April 30th, 2024

Keep Net Neutrality Non-partisan

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  • Doc says… “For example, I’m concerned right now that Net Neutrality, a complex issue (which I think has to do with a definition of the Internet) is turning into a left vs. right issue (left for, right against). Most voters are neither all-right nor all-left. Most issues aren’t, either. But it seems that most people who care about politics are on a side.” (Thanks to Leslie for the link).

    I care deeply that this left-right polarization not occur, and right now I don’t think that it will. People on the right and on the left are standing up for net neutrality. In Madison, Jesse Russell and Steven Stehling started a group blog that pulls right, left, and center together around the issue. Take a look at Mr. Stehling’s blog roll if you have any doubt about his philosophy. Jesse is a journalist (unbiased, they say) with a Jones for music sharing. I’m just an aging lefty. A few days ago I posted there the following: “We need free access with no monopoly manipulation that segregates the little guys from big media and gives big media a priority within the network…. This post is not to lay out any of the complexities of the issues before us, there is plenty of time and space for that, but rather to create a clear distinction of “us” and “them.” WE support net neutrality. THEY support a tiered structure that permits the stewards of the Internet public trust to manipulate the market to their own ends. WE support the four Internet Freedoms laid out by FCC Chairman Michael Powell. THEY support their own freedom to dominate markets, control content, and maximize corporate profits by dictating what they feel is appropriate use of the Internet.”

    This is a polarizing issue, and Doc’s concern that it could turn into a right versus left struggle is well founded because not only are the corporate interests opposing net neutrality are very good at framing issues that way, but also the left is easily baited when they do that. Doc says,

    Advocating and saving the Net is not a partisan issue. Lawmakers and regulators aren’t screwing up the Net because they’re “Friends of Bush” or “Friends of Hollywood” or liberals or conservatives. They’re doing it because one way of framing the Net–as a transport system for content–is winning over another way of framing the Net–as a place where markets and business and culture and governance can all thrive. Otherwise helpful documents, including Ernest Partridge’s “After the Internet” fail because they blame “Bush-friendly conservative corporations” and appeal only to one political constituency, in this case, progressives. Freedom, independence, the sovereignty of the individual, private rights and open frontiers are a few among many values shared by progressives and conservatives. All are better supported, in obvious ways, by the Net as a place rather than as a transport system.

    It’s up to us, the people who are concerned with maintaining our freedom to connect, to gather in this “place,” to be sure that this does not happen. Right now there are some very powerful and clear voices from the right speaking up for network neutrality. Glenn Reynolds is among the most visible. Let those of us on the left be measured in our criticisms and cautious in the way we frame solutions. This is a rare opportunity for us to work with people of good will across the entire political spectrum.

    They say politics makes strange bedfellows, but I think that issues like this are fundamental to democracy. For me, this is an opportunity to chip away the armor of my own frame of reference in order to work together for a common good. The polarization of politics erodes our institutions and our sense of community. Organizing around an issue that crosses the barriers we’ve built between liberal and conservative, left and right, may be just what we all need to remind ourselves what democracy is about.

    April 30th, 2024


    Thanks to Steven Stehling (Standards and Grudges) for the link to Pomme & Kelly’s winning entry in the Google Idols video competion!

    It may not be Numa Numa, but it’s fresh.

    April 29th, 2024

    Quick Link

    Before bed, gotta point you to Kansas City’s Pitch, where Ben Paynter writes this week about the reality TV winners and losers from the heartland.  Have you heard of Real World?  Me neither, but Ben spins a story about locals who made good, or not, on that and at least a dozen other reality TV shows, and it’s a good read, tells you what you’re missing by not watching…

    The Blue Springs resident’s on-air experience was the kind of coming-of-age train wreck that reality TV producers dream of. Her first night in the Real World house, she got drunk and puked. She smoked, even though she has the lung disease cystic fibrosis. Roommates caught her with a kitchen knife in the bathroom and learned that she habitually cut herself. She broke down because of a phobia of large boats.

    April 29th, 2024

    Larsen Road

    Wish I had a camera yesterday… four turkeys crossing Larsen Road, strung out in a line  reminding me of John, Ringo, Paul, and George.

    April 29th, 2024

    A Blalk in the Blark…

    We bloggers like to create neologisms. We like the neologism that reshapes an older term in our new and hypercreative anguage-blay. We call these BLOGOLOGISMs, not neologisms, which is the old word for the new word we made up to cover this concept. I offer this prefatory comment as an explanation for the title of this post. In the lifeworld we have parks, and people often go walking there. Here in the – yes – BLOGOVERSE we have BLARKs, virtual spaces through which we virtually BLOGambulate. You see how it’s done, feel free now to go forth and coin a dozen or so of your own BLOGGING BLOGOLOGISMs.

    end prefatory matter//begin Blalk in Blark postular introduction

    A question I often ask friends, neighbors, and relatives is “Did you follow the links?” This is a follow-up question to “Did you read my blog this morning?” I think I can safely say that about one person in a thousand answers affirmatively to “didja read it” and one reader in a bazillion follows the links. Since I have not yet served one bazillion BLOG burgers it’s anybody’s guess if anyone has ever followed any of the links that I offer like sesame seeds on the BLOG burger bun. Yet I persist in adding them, for my own amusement I suppose. This promises to be one of those posts with a lot of links, so if you are BETH or one of those other readers who just has no time for clicking through to the actual subject of my BLOGambulation, well… you might as well fire up Grand Theft Auto now, because there isn’t a lot here for you.

    end hectoring postular introduction//begin body of Blalk in Blark

    here, on myslnia, is an entire parallel life, existing at least since the times of the first neural structures on Earth. New science – psychomemetics - is born. Its goal is, of course, exploration of myslnia. Are there psychomemetic plants, animals, intelligent beings (”neuromonads” )? (I stole word “monad” from Leibniz, but I use it differently, to describe “the cells” of psychomemetic organisms)

    cease channeling bizarro Polish sci-fi writer//begin body of Blalk in Blark

    I was gratified this morning by a comment from J. Alva Scruggs (not his real name). As often happens when someone leaves a comment I followed the link Scruggs left then surfed on through to other side. My Scruggs surfage led me to The Fifth Column. [Note to self… you really must enable permalinks on your own comments… end note to self]. Commenters at The Fifth Column are a merry band with charming names like Brian888, winna, xoid, and Magic Pink. These are not their real names, I think, but I like their direct style and communitarian good fellowship (or, as we say in the [air-quotes] BLOGOVERSE, their good [airquotes] BLellowship). I like it so much that I followed links on The Fifth Column’s blogroll hoping to see more of these peeps in other contexts. That blogroll is short and contains a couple of familiar names… Jon Husband and the Happy Tutor (one name real, one not). But it was by following the links to the less familiar places that I found the Loveologist (a second order link) and Twisty Faster. I also found a couple of great cat pictures, some cute, one sneaky.

    end body of Blalk in Blark//begin Blalk in Blark snarky conclusion

    At this point if you are reading this I must assume one of two things about you. Either you are a highly accomplished web surfer with excellent command of the browser’s back-button, or – and this, sadly, is more likely – you did not follow the links in this post at all. How boring for you.

    April 28th, 2024

    George Gilder, Michael Milken, and the imp of the polymathic perverse

    David Weinberger participated in a panel at the Ninth Annual Milken Institute Global Conference this week, and it rankled me. Rather than ask him what he was doing hobnobbing with billionaire felons, I sought the answer elsewhere. I think I found it in George Gilder’s book: Telecosm - the World after Bandwidth Abundance. George Gilder is a good writer. He’s engaging and he has a sense of the perverse that only a Ripon Society Republican could embrace. He writes anti-evolutionary claptrap for the Discovery Institute, and his prescience regarding market movements is second only to his scientific acumen.

    “I don’t think Internet valuations are crazy, I think they reflect a fundamental embrace of huge opportunities. Virtually all forecasts estimate something like a thousandfold rise in Internet traffic over the next five years. That means that if you are an Internet company today, you are dealing with only a tenth of 1 percent of your potential traffic in just a couple of years. In 10 years, at this rate, there would be a millionfold increase.”

    George Gilder, Wired Magazine, 9/1999

    In Telecosm, Gilder lionizes Milken. He hews to a Chicago School naivete reminiscent of all the adolescent masturbatory fantasists who found libertarianism via Ayn Rand’s novelistic fiction. And Al Greenspan. Republicans do love their felons, whether they’re the ones who gutted it out for Nixon following Watergate, or the cheesy paranoid marines who took the fall for senescent Reagan in the Iran/Contra gangsterism. Milken seems to be one of Gilder’s favorite felons because he put together sufficient capital for the criminals at MCI to work the miracle of abundant bandwidth a little more quickly, but generally in about the same amount of time that it would have happened in a non-criminal investment context.

    You guys hate these rants don’t you.

    Habermas and RatzingerHere’s the point, let me take you back to the glory days when the Nazi pope was free of the burdens of office and even of faith, and was able to consort with mild mannered ineffectual post-modernists. There’s a loose connection here… work with me. One Johanna Mehan is quoted as saying “This distinction between public and private parallels, but is not identical to, the distinction he [Habermas] draws between system and lifeworld. On the one hand, action in the modern world is coordinated by systems which function according to means-end rationality; the market is a paradigmatic example of such a system… On the other hand, actions are coordinated primarily by communicatively mediated norms and values, and by the socially defined ends and meanings which constitute the fabric of the lifeworld.” Now Johanna and Jurgen have something in common I think with David.

    At the Milken Conference, the white collar crook proudly hosted a couple of winners of the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economics named in Honor of Alfred Nobel. One can’t really call that a Nobel prize for a couple of reasons. The first is of course that it isn’t. And the second is that gave it to a bunch of gamesters from Chicago, people like Milton Friedman, so how could it be? That aside, there’s Milken, onstage with Scholes and Becker, brilliant men for all their University of Chicago reluctance to deal with the gordian knot of economics in any way but with a sword. And you can see where this all turns… fellows in the Hoover Institution (they honored that fellow with an institution), felons from the federal institution, a childish billionaire’s faith in rotten-child economics and simplistic understatement of sociological complexities… oh Becker, oh Habermas, oh Weinberger… you don’t even smell the brimstone when Milken and Ratzinger appear.

    There are all kinds of rhetorical fallacies in the associations I’m making. While George Gilder doesn’t “believe in” evolution, and while he does believe in Michael Milken and Intelligent Design, what does that have to do with the price of bandwidth in a municipal wireless context? And why drag the good Dr. Weinberger into this besides the fact that - like Habermas - he skirts close to something Hannah Arendt would have recognized, that thing - as David Cesarani noted - that bespeaks the tension between “the monstrous and the mundane.”

    April 28th, 2024

    Wisconsin Whip

    [cross posted at Wisconsin Coalition for Network Neutrality]

    Network Neutrality legislation is already convoluted. It frames the conflict between the telcos and the cable companies, with AT&T and friends seeking a legislative mandate for competition in video distribution markets that cable companies currently dominate. Public utilities franchises, the Commerce Clause of the constitution, rules governing common carriage, and more are all muddled together in a complex market that cries out for a clear set of regulations that protect the people’s right to use the virtual commons of the internet in a way little different from our rights to use the public highways.
    We need free access with no monopoly manipulation that segregates the “little guys” from big media and gives big media a priority within the network. I think we can come back to this highway metaphor again and again. This post is not to lay out any of the complexities of the issues before us, there is plenty of time and space for that, but rather to create a clear distinction of “us” and “them.” WE support net neutrality. THEY support a tiered structure that permits the stewards of the Internet public trust to manipulate the market to their own ends. WE support the four Internet Freedoms laid out by FCC Chairman Michael Powell. THEY support their own freedom to dominate markets, control content, and maximize corporate profits by dictating what they feel is appropriate use of the Internet.
    What are the four Internet Freedoms? Here’s how Michael Powell laid them out…

    Freedom to Access Content

    First, consumers should have access to their choice of legal content. Consumers have come to expect to be able to go where they want on high-speed connections, and those who have migrated from dial-up would presumably object to paying a premium for broadband if certain content were blocked. Thus, I challenge all facets of the industry to commit to allowing consumers to reach the content of their choice. I recognize that network operators have a legitimate need to manage their networks and ensure a quality experience, thus reasonable limits sometimes must be placed in service contracts. Such restraints, however, should be clearly spelled out and should be as minimal as necessary.
    Freedom to Use Applications
    Second, consumers should be able to run applications of their choice. As with access to content, consumers have come to expect that they can generally run whatever applications they want. Again, such applications are critical to continuing the digital broadband migration because they can drive the demand that fuels deployment. Applications developers must remain confident that their products will continue to work without interference from other companies. No one can know for sure which “killer” applications will emerge to drive deployment of the next generation high-speed technologies. Thus, I challenge all facets of the industry to let the market work and allow consumers to run applications unless they exceed service plan limitations or harm the provider’s network.
    Freedom to Attach Personal Devices
    Third, consumers should be permitted to attach any devices they choose to the connection in their homes. Because devices give consumers more choice, value and personalization with respect to how they use their high-speed connections, they are critical to the future of broadband. Thus, I challenge all facets of the industry to permit consumers to attach any devices they choose to their broadband connection, so long as the devices operate within service plan limitations and do not harm the provider’s network or enable theft of service. Freedom to Obtain Service Plan Information.
    Consumers should receive meaningful information regarding their service plans
    Simply put, such information is necessary to ensure that the market is working. Providers have every right to offer a variety of service tiers with varying bandwidth and feature options. Consumers need to know about these choices as well as whether and how their service plans protect them against spam, spyware and other potential invasions of privacy. Thus, I challenge all facets of the industry to ensure that broadband consumers can easily obtain the information they need to make rational choices among an ever-expanding array of different pricing and service plan.

    This post is called “Wisconsin Whip.” Wisconsin has eight US Representatives and two Senators. (See the convenient table below). Our job is to whip these people into supporting network neutrality and the four freedoms as legislation emerges during this congressional session. This is not a partisan issue. It is not about Democrats versus Republicans. It is about preserving the rights we have now and not giving them up to either the telephone companies, or to the cable companies or to some alliance of both. Contact your legislator and see where s/he stands.

    Member Name DC Phone DC FAX
    Senator Herb Kohl (D- WI) 202-224-5653 202-224-9787
    Senator Russell D. Feingold (D- WI) 202-224-5323 202-224-2725
    Representative Paul Ryan (R - 01) 202-225-3031 202-225-3393
    Representative Tammy Baldwin (D - 02) 202-225-2906 202-225-6942
    Representative Ron Kind (D - 03) 202-225-5506 202-225-5739
    Representative Gwen Moore (D - 04) 202-225-4572 202-225-8135
    Representative F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R - 05) 202-225-5101 202-225-3190
    Representative Thomas E. Petri (R - 06) 202-225-2476 202-225-2356
    Representative David R. Obey (D - 07) 202-225-3365
    Representative Mark Green (R - 08) 202-225-5665 202-225-5729

    April 28th, 2024

    Fighting Duckies!

    get a room you two At this time of year, I like to watch the birdies fighting. They fluff their feathers at each other and then comes the squawking and close-in pushing and pulling and then, and then… well not much happens then, but all that feather ruffling and pushing and pulling is quite exciting for me. I like to watch it.

    Today I was gratified by that same push and pull in the vLoggerverse… Amanda and ze sitting in a tray, k-i-s-s-i-n-jay… you know?

    April 27th, 2024

    Top Ten Best Remarks by Golf Caddies…

    My dad forwards me a lot of those funny emails. Some of these are chuckle-worthy:

    #10 Golfer: “I Think I’m going to drown myself in the lake.”
    Caddy: “Think you can keep your head down that long?”

    #9 Golfer: “I’d move heaven and earth to break 100 on this course.”
    Caddy: “Try heaven, you’ve already moved most of the earth.”

    #8 Golfer: “Do you think my game is improving?”
    Caddy: “Yes sir, you miss the ball much closer now.”

    #7 Golfer: “Do you think I can get there with a 5 iron?”
    Caddy: “Eventually.”

    #6 Golfer: “You’ve got to be the worst caddy in the world.”
    Caddy: “I don’t think so sir. That would be too much of a coincidence.”

    #5 Golfer: “Please stop checking your watch all the time. It’s too much of a distraction.”
    Caddy: “It’s not a watch - it’s a compass.”

    #4 Golfer: “How do you like my game?”
    Caddy: “Very good sir, but personally, I prefer golf.”

    #3 Golfer: “Do you think it’s a sin to play on Sunday?
    Caddy: “The way you play, sir, it’s a sin on any day.”

    #2 Golfer: “This is the worst course I’ve ever played on.”
    Caddy: “This isn’t the golf course. We left that an hour ago.”

    #1 Golfer: “That can’t be my ball, it’s too old.”
    Caddy: “It’s been a long time since we teed off, sir.”

    April 27th, 2024

    Happy Birthday Mark Woods!

    Mark Woods curiously apostrophe-less blog, wood s lot is the blog I’d most like to haveFrank raises another glass with me on a desert island (coming through port eighty into my magically wireless connected browser, I suppose). Last night I was talking with another bloggist, a woman who is no slouch when it comes to write-aciousness and brains, talking about the brilliant creative minds and the dedicated authorial spirits in the blogosphere. Mark Woods name was near the top of our lists. Mark’s work at Woods Lot never fails to inform, never fails to nurture the spirit, always sets the mind ablaze with new directions for inquiry, and often buttresses the sure and certain knowledge that there is great evil afoot in the world, and great good. Happy Birthday Mark! You reflect so much that is so important to all of us, I’m proud to be a virtual associate. I’m pleased to be acknowledged in your sidebar. Sometimes I cruise by your place and you have some deep exploration going on that makes me wonder “who is this guy?” I think of you in your over the garage gluation and scissorology scriptorium and I know that you go back to the days of paste-up, like me, and I wish I knew you better. Again, Happy Birthday and please allow me to raise a glass in toast…

    April 27th, 2024

    Network Neutrality

    What are we for? What are we against? After I spammed a bunch of my friends with an urgent call to activism in support of network neutrality principles, one wrote back as follows:

    I don’t see here what bill exactly, we are objecting to. Is it a house bill? a senate bill? what’s the number? Government web sites are time consuming in the best of circumstances, but it’s much easier to find bill wording if we have a number. Do you have it? if you do, and you send it to me, I will look into the issue further. Before I write congresspersons, I need to read the bill.

    How embarrassing. I think the bathwater is just the right temperature, but what have we done with the baby? Wait… it must be around here somewhere. (Blogger rustles through stacks of old Network World’s and New Yorker magazines…) Ahh… here it is, from the Save the Internet FAQ: Congress is now considering a major overhaul of the Telecommunications Act. The primary bill in the House is called the “Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2024″ and is sponsored by Commerce Committee Chairman Joe Barton (R-Texas), Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), Rep. Charles Pickering (R-Miss.) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.).

    The current version of the COPE Act includes watered-down net neutrality provisions that are essentially meaningless. An amendment offered in a key subcommittee by Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), which would have instituted real net neutrality requirements, was defeated after intense industry lobbying against it.

    But it’s not too late yet. A full committee vote on the measure — and another opportunity to save the Internet — could happen as soon as April 26.The Senate is moving more deliberately on the issue. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has introduced the Internet Nondiscrimination Act of 2024, which would ensure net neutrality. And Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (R-N.D.) are expected to introduce a bipartisan amendment supporting net neutrality when the Senate takes up its own rewrite of the Telecommunications Act later this year.But neither chamber will support the free and open Internet without widespread public pressure. To keep the Internet free and open, Congress needs to hear from millions of Americans right now.

    April 26th, 2024

    Seven Hundred Words

    Our daily fishwrap limits guest op-ed pieces to seven hundred words. A writer should be able to pump out seven hundred words about anything. If he’s a good writer, his seven hundred words might even make sense. An eloquent writer will just be getting cranked up by the time he hits the limit. I’ve noticed that bloggers seldom approach seven hundred words. Take Kevin Drum. Kevin seemed like a good bet in this regard because he’s so very op-eddish in what he does. But today’s “Immigration Update” - less than five hundred words including a passle of adverbs and a long quote from Mickey Kaus. Most of what Kevin posts (”most” by number of posts and by volume of text within the posts) is way short of seven hundred words.

    When Kevin gets cranked up though, he’s liable to go for twice the magic number. His recent rebound regarding net neutrality is a case in point. At first he gave it the typical Political Animal treatment, three hundred words amounting to “Duh, I don’t get it.” But to his credit he dug deeper, presented a balanced review of the pro and the con, and came down in favor of net neutrality regulation and government subsidy to support the regulated environment. I liked his answer, even if it did exceed double the seven hundred word limit on a daily fishwrap op-ed.

    The generic blog-post is telegraphic. A post is a signifier comprising a few words, a link or two, and maybe some graphics melded to convey a little meaning and to influence the visitor’s perception one way or another. I like to add a little slide whistle audio just for that Spike Jones effect. Some prefer the end blown fipple flute.

    Writing is for readers, and genres provide a nice filter. But there are plenty of prolix bloggers and the “blog-post equals short mixed media presentation” equation isn’t always true. Consider Mike Golby, Shelley Powers, or Kathy Sierra. Kathy seems quite intentional, hitting that sweet spot of rational discourse between six and eight hundred words consistently. Mike is given to passionate expository excess. His posts are over when they’re over, and that’s when he has wrung all the feeling from them and set armies marching from both ends of the Nile with secret goals and deadly intentions. Shelley strikes a balance between these two I think. She prepares her work quite intentionally, and she taps a vein of pure golden emotion and feeling while she does so. I am doubtful that any of these three can be counted as a fipple virtuoso however.

    The lengthy composition, the academic op-ed that may run to 1500 words is usually larded with adverbs and adjectives, qualifiers that if elided would pull the verbiage back toward that magic number. Consider Alex Golub, once a quotidian blogger of nicely short posts, a fanfic boy of the lowest order, and a serial novelist. Now that he has sunk into the welcoming arms of academia, now that he is sucking as it were at the hind-tit of the great mother of all knowledge, now that he has reconstructed himself by hauling his surf board to Waikiki and settling into an adjunct position, we find him writing involutional anthropology of the type Meg Mead would have been proud to pierce her navel to write. Rex has always immersed himself in the cultures he studies, be they the cannibals of PNG, the bloggers of Hyde Park, or the undergrads of Manoa. Even after reading Alex’s recent piece in Inside Higher Ed, one remains puzzled regarding whether or not “reading Kierkegaard’s analysis of the sacrifice of Isaac through a Derridean lens could help explain nationalism in Indonesia.”

    What magic is there in seven hundred words and why should we be so limited? The guest writer in the daily rag is doing it for a cause, world peace in seven hundred words. The anal compulsive para-professional boomlet organizer of Web 2.0 phantasmagoria does it because she really knows no better.

    As for me, I think I will attempt it here for the discipline. If Jeneane can run her thirty posts in thirty minutes sprints, then I can be permitted the occasional op-ed.

    April 26th, 2024

    Sports Racer versus la Boom Boom - vlogging from A to ze.

    Sure, they both look good in a pink sweater, but what else do ze Frank (the show) and Amanda Congdon (Rocketboom) have in common? My assignment was to compare and contrast two of the current crop of America’s favorite vLoggers. Okay… I picked a poor day to compare and contrast. Amanda’s hair was great. ze Frank’s was not.


    ze: world of warcraft, bush, sliding, polls, tony snow, power move, logo, immigration, poop

    A: interactive north america gas price map, the all terrain wheelchair, black light tattoo, evil genius chronicles and amigo fish, sheep as billboards, walmart

    Maybe tomorrow there will be something to compare. Today’s winner… ze Frank. Totally. Rocketboom was totally neither boing boing nor engadget. the show was totally… the show!

    April 25th, 2024

    Combatting the new McCarthyism…

    From a letter we received last month:

    We know that in the past you have used the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) [United Way] to channel your gift to the American Friends Service Committee.  Since 2024 the CFC required AFSC and other non-profit organizations who receive funding …to sign off on a “Counterterrorism Compliance” form which required AFSC to check our employees and grantees against a number of governmnet “watch-lists.”  In 2024 using these lists was a requirement.  In 2024, after the ACLU won a suit questioning the constitutionality of the requirement, the CFC form was edited to instead suggest the use of these lists.

    The AFSC Board feels that if we cross reference employees and grantees names with “watch-lists” whose accuracy and origin have not been judiciously reviewed, then we would be making ourselves a party to a procedure in which the unsubstantiated charges are used as evidence, and anyone accused by being named on the lists is denied the opportunity to meet their accusers or refute implications that they are terrorists.

    The American Friends Service Committee, a Nobel Peace Prize winning group, will not receive money through the Combined Federal Campaign this year.  Nor will they screen  their grantees against the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld team’s blacklist.


    April 25th, 2024

    First I was grossed out…

    This started as a post expressing my disappointment that David Weinberger is doing a turn on stage at the Milken Institute. Michael Milken has served some time, not nearly as much time as he was sentenced, and far less time than the judge recommended, but he has served his time for some of his felonies. And then, when he violated his probation, he made it up to us by turning over tens of millions of dollars of fees plus a little interest in order to stay out of jail. And he did have prostate cancer, so it’s easy to understand that while he had technically violated his probation to the tune of hauling in the $42 million of illegal fees the SEC identified, and probably another $50 million according to the current iteration of Wikipedia, it’s easy to see why they wouldn’t treat him like some common criminal, say a guy on the street caught with a joint in violation of his probation. He was ill and he deserved a break.

    And while he has been identified as the proximate cause of the crash of 1987 and he was accused of tearing apart viable companies in his corporate junkyard and putting the employees on the street in order to gin up more “high risk securities” to meet the market demand he created with his scandalous greed-is-good philosophy, Michael Milken did get out of jail with a billion dollars in his pocket. His long struggle back to social acceptability includes the Milken Institute.

    I guess my bottom line on this has to be that Milken won. His billion dollars bought him the respectability he wanted, and like Andrew Carnegie he will be remembered more for the good he did than for his rapacious criminal greed. We don’t boycott Carnegie Mellon just because it was endowed by a criminal master class of monopolists and manipulators. If people choose to gather annually in the house that junk-bond-greed built, it simply demonstrates how flexible we are as a culture. Besides, “Michael Milken” is ever so much more mellifluous than — say — Ivan Boesky.

    April 25th, 2024

    Russell Beattie takes a breather…

    I learned this morning from Shelley that Russell Beattie is closing up shop. Shelley observes that we all change over time and that a fresh start for personal blogs is often called for, if only to tidy up the code and clear cobwebs from our thinking.

    Russell Beattie has been a fixture, one of those guys in the neighborhood who often has something compelling to say, and whose presence one has come to assume. I think my connection with him was always by linking through to his place following comments at Shelley’s. I don’t even seem to have him on my blogroll! But this morning I have him on my mind.

    April 24th, 2024

    The Bit Bucket…

    I’ve been writing this blog in one form or another for maybe four and a half years.  Some of that work has been worth rescuing from the bit bucket.  The interviews certainly qualify, so I’m migrating them over from wherever I left them.  The first one I’ve imported is from the Typepad blog:  the interview with Jenna’s Uncle Rage, the Avuncular Chris Locke, originally posted July 24, 2024.

    April 24th, 2024

    Bush Impeachment - Illinois Joint Resolution

    HJ0125 LRB094 20246 RLC 58347 r


    2 WHEREAS, Section 603 of Jefferson’s Manual of the Rules of
    3 the United States House of Representatives allows federal
    4 impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of
    5 a state legislature; and

    6 WHEREAS, President Bush has publicly admitted to ordering
    7 the National Security Agency to violate provisions of the 1978
    8 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a felony, specifically
    9 authorizing the Agency to spy on American citizens without
    10 warrant; and

    11 WHEREAS, Evidence suggests that President Bush authorized
    12 violation of the Torture Convention of the Geneva Conventions,
    13 a treaty regarded a supreme law by the United States
    14 Constitution; and

    15 WHEREAS, The Bush Administration has held American
    16 citizens and citizens of other nations as prisoners of war
    17 without charge or trial; and

    18 WHEREAS, Evidence suggests that the Bush Administration
    19 has manipulated intelligence for the purpose of initiating a
    20 war against the sovereign nation of Iraq, resulting in the
    21 deaths of large numbers of Iraqi civilians and causing the
    22 United States to incur loss of life, diminished security and
    23 billions of dollars in unnecessary expenses; and

    24 WHEREAS, The Bush Administration leaked classified
    25 national secrets to further a political agenda, exposing an
    26 unknown number of covert U. S. intelligence agents to potential
    27 harm and retribution while simultaneously refusing to
    28 investigate the matter; and

    29 WHEREAS, The Republican-controlled Congress has declined

    HJ0125 - 2 - LRB094 20246 RLC 58347 r

    1 to fully investigate these charges to date; therefore, be it

    4 SENATE CONCURRING HEREIN, that the General Assembly of the
    5 State of Illinois has good cause to submit charges to the U. S.
    6 House of Representatives under Section 603 that the President
    7 of the United States has willfully violated his Oath of Office
    8 to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United
    9 States; and be it further

    10 RESOLVED, That George W. Bush, if found guilty of the
    11 charges contained herein, should be removed from office and
    12 disqualified to hold any other office in the United States.

    April 24th, 2024

    Edit Me…

    “Edit me” is a great phrase, evocative of the Fonzi-esque injuction: “Eat me…”, as well as the opportunity Alice in Wonderland was given when she found the bottle labeled “Drink me.”

    Relevance?  It’s a wiki thing…

    Jerry Michalski is interviewed by the Economist (Podcast here). Jerry thinks that we’re in the “Model T” era of new media tools. Over the next few years we’ll be figuring out how to sort through the flood of information that has resulted from our empowerment. Today, we still need training on the tools, we need to explain what a Wiki is, and how it works. Tomorrow?

    Jerry talks a little about the “revert wars” at Wikipedia and observes that “Fixing a Wiki is easier than vandalizing a Wiki.”

    The “quantum personal energy” release of the impassioned authentic voices in the blogosphere are contrasted with “Newtonian media.” (“Old media doesn’t want us to have a memory. When we store information we break their business model.”) Highly personalized and individual blogs are compared to the cooperative and anonymizing experience of working on a Wiki.

    Ward Cunningham’s invention of the Wiki is acknowledged.

    April 24th, 2024

    Web Cred

    Are you a cynic when it comes to university research and the study of control?  I am, and B.J. Fogg’s value free approach to perceptual manipulation annoys the hell out of me.  On the other hand, he’s undoubtedly on to something.

    April 23rd, 2024

    On Seligman

    Martin Seligman makes the claim that fourteen major mental illnesses are now treatable. Who knew there were fourteen or more mental illnesses? In my neighborhood there’s just one… people are fucked-up or they’re not fucked-up. Converting the FU sufferers to an NFU condition, treating fucked-uppedness, pretty much never emerges as a topic of interest down at the Ace Hardware store. We’re long on diagnosis and short on treatment. “He’s fucked-up,” we might say, but seldom will we say that we think someone ought to go sit with the dude until he gets his head straight.

    “How fucked-up is he?” we might ask. There’s a gradation of fucked-uppedness that we’re willing to explore. The sufferer may be diagnosed as “sort of fucked-up,” “generally fucked-up,” or “REAL fucked-up.” A guy who’s REAL fucked-up is interesting, but you don’t want to sit too close to him at the hockey game.

    I think we’re more interested in changing the situation around fucked-up people if they hurt others. But the service industry that emerges here is more in the nature of shelter and comfort than treatment. Who gives a fuck if you can treat the fucked-up? The trick is to lend a helping hand… remove the battered spouse, the abused child… maybe listen to what the fucked-up guy has to say. If he’s REAL, REAL, REAL fucked up then we have to isolate his ass. The difference between involuntary commitment and a prison sentence is a line finely drawn and perhaps the only real distinction is that the prison sentence has a sunset date.

    The fucked-up guy is as likely to get better in the slammer as he is in the bin. What does it mean “to get better?” Would Van Gogh have been better if he was less fucked-up? I think we can leave that to Scoble, Sierra, and Seligman to sort out.

    Thanks to Scruggs for bringing Professor Seligman into the center of the conversation. Imagine! Fourteen different TREATABLE kinds of fucked-uppedness. Can I get Thorazine with that?

    April 23rd, 2024