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Mon, Jul 28th - 10:10AM

Talking about Osam... Oops, I mean, Obama
News groups continue to slash their staff writers and editors by the bushel. I can't help but wonder how often (if elected president) Barack Obama will be accidentally referenced as "Osama." Can you see the headlines already?
"President Osama Obama Approves Ax Tax Cuts for Poor"

Comment (4)

Mon, Jul 28th - 9:59AM

Lucinda Williams — Country Meets California
I've always loved Lucinda Williams. There's something about the sound of her voice that scratches me in just the right places. Until listening to her song "Righteously" I was unable to put my finger on her style.

She certainly has a strong rock-and-blues sound, with just enough country twang to spice the sound but not bog it down. Yet there's something else swimming around in her voice that I just couldn't peg.

Then it struck me like a spaghetti bowl of log-jammed cars. California! More precisely, the Valley Girl sound. There's a slight sassiness and confidence you only get from the girls of Orange County rolling around in Lucinda's delivery.

If you love Lucinda for her assumed southern roots, no worries. She was born in Louisiana.

For those of you unfamiliar with Lucinda Williams, here's the song that made me draw the Country/California connection:

Righteously, Lucinda Wiliams (Audio Only) — YouTube

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Fri, Jul 25th - 3:31PM

A Couple Stabs at McCain
Here are couple items I posted on my other blog in response to current news surrounding McCain. They are very pointed and meant to strike controversy. I welcome any and all retorts from McCain supporters...

Why McCain Will Lose

Why do so many people flock to Obama? Well, it's quite simple really; Obama is running on a campaign of change and hope.

The majority of US citizens no longer want our troops fighting in the Middle East. Those who do believe we should continue fighting tend to bow to the idea that our enemies are not in Iraq, but in the hopelessly under-soldiered country of Afghanistan. (Note: Ignorant exceptions do exist.)

Stepping beyond his initial cry to pull all troops out of the Middle East, Obama has listened to military commanders and consultants and conceded that a shift in our troops to Afghanistan is needed.

In the meantime, McCain is running on a double campaign of "steady on" and mudslinging.

Yet it won't be his views on the Middle East that destroys McCain's campaign. So far, he has parroted the policies of the current Administration.
It's clear most US citizens want a clear divergence from Bush Co.

In short, McCain offers zero change. Just look at how he's running his campaign. He offers no solutions, only blame. What's worse, he spends too much time trying to smear and mock Obama's campaign efforts and not enough time solidifying his own ticket.

Voters have had enough of politics as usual. They want the candidates to tell them what they plan to change, not how their opponent's policies will result in the complete devastation of our society.

McCain needs to start focusing on his own message, to start telling us how he's going to create measurable change in our nation. So far, he's fallen far short of anything even closely resembling such a campaign.

Should the US President Have Served in the Military?

Despite calls from his supporters, McCain continues to point out that he has served in the military and Obama has not.

Does it really matter if the future president has military experience?
Look at Bush. Sure, he served in the guard, but he doesn't have any measurable experience. While our boys were getting blown to bits in Vietnam, he was having a grand time in the Gulf of Mexico flying fighter jets and going AWOL. Yet, here he is - Commander in Chief.

Then there's McCain, a five-year prisoner of war. He was a victim of terrible atrocities, and I commend him for choosing to remain a POW so that his fellow soldiers could be released instead. Yet, he is a victim. It's always a bad idea to put the victim in charge, because their decisions won't be balanced or objective. It's like the female rape victim who will forever view every male as a potential rapist.

Despite these points, there's something bigger at stake when a nation of voters demand that their president have military experience.

To vote for a presidential candidate because he or she has military experience is to say that we are a warring (vs. peaceful) nation.

Why should a peaceful nation need a soldier as their president? Look at all other nations who choose to vote in a military commander or POW as their top-elected officials. How does that typically turn out? Can you say Peron, Castro, Stalin, Mugabe, Hitler...?

The point is this:
An understanding of how you can most effectively deploy the military is more important than having served in it.

Afghanistan or Iraq - Which really poses the bigger threat? Which is home to the Taliban and al-Qaida? Obama knows where the real danger lives? McCain is too blinded by all the oil in Iraq to see the truth - even if he won't admit it.

Comment (1)

Sun, Jul 6th - 1:20PM

Wikipedia Has a Poor Privacy Policy?

The Complaint
Lilith eZine posted a list of complaints regarding Wikipedia's Privacy Policy and Practices. Their main issue is with how Wikipedia displays email addresses on contributor profile pages. They have called for as many people as possible to email Wikipedia to ask them to change their privacy policy.

You can read their full article here. If you even mildly agree with their points, I implore you to join them in their campaign.

Public Info Equals Credibility
Wikipedia is distinctly Web 2.0. This latest evolution of (world) culture is all about opening up, in creating discourse. If you have a problem with a contributor's views, or if you are beefing over what they present as fact, their contact information allows you to speak your mind.

Discourse and the presentation of "knowledge" should never be one-sided.

Public Info Invites Abuse
Of course, as with any website in general, you are bound to be subjected to spam and cons. It's not Wikipedia's fault that outsiders abuse their policy of openness. It is a risk that the contributor takes when they step up and speak their minds.

To use the example of Lilith eZine's organization: They receive so much hate mail that they have dedicated a blog to posting it all. If they didn't post their contact information, they wouldn't receive most of those letters. That was a risk they took in posting their contact info.

I dare say that this is a necessary risk, too. It's all about credibility. Media groups do it all the time - from listing the authors of articles to providing contact info. If you're not willing to step forward and say "I did this!" then you've lost credibility.

Wikipedia's Privacy Policy Is Clear
In regards to posted email addresses, the Wikipedia privacy policy says:
"You may provide your e-mail address in your Preferences and enable other logged-in users to send email to you through the wiki. Your address will not be revealed to them unless you respond, or possibly if the email bounces. [...]You can remove your email address from your preferences at any time to prevent it being used."

So, according to this statement, contributors have the choice of showing their email address or not. In other words; if you correctly create a Wikipedia account, you should understand what you've gotten yourself into.

Does Wikipedia Really Encourage Pedophilia?
I hadn't ever read about the whole pedophile issue until Lilith eZine brought it up. Quite frankly, it didn't seem like it would be an issue. After all, how many minors are actually creating Wikipedia accounts? It didn't seem likely.

I Googled up some news stories and discovered that Wikipedia has indeed been referred to as "pro-pedophilia." A deeper investigation, though, shows that this is actually more of a propaganda war being waged between Perverted Justice and Wikimedia. It's all a bunch of "he-said, she-said" nonsense.

Wikipedia claims that if they receive reports of pedophilia that they investigate, and that they have no qualms in banning the offenders. Perverted Justice claims that Wikipedia protects the pedophilic offenders.

The few articles that I found were unconvincing. Many listed some of the youngster's profiles that contain offending comments. When I clicked on the links, lo and behold, the profiles were no longer in existence. If this isn't a sign of Wikipedia's commitment to stamp out the pedophiles from their system, I don't know what is.

Users Are Ultimately Responsible
It's a tough job trying to monitor tens of thousands of profiles. The beauty about the user-generated model is that it allows members to take action. Thanks to the help of flags, pedophiles have a more and more difficult time staying hidden.

All I have to say about the issue of making basic user info public is...
If you're not willing to step forward, to take responsibility for what you've written, you have no right posting to Wikipedia.

Once again, I encourage you to read Lilith eZine's article regarding this issue. If you agree with their argument, consider joining them in their campaign to ask Wikipedia to change their privacy policy.

Imagine thousands of emails all requesting the same thing - a change to the privacy policy. That's the power of the masses; that's the power of democracy!
Comment (1)

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