aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
In 2005 I was among those quoting Michael Moore on the need for Democratic stars:
Where’s our Arnold? Why aren’t we running our Arnold? Why do we continue to run these wonks? The American people--see the Republicans, as much as they berate Hollywood, actually they love Hollywood. In fact, they know that Americans love Hollywood, too, and that’s why Republicans run people from Hollywood. Reagan, Arnold, Gopher from “The Love Boat.” He was in Congress...Sonny Bono...Fred Thompson. They know that Americans love Hollywood. That’s why they run people from Hollywood. And--and when the Democrats run stars: Bill Clinton, the rock star; John Kennedy, the movie star, they win. And when they run wonks, they lose. And they’ve got to start thinking about the people who connect to the average American out there, and who are really--you know, people who move the American public in--in a very visceral way...when we start running people that are beloved by the American public, we’re going to win.
Obama. Hillary. Now we got stars. And today Al Franken:
CHICAGO (Reuters) - Comedian and political commentator Al Franken ended a three-year stint as a talk radio host by announcing on Wednesday he will seek the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Minnesota Republican Norm Coleman.
“I’m not a professional politician. I know I’m going to make some mistakes and this is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” the 55-year-old Harvard graduate said as he closed the final broadcast of “The Al Franken Show.” [...]
“Nothing means more to me than making government work better for the working families of this state,” Franken said in a Web-posted video message to voters in Minnesota, where he grew up and became active in politics campaigning for the late Democratic Sen. Paul Wellstone, his political hero.
Franken is running for Wellstone’s old seat, which Coleman, a conservative, narrowly won in 2002 in a race against former vice president and Minnesota senator Walter Mondale after Wellstone, the incumbent Democrat, died in a plane crash.
Creationist defeat in Kansas
School authorities in the American heartland state of Kansas have delivered a rebuff to subscribers to the notion of intelligent design by voting to banish language challenging evolution from new science guidelines.
In a 6-4 vote on Tuesday night, the Kansas state board of education deleted language from teaching guidelines that challenged the validity of evolutionary theory, and approved new phrasing in line with mainstream science.
It was seen as a victory for a coalition of moderate Republicans and Democrats, science educators and parents who had fought for two years to overturn the earlier guidelines. [...]
Despite this latest setback proponents of intelligent design remain active across the US. In the last five years, anti-evolution legislation has been introduced in 24 state legislatures and similar policies were under consideration in at least 20 states, according to the National Centre for Science Education in California.
The subject here is spectrum policy. The argument is that we deregulate spectrum. “Deregulate” not in the sense that we auction spectrum. Auctions require a gov’t created property right; that’s a form of spectrum regulation. “Deregulate” in the sense that we set off large swaths of spectrum for unlicensed use. Congress has made this impossible in the short term for any significant chunk of spectrum. But we do have an important opportunity to set free “white space.”
The argument might be best introduced with the following hypothetical:
Imagine the government nationalized the hotdog market, and then sold to the highest bidder the “right to sell hotdogsÃ¢â‚¬Â� at in a particular place for a particular period of time. These rights - the right to sell hotdogs - could be structured to be a kind of property. The market would thus allocate them to the highest valued use. And the initial sale would raise lots of money for the federal treasury.
Are you in favor of that? And if not, then why are you in favor of spectrum auctions? “Because certain uses require regulation,” you say. But then why not push towards uses that don’t require regulation?
I’ve downloaded the 27 minute video, moved it to my iPod (not nearly as easy as it could be but so much easier than it once was), I will be listening in my car. You should find the time to watch on the web or listen too. It’s an important issue that affects us all, even if not as sexy as Anna’s mom’s fight over the kids. The Internet means we can choose our news; if you choose to watch something nourishing today, choose this.
Ode to Democracy player
Democracy Player, the killer free Internet TV app, is edging closer to 1.0. The new version fixes a ton of little bugs and cleans up the UI even more. Democracy is like iTunes for Internet TV, without the DRM. Just tell it what channels you like (or pick from a huge menu, or your favorite YouTube or Google Video keywords) and it will download a steady stream of programming with BitTorrent. Democracy uses VLC to play back video, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to view a QuickTime, WMV, or plain MPEG (or DivX, or FLV, or whatever...)—it just works. And because Democracy has BitTorrent built it, it’s cheap and easy to publish your own Democracy channel—the more popular your channel gets, the cheaper it is to serve and the faster your fans get your video.
Democracy runs with equal ease on Linux, MacOS and Windows. I use Democracy as my preferred video player on Ubuntu Linux, and as my preferred torrent-catcher. It’s solid, easy to use, and free. (Democracy also has a new Ubuntu repository for fetching binaries of the latest versions)
His disclosure, “I’m a proud Director of the nonprofit Participatory Culture Foundation, which produces Democracy Player.”
Forensic reasons to NOT turn off the computer
A different AP story on Julie Amero is in the Times today. It has a very different cast from the AP story I saw last night on Fox News.
I will use the occasion to address the evidentiary reasons to not pull the plug on the computer:
There are significant forensic reasons not to simply unplug a misbehaving computer. Sure, the question now is whether there was malware, spyware, pop-ups, or possible a Trojan horse on the computer. But what if the computer was being actively attacked, through a Trojan or back-door? Turning off the CPU likely would prevent the tracking needed to find the source of the attack. Unplugging the computer, for example, would prevent the creation of certain registry entries that are created only when, for example, the browser is closed properly - such as the registry entry indicating what URLs were typed into the browser - an important evidentiary issue in this case.
The decision about how to respond to this “incident” should not be left exclusively to the substitute teacher, and she should not be faulted - much less prosecuted - for not yanking the cord. There are conflicting reports about how long she kept the offending computer on, with Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly reporting that the computer was left on all day, although it is not clear if the monitor remained visible to the students the whole time, and there is no allegation that there was porn on the computer for anything other than the few minutes after around 9 AM. Apparently neither she, nor any other faculty member, administrator or the principal or assistant principal ever considered just turning off the monitor - assuming that this was easy to do. Amero probably didn’t turn off the monitor because she wanted to keep surfing.
I’ll resist the urge to join in the speculation as to why she did whatever she did or did not do and note instead that it was for comments like that last one that I referred to the author of that piece as the tech expert who comes closest to agreeing with the prosecutor’s contentions. The point was to note that even he doesn’t come very close.
Lindsay Beyerstein has been following the story closely from the start; here’s her take on why Julie didnt pull the plug. Today she points to yet another version of that AP story. I guess I don’t get how AP stories work; three stories in 24 hours. The one in the Times is by ALISON LEIGH COWAN, the one Lindsay points to is by JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, and the one last night on Fox News has no author. Each a slightly different telling.
LATER - A plea appended to all of my Amero posts:
WE NEED A COMPUTER FORENSICS INNOCENCE PROJECT; a Barry Sheck and Peter Neufeld of the computer forensics world. We need experts who believe in the presumption of innocence and are willing to spend the time it takes to dig through logs, registry entries and hard drives to find exculpatory material when present. This is hardly the first case of its kind and, unfortunately, it’s not likely be the last. Prosecutors who look for - and presume - guilt do selective searches for data supporting guilt; those accused rarely have the resources to pay computer forensics experts to counter that selective evidence.