Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sitemeter Strikes Again, and Other News

In a morning that I could have been doing other things ("Yeah? What, exactly?" you sneer) I have spent a substantial amount of time migrating to the New Sitemeter. And after a prolonged effort, during which I considered options from sending out an SOS to ahistoricality (a generous blogpal who has occasionally offered unsolicited but nonetheless very valuable advice about cyber-issues) or (as I did last time) simply closing down the account and re-registering (which means starting your stats all over again) I succeeded in activating the migration. Which leads me to reveal a small source of pride: becoming a blogger has made me a more skilled computer techie.

But to return to my previous line of thought, I was happy with old Sitemeter, just as I am more or less happy with the eleven year-old Tercel we intend to drive until it dies an honorable death. But I get it, I am not typical, and I'm not selling anything -- I just have run of the mill curiosity about my visitors, and I am a run-of-the-mill academic ego-tripper who likes having lots of them. I know all kinds of things now that I have migrated to New Sitemeter, such as the fact that almost 90% of my visitors are of unknown gender (there's progress!) There is only one thing that seems to be eluding me, which is where my visitors are coming from. And I suspect that information has been moved to the next level -- the one that they want me to pay $5.95 a month for.

Well, maybe I will, maybe I won't. Too bad I can't bill it to my research account.

In other news, Ambrose Hofstadter Bierce III has Gone West, at least temporarily. Although Tim Lacy seems to have only gotten his dander up, I saw a real sag in his self-confidence (a crucial personality trait for a gossip) after I called his attention to my Letter to An Anonymous Blogger. On the one hand I say, well, the guy is neurasthenic and never really recovered from the Southern Rebellion, and on the other hand, I must admit my dismay. I did not intend to have such a dampening effect. I am hoping that it wasn't me; and that a kindly Princeton colleague took him aside for some fatherly advice. This is the scenario I prefer, as I intended to be thought-provoking, not discouraging. Come back, old man, when you are feeling up to it -- even if you feel you must come back as someone else.

Finally, there has been some snarling here at Tenured Radical about Sarah Palin, which only reflects the snarling in the rest of the world. I have two words for the weeks prior to Election Day, when this will all, mercifully, be over: Facts and Policies. Let me repeat, let's talk about Facts and Policies, past and future. And let us always do our best to tell the truth, and demonstrate how much we deserve a good President who doesn't lie just to win elections or deliver oil fields into the hands of corporate giants. Re. Sarah Palin: name calling is out, as are references to her personal appearance (including shoes and tone of voice), comments about the sex lives of her children are also proscribed. "Red" and "neck" are not to be used in the same sentence and all classist modifiers of the word "trash" are temporarily banned, even if some of Palin's family members have been known to use them.

Intelligent discourse, accompanied by links to campaign documents and fact-checked stories in the electronic or printed media are more than welcome. I shall, of course, do my best to follow my own rules.


Lesboprof said...

ARRRRGH! I have been struggling with Sitemeter, too. The new one takes forever to load, provides terrible data, and is sure to aggravate in the same way that the old version delighted.

So frustrating.

ortho said...

Friends, once you become completely frustrated with Sitemeter, switch to StatCounter <>. StatCounter is reliable, accurate, easy to use, and most importantly, free.

JackDanielsBlack said...

Tenured, I can certainly understand why you would like to see the topic of Sarah Palin go away, and will do my best to comply with your dictat.

davidjhemmer said...

Fact: In 2000 the Boston Globe reported that John McCain sends lots of emails, but he has to dictate them to his wife because his war injuries make it so he can't type.

Fact: Barack Obama is running TV ads deriding McCain for "not knowing how to send email".

This is just sick.

Tenured Radical said...


I don't need it to go away -- I would just like to talk about the significance of what we actually know to be true.

I am reading a wonderful book on the origins of Constitution by Woody Holton, a book that makes a persuasive historical argument about why "ordinary people" are valued as leaders, which makes me understand the Palin -- nay, the George W. Bush -- phenomenon as having a long history.



davidjhemmer said...

In response to the fact-checked NY Times story about Sarah Palin I offer you this link to a fact-checked NY Times story about Joe Biden. I'll let your readers decide whether hiring ones friends or cheating in law school and assuming someone else's identity is a more serious offense.

Tenured Radical said...

Dear RWP,

See, this is just the kind of thing I am suggesting is a problem. Which is the "more serious offense" I don't know, although myself I would go with padding the payroll with your friends rather than with people who are qualified for the job.

But this is an apples/oranges problem. Which was worse? GWB being a raging alcoholic and cocaine user, or invading Iraq on the basis of lies? The latter, I think, and it just happened a couple years ago. But it's apples and oranges -- each os wrong in context, but one has had demonstrably greater consequences to the public than another.

If Palin's experience as a mayor and a governor are credentials for her vice presidential run, then I think these questions are important,particularly since she doesn't think she did anything wrong. Biden's law school experiences are not being used as qualifications for the vice presidency, and he knows that what he did over *forty years ago* was wrong, paid for it at the time, and has not repeated that behavior.

Argue for Palin because you believe in her, and how she does business; not as the person we must vote for because Biden cheated in law school.


JackDanielsBlack said...

Tenured, I guess I don't see Sarah Palin as "ordinary people", but I get your point. I believe the ideal you are referring to is called "Jeffersonian democracy". And it was once expressed by the late (and by no means ordinary) William Buckley this way: "I would rather be governed by the first 100 names in the Cambridge telephone book than by the Harvard faculty". (May not be exact quote; I am relying on memory).

davidjhemmer said...

Just because Joe Biden isn't using his law school credentials as a selling point (for good reason) doesn't mean the fact that he is a serial plagiarist doesn't speak to his character. It does, it says a lot about his character, and not in a good way. Obama running adds ripping into McCain, who can't type thanks to injury as a POW, speaks to Obama's character, and not in a good way. The fact that Obama served with a known murderer as copresident of a board that distributed over $100 million and then lied about it speaks to Obama's character,and not in a good way.

davidjhemmer said...

>GWB being a raging alcoholic and >cocaine user, or invading Iraq on >the basis of lies

This is dishonest in so many ways. First of all Obama is the one who admitted cocaine use and refused to answer if he ever dealt illegal drugs. Bush did not. Bush admitted to drinking too much and quitting, there is no evidence he was a "raging alcoholic." I'm starting to lose some respect for you TR, I thought this site was for intelligent discourse.

Second, you can criticize how the war was prosecuted if you like. Call GWB or Rumsfeld idiots if you want. A LOT of mistakes were obviously made. Feel free to tell us all the things you would have done differently, if you put those things in writing at the time rather than in hindsight.

But GWB did not "lead us to war." The war was approved by overwhelming BIPARTISAN majorities in the house and senate, including overwhelming majorities among members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, which had access to all the same intelligence GWB did.

The war was launched with half a dozen nations making major military contributions and another two dozen making minor contributions. The war was launched with the agreement of the United Nations and the full support of Tony Blair, who also had access to the same intelligence. The war was launched with the support of two of the biggest hawks on the Dem side, Joe Biden and John Kerry. And the war was extended repeatedly by overwhelming majorities passing funding bill after funding bill, including several since the Dems took control of both houses of Congress. At no point were any restrictions placed on any of these funding bills. If the Dems wanted to stop this war in 2006 they could have done it, but they balked. And finally, regime change in Iraq has been the official policy of the United States since the 1998 Iraq Liberation Act, signed into law by President Clinton.

Tenured Radical said...

Well, let's not get mired in arguments shall we? There is a lot to be quarreled with here (including, RWP, Bill Ayers is not a known murderer. Other Weatherpeople were convicted of murder; Ayers was never charged with it and has killed no one.

Find me a citation from a reputable news source that says he has. And guys:

Health care? veterans benefits? the economy? education? Thats the point, dudes.


davidjhemmer said...


Please don't speak of things you know nothing about. Bill Ayers is not just a KNOWN murderer, he is a CONFESSED murderer.

He admits to taking part in bombings that left many dead, including the Pentagon. He admits this IN HIS OWN BOOK! He was quoted in the NY Times as saying:

"I don't regret setting bombs" and "I feel we didn't do enough".

Is the NY Times reputable enough for you TR?

You can read about Ayers murderous history in many places, here's a nice recounting in the liberal magainze Slate

Tenured Radical said...


Read the article. No part of it says that Ayers killed anyone. Kathy Boudin was part of a robbery that killed someone, which is what the article says-- by that time Ayers had surrendered and was serving time under a negotiated plea agreement. And I happen to know a *lot* about this, aside from having read Ayers' book (where he confesses to setting bombs, but everyone knew that) and being acquainted with some of the players. I am a historian of crime and violence, and have read practically everything available on Weatherman.

Good thing I'm not running for president given the folks I know.....


Tenured Radical said...

And by the way, rwp -- setting bombs is bad, hurting and maiming innocent people is awful. There's a guy here in Shoreline who lost half a hand just from opening his mail about ten years back, in case I ever need reminding -- occasionally I see him on the street. I'm also sure that John McCain in his heart regrets bombing the women and children of Vietnam, even though he believed in the war. But Barack Obama has not bombed anyone. He has met someone who did.


davidjhemmer said...

Ayers "set bombs' and people DIED. That is called killing people.And Barack Obama did not just "meet" Ayers. He held his Chicago "coming out party" at Ayers' house. He served as chair of a board that distributed $100 million. and whose files are only recently disclosed. I am willing to predict a "October surprise" regarding this that is not going to be favorable for Obama.

John Poole said...

I apologize to all, if my earlier diatribe on Sarah Palin started this unfortunate chain-reaction of comments.

But please understand that it was an honest expression of my gut-reaction to her initial interview. It wasn't intended as an attempt to smear her. Rather, I really feel very much on the defensive here (as a citizen/voter, that is). And why shouldn't I feel that way?: Someone I know nothing about is being put forward as a viable candidate for second in command of the nation. I am expected to believe she is a viable candidate, even though very few of us actually know all that much about her.

So, of course, I am going to place a lot of importance on her first open, non-scripted TV interview. And I found most of her responses quite distressing, to be honest. Not exactly something that inspired my confidence in her.

I agree with JackDanielsBlack that her subsequent interviews in the second broadcast were more successful than the initial one. Perhaps if the earlier one had gone that way, I would've received her in a better light. But it didn't.

I will stick just to issues, policies, and referenceable facts from now on, and restrain myself from launching into any more diatribes.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I wish I had gotten in on this earlier! What a lively exchange. And all I wanted to do is comment on the experience thing with Gov Palin!

I read an interesting article/blog (can't remember where right now) that compared the expierence of Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln to that of Sarah Palin. I haven't checked all the facts, but perhaps we are so worried about what they have done and maybe we should be more concerned with what they could do. And I am talking about all parties involved.

Of the truly great presidents, did anyone tell them that they would do the great things that they accomlished. George Washington was among some of the worst leaders in the Army, Lincoln was self-educated, Franklin Roosevelt never finished college and was in a wheelchair and Ronald Regan was an actor.

Maybe it is important to look outside the box.

Ahistoricality said...

I'm pretty sure GW Bush himself has admitted to his alcoholism, in the context of his conversion and marriage. HNN has run several pieces analyzing him as a "dry drunk" -- an alcoholic who is not drinking, but who retains many of the emotional pathologies of alcoholism.

TR is very kind, but I use StatCounter, which is more than adequate for a tenth-tier blogger like myself. Rumor has it that SiteMeter has reverted, due to TR's experience (and public discussion of same) being replicated many thousandfold across the blogosphere.

Here's a thought on the Palin/Biden comparison offered by right-wing prof: the character comparison matters only if there's no other notable or significant differences between them on which to base a decision about their fitness for office. Biden, unlike Palin, has a substantial legislative career which one can use to judge his likely success or direction. Palin, on the other hand, has very little besides character, and that's rapidly becoming self-caricature.

davidjhemmer said...

Actually that is not true, Biden's legislative career is long but, I argue, not substantial. What are his signature legislative accomplishments?

Obama claimed among his major accomplishment an ethics bill. This bill was so major it didn't merit a single story ever in the NY Times.

Tenured Radical said...

Well, Biden co-sponsored the Personal Responsibility Act that destroyed welfare......


davidjhemmer said...

Can you give us a single bill that Obama has cosponsored in the Senate that passed and was significant enough to merit a story upon passage in the NY Times.