define “astroturf”

by twit

One of the more annoying side effects of the leftish side of the blogosphere remaining so quiet about the “Ellie Light” fracas is that they have much longer memories than I do about various ‘astroturfing’ incidents, and they could contribute to a discussion about this far better than I’ll be able to.

So what is astroturfing?  This was one of the examples that I was thinking of:

Last month, Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) announced a congressional investigation of the DC lobbying firm Bonner & Associates. The firm, which has a long history of astroturfing, was caught forging anti-clean energy reform letters — purportedly from groups representing women and people of color — to Congress.

When I think of “astroturf,” I think of something that is fake and pretending to be something it’s not.  Politically, it is a corporation or political organization pretending to be individual members of the public.  They pretend to be individuals who have spontaneously decided to speak out and have no apparent connection to the organization.

I doubt that “Ellie Light” is connected to a corporation or organization, along the lines of what Ann Althouse has said, because a skilled astroturfer just wouldn’t be so stupid.  So “Ellie Light” doesn’t really fit the definition.   I think that “Ellie Light” used a version of ‘astroturf’ tactics by pretending to speak as a local resident, but I find it hard to believe at this point that there was encouragement or payment for such a deceitful and poorly executed stunt.

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an Ellie Light list

by twit

The Ellie Light phenomenon was first reported by Sabrina Eaton of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, by way of the Drudge Report:

“It’s time for Americans to realize that governing is hard work, and that a president can’t just wave a magic wand and fix everything,” said a letter from alleged Philadelphian Ellie Light, that was published in the Jan. 19 edition of The Philadelphia Daily News.A letter from Light in the Jan. 20 edition of the San Francisco Examiner concluded with an identical sentence, but with an address for Light all the way across the country in Daly City, California.

Variations of Light’s letter ran in Ohio’s Mansfield News Journal on Jan. 13, with Light claiming an address in Mansfield; in New Mexico’s Ruidoso News on Jan. 12, claiming an address in Three Rivers; in South Carolina’s The Sun News on Jan. 18, claiming an address in Myrtle Beach; and in the Daily News Leader of Staunton, Virginia on Jan. 15, claiming an address in Waynesboro. Her publications list includes other papers in Ohio, West Virginia, Maine, Michigan, IowaPennsylvania and California, all claiming separate addresses.

and then there were more.  and more.  and more.  and then I found a new one (and another) (and another).  I checked and organized links from the Cleveland Plain Dealer articles and the Paterrico posts (including the comments) to look at all this and get a sense of the unfolding story.

so it appears to begin, much like everything else, on the Internet…

Internet

January 7, 2010. Politico. no address.

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What is lurking in that North Carolina sewer?

by twit

Finally!  The mystery has been solved.

The robot, “Plasmobot,” will be created using vegetative slime mold called plasmodium (Physarum polycephalum) that is commonly found in forests, gardens, and most damp places in the UK.

Horrible moving blob things were filmed awhile back by an apparent sewer colonoscopy, and the commentariat developed various  theories about the creatures in the video:  bryozoans, tubifex worms, or plasmodial slime mold.

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banksy! banksy! banksy!

by twit

“He’s got an attractive method of perking up a blank wall…”

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The Socialist Hellscape

by twit

of Norway, as reported by the New York Times on May 14, 2009:

… in the midst of the worst global downturn since the Depression, Norway’s economy grew last year by just under 3 percent. The government enjoys a budget surplus of 11 percent and its ledger is entirely free of debt.

[...] Banks represent just 2 percent of the economy and tight public oversight over their lending practices have kept Norwegian banks from taking on the risk that brought down their Icelandic counterparts. But they certainly have not closed their doors to borrowers.

[...] To Ms. Halvorsen, the finance minister, even the underside of the Norwegian dream looks pretty good compared to the economic nightmares elsewhere.

“As a socialist, I have always said that the market can’t regulate itself,” she said. “But even I was surprised how strong the failure was.”

for future reference, while we wait with baited bated breath for the Republicans to launch their upcoming campaign to ‘rebrand’ Democrats as the “Democrat Socialist Party.”

Red dawn feminism

by twit

Lunchbreath.

image via The Daily What

We’ve come a long, long way.

There’s so much more work to do, but I’m not sure that it is appropriate to continue to fly the feminist banner when doing it.

Since history tends to like dates and such, I’ll be so bold as to say that the day American feminism died was when Cosmo laid claim to the third wave.

When a radical movement goes that mainstream, I think that’s as good a sign as any that the tide has turned.

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Swine Flu! Swine Flu! Swine Flu!

by twit

Finally, some good-sounding news from the Associated Press on May 1, 2009:

CDC flu chief Nancy Cox said the good news is “we do not see the markers for virulence that were seen in the 1918 virus.” Nor does swine flu virus have the virulence traits found in the H5N1 strain of bird flu seen in recent years in Asia and other parts of the world, she said.

However:

It’s too soon to draw any definitive conclusions about what this variation of the H1N1 virus will do. Experts say the only wise course is to prepare for the worst.

this pandemic needs some theme music:

and a handy site to answer the question “Do I have Swine Flu?

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