Bush, the “commander guy,” shows his complete ignorance of democracy, again….

Bush: Im the Commander Guy – The Caucus – Politics – New York Times Blog:

“The question is, ‘Who ought to make that decision, the Congress or the commanders?,’’ Mr. Bush said. “As you know, my position is clear – I’m the commander guy.”

Yes, it would be unfortunate if Congress, the people’s branch of government, actually had some voice in policy-making. Mr. Bush has a profoundly perverted notion of his office and role in a democratically governed republic.

One must wonder what George H.W. taught George W. about the Constitution when he was young. Was it something troublesome, keeping the best of Kennebunkport from ruling unfettered? Sr. (#41, for those counting presidents) never struck me as having a complete disregard for the founding principles of the country.

Maybe it’s simply a matter of delusion. Perhaps, in his mind, George W. Bush is really just Commander Guy, fighting for what’s right with Veto Boy, whom he seldom pulls from a secret compartment in his pants, because people actually believe in the imperial presidency.

“Gee willickers, Commander Guy,” Veto Boy squeals in Mr. Bush’s mind as he gazes out at the White House Press corp, “these people disagree with us. It’s a crime against nature!”

“You’re right, Veto Boy,” the president murmers to himself, and it’s all downhill from there….

            <p><strong>Bonus Link:</strong> Eugene Robinson at <em>The Washington Post</em> <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/03/AR2007050301641.html">explores more of the sloppy thinking from the same speech</a>, which exemplifies the perplexing nonsense issuing from the President's mouth. </p>                <!-- technorati tags start --><p style="text-align:right;font-size:10px">Technorati Tags: <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tag/Bush" rel="tag">Bush</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tag/Iraq" rel="tag">Iraq</a>, <a href="http://www.technorati.com/tag/ReallyDumb" rel="tag">ReallyDumb</a></p><!-- technorati tags end -->

Destroying the U.S. telecommunications industry, one fearful misstep at a time

NYT: NSA eavesdropping wider than W.House admitted – Yahoo! News:

Several officials said senior government officials went to the nation’s big telecommunications companies to get access to switches that act as gateways between U.S. and international communications.

Many calls going from one foreign country to another are routed through U.S. switches and a communications expert who once worked at the NSA said in recent years government officials have been encouraging the telecommunications industry to bring more international traffic through U.S.-based switches.

Throughout the 90s, the U.S. government sought this kind of access through legislation. The industry fought it, because it is very bad business to spy on one’s customers. Regardless of what you think about this activity, the last sentence there is going to destroy U.S. carriers in the international calling market. Anyone concerned about U.S. monitoring of their calls—such as businesses that are concerned about economic espionage—is going to opt for a carrier that will not put their traffic onto the U.S. backbone.

Having a wonderful time in Germany; you can read my email at the NSA!

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News is growing laterally

Dispelling the Myth of Readership Decline:

The industry has touted the notion of readership — a metric that takes into account how many people read the paper whether they buy it or not — for years, but has often taken halfhearted steps toward giving it true legitimacy.

Then there’s the confounding, if promising, online angle. If you count Web traffic, newspapers are actually more popular than ever.

More thoughtful confirmation of the point I’ve been making: The crisis is not in the business of publishing, but in the resistance of the publishing industry to changing delivery mechanisms. Then, there’s the potential in bringing new contributors into the news gathering and production process.

Folks like to talk crisis, because it is good business to declare change is afoot. The reality is that there is nothing but opportunity in change.

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This singularity will be branded

Does Google have an “artificial intelligence agenda”? According to this ZDNet article, that was the conclusion arrived at by George Dyson during a visit to the Googleplex:

“‘We are not scanning all those books to be read by people,’ explained one of my hosts after my talk. ‘We are scanning them to be read by an AI,’” Dyson wrote in a posting on Edge.org following a visit to celebrate the sixtieth anniversary of John von Neumann’s proposal for a digital computer.

This suggests, to me, that Google has forgotten who its real customers are. If they can’t link how “AI,” a dubious term in the first place, will serve its customers when making such statements, they really aren’t paying attention to people, but to redefining people’s world without regard for them.

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The name says “Disasters R Us”

CNN.com – Brown to start emergency planning consulting business – Nov 24, 2005:

Former FEMA Director Michael Brown, heavily criticized for his agency’s slow response to Hurricane Katrina, is starting a disaster preparedness consulting firm to help clients avoid the sort of errors that cost him his job.

“If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses — because that goes straight to the bottom line — then I hope I can help the country in some way,”

Brown’s got some things to learn about how to build “Brand Me.” Maybe the business is really about gaining government contracts, eh?

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News gathering in transition

MediaPost Publications – Papers Turn In Worst Print Ad Quarter Yet, Online Fuels ’05 Growth – 11/23/2005:

THE GOOD NEWS ACCORDING TO official newspaper industry estimates released Tuesday is that ad spending climbed 2.4 percent in the third quarter. The bad news for the still primarily print medium is that print ad sales rose just 1.6 percent, while sales for online editions soared 26.7 percent. The third quarter’s modest gain is the medium’s worst advertising performance in what has been a decidedly negative year for most papers. In addition to slackening ad demand, major publishers have had to contend with rising costs, declining circulation and several rounds of job cuts at major papers.

However, the silver lining comes from newspapers’ online properties, which will continue to grow its share of newspaper revenues. Online readership is growing at a healthy pace, and more and more advertisers will shift their budgets online in pursuit of greater targeting and reporting capabilities.

Following up on the “newspapers are dying” noise of a few weeks back, the newspapers may not deliver so much paper anymore, but they are in a position to be solid players in local news. The problem will be costs, which no publisher is comfortable undertaking to win readers’ confidence (since only ads bring in the Real Money, as far as publishers are concerned), which is why local citizen journalist networks are likely to ignite the local news scene. The papers will have all these salespeople seeking new inventories—and the CJ sites will have it. The exit strategy for all those citizen journalism companies, however, will be a return to the news organizations through acquisition. That’s when we’ll see if the spirit of citizen journalism will survive the assault of mammon.

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Filling the Crap Gap

MediaPost Publications – CBS Seeks Video Search, On-Demand Deals – 11/23/2005:

On the heels of a report that CBS is in talks with Google for video search and on-demand video deals–and others including DirecTV for on-demand video–now comes word that

CBS is also in talks about expanding its deal with Comcast. “We are talking with our affiliates right now,” said a CBS spokesman.

On November 8, CBS and Comcast made a deal that enabled viewers to buy some CBS shows for 99 cents through Comcast’s on-demand service. Those shows include commercials.

CBS’ Chairman Les Moonves said CBS shows would be available only in those Comcast markets where CBS affiliates are owned by CBS Corp., and where Comcast systems existed.

The beautiful irony of broadcast network television is that, unlike pay TV, it needs reach to make its advertising business work. Yet, here we see CBS balancing its affiliate relationships with the opportunity to provide VOD through Comcast systems. What happens to the affiliates when the company goes with Google to search and sell downloads of shows? Does anyone really expect people will pay for gameshows, for example? No, they’ll exist on product placement fees.

The upshot is that a lot of the redundant crap that fills the network and affiliate airwaves will vanish from the scene. Both sides of that distribution equation will be seeking new programming to fill the “Crap Gap,” meaning that, like the 1950s when television was new and programming just invented at the local and national levels independently, a huge opportunity for producers will open up. In the 1950s, every region had a clown who introduced cartoons, something like that will return (though I don’t think this means a new career for J.P. Patches and Brakeman Bill, the Seattle-area renditions of this kind of programming).

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