Wednesday: Looking Back

Looking back over my deeds
I can see signs a wise man heeds
And if I just had the chance
I’d never make that same mistake again

— excerpt, Looking Back by Nat King Cole (c. 1958)

Sorry this is so late. Still have family here from out of town. Usual familial circus continues.

Today also happens to mark the fifth month I’ve been posting these Monday-Friday roundups. It’s time to take a look back at this effort. Have they been worthwhile? Are we getting anything out of them?

I started in part to force myself to write more every day, and I’ve achieved that. But it’s come at the expense of other writing; I need to do something different going forward to ensure I make my other personal writing goals.

I also started in part to return to political content, if not electoral politics. After five years away, it was time to come back; politics were why I started blogging fourteen years ago, after all, and the political is still a personal driver.

What I didn’t expect was how much more reading I would do every day. If I read 50K words a day before I started regular weekday posts, I read nearly 100K now, and across a breadth of subjects I might not have touched last year. This has been very helpful during discussions I’ve had with my young adult children, who are now starting and leaving college, and entering the workforce. What does the short- and long-term future look like based on current trends? But this much reading also exacts a price in terms of time.

These posts were also intended to offer an open thread for discussion. There’ve been a few choice nuggets along the way in the comments, like harpie’s research into the Flint Water Crisis.

When looking back again in another handful of months or a year or two, I wonder what the most important topic was out of these roundup posts so far? Plenty of food for thought and discussion.

Before I go back to taming lions and taking the occasional turn driving the clown car, I want to remind you there’s a backup site in case this one isn’t available. There’s some tinkering going on backend here; there’s a redesigned site coming in the very near future. Bookmark this: Emptywheel Alternate Site

Can’t promise comments there will be monitored as closely as they are here, but it’s an alternate place to catch our content if you have problems here at the main page. Catch you later!

2 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    Yes, worthwhile. You are (at least on “paper”) a fun and bright person, on occasion a worthy adversary. One suggestion if you want to keep going: Pick only two or three topics/articles a day for posting, rather than trying to do all the news that’s fit to print. And I have absolutely no idea if that’s a good suggestion. Nighty-night!

  2. John Casper says:


    If any of this is helpful, great. If not, sorry for wasting your time.

    I’m an agnostic, but Marcy’s place is holy ground. It’s as close as I can get to the old FDL. Mary Perdue (RIP) use to post here. Before she joined FDL, I read Marcy at TheNextHurrah. David Dayen might be the best reporter in America. I don’t think he’s in Marcy’s league. Marcy’s brand is beyond pristine. She doesn’t let just anyone post here. See Ed Walker, bmaz, Jim White. You belong. You share the same moral compass. You excel in making complex stuff accessible. You can write. You’re witty. You’re fun. You bring elite content in music, IT, history, science, and a lot of other areas.

    Rhetorical, wrt wwwdotemptywheeldotnet is it evolving into silos of media ombudspeople (an official appointed to investigate individuals’ complaints against maladministration, especially that of public authorities)? Marcy knows best. “I’m with her.”

    Private equity firms control the stock prices of the main-stream media. They’re Richard Gere’s character in “Pretty Woman.” Through their high-priced P.R. flacks, such as Sard Verbinnen&Co they control the weekly news cycle.

    Page 61 of Charles R. Morris’, “The Trillion-Dollar Meltdown…,” explains them.

    “A typical deal: Put up $1 billion, borrow $4 billion more, snap up a healthy company for $5 billion (after making a very rich deal with its executives), vote yourselves a special dividend” of $1 billion, then as the buyout-fueled stock market keeps rising, sell the company back to the public, pocketing another couple billion, all the while taking no risk. “People talk about a wall of money one banker said, Private equity funds didn’t have to raise capital, it was chasing them.”

    Private Equity’s reach is unlimited, “Wolf Richter: Private Equity Scrambles to Buy Primary Care Doctors, ‘Leverage’ Their Patients.”

    “So will primary care be nirvana for PE firms? Or just another fracking boom? Dr. Gorback, who doesn’t have a crystal ball either but knows a thing or two about doctors, mused:

    Managing doctors is like herding cats. These deals almost always lead to a culture clash between the spreadsheet people and the doctors, resulting in disillusionment on both sides and parting of ways, usually with a lot of bitterness.

    The PE strategy of slash and burn is particularly unsuitable for this type of arrangement. I can see the PE guys acquiring practices with magic beans, loading up the company with debt, taking it to IPO, and burning whoever touches it.

    That’s what happened to the intrepid souls who bought the PE firms’ prior hot product, the energy IPOs in 2013 and 2014.”

    Your remind me of Jane Hamsher and Christy pouring themselves into FDL. There was no way they could maintain the volume and the quality. I agree with bloopie about the importance of exploring ways to pace yourself. Should you consider looking at the front-paged titles of U.S. main-stream media on Sunday, the beginning of the weekly news cycle? Does that effort generate a Monday post about what the elites consider, “newsworthy?” Can we infer anything about their concerns? Are there disagreements? Is there any connection to the, “readers right to know?” When they’re on the same topic, do you want to go to the work of comparing the coverage?

    Could Tuesday through Friday posts monitor the elites agenda in the news cycle or expand into what you think is newsworthy–IT, science, music, history, and other topics you in which you are fluent–or both? Could a collection of your Monday posts eventually evolve into a historical database about the major newsrooms and their editors? “Rayne knows their playbook. She knows their feints and their straddles. She has a feel for what sources drive them.”

    If you uncover errors or conflicts among the elites in Sunday MSM-coverage, isn’t that a scoop?

    Can you delegate? If a reader/commenter emerges, who you trust, and reads one of the major outlets religiously, could they track their Sunday front-page coverage through the week?

    Should every thread be a potentially working thread? If a commenter brings up a good idea, if you think it’s newsworthy, is that the title of the post you write the next day? I’ll never forget when Dick Cheney shot Harry Whittington in the face. For the next few days, FDL comments were miles ahead of the talking heads. Threads about penned birds, Texas gun safety laws, different kinds of shotguns and shot; sounded as though they had been taped at a card table in a hunting lodge.

    In Friday posts, do you ask us what we think the MSM will be front-paging on Sunday? Do you ask us what topics in the coming week might best build readership? I don’t know that those are good ideas. They might not work. Readers might be unhappy if you didn’t go in the direction they wanted.

    Whatever music you link to, I play it. If it aligns with the post, great. If it’s got a narrative, great. If it doesn’t, I don’t care. You have an appreciation for music that I don’t.

    Later in FDL’s life, every Monday boxturtle did a terrific science post. Maybe he’s at Shadowbox now. If not, maybe he’s someone who can help.

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