The end of cross-posting ZD articles

Okay, it’s been about 20 days since I started the ZD blog and I’m going to stop cross-posting links now so that I can start to focus on politics, economics and other non-tech/media/business stuff here.

There are a couple of new pieces over there today, too. But go you must to read them.

The RSS feed for the new ZD blog is here (just click to subscribe to the RSS).

Over at ZD Net: Begin change with choice

» Begin change with choice | Rational rants | ZDNet.com:

My continuing thoughts on the ruminations of journalists in the midst of The Change (it sounds like we suffer from menopause and, in a way, that’s precisely what’s going on: a transformation in the functions of the publishing body). The problem is, people keep acting like there’s no precedent for change.

Continue reading….

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Over at ZD Net: Tiers and the lowering of connectivity classes

Tiers and the lowering of connectivity classes

Broadcast.com co-founder and budding movie distributor Mark Cuban makes a call for tiered broadband services, with real-time provisioning of capacity by carriers and interconnect providers to ensure that “mission critical” applications, such as medical monitoring, can continue uninterrupted even when there is high demand for throughput. That sounds like an admirable stand.

Continue reading….

Republican dismissal of Gore shows how great the threat to democracy we face

Gore calls for special counsel on eavesdropping – Yahoo! News:

“Al Gore’s incessant need to insert himself in the headline of the day is almost as glaring as his lack of understanding of the threats facing America,” Tracey Schmitt, spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee, said in a statement. “While the president works to protect Americans from terrorists, Democrats deliver no solutions of their own, only diatribes laden with inaccuracies and anger,” she said.

Talk about not getting it, the Republicans fail to understand that Americans are concerned about the power concentrated in the hands of their own government, not just foreign powers.

Gore gave a very good speech, one of the best I’ve seen him give, about the growing strength of the “unitary executive” that Republicans have made their sole policy goal: A strong-man presidency occupied by a “good man” protecting the people. But, unlike Cincinnatus who gave up power as quickly as possible, Gore accurately points out, Bush has said the war footing that justifies the diminished civil rights of citizens and lowered accountability of the executive is going to continue in perpetuity, exactly the kind of claim that launches tyrannies.

Let’s parse the Republican statement a bit more: An American, whether the former vice president or not, is “inserting himself in the headline of the day” by giving a speech. He’s not using his right to debate the direction the country is going? Freedom of speech is a right; active debate is the life blood of democracy, so are the Republicans saying people should just shut up and let them get about their plans without any debate? It appears so.

The RNC says Gore doesn’t understand the threats facing America because he isn’t talking only about terrorists. But like other periods in U.S. history, notably the first Adams presidency, the gathering of power in the hands of the executive is a more significant threat because we can beat terrorists abroad and still destroy our freedoms and democracy at home. Yes, Lincoln did something similar, but Lincoln was eager to put the power down, like Cincinnatus. George W. Bush, with his dressing up in military uniforms and other efforts to use the war to his political advantage, has demonstrated he is no Lincoln, no Cincinnatus and much more like John Adams, who nearly made the country an aristocracy.

The Republican calls for critics to be quiet are ample evidence we’re traveling that path to a one-party tyranny now.

Gore did suggest a solution, but to a different problem than fighting the terrorists: Stop concentrating power in the executive. That’s neither a diatribe nor an argument built on inaccuracy and anger, it’s simple republican virtues being expressed in the face of a defensive and angry ruling party that lashes out at rather than debates with opponents. The RNC message should frighten Republicans, because it shows just how far the party has been taken over by neocons.

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Bird flu making progress toward human-to-human infection

news @ nature.com – Bird flu mutation sparks concern – Genetic tweak makes virus favour human nose and throat.:

Researchers have sequenced the bird flu viruses that killed two people in Turkey in early January, and say that one of them contains a worrying mutation.

This genetic tweak can make the H5N1 virus more adapted to humans than to birds, and more adapted to the nose and throat than to the lungs. This latter effect could help to increase the chances of bird flu being transmitted between people, researchers say.

This is bad. Pandemic edges nearer all the time. Each time this virus gets a shot at mutating, we dance at the razor’s edge.

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Over at ZD Net: What would you tell the emerging math class?

» What would you tell the emerging math class? | Rational rants | ZDNet.com:

My congressional representative asked me to talk to several hundred kids who are interested in math, physics, biology and other sciences about their future. I’d really like to hear your ideas, too!

Head over to ZD to contribute your ideas, please!

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Over at ZD Net: Is the West losing the Chinese game market?

Is the West losing the Chinese game market?:

It’s easy to be skeptical about a Chinese government statement that it satisfies 60 percent of its own gaming market with domestically developed games, but if correct this is a red flag over expectations that U.S. and European companies will compete effectively with Chinese game developers. U.S. culture, in particular, has dominated global culture trade, and we naively assume it will continue to do so in the future.

Continue reading…

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Tears turned to PR?

Via Daily Kos, this Political theater:

Update: A PR stunt? This seems to suggest so:

The always-alert Creative Response Concepts, a conservative public relations firm, sent this bulletin: “Former Alito clerk Gary Rubman witnessed Mrs. Alito leaving her husband’s confirmation in tears and is available for interviews, along with other former Alito clerks who know her personally and are very upset about this development.”

It’s all a freakin’ game. And the media is the biggest enabler.

The tears for Sam’s integrity bit was probably genuine, in the sense that Mrs. Alito was genuinely touched by the “testaments to Judge Alito’s character” that Sen. Lindsay Graham rehearsed at that moment. However, the Senator probably was playing for this effect, having seen it in prep. And the exploitation of the woman’s pride by Republicans is more insensitive than the Democrats asking hard questions, which is their job.

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