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Israel is shaking up the information war, signaling the end of legacy media’s influence. The big Internet story this week is Israel’s magnificent end run around the mainstream media. The IDF’s new weapons of war: YouTube and Twitter. According to the head of the IDF’s press team: “The blogosphere and new media are another war zone, we have to be relevant there.”

Here the Israeli Consulate is texting battle updates in 140 characters or less:

“We hav 2 prtct R ctzens 2, only way fwd through neogtiations, & left Gaza in 05. y Hamas launch missiles not peace?, ‘we’re not at war with the PAL people. We’re at war with a group declared by the EU& US a terrorist org.’”

Charlie Edwards at Global Dashboard writes the YouTube channel was created with the aim of distributing footage of precision airstrikes.

“Interestingly YouTube took down some of the ‘exclusive footage’ showing the IDF’s operational success in operation Cast Lead against Hamas extremists in the Gaza Strip, but appears to have returned some of the footage due to popular demand. Elsewhere the Israeli consulate in New York hosted a press conference on Twitter in order to answer the public’s questions regarding the situation in Gaza.”

Soldiers’ doubt about Obama

Six out of ten active-duty service members say they are uncertain or pessimistic about President Elect Barack Obama as commander in chief, according to a Military Times survey.

Respondents expressed concerns in follow-up interviews about Obama’s lack of military service and experience leading men and women in uniform. Much of their uncertainty is Obama’s stated 16-month timetable for pulling combat troops out of Iraq, as well as his calls to end the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy to allow “gays” to serve openly in the military. However, nearly one-third of respondents – including eight out of 10 black service members – said they are optimistic about their incoming boss.

Bookmarks, please

This week’s Internet surfing takes us to bookmark-worthy blogsites that offer intelligent commentary and wit.

Infidels Are Cool Conservative Blogger John of southern California is an internet marketer by day, anti-jihad blogger by night. “I’ve also been a news junkie ever since 9-11 when I saw true evil strike this country. I finally decided to dedicate myself to a blog that could help get the message out. Oh, and I don’t just blog about the war on Islamic terrorism.”

Infidels Are Cool includes a list of the sites Top 10 Blog Posts, based on the number of comments, and has been featured on the Roger Hedgecock show, a nationally syndicated radio host who frequently fills in for Rush Limbaugh. Watch Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu on Infidels Are Cool.

Kevin Gividen of Indiana describes himself as a conservatarian – a hybrid of conservative and libertarian. His blogsite Endiana is dedicated to the belief that all are created equal. “That means we’re equal at the starting line – not the finish line. We believe that race-based government quotas are immoral, unconscionable, and unconstitutional.”

Gividen itches about government programs such as Affirmative Action, the Community Reinvestment Act, hate crime legislation, government initiatives such as equal housing, government mandated preferences such as handicap parking for people with hangnails, and government concepts such as “social justice” that disguise preferences.

“When government intervenes – based on race, gender, national origin, sexual-orientation, religion, age, hair color, nasal configuration, or preference in soda-pop flavors – it is out of line.”

Though its slogan is “the blog that nobody reads,” the House of Eratosthenes, written by Morgan Freeberg of northern California is so sticky with interesting posts, I had a tough time moving on.

Freeberg writes, “This blog, which nobody actually reads, has been around awhile by now, and … well gee, I guess there’s no subtle way of saying this. People are reading it. They’re following it loyally, even monitoring it for new posts. So the question has naturally arisen from that readership, why does it persist in calling itself ‘the blog that nobody reads’?” Darned if I know. Maybe you can figure it out.

“Senora Kennedy is make very good senator.” Iowahawk does it again, with a tongue-in-cheek parody from a product of his fertile imagination, “guest writer Rosa Ortiz, the chief housekeeper of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg,” who explains in everyday Spanglish why Senora Caroline is perfectly suited for the Nuevo York senate seat. Well known in conservative blogging circles for his brilliant satire and wicked humor, David Burge’s spoofs have been aired on radio, reprinted on other blogs, stolen and sent around in e-mails.

Burge’s Iowahawk blog recently observed its fifth anniversary. “I started this blog with a simple goal in mind: to attract gullible millions into a worldwide online cult and then bilk them of their life savings. Five years, 450-odd posts and almost that many page views later, my actual market appeal has proven somewhat more selective. Extremely more selective. Still, it’s much more than I deserve, and I’d like offer my very sincere thanks for your patronage.”

The top social media sites

What were the top social media sites of 2008? ComScore came out with its worldwide traffic stats for November a few days ago (so these don’t include December). They are a mix of social networks and blogging platforms. Bloggers still rules the roost with an estimated 222 million unique worldwide visitors in November (up 44 percent from November, 2007). Facebook is on pace to pass it soon with 200 million unique visitors (up 116 percent). MySpace is pretty steady at 126 million uniques. To see all 10, head to Tech Crunch.

Top 10 Grinchiest, corrupt…

They’re called the 10 Grinchiest Republicans in 2008.

Bruce Walker at American Thinker has assembled a humorous look at the top 10 worst Republicans for last year. I can think of at least 10 more, so I’m guessing Walker had quite a challenge on his hands deciding who were the top 10 picks. So many RINOs, so little space.

On a more serious note, Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, has released its 2008 list of Washington’s “Ten Most Wanted Corrupt Politicians.” The list, in alphabetical order, includes Republicans and Democrats. Care to guess who made the top 10? Or who didn’t make the list?

Looking at history

Shorpy’s History in HD is a vintage photography blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images from the Library of Congress research archive. A fascinating look at our everyday history in days gone by.

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