Friday, July 28, 2006

Republican Says We Need A Dem Congress

The Huffington Post

The following is a letter from former Republican Congressman and Presidential candidate Pete McCloskey:

I am a Republican, intend to remain a Republican, and am descended from three generations of California Republicans, active in Merced and San Bernardino Counties as well as in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have just engaged in an unsuccessful effort to defeat the Republican Chairman of the House Resources Committee, Richard Pombo, in the 11th Congressional District Republican primary, obtaining just over 32% of the Republican vote against Pombo's 62%.

The observation of Mr. Pombo's political consultant, Wayne Johnson, that I have been mired in the obsolete values of the 1970s, honesty, good ethics and balanced budgets, all rejected by today's modern Republicans, is only too accurate.

It has been difficult, nevertheless, to conclude as I have, that the Republican House leadership has been so unalterably corrupted by power and money that reasonable Republicans should support Democrats against DeLay-type Republican incumbents in 2006. Let me try to explain why.

I have decided to endorse Jerry McNerney and every other honorable Democrat now challenging those Republican incumbents who have acted to protect former Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who have flatly reneged on their Contract With America promise in 1994 to restore high standards of ethical behavior in the House and who have combined to prevent investigation of the Cunningham and Abramoff/Pombo/DeLay scandals. These Republican incumbents have brought shame on the House, and have created a wide-spread view in the public at large that Republicans are more interested in obtaining campaign contributions from corporate lobbyists than they are in legislating in the public interest.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Yo! More on Yoism

The Way of Yo

"We are united in our goals: healthy communities, ecological living, and worldwide justice. In short, the creation—not in an "afterlife," or at some point in an indefinite future—of Heaven on Earth. The foundation for our work is built upon the The Five Pillars, guiding landmarks along The Way of Yo."

The Divinity of Yo

The Ten Sacred Principles

The 7 Main Beliefs:

These are the fundamental beliefs and values that—following The Way of Yo—the community has come to adopt. These beliefs form the current foundation for Yoan thought and practice. When we take a careful look at human history, we see that those societies whose core beliefs did not include most of these ideas and values were misguided, at best, and stagnant, unstable, suffering, or ill, at worst. To heal ourselves and our world we turn to these principles—the stronger our commitment to them, the stronger we are.

  1. Yo - Yo is the name we give to the Divine Mystery that manifests as our world of experience. The Way of Yo is based on a theology that is consistent with the world as it is directly experienced today by people everywhere.

  2. Empiricism - Personal experience and intersubjective verification provide the foundation for belief. We reject truth based solely on authority. This is the basis for our faith in the Open Source Truth Process.

  3. Community - Healthy communities are the foundation for emotional well being and spiritual fulfillment.

  4. Evolution - We turn to the theory of evolution, our only "scientific theory of creation," in order to develop a valid understanding of the forces that brought the human species into being, that "shaped" us into what we are. This enables us to see ourselves more clearly and to take actions that are consistent with the realities about who we are.

  5. Democracy - Until a more effective and just model for organizing human affairs is demonstrated, Yoans participate in the attempt to develop democracy's untapped potential.

  6. Environmentalism - As traveling companions—hurtling through space inside a limited, closed ecosystem—we are all inter-dependent keepers of what Buckminster Fuller called "Spaceship Earth."

  7. Growth - We must all work to continually introduce others to these values and beliefs by engaging their minds and by building welcoming communities that truly transform our relationships and inspire others to do the same.

Wired News: Blogging From the Belly of Beirut

Wired News: Blogging From the Belly of Beirut:

"'What surprised me the most is what I found out from my Israeli readers that they're aware that all Lebanese don't support Hezbollah. I thought they really believe that we all hate (Israel).'"

Divine Inspiration From the Masses - Los Angeles Times

Divine Inspiration From the Masses - Los Angeles Times:

This LA Times article makes some interesting points, but also exemplifies part of the problem with most mainstream media. For example, there is a feeling that an article needs to be balanced i.e. presenting both sides of a story. Often this means trying to present a balanced picture even when that approach is in fact not warranted. An article needs to be objective, but that is not the same thing as presenting both sides of an issue with equal wieght. How many articles on global warming mention or discuss the tiny minority of detractors (I read an article on this point regarding global warming recently, if we can find it, we'll link to it)? That's the noise that mucks up the industrial age media; that shadow of a doubt that gets cast on the uninformed viewer.

The article jumps all over the place exploring different aspects of open-source, but here are a few excerpts on Yoism (when I have time, I will follow that link or this one to its homepage and learn more about what it is).

"Behold, brethren. The 'open source' movement, long championed by computer whizzes as a way to solve problems using the input of all, is increasingly being applied to other disciplines including literature, scientific research and religion.

Yes, religion. Yoism - a faith invented by a Massachusetts psychologist - shuns godly wisdom passed down by high priests. Instead, its holy text evolves online, written by the multitude of followers - much the same way volunteer programmers create open-source computer software by each contributing lines of code."

Adherents of Yoism — who count Bob Dylan, Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud among their saints — occupy the radical fringe of the open-source movement, which is quickly establishing itself as a new organizing principle for the 21st century.

and at the end of the article:

"The open-source frontier is religion. That's where Yoism comes in. But is it really a religion? Chester L. Gillis, chairman of Georgetown University's theology department, is skeptical. Yoism, he says, embraces a transitory view of reality that contradicts traditional concepts of religion based on belief in fundamental truths."

There's an authoritative source in religion that [Yoism] lacks. It doesn't talk about revelation from the divine," he said. "Any religion that hopes to survive is essentially conservative — it conserves elements of the faith. This one lacks that." [funny stuff]

But Yoans have an answer for Gillis. As it is written in the Book of Yo, "There always exists the possibility of one day discovering that all our current truths are indeed wrong."

Another interesting link the article provides is to this. Here is the quote:

Larry Sanger, a former Wikipedia employee often credited with the original idea for the project, called the online reference work an extraordinarily successful experiment. But he quit to escape its cult of equality.

Sanger recently launched Digital Universe, an online project that will include reference works written by volunteers but edited by experts, according to his plans. "The Wiki is just one prototype," he said. "Think of the principle."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Judiciary Strikes Back

The courts and NSA snooping. By Patrick Radden Keefe

[A] federal judge in San Francisco on Thursday issued a ruling on an obscure procedural point in a court case between the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights nonprofit, and AT&T. Judge Vaughn Walker rejected the government's claim that because of the doctrine of state secrets, traditionally used to prevent the introduction into court of specific evidence that might compromise national security, he should dismiss EFF's entire case against the phone company. It's almost unheard of for a judge to shoot down a state-secrets claim, and in that respect, Walker's decision represents a setback for the administration. But the Walker opinion signals something more significant, as well: a rejection of the Bush administration's vision of a wartime executive that can govern unchecked. The judiciary is striking back.

Friday, July 21, 2006 Inside Washington: Bar association task force urges Congress to push for judicial review of Bush signing statements

In a report to be released Monday, [an ABA] task force will recommend that Congress pass legislation providing for some sort of judicial review of [Bush's] signing statements. Some task force members want to simply give Congress the right to sue over the signing statements; other task force members will not characterize what sort of judicial review might ultimately emerge.

To mount a legal case, a person or group must have been granted 'standing,' or the right to file a lawsuit. Current law does not grant members of Congress such a right, and recent Supreme Court decisions have denied it in all but very exceptional cases. But Congress could consider bypassing that hurdle by writing a law to give its members the right to sue, a resolution in the task force's report declares, a source familiar with the task force report told U.S. News.

The resolution cannot become official aba policy without approval from the group's legislative body, scheduled to meet in Hawaii next month. There, the ABA will review four other resolutions, three directed to the president and one to Congress. The first three ask the president not to use signing statements as a kind of shortcut veto. If the president thinks a bill or part of a bill is unconstitutional, one of these resolution declares, he should feel free to say so -- but he should do that before he signs it, not after. The other resolution suggests Congress craft legislation to make signing statements more transparent and more accessible. Currently, signing statements are not sent directly to Congress, and they are often ambiguous in their intent.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Conservative Anger Grows Over Bush's Foreign Policy

By Michael Abramowitz
Washington Post


"It is Topic A of every single conversation," said Danielle Pletka, vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank that has had strong influence in staffing the administration and shaping its ideas. "I don't have a friend in the administration, on Capitol Hill or any part of the conservative foreign policy establishment who is not beside themselves with fury at the administration."

As the White House listens to what one official called the "chattering classes," it hears a level of disdain from its own side of the ideological spectrum that would have been unthinkable a year ago.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Advertising Age - Wal-Mart Tries to Be MySpace. Seriously

Retailer's 'Social' Site May Be too Unhip and Strict to Catch Teen-Apparel Dollars

Bush Blocked Justice Department Investigation (07/18/06)

by Murray Waas,
National Journal

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee today that President Bush personally halted an internal Justice Department investigation into whether Gonzales and other senior department officials acted within the law in approving and overseeing the administration's domestic surveillance program.

Friday, July 14, 2006

The Truth Laid Bear

from Instapundit

The Truth Laid Bear

Links to a collection of blogs that appear to be Lebanese or expat. I have only looked at a couple of them and briefly, but nevertheless, this is an interesting phenomenon. We can't know who writes these and what agenda they might have, but we can gain perspective while using our own judgment as an overlay.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Personal Appeal - Wikimedia Foundation

Jimmy Wales:

...Wikipedia is based on a very radical idea, the realization of the dreams most of us have always had for what the Internet can and should become. Thousands of people, all over the world, from all cultures, working together in harmony to freely share clear, factual, unbiased information… a simple and pure desire to make the world a better place.

This is a radical strike at the heart of an increasingly shallow, proprietary and anti-intellectual culture. It is a radical strike at the assumption that the Internet has to be a place of hostile debate and flame wars. It is an appeal to the best within all of us....
...In 2005, we achieved 6-fold growth in pageviews with spending of less than $750,000. We will need a lot more this year just to keep the site on the air and performing well. But the wonderful thing about our growth is that it gives us a real opportunity to extend our fundraising beyond just what we need to stay on the air.
to read entire appeal, click here or above

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Ally Warned Bush on Keeping Spying From Congress - New York Times

New York Times

by Eric Lichtblau and Scott Shane

In a sharply worded letter to President Bush in May, an important Congressional ally [Representative Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the Republican chairman of the House Intelligence Committee]charged that the administration might have violated the law by failing to inform Congress of some secret intelligence programs and risked losing Republican support on national security matters.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

How the Internet is Changing Consumer Behavior and Expectations

This is an interesting presentation from Pew Internet.

I liked the comparison of the industrial age education:

With the information age learner:

What will this chart look like in 5 years?

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Let's ramp up the intelligence of politics

Mission Statement - Central Campaign Wikia

by Jimmy Wales
Founder, Wikimedia

Blog and wiki authors are now inventing a new era of media, and it is my belief that this new media is going to invent a new era of politics. If broadcast media brought us broadcast politics, then participatory media will bring us participatory politics.

One hallmark of the blog and wiki world is that we do not wait for permission before making things happen. If something needs to be done, we do it. Well, campaigns need to sit up and take notice of the Internet, take notice of bloggers, take notice of wikis, and engage with us in a constructive way.

The candidates who will win elections in the future will be the candidates who build genuinely participative campaigns by generating and expanding genuine communities of engaged citizens.

I am launching today a new Wikia website aimed at being a central meeting ground for people on all sides of the political spectrum who think that it is time for politics to become more participatory, and more intelligent.
Read the entire mission statement.

I read about this here on Smart Mobs.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Smart Mobs: SmartMob Communities on the Internet drive a Media Storm to AOL

Smart Mobs: SmartMob Communities on the Internet drive a Media Storm to AOL:

from SmartMobs

"SmartMobs of informed customers can now use the Blogosphere to make a comment of bad customer service according to a story in the New York Times.

'When Vincent Ferrari, 30, of the Bronx, called AOL to cancel his membership last month, it took him a total of 21 minutes, including the time spent on an automated sequence at the beginning and some initial waiting in a queue. He recorded the five minutes of interaction with the AOL customer service representative and, a week later, posted the audio file on his blog, Insignificant Thoughts [I didn't link to it because it seems to have installed something when I clicked through].

Once Mr. Ferrari put the 5 minute excerpt of his AOL customer service frustration on his website it was Digged and in the New York Times on the same day and blew through 12 Gigabytes of bandwidth and 700,000+ hits in 12 hours. 'I'll be back, but I have to give my server a rest so the other folks on it don't kill me. See you soon, and sorry for being too damn famous for my own good.'

The use of the Blogs to spread ideas and form opinions has taken even the largest corporations by surprise - they need to participate in the conversation - as it's a conversation that is going to happen with or without them."

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The People Formerly Known as the Audience

The Huffington Post

By Jay Rosen

The people formerly known as the audience. That's what I call them. Recently I received this statement...

The people formerly known as the audience wish to inform media people of our existence, and of a shift in power that goes with the platform shift you've all heard about.

Think of passengers on your ship who got a boat of their own. The writing readers. The viewers who picked up a camera. The formerly atomized listeners who with modest effort can connect with each other and gain the means to speak-- to the world, as it were.

Now we understand that met with ringing statements like these many media people want to cry out in the name of reason herself: If all would speak who shall be left to listen? Can you at least tell us that?

The people formerly known as the audience do not believe this problem--too many speakers!--is our problem. Now for anyone in your circle still wondering who we are, a formal definition might go like this:

The people formerly known as the audience are those who were on the receiving end of a media system that ran one way, in a broadcasting pattern, with high entry fees and a few firms competing to speak very loudly while the rest of the population listened in isolation from one another-- and who today are not in a situation like that at all.

* Once they were your printing presses; now that humble device, the blog, has given the press to us. That's why blogs have been called little First Amendment machines. They extend freedom of the press to more actors.

* Once it was your radio station, broadcasting on your frequency. Now that brilliant invention, podcasting, gives radio to us. And we have found more uses for it than you did.

* Shooting, editing and distributing video once belonged to you, Big Media. Only you could afford to reach a TV audience built in your own image. Now video is coming into the user's hands, and audience-building by former members of the audience is alive and well on the Web.

* You were once (exclusively) the editors of the news, choosing what ran on the front page. Now we can edit the news, and our choices send items to our own front pages.

* A highly centralized media system had connected people "up" to big social agencies and centers of power but not "across" to each other. Now the horizontal flow, citizen-to-citizen, is as real and consequential as the vertical one.

The "former audience" is Dan Gillmor's term for us. (He's one of our discoverers and champions.) It refers to the owners and operators of tools that were one exclusively used by media people to capture and hold their attention.

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