04
Nov 07

The One Where I Voice My Support for Ron Paul…

Norquist Katrina Government BathtubNot so fast, you crazy libertarians.

Between digg and crazy college boys, the fandom and fawning for Ron Paul rivals some sort of political 'Tiger Beat'.

Although I don't doubt the sincerity of many libertarians, and welcome their splintering with the GOP, the fact remains that some of them, at their heart, are no more than Republicans who like to smoke pot.

I'll admit, there is an appeal to the skepticism of the modern libertarian. Their goal though, of limited government, when taken to its logical extremes, actually results in the outcomes of GOP activist Grover Norquist, advocating the "drowning of government in the bathtub". Mind you, the GOP still wants to collect taxes for the services they outsource and privatize, they just want them performed outside of governmental oversight and be able to be incentivized by them via campaign contributions.

Here is the win-win for liberals, conservatives, and libertarians… Continue reading →


25
Oct 07

Regarding Blog-Flare…

The concept of “flare” is inspired by the seminal 90s movie, Office Space, where Jennifer Anniston’s character gets berated by her employer at a Fridays-Bennigans-Houlihan’s knockoff for not having the required amount of “flare” on her uniform.   The “flare” is supposed to be the equivalent of a sticker filled bumper or the backpack covered with band patches and buttons.   What does it all mean in terms of webculture?

YouTube Preview Image Continue reading →


23
Oct 07

[Updated] College Republicans Bravely Fighting the Muslim Strawman Here so We Don’t Have To Fight Them There?

YAF George Washington University Islamo-Facism Awareness Week Parody Poster It wouldn't be Islam Awareness Week without Islamo-Facism Awareness Week.  Perennial attention-whore and ivory-tower hater David Horowitz (Rightweb), in cooperation with former-Senator Rick Santorum (Rightweb) are traversing the country to make you aware of the Phantom Muslim Menace.  Their plan brings IFAW to 26 campuses with 37 events, with a who's who of wingnuttery.  You can 'learn' more about this travesty of logic at TerrorismAwareness, as if you had no idea what terrorism is…

Those Yellow Elephants sure are keeping their heads down, though.  I see unbelievably low participation in the various IFAW-realted groups and events on Facebook.  True to form, the shrieking harpies and hardcore wingnuts are not blaming their own failed ideologies for the lack of participation, but rather the usual suspects, the librul media, the secular universities, and other terrrahrist sympathizers.  Alas, I see nothing on the RightWingFacebook stirring support either.  Kids today… Continue reading →


20
Sep 07

Mo’ Freedom, Mo’ Problems

I got a heads up from Jarice Hanson (participant bio page), a chairperson at Temple University's (my alma mater, BTW) School of Communication and Theater regarding a webconference at WHYY titled Digital Democracy and Freedom of Speech.

The event looks quite interesting, and it is scheduled at a most-convenient time, 1-2:30pm on Tuesday, 10/9/2007, at the WHYY building, especially for those in the Center City (Philadelphia) area. 

To quickly riff on the subject, I understand and expect this conference to have a very US-centric focus, but I suspect conversations regarding digital freedom, at least as we Americans understand Freedom of Speech as enumerated in the First Ammendment (or don't, as the case may be), will most likely affect other nations, such as those in the Middle East and China, where excessive blocking and monitoring, often aided and abetted by prominent US companies such as Yahoo are the norm.

The excessive use of national security exemptions in FOIA, the circumvention of records-keeping and civil liberty safeguards, and others are all blatant attempts to stymie freedom of the press, but what of freedom of speech?  Despite isolated (although far too many) examples of abuses, such as the recent tasing at a John Kerry speech, "Free Speech Zones" at political gatherings, and arrests and detainings based on what t-shirt one wears, I see little formalized institutional censorship, although we're getting there.

That said, there are tremendous threats to digital freedom here in the US, but they often don't come from the government directly to the individual speaker.  No, they come indirectly, via the corporate sphere, the establishment press, intra-governmental agency suppression , other opinion influencers, ideological bullies, our society-at-large, and our own tendencies to self-censor.  In most cases, all it takes is the threat of a libel suit or a DMCA takedown letter to pull content, either by the creator or their ISP.  As illustrated in the Electronic Frontier Foundation Legal Guide, many of the concerns of online speech have little to do with the government.  You can't really say whatever you want.

Continue reading →


10
Aug 07

Stu Bykofsky is RIGHT. But free speech does have consequences in the marketplace?

AND he should be fired for this nonsense :

America's fabric is pulling apart like a cheap sweater.

What would sew us back together?

Another 9/11 attack.

[…]

Is there any doubt they are planning to hit us again?

If it is to be, then let it be. It will take another attack on the homeland to quell the chattering of chipmunks and to restore America's righteous rage and singular purpose to prevail.

The unity brought by such an attack sadly won't last forever.

The first 9/11 proved that. *

E-mail stubyko@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5977. For recent columns:

http://go.philly.com/byko.

This last 6-years has been a slow-motion train wreck.  OBL is still on the loose.  The Anthrax attackers are still on the loose.  We're stuck in a quagmire in a war of choice in Iraq, losing a winnable war in Afghanistan, and then contemplating opening a third front of the Great War on Terror in Iran (and Pakistan).

I'm tired of staring into the abyss.  In addition to the 3000 lives lost on 9/11 and the near 5000 (3600 military deaths, and an estimated 1000 contractor deaths) in Iraq and Afghanistan, we can chalk up threats to free speech, habeas corpus, our own privacy, and any semblance for advocacy for the middle class in Washington.  We are distracted from true threats like class inequality, our aging infrastructure, precarious financial environment, and global warming with bright and shiny objects like Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, and divisive social wedge issues like abortion, gay marriage, and evolution.

Although Bykofsky takes the easy way out and (correctly) states that another 9/11 would finally unite us, he's correct, but I hope he's thinking of the wrong outcome.  He thinks that another 9/11 would would cause us to put aside our partisan differences to get "it" done – I'm assuming by "it" he means the War on Islamofacism.  But there's danger in these thoughts.  With the right proudly proclaiming that we are safer BECAUSE there have been no new attacks, another 9/11 might have the complete opposite consequences – reinforces the disgust and despair many of us are feeling towards our media and political institutions.

The next-9/11 will preceed one of two outcomes – either the police state, or the beginning of the American Renaissance, where we cast of the dead weight and corrupt institutions of the past and become the America we thought, hoped, and dreamed we were.

Should Bykofsky get fired?  Should free speech have consequences?  Vote here