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No Child fake news is an example of paramedia

<![CDATA[Free Press, October 4, 2005

The Government Accountability Office ruled last week that several aspects of the public relations firm Ketchum‘s contract with the Department of Education were illegal, constituting “covert propaganda” or “purely partisan activities.”



The use of paid placement of Armstrong Williams’ opinion pieces supporting the No Child Left Behind law, blogs that supported the transmission of the message, and other forms of amplification of the pro-White House view is an example of
paramedia. I’d suspect that these campaigns will come from government/private enterprise promoting agendas as often or more often than from self-organizing democratic groups.

Here’s the whole GAO report.]]>

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Fascinat-Ning

<![CDATA[Ning | Home: Front Page:

Ning is a free online service (or, as we like to call it, a Playground) for building and using social applications.

Social apps are web applications that enable anyone to match, transact, and communicate with other people.

From Marc Andreesen and friends, a really interesting launch. Now, the business plan?

Be free – our hope for the foreseeable future is to offer a free Playground that lets anyone build and enjoy social apps, supported by us through a combination of revenue types.

Okay, but the FAQ says:

We’re sorry, but the app you are trying to see is unavailable.

This app is unavailable either because it has been deleted or hasn’t been created yet. For questions about deleted apps, please visit the Ning FAQ. Otherwise, you can enjoy other apps on Ning by browsing the Ning Pivot.

Still, I still like what I see, because the service is predicated on widespread use of Creative Commons Attribution licenses.
And, the “Tom-Cruise-on-Oprah excited” posting on their blog is funny, which is hard for a startup, usually so solemn about themselves, to achieve. Of course, having Marc-Andreesen money behind you, I guess, is like making your e-meter do whatever is good for an e-meter to do.
UPDATE: Quotage, with misspelling….]]>

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In the blood

<![CDATA[Interview with Martin van Creveld by Sonshi.com:

Sonshi.com: In your professional opinion, do you think wars will be with us for another thousand years? If so, what do you think are the consequences, and is there anything you think we can do as a civilization to curb or mitigate these deadly conflicts?

van Creveld: I must say I dislike your references to my “vast knowledge” and “professional opinion”. They are beside the point.

I think that war, i.e. politically-organized armed conflict, is part of human nature; recent observations have even confirmed the existence of something very like it among chimpanzees. Therefore it is almost certainly going to be with us as long as humanity itself lasts.

van Creveld is very important to understanding the evolution of warfare, as his thinking has helped to guide many national strategies—and, yet, he doesn’t pronounce based on that, relying instead on a firm historical foundation for his arguments. You don’t start a war casually and must seek to end it as soon as possible.
He says the Bush Administration should be “impeached, tried and punished for misleading the American people into a senseless war. They can then spend their time in prison reading Clausewitz and Sun Tzu.”
Via John Robb.]]>

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Former barkeep says: Way too much technology

<![CDATA[BBC NEWS | Technology | Hi-tech beermats for 21st Century:

An intelligent beermat that alerts the bartender that your glass is empty could feature in pubs of the future.

Like an ordinary mat, it absorbs drips; but the gadget also has hidden sensors.

I was a bartender for more than a decade and, seriously, this is superfluous technology. If you want to keep a glass filled, you do. If you want to slow someone down, you don’t want their coaster helping a drunk make trouble for you.]]>

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nail meets head, sparks fly

<![CDATA[apophenia: somewhere in-between the ALA and Google is harmony: danah boyd sees…

I was invited to Keynote at the ALA’s Library and Information Technology Association national conference. At first, i was befuddled – why me? And then, when i looked at the other keynotes, i knew i was in trouble. I was sandwiched between someone speaking about “how librarians can still vanquish Googlezon and win back our rightful place as the guardians of the world’s knowledge and all that is good” and Michael Gorman (the President of the ALA who upset quite a few people with his essay on “those blog people”)….

And then, today, Sergey Brin of Google appeared in my Search class as a surprise guest (webcast will be posted). I realized i had never heard him talk except for when i was working for the company and then, he could say whatever he wanted. In public, he was clearly trying to negotiate what he was and was not allowed to say. He really rattled some feathers though with his response to the semantic web, tagging and librarianship. He took the techno-centric point of view that is so Google. Tagging inverts the relationship between man and machine. Tagging is only of interest and valuable if machines do it. Technology is just as good as experts and it’s a waste of the expert’s time to bother trying. (A good quote from this section was “Experiments like Esperanto have failed.”) One of my professors was really outraged by all of this – i thought his head was going to blow off. God it was painful. Will Google ever understand that culture has value? I guess not so long as technodeterminism is profitable. Gah.

So in less than a week, i got to see the most stubborn and power-hungry sides of two institutions who see no value in the other.

I was exchanging some mail about this with Stuart Gannes this week, while talking about paramedia. How would the world move beyond search? Narrative is the oldest value-add in human culture, I said, though in retrospect I was stating a position Google completely ignores.
And then this from Thomas Crampton, who is blogging for Joi, and delves into the “distinction” between blogging and journalism (as though there is a narrow gap of semantic and expressive capacity that distinguishes the two or, say, that separate poetry and prose):

In blogging you engage and try to spark conversations, not lecture. You succeed by getting feedback, not by writing something conclusive. A successful posting is a work in progress.

Blogging is not conclusive? How can you engage in debate, the essence of democratic life, without taking conclusive positions? It seems to me that there is a movement to conclude—even if it is not the case—that a conversational marketplace is essentially value-free until it can be searched later, tagged and contextualized, which is the position Google takes. If you concede that point, then the conversation only “makes sense” in the wider context of every other conversation which is indexed in the same way by Google (or Yahoo! or whomever) and contending summaries of the world, offered by competing companies, is the only source of value. And what? Have we arrived at the end of history and all that’s left is to calculate the Page Rank? I seriously doubt it.
Shortly, narrative will reemerge, as it does after every other transitional media moment (the first printed books, besides Bibles, were accounting primers, only later did the novel, the long-form essay, etc., appear as popular forms). Does anyone else remember when “no one would read the news online”? I’m sure they do, but they want to believe in the new, when finding harmony requires that we integrate the past and future instead of dumping the former for the latter, and then dumping new futures as they, too, are obsoleted.
Change is a fine thing, but it’s important not to get lost in changing.]]>

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Google Office, free; Gmail, free; the price of my privacy, roughly $189?

<![CDATA[Google, Sun plan partnership | CNET News.com:

Sun Microsystems and Google plan to announce a collaborative effort that some analysts speculate could elevate the profile of the OpenOffice.org and Java software packages.

Intriguing, but seriously folks, how many of you want Google crawling your word processing, spreadsheet and presentation files, then placing advertising based on the corpus of your private efforts when you are browsing on public sites? How many of you believe that your privacy is worth saving $189 or so in upgrade costs a year (not to defend Microsoft Office, but based on the principle that our privacy is worth much, much more than $189)?]]>

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Second Delay indictment

<![CDATA[DeLay indicted on money laundering charge:

A Texas grand jury on Monday indicted U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on a charge of money laundering, less than a week after another grand jury leveled a conspiracy charge that forced DeLay to temporarily step down as House majority leader.

If you were thinking the first was a trumped up indictment, think again. Grand juries aren’t that easily convinced to bring criminal charges for political money-laundering, especially in Texas when it involves Republicans. The Hammer had said of the previous indictment was one of the “weakest, most baseless indictments in American history” and lobbed another charge of partisanship at the prosecutor over the second indictment.
In reality he’s condemning his fellow Texans for seeing grounds for the indictment, since the grand jury and not the prosecutor, made the decision.]]>

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Dana Greenlee launches on CBS.com

<![CDATA[My dear friend Dana Greenlee, capably assisted by her husband, Rob, her co-host on Webtalk Radio, has her first batch of podcasts up at CBS.com. Check her out as Dana talks to The Fonz.
Woo-hoo! Great work, Dana!]]>

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Okay, so now we're discussing the wrong thing

<![CDATA[Memeorandum picked up on my comments about how Jeff Jarvis pointed at my paramedia posting, but Memeorandum didn’t pick up my earlier posting as being related to it.
Now, my posting about Memeorandum is represented as “Discussion” about Jeff’s posting, which is not what I was addressing…. and apparently confirming that some sites are “sources” for Memeorandum while others occupy a secondary role as “discussors” or “reflectors” (not in the term that a reflector is a node that repeats what it is told, but that reflects on sources’ ideas).]]>

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Like tracking bandits over red rock

<![CDATA[Harriet Miers: Supreme Court Choice with Few Footprints:

Here was a warning: don’t go after documents Miers has written or advice she has given while she has worked in the White House. But that might be necessary to suss out her “judicial philosophy.” (By the way, I’d like to see a Democratic senator ask her how the counsel’s office has handled the Plame/CIA leak case. Ms. Miers, can you tell us what advice you gave to the president or anyone else in the White House when evidence recently emerged showing that Karl Rove and Scooter Libby had passed classified national security information to reporters? Can you tell us how the counsel’s office reacted to this evidence, which showed that the White House had previously misinformed the public when it declared that Rove and Libby were not involved in this leak?.) After decades of defending corporations and a few years working in the White House, there is not much of a record upon which to judge Miers’ “judicial philosophy.”

David Corn summarizes how Senator Bill Frist’s argument against asking for White House documents makes for a convoluted route to confirmation for Harriet Miers. Can we have someone with no judicial experience (which is perfectly acceptable, if they have the intellect to support the intense rigors of life on the Court, and we need a record on which to base that, rather than a president’s word that his nominee, who has never been a judge, has a “judicial philosophy”), who has worked closely with a president whose policies will certainly come before the court on which she serves (would Miers recuse herself from any cases involving the Bush Administration?), and accept that nominee without access to any information about how she has handled some of the most controversial issues of the last 50 years, including the Plame case?
Basically, the President and his party are asking us to accept Miers on faith alone. For those of us who are “reality-based,” that’s a tough nut to crack; for those in the faith-peddling community, it’s a ready-made excuse to call any hard questions “politicizing the Court.”
It’s going to take some serious sleuthing to determine what this nominee believes, the kind of tracking that cornered Butch and Sundance, and even then, the President and Ms. Miers may have already leapt into the river. Of course, we’re talking about the U.S. Senate, which hasn’t got the best record when it comes to running down the truth or, even, flexing its advise-and-consent muscles.]]>