September 2005
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Month September 2005

The Power and Politics of Blogs

Daniel Drezner and Henry Farrell (PDF):

Weblogs occupy an increasingly important place in American politics. Their influence presents a puzzle: given the disparity in resources and organization vis-à-vis other actors, how can a collection of decentralized, nonprofit, contrarian, and discordant websites exercise any influence over political and policy outputs? This paper answers that question by focusing on two important aspects of the “blogosphere”: the distribution of readers across the array of blogs, and the interactions between significant blogs and traditional media outlets. Under specific circumstances – when key weblogs focus on a new or neglected issue – blogs can socially construct an agenda or interpretive frame that acts as a focal point for mainstream media, shaping and constraining the larger political debate.

Via Robin Good

Tammy Baldwin: Telco Influence?

Public Integrity’s site has some very useful lobbying data. This link shows the organizations that have contributed to Tammy Baldwin along with the amounts. Perhaps this lobbying is why we are stuck in the mud on true broadband?

Shopping for Auto Insurance

Ron Lieber:

Geico, however, lived up to its marketing. Its slick Web site was easy to use and returned a quote of $711.90 for six months. USAA, which covers only current and former members of the U.S. military and their families (that’s us), came in at about $10 more when we called. But the rep noted USAA offers a $50 rebate to customers who buy child car seats. Plus, he told us, it pays an annual dividend averaging 7% to all policyholders depending on how the company performed that year. USAA also had a high J.D. Power ranking.

GE Buys Epic Systems Competitor IDX

Ross Sneyd:

GE said the IDX acquisition would significantly its health care offerings and aid in its drive to accelerate the transition to electronic health records. IDX’s administrative, clinical and imaging products will complement GE’s Centricity-brand applications, the company said.

“GE and IDX have a shared vision on how to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records across the globe,” Joe Hogan, president and CEO of GE Healthcare, said in a statement.

Grand Rapids Tests Downtown WiFi

Glenn Fleishman:

The seven vendors who built test hotzones for Grand Rapids, Mich., all showed they had the right stuff: The local paper reports that the city was very satisfied with the results of their vendor face-off. The next goal is figuring out how to set up a no-taxpayer-dollar network, as is the charter of all new municipal efforts. They’re looking at a public/private partnership with a plan ready to bid by December. The town is eyeing local and federal legislation that might restrict their ability to deploy.

Losing Control of Your Cellphone

Trusted Computing” comes to your cellphone…. The EFF correctly points out that this is a further limit on what we can do with our own devices.

Our Senators at Work – Hollywood’s Broadcast Flag via a Senate Commerce Committee Reconciliation Bill

Our good Senators may soon try to force Hollywood’s broadcast flag on us, via “piggybacking on a Commerce Committee reconciliation” bill, due 10/26/2005. I wonder if our Senators, Russ Feingold and Herb Kohl will do the right thing for Wisconsin residents, or simply slide up to the bar with the Hollywood types? Click on the links above and tell our Senators to stop supporting Hollywood power grabs to the detriment of our fair use rights.

Wisconsin Grocers to Roll Out Online Grocery Service

Following in the footsteps of defunct webvan as well as Sentry Hilldale’s ongoing web shopping service, Sheboygan based Fresh Brands will rollout online grocery services starting 10/10.

Broadband: Falling Farther Behind

UK citizens can now order 24mbps broadband for about $43/month. These speeds are 60 to 40 times as fast as those available in Madison, at similar prices.

Municipalities to Spend over $700M the next 3 years on Wireless

Glenn Fleishman:

Muniwireless’s latest report is out on the scale and composition of the municipal wireless broadband market: This latest report states that $700 million will be spent on muniwireless over the next three years in the U.S., with $400 million spent in 2007 alone. Esme Vos, operator of and the organizer of the MuniWireless 2005 conference this week in San Francisco, writes that the growth of networks is irrespective of the size of the town or city. As is often overlooked, public safety operations remain the number one application for these networks, despite the focus on public-access broadband for free or fee.