Posts Tagged ‘bloggers’

Glowbull Warming Reaches Pierre & SD Blogosphere

Posted: Friday, February 26, 2010 at 8:54 am
By: RadioActive Chief
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There is just too much discussion going on worthy of reply about this to let it go without additional comment.

The starting reference point is HC1009, labeled: A CONCURRENT RESOLUTION, Calling for balanced teaching of global warming in the public schools of South Dakota.

The Chief has taught HS sciences for a quarter century…and the prevailing orthodoxy on AGW (anthropogenic global warming: you know, man made!) is junk science at best, and at worst is totally bogus intellectual fraud. After formally studying a number of relevant scientific disciplines, IMHO AlGore and the glowbull warming advocates are claiming far, far more than is supported by the VALID evidence…which looks better and better with every successive debunking of junk “evidence” that has been used by the IPCC, and other agencies like the UK Meteorological Office, East Anglia University Climate Unit, etc.

The US science teaching establishment to a large extent has drunk the AlGore Kool Aid…and has little bashfulness about promoting what IMHO is a grossly distorted pseudoscientific dogma in the classroom.

This is the backstory on HC1009…which is well intentioned, but is in need of some important correction to be credible. Some of these corrections have been noted several places in the blogosphere. Badlands Blue and Madville Times both have erupted on this to some degree at least…CAH seems to be a bit more sensible in his comments, but admittedly both have properly noted some real problems, which were also noted with a bit more specificity in a posting from SD Politics.

Overall, the Chief concurs with the latter of these, not so much with the former commenters. The references in the bill to “astrology(!)”, “thermography”, and “interrelativity” (which suggests some sort of warp drive travel or something) obviously (at least to me!) need to be cleaned up.

There is one additional wording change that I would heartily suggest. The passage in the bill that states “That global warming is a scientific theory rather than a proven fact;” is also incorrect in this context.

The Chief continually stressed to his students that a “scientific theory” is NOT a guess about something…it is rather a unified explanation that is able to account for a large body of related proven scientific phenomena. The idea a man-made glowbull warming is IMHO a LONG way from reaching the level of established theory. A more appropriate statement in the bill at that point would be “That global warming is a scientific hypothesis rather than a proven fact”.

In science, a hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a scientific question. The validity or non-validity of the explanation may be established by the process of experimentation. To be supported, a hypothesis must be demonstrated REPEATEDLY by experiments (or data) that are clearly and concisely defined, and are available to anyone else interested in the topic, who then is able to also demonstrate the same conclusion. If the conclusion can not be logically and unambiguously supported from a number of independent sources then if cannot be considered as being scientifically valid.

That is the current state of the hypothesis of AGW today, and as more and more cases of shoddy research, flawed and/or missing critical data, and evident “rigging” of the scientific review process comes to light, it becomes less and less likely that AlGore and others of his enviromental ilk are correct in their assertions of “established science”.

So, what’s to get exercised about concerning the scientific Waterloo being defended by the orthodox “warmists”? It is neatly summarized in Ken’s concluding paragraph in his above- noted and linked post at SD Politics:

Climate change alarmism is in a crisis right now, for good reason. Cap and Trade legislation, a very costly proposal based on very dubious quazi-scientific ideas, is something the State of South Dakota ought to be concerned about. It is easy to make mistakes when putting a resolution together, but if we are going to weigh in on this we need to be rather more careful in our choice of words.

Hear, hear!

Free Speech, Defamation, and SD House Bills 1277 & 1278

Posted: Sunday, February 21, 2010 at 11:50 pm
By: Ken Blanchard
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handbookcyberdissidentsThis is a very interesting debate on the local blogosphere.  The proposed legislation would make it easier for any person bringing an action for slander or libel to compel online content providers, including bloggers, to turn over information indicating the identity of anonymous commenters.

I am opposed to the legislation, as are Cory Heidelberger, Pat Powers, and Doug Wiken.  Todd Epp, I understand had a hand in preparing the text of the bills. Professor David Newquist has not endorsed the bills, but I understand him to be defending the general idea.  I note that the opposition consists of both conservative and liberal bloggers.  This looks to me like what the blogosphere is for.

House Bill 1277 is the less objectionable of the two.  As I understand it, once an action for libel etc. has been brought, content providers could be compelled to turn over any information they happen to have about the identity of the defendant.  1277 also protects content providers against liability in case of a judgment against the defendant.  Without that, comments sections might well disappear from the internet, and that would shut down a major new venue for discourse.  However I suspect such legal actions will be rare. If I am right, this provision would have little actual effect on the blogosphere.  That doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.  1277 clearly poses a threat to internet anonymity, which I think is bad for reasons I articulated in an earlier post.

House Bill 1278 is a much more intrusive piece of legislation.

Any person who allows internet posts shall keep a record of the internet-protocol logs adequate to provide identification and location of otherwise unknown, anonymous, or pseudonymous persons who leave or upload content.

This would require “all persons who allow internet posts” to go to a lot of trouble to keep records that might, conceivably, be wanted in a legal action.  Apart from the unprecedented intrusion, that amounts to requiring all content providers to act as spies for the courts.  I protest.

Moreover, it is not at all clear to me how compliance with this provision is possible.  Site administrators can require that posts be signed and require a legitimate e-mail address be attached.  But whether the signatures are genuine, or the e-mail addresses useful for identification, I have no way of knowing.  I certainly don’t know how to keep “internet protocol logs” that would be “adequate” for the purpose in mind here.

Professor Newquist and I agree at least on the question.  He says this:

My original post on the Defamation Law amendments stressed the point that the concept of free speech involved in protecting the anonymous is in direct conflict with that which states that people possess the right not to be defamed and that free-speakers can be held responsible for their abuse of free speech.

The difference between us is that, given this “direct conflict” I would choose free speech over the right not to be defamed.  There is a long history of libel laws being used to suppress dissident speech, in this country and elsewhere.  Anonymity has been a big part of the defensive strategy.  The use of pseudonyms in the early republic, and recent attempts by repressive regimes to uncover dissident bloggers, seem to me to be of the utmost importance.  I haven’t read the Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents, but I am guessing that Reporters Without Borders will agree with me.

I also agree emphatically with a point my friend Cory Heidelberger makes.

I’m still waiting for examples of online speech of any sort that has done actual damage in South Dakota or libel cases in South Dakota that have been stymied by comment anonymity.

Yes.  Could someone please show us an example of a case that was brought and was stymied by comment anonymity, or would have been brought under the proposed legislation?  Could someone show that this is a significant enough of a problem to justify this legislation?

And for Something Completely Different: Some New Blogs for Your Reading Enjoyment

Posted: Saturday, February 13, 2010 at 9:58 pm
By: Todd Epp
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Cover of "The Right Stuff (Two-Disc Speci...

Cover via Amazon

I’m a person of many interests.  And yes, I’ve had many blogs.  Some, like this, I’ve sustained in one form or another for years.  Others seem to run their course or I get bored.

Hey, you’re getting all this for free, so don’t complain.

Anyway, I’ve started three new specialized blogs that you might enjoy.  They are:

  • This Big Day In South Dakota History:  This was a semi-regular feature over on my legacy South Dakota Watch site but I am bringing it back at its own site.  Again, I welcome your tidbits (with exact dates) about South Dakota history.  For example, on February 13, 1985, the South Dakota Legislature decided to go to Washington–all 105 members–to plead for help for the state’s farmers.

All three of these new blogs are featured in the side columns of this blog.   I’ll continue to comment on South Dakota, Midwestern, and national politics here, as well as Buddhism and all the other things I’ve generally written about in the past.

Thanks for your continued readership and responsible commenting.

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I Will Call Him Mini-Me, er, Mini-Blogs

Posted: Thursday, January 7, 2010 at 5:14 pm
By: Todd Epp
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After years of scratching my head and futile searches on Google, I’ve finally figured out a way (actually ways) to add some “Mini-Mes,” er, “Mini-Blogs” inside of my main blog here at the home edition of the Middle Border Sun.

These mini-blogs are short takes on various topics that don’t rate a full-blown blog entry.  They are:

These short blurbs are featured in the inside narrow column towards the top.  I hope you enjoy them.

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And The Winners Are… Best SD* Political Blogs Of 2009

Posted: Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 1:39 pm
By: Todd Epp
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As selected by you, the readers, and me, the editor, here are the winners of the Second Annual Middle Border Sun (f/k/a South Dakota Watch) Best SD* Political Blogs of 2009!

Best SD Political Blog

Reader’s Choice: Dakota Women
Runner  Up: South Dakota War College
Editor’s Choice: South Dakota War College
Runner Up: Hemmingsen Weighs In

Best SD Lefty Blog
Reader’s Choice: Dakota Women
Runner Up: Madville Times
Editor’s Choice:  The Decorum Forum
Runner Up: Northern Valley Beacon

Best SD Rightwing Blog
Readers’ Choice: South Dakota War College
Runner Up: Voices Carry
Editor’s Choice: South Dakota War College
Runner Up: Jay Stream

Best New SD Political Blog
Readers’ Choice: Decorum Forum, Pure Pierre Politics
Editor’s Choice: Decorum Forum
Runner Up: Badlands Blue (the new and improved version)

Best SD MSM Political Blog
Readers’ Choice: Pure Pierre Politics, Mount Blogmore
Editor’s Choice: Hemmingsen Weighs In,
Runners Up: Republic Insider, Jay Stream, Politically Speaking

Best SD Special Interest/Single Issue Political Blog
Readers’ Choice: Dakota Women
Runner Up: Voices Carry
Editor’s Choice: Take It Outside
Runner Up: Voices Carry

Best SD Political Blog Lifetime Achievement Award

Editor’s Choice: Black Marks On Wood Pulp, Rant A Bit


Congratulations to the winners!  I’m going to try and come up with some sort of online certificate that you can link to if you like.  And thanks to all the *South Dakota/KELOLAND/Sioux Empire/Siouxland bloggers for all you to do inform, entertain, and make us think!

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Hurry! Voting Ends Soon On Best SD Political Blogs Of 2009!

Posted: Sunday, December 27, 2009 at 5:28 pm
By: Todd Epp
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If you haven’t done so, vote now on your favorite South Dakota political blogs.  Multiple votes are allowed!

Click here to vote or go to the ballot at the end of the post.

VOTING ENDS 9 P.M., SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2009!

Here are the categories:

Best SD* Political Blog
Best SD* Lefty Political Blog
Best SD* Rightwing Political Blog
Best SD* New Political Blog
Best SD* MSM Political Blog
Best SD* Special Interest/Single Issue Political Blog
SD* Political Blog Lifetime Achievement Award



Here are last year’s winners:

Non-MSM S.D. Political Blog
Readers’ Choice:
Winner: Dakota Women
Runner-up: Voices Carry
Editor’s Choice:
Award of Merit:
South Dakota War College
Honorable Mention:
South Dakota Watch

Best Lefty Blog:
Readers’ Choice:

Winner: Dakota Women
Runner-up: South DaCola
Editor’s Choice:
Award of Merit:
Madville Times

Honorable Mention:
South DaCola

SouthDakotaMac

Northern Valley Beacon


Best Righty Blog:

Readers’ Choice:

Winner: Voices Carry
Runner-up: South Dakota War College
Editor’s Choice:
Award of Merit:
South Dakota Politics

Honorable Mention:

Dakota Voice

Best Women’s Run Blog:
Readers’ Choice:
Winner: Dakota Women
Runner-up: Hog House
Editor’s Choice:
Award of Merit:
Flying Tomato Farms

Honorable Mention:
Hog House

Blogging While Feminist

Dakota Women

Best New Blog:
Award of Merit:
Fastidious

Honorable Mention:
The Dakota Day

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Dakota Today
Sibby Online

Minus Car Project

A Progressive on the Prairie

What do the winners get?  The satisfaction of knowing they are beloved.

*For the purposes of this contest, South Dakota includes the vast reaches of KELOLAND and Siouxland.

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The Last Word On Yarmulkegate–I Promise!

Posted: Monday, December 21, 2009 at 12:07 pm
By: Todd Epp
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My Democratic colleagues at Badlands Blue (which is apparently not a kosher blog–I keed, I keed!) again kind of apologize for the whole Yarmulkegate flap last week.  They say they’ll do better 2010.

Since my Mom tried to raise a nice young Methodist boy who believes in the perfectibility of people, I’ll take them at their word.  And it is the Hanukkah/Christmas season so everyone’s better angels/Buddhas are out in force this week, my own included.

So now for my “last word” on this, which isn’t even my own words.  Over at the Sioux City Journal where I also feed this blog, one of my readers noted:

How on earth do you pander to the Jewish vote in South Dakota?

Good point.  While in several states the Jewish vote is a big block of votes, in South Dakota, not so much.   I’m guessing there are three synagogues in South Dakota–Sioux Falls, Rapid City, and Aberdeen.

So what have we learned through all this?  Maybe commenting on what politicians do regarding their own and others’ religious beliefs and ascribing motives thereto is a dangerous, difficult business. I’m just saying.

Meanwhile, Happy Holidays, fellow babies!

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Bloggers in federal shield law headed to Senate floor

Posted: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 9:02 am
By: Tim Gebhart
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Last week, the Senate Judiciary Committee sent to the Senate floor a version of the Free Flow of Information Act that appears to include bloggers.

Briefly stated, a shield law protects journalists from having to disclose sources to prosecutors unless certain requirements are met. One of the battles to date is who would be protected by a federal shield law. At one point, the Senate version of the bill was amended so as to protect only those working for the mainstream media. Last month, the committee adopted language that renders it applicable to certain bloggers. The three part definition of a “covered person” says the bill will apply to anyone who (1) “with the primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate” news or other matters of public interest and “regularly” does so, (2) had that intent from the inception of gathering the information and (3) and obtained the information “in order to disseminate it[.]” Although the amendment does not define “regularly,” that is something that could be decided on a case-by-case basis rather than excluding all bloggers.

Last Thursday, by an 11-8 vote the committee defeated an effort by Senate Majority Leader Dianne Feinstein and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois to return to a mainstream media-type definition. Their proposal would have required a person be acting “for substantial professional gain.” That term, in turn, was defined as a student working for a college publication or an employee, contractor or agent of an entity that disseminated the information through newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, news agency, magazine, “news website, or other periodical” or television, radio or motion pictures. While “other periodical” was not defined, the other items in that list would seem to indicate blogs would not be considered a periodical.

After rejecting the amendment, the committee adopted the the blogger-friendly bill by a vote of 14-5. In announcing the bill had come out of committee, Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.) noted that “it also provides the potential for journalists publishing on blogs to be covered as well.”

When and if the bill will be debated on the Senate floor is anyone’s guess, as is whether it would pass in the current form. Even if it does, the House version of the bill requires that an individual’s work in journalism must account “for a substantial portion of the person’s livelihood or for substantial financial gain[.]” If and when the two versions are ever reconciled, the law would apply only to federal authorities, not state and local ones.

Vote Now! Select The Best SD* Political Blogs Of 2009!

Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2009 at 10:07 pm
By: Todd Epp
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What’s your favorite blog in the area?  Well, here’s your chance to vote.

It is the Second Annual Middle Border Sun (f/k/a South Dakota Watch) South Dakota* Political Blog(s) of the Year Awards!

Vote here or along the sidebar at my “home” blog for your picks (or at the bottom of this post).  I’ll also have my own “Editor’s Choice” awards as well as your “Readers’ Choice” awards.  Most of the awards are for non-mainstream media (MSM) blogs but I am adding a best MSM political blog category (i.e., Argus Leader, Rapid City Journal, etc.) and best special interest/single issue blog (i.e., Dakota Women, Planned Parenthood, SD Family Policy Council, etc.).

VOTING ENDS 9 P.M., SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2009!

Here are the categories:

Best SD* Political Blog

Best SD* Lefty Political Blog

Best SD* Rightwing Political Blog

Best SD* New Political Blog

Best SD* MSM Political Blog

Best SD* Special Interest/Single Issue Political Blog

SD* Political Blog Lifetime Achievement Award

Here are last year’s winners:

Non-MSM S.D. Political Blog
Readers’ Choice:
Winner: Dakota Women
Runner-up: Voices Carry
Editor’s Choice:
Award of Merit:
South Dakota War College
Honorable Mention:
South Dakota Watch

Best Lefty Blog:
Readers’ Choice:

Winner: Dakota Women
Runner-up: South DaCola
Editor’s Choice:
Award of Merit:
Madville Times

Honorable Mention:
South DaCola

SouthDakotaMac

Northern Valley Beacon


Best Righty Blog:

Readers’ Choice:
Winner: Voices Carry
Runner-up: South Dakota War College
Editor’s Choice:
Award of Merit:
South Dakota Politics

Honorable Mention:

Dakota Voice

Best Women’s Run Blog:
Readers’ Choice:
Winner: Dakota Women
Runner-up: Hog House
Editor’s Choice:
Award of Merit:
Flying Tomato Farms

Honorable Mention:
Hog House

Blogging While Feminist

Dakota Women

Best New Blog:
Award of Merit:
Fastidious

Honorable Mention:
The Dakota Day

Lifetime Achievement Award:
Dakota Today
Sibby Online

Minus Car Project

A Progressive on the Prairie

I will try to limit the number of times a person can vote.  However, people often use multiple computers to get around protocols that limit voting.  Chris Nelson is not supervising this election.

What do the winners get?  The satisfaction of knowing they are beloved.

Vote early, vote as often as you can. ;)

TO VOTE ON THE BEST SD* POLITICAL BLOGS, CLICK HERE.

*For the purposes of this contest, South Dakota includes the vast reaches of KELOLAND and Siouxland.

Which Are Your Favorite SD/KELOLAND/Siouxland Political Blogs? (Multiple Votes Allowed)(surveys)

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Blogging & Freedom

Posted: Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 12:14 am
By: Ken Blanchard
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wangchen.afp.09The advent of blogging is one of the most significant events in the history of modern journalism.  This is not because blogging can replace traditional journalism.  Many critics of blogging (including our esteemed Keloland colleague David Newquist) point out that bloggers are heavily dependent on the main stream media for their original source material.  This is quite true.  It is also true that the MSM continues to enjoy the power of validation.  As long as a story remains confined to the blogosphere, it will be noticed only by the blogosphere.  When a story jumps from the blogs to the MSM, then everyone who watches the news will see it.  That kind of jump is what most bloggers hope for when they push a story.  Some nationally important blogs, like Powerline, became important by pushing a single story that the MSM was later forced to cover.

The rise of blogging is not important because it can replace the traditional media.  It is important because, unlike traditional media outlets, it is radically democratic.  Anyone with a laptop and an internet connection can publish his or her writing in a media that anyone else in the world can get access to.  Precisely because it is so easy, it is difficult for any government or any other establishment to get control of it.

That has been demonstrated by the recent report of the Committee to Protect Journalists.  From Joel Simon at Slate:

From Tibet to Tehran, more and more front-line reporting is being carried out by freelancers and published online. But the revolution in newsgathering—brought about by new technology and the downsizing of traditional media outlets—has a down side. For the first time, half of all journalists jailed around the world worked online as bloggers, reporters, or Web editors. Most of them are freelancers with little or no institutional support.

These are the key findings of a report released Dec. 8 by the Committee To Protect Journalists. The annual census of imprisoned journalists was conducted on Dec. 1 and includes every journalist who was in jail on that day. All told, there are 136 journalists on the list, an increase of 11 from the previous year. Sixty-eight of them worked online, the vast majority of them freelancers.

So far as opposition journalism is concerned, imprisonment is the sincerest form of flattery.  China and Iran have gone out of their way to flatter bloggers.

A closer look at the numbers in China reveals just how dramatically the Internet has transformed both newsgathering and the dissemination of critical commentary in repressive societies.

A decade ago, when China first topped the list, most of those jailed were print reporters for mainstream media outlets who had gone too far in their criticism of government officials. The Chinese media are much more open today, but there are still clear limits, and journalists who displease the authorities face consequences. The difference is that they are more likely to be fired than thrown in jail.

But online journalists can’t be fired, blacklisted, or, in most cases, bought off precisely because most work independently. They don’t have employers who can be pressured. Chinese authorities have few options when it comes to reining in online critics—censor them, intimidate them, or throw them in jail. This explains why 18 of the 24 journalists imprisoned in China worked online.

That, gentle readers, is what freedom looks like.  Bloggers and journalists in these United States don’t have to worry about ending up in the slammer.  But the current Administration doesn’t like dissenting media anymore than Beijing or Tehran.  See my last post for an example.

That the Obama Administration failed miserably in its ham-handed attempt to marginalize Fox News is a testament to the professionalism of Fox’s fellow news organizations and to such genuine journalists as Mara Liasson.

But whatever pressure the Administration can bring to bear on a cable news network, or whatever power the major news networks have over a story, they can’t do a damn thing about Powerline, let alone South Dakota Politics or the Northern Valley Beacon.  That is a significant advance in the cause of freedom of thought.