The New York Times on Female Bloggers

This is the sort of thing I should really be sending by email to a handful of people as opposed to posting. This is for the benefit of those I’ve known going back to before this blog was started. The New York Times has an article about the problems many women bloggers have being taken seriously. Vox Popoli responds with five things women bloggers must do to be taken seriously. I am not indicating agreement or in any saying these problems apply widely. The post caught my attention primarily as the final two apply so well to one particular situation, and again I am not accusing any other women bloggers of this:

4. Don’t threaten to quit blogging every time anyone criticizes you.

5. Learn how to defend your positions with facts and logic instead of passive-aggressive parthian shots fired off as you run away.

Some will know the situation where this applied and see how this fits perfectly. For others, it doesn’t really matter. There is another aspect of this post where I agree with Vox in citing Megan McArdle as a female blogger who “merits being taken seriously.” Megan would be high on my list of female bloggers I take seriously, even when I disagree with her. There is a contradiction in dismissing the complaints of female bloggers while citing Megan as one who merits being taken seriously. Megan is quoted in the article as agreeing with many of the complaints:

Other prominent female bloggers who did not attend the BlogHer conference agreed that there are unique challenges that women in the blogosphere face. “Women get dismissed in ways that men don’t,” said Megan McArdle, an associate editor at The Atlantic Monthly who writes a blog about economic issues. She added that women are taught not to be aggressive and analytical in the way that the political blogosphere demands, and are more likely to receive blog comments on how they look, rather than what they say.

While I’m certain there are many examples of woman bloggers getting dismissed, this is not always the case. The strongest argument I can provide for not dismissing this female blogger is the number of times I have quoted her work.

Of course there are also many other female bloggers who merit being taken seriously. Another example is Digby. She is critical of this story for being in the style section. I agree that based upon content this should be classified more as technology than style, but I wonder about how it wound up there. If this was a case of an article which was written and then someone decided where to put it, then I totally agree that placing it in the style section was the wrong choice. However I wonder if was due to where the author works (or which editor she has connections with). During a quick search for her previous articles every article I looked at was in the Fashion and Style section. I suspect that this placement was simply a matter of how newspapers work.

Since we are ranging from technology to Fashion and Style, I’ll even the playing field slighty by showing that not only female bloggers deal with matters beyond hard analysis. While I certainly won’t get involved in the type of comments on clothing which Digby rightly mocks, I cannot resist also noting that the first point I noticed in the article was how the conference took place at the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. I’ve stayed there in the past and it was an excellent place to stay. Of course no trip to San Francisco can be considered a hardship.

Obama Takes Time to Think

Political Punch reports on a conversation between Barack Obama and Tory Leader David Cameron:

Seemingly unaware of an enormous fuzzy boom mike held by ABC News’ Eric Kerchner, the two chatted casually — and privately.

“You should be on the beach,” Cameron told Obama. “You need a break. Well, you need to be able to keep your head together.”

“You’ve got to refresh yourself,” agreed Obama.

“Do you have a break at all?” asked Cameron.

“I have not,” said Obama. “I am going to take a week in August. But I agree with you that somebody, somebody who had worked in the White House who — not Clinton himself, but somebody who had been close to the process —  said that, should we be successful, that actually the most important thing you need to do is to have big chunks of time during the day when all you’re doing is thinking. And the biggest mistake that a lot of these folks make is just feeling as if you have to be — ”

“These guys just chalk your diary up,” said Cameron, referring to a packed schedule.

“Right,” Obama said. “In 15 minute increments …”

“We call it the dentist’s waiting room,” Cameron said. “You have to scrap that because you’ve got to have time.”

“And, well, and you start making mistakes,” Obama said, “or you lose the big picture. Or you lose a sense of, I think you lose a feel– ”

“Your feeling,” interrupted Cameron. “And that is exactly what politics is all about. The judgment you bring to make decisions.”

“That’s exactly right,” Obama said. “And the truth is that we’ve got a bunch of smart people, I think, who know ten times more than we do about the specifics of the topics. And so if what you’re trying to do is micromanage and solve everything then you end up being a dilettante but you have to have enough knowledge to make good judgments about the choices that are presented to you.”

Ann Althouse characterizes this as Obama “mainly saying ‘I’m the decider”” but this is quite different from the attitude exhibited by George Bush. George Bush takes on the role of “the decider” to dismiss criticism from others and ignore those who do not agree with his decisions which are set in stone. Even many conservatives have acknowledged that being willing to listen to the views of others is one of Obama’s strong points. Making decisions after hearing the views of a variety of experts is the opposite of George Bush’s method of making decisions.

Most important of all, it would be a considerable improvement to have a president who actually does take time to think. That is why, in contrast to the current president and in contrast to John McCain, Obama is the one who “knows his stuff” and has reasonable ideas to run on.

Six of One, Half a Dozen of Another: McCain Adopts The Obama Plan for Iraq


John McCain has flip-flopped once again, this time on his Iraq policy. After attacking Obama’s plan for months he has essentially endorsed it. McCain reversed course on the sixteen month time table, first proposed by Obama and later endorsed by the Iraqi government, saying “I think it’s a pretty good timetable” in an interview on CNN. The video is above and the transcript follows:

BLITZER: What if Maliki persists? You’re president and he says he wants US troops out and he wants them out, let’s say in a year or two years or 16 months or whatever. What do you do? Do you listen to the prime minister?

MCCAIN: He won’t. He won’t. He won’t. Because it has to be condition-based.

BLITZER: How do you know?

MCCAIN: Because I know him. And I know him very well. And I know the other leaders. And I know — I’ve been there eight times, as you know. I know them very, very well.

BLITZER: So why do you think he said that 16 months is basically a pretty good timetable?

MCCAIN: He said it’s a pretty good timetable based on conditions on the ground. I think it’s a pretty good timetable, as we should — or horizons for withdrawal. But they have to be based on conditions on the ground.

During the Republican nomination battle, McCain repeatedly attacked Mitt Romney by accusing him of supporting a timetable for withdrawing:

First, he slapped at Romney without naming him during a question-and-answer session with Floridians, saying: “Now, one of my opponents wanted to set a date for withdrawal that would have meant disaster.”

Minutes later to reporters, the Arizona senator was more direct: “If we surrender and wave a white flag, like Senator Clinton wants to do, and withdraw, as Governor Romney wanted to do, then there will be chaos, genocide, and the cost of American blood and treasure would be dramatically higher.”

McCain has also repeatedly accused Obama of supporting surrender. In a May interview McCain said, “For him to talk about dates for withdrawal, which basically is surrender in Iraq after we’re succeeding so well is, I think, really inexcusable.”

McCain previously thought it was a good idea to remain in Iraq for one-hundred years, and defended his plan by attacking Obama and Clinton while promising to stick to his plan to remain:

“And both Sen. Obama and Clinton want to set a date for withdrawal — that means chaos, that means genocide, that means undoing all the success we’ve achieved and al Qaeda tells the world they defeated the United States of America.

“I won’t let that happen.”

Now McCain has suddenly adopted Obama’s plan. McCain’s supporters have tried to downplay the manner in which McCain has adopted Obama’s plan by stressing that the withdrawal must be based upon conditions on the ground, but considering conditions on the ground has been part of Obama’s plan all along. A sixteen month plan for withdrawal is a sixteen month plan regardless of whether you admit this is Obama’s plan, and nobody would deny that such a plan must be flexible enough to change with changing conditions on the ground.