Archive for the ‘Blogs’ category

Worst places to blog…

May 6, 2009

The Article:

My Two Cents: Ridiculous, of course. Myanmar, or Burma, tops the list for worst places to blog. Apparently,

one Burmese blogger, Maung Thura, is serving a 59-year prison term for circulating video footage after Cyclone Nargis in 2008, the Committee to Protect Journalists says.

Scary, no? But, of course, I look on this situation through the lens of western democratic theory. However, this situation can be considered no from a political point, but from a human rights standpoint. Almost 6 decades of imprisonment for circulating footage of Nargis that was already accesible seems to be a blatant violation of human rights. Can you really say that we must respect their government’s choice of punishment? Is freedom of speech only reserved for democracies, or is a fundamental human right?


Iran Considers Death Penalty for Offensive Bloggers

March 26, 2009

The Articles:

Summary: I’ll let Al Jazeera’s Nazanin Sadri do it:

My Two Cents: Well, I guess Iran never purported to be a democracy, and this kinda seals the deal. Blogging in Iran has really grown over the years, and is seen as the only way sometimes to spread unfiltered news. How sad is that when you’re faced with death for trying to educate? Yes, I’m imposing my Western liberal ideals on Iran, but it just seems like you can’t defend this practice on any rational level.

Iranian blogger dies in jail – negligence?

March 20, 2009

Mirsayafi, a blogger sentenced to two years in prison for denouncing the Islamic government in Iran, died March 18 in jail. Mirsayafi says that his personal blog was mostly cultural, not political, with only two or three satirical articles.

The interesting part about this story’s coverage is that it’s very difficult to figure out how Mirsayafi died. I found two sources, a NYTimes Lede blog entry, and an article in the, a “community site for the Iranian diaspora — the Iranian expatriates who care about their identity, culture, music, history, politics, literature and each other, as well as friends and family living in Iran.”

While neither of the two sources knew themselves how M had died, the wording in the NYTimes was far more ambiguous about M’s death and seemed to blame the Iranian prison system. It took me a couple of minutes of comparing between the two articles to figure out what had happened. Unlike the NYTimes, the explicitly said that M had died from an overdose, the result of  the prison officials’ neglect to provide him with prompt medical service, all in the general context of Iranian’s autocratic system. The’s article did this by including a large quote from the spokesperson of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran:

“From the Judge who sentenced Mirsayafi solely for his peaceful opinions, to the prison medical staff who ignored his critical condition, a host of judiciary and prison officials are responsible for his death. Mirsayafi’s death is an indication of the cruelty of Iranian Intelligence and security agencies abusing the courts with the cooperation of the Judiciary,” Ghaemi said.”


The NYTimes article was much more interested in trying to figure out where to place blame, an observation that can be made by comparing the different International Campaign in Iran’s quote the NYTimes blogger chose to include:

In an interview with the Campaign on 16 December 2008, Mirsayafi said his blog was completely private and was read only by a few of his friends. He also said that expert testimony by an Intelligence Ministry official during his trial emphasized this point and that he should not receive such a heavy sentence.

This quote focuses attention on the blogger’s role as a harmless victim instead of addressing the larger humanitarian and rights problems in Iran.


While it’s possible that the NYTimes blog entry did not mean to be obscure about M’s death, it left me wondering about the mechanics of M’s death. The’s article left me thinking about freedom of speech in an autocratic country like Iran. It seems to me that the latter is more useful when it comes to using media to promote democracy and human rights. In that sense, the NYTimes made M’s story more of a human-interest or murder story than the did


Online Forums Express Most Anger about A.I.G. Bonuses

March 17, 2009

The Article:

Summary: Ok, so you don’t need a summary of the AIG bonus scandal. What is new is that the most passionate outcry against AIG executives is coming from the Internet, in forums and blogs across teh country. Comments are posted in response to articles but also just independent posts. From Saturday to Tuesday, the NYT reported that 7000 AIG-related  comments were posted in response to the issue, making it among the top issues to garner such volume of responses since the NYT opened readers’ comments to articles in 2007.

My Two Cents: Online forums and posts, despite all their flaws, are valuable for one thing: testing the pulse of the American people. Sure, we were all outraged about the AIG bonuses, but how else (besides Letters to the Editors and maybe call in shows) could this anger be expressed? The Internet community really stepped up here to express their opinion, one that was largely united and together. That’s refreshing.

Bloggers and Unions Join Forces to Push Dems

February 26, 2009

The Article:

Liberal bloggers and union leaders are teaming up to form a new coalition called Accountability Now, a left-wing equivalent of the conservative Club for Growth. The new organization will strive to solicit donations from their online followers and also recruit liberal candidates to challenge more centrist Democrats in Congress. From the article:

The formation of the group is another step in the evolution of the blogosphere, which has proven effective at motivating party activists to give money and time to political campaigns, especially in local races.

My Two Cents: It’s an interesting step that excites me. Already we can see that Obama’s liberal promises of his campaign have been lost among the bureaucratic nightmare that is Washington politics, so it’s encouraging to see a group try to push for alternative means of liberal voices. The fact that it is bloggers who are leading the way again is a testament to the power they hold. We can only hope that it remains progressive and forward-thinking.


February 25, 2009

The Article:

The median age of a Facebook user is 26, while the median age of a Twitter (or similar service) user is 31. The former is referred to as a social networking site, while Twitter and the like, are called “microblogging” services. In addition to their age differences, the average Facebook user and Twitterer vary in where they live. Microbloggers are far less likely to live in rural areas (9% of microbloggers live in rural areas, compared to 17% of all Internet users). What, you don’t want to Twitter about milking the cow?

25 Most Valuable Blogs

February 25, 2009

The Site:

A Summary:

  1. Gawker Properties
  2. Huffington Post
  3. The Drudge Report
  4. Perez Hilton
  5. Sugar, Inc
  6. TechCrunch
  7. MacRumors
  8. SeekingAlpha
  9. GigaOm
  10. Politico
  11. SmashingMagazine
  12. SearchEngineLand
  13. Boing Boing
  14. ReadWriteWeb
  15. SB Nation
  16. Destructoid
  17. Mashable
  18. Alley Insider sites
  19. /film
  20. The Superficial Network
  21. Neatorama
  22. Daily Kos
  23. Talking Points Memo
  24. VentureBeat

My Two Cents: