Ideas, rants and raves, with emphasis on Science, Politics, Personal Growth and Finance

Political Blogging Addiction, and Firefox

Posted by The Lukester on December 14, 2005

Blogs on the Left and the Right

I started following political blogs around the time Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald was doing his magic, and discovered a number of great mostly left-leaning blogs to follow, some of which I will list here. I also tried out a couple of the right-wing blogs, but got too angry reading them – too full of outrageous lies and spin in the face of the most solid facts, the advocacy of punditry over journalism. Of course that’s what they say about the blogs on the left, but any objective reader can tell in a flash which side respects the truth and which side is soaked with contrived outrage. Right?

Of course, there are “bad apples” in every bushel. There are some sane voices on the Right (generally they are the real conservatives, as opposed to the wack-job neo-cons), and there are some real wackos on the Left. But I know that I’m not a wacko because…because… well just because!

Firefox and Sage

Here’s what made reading political blogs into an addiction: I started using the Firefox browser, then added the Sage extension. For those of you who live on deserted islands and only read this in Morse Code, Firefox is a new, upstart open-source browser that’s dramatically more useful, small and faster, and more extendible than Internet Explorer. Sage “is a lightweight RSS and Atom feed aggregator.” In English that means that most blogs (those that support RSS – it’s easy to tell) can be listed in a column to one side. You know immediately if there are updates – usually new and recent entries – and they are listed below. You can check your favorite blogs without having to browse to the web page. Only if you want to read the article in full, or interact with the content in some way, do you need to browse the web page by jumping to the specific entry. It saves a huge amount of time which some people – like me – waste by adding additional blogs.

Different Blogs

There seem to be a few styles of political blogs. There are those that mostly just reference a story or comment made by a “real” news outlet or by another blogger. This is very handy since they have done all the work reading commentary and watching TV, and just supply a link and a few comments. Of these I use AMERICAblog, Think Progress, Daily Kos and Atrios. My current favorite is AMERICAblog – the comments are concise yet they are very passionate, updating several times an hour (which is Good Stuff to the blogging addict). Atrios, though it has great links, is a little terse for my taste. Think Progress goes both ways – sometimes no commentary and sometimes a bit of reporting. In their current (as I write this) entry, Think Progress has a great bit on O’Reilly’s “War on Christmas” stupidity. Daily Kos has great commentary too.

Then there are the blogs that write coherent articles on various topics. I put foreign policy expert Steven Clemens’ The Washington Note into this category, along with NO QUARTER, run by Larry Johnson, a former Intelligence professional who applies his extensive expertise and contacts to great stories.


Most if not all of these provide a venue for comments. I find this a mixed bag as they allow pretty open commentary – only the most inappropriate comments are filtered out – and hundreds of comments can accumulate. Right-wing blogs, by the way, tend to be closed to commentary (this makes sense – if you’re going to lie on a regular basis it would be inconvenient to have a hundred different commentators reminding everyone what the facts are). Also, some blogs have resident “trolls” – these are regular commentators on a mission to disrupt the discussion. Usually with absurd or inflammatory comments. While this makes participation less engaging then it should be, it does not distract from the article or entry itself.


I started this entry as a way to put the links to some of my favorite blogs (and these are just a few of the political ones) in an article. As with most of my writing it got quite long and I’ll be really impressed if anyone bothered to read all the way through! But if anyone wants to share this addiction, all you have to do is get Firefox, get Sage, and start adding blogs like crazy. Pretty soon you, too, will be staying up until 4AM clicking on articles, searching the web for more blogs, and tweaking your list by organizing blogs into folders. Have fun!


One Response to “Political Blogging Addiction, and Firefox”

  1. Paul said

    This seems useful. I had never even heard of Sage before.
    You might want to develop an addiction to my non-political (at least no openly) blog as well.

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