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United States Government Politics

Speaker of the House Starts Blogging 330

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the grass-roots-politics dept.
Bjimba writes "Denny Hastert, the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, has just started his own blog on the official speaker.gov site. I don't know if he'll keep up with it, but from reading his initial post, it seems clear that he's not employing ghostbloggers."
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Speaker of the House Starts Blogging

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  • by phaetonic (621542) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @06:51PM (#13893482)
    While its simply an opinion, his blog seems like he says it like it is and is more genuine than any speech I'll see on T.V.
    • by yog (19073)
      He sounds genuine but he doesn't say very much of substance, only that he doesn't plan to spend as much as $250 billion for hurricane damage.

      The web could be used to powerful effect to outline one's policy stands and to encourage comments and feedback from his voters. This would be a true virtual town meeting.

      Unfortunately, this will probably never come to pass because of the many who abuse the system and ruin it for everyone else. I have seen many forums degenerate from high quality postings by the origi
      • Actually you missed the really significant part because he rendered it in beltway speak. He talked about cutting mandatory spending. This is the elephant in the room, the one that nobody wants to touch. Mandatory spending is all spending that automatically increases except if there is a special bill pushed through the Congress to cut it. Very popular programs get put in the mandatory spending category and it's the biggest part of the budget out there, dwarfing defense, for example.

        If there's anything that h
    • But do you really want Mr. Hastert to say it like it is?

      It "doesn't make sense to me" to rebuild a city under sea level, says he. "It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed. You know, we build Los Angeles and San Francisco on top of earthquake fissures and they rebuild, too. Stubbornness."

      I expect similar great insight from this man on his blog. Let NO, SF, and LA be destroyed by the next natural disaster - for a stronger America!
      • It "doesn't make sense to me" to rebuild a city under sea level, says he. "It looks like a lot of that place could be bulldozed. You know, we build Los Angeles and San Francisco on top of earthquake fissures and they rebuild, too. Stubbornness."

        It's nice to see that he has his head screwed on right, though. I fully agree with these statements. Of course, it's possible to build buildings that will withstand some pretty gnarly earthquakes, but what are you going to do about floods? Put everything on sti

      • Well, to his credit, my first reaction to the floods in New Orleans (other than "Holy Crap!") was "What did they think was going to happen when they built a coastline city below sealevel??" It really was only a matter of time.

        I understand the tragedy of it all, and I understand that you can't simply tear down a city because it *might* get flooded, but now that is *has* been flooded, it might be a good time to address the fundamental issues that caused the problem in the first place.

    • Sure they're genuine.

      He got a $500,000 bribe from the Turks to make sure they're "genuine."

      After all, as George Burns used to say, "Sincerity is the most important thing. If you can fake that, you've got it made."
  • No comments? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Frodo Crockett (861942) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @06:53PM (#13893496)
    Smart man.
    • Re:No comments? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Rescate (688702)
      Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) has a blog [myownjournal.com] that allows comments. I found that out while reading this Washington Post article [senate.gov] posted on Sen. Barack Obama's (D-IL) site. According to the article, Tancredo is the only federal lawmaker with his own blog that accepts comments.

      Even though a lot of lawmakers don't have their own blogs with comments, many will post at other blogs and receive comments there. Obama posted a diary about the Roberts nomination [dailykos.com] over at Daily Kos, and got over 800 responses. His followup di
  • by ackthpt (218170) *
    No spelling errors, nearly typed. it's been scrubbed by a staffer.

    Looks OK, Sir, I just editted out the part about letting all those filthy stinking liberals in New Orleans rot in their own stew.

    • by Humorously_Inept (777630) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:00PM (#13893543) Homepage
      Technically, it may be OK. The problem I have with his blog is the style it's written in. He writes like an elementary school student. Someone should teach him about varying sentence length and structure. Reading his blog is like reading an incoming telegraph. He's got a case of stop and go traffic going on there. Robots might appreciate it but humans probably would not. This has been a demonstration.
      • I suppose you hate Hemmingway then. (well, *ahem*, that's not the reason you should hate him...)
      • by ScentCone (795499)
        Technically, it may be OK. The problem I have with his blog is the style it's written in. He writes like an elementary school student.

        Well, at least at my elementary school they taught us not to end a senence with a preposition.

        "...the style it's written in."

        should be

        "...the style in which it's written."

        But I'll forgive all because you know how to correctly use an apostrophe.
      • He writes like an elementary school student...Robots might appreciate it but humans probably would not

        I disagree. He knows who his (intended) audience is--the or'nary American. As a journalist, I was taught to write at 6th grade level because that's the level that communicates most effectively with the majority of American readers. Maybe the New York Times or Wall Street Journal can write for a more sophisticated audience, but a politician from the 14th district of Illinois [house.gov] has to communicate with quite a d
        • Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is the junior senator from the same state as Hastert. He doesn't seem to feel the need to write at a 6th grade level. This post, "Tone, Truth, and the Democratic Party," [dailykos.com] was written for the crowd over at Daily Kos, and cross-posted on his own blog [senate.gov]. The folks over at Daily Kos seemed to be up to the "challenge" of reading it; Obama's post generated over 800 comments.

          I'm not saying that this is because the Kossacks are a "sophisticated" audience, like the New York Times or WSJ audi
    • by ThePyro (645161)
      I should certainly hope that a member of congress could submit a single page of text without spelling errors. I'm sure that many slashdot readers have written longer error-free posts to their own blogs. Why should the lack of errors indicate that it's been "scrubbed" by a staffer?
      • by gr84b8 (235328)

        Why should the lack of errors indicate that it's been "scrubbed" by a staffer?

        Sure, he *could* write a blog without spelling mistakes. But you've got to be kidding me if you think this is for real. There is absolutely no way a main stream politician like this would rif in true blog format - it is far too risky. Just like no company does anything publicly without the marketing folks scripting, no politician can afford to shoot from the hip. This just a lame attempt to 'connect with mainstream america'.

  • Uh oh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by 47Ronin (39566) <glenn@47ron[ ]com ['in.' in gap]> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @06:54PM (#13893513) Homepage
    Better hope he's not Catholic cause his Sunday school teacher might object to him blogging!
  • by Safe Sex Goddess (910415) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @06:55PM (#13893515) Homepage Journal
    I think blogs without user comments are destined to failure.

    I know I'd sure like to comment on Hastert's mention of fiscal responsbility. It's refreshing to know that cutting money to find deadbeat dads is top on the Republican's fiscal responsibility list.

    Flame Warning Heaven forbid we cut corporate welfare to the most profitable corporations in the country. I wonder how many of them are actually headquartered in the country? Returning to anti-flame levels

  • If they think they can rebuid NOLA and the other towns hit hard by hurricanes in the gulf for only $62.5 billion, AND still keep taxes down, then I'd say we need to be doing pee tests on the House Leadership. Still, Mega Points for actually attempting to blog, but he's missed the feedback section in his implementation, I think on purpose. Can't have any nasty liberals leaving him messages, can we?
    • Right, because the anonymity of the Internet brings out only the best in people, especially when they have an opinion!
    • "If they think they can rebuid NOLA and the other towns hit hard by hurricanes in the gulf for only $62.5 billion...

      Bzzzt. Wrong. He said that they've approved US$62.5B for the Gulf States for right now, to get things started. They don't know how much it's going to cost. People have been throwing the US$250B for NOLA number around but he says they're not getting that much (I've seen some critical analysis of that and it's actually funny - the number, not the situation). He doesn't want to raise taxes be

      • Re:RTFB (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cybrthng (22291)
        You missed the point.. his point wasn't it would cost more that 62.5 billion its the fact we can't pay for 62.5 billion or the 200+ billion it will cost for all gulf states to come back to normalcy without raising taxes..

        All the republicans are doing is making my daughter or your son and your daughter pay for the messes he is creating..

        Sure.. prez can't control the weahter, but could do a hell of a lot better job in managing the infrastructure and support that has made our country what it is. Obviously he
    • Still, Mega Points for actually attempting to blog, but he's missed the feedback section in his implementation, I think on purpose. Can't have any nasty liberals leaving him messages, can we?

      Think about it. His blog is hosted on www.speaker.gov -- a US government website. As such, anything that even remotely looks like suppression of free speech would be taboo. The blog would immediately be "crap flooded", essentially DDoS'd by a rain of shit, and he'd be legally unable to remove any of the messages. Cra

      • There's another thing at work, too. I'm not sure where speaker.gov is hosted out of, but if it's like any other government IT projects I've seen, the hardware is probably not set up to deal with a big crapflood or DDoS. It would probably just roll over and die, or some overprotective network admin would take it offline to stop the source of the attack / bandwidth waste. Plus, I've no doubt that a high percentage of the posts would probably be offensive and/or blatantly obscene, and it would take a practical
    • If you really feel the need to comment on something in his blog, you're still free to email or write him a letter. He just wants to keep the 'H@st3rT 1s t3h $uCk' comments away. I suggest starting your letter with, "I read in your blog that..."
  • Seems Denny's partial to amateur wrestling and Johnny Cash. Don't call him Sue.
  • I've noticed that many blogs now require registration before you can submit a comment. I'm sure that is in response to the flood of spam and crap that gets posted in response to the blog content. The unfortunate thing about this particular trend is that it is turning blogs into monologs. I'm not sure if that is what they were intended to be, but that is how they are going to end up without rebuttal and commentary.

    Speaker Hastert isn't any different in his blog approach than the issue ads pushed by the RNC o
    • Start your own blog. Its free, easy, and you can say virtually anything you want. And if you want to respond in a way in which he will be forced to listen, we have a way [wikipedia.org] to do that as well. Its just not as popular with younger generations.
      • Start your own blog. Its free, easy, and you can say virtually anything you want. And if you want to respond in a way in which he will be forced to listen, we have a way to do that as well. Its just not as popular with younger generations.

        First of all, I was commenting on a general trend in political blogging. Secondly, I don't write a blog because it would be just another libertarian who has yet another blog. As for "forcing" him to listen, I doubt that any letter will "force" anyone to do anything other t
        • And if he had a comment section which you frequented, you would most likely be just another libertarian who posts comments to someone else's blog. Would that be any better? As it is, you are perfectly free to post your objections to whatever he has to say, even if no one else decides to read it. The Internet makes it easier for people to voice their ideas as virtually anyone can say what they want to say, yet at the same time it makes it more difficult as you have to compete with the rest of the world.
          • And if he had a comment section which you frequented, you would most likely be just another libertarian who posts comments to someone else's blog. Would that be any better?

            Better or worse, I would leave that judgement to people who rate blogs.

            My point was that Hastert providing a comments section would give people the impression that Republicans aren't afraid of criticism. The latest news hasn't been too good for the GOP and their members are showing that they are a bit thin skinned.

            As it is, you are perfec
  • by Thunderstruck (210399) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:00PM (#13893547)
    Creating weblog entries on a regular basis often requires one to post thoughts, ideas, and opinions that have not been thoroughly thought out. They're like email, too easy to write, and impossible to recall. How many of us have sent an angry email and later wished we had not.

    If we expect our policiticans to start web-logging their daily thoughts, we're going to have to be a lot less hard on them about what they say. Our politicians, like the rest of the human race, are going to have ideas that, when fully thought out, are really bad. In maintaining weblogs some of these bad ideas are going to see international publication.

    Will we allow our politicians to recant later, and say "well, yes, I guess that article I wrote was racist/imperialistic/unconstitutional, now that I look at it again, please don't hold it against me?" More importantly, will the news media be willing to let things like that die or pass unnoticed?

    (Yes, I used the preview button once, No, I didn't give this post a lot of thought.)
    • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:06PM (#13893584) Homepage Journal
      I will gladly give politicians a break for saying dumb things in their blogs if they later admit that they said dumb things, but that's a big if. I have the nasty feeling that their campaign advisers will tell them never to back down, because it will be seen as a sign of weakness. The sad thing is, those advisers are probably right. It seems like consistency to the point of insanity ("doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results") is valued by a large portion, perhaps a majority, of the electorate over reasoned views that may evolve over time in response to new information or a changing situation.
    • What's "regular"? I make blog entries maybe 3 times a week. They're usually 500 words or a little less, and I probably spend an hour doing the actual writing. Having a blog doesn't mean you're spewing the lame chronicles of your daily existence.
    • If I -ever- heard a politician later -genuinely- admit that they were wrong, BEFORE a massive scandal erupted, I'd be so shocked I'd likely not say a word. Currently, all we get are flashy ads, that manage to distort everything in 30 seconds or less, and any speeches are written, not by the politician, but by his/her speechwriter, with all meaning carefully removed, and worded so that in all cases possible it sounds like the nice guy is actually on -both- sides!

      I'd gladly trade that in for some real speec

    • by justins (80659)

      If we expect our policiticans to start web-logging their daily thoughts, we're going to have to be a lot less hard on them about what they say. Our politicians, like the rest of the human race, are going to have ideas that, when fully thought out, are really bad. In maintaining weblogs some of these bad ideas are going to see international publication.

      Three points. First, if someone has a truly abominable idea, call them on it. You don't owe them your "understanding". If they are in a position of authority

  • RSS feed missing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by thenetbox (809459) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:02PM (#13893557)
    It would be nice for all our government officials to start public blogs. Keeping in touch with the people and getting feedback is highly important in our sort of society.

    I have noticed that his blog does not have any sort of RSS/Atom/XML feed and that makes it difficult to keep up with his latest posts.

    Another thing is that there are no places to post public comments. I wouldn't mind if the comments ended up being moderated but I believe there should be atleast some way to post comments on his blog. He could spend a few minutes of his day responding to the people or he could get a staff member to pick out a few good ones each week and he could reply. That would send a very good message to the people.
    • by tmortn (630092) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @11:28PM (#13894632) Homepage
      I also wrote suggesting much the same. I imagine by the time this is done he will know all about the slashdot effect :-) Or at least his staff will.

      On the down side I got am automated response that said current franking rules don't allow personal responses to non-district people. Might put a serious cramp on a comments section if he can't legally respond at all except to those voiced from people living in his district. I would have to say that is a rather poorly thought out rule considering his position as he now has responsibilities with a nation wide scope... the same applies to reps with certain committee responsibilities that engender decision making responsibilities that impact far more than just a rep's constituency.
  • by Sundroid (777083) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:03PM (#13893561) Homepage
    Right off the bat, this Republican Senator did something his Repblican colleagues probably won't like -- he criticized oil companies. From his blog:

    "Today, energy companies started reporting their 3rd quarter earnings, and while Americans paying were record prices at the pump, energy companies were making record profits. This is America. And Republicans don't believe in punishing success. But what are these oil companies doing to bring down the cost of oil and natural gas?"

    Welcome to blogosphere, Senator.
  • Or really speaker.house.gov.us, but the DNS system does have too much leftover US-centricness and that's unlikely to change.

    There are *way* too many government people who don't understand DNS and abuse it because they don't bother paying attention. For a while there were standards for naming within .gov and .us, but they're widely ignored. If you're going to have DNS structures for geographical and governmental organizations, you should use them.

    And too many (mostly US) government organizations are givin

    • You know .Com stands for Computer and not commercial, right?
      It was not created for 'profit' only.
    • I'm not so sure it's such a bad thing.

      While someone here surely knows the difference between a .gov and .com, most people don't. Many people just assume everything ends in .com.

      Awhile back, whitehouse.com actually was a porn site. I don't think an unsuspecting person hoping to view the White House's website would be amused by being instead directed to a porn site. Instead of forcefully taking domains, some government agencies choose to buy the .com, .net, and .org names as well as their .gov.

      I think this is
  • I've been saying for years that we should be trying to /. US governement sites other than NASA!!! That, or Microsoft depending on what you dislike more.
  • Too bad there's no comments section on the blog, but I can see why they would never allow something like that. It would be an instant flamefest.
  • Refineries (Score:2, Interesting)

    by The Bungi (221687)
    I thought it was interesting that he commented on the record profits the oil companies have been pulling in and how they had done nothing to alleviate the costs at the pump for the rest of us. True, he says 'republicans don't punish success' or something like that, but for the life of me I cannot fathom why he would bring up the refineries issue. I heard on NPR the other day about how the price of heating oil was going to go up *more* this winter because many of the oil companies were shipping refined produ
  • This... could be interesting, I suppose. At least I'll get to know what he's up to.

    Anyone who's followed House politics over the last decades understands how in-the-background Dennis Hastert actually has been. Compare to, oh, say, Newt Gingrich. He's more of the quiet leader type. Not controversial, not loud. Just does his job.

    About the only other thing I've heard about him is that he's trying to make our state (Illinois) a receiver state when it comes to federal funding of transportation, as opposed to

  • by Slashdoot (926440) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:11PM (#13893617)
    Just so Rush Limbaugh can be right there shouting, "FIRST!!!11"
  • Funny how people stumble on something from the past (blogging) and call it the future. Some people are so detached that they cannot even manage the present.
  • by stinerman (812158) <nathan.stineNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:18PM (#13893658) Homepage
    A future Hastert blog:

    OMG!!!! What a day! :-(

    Georgie said that he didn't think that I was doing enough to kill the McCain amendment in conference committee. Then I got a call from Dick, and he said that I needed to get the troops in line for the upcoming appropriations bill. They both are so mean sometimes! WTF!!! I just want to do fun speaker stuff like bang my gavel and shout "THERE WILL BE ORDER IN THE HOUSE!" at freshman congressmen, but these guys make me feel really underappreciated. I told Tom about it, and he said that I should just chill out and not worry about them. :-( [sigh]

    I was feeling really depressed until I got a call from Condi, who said that she wanted someone to go shopping with her. I had an excellent time with her. We went to The Mall and bought a few odds and ends. She really cheered me up when she did an impression of John Kerry. She spoke in a monotone voice and pulled the sides of her eyes down to look like a basset hound and she said "GLOBAL TEST! GLOBAL TEST!" and "I VOTED FOR IT BEFORE I VOTED AGAINST IT!" ROFLMAO!!!! After we were done laughing, some lady next to us was shopping for flip-flops! Can you believe it! LOLLERSKATES!!!!
  • blog? bah. (Score:5, Informative)

    by jpmatth (926485) on Thursday October 27, 2005 @07:26PM (#13893693)
    hastert's colleague in the senate, barack obama, has been doing an excellent podcast [senate.gov] for several months now.
  • We're just that much closer to the complete works of shakespeare being spit out any time now...
  • I hope more of our Congresspeople start up weblogs. It'll give the voters a better chance to really see what each individual person is all about during their term, so that we can decide whether to keep them or chuck them when their term is up. It'll also remove media spin altogether. Yeah, I know, the political spin will be there, but it'll be spin straight from the horse's mouth, without the NY Times or Fox News or whoever fudging what our representatives say to make for a better-selling story.

    Hopefully
    • Having an interest in the I-80/I-88 "connector" that is being developed thru Hastert's district, it would be interesting to see him blogging a bit about that, because if he wasn't Speaker of the House, it probably wouldn't be happening (yes, I think Spokane, WA, voters are some of the stupidest voters in the country for voting OUT the speaker of the House...cutting off your face to spite your nose, eh?). The drive down Ill-47, one of the proposed corridors, is pretty nice, because at least 4 years ago it wa
  • This looks like a good start...

    Hopefully the number of times he uses the word blogosphere in an entry will go down over time.
  • But what are these oil companies doing to bring down the cost of oil and natural gas? They haven't built a refinery here in America since the 1970's.

    How can he literally ask such a stupid, stupid question. He knows damn well why there hasn't been a refinery built. Let us review some of them:

    • NIMBY environmentalists on the local level.
    • Federal enviro regulators who have no idea how jobs or how exactly the money that gets direct deposited into their accounts every month is generated
    • Unions for treating inv
    • * NIMBY environmentalists on the local level.

      Unless you've spent much time on the outskirts of an oil refinery, there's nothing "environmentalist" about not wanting one nearby. Would you put up with the city putting a garbage collection depot or sewage treatment plant in your neighborhood? Probably not.

      Of course, the absurdities are when the oil companies do buy thousands of acres of land to put the refinery in the middle of that land, relatively isolated from all the NIMBYs, and yet people from hundre

  • Probably something like this (Yes I just did this too)
    http://www.rockshouse.com/pure/hastertxanga.png [rockshouse.com]
  • other Congressman only. Of course they need to register for accounts/blogs too.

    It'd be glorius.

  • I don't know if he'll keep up with it, but from reading his initial post, it seems clear that he's not employing ghostbloggers.

    "Ok, now what I need you fellas to do is to create an interweb diary sight that makes me look like I give a rats ass about the common voter. Make it all touchy-feely so it seems like I'm havin' a one on one dialog with the readers. Go ahead and sign my name, and state some crap like 'I'm new to this technology thing, but I'll try to keep this updated.' Come back in six months and

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