Can Emails and Blogs Cause Misunderstandings?

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Concurring Opinions and the Volokh Conspiracy picked up on an article from the Christian Science Monitor that discussed why email, the mode of communication du jour, makes it so easy to misunderstand each other. At Concurring Opinions, Kaimipono D. Wenger states that the same is true with blogs. In addition to not being able to pick up on nonverbal cues, blog readers face other disadvantages when trying to extract meaning from a blog post. Sarcasm is tough to transmit through the bloglines. In addition, blog posts, like emails, are often fired off in haste. I can assure you that this is true. This article is being written mere minutes before its Monday-morning deadline. I'd better move on to the next paragraph. Here we go!

The big blogging story of last week involved ABC News' blog The Blotter, where a story emerged of the federal government wiretapping journalists to uncover their secret sources. A secret government informant told reporters Brian Ross and Richard Esposito to get new cell phones because the government was listening to their calls. I would advise them to invest in new cell phones anyway so they can get some of that Bluetooth technology. Following the leak about the U.S. government's secret prisons in Poland and Romania, the feds took a keen interest in knowing who was talking with reporters about what. The tenor of The Blotter piece is rather alarmist. Next thing you know, they'll be complaining when the government begins inserting Reagan 2900 Global Tracking Devices into our spines next fall. The tracking devices are very stylish and can play MP3s, so there is nothing to worry about. If you wake up in the middle of the night and hear someone breathing on the other end of the phone, relax, it's just Karl Rove checking in.

On a related note, the progressive research and analysis blog Think Progress presented a critique of the current NSA domestic spying program and how it could expose the major telecommunications companies to billions of dollars worth of lawsuits. According to Think Progressive, AT&T, Verizon, and BellSouth violated the Stored Communications Act; and even the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act can't protect them. They claim the telecommunications giants could be liable for $1 billion for every American whose records were surrendered to the U.S. government. That's well over the established rate of $1.99 for the first minute and $3.99 for each additional minute.

From the "Uh-Oh" files comes this Instapundit story of a bat-guano crazy Democratic candidate for Alabama Attorney General. Candidate Larry Darby, founder of the Atheist Law Center, took some lumps from the Alabama press for his religious views. He tried to win some brownie points by admitting that although he is an atheist, he has plenty of insane beliefs. Chief among his screwball notions is that the Holocaust never happened. He blames the "Holocaust Industry" for spreading misinformation regarding the fate of the European Jews during World War II. Darby is presently headed for New Jersey to speak at a "pro-white rally." This guy is kind of like the white power Ross Perot—only crazier and dumber.

Reeling from soaring gas prices? Richard Posner of The Becker-Posner Blog says, "Quit your complaining, you big baby!" A stark-raving conservative evaluation of the current gas crisis was posted on The Becker-Posner Blog a short while ago. Posner says the high gas prices are a good thing! It reduces our dependency on foreign oil and puts more money into the economy. He points out that the nature of the gas industry is routinely causing spiking and that the government's scrambling to satiate oil-addicted Americans is both hasty and myopic.

Another development from weeks past was the return of attorney Roy Black. As highlighted in a post from Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground, Roy bid the practice of law adieu to star in the mega-flop lawyer reality-TV show The Firm. The TV show fizzled out and was swept under the rug without fanfare. Black is back now, representing radio personality Rush Limbaugh in his OxyContin case. Even the brightest Hollywood stars fade away, Roy. Welcome back to the fold.

Until next week, fellow blogophiles, keep watching the blogs.

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