Sunday, October 20, 2019

New California law slams independent journalists, trying to force them to work for just one place (and get unionized); political activism on the ground is still needed

I talked about AB-5 in California on the IT Jobs blog Sept. 15, but Saturday Tim Pool pointed out that freelance journalists who live in California are now panicking over passing the law.  Legacy publications are unlikely to take contributions from freelancers who can quickly reach the 35-per-year limit and will go out of state, as Tim Pool explains.

Democrats wanted to see writers able to organize (and feel inclined to do so) and get full benefits.  They didn’t want to see “real journalists” have to compete with very low cost independent competition.

It’s the old lowballing problem in the workplace.  Similar to right to work.

Pool also notes Sunday that Laura Loomer has raised money the old fashioned way (door-to-door and mail) for a seat in the Florida legislature despite being de-platformed by all the major social media.
Then that raises questions about people “like me” who right now don’t play ball with the political system the old-fashioned way.  That’s a topic for another day.

Pool also has some advice for Milo Yiannopoulos, and it is a lot more surprising than youthink. He also has some ideas for de-radicalization. Call it “cognitive awakening” and an environment that allows it. 

So, no, Carlos Maza, de-platforming may not work as well as “you” think.

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Washington Post looks at how people with disabilities run YouTube channels

Jessica Chiu has a comprehensive discussion of how people with disabilities benefit from running YouTube channels on Oct 6 (Oct 8 on Health & Science in print). 

The discussion tends to bypass all the controversies over polarization and deplatforming (which you wouldn’t expect) but does explain that deciding to monetize can be a touch issue (it requires minimum subscriber volumes). 

But this also connects to my post yesterday on autism and particularly Asperger’s – the latter may not even be perceived as a disability, and viewers may not perceive the speaker this way.

Likewise, it would be hard to make generalizations about some parts of the LGBTQ community.

The article discusses a blind YouTuber Tommy Edison, who discontinued his channel in 2018.
I did want to notice that since the end of 2018, a few people I know have left social media, or greatly reduced their participation.  The polarization, censorship and coercion to work with groups coming from the far Left could be one of the reasons.

Friday, October 18, 2019

I've been told that I have Asperger's Syndrome

I haven’t talked about it much on the blogs, Asperger’s syndrome, and its clumping by the DSM as an autism spectrum disorder.
This video presents Adam, a freshman at Penn State, to introduce the idea that many people (mostly men) function “normally” and tend to prefer solitary occupations, especially tech. 

It is hard to say why, as he presents, it is a “developmental disorder” at all.  James Damore presents himself as having Asperger’s.
Such persons are highly individualistic and tend to interpret situations and behavioral expectations of others in a narrow fashion. They may tend to be contemptuous of identarian or tribal concerns about tie implications of certain political or social ideas.  They tend to be more conservative or libertarian politically. 
The late filmmaker Gode David told me he had Aspergers when I first met him on New Years Day in Providence, RI in 2003. He said that I also have it.
But it would be necessary to segregate it from “schizoid personality”.

Picture: Cardboard, wood, and wire toy baseball stadiums we made as kids in the summers in the 1950s (often in Ohio) 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

OK, I understand this platform offers "the New Blogger"

I’ve just tried the “New Blogger”, and it does look like it gives much more up-to-date stats as to what is going on daily.

“Peggyktc’ has an article about it.

I started Blogger in January 2006.  I had sixteen blogs created and running by summer 2006.

I started using Wordpress on Bluehost with two blogs at the start of 2014, anticipating the publication of my DADT III book in February. The “media reviews” blog is a bit of a misnomer now, but it mainly concerns my own creative projects in music and the novel, as well as news video that I take myself. The “Do Ask Do Tell Notes” blog adds footnotes to the books, discusses my trust and the way I handle certain business issues and the controversies they might generate.

I added my “News Commentary” blogs to contemplate the eleven news blogs on Blogger, and “Media Commentary” to supplement the five content review blogs.  The legacy Movie reviews blog became mainly dedicate to short films, often topical, and to some reviews of older films.

There were some problems with Blogger.  It has been very stable over the years.  Only once (in May 2011) has the ability to update been down (then for about 16 hours one time). But there was a problem early on with the mistaken taking down of some supposed “spam blogs”, especially in the summer of 2008.  On May 30, 2008, about four of my blogs (including TV) would not load, but they came back in a few hours. Very early, Blogger sometimes required a Captcha to log on to add new posts to blogs that automated systems thought were suspicious.  These had gone away for me by the end of 2008.  Some of my own best statistics (including with Adsense) occurred in the fall of 2008 after the financial crisis. I still do not understand how Google makes money on the product, whose visibility is less these days now that Facebook and Twitter are so prominent.  It’s interesting that Zuckerberg wants to make Facebook more ephermal, which could make Blogger more useful. It’s also disturbing that Google-plus was shut down with relatively short notice (a few months) on April 2, 2019.

Earlier, Hometown AOL had been shut down in 2007, with the opportunity offered to move the content to Blogger. 

I realize that my blogging setup has been set up over time with respect to available technology and has some redundancy, and is not as transparent as it could be.  Comparatively, Tim Pool recently explained why he has two video channels and channels on many other products sides YouTube.
Wordpress has a reputation as a more polished and intricate and professional blogging platform than Blogger, and easier to configure into a versatile business site.  So far, Google has not chosen to do that with Blogger, and connect it to hosting services, as far as I know.  Google does offer the opportunity to connect custom domain names to blogs.  But once this is done, some workplace filters will screen them out and some website security rating services don’t rate them for a long time.
The first picture is a model of a Dyson sphere in a Marriott hotel lobby near downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.  The second is a similar model in a gay bar in downtown Ottawa. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

EFF director has major op-ed about Section 230 in New York Times

Elliot Harmon, activism director for the New York Times, has a big op-ed in the New York Times today, to the effect that changing (or largely eliminating) Section 230 would cater to the big tech companies. 
It’s true, just as with the EU Copyright Directive, that the big tech companies have the scale to adjust.  But probably they would not allow a lot of people to continue posting non-ephemeral or self-branding content, and would impose some sort of informal social credit system as to whom they would invite to “publish” – they would become publishers and be frank about that’s how it is now and that this is not for everyone, you would have to earn the right to be heard for yourself if you didn’t want to pick a mob to join and obey.

Tim Pool explains why he has multiple channels, in a way that similar to my having multiple blogs. He is talking about “social engineering” from the corporatized Left  -- which I personally think has something to do with wanting to compel people to join groups and take sides rather than act on their own – it’s easier to deal with groups, but the alternative could be social credit systems.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Reprise: Should journalists (be allowed to) protest in public -- "join in", chant, carry signs, even get arrested?

I’m going to be looking at this question again in the near future, particularly on Wordpress.

Should journalists march in protests and carry signs?  Should they be allowed to?
Here’s Poynter’s take on the question back in 2017. 

Columbia Journalism review had taken up this question especially with respect to the Women’s March the day after Inauguration Day in 2017.   This argument was more based on equality.

Turn this around, does a blogger become a journalist by calling himself one?  Would op-ed writers follow different rules?  What about independent journalists with big YouTube channels where they interview people or analyze news stories?

It doesn’t take much to see that his is a big deal overseas.
In the US, activists (mainly on the Left) could reasonably argue that independent vloggers who call themselves “journalists” and who don’t protest, weaken group solidarity and hollow out normal political processes.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Time magazine makes a radical proposal to bring back low-level conscription, and offers curious parallels to arguments in my own DADT books and blog posts

Time Magazine has a “Special Report” Oct. 21-28, 2019, which I could cover on my legacy “book reviews” blog, but today’s issue brings up something I want to mention on this one, my main “legacy” blog on this platform.
The report starts on p. 40 with “Trump and the Troops”, but I wanted to call attention tonight to a special subchapter by Elliot Ackerman that starts on p. 44, photographs by Gillian Laub, “Born into War”, with the tagline “The way to end America’s forever wars is to bring back the draft.” The report is quite lengthy an runs to page 57.
It recommends a “reverse engineered draft” (including women) which, if I understand right, would be very small and only children of higher income parents would be “eligible.”  Draftees, “unlucky” enough to be picked, could go only into combat arms. He argues that this works now because women are eligible for combat arms. Coincidentally, Lisa Lang happens to be covering women in Marine Basic Training at Camp Pendleton, CA on Sunday night on CNN.  
There are other proposals for universal national service, and Pete Buttigieg has even proposed them. Some proposals would call for intermittent service even in retirement (maybe related to eligibility for Social Security benefits).
But this proposal is particularly aimed at changing the political calculus that leads to protracted wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even the political dishonesty that seems to have been responsible for the start of the Iraq war in 2003.
Wealthier parents will demand a much more careful stance of getting into wars.
This may be harder to imagine with complicated situations like Syria. 
This story catches my eye right now because recently I have been in some phone conversations with my POS publisher (Oct 8 post) and one of the issues is whether an older non-fiction book (back to 1997-2000) can sell again. There is a lot of material in my first book on Vietnam era conscription and deferments (which would not exist in Ackerman’s proposal) and some unusual application to the issue of gays in the military as it was under “don’t ask don’t tell” until 2011. Ackerman is delving into the same viewpoints I examined twenty years ago, and again after 9/11 (with correspondence with the now late Charles Moskos).
There has been recent discussion of whether women should be required to register for Selective Service and likewise whether the Selective Service System should be abolished.  Were that to surface as a political issue in the 2020 election year, that could give me more visibility, for better or for worse.
I seem to recall David Hogg (from March for our Lives and the gun issue) mentioning Selective Service in a tweet last year after he had turned 18.  Ironically, the "real David Hogg", an industrious "conservative" college student in North Carolina talks about veterans issues a lot on Twitter. 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Does "GoFundMe" really work? Does it provide a good way to "take action" and help others?

The November 2019 issue of The Atlantic arrived in my business mailbox, and for me the most telling article (as to personal values) was on p. 84, by Rachel Monroe, “GoFundMe Nation” , or “When GoFundMe Gets Ugly”. The tagline is “The largest crowdfunding site in the world puts up a mirror to who we are and what matters most for us. The reflection isn’t always pretty.”

Yet the concept has sometimes come across as a moral justification for social media.  It gives you a way to “take action” to help specific other people rather than just talk and become known.
I personally rarely contribute to them (I do contribute to kickstarter film fundraisers).  I’m also reminded of Facebook’s practice of putting an “add a donate button” in your stream (even actual business page) when you make a political post.  That’s part of a modern theory (“Madison’s music”) that free speech is supposed to be paired with a willingness to take action for others when appropriate.

She gives an opening take of how a well-off Memphis businessman found “God” after an incident and took up a project of raising money for an impoverished black teen.  The tale seems to bridge the communication gap we have with people other, less fortunate, stations of life.

But, Rachel argues, this kind of faith seems like the exception and seems naïve.  Most GoFundMe’s fail, apparently.

Then, there are those which may be inappropriate (for abortions).
I’ve noticed the use of them (or of crowdsourcing) for organ transplantation needs.  This was an idea that would have been unthinkable when I was growing up because medicine was not advanced enough to provide them.  In earlier times, it was more about “taking care of your own”, a Trumpian value.
Update: Oct 13. 
Page 58 of Time Magazine's Oct 21 issue "America's Forever War" has a story by W.J. Hennigan and North Ogden on help for families who lose parents in war, and this story relates a GoFundMe that worked well.  See the next post Sunday on this problem. 

Friday, October 11, 2019

Trump's rally apparently inspires random Antifa-style violence of spectators near Target Center in downtown Minneapolis

Zach Roberts provides ample (at least 20 minutes) of footage of protest, for Subverse News, outside Trump’s rally in Minneapolis at the Target Center Wednesday.

Ian Schwartz reports for Real Clear Politics on the burning of MAGA hats. 
There is disturbing material about how Trump had promised to limit Somali immigration, which is quite significant to the Twin Cities area. 

Andy Ngo and others reported random attacks on persons in the area who weren’t necessarily attending the rally. 

The Target Center is on First Ave., near the Twins’ baseball park, the Loon Café, and, on Hennepin, the Gay 90s and Saloon gay bars. 
I was in Minneapolis on Sept 28 and visited the bars on Hennepin, and again on Oct. 3 on Lake Street.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Another law professor seems to mix words and bullets for collective responsibility

Mart Ann Franks, a law professor, writes in a NYTimes op-ed “Our collective responsibility for mass shootings”. The subtitle “For far too long, online forums and marketplaces have been granted near-total immunity when they contribute to gun violence.”
Well, marketplaces can be forced (by law) to do background checks, and then it becomes a real world thing, and it’s no longer just about speech. And it’s true, stores can be held liable when a customer is injured in a store (this happened to me in Minneapolis in 1998).  But that’s really not about speech.

 Nor is the idea that a swimming pool owner needs to keep it fenced and gate-locked.

But the radicalization that led to Christchurch and El Paso does have something to do with Internet business models, and even with a system that drops too many young men on the floor, while others have no “skin in the game”.
The writer needs to be very careful, however, with limiting Section 230. After all, we could easily imagine most user generated content as gratuitous and imagine turning speech back to the way it was before the WWW and search engines and social media.

Update:  Oct. 11 

It's a little odd to see Tim Lee write a piece like this, and I wonder how it would fit into the FOSTA litigation. 

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

I have to respond to criticism that I don't "sell" things

One aspect of all of my blogs (there are 20 of them) is that some of my own activity uncovers problems, especially in the free speech and “personal autonomy” areas that amount to news that often gets overlooked, even by other independent video channels and blogs that I follow as well as mainstream. Some of these issues have the somewhat unpredictable risk of blowing up and becoming important for a lot of speakers.

Recently, I’ve gotten some marketing calls from my POD publisher for my books.  I’ve gone into more detail in a Wordpress post last Saturday, which leads to another legacy post of mine on the Trademark blog here (on Blogger). 

I’ve gotten some calls, ever since 2012, asking me why the older books are not selling.  A couple of them have sounded a little threatening, as if I were doing something wrong by migrating to my own format of online blogging and not being totally 100% dedicated to wholesaling and retailing hardcopy books as a consumer-oriented business laced with offers and volume-oriented deals.  OK, there would be benefits, like literacy programs.  Community engagement through local bookstores, and the like.  I’ve talked about some of those on the Book Reviews blog here.

I had a long conversation Monday evening, and I won’t go into sensitive details, but I did manage to convince the caller that “cookie cutter” marketing assistance packages from publicity films don’t work equally for all kinds of books (here's a perspective).  It is normally a lot easier to sell a children’s book or a recipe cookbook (as a consumer “commodity” in volumes of “instances”) or perhaps any “how to” book (like in tech) than political non-fiction laced with personal accounts. 

Fiction is a little different: if an author has become known, he/she can make the consumer angle work. 

When I first published my DADT-1 book as a print-run in 1997, the novelty of my individualistic arguments regarding gays in the military (I talked a lot about my own experience with conscription, especially) did catch on by word-of-mouth and for eighteen months or so (my having moved to Minneapolis to do a corporate transfer to avoid a conflict of interest), and my first printing of a few hundred did sell out, more or less before 9/11.

Since then, as I’ve often explained, I’ve depended on search engines to remain known.  That has worked relatively well in terms of influencing policy (yup, some politicians, judges, and various media figures do know me) but in a way that is probably not very transparent to the public.   And I agree that my Internet presence, which added components as technology changed, is not very transparent to the “average consumer”, the way many book marketing sites are supposed to be.  And I have indeed promised to simplify all of this by the end of 2021 (after the next election).

I do get the idea that many people see a problem with an operation that offers most stuff “free” without asking for anything.  This is different from the algorithm-clickbait problem which, we have seen in the past two years, seems to contribute, however unintentionally, a lot to radicalization (especially on the “alt-right”).  Free content (even if not radical by itself) from someone who doesn’t seem to have other people to be responsible for (“skin in the game” -- and the "upward affiliation problem") could also be seen as a radicalization ploy or an unpredictable security risk for others. A bigger practical concern is that my style of self-publication dilutes conventional group or "identity centered" activism with "solidarity".  I could arguably be "doing something else" that helps "my own oppressed peoples" more than I do now. 
Soon, I’ll give more specifics on just how these blogs do benefit users.  I owe it.

Monday, October 07, 2019

Case in First Circuit regarding Massachusetts law and recording the police may be important

Electronic Frontier Foundation has a story (Oct. 7) by Sophia Cope and Adam Schwartz about an amicus brief it wrote before the First Circuit in Boston for the case Martin v. Rollins.  The case had been brought by the ACLU to challenge the Massachusetts anti-eavesdropping statue which would outlaw the secret recording of all conversations, even in public. 
The First Circuit has previously upheld a First Amendment right to record police officers’ audio, and that did not override the state’s anti-eavesdropping statute.

Five appellate jurisdictions have upheld a right of citizens to record police activity, including audio.
Video: Ford Fischer from the Defending Freedom Action Summit, Arlington, VA, Jan. 2019, on the right to film the police, News2Share.

Friday, October 04, 2019

Another assessment of YouTube's winners and losers

Mark Ledwich has a valuable Medium article today “The Winners and Losers of YouTube’s Conspiracy Crackdown”.

The title says it, purveyors of conspiracy theories are the losers.  (Yup – David Hogg – both of them as I follow two of them – were born on terra firma.  Although Alex Jones and even Laura Ingraham were paying David Hogg #1 a compliment by spreading the idea that everybody needed to fear him as if he were a god.) 

Well, it’s mostly deep-state theories (Steve Bannon) that lost out.

The left-center-right balance seems to be about correct, Lewich says, if you factor out extremism. But he notes that some individual creators (David Pakman particularly) seem more objective in their commentary than the corporate media that advertisers trust – Pakman, Tim Pool, etc are losing out to MSNBC and Fox. 

Thursday, October 03, 2019

EU starts to try to order some content takedowns to apply worldwide, even the US, challenging sovereignty

Foo Yun Chee of Reuters News reports today that the EU Supreme Court has told Facebook it must remove some content worldwide, even if only illegal in one EU country.  

The ruling could apply to other social media companies and theoretically even to hosting providers. 

There was some concern immediately that it could apply to “the right to be forgotten.”

Yet, curiously, a case in French resulted in a different judge deciding that the “right to be forgotten” would only apply in the country affected in Google cases.

The Facebook case just reported today started in Austria with a particular green party politician seeking to squash criticism. It’s obvious that politicians or dictators anywhere could use this ruling to squash dissent.

As with the Article 13 controversy and Copyright Directive, here is a case where European law could be in a position to force Internet companies to scale back user generated content worldwide.
There is also an obvious question about national sovereignty, which Donald Trump uses to play both sides of any issue against each other.

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Event at a college in Ontario shows intolerance of any elitism or individualism from the far Left

Lauren Chen, on Blaze TV’s Pseudo Intellectual channel, covered the protests at the event in Hamilton Ontario where Maxime Bernier and David Rubin were to speak, at Mohawk college.
As everyone has heard, there was a lot of controversy.  David Rubin offered to foot the ten-fold increase in security.  Maxime represents the People’s Party, which in Canada is said to be center-right and libertarian, no relation to the old People’s Party in the US in the 1970s associated with Benjamin Spock.

One of the protesters said “an injury to one is an injury to all”.

But there was little intellectual logic in what the people said, a lot of feelings.

Outside the event, an elderly woman was harassed by protesters and called a “neo-Nazi” as she crossed the street (Timcast account).  She had nothing to do with the event. That seems to be part of combative Far Left strategy, to call everyone an “enemy” of their own solidarity indeed something very bad, with no regard to facts. David Rubin says in another long video that we need “bravery” to fight cancel culture.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

"Techno-Uptopianism" is breaking down because people aren't smart enough for it

Andrew Marantz, in a challenging piece in the Sept. 30, 2017 New Yorker, p. 69, called “The More Things Change: does connecting the world actually make it better?” but called “the Dark Side of Techno Utopianism” on the cover and in the online article.
He gives a short history of the democratization of information for the masses, most obviously going back to the printing press, but even before in ancient times – and also some attention to English Bible merchant William Caxton.  Centuries later, the Internet became the next iteration of what could amplify the personal asymmetry of speech.
He goes give some biography of Mark Zuckerberg and Chris Hughes, and some other people like Christopher Poole. They all wanted absolute connectivity and free speech at first, and even like in 2011 with the Arab Spring some of their ideas were going right.  By 2016 when Trump one, they learned that the life cycle of free speech with all its asymmetries was like the life cycle of an insect or of a star. It had a main sequence. 
Much of this has to do with the dangers of asymmetry when hyperindividualism runs away and people who live at a distance and watch others gain too much power by staring at them without any responsibility for them (relativity and quantum theory teach us that). But it also has to do with the change from Web 1.0, search-engine driven in a simple way inviting to amateur speakers, to modern social media, which now have to pretend to be both platforms and publishers, and depend on clickbait for a business model.  The 2016 election showed what happens when too many people are left behind and feel neglected.   We face returning to gatekeepers, or to using new cyclical norms of "social credit". 

Thursday, September 26, 2019

David Rubin apparently gets an interview in Canada "cancelled" after overblown ("communist") claims that his work "radicalizes" extremists (then, does mine??)

David Rubin reports that his invitation to a debate event at Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario was rescinded over “threats”, resembling on the surface a situation with the Minds conference in Philadelphia at the end of August.

The Daily Wire reports (Hank Berrier) here about supposed threats from “antifa”.  The Spec says that the college should have declined to host Maxime Bernier because of supposed “Peoples Party” extremism.

I can remember “spying” on (Benjamin Spock’s) Peoples Party of New Jersey in late 1972, and it was indeed very radical, with an undertone of threatening violence. (Note below:  Apparently Bernier is a libertarian speaker after all, note the update.)

David Rubin doesn’t seem to have made a YouTube video about this incident yet, but he made a strong video yesterday about “cancel culture”.

This video is a “part 1” so he may intend a “part 2” explaining the cancellation.
Tim Pool sees this as a kind of “information warfare”, to spread smears by mob rule in order to prevent debate and cause a collapse that would lead to socialism or outright communism. Note how Tim describes Ford Fischer's work in reply to a charge from the Left that it is "alt-lite.
 I've noticed memes and tweets recently from some young adults who think it is cool to "do socialism".  History repeats itself. 
 Neil McFarquhar weighs in on the memes issue in the New York Times today.
 Update: Sept 27:

 David Rubin describes the cancellation of the college appearance to Tucker Carlson. 

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Legacy newspapers join in the woke "cancel culture"

An Iowa “dude” raised over $1 million for a charity with a beer gag  for apparently an ambiguous or questionable joke some time ago but recently.

So Carson King finds his reputation tarnished by a (woke) “routine background check” of his “social media posts” for the past eight years.

Timcast weights in.

Apparently the Des Moines Register decided it need to do an investigation.
Tim Pool’s story in a long tweet: He also says “Delete your Twitter history. Do it now. Thank me later.”

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Are journalists also "artists" by definition?

Bostwiki takes on the question, “Are journalists artists?”

The question is provocative because journalists are maligned as not having “skin in the game” (when combat reporters definitely do, and at one time the Army had a journalism corps).
Bostwiki (now 27) says, not really. Journalists are technicians.  Look, for example, at the work of Ford Fischer on News2Share, where he films what people really do, without passing judgment on anyone.

But journalists can be artists as a separate occupation or mission.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Arrest of US Army private may have more significance for Internet speech that the media is missing so far

A US Army private at Fort Riley KS has been charged with distributing information on (apparently) building weapons of mass destruction, when apparently a social media or Facebook discussion of a plot that might have been targeting a newsroom was uncovered by the FBI.  Vice Media has a typical story.

It is not, as of this writing, completely clear if this is a UCMJ prosecution or one under normal United States code.

I can recall not only the pulling of the Christchurch “manifesto” (and making possession of it illegal in New Zealand) but also of the shorter El Paso piece (from 8chan).  There were warnings by some bloggers that the last page of the EP manifesto had technical weapons information which should not be published online.

All major social media platforms ban this material, but more out of public pressure and other countries.  With hosted content it is less clear (especially since Charlottesville). 

However, I had never heard that it is a crime for a civilian to post this information online.  There could be a question if the information is classified and passed to the person illegally (I.e., Assange or Chelsea Manning). 

Normally, I am particularly concerned if the mere posting of (previously published and non-classified) information online is a crime (there is a short film, “O.I.”, in DC Shorts which indirectly deals with this problem in the abstract).

For example, in early September 2001, Popular Mechanics published a piece about a flux device that could cause disruption of electronic devices and power grids.  There was not enough information that someone could have built one that would work, but nevertheless the article (one week before 9/11) disappeared. Normally EMP (E1 and E3) is a topic associated with high altitude nuclear weapons, but the topic has not been discussed openly in the mainstream media, leaving the impression that it is a fantasy of conservatives and doomsday preppers.  The entire nation could be at risk if this issues isn’t paid attention to.
So this arrest may have significance that the mainstream media has so far missed. Maybe Electronic Frontier Foundation will watch this one.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

"Think Progress" shuts down and re-emerges without most employees; are "independent" media overly dependent on public donations?

The progressive news site Think Progress has suddenly shut down, and then re-emerged (Ross Lincoln, The Wrap) after restructuring of ownership that resulted in laying off most employees. Rachel Frazin has the basic story for The Hill. 
The Daily Beast has more detailed reporting by San Stein and Gideon Resnick, link
Alex Pareene writes that the paper was always doomed (Sept 11) 

There is a general problem that many better-off people would rather speak for themselves (or even run for president) than support other people’s journalism and possibly support more extreme (far Leftist) ideas than what they like. 
Truthout often says this, with its aggressive donation drives. 

Friday, September 20, 2019

Appeals court to take up FOSTA lawsuit dismissal; Washington Post suddenly shutters its daily printed commuter express

Attorneys for five plaintiffs (the largest is the Woodhull Foundation in Alexandria, VA) will reissue their suit of the federal government to stop enforcement of FOSTA today, in the DC Circuit Court, trying to overture a dismissal in September 2018 in a lower court on procedural grounds, where a judge ruled the defendants did not face a credible threat of prosecution and had no standing to sue.

Plaintiffs are arguing that the law has caused companies to self-censor (hence the lack of threat of prosecution – circularity) and eliminate some services to customers out of fear of unpredictable liability.

Electronic Frontier Foundation has a press release Sept. 18 (link above).

FOSTA is a very disruptive law that is disrupting the climate that has allowed free speech by users over the years, and is leading to discussions of reducing downstream liability protections (Section 230) in other areas, such as related to radicalization.  While that concern has been thought to be related to algorithmic business models based in clickbait, it’s also possible that “free content” contributes to the problem and could become another controversy.
Also, the Washington Post abruptly closed down publishing its print Express for Metro commuters after Sept. 12, resulting in layoffs, as explained in many stories.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

"Bostwiki" gives the history of the (old) Fairness Doctrine

Bostwiki, a journalist in New York City (he says he can see the new WTC from his apartment) explains the Fairness Doctrine, in a six-minute video.
I don’t recall hearing of the Mayflower Rule, which at one time had prohibited all political discussion on radio, in the days before TV.
Most parts of the Fairness Doctrine went away during the Reagan years as cable channels became more prominent and consumers had more choice.  That wasn’t always true;  when I moved from an apartment in Oak Lawn in Dallas to a condo in Pleasant Grove at the beginning of 1985, I found that area didn’t yet have cable. The closest was UHF and PBS. (I remember a night in early 1986 when PBS offered definitive coverage of AIDS as it was at the time, and also kuru, another mystery disease.)

A few provisions, like regarding personal attacks on public figures, didn’t go away until the early 2000’s.
Independent news channels on YouTube have grown up in an area where none of these rules matter, but YouTube, as we know, has been demonetizing independent political content on YouTube in favor of older legacy companies that grew up under different rules.
Obviously, I, as a Blogger, don’t have a “fairness doctrine” to worry about, but “free content” is becoming a hidden problem underneath the more obvious clickbait issue.  That’s because if may hollow out conventional political participation.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Activists still claim Internet memes recruit white teens stochastically, as in big Washington Post article

Caitlin Gibson has a rather challenging article in the Washington Post today, “Do you have white teenage sons?  Listen up.  How white supremacists are recruiting boys online.” 
The article goes on to talk about memes (Pewdiepie’s favorite art form), deliberately designed to normalize racist attitudes and introduced gradually, stochastically.

I don’t ever encounter this, or if I did, I would ignore it.
But I can think back to the early 1950s when I was growing up, in a segregated neighborhood typical of the times.  Think about the children’s books of the times.  “Little Black Sambo”.  Then tigers running in circles until they melt into butter.  It gets worse if I think about kindergarten in the 1949-1950 school year in a private home.  The teacher divided the class into “brownies and elves”.  The elves got to go upstairs and were the privileged ones.  I was a brownie (but I am white).  I got a definite sense that there was a pre-determined social position. Some antique stores probably sell old children's books and boardgames, as no one remembers the connotations of the past, until an activist discovers them. 
Umair Haque has called this the idea that some people are “born better” than others.  That could be reinforced by clothing or body appearances as perceived in those times.

So the idea of “meme” may well have come before the Internet.

The article leads to other articles, including raising kids to be “race neutral” may not work anymore.
Still, I am aware of plenty of “white” families with teenage sons.  No hint of any problems like this.  The key to avoid Internet misappropriation is activities (church, school, scouts, music, drama, sports, etc) in the same real world that keep some perspective.  My general impression in these families is that teens socialize outside of “race” without any sense of an issue. 
The science is simple enough.  If your ancestors lived near the equator, they probably needed darker skin to adapt to the sun. If they were far away in polar areas, they lost pigment (over hundreds of thousands of years and various migrations and mixings) in order to make Vitamin D.  That’s about it.