Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Political Value Of Blog Ads

The Political Value Of Blog Ads

Over the past two weeks, National Journal's Technology Daily published a special series on the intersection of politics and technology. Some of those stories will be of interest to bloggers, so I will be republishing them here over the next few days. The latest story is below.

Blog Ads Help Challengers Generate Bucks And Buzz
by Brittany R. Ballenstedt

Political advertising dates to the nation's founding, with the first efforts involving everything from public processions to fliers. Radio came along in 1920 and the television boom in 1952, giving candidates new venues to reach far more people with their messages.

In the Internet era, campaigns have another relatively new advertising tool -- advertisements on Web logs -- and many congressional hopefuls are investing in them this year.

"Blogs don't give as much reach as television, but they give more accountability," said Henry Copeland, who founded Blogads, the innovator in the field. He said political activism on the Internet has grown substantially in recent years.

Copeland said Internet advertising, and specifically blog ads, are incredibly effective, especially for challengers who typically lack the funding of incumbents. "You have a lot of D.C. insiders reading this stuff," he said. "It's a very cheap way to drop a hand grenade in the swimming pool."

Whether those insiders lend much credibility to blogs is another issue. A National Journal "insiders poll" indicated a split between the parties.

The survey found that almost 70 percent of Democrats believe Internet political activists will have a significant impact on the mid-term election. Republican insiders voted almost exactly the opposite, with 70 percent claiming that "netroots" activism will have little to no impact.

Michael Turk, the e-campaign manager for the 2004 re-election campaign of President Bush, chalked that up to GOP activists who have been running campaigns the "old-school way" since the 1970s and 1980s. "The GOP is full of people who learned on old media -- mail, phones, radio and TV -- and don't know anything else," Turk said in a blog post. "What's funny is I imagine the same quotes were probably uttered by consultants when cable TV came along."

A 2006 survey by BlogAds revealed that the average blog reader has an annual income between $60,000 and $90,000, and that 70 percent of blog readers have contributed to a cause or candidate within the last six months.

"Online community and blogs are the town halls of this century," said Trevor Miller, a spokesman for the Progressive Patriots Fund, which is affiliated with Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis. The fund has run various blog ads to draw donations and an audience for its cause. The foundation has generated enough donations to help five congressional candidates this fall.

"The online community in general has grown a hundredfold since the beginning of the year," Miller said. "It continues to be an outlet for people to have their voices heard."

Laura Leyva, a candidate for the state House in Florida, tried blog ads in an attempt to prove her campaign manager wrong about their effectiveness. Her ads sought to raise $5,000 and succeeded. "Using [blog ads] is certainly better than going to fundraisers," Leyva said.

Some candidates have goals other than money in mind. Jonathan Ossoff, the deputy communications director for Hank Johnson, a Democratic House candidate in Georgia, said Johnson used them to generate excitement for Tuesday's run-off primary election against Rep. Cynthia McKinney that he handily won.

"They've been effective in reaching out to people who make the news and reaching the national media at an affordable price," Ossoff said. "They were not as effective in bringing in donations, but that really wasn't the goal."

In Montana, Jon Tester used blog ads early to try to help gain an edge against his Republican opponent, Sen. Conrad Burns. Tester is now a darling of many top Democratic bloggers, and his challenge to Burns is considered one of the most viable for Democrats this year. That has helped him gain popularity and funding, and now his ads are on television and radio.

But Matt McKenna, communications director for the campaign, said more blogs ads are possible. "We've used blog ads in the past, and we will again," McKenna said.

Copeland said blog ads have a bright future in politics and could become a top medium for campaigns. "You're going to see more ads in blogs that are state-focused," he said. "At this point, we've seen, in one form or another, ads for potential presidential candidates. ... You may even find that blog ads for this election are the first ad spends for '08."

Posted by Danny | 10:07 AM


By: Wendi Thomas,2845,MCA_25341_4948102,00.html

August 27, 2006

Where's the mayor? readers asked during the city's summer crime wave, which so far, has claimed more than 25 lives.

While the Memphis City Council snapped their fingers and created a summer jobs program, Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said little and at least in the public's eye, did even less.

When asked by The Commercial Appeal's Jacinthia Jones, he pooh-poohed the possibility of instituting a curfew for minors and waved away talk that city cutbacks on youth programs were to blame for the increase in violence.

"You could have 100,000 programs, and they wouldn't have been in one," Herenton told Jones in June. Never mind that while today's young criminals may not have been in a summer program, perhaps his would-be successor, or his next victim, might have been.

If seeing is believing, Memphis needed to see more of the mayor this summer to believe that, as he has said, he wants to solve problems with real solutions.

Not grandstanding, not speechifying, but perhaps walking through North Memphis or South Memphis -- where the mayor has said the "real" people live -- in a meaningful show of solidarity.

Instead, the city saw the mayor's tough stance on crime when it landed at his doorstep -- or make that his dinner plate.

Earlier this month, Herenton and his security guard were enjoying a late lunch at a Piccadilly's restaurant in Whitehaven, when a cashier yelled out that she'd been robbed.

"This guy was really quite daring. He has to be to rob the place with the mayor and a police officer right there," Herenton told a reporter. "It's astonishing to see a robbery in progress."

I'm going to guess that the witnesses to the other 500 or so business robberies reported this year were astonished too. Or maybe not so much astonished as shocked, dismayed, angry and scared.

In times of crisis, and the summer crime wave certainly feels like a crisis, the citizenry takes its cues from its leaders.

Confidence and courage can be contagious. A calm voice can help to steady us. You want those in charge to be bold and decisive -- like New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani after Sept. 11, not FEMA director Mike Brown post-Katrina.

The mayor's spokeswoman, Gale Jones Carson, assures me that Herenton and Memphis Police Director Larry Godwin are in contact nearly every day.

"Anything pertaining to police, he lets the police department be the spokesperson, because his department is dealing with it every day," she said.

Carson rightly points out that there's no easy way to win the visibility war: If the mayor held a press conference after each homicide -- well, first of all, he'd be doing nothing but standing before a gaggle of mikes, and secondly, he'd be accused of capitalizing on crime for political purposes.

But surely there's got to be a balance between overexposure and invisibility.

Herenton's response to the rise in violent crime simply hasn't been big enough, loud enough, strong enough.

Memphians need to feel like Herenton is fighting -- not against Joe Frazier or the council, but with us, the people who are double-checking locks and looking over shoulders and noting the height, weight and clothing of every stranger we see.

Compared to this time last year, crime in Memphis is up, if only slightly, in every category except auto theft, where it's down 17 percent. Homicides, the offense that gets the most attention, are up 13 percent.

Even those of us who have not personally been the victim of rising crime rates find our activities, our freedom stifled by fear. I don't need the mayor to answer the phone when I call 911, and I don't want him to keep a roll of crime scene tape in his pocket.

But I do need to know -- and need to see, as often as possible -- that Herenton is in our corner.

Contact Wendi C. Thomas by e-mail, or call (901) 529-5896.

Is Bush an "Idiot?"

Rep. Shays (R-CT) Urges Iraq Withdrawal

By Anushka Asthana
The Washington Post

Friday 25 August 2006

A former war backer, GOP congressman calls for timetable.

Rep. Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), once an ardent supporter of the war in Iraq, said yesterday that the Bush administration should set a time frame for withdrawing U.S. troops. He added that most of the withdrawal could take place next year.

Shays, who faces a tough reelection campaign because of his previous support for President Bush's war policies, made his comments after completing his 14th trip to Iraq this week.

He said he found a "noticeable lack of political will" among Iraqis "to move in what I would call a timely fashion" and concluded that Iraqi officials would act with greater urgency if the United States this fall set a timetable for withdrawal.

"My view is that it may be that the only way we are able to encourage some political will on the part of Iraqis is to have a timeline for troop withdrawal," Shays said from London in a conference call with reporters. "A timeline of when the bulk of heavy lifting is in the hands of the Iraqis."

Shays is one of only a few congressional Republicans supporting a timetable for ending U.S. involvement in the Iraq fighting, which has claimed the lives of more than 2,600 U.S. troops and an estimated 40,000 to 45,000 Iraqi civilians. Bush reaffirmed this week his opposition to the withdrawal of U.S. troops. "Leaving before the job was done would be a disaster," he warned.

Shays said it is essential to signal to the Iraqi government that there is no open checkbook or indefinite time frame.

Shays, chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on national security, emerging threats and international relations, plans to outline a time frame for withdrawal next month, after he holds three hearings titled "Iraq: Democracy or Civil War."

Critics said Shays is significantly modifying his stand because he is facing a tough challenge from an antiwar opponent in a state that has become a center of opposition to the war. "Americans have known for a long time that Iraq was a mess, and the only thing that changed is proximity to Election Day," said Bill Burton, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

Diane Farrell, Shays's Democratic challenger, said: "I think it is unfortunate it took him 14 trips and three years to recognize that Iraq has been in a constant state of turmoil since the day that Baghdad fell." She added that Shays's timetable may not meet the "expectations of the American public."

Shays said that while a timetable can and should be set, having one does not necessarily mean the withdrawal would be quick. He said it would be an outrage to leave Iraq before the Iraqis have the security they need. Some forces would have to remain to provide logistical support to the government and its armed forces. "It may be a timeline Americans don't want to hear," he said.

Shays criticized what he called the "huge mistakes" made by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, in particular the disbanding of the former Iraqi army, police and border patrols shortly after the toppling of Saddam Hussein. "I haven't had faith in the secretary in a long time," Shays said. He said Bush should let go of those who consistently offer bad advice.


"Non-Combatant" Lieberman Won't Back Democratic Candidates

GOP activist faces charge

Ward accused of voter fraud in election won by one ballot
By Lela Garlington
August 26, 2006

Outspoken Tipton County political activist Shirley Johnson Ward, who is president of the Tennessee Federation of Republican Women, has been charged with a single felony count of voter fraud.

Ward, 60, of Covington is accused of making "false entries on official registration or election documents" by knowingly voting in the wrong Tipton County Commission race. That race, where one candidate was elected by one vote, is being contested because of voting irregularities.

Ward could not be reached for comment Friday at her home or at the attorney's office where she works as an officer manager and paralegal.

Prosecutors filed the complaint with an affidavit by a Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent late Thursday in the Tipton County General Sessions Court Clerk's office. Outgoing Dist. Atty. Gen. Elizabeth Rice asked TBI to look into the case shortly after the Aug. 3 election.

The affidavit indicated Ward announced to election office employees after casting her ballot during early voting on July 14 that she had voted in the wrong district. Her statement was the basis of papers being filed to contest the outcome in the District 2 County Commission race.

Billy Dan Huggins, an investigator with the public defender's office, lost one of the two District 2 seats by one vote to John Arnold McIntyre Jr. The district boundaries include most of Covington. After counting the paper ballots filed in the race, McIntyre had 559 votes to Huggins' 558 votes. Thomas A. Dunavant with the Covington Fire Department received the most votes in the race with 857 votes. The two candidates getting the most votes in the district are elected.

"I lost the election by one vote," Huggins said Friday. "This incorrect vote came into play as far as I'm concerned. It's a possibility her vote could have cost me a tie."

The news of Ward facing a felony charge, however, surprised Huggins. "I didn't think it would go this far. I thought she might be reprimanded or possibly would have lost her voting privileges. I just think a felony arrest is a little bit much but the law is the law."

If convicted, Ward is facing one to six years in prison and a fine of up to $3,000. Ward turned herself in Thursday afternoon at the Tipton County Justice Complex. She was released without having to post bond. She is scheduled to make her initial court appearance Sept. 5.

Julie Byrd, chairman of the Tipton County Democratic Party, said that she was astounded, aghast and shocked by the charge. Byrd, an attorney, said she doesn't delight in the misfortune of others and does not think the charge against Ward is a partisan issue. However, she added, "I think it tarnishes the electoral process."

Neil Bell, chairman of the Tipton County Republican Party, said, "I'm neither surprised or shocked by the charge. I will be disappointed if I find out that the behavior really occurred."

During the August election, a number of candidates were upset that Ward and her son, Jeffrey Ward, handed out thousands of fliers listing endorsements from what was called the South Tipton Republican Club and Team GOP. The club is not under the authority or auspices of the state Republican Party and often is at odds with the Tipton County Republican Party. The county races are nonpartisan.

None of the club's endorsed candidates won any of the local elections. Recently Republican party officials met in Munford and heard complaints about the endorsements, but no action has been taken.

Regarding his civil lawsuit challenging the election, Huggins said he is asking for a run-off election that could be held during the November general election. A special chancellor from Dyersburg will hear the civil case, but no date has been set for such a hearing. Both the existing chancellor and the incoming chancellor are recusing themselves from hearing the matter. Huggins said he is waiting for the county to respond to his lawsuit.
-- Lela Garlington: 529-2349


While he is controversial and has a lot of people against him, I predict that Mayor Herenton will win it again in 2007, but there will be complete chaos for the open mayor's seat in 2011.

Nevertheless, who has the best chance of beating Willie Herenton in 2007?


What year is it again?

China And Russia To Launch Joint Mission To Mars

The mysterious Mars.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Aug 23, 2006

China and Russia are planning a joint mission to Mars that will bring back samples to earth and land on one of the red planet's tiny moons, state media quoted a Chinese scientist as saying Wednesday. Ye Peijian, of the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology, made the announcement at a forum on the nation's space technology development, Xinhua news agency said.

Ye said Russia will launch the spacecraft in 2009 and it will carry China-made survey equipment. The mission will collect samples on Mars and the planet's nearest moon, according to Xinhua.

Sun Laiyan, of the China National Space Administration, said in June that China would focus on the moon and Mars in its deep space exploration program over the next five years.

The program calls for stepping up international cooperation, he said.

China has previously said it hopes to launch a lunar exploration satellite next year as part of a program that aims to place an unmanned vehicle on the moon by 2010.

In 2003 it successfully launched astronaut Yang Liwei into orbit, becoming the third country after the Soviet Union and the United States to put a man in space.

Source: Agence France-Presse

California Senate Approves Hemp Farming

Sacramento, Calif. (AP) -- California farmers could legally grow industrial hemp under a bill approved by the state Senate that distinguishes it from a widely grown distant cousin: marijuana.

Hemp "bears no more resemblance to marijuana than a poodle bears to a wolf," said Sen. Tom McClintock, a Republican. "You would die from smoke inhalation before you would get high."

He said industrial hemp was improperly lumped into the ban on marijuana in 1937 after it had been grown commercially for decades by American farmers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.

The legislation, which passed 26-13 and now goes back to the Assembly, would require that the hemp crop be tested before harvesting to make sure it has only a trace amount of tetrahydrocannabinols, or THC, the drug in marijuana.

No matter the concentration of THC, hemp currently can't be legally grown in the United States without a difficult-to-get permit from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The bill attempts to avoid federal restrictions by requiring farmers to sell the hemp only to California processors to avoid any interstate commerce that could bring federal intervention.

The crop can be used in a variety of products, including clothing, cosmetics, food, paper, rope, jewelry, luggage, sports equipment and toys. As food, supporters say it is high in essential fatty acids, protein, B vitamins and fiber.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy has opposed legalizing hemp cultivation, saying hemp crops could be used to hide marijuana cultivation by mixing the two plants in the field.

The Senate debate produced a bumper crop of California stereotype jokes, several aimed at McClintock, an outspoken conservative who carried the bill in the Senate for it author, liberal Democratic Assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco.

"There must be some mistake," Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, a Democrat, told McClintock, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. "You'll get a parade in San Francisco."

Bird Flu Sweeps Across Indonesia...

The Bird Flu is starting to spread, but is the hype and fear justified?


Chavez pledges 1,000,000 barrels of oil per day to China

Chavez pledges oil to support China's rise

BEIJING: Venezuela is committed to feeding China's appetite for energy, because it wants the country to become a new kind of great nation, President Hugo Chavez said yesterday after announcing a slew of oil deals.
He repeated a pledge to provide up to 1 million barrels per day of oil to China in the next decade, and unveiled plans to build a petrochemical plant with Sinopec on the Paraguana Peninsula.
Beijing has already signed exploration deals which will provide oil for a planned doubling of shipments from Venezuela in 2007, Chavez told a news conference.
His growing ties with the world's no 2 oil consumer are being closely watched in Washington, which despite a fraying relationship relies on Caracas for 12 percent of its oil imports.
"Venezuela has become a secure oil supplier for China, and more important by the day ... We know the increase in energy consumption that China needs for its development," Chavez said before a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
"We need a China which grows more important and stronger by the day, because China is demonstrating to the world that you don't have to be an empire to be a great country," he added.
Chavez, who says he wants to usher in a revolution for the poor, has presented his left-wing agenda as an alternative to US free trade proposals for Latin America. Buoyed by high oil prices, the former soldier often accuses Washington of plotting to invade or assassinate him to control Venezuela's petroleum.
Energy Minister Rafael Ramirez underscored the commitment, saying that even though Venezuela is in talks with India and others in the region, Beijing is his priority.
"We are working with the Asian market, but our fundamental focus is meeting Chinese demand," Ramirez told reporters.
In July Venezuelan crude exports to China hit 155,000 barrels per day (bpd), but Chavez aims to boost this to 300,000 bpd in 2007, jumping again to 500,000 bpd by 2009.
Deals to provide the oil include one with China National Petroleum Corp for the mature Zumano field which produces 50,000 bpd, one with Sinopec for a second field that can pump 20,000 barrels per day and a block in the Orinoco heavy oil belt.
Chavez said that the Junin 4 block that CNPC would be helping to exploit held 40 billion barrels of oil. Venezuela plans to boost output to 5.8 million bpd by 2012, with much of extra output helping meet Chinese demand, Chavez added.
He said Venezuela also plans to establish a petrochemical base with China's top refiner Sinopec, in the Paraguana Peninsula, where the Amuay and Cardon refineries together make up the giant 940,000 bpd Paraguana refinery.
He provided no further details on the project but Ramirez said the two countries also hoped to build refining capacity in China to process extra-heavy Venezuelan oil.
The crude will be transported in an expanded fleet of ships, and some CNPC-owned vessels, with 500,000 bpd of capacity already promised by the Chinese partner if needed, Ramirez said.
"By 2012 we should have a fleet of 40 new tankers, 18 of which will come from China," he told reporters.
Chavez also plans to visit Shandong province, one of the centres of China's food processing industry, as part of planned cooperation on agriculture, to help achieve "food sovereignty." - Reuters

Shocking election-theft testimony...


I have decided to move my blog from ( to this current location. Please feel free to relax and read my latest posts. I hope you enjoy the information.

Joe Ford, Jr.