Aldon Hynes's blog

A little levity

I've spent a lot of time today working on packaging an open source project. It was challenging, and a tad mind numbing at times.

So, this evening, I checked out Sigmund, Carl and Alfred to help gain some much needed perspective.

They have a wonderful entry about online quizes.

Inspired by their post, I have created my my own quiz. Take it, have fun.

Democrats and Bloggers

Electoral junkies who feared that they would go into withdrawal after November as they waited for municipal elections in 2005 and the next set of congressional elections in 2006, have little to fear about. One of the most interesting elections is shaping up as we speak. Who will become the next DNC Chair?

The battle lines started appearing the day after the election. The November 3rd Theses, with Adam Werblach, former head of the Sierra Club, behind them, have been well publicized on the blogs as well as posted at many state Democratic offices.

I also received an email listing this set of gripes with the Democratic Party.

The questions becomes, who can bring about the sort of change that many people believe is necessary in the Democratic Party. A lot of the focus has been on who the next DNC Chair should be. However, before we get to that part, it is useful to note how the DNC Chair gets elected. He or she will be elected by the Democratic National Committee members. Most of these people are elected at state caucuses.

Recently, Oregon had a state caucus where the incumbent Democratic National Committeewoman, Mary Botkin was defeated by challenger Jenny Greenleaf. (See my commentary here on this election).

Leading up to this past weekend, many of the candidates presented their views online and in the media. Gov. Dean had this speech which was webcast live. Simon Rosenberg presented his opinions here and Donnie Fowler has is thoughts here.

All of this provided a backdrop for a meeting of the state Party chairs this past weekend in Orlando. This event was covered by various bloggers. Jenny Greenleaf, the new DNC committeewoman from Oregon wrote about the event in her blog. ‘Evie’ wrote a brief synopsis in a DailyKos diary.

However, the role of bloggers was not without controversy. Jerome at MyDD writes about the Bad bloggers and the State-level DNC. He talks about “Joe Trippi and his band of bloggers” being kicked out of “the meeting room when the ‘closed’ (edit: closed to the press, but open to the public) Q & A with the DNC Chair candidates” was occurring.

Needless to say, members of the blogosphere, particularly those at DailyKos and Eschaton expressed outrage at what happened.

Yet it was interesting to read Jenny’s comments on MyDD about what happened. All of the press, including bloggers were asked to leave. A couple bloggers attempted to return as interested individuals. Interested individuals were allowed in, but not the press.

This brings us back to some important key issues? What makes someone a member of the press? Are Citizen Journalists members of the press? What rights do people get as members of the press, and what responsibilities do they carry as members of the press?

Even more interesting is the issue of bloggers. Are they journalists? Editorialists? Activists? How do we understand someone like Jenny who is a blogger and a National Committee Woman. What about Simon Rosenberg? He’s candidate for DNC Chair, and his comments about what should be done are posted as an entry by him on a blog.

The playing field is changing rapidly and the traditional roles need to be re-evaluated. We can see this most clearly in the campaigning that took place on the blogs leading up to the DNC Committee member elections in Oregon, the postings of various candidates for DNC Chairs and the way bloggers are dealt with at an important meeting such as what happened in Orlando this weekend.

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Black and White and Red and Blue

(Originally published in Greater Democracy)

Often, when people are confronted with a problem, they fall into what is often called Black and White thinking. They find themselves confronting a dilemma, and they think there are two possible and contradictory solutions. Even the word ‘dilemma’ implies two possible solutions.

Black and white thinking is easy. It is comfortable. It feels safer. We can easily view what is wrong with the world as coming from some outside evil, from ‘them’, and not own any of our own responsibility for things that are wrong with the world. When someone else attacks us, it is always because they are evil and hate us and we haven’t done anything to foster that hate.

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Fiona at Jones Tree Farm

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