Monday, March 19, 2012

Washington Luddites?

Mashable's interview 5 Questions For Rep. Darrell Issa, SOPA Opponent and ‘Internet Defender’ provides an interesting look, not only at what stopped the SOPA legislation, but also how Washington deals with technology. Essentially they're behind the times, and for the few legislators who do have a grasp on current (or emerging) technologies political party is of little consequence.

When the technology community rallied together in opposition of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), Rep. Issa was at the front lines of Congress fighting to kill the bill. And as a former electronics company CEO, he’s one of the few Congressman who seem to “get it” when it comes to technology (Fun fact: Rep. Issa lent his voice to the alarm system for the ultra-sleek Dodge Viper).

The debate around SOPA and other technology bills doesn’t divide neatly along party lines. Do you think technology issues are, in a way, bipartisan?

“Intellectual property and how we deal with that is always bipartisan … Sen. Wyden (D-Ore.) was particularly helpful in this entire debate, he brought his own version [of an intellectual property bill] to the Senate floor. [Rep. Jared] Polis [D-Colo.] was great to have as somebody else who knew the Internet and what it could do.”

You put the draft version of the OPEN Act online for the public to read and comment upon. Do you think that kind of transparency is the future of politics and technology?

“I do believe it is the future. Congress has to be willing to fund it. The Madison project had to be done at an external site because that kind of interactive exchange isn’t allowed under the House’s firewall rule, so we went to an outside storage facility.

“We don’t like to call the people who make the rules in the House and the Senate “Luddites,” but they’re pretty close. They’re very ultra-conservative on what (new technologies) they’re willing to adopt. Congress only went to Outlook Web a year ago — and it was still only a belt-and-suspenders type of access … our whole infrastructure is built around not getting hacked rather than getting access.

“The technology systems in the House are quite archaic, and if you’re dealing with members that have been around for a long time, it’s harder to adopt new platforms than if you’re in the private sector and more comfortable with new platforms. A big part of the House’s bandwidth is actually used for an off-site redundancy, which duplicates every one of our sites for Outlook and all of our servers. We use so much bandwidth for that, I’m still fighting to get (Voice over IP) telephones installed in the House.”

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Monday, March 5, 2012

Obama Well Prepared for General Campaign

Obama’s re-election campaign quietly organizes while Republicans fight

"BEAVERCREEK, Ohio—President Barack Obama's supporters waited all of two months after his inauguration to start laying the groundwork here for what has become a re-election machine that is bigger and tougher than his would-be Republican rivals' nightmarish imaginings.

Oh, I'm afraid the Obama campaign will be quite operational when his Republican challenger arrives.

Powerful, the president's re-election effort is: A new NBC News/Marist poll finds Obama trouncing his opponents in hypothetical general-election matchups in this state. He leads Mitt Romney in Ohio by 12 points among registered voters, 50 percent to 38 percent; Ron Paul by 10 points, 48 percent to 38 percent; Rick Santorum by 14 points, 50 percent to 36 percent; and Newt Gingrich by 15 points, 51 percent to 36 percent.

While the seesaw battle for the Republican Party's presidential nomination has grabbed the news media spotlight, the unopposed Democratic incumbent has quietly worked to enlist new supporters and woo back the armies of volunteers and small donors who powered his historic victory in 2008."

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Calls for Limbaugh Boycott Continue

Under pressure due to adverstisers pulling their support, Rush Limbaugh offered up an apology that did little to appease critics. The apology appeared forced and insincere as it barely offered an apology, but instead a criticism of congress. CBS News reported on Limbaugh's "apology."

Limbaugh apologizes to Sandra Fluke

"The storm not only swirled around Limbaugh, he began to feel some of the impact, too. After his statements and subsequent public reaction, three advertisers, including two mattress companies, pulled their ads from his radio program.

Although he apologized, in the same statement the fiery radio host called Fluke's testimony before a mock Congressional hearing "absurd."

"I think it is absolutely absurd that during these very serious political times, we are discussing personal sexual recreational activities before members of Congress," he wrote, but he added: "I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke."

On his radio show on February 29, Limbaugh elevated the debate to the next level when he said: "What does it say about the college co-ed Sandra Fluke, who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex? What does that make her?"

"It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute."

"She wants to be paid to have sex," Limbaugh continued on his radio program. "She's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception."

The point Limbaugh said he was trying to make was that taxpayers' dollars should not be used for contraception coverage.

Limbaugh was referring to Fluke's testimony before the Democrat-organized mock hearing after being cut from the witness list by Republican leadership at an official hearing on the president's recent decision to require insurance companies provide contraception coverage for employees of religious-affiliated institutions.

Her testimony did not talk about sex at the hearing but discussed the importance of birth control coverage for Georgetown University Law School students for family planning and health reasons."

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Brietbart Gone at 42

From people of all political stripes, people are remembering the political activist Andrew Brietbart...

From of Guy Benson of Mourning Breitbart

"Andrew was fearless. A reformed Leftist, he made a conscious decision to devote his life to fighting his former ideological brethren with every ounce of his being -- and never looked back. Throughout his lamentably truncated career as a professional political provocateur, his targets came to loathe him with a rage rarely seen, even in today's polarized climate. As I explained in my introduction of him at last year's CPAC gathering, Andrew had attained near-hero status among many conservatives simply for amassing such an impressive roster of enemies. He targeted Planned Parenthood for their noxious criminality, brought down ACORN over similar transgressions, and last year took out a sitting Congressman, almost single-handedly. Andrew's impromptu hijacking of Rep. Anthony Weiner's New York press conference remains one of the most surreal media events in memory.

He delighted in rattling liberals' cages. He relished attacking their sacred cows. And he never once shied away from a fight. In his CPAC speech just last month, Andrew claimed to have obtained old footage of Barack Obama that could impact the upcoming presidential election. So even in death, Andrew Breitbart will continue to torment the Left -- at least for a few more months. He wouldn't have had it any other way. What a loss. Rest in peace."


From the Huffington Post Andrew Breitbart Dead: Conservative Blogger Dies Suddenly At 43

"Breitbart came to be well-known for his work with the Drudge Report (he also played an early role with The Huffington Post), and would go on to found the Big Journalism, Big Hollywood and websites. He was also an author, columnist and ubiquitous commentator in the media.

People from all sides of the political spectrum paid tribute to Breitbart.

Shirley Sherrod, the USDA employee who was fired from her job after Breitbart released an incomplete video of her appearing to say she intentionally discriminated against white farmers —she was actually describing how she overcame such prejudices — sent her condolences.

"The news of Mr. Breitbart's death came as a surprise to me when I was informed of it this morning," she said. "My prayers go out to Mr. Breitbart's family as they cope through this very difficult time."


Big Government Andrew Brietbart's own site remembered him with a quote from his book. In Memoriam: Andrew Brietbart (1969-2012)

"Andrew recently wrote a new conclusion to his book, Righteous Indignation:

I love my job. I love fighting for what I believe in. I love having fun while doing it. I love reporting stories that the Complex refuses to report. I love fighting back, I love finding allies, and—famously—I enjoy making enemies.

Three years ago, I was mostly a behind-the-scenes guy who linked to stuff on a very popular website. I always wondered what it would be like to enter the public realm to fight for what I believe in. I’ve lost friends, perhaps dozens. But I’ve gained hundreds, thousands—who knows?—of allies. At the end of the day, I can look at myself in the mirror, and I sleep very well at night."

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