aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, May 31, 2007
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Will Whitehead self-destruct in Georgia’s 10th?
Facing South notes that two special elections are coming up in the South, one of them in Georgia. That election will be to fill the 10th Congressional District seat left vacant when Republican Rep. Charlie Norwood passed from lung cancer in February.
The race to replace kicks off with an unusual free-for-all open primary on June 19th in which six Republicans and three Democrats will compete on the same ballot. A runoff will be held four weeks later on July 17th in the likely event that none of the candidates garners 50 percent or more of the vote.
For most of the race, Norwood’s heir apparent has been State Senator Jim Whitehead, who hails from Norwood’s area north of Augusta and has kept most potential rivals at bay and out of the running. Recently, though, he has been suffering from a bad case of foot-in-mouth syndrome. In a column that appeared in The Elberton Star, Whitehead admitted suggesting that someone “probably ought to bomb” the University of Georgia--sparing the football team, of course. Then, in a March 26 letter to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Whitehead claimed that liberals have been registering “known al-Qaida terrorists” to vote.
This is the district rejiggered to knock out Athens Democrat John Barrow last time around. It made Barrow’s district more Republican and removed his Athens hometown altogether. His own home no longer in his district, Barrow moved to Savannah. And won by a hair - despite being called an “outsider” in Republican attack ads.
That leaves the 10th District with the more liberal Athens, though it’s still not expected to go Blue:
Democrats are hoping to take advantage of the battle royal on the Republican side and have mostly united behind former Yahoo! Executive Jim Marlow. If divisions among Republicans can keep Whitehead from reaching the 50 percent he needs to escape a runoff, and enough Democrats from Athens make it out to the polls, then Marlow could well become number two vote getter and advance to the runoff. From there, Democrats’ victory recipe calls for Marlow’s free spending and Whitehead’s self-destruction.
My friend Sunny says, “I am crazy about Barack. he is the real thing.”
Backwards Old World thinking
Douglas McLennan, editor, ArtsJournal.com, calls that backwards Old World thinking:
Google? So now Google is what’s doing in newspapers? This is exactly the kind of backwards Old World thinking that is killing newspapers. There are many reasons newspapers are having a tough go these days (unsustainable profit margin expectations among them). But two things are clear - the appetite for news is only growing. And the news industry is in a transition to digital delivery, and figuring out a business model that makes that work should be the highest priority.
And yet, look at the digital operations of most newspapers. While they say they’re working on it, their investment has been far behind the curve, and virtually every meaningful innovation in the digital delivery of news and building of usership has been made outside the newspaper industry. Most newspaper websites are dull, confusing and difficult to read, violating long-established principles of reader usability. At a time when social networking sites are showing how to build massive loyal communities, news organizations’ interactivity is rudimentary at best. Companies like Google have raised digital advertising to an art, making it easy for advertisers to find the customers they want. Where have newspapers been? Asleep, while Craigslist and a host of other competitors have eaten their lunch. [...]
If I was pointing fingers, I’d aim squarely at the business managers who are so locked into the old ways of doing things that they don’t even understand what the new issues are, let alone solutions to them. Journalists are being failed by those whose job it is to figure out the business side, and now journalists are paying the price for that lack of vision. Like somehow cheapening the product and giving readers less is going to attract more customers.
To speak directly to the rant about Google: Google is an infrastructure, potentially the best friend any content producer has at the moment. Google sends floods of traffic around the internet in search of content its users want, presented in ways they can use it. Newspapers have always been about finding a readership and advertisers who want to reach those readers. There shouldn’t be a conflict here. Google is a reality. Any news organization that wants to make it in the new digital world better find a way to work with companies like Google and the next YouTube rather than thinking about “class-action suits.” Jeesh!
Via Jeff Jarvis.
...in plain English from Common Craft, “We made this video because wiki web sites are easy to use, but hard to describe.”