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Blogging With Dr P... Blogging When I Can - Honest!
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Welcome to Blogging With Dr P... blogging when I can - honest

Your Blogging With Dr P... search result is below this annoucement.
In April 2008 Blogging With Dr P... moved to Blog Bypass.

If you're using the Blog Studio Search Facility to find a link to a previous blog, then I've been very generous, and NOT included an automatic re-direct which would take you there.

So, what this means is you have to use this link: Blog Bypass to find more Blogging With Dr P....

Thank you to Blog Studio for all the help over years! :)

(Feb 2010 Update): Haloscan is no more. Therefore the comments on this blog are no more. Sad, but true. I'm not paying $12 a year for the occasional comment with Echo. Apologies to all those who have commented. I have saved them and may well stick them somewhere else at some point.

Thursday, March 31, 2005 Terri Schiavo Dies

Associated Press, Thursday March 31, 2005

"Terri Schiavo, the brain-damaged Florida woman at the centre of a legal battle to keep her alive, died at about 9.55am (1555BST) today.

Ms Schiavo, 41, had lived for two weeks without food or water after her husband, Michael, won legal permission for her feeding tube to be removed.

Her parents, with the support of leading republican and democrat politicians, had fought for the courts to review whether evidence was sufficient to conclude that she no longer wished to live.

Late last night the US Supreme Court rejected the parents' second appeal to that court, and sixth legal appeal in total, to intervene.

Ms Schiavo suffered brain damage in 1990 when her heart stopped for several minutes because of a chemical imbalance, apparently brought on by an eating disorder.

She was expected to survive no more than two weeks after her feeding tube was removed by court order on March 18. Mr Schiavo has insisted he was carrying out her wishes by having the tube removed.

Prospects for a victory grew increasingly slim for Schiavo's parents as their legal battle drew on. One appeals court judge attacked Congress and the president for intervening in the case."

Well I hope everybody's legal asses were safely covered during this shameful display of government and bureaucracy gone mad. I mean, for those left ALIVE who could speak for themselves..... who had a lot to say about what should, or should not, happen to Terri Schiavo - I hope they can sleep soundly for the rest of THEIR LIVES.

It's absolutely disgusting that Terri Schiavo was left to die. It makes me sick.

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Wednesday, March 30, 2005 Johnnie Cochran, Lawyer for O.J. Simpson, Dies at 67

March 29th 2005 - Johnnie Cochran Jr., an attorney who rose to fame when he helped win an acquittal for former football star O.J. Simpson in a double-murder trial, died today. He was 67.

Cochran died at his home in Los Angeles, his family said in an e-mailed statement. He had been suffering from a brain tumor, the family said.

I'd like to see him talk his way out of that one!

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Monday, March 28, 2005 Cre8asite Forums Honors One Who Walks The Talk

The following item was posted by Kim Krause Berg on :: Sunday, March 27, 2005 :: on her blog at Cre8asite. Basically, since about June last year, when I started to become more involved with web design and SEO etc, I also became more involved with the happy folk at the Cre8asite Forums....

Our second annual Cre8asiteForums Example of the Year, has been selected and we're proud to introduce to you a member the Cre8asite Team voted for the honor from our forums membership.

Selected was member "Send2Paul" (aka Paul) who came to Cre8asiteForums looking for information and answers. Calling himself an "SEO Virgin", his first post made a quick impression on us because he simply and casually jumped right into a discussion with a post that attempted to help someone else, share some personal research and stimulate further discussion.

This is something we encourage in our community - members helping members.

Before long, Moderators noticed that we had someone special, who was new to SEO, experimenting with web design, learning and sharing back what he learned.

You can follow the interview between Moderator Ruud and Paul in Cre8asite Example Of The Year 2004

In addition to work related posts, Paul shares himself with the community. For example, he experienced first hand Lasik Laser Eye Surgery and shared some of his stories with us, as well as putting up a web page about it. (I was tickled to see that his page points to a web site called All About Vision, whose owner I know and it's the site I had applied my very first user persona to years back when I first began web site usability reviews for clients.)

When it was Paul's birthday, he shared it with the entire community in the Chat and Rave forum, which sparked the kind of conversation one would find in any gathering of friends.

Paul's committment to his own research brought him to Cre8asiteForums often and his passion and enthusiasm flowed each time.

"Ultimately, as I trip the Light Fantastic through my own website experiences, I come across facets of design & business which I then begin to dabble with - and then come here and learn how to get it right!"

When asked why Send2Paul stuck with Cre8asiteForums, Paul replied,

"I got involved, as such, because the good manners, etiquette, profesional & accuracy of posts, replies & comments made it a pleasurable place to come to. It's good to ask questions, answer questions, make comments in an atmosphere of understanding - and that understanding is that these forums are an area of shared knowledge and experience for people to actively take a role in - to learn & to contribute."

Ruud asked about the Web Site Hospital, which is a very popular area in the forums, where members seek assistance, but "payment" is made by helping others.

"Did you find the comment reviews (in the Web Site Hospital) helpful, too brutal, hurt your feelings, constructive? Did it make you think about other related things?"

Paul showed his humor and openness in his response,

"Nothing said hurt my feelings - I'm a big boy now This was a review about my work, not about me - and I'd have slugged the first guy or gal who'd try to get personnel with me!

I just went back and read the whole review again. It was like a story, and adventure. As more things were said and commented on, it did make me realise many things such as... I could have pre-planned my time better, I should have to expand my knowledge in certain areas about certain things etc etc."

Whenever we have those "Why am I doing this" moments, while hosting and volunteering at a large SEO/Web Design/Usability forums, we have only to look at our Community and members like Paul, who love to learn, love to "talk" and love people.

Who will be the Cre8asite Example of the Year for 2005?

:: posted by Kimberly Krause Berg on 3/27/2005 12:48:00 PM

And there you have it! So, all this time when I wasn't here and you thought I was off down the pub somewhere (!) - Iwas being getting internetedly clever elsewhere with my friends at Cre8asite.

"I didn't get where I am today...." without recognising good friendship, camaraderie, and a place to come when it it's raining when the libraries are shut!

And if you don't understand what I'm blabbering on about, I suggest you have a look at this collection of CJism's, and then if that totally bewilders a closer look at The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin - one of the best British comedy TV series ever made - and you'll understand a bit more where I'm coming from....or more about where I've been ! ;)

Later this day I got an email from Barry Welford, a gentlemen of the North East now residing in Canada, who is a resident guru/expert on the Cre8asite Forums. He also added an item about my sudden rise to fame and fortune on hie own weblog. Here is a snippet of it....

"Finding kindred spirits with similar thoughts is much easier via the Internet, particularly if you're talking in the same language. One such kindred spirit has just been honoured on the Cre8asite Forums. Send2Paul has been nominated as the Cre8asite Example of the Year. That's an honour richly deserved. We share many ideas in common and it's amazing the way coincidences can happen. It's a small world as they say. He recently had laser eye surgery and in consequence has set up a Laser Eye Surgery web page to help others. In fact my wife had laser eye surgery just 3 years ago and she still raves about how great it has been for her. My daughter also works for Lasik MD, which is the biggest laser eye surgery group in Canada.

An even stronger coincidence is that he was born in Middlesbrough in the North-East of England. I was born in Hartlepool. The two are only 7 miles apart. It's a very small world. However I could never have found that out on the Internet."

And so it is. Part of my reply also included this little look into the past regarding meeting people from home in faraway places. (Residents of the North East will understand this next passage fully!)...

"The world is a very small place...I was once on a train journey many years ago travelling from Calais to Marseilles - before TGV's - it was a l..o..n..g trip. One morning I put my head out of the carriage window to take in the fresh French country air. I spied a fair maiden also taking in the morning air from a window a few doors away from me. I tried my basic "fluent Teesside French" on here. Guess what? She was from Darlington!?! C'est la vie as they say in Thornaby! "

And that, as they say, is that. I hope all your Easter's were good ones. I'll see y'all soon.


[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Saturday, March 26, 2005 XXX MATURE

Well, I know that letting the world know how people found your weblog from the amusing search references is probably old hat..... but - and I mean butt (!), I could not resist sharing with you this little gem from Altavista...


Yup - from this weblog entry in April 2003 where I had this picture:

at the end of the blog entry.

So, what does this all prove?

1. I'm some kind of mature sex god?
2. My butt can sit safely between the large naked breasts of two women?
3. Altavista needs their image search engine looking at?

Naturally, I'll go options 1 or 2 - or both! ;)

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Friday, March 25, 2005 Shiavo - Murder Made Legal

An American over on his blog commented on the Terri Shiavo case in the simplest and strongest terms that even the Florida justice system could understand.

I suggest you go and read Shiavo, Murder Made Legal and leave an appropraite comment - I did.

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Good Friday What If.....

Just imagine - if Jesus had had a mobile phone he could have got a text something like:

"J...J... run for it dude! That twat Judas has stitched you up! Peter - The Rock Dude!"

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Thursday, March 24, 2005 Tribute To London Underground

It's called The Tube, the Underground etc, but whatever you call it, here is a video for all those people who have waited for trains, had trains cancelled, and generally have been pissed off by London Underground

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Wednesday, March 23, 2005 Life Goes On Day After Day....

.... as Gerry Marsden once said. But he and the boys started out with the band back in Liverpool, and went onto fame and fortune, with no chance of any employer turning round to them after 8 years of extremely good service, input, experience etc etc - and saying - "Well so long - there's the door!"

Maybe if I'd started a skiffle group instead of getting into this auditing lark, things might be different right now, eh? I could have been Babbling Paul and The Bloggers playing the latest tunes. "Yes, music ran in our family, my dad was always on ther fiddle!" ;) (He wasn't - but I never thought I'd get a chance to use that line here!).

Still, I suppose I have about six weeks or so to go before I get well and truly shafted. Sure there are other roles to go for - but it's not like having your own extremely decent and well respected job that I have at the moment, is it?

p.s. Post laser eye surgery joke: (this popped out of my mouth whilst talking to Sue's folks on the phone the other day when they called to wish me a Happy Birthday):

"Before the laser eye surgery I thought everything was Black and White.... now I see that it IS!"

Good evening one and all :)

25th March - for the benefit of Lainey, and anyone else who may be wondering what a skiffle band is... here is a Brief History of Skiffle

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Tuesday, March 22, 2005 Charles Manson - Victims Of Crime Officer

This item from the totally believable Unconfirmed Sources website:

"Unconfirmed sources report that The President will name convicted murder Charles Manson to head the government's Office for Victims of Crime. The appointment, yet another in a string of bold personale choices by the President, should have Manson installed in his new office in time for National Crime Victims' Rights Week, April 10-16, 2005.

"George W. Bush has done it again." Said respected right wing trouble maker Andrew Sullivan. "Just when you thought you have seen it all, the President pulls yet another rabbit out of his hat. I have to say that the Presidents recent appointments of Hughes, Bolton and Wolfowitz made me a little crazy, but the Manson choice makes everything clear to me. And no, I don't think the President is crazy for appointing people to run things they hate. I see now that the President is choosing people who have been on the other side of an issue to make it easier for the opposing sides to find the middle ground. Bold. Very bold."

"I have to say that Manson wasn't my first choice to run the Office for Victims of Crime." Admitted outgoing out-going director Frank Lee Looney. "I thought for a minute the President must be crazy, but now I understand. Who better really to empathize with a victim of a crime than a perpetrator. Manson should really be able to listen to a victim of crime and truly understand where that person is coming form. The President is brilliant for choosing Manson. I see it now.

Manson, who was serving a life sentence for grisly series of murders in 1969, will be pardoned by the President and released in time to be sworn in for National Crime Victims' Rights Week. Manson will have a very busy schedule for the week is packed full of special events to support the victims of crime.

Manson could not be reached for comment, he is in solitary confinement for stabbing a guard, but his lawyer released a statement from Manson in regards to his new Presidential appointment.

"Mr. and Mrs. America--you are wrong. I am not the King of the Jews nor am I a hippie cult leader. I am what you have made me and the mad dog devil killer fiend leper is a reflection of your society. . .Whatever the outcome of this madness that you call a fair trial or Christian justice, you can know this: In my mind's eye my thoughts light fires in your cities."

In other news the President has appointed Sister Souljah to head the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights."

Holy Shit - has the world gone mad!? For those who have forgotten what this guy did here's a little CNN Story to fill you in on some of the details. I'm not going to list the gruesome details of what Manson and his followers did, just check out that CNN link and search the net yourself.

But! If that story is true - then everything you ever read about George Bush Jnr is probably true. So expect an invasion of Iran and North Korea real soon. Oh, and Michael Jackson will probably be appointed National Child Protection Officer as well.

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Monday, March 21, 2005 John Delorean Dies

John Zachary DeLorean, the dashing former General Motors executive whose flamboyant lifestyle faded into obscurity after charges that he tried to use drug money to salvage his own fledgling car company DeLorean Motor Car Co., has died. He was 80.

DeLorean, who created the gull-winged car adapted as Michael J. Fox' time-traveling vehicle in the "Back to the Future" films of the 1980s, died Saturday at Overlook Hospital in Summit, N.J., of complications from a recent stroke, a funeral home spokesman said.

I never knew much about the guy, but there wouldn't have been that great movie without that car! :)

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Saturday, March 19, 2005 Happy Birthday To Me!

Also born on 19th March....
1955 Bruce Willis
1936 Ursula Andress
1928 Patrick McGoohan
1848 Wyatt Earp

Now that puts me in pretty good company - and explains a lot!

But let's bring you up-to-date with me. So, born 19th March 1963 - that was a long time ago now......... in Middlesbrough, in Parkside Maternity hospital, (which then became an "old people's home"). At his point Bruce Willis would have been celebrating his 8th birthday - and was probably flirting with all the girls, running a detective agency and saving tower blocks and airplanes from German terrorists!

Wyatt Earp had been dead for 24 years - no fault of his own really. He spent his final years working mining claims in the Mojave Desert. He and Josie, (his third wife), summered in Los Angeles, where they befriended early Hollywood actors and lived off real estate and mining investments. He died in Los Angeles at the age of 80 on January 13, 1929.

Ursula Andress, (born in Ostermundigen, Bern, Switzerland), would have been at the gorgeous age of 27 when I was born. A year earlier, of course, she had made that amazing entrance up the beach in James Bond Dr No

Now this guy had an interesting start......Patrick Joseph McGoohan was born at 4:31 a.m. on March 19th, 1928 in Astoria, Long Island, New York. His father, Thomas McGoohan was an Irish farmer who had married Rose Fitzpatrick in the 1920's. They then emigrated to the United States of America to look for work. His parents did not stay in the U.S. for long and moved back to Ireland. Seven years later they moved to Sheffield, England.
By the time I was born Paddy was somewhere in the middle of being Danger Man - some say that the character John Drake was also the unamed character in The Prisoner. At that time I would have said "Goo goo gaa gaa..." ;)

And what the hell am I up to now? Lordy - spending time on the net with you writing meaningless drivel for hours on end. I suppose I should go and check the doormat for the hundreds of cards arriving, telegram from the Queen etc. Maybe I'll have a champagne lunch.... a day at the races..... a night at the opera - and some other Marx Brothers movie title type of activities. Or I'll just sit around and do bugger all instead - and chill :)

For all of you who also have their birthday on March 19th - Happy birthday to you! And please leave a comment in the feedback.

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Thursday, March 17, 2005 Looking For Another Job

So, in the absence of any constructive plan of attack late this afternoon, I decided to take the ultimate plunge - and contact the Job Centre to see if they could offer any advice/guidance etc for someone who is in my predicament, (which is not as bad as it seems, as there could be something looming internally on the horizon.... which does sound all rather medical I know, but there could be a job in it).

Anyway, after two phone calls it transpires that Job Centres are there just to help people who are unemployed. Why I couldn't have been told that when I called the first place, I don't know. And the lady in the second place seeemed almost apologetic as she told me they couldn't do anything for me.

I'm glad I wasn't unemployed, desperate, at my wits end etc - because that little telephone runaround would have really pissed me off!

As it as, I'll just go with the flow for now - and see what happens.....yeah right, lol ;)

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Wednesday, March 16, 2005 Phoenix Rising - Nashville, TN

I came across Phoenix Rising whilst trawling through the links on someone else's website. Here's what they say about themselves:

"PHOENIX RISING is energy and contagious FUN while being a professional band of dedicated musicians who play ROCK-N-ROLL. Their originals have a ROCK/BLUES nature to them. Phoenix Rising’s performance is not strictly music. WILD stage performance make the show an EXPERIENCE rather than just a show."

And their music is great! Try this one for size: City Electric. And my favourite is a small video clip of the old Sweet hit Ballroom Blitz.

I'll never get to see them live, which is a pity, because it looks like it would be a great night!

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Liberal Bloggers Reaching Out to Major Media

The New York Times, March 14, 2005, By JONATHAN D. GLATER

Even as online pundits criticize traditional news organizations as slow, biased and technologically challenged, a group of bloggers is trying to use old-fashioned telephone conference calls to share their ideas with newspaper and television journalists.

The bloggers, who describe themselves as liberal or progressive, say the conference calls are intended to counter what they regard as the much stronger influence of conservative pundits online. Bob Fertik, president of, the host of the two calls so far, views them as a step toward getting their reports out to mainstream news organizations.

While there is no way to know precisely who dialed in, reporters from news organizations including CBS, The Washington Post, Newsweek, MSNBC and The National Journal asked for a call-in number, according to one participant.

"We hope to build a bridge," Mr. Fertik said, adding that different bloggers would be invited to share their reporting on each call. "We hope that good credible stories that are broken on the Internet find their way into coverage in the mainstream media."

The conference call is a small development in the complex relationship between bloggers and the mainstream media. Traditional journalists largely ignored bloggers when they emerged, but have begun to take note of their influence as online commentators assumed roles in news stories like the flaws in the report by "60 Minutes Wednesday" on President Bush's National Guard service and the comments by the former CNN chief, Eason Jordan, about the military's treatment of journalists in Iraq.

As more news emerges online, or what is reported offline becomes fodder for further investigation, the lines between those operating in the world of online news and commentary and those at the traditional media organizations have become more blurred and sometimes less confrontational. Some news organizations now credit blogs that originate stories, extending to them the treatment other media receive. Some bloggers, in turn, argue that they should receive all the legal privileges that traditional journalists often have, including the right to protect news sources.

Mr. Fertik maintains that the blurring of boundaries has benefited left-wing bloggers less than their adversaries on the right, saying that reports posted on conservative blogs more easily make the jump to the main news media. "The way we perceive it," he said, "is that right-wing bloggers are able to invent stories, get them out on Drudge, get them on Rush Limbaugh, get them on Fox, and pretty soon that spills over into the mainstream media. We, the progressives, we don't have that kind of network to work with."

Some on the right disagree, arguing that the news reported by traditional media is tainted by liberal bias. "We learned years ago that the mainstream media just weren't going to pay attention to us," said Kristinn Taylor of the Web site

But bloggers on all sides agree that the left has made less effective use of the opportunities to organize and wield influence afforded by the Internet. The reasons, though, are more complex than they might appear. "It's not just a story about the blogosphere," said Jack M. Balkin, a professor and director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. "It's a story about the conservative social networks of which the blogosphere is a part. The important thing is the network - and I mean the social network."

It is probably too early to tell how successful the conference calls have been, although Mr. Fertik said that the audio recording of the first call had been downloaded some 2,000 times. During the second call, held last Tuesday, Brad Friedman, who runs, discussed his investigation into accusations of rigged electronic voting machines - a contentious subject that drew questions from listeners, mostly other bloggers.

Some phoned from far away, including places in Canada, to take part in the call, which lasted more than an hour. Listeners asked if a figure in Mr. Friedman's inquiry had taken a lie-detector test and if any traditional news outlets had picked up the story.

Will Femia, a producer at who monitors blogging, said he was surprised by how well that call worked. "It was a fascinating idea," he said, "and I would also say that it's not a bad idea to try something like that. I know that the news producers that I've spoken with are still engaged in a learning curve on how to extract news from blogs."

Mr. Femia, who sometimes presents ideas based on bloggers' postings, said he was not sure exactly how stories made the transition. "I don't know what the tipping point is," he said, adding that some reporters clearly checked blogs for ideas.

Another conservative Web site, younger than, may offer the best lesson on how to gain influence, a lesson that would resonate with any aspiring journalist: tell a compelling, highly topical story. was one of the first blogs to spread criticism of the documents used as evidence in the "60 Minutes Wednesday" segment, said Paul Mirengoff, a Washington lawyer and a member of the site. "We put the question on our blog and then our readers started weighing in," he said, adding that because the topic was so sensational, it was inevitable that it would make it into the mainstream media.

"That really spiked our readership," Mr. Mirengoff said, and established the site as a force to be reckoned with.

But he disputed the idea that conservative bloggers had greater success in getting their stories spread by mainstream reporters. "The left just thinks we're getting a free ride and the mainstream media are just eating out of our hand," he said. "That's just not the case."

He added that he would be curious to see what happened with the conference call effort. "It never would've occurred to me," he said. "It seems a reasonable thing to do and if it works, we might copy it."

Mr. Balkin said that building the influence of a particular Web site requires more than simply expressing conservative views online or taking on a broadcast journalist like Dan Rather. What matters is the willingness of like-minded people to establish links to that Web site, to drive more traffic there, and of yet other like-minded people in traditional news organizations, in talk radio and on television to draw on it.

"It's a team effort," Mr. Taylor of said. "We feed off each other, because the radio hosts would have information that we didn't have and then we would post that." In the early days of FreeRepublic, meetings with politicians and other offline efforts helped get word of the site out, too.

Right-leaning bloggers were unified by the presence of President Bill Clinton in the 1990's, Mr. Balkin said. That fueled their sense of commitment, he said, adding that while the war in Iraq might have a similar effect on the left now, that would take time.

Asked what lessons liberal and progressive bloggers could learn from the experience of FreeRepublic, Mr. Taylor replied that while "I'm loath to give them advice," they might have to outgrow the conspiracy-theory stage of blogging to produce reports that are credible and relevant to a wider audience.

"In the old days of FreeRepublic," he said, "we had all kinds of black helicopters" and speculation about the effect of the Y2K problem. After the world did not end on Jan. 1, 2000, he said, "We tried to be more realistic."

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 Post Bollocks Blues

Anyway, it's Day Five in the Big Brother House - all the candidates were told they were up for eviction last Friday. But the twist is - instead of the public vote - they're just going to kick them all out instead!

More sly innuendo on a channel near you soon...

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Saturday, March 12, 2005
Dave Allen 1936-2005

David Tynan O'Mahony, born in Dublin, Ireland in July, 1936, better known as the comedian Dave Allen, has died in his sleep at his home in west London. The cause of his death is not yet known.

His relaxed and intimate style had a huge impact on British comedy, and his taboo-breaking, expletive-ridden musings on subjects such as sex and Catholicism paved the way for future generations of comedians. He became a household name in Britain in the 70s thanks to the success of his TV shows Tonight With Dave Allen and Dave Allen at Large.

He was a very nice guy. My mum met him once many years ago when she was working as a receptionist in a local hotel where he was staying. She got his autograph :)

I used to really enjoy his TV shows - particularly the sketch about the food fight around the table of monks who had taken the vow of silence. And one of his favourite jokes:

"A man goes to heaven, and St Peter shows him around. They go past one room, and the man asks: "Who are all those people in there?" "They are the Methodists," says St Peter. They pass another room, and the man asks the same question. "They are the Anglicans," says St Peter. As they're approaching the next room, St Peter says: "Take your shoes off and tiptoe by as quietly as you can." "Why, who's in there?" asks the man. "The Catholics," says St Peter, "and they think that they're the only ones up here."

And in the memorable words of Dave Allen that used to end every TV show:

"Goodnight, thank you, and may your God go with you."

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Friday, March 11, 2005 Well I Never - Shafted By My Own Company!

Unaccustomed as I am to public outcrys of "No fair play umpire!", I would like to draw your attention to today's events in Dixons...

This morning I had a job.

This evening my job doesn't exist anymore.

I have 90 days to consult. I can re-apply for another - lower grade/lower salary - job in my dept. I can get first crack at a couple of other jobs outside the dept.

It's all business. Some people in the dept. have effectively lost their jobs. It's business.

Business sucks.

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Wednesday, March 09, 2005 Keeping The Bad Guys Honest

The New York Times, March 7, 2005

At a Suit's Core: Are Bloggers Reporters, Too?

In the physical world, being labeled a journalist may confer little prestige and may even evoke some contempt. But being a journalist can also confer certain privileges, like the right to keep sources confidential. And for that reason many bloggers, a scrappy legion of online commentators and pundits, would like to be considered reporters, too.

A lawsuit filed in California by Apple Computer is drawing the courts into that question: who should be considered a journalist?

The case, which involves company secrets that Apple says were disclosed on several Web sites, is being closely followed in the world of online commentators, but it could have broad implications for journalists working for traditional news organizations as well.

If the court, in Santa Clara County, rules that bloggers are journalists, the privilege of keeping news sources confidential will be applied to a large new group of people, perhaps to the point that it may be hard for courts in the future to countenance its extension to anyone.

"It's very serious stuff," said Brad Friedman, who describes himself as an investigative blogger (his site is "Are they bloggers because they only publish online? I think you have to look at what folks are doing. And if they're reporting, then they're reporters."

Apple has long had a devoted following, and leaked information about new Apple products has appeared on Web sites for years. To combat this, the company filed the suit late last year against the sources of these leaks - people the company assumes are employees or contractors.

Apple has asked the court to compel the Web sites that displayed the product information to disclose their identity. Bloggers are fighting Apple's efforts, which it has focused on three Web sites -, and

The judge in the case, James Kleinberg, is required only to interpret a California statute that recognizes a privilege protecting reporters in keeping news sources confidential. A ruling could come as early as this week.

On its face, the lawsuit brought by Apple has to do with theft of trade secrets. But Susan Crawford, a law professor at Cardozo law school of Yeshiva University (and a blogger herself), says that the steps Apple has asked the court to take open a broader question.

"Under what circumstances should an online forum be forced to disclose a source behind information that they're posting?" Ms. Crawford said. "There is no principled distinction between a New York Times reporter and a blogger for these purposes. Both operate as news sources for wide swaths of the general public."

Blogs, she added, are already becoming more and more powerful, and some have readerships that exceed those of small-town newspapers. "We've seen it with Rather being brought down by bloggers," she said, referring to the CBS news anchor, who came under intense scrutiny by bloggers after a "60 Minutes Wednesday" segment on President Bush's National Guard service was broadcast .

Judge Kleinberg is likely to try to decide the case on the narrowest possible grounds, perhaps reading the text of the California law at issue to cover only people who work for traditional newspapers and magazines or television news programs, and to avoid deciding if bloggers are indeed journalists, Ms. Crawford said.

Whatever the judge's decision, it is all but certain to be appealed. But the question of who is a journalist is to many a matter of deeper concern.

Some bloggers want any protection available to journalists at traditional media companies to also be available to them, and journalists at those companies want to make sure that the reporter shield privilege is preserved.

Yet if recognizing a privilege for bloggers means that everyone online can maintain that they are journalists, judges may conclude that rather than giving everyone the privilege, no one should have it. That possibility worries reporters, who could find themselves at new risk for what they write or broadcast.

Apple has not sued the Web sites for damages for publishing the trade secrets, but it could try, said Eugene Volokh, a law professor at U.C.L.A. He is considering filing a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on the side of the bloggers, saying that the privilege should extend to them.

"This turns out to be an unresolved question of First Amendment law," Mr. Volokh said, referring to the issue of liability for the Web sites.

Attempting to draw a distinction based on the medium used by the blogger or reporter is misguided, said Jack Balkin, a professor at Yale Law School (also a blogger). "In 15 years, there may be no clear distinction between reporters on the one hand and bloggers on the other," he said. "It won't just be an either-or, where you have a reporter for The Chicago Tribune on the one hand, and a guy sitting in his pajamas drinking beer on the other."

Not all blogs are equally influential and not all blogs even try to report, in the usual sense of cultivating sources, actively gathering information and then organizing and presenting it to the public, Mr. Balkin added. "There are millions and millions of blogs, and most of them are for gossip."

Many states have privilege statutes like the one in California, and others may consider enacting them. To determine who should be able to claim any kind of privilege against disclosing news sources, he said, courts and lawmakers should look at exactly what the would-be reporter does.

"It should be extended on a functional basis," he said. So a blogger who interviews people and spends significant amounts of time gathering and organizing information could claim the privilege; a blogger who wrote about good and bad recipes, and who one day stumbled onto a copy of the Pentagon papers and printed them, might not.

Such a functional definition could prove elastic, and an enterprising blogger would have every reason to assert any available privilege. Mr. Balkin - asked whether he would assert the privilege if a former student leaked information to him about a Supreme Court justice that then appeared on his Web site - did not hesitate to claim it for himself.

"I would be willing to claim that if you look in my blog, what I'm doing is so similar to what Lewis or Krugman or Safire do," he said, referring to Anthony Lewis, Paul Krugman and William Safire, current and former columnists for The Times, that "although it's done more informally and it's about a much narrower area, that I could claim that I was in the functional definition. That's what happens when you start taking a functional approach."

Mr. Friedman, the blogger, said that ultimately, bloggers' role as purveyors of important information that traditional news organizations might ignore made online journalists more important than before, and so more deserving of protection.

"As the mainstream media has become more and more corporate and more and more like the governmental and corporate bodies that mainstream journalists used to report on," he said, "a lot of this stuff has fallen now to the bloggers - to do what mainstream folks used to do. It's still serving the exact same purpose: keeping the bad guys honest."

(Thanks to my brother in Australia for sending me the above article)

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Sunday, March 06, 2005 "Civic Amenity Site, Buckingham Hill Road, Linford

.....(also known as 'the tip' or 'the dump')" - and these are the actual words on the Thurrock Council website regarding the local rubbish dump where people can get rid of all their trash, junk etc. It's nice to know that they understand that people would not be searching for the Civic Amenity Site website when they want to find somewhere to dump their shit. I want a job at the Civic Amenity Site. What a great place! I mean, I did four trips their today - yes, there was a lot of shit being thrown out of the garage. (Including a box where some mice had been living.... I don't get down the far end of the garage that often!).

I got talking to one of the guys who worked there - as he jumped into one of the huge dumpsters and pulled out a battered Hornby train set & retrieved the decent carriages which he was going to sell later on. He said there's all kinds of "good stuff" thrown out by people. In fact, in the four trips, covering a four trip this morning I saw some great stuff being thrown away myself. One of the items was a 1956 Ferguson valve, (working!), stereogram in a great looking condition. Marvellous!

Now, how do I persuade Sue that it's a good idea for me to get a job at the tip? ;)

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Thursday, March 03, 2005 Duke Jones Music

Whilst scanning the new weblogs in Blog Studio, I came across the blog belonging to Duke Jones. In case you don't go there, you can jump straight to his music page at Duke Jones Music. I downloaded and listened to his Gambler's Blues song. It really was quite good.

So, if you fancy reading about Gulf Coast Blues, and listening to the blues sound of Duke Jones, take a trip to Duke Jones Music - you'll be pleasantly surprised.

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Wednesday, March 02, 2005 Not A Lot To Say? Say It Here!

It's not that I haven't got a lot to say - I have. It's just that I'm absolutely knackered at the moment. A few long days in a row does tend to wipe you out a little. But I thought I'd pop on again just to say "hi".

I think I might give the guys at Audioblog a call and get fixed up with them. I'm spending far to much time in the car at the moment - when I could be audio blogging all my weird and wonderful thoughts to you. The only thing that's stopping me at the moment is the lack of response from Wayne, the webmaster chappie for Blog Studio. He's a bit erratic sometimes when it comes to answering emails. So I'll ask him here:

"Wayne - can I use Audioblog on my Blog Studio blog?"

He probably doesn't read the blogs anyway. But it would be neat wouldn't it? If you missed the sound of my voice the first time I tried an audioblog type experiment then have a listen me here: This Is Me! yakking about getting into the car in West London.

Well, that's about me done for now. So, if you have nothing to say as well - say it here first! :)

(edited) - Well! I'll eat my strawberry flavoured hat! Wayne said "hello" - read his comment below :)

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

Tuesday, March 01, 2005 Just Thought I'd Say "Hi"

- because I can :)

[Link] - | Old Blog Search

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