Interesting Jump For Amanda and Shakes

I’m thrilled that two of my favorite bloggers, Amanda of Pandagon and Shakes, are going to be part of the blog campaign for John Edwards. It’s about time that they’re recognized for their great work. While they, and others, have addressed the issue of what working for the Edwards campaign will mean for their blogs, there’s another issue that hasn’t been addressed:

What does being linked to (and with) a political campaign do to one’s ‘regular’ blogging?
I ask this because Amanda and Shakes are both fearless writers: they tackle really difficult subjects, and they often use scathing language and sarcasm. I love Amanda’s Church of the Disco Ball (think Flying Spaghetti Monster), but how does that play in a political campaign? Will Republican (and perhaps some Democratic) political hitmen go after the Edwards bloggers? I know, it’s inconceivable that Republicans would blow something very minor completely out of proportion, but it’s happened before. I hate to ask the question, but will Edwards be tarred with a ‘liberal feminist’ brush?
Hell, I look back at the things I’ve written, and I stand behind them, but would Edwards want the blogger with the number one hit for ‘Christopath?’ The mainstream media like Howard Kurtz, nevermind Faux News, would have a field day with the ‘insult’ to ‘people of faith.’ I would feel obligated to tone down my blogging rhetoric.
It’s a sorry state of affairs when the social and political discourse has to be watered down so that the pearl-clutching complusive centrists don’t have the vapors. It’s particularly galling when the right is so damn crazy.
Personally, I think Amanda and Shakes will be wonderful assets for the Edwards campaign, and I find it hard to believe that the campaign didn’t do its homework, so clearly the Edwards campaign isn’t worried about this. Perhaps they’ve figured the Republicans will slime Edwards regardless of what he says or does, so they just shouldn’t worry about it.
One reason I think the Republican party has been relatively weak in the blogosphere is because they don’t want to be linked directly with Rightwing Blogistan–a perfectly sensible and sane idea given how batshit loony they are. The Democrats, partly out of necessity, have been more willing to work with bloggers, even though they’re messy and uncontrollable.
As the blogosphere becomes more integrated into the traditional media campaign, it will be very interesting to see if and how this plays out for all the campaigns: the thing about the internets is that there’s all sorts of gunk in those tubes… for everyone. Maybe we’ll actually have some honest campaign speech.

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13 Responses to Interesting Jump For Amanda and Shakes

  1. I hate to ask the question, but will Edwards be tarred with a ‘liberal feminist’ brush?
    Nah, he’s already got junk-science-abusing trial lawyer already locked up.
    A better question; will sciencebloggers start examining Edwards’ use of junk science in his malpractice suits, or does ideology trump science?

  2. SLC says:

    Re Harbison
    In sliming Edwards, Mr. Harbison should point to specific examples of trials where Mr. Edwards used junk science. In the absence of such evidence, Mr. Harbisons’ amounts to nothinbg more then character assassination of plaintiff trial lawyers. In fact, defense trial lawyers who defend entities such as tobacco companies are far more guilty of using junk science then plaintiff trial lawyers. In other words, put up or shut up.

  3. coturnix says:

    The response to this (and now typical and frequent) attack on Edwards has two parts:
    a) the job of a lawyer is not to be accurate, but to win the case for the client by appealing to the jury.
    b) at the time of his cases, the cause of cerebral palsy was not clear, thus his explanation was still regarded as one of the plausible hypotheses. A better understanding only came around after Edwards quit his law job and got into politics.

  4. skunqesh says:

    “even though they’re messy and uncontrollable”
    and that’s how I likes my democracy.
    oh – and Edwards did use junk science. I know becuz Bob tells me so.
    What’s New July 9 2004
    For twenty years John Edwards worked as a highly successful trial lawyer representing those he refers to as “regular people” in personal injury cases. A WorldNetDaily article this week says he “financed his political career by winning legal cases based on junk science,” cerebral palsy cases in particular. Increasingly, medical science is exonerating doctors in cerebral palsy. The question is: what did Edwards know and when did he know it? Two studies in 2003, according to WorldNetDaily, undermined Edwards premise. But by then he had been in the Senate for four years.

  5. SLC says:

    Re skunqesh
    Worldnutdaily, a very authorative source. This on-line so called newspaper also endorses intelligent design and rejects evolution, which should tell us something about its credibility.

  6. a) the job of a lawyer is not to be accurate, but to win the case for the client by appealing to the jury.
    A fair point. But should scientists be supporting someone who makes his living by fudging or even misrepresenting science, even if doing so conforms to he standards of his own profession? It sure doesn’t conform to the standards of ours.
    b) at the time of his cases, the cause of cerebral palsy was not clear, thus his explanation was still regarded as one of the plausible hypotheses. A better understanding only came around after Edwards quit his law job and got into politics.
    Not according to my reading of the facts. As I understand it, Edwards practiced between 1985 and 1995. Even in 1985, the theory was dubious. The seminal work debunking a major role for birth trauma in CP was published in 1989, and by 1991, he widely read Galileo’s Revenge was arguing that this theory was having a major negative impact on the practice of obstetrics.
    Walter Olson has a good post here, and it references the major news articles on the issue

  7. A question for SLC, which he/she can decline to answer if he’d like. But since he/she’s now gone after me on a couple of blogs, I’m curious. Are you a scientist, in any sense?

  8. SLC says:

    Re Harbison
    1. I have a PhD in elementary particle physics from the Un. of Rochester. That, of course, in no way qualifies me to discuss issues related to biology or medicine or chemistry.
    2. Since Mr. Harbison is so concerned about Mr. Edwards alleged use of junk science, naturally he will also be concerned about the AEIs’ proposed bribes of $10,000 to any scientist who will write an article refuting the recent paper on global warming.
    3. Mr. Harbisons’ accusation, coming from a nutcase like Curt Weldon, of Terri Schiavo fame, that the Democrats are gutting the space program is, of course, typical of the right wing slimers like him. The fact of the matter is that the previous Republican controlled Congress failed to pass a 2007 budget which is, of course the real reason for the cuts. If the previous Republican controlled Congress had passed a budget on time, there would be no need for a continuing resolution to fund the Government for the rest of the year.

  9. skunqesh says:

    yo, slc,
    What’s new. Robert ‘Bob’ Parks. The physicist dude.
    Not the Daily Nut, or wev you thought.
    No endorsment of what you mentioned, in fact, quite the opposite.
    smart ass.

  10. SLC says:

    Re skunquesh
    1. Mr. skunquesh is apparently somewhat out of date. Bob Parks’ current URL for what’s new is
    2. Bob Park quoted Worldnutdaily in his piece. The fact that Bob Park is a responsible scientist doesn’t make Worldnutdaily a responsible source of information.
    3. Attached is a comment on the cerebral palsy which I found on the attached link. It appears that the issue is not as cut and dried as the Worldnutdaily makes it out to be.
    ‘Being a fan of drive bys, let me quote from a Mayo clinic page:
    “However, doctors don’t completely understand the cause of most cases of cerebral palsy, which are present at birth (congenital). For many years, doctors and researchers believed that cerebral palsy was caused by a lack of oxygen during birth. Now they believe that only a small number of cases are caused by problems during labor and delivery.
    Risk factors
    Most children with cerebral palsy don’t have any apparent problems during development in the womb and birth. But some factors may increase the risk of cerebral palsy:
    * Babies that are premature or have a low birth weight
    * Fetuses in a feet-first position (breech presentation) at the beginning of labor
    * Complicated labor and delivery
    * Maternal infection during pregnancy
    * Health problems in the mother during pregnancy that impair normal blood circulation to the uterus and placenta
    Meconium staining of amniotic fluid, caused by stool passed by the fetus in utero, also may indicate prenatal difficulties. However, most children with one or more of these risk factors don’t develop cerebral palsy.”
    Strikes me that Harbison is trying a bit too hard to discredit Edwards. Now why would he do that?
    Posted by: Eli Rabett | February 4, 2007 08:20 PM’

  11. (1) I’m not sure what SLC’s quote of another comment is meant to prove. I’ve given the timeline. At the time Edwards was still using the birth trauma theory, the theory was discredited. Argue with the timeline I posted. Geocentrism was also once the dominant theory. Doesn’t mean that someone advocating geocentrism in the 1980s was sane.
    (2) I will be blogging later today on the effect of the House CR on science funding, but here’s the bottom line. It’s about the same as the unpassed GOP appropriation or Bush budget for most agencies, and down for NASA in the space exploration area. You can then call the AAAS, from whom I’ve got my numbers, flaks for the GOP if you wish, but I have a feeling it won’t stick.
    (3) On the topic at hand – does Mike now understand why the GOP keeps conservative bloggers at arms length?

  12. Ga says:

    “…why the GOP keeps conservative bloggers at arms length?”
    Um, because they are un-educated goons?

  13. azdırıcı says:

    thanks for all

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