Posts from April 13, 2004

What it takes to win

What it takes to win
: After Vietnam, the meme (were there memes back then?) was that we either should have done what it takes to win the war or gotten out a lot sooner. “What it takes” in that case was usually code for nuke ’em in Hanoi.

I wonder what the definition of “what it takes” is for Iraq.

It starts with more troops to establish and secure order for rebuilding and elections.

Andrew Sullivan says this morning what many have said: that the war was done well but the aftermath was — is — mishandled:

It’s worth saying here what we now know the president got wrong – badly wrong. There were never enough troops to occupy Iraq. The war-plan might have been brilliant, but the post-war plan has obviously been a failure. We needed more force and we needed more money sooner. The president has no excuses for not adjusting more quickly to this fact: he was told beforehand; he was told afterward; but he and the Defense Secretary were too pig-headed to change course. I still favor the war; but I cannot excuse the lapses and failures of the administration in the post-war….

GMail hooey

GMail hooey
: Ripclawe send me email properly outraged at this: A California state senator is drafting legislation to decree Google’s GMail “an invasion of privacy.”

As I’ve said before, “privacy” is becoming the most over-used and badly used word of the age.

GMail, like it or leave it, is an opt-in service. You get it free because it has ads. Don’t want the ads? Don’t get the service. Want the ads? Take the deal.

This is like saying that an airline needing to know where you fly to give you frequent-flier miles is an invasion of privacy.


Early Bird blog

Early Bird blog
: The Wall Street Journal reports on a compilation of military reporting in worldwide press — the “Early Bird — that’s hot reading in Washington, from Rumseld on down.

It’s just a blog on paper.

The Current News Early Bird, or simply “the Bird,” as it’s known around the Pentagon, is compiled by a staff of four Pentagon employees from a grubby building it shares with a sheet-metal-workers union in downtown Alexandria, Va. Articles from major publications such as the New York Times and the London Telegraph jostle with squibs from more-obscure journals, such as Inside Missile Defense and Manufacturing & Technology News.

The Bird shows how, in a capital where information is a precious currency, even a humble news digest can take on huge influence if it has the right readers. With two U.S. wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan and military affairs dominating headlines, the Bird has become indispensable for many people in Washington. It has been cited in Harvard dissertations and congressional testimony and spawned copycat publications in other government offices.

The White House, for instance, publishes its own compilation of news clips for officials who want to bypass reading the newspapers. So do agencies ranging from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission to the Treasury Department. The State Department’s “Media Reaction Unit” operates a massive clip service that publishes updated editions throughout the day. Called “Daily Clips,” it has never had the insider heft that the Bird does. “Maybe we need a catchier name,” one State Department official says.

BloggerCon wiki open for business: Making blogs make money

BloggerCon wiki open for business: Making blogs make money

: I just put up a wiki for the BloggerCon session on making blogs make money. Go here and PLEASE add to the lists of:

: Ways to make money

: What we need to make that happen

: The issues doing business raises

: Ways in which blogs can outdo traditional media

Please add more than subtract.

The hope is that we go into the session at Harvard with the discussion already well underway.

Also, please, continue to leave comments on the topic here and at the Bloggercon blog.

And remember: EVERYONE is active in this session — even if you can’t be in Cambridge. That’s all the more reason to add your thoughts and ideas now.

Thanks. See you at Bloggercon.

: See also the great discussion on BoingBoing’s hunt for a business model. Mark Frauenfelder’s post here. Forum discussion on the topic here. Rebecca Lieb’s good story on all this here.

: Here’s the text of the wiki so far… (click on more to see it all):

First, a list of ideas for how to make money, roughly categorized:


$ Sell ads yourself

$ Use BlogAds

$ Use Google Adsense

$ Find a sponsor (the Gonzo Marketing underwriter model)

$ Pay-per-click advertising

$ Pay-per-sale advertising (e.g., selling magazine subs)

$ Have consumers pay for an ad-free site.

$ The Salon model: watch the ad or pay

$ Create networks of similar sites for advertising (e.g., a gadget blog ad network) to get a critical mass of audience

$ Join a network (e.g., WeblogsInc.)

$ What else?


$ Build a consumer site (e.g., Gawker, Gizmodo, Engadget)

$ Build a trade site (e.g.,, IWantMedia…)

$ Build a local site with local advertisers

$ Build a brand and sell out (e.g., Daily Candy)

$ What else?


$ Amazon affiliate deals, for example

$ What else?


$ Sell books you’ve written (e.g., Lileks)

$ Sell albums you’ve made (e.g., Ken Layne)

$ Sell art (e.g., Hugh MacLeod at Gaping Void)

$ Sell T-shirts et al (e.g., BoingBoing)

$ Create a book from your blog and sell it (e.g., Tony Pierce)

$ What else?


$ Blog for a blogging company (e.g., Gawker Media, WeblogsInc.)

$ Blog for a company

$ Blog for a publication (e.g., CalPundit)

$ Blog for a product (see Hugh MacLeod on a movie blog)

$ Blog for a politician (see Dean and all who followed)

$ Blog for an organization (charity, political party, etc.)

$ Blog for a trade association

$ What else?


$ Use your blog to promote your consulting (e.g., Rick Bruner)

$ Use your blog to promote your service (e.g., Denise Howell and a law firm)

$ Use your blog to get freelance writing gigs (e.g., Tim Blair)

$ Use your blog to get a book contract (e.g., Claire Berlinski and the Julia Child blog)

$ Use your blog to get hired at a publication (e.g., Elizabeth Spiers)

$ Use your blog to smoke out what’s happening in your world and make contacts (e.g., Fred Wilson at AVC)

$ Use your blog to start a lecture tour

$ What else?


The Daily Stern

The Daily Stern

: SUE THE BASTARDS: In an excellent FindLaw column, Julie Hilden suggests that Stern should sue the government. She then gives us all the reasons why it would be damned hard to win. And those reasons illustrate clearly how government pressure is tantamount to government action: Threatening and fining radio companies is the moral equivalent of government censorship. Some stirring quotes here:

Stern is right: There are serious First Amendment issues here. So why isn’t he suing? After all, a federal statute allows suits against the government for damages when constitutional rights are violated. Stern certainly has suffered damages from losing his relationship with Clear Channel — and he’s likely to suffer more….

Stern’s own speech has not become any more offensive or controversial than it always was. And the radio shock jock has built his career based on the government’s repeated decision not to go after him for “indecency. ” It’s unfair for the government to change the rules so radically at such a late date.

And it’s not only Stern who is being affected. Even now, warning memos are doubtless being circulated, and speakers who are worried about losing their radio or television podiums are doubtless keeping outrageous thoughts to themselves. And that’s a great shame, because speech is often outrageous precisely because it hits on truth; it is often comic because it dares to say what we all know, but won’t voice.

Only speech without fear is truly free. And when the rules for speech change, for no good reason, fear is inevitable — and, as I explained in a prior column, the “chilling effect” that is anathema to the First Amendment is inevitable, too.

Howard Stern is unusual, and admirable, to resist that chill. But he may not be able to do so forever — and if he caves, it won’t be his fault. It will be the fault of the government for putting more pressure on the right to speak freely than even Stern can bear.

Put that in granite over the door to the FCC (and let it drop on a few commissioners’ heads): Only speech without fear is truly free.

: MAGAZINES: I mentioned a few days ago that I was writing a story for a magazine on the FCC and Stern. I just killed it because of the editing. I may just post it here. More on this later.

: REASONABLE: The Kalamazoo Gazette gets it. Howard Stern isn’t their cup of tea but free speech is. In an editorial yesterday, it says:

Should there be sweeping legislation authorizing censorship? Even an amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Simply expunge the section of the First Amendment guaranteeing freedom of speech and expression?

Obviously, none of the above is a realistic approach. What could work, however, are market forces. Television and radio shows can be instantly switched, or sets turned off — if only people would. Companies sponsoring programs whose ratings are dropping would be likely to review their advertising budgets. If seamy stuff on the Internet begins losing “hits,” advertising support also could erode.

As to print publications such as the Gazette, we — as a family newspaper — are constantly mindful of our readers’ views, which they don’t hesitate to give us when they believe certain content to be inappropriate.

In other words, regulation and legislation — while necessary in certain circumstances — can only do so much. The real solution to what PGA and many others see as a threat to our civilization’s values lies in the free marketplace. That’s where censorship is perfectly legal, and can work.

: DIRTY WORDS EVERYWHERE: Staci Kramer sends us news that sports teams are now nervously hitting the bleep button:

The Atlanta Hawks apologized Monday for playing a hip-hop song that contains obscenities and other graphic language.

The song, “Party Up” by rapper DMX, was played over the public address system during a timeout in the second quarter of Saturday’s night game against the Boston Celtics at Philips Arena.

It appears they ran the wrong version.