Blogosphere: March 2005 Archives

Motel postcards!

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Jan the Happy Homemaker has gone all Lileks on us, posting motel postcards. More please! (And higher res, too, if possible. The Pow-wow Lounge needs to be seen in all its glory!)

I may not get the international linkage and fan mail that some bloggers do, but there are perks to being a blogger with a focus on local news. Most bloggers have to be satisfied with kind words via email or in the comments, but I am privileged to get real hugs, pats on the back, hearty handshakes, and face-to-face words of thanks and encouragement. For all that, I want to express my appreciation to you, dear readers. It makes it all worthwhile to know that what I do here matters to you.

Blog survey

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TulipGirl had this, so I thought I'd give it a try here. Put your answer in the comments or email me at blog -AT- batesline DOT com.

1. How often do you check my blog?

2. Do you have a blog of your own? If so, what is the link? If no, why not?

3. Why do you visit my blog?

4. What are some other good blogs that you read?

Semper ubi sub ubi

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I was proud to find myself blogrolled under the heading "eclectic" on a blog called Semper ubi sub ubi. (Ask a Latin-speaking friend for a translation of that profound motto.)

Although I'm not a cigar smoker, I like this quote from the top of the page:

I have enough trouble keeping the Ten Commandments, I don't need to add an eleventh one ... and I fully intend to go home tonight and smoke a cigar to the glory of God.--Charles H. Spurgeon

All the cool bloggers are doing it, so why not join in?

By "it," I mean annoying Baltimore Sun columnist Christopher Hanson, who complains that "[a] great many bloggers are... too self-absorbed to focus on keeping the public informed." He calls such bloggers "I Bloggers", who, says Hanson, "owe less to Watergate investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein than to the recently deceased Hunter S. Thompson. His 'gonzo' journalism focused on the writer's precious idiosyncrasies, not on fact digging, and the Blogosphere, too, is a wilderness of self-absorption."

As his first case in point, Hanson cites the Dawn Patrol, which he describes as "Manhattanite Dawn Eden's preening report on Dawn Eden, iconoclastic neoconservative 'petite powerhouse,' illustrated with Dawn Eden glamour photos."

One wonders if Mr. Ever-Accurate Main Stream Media bothered to read the target of his scorn. Dawn Eden is second to no one when it comes to digging up facts and informing the public about America's Death Industry. (Also, she's not a Manhattanite, either by birth or residence.) She does leaven her fact-digging with personal insights, pop culture, and the occasional photo, all of which make it easier to sit still to read about the latest outrages from Planned Parenthood -- a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down.

On the other hand, I have to make myself read Eminent Domain Watch every few days. It too is a valuable source of information about outrages -- in this case, outrageous abuse of government's power to take private property for public use. I know nothing at all about Mr. E. D. Watch's personal life, other interests, or motivations for keeping on top of this issue. I'm glad the blog is there, but it's dry as dust.

Here at BatesLine, I make you sit through my personal whims on a regular basis. In order to get to first-hand reports and analysis of local news, you have to put up with a theological essay or a tribute to Bob Wills or Gene Scott or a rumination on the summer I was eight or pictures of the kids or links to cool maps and British radio comedy and photoshopped romance novel covers. You don't like it, you can get your own blog and do things your own way. The day I don't publish something that strikes my fancy, because it might annoy someone who's only interested in hard news, is the day I quit writing because I've completely lost interest.

One of the wonderful things about the blogosphere is discovering that people come in such interesting combinations of interests and experiences. I wrote the following in an e-mail about a year ago:

One of the wonderful things about the blogosphere is it provides a showcase, an outlet, and a means of connection for people who aren't easily pigeonholed. How do you categorize a liturgy-loving Calvinistic Baptist conservative Republican with an interest in urban design and local politics and a fondness for pre-British-Invasion instrumental pop? Much has been written about the way eBay has brought buyers and sellers together for obscure items that otherwise wouldn't have a market, but the blogosphere has provided a place for ideas to come seemingly out of nowhere, gain a hearing, and gain critical mass, in a way that used to be possible only in the biggest cities or on college campuses. You just write about your passions, and people who share those passions write back.

So in the spirit of I Blogging, here are a couple of glamour photos of me, my contribution to the "Annoy Christopher Hanson" campaign, hosted by Charles G. Hill of And there's a bonus!

First photo: Here I am, atop 30 Rockefeller Center at a party honoring Senator Jim Inhofe, during the Republican National Convention, where I served as a delegate. I'm with Tulsa City Councilor Chris Medlock (an elected alternate to the convention) and Congressman John Sullivan, two public officials I helped get elected. (Ask them if you don't believe me.) Quite glamorous, n'est-ce pas? (That is your actual French.)

Councilor Chris Medlock, Michael Bates, U. S. Rep. John Sullivan

Click the picture for a larger version. The buttons I'm wearing are from the National Review get-together I had just attended. The one on the left, with the French tricolor, says "Just say 'Non!' to John Kerry," the one on the right says, "Vote for Kerry. Save a hamster." (I don't know what the deal is with the strange reflection on the Congressman's face.)

This next pic is even more glamorous. That's me at the controls of a Dassault Falcon 900 EX EASy, or at least an incredible simulation thereof. The steely glint of confidence in my eye is because I've just landed the imaginary luxury jet, speeding off the end of the runway and through several buildings. (There were no casualties, simulated or otherwise.)

Michael Bates in a Falcon 900 simulator

I think I should get extra "annoy Christopher Hanson" points for that photo, because it was snapped by a glamour photo expert, the preening, iconoclastic neoconservative Petite Powerhouse herself.

And trekking deeper into that "wilderness of self-absorption," here's that bonus I promised, in the spirit of self-indulgent self-promotion: Michael Bates sings! (1.4 MB MP3 file. WARNING: Contains crooning. May cause swooning in bobbysoxers.)

Coming soon: More gratuitous photos of my adorable children.

UPDATE: Charles Hill reports the following e-mail reply from Hanson: "I am trying to be annoyed but am actually flattered by the attention."

Bye-bye, Dan

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Last night was Dan Rather's final broadcast of the CBS Evening News. One of the funniest tributes to Gunga-Dan is a song by the Evolution Control Committee called "Rocked by Rape," which is nothing more than samples of random words spoken by Rather on the newscast, set to a beat. It earned ECC a nasty cease-and-desist letter from CBS, but as a parody the song is clearly fair use. ECC is offering the song for free download, along with a couple of alternative versions. You can read the nastygram from CBS on the same page.

I falafel about this


News Hounds, a multi-author blog that watchdogs the Fox News Channel, has been hit with a cease-and-desist letter from Creators Syndicate, demanding removal for an "unauthorized link" to a column by Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly.

I'm no fan of Bill O'Reilly, whose arrogance and smugness appear to be genuine (unlike Rush Limbaugh's braggadocio, which is just schtick). My opinion of News Corp. (parent company of Fox News Channel) and of one subsidiary in particular, has dropped significantly in recent weeks. On the other hand, I'm hardly a fan of, the organization that brought the News Hounds together.

But my feelings about the parties involved and their politics don't matter. A link isn't any more a copyright violation than a footnote is. This is just another meritless legal threat intended to intimidate the critics of Big Media, and I'm glad to see that the News Hounds are sticking to their guns.

(Hat tip: Pennywit.)

Summer at age 8 -- 1972

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This week's assignment is "You're eight and it's a typical summer's day. Discuss."

Mom, Kay (age 5), and I would all be at home, and Dad would be at work downtown in the new Cities Service Building. Mom was a school teacher, so she was off for the summer, too.

I had just finished third grade, my first year at Holland Hall. I lived in Rolling Hills, just outside the Tulsa city limits and across the Wagoner County line. All of my school friends lived in "Tulsa Proper" -- at least 10 miles away. I don't recall if I saw any of my school friends at all that summer.

On a typical day, I'd be watching game shows on TV. Concentration. (I had the home game.) Password. Truth or Consequences. Three on a Match. Hollywood Squares. To Tell the Truth. Split Second. Let's Make a Deal. You could watch TV all day and never lay eyes on a soap opera.

BlogAds survey


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This week's Oklahoma Gazette -- Oklahoma City's alternative weekly -- has a story by Deborah Benjamin about the Tulsa World's legal threats against BatesLine.

For the story, Benjamin spoke to me and to my attorney, Ron Coleman, the general counsel of the Media Bloggers Association.

The story contains the first public comment from an attorney representing the World, Schaad Titus. Titus doesn't address the issue of excerpting (which is what I do) at all, but merely states that it's necessary for those who post articles in full to seek permission first.

Titus explained how, in his opinion, a hyperlink can be a copyright infringement:

He added that direct hyperlinks, which don’t outright copy content but refer to an HTML page where it can be found, also act as a copyright infringement because they “avoid the pay provisions of the Tulsa World’s Web site.” If such links prompted the reader to pay before viewing the content, then the hyperlinks would be acceptable, Titus added.

Note that this differs from the World's earlier assertion: The letter from World VP John Bair said that any link to their content without written permission constituted copyright infringement.

I can't see how a hyperlink can "avoid the pay provisions" of any website. If someone sends me a link to a page on the web, and I can view that page without logging in or being asked for payment, what "pay provisions" were avoided? And how is it avoiding "pay provisions" to pass on that same link to others? If you put something on the World Wide Web and want people to have to pay in order to see it, it's up to you to install the necessary screens. It's a bit like putting elaborate Christmas lights on the outside of your house -- if you put it out there for everyone to see, you hardly have a right to complain when people give directions to your house.

Ron Coleman points out that newspapers could prohibit their registered subscribers from deep-linking as part of the "click-wrap" user agreement. Of course, such an agreement wouldn't be binding on non-subscribers.

I like Ron's comment on how the World is handling this:

“They’re so heavy-handedly telling him, ‘You have no First Amendment rights as regard the Tulsa World: You can’t link to us; you can’t excerpt from us.’ And that’s just not true,” Coleman said. “... It’s just such an incredible emblem of the thick-headedness of old-media monopolies and their own inability to react rationally to a new-media landscape.”

Last October, Deborah Benjamin wrote a Gazette story about blogs as media watchdogs, speaking to me, Charles G. Hill of Dustbury, Mike from OkieDoke, and Alfalfa Bill. That story and this latest piece demonstrate that she understands blogs and their relationship to traditional media. I'm glad at least one newspaper in the state gets it.

More local blogging


Scott Sala of SlantPoint calls attention to a Roanoke, Virginia, blog which is all about bias in the local newspaper. Entries in the Roanoke Slant features the date and page citation, a brief summary, and the author's comments. It's interesting that the author never quotes directly from the paper, never mentions the paper by name, and never links to the newspaper's articles. You don't suppose he got a cease-and-desist letter, too?

In his comments, Scott points out that he's shifted to more of a local focus:

I think niche blogs will prevail as the hierarchy of general blogging hits a ceiling. As many readers may have noticed, I have turned away from exclusive national and international new towards those plus local NYC issues. I care about it, know about it and am here. I also see an opportunity and somewhat of a void in NYC. Nationally, I'm not that big of a fish. Here, well, I hope to be.

Scott has been all over Thomas Ognibene's Republican primary challenge to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg -- attending rallies and speeches and providing excellent first-hand coverage (two examples here and here.)

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Blogosphere category from March 2005.

Blogosphere: February 2005 is the previous archive.

Blogosphere: April 2005 is the next archive.

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