When the computer-challenged ask me what a blog is, I usually just say that it’s like an op-ed column with links and conversation. But sometimes it’s more like listening in on the old-fashioned party line. Here’s one of each type that I would read even if I didn’t get to blog about them. 

On the pundit side, Stirling Newberry reflects on Predatorgate and the tension between base and Beltway:

“The reactionary world has a contagion theory of homosexuality — gayness is something you are ‘infected’ with, and by moral weakness are seduced into. In the view of the reactionary world — and we see this in modern day Africa where traditional societies are firm in their belief that there were no homosexuals in Africa until Europeans arrived — being gay is something that one catches from other people. . . .

“One reason that Republicans are not falling on their swords as they have in so many past scandals . . . is that the fate of those who are cast out is not a cushy K-Street job, but ostracism. Compare this to the quiet resignation of a White House aid over [Jack] Abramoff recently, or the ending of the careers of DeLay, Ney or Cunningham. They literally could not get far away from the ballot box fast enough. Corruption is not a bar to continued employment, but homosexuality makes the bearer of infection radioactive. This is why conservatives such as Howard Kurtz, Andrew Sullivan and Christopher Caldwell are trying to put a firebreak between ‘gay’ and ‘pedophile’, or downplaying the scandal entire. They know that a purge of gay men from the upper ranks of Republicanism would do to the reactionary apparatus what AIDS did to the theatre world — erase half a generation of talent, well down into the farm team.”

Of the gossipy-type blogs, Rate Your Students varies a good deal because it depends on people writing in, but when it’s on, it’s on. (Then again, you may not want to read this blog if you’re a nice person who believes “children are our future.”)  A veteran of a “commuter campus of a Big Ten school,” now in charge of entry testing, reports, “This year, one student could not spell her last name correctly, another student didn’t know if his first name was spelled with one T or two, and a third one had to call his father for his address because ‘We moved two months ago and I haven’t learned it yet.'”