Checking my RSS feed for Humboldt blogs this morning, I came across a surprising story on Heraldo titled “Crawford heads Chamber” saying:

Eureka political dude and Humboldt Herald regular Chris Crawford is the new head of the Eureka Chamber of Commerce.

Hearty congratulations were doled out at Tuesday’s Eureka City Council meeting.

Crawford is an outspoken opponent of Measure T, a campaign finance reform initiative that was overturned in the courts last year. Nevertheless, Crawford keeps pounding the issue like it still matters.

Crawford replaces J. Warran Hockaday as Chamber mucky muck.

Now I have to say, the idea that Chris was taking over as head of the chamber was not surprising, it was the last line that jumped out at me. J Warren has been executive director for as long as I can remember and it did not make sense that he’d step down, nor that Crawford would move into that position. When I tried to look at the post to see if anyone had anything to say about it, I got a page saying this:

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn’t here.

Wondering what happened, I shot an email to Heraldo who replied:

I took it down this morning because I wasn’t sure if Crawford is replacing Hockaday, or if Crawford is now just top cheese in some other way.  Do you know?

Well, I did not know, but a quick phone call and an anonymous conversation with the chamber receptionist was all it took to find out that Crawford is the new president of the chamber board replacing Dennis Hunter who served in that position for four years and apparently has a few other things to do.

I mention all this, not merely to embarrass Heraldo for jumping to conclusions and for the (quickly removed) gaff, but because it’s an example of a basic flaw in blogging: For the most part bloggers don’t really see themselves as reporters and won’t take the time to do something basic like fact check.  For all the hew and cry about how citizen journalists are going to replace newspapers, most bloggers rely on newspapers (and their reporters) as their primary sources and simply supply second-hand news. Now this is perhaps being overly hard on Heraldo, who has in fact broken stories that none of my collegues knew about — let’s call it a learning experience.  So, what did we learn?

We’re down here in Rio Dell at the Blogger’s Picnic, and since the city is famously wireless, we’ve managed to find a hot spot for live blogging.

Heraldo showed up in full chef regalia and has fired up his very cool grill to cook up some gourmet dogs:

Heraldos hemi-powered grill

Heraldo's hemi-powered grill


If you are on one of Richard’s e-mail lists, you probably already know: Local prog-politico Richard Salzman has officially entered the blogosphere.

His first post is pretty interesting, a between-the-lines analysis of the new contract AT&T sent out to all its customers. (I tossed mine in the recycling pile when I saw it was not a bill.)

I’d have to say Richard could have come up with a more creative name for his blog. Richard Salzman is short and to the point, but it doesn’t have much zing to it.

Despite what you may have thought, the problem with the Humboldt County blogosphere isn’t that it’s too stupid. On the contrary, the problem is that it’s not stupid enough. Every day, all around the world, the bar for brainlessness is set a little bit higher, and as usual Humboldt County is behind the curve. We have our pioneers, most notably the great Suzy Blah Blah, but we should all try harder to follow their example.

Fortunately, there is now a simple online tool to help us all dumb up our discourse. It’s called The Unintelligencer, and it will automatically translate ordinary writing into five levels of stupidity, depending on your needs. Take, for example, a recent post by Ecoshift, one of the county’s most backwardly smart bloggers:

After reading The Journal’s recent cover story “Codes, Damned Codes” on the county’s heavy handed code enforcement activities in McKinleyville I wondered if there could possibly be a more confrontational way to go about “protecting” renters and future home owners from sub standard building and land use practices. I imagined that some would view the effort as protecting property values for the neighborhood and therefore at least somewhat justified.

Set at level “unintelligible,” The Unintelligencer renders this passage in an Internet-ready format:

after reading thee journal’s resent cover stry “codes, damned codes” on tehz county’s heavy handed code enforcement activites ins mckinleyville i wondered iffn thar cud possibly b moar confrontational wae 2 goa abowt “protecting” renters + fuchur home pwners form sub standard building an land uize practices. i imagined dat som wud wiew the effort az protecting property values foar the neighborhood en therefore @ least somewhat justified.

Good news: The Unintelligencer will automatically parse feeds for you, so you can pick up a Humboldt County blogfeed in machine-unintelligenced format. Try it out!

The Baltimore City Paper has a great exit interview with David Simon, creator of The Wire and former all-pro reporter, on the occasion of the end of the series.

David Simon: Some people have critiqued the lack of presence of the internet in the Season 5 story. For them, allow me to offer the deleted scene that would have incorporated the profound impact of the internet on the goings-on in our story set at the mythical Baltimore Sun:


A white MALE, thirties, unshaven, sits in his underwear typing on a desktop computer. C.U. on computer screen. As he links to Baltimore Sun coverage off the newspaper's web site, creating a link on his own blog. The MALE scratches his left testicle, then satisfied, begins typing. C.U. on the moving cursor as commentary ensues.


Or whatever . . .

When David Simon wrote that, the ghost of Mencken smiled down upon him.


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