Tuesday, October 25, 2005

The Onion Is A Priceless National Treasure

by Tom Bozzo

1. "They Tried To Teach My Baby Science."

2. In The Capital Times, Doug Moe reports Editor Scott Dikkers's contribution to the recent flap over The Onion's use of the presidential seal in its radio address feature:
Dikkers, the editor, wrote the White House lawyer too, also getting his name wrong.

"Dear Mr. Dixon,

"I greatly appreciate your comments regarding my Weekly Radio Address parody. But I'm surprised the president deems it wise to spend taxpayer money for his lawyer to write letters to The Onion.

"If you have a lot of extra money lying around that you don't know what to do with, here are some better ideas for spending it:

"1. How about a tax break for satirists?

"2. With indictments in 'Plamegate' forthcoming, perhaps a nice going-away present for Karl Rove, Scooter Libby, Vice President Cheney, or whoever the president may be firing. I recommend a subscription to The Onion.

"3. It has recently become obvious that there is need for some sort of federal organization to administer the management of emergencies - a hypothetical 'Federal Emergency Management Administration,' if you will. You could spend the money on that.

"4. Harriet Miers could really use a scholarship to some kind of rudimentary judge school.

"In the event there's any extra money left over after all these projects, then perhaps the president could justify paying lawyers to protect him from comedians."

It's not a lifelong feud yet, but it's a start.

P.S., is Blogger forcing word verification on any of my other Blogger-using pals? This is supposed to represent an automated splog-reducing feature; it doesn't seem to be very effective.
I really need to get a subscription or something.

And the hell of it is, I think their news is still more factually accurate than Fox.
Tom, did you have to solve a captcha in order to post? My post of several minutes ago didn't need one.

I thought Blogger is using word verification just for comments. It seems to be working for that -- it cut my comment spam down to nuthin'.

And I can think of four good reasons (and one eeevil one) why Blogger WOULDN'T impose captchas on posts.
-- accessibility for the visually-impaired.
-- Blogger Mobile would become v. difficult.
-- Blogger may be waiting for folks to get used to comment-verification before they roll out post-verification.
-- Blog-owners would be more likely to go along with comment-verification 'cause they get the benefit (less litter in their yard) and others pay in hassle. But with post-verification, blog-owners pay upfront in hassle, but derive less benefit (cleaner internets).

-- Gooogle, Blogger's corporate parent, has to be confident that their filtering is the best. G may not mind more crap on the net if it makes life harder for their competition and thereby makes Google's superiority more obvious.
Drek: They are increasingly going beyond their previous niche of getting at the meta-truth.

Scott: Yes, I did have to do a word-verification thing for posts (including an edit of a posts). This is a new anti-splog feature, but it's hit various non-splogs too (including, apparently, Duncan Black's). A FAQ page says not to worry if the automated filters catch your non-splog and you're not actually a splogger. There's no address given to send an appeal, though.

Interestingly, I got two spam comments (same user, different posts) today despite word verification. This user had several splogs associated with the Blogger account, and I took the liberty of selecting the 'objectionable' flag (which is recommended by Blogger as a community-based means of splog control). Of course, someone could be doing the same, maliciously, to me.

A corollary to your fourth good point is that it lowers the perceived cost of paying a few bucks for TypePad.
Captcha update: Blogger's not making me do it on my home computer. I guess few sploggers use Mac Firefox? Go figure.
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