Further to the prior post, problems at OT were discussed exhaustively over the course of more than a year – first among the members of a “development group” and then among the Senior Editors. I was a participant in both groups. In late March of this year, the other editors turned down a proposal for putting the enterprise as a whole on a firmer foundation, and voted instead for what I saw as more of the same – or, to be more precise, for more of the same minus two major contributors.
Since then, the decline of the site, climaxing in the latest admitted “failure,” or set of failures, has continued, while opportunities afforded by interest in the 2016 elections have mostly been squandered. The background details and the ways in which recent events and discussion expose underlying problems might be of interest to anyone trying to understand what happened to “the blogosphere” and what might come next, but I am reluctant to say more at this time, in part because my observations might be taken as personal and unkind by one or more of those involved, and perhaps as violation of confidence.
A salvage of residual value might still be possible, and a rescue or turnaround remains conceivable even now, but I would not be surprised if by this time next year there is no “Ordinary Times.”
A failure presents a limited range of options: scrap, salvage, or repair. Though it feels like we’ve done this before, let’s try “repair” one more time.
The site makes no sense as an enterprise – decreasingly as any kind of proposition for anyone involved.
The editors voted against “repair” last March, and “salvage” will continue to appear decreasingly rewarding, increasingly difficult. Without major changes, and possibly even with them, the only remaining questions are when and how to “scrap,” and whether anyone will care or even notice.
Though I have somehow managed to produce some relatively complex scripts, I am still at the stage with jQuery that, when I manage to achieve some elementary thing, I throw a little celebration in my trusty old Aeron.
I also tend to forget what I’ve figured out until the next time I have to achieve the same effect. So, here are some notes for future reference, or for the sake of other jQuery hackers, on how I think a textbox should be filled in WordPress Admin… from simple anchor links… and when the content – in this instance long image links – is too long to be nicely contained. Read more ›
This benefit of WP-RUBI is additional to the one of avoiding “the $8,000 mistake” of using unlicensed images, but for some sites will be much more important.
Focusing on images exclusively, here is the difference between two page loads, one with image errors, one with WP-RUBI replacement, as recorded on Google Chrome Developer Tools console (no throttling).
Page Loaded with Two Broken Image Links
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If the Digital Artists Alliance never amounts to more than a temporary reference point, the basis for a gesture of respect by some site operators toward an ideal, then that will be enough for me, but I invite anyone interested in exploring larger possibilities to join me.
Is there already an organization or organizations set up to protect and advance the rights and interests of digital artists, and to inform and educate both them and their patrons, clients, employers, and “users” about those rights and interests as such?
I have not heard of such an organization, though I know that numerous artist guilds and groups worldwide have been actively engaged on the topic, and that “Digital Rights” issues have been at the forefront of major litigation and legislation. An initial net search did not turn up any organization of this particular type, and I was surprised to discover that “digitalartistsalliance” was available as a “top level domain name” in the main variants that occurred to me. The TLDs “digitalartsalliance.com” and “digitalartsalliance.org” (i.e., referring to “arts” rather than “artists”) are taken, but, as you may see if you click on the links, they do not appear to be actively in use as of this writing.
For now, digitalartistsalliance.org and digitalartistsalliance.com, which I purchased yesterday, link to a sub-page at this site, but, if the idea generates some positive response, I may move on to setting a free-standing site, as the home of a not-for-profit membership organization. At this point, however, I’m thinking we still need to define the idea. Read more ›
To mark the anniversary of the death of a veteran, the United States Government sends out a framed “certificate” like the one pictured above.
My father was proud of his service, but he was not a hero decorated for valor or a high-ranking officer, his experience of combat was limited (quite more than enough at that, he would say), and, more to the point, the war in which he fought was won by a self-consciously democratic nation: No reason why this later commemorative message should be anything other than “government issue”: That it makes a good first impression and brings back fond memories of Dad is good enough for us, anyway. So what if they happened to spelled our family name wrong, without capitalizing the “L” in MacLeod? “MacLeod” may be the most common of Scottish names, but the USG is the USG. If the Nazis had won, maybe their commemorations would have been perfect, but they didn’t win.
The signature stands out, and Dad in his last years may have been Obama-deranged enough to dislike the certificate on that basis alone. In his earlier years, I believe he would have been more accepting. The ink seems a bit thick, and I will assume until and unless informed otherwise that it was done by “autopen.”
The most interesting thing to me about the document is, however, its sacralized language, not its production values. Read more ›
I discovered many non-rights-cleared images that I now think may have detracted from the posts in some ways, even if they initially seemed to make them more attractive or striking.
After announcing the WP-RUBI Beta (0.91) a bit more than a week ago, I installed and began to work with it at this very blog, and I immediately began to notice that “workflow” improvements I had thought to save for a later day – or even reserve for a “premium” version – had to be considered “basic” to using the plug-in effectively. So, I began another week of fairly intensive work now represented in the Beta numbered 0.93. I could “re-up” or “re-announce,” but I’ll think I’ll save doing so for submission of “1.0” to the WordPress Plug-In Repo.
The enhancements include the following:
- Set and View Image Removal/Replacement Status from Post Edit and All Posts/Pages (Quick and Bulk Edit) Screens
- Category and Author Inclusion/Exclusion by Display Name instead of ID #
- Category Inclusion/Exclusion Includes “Child” Categories
- Option to Replace Images without Standard Image File Extensions (Mainly Served Images)
- Admin Convenience Improvements (Expandable Text Areas instead of Text Boxes, Additional Editing Instructions)
- Expanded Reset Options: Reset Main Settings and Post Settings Separately if Desired
In terms of actual workflow as I worked and flowed it, I think that the first and third above were the most significant (code samples at end): Read more ›
A primary use for WP-RUBI will be at sites where administrators have decided to remove images that have been used either without permission or under lapsed or lapsing usage licenses: Proper employment will help to reduce or eliminate legal and actual “exposure” quickly and easily, without harming the site’s search engine rankings and while preserving posts as originally composed, allowing for eventual restoration.
In recent years, with the maturation of the internet and especially of the blogosphere, sites that display photos and other images without concern for usage rights have come under enhanced scrutiny, sometimes resulting in costly lawsuits and always at least anxiety-producing threats of lawsuits. In addition, some site operators, especially as they have gotten more successful, have undergone a change in thinking about the underlying issue: the right of artists not to have their worked exploited without acknowledgment and, where appropriate, payment.
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Make room in the time capsule for the hard copy.
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Posted in Politics
, US History
Tagged with: Trump
So, we can sum up the crisis of the American conservative movement as follows: With less and less semblance of temperamental conservatism, ever more self-destructively, nominally conservative Americans have sought in vain to immanentize as eschaton the non-immanentization of eschaton. Having reacted to the realization of paradox on the level of the whole state or the level of highest abstraction, represented in politics as the national level or the level of collective conceptual self-integration – so, integration by disintegration – as eventually world-historical failure, they have, by re-doubling down on re-doubling down without limiting idea, at last produced the political-intellectual equivalent of a nuclear explosion, with their constituency or former constituency clustered at ground zero.
The absolute evil for politics as politics is the introduction of the question of absolute evil into politics, as the dissolution of politics. This rule is of the same form as the prejudice of philosophy against the entrance of prejudice into philosophy.
The Twitter default is for “cards” and “conversation” to display, but you can get rid of them either tweet by tweet or through a copy-paste-search-and-replace-re-copy-paste.
When you embed a tweet from its URL – for example, for this tweet from Justin Tiehen’s list of explanations for the rise of Donald Trump
…it will, by the magic of oEmbed, produce the following display in your WordPress page:
Tweet with “Conversation” and “Card”
Now, a lot of the time, this is totally superduper: You’re happy to include the replied-to tweet, and the part down below, with the image of Mr. Trump there linking to the original article (in a real tweet embed, not the screenshot version of it I’ve used above), is very nifty and even useful, and the nifty formatting is also nifty: Altogether just what your nifty users want.
In some contexts, however, all of the extra stuff is just distracting – especially if you’re showing a long list of tweets or rendering a conversation.
What follows is a hacky way to grab naked tweets instead.
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Contrary to my tentative conclusions of a month ago, I now understand at least one good reason to use output-buffering while writing WordPress code. Indeed, I now anticipate using the tool frequently.
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Put more simply: The failure of the neocon project led to, as a practical matter seemed to require, the replacement of neo-imperialism with xenophobia in Republican conservative rhetoric. To those capable of setting aside their judgments of the American approach to the world, the psychology involved may resemble the familiar pattern of unrequited love. Those on the Left will be constitutionally predisposed to put the idea in almost any other way, and may also operate under the belief that they or their constituencies are immune to the syndrome.
Jonathan Chait’s new explanation for the rise of Donald Trump – or for the failure of analysts to predict it – is appealingly simple:
Here’s the factor I think everybody missed: The Republican Party turns out to be filled with idiots. Far more of them than anybody expected.
Chait concedes that to say as much is “gauche,” but stands by the argument to the end:
As low as my estimation of the intelligence of the Republican electorate may be, I did not think enough of them would be dumb enough to buy his act. And, yes, I do believe that to watch Donald Trump and see a qualified and plausible president, you probably have some kind of mental shortcoming. As many fellow Republicans have pointed out, Donald Trump is a con man. What I failed to realize — and, I believe, what so many others failed to realize, though they have reasons not to say so — is just how easily so many Republicans are duped.
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As for Trumpism vs. Bushism, one will be no less dependent on “populist nationalism” than the other, to whatever extent it is also successful: In a mass electoralist national system under popular sovereignty, the winner will always be the truest national populist, by definition, if not necessarily the purest one according to some external or merely intellectual standard.
What remains, then, is Trumpism. Which is also, in its lurching, sometimes insightful, often wicked way, a theory of what kind of party the Republicans should become, and one that a plurality of Republicans have now actually voted to embrace.
“The Defeat of True Conservatism”
The Republican coalition as an effectively neo-conservative coalition was able to bind itself together, or bind citizens to its project as constituents, in opposition to perceived external threats – militarism, fascism, communism, Islamism – that were mirror reverses of its precepts. For conservatives under the most politically effective articulation of their premises, American Idea and American Identity could be conjoined, with whichever war at whatever temperature serving to fuse otherwise contradictory ingredients, while melting away the rough edges of unresolved disagreements and irresolvable frustrations. Though the articulation is most readily identifiable as Reaganism, Reaganism can itself be seen, and is perhaps best understood, as a re-capitulation from the right both of and integrally within an inherited framework. Similarly, Reagan’s loyal progressive and so-called liberal adversaries could not stray too far from the same premises without losing their ability to compete and therefore to govern on the national level.
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I have had an essay on American Grand Strategy – working title: “Pacific War: Strategy and the World-Historical State” – on the back feedburner for going on a couple of years now – and I still feel it needs better grounding or precautionary backgrounding, or perhaps fortification, vs. recent writings on the general subject. I find myself with the same self-skeptical position on a more recent addition to the In Progress pile, “Si Vis Bellum,” which began as a short response to a blog comment on the unreliability and misuse of the terms “militarism” and “interventionism,” but which in the writing and re-writing turned into another mini-magnum opus attacking some of the same targets in somewhat the same way.
I may yet join the two together. Or: Maybe that should be my strategy. Specifically: Though I would not seek nor even contemplate an engagement with all the the best and brightest thinking from a vast and heterogeneous defense, history, international relations, and political science governmental, academic, and volunteer army of armies built up and extended over generations, or centuries, or millennia, I feel that I should at least be conversant on the main questions as discussed in recent non-specialist works. To that end, I added three books to my reading list: I recently finished Barry Posen’s Restraint (2014, a “defining treatise”), am currently reading Lawrence Freedman’s Strategy (2015, “magisterial”), and I have Hal Brands’ What Good Is Grand Strategy? (2015, “simply one of the best and most useful books on grand strategy”) to get to next and last. Read more ›