Protect the Vote

by Kieran Healy on October 27, 2004

“Gallimaufry tells you how”:http://marykay.typepad.com/gallimaufry/2004/10/protect_the_vot.html.

Ballot types

by Eszter Hargittai on October 27, 2004

Several images and videos have come across my inbox regarding the types of ballots one may encounter at the elections. Sure, these are parodies for the most part, but certainly have a serious side in light of the 2000 elections. Here is one. Here is another. I thought this thread could serve as a collection for pointers to other images and videos people have seen.

Space invaders

by Henry on October 27, 2004

More on the troubled relationship between the Republican Party and technology. One of my colleagues complained to me this morning that her AOL Instant Messenger software had been hijacked by political spam. As I’ve seen for myself, every time she moves her cursor over the program, a loud, obnoxious movie-ad pops up, telling her in stentorian tones about the horrible things that John Edwards and the Evil Trial Lawyers are doing to doctors. On further investigation, it turns out that this particular box of delights has been brought to your desktop by the “November Fund,” a pro-Republican 527 created by “the US Chamber of Commerce”:http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/22/politics/campaign/22donate.html?ex=1256184000&en=e43aec0c1f5c694b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland. Apparently, the fund has spent $2 million; according to the American Bar Association’s “ABA Journal”:http://www.abanet.org/journal/ereport/s3campaign.html, they’re legally prohibited from buying attack ads on TV or radio, which probably explains why they’re spending money on pop-ups.[1] For my part, I sincerely hope that they raise and spend as much money as possible on Internet advertising. If I were a swing voter, I can’t imagine anything more likely to make me vote Democratic than having my desktop invaded by talking, dancing Republican adware.

fn1. The Internet is “exempt from the ban”:http://channels.netscape.com/ns/tech/story.jsp?floc=FF-CNN-Tech&idq=/ff/story/5001/20041013/1547000005.htm&sc=Tech on corporate funded advertising that specifically targets candidates.

A new human species

by Chris Bertram on October 27, 2004

The BBC “is reporting”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3948165.stm that scientists have discovered evidence of a new human species that outlasted the Neanderthals:

bq. Scientists have discovered a new and tiny species of human that lived in Indonesia at the same time our own ancestors were colonising the world. The new species – dubbed “the Hobbit” due to its small size – lived on Flores island until at least 12,000 years ago.

IP filtering

by Henry on October 27, 2004

“BoingBoing”:http://www.boingboing.net/2004/10/27/president_bushs_webs.html is telling us that George W. Bush’s election site is blocking requests from non-US IP addresses. This seems pretty weird – there could be some reasonable explanation (preventing some kind of DoS attack???), but according to BoingBoing the Bush campaign’s media people aren’t telling. Does anyone have any idea what is going on?

Update: “Michael Froomkin”:http://www.discourse.net/archives/2004/10/georgebushcom_not_viewable_from_uk.html links to a “story”:http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=19301 suggesting that georgewbush.com suffered a DoS attack on Tuesday.

Update2: “Joi Ito”:http://joi.ito.com/archives/2004/10/27/wwwgeorgewbushcom.html suggests that the site has been timing out if you tried to reach it from Japan or elsewhere since August. Curioser and curioser …

Our all-powerful media overlords

by Ted on October 27, 2004

James Wolcott thinks that Bush supporters are preparing to deny the legitimacy of a Kerry victory, and shift the blame for disaster in Iraq, by blaming media bias.

Matt Welch has a reasonable response to this idea:

My main objection is this (note: he’s quoting Mark Steyn, although he could have found the same thought from James Lileks or a dozen others):

If the present Democratic-media complex had been around earlier, America would never have mustered the will to win World War II or, come to that, the Revolutionary War.

Firstly, as Steyn surely knows, the press was much more explicitly partisan and venal back before and during WWII, and because of a lack of things like television, barons like William Randolph Hearst (who bitterly opposed the entrance to the war, and even employed Hitler as a columnist) had far more comparative power than anyone you could name today.

As I pointed out in this column back in May, it’s amazing that the same people who constantly prophesize and compile evidence about Big Media’s demise will in the next breath blame the MSM for losing wars, tipping elections, and otherwise delivering massive outcomes contrary to the Republican agenda. They’re either all-powerful or not; I’m putting my money on “not.”

PhOnline

by Brian on October 27, 2004

“Richard Heck”:http://emerson.fas.harvard.edu/heck/ has put together what should become one of the coolest philosophy sites on the internet – a searchable database of online papers.

bq. “PhOnline”:http://phonline.org/index.php

There isn’t much up there yet because individuals with papers have to “register”:http://phonline.org/register.php and deposit their own papers. (Which if you’re a philosopher with online papers you should do right now.) But this will in time be a phenomenal resource for philosophers and people wanting an introduction to philosophy, and we’ll all be very grateful to Richard for putting together such a wonderful site.

Barroso blinks

by John Quiggin on October 27, 2004

In the dispute over Rocco Buttiglionie the head of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso has blinked, deferring a vote which would have seen his entire panel of 25 commissioners rejected by the European Parliament. Barring extraordinary dexterity, it looks as if he will have to either secure Buttiglionie’s withdrawal or shunt him to a less controversial job.

[click to continue…]

That was the good news

by John Quiggin on October 27, 2004

Amid all the dreadful news from Iraq, Australian blogger Arthur Chrenkoff has made it his mission to report the good news. A lot of the time this consists of impossibly cute kitten stories, and those repainted schools we’re always hearing about. But there is some real good news.

And, then, there’s this report on conditions for participation in the Iraqi election, linked by Chrenkoff from Iraq the model

[click to continue…]

Blogging and Blog Ads

by Kieran Healy on October 27, 2004

Somehow I missed this, but “Jason Kottke”:http://www.kottke.org made an “interesting observation”:http://www.kottke.org/04/10/weblog-advertising about popular blogs a few days ago:

Out of Technorati’s top 100 most-linked weblogs**, only 16 don’t feature advertising or are otherwise noncommercial:

Scripting News / Doc Searls / kottke.org / Jeffrey Zeldman / The Volokh Conspiracy / Scobleizer / Lileks / Joel on Software / Rather Good / Joi Ito’s Web / RonOnline / USS Clueless / BuzzMachine / Vodkapundit / Baghdad Burning / Crooked Timber

Lots of interesting observations to be made about the commercialization of weblogs…the quick uptake of advertising on blogs, the increasingly false perception of blogs as inherently unbiased by commercial interests (and therefore preferable to “big media”), the continuing shift from blogging as a hobby to blogging for a variety of reasons, the number of weblogs launching lately that have ads from day one, the demographic difference between the typical circa-2002 blogger and the blogger of today, etc.

There’s more discussion about this “at his site”:http://www.kottke.org/04/10/weblog-advertising. I’d also note that of the Top 100, and particularly those in the Top 50, there’s a lot of heterogeneity. Some are run by single individuals (like “Kottke.org”:http://www.kottke.org), some are group blogs (“Volokh”:http://www.volokh.com, “Crooked Timber”:https://www.crookedtimber.org), some large communities (“Metafilter”:http://www.metafilter.com/) or social movements (“Common Dreams”:http://www.commondreams.org/), while others are commercial enterprises (“Wonkette”:http://wonkette.com/ and the other Nick Denton Mini-Empire[1] sites), and so on. Beyond that, the mix of technology, culture and politics would be worth a closer look, too. I also wonder whether Technorati have changed their criteria a bit: I remember the last time I looked closely at the Top 100 list (a few months ago) the top sites were all from the Suicide Girls porn outfit, but they seem to have largely disappeared from the listing. The presence of sites written in languages other than English, like “this one”:http://nikki-k.jp/n.k/cyber_nyo and “this one”:http://www.interney.net/, seems like a new development as well.

To forestall pointless arguments, I should say that I don’t think taking advertising means your content automatically suffers or your character is corrupted by money or whatnot.[2] But there’s a story here about viable organizational models for blogging. I sometimes think CT is just under a daily-visitor threshold that would change the character of the site. It’s not so much bandwidth costs as our relationship to commenters and so on. The software runs at a just-about-acceptable pace, and the comments threads are generally very good. But more visitors would put extra pressure on all of that. We’re still growing, so maybe we’ll see these changes whether we want to or not. Look out for our crossover deal with Burger King. I’m thinking Whoppers flame-grilled on crooked timbers, with Kids’ Meals containing small plastic effigies of Isaiah Berlin and copies of ‘What is Enlightenment?’

fn1. World’s smallest empire?

fn2. Though I do think your _layout_ does: most of the drop-in advertising methods I’ve seen look like crap.

Take Up the Wrong Man’s Burden

by Henry on October 27, 2004

One for the “Kipling enthusiasts”:http://volokh.com/2002_06_30_volokh_archive.html#85215754 over at the Volokhs (even if the author is a bit iffy on what ‘approbation’ means).

bq. Take up the Wrong Man’s burden—
And stay above the law—
No treaty or convention
Can stop America.
The moral approbation
Of others near and far
Denounce as soft on terror
And cowardice in war.

Via “Maud Newton”:http://maudnewton.com/blog/.