INdiana Systemic Thinking

February 16, 2008

Sue Ellen Reed: On Her Way Out?

Most of the major news outlets, as well as blogs around the state are reporting on comments made by Governor Mitch Daniels that he is apparently supporting candidate Tony Bennett for Indiana School Superintendent.  All this despite Sue Ellen Reed has held the position for four terms and has not made a decision about a fifth.  Here are some links about the comments and what they may possibly mean:

 Taking Down Words

Blue Indiana

Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

February 13, 2008

Health Blog Roundup: Step-dads, Chelsea Clinton, Statins Make Women Stupid, etc…

Here are some of the posts I found interesting this morning from the list of national health blogs I keep track of:

From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:

Do statins “make women stupid“?

Blue Cross of California wants doctors to help them cancel patient policies.

Dr. Grohol’s World of Psychology:

Making sense of suicide and drugs.

On the Radar:

Chelsea Clinton hates her health insurance.

Hidden Agenda in CDHPs

From MSNBC:

It’s tough being a step-dad!

February 5, 2008

Mitch Harper Gets Some Good Press

It’s refreshing to see not only a positive story about a politician, but also a politician doing whats right for his constituents.  Mitch Harper is a freshman Fort Wayne City Council member, but is already taking a leadership position on the council, so says Tracy Warner in his Fort Wayne Journal Gazette column today.  Warner is referencing a story yesterday reporting on a press conference Harper had with co-council member Tim Smith.  They presented their list of concerns about Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry’s plan to enact a previously declined tax levy.  By doing this, Harper has shown his political and personal intelligence, as well as his loyalty to his constituents.

But, we already knew that.  Harper is also the editor of Fort Wayne Observed a local Fort Wayne Blog.  He is probably too modest to post this himself, so I thought I would.   Keep up the good work Mitch.

By the way, both stories are worthwhile reading, as is FWoB! 🙂

February 1, 2008

Indiana’s Best Blogs

Filed under: About The Blog,Blogs — kurtglmft @ 2:00 am
Tags: , , ,

The Blogmeister would like to thank HoosierAccess (and give a big tip ‘o the hat) for bringing the voting over at Howey’s Political Blog to his attention.  Apparently Howey decided to run a poll asking readers to vote on the best political blog in Indiana.  However, the poll only includes about 5 blogs and a choice for “other” (“other” was winning at the time of this posting…good).  Hoosier Access raises some good points about the poll, which I shall not address here, but encourage the reader to click over to the original post on that site.

However, this poll raises some interesting questions I’ve been thinking about since I started this blog.  First, how does one tell how any particular blog is doing relative to the other blogs out there?  Blognetnews gives some assistance as they carry posts from all the blogs they monitor, show “most” comments, clicks, and links.  They also post “the most influential blogs” of the week, based on some proprietary formula.  They also allow readers to rate posts, which, in turn, rate the blog.  (As an aside, I have problems with their rating system.  They only show how the blog is rated, not how the individual posts are rated, making it hard for a blogger to improve individual posts in the future).  So this is one way to rate blogs, but it seems they measure more short term (one week) results, which can be subject to whims and temporary popularity, as even bad bloggers may write a good post now and then.

It seems a better measure of how good a blog is can be found at Blogjuice.  This site, which by the way, provides this service to sell advertising, measures four indices to give a blog an overall rank.  For brevity I will not go into their formula, because they explain it well on the site, but it includes how many feeds a blog has, it’s alexa score, the technorati score, and then number of links to the blog.  None of these are easily manipulated by the blogger, and are much less susceptible to momentary spikes in a blog’s popularity.  The drawback is a blog must be well established, in internet terms, to begin to gather the rankings on the specific indices.  However, I would maintain that if a blog is good, it will gather them quickly. 

I took the top 20 blogs from Blognetnews and ran them through Blogjuice.  On Blogjuice, the blog is given a score of 0-10 with 10 being the best.  Here are the results, with the Blognetnews rank following the name:

4.4 Bilerico Project 8

2.9 Blue Indiana 15

2.7 Fort Wayne Observed 5

2.5 Taking Down Words 14

2.3 Angry White Boy 9

1.8 Masson’s Blog 7

1.8 Hoosier Access 3

1.7 Indiana Law Blog 2

1.4 Ruth Holladay 16

1.3 Berry Street Beacon 17

1.2 Indiana Systemic Thinking 4

1.2 Opening Arguments 1

1.2 Region Life 12 

1.2 Masson’s Blog 7

1.1 Advance Indiana 6

1.0 Indiana Barrister 11

1.0 Hoosier Pundit 10

0.8 Kenn Gividen’s Indiana News 19

0.5 Blue County Red State 20

0.5 Veritas Rex 13

0.1 Digital Farmers Blog 18

So what does all this mean?  Well to me, it means Blogjuice is an indicator of how well a blog does over time, while Blognetnews shows more of a snapshot of what is going on right now.  So, which is better?  I don’t know and think knowing what is hot now could be just as important as what has done well over time.  For a beginning blogger it would be nice to know how your doing now and as your blog matures you could be more interested in how it is doing over time.  For readers, something doing well now could mean it really is good and will do well over time, while a more established blog is likely to have a devoted readership and more comments and interaction.

Still, does any of this really matter?  Unless your trying to justify how popular your blog is to an advertiser, or you have some competition issues, I really don’t think so.  Shouldn’t one write a blog because they like to?  I read somewhere most blogs have a readership of 1, so anything above that would be a success, in my opinion.  In addition, if you read things just because everyone else does, have fun in the herd.  You really may be missing something only you and one other person like.  Really, isn’t that what it’s all about, collecting your own list of interesting reading, not someone else’s?

January 30, 2008

Lilly Changing Marketing Payment Scheme?

The only authority for this is Dr. Daniel Carlat, who publishes the Carlat Psychiatry Blog.  Rather than try to summarize, here is his article:

Eli Lilly “Slashes” Hired Gun Payments in Response to Dr. Drug Rep

One of my moles in the upper echelons of the pharmaceutical industry informed me that officials at Eli Lilly are changing some payment policies to hired guns in response to the article, Dr. Drug Rep.

Prepare to be underwhelmed.

The officials involved were apparently discussing the negative publicity generated by the article, and decided to put a more stringent cap on their payments to physicans who hawk their drugs to other doctors. In the past, there was a $100,000/year maximum for regular talks, with an option of tacking on an extra $50,000 for certain “brand-specific” talks, such as talks specifically relating to Zyprexa or Cymbalta. So the maximum was $150,000 per year, and many doctors were happily maxing out at that figure. Reportedly, Lilly is worried that allowing physicians to make “6 figures” for whoring themselves appears unseemly, so as of 2009, the total cap will be slashed to…drum roll please…$75,000/year. That’s only 5 figures.

The physicians affected are unlikely to be hitting the welfare rolls soon, however, as they might be able to make up this lifestyle-threatening shortfall by engaging in a novel professional activity–treating patients.

Keith Edwards Launches New Blog

Those in the Fort Wayne area will no doubt be pleased to learn former anchorman Keith Edwards is launching a new blog. Titled Anchormanedwards it looks like Keith will tackle a variety of issues. The Blogmeister wishes Keith well in this new endeavor. If one wishes to see the site it can be found here:

http://anchormanedwards.blogspot.com/

or in my link section.

Good Luck Keith!

January 26, 2008

Google Heath?

Filed under: Blogs,Healthcare — kurtglmft @ 9:40 am
Tags: ,

H/T to Health Care Blog Log for the following:

Get Your Google Health . . . Soon

Various reports out about the coming of Google Health. As Matthew Holt indicates, the Google purists found a log in page (screen shot).

The log in page has since been pulled down but Matthew and Tech Crunch provide a list of what the log in page said Google Health will do for you, including:

With Google Health, you can:

  • Build online health profiles that belong to you
  • Download medical records from doctors and pharmacies
  • Get personalized health guidance and relevant news
  • Find qualified doctors and connect to time-saving services
  • Share selected information with family or caregivers

I’m particularly interested to check out the “Google Health Privacy Policy” which is referenced on the log in screen shot.

Stay tuned . . .

January 20, 2008

RedBlue America

Filed under: Announcements,Blogs — kurtglmft @ 11:59 am
Tags: , , ,

The Evansville Courrier Press brings us news of a potentially exciting new website.  It is called RedBlueAmerica.com and it promises;

The site will serve as an ongoing public forum for a full array of user-generated content, including blogs, personal profiles, videos and more. While focusing at the outset on the 2008 election campaigns, RedBlueAmerica intends to provide the public with an open forum for a wide range of cultural and political views long after the votes have been counted.

RedBlueAmerica is a free online service that delivers timely political news, provides subscribers with an e-mail service and conducts a daily public opinion poll on selected topics. The site also will include a feature called “Truth or Not” that will challenge, among other things, the veracity of factual claims made by high-profile newsmakers and others.

The Blogmeister is on his way to check it out, but see for yourself by following the link.

January 12, 2008

Bloggers: Watch What You Write!

That is, if you live in Saudi Arabia, or plan to travel there soon.  Don’t worry, there is an Indiana connection.  From the Muncie Star Press:

A former Ball State University student is being held and interrogated by his native Saudi Arabian government for comments published on his blog.

Fouad Ahmed al-Farhan [pictured in the middle] has been heralded as a brave blogger who criticized corruption and promoted “freedom, dignity, justice (and) equality.” In news stories since his arrest last month, he’s been labeled the kingdom’s most popular blogger, the dean of blogging and the godfather of blogging in Saudi Arabia.

Now, more than a month later, friends continue to maintain his blog, www.alfarhan.org. A “Free Fouad” blog, www.freefouad.comincludes a petition visitors can sign and send to both U.S. and Saudi officials to demand Farhan’s release.

The pleas to release Farhan, 32, married and a father of two, are expected to get much louder in the coming days as President George Bush visits Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia.

Farhan studied graduate-level computer science while enrolled at BSU, from the summer of 1999 through the summer of 2000. Marc Ransford, a spokesman for the university, said records don’t indicate Fouad earned a degree here.

A friend and fellow blogger of Farhan’s told The New York Times that Farhan’s arrest has caused fear among other bloggers that they also be detained for what they write.

January 6, 2008

Mixed Media: TDW Gets Some Print

In looking through a story in the Muncie Star Press about the upcoming (May 8th) primary, Indiana State Democratic Party Communications Director Jennifer Wagner said,

“While we’re not one of the states at the very front of the pack, with a race as close as this one may end up being, there’s a possibility that Hoosiers may still have a say in the presidential primary,”

Jennifer is the blogmistress of  Taking Down Words, and has been described as “the meanest woman in Indiana politics”.

The Blogmeister has corresponded with Ms. Wagner and never found her to be all that mean 8)

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