Joho the BlogSeptember 2003 - Joho the Blog

September 30, 2003

“May I use my personal aircraft carrier…”

From Lloyd Grove in The Daily News :

The Bush-Cheney ’04 campaign has just issued a helpful “Frequently Asked Questions” memo to its New York fund-raisers:

Question: “Can I use my personal aircraft for campaign business?”

Answer: “No, you may not use your personal aircraft for campaign business. Corporate aircraft may be used, but only if each person boarding the plane pays the equivalent of a first-class airplane ticket.”

Q: “Can I have a fund-raising cocktail party for my friends at a private club or hotel and pay for the party?”

A: “No. You may have them come to your house and treat them up to $1,000 in expenses per adult in the household without it counting against your $2,000 contribution limit.”

Q: “Can I use my executive assistant to help with my fund-raising activities?”

A: “Any person can volunteer to help. Employees may volunteer a maximum of 1 (one) hour per week during working hours and an unlimited amount outside of the office.”/

Thanks for the link goes to the Dean Blog where it looks like they’re going to come awfully close to raising $15 million dollars this quarter, from about 175,000 contributors, hardly any of whom own their own aircraft.


Blogging makes you fat

I went to the gym today for the first time in over 18 months. I used to go before my kids got up, but now I blog instead. As a direct result, I’ve put on decades of blogfat, giving a new meaning to “blogroll.” Since I have all of the stick-to-it-ness of a thrice-used postage stamp, I expect that my new regimen will fail. And since I am a vegetarian, I can’t lose weight the low-carb way. (Alternative title for this entry: Blogging turns you into a carnivore.)

Damn you, blog!

Here are some items more important than that:

Howard Dean has come out with a truly cool set of Internet initiatives, which I blogged about below.

Wesley Clark’s campaign blog is up.

Dave Winer writes about The Rule of Links.

Steve Saltire has a new blog.


September 29, 2003

Howard Dean’s Internet Initiative

The Dean campaign has just announced:

1. Open source group-support software developed by an independent bunch of folks.

2. A Net Advisory Net to help come up with policy options for the Dean campaign and administration.

3. A statement of Internet principles.

I’ve set up a discussion board to talk about the principles.

I’m excited about this. It’s a fantastic slate of advisors, people who actually understand how the Net works and have worked to maintain its true value. More advisors on this and other topics will be announced later. (Yeah, I’m on the NAN but I don’t count.)

The principles are a starting point for the conversation and are intended to leave plenty of room for disagreements over implementation. They acknowledge the End-to-End nature of the Internet and are consistent with the main point of the World of Ends thang Doc and I posted a few months ago. This is the first presidential campaign that really gets the Internet and will do right by it.


Reading challenges

The American Library Association celebrates Read Banned Books Week by listing the books most frequently challenged authors in 2002 and the 100 most challenged from 1990-2002.

The most challenged books of 2002:

Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling, for its focus on wizardry and magic.
Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, for being sexually explicit, using offensive language and being unsuited to age group.
“The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier (the “Most Challenged” book of 1998), for using offensive language and being unsuited to age group.
“I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, for sexual content, racism, offensive language, violence and being unsuited to age group.
“Taming the Star Runner” by S.E. Hinton, for offensive language.
“Captain Underpants” by Dav Pilkey, for insensitivity and being unsuited to age group, as well as encouraging children to disobey authority.
“The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, for racism, insensitivity and offensive language.
“Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson, for offensive language, sexual content and Occult/Satanism.
“Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor, for insensitivity, racism and offensive language.
“Julie of the Wolves” by Jean Craighead George, for sexual content, offensive language, violence and being unsuited to age group.

The most distressing thing is that the home page of the ALA shows how politicized the freedom to read has become.


Comment spammers rip my flesh

Every day, my comment boards are spammed, sometimes with vile messages. Every day I waste my time manually deleting them and then rebuilding this entire site.

Anyone have a suggestion? I’m using MovableType.


Trusting E-Voting

Salon has an article by Farhad Manjoo recounting how the venerable IEEE’s committee on electronic voting standards went off the rails:

Is the voting equipment industry trying to silence its opponents in a standards group that has traditionally been committed to openness? That’s hard to say definitively … People have been given conflicting and confusing instructions on how to join the group; some members appear to have been accorded preferential treatment; the committee’s leaders have used some technically legal but not very nice parliamentary procedures to prevent opponents from expressing their views; and when critics of the industry have managed to make comments, they appear to have been summarily ignored.

…But some members of the committee are reluctant to put all of the blame on voting industry officials. One person who asked not to be identified said that advocates for strong security systems in voting machines seemed reluctant to work with others in the group and were only interested in pushing a “political agenda.”

Here’s a page (by David Dill) that clearly explains the e-voting issue and what a “voter-verifiable” process might look like: the voter gets to see the paper record of her vote before she presses the electronic plunger to record it.

And here’s an EFF petition.


September 28, 2003

E-Voting Blog

From Jim Warren:

A leading County Elections Official, Warren Slocum of San Mateo County, California, has become increasingly concerned about the integrity of some elections systems widely used throughout the United States for local, state and federal elections. His concerns include their lack of complete audit trails and the secret, “proprietary” software used in some of these major voting systems, which dominate more and more of elections technology used in this nation’s public elections.

To publicize the issues, concerns, dangers and solutions, he has begun the first blog devoted to VERIFIABLE voting technology.

This issue is either going to crack open soon or it’s going to become the Black Helicopters of the lefties…


Gillmor on the Good Guys/Gals

Dan recounts how our site, WordPirate, got pointlessly hacked. Dan uses the ugly event to remind us of what’s best about the Web.

Over at the official Dean blog, when the comment boards get trolled, people give to the Troll Defense Account. The more people troll, the more money gets donated to the campaign. Cool idea. Bottom up, of course.

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Winer on Links and Trust

Dave, at the BloggerCon blog, says the Web is about trust. He says:

Jakob Nielsen drew a dichotomy that explains it, the dark side of the Web that sucks in traffic and doesn’t let go, and the light side that distributes flow, trusting that if I send you somewhere good you’ll come back to me for more.

Yup. Links are the stuff of the Web and every link is a little – little – act of selflessness: “Here’s someplace else you might find interesting, so go away from my site. Go! Scoot!” Businesses obsessed with “sticky eyeballs” are the last ones to figure this out. And the first presidential candidate to figure this out is Howard Dean.


September 27, 2003

CIA Goes after the White House

MSNBC reports that the CIA has asked for an investigation of who in the White House – in order to retaliate against the former ambassador who debunked the White House’s lie about Saddam seeking Nigerian uranium. – leaked the fact that the ambassador’s wife was an active CIA agent.

Man, you don’t want to piss off the CIA…

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