Saturday, August 30, 2008


Double Whammy for Gulf Coast

Update, Sept 2: A very different trajectory for Hanna -- much more Atlantic than Gulf. As long as it tracks inland, it won't be too bad in New England, where we are, on Sunday. The scientists who build weather models won't be unemployed soon.

It looks like the Gulf Coast is getting set up for a double whammy even closer together than Katrina and Rita were three years ago. Gustav is predicted to come ashore on Tuesday, and Hanna is predicted to follow on Friday. The pix below are from the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

Here's Gustav hitting near New Orleans on Tuesday, with Hanna strengthening in the southern Bahamas:

Here's Hanna coming ashore on Friday. The remnants of Gustav are now minor precip in the Great Lakes.

There's a very cool 8-day animation here.
Big hat tip to DotEarth.

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Monday, August 25, 2008


Why they spy on us

"Forcibly private . . . brazenly sleazy." AT&T threw a lavish, secret party near the Denver Democratic Convention for the Blue Dog Democrats and their hench-lobbyists that voted them the gift of retroactive immunity for drift-net spying. Glenn Greenwald, Matt Stoller, Jane Hamsher and others tried to get in, only to discover how aggressively private the party was.

Greenwald writes:

" . . . [so] we stood in front of the entrance and began videotaping and trying to interview the parade of Blue Dog Representatives, AT&T executives, assorted lobbyists and delegates who pulled up in rented limousines, chauffeured cars, and SUVs in order to find out who was attending and why AT&T would be throwing such a lavish party for the Blue Dog members of Congress.

"Amazingly, not a single one of the 25-30 people we tried to interview would speak to us about who they were, how they got invited, what the party's purpose was, why they were attending, etc. One attendee said he was with an "energy company," and the other confessed she was affiliated with a "trade association," but that was the full extent of their willingness to describe themselves or this event. It was as though they knew they're part of a filthy and deeply corrupt process and were ashamed of -- or at least eager to conceal -- their involvement in it."

. . . the Denver Police forced us to move further and further away until finally we were unable to approach any more of the arriving guests.
Here's Jane Hamsher's report.

I'd love to see the guest list.

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Friday, August 22, 2008


Quote of Note: Robin Leach

"He probably was confused as to which homes are in his name, his wife's name, or corporate names . . . In his attempt to be honest, he put his foot in his mouth."

Robin Leach, host of the 1990s TV show, "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous," explaining why presidential candidate John McCain forgot how many homes he had, quoted here.

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008


McCain: How our enemies communicate

John McCain, in interview with Pastor Rick Warren, 8/16/08:

" . . . But the point is we have now had technological advances over the last twenty or thirty years in communications that are remarkable. It's remarkable ability that our enemies have to communicate so we have to keep up with that capability. I mean there is too many ways -- through cyberspace and through other ways -- that people are able to communicate with one another so we're gonna have to step up our capabilities to monitor those . . . "

Big hat tip to Sacha Meinrath for spotting this. Sascha observes, " . . . McCain's quote is exactly what repressive regimes around the globe have stated throughout history . . . "

Who says McCain doesn't get the Internet? It's how our enemies communicate. Just ask him.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008


I approve this message

I wish we'd see more political ads like this one:

Youtube Link

Big hat tip!

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Friday, August 15, 2008


McCain's Tech Policy

I was hoping that McCain's Tech Policy would emphasize and extend the two McCain pro-Internet initiatives -- the McCain Lautenberg Community Broadband Act and Spectrum Re-regulation, neither of which have yet seen the light of day -- but it doesn't. In the first case, it makes a vague nod in the direction of "market failure and other obstacles." In the second, it treats spectrum policy as a done deal; now that we can surf the Web in coffee shops, we're done.

I was hoping that McCain's tech guru, Mike Powell, would have written more wireless innovation into the plan. The time is ripe to develop cognitive radios with the ability to use spectrum a bit more intelligently than 1920s technology would permit, but the plan simply nods to stillborn past efforts on this critical issue; it provides no way forward.

Modern spectrum regulation would have been a step towards more consumer choice, which McCain touts as a substitute for "prescriptive regulation like 'net-neutrality.'" There are thirteen uses of words with the morpheme "compet." All but three refer to US competitiveness against other nations. The other three are about digital devices. There's NOTHING about spurring broadband competition with the telcos and cablecos . . . unless they've already opted out of a "failed market."

The plan lavishes lip service on "innovation," and this masks the fact that the first two things the U.S. Internet needs have nothing to do with innovation. We need (a) fiber-optic access for everybody, and (b) a free and open Internet. In other words we need a "Fat Pipe, Always On" and we need the telcos and cablecos (and their deep packet snooping) and the government citizen-spies, and the content police to "Get Out of the Way."

David Weinberger points out that McCain's plan fails to use a whole bunch of words like democracy and free speech (and social network and open source and wiki). To the McCain plan's credit, there are nine mentions of "citizen" and only five mentions of "consumer." But the Plan's treatment of the Four Freedoms, which guarantee that "consumers" can buy any device or service they want, is more about shopping than citizenship. Deliberately missing from the Four Freedoms is the ability to say whatever you want to say on line.

Here it is worth noting that Obama's tech plan (like McCain's) is silent on warrantless spying, and that Obama, after promising the opposite, voted in favor of letting the telcos off the hook for their illegal collaboration in spying on U.S. citizens, and he voted in favor of expanding telco spying on U.S. citizens. This is a betrayal I will not forget. Nevertheless, the Obama Plan reflects that the Internet is the technological embodiment of democracy, and could be used to improve democracy's imperfect U.S. instantiation. McCain's does not even come close. I don't trust either of them, but Obama seems to understand the Internet as something new, different, and potentially wonderful, while to McCain, the Internet is yet another technology by which America can compete against the world.

In summary, the McCain plan says, "What's good for AT&T and Comcast and Cisco and the RIAA is good for America." It's about their Internet, nor ours.

Update: Here's Harold Feld's take. Here's Matt Stoller's take. Here's Kevin Werbach's take. Here's Michael Powell's reply to Kevin W.

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Friday, August 08, 2008


Donate to the 8/8/8 moneybomb!

Today's the day, folks. If you . . .

" . . . share the view that warrantless surveillance, telecom immunity and other such outrages of the lawless surveillance state MUST END—AND END NOW . . . "

. . . donate here today. I did.

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Saturday, August 02, 2008


Pic>1kword: Tomatoes

. . . and the livin is easy . . .

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