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    Success of ‘going negative’ changes campaign strategies
    The Rise of Milblogging
    January 24th, 2008 under Blog Program, Guest Post, Military Programs. [ Comments: none ]

    The rise of milblogging has as much to do with the national dialectic as it does the technology that made it possible to be conducted via the Internet. Why have warfighters, veterans, military spouses, and others with military affinity been increasingly compelled to “enter the fray” via blogging as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have worn on? Well, because they could, for one thing. But beyond that they blogged because they had to.They had to because traditional media was getting it wrong more often than not. They had to because partisan bickering had nothing to do with the well-being of those in harm’s way (or mission success). They had to because the American public was by-in-large detached from the small segment of the population that was doing their bidding in hostile lands.

    And milbloggers were successful. Through their dogged, almost obdurate, presentation of first-person narratives they first got the attention of their own — which was no small feat in itself. Then they got the attention of the American public. Then they got the attention of traditional media, whose members treated milblogging as a curiosity or a lark until bloggers like Micheal Yon, Matt Burden, and Bill Roggio showed them they didn’t have a monopoly on capturing the stories of war. And once they got the attention of traditional media they got the attention of the Department of Defense and the Bush administration.Milbloggers were the first to suggest the Surge might work, that Dragonskin body armor wasn’t everything the manufacturer claimed it was, and that Scott Beauchamp was a liar. They have influenced the national sentiment for the better because they have possessed the truth as they knew it, which fortunately was the truth.

    This post is online at Wardcarroll.com

    Energy Blog
    January 23rd, 2008 under Guest Post. [ Comments: none ]

                becka.JPG I’ve often heard it said that sending someone to Congress is kind of like sending your kids off to college: you hope you’ve made the right decision, you hope they don’t fall in with the wrong crowd, and you hope – most of all – to recognize them when they come back.  Kansas has been particularly lucky in this regard of late.  I’m sure we can all one issue or another on which to disagree with Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, our U.S. Senators.  But on the big things, they usually come through for us, representing not one party but one state.  Politicians may get a bad rap some of the time, but it’s up to us to make note of moments when they do stand and deliver for us.

                Just such a moment arrived last month, and few took much notice.  Since Democrats were elected in the 2006 mid-term elections, speculation – and indeed, some boasting – was heard about Congress finally breaking a log-jam on President Bush’s six-year old call for a new, national energy policy.  Unfortunately, all year more logs just got jammed, as new Congressional leaders insisted on raising taxes on domestic energy companies as part of the comprehensive bill. 

                Many argued, including our two Senators, that taking money away from American gas and oil companies at the very moment we are relying on their research and development projects to finally help reduce our reliance on foreign energy was a bad idea.  They argued, too, that singling out domestic energy companies for the $15 billion tax would effectively act as a subsidy for the very foreign energy we’re trying to avoid.  Congress’s plan was to make our own energy companies less capable of fully funding their research and development budgets, while giving foreign competitors a price advantage in the marketplace.

                Good for Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback for standing up to this lunacy.  We can all agree – and Roberts and Brownback do – that we need to conserve more, and we need to find and experiment with new sources of energy, but we can also agree that sticking it to our own businesses out of spite isn’t the way to go about it.  After all, any taxes raised on energy companies would eventually be passed on to energy consumers – higher prices for gasoline and heating oil just in time for winter.

    Furthermore, tax hikes kill jobs, hurt communities, and choke off investment.  Our economy is not a position right now to afford any of the above, especially not in one of the most important industries in our economy.  There’s a right way to do things and a wrong way, and last month, thanks to Kansas’ two Senators, America took the right way.

    Beka Romm
    Former Chair
    KU College Republicans

    Thompson “the next Reagan?”
    September 6th, 2007 under 2008 Presidential Race, Guest Post, Fred Thompson. [ Comments: none ]

    By Beka Romm - Senior, University of Kansas

    becka.JPGIowans hailed Thompson as “the next Reagan” at Ames, despite his tiny booth manned by two college students and rather paltry showing in the Ames straw poll. Will this romantic view of the former Senator sweep the country?

    Former Dole Institute director and now-campaign manager Bill Lacy seems to think so.

    That’s good, since he’s running the campaign. This article by Time attempts to shed some light on the Thompson-phenomenon, describing him as “all things to all people” and wondering whether he can live up to the expectations.

     But can Thompson live up to the expectations and convince the country, especially the conservative wing of the party so important for getting through the primary, that he’s the one candidate capable of the job? A June 19th poll seems to answer in the affirmative, reporting Thompson as the front-runner among Republican candidates.

     But how real is his lead? Rudy Giuliani trails by only one percent, certainly within the margin of error. But it does say something about Thompson’s appeal, as Rudy has been in the race for months and Thompson has yet to announce his candidacy. Maybe he is the next Reagan… but maybe not. The momentum stirred up in the first few months seems to have slowly seeped away, leaving analysts and political junkies wondering whether Thompson missed his moment.

    The big news this week is his upcoming announcement, set for Thursday texas-straw-poll-showing-adds-growing-momentum-fred-thompson). But as cynics point out, his announcement date was originally set for July 4, then pushed back to Labor Day. Will he actually announce, or will it once again be pushed back? The bottom line: the press is treating him like a real candidate, his “exploratory committee” is functioning like he’s a real candidate. Will the planning translate into a real, strong lead once he announces Thursday? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure in my mind: he better get the wheels back on the pickup truck soon if he wants to accelerate in time for the January primaries.

    “I pity the fool”
    April 24th, 2007 under Guest Post. [ Comments: 1 ]

    By Nathan Rodriguez - Blog Link 

    Only fools believe they have all the right answers.

    A more pragmatic approach to dealing with any problem is to either consult an expert or read up on it before you shoot from the hip and land in arrears.

    It’s interesting to watch—in a twisted social experiment sort of way—how some major newspapers are tilting at the online windmill in an attempt to relive the glory days of the industry.

    “Maybe we should charge for online access?” they think. Think again. Kids these days don’t like paying when they don’t have to. It may have become cliché to claim that the “younger generation” doesn’t read newspapers. That doesn’t mean they aren’t tuned in, they’re simply going elsewhere. And, chances are, they get their information free of charge. Making the decision to charge online readers for content won’t win many eyeballs, let alone the hearts and minds that sustain online communities.

    Instead of staring backwards at the past for answers, or shaking down Generation X and Next for loose change—that’s like trying to squeeze blood from a turnip—progressive or fiscally-minded news organizations should look at some successful online companies for answers.

    Read more »


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    A Summary of the 2006 Blogger-Reader Survey

    Fall 2006 Blogger/Reader Survey Details and Research Reports
    In December of 2006 Dr. Dhavan Shah of the University of Wisconsin and his “Blogclub” of graduate students and Dr. David D. Perlmutterof the University of Kansas conducted a survey of major political blogs and their readers. The project was partially sponsored by a grant from the Knight/Carnegie Foundation’s Future of Journalism initiative. The summary of the results are posted here--please fully cite us if you refer to the findings.

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