Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Job Posting - New York Times

LAST month, Nadine Haobsh, an associate beauty editor at Ladies' Home Journal, was about to resign and take a job at Seventeen, where she had been offered a similar position. Then the magazines discovered she was blogging about work, and her two jobs became none. Ladies' Home Journal asked her to leave immediately; Seventeen rescinded its offer.

"…when it comes to keeping your job - at least in the private sector - the law hardly protects anyone. You can be fired for being ugly, you can be fired for being left-handed, you can be fired for something you say to your secretary. And if you can be fired for something you say to your own secretary, it seems silly to say you shouldn't be able to be fired for something you post on the Internet for everyone else's secretary to read.

Related ,

Besides, there are good reasons employers might want to fire people with Weblogs. Surely it's not great for the work environment if your boss finds out that you are telling the world what a jerk he is. If you're revealing trade secrets or confidential information, clearly your employer has a right to be upset. Even if you are writing innocent content, the mere fact that there's an employee in the ranks who is communicating something to a larger audience can be legitimately scary to companies that are used to controlling the information that gets out.

But here's the problem: Weblogs are worth protecting. It used to be that if you wanted to know what it was like to work for a law firm or a beauty magazine, you had to have a friend on the inside. But now that everyone can publish online, we can get these incredible glimpses into worlds we might otherwise never get to see. People across the world can share stories, commiserate and connect with each other. Potential employees can see beyond the marketing pitches.

If no one was reading, employers wouldn't be concerned. There's a demand for the first-person narratives people are writing about their jobs. There's nowhere else to go to create honest conversation about the working world.

So maybe it does make sense that the law should provide special protection for bloggers, because of the social benefits Weblogs provide. The simplest place to start would be to put the burden on employers to show actual harm, if they are firing someone because of her Weblog.

This would protect the kind of innocent revelations that bloggers like Ms. Haobsh make on their sites, while still giving employers rights if their employees are revealing secrets, disclosing client and customer information or otherwise driving business away. In addition, companies should create Weblog policies that let employees know what management feels is off limits for public consumption.

In any case, blogs may not hurt companies as much as they fear.… "

I think it's time to reign in private sector assaults on freedom of speech.

Firing bloggers is just the latest way of silencing people who often aren't even critics.

There are law suits brought for no other reason than to silence, often totally without merit. What these methods all have in common is economic threat. You'll lose your job (and won't get another). The lawsuits eat up years and savings. You might not (in the United States) get your costs back even if you win.

If we don't stand up for free speech now, we'll find ourselves sitting still for worse abuse to come.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

What They Did Last Fall

By PAUL KRUGMAN“In his recent book "Steal This Vote" - a very judicious work, despite its title - Andrew Gumbel, a U.S. correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent, provides the best overview I've seen of the 2000 Florida vote. And he documents the simple truth: "Al Gore won the 2000 presidential election."
Two different news media consortiums reviewed Florida's ballots; both found that a full manual recount would have given the election to Mr. Gore. This was true despite a host of efforts by state and local officials to suppress likely Gore votes, most notably Ms. Harris's "felon purge," which disenfranchised large numbers of valid voters.

But few Americans have heard these facts. Perhaps journalists have felt that it would be divisive to cast doubt on the Bush administration's legitimacy. If so, their tender concern for the nation's feelings has gone for naught: Cindy Sheehan's supporters are camped in Crawford, and America is more bitterly divided than ever.

Meanwhile, the whitewash of what happened in Florida in 2000 showed that election-tampering carries no penalty, and political operatives have acted accordingly. For example, in 2002 the Republican Party in New Hampshire hired a company to jam Democratic and union phone banks on Election Day.

And what about 2004?

Mr. Gumbel throws cold water on those who take the discrepancy between the exit polls and the final result as evidence of a stolen election. (I told you it's a judicious book.) He also seems, on first reading, to play down what happened in Ohio. But the theme of his book is that America has a long, bipartisan history of dirty elections.

He told me that he wasn't brushing off the serious problems in Ohio, but that "this is what American democracy typically looks like, especially in a presidential election in a battleground state that is controlled substantially by one party."

So what does U.S. democracy look like? There have been two Democratic reports on Ohio in 2004, one commissioned by Representative John Conyers Jr., the other by the Democratic National Committee.

The D.N.C. report is very cautious: "The purpose of this investigation," it declares, "was not to challenge or question the results of the election in any way." It says there is no evidence that votes were transferred away from John Kerry - but it does suggest that many potential Kerry votes were suppressed. Although the Conyers report is less cautious, it stops far short of claiming that the wrong candidate got Ohio's electoral votes.

But both reports show that votes were suppressed by long lines at polling places - lines caused by inadequate numbers of voting machines - and that these lines occurred disproportionately in areas likely to vote Democratic. Both reports also point to problems involving voters who were improperly forced to cast provisional votes, many of which were discarded.

The Conyers report goes further, highlighting the blatant partisanship of election officials. In particular, the behavior of Ohio's secretary of state, Kenneth Blackwell - who supervised the election while serving as co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign in Ohio - makes Ms. Harris's actions in 2000 seem mild by comparison.

And then there are the election night stories. Warren County locked down its administration building and barred public observers from the vote-counting, citing an F.B.I. warning of a terrorist threat. But the F.B.I. later denied issuing any such warning. Miami County reported that voter turnout was an improbable 98.55 percent of registered voters. And so on.

We aren't going to rerun the last three elections. But what about the future?…”

…In fact, the past will be the future unless the invertebrates in the Democratic party miraculously grow backbones. Clinton to Progressives: 'Be Tough'

Be tough, stop whining, speak from the heart, and talk to the so-called red America.

President Clinton spoke to 700 young progressive students from universities around the country at the Campus Progress' first National Student Conference in Washington, D.C. on July 13. The conference, organized by the Center for American Progress, brought together dedicated student organizers to build leadership skills and strengthen a progressive vision through workshops and speeches like Bill Clinton's.

In typical Clinton fashion -- deeply intellectual yet accessible -- he discussed four big questions progressives need to answer for themselves and others in order to win this country back. And as a leader with substantial experience in the field, he couldn't resist the temptation to answer them all while at it. President Clinton shared his insights about the fundamental nature of the modern world, progressive values, the role of government and what changes progressives need to make in their tactics. (Hint: be tough, stop whining, speak from the heart, and talk to the so-called red America.)

Friday, August 19, 2005

The Failed State None Dare Name

“Contrary to the expectations of the early Zionists, most of the world's Jews have not joined their brethren to live in Israel. Of the world's 13 million to 14 million Jews, a minority - 5.26 million - make their home in Israel, and immigration has largely dried up. Last year, a record low 21,000 Jews immigrated to Israel”
Israel is consistantly called a successful state, a democracy with a high standard of living and many proud accomplishments, but it's not a democracy, and its failure is worse than others, because it should have been.

The Zionists expected Jews elsewhere to suffer misery that has not materialized. Over half a century after the establishment of the Jewish state, more Jews live in the United States than in Israel.

The Palestinian population has grown far more rapidly - and Palestinians have proved far more willing to fight - than many on the Israeli right had anticipated. The newspaper Haaretz reported that the proportion of Jews in the combined population of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza had dropped below 50 percent. Many Israelis argue, that unless they yield territory, they will have to choose a Jewish state or a democratic one; they will not be able to have both.

The truth is the choice was made unconciously. A Jewish state for the benefit of Jews can't be democratic any more than a White state for the benefit of Whites. You can have a democratic state period. Hyphenate it, and you have something else entirely.

Jewish immigration never achieved anticipated levels, the Palestinian population has ballooned. The question of the role played by Palestinian violence is hotly contested.

Some argue that the two Palestinian intifadas, or uprisings, from 1987 to 1993 and from 2000 to the present, drove Israel out. Others say that Israel's increasingly effective counterterror measures - the building of a barrier, killings of terror leaders and military reoccupation of selective Palestinian cities - broke the back of the insurgents, allowing Israel the sense of strength to walk away. In fact, both factors seem likely to have played a role.

"Of course terror has a role in the disengagement," said Michael Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Institute, a conservative Jerusalem research group. "It convinced us that Gaza was not worth holding onto and awakened us to the demographic danger. It took two intifadas for a majority of Israelis to decide that Gaza is not worth it."

A senior Israeli official who spent years closely associated with Likud leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic, said that Israelis long had little respect for Palestinians as fighters, but that had changed.

"The fact that hundreds of them are willing to blow themselves up is significant," he said. "We didn't give them any credit before. In spite of our being the strongest military power in the Middle East, we lost 1,200 people over the last four years. It finally sank in to Sharon and the rest of the leadership that these people were not giving up."

Some came to a similar conclusion much earlier. The Israeli left has been calling for a withdrawal from Gaza for years, and even many on the right believed settlement there to be futile and counterproductive. Mr. Kimche, the former foreign ministry official, recalled that when Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of the conservative Likud party was running against Yitzhak Rabin of Labor in the early 1990's, several Shamir advisers told him: "Unless you withdraw from Gaza, you're going to lose these elections." He did not withdraw; he lost.

Mr. Rabin himself said that he decided to negotiate a withdrawal with the Palestinians when he realized how unpopular military service in Gaza had become.

"He said privately - I heard him say it - that military reservists don't want to serve in the occupied territories and while they are not formally refusing they are finding excuses to stay away," Yoel Esteron, managing editor of Yediot Aharonot, recalled. "That put a real burden on the army and it meant we couldn't stay there forever."

With Gaza soon no longer in their hands, Israelis will face a much more complex set of decisions regarding the occupied West Bank. Settlements in distant corners of the West Bank are also being dismantled in the coming weeks, but no one knows how much more land Mr. Sharon and his successors will be willing to yield.

In fact, settlements in the West Bank are expanding, encroachment in East Jerusalem continues.

What is clear, however, is that the internal Israeli logic of what is taking place this week - a scaling back of ambition in the face of reality - could lead to traumatic withdrawals of larger numbers of people on the West Bank.

…. Failed states facilitate to terror. Failed democracies give us rwandas, kampucheas, and yes even Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, propping up a state militarily doesn't preserve or spread democracy. Failure to recognize the fundamental flaw turned Israel, first into a police state, lead to death squads, all because they thought they could have democracy for some, but not all. They staked their survival on it, but their continued survival may depend on whether they can abandon it.

Alfred Ingram…

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Struggling to Get Soldiers Updated Armor

“For the second time since the Iraq war began, the Pentagon is struggling to replace body armor that is failing to protect American troops from the most lethal attacks by insurgents.

Workers assembled body armor made of ceramic plates at ArmorWorks in Tempe, Ariz. Specially treated plates give troops extra protection.

The ceramic plates in vests worn by most personnel cannot withstand certain munitions the insurgents use. But more than a year after military officials initiated an effort to replace the armor with thicker, more resistant plates, tens of thousands of soldiers are still without the stronger protection because of a string of delays in the Pentagon's procurement system.

The effort to replace the armor began in May 2004, just months after the Pentagon finished supplying troops with the original plates - a process also plagued by delays. The officials disclosed the new armor effort Wednesday after questioning by The New York Times, and acknowledged that it would take several more months or longer to complete.

Citing security concerns, the officials declined to say exactly how many more of the stronger plates were needed, or how much armor had already been shipped to Iraq.

"We are working as fast as we can to complete it as soon as we can," Maj. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sorenson, the Army's deputy for acquisition and systems management, said Wednesday in an interview at the Pentagon.

While much of the focus on casualties in Iraq has been on soldiers killed by explosive devices aimed at vehicles, body armor remains critical to the military's goals in Iraq. Gunfire has killed at least 325 troops, about half the number killed by bombs, according to the Pentagon.

Among the problems contributing to the delays in getting the stronger body armor, the Pentagon is relying on a cottage industry of small armor makers with limited production capacity. In addition, each company must independently come up with its own design for the plates, which then undergo military testing. Just four vendors have begun making the enhanced armor, according to military and industry officials. Two more companies are expected to receive contracts by next month, while 20 or more others have plates that are still being tested.…”

…Body armor arose as an issue in Iraq shortly after the invasion in March 2003, when insurgents began attacking American troops who had been given only vests and not bullet-resistant plates. The Army had planned to give the plates only to frontline soldiers. Officials now concede that they underestimated the insurgency's strength and commitment to fighting a war in which there are no back lines.

The ensuing scramble to produce more plates was marred by a series of missteps in which the Pentagon gave one contract to a former Army researcher who had never mass-produced anything. He was allowed to struggle with production for a year before he gave up. An outdated delivery plan slowed the arrival of plates that were made. In all, the war was 10 months old before every soldier in Iraq had plates in late January 2004.

Four months later, the Pentagon quietly issued a solicitation for the enhanced plates that would resist stronger attacks. At the same time, it worked to make improvements to the vests, including adding shoulder and side protection.

Pentagon officials said they had been hampered in their efforts by the need to make the armor as light as possible.

"You can trace this back to the early centuries ago when they started wearing body armor to the point they couldn't get on the horse," General Sorenson said. "We are doing the same sort of thing. You can only put so much armor on a soldier to the point where they can't move."

The new enhanced SAPI plates weigh about one pound more than the original plates, bringing the total body armor system with vest to about 18 pounds, military officials said.

Among the first soldiers to use the stronger armor were the military's special forces, who are known to cut the handles off their toothbrushes to reduce the weight of their packs.

Shortly after the Iraq war began, insurgents began attacking American soldiers engaged in stationary tasks like directing traffic or less arduous combat operations.…

Sunday, August 07, 2005

(Found Below A Review Of Books on Slavery)

Talk about strange… I found this ad below this review ‘Setting Them Free by Adam Goodheart. This is Adwords gone berserk.

“Modern Slavery
Great deals on Modern Slavery Shop on eBay and Save!

…This seems to be good old fashioned greed masquerading as a contextual ad. The link takes you to 263 items of modern sculpture. I guess both sculpture and slavery start with an S…, close enough?…

Friday, August 05, 2005

Forget the War? Many Can't - New York Times

“On CNN's 'Reliable Sources' on Sunday, there was a discussion of 'Iraq fatigue,' the idea that viewers, readers and editors are tiring of stories about the war and the number of deaths. But despite the fatigue, the war continues to force itself on us, with jolting developments like this week's terrible death toll for American marines.”

Can you hear Lincoln saying that a just God might require each drop of blood shed by the lash to be matched by one shed by the sword?

Are you disturbed by our total disregard for Iraq's innocent dead, killed by the ‘insugents’ or killed by us?

America, soldier or civilian seems stuck on the idea that Iraqi's were involved in the 9-11 atrocities. We've totally forgotten that our soldiers swear an oath to defend the constitution of the United States, and that constitution is in more jeopardy from our actions and reactions than the worst a thousand Bin Ladens could ever accomplish.

When you're heading the wrong way it's almost always better to turn around then to stay the course.

Alfred Ingram

  • this is an audio post - click to play
    It's Time To Call It Murder
  • this is an audio post - click to play
    The Natural Talent of a Burning Bush
  • this is an audio post - click to play
    I've Been Interviewed Part 1
  • this is an audio post - click to play
    I've Been Interviewed Part 2


    Thursday, August 04, 2005

    From ‘What Is The War’ Religion, Politics, And Legitimacy

    “From bin Laden's 1998 fatwa:

    The ruling to kill the Americans and their allies--civilians and military--is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it, in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque from their grip, and in order for their armies to move out of all the lands of Islam, defeated and unable to threaten any Muslim. This is in accordance with the words of Almighty God, 'and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together,' and 'fight them until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in God.'

    Clearly, bin Laden advocates the use of terrorism as a means of changing the behaviour of governments: His goal is the removal of Western troops from Muslim lands, and the creation of a single Islamic state throughout the Middle East. This seems to me political by definition. Bin Laden's objectives may be somewhat more abstract and grandiose than those of the Irish Republican Army or the Zionist Irgun, for example, but his objectives are still political, albeit a politics which is completely entwined with religion.

    As to Nelson's claims about legitimacy, I also regard both the means and ends of Islamist terrorism as illegitimate, but I'd offer that legitimacy is in the eye of the beholder. In the view of a very small minority of fundamentalist Muslims, the al Qaeda ideology (and at this point al Qaeda is much more an ideology than it is an organization) and the violence it inspires are legitimate responses to what they perceive as an aggressive and invasive West. This is certainly not meant to justify or excuse terrorism, only to point out that it matters very little whether Nelson or I consider it legitimate. For those willing to kill and die for this ideology, its legitimacy is a matter of fact.… ”

    It's past time to start taking Al Qaeda at its word. Al Qaeda means "the base" and tha's precisely what we're dealing with. Not a base like Fort Campbell or Dix, but base like a B-team whose purpose is to support A- teams. Al Qaeda trains and supports the trainers, provides strategic goals, but doesn't dictate tactical decisions. If we're to defeat them we must deal with them as they are, not as we believe them to be.

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    No Place to Hide

    In the 1990s, the data industry mushroomed. Vast computer systems quietly gathered staggering amounts of personal information about virtually every American adult, mostly for business and marketing purposes. After the 9/11 attacks, national security officials reached out to data companies for help in finding potential terrorists. Now, there may be No Place to Hide.

    Since the 9/11 terror attacks, Americans have heard a stream of reports about new, eye-popping security technologies - tools to rate every airline passenger as a terrorism risk, or to sift through personal data about adults across the country and beyond. How far should the nation go in using your personal information for crime fighting and national security? In this new world, what are the rules?

    There's wide agreement that after 9/11, the government needed to do a better job of identifying threats on American soil through the use of information technology. But since these technologies, in effect, monitor almost everyone, some people worry about the potential for new abuses.
    Posted by Picasa

    The book is unevenly written, but the website and audio are fascinating.

    The book is ironic and shocking. A subsidiary of ChoicePoint helped the republican party suppress the black vote in Florida in the 2000 election. Not only do they steal your identity, they steal your vote.
    con·cept: August 2005