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Archive for the ‘Blogs — Distant Earth’ Category

At last count Technorati had just over 8 million blogs indexed. According to this article that number is grossly under counted.

Last week, according to National Security Agency and Defense Information Agency experts, there were more than 180 million blogs all over the world. The bloggers are frustrated would-be editors, journalists, private detectives and a multitude of others craving recognition for their special knowledge in a wide variety of subjects and specialties. A blog and an attitude are the only requirements to become an instant pundit with a worldwide audience.

Hmmm, a blog and an attitude, sounds much like the InstaPundit vice the generic version refered to. And if that 180 million number is close to correct Glenn better get linkin, he is falling behind the curve. That aside, there is more of interest here, the intelligence agencies trolling your blog.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, prodded by the NSA, is now trying to figure out how to vacuum clean these electronic-bulletin boards for coded messages in seemingly innocuous phrases. Blogs would greatly facilitate the coordination of terrorist acts at the same time in different parts of the world. The cyber Hoover would be a super google.com that already processes information with giant databases and super computers capable of several trillion operations per second. (One trillion seconds ago was 29,000 years before Jesus Christ.)

So next time you have a Hoover vacuum salesman at your door and he says: “Hi I’m from Hoover, and I’m here to help you,” look at him with a leery eye and ask, “which one the Hoover corporation or the government hoover operation?”

As they say, read the rest, that includes a brief mention to Glenn, the MSM, Eason Jordan, Dan Rather and Dan Gillmore’s book We the media.

This entry stalled Outside the Beltway in the Beltway Traffic Jam.

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Bloggers on Oprah?

And no I’m not going. I have little interest appearing with a multi-millionare ($300m?) who feels the need to live in the ghetto for a couple of months to boost ratings.

But if you care to, here is your invitation.

Anyone wanna bet, if the event occurs, that dKos or Atrios will be among those invited?

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Canada’s long-standing practice of barring news organizations from disclosing what’s happening in certain court proceedings is being tested by Internet bloggers.

A Canadian commission that’s investigating charges of high-level wrongdoing in the nation’s Liberal Party has ordered news organizations not to reveal details from the proceedings, which are open to the public.

But Ed Morrissey, a conservative Web logger in Minneapolis, has been gleefully violating the ban by posting detailed reports of the verboten “Adscam” testimony. Public revelation of Adscam, which involves allegations of corruption and illegal campaign contributions, could end the Liberal Party’s precarious grasp on power and force new elections this summer.

Since that unauthorized publication, provided by a confidential source who claims to have been present during the proceedings, Morrissey’s Captain’s Quarters blog has become overwhelmed by visits from curious Canadians. His usual average of 30,000 page views a day skyrocketed during the weekend to more than 400,000, according to SiteMeter.com, and the site was unreachable for part of Tuesday. Canada has even been lampooned in a cartoon because of the proceedings.

Morrissey now has laryngitis as a result of a rapid-fire series of interviews from Canadian news organizations. He’s found them a bit bizarre. “They can’t ask me about the case itself because they can’t reproduce anything that has to do with the testimony,” Morrissey said in an interview. “They can’t ask me about my blog because they can’t reproduce the URL.”

Canadian publications and bloggers have been left in the difficult position of attempting to describe the violation of a judicial order without revealing which Web site did it. The National Post claimed it could not mention Morrissey by name, and one blogger in Toronto wrote that “I have avoided linking to the U.S. blogger in question. I also deleted a comment someone posted” with alleged Adscam testimony.

Canada’s attorney general is investigating the legality of the U.S. blog posting. Government lawyers may charge Canadian Web publishers with contempt of court if they reproduce some of the Adscam testimony or perhaps even link to Morrissey’s blog, the Toronto Sun reported.

That announcement is prompting Morrissey to worry about two possibilities: his confidential source being scared away, and a vacation that his family has planned in nearby Canada. “They can find me in contempt of court,” he said. “That’s fine. I just won’t travel to Canada until it expires.”

UPDATE: Capt’n Ed notes his Canadian source has decided to lay low to protect his identity.

Peter Rakobowchuk of Canoe Network’s CNews has also picked up this story.

Reprinted from ZDNet

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Care for a Twinkie?

Thunder, thunder, thundercats, Ho! Thundercats are on the move, Thundercats are loose. Feel the magic, hear the roar, Thundercats are loose. Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thunder, thunder, thunder, Thundercats! Thundercats!

Barnaby The Bear’s my name, never call me Jack or James, I will sing my way to fame, Barnaby the Bear’s my name. Birds taught me to sing, when they took me to their king, first I had to fly, in the sky so high so high, so high so high so high, so – if you want to sing this way, think of what you’d like to say, add a tune and you will see, just how easy it can be. Treacle pudding, fish and chips, fizzy drinks and liquorice, flowers, rivers, sand and sea, snowflakes and the stars are free. La la la la la, la la la la la la la, la la la la la la la, la la la la la la la la la la la la la, so – Barnaby The Bear’s my name, never call me Jack or James, I will sing my way to fame, Barnaby the Bear’s my name.

Top Cat! The most effectual Top Cat! Who’s intellectual close friends get to call him T.C., providing it’s with dignity. Top Cat! The indisputable leader of the gang. He’s the boss, he’s a pip, he’s the championship. He’s the most tip top, Top Cat.

Ulysses, Ulysses – Soaring through all the galaxies. In search of Earth, flying in to the night. Ulysses, Ulysses – Fighting evil and tyranny, with all his power, and with all of his might. Ulysses – no-one else can do the things you do. Ulysses – like a bolt of thunder from the blue. Ulysses – always fighting all the evil forces bringing peace and justice to all.

Children of the sun, see your time has just begun, searching for your ways, through adventures every day. Every day and night, with the condor in flight, with all your friends in tow, you search for the Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… wishing for The Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… some day we will find The Cities of Gold. Do-do-do-do ah-ah-ah, do-do-do-do, Cities of Gold. Do-do-do-do, Cities of Gold. Ah-ah-ah-ah-ah… some day we will find The Cities of Gold.

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A preposterous tale, via The Blog Herald.

The Michigan State Police have noticed blogs, and local school kids noticed blogs. Then the police (a new CSI Blogs division?) noticed the kids noticing. The sum of that equation has resulted in the police playing a starring role in a kitchen sink drama, “Online Threats to Kids A Growing Problem.” In the lead role is Trooper Lt. Tim Lee.

“They can say horrible things about a principal or horrible things about their parents, or horrible things about the kid next door, and they feel like no one’s going to find them.”

Well maybe. But then you have this that OMG, offers free teens and kids pages. Or maybe this location would be a good choice for the kids to rant & rave, or this one. All are “blog free” but offer the same opportunity for kids to say “horrible things about their parents, or horrible things about the kid next door.”

But you have to know this isn’t just idle concern on the part of the Michigan State Storm Troopers, they carry with them the full weight of the law:

“That person goes out there, reads the posting and says, yeah I’m nervous about this, or I feel uncomfortable, I’m afraid for my life. They contact law enforcement, and that’s when we get involved.”
[…]
“If we can identify those individuals, and there’s enough information to believe that person’s threat is accurate, that person could actually carry out that threat, then that is a threat that would be prosecuted.”

I have one question for the “Blog CSI” team in Michigan: How many blogs did these two killers own and operate on a daily basis?

But I’m not here to be only critical, I offer a suggestion. Rather than attempt to place a legal finger in a dike that will only spring a gapping hole in another location (and as noted already exist). Form a “CSI attentive parents” division. Charged with educating and assisting parents in the importance of active involvement in their childs life. It would encourage parent/teacher interaction (dare I say mandatory?) on a regular basis. The best option is to cure the root cause, not political grandstanding by jumping on the “blogs are evil” train.

I also offer this food for thought. If the two murderous thugs mentioned earlier had access to, and contributed to, a blog might it have been possible to predict what was coming? No one can know the answer but it is possible, isn’t it?

Cross posted On the Third Hand

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More Anti-Blog BS

This time from “down under,” land of kangaroos, blonde hotties, great beer, and “hey you, better ‘sign’ that blog!”

Bloggers and spammers could be forced to put their names to political commentary in a bid to close a loophole in the nation’s electoral laws.

Roused by last year’s furore over anonymous political websites such as www.johnhowardlies.com, the Howard Government plans to clamp down on web publishers who refuse to identify a person who authorises their content.

Special Minister of State Eric Abetz told The Age that the move would ensure internet publishers were bound by the same rules as television, radio and print.

Australia’s electoral laws force publishers of any electoral material to identify a person who agrees to authorise the content. But the laws do not say whether online publications must also comply.

Anonymous? How anonymous is it when a simple search via internet or NeoTrace (as one example of many such programs) locates both the ISP and the registered owner of the site?

Oh, sorry, silly me I forgot. It’s a prerequsite to have a working knowledge of the internet and those “Demon Blogs.” Something these people are sadly lacking. But before I go off on an uncontrollable rage over these idiots, I offer this cluebat, in the words of the father of one of the biggest blog tracking services, Technorati:

Technorati is now tracking over 7.8 million weblogs, and 937 million links. That’s just about double the number of weblogs tracked in October 2004. In fact, the blogosphere is doubling in size about once every 5 months. It has already done so at this pace four times, which means that in the last 20 months, the blogosphere has increased in size by over 16 times.

While that doesn’t breakout the number of Australian blogs, you can bet it’s a fairly large number. Any attempt to stop, or regulate, that flow would be like standing at the foot of Wallaman Falls, tea cup in hand, trying to catch the water before it hits the river bottom.

So tell me Mr. Special Minister of State, how ya gonna stem that tide. How will the government ensure each and every Australian blog entry contains a “signature?” I would suggest you’re about to attempt something the taxpayers can’t afford and the government can’t enforce if the money were available. All for what? Because a few politicians have wet their pants over a couple fake campaign websites. GEEESH, get a life.

G’Day Mates, err… Asshats

Cross posted On the Third Hand

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In honor of “D” Day – for the ill informed that translates to “D”an Rather’s last day on the job – I offer this quote from Mickey Kaus:

Trust-busting: Hugh Hewitt, in his distressingly pre-emptive book Blog, says “the blogosphere is about trust.” It is? I don’t read Hewitt ‘s blog because I trust him. I read it because he’s smart, makes arguments I want to hear and tells me things I want to know about. And I’d rather have a blogosphere filled with readers who need to be convinced than with readers who trust. … Bloggers didn’t bring Dan Rather down because they were trusted. They brought him down because they had the goods on him. …

I repeat, a salient point made. And BTW Dan – good riddence!

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Those of us that have spent any time cruising thru the Blogosphere, whether a blog author or not, are probably aware as a group we have been labeled as “guys wearing pajamas.” That led to the coining of the term, Pajama Mujahadeen and to the creation of the blog Pajama Pundits.

So I’m curious to see what Katie Reetz’s blog hit piece in University of Georgia’s student newspaper will provoke. She has called bloggers “guys eating Oreos in their parents basement while posting tasty tidbits online.” I must admit, I’m not offended. Both my parents have long since met their maker and my current abode is free from having a cold dark basement, or the denizens that may reside there.

But it’s with chagrin and exasperation I note the use of Oreos as a vehicle to cast doubts on the abilities of those that have rightfuly, and long overdue, taken down Dan Rather, among others. Truthfully it could have been worse. She could have used “Double Stuff” Oreos and I would have had to break out the clue bat.

As someone who is majoring in Newspapers and Political Science and is the Recruitment Editor for The Red & Black, Reetz shows she has already been indocrinated in the ways of the MSM as practiced by the NYT, LAT, or the CT.

Technorati tagged:

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There is trouble brewing, reprinted from ZD Net.

Bradley Smith says that the freewheeling days of political blogging and online punditry are over.

In just a few months, he warns, bloggers and news organizations could risk the wrath of the federal government if they improperly link to a campaign’s Web site. Even forwarding a political candidate’s press release to a mailing list, depending on the details, could be punished by fines.

“If you advertise on the Internet,
that’s an expenditure of money, much like if you were advertising on television
in magazine or the newspaper.”

Smith should know. He’s one of the six commissioners at the Federal Election Commission, which is beginning the perilous process of extending a controversial 2002 campaign finance law to the Internet.

In 2002, the FEC exempted the Internet by a 4-2 vote, but U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly last fall overturned that decision. “The commission’s exclusion of Internet communications from the coordinated communications regulation severely undermines” the campaign finance law’s purposes, Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

Smith and the other two Republican commissioners wanted to appeal the Internet-related sections. But because they couldn’t get the three Democrats to go along with them, what Smith describes as a “bizarre” regulatory process now is under way.

CNET News.com spoke with Smith about the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, better known as the McCain-Feingold law, and its forthcoming extrusion onto the Internet.

Q: What rules will apply to the Internet that did not before?
A: The commission has generally been hands-off on the Internet. We’ve said, “If you advertise on the Internet, that’s an expenditure of money–much like if you were advertising on television or the newspaper.”

The real question is: Would a link to a candidate’s page be a problem? If someone sets up a home page and links to their favorite politician, is that a contribution? This is a big deal, if someone has already contributed the legal maximum, or if they’re at the disclosure threshold and additional expenditures have to be disclosed under federal law.

Certainly a lot of bloggers are very much out front. Do we give bloggers the press exemption? If we don’t give bloggers the press exemption, we have the question of, do we extend this to online-only journals like CNET?

How can the government place a value on a blog that praises some politician?
How do we measure that? Design fees, that sort of thing? The FEC did an advisory opinion in the late 1990s (in the Leo Smith case) that I don’t think we’d hold to today, saying that if you owned a computer, you’d have to calculate what percentage of the computer cost and electricity went to political advocacy.

It seems absurd, but that’s what the commission did. And that’s the direction Judge Kollar-Kotelly would have us move in. Line drawing is going to be an inherently very difficult task. And then we’ll be pushed to go further. Why can this person do it, but not that person?

How about a hyperlink? Is it worth a penny, or a dollar, to a campaign?
I don’t know. But I’ll tell you this. One thing the commission has argued over, debated, wrestled with, is how to value assistance to a campaign.

Corporations aren’t allowed to donate to campaigns. Suppose a corporation devotes 20 minutes of a secretary’s time and $30 in postage to sending out letters for an executive. As a result, the campaign raises $35,000. Do we value the violation on the amount of corporate resources actually spent, maybe $40, or the $35,000 actually raised? The commission has usually taken the view that we value it by the amount raised. It’s still going to be difficult to value the link, but the value of the link will go up very quickly.

Then what’s the real impact of the judge’s decision?
The judge’s decision is in no way limited to ads. She says that any coordinated activity over the Internet would need to be regulated, as a minimum. The problem with coordinated activity over the Internet is that it will strike, as a minimum, Internet reporting services.

They’re exempt from regulation only because of the press exemption. But people have been arguing that the Internet doesn’t fit under the press exemption. It becomes a really complex issue that would strike deep into the heart of the Internet and the bloggers who are writing out there today. (Editor’s note: federal law limits the press exemption to a “broadcasting station, newspaper, magazine or other periodical publication.” )

How do you see this playing out?
There’s sensitivity in the commission on this. But remember the commission’s decision to exempt the Internet only passed by a 4-2 vote.

This time, we couldn’t muster enough votes to appeal the judge’s decision. We appealed parts of her decision, but there were only three votes to appeal the Internet part (and we needed four). There seem to be at least three commissioners who like this.

Then this is a partisan issue?
Yes, it is at this time. But I always point out that partisan splits tend to reflect ideology rather than party. I don’t think the Democratic commissioners are sitting around saying that the Internet is working to the advantage of the Republicans.

One of the reasons it’s a good time to (fix this) now is you don’t know who’s benefiting. Both the Democrats and Republicans used the Internet very effectively in the last campaign.

What would you like to see happen?
I’d like someone to say that unpaid activity over the Internet is not an expenditure or contribution, or at least activity done by regular Internet journals, to cover sites like CNET, Slate and Salon. Otherwise, it’s very likely that the Internet is going to be regulated, and the FEC and Congress will be inundated with e-mails saying, “How dare you do this!”

What happens next?
It’s going to be a battle, and if nobody in Congress is willing to stand up and say, “Keep your hands off of this, and we’ll change the statute to make it clear,” then I think grassroots Internet activity is in danger. The impact would affect e-mail lists, especially if there’s any sense that they’re done in coordination with the campaign. If I forward something from the campaign to my personal list of several hundred people, which is a great grassroots activity, that’s what we’re talking about having to look at.

Senators McCain and Feingold have argued that we have to regulate the Internet, that we have to regulate e-mail. They sued us in court over this and they won.

If Congress doesn’t change the law, what kind of activities will the FEC have to target?
We’re talking about any decision by an individual to put a link (to a political candidate) on their home page, set up a blog, send out mass e-mails, any kind of activity that can be done on the Internet.

Again, blogging could also get us into issues about online journals and non-online journals. Why should CNET get an exemption but not an informal blog? Why should Salon or Slate get an exemption? Should Nytimes.com and Opinionjournal.com get an exemption but not online sites, just because the newspapers have a print edition as well?

Why wouldn’t the news exemption cover bloggers and online media?
Because the statute refers to periodicals or broadcast, and it’s not clear the Internet is either of those. Second, because there’s no standard for being a blogger, anyone can claim to be one, and we’re back to the deregulated Internet that the judge objected to. Also I think some of my colleagues on the commission would be uncomfortable with that kind of blanket exemption.

So if you’re using text that the campaign sends you, and you’re reproducing it on your blog or forwarding it to a mailing list, you could be in trouble?
Yes. In fact, the regulations are very specific that reproducing a campaign’s material is a reproduction for purpose of triggering the law. That’ll count as an expenditure that counts against campaign finance law.

This is an incredible thicket. If someone else doesn’t take action, for instance in Congress, we’re running a real possibility of serious Internet regulation. It’s going to be bizarre.

UPDATE: Nothing like getting the blog cauldren stirred up, both left and right of the blogosphere are pecking keyboards like woodpeckers on a oak branch:

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Testing, testing always testing.

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Sed altera complectitur ne. Ei labore minimum honestatis nec, ne pri nihil dissentias. Sed zzril verterem gubergren te, diam saepe labores at qui, torquatos tincidunt eloquentiam an ius. Vis eros aliquam in, at mucius prompta gloriatur mei. Usu virtute consulatu ad, an pri quod ferri abhorreant. Ea doming eligendi eos, his an utroque nominavi voluptatibus. Lorem ipsum qui ludus nusquam platonem ad. Iriure dolores propriae est ex. Ad choro delenit eleifend vix. Ea quo nonumy aperiam accommodare, nec ea soleat tractatos. Ea vel facilisis concludaturque. No quis percipitur ius, cum cu officiis liberavisse.

Sed altera complectitur ne. Ei labore minimum honestatis nec, ne pri nihil dissentias. Sed zzril verterem gubergren te, diam saepe labores at qui, torquatos tincidunt eloquentiam an ius. Vis eros aliquam in, at mucius prompta gloriatur mei. Usu virtute consulatu ad, an pri quod ferri abhorreant. Ea doming eligendi eos, his an utroque nominavi voluptatibus. Lorem ipsum qui ludus nusquam platonem ad. Iriure dolores propriae est ex. Ad choro delenit eleifend vix. Ea quo nonumy aperiam accommodare, nec ea soleat tractatos. Ea vel facilisis concludaturque. No quis percipitur ius, cum cu officiis liberavisse.

Sed altera complectitur ne. Ei labore minimum honestatis nec, ne pri nihil dissentias. Sed zzril verterem gubergren te, diam saepe labores at qui, torquatos tincidunt eloquentiam an ius. Vis eros aliquam in, at mucius prompta gloriatur mei. Usu virtute consulatu ad, an pri quod ferri abhorreant. Ea doming eligendi eos, his an utroque nominavi voluptatibus. Lorem ipsum qui ludus nusquam platonem ad. Iriure dolores propriae est ex. Ad choro delenit eleifend vix. Ea quo nonumy aperiam accommodare, nec ea soleat tractatos. Ea vel facilisis concludaturque. No quis percipitur ius, cum cu officiis liberavisse.

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