Moments of Lucidity, Working the SEO and a Weekend Filled with “Fear and Darkness” …Oh Yeah, this is an open thread too.

c1407bb0d326d9cc7b36793cbec25dabGood Evening!

Hey, how is everyone doing?

Hope you will bear with me a few paragraphs while I ramble on a little, with a quick observation and story before I get to the few links I have for you tonight.

Y’all know that I was recently put on Topamax for my epilepsy…and as a bonus, it would help my debilitating migraines. I’ve mentioned the dopamax effect it has had on me, and you have probably noticed the other side effect, shall we say dopamax induced blogging Tourette syndrome.

My mom was the one who pointed it out to me last week. While reading one of my posts she said out loud, “JJ, what a foul mouth you have.” Of course, her bit of criticism surprised me, considering that the woman knows every other word out of my mouth is damn, shit, asshole….well, you get the picture. But, what my mom was commenting on was that my posts of late have become more “colorful,” in that I was dropping shit bombs left and right. (Not only shit bombs, but several ass holes and even a few fuck wads.)

I think this is a side effect of the topamax. What I usually could control in my writing is now finding it’s way in uncontrollable outbursts…dopamax induced blog…shit…swear word…damn…Tourette syndrome….ass…ass…asshole fuck fest.

Wow, don’t know where that came from. (My apologies to anyone who may be offended by my comments…this is meant as a joke, to be taken in a humorous way and not intended to degrade or demean anyone who suffers from dopamax induced uncontrollable curse word blogging or Tourette Syndrome.)

Which leads me to this little story…here in the land of Banjoville, we have a bit of an ongoing scandal, what I call Cheergate.  It seems that a lot of the parents are pissed off that their girls did not make the competition cheerleading team. So, it was decided that a new open tryout will be held.  Obviously, this is not fair, and reeks of sour grapes and bullshit…so being the woman I am, I took it upon myself to call the powers that be and voice my opinion.

Now, since the dopamax makes me completely loopy, imagine my surprise when I had a few moments of lucidity and spoke in a coherent manner….even talking in words more than three syllables long. According to my mom, who was listening to most of my side of the conversation, I was impressive…sounding like a real professional, mentioning Georgia High School Sports Associations, Rules and Regulations and I have to say, whatever was said, it sure did shut the principal up…they had no response.  Of course, moments after I hung up the phone I couldn’t even remember what the hell I said. It was so bad that when I tried to explain to my daughter what happened, all I could get out was…”It had to do with lying and making something up, it begins with an f or an s and it has more than 2 syllables.”  Who the hell knows what word I was trying to tell her.

Well, now and then we all have our moments of clarity…even if they are just fleeting at that.

One more thing, a mention about the blog. Wow, we have had so many hits the past couple of weeks. It is quite something to see the numbers of people visiting our little blog that come from all over the world…Google is a strange and wondrous thing.  Kind of like the catch 22 you have with the SAG card in acting. You can’t get an acting gig without a SAG card and you can’t get a SAG card without the acting gig. We got big notice with the Google gods a couple of weeks ago with Boston Boomer’s Too Good Looking post, and with that surge in hits and outside links…it makes getting those higher ranking search results a lot more frequent.

So, the reason I mention this is just to say hello to any new readers out there who do come back and give Sky Dancing another look, we are glad you are here! (And to our regular readers, y’all know that obviously goes without saying…)

Now…for the links.

Y’all may have missed this, it is magnificent!

Jon Stewart Tears Apart NRA’s False Choice Between Freedom And ‘Obama-Sponsored Government Mom Rape’ | Mediaite

Jon Stewart opened Monday night’s edition of The Daily Show by looking back at the weekend’s NRA convention and its not-so-singular focus on guns. With Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Sarah Palin and others in attendance, Stewart realized, “this is the same lineup, with the same laundry list of conservative grievances, that we saw at CPAC a month and a half ago.”

Eventually the speakers did get to the primary issue of guns, with Glenn Beck going after President Obama for his “tactics of fear and darkness.” Stewart congratulated Beck for acknowledging that “fear mongering is wrong” before playing another clip of him saying, “the only difference between your mom and sister getting raped and then walking home unmolested is a gun.”

“At the heart of the NRA’s message,” Stewart said, is “don’t let liberals say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun control. Let us say it’s a dangerous world and scare you into gun-a-pa-looza!” But, of course, the NRA’s real mantra comes from executive Wayne LaPierre: “Only a good guy with a gun can stop a bad guy with a gun.”

Based on Beck’s warnings against tyranny, the “government is the bad guy.” But based on LaPierre’s praise of the Boston police, “government is the good guy.” By the end of the segment, Stewart said he believes we all want the same thing: for “bad guys not to have guns.” While he and other Democrats want background checks, it appears some on the right want to “wait for a bad guy to draw and then draw faster.”

But if that’s the case, he said, “stop pretending that background checks are the last barrier standing between a free America and Obama-sponsored government mom rape.”

You have to go and see the clip…I know that I quoted most of the Mediate post, but seriously, Stewart just nails it…and that summary is just right.

There was also this from Ian Reifowitz: Gun Owners of America Is ‘Primarying’ the NRA From the Right

The NRA is even more extreme than it was just a few years ago. And that’s saying something. We’ve seen the shift in their rhetoric and in their policy positions. They just elected a new president, James Porter, who called the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression,” who referred to Barack Obama as a “fake president,” and who believes that one of our highest priorities should be to train and arm all our citizens so that, when the time comes, they can “fight tyranny.”

Wow. Take a deep breath. Yes, the new NRA president is a far right-wing extremist whose rhetoric makes his predecessor, David Keene, look like a Rockefeller Republican.

That is no news to us of course,

There’s no one simple reason why the NRA has moved even further to the right in recent years. Certainly, the right wing overall has become more extreme and paranoid since the election (and reelection) of President Obama. The Southern Poverty Law Center has plenty of material on the most extreme among them.

But within the gun movement, we are seeing something very specific, something that has a parallel within Republican electoral politics as a whole. In the last few years, conservative — not moderate but conservative — Republican senators like Richard Lugar of Indiana and Robert Bennett of Utah were defeated in reelection bids by insurgents who have come at them from the right. This is exactly what is happening to the NRA.

I didn’t see much room to the right of the NRA. At least I figured that any group to their right would have to be so extreme as to be unable to achieve any kind of influence. Wow, was I wrong. Gun Owners of America, led by its executive director, Larry Pratt, has done exactly that. The New York Times gave them a large degree of “credit” for mobilizing conservative opposition to the recent gun control package on Capitol Hill.

And I don’t think the word “extremist” truly captures where Pratt stands. Pratt’s been fomenting hatred and paranoia about President Obama’s desire to create a private army, and claimed that the president was “definitely capable” of using that army to start a race war.

The things Pratt has said should have made him 100 percent persona non grata to any senator or congressman. That he and his organization were able to spearhead a lobbying campaign in the halls of Congress tells you everything you need to know about the Republican Party’s tolerance of hateful, bigoted extremism.

Again nothing new there….

But this kind of extremism represents a real challenge to the NRA. If they don’t step up, they could lose credibility and eventually even leadership of the gun movement to a group like Gun Owners of America. GOA’s website prominently features a statement from former Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), the gold standard for extremism among national politicians, praising it as “the only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington.”

Notice who that praise is aimed at. The implication is that the NRA is a bunch of weak-kneed compromisers, squishy moderates. You want a real gun rights organization, then come over to the GOA.

There’s no formal primary, no election day where the NRA and the GOA are on competing ballot lines. But make no mistake that there is a competition. The NRA has a huge head start, and should have no trouble winning. But they aren’t taking any chances. The NRA won’t be out-crazied by anyone.

Uh…Okay then.

Hmmmm.

Personally, I think they are all batshit crazy fuck-faced asshole bastards with tiny dicks and even smaller brains! (Same goes for the women gun-nuts too…sans penises.)

Anyway, I will end this post with this cartoon…

NRA Takes a Turn to the Right – Political Cartoon by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons, Inc. – 05/07/2013

Cartoon by Monte Wolverton - NRA Takes a Turn to the Right

Y’all have a great evening, my daughter has a chorus concert tonight so I won’t be around until late.

This is an open thread.


Sky Dancing Friday Evening News

Good Evening…It’s Friday!!!!

Dakinikat gave us some good news today, the Sky Dancing Blog is number 83 on Technorati’s US Politics Top 100 List…awesome! That means we have moved up another 10 spots in US Politics blogs. We have also moved up in the Top 100 Politics blog list as well, we are currently at 103. That is up 22 spots since last week.

Okay, for today I have a few links for you that you may have missed. Today’s news that Obama can add another assassination to his list of accomplishments should give those on the left, who still support him, the final kick in the ass. Obama is not a progressive democrat!  Let’s see what justifications the Villagers come up for his latest “Bushesque” move.  On Tennessee Guerilla Women: Jonathan Turley: Obama Is Worst President Ever On Civil Liberties

Speaking of President Obama’s unprecedented order of the targeted killing of U.S. citizens, Jonathan Turley weighs in (before today’s report of the successful Obama-ordered due-process-free assassination of a U.S. citizen) on President Obama’s status as “the most disastrous president in our history in terms of civil liberties:”

One man is primarily responsible for the disappearance of civil liberties from the national debate, and he is Barack Obama. While many are reluctant to admit it, Obama has proved a disaster not just for specific civil liberties but the civil liberties cause in the United States.

Obama failed to close Guantanamo Bay as promised. He continued warrantless surveillance and military tribunals that denied defendants basic rights. He asserted the right to kill U.S. citizens he views as terrorists. His administration has fought to block dozens of public-interest lawsuits challenging privacy violations and presidential abuses.

But perhaps the biggest blow to civil liberties is what he has done to the movement itself. It has quieted to a whisper, muted by the power of Obama’s personality and his symbolic importance as the first black president as well as the liberal who replaced Bush. .. It’s almost a classic case of the Stockholm syndrome, in which a hostage bonds with his captor despite the obvious threat to his existence. Even though many Democrats admit in private that they are shocked by Obama’s position on civil liberties, they are incapable of opposing him. . It looks more like a cult of personality. Obama’s policies have become secondary to his persona.

For many civil libertarians, it will be virtually impossible to vote for someone who has flagrantly ignored the Convention Against Torture or its underlying Nuremberg Principles. . . In time, the election of Barack Obama may stand as one of the single most devastating events in our history for civil liberties. Now the president has begun campaigning for a second term. He will again be selling himself more than his policies, but he is likely to find many civil libertarians who simply are not buying.

This was before the assassination we saw today…Hey, I realize the target was dangerous, but as a US citizen he deserved his right’s to due process.  I think this sets a huge precedent, and I find it disturbing to see news and legal pundits gloss over this fact.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

That embed is not working too well, here is the direct link: Is our government really broken?

Jeffrey Toobin’s take on the legality of this assassination is in the first minute, you can watch the rest of his interview…When I saw this live earlier today, my first reaction was Toobin you are an idiot.  (Check out the things he says about Clarence Thomas.)

And as far as Obama is concerned, this next link should give you a laugh:  Chris Wallace Praises President Obama’s War On Terror During Fox News Segment | Mediaite

When news broke earlier this morning that a U.S. missile had reportedly killed Anwar al-Awlaki, most reporters were focused on the details (and ethical questions) surrounding the news. But by this afternoon, cable news analysts started to consider what sort of impact this story has on the world of politics. Case in point, Fox News’ Chris Wallace suggested to Studio B host Shep Smith that the so-called “war on terror” is a political strength for the Obama campaign, noting his administration has taken down the “two greatest threats to America.”

RELATED: Watch: President Obama Comments On Death Of Anwar al-Awlaki

Shep introduced the segment, and Wallace said of the president’s record on fighting terrorism in the context of a political strength or weakness (rough transcript provided by TVEyes):

Remember, this was the guy who, when he ran four years ago, Hillary Clinton was saying, “what happens if there is a phone call at 3:00 in the morning?” There was talk of his dealing with former terrorists and all of that and now when it comes to the war on terrorism President Obama legitimately looks like a tough guy stepping up involvement in Afghanistan and kept us in Iraq but he plans to have us out by the end the year, and he has greatly increased the number and the effectiveness of drone attacks and not only in Pakistan but now as we see in Yemen, and he has taken out, you could argue the two greatest threats to America, Osama bin Laden and al-Alwlaki.

Yes, Obama is getting praise from Fox News…what more can you say about that.

I also want to update you on a couple of PLUB news that was reported today.

Kansas – Judge Refuses to Block Abortion Law – NYTimes.com

A federal judge on Thursday declined to halt a Kansas law that limits the availability of insurance coverage for abortions. The American Civil Liberties Union had requested a temporary injunction against the law, which was approved by the Legislature this year, while the group fights the law in court. Judge Wesley Brown of Federal District Court said the A.C.L.U. of Kansas and Western Missouri had failed to prove its contention that the Legislature had approved the law to make it more difficult to receive abortions in the state. The law, which took effect in July, bars insurers from offering coverage for abortions as part of basic health plans. Exceptions are made if a woman’s life is at risk. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled to be held next month.

I sure am glad I don’t live in Kansas…the PLUBs must be rejoicing this decision.

Meanwhile, in North Carolina: ACLU challeges new N.C. abortion law in court – latimes.com

The American Civil Liberties Union and four other groups sued to challenge a new North Carolina law requiring abortion providers to display and describe ultrasound images of a fetus.

The suit, filed in federal court Thursday, alleges that the statute violates the constitutional rights of women and healthcare providers and intrudes on women’s private lives.

“Politicians have no business forcing healthcare providers to push a political agenda on their patients,” Bebe Anderson, senior counsel for the Center for Reproductive Rights, which joined in the suit, said in a statement.

The statute, passed by the Republican-controlled state Legislature in July over the veto of Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue, also requires a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking an abortion.

The suit seeks an injunction to block the law, which is set to take effect Oct. 26.

Sigh….

This last video link is a “feel good” story. Sarah Churman, 29, was born deaf and has used hearing aids all her life.  Deaf woman hears her voice with new hearing implant – The Feed – CBS News

Her husband shot this heartwarming video of activating her implant and “hearing myself for the first time.”

Sarah writes on her YouTube channel: “I had an implant put in 8 weeks ago called The Esteem Implant by Envoy Medical. I was born deaf and have worn hearing aids from the age of 2, but hearing aids only help so much. I have gotten by this long in life by reading lips. This was taken as they were activating the implant.”

The high-tech Esteem implant is embedded in her ear and works off of ear drum vibrations, unlike most hearing aids which use microphones and speakers. Sarah may have been able to hear some things before, but never like this. The joy and tears on her face can attest to that.

Have a wonderful Friday evening!


Friday Night Festivities: Celebrating “The Little Blog That Could”

Can you believe it has been almost a year since Dakinikat turned her blog from a file cabinet into “The Little Blog that Could” and invited all of us to join her? We’ve had some ups and downs, but generally speaking we’ve done pretty well for a small startup blog. We’re so grateful for all the people who stop by here to read and comment on our posts. We really put our heart and soul into keeping this place going, because we love to write and talk about politics!

It’s not quite our first anniversary yet–that will come towards the end of next month. But today we do have something to celebrate. Sky Dancing’s Technorati authority has been moving up steadily for the past several weeks, and today we made it into the Top 100 U.S. Politics blogs! I took some screenshots, because we could fall off the list tomorrow. But right now, we are ranked #93.

We are also on the Top Ten Movers list, meaning that we’ve gone up pretty quickly lately.

Please forgive us for a little immodesty, but we’ve worked really hard to keep new content up every day a few times a day. And besides, we owe any success we have had to you! So please celebrate with us. I hope this isn’t too corny…


Wednesday Reads: OBL, Twisters and Homeless Kids

Waaahooo!

Good morning! I am very happy …I am writing this post on my new laptop. Thanks again for this gift, buying a new laptop is something that was completely and utterly impossible for me to do on my own.

Starting Monday next week I will begin posting Evening Reads, every weekday (Monday-Friday) at 6 PM EST. They will be something like our Morning Reads, sort of a quick round-up of news links and commentary that have happened during the day while many readers were at work. You can come to Sky Dancing and get your newsy fix every morning with our Morning Reads.  Then get caught up on the day’s news every evening Monday through Friday with our Evening Reads.

So, let’s get to this morning’s round-up.

With OBL taking up most of the headlines, I thought I would post this link from MoJo.  It has done the work for us…Bin Laden Reading Guide: How to Cut Through the Coverage | Mother Jones

Elsewhere in Mother Jones, David Corn analyzes the political gamble Obama took in authorizing the attack, Dave Gilson breaks down the numbers behind the most expensive manhunt in history, and Josh Harkinson rounds up ten ways the right is spinning bin Laden’s death. Adam Weinstein reports on the reactions of bin Laden’s supporters as well as active-duty soldiers, Stephanie Mencimer checks in on the tea party, and Mike Mechanic pulls together a slideshow of major daily front pages.

The death of Osama bin Laden has sent news organizations scrambling for details on how it happened, where it happened, and what it all means. We’ve rounded up some of the best coverage, being careful to note what’s been said, what’s already being disputed, and what still remains to be seen.

So if you want a pretty good summary of what the media has been reporting about OBL, then click that link above for the rest of the MoJo article.

Pannetta is making the rounds, and here are some of his comments and statements.

From Taylor Marsh – TaylorMarsh.com – News, Opinion and Weblog on Progressive Politics

The White House has done an edit on their original story due to “fresh” information, saying Osama bin Laden’s wife wasn’t killed, but also that he wasn’t armed, even though he “resisted.” As Jay Carney said today, “resistance does not require a firearm.”

CIA Director Panetta’s first interview was with PBS News Hour, with Jim Lehrer.

Panetta: President Obama Couldn’t See Bin Laden’s Death, but Received ‘Geronimo’ Signal | The Rundown News Blog | PBS NewsHour | PBS

In a newsmaker interview with Jim Lehrer on Tuesday, CIA Director Leon Panetta describes the final tense seconds of the commando raid on the compound housing Osama bin Laden in Pakistan — and the culmination of a nearly 10-year manhunt.

Panetta told Lehrer neither he nor President Obama watched the actual shooting of bin Laden as it happened. Panetta spoke from CIA headquarters about the military intelligence operation that led to the al Qaeda leader’s death.

“Once those teams went into the compound, I can tell you that there was a time period of almost 20 or 25 minutes that we really didn’t know just exactly what was going on. There were some very tense moments as we were waiting for information. But finally Adm. [William] McRaven came back and said he had picked up the word ‘Geronimo,’ which was the code word that represented they got bin Laden,” he said.

When Lehrer asked if bin Laden said anything to the commandos, Panetta said: “To be frank, I don’t think he had a lot of time to say anything.”

Lehrer also asked about the uncertainty surrounding whether bin Laden was actually in the compound and whether he fired back at the Navy SEALS.

What do you think of this statement: Panetta said: “To be frank, I don’t think he had a lot of time to say anything.”

So he did not have any weapons….and he did not have time to say anything…hum? But he resisted? Don’t get me wrong, I am glad he is gone. (Really glad.) However, the latest revisions of the raid are a bit concerning to me.

There are a lot of questions about if this raid was “legal”  and this article from Der Spiegel ask some important questions.

Justice, American Style: Was Bin Laden’s Killing Legal? – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International

Americans are celebrating, but there are serious doubts about whether the targeted killing was legal under international law and the laws of war.

US President Barack Obama gets precious few opportunities to announce a victory. So it’s no wonder he chose grand words on Sunday night as the TV crews’ spotlights shone upon him and he informed the nation about the deadly strike against Osama bin Laden. “Justice has been done,” he said.

It may be that this sentence comes back to haunt him in the years to come. What is just about killing a feared terrorist in his home in the middle of Pakistan? For the families of the victims of the 9/11 attacks, and for patriotic Americans who saw their grand nation challenged by a band of criminals, the answer might be simple. But international law experts, who have been grappling with the question of the legal status of the US-led war on terror for years, find Obama’s pithy words on Sunday night more problematic.

Please read the entire article and let me know what you think about it in the comments…

Here is some reaction to OBL’s death from Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Sticks With Bin Laden – Eric Trager – International – The Atlantic

Most of yesterday’s headlines proclaiming the death of Osama bin Laden used epithets like “terror mastermind” or “bastard” to refer to the internationally feared mass murderer. (That latter headline is from the New York Post.) But in its first public statement on the killing of bin Laden, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood used the honorific term “sheikh” to refer to the al-Qaeda leader. It also accused Western governments of linking Islam and terrorism, and defended “resistance” against the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan as “legitimate.”

Osama Bin Laden

The Muslim Brotherhood’s response to bin Laden’s death may finally end the mythology — espoused frequently in the U.S. — that the organization is moderate or, at the very least, could moderate once in power. This is, after all, precisely how Muslim Brothers describe their creed — “moderate,” as opposed to al-Qaeda, which is radical. “Moderate Islam means not using violence, denouncing terrorism, and not working with jihadists,” said Muslim Brotherhood youth activist Khaled Hamza, for whom the organization’s embrace of “moderate Islam” was the primary reason he joined.

[…]

Now in their most recent statement on the death of bin Laden, the Muslim Brotherhood has gone a step further. “The whole world, and especially the Muslims, have lived with a fierce media campaign to brand Islam as terrorism and describe the Muslims as violent by blaming the September 11th incident on al-Qaeda.” It then notes that “Sheikh Osama bin Laden” was assassinated alongside “a woman and one of his sons and with a number of his companions,” going on to issue a rejection of violence and assassinations. It goes on to ominously declare that the Muslim Brotherhood supports “legitimate resistance against foreign occupation for any country, which is the legitimate right guaranteed by divine laws and international agreements,” and demands that the U.S., the European Union, and NATO quickly “end the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, and recognize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.” It closes by demanding that the U.S. “stop its intelligence operations against those who differ with it, and cease its interference in the internal affairs of any Arab or Muslim country.”

I already question the Muslim Brotherhood’s representation of women…or should I say lack of representation of women. What do you think about this public statement? Here is Juan Cole’s comment about it:

The Muslim World Sounds off on Bin Laden’s Demise | Informed Comment

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood said that Bin Laden was not representative of Islam and they condemned his methods. On the other hand, they objected to his having been killed rather than captured for trial.

Both the Brotherhood and Iran said that with Bin Laden’s death, the US had no reason to remain in Iraq and Afghanistan and should withdraw. The Iranian Shiite regime despises al-Qaeda, and the feeling is mutual, but is wary of the US military presence on either side of it.

Bin Laden’s passing is, then, an anti-climax. A nothing. Terrorism is just garbage, and produces nothing but garbage. It has mostly been taken out, with nothing but the stench hanging in the air. Most Muslims have moved on. So should Americans.

In fact, Americans should mark these days as an opportunity to recover our lost civil liberties.

Okay…I am moving on to other world news.  Syria, which has again violated it’s citizens human rights…Syria charges hundreds with degrading the state | Reuters

Hundreds of ordinary Syrians have been charged with “degrading the prestige of the state,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, in President Bashar al-Assad’s drive to crush protests against his autocratic rule.

The charge, which carries a 3-year prison sentence, was lodged on Tuesday against hundreds of people detained in the last few days, particularly in the run-up to Friday prayers, which have seen increasingly large pro-democracy demonstrations.

“Mass arrests are continuing across Syria in another violation of human rights and international conventions,” said Observatory director Rami Abdelrahman.

Other rights organizations said many male detainees had been beaten severely in a campaign of arrests that included women, teenagers and the elderly but has failed to deter protesters’ appetite for reforms. Syria already has thousands of political prisoners.

 More killing in the Ivory Coast:   ‘Dozens killed’ in Ivory Coast clashes – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Dozens of people have reportedly been killed in the main city of Abidjan in fighting between Ivory Coast troops and the remnants of a militia loyal to deposed leader Laurent Gbagbo.

“We have seen many dead. We recovered 40 bodies over two hours, but we were forced to stop because he had no room left in our van,” said Franck Kodjo, an official at the International Committee of the Red Cross, adding at least five corpses were from Tuesday’s fighting.

A commander for the Ivorian army, known as the FRCI, said the remaining pro-Gbagbo fighters in the Abidjan neighbourhood of Yopougon were mostly Liberian mercenaries hired in the aftermath of the November election dispute.

“We are in the process of securing the town but there are heavy weapons,” the commander said. “We’re not the ones firing them, it is those we oppose, the Liberians,” he said.

According to the UN: Libyan refugee crisis worsening – Africa – Al Jazeera English

The UN has said that almost 40,000 people have fled fighting in Libya’s Western Mountains region in the past month.

Thousands of ethnic Berbers from Libya fled into Tunisia after a brief hiatus in their exodus last week because of fighting between Libyan government troops and opposition forces for control of a border crossing point.

“This past weekend, more than 8,000 people, most of them ethnic Berbers, arrived in Dehiba in southern Tunisia. Most are women and children,” a UNHCR spokesperson said on Tuesday.

UNHCR staff in Dehiba said the situation of the refugees was being made worse by a violent sandstorm that has battered the area, destroying hundreds of tents and two huge portable warehouses.

Here is some US news that may have gotten lost these past couple days.

Dakinikat sent me this link last night, the only thing I can say about it is this…those damn freakin’ PLUBs! Texas Legislature: If Planned Parenthood Sues We’ll Take Everyone’s Family Planning Money | RH Reality Check

The Texas legislature is quite literally holding poor women hostage in order to defund Planned Parenthood. The have now introduced a bill that will shut down the entirety of the state’s low income women’s health care and family planning program if Planned Parenthood or any other group that provides abortions sues and wins a ruling saying they should be a part of it.

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Texas lawmakers inserted a poison bill into a women’s health program Tuesday in a move designed to ensure that groups like Planned Parenthood do not receive state funding.

Legislation that would renew a program to help poor women now has a provision that would shut it down immediately if a group that provides abortions files and wins a lawsuit to participate in the program. The Senate Health and Human Services approved the measure 5-1.

Sen. Bob Deuell, R-Greenville, said the move was necessary to make sure that no organization that provides abortions will receive any state money to provide any kind of health service.

“The legislature has clearly tried to cut off funding for these entities, only to have it restored by lawsuit,” Deuell said. “We do not want this to happen again … if abortion providers are able to sue and win — they have to win the suit — the program will cease to operate.”

Even better, almost all of the funding for the program that would be eliminated comes from the federal government, not the state. But they would rather toss it all out, and leave poor women without any health care, and especially birth control, if not doing so means Planned Parenthood might get a dollar of it.

The recent outbreak of tornadoes is officially in the record books. Deadly Tornado Outbreak Biggest in U.S. History – Truthdig

Meteorologists with the National Weather Service have reported that the spate of tornadoes that tore across the American South last week, killing hundreds of people and wrecking much of the region, was the largest in U.S. history. —ARK

BBC:

The three-day period from 25-28 April saw 362 tornadoes strike, including some 312 in a single 24-hour period.

The previous record was 148 in two days in April 1974.

The tornadoes and the storm system that spawned them killed at least 350 people in Alabama and six other states. It was the deadliest outbreak since 1936.

Can you believe that…312 tornadoes in a single 24 hour period. Wow.  My dad found some ripped up tar paper around our house this week, and no one is getting a new roof around here.  He is convinced it is debris from the tornadoes that hit Northwest and Northeast Georgia.

This next link reminded me of all the funerals after September 11th…I cannot even imagine what these communities are going through. After deadly twisters, towns cope with multiple funerals | Reuters

As state officials continue to count the dead, the recovery effort for friends and relatives must include the painful task of burying them. Nearly 350 people died in seven states last week, the second-highest recorded death toll from tornadoes in U.S. history.

Some people have insurance to cover funeral costs, while others have turned to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help, said Paul Rollins, Jr., a funeral director at Rollins Mortuary in Tuscaloosa.

This last link is something from a couple days ago. With all the hype over the bin Laden raid and death, and the fact that we still have a major problem with our economy, I thought it illustrated a point very well. Yglesias » Orlando Fact Of The Day

Michael Winerip in the NYT: “There are 2,953 homeless students attending Orange County Public Schools, up from 1,463 in 2008.”

A reminder that you don’t win the future by allowing sky-high unemployment to persist for years.

So what are you reading today?


Site News

Hola and good morning. Wonk will be posting the morning reads shortly…so I thought I would just make a quick post to let everyone know.

We have been working on the blog’s appearance, and have set up a test site so that you will not be overloaded with changes. If you would like to see what we’re working on check it out! (Be sure to see what the individual post pages look like too.)

Later tonight…around 2 am cst, we will be redirecting the blog to our new URL. So be sure to update your bookmarks, the new URL is:

http://www.SkyDancingBlog.com

If you seem to have trouble with your feeds, you may need to update the RSS subscription as well. I know it is a P.I.A. but this URL will not change if and when we upgrade to a web host server…and move the site away from WordPress.com.

The old URL – dakiniland.wordpress.com will still work, it will be redirected to the new address…but the best advice is to go ahead and update your links now.

Please let us know what you think about the “look and feel” of the blog’s appearance on the test site. Like I said this is a work in process, and the changes will be frequent until we nail it all down.

This is real exciting news, the blog is growing and developing into a real voice in the conversation. You all are part of the evolution and progress of the Sky Dancing Blog…and all of us on the front page team value your thoughts and input.


New Year’s Eve Reads

Good morning!

Today we begin to say good bye to 2010 and the first decade of the millennium and century!    What a decade and what a year it has been!  I don’t know about you, but just the last five years alone have turned my life upside down. (Think Hurricane Katrina, BP Oil Tsunami, and the financial crisis that has empowered thugs like Governexorcist Jindal to enforce absolute budget austerity on Louisiana and higher education.)   Despite all that, we’re going to have an Airing of the Gratitude thread as part of the-Little-Blog-That-Could’s New Year’s Celebration.  I’ve bought my black eyed peas and cabbage.  Now, I’m making my list of things that I resolve to appreciate for the thread.  I’d like to invite you to think about yours too and join in.   A lot of my gratitude comes under the heading of my daughters, dad and sister, and my friends.  That includes you !  We’re a blogging community that was forged from some really tough political times.

Meanwhile, here are some headlines to gear you up for the coming year and decade.  May things improve for the better!!  May peace and sanity prevail!!  May every one’s health and circumstances improve tremendously!  Many, many  blessings to each and every one of you!

Are you pessimistic or optimistic about the coming year?  A CNN poll  shows a lot of people are optimistic about the the world outlook, but less so about their personal situation. Men are much more optimistic than women.  Where do you fit in?

The Senate appears to have reached its limit on perpetually trying to find 60 votes for cloture and taking every ‘threat’ of a filibuster seriously.  Brian Beutler at TPM is following the reform movement and the possible hurdles it faces.

The consensus package will aim to put an end to “secret holds” (anonymous filibuster threats) and disallow the minority from blocking debate on an issue altogether. Those two reforms are fairly straightforward. The third is a bit more complex. Udall, along with Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), say there’s broad agreement on the idea to force old-school filibusters. If members want to keep debating a bill, they’ll have to actually talk. No more lazy filibusters.

But how would that actually work? In an interview Wednesday, Udall explained the ins and outs of that particular proposal.

“What we seem to have the most consensus on, is what I would call… a talking filibuster,” Udall told me. “Rather than a filibuster which is about obstruction.”

As things currently stand, the onus is on the majority to put together 60 votes to break a filibuster. Until that happens, it’s a “filibuster,” but it’s little more than a series of quorum calls, votes on procedural motions, and floor speeches. The people who oppose the underlying issue don’t have to do much of anything if they don’t want to.

Here’s how they propose to change that. Under this plan, if 41 or more senators voted against the cloture motion to end debate, “then you would go into a period of extended debate, and dilatory motions would not be allowed,” Udall explained.

As long as a member is on hand to keep talking, that period of debate continues. But if they lapse, it’s over — cloture is invoked and, eventually, the issue gets an up-or-down majority vote.

DDay at FDL has a thread up that offers a more detailed explanation.  This includes a bit on what is being called ‘continuous debate’ which sounds a lot like that Jimmy Stewart movie “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” or what every one was hoping for when Bernie Sanders started talking a few weeks ago.

After 41 Senators or more successfully maintain a filibuster by voting against cloture, they would have to hold the floor and go into a period of extended debate. Without someone filibustering holding the floor, cloture is automatically invoked, and the legislation moves to an eventual up-or-down vote, under this rule change.

This would institute the actual filibuster. The Majority Leader would have the capacity, which Harry Reid says he doesn’t have now, to force the minority to keep talking to block legislation. It becomes a test of wills at this point – whether the minority wants to hold out for days, or whether the majority wants to move to other legislation.

Here’s hoping we can fix our broken government that is driven by corporate cash and interests and railroaded by imperious Senators.  I’m not very hopeful that congress can actually fix itself, but I guess we’ll see.  I will say that I do think Tom Udall is a good man. He’s one of the people that is fighting for an improved process.

I still have Louisiana and New Orleans on my mind right now. We have a new headline in our ongoing BP Oil Gusher Saga. This is from Raw Story. It appears the company that owns the rig–Transocean–is refusing to co-operate with the federal oil spill probe. I just want to find out what went wrong so we don’t ever repeat it.  I’m sure all they are thinking about is the upcoming lawsuits.

Transocean said the U.S. Chemical Safety Board does not have jurisdiction in the probe, so it doesn’t have a right to the documents and other items it seeks. The board told The Associated Press late Wednesday that it does have jurisdiction and it has asked the Justice Department to intervene to enforce the subpoenas.

Last week, the board demanded that the testing of the failed blowout preventer stop until Transocean and Cameron International are removed from any hands-on role in the examination. It said it’s a conflict of interest. The request is pending.

Our economy is in sad shape down here and a good part of it is due to Transocean’s role in destroying livelihoods and life around the Gulf of Mexico.  Human lives aren’t the only thing still struggling from the gulf gusher.  Here’s some local news on that.

Scientists at the institute of Marine Mammal Studies in Gulfport are studying why two endangered manatees died near the Gulf Coast in the past two weeks.

According to the Institute’s Executive Director Dr. Moby Solangi, cold water killed the manatees, but they should have migrated to warmer water.

Scientists are finding an unusually large number of Gulf of Mexico animals out of place since the BP oil spill began.

“It is no different than having a forest fire,” Dr. Solangi said Thursday. “The oil spill expanded, it went thousands of square miles and as their habitat shrunk, these animals moved to areas that were not affected.”

The problem, according to Dr. Solangi, is those unaffected areas were also unfamiliar to the animals.

Too many turtles, for instance, wound up in waters off the Mississippi coast, where they didn’t understand the food supply.

300 turtles died in Mississippi.

Many more were caught by fishermen.

“In the past years, we would get one or two or maybe three animals, this year we had 57,” Dr. Solangi said.

He and his staff at the Institute for Marine Mammal Studies are now caring for dozens of sea turtles.

Of course, turtles in distress have to be  swimming through some pretty nasty stuff in their environment. The shores along the Gulf are still oiled. Here’s a story about 168 miles of coast in Louisiana alone.  This is from New Orleans own Times Picayune. Yes, folks, every single story I’m linking to on this is no more than a day old.  We’re still living this nightmare down here.

Louisiana’s coastline continues to be smeared with significant amounts of oil and oiled material from the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster, with cleanup teams struggling to remove as much as possible of the toxic material by the time migratory birds arrive at the end of February, said the program manager of the Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Teams, which are working for BP and the federal government.

There are 113 miles of Louisiana coastline under active cleanup, with another 55 miles awaiting approval to start the cleanup process, according to SCAT statistics. Teams have finished cleaning almost 72 miles to levels where oil is no longer observable or where no further treatment is necessary.

But that’s not the whole story for the state’s coastline. According to SCAT statistics, there’s another 2,846 miles of beach and wetland areas where oil was once found but is no longer observable or is not treatable.

Gary Hayward, the Newfields Environmental Planning and Compliance contractor who oversees the SCAT program, said that large area will be placed into a new “monitor and maintenance” category, once Louisiana state and local officials agree to the procedures to be used for that category.

“With rare exceptions, most of the marshes still have a bathtub ring that we have all collectively decided we aren’t going to clean any more than we already have because we’d be doing more harm to the marshes than the oil is going to be doing to them,” Hayward said.

Raise your hand  if you heard any thing about any of this on your local newspaper or the national TV stations.  We’re so out of sight and out of mind down here that some times I wonder if we’re even considered part of the country.  You do realize that a majority of water-related commerce and a majority of oil comes through our state, don’t you?

The South American country of Brazil is looking forward to incoming-President Dilma Rousseff.  The Nation has an article that spotlights the country’s first female elected head of state.  I only hope to see a day like that for our country.  I’d also like to end the Reagan legacy and get a real Democrat back in the White House.  Yes, I’m clapping for Tinkerbelle.

When the confetti was still falling after her victory at the polls on October 31, Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s first female president-elect, said, “I want to state my first commitment after the elections: to honor Brazil’s women so that today’s unprecedented result becomes a normal event and may be repeated and enlarged in companies, civil institutions and representative entities of our entire society.”

In a country where women have typically played a limited role in politics, the election of a woman to Brazil’s highest office signals a major break from the past. But Rousseff’s term will likely be marked by continuity with her predecessor, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Lula, a member of the Workers’ Party (PT), is leaving office with 87 percent support in the polls. An economist, PT bureaucrat, chief of staff under Lula and former guerrilla in the anti-dictatorship movements of the 1960s and ’70s, Rousseff was handpicked by Lula to follow his lead as president. When she is sworn in on January 1, she will inherit Lula’s popular legacy and will be further empowered by the fact that her party and allied parties won a majority of seats in the Senate and Congress. Not even Lula counted on this much support.

Well, at least somewhere, women are getting their due.  I’m getting tired of living through stories where women in the U.S. watch jobs they should have go to less qualified people.  Then, they get to do all the work without the title.  What’s worse is when the boyz club in power make you participate in the charade of celebration and finding the royal heir. Like that legitimizes their malfeasance!  Here’s yet another example in a  WSJ story about Elizabeth Warren searching for a person for the job she would hold if the world weren’t so upside down.  It seems less and less about qualifications and knowledge these days and more and more about appearances and appeasing the old boyz.  Money screams!

White House adviser Elizabeth Warren and a top lieutenant are quietly asking business and consumer groups for names of people who might run the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, people familiar with the matter said.

The hunt suggests that Ms. Warren, a lightning rod for some bankers, might not be selected to lead the bureau, a centerpiece of the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul bill that passed this summer. Still, many liberal groups will push to get her in the post.

President Barack Obama’s choice could signal how he intends to deal with resurgent Republicans in Congress. The feelers to business groups serve as a reminder that any nominee would likely need support from at least seven Republicans in the Senate to win confirmation.

Among the names being discussed are Iowa’s attorney general, Tom Miller; New York state bank regulator Richard Neiman; and former Office of Thrift Supervision director Ellen Seidman.

The reality is Obama fights for nothing but Obama. I know there are other Obama appointments coming up shortly and I’m trying to get a grasp on what I want to discuss with you on the proposed replacements for Larry Summers.  Well, I know what I want to discuss but it’s more like trying to figure out how to describe what I see as the problem. As some one who rides both sides of the finance and economics line, I have some insight that many don’t have.  Finance is where you make the money and it’s really based on chimera.  I know the details and the proofs behind asset pricing models and it’s simply smoke and mirrors.  Economics is where the brains and the real insight exists. There is going to most likely be a bland, uninspired replacement for Larry Summers.  A finance person will undoubtedly win that appointment.  Hence, we will get smoke and mirrors and meaningless numbers.

Once again, it’s the vision thing.  All these appointments seem to reek of employing micromanaging corporate bureaucrats that are part of the problem.  They can crank through the data but they can’t put it into perspective.  As old President Bush used to say, no one seems to be good at the “vision thing”.  No one is crafting a  blue print that incorporates a better big picture based on what we already know.  The Great Depression and the inflationary 70s–and definitely the failures of Reagan’s voodoo economics–are full of lessons that every one seems to be ignoring.   We’re seeing the appointment of types that just muck around in the already mucked up bureaucracy decimated by Dubya Bush whose only inspiration appeared to be blowing things up like a psychopathic third grade with a bunch of firecrackers and a pond full of frogs.

Finance people have tons of numbers in search of a theory.  They crunch that data until they come up with a hypothesis that fits their storyline.   Macroeconomists have a broader sense of what the system needs to look like in order to really change things.  Economics has theory proved endlessly by empiricists.  Finance people have run amok since the 1980s and really, it’s time to end overt data mining and look to bigger principles.

This White House seems really short on values, vision, and a blueprint to carry our country forward into this new decade. We need an economic strategy that includes real job creation; not imaginary ‘saved’ jobs.  We need to unwind any thing that’s too big too fail and empower small, facile, and agile companies.  Our money needs to be concentrated on developing strategies and resources that we can nurture and renew.  (No, corn ethanol is not the answer. Making higher education more expensive and less accessible to all is not the answer either.)  We need to find a way to fulfill our promises to the weakest among us.  Current income inequality is not only immoral but it’s at levels approaching the powder keg of revolutions.  (Have you listened to a Teabot recently?)   We can no longer be railroaded by the interests of the few just because they can afford to fund political campaigns.  No government law should incent a business to leave its community in need to search out obscene profits elsewhere because government policy encourages it.  We should not accommodate any country that buggers growth from us by proffering trinkets on credit.   Vision is not a difficult thing.  Fighting for what’s right should not be a difficult thing either unless you’re in the fight with the wrong motivation.

Compromise seems to come so easy these days because there’s nothing proffered but compromise.  The original positions are badly compromised from the get-go.  Law making is based on political victory and not victory for the country.  No one is shifting real strategies due to midterm elections because there’s never been an overarching plan to begin with.  Moving pieces around a chess board is not playing chess.  Government at the highest levels has just gotten to be a muddled process with no guiding principles.   The White House is intently putting mid-level bureaucrats from corporations and the Clinton administration in charge of making tasteless sausage.  It’s just making things even more muddled and more muddled is not the type of change people want.  No bold vision could ever include the likes  Timothy Geithner, Joe Biden, or  Bill Richardson in positions that require vision.  Instead, we have people of vision–like Elizabeth Warren–hunting for acceptable seat warmers.

Meh.

I would just like to say that the last two months of being more than a file cabinet has brought a lot of intriguing things to Sky Dancing.  We have a growing number of readers and front pagers and I find that all very exciting.  So, must other parts of the blogosphere.   WonktheVote’ s excellent piece ‘What if this is as good as the Obama administration gets? ‘ made Mike’s Blog Round up at Crooks and Liars. Another surprise showed up last night from Pew Research Center and the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism. This time a reference and quote come  from BostonBoomer on Julian Assange and the Wikileaks.  Here’s their story and how we fit in.

Espousing a unique mix of politics, technology, free speech and transparency, WikiLeaks has captured the attention from bloggers in a way few stories ever do. It has been a focus of social media conversation for three weeks this month alone, with a discussion that moved from one dimension to the next. After centering on political blame, the value of exposing government secrets, and the importance of a free press, the debate took on yet a new angle last week.For the week of December 20-24, more than a third (35%) of the news links on blogs were about the controversy, making it the No. 1 subject, according to the New Media Index from the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism.

“It should go without saying that I do not approve of Assange’s behavior if the allegations against him are true. Nevertheless, I still believe the allegations are very convenient for the powers that be,” declared Sky Dancing.

The Center produces something that’s called the New Media Report.  Here’s the description.

The New Media Index is a weekly report that captures the leading commentary of blogs and social media sites focused on news and compares those subjects to that of the mainstream press.

PEJ’s New Media Index is a companion to its weekly News Coverage Index. Blogs and other new media are an important part of creating today’s news information narrative and in shaping the way Americans interact with the news. The expansion of online blogs and other social media sites has allowed news-consumers and others outside the mainstream press to have more of a role in agenda setting, dissemination and interpretation. PEJ aims to find out what subjects in the national news the online sites focus on, and how that compared with the narrative in the traditional press.

In similar news,  Technorati just gave us a new badge early this morning. It’s a nice little green rectangle that says TOP 100 US POLITICS. We’re currently 95.  Not so bad for a blog that was just a file cabinet 2 months ago.

Our goals here include becoming part of the bigger conversation as well as providing more links and information to news items than we get via traditional main stream media outlets dominated by the concerns of advertisers and sources.  We complement that with our commentary and explanations and yours.    Yes.  They hear us now.

So what’s on your reading, blogging and celebration lists today?

Blog Authority? Huhn?

About a year or so ago, I decided to look into what made a blog successful or not successful.  Of course, a lot of this depends on the purpose of your blog.  If it’s only to share your photos and family news, then just getting your relatives and friends on line and with the program is enough.  If you’re selling something it’s another thing.  I watched a neighbor build a blog for a B&B, one for a small theater, and another for a Wine and Cheese delicatessen.  They were looking to reach and service new and existing customers.  Political and opinion blogs have a different goal and a somewhat different metric. Since we’re in that category, I’m going to share the methodology and metrics with you.  I also want to let you know why this interests me.

There are several places you can look to see how ‘seriously’ a blog is taken by the blogosphere.  Just recently, an academic study–yup, you know me– was done to create a Blogosphere Authority Index and you can find the results for political blogs here. You may recognize several of the blogs rated there including  Corrente. Lambert does a fine job at doing the things which create the atmosphere for a high rating for a political blog.  First, he makes sure his posts are relevant to the subject.  Second, he does a good job at getting links and ping backs from other blogs; especially those with higher ratings like, say Crooks and Liars. He makes comments and networks with other bloggers.  That particular referenced study looks at both left and right wing blogs.  I focused on the left wing or ‘progressive’ blogs.

There are several rating places that examine blogs.  They don’t really look at the ‘truthiness’ of the blog, but at how effective it is at attracting readers and links.  Technorati.com is probably the major one.   There’s also Alexa.  Alexa’s rating is the  measure that I mentioned a few weeks ago when I said we started out some where in the ranking world with a number approaching 12 million.  Our three month ranking stands today at 956,644 which includes only about 6 weeks of active blogging and interaction . The rest of the three month period basically relates to my using this site as a file cabinet for my economic/finance items.  If you just look at our last month’s traffic, then, you’ll see our 1 month rating is 383,450.  That’s a huge change and you’re part of it!!   Alexa goes on traffic or page views so it ranks how many people go to a blog.

Technorati has a different set up.  It rates a blog not only by overall standing, but by how well that blog attracts other blogs’ attention.  It also ranks you by different subject categories.  We’re really moving up in the U.S. political blog category. We now rank 257.  Just today, we went up 367 places.   Here’s that data.

257. Sky Dancing

https://dakiniland.wordpress.com
Recent: Julian Assange Arrested by Scotland …

U.S. Politics
Auth: 543
Moved positive places Change +367

Read more: http://technorati.com/blogs/directory/politics/uspolitics/page-11/#ixzz17U8pgsZU

Wonkette was on the same page, so I took a snapshot of their numbers for comparison. Wonkette has traditionally been a highly-rated progressive blog with an active community.

236. Wonkette

http://wonkette.com

Recent: So This Is What Compromise Looks …

U.S. Politics
Auth: 554
Moved negative places Change -2

Since we’re relatively new at this, we’re changing quite rapidly and may not settle into our true average for another month or two.   I’m going to refer back to a few links above to give you an idea of how blogs are evaluated so you know what the numbers I just gave you actually mean.  Here’s an explanation for Techonorati from bulletproof blog.

Launched several years ago as a blog search engine designed to simply aggregate and organize the global online conversation, Technorati.com has ultimately evolved into a full-fledged online indexing and rating service, providing data on authority and influence. Simply plugging in the name or address of a blog into the Technorati.com search bar will provide the blog’s authority score and ranking. The authority score, which identifies a blog’s level of influence in its specific genre, is based on traffic statistics, linking behavior, and its relevance to popular topics. A blog’s Technorati.com ranking indicates where a given blog ranks among the authority scores of all blogs. The ease and expediency of Technorati.com make it one of the first places that you should stop when evaluating the influence of a blog.

The BAI study–the academic one–that created a “Blogosphere Authority Index” has different methodology and you can find the explanation in a section of the paper published here.  The index attempts to blend a variety of different measures including influence.

This example is an illustration of four distinct areas of influence: network centrality, link density, site traffic, and community activity. To create a comprehensive ranking system, this paper identifies the best-available proxy for each of these types of influence, converts them to ordinal rankings, and then combines them into a single index of authority.

There is a score for site traffic (the number of people who visit a blog), the activity of the community (that would be the number of people that return to the blog and comment), and then there’s the interaction with other blogs through listings and pingbacks.  This isn’t just listing some one on your blog roll.  You have to actively quote the blog with an active link to it and your community needs to be interested enough in that link to go there.  The other blog also needs to reciprocate.  People that are really interested in bumping up their influence numbers have to go from blog to blog and actively get links and ping backs.

Other than academic curiosity–of which I have plenty–what does this mean? Well, one of the things it means is that your community and  your blog is recognized as part of a bigger and important discussion on things.  In this case, that would be the U.S. political area. It also means that when politicians are looking for focus groups or looking at how people feel about things, you’re included because your community and blog has numbers, authority, and peer-acknowledged information.

So, our little blog that could has made some important steps in the last 4 -6 weeks.  First, we’ve been linked to by Memorandum which is a site that lists political issues and blogs that discuss them.  They don’t do that for all blogs.  It’s a list that is followed by bloggers, the media, and politicians. Being linked there ups the exposure of the opinions here for both front pagers and down pagers.  It also means that we’re more likely to be read by others and linked to by others which, as I’ve stated, means we go up in authority and down in ranking.  (You want a high Technorati authority rating but a low ranking. You want to be 1000 on authority and less than 100 or ranking.  The 100 ranking or less says you’re in the top 100 blogs in that category.)

So, does this mean that all of us front pagers want to be the Big Orange Cheeto?  Well, speaking for me and just me,  HELL no!!  I don’t want a blog that has thousands of comments no one reads or can respond to and cares about.  So, that’s not my intent with following these things.  Oh, and you can follow these things too with the links I’ve given here and several buttons I stuck way down in the left hand corner of the leftmost column.  The deal is that in politics you want to be part of the conversation.  That happens only when you reach a certain point in these rating and ranking services.  They pay attention to who we all are.  This is especially true during election years.  If you were out and about in 2008 or before–as most of us were–you could tell who was important by how many folks would come and dump the meme du jour of whatever candidate on your message thread.  It was also pretty obvious that some politicians were interested in certain demographics and if they found it at any particular blog, they would actually read or follow that blog.

So, this is why I follow these metrics and mention them ever so often.  First, it assures me that we are doing a good job here, because it shows us where our readers come from, who they are, and how many of them there are reading us and returning to read us.  It’s a metric that can be used to measure if we’re meeting our goals of having a conversation that matters.  Second, it’s a metric that that measures if our conversations not only matter to us but, if they can make a difference in the bigger scheme of conversations.   I would like us to be a vehicle that some senator or congressman or governor could trip across.  Our numbers assure us a seat at some tables.

Any way, I hope I haven’t bored you with too many details, but this is why I’d like to celebrate that our three month Alexa traffic rating is good and our 1 month rating is outstanding.  More people are joining our conversation and our conversations are more likely to be read by people that could matter.

Bravo and brava!  Sky Dance on!!