How To Be Effective

This may be my only post today….I have to settle a bunch of legal stuff dealing with my father’s estate…….but do not despair I shall return….probably more opinionated than I was……we can only hope that I do not take offense and try and strangle some random attorney……my handler will be with me to keep me on the straight and narrow……Let us pray!

All of us bloggers, especially those of us that write on politics, want to be effective.  We try and bring issues and situations to light to hopefully start a dialog…..we all want what is best for the country and its people.

When I began my political writing and analysis I was given some great advice by my grandfather…….”Never write a novel when a paragraph will do.”  Basically, keep it short and precise and always stay on topic.  It has proven to be excellent advice that has served me well over the years of writing and speaking.

I try to help my fellow bloggers in any way that I can….I am by no means an expert and have made many mistakes in the last 8 years of blogging….a lot of hit and miss……I pass on some of the stuff that I have come across in those years that could possibly help my friends and fellow bloggers……

Awhile back I was reading on the ‘net and came across some advice that a man, Ramzy Baroud, had given to a 16 year old that wanted to get involved in activism….let me pass on a couple of his points that I found helpful……..

Humanize – But don’t sanctify your subject

It doesn’t matter how worthy a cause is, if it is too distant or disconnected from people. It is essential that you allow your audience the chance to relate to your cause as that of people, with names and stories, beautiful, inspiring, but also disheartening and complex. But it is important that you don’t provide a sanctified, thus unrealistic narrative either, for your audience will disown you and question your credibility. Humanize your subject, but remain truthful in your presentation.

Be educated, strive for intellect and be wary of ideology

Education will give you access to otherwise inaccessible platforms. It will empower you and your message with the articulation you need to widen your circle of support. But you are also an intellectual. The right education could further develop your intellect. And when it is done with sincerity, both education and intellect will feed on one another. While there is no harm in adhering to an ideology that you may perceive to hold the answers to the dilemmas with which you contend, be wary of becoming an ideologue, a slave to stubborn dogmas. That will stifle your intellect and will make your education a mere platform to serve unworthy, elitist causes.

Keep an open mind

No matter how powerful your argument may seem, how high your education and how insurmountable your intellect is, remain humble and open-minded. If you close your mind, it will cease to grow. Your ideas will eventually become outdated, and your ability to imagine a world beyond your own will wither and die under the weight of your own sense of self-importance.

These are excellent points and I feel that if we try to keep them in mind there could be a better dialog and possibly find the answers we are all striving to find…..Just a few of my thoughts early in the morn after a good cup of Joe…….Have a day, my friends.

How To Judge Success

It is the holiday season…..

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the blog…..not a creature was stirring with the exception of Chuq…..the professor, who just cannot let it go…….

All of us bloggers want a successful blog……we like to know that people are reading and appreciating our diligence….but how do we judge success?  Some of us spread HATE….and they may call it anything they like…but if it smells like a turd…it usually is……do we want a certain type of person to visit and read or do we just like to know that all visitors appreciate the work it takes to post on a daily basis without being redundant….or are the visitors looking for crap that can feed the hate?

I admit that I spew a little hate from time to time….but if I single a person out for an insult or two I will email them a copy of my post and ask them if they would like to respond and that anything they write will be posted on my blog…..I give everyone a fighting chance to explain their thinking.

I try to give my reader news that is just not regurgitation of the day’s talking points but rather news that they may not be aware of….news that could have a profound result if it goes unchecked……all that is just ducky……but how does one judge success?

Some like a ba-zillion hits on their site……others like it when everyone feels the necessity to re-blog their posts…..some feel that they need recognition from outside entity in the form of awards………all these are indications of a successful blog and I too would like ALL of them……but for me….I judge success by the number of followers…..that means that the more followers one has the more people get each and every post by email……and most are never counted as ‘hits’….I like the idea that so many people will receive my posts and hopefully ALL are reading them…..but I am realistic…..probably only a small amount of people actually spend the time to read my posts…….But I feel good that that many people get them daily……and then I judge success by the comments…….not necessarily the quantity but the quality….and so far my visitors are of high quality and even when I do not agree…the exchanges are thoughtful and civil….and I thank those people from the bottom of my heart…..I have you guys and that makes In Saner Thought a success……..

Hopefully, they appreciate the work that goes into writing a post and ….once again hopefully it will give them an insight that they had not considered in the past……conversations will save this country from the insanity that it now has made for itself……the more we talk the better the understanding……the better the understanding the sooner we start working as a people and stop this tribal insanity…..

I would like to thank all my followers, commenters and friends that I have made…… writing this blog is a joy…..and that is why I do it and I consider In Saner Thought a success…….thank you one and all for all your help in making this blog a success.

Merry Christmas to all….and to all a good night!

Name Change UpDate

Yesterday I decided to change the title of my blog……it has gone through a couple of changes since 2006…..Studies and Observations…..Info Ink….Opus Libertas…..Blue Nation Agitations…..and several in between….but none of they popped for me…..and last night I found a small book of poetry I did in the late 70′s….the title was In Saner Thought……BAM!

That pops for me……no matter what your political or economic affiliation the title will mean something.

Thanx to my readers that help me through this agonizing search and decision……I appreciate all the assistance

Name Change!

I started my blog back in the days when I was in rehab for a crushed leg, then it was titled, “Studies and Observations”.  I have long been a political animal, mainly in political thought and not so much into the day to day activity of a party….although I have from time to time bitched and moaned like most of the others bloggers on certain topics and issues.

In the beginning it was mostly a spot for me to comment on the war between Lebanon and Israel……and cut and paste of accounts of that war……and then I started injecting my political thoughts into to content and it began to morph….it was at this point that I decided to re-name the blog, Info Ink, in honor of a company I started back in the early 90′s…….after awhile I changed the name again because I figured that if it was Googled most of the pings would be for ink prices and such….the new name was Opus Libertas or Liberty’s Work.

Today I have to decided to try again to find that perfect title for my blog……Opus Libertas is just not doing it for me.  But what to change it to was the gnawing question….and over coffee I was thinking about my past…..the days when I was an anti-war activist, a union organizer and political writer I was attending a conference presenting a paper on the shortcomings in theory of non-violence and was introduced as a proven agitator and a working class warrior…….after about a pot of coffee my decision was simple and clear…….

Since I am a deep blue political person and I live in a deep red state the choice of a name was all too obvious…………why not return to my days of agitation?  My blog from this point forward will be titled………Blue Nation Agitations!

The Antisocial Side Of Social Networking

I do not normally reblog from someone’s site but at times I make an exception…..this one cuts to the heart of what I say a lot and I want to share it with my readers… is a piece written by Matilda Murday on a site titled Practical Pinko………

Twitter is a big place; its users hold the full spectrum of opinions, political leanings and religions. You’ll be hard pressed to find even a handful of people who will agree on every topic and, frankly, that’s the way it should be. Twitter is not representative of any one single group. Can you just imagine how dull it would be if it was?

One of the best things about Twitter is that you can step outside of the limited group of people you are normally exposed to, access totally new groups, make new friends and discover a world with greater diversity than you knew before. But, every time someone steps outside of their comfort zone, be it online or offline, they are at risk of hearing things that may shock or disturb them. Often on Twitter different worlds are colliding, but there’s more to it than that. Twitter is still very new and as a species we’re not quick learners. Getting used to an entirely new way of socialising is proving difficult for us, we’re losing our ability to hold back. Perhaps it’s the instantaneous nature of Twitter, or the constant mob we know will encourage and support us no matter how wrong we may be, that leads us to type out in 140 characters things that most sane people would never dream of saying.

Famously this lack of reserve has led to a young man being arrested for tweeting deeply racist remarks about a footballer. But if that tweeter had been writing about someone less famous those tweets would probably have remained uncensored. Being protected against abuse still remains a privilege of the few and a dream for the many. Since Twitter is very reluctant, rightly in my opinion, to censor their users, and your average Joe can’t rely on the police to step in to fight their battles, to survive Twitter you must have a thick skin.

What’s more, even if the Tweeter has no malicious intent, the limitation of characters strips the nuance from what people are saying, a famous example of this problem being Diane Abbots tweets regarding post-riot race relations. How do people go about explaining complex thoughts with such limitations? Well, it’s an art form that some people are simply better at, for everyone else it’s a matter of vigilance and, possibly, apologies. Even if there were no limitations on how much you could say, 93% of human communication is non-verbal, so in any written context there’s a massively increased chance for misunderstanding what people are saying. Even if no offense is meant the chances of dispute are high.

Real offence does happen, some people are just not particularly nice people, they like upsetting people and go out of their way to do so. There is only one way to avoid this, set your account to private and only communicate with people you know. Personally, although what people tweet can occasionally be shocking, I have no desire to do this. I don’t find the abuse terribly upsetting and it’s the access to new and varied people that I enjoy. A private account would take away the part of Twitter I enjoy the most, for that I’m willing to accept a bit of flack.  I also believe that it’s good to hear feedback on what you’re saying and people have a right to react in whatever way they feel they would like to. If I don’t like their reaction or I think they’re offensive I also have the right to tell them that and react however I see fit. I don’t believe I have ever blocked anyone but if an individual began a campaign against me I might, although of course they are free to start a new account and start again. Luckily this hasn’t happened to me, perhaps if it did I would change my mind about my privacy settings, I don’t know.

Sadly for some people the campaigns launched against them on Twitter or Facebook have proved too much and there have been suicides, particularly amongst teenagers. I can only imagine the sadness and horror experienced by the friends and families of these victims. Please try to understand that people react to the same things in totally different ways, think before you tweet. Imagine yourself saying what you are tweeting to the person’s face, if you can’t imagine saying it you probably shouldn’t tweet it.

For everyone else, try not to take the abuse personally, everyone experiences it, and for heaven’s sake don’t feed the trolls.

I agree with her….civility is the key to solving problems….without it we have slogans with NO solutions…..

Info Ink Retrospective

So ends another year and a time to look back on whether Info Ink is doing what I originally intended……

I started my blog as a way to rehab after my leg was crushed thanx to that bitch Katrina….I also wanted to try help people understand politics, theory and philosophy a little better….not trying to convince people to my way of thinking (but if they did I would be eternally grateful)…….I hope I have succeeded a bit and have been helpful……

In the beginning it was a place for me to cut and paste info from Middle East newspapers during the last Israel/Lebanon conflict….since the days of my employment in the Middle East I still read read Arab language newspapers and there was reporting that was seldom seen in the US….so I decide to let their own words speak to the conflict……

But once I began posting I realized what a great outlet for my talents of observation….and began writing on subjects that I had tried to leave behind years ago…politics and economics……and it has become more successful than I had thought it would be…..I thought it would just be my rambling thoughts with little or no interest…..I was wrong!

I have tried to give my readers information that I feel they need know to be knowledgeable voter and citizen….in doing so I have not had the success that I had anticipated…..I cannot decide if people just do not care or have I misinterpreted what people want to read…I believe it is the later more than anything.

I have wrestled with myself with the idea of changing the content of Info Ink and deciding on a possible new direction…..but what direction?  Would it be more gossip?  Or maybe more tech stuff?  In trying to decide I fell back to something my grandfather said when I first started writing…..”It is better to write for yourself and have no one than to write for everybody and have NO self”……so my decision was made, thanx to my grandfather, I will continue on this line of posting and not compromise my principles……

As this year ends I would like to post on what is happening at Info Ink….it has been an excellent year, I got new and prolific viewers….Larry at Woodgate’s View, Spinny at Spinny Liberal, Hansi of Hansishallucinations, Phillip of Darklynoon, vjack of Red State Progressive, jolly roger of Plutocrap, Dusty of Leftwing Nut Job, Kendrick of Prince and Little Prince, Don of Doninmass  all to go with my long time regulars like Quin of Quintessential Havoc (who has since decided to leave), Terrant of My Corner To Rant and Chris of Why We Worry (who is taking a sabbatical)… can go to blogroll and visit all these sites….they are interesting and well informed…..go…visit…often!  We have had many guest over the past year and some really great comments and participation……and if I left anyone out…I apologize.

To date I have gotten 97,226  hits,  10, 111  comments,  posted 4844  posts and blocked a whopping 199,168       spam….I also started publishing a daily paper, The Daily Agitator (go to blogroll and visit it when you have the time)………all in all a GREAT year!

Thank you everyone!  I appreciate and enjoy our times together and I hope to have a long and fruitful friendship with you all….may we all have a good and fruitful 2012….it may prove to be an interesting year……I think it will to silly as well as interesting and entertaining….I look forward to everyone’s input.

Also if you have any ideas you would like to see me do on Info Ink, please feel free to let me know and I will see what I can do……may we all have a great 2012……once again Thank you all!

An Anniversary Post

In August 2005 I lived through the longest day of my life….Hurricane Katrina, all 14 hours and 37 minutes of it….I say long because most hurricanes last about 6 to 8 hours….I am sure everyone remembers the photos and the tape of the devastation ….I was working for the state of Mississippi at the time and was a first responder….myself and 4 other men worked endlessly to sure up houses that could be saved so people could live there…..I continued to work in houses to make them ready for habitation and on 26 December 2005 while working from a ladder it shifted and threw me onto a concrete slab….my leg was broken in so many places I had to have surgery to repair…….

I tell this tale because of the bitch Katrina I had a long rehab and on 27 December 2006 I started my blog….in those days it was called “Studies And Observations”……I had been on many discussion forums and found that people are idiots….NO one wanted to debate issues and such but rather spent most of their time belittling anyone who did not agree with them……I used my name, Chuq and because I would write stuff about the Middle East I was immediately an Arab infiltrator…..I thought people would be interested with a perspective from an American that had worked in the Middle East…I was WRONG!  After many months of trying to be reasonable I decided to give it up and write a blog with the hopes that people would respond to the posts and we could start a substantial conversation…..

I still read Arab newspapers and their point of view is very different from that of Americans….so I began cutting and pasting articles that showed an opposing opinion to what the mainstream media was giving the American people……I feel people need to hear opposing points of view so that understanding can be had and in doing so make the world a little better….that was my hope.

After awhile of cut and paste I decided that since I had given up on political analysis years before I would try it again by posting my personal point of view……that was FIVE years ago today.

MY first post was an Introduction……

Hello and welcome–I will be posting my political studies and observations as often as I can. Hopefully people will find it thought provoking and interesting. I look forward to any and all comments.

So far it has been an amazing time for me…many good people stop by and offer their points of view and we have exchanged ideas on many topics…Info Ink has many excellent participants and I look forward to more and more….

Thank you, my friends!

A “Republic Of Letters”

College of Political Knowledge

Subject:  Political Philosophy/Activism/

The original title of this post was to be “Academics vs Activist”…….there is a wide divide in the political field between academics (intellectuals) and activists….and this is my attempt to rectify that divide (wish me luck)…….

Years ago when I was much younger I was asked to participate in a scholars conference on the campus of the Univ. of Louisville….I was asked because I had lectured on the shortcomings in the theory of non-violent action….I was not a big hit because most of the academics that were there were big admirers of Gandhi, King, et al….and thought that they had changed the world…my point was that these people set stuff into motion but it was the people that actually made their goals happen…I take nothing away from those that I criticized…… very brave and influential people…..anyway I was asked simply because even though I was educated I worked at blue collar jobs and the panel wanted a different perspective and I was introduced as a “blue collar intellectual”…at first I was uneasy with that title but as the conference moved along I became rather fond of it……I really got a hateful reception when I accused my fellow panel members of neglect…..I said that NO change will come from the bottom up because the academics and intellectuals talk to each other and not the people….they spend their time writing and talking with colleagues, using terminology that the average person has No idea what they are talking about….and because of that disconnect the average person basically ignores them as much as possible…..and that most people do not walking around with a Thesaurus in their pockets…… you can see….I was not that popular of a speaker (but I got over it)……and after years and years of research and activism….not much has changed….the people still do not understand much of what the so-called intellectuals have to say…..Intellectuals and academics seem to lack passion, they have plenty to say in their writings, but they lack the fire of passion for what they say or write….and there is the major disconnect they have with the people they try to influence……

This can be changed if we go to a tool used in the past to communicate ideas and techniques… was called “Republic Of Letters”…..I know….huh?

The “Republic of Letters” (Respublica Literarum), a term apparently coined by the humanist Francesco Barbaro in 1417, was first intended to designate the community of early modern scholars who restored the ancient “Orators, Poets, Historians, Astronomers, and Grammarians” who would otherwise have been lost forever; but the term later encompassed other writers in the emergent public sphere of early modern Europe. Also connected to the term was the international network of the European university, which was a basically ecclesiastical foundation, but which, through the faculties of arts and law, contributed also to a large secular intelligentsia.

Since academics have NO idea how to talk to activists…..and activist think the intellectuals are overpaid wind bags… does the theory get down to the public?  The average person is the only way a theory comes to reality and if academics cannot accurately convey the idea….how will it become reality?
This is where the “Republic of Letters” comes into play, with some minor adjustments……..academics and activists come together through correspondence to talk about theories and ways to make them work……actually we have that….the problem is that it is used to rate records or gossip or other mundane issues…….in today’s world it is called…..”blogging”…….
Political bloggers are doing their part to make political theory work…..whether I agree with their premise or not……it is a free exchange of ideas and issues……and that free exchange can bridge the gap between academia and activism…..but to make it work all need to agree that all logical avenues are acceptable and need to be talked about, worked on and finally implemented……
I have always supported the exchanges between the intellectuals and the activists…..sadly to say….not all my fellow politics feel the same way…….and that divide will prevent any and all rational discourse to succeed….we need to work together in a new “Republic of Letters”.

A Blogging We Will Go

How many of my blogging brethren go to the townhalls and try to interact with their duly elected officials?  If not, you should!  That is how you can get up close and personal with the guys that are acting in your behalf, well, at least pretend to act in you name……and then the bloggers need to go and write a post about what they learned or did not learn from their time with the possers, we call politicians…..

If that is what you are going top do or would like to do then there are a few questions I know you have… what do I look for when in the presence of these guys and gals…….Howard Fineman wrote in the HufPo about the tips he got from a journalism student, Tyler Kingkade….some great points…..

  • Attend the small political gatherings at the local restaurants in your town. In Iowa, he said, they tend to be at a chain called Pizza Ranch. Your own town or state has its own equivalent. “In a small groups, people are willing to say more,” Tyler said. “You learn more about what people are thinking and what they care about. There is no filter, and that is good.”
  • Get out of the big city. “In Iowa everybody thinks the action is in Des Moines, but that isn’t true,” said Kingkade — who is from Des Moines. “In the Iowa caucuses, what happens in small towns and counties really matters a lot, and the national press corps tends not to know them or visit them.”
  • Talk to local groups — real local groups. “There are national groups that come in to try to influence things,” he said, “but in Iowa the local grassroots groups that are from the state have a lot of credibility and influence.” On the conservative side in Iowa, he said, one of them is a group called Everyday America, founded by Iowa state legislators. On the other side politically is Citizens for Community Involvement — a group that will become important next year, when, in the general election, Iowa will once again be a swing state.
  • Keep track of the TV ads: who’s advertising what, and on what shows, and listen to local talk radio. Again, it’s not the national blowtorch of Rush Limbaugh who matters, but the local stations the national reporters don’t hear or care about.
  • Look for things the “pack” doesn’t notice: things that only a local, and an amateur, would see and appreciate. That could be a conversation in the neighborhood, a flier or email, a meeting that draws more voters — or far fewer — than expected.

Some really great tips if you truly want to approach your political blogging in a professional way…..As I have said in the past….I trust serious bloggers more than the MSM….even the ones that I do not agree with on much……bloggers are NOT held accountable by some multi-national corporation and told to toe a particular line of thought or writing……an observation by Politicususa…..

Bloggers, journalists, economists, and average Americans warned of Republican malfeasance to no avail and now a credit rating agency has confirmed the fears of millions and started the ball rolling that ends America. The blame lies with Republicans, teabaggers, and the stupid American people who elected them because they did not want universal health care or a Black president. They have embarrassed and humiliated America again and it proves America is not exceptional. It is like S&P said; America is a dysfunctional nation with little hope of recovering from the stupid Republican agenda that has damaged the economy for the second time in 5 years. America will never recover a third time and Mitch McConnell promised Republicans will repeat last week’s performance again next year; they want to assure there is further downgrading. There is little left to downgrade though, and that suits Republicans who caused this disaster. They must still be congratulating each other while the rest of the country despairs and grieves the demise of this tragically pitiful country.

Yes, we bloggers were not the paranoid little toads living in our mother’s basement eating Cheetohs….we knew what was happening and refused to go blind like the MSM……but will they ever listen to us?

I try to encourage all political bloggers to go out and get the news and the views from the politicians…..get the talking points and these tips, a fact checking app and hit the trail… will be surprised how really easy it becomes…..good luck, my friends.