Political Animal


HOPPING OFF THE CLUETRAIN….Greg Beato has a trenchant comment on yet another column from Doc Searls and David Weinberger of The Cluetrain Manifesto fame.

I can’t tell you how tired I am of reading commentary from self-styled net gurus saying, essentially, that the entire business world should simply give up and accept that the internet is going to destroy their industries. It’s not just that they are probably wrong, it’s that their misreading of human nature is so profound as to be mind boggling. Do they really expect Hollywood, for example, to just ditch the whole idea of copy protection and sadly watch as their revenues drop 99% because their content is being copied for free by anyone who wants it? Not in the universe I live in.

I read The Cluetrain Manifesto when it first came out based on the enthusastic recommendation of a marketing friend of mine, and I was just appalled. It was page after page of platitude, all based on the idea that marketing-as-we-know-it was doomed to extinction in the very near future. This in turn was seemingly based on the authors’ idea that traditional marketing doesn’t work too well on smart, technically literate nerds ? a market segment that accounts for about 1% of the consuming public ? and that smart, technically literate nerddom was shortly to take over the world.

This is just fantasy. When it’s all said and done, my money says that big marketing will adapt just fine to the internet and so will big business. In fact, it will probably make them stronger than ever, and unlike the utopian predictions of The Cluetrain Manifesto that marketing is shortly to become a frank, cuddly, conversation between buyers and sellers, that’s a prediction that should truly send shivers down our collectives spines.

MORE TORTURE….Every day Pat Buchanan

MORE TORTURE….Every day Pat Buchanan and Bill Press host a show on MSNBC. Via Meatstack, here’s an excerpt from their show on Tuesday where they are discussing the use of torture:

BUCHANAN: Look, doctors regularly, daily, inflict horrible pain on patients. They cut them open and they put new hearts in them. And it’s horrible pain. It’s done for their own good to save one life. If you can do it to save one life, why can’t you inflict pain on a guilty man to save 100 lives?

ROTH: Pat, come on.

PRESS: Come on.

ROTH: You don’t see a difference between consenting to an operation to save your life vs. forcing severe pain on somebody else? Please. You don’t really believe that.

BUCHANAN: Listen, oh, I do believe…

This is why torture is a taboo that should not be broken, because once it is people start thinking the way Pat Buchanan does. And once you start thinking like that, there’s simply no end to the justifications you can come up with to do anything you want.

This really isn’t negotiable, folks. Once you cross this line, it’s hard to ever come back. This is not the kind of country we want to have.

TORTURE….I haven’t commented recently on

TORTURE….I haven’t commented recently on the news that we shipped al-Qaeda #2 man Khalid Shaikh Mohammed off to Pakistan for questioning allegedly because of their relaxed attitudes toward torture. I’ve written about the use of torture twice before, suggesting here that “if we lose our moral compass then we have lost the essence of what makes America worth fighting for,” and here that “conservatives, who have lately prided themselves on their moral clarity, seem to have lost their voice on this issue.”

But Jim Henley at Unqualified Offerings really provides the only reason anyone should need to oppose the use of torture:

Because we’re the fucking United States of America!

There are lines that shouldn’t be crossed no matter how tempting they are or how justified they seem in the heat of the moment. This is one of them.

BILL FRIST, SUPERGENIUS….Jeanne d’Arc reports

BILL FRIST, SUPERGENIUS….Jeanne d’Arc reports that Bill Frist is less intellectually honest than Wolf Blitzer. Why? Because he put up an online poll and then took it down when he didn’t like the results.

But it might actually be worse. (Hardly seems possible, I know, but bear with me.) Here’s the statement on Frist’s site:

Users are normally allowed only one vote in the poll, however, sometime yesterday, someone figured out how to vote several thousand times….The poll has temporarily been removed until a more secure method of operating web polls is in place.

So Frist put up an online poll and somehow didn’t realize that sometimes people, um, cheat on these things and figure out how to vote over and over? Wasn’t Frist supposed to be the dynamic, smart, young information age guy who would replace that old dinosaur Trent Lott? I’ll bet even Lott would have had the horse sense not to do something as stupid as post an unpredictable online poll at his website….