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Michael Gracie

On politicians and the internet, redux

It is pretty clear that politicians don’t get the net. They listen to whatever their big donors telcos tell them, but they squawk more like parakeets than African Grays.

Senator Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) may have just proven he’s the most clueless of them all.

“I just the other day got, an internet was sent by my staff at 10 o’clock in the morning on Friday and I just got it yesterday. Why?”

Ok, Ted.

I own Hans Gullickson an apology for berating him over his misunderstanding. It paled in comparison.

***UPDATE***

The case for a “tubular diet” compliments of Meryl Yourish.

How to publish national security secrets

Supposedly, there is a responsible way to publish national security secrets. Right.

Seems it is more like an irresponsible way to try and shore up your dying circulation. Everyone thinks everyone else is out to get them – paranoia reigns supreme in US politics. The really scared should be the burning newspapers – sensationist headlines designed to undermine policy (whether it is good or bad) isn’t really any good, unless you are using it as fodder to argue your Constitutional right to criticize (which is the second reason it is done – to incite condemnation from the clueless masses).

Who gauges journalisting integrity, or lack thereof, anymore? The news is now designed for creating online riots. A retraction may clear some editor’s conscience, but the damage has already been done.

***UPDATE***

With a potential trend for publishing anonymously, it is only going to get worse. Good thing the mainstream media doesn’t have that option.

***UPDATE2***

And online riots are exactly what it gets. While someone was pointing the finger at Bill Keller, the commentators were seeking pounds of flesh from multiple bodies, but with little in the way of coherent arguments.

Just one more step towards implosion.

Internet for the homeless

I am going to prequalify this post by saying it is not a solicitation for a back-patting – anyone who knows me already understands I detest it. If you are telling me how good a job I did, or something like that, I immediately assume you are an ass-kissing non-contributor (team efforts are what it is all about), and you are immediately written off as such.

Now, on to business.

Some years back, I spent some time volunteering at a local homeless shelter called The Road Home. First it was accepting and organizing donations around Christmas-time, and later it was a stint helping shelter residents with navigating Windows in the computer lab (fancy that, a geek in a computer lab). I found the shelter well organized, the people thoughtful, and the majority of the residents grateful for the help.

I left town not long after, but continued to receive newsletters from them. I never felt like I was being solicited for donations, although there was always a little envelope in the package, so I made small contributions when I could. I always hoped those sums would go towards stocking up the computer lab, as I felt like having access to resume writing tools and email would make residents’ chances of getting out a whole lot better. But I always wondered why they had some schmuck (me) in there helping out, rather than placing more emphasis on the idea of using the internet to help the homeless.

It seems that very idea is now coming around.

Politicians can be irresponsible spinmeisters, as long as it’s for the kids

The news says “N.Y. Lawmaker Drops Google Porn Lawsuit”.

The lawmaker spins it so the everyday citizen will believe he won some huge corporate battle (for the kids, of course), and that Google is begging for a meeting. Google, on the other hand, says the suit was baseless nonsense, ranking among the silliest they’ve ever seen. The lawmaker says Google is readying for a meeting with him. Google says if the guy wants a meeting, to please say so via normal human means (like a letter or phone call).

Let me guess…this politico is up for re-election?

Telcos accused of dirty dealings

First, ignore some existing laws. Second, grease the lawmakers. Third, pull investigators pants down to their knees just as they start running after the problem. What do you get after that? According to some high profile attorneys, you get anti-competitive telco mergers.

How does the government fund these shenanigans, and ensure their telco buddies can stay on the public dole? Uh, they tax the competition.

US Government sets IPv6 transition timeline

Looks like the transition will happen sometime in 2008, roughly two years ahead of the Microsoft Windows Vista revised release date.

Of course, the transition to IPv6 is already happening over here. Sounds like Google doesn’t want to wait either.

Net neutrality debate may not matter

With all the talk of net neutrality, government snooping, and telco conspiracies, you’d think that web companies would be worried sick. Yet, nobody is running around like a chicken with their head cut off. Techdirt Mike thinks government meddling is going to increase the use of encryption technologies, and I could not agree more. I also believe that is exactly why those slaughtered chicken imitators are so scarce. Internet buffs (and drooling entrepreneurs) know something the bureaucrats can’t ever figure out – like life itself, technology always seems “to find a way.”

Get ready for open, cheap, hardcore stealth communications of the likes you may have never dreamed about (unless you are Kevin Mitnick or Bruce Schneier or Phil Zimmerman). It will be here sooner than you think.

PS: to add to the mess and the potential for distraction: as EmailBattles notes, more data is stolen from governments via burglary than hacking. The government should be worrying more about lock and key, security door, and window bar manufacturers, which in all their intelligence and glory they will probably move to regulate forthwith.

Donor dollars blowing in the wind

Yea, the political blogosphere is grassroot, people-powered, and other such malarkey. But there is too much blabber about corporate funding, and how it is so one-sided. Bottom line – fundraising birds seem to ride whatever wind blows their way.

Political blogosphere beginning its implosion

Throw a bunch of monkeys in a barrel, and what do you have? Uh, too many cooks in the kitchen?

The political blogosphere was once touted as the cure for mainstream media bias and mainstream politics – a right-down-the-middle inoculation for the everyday citizen. Unfortunately, any idiot reading poli-blogs know good and well those weblogs are about as biased as it gets – encapsulated piles of high school cheerleaders. So, you grow loyal to one set of them, you get one side and make one side of every story (while moderating any intelligible commentary), and you wind up with a pile of ill-formed talking points in your quiver. Your brain has turned to mush because you’ve lost the capability to think for yourself – the tin-foil hat interference notwithstanding.

I once questioned whether the political blogosphere could be controlled, but an answer is already forming up quite nicely.

What are the ingredients for a full-blown meltdown?

Start with a bunch of organization and courting from the mainstream politicos. Add a right-wing blogger, turned MSM right-wing blogger, turned plagiarist. Throw in some more questionable dealings, including a possible stock pump-and-dump scam.

Now that you are cooking, just blind the real issues by generating a big pissing contest over the minute:

Create obscure issue (out of nothing);
Defend (nothing);
Call people liars (over nothing).

“Nothing” new, bold, or world-changing in politics here.

I’m waiting for the next round. And begging for the knockout blow, so the noise will cease and I can comfortably resume buying media stocks.
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Patents, patents, patents

The neverendingbattle.

Ideas don’t mean much, unless your idea of execution is filing some documents via ETAS. Those who “do” are going to pay the price for those who “don’t,” and everyone is going to feel the resultant pain of floundering innovation.

At least I know nobody pays attention to this blog (or at very least the subtitle).
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