Welcome to the Canardvark

Welcome matAs you see, below, the Bookworm Room welcomes a new contributor, the Canardvark.  He used to blog regularly under his own name at a prestigious site, but the demands of his real-world life made that unsustainable.  After a few years of lying fallow, he asked if he could occasionally contribute to the Bookworm Room.  I jumped at the offer.

I’m not giving too much away about his super-secret identity when I tell you that the Canardvark is clever (hence the funny, punny name), thoughtful, well-informed, and knowledgeable about national security issues, among other things.  I’m absolutely thrilled that he will be writing here occasionally.  Indeed, I’ve urged him to ditch the occasional part and write regularly, but I’ll take anything I can get.

I really have nothing to say

HeadacheSome time ago, I don’t quite remember when, I told you that my output was slow because I was adjusting to a new medicine for controlling my migraines.  Fortunately, not only did the medicine work against the headaches, I also got used to it sufficiently to get my old brain back.  Sadly, though, as is often the case with these medicines, it suddenly stopped doing its job.

Since life with migraines isn’t much to celebrate, I contacted my neurologist, who has put me on a new medicine to control migraines.  I’ve been on the medicine for three days now, and have been migraine-free for the second and third day, so that’s a good sign.

The down side of this experiment is that, as happened with the last go-round of migraine medicines, the creative, analytical part of my brain has shut down.  I usually see words and ideas in these layered, interlocking dimensions.  Ideas for posts explode in my head and the posts pretty much write themselves (for better or worse, as the case may be).

Today, however, with the new medicine doing its anti-migraine magic, I can barely think in one dimension, let alone multiple, interlocking layers.  Ideas float vaguely through my head — e.g., “Obama = hubris = ancient Greeks = new concept in America, which hasn’t ever had rule by an unfettered monarch” — only to lie there.  I can’t build them into anything.

I anticipate that, as happened the last time around, my brain will adjust and I’ll start being able to write with fluidity and verve again (for better or worse, as the case may be).  Until then, I hope you’ll bear with me if my blogging is a little weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable.

In the meantime, if you’re desperate for Bookworm prose with some life behind it, feel free to check out my latest collection, The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America. Moreover, if you read it, and if you like it, and if you feel in the mood to do a little writing yourself, please don’t hesitate to leave a review at the Amazon page. (Will you think me weak and hypocritical if I don’t suggest that those who dislike it leave reviews as well?)

Gack! I’ve done it again — I’ve self-published a book on Amazon

Kindle.web_Andrea.coverMASTERI’ve been silent today for a reason:  I was putting the finishing touches on my Kindle e-book, The Bookworm Returns : Life in Obama’s America, which has just gone live at Amazon. It’s a collection of my favorite posts from the last three years.  I describe it on Amazon as follows:

In 2008, President Barack Obama promised that he would fundamentally transform America — and that’s one of the few promises he’s kept. In a series of clear, elegant, witty essays, Bookworm looks at the changes in American society since Obama became president. These changes have seen America become a poorer, less safe, less free, more racially-charged nation, adrift in a world that, without America as both protector and anchor, is also become increasingly poor and dangerous.

I had a lot of fun assembling the book.  I was rather delighted to see how prescient I was when discussing Obamacare, the Obama economy, foreign policy, educational trends, etc.  I was also pleased to see that my original posts, which I tend to slam out in bouts of frenzied writing between parenting, household maintenance, caring for my mother, and the occasional legal job, were fairly coherent.  They all had typos (sigh!) and awkward phrases, but once I ironed those things out, they seem to me to read pretty darn well.

Also, please note the bee-yoo-ti-ful cover, which a friend of mine, who is a professional graphic designer, created for me.  If you’re interested in working with him on your own e-book, or have other graphic design needs, you can see his contact information on the inside title page.  (You can see that title page simply by downloading a Sample of the book.)

If you enjoy my writing, please consider buying the book (a bargain at $2.99).  I will receive $2.05 for every book sold.  You’ll get reading pleasure (I hope), and I’ll get a return on the effort I put into blogging.  As you know, I blog compulsively, rather than to earn money, but it’s really nice to see a little money coming in for the effort.

Some changes to the site

Hey, everyone!  Notice the snazzy, yet austere, new look?  It’s not permanent.  My wonderful webmaster, Terry Trippany, is trying to figure out why, occasionally, all you see at my site is a string of advertisements.  There’s obviously something nasty buried in my theme’s coding.  After fruitlessly looking through endless lines of code, Terry realized that the only way to deal with the problem is to throw everything out and start anew.

This is a really nice, clean-looking theme, but it has some deficits, most notably the fact that it’s two columns, not three.  And although all the ads were irritating, I want them back, because I was earning money off of them — at least enough to keep the dogs in kibble and the mice in mouse food.

So, expect to see some changes over time as Trip works to get rid of some nasty malware that took up residence at the Bookworm Room

Same old, same old, which I enliven with predictions for the next twelve months *UPDATED*

bored-baby

Here’s an old joke:

An established comedian invited a friend to join him at a very exclusive “comedian’s club.”  The guest instantly noticed something peculiar.  In the main room, a person would periodically stand up and shout out a number.  “57,” one would say, and a few people in the room would chuckle.  After a moment’s silence, someone would holler, “18,” and be rewarded with a chorus of good-natured “boos.”

This pattern continued for a while, until someone shouted out “77.”  While a few people let out a short bark of laughter, one guy in the corner was utterly beside himself.  He roared with laughter, until tears were rolling down his face.

The guest turned to his host and asked, “What gives?  What is it with these numbers?”

“Well,” the host explained, “it’s like this.  We’re all professional comedians here and, to be honest, there are only so many jokes around.  It got tiring and boring for someone to tell a joke that everyone already knew, so we started assigning them numbers.  It’s kind of like a joke short-hand.  People still laugh — if they want — but it definitely saves time.”

“Okay,” said the guest.  “I get that.  But what about that guy in the corner who collapsed with laughter when someone shouted out ’77′.”

Oh, him,” answered the host.  “I guess he hadn’t heard that joke before.”

Yes, it’s a surreal joke, but it also explains why I’m having problems blogging lately.  When I read a story about Obamacare, I can’t add much to posts I’ve written going all the way back to 2009.  I predicted then what would happen now.  “You’ll find that in posts 384, 943, 6749, and 34052.”  Events in the Middle East?  I foresaw those too, including Obama’s love affair with Iran, and Israel’s and Saudi Arabia’s entirely predictable coming together against that common enemy.  “See posts 3489 and 9492.”  Government data manipulation?  We covered that too, as we did with gun control, amnesty, foreign policy, etc.

I’ve moved out of fresh and into “I told you so.”  As a writer, “I told you so” is boring.  It’s also especially boring for all of you, because you were right there with me, making the same predictions.  We all saw all of this coming.

The only thing that’s kind of newsy now is watching the oh-so-smart Leftists figure out that they’ve been had.  It’s not actually real news, of course, because we all saw this coming too, but it’s still fun to watch.  As to these Obamabots, it’s not just that a specific politician has “had” them.  Their entire ideology is disintegrating in front of their eyes.  Most, of course, will plunge into frenetic denial.  That’s old stuff too.  For 100 years, communists have been saying that communism is perfect; it’s the implementation that’s flawed.  When today’s Leftist’s rant against the president, the party, and the people, they’re foll0wing an old script.

A few Leftists, however, will draw back and say, “We were wrong.  We were wrong about everything.”  That’s been done too.  They’ll be joining David Horowitz, Michael Medved, Thomas Lifson, David Mamet, Sally Zelikovsky, the Power Line guys, and scores of other people who already had their Road to Damascus moment when they realized that Leftism isn’t poorly implemented; it is, instead, fundamentally flawed.  I certainly won’t think as highly of these new converts as I do of the older generation.  The older generation didn’t need to see America’s economic collapse and her fade into international irrelevance to see which way the wind was blowing.

Since everything seems to be “same old, same old,” except even more so, what would be new and exciting news for a blase blogger in the next twelve months?

1.  Obamacare’s repeal, although unscrambling that egg will be virtually impossible.  Even if they wanted to, huge institutions such as heavily-regulated insurance companies and hospitals cannot turn on a dime.  The somewhat functioning market will have been destroyed, which nothing lined up to take its place.  Worse, we know that Republicans politicians are incapable of using the headwinds of repeal to revitalize the free market.  (Remember:  Democrats have bad ideas and effective politicians; and Republicans have good ideas and brain-dead cretins in office.)

2.  A groundswell of popular support for Obama’s impeachment.  Of course, that would leave Biden in charge, which is not a pretty thought.  The likelihood is that, if he could, he’d move Elizabeth Warren into the Veep seat to stymie Hillary.  It would be amusing, but just as bad for America as Obama himself.

3.  Israel’s alliance with the Gulf States to launch a devastating attack against Iran’s missile systems and nuclear centers.  With strong American leadership, this could actually have a good outcome, freeing Iranians from decades of appalling Islamist repression and destabilizing tyrannies in a way that leads to genuine freedom throughout the Middle East.  With our current leadership, a leadership that will have made such an attack necessary in the first place, one can only imagine that the Middle East, the entire Middle East, will manage simultaneously to implode and explode.  The human costs will exceed imagination and, because of oil, those costs will encompass the entire planet.  Canada, Brazil, the US, and other places may be coming up as major oil producers, but losing Middle Eastern oil in a single day would have incalculable consequences on modern life.

4.  The 2014 elections resulting in a Republican sweep the likes of which has never been seen in America.  In a way, though, coming as it would midway through Obama’s so-far disastrous second term, this would also be ho-hum news, even if both House and Senate changed hands.  What would be more interesting would be to see places such as Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, and San Francisco jettison their Democrat ruling class.  I’m not holding my breath on that one.  The residents in those cities routinely use elections to double down on failure.

5.  Obama comes out of the closet.  (And, come on, you know he’s in there.)  That wouldn’t affect anything politically, but it would make for great headlines, especially if Hillary refuses to be one-upped and comes out too.

6.  Schadenfreude here, but I will enjoy watching New York in the first year of the de Blasio administration.  I should start running a pool taking bets as to how long it will take de Blasio to reduce New York to its 1970s status.  We all know that it’s easier and faster to tear down and destroy something than it is to renew and revitalize.

7.  The New York Times will declare bankruptcy.  I see that as inevitable, although would actually be surprised if it happened in the next twelve months.

8.  People definitively reject anthropogenic global warming.  As with the New York Times’ bankruptcy, this is inevitable.  I just don’t see it happening in only 12 months.

9.  Oprah recants and announces that she’s no longer calling for the genocide of “racist” people who don’t support Obama.

10.  Palestinians lay down their arms.  The previous nine hoped-for headlines all have a possibility, even a small one, of coming true.  This one does not, but it sure would be great news, and it would snap me completely out of my writer’s doldrums.

And, for those joining me in ennui, some music:

UPDATE: Hmmm. A James O’Keefe tweet suggests that tomorrow may bring some news we haven’t already heard before.

Woot! My post comparing Ted Cruz’s filibuster to the Spartan “300″ inspired Chris Muir’s wonderful “Day By Day” cartoon

I’ve long been a big fan of Chris Muir’s “Day By Day” cartoon.  It’s intelligent, witty, and sophisticated.  You can imagine, then, how thrilled I am to have inspired his latest cartoon, this one about Ted Cruz:

Chris Muir cartoon

(If you missed the reference to my blog, check the very bottom of the cartoon panel.)

Honestly, this is so cool.

The post to which Chris refers is this one, which I believe in more now than on the day I wrote it:

"I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare."

“I will do everything necessary and anything possible to defund Obamacare.”

Most people, whether Democrat or Republican, agree that Ted Cruz’s planned filibuster in the Senate is doomed. It will do nothing to stop Obamacare’s inexorable path towards implementation. (To understand precisely what the filibuster is about, Ace has a good, short explanation.)

Because Ted Cruz is nobody’s fool, I’m guessing that he too knows that it won’t stop Obamacare from getting fully implemented within the next few months. Why, then, is Cruz engaged in this quixotic effort? I think I have the answer, but you’ll have to bear with me, because it involves taking a little trip back, back in time . . . to the Battle of Thermopylae.

[snip]

Even now, 2,500 years later, the Spartans’ brave stand at Thermopylae still has the power to inspire us. Victory wasn’t the point. The point was to fight and to educate Greeks about their merciless enemy and its overwhelming drive for power. Leonidas and his men may have died there, but their ghosts led the Greeks to eventual victory.

Which gets me back to Ted Cruz and his buddies in the Senate. They’re not stupid. They know that this filibuster will be futile. But they know two other things as well: Filibusters grab headlines, which gives them a golden opportunity to lift the cone of silence that the mainstream media places between Republicans and voters.

Under the current media regime, Republican arguments and statements get to the voters only if small fry Republicans get arrested, or say something “provocative” about gay marriage or abortion. Other than that, most voters would be hard pressed to know what conservatives politicians and thinkers are saying.

“Come and take them.”

“Come and take them.”

Imagine someone as intelligent and articulate as Ted Cruz – a man who has a knack for clearly stating complex principles – speaking directly to the voters about Obamacare, without the media acting as his “interpretor.” And remember, if he does filibuster, he’ll be speaking to voters who, for the most part, are already beginning to realize that, with Obamacare, they’ve been sold a bill of goods.

Absent a miracle, Cruz will lose on the filibuster. The Republican establishment will start bleating out “I told you so” on every “news” show they can find. And Obamacare will go forward.

But here’s what Cruz also knows: Obamacare will be a disaster. We know that for certain. Indeed, the best evidence you need is Congress’s frantic effort to ward off Obamacare in its own marbled halls. If that’s not enough, look at the diminution in choice, the price increases for the middle class, the lost jobs, the lost insurance coverage, and the downward adjustments in working hours.  We, the people, are going to be badly hurt by Obamacare.

Americans aren’t going to learn about the nasty stuff hiding in Obamacare until they experience it first hand.  What was an abstract political fight in Washington, D.C. will become a genuine problem in their day-to-day lives.  And that’s when Ted Cruz will pop back up again and say (nicely, of course), “Remember me? I tried to warn you and I tried to help. Trust me to have the courage and the wisdom to fix this. But this time, you have to stand with me to win the battle.”

The filibuster is Cruz’s Thermopylae. He knows that, whether he wins or loses, in the long term he will be the victor.  When it all falls apart, Ted Cruz will be seen and remembered for coming down on the side of sanity and freedom.

There’s nothing new under the sun

I’ve always like Ecclesiastes.  The ennui can be a bit much, but it’s a good reminder that humans, like other animals, fall into patterns, and that the earth abides:

1 The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.
Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity.
What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?
One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.
The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.
The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.
All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.
All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.
The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.
10 Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.
11 There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.

Sometimes we need to remember that, although we are each individuals with a divine spark and the capacity for greatness, we’re also part of a greater whole that has been here before and that will be here long after each individual is gone.

If you’re wondering why I’m waxing poetic (and waxing Biblical), it’s because I’ve been at a bit of a loss lately when it comes to posting.  Part of this is because even I seem to have an upper limit on written output, and between writing for Mr. Conservative morning and evening, and doing legal work for a client in the middle of the day, both my fingers and my brain are tired.

But the real reason I’m not writing so much is because there’s not much to say other than what I’ve said before:  Obama is feckless; Islam is dangerous; Europe is antisemitic; schools are propaganda factories; borders are porous; Republicans like to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory; the media is dishonest; ObamaCare is a disaster; blah, blah, blah.  Here we are at Wednesday of this week, and I haven’t read anything in the news that strikes me as new or different from anything last week, or the week before.

And so I’ll leave you with a song and the hope that, either the world perks up or my brain does, or both:

Is it a good thing or a bad thing when you’re quoted in HuffPo?

HuffPo referenced me as “a blogger,” but I’m still in there in an article about yet another school that has gone after quite obvious toy guns:

Multiple conservative bloggers and news outlets have come out in opposition to the way the school handled the incident.

“In a sane world, if a teacher or school bus driver saw the little boy bring out his orange-tipped cap gun, the adult would have said, ‘Put that away, and if you bring it to school again, I’ll have to confiscate it,’” wrote a blogger on Mr. Conservative. “America’s public schools, though, are not sane, at least when it comes to toy guns.”

Interestingly, the five comments that are on the HuffPo article now all come out against the school, saying it went too far.  In other words, they agree with me. Hah!  I’m sure, though, that there’ll soon be hundreds of comments lambasting America’s gun culture and applauding a public school that’s doing its bit to undercut the Second Amendment.

Just a reminder about some good blogs out there

I’ve been up and  working since 6 a.m., and now it’s 5, and I’m still trying to finish the must-do tasks before I get to the I-want-to-do tasks.  Since I’m stalled, though, I wanted to remind you about two of my favorite blog friends, both of whom are also real world friends.  Here are the links so that you can peruse good stuff, from good, smart people:

To Put It Bluntly

Castra Praetoria

And of course, you should always consider visiting every member of the Watcher’s Council:

I think I’ve gotten rid of the autoplay videos

I hate autoplay videos as much as I do — but some of the videos I posted seem to have had autoplay code in them.  I’ve deleted the videos that I thought were the problem.  Please let me know if the problem persists — and,  most especially, which posts have that problem.  Since I’m not much of a code person, I’ll just delete them.

Trying out a totally cool plug-in

One of the great things about getting to know fellow bloggers is getting good tips.  I recently got to meet (via phone) Warner Todd Huston, a regular contributor at Breitbart.  Not only is he a very nice, and manifestly smart, guy, he also gave me a tip about a cool plug-in for WordPress.  It’s called PhotoDropper, and it gives you easy access to a library of millions of free images that don’t have any copyrights attached to them.  Seeing as I am both cheap and honest, I always try to use Creative Commons images so that I don’t have to pay or steal.  The problem is that it’s hard to find those images.  With this plug-in, though, they’re at my finger tip (or maybe I mean to say that they’re just a mouse-click away).

So, within seconds, I get a license-free image with Obama being disrespectful by showing the soles of his shoes.  (Proving, I guess, that he’s not a Muslim after all.)

The Obama's on election night 2008

Another click, and I’ve got Keanu Reeves (you guys know how I feel about him) — for free! It’s not a good picture, but it’s an honest one.

Keanu Reeves

I’ll still go out searching for other pictures. I love Victorian stuff, and I know that’s copyright free, but it’s kind of relaxing to know there’s something out there that relieves me of the worry that I’m cheating.

A slight change at the Bookworm Room

Here’s an update on the new gig I told you about.  For the foreseeable future, I will be the main original content provider at Mr. Conservative — a site that, unknown to most people by name, is one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the internet.  Unlike Bookworm Room, where I write about whatever interests me, and fill my posts with a lot of personal commentary, the pieces I write for Mr. Conservative’s site riff off of news stories.  In some, I’m just flat-out reporting.  In others, I add a little bit of me to the mix.

What I’m ending up with is a sort of Venn diagram, with an area of overlap between the me posts and the Mr. Conservative posts:

Overlapping post content

To the extent that there’s overlap — that is, I write a post for Mr. Conservative that is the same as a post I would write on my blog — I’m re-posting my work here and noting at the bottom that it originally appeared at Mr. Conservative’s site. I’m telling you this now so that you know that it is my work.  I could leave these posts only on Mr. Conservative, but I want to re-post those pieces here, at Bookworm Room, so that they can be part of the delightful, ongoing conversation that we have here.  I will also continue to post entirely original content, unique to Bookworm Room (such as this post).

For me, doing things this way means that I only have to write once about something that matters to me. Since I’m providing lots of original content that’s exclusive to Mr. Conservative, as well as the original content that is near and dear to my heart at Bookworm Room, it’s nice to cut a few procedural corners occasionally as to those things that overlap without actually diminishing quality.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about this. I’m excited to be earning money, but the job does require a fair amount of work. Doing some post-sharing seems like the most efficient way to get the endless flow of words in my brain out to the right places.

Why I had a very good weekend

I wrote earlier today that something good had happened.  I won’t go into too much detail, because I don’t want to ill wish myself at this stage in the game, but I can tell you a little.

I’m trained as a lawyer, and I’ve worked as a lawyer — writing and researching — for more than a quarter of a century now.  During my first four years as a lawyer, I just hated it.  I had no idea what I was doing, and did not find mentors to help me out.  To make it worse, imbued as I was with a whiny mid-1980s feminism, I was not a cheerful employee.  Despite the fact that they were paying me ridiculous amounts of money for my negligible skill level, I felt that they owed me something, rather than the other way around.

After those first four years, I found a mentor (who, incidentally, helped pave my way intellectually for becoming conservative) and began to enjoy the intellectual chase.  Finding  just the right case law to help a client, and then writing a compelling, elegant brief was very satisfying.  Eventually, though, I got jaded.  Bay Area judges are moved as much by liberal navel gazing as they are by the law itself.  Eventually, I didn’t want to keep banging my head against that wall.

Meanwhile, I had children, and my energies first dissipated and, when they returned, they had shifted.  As my children grew up, I discovered that I was fascinated by politics and that I love writing about politics and social issues.  Honestly, it’s an incredible pleasure to write when the worst that can happen is that someone points out that you made a mistake.  In all my years as a lawyer, I’ve never gotten over the fear that I may make a mistake that results in my client being terribly damaged and in me being sued for malpractice.  The fact that I never have made such a mistake has not taken the edge away. In fact, in some ways it makes things worse, because I fear complacency.

Once I started my blog, and certainly after I’d honed this craft for a while, I figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up:  become a paid writer.  Not a paid legal writer, but just a paid writer.  Probably to your great irritation, I’ve been trying to monetize this blog for years, but if I make enough to pay for one airplane ticket to the East Coast per year, I’m doing exceptionally well with my writing.

Things changed for me Friday.  I got an email out of the blue asking me if I wanted to provide content for someone’s blog.  I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t remember this guy’s  name, even though we’d been in touch a couple of times several years back. Embarrassed, but not surprised.  I have a chiaroscuro memory, dappled light and dark. I remember the copyright year of almost all the books I’ve read, I can list all the kings and queens of England from Edward III to the present day, I know the lyrics to an insane number of songs from the 30s and 40s, I’ll remember if you have children and what they do, but I won’t remember your name.  I’ve humiliated myself on more than one occasion with this gaping hole in my memory, and my response to this man’s email was no different.  “Excuse me, but who are you?”  Fortunately, he wasn’t offended by my memory failing or, if he was, he didn’t let it get in the way.

He has an up-and-coming website and, as he said, he needs help with content.  He’s a truly gifted salesman with a wide and deep understanding of how money flows in the blogosphere.  He’s been able to create crazy traffic levels, but writing is not his thing, and he’s exhausting himself trying to keep up with traffic flow.

This weekend was by way of an experiment. I wrote stuff for him to see if I could match my style to his needs, and he posted my work to see if it kept his readers happy.  So far, all is good.

My husband was a bit worried that I was providing all this content for free (asking, with reason, “How do you know that he won’t stiff you?”), but I explained (a) that I didn’t think this man would stiff me and (b) that my work was a loss leader and those can be risky.  Since I like writing, it was a financial risk, but not a painful one.  Here’s the irony:  After my husband and I finished this discussion, I opened my email to find out that the man had sent money, nice money, to my PayPal account.  I like it when my gut is right and my risks (which are usually small, because I’m not a gambler) are rewarded.

This weekend ended up being a bit chaotic, because I was fulfilling both the new blog’s needs and my family’s needs (which were very time-consuming this weekend).  Weekdays will be smoother because, in a way and for the first time in years, I’ll have a real job.  (That is, assuming this grand experiment works for both me and the other guy.)

Don’t worry, though, that I’ll give up this blog.  I may do some cross-posting (the posts I do for him cross-posted here, not vice versa), but mostly I want to keep Bookworm Room going because I’m so happy here.  The work I do for him is news reporting type stuff.  The work I do here is a conversation between me and you about wonky political issues, hot news topics, foreign policy, national security, social issues, education, etc.  Leaving here would be like walking away from my life’s party while I’m still having fun.

Still, I’m really, really happy.  I’ve always had this feeling, irrational though it seemed for many years, that all my blogging was leading somewhere.  I wasn’t getting paid, I was writing when I should have been doing that gosh-danged laundry, I ignored my kids a bit (benign neglect, of course), but this work seemed important to me.  I’d like to think that it was preparing me for a project that is good now and has the potential to get very much better.

Wish me luck, please.  With this guy’s enormous sales, marketing, and internet talents, my writing chops, and your wishes, something good might be happening here.

The 11th Annual Blogger Awards

I’m always a bridesmaid in these things, and never a bride, but I’m still beyond thrilled that John Hawkins included me as a nominee in the 11th Annual Blogger Awards for CPAC.  I’m right there under “Best Kept Secret Award.”  Indeed, right now, I’m so secret that the link is to my old WordPress blog.  I sent a note to John about that, though, so I know it will be fixed soon.

I was also delighted to see that a lot of my blog friends got nominated too.  I was especially happy to see The Mellow Jihadi as a People’s Choice nominee.  Navy One has been a friend of this blog since before he started blogging, and he’s become one of my personal friends as well.  I’m so delighted that he’s getting this kind of recognition.

Other friends of mine (meaning that I a lot of email correspondence with them) who have been nominated are YidWithLid, The Jawa Report, and Doug Ross,

Having acknowledged myself and my friends, let me say that John is spot-on in all of his selections.  Each of the blogs named is a high quality blogs that deserves recognition for providing a true form of alternative media.  If you blog, please consider broadcasting this list of nominees, since the more readership they get, the less believability the drive-by media gets.

The last thing left for me to do is to figure out how to lobby the CPAC voters for this one.  I’ve got their beer and party favors all lined up….  ;)

Yikes! WordPress is putting everyone’s comments in WordPress purgatory

Spammers have launched a major attack against Bookworm Room. I’m happy to say that the Azkimet spam control function in WordPress is working, in that it’s not publishing all those fake trackbacks and links.  That’s good.  The bad thing is that Azkimet, overwhelmed by the deluge of both decent and indecent comments, has decided to put every comment and trackback into the “pending” (or as I call it, “purgatory”) category.  This means that your comments will not publish immediately.  Instead, I have to approve each of them.

I’m in contact with my Webmaster, so I know this problem will be resolved, I just can’t say when that will happen.  Until then, please bear with the fact that your comments will vanish pending my approval.

A new forum for conservative thinkers

Lots of conservatives are realizing that the media is more, not less, powerful now that it’s abandoned its pretend objectivity and become blatantly partisan.  Rather than running away, voters gobbled up the media message.  Frankly, I don’t get it, but that’s why I’m not a master of advertising and manipulation.

In response to the realization that conservatives are no longer even allowed in the media as tokens, more conservatives are using the internet to set up alternative forums.  One of these, which is still in Beta form, is Pollis, which is a social network that aims to connect bloggers and readers.  As a blogger who is always looking for readers, I find idea intriguing.  So I signed up.

I also liked the idea of Pollis because it’s using incentives to get bloggers to come on board — and to bring their existing readers with them.  I’m a big fan of incentives.  As a blogger, I’ve been assigned a unique code:  A1B93EF3. If you decide to enroll in Pollis, and if you use this unique code when you register, you and I both get submitted into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card.  This is a good deal for me.  The more of you that sign up, the greater my chance of winning.  It’s not such a good deal for you, because the more of you that sign up, each of you has a smaller chance of winning.  Sadly, life is not fair.

Gift cards aside, I strongly believe in anything that allows conservatives to create vibrant intellectual forums.  We’re going to need them in the coming years.

Another conservative information clearinghouse

Yesterday, I directed your attention to Ritely, which aims to be the conservative answer to Reddit.  Ritely is easy to use:  posting articles takes seconds and it’s got a clear format for finding other people’s posted articles.  Today, I get to tell you about Helen’s Page, a conservative information clearinghouse that Glenn Reynold’s wife started.  It too has an easy interface and straightforward format.

I strongly urge you to check out and use these two sites.  Right now, conservatives rely heavily on sites that are owned by very Leftist companies (e.g., Facebook, Google, Twitter, Blogger, YouTube, etc.).  Most of the time, we don’t think about it, but the fact remains that these are privately run sites and they can — and do — censor at will.  Not surprisingly, their censorship trends to silencing the right, as Gates of Vienna recently discovered.  My email is rich with stories from fellow bloggers telling about being banned from Facebook or Twitter.

I’m planning on using both Ritely and Helen’s Page regularly.  I like the way they’re set up, I like the audience they reach, and I like the fact that they’re not going to censor me just because I’m a conservative.

Incidentally, this kind of networking — sharing both ideas and practical information — is precisely what conservatives need to do if they are serious about remaining politically viable.

Please welcome a new addition to the intelligent side of the blogosphere

An old friend of mine, a person distinguished by an open, intelligent mind, a large fund of knowledge, and wonderful writing skills, has just started a blog:  To Put It Bluntly.  As I expected, the early posts are smart and enjoyable. What’s also nice is that it’s a beautifully designed site that’s easy on the eyes.

If you’re looking for something new to read, please stop by To Put It Bluntly and say hello.

Hold on to your hats: I am a Diva in Waiting

Winner

Win, place, or show?  When it came to Gay Patriot’s annual Conservative Blogress Diva for 2012/2013, I was a show, but don’t think I’m not proud.  When the winner is Neoneocon and the second place is Sarah Hoyt, coming in third is an honor.

You should see me strutting through the house, diva-ly attired in appropriate clothing for Obama’s America, where we keep the house at an affordable 64 degrees in the winter:  heavy fleece top, heavy leggings, and thick slippers.  I am the almost-queen of all I survey!

The Watcher’s Council is again on Doug Ross’s list of Fabulous 50 bloggers

2012 Fabulous 50 blog awards

Every year, the inestimable and inimitable Doug Ross compiles votes to come up with the Fabulous 50 Blog Awards.  And this year, as in years past, he has anointed the Watcher’s Council (and all of its bloggers) as the Best Blog Ring.  I am honored, although this is a reflection more on my fellow council members than on anything I contribute.

Check out the whole list.  My ego was pleased when I looked it over and discovered that, not only are most of the winners known to and respected by me, but I am known to most of them.

 

At long last! An election in which every candidate deserves to win

Winner

November 4 was disappointing, but we have got to shake it off.  To help with your post-election blues, let me direct you to the Gay Patriot’s Grand Conservative Blogress Diva 2012/13 Official Ballot. If you look closely, you will see that yours truly is one of the candidates.  I would, of course, appreciate your vote, but here’s the good thing:  No matter who wins, she will be worth.  I mean, the lineup is incredible:

Grand Conservative Blogress Diva 201213 Official Ballot

So, vote early and, because it’s sometimes fun to go the Chicago way, vote often.  (You can vote once a day.)

Just $30/year keeps Ricochet alive and gets you great NRO and Ricochet content and comment

I’ve followed Ricochet since it’s debut.  From the beginning, it’s been an interesting site with great content.  It’s also got a beautiful layout, which counts for a lot when you do what I do, which is spend way too much time reading blog posts.

Ricochet’s business model is an interesting one:  rather than charging people to view content, it charges people for the right to participate in the conversation.  It turns out that this business model requires that 2% of Ricochet’s members subscribe to Ricochet.  The problem, though, is that only 1% are currently subscribing, and this is true despite an audience that is large and increasing.

With only a 1% pay base, Ricochet is looking at — gasp! — going out of business:

Every month, we get somewhere between 400,000 and 500,000 unique visitors to the site.  Every month, we get somewhere around 300,000 podcast downloads. And that’s growing every month. We repeat: Ricochet is growing.

But here’s the problem: only about 1% of those visitors are members. And that’s not enough to cover our costs paying our editors and technical team even the pittance we pay them.

We insisted, from the start, that Ricochet should be a business. We decided we wouldn’t try to cover our expenses by raising money from foundations. We should submit ourselves to the marketplace. That’s the best way to know if you’re reaching people or not; If you’re filling a need or not.

So here’s where we stand: unless we get more members, something closer to 2% of our visitors, we really can’t keep the business going. Our whole model is built on the 2% figure. That’s all we need: 2% of our regular visitors to join up.

In about four weeks, we’ve got some tough decisions to make.

That’s the bad news.  The good news is that, for only $29.95, you can get both a year’s membership in Ricochet and, if you’re a new subscriber, a year of National Review Digital.  That’s both an incredible deal and a small price to pay to keep a quality conservative site alive.  If we care about true conservativism, we must cultivate it for the next few years.  If we’re not willing to do that, we should just sit back and wait for the loving liberal fascists to decide that we conservatives are such a miserable lot, we should be gently euthanized for our own emotional well-being.

I’m going to subscribe immediately.  I haven’t done so before since the site takes only credit card payments, and I try to keep my politics and my credit card separate.  Roughly thirty dollars for a year’s great reading is such a bargain, though, that I’m willing to break my own rules.

I realize that those of us who subscribe now are taking a bit of a risk — after all, Ricochet might find itself going under when Obama raises his hand and swears another oath he’ll ignore.  Nevertheless, what’s life without a little risk?  I’m sure there are some of us out there who can afford a $30 gamble.