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November 14, 2006

The future of this site

Dear Readers,

I was really hoping that Patty Wetterling would win the election, so that I could be rid of this accursed site once and for all. However, since she did not win, I feel that I must do whatever I can to oppose Michele Bachmann and to lay the groundwork for her defeat in 2008. I feel that the best way to do this is to keep this blog running. There are stories that are not being told about Michele Bachmann by the media; there is an alternative narrative to the one that was presented by the Bachmann campaign and blindly accepted by most media outlets, and this site, in conjunction with other sites like The Bachmann Record and Dump Michele Bachmann, can help tell those stories and challenge that narrative.

I also realized that I do enjoy blogging, despite becoming disenchanted with it at times. I like feeling involved in the political scene, even in a small way, and now that the elections are over and the campaigning season is gone, it would be good to have an outlet for this interest. I have made experiments in the medium before, but this time around I have become a much more specialized blogger, focusing on a much smaller field. I have gained a body of knowledge about Michele Bachmann and about the politics of the Sixth District that makes blogging much easier and more rewarding, and it would be a shame to let that hard work go to waste.

So, I have decided to keep this blog running. I will continue to document the fledgling federal career of Michele Bachmann, because the mainstream media has abdicated its duty to do so. I may not post as often as I did during parts of the 2006 campaign; partly because, without the twists and turns of a campaign season, there will be less to write about, but also because I cannot let blogging dominate my life, and I have other commitments (life, school, work) that are more important. If you are interested in what I have to say, I would recommend subscribing to this blog's feeds [ RSS 2.0 / Atom ] through a service such as Bloglines, in order to keep abreast of what may be periods of sporadic posting.

In the coming days, weeks, or months, depending on when I find time to make them, there will be changes coming to this site. First of all, I will change the name. (The URL will remain the same.) I am thinking that "Bachmann v. Bachmann" would be a good title for this blog, because I feel that, in this conservative district, the only person who can defeat the incumbent is Michele Bachmann herself. If you have other suggestions, please let me know in the comments. Along with the title change will be a complete site re-design. I meant to do this all along, because I realize that this is not the prettiest or most readable site. I will attempt to redress these shortcomings in the future. If you have design suggestions, please also leave them here.

I thank you all for reading, and I hope that you will continue to visit this site and contribute your thoughts and opinions.

Sincerely,

Pat Smith

September 22, 2006

Comments fixed (?)... for now

Comments should be working again.

As an anti-spam feature, I've set up the site to automatically close comments on any thread that has been dormant for more than 14 days (i.e., no one has commented on it for two full weeks.)

If you want to comment on an older thread, send me an e-mail.

September 20, 2006

TypeKey

I have enabled TypeKey authentication to stop the comment spam that was driving me crazy. I received over 2,000 spams from two different IP addresses (a trace showed them to be from Ukraine) in the past two days.

This change will hopefully be temporary. I don't want to discourage anyone from commenting, and I don't particularly care if you use a real name and email address.

If you posted a comment in the past couple of days and it doesn't show up, it may have been caught in my "junk filter." Please let me know and I'll try to fish it out.

September 18, 2006

Blog spam

Over the past week, and escalating in the past 8 hours, this site has been receiving a ton of spam comments and trackbacks.

I am instituting measures to try to stop this, as it really makes the site less enjoyable. In this process, some legitimate comments and trackbacks may get lost. If you post a comment and it doesn't show up, contact me using the email address above, and I will try to rescue your comment from purgatory.

Also, if you have any suggestions as to how to combat spam on the Movable Type system, I'd be very appreciative of any advice.

I really don't want to implement a registration system, but it seems to be very effective at combating blog spam at BvW. So I will ask:

If you were required to register to comment, how would that affect your commenting habits?

September 14, 2006

Campus media

I was interviewed for an article in the Minnesota Daily. The author did a pretty good job of conveying what I said, but even the statements in quotes aren't verbatim. If reporters are not going to quote people accurately, they should just drop the quotes altogether. Anyway, here's my part of the article:

English and Russian language junior Pat Smith is also familiar with the campaigning process: He's been blogging about the 6th District U.S. Congressional campaign this summer.

Although Smith writes in support of Democratic candidate Patty Wetterling, he is unaffiliated with her official campaign.

Wetterling's Republican opponent, state Sen. Michele Bachmann, represents Smith's hometown, Stillwater.

Smith said he is supporting Wetterling for two reasons.

"(Bachmann's) done a poor job," he said. "And, (Wetterling) is offering a way out of the chaos in Iraq, a tax plan for the middle class and she's done great work in the past lobbying. I'm proud to have cast a vote for her in 2004 (when she ran for Congress)."

Smith also worked for John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign at an on-campus phone bank and went door-to-door to promote the candidate.

[...]

Smith said he has strengthened his personal political identity and his understanding of government on a broader scale.

"I have become more informed and I feel more of a connection to the process of government," he said. "Voting's very important. It is both a privilege and a responsibility - and it can have an impact."

I actually told the reporter that Wetterling has done great work lobbying Congress on child-safety and crime issues, and compared that to Bachmann's do-nothing record. I mentioned Wetterling's pro-student stance. I gave reasons why Bachmann has done a poor job, especially her focus on extremist social-conservative goals at the expense of accomplishing anything. On the issue of voting, I specifically mentioned that until college students and young people vote, politicians won't take us seriously.

On a related note, last night I wrote a letter to the editor of the Daily, and I just received word that it will be published tomorrow. I wrote it in response to an ostensible 9/11 memorial held by the College Republicans that was used as a recruiting tool for the organization. I borrowed the rhetorical frame of the letter from a suggestion by Josh Marshall over at TPM. You saw it here first... I'll post the link to the Daily's version tomorrow.

I wouldn't mind that the College Republicans politicized 9/11 with their recent "Never Forget 9/11" recruiting event if our Republican-controlled government hadn't failed so badly at capturing those responsible and at keeping our homeland safe.

I just saw a picture of a guy who pledged on September 12th, 2001, not to trim his beard until Osama bin Laden was captured or killed. After 5 years, his beard's getting pretty long. President Bush recently warned bin Laden, "America will find you." Strong words from a man who said he was "not that concerned" about bin Laden. Bush decided to pull out most of the special forces and CIA operatives searching for bin Laden in early 2002, when we had a good idea of his whereabouts, to prepare for the invasion of Iraq, a war which had nothing to do with 9/11 and has actually made our country less safe by stirring up anti-American sentiment among those who would do us harm.

And let's not forget the Republican record when it comes to protecting America. Five years later, the most basic recommendations of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission to improve homeland security have not been implemented. We still scan less than 1% of the shipping containers entering our vulnerable ports for smuggled WMDs. Our mass transit systems, like the light rail here in Minneapolis, have been proven vulnerable by attacks overseas, yet transit security remains desperately under-funded. Republicans have also been more interested in dishing out pork in security aid to states than on spending the money in places where it is needed most, like our most populous and vulnerable cities.

Republicans talk the talk, but they can't walk the walk. It seems that Republicans have forgotten the lessons of 9/11. Vote for change in Washington this November 7th.

Here's the picture of the beard guy:

911beard.jpg

August 10, 2006

Comments

Before we begin the evening's blogging, an apology. Several comments to this site over the past few months were classified as "junk comments" by the UThink system's overaggressive anti-comment spam features. I didn't notice them until just now, as the system doesn't notify me when it has "junked" a comment. To those of you whose comments were affected, I apologize, and I will promise that I will check more often to resolve this problem.

I appreciate all the comments and debate that have been left on this site, and, even though I don't respond as often as I should, I do listen to your thoughts, suggestions, and arguments. Keep reading and responding with your own thoughts!

June 29, 2006

On hiatus

Don't worry, it's not permanent-- but I will be gone for a bit, starting this weekend, on an international vacation... to Canada. Ironically, I'll be spending Canada Day in Chicago, and the 4th of July in Toronto. (Maybe we'll go to Niagra Falls that day... still think I'm un-American?) I may try to post if I get a chance, but don't hold your breath. Instead, subscribe to this blog's feed:

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That way, you can stay updated when I post. You can use bloglines or another newsreader service/program... I find bloglines incredibly useful and time-saving.

In the meantime, dear readers, feel free to explore the site a bit more. I like reading the comments people have left, and I'd love to hear from more of you. If you exhaust the possibilites of this site, check out Patty Wetterling's blog, Dump Bachmann, or even Bachmann v. Wetterling. It's important to keep all perspectives in mind.