Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Jon Swift Memorial Roundup 2010

(The Best Posts of the Year, Chosen by the Bloggers Themselves)

The much missed Jon Swift/Al Weisel left behind some excellent satire, but was also a nice guy and a strong supporter of small blogs. Blogroll Amnesty Day (co-founded with skippy) is a celebration of small blogs that's still going strong, and coming up again the first weekend in February. Jon/Al also put together a roundup of the best blogs posts of the year, selected by the participating bloggers themselves. (Here's the 2007 and 2008 editions.) I wanted to revive that tradition, both as a tribute to Jon/Al and because it was something special in its own right.

If you're not familiar with Al Weisel's work as Jon Swift, his site features a "best of" list in the left column (scroll down). His journalism site is here. Meanwhile, Tom Watson and skippy compiled most of the many memorial posts written for him.

Thanks to all the participants, especially those who helped spread the word. Apologies to the folks I missed in this effort (although you can still link your post in the comments). My initial contact list included a significant number of past contributors, but many bloggers have retired. Many more I tried to reach don't include contact information. Still, it's been nice to see many past participants again, enjoy some fine posts and read all the warm comments about Jon Swift/Al Weisel.

Whether your post appears in the modest list below or not, anyone with a Twitter account is free to link his or her best post and include the hatchtag #jonswift2010. The upcoming Blogroll Amnesty Day is also a great way for anyone to highlight any overlooked blogs.

As in Jon/Al's 2008 roundup, submissions are listed roughly in the order they were received. As he wrote for that post:

I'm sure you'll be interested in seeing what your favorite bloggers think were their best posts of the year, but be sure to also visit some blogs you've never read before and leave a nice comment if you like what you see or, if you must, a polite demurral if you do not.

Without further ado:

Mad Kane's Political Madness
Alpha-Political Verse: Election 2010
Madeleine Begun Kane: "Our bizarre mid-term election period summed up in alpha-political verse."

Where’s the Outrage?
Health Care Reform – Reloaded
ecthompson md: "Healthcare Reform done right should cover all Americans, it should be cost-effective (the government should be able to negotiate drug prices and product prices with manufacturers), it should be portable, and must be single-payer in order for us to get the biggest bang for our buck."

Kiko's House
When Care Givers Became Cost Centers: The Genesis Of The Crisis In Nursing
Shaun Mullen: "The moment that the crisis in American nursing went from being worrisome to dire was when hospital administrators stopped considering nurses to be care givers and they became "cost centers." It's not possible to pinpoint exactly when that metamorphosis occurred..."

Did NYT's Risen Get Played On Afghan Mineral Wealth Story?
Steve Hynd: "Risen challenged bloggers to get out of their PJ's and do some reporting. So we did, and found his source's shady connections."

I'll Never Forget The Day I Read A Book!
American Insurgents American Patriots
Clark Bjorke: "I have mixed feelings about the lessons to be learned from this excellent book on the people's revolution in colonial America. It illustrates how misinformed, ill prepared and misguided the American Public has been from the very beginning of our history and how this has driven the development of our democratic society."

World O' Crap
Abortion-Seeking Women: Won't Someone Think of the Man-Child?
Scott Clevenger: "If your wife or girlfriend had an abortion, then you're not receiving all the Father's Day cards you're entitled to. Fortunately, a Men's Rights group now offers a line of seasonal abortion greeting cards for Him."

Pruning Shears
State-run Iranian media beats the NY Times on WikiLeaks reporting
Dan: "Before the release of the diplomatic cables, America's newspaper of record whiffed on another WikiLeaks scoop."

Playing with my Food
Paul Hinrichs: "A brief look at the uses and abuses of a misunderstood genre."

Stump Lane
Human Nature, Power and Ethics: A Layman's View
Montag takes a graphical approach to the subject.

FDL News
Portrait of HAMP Failure: "It Makes Your Financial Situation Worse"
David Dayen: "This was the story of a friend of mine, who told me how his mortgage servicer was handling his attempt at a loan modification. It was eye-opening and appalling, and it led me to examine the entire HAMP program. I wrote at least a dozen of these stories, and this was the first."

The Most Nauseating Lie in Bush's New Book
Marc McDonald: "In this article, I noted that George W. Bush was lying in his "Decision Points" book when he claimed that he was "angry" when no WMDs were found in Iraq and that the issue gives him a "sickening feeling" to this day. As I wrote in the article, in reality, a mere year after he ordered the Iraq invasion, Bush was already flippant about the missing WMD issue, joking about it at the 2004 White House Correspondents Dinner."

Within Our Souls
Melissa McEwan: "Rep. Duncan Hunter says "it takes more than walking across the border to become an American citizen; it's within our souls," and I take to task Hunter and his cohort of anxious braggarts, who love to wave the flag and shout about how America is the "greatest country in the world!" at every opportunity, then react with sullen resentment when (certain) people agree and clamor to get in the door."

Confession Zero
Behind the Walls
Mark Prime pens a poem on the news of the day.

David E's Fablog
Phone Call from a Stranger
David Ehrenstein recounts Virginia Thomas calling Anita Hill, with cinematic assistance.

William K. Wolfrum Chronicles
An Open and Honest Discussion of my Racism
William K. Wolfrum: "Bill looks back at the night his racism cost him a friend, and how that night made him take stock of his racial insensitivities."

Blue Police Box Music
TV Titles A-Z: Part 4c: D is for Doctor Who
Andrew Edwards: "A brief history of the Doctor Who theme song, from 1963 - The Present. Covers every version from the original Delia Derbyshire analogue tape realization, to Murray Gold's orchestral bombast for the 2005 new series."

Fried Green al-Qaedas
Goodbye Moon
Mark Hoback: "A celebration by Dr. Harry Spangler (NASA) of the end of the lunar exploration program."

Entitlement Derangement
Robert Stein: "An octogenarian's sadness at the decline of the American spirit from JFK's inaugural address to the year of Tea Party rage."

Mental Floss
Nuclear Quotes: The Crew of the Enola Gay
Miss Cellania: "A profile of each crew member of the Enola Gay and the feelings they expressed about the mission after the war."

They Gave Us a Republic
By their name you shall know them
Blue Girl: "Not content with making up "intel" in the 70s and 80s, the infamous Team B rides again to screw up Afghanistan intel in the aughts."

Blue in the Bluegrass
Democrats Facing Fourth and Long – Go for It!
Yellow Dog: "Almost every time, the Fraidy-Cat team doesn't win, even if it's the team with more talent and should win - because not going for it creates losers."

Hysterical Raisins
The Macaca Awards! And the Winners Are… (collaboration)
Nonnie9999: "An award for everything that is appalling in American Politics. Named in honor of George Allen."

Mock, Paper, Scissors
The Macaca Awards: And The Winners Are... (collaboration)
Tengrain: "It seems so long ago that George Allen uttered the words that moved a generation (and sank his political career), and forever seared the word MACACA into our collective brain... And so we honor all that is appalling in American Politics with the First Semi-Regular MACACA AWARDS."

Rand Takes the Train to Portland
Darrel Plant: "Hooking up this year's Ayn Rand fixation to advertising for luxury toilets."

Diary of a Heretic
The Killer
(kathleenmaher): ""The Killer" is the last "flash fiction" piece I wrote. My flash fiction--stories in fewer than 500 words--are by far more popular than the serials, which I much prefer writing."

Blue Gal
I got yer Contract with America right here.
Blue Gal: "Blue Gal reminds Republicans that we already have a contract with America."

10 Epic Failures of the Bush Tax Cuts
Jon Perr: "From moribund job creation and sinking household incomes to skyrocketing deficits and record income inequality, Republican economic stewardship over the past decade has been a disaster. Here, then, are the 10 Epic Failures of the Bush Tax Cuts."

Mister Tristan
Emily Dickinson and Being Organized
Gary…A Relative of Mister Tristan: "I comment upon Ms. Dickinson’s marvelous use of language to convey her self-declared disorganization, and relate it to the sport of endurance running."

Comrade PhysioProf
Militant Atheism
Comrade PhysioProf: "This post explains how the "militancy" of some atheists is a rational response to god-bothering psychotic fucke-uppes ruining all kinds of shitte for decent people."

Less as More
Mark Gisleson: "Whatever nonsense you believe, they’ll put whipped cream on it and then between licks will pause to tell you how good your beliefs are."

skippy the bush kangaroo
to our democratic administration
skippy takes stock of the situation.

The Debate Link
Why Does Jennifer Rubin Hate American Jews?
David Schraub: "Jennifer Rubin's infamous Commentary piece trying to "explain" why Jews dislike Sarah Palin ended up providing one of the more naked displays of anti-Semitic stereotyping and anti-Jewish contempt ever to be displayed in a mainstream American news source."

Brilliant at Breakfast
Maggie and Jenny's Guide 2 Kat Fud - 4 Fuchur Retireez
Jill passes on some timely "expert opinuns on kat fud."

The Brad Blog
NYT Public Editor Finally Admits Acorn 'Pimp' Hoax Reporting Failure: 'Times Was Wrong, I Have Been Wrong Defending Paper'
Brad Friedman makes the supposed "paper of record" correct the record.

Lotus - Surviving a Dark Time
And another thing
LarryE: " After going back and forth on picking a long analytical post or a short passionate one I settled on one that's a bit of each. The Cat Food Commission, otherwise known as the Deficit Commission, says we all have to sacrifice. But just who do they mean by "we?""

Distributorcap NY
The Front Page
Distributorcap: "Which came first - journalists turning into to a bunch of sideshow barkers because the only thing Americans want is to be entertained, or Americans losing any semblance of reality because the once noble profession of journalism has turned into nothing more than a conduit to sell Tide and Toyotas?"

Red, Green and Blue
Avatar, Vietnam and the War on Trees
Jeremy Bloom: "One thing the blockbuster film Avatar showed in glorious, graphic 3D: In war, no matter who wins, the forest nearly always loses."

Just Another Blog (From L.A.)
Lying & Dishonest: Needn't Call Anyone Names
M. Bouffant takes on witches, Nazis and Althouse.

The difference between Democrats and Republicans?
J. explains the two parties to her daughter, a sixth-grader.

Southern Beale
Your Modern Conservative Inferiority Complex
Southern Beale analyzes a Julian Sanchez piece on modern conservatism.

Whoreganically Blown
Peter reviews a kitchen appliance that every chef should be without.

A Blog About School
Is there anything our school officials won’t do for federal money?
Chris Liebig describes an absurd lunch room scene.

Mutant Poodle
Dear Congressional Democrats
Mutant Poodle isn't a fan of whining.

Mario Piperni
Glenn Beck Praises My Work
Mario Piperni acquires a new fan.

The Satirical Political Report
WikiLeaks Lays Bare The Ultimate ‘Revelation’: ‘Document Dumps’ on God
Don Davis satirizes the news of the day.

Bark Bark Woof Woof
Our Better Nature
Mustang Bobby: "Why conservatives tend to act like children."

Watergate Summer
Blog Blast for Peace
Enigma4ever contemplates peace, and the costs of war.

Happy Labor Day: Remembering the Triangle Shirtwaist Suicide Bombers
Roy Edroso: "Remembering what Michelle Malkin called "the union movement's violent and corrupt foundations" with several historical union outrages against cops, vigilantes, etc."

Sneetches Come Alive!
driftglass delivers the audio version of his Dr. Seuss remix, "The Bush-Belly Sneetches."

Failed Empire
Getting Bogged Down in the Details: Why We Shouldn't Focus on Obama
Andrew: "The post deals with the issue of media manipulation of the public's perception of right/left. By buying into the false notion that Obama is a "liberal," we are prevented from pursuing a genuinely progressive agenda."

The Hunting of the Snark
The Hunting Of The Snark Cookie Of Gratitude: Let's Hear It For The Commenters!
Susan of Texas: "This post chronicles Megan McArdle's attempt to ruin the professional reputation of Elizabeth Warren and her commenters' futile attempts to correct her mistakes. This post has all the classic features of McArdle's work; lying and obfuscation in the service of the rich, a McMeltdown in the comments, and rampant innumeracy, and it spread far beyond the reaches of my small blog."

The Inverse Square
Why Friends Don’t Let Friends Cite The Atlantic’s “Business and Economics Editor”: Further to the Megan McArdle is Always Wrong chronicles.
Tom Levenson: "This post responded to an attack on Elizabeth Warren's qualifications and intellectual integrity through an underhanded and unfair scrutiny of the actual sources used by Warren's would-be antagonist, Megan McArdle. It's notable because it helped create a substantial blogospheric response to the right wing campaign against Warren's prospective role in consumer financial protection -- and Warren herself credited that wave of response as one of the reasons she was able to join the Obama administration in such a role."

The Reaction
Ronald Reagan, conservatism, and the decline of the American Empire
Michael J.W. Stickings examines why the right has canonized Ronald Reagan.

Tom Watson
The Lamplighter
Tom Watson delivers a lovely eulogy.

Washington Monthly's "Political Animal"
Movements are about something real
Steve Benen: "Tea Party activists and Glenn Beck acolytes succeeded in generating attention and passion, but real political movements are about more than buzz words, television personalities, and self-aggrandizement. For transformational change that sets nations on new courses, Americans need more than vague, shallow promises about "freedom.""

Balloon Juice
This Is What Obstructionism + Nihilism + the Wurlitzer Looks Like
John Cole explains why common sense legislation rarely passes.

Lance Mannion
Get a dune!
Lance Mannion: ""Were we ever that young?" A pair of summer romances observed."


Vagabond Scholar
We Cheat the Other Guy and Pass the Savings to You
Batocchio: "The game is rigged, but contrary to what David Brooks says, that's not in everyone's best interest."

Thanks, everyone! Here's to a good new year, blogging and otherwise.

(One of lolcats Jon Swift featured.)

Update: I've updated the post slightly. Again, if you weren't included this time, you're welcome to link your post in the comments, as some bloggers have already done. It's good stuff.

Also, if you thought the best post of the year was something written by some other blogger who's not featured above, you're welcome to link that in the comments. (I received some submissions like that by e-mail, and tried to contact the post authors, but didn't include them unless I got their stamp of approval.) Unless things become ridiculous (in a bad way) or unmanageable, the idea is to be inclusive and celebrate good work.

Realistically, few people can plow through all the posts linked above and in the comments below in one go, but I hope this endeavor will introduce readers to at least a few good blogs they didn't know before.

Thanks again to Mike Finnigan of C&L and the many bloggers who've spread the word. Remember that you can spread good karma and blogging cheer with the extremely inclusive Blogroll Amnesty Day, coming up the first weekend in February. (Or whenever you choose, really.) Thanks, all, and have a safe and Happy New Year.



roy edroso said...

You're a champ for doing this. Can't wait to read through the winners. Thanks. - R

enigma4ever said...

Thank you so much for doing this, it is a big job and really such a nice tradition. Al/Jon would be proud....ok off to read what I missed this year...

William K. Wolfrum said...

Thanks so much for doing this, Bat. I truly miss Al. He was a blogging mentor and a great ally. He´ll always have a place in my writing heart and his spirit will remain alive in all of us.


danps said...

Thanks so much for keeping this alive, Batocchio. Al really did spare a thought for smaller blogs, and that's a great contribution. Even small bloggers like myself can be guilty of just checking out the same big sites all the time. This & Blogroll Amnesty Day are both characteristic of his thoughtfulness.

Thanks again for doing this - I know it must have been a lot of work!

zencomix said...

Directly From My Heart To You

Unknown said...

Jon would be proud of you, Vagabond! One of his witty tropes (paraphrased) was that, being "lazy," he'd decided to link to other people's best posts--as if this saved him endless toil! (I can barely get my own blog links straight.)I'll always miss Jon, whom I really only knew from his blog, but am cheered by the way you've stepped up to honor his memory.
Big up, Vagabond Scholar!
PS. People ask me what "Big up" means because it's my invariably my parting salutation even in "business correspondence." In Jamaican patois it means "Praise!" Praise you, Jon Swift, I-and-I, and all like minds.)

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Thanks for doing this, bro! Jon was a great dude, and this is a fine tribute! Happy New Year to all!!!

Mustang Bobby said...

Thanks for this great list and tribute to Al's work and memory. I'm humbled to be in such good company.

Anonymous said...



HATE!!!! HATE!!!! HATE!!!!



Susan of Texas said...

Thanks, Batocchio. It's so great to have a chance to find and discuss good but small blogs.

Jill said...

Hi, Ralph (and was someone ever more appropriately named??),

Feel better now after hawking up that hairball? Good.

Thanks for doing this, Batocchio. You know, just as we were getting used to a blogosphere without Steve Gilliard, we lost Jon/Al. How much fun would he have had with Christine O'Donnell!!

I hope someone in his family has downloaded the entire blog. It would be a shame to lose all that great writing. But I can't imagine a better tribute than the kind of cornucopia of great stuff you've compiled here.

Litzz11@yahoo.com said...

Thanks for doing this, you've introduced me to some wonderful blogs I didn't know existed!

Anonymous said...




jurassicpork said...

Here's my offering, Sweet Jesus, I Hate America. I only wish that Al had been around to see it.

Mark Gisleson said...

Actually, after reading most of the posts, I'm most impressed with RALPH's "shorter version" of what we all said (with the key nouns flipped, of course).

There are many, many ways of saying "fuck you," sadly, the right only knows the one version, with seasonal sprinkles.

driftglass said...

Thank you for the Herculean effort that you put into this, and for executing it so well. What more appropriate tribute to Al/Jon could there be than one that is at once appreciative, witty and utilitarian :-)
Good job, amigo!

Kaie said...

My contribution: The *other* coming out.

Comrade PhysioProf said...

Ralph, FTW!

Peter said...

Thanks for compiling all of this win in one easy location.

Isn't "COULTER-HATE" redundant?

ecthompson said...

I appreciate being included with all of these great bloggers.

B, great work and thanks again.

D. said...

Thank you for this. Al/Jon was a terrifically smart writer whose feathered quill most of us are not worthy to touch.

I promised to do more essay-like stuff, which means that right now I make a mildly snarky comment on the links and quote excessively from all those folks who articulate their puzzlement at "conservatives" who wish to repeat the 19th century only with cool tech. (You want to go back to the 19th century, fine. Without computers, TVs, antibiotics, and the rest of us, though.)

I would like to throw this up (how appropriate) for perusal (doubt it would meet your criterion). I'd also like to leave a short list of posts that really impressed me, but it got too long. ;-)

Happy New Year!

Fran / Blue Gal said...

Thank you honey, for the great effort. Jon Swift would be very happy and proud of this.

darkblack said...

You tell those liberal fascist welfare queens what's what, Ralph.
Fortress America needs to be screwed down harder, and I suspect you're just the tool for the job.

...Oh, and Bat? Top notch, mon ami.


Marc McDonald said...

Hi, Batocchio, I appreciate your efforts in putting this together. I hope you will do this every year. I really enjoy reading over this roundup, there is a lot of great, inspired writing here.

Michael Bersin said...

A hate group, the First Amendment, and a funeral in a small town (November 23, 2010)

Diane Weisel said...

thank you Vagabond Scholar for the lovely tribute. My brother would have been honored. Words cannot express how much the blogging world has meant to me and my family during such a tough year.

Happy new year everybody.


Howey said...

I'd like to leave a link to my most recent blog regarding DADT if it's ok.


Libby Spencer said...

Thanks so much for doing this Batocchio. Sorry I didn't get a chance to send my entry in time, but let me offer my obit for Jon now. His loss to Blogtopia still cuts deep.

Blogging and Crying: RIP Jon Swift.

Lotus said...

Thank you for all the time and effort that went into this. It was a great idea and I hope to see it again next year.

In fact, I volunteer to help when the time comes if such help is useful.

Jill said...

Hi, Diane -

We miss him too...even those of us who never met him. And we will not forget him.

luminous muse said...

Thanks of reminding me that we all lost a treasure when Al died.

Hunger Tallest Palin said...

Forgot to submit this:

It’s The Ground Zero Mosque! It’s The Ground Zero Mosque! A Stroll Around My Neighborhood, Part I - Mrs. Polly @ Rumproast

Oh hell. They're all good. Check it out if you haven't yet.

J. said...

Thanks so much for including me -- and, more importantly, for keeping the tradition alive.

Carl said...

Tocchi, you are the man!

Errrr, assuming that's how you self-identify...

D. Aristophanes said...

Awesome, man - a great tradition returns. Here's mine:


Distributorcap said...


thanks for all your efforts in putting this together and for keeping alive the spirit and ideal of JS. it truly is an honor to be among such intelligent and thoughtful people

despite the fact ralph is permitted to join in - but then again that is one of the main differences between progressive thought and regressive-ness.

Duncan Mitchel said...

Thanks for doing this! I'd been idly thinking about trying to take it on myself, but I'm very happy that you beat me to it. It's a great idea.

atheist said...

Nothing deep to say, just thanks so much for putting together this great list! You're awesome.