Scripting News for 12/13/2006

Tim Johnson, the 59-year-old US Senator from South Dakota, may have suffered a stroke. If he can’t serve, a replacement will be appointed by South Dakota’s governor, a Republican. Johnson is a Democrat, whose 51-49 majority in the new Senate would turn into a 50-50 tie. 

NY Times: “Congdon — a droll, blond Rosalind Russell for the digital generation — has at last landed at” 

Rosalind Russell starred with Cary Grant in His Girl Friday.  

Jeff Jarvis on a puzzling flare-up in comments in response to a recent Techcrunch post about the NY Times. I agree with Arrington that the Times isn’t doing well in competition with the web, but I don’t go as far as he does. When I think they’re wrong I say it. But I also think the Times is important, in the same way that Techcrunch is important. Even if they’re sloppy, self-serving, and nasty, the fact that something was said in the Times, at least for now, is itself important. “GPS devices might not help you get rescued if you’re lost, but they can help you avoid getting stuck in the first place.” 

I got an email from Dan Gediman, president of This I Believe, Inc, apologizing for the fund-raising email I received yesterday. Accepted, with these suggestions. 1. When I gave you my email address, I assumed it was only for communication regarding my article. Now I wonder how else you’re going to use the information. 2. If you’re going to continue sending email solicitations, it should be made clear, up front, that there is no connection between the solicitation and the submission. 3. Apply the golden rule, respect the integrity of your authors as you would insist on having your own integrity respected. 4. I don’t think the editorial side should be sharing contact information with the publishing side. And while I do appreciate the apology (btw, I found it more than “bothersome”), this affair has lowered my opinion of your organization, the program, and of NPR.  


I was talking with Scoble this afternoon about today’s events in ArringtonLand.

I wondered out loud if Mike should have created a network of sites, or if it would have worked better if he had stayed the sole author of TechCrunch. Who knows what that path would have led to. He might have emulated Ben Rosen, the author of the Rosen Electronic Letter in the late 70s and early 80s, which was something like TechCrunch, though it ran less frequently and was printed on paper. Rosen got to know all the players in the nascent PC industry, and when he was reasonably sure how the industry would develop, he quit the newsletter (turning it over to Esther Dyson) and started two companies: Compaq and Lotus, and became even more influential in very short order (and hugely rich, btw).

It would be hard for Mike to do that, with all the management hassles that come with a growing network of publications. But, it might still be possible. He still has unique access to the product plans of the industry, and people would probably kill to have him involved in their companies.

11 responses to this post.

  1. Dave, I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but your search is not working.


  2. Posted by Jim Posner on December 13, 2006 at 10:39 am

    I think Mike just hung up on you. Don’t bother calling back, the light is on but nobody is home.


  3. Jim, I think you’re right, but Mike is still someone I care about, and he’s hurting, and if I can help, I will.

    I have a good friend who got a kidney transplant two years ago. He was really fucking sick up to the point he got the transplant, and while he was suffering he said some shit to me, but I understood it to mean that he was hurting, and I didn’t run away. Now he’s better, and I have a better friend for all the shit we’ve been through.

    I’m optimistic about my relationship wiht Mike, I don’t think it’s over.


  4. Your NPR dustup was picked up by Romenesko.


  5. Still, at least he didn’t fire you for criticizing the crapfest in Paris yesterday…


  6. Posted by sfenerule on December 13, 2006 at 2:50 pm

    Times a Congdon: she got the Steeley Dan t-shirt


  7. Strokes can strike anyone, young and old. Jane Brody had an excellent column this week on strokes and their symptoms, pointing out that with strokes, time is of the essence. Wonder if someone in Sen. Johnson’s office saw it. He seems to have been rushed to the hospital very quickly.


  8. I wouldn’t assume that the Republican governor of S. Dakota would automatically appoint a Republican replacement for Sen. Johnson, if that became necessary. Such an appointment might be construed as thwarting the will of the people, and in some states would be tantamount to political suicide for the governor.


  9. It’s all about margins, isn’t it? Narrow margins are precarious. In business and politics. You have to aim to win big just to survive.


  10. Posted by Smilin' Stan Wesolowski on December 13, 2006 at 5:54 pm

    Sheesh – I had to wade through several “major media” reports before I clicked on your page and got a clear one-paragraph explanation on just what the implications would be if Johnson cannot continue to serve.

    Note to major media: tell me what I want (or need) to know, not just what YOU want to tell me.


  11. Senator Johnson is a tough Dakotan of strong prairie stock. He’s also my daughter’s Uncle from her Dad’s side of the family and I can personally attest to the hardiness of their clan. I’m confident that he’ll pull through just fine.


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