What’s this new world of blogging anyway?

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From the Publisher/Arnold G. York

Some people have asked me about blogs. Blogs are online Web sites and just anyone can write on just about anything-personal opinion, original reporting, rips offs of some else’s work, or compilations of a bunch of sources with a little analysis and attitude thrown in. Often the blogs give you sites you can link to so you can read the original material. For journalists and policy wonks they’re great, except you have to be careful about what you read and what you take as truth. Newspapers, magazines and journals all go through an editing process where they try, some better than others, to be accurate. But blogs go straight from the writer’s head directly into the computer and then out to the world. There are many good journalists who do blogs, and there is probably an even larger number of angry wackos who get up each morning and vent it all on the world.

In the former category, I trust, is a blog called The Roundup written by my son, Tony, and Scott Lay, a Sacramento buddy of his. To give you a feel for a blog and because I was too lazy to write my own column, I’ve reprinted part of today’s The Roundup where the obvious big news is the governor calling the Special Election in November.

The Roundup

Tuesday, June 14

Never say Neverland

… And in other news, the governor called an historic special election. That’s the way the news played almost everywhere this morning, as Arnold Schwarzenegger was trumped by news of the acquittal of one of the few celebrities more famous than the governor.

We can’t help but feel for the governor’s media team on this one.

But now that it’s official, let’s see how much money we can all spend over the next 147 days. “An estimate of $200 million from all parties, I would call that table stakes,” said Marty Wilson, Schwarzenegger’s main fundraiser. “My guess is that the pot grows from there.”

Some of that money will be coming from CCPOA, which is asking their members to pony up a bit more cash to fight the governor. The 30,000-member prison officers’ union expects to tally results early next week of its members’ vote on a $33 fee increase that is aimed at generating $17.8 million over a 17-month period. “We’re a small labor organization trying to get our message out in a state of 33 million people,” said Lance Corcoran, the prison guards’ union executive vice president. “So, no, we had no choice.”

Everyone, it seemed, had something to say about the special election yesterday. The governor’s allies argued the next few months could provide a much-needed civics lesson for many Californians.

“You look at the [Public Policy Institute] poll and you realize the public could benefit from a five-month discussion about how the budget functions in California,” said Allan Zaremberg, president of the California Chamber of Commerce, which helped place Schwarzenegger’s initiatives on the ballot.

Yes, in between “Dancing with the Stars” and “American Idol,” we can have a fantastic dialog about Proposition 98 and general fund growth rates.

As USC’s Marty Kaplan put it, “In this galaxy, anything [Schwarzenegger] could say today about redistricting would be overshadowed by Michael Jackson.”

Treasurer Phil Angelides called yesterday “a sad day for this state,” and called Schwarzenegger “the most divisive governor in our history.” But perhaps the treasurer overreached just a smidge when he compared the special election to the war in Iraq.

“That war has brought this country nothing but grief and heartache and, in the end, the governor’s initiatives will bring nothing but division and heartache to this state,” said Angelides, who is running for governor next year.

Meanwhile, the Legislature is ready to vote on a budget by Wednesday. The budget strategy of legislative Democrats became clearer yesterday, as Pro Tem Don Perata spelled out their plans for a two-step process: Bring up the budget on Wednesday and then try to peel off Republican votes for a tax increase over the summer.

“Let’s get a balanced budget to the governor, let’s vote on it, let’s put that aside,’ said Perata, an Oakland Democrat. “And then let’s spend the next six to eight weeks debating real education reform … and then let’s see if we can’t put something before the voters in November.”