Saturday

Paul's Last Message

This is for the friends and family of Paul Newman.

I'm writing this as a memento of a man whom I knew only a short time, perhaps getting together a dozen times during the last six months of his life.  After he passed away, I came across a message of his that I had kept on my cell phone that I shared with Augusta, and wanted to make it available for those who knew and loved him.

Here are his words, with a background view overlooking Rancho Santa Fe.



It's kind of strange to say that I miss someone who I had known for such a short time. ,  He and I are pretty intense guys, and while he was overwhelming to many, to me he was engaging.   His passions were matched by the depth of grounding in his opinions, always open to new perspectives even if they were not his own.  We were both at Columbia University at about the same time.  He studying Law, and I Graduate Psychology, neither of us to finish our professional degrees.  That's a bond that only those who share it can fully understand.

My wife and I visited Paul's organic vegatable garden in Rancho Sante Fe, and since I never met his mother,  sister or brother in law, all I had to go on was my stereotypes.  And how we love to fill in the blanks.  And then I met Augusta, after Paul was gone, and I had an understanding where he got his vibrancy, and his ability to keep on going in the face of some pretty bad breaks.   I never could understand, nor would I ever ask him about how a man of his talents ended his days in dire financial straits. 

While it's easy to claim a lack of weath  is for refusing to "sell out"  In Paul's case although he never made the claim, I believe it to be a fair explanation.  He didn't merely argue principles, he seemed to live them.  It was always a pleasure debating politics with him, but unlike when he led the debating team, he didn't care about winning, rather savoring the challenging exchange of ideas.  How rare is that?

He and I are both open minded, and in this area of California I'm often considered the liberal of the crowd.  But, not compared to Paul, who challenged any criticisms I made of President Obama.  This explains his words on the message:

I hope you're understanding why I think we've managed to luck upon the best President we've ever had.

I can see his smile now, knowing that these were his last words to me.....never to be refuted.

Adios, good buddy.

Monday

Dailykos Uncensored

 NOTES

From Washington Monthly interview Jan. 2006
 Republicans, he believed, had a "noise machine,"--a coalition of coordinated advocacy and opinion media outlets that pressured the mainstream media into reporting, and repeating, GOP-friendly spin. "The simplest fact about American politics," he told me, "is that Republicans have a noise machine and we don't." Daily Kos, he decided, would become the Democratic noise machine, pressing the case against the Bush administration and the Iraq war in the strongest terms possible.

From CCC speech He answers a question with at 45 minutes:  End Roberts Rules of order, and hold meeting at picnics where people can enjoy themselves, and be casual, like blogs

"I don't think blue color people will ever be at dk, its people who switch from :DK to their spreadsheet at a professional job."   He also says that new media MUST be used to reach various demographics.   Blogs are just a slice, and other media...cell phones etc must be used.

He admits to emulating conservatives, in their universal indoctrination, a marketing procedure, that fits every segment of their base, they "create, market and close on election day" 

Al's note....too much emulation, ideology and reality are incompatable.

Blogging as, same or different, journalism was last question:
   doesn't like the word "blog" as it can mean many things.  Journalism site vs. blog.  Standards?  Forces people to think.   What I have going for me is my credibility.   Let others probe, I comments.  Thruthout is under attack because of false story.   Profession of Journalism is a cesspool of divided loyalties, conflicts of interests.  I don't have a lot of respect for traditional media, reporters are overworked, no time to research or fact checks, must accept press reports from political parties.

Asked if he had conservative friends and his answer for the first time was simple, "No"

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Dailykos is a web site founded in 2002 by Markos Moulitsas that is well known by those who consider themselves progressive Democrats, with a current membership of over 300,000; "Web Site" doesn't convey the extent of this social, political cultural phenomenon.   The month that I joined, June 2006, was when this site was introduced to the wider public in this column by David Brooks of the New York Times.  Comparing Kos, (Moulitas' preferred name, which is the basis of the title Dailykos) of being the latest incarnation of the corrupt political power broker he ends his indictment with, "He has challenged his enemy and become it."

While Brooks may have captured an element of truth about Moulitas with his depiction as "The Keyboard Kingpin." It is similar to reducing any media figure to his most sordid aspect,  as if JFK were simply a womanizer, Walter Winchell a right wing propagandist, or  William Randolf Hearst as a ruthless war monger.  An exaggerated partial truth distorts the more accurate larger picture.

Dailykos'com is a chronicle of a particular period of time, the administration of George W. Bush, that history may yet define, and some historians are now speculating, may be the turning point, that marks the unstoppable decline of the United States of America.  This administration coincided with the growth of the internet, to a degree that it became the means of communication, and interaction for the vast majority of literate, politically active Americans. It was at this exact moment, that Kos initiated his web site,

has managed to attract a diverse, generally highly educated, articulate group of contributors, (and others less so, such as me, user ARODB .) Its core content is essays (called "diaries") that, rare among sites of this size, are not only written by regular members but featured prominently with an extensive introduction on a secondary page. This means that every diary is subjected to at least a cursory glance by most of those who are on the site at the time as it faces its fate on the "recent diary list" Usually they don't attract much attention, and with a  few comments sink to the bottom and then oblivion; occasionally, based on quality or timeliness, it is  promoted to the more limited Recommended diary list to be viewed by thousands;  and very rarely the group may find a diary so offensive that the writer is banned from the site.

The nature of this public venue where all essays, all opinions, "were" subjected to a group consensus resulted in some predictable dynamics. The past tense is used since at this writing Dailykos is in the process of a change in format from Version 3.0 to 4.0, to be implemented on February 13, 2011. Diaries, which had been limited to substantive essays of no more than one a day, are to lose these restrictions, thus generating a volume too great to be viewed by the users at large. The approach will be different; as there will be sub-blogs called groups that will provide a different type of selection, by a user administrator, rather than the body of Dailykos users.

Many users, including this writer, feel that this will result in Balkanizaiton, a fragmentation of what had been the core quality of the site, as essays, and the compendiums of values so derived can be nurtured in the sub blogs outside of the view of the larger group. This core quality, this consensus was not without a serious adverse consequence; the "group think" effect, also termed "preaching to the choir" or in it's extreme, a "virtual lynch mob."

At its most extreme manifestation, unsupportable beliefs were fostered, including refusing to believe the early reports of John Edwards infidelities, and the concerted rage at political figures such as Joe Lieberman, where no insult was off limits. But the best example of the extremes of this web site, also shows the strengths. It is this one, Will Bush walk away in 2009?
It does illustrate a frenzy that gripped the membership at the time, affectionately referred to as Kosacks, that President Bush, rather than allowing the constitutional secession, would engineer a coup to remain in power. Yet a careful reading of that diary shows that it described laws that had been passed in the reaction to 9-11, that could have laid the legal groundwork for such a coup. So, while this fit the mood of the membership, even this diary was mostly recieved as rank speculation, and treated by most with an appropriate skepticism.

Those who cherry pick diaries or comments could easily conclude, and then make the claim as Bill O'Reilly does, that it is a "hate site." It is an unabashed partisan venue, one that excludes a full exposition of the rationale for the opposing political viewpoint; but hate is only one occasional part of the vast mix of tones and content that makes up this vast enterprise. There have been those who have ventured into opposing the consensus, and with proper understanding of the audience, such essays are not only tolerated, but occasionally rewarded.

Those who are regulars on Dailykos are welcomed here to read the articles, and to test the water by registering to to make comments and write Diaries.  Articles, unlike Diaries, are moderated, so they may take some time to appear.  We like to use our true names here, unless there is some good reason not to. The one-diary-a-day limit is alive and well on OpEdNews, to make sure that those substantive diaries (or articles) get the attention they deserve.