Wednesday, July 19, 2006

An admission

Before I started this blog a few weeks ago I thought it would be nice to have an outlet for a lot of the political thoughts I'd been dumping on my friends via e-mail. "If I can do that much decent writing there, why not here?" I reasoned. But a funny thing happened on the way to the Blogger of the Year Award. Once the blank page was in front of me I faced the problem of what to say. What do I have to say that people aren't already saying? There are literally thousands of other bloggers out there who share a lot my views who seem to have infinite amounts of time to do their blogging, teams of people participating and providing content for their blogs and a network of other prominent bloggers with whom to swap ideas, information, links and support. I've got none of that. All I've got is myself and whatever time I can spare between work, family, home and hobbies.

So, I've decided to leave the big national stories, for the most part, to the big national bloggers. These other excellent bloggers -- of which there are many, some of whom I link to out of sincere appreciation for what they do -- can cover the broad-based, national & world news and opinion more completely, consistently and prolifically than I ever could. In my first few posts here so far I've found myself simply regurgitating ideas and topics covered in other blogs and simply linking to them. I, it's sad to say, have been redundant. Maybe from time to time in the future I'll link to them for a change-of-pace but that will not be the focus here anymore.

I need to find a niche, something I do that adds unique value to the blogosphere. That niche, I think, will be to review and critique the way various individuals and organizations characterize statistical, scientific and polling data, studies and reports. As a commenter on several blogs, message boards and e-mails to friends I've been able to do some pretty bang-up work debunking a lot false spin that has been applied to such material in the past, providing viewpoints that I hardly see presented elsewhere (the exception, of course, would be the issue of global warming, on which there has been volumes written online).

Too many times we see public figures, especially on television, brandishing the latest report from God-knows-who on some issue and brow-beating anyone who challenges them with some alleged finding contained within. Too many times have I personally taken the time to search the web for a copy of the very reports these people cite, read the report for myself only to find that it has been cynically misrepresented or that the study itself is fraudulent. Other bloggers touch upon such incidents from time to time but I don't know if many others (if any) are focused primarily on this kind of research. So it is in this area that I think I can be of some service.

This is partially what I had in mind when I started this page in the first place (ergo the name), having been frustrated in my attempts to discuss a recent item of this sort on another blog. Seems they found me a bit wordy. I can't imagine why.