Mild-mannered gate-crashers

I made the wise decision to drop by a DC “launch” event for Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong’s “Crashing The Gate” tonight. There would be pictures – and good ones! – but for the fact I forgot my camera on an endtable and noticed the loss when I was already well on my way. My best chance to post a picture of Markos Moulitsas and Byron York in the same room is lost. I’m dealing with that.

The main event was a very long 68 minutes. (I showed up about 5 minutes late after some terrible disaster shut down my train at the Foggy Bottom Station. Enough rubbing it in, George Mason.) Simon Rosenberg methodically interviewed Kos and Armstrong, both of whom answered without much joking around. Since I read CTG twice for an upcoming review, I didn’t learn much, although the two authors’ take on blogs is quite a bit different than you’d expect. Armstrong sees blogs as organizing tools, vis a vis old-school neighborhood politics. Moulitsas hates the term “blog” – “if I used a telephone, would you call me a telephoner?” – and sees blogs as just another kind of political writing.

The one really amusing moment came after a question about why the right wing hasn’t built an infrastructure like the liberal blogosphere. Moulitsas said it was because their system was working fine, and they were winning – and then he recognized Byron York, the National Review hotshot and author of “The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy.” “Hi, Byron!” said Kos. “Byron York, of National Review Online.” (The last three words were half-sneered, half-smirked.) York, unsmiling, raised his hand and waved. But York never really smiles, so don’t read much into that.

I wasn’t thrilled, overall, but it was worth coming to mill around afterwards. In a few minutes I met plenty of people I’d interviewed or e-mailed over the years – Tim Tagaris, Matt Stoller, Teacherken, to name a few I can link to. When the throng moved to Buffalo Billiards I met Oliver Willis and The Nation’s fantastic reporter Ari Berman. This would be a far, far more interesting post if I could divulge the silly things they said or how rotten they were in the flesh. Sorry; they were all fine people and you should really buy them drinks sometime.

More fun with technology

So maybe seeing my entire buddy list on AIM is beyond my technical acumen. That hasn’t stopped me from embarking on a bold re-launch of – the site I launched five years ago and haven’t updated in three. I actually purchased the server space and installed the software to do what I want, but whether I failed to cross a “T” or it’s simply propogating the changes, it’s not ready yet. But whatever. By the end of the month I’ll be redirecting DW-i readers to my brand new site.


I don’t think anyone’s ever answered one of my tech questions before, but here’s hoping. I just downloaded the new version of AIM, “AIM Triton.” It looks cool. However, it doesn’t display my buddies. For example, I have a buddy group called “DC” that has 31 members. Right now, I’m told 16 of them are online. But my IM window is only displaying three of them. I can’t see any options or features that let me expand the visible list. “Edit Group” only allows me to change the group’s name.

Anyone know how to fix this?

Unleashing my inner Bozell

Watching a CNN report on the Democratic candidate to take Henry Hyde’s seat in Congress, and Candy Crowley describes the suburban Chicago district as “once solidly Republican, now evolving.”

“Oh yeah, we used to be Republican. Then we developed opposable thumbs!”

UPDATE: For some reason I can’t respond in comments, so:

No, I think you’re pretty much right. Most analysts will say the Chicago burbs were ripe to turn Democratic as the national GOP got more and more socially conservative. But what took about a decade in the California suburbs, exurbs and edge cities, for example, took two years in Illinois – 2000-2002, the years of the Ryan meltdown and backlash. And like in California, the rural areas of Illinois have been getting more Republican, despite the party’s problems … but it doesn’t matter, because more people live in the Chicago burbs.

Here’s a map of the 2000-2004 trend of Bush votes, for example. Pink means the Democratic vote grew by 1-10%, red means it grew by 11-20%. Pale blue and royal blue mean the same thing, but for Republicans. Notice where the biggest growth was for Democrats. Yep – Du Page and De Kalb. Bush actually improved from 2 million votes (42.5%) to 2.35 million votes (44.5%), but those votes were coming from megachurch types in southern Illinois. The whole GOP lost ground in Chicagoland. I think Democrats are optimistic that trend will continue, as the national GOP isn’t getting any less nutty or unpopular.