All Good Blogs Must Come To An End
Posted on 01.30.08 by Danny Glover @ 12:16 pm

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

OK, ya’ll get to decide whether Beltway Blogroll has been a good blog, but it is coming to an end.

My tenure at National Journal ends tomorrow with the final issue of Technology Daily, where I served as the managing editor for six years before being promoted to the editorship in November 2006. Beltway Blogroll, a direct outgrowth of the interest I developed in politics and technology while at Tech Daily, will cease publication at the same time.

Its death is by no means sudden. I started Beltway Blogroll and a companion column for NationalJournal.com in June 2005 with the goal in mind of proving that blogs would quickly gain power in policy circles inside the Beltway, just like they did in the political realm in 2004. Mission accomplished.

If you doubt it, take a look at the blogroll to your left. It is at least twice as large as when I started Beltway Blogroll — and inside-the-Beltway blogs are started with such frequency now that I long ago stopped trying to find them all. That’s especially true of the “mainstream blogosphere” occupied by professional journalists. Why do so many of them blog now? Because that’s what more and more people in Washington read.

The proof of blog power abounds: regular blogger conference calls and briefings by politicians, think tanks and trade groups; bloggers who work for presidential campaigns and other candidates; bloggers who have infiltrated mainstream newsrooms or who write columns for major publications; and the achievements go on.

Think back to the top 10 blog stories of 2006, including the Porkbusters, and to the biggest stories of 2007 — the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and the defeat of immigration reform in the Senate. Blogs weren’t the only factor or even necessarily the deciding factor in any of those stories, but their influence most definitely was on display.

Beltway Blogroll has chronicled it all.

The mission of this blog actually has been complete for quite a while — so much so that I pondered ending it months before National Journal decided to stop publishing Tech Daily. The only reason I kept it alive is that I love blogging, and I have loved even more having a high-profile forum like this for doing it.

I am indebted to former NJ.com head honcho Troy Schneider, now the new media editor at the New America Foundation, for giving me this forum. Although Troy edited the column I wrote for NJ.com, he gave me the keys to the blog itself and let me post at will. I believe that was a first for National Journal, and the editorial freedom was inspiring and absolutely intoxicating.

The inspiration led me to give one of my own reporters the same kind of freedom at Tech Daily Dose. Blogging loses all of its appeal and energy if editorial oversight is anything more than superficial. It’s much wiser, and managerially easier, to hire good bloggers, get out of their way and just enjoy their work than it is to shackle them with the chains of old media.

I’m glad to report that an unshackled Tech Daily Dose will live on when parts of Tech Daily’s coverage are folded into National Journal’s CongressDaily.

As for me, you can bet I’ll keep blogging. In 2006, my work at Tech Daily and Beltway Blogroll inspired me to start another blog of my own called AirCongress. It serves as a portal to audio and video of, by and about Congress, and I plan to keep the site going. If you care about what happens in Congress on a daily basis, you should make AirCongress a regular online stop.

As noted yesterday, I also started a one-year blog project this month. Dubbed Taxation With Representation, the purpose is to make clear just how great the tax burden is in America. And as our family visits the homes of U.S. presidents in coming years, I’ll be feeding content to my blog on that topic.

Don’t be surprised if I add more blogs to the mix. I’ve already bought an Internet address for one, and ever since former President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998, I’ve owned his legacy — the domain names clintonlegacy.com and clintonlegacy.net. Those could come in handy in the blogosphere if his wife, Hillary, is elected president later this year.

All of which is to say that even though Beltway Blogroll is coming to a close, I’ll still be around the blogosphere. Plus the start of my full-time career move into Internet video is just days away.

Thanks for your readership, and keep blogging!


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and Blogging and News & Politics
Comments: None

Finally, Congress Does Something Right
Posted on 01.29.08 by Danny Glover @ 12:30 pm

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

The House adopted a very important resolution yesterday, the most significant in my lifetime. Here’s the text of the measure, H. Res. 938:

Whereas the West Virginia University Mountaineer football team won the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, defeating the University of Oklahoma Sooners by a score of 48 to 28 in Glendale, Arizona, on January 2, 2008;Whereas the Mountaineer football team has been a source of great pride for West Virginians throughout the years;

Whereas the people of West Virginia take their team’s triumphs and setbacks as their own, in times of hardship and prosperity;

Whereas the Mountaineers displayed uncommon intensity and determination in preparing for the challenge of meeting one of the best teams in the country in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl;

Whereas the Mountaineers executed an almost flawless game;

Whereas then-assistant coach Bill Stewart demonstrated true leadership and coaching skill by filling an unexpected coaching void, instilling confidence in his team, and leading them to victory, earning the admiration and gratitude of his fellow West Virginians;

Whereas the Fiesta Bowl most valuable player on offense, Mountaineer quarterback Pat White, gave a brilliant running and passing performance that inspired his teammates, delighted his fans, and frustrated his opponents;

Whereas the Fiesta Bowl most valuable player on defense, Mountaineer linebacker and native West Virginian Reed Williams, led his teammates in an outstanding defensive performance;

Whereas Mountaineer senior fullback Owen Schmitt, through his steady play and gracious post-game words of victory, displayed the best qualities of team play and sportsmanship;

Whereas Mountaineer receiver Tito Gonzales demonstrated outstanding play with a 79-yard touchdown pass and showed a national television audience how important Mountaineer success was to his team and his state;

Whereas Mountaineer freshman tailback Noel Devine gave a spirited and skillful performance worthy of his injured teammate and mentor, record-breaking tailback Steve Slaton;

Whereas the Mountaineers’ offensive line dominated the battle in the trenches, making possible the outstanding performances of White, Devine, Schmitt, receiver Darius Reynaud, kicker Pat McAfee, and the other offensive stars of the day;

Whereas the Mountaineers’ attacking defense forced the Sooner offense to yield the field time and again;

Whereas the Mountaineers finished among the top 10 in college football rankings for three years in a row;

Whereas Mountaineer athletic director Ed Pastilong has instilled in the athletic department of West Virginia University the highest standards of ethics and performance throughout his many years of leadership;

And whereas the Mountaineers and their new head coach Bill Stewart have brought great honor to themselves, their university, and the state of West Virginia: Now, therefore, be it resolved that the House of Representatives:

1) Congratulates the West Virginia University Mountaineer football team for winning the 2008 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl;

And 2) commends the team for demonstrating throughout the season the best qualities of teamwork, dedication, and sportsmanship.

Read my sports interludes from November, December and January for the background.


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and News & Politics and Sports and West Virginia
Comments: None

Your Guide To Pet Names For Politicos
Posted on 01.29.08 by Danny Glover @ 11:30 am

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

Children learn at a young age that if you really want to get under someone’s skin, make fun of their name. Bloggers have taken that skill to new heights in adulthood, as they try to score points against their political enemies by giving them memorable and sometimes mean-spirited nicknames.

Below are some of the ones I’ve taken note of since I started tracking blogs. I’m sure there are many more, so if you have a blog name for your least favorite politician, bureaucrat or media personality and want to expand the list, add your voice in the comments or shoot me an e-mail.

– Sen. Felix Macaca: Former Sen. George Allen, R-Va.
Sen. Smirk: Joseph Biden, D-Del.
Sen. Switchback: Sam Brownback, R-Kan.
Gov. Privatize: Mitch Daniels, R-Ind.

Tax Hike Mike: GOP presidential candidate and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (also called “The Huckster“)
Harry Potter: FCC Chairman Kevin Martin
Multiple Choice Mitt: Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney

Senator Pants On Fire: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
Both Ways Shays: Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.
Pete StarkRavingMad: Rep. Fortney (Pete) Stark, D-Calif.


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and News & Politics and People
Comments: None

The Power Of Porkbusters
Posted on 01.29.08 by Danny Glover @ 7:29 am

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds found a reason to boast in the State of the Union address that President Bush gave last night, and with good reason:

Okay, I have to gloat just a bit: Bush led off with earmarks. His actions aren’t as bold as I’d like, but still — back in 2005 when PorkBusters started, nobody in Washington cared and members of Congress were bragging about pork. Now the State of the Union leads of with an attack on earmarks, to thundering applause. Yeah, a lot of it’s a sham. But hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, and this kind of hypocrisy indicates that the anti-earmark momentum is growing.

I’ve been tracking the power of the blog here at Beltway Blogroll since June 2005, and as my days at National Journal come to a close this week, I can say unequivocally that Porkbusters is the most successful demonstration I have seen of that influence. It is also the one with the greatest staying power.

It’s true that pork is still a problem and will remain one as long as Americans choose to elect panderers rather than statesmen. As I noted in November 2005, it’s next to impossible to catch the greased pig in Congress.

But you simply can’t deny that pork is a prominent policy issue now because of Porkbusters. Until bloggers across the political spectrum started ranting about pork after Hurricane Katrina, nobody outside of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, television broadcaster John Stossel and groups like Citizens Against Government Waste seemed to care — and all of their outrage went unheard by Washington’s powerbrokers.

Now the president is tackling the issue in the State of the Union. That is blog power, my friends.


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and Blogging and News & Politics and People
Comments: None

A Blog About America’s Tax Bite
Posted on 01.28.08 by Danny Glover @ 9:18 am

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

On New Year’s Day, I launched a personal blog titled Taxation With Representation. I’ve been feeding it with almost daily content since then and will continue to do so for a year.

The basic idea is to track the taxes and fees imposed by federal, state and local governments by blogging about every tax our family pays. That way people can get a better idea of how much they pay. The stars of the blog are Uncle Sam and Aunt Virginia (we live in the Old Dominion). Here’s the explanation from the opening post:

“No taxation without representation!” That was the battle cry of American colonists in the mid-1700s as the British crown imposed tax after tax upon people who had no recourse to stop them. Their outrage ultimately inspired the American Revolution and thus the United States of America was born.Well, it has been more than 200 years since that glorious revolution begat the greatest democracy in history. … Has taxation with representation really been all that great for America? I don’t think so. And I aim to help quantify the depth of the problem here by keeping a diary of just how much money the government takes from one American family in a year’s time. Every time we pay a tax or fee, I’ll report it here on this blog.

In addition to regular rants about specific taxes and fees, the blog features both weekly and monthly recaps, and I’ll tally it all up at the end of the year. I’m also blogging tax news on the site and calling attention to the tax hikers in America. Readers are playing along by sharing their tax gripes and nightmares via e-mail and in the comments.

Check it out and let me know what you think.


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and Blogging and Family and Government and News & Politics
Comments: None

Pentagon Takes Fire Over Blog Briefings
Posted on 01.25.08 by Danny Glover @ 1:06 am

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

Last fall, the liberal blog Think Progress took the Pentagon to task for giving only Defense Department-friendly bloggers access to regular blog briefings. The Pentagon responded by agreeing to let Think Progress, and presumably other bloggers likely to be critical of defense policies, to future roundtables.

Al Kamen of The Washington Post apparently doesn’t read Think Progress, though, because today he ridiculed the Pentagon’s new media chief for how the blog briefings are organized. Rob Bluey of the Heritage Foundation didn’t take Kamen’s outburst lightly.

Kamen suggests that the Pentagon is limiting these calls to the “right bloggers.” That’s absolutely untrue. When I saw Holt speak at Blog World in Las Vegas last year, he made a point of stating that he reached out to bloggers of all political persuasions as well as those who cover military issues exclusively. Anyone is welcome to take part on the calls, but liberal bloggers have never expressed any interest. (And why would they when it’s so easy pontificate rather than report what’s actually happening.)In my opinion, Kamen’s piece is yet another example of an elite, mainstream journalist expressing jealously about the emerging role of bloggers in the information age. His cushy job at the Post could soon be at risk with the more Americans turning to blogs for their news and information rather than page A17 of the newspaper.


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and Blogging and Military and News & Politics
Comments: None

Netroots, DCCC Find Common Ground
Posted on 01.24.08 by Danny Glover @ 12:42 pm

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

When Democratic bloggers first came on the political scene, they clashed with the party establishment’s fundraising apparatus in Washington. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in particular was a frequent target of netroots scorn.

Not this year. The DCCC has paired with the netroots fundraising vehicle ActBlue in a new campaign dubbed “Red To Blue” in order to raise cash for candidates fighting in some of the country’s toughest Republican strongholds.

Here are the details from an e-mail I received from ActBlue last week:

Not only is ActBlue partnering with the DCCC at this stage of the effort, ActBlue played a critical role in drawing the DCCC’s attention to the profiled candidates.Of the first group of “Red to Blue” candidates, eight have used ActBlue to build a community of supporters and raise critical early funds, and the remaining two, as yet unnamed nominees in Illinois and Louisiana, are being supported by ActBlue’s pioneering “Democratic Nominee Funds.”

In each case, candidates could point to early public fundraising totals on ActBlue as evidence of their ability to mobilize support and raise funds. And that homegrown legitimacy, in turn, attracted the attention of the DCCC, which bills Red to Blue as “an exclusive program that rewards candidates for meeting fundraising goals and getting their message across to the voters they hope to represent.”

“These candidates for change have performed very well in the early stages of their campaigns,” Chairman Chris Van Hollen told Roll Call, “and the Red to Blue program will give them the financial and structural edge to be even more competitive this year.”

Indeed, the slate of candidates the DCCC has chosen for its effort reads, in the words of ActBlue Political Director Erin Hill, like “a virtual Who’s Who of ActBlue superstars”: candidates who, in many cases, had trouble attracting institutional support until ActBlue made it possible for them to rally supporters and craft an effective finance operation.

Hill says that the Red to Blue campaign continues a positive shift on the part of Democratic institutions toward a new era of support for candidates with an organic following as evidenced by strong community outreach and fundraising efforts. “We’ve seen relative unknowns use a revolutionary fundraising tool to build strong networks of small and large donors,” Hill says. “Public credibility on ActBlue is a way for candidates to show the party that they’re viable.”

The Red To Blue candidates include:
– New Jersey’s Linda Stender, who raised $65,000 for her 2006 bid in the 7th District and already has raised more than $165,000 for this year’s battle;

John Adler in New Jersey’s 3rd District;

Charlie Brown, California 4th;

Gary Trauner, Wyoming at-large;

Andre Carson, Indiana 7th;

Mary Jo Kilroy and John Boccieri in Ohio’s 15th and 16th districts, respectively;

Debbie Halvorson, Illinois 11th;

– And the eventual primary winners in Illinois’ 14th District and Louisian’s 6th.


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and Blogging and News & Politics
Comments: None

Did Fred Thompson Lose His Way Online?
Posted on 01.24.08 by Danny Glover @ 6:56 am

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

About a year ago, Fred Thompson began making a presidential splash online.

After bloggers started talking up the possibilities of the actor and former Republican senator running for president, Thompson won a high-profile endorsement from a fellow Tennessean, former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist. Then all of a sudden, Thompson started popping up all over the Internet.

He posted a guest blog entry on RedState and earned mainstream media attention for “blogging up a storm“; he picked a public video fight with liberal filmmaker Michael Moore; and he tapped some big names in new media to help spearhead his online activities.

I even mentioned Thompson’s online non-campaign as a “bright spot” in GOP e-politics when interviewed by The Washington Post.

All of that early work on the Web came to naught this week when Thompson ended his presidential campaign (arguably a bit too soon), and one blogger thinks Thompson faltered because he lost his innovative way.

Thompson “was strong with new media, but then he abandoned it. … I don’t know what happened,” Roger Simon, the head of Pajamas Media, told The Washington Times. “I think some of the misfire of his campaign is that he didn’t stay with that initial impulse.”

I’m not sure how on the mark that analysis is. Thompson’s campaign seems to have faltered for more traditional reasons — poor strategy, bad staffing decisions, lousy timing (he took forever to get into the race), lack of money and the failure to overcome the image of Thompson as a lazy campaigner. But the reality is that Thompson’s approach to the race changed after he became an official candidate.

That probably had more to do with the realities of presidential campaigning than a conscious decision to go old school. Who has time to blog when traveling across the country to greet voters and raise money? But the end result is that the man who once held out promise of becoming the nation’s first blogger-in-chief finished the GOP race as a disappointing also-ran.


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and Blogging and News & Politics and People
Comments: None

No Blog Power In The Back Rooms
Posted on 01.22.08 by Danny Glover @ 6:42 am

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

Ben Pershing of Capitol Briefing agrees with a point I’ve been making about congressional leadership races for two years now: Bloggers have limited, if any, influence in those backroom decisions.

In particular, Pershing endorsed my argument of a week ago that Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has little chance of winning a slot on the House Appropriations Committee despite an online movement in his favor being led by Republican bloggers. He cited the movement as an example of bloggers getting “excited and mobilized to make something happen that probably never will.”

Pershing added that “the Appropriations contest is one that will be decided the old-fashioned way — by a secret vote, on paper, behind closed doors. No bloggers allowed.”


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and Blogging and News & Politics and People
Comments: None

Pittsburgh Bans Blogs On City Computers
Posted on 01.18.08 by Danny Glover @ 7:06 am

From June 2005 through January 2008, I wrote a column and blog focused on the impact of blogs in politics, policy and media, particularly inside the Washington Beltway. This entry is reprinted from Beltway Blogroll at NationalJournal.com.

Blog bans on government-owned computers have been a point of controversy for a few years now at the federal level. Now the debate has moved to the local level with a decision by Pittsburgh’s mayor to keep city employees from accessing blogs and social networks like Facebook and MySpace.

WTAE in Pittsburgh reports that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl reportedly took the move because of concerns about computer security. “We don’t know who’s setting up these sites,” the city’s computer security officer said. “So, we go ahead and block all the unverified sites — again, in order to prevent any type of spam or viruses, because one virus can bring down the whole city network.”

The mayor said he wasn’t even aware of the change and doesn’t frequent blogs himself.

At the federal level, a blog ban at the Interior Department spurred talk of a conspiracy to silence critics, and a similar ban in Kentucky led to a lawsuit against the administration of former Gov. Ernie Fletcher.

Reports of a ban by a member of Congress from Nebraska late last year proved to be false.


Filed under: Beltway Blogroll and Blogging and Government and News & Politics and People
Comments: None

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