pandagon has been tapped to be Netroots honcho for the John Edwards campaign, and afterwards has gone back to...uh..edit a blog entry where she said intemperate things, i.e. the standard lefty cant, about the Duke rape case. And by edit, I mean, erase it, and replace it with a brief amended statement.

K.C. Johnson is miffed, calling the hire a "fiasco". Jeff Taylor at Reason writes that it's part of a campaign to sham America. Michelle Malkin is calling her "a bleepin' embarrassment".

I'm not sure what some people are more angry about: The fact that she wrote the tripe she wrote in the first place, or the fact that when the Edwards campaign tapped her, she didn't have the stones to leave the original post up.

I guess I don't get it. Go to almost any lefty blog or community, and stuff like Marcotte's is spewed out daily. Frankly, I'm surprised she even deleted the blog entry, since I'm sure it's an unexceptional point of view in the crowd she runs with. Indeed, based on some of her other writings at Pandagon, her remarks were unexceptional even for her.

For the most part, commenters on the Left have been braying for the Duke boys' heads from day one, what with them being white sons of privilege, personally imposing the patriarchy on a Righteous Sister, and all. Heck, in some departments at Duke University, she could improve her chances of getting hired as a professor by copying and pasting the original blog entry into her resume.

Maybe it's the erasure itself that's the problem, and the fact that her new remarks seem much more measured than the old ones, so some people have heartburn with their perception that it's dishonest. That's how National Journal's Beltway Blogroll is framing it, anyway. Apparently, the unwritten rule is, once a blogger writes something in a blog post, it must remain there, unedited for as long as the sun burns hot in space. Once you hit "Publish", the entry becomes part of the canon, you see.

But, really, is that how it works? Once you dash off a blog entry, are you really honor-bound to keep it forever, even if, looking back on it a week later, you think it was stupid, or ill-conceived in some way? When did that become the rule? And does it apply to teenage girls who are writing personal blogs? Or does it only apply to political bloggers? How, exactly is that supposed to work?

No, I don't think that such a general responsibility exists. If I don't like something I've written, and I want to change it, well, it's my blog, and I'll edit it as I damn well please. If I do so, and it turns off some or all of the readership, then I have to live with the consequences.

You know, if I wanted to, I could shut down QandO tomorrow, and everything I and everyone else here has written will be gone for good. Eventually, it'll disappear from the Google cache as well. So now what? Do I have some responsibility to keep QandO going forever? If I shut down QandO, am I in violation of some ironclad code of ethics? I don't think so.

So, it seems like a tempest in a teapot to me. Maybe I'm not outraged because I'm not particularly surprised. And I don't think that starting a blog signs me up for any responsibilities other than to run my blog however I please to run it. If my readers don't like it, then they'll all leave, and my blog will become just a pointless vanity exercise.

Which, frankly, may be all that blogs are anyway, in the final analysis. It seems to me that a lot of people are forgetting that, and imbuing blogs with a reverence they don't really deserve. Blogs can be fun, informative, useful, or any number of other things, but whatever else they may be, they are the property of their owners, to do with as they please.

Besides, if Ms. Marcotte is some sort of loose cannon, nobody's gonna get hurt but the people who hired her. And since the people who hired her are the Edwards Campaign...who cares? It's not like I have a vested interest in Sen. Edwards' success.

Quite the opposite, actually.

UPDATE: Her's another sampling of the very deep thoughts of Amanda Marcotte. Definitely NSFW. And, boy, does she have a thing about virginity...wow.

The more I read her, the more I want to see the Edwards campaign let her go off on a tear.
 
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No, I don’t think that such a general responsibility exists. If I don’t like something I’ve written, and I want to change it, well, it’s my blog, and I’ll edit it as I damn well please. If I do so, and it turns off some or all of the readership, then I have to live with the consequences.
Very true there is no responsiblilty, you can do whatever you want with your blog, the only thing you have to lose is credibility, integrity and respect. BTW, those just happen to be the only things that count on an internet blog.

 
Written By: DS
URL: http://
Dale,

I agree, to a point. It’s your blog and you can do what you want. It’s Amanda’s blog and she can do what she wants. I don’t think it’s necessarily "unethical" for her to take down her old writings, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to call her on it.

And when calling her on it, I’m really calling out John Edwards for either hiring someone who he hadn’t researched (i.e. bad), or hiring someone that’s a loose cannon that he agrees with (i.e. worse).

It’s not like if, say, one of my companies customers Googles my name and says "Wow, that Brad is one anti-government wacko!" I didn’t get my technology job based on my blogging, and my blogging isn’t related to my employer one bit. They may think I’m a bit eccentric, but they’re not going to look at my blog as an indication of my company’s standards.

Not so for Amanda and Edwards. She was hired because she’s a prominent left-wing blogger, so obviously what she wrote on her blog makes a difference. She can try to hide it, but if she does she’s going to get called on it. The smartest thing would be to have someone on Edwards’ staff release a statement that Amanda was hired for her prowess running and promoting a blog, not necessarily for her content. But that’s not what happened. She tried (unsuccessfully) to cover up her writing when it came to light, and in the process looked far worse than if she had left it up.

Think about it this way. When Jon Henke was hired as a blogger, some of what he wrote may have been a bit odd to the social conservatives, but it’s not like he was some wacko, spouting off drivel. I compare Amanda’s hire to be on about the same level as if they hired Misha from The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler. The guys over there have said some things that I’m sure a candidate would run from. Amanda would have been a much better hire for someone like Howard Dean, who already has a reputation as a loose cannon. Not for John Edwards, who’s trying to remain "respectable" in this race.
 
Written By: Brad Warbiany
URL: http://unrepentantindividual.com/
Whether it’s in a newspaper, a blog, or just casual conversation, it just never looks that good when you issue a retraction and try to cover up the fact that it’s a retraction. That’s all it is for me. I’m with Dale in that I’m not that concerned about it, it’s totally a dog bites man story. As the Simpson kids said, "Meh."
 
Written By: Jinnmabe
URL: http://
Dale:

I’ll give you my take. I agree with two of your points: i.e that one doesn’t have a responsibility to keep all their old posts or incoherent post drink musings on the web for all time, and that people can find out they are wrong about something and change their mind, and it’s perfectly fine to clarify that your opinion has changed.

That’s not what got Amanda in trouble and is keeping her there.

Let’s backspace just a wee tiny bit through the last 11 months of the Lacrosse case. Back to late March, when the case first broke. Feminists from across the spectrum all sorts of commentators from the left and *gasp* the right jumped on the prosecution bandwagon as did the mainstream press. Wanted posters up all over town with the team member’s faces and names, the vigils outside the house on Bachanan with their "Castrate" signs (yes, you can find this all on flicker), the statement from the 88 Duke professors ( you could write an entire book on that), the New York Times coverage, etc, etc. ad nasueam.

Through out it all..for the first, I’d say six weeks, even up to until the first round of DNA testing came back in April,feminists blogs and progressive blogs covered this case, some quite extensively.

But as it became obvious that it was probably a hoax and couldn’t be used for ideological purposes, something happened. One by one the feminist and progressive bloggers went totally silent about the case, generally from late April/early May onwards. It dropped into the memory-hole of which so many blogs of all ideologies drop embarrassing things. A few have apologized (Susan Estrich), but most are content to leave well enough alone. The "mainstream" feminist blogs and websites, the progressive sites, etc, may occasinally blog about how unfair the MSM is in this case and how it always has supported the Duke boys, but except for that small nit with the facts, they’ve left it alone.

Not Amanda. She, and a few other radicals (and yes, Amanda is a "radical" feminist) have kept the case alive on their blogs. Thrown backhanded insults into entirely unrelated threads, made new threads, claimed evidence exists when people like KC who’ve closely examined this case for the better part of year know it doesn’t, played fast and loose with the facts and, what is personally more offensive, fast and loose with her scolding profanity-laced online "tongue".

She’s made lots of comments about this case over the past six months, a time when most smart progressives and feminists were keeping their traps shut and doing damage control - not our cute lil Amanda!

She’s used to totally controlling her own little part of the intellectual universe. In Amanda World anything goes because she says so and if you disagree you’ll be lucky if your posts are merely deleted rather than your account. She’s not used to being held accountable for anything she says. Her modus operandi in pretty much any political argument is the exact same as it has been in the Duke case: Curse, censor opposing viewpoints, and delete if something is too embarrassing. Won’t work this time: she’s come to represent a living breathing feminist nazi and I can’t say it didn’t happen to a nice lady. She’s made tons of "intemperate" comments on all sorts of subjects and that stuff is being researched and coming back to haunt her. She’s a divider, not a uniter, in common parlance.

Edwards is from NC. Do you really think he can keep her on his staff when she is so obviously unbalanced and intemperate in her comments on an important local issue in his state?
 
Written By: Clarence
URL: http://
Marcotte has apparently been busily deleting all of her previous commentary on the Duke case from her blog, as MK Ultra probably wishes he could do here. KC Johnson does describe this as "an Edwards Cover-up" in an update, but the issue of blog ethics is not what has him "miffed."

The "fiasco" that Johnson refers to, as I understand it, is that Edwards has missed an opportunity to show that he has the courage to do the right thing. Instead, in Johnson’s view, by appointing Marcotte to represent him on the internet, Edwards has joined a parade of gutless politicians whose cowardice has contributed to allowing this case get so far out of control.

Johnson points out, "[Edwards] even worked in the law firm of Wade Smith, Collin Finnerty’s lead attorney in the lacrosse case. So if anyone should be sensitive to massive prosecutorial abuse, it’s Edwards."

As to the ethics issue, I personally agree with you, Dale, that Marcotte has every right to erase the whole record of her inflammatory rhetoric on her blog, so that she can henceforth conform to the Left’s newly fashionable position of impartiality without fear of being labelled a hypocrite.

What Marcotte has violated is not Netiquette or blog ethics, but the trust of her readers that she would have the courage of her convictions, and not attempt to retroactively change them to conform to today’s fashion.
 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Amanda had better take care or feminazis will get a bad name.
 
Written By: notherbob2/robert fulton
URL: http://
It sure beats having to say oops! I was wrong or made a mistake. Just delete it and pretend it never existed. Or just change the words so that the meaning is changed or to avoid any embarrassment and, as a bonus, make those who comment on the piece or rely on it in some way look ridiculous. The comments would become, I suppose, fake but accurate. As DS said, you can do what you want, but there are always consequences. My memory may be faulty, but I seem to remember some caustic remarks on this site about, as one example, the NY Times doing their best to hide corrections. I also seem to recall unfavourable remarks about other sites that removed embarrasing or erroneous articles for no other reason than to avoid looking bad.


"Marcotte has apparently been busily deleting all of her previous commentary on the Duke case from her blog, as MK Ultra probably wishes he could do here."

Good point. I have one or two embarrassing comments that I wish I could pretend I never wrote, so I think in all fairness if bloggers get to change history, commenters should also be able to do so.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
I’m not sure what some people are more angry about: The fact that she wrote the tripe she wrote in the first place, or the fact that when the Edwards campaign tapped her, she didn’t have the stones to leave the original post up
Actually, the issue is that Edwards saw fit to hire such a piece of sh*t in the first place. It speaks to exactly what views Edwards himself holds. But what can you expect from him when his wife is a member of the moonbat posting community?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
And does it apply to teenage girls who are writing personal blogs?
Dammit Franks, you’ve cracked the Pandagon/Feministing code!
 
Written By: stevesh
URL: http://
My memory may be faulty, but I seem to remember some caustic remarks on this site about, as one example, the NY Times doing their best to hide corrections.
If you can’t see a difference between the NYT and a blog, then I’m not sure what else to say to you.
I also seem to recall unfavourable remarks about other sites that removed embarrasing or erroneous articles for no other reason than to avoid looking bad.
Maybe so. So what? First of all, did I write those criticisms? If not, then what’s your point? I’m only responsible for what I write. If so, then maybe I’ve changed my mind since then.

P.S. Tell me where I did so, so I can go back and edit or erase the entry, thanks. :-)

 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Tell me where I did so, so I can go back and edit or erase the entry, thanks.
Well, that’ll certainly cut down on the number of referring links to anything that you write. Why would I or anyone else link to something that can change without warning?

Changing your mind is fine. Editing history to make it appear that you didn’t is the bad thing.

Well, there’s still the wayback machine for some stuff.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Well, that’ll certainly cut down on the number of referring links to anything that you write. Why would I or anyone else link to something that can change without warning?
Well, again, that’s part of the price you may pay for revising established posts. I’m not saying that doing such revisions is a price-free practice. Readers and other bloggers may respond to such a practice by simply cutting you out of their daily reading, because you seem unreliable.

But to inflate the practice to some sort of ethical violation goes a bit too far, I think.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
“Brad, I don’t think you do. I think the people who want to be our evil overlords dump millions of dollars into right wing think tanks to come up with arguments that everyday folks think sound reasonable enough and then manufacture crisises so that everyday folks think that we have no choice but to implement the plans that the right wing think tanks come up with.”
The above is taken from "Brad Warbiany http://unrepentantindividual.com/"

Uh, she ain’t exactly a deep thinker, but then again Edwards isn’t Socrates either. It just goes to show you how un-serious Edwards is about the Presidency. He knows he can’t win. He has no shot at all unless Bird Flu wipes out half the country. He’s using his presidential run to further his law/speaking career.
 
Written By: Come on, Please
URL: http://
Well, again, that’s part of the price you may pay for revising established posts. I’m not saying that doing such revisions is a price-free practice. Readers and other bloggers may respond to such a practice by simply cutting you out of their daily reading, because you seem unreliable.

But to inflate the practice to some sort of ethical violation goes a bit too far, I think.
Fair enough.
 
Written By: Mark A. Flacy
URL: http://
Anyone has a right to edit their own website at will. Commenters have as much of a right to it as the owner of the site allows them.

But, when people read your blog because of your convictions, and especially when people hire you based on your previous blogging, then it’s going to be pretty embarrassing when you try to sweep something politically incorrect under the carpet and get caught. And thanks to web archives, it’s going to get harder and harder to do that covering-up.

If you want to retain your respectability, it’s usually smartest to be up-front about any edits you do make.

I’ll issue a disclaimer right now: after I make a comment, if I read it over a few times after posting and decide that the wording doesn’t say what I wanted it to say (or the spacing wasn’t right on my paragraphs, or something minor like that), and nobody’s responded to it yet, I’ll go back and edit that comment. I’m kind of a stickler for communicating my point correctly.

If I make a significant change (that indicates I’ve changed my mind or had my facts way wrong), I’ll either issue a retraction or go ahead and leave a record of my having edited it. Often I even put a timestamp and explanation on it.

I’ve changed my mind before, and I’ll change it again—but while I may look back on what I wrote a few years ago and say, "Ouch, I was soooo wrong," I’m not going to get upset about it and ask the webmasters of the forums or blogs I posted at to quietly erase them. People get things wrong from time to time, and when you write thousands of posts somewhere, you’re bound to screw up occasionally.
If somebody was really determined, he could figure out—with nothing more than the information currently openly available on the internet—every place that I have posted under every pseudonym. In fact, it wouldn’t even be difficult, just time-consuming. And that person could dig up a number of things that I heartily disagree with now, but that’s what experience and time are supposed to do to your arguments, if you’re not a slave to foolish consistency when the facts are staring you in the face.

The question is: under what circumstances did you change your mind? Did you change your mind because facts or persuasive arguments convinced you of the wrongness of your old position, or did you "change your mind" for professional expediency? The former can be easily explained; the latter cannot, if you want to keep your all-important credibility.

Also, if you’re that self-conscious about the trail you leave, you never get to enjoy the fine arts of devil’s advocacy and using your opponents’ own arguments against them to paint them into a corner. You spend all your time trying to CYA and not say anything that might be misconstrued, and you’ll never get to enjoy blogging. Nor will you likely be interesting enough to attract readers.
 
Written By: Bryan Pick
URL: http://www.qando.net
To get a full idea of the post that "Come on, please" referenced, the full URL is:

http://unrepentantindividual.com/2007/02/02/john-edwards-has-a-new-blogger-on-staff/

I got into it with Marcotte quite a bit back on the blog she wrote before joining Pandagon, Mouse Words... If you want to go further down the rabbit hole and see how deranged she truly is, check it out...
 
Written By: Brad Warbiany
URL: http://unrepentantindividual.com/
K.C. Johnson isn’t from the right side of the blogospheric sprectrum. Both he and Bill Andersen are far more comfortable on the left and libertarian in philosophy.

K.C. Johnson’s blog is a one issue blog, of which the issue is the Duke case. His personal tipping point was when the Group of 88 penned their famous "hang em high letter". He felt that they abandoned their ethical duty as professors when they rushed to judgment on purely PC motives.

Anyhow, Prof Johnson’s work in exposing the frame up job by the DA, police, univ staff, local civic leaders is possibly the best journeyman investigative work that I have ever seen on a blog.

Also, his issue with Marcotte is that she spewed her personal "feministe" prejudices without even spending the least bit of time reviewing what the case evidence says. He felt that her position as Edwards blog adviser makes this a political disaster for Edwards.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
"P.S. Tell me where I did so, so I can go back and edit or erase the entry, thanks. :-)"

I do not know of any, right off hand, but why would you want to change any of them, anyway?


"But to inflate the practice to some sort of ethical violation goes a bit too far, I think."

I think it would only be an ethical violation if no notice is given. Any publication, including blogs, that does such editing should prominently post a disclaimer such as "Anything written here by the proprietor is subject to change without notice". Caveat Emptor and all that. If no such notice is given, I think it is a fair presumption on the part of a reader that no such alterations would be made. There is, after all, fairly extensive use of the "Update" notice on many entries, which would seem to imply that the content remains constant unless updated.

*****************************
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Uhhmmm, I don’t think you quite get it here Dale. It isn’t that Marcotte is a dingbat. It isn’t the Edwards hired a dingbat. It isn’t merely that she is deleting posts, heck I did that today.

The problem are her comments about the Duke Lacrosse rape case and Edwards dodging of that issue. Duke is in North Carolina, Edwards...a former senator from North Carolina. Edwards worked for the same law firm that one of the defendants has used. Edwards, if he becomes president, will appoint people like the Secretary of State, Defense, and...the nations top law enforcement officer. Yet he appoints to his campaign a person who isn’t merely ignorant of the facts, but...well you read Jeff Taylor’s description that is pretty damned apt.

The Duke case also is an exercise in injustice. Yet Marcotte not only thinks that is fine, her writing suggest any other outcome than injustice is intolerable.

I guess you don’t consider it all that much of a big deal though. If that is the case, let me know, I’ll revise my opinion of you downwards.
 
Written By: Steve Verdon
URL: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com
Okay, I have gone back to my blog entries and comments and edited them. Now they will show me being against the Iraq war from the beginning. No big deal right?


 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I think the issue is with the "I stand by everything I’ve deleted from this space" nature of the update, as far as that facet goes.
Besides, if Ms. Marcotte is some sort of loose cannon, nobody’s gonna get hurt but the people who hired her. And since the people who hired her are the Edwards Campaign...who cares? It’s not like I have a vested interest in Sen. Edwards’ success.
Very true. Personally, my interest lies in the comedy value of the whole thing. It’s like watching the Three Stooges put on a Presidential campaign.

Substantively, there’s not much here, as Edwards has just slightly more of a chance of getting elected POTUS than I do. But for entertainment value, Marcotte is worth her weight in Flubber.
 
Written By: Pablo
URL: http://
If that is the case, let me know, I’ll revise my opinion of you downwards.
That’s another blogosphere convention that really pisses me off: "You didn’t frame the issue in the way that I like / you don’t appear to agree with me / you didn’t cater appropriately to my particular bugbear so you must be some sort of moral defective. I’ve lost all respect for you!"

I used to get the same sort of crap from listeners when I was in radio. "When you interviewed Secretary Reich, you didn’t argue against the minimum wage properly. I will never listen to you again!" To which my response was, "Good. Go f*ck yourself."

Life is too short to go the extra mile to try and keep the respect of people like you. I don’t have the time to review everything I write in light of your tender sensibilities.

So, based on my little radio story, can you guess what my response is to you, Steve?
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Okay, I have gone back to my blog entries and comments and edited them. Now they will show me being against the Iraq war from the beginning. No big deal right?
Not to me. It will be noted publicly, everyone else in the blogosphere will delink you, and your readership will shrink into insignificance.

But if you don’t care about that, why should I?

If you want to do stupid stuff to the things you own, be my guest. It’s not my life. It doesn’t affect me. So, I couldn’t care less.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
That’s another blogosphere convention that really pisses me off: "You didn’t frame the issue in the way that I like / you don’t appear to agree with me / you didn’t cater appropriately to my particular bugbear so you must be some sort of moral defective. I’ve lost all respect for you!"

What, I can’t revise my opinion of you based on what you write? That is just stupid if that is your position. And I think you are still missing the point big time here. The reason I’ll revise my opinion of you isn’t because of your take on something debatable like taxes or whether you should wear a black blazer with khaki pants, but because what appears very much to be a case of injustice is taking place and you are giving one of the enablers a free pass.

And you have dodged all your commenters that have brought up the actual problem with Marcotte and not the one you seem to think is the problem. You call this the "standard Lefty cant", but that seriously minimizes what Marcotte has written and to many on the Left who realize the case is farce, quite insulting. So Dale, go f*ck yourself too.
 
Written By: Steve Verdon
URL: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com
What, I can’t revise my opinion of you based on what you write? That is just stupid if that is your position.
Oh, I can think of something I might write in a single post that would lower people’s respect for me. I could admit to being a kid-toucher, and that would set people off, and rightly so.

But that’s not the kind of thing we’re talking about, is it? Your problem can’t be that I don’t think the handling of the Duke case is an injustice, because I’ve written about it. So you know there’s no disagreement on the essence of the matter. No, your problem is that, while I essentially agree with you, I haven’t condemned Ms. Marcotte in explicit enough terms for her writing on the subject to satisfy you, so you’re going to revise your opinion of me. That’s what I think is stupid.

It’s the same as the letters I used to get that said, "I listen to you every day, and I used to love your show , but, because of your interview with Zzzzzz, I’ll never listen to you again!" If your respect is so fragile, so easily given, and so easily taken away that one insufficiently condemnatory blog post is enough to diminish it, then it’s not really worth the effort it would take to try and keep it.
And I think you are still missing the point big time here. The reason I’ll revise my opinion of you isn’t because of your take on something debatable like taxes or whether you should wear a black blazer with khaki pants, but because what appears very much to be a case of injustice is taking place and you are giving one of the enablers a free pass.
See, the difference between you and me is that you expect these people to be better than they are. I don’t. I expect nuts to act like nuts, and to write nutty things. So it doesn’t surprise me when they do it, nor do I have the time or inclination to track down all the nutty things on the Left and condemn them explicitly. I mean, have you ever read my stuff? I don’t make it a practice to go out and take a look at what is being written at Kos, or Eschaton, or DU, and comment on it. If I wanted to get involved in snarky post-wars with Lefties, I’d’ve stayed in the Usenet and newsgroups world. Been here. Done that. Moved on.

My position on the Duke case has been made several times. I think we can take it as a given that I think anyone who defends the case on ideological grounds is a bum.

Apparently, that’s not good enough for you.

Too bad.
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net

 
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