Thursday, February 26, 2009


Epublicans or just twits?

I completely overshot my intended audience this past Linux Monday with all that command line stuff. I promise I'll scale it back next week.

Meantime I have the strangest technical glitch ever in any operating system. Evolution, Ubuntu's default email program, will not allow me to type the letter R. Every other program lets me, and I've tried different keyboards, but no R's in email. It reminds me of the old Monty Python sketch about the man who can't say the letter C.

This means I could not, for example, email the Republican Party. I would have to contact the Epublican Paty. Ooo, sounds all snazzy and techie. And that's their latest greatest Path Back To Power: The Mini-Me blogosphere of Twitter.

Twitter 101: It lets you post very short text messages from your phone or blackberry or your pretty much whatever, the idea being that you do it a whole lot. This week marks the big political breakthrough for Twitter. Politico kicked off the week with a top ten list of best political "Tweeters" (for some reason, you "tweet" on twitter," but the moment was the image of Epublicans in the House chamber Twittering during President Obama's speech.

It seems like a natural; Twitter's 140 character limit forces you to talk in soundbites. That might not be a good thing for public discourse, but oversimplifying complex issues worked for the GOP for a long time. Read my lips: no new taxes. 27 characters counting spaces and punctuation. Government is not the solution, government is the problem: 58. Just recycle the old lines as often as needed--which is about all they're doing anyway.

Of course, John McCain would waste 10 characters by prefacing everything with My friends. But G-droppin' Sarah Palin would be a natural, saving a full letter on most common verbs.

Unfortunately, you can't spell twitter without twit, and the content is only as good as the commentator. Texas Rep. Joe Barton got some flak for encouraging "followers" (you "follow" a "tweet") to tune into the Aggie game instead of watching Nancy Pelosi cheer on the President. Worse, he almost immediately disclaimed it and said a staffer had written it. Which breaks Rule 1 of tweeting: you do it yourself. Cracked (one of my favorite time wasters) has a list of best celebrity Twitters and of all people, Shaquille O'Neal tops the list. And yes, it's really him.

There's Democrats who tweet, too, and the consensus champ is Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. As for me, the tight limits would keep me from rambling for 1000 words about the Linux command line. Hell, there's command line commands longer than 140 characters. I won't scare you with them. You don't need them. Linux is easy. Really.

But it would be had to twitte without the key for the lette between q and s. So as the Epublicans try to tweet their way back to power, I should be bipartisan with my tech glitch and also look at the Emocatic Paty. This invokes images of myself in the Dukakis era, the dark doom and gloom days of the Permanent Republican Electoral College Lock, and playing Echo and the Bunnymen on college radio. Completely the wrong mood for the Dems of 2009, who would be euphoric if the economy didn't suck so bad.

So, should Deeth twitter, or fergit `er? And is there anything you regular non-Monday readers want to know about Linux that I haven't already said?

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