October 2004
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Month October 2004

Reformation Sunday, Politics, Blogs and will we be fooled again?

Reformation Sunday, Politics, Blogs and will we be fooled again?
Today, October 31 is Reformation Sunday Alltheweb Clusty Google Teoma Yahoo Search.
Martin Luther ignited the reformation:

Luther dealt the symbolic blow that began the Reformation when he nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Wittenberg Church. That document contained an attack on papal abuses and the sale of indulgences by church officials.
But Luther himself saw the Reformation as something far more important than a revolt against ecclesiastical abuses. He believed it was a fight for the gospel. Luther even stated that he would have happily yielded every point of dispute to the Pope, if only the Pope had affirmed the gospel.
And at the heart of the gospel, in Luther’s estimation, was the doctrine of justification by faith–the teaching that Christ’s own righteousness is imputed to those who believe, and on that ground alone, they are accepted by God.

Not a few blogs have stated their presidential preference. All well and good.
The Political Opportunity for Bloggers:
However, I believe the real need and opportunity for bloggers is to get involved in state and local races. Nathan Rothenberg noted that of the 435 house races Tuesday, only 42 were “competitive”. Locally, my State Senator, Fred Risser runs unopposed as does my State Representative, Therese Berceau. In addition, a number of county races feature just one candidate.
These non races mean that the political machines in either party are quite entrenched, which simply makes it more difficult for issues and competitive candidates to get attention.
Sucking the air out of the local races:
The national races, with their extraordinary amount of money, tend to get a greate deal of attention (and in fact, suck the air out of the local/state races). I believe this also creates very high expectations among local voters that a national change will have meaning here (I believe this is generally unrealistic. For example, will John Kerry do something to prop up SUV sales which might help the folks at GM Janesville? – Doubtful). Unfortunately, the more we rely on national political decisions vs. local officials, on issues such as education, health care, transportation and the environment, the greater the opportunity for special interests to have their way (with a corresponding loss of local influence). Education is a great example of this problem.
Where’s the dialogue?
We deprive ourselves of useful debate when there is no serious competition to incumbents. In addition, the onging concentration of legacy media means that many issues are thinly or no longer covered (I videotaped a Madison School Board Candidate debate last spring. One of the four major Madison TV stations was present, for a few minutes. The result was a 15 second spot on their evening news. I posted the results here.)
Local issues and races are, I believe, the essential political opportunity for bloggers.
Local political/issue blog examples:
South Dakota Senate: Daschle vs Thune
North Carolina Politics: Ed Cone
Madison Education Issues: A group blog www.schoolinfosystem.org
Act and think locally.
The Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again” seems rather appropriate.

Windows, ATM’s & Viruses

Microsoft’s Windows everywhere strategy comes home to roost. Mark Ward looks into the growing use of Windows in cash machines (!) and the virus risk thereof.
This is a recipe for disaster. Windows was never designed for this, yet the marketing machine rolls on. I recall being stuck in a line to purchase a salad at a Phoenix cafe a few months ago, all due to their cash register crashing (powered by Windows…)

Bruce Springsteen John Kerry Rally Video Clip

42MB Quicktime Video Clip of Bruce Springsteen’s appearance at the John Kerry rally Thursday, 10.28.2004. Madison. (I don’t believe that our Governor (Jim Doyle) will ever introduce Bruce again!)

Foo Fighters/John Kerry Rally Video Clip

17MB Quicktime Video Clip of the Foo Fighters at the Kerry rally, Thursday, 10.28.2004 Madison.

Wired Americans hear more points of view….

Really? I’m shocked that internet users hear more points of view than those who use only legacy media (tv, radio and newspapers) sources. :) Pew Political Info Report (600K PDF).

Farmer’s Market with Odessa Piper

I made my weekly Harmony Valley Farm stop at this morning’s Dane County Farmer’s Market. There was, as always, lots of action, despite the rain. L’etoile’s Odessa Piper was doing some shopping and visiting with Richard. A photographer was also quite busy taking digital images of them for an upcoming article on fall foods in Vermont’s Art of Eating quarterly magazine, the “must have foodie quarterly”. I snapped a few photos. Click on a photo to view this morning’s pictures.



I asked the photographer and a writer if the article would be online. They said, “no – you have to INVEST”. Interesting. It is a challenge to make money on the internet, but it clearly can be done. Creativity and value are the key.

Kudos to the Post Office

Stopped into a west side post office this morning, expecting to stand in line….. Much to my pleasant surprise, they now have a slick self service kiosk where one can weigh a package, enter the destination zip code, pay with a debit/credit card and generate a label. Very slick and fast. (There was still a line, as most people opted for traditional service).

Google’s Eric Schmidt on the Internet’s 35th anniversary

Eric Schmidt:

We allocate about 70% of our resources to our core business and 30% to “other” because we never know what that other will become. We also ask our employees to spend 20% of their time on exploration, and those tend to be complementary to our core.
Our agenda tends to be driven by a bottoms-up process not so much traditional strategic planning. Google is trying to solve the next problem not the last problem.
[ Question: Was it serendipity that made google what it became? ] I think the word is luck. The principles from which Google was built do exist in other indstries. Ours is a reproducable model, and others may end up reproducing it and solving other problems. We’re just seeing the beginning of this.
Good management is not that complicated, it’s about leadership. Some managers need to micromanage everything, but that doesn’t produce creativity. If you can figure out a way to tell a story, that’s how people learn. they have a beginning middle and an end. if you have the right kind of people and the right kind of values, that can work. The great thing about high tech is that labor is very mobile, and if you want to deal with other people, you are forced to deal with them as peers and equals.
There are many uses of the net that are not touched by Google. Peer to peer, and the majority of email traffic. It’s very important that people work on internet monitoring, internet scaling, all of the next generation projects — I don’t think any single one is of dominant importance.

Via Xeni

Thursday’s John Kerry, Bruce Springsteen Madison Rally Video & Photos

Thursday’s John Kerry/Bruce Springsteen Rally Video & Photos (intrepid photographer John Stathas took these great images):

Click to view larger images.

Bear Creek’s Bill Lorge on Campaign & Media Reform

Bill Lorge (LorgeforSenate@aol.com) email his list of Political & Media Reforms (a very useful list it is):

  • Campaign Reforms
    • $100 Limit
    • Eliminate $1 Check-Off
    • Matching Grant Money
    • State Contractors Cannot Donate
    • Eliminate PAC’s
    • Ballots mailed out with Tax Forms (timing challenge, I think)
    • Online Voting (more challenges)
    • Term Limits
    • High School Seniors can vote
    • Eliminate the State Elections Board
  • Media Reform
    • Balanced Print Media Reporting (! – I like this: “A better solution would be to have the State put legal ads on the Internet and avoid putting them in the papers altogether. This would save a ton of taxpayer money and lower our local property taxes; As one Town Board Chair once told me his biggest expense is paying the local weekly paper for legal ads.)”
    • We (the public) own the airwaves and should be free to use it.

I’m not sure my synopsis did justice to Lorge’s document. Print and read it yourself here: 155K PDF. Or read it by clicking below…