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March 13th, 2004:

Kos on CNN

I see the Kos and Josh Marshall got discussed on Wolf Blitzer’s show on Friday. The comparison of blogs to talk radio is a bit cliched, but I take great pleasure in this:

Very interesting study out of George Washington says about 15 to 20 million people are now actively using the Internet and these Web logs in particular, sites like Daily Kos and Talking Points Memo. And what’s significant here is that Democrats are using this to shape the agenda, because, remember, lots of Washington reporters read these. They’re using these to excite their own base, just like conservative talk show radio does.


The George Washington study says that of the people who they consider online political citizens, not 1 percent, not 2 percent, but 50 percent are considered Democrat. Only 27 percent are considered Republicans.

(Transcript here.) ‘Twas a time when everyone agreed that the political blogworld leaned decidedly right. Not any more.

I’m wondering when someone in the mainstream media will notice that in two days, Atrios has raised $42,000 for John Kerry. Though I expect the rate of giving to slow down, it still shouldn’t take more than a month or so of “John Kerry Thursdays” to make him the equivalent of a Pioneer, which in that context would mean fabulous prizes and the legislation of his choice. Not too shabby for an anonymous dude on the Internet. Who here thinks that Kos and Atrios (possibly among others) will be honored guests at the Democratic convention this summer? I for one think they deserve it.

Arrividerci, Governor

Well, if he does ever get around to calling a special session, our Governor will certainly be tanned, rested and ready for it.

Fresh from a jaunt to the Bahamas to discuss school finance, Gov. Rick Perry and his wife, Anita, left for Italy on Friday on a trade mission.

Texas exported $592 million in goods to Italy in 2002, ranking Perry’s economic development destination 23rd among foreign trade partners, according to the Business and Industry Data Center at the governor’s office.

Democrats quickly poked fun at the governor’s taste for foreign travel and said they hope he’ll find the solution to school finance reform aboard an Italian gondola.

The weeklong trip to drum up economic opportunities for Texas was prompted by a formal invitation from billionaire and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, said Kathy Walt, Perry’s spokeswoman.


“We’ve got a lot of issues here at home that he could be taking care of. We’ve got a poll recently that shows Texans want us to focus on education,” said Texas Democratic Party spokesman Mike Lavigne.

“One of his meetings is with the minister of productive activity,” Lavigne said. “That sounds like a Monty Python sketch. Unfortunately Perry hasn’t had any productive activity here in Texas during his entire term.”

Hey, it’s fine by me that he’s going. I just wish he’d stay gone. There’s 22 other foreign trade partners that are bigger customers than Italy, Governor. Why not visit them all? You can print tour T-shirts and sell them to raise money for school finance reform. The possibilities are endless.

Practice report

We’ve had a week of practices so far, and there are many differences between this year’s team and last year’s at the same point in time. Last year I was still trying to figure out what the kids’ skill levels were, but this year it’s a lot more apparent. Two of our kids already have their tickets to the All Star Game punched, most of the others are showing various abilities, and there’s only one true beginner. Another difference is in hitting. Last year, early batting practice against live pitching involved a lot of swinging and missing. This was especially frustrating because all of them demonstrated they could hit against a pitching machine at the batting cage. This year, just about everyone is making at least some contact, and one or two kids have genuinely surprised me with the bat. We should score some runs this year.

I’m doing well as a second banana, filling whatever role needs to be filled at a given time. I think I’ll be spending some extra time with the less experienced kids, working on the basics of throwing and catching. A lot of these kids don’t have any instinct for how to hold their gloves when a ball is approaching. They automatically hold them face up, as if to make a basket catch, even on chest-high throws. I’m going to break them of that habit if it drives me (and them) crazy. Throwing is harder to teach, but I keep drilling the same fundamentals – extend your arm, step as you throw, the shoulder drives the action and not the elbow – and I hope it sinks in.

Spring break is this week, so we’ll have a smaller crew show up at practices. Gary the head coach will be out of town, so I’ll be the interim coach in his absence. At least this time I have some idea what to do.