More Katrina Gun Grabs

F is for FemaAccording to, the East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office has asked FEMA to ban guns in an evacuee travel trailer park (via No Quarters).

But a top sheriff’s official said that while it was a “close decision,” public safety became the most-important concern rather than constitutional rights.

“I’m a member of the NRA and a firm supporter of the NRA in most instances,” said Col. Greg Phares, chief criminal deputy for the Sheriff’s Office.

“But in this instance, I had to balance the responsibility of the Sheriff’s Office with constitutional rights,” Phares added. “I think it’s the right decision. It wasn’t a comfortable decision, but it is right.”

That NRA members selectively forgot that little line ending with “shall not be infringed” once again reinforces my unwillingness to be a member of that organization.

I am a bit confused about the following segment from the article:

Phares said he doesn’t consider the ban on a guns a constitutional violation because tenants can decide whether to sign the lease or not.

“It’s a voluntary choice,” he said.

However, he did admit the evacuees who signed up for the trailers had limited choices on where to live.

“The only problem is a lot of these people don’t have any other options at this point,” Phares said.

If a lot of these people “don’t have any other options”, how can it be “a voluntary choice”?

Your displeasure may be voiced by calling Sheriff Elmer B. Litchfield at
(225) 389-5055.


2006 Campaigns’s Theme: “Don’t Elect the Crook”

Ohio coingate scandalWith scandals embroiling incumbents and parties in over a fifth of states (Alaska, Connecticut, Kentucky, Illinois, Maryland, New Mexico, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin), in 2006 the campaign theme for challengers is clearly ethics (via Political Wire):

Even as clouds of scandal hang over Washington, charges of political wrongdoing have surfaced in state capitals in Ohio, New Mexico, Tennessee and elsewhere across the country, touching members of both parties and elevating ethics as a campaign issue in nearly a dozen states.

[…] However, the fact that scandal has brushed members of both parties makes it less clear whether one of them will benefit dramatically over the other.

[…] “There has obviously been an enormous avalanche of bad stories, many of them revolving around ethics, having to do with the Bush administration. Clearly that hurts Republicans,” Carrick said. “[But] there is the possibility that this doesn’t take on as much of a partisan definition as it does the definition of the ins versus the outs.”

In that case, incumbents of both parties will have to worry in 2006.

This is a cut and dried plan for amazing Libertarian upsets if I ever heard one. Keep hammering on the scandal and corruption of both parties, present a candidate who’s sane and electable, raise the money to run ads and we could win some serious races in 2006.

Previously: 2006: Year of the Independent?

(disclaimer: Stephen VanDyke is a paid consultant for Peirce for Ohio)


Top 10 Weblog Posting Usability Mistakes

Note: this article contains dead links, the url is still in the hover/alt text. Keep the web working, curate content well!

This is a great blogging guideline by the guru of usability (with some latitude for #8 — mixing topics) that all bloggers should follow (via Boing Boing). I think Hammer of Truth actually nails every one of these with the exception of #5:

5. Classic Hits are Buried
Hopefully, you’ll write some pieces with lasting value for readers outside your fan base. Don’t relegate such classics to the archives, where people can only find something if they know you posted it, say, in May 2003.

Highlight a few evergreens in your navigation system and link directly to them. For example, my own list of almost 300 Alertbox columns starts by saying, “Read these first: Usability 101 and Top Ten Mistakes of Web Design.”

Also, remember to link to your past pieces in newer postings. Don’t assume that readers have been with you from the beginning; give them background and context in case they want to read more about your ideas.

I’ve been wanting to implement a “most popular” page by day/month/year/forever, but the metrics can be a little difficult, since a post that’s been around since 2001 may have far more pageviews than one from 2004, but have no comments (and proper ranking algorithms can be a bit tedious).

And of course, this is going to be a helpful guide to help teach neophytes about blogging.


Slouching Towards Gattaca

LITE-U Portable Criminal Booking SystemEngadget informs us of a portable fingerprint scanning machine that makes it easier for law enforcement to book people roadside for the ostensible reason of committing a crime (like having a tail-light out):

Committing crimes isn’t really our thing, but we appreciate the fact that some people have chosen a felony-filled lifestyle, and understand that the whole booking process can be quite lengthy upon arrest. Well the MTV-generation criminal doesn’t have the time nor the attention span to sit around getting fingerprinted, photographed, and cavity-searched (it’s basic economics: the more “leisure” time you spend in lock-up, the less available “working” time you have to spend in the underground economy), so Smiths Heimann Biometrics is helping bring the police station to you.

Unfortunately, they don’t seem to understand the complete implications of another system that makes it one step easier for the techno-police to create national database profiles on average Americans. I posited the following in the comments there:

How long until my fingers are getting live-scanned at a routine traffic stop or DUI roadblock? :(

I’m holding out for the DNA scanners (cotton swab in the mouth) that instantly pops up your identity before people really start freaking.

For those not in the know, Gattaca is a futuristic sci-fi movie where a person’s entire existence is ruled by the purity and viability of their DNA.

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Support the Troops? Nah, Just Bill Them

Robert LoriaWow, talk about literally adding insult to injury (direct quoting Wonkette):

Some would-be patriots wrap themselves in the flag, Bush surrounds himself with people in uniform, and his rhetoric about the bravery and nobility of the American military is flowery enough to almost cover the odor of Iraq War flop sweat.And despite his reluctance to make return visits, he shows genuine grief for the fallen and sympathy for their families. But when he praises those who have paid the “ultimate price for our security and freedom,” do you think he means the $6,200 that the Army tried to collect from Robert Loria? Loria is a veteran who left his expensive body armor in Iraq. Along with his left hand.

The Washington Post today reports on soldiers battles with Uncle Sam, the loan shark: “We’ve sent debt notices while they’re still in combat, in harm’s way. . . For even a single soldier, this is unacceptable,” says one Congressman. Unfortunately, it’s something like 331.

Here’s the WaPo story: For Injured U.S. Troops, ‘Financial Friendly Fire’

Update by Rick Rajter: Christian Science Monitor has picked up the story as well.


2006: Year of the Independent?

Over at’s 13th Floor, there is some poignant speculation that the conditions are ripe for third parties and independents to make a move in 2006 due to dissatisfaction with both Republicans and Democrats:

The current political environment is more favorable to third-party candidates than any time since the early 1990s. That’s when independents Lowell Weicker and Angus King won governorships in Connecticut and Maine, and Ross Perot made his surprisingly strong run at the White House. Today, polls suggest that the one-two punch of Iraq and Katrina has led many to view the Republicans as poor stewards of government. Scandals at the federal level and in Ohio, Kentucky and Connecticut haven’t helped Republicans, either.

Interestingly, a commenter noted that economist Dr. Bill Peirce is running for Ohio Governor (thanks Gaile!).

The cat’s out of the bag that we’ve been soft launching the campaign for the past couple months, and it seems some people are starting to take notice. Next week we’re going to have our first blitzkrieg online campaign to raise Bill’s profile, so articles like this should shine a positive light on the Peirce campaign.

Of course, there’s still lots to do between now and Monday.

(disclaimer: I am a paid Internet strategy consultant for the Peirce for Ohio campaign, so my views are obviously skewed in favor of his candidacy)


LP’s Zero Dues Initiative Under Fire

We got the tipoff that the Libertarian Party’s Zero Dues initiative is being appealed to the Jucidiary Committee on the grounds that it violates the bylaws. Sean Haugh initially brought up the point that zero may not be a valid number and could be challenged:

Many who voted for zero dues subscribe to a logic that since zero is a number, and the range of numbers the LNC may use to set dues is not specified, then the LNC does indeed have the authority to set that number at zero. I respect the fact that they believe they are not violating the Bylaws with this action and so would not accuse them of deliberately flaunting them. Unfortunately they are incorrect.

We’re not going to pass along who we’ve heard has filed the appeal, but suffice to say I disagree with the spirit of the request.

While I am a strong supporter of zero dues and think it is a great way to increase membership numbers (with or without the replacement pledge system), I have to say it would be sad to see this initiative repealed on a technicality until a full ratification can be brought at the July ’06 Convention in Portland.


DoD Wants a File on You

Defense Intelligence AgencyEven though this gets thoroughly trounced each year (and the years before), like a perennial whack-a-mole the, Department of Defense and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) keep trying to sneak a domestic spying agency back through legislature:

The Pentagon would be granted new powers to conduct undercover intelligence gathering inside the United States — and then withhold any information about it from the public — under a series of little noticed provisions now winding their way through Congress.

[…]The provision was included in last year’s version of the same bill, but was knocked out after its details were reported by NEWSWEEK and critics charged it could lead to “spying” on U.S. citizens. But late last month, with no public hearings or debate, a similar amendment was put back into the same authorization bill — an annual measure governing U.S. intelligence agencies — at the request of the Pentagon.

Informants, neighborhood spies, government watchers… is this USSA yet?


Bush and the Boogeyman

homeland security chartThis isn’t news to me, but it’s the first time I’ve seen an actual statistical analysis of the President’s approval ratings versus terror warnings. The crux argument or hypothesis is simple human nature. People look towards higher authority (be it their God or their leaders) in time of great strife… but could give a rats ass about them when things are fine. There is a good book called “The Progress Paradox“, which goes into more detail for those that are interested.

The results match up quite well. Every time the president is getting heat (say for indictments over the Valerie Plame outing) – Al Qaeda appears to scare us back into the corner. If things are getting really bad, the Department of Homeland (In)Security will play with their color coded chart. Oh no, we’re up to orange! I guess it’s not safe to go to the store and buy some pears today. Terrorists might get me.

Of course, those “authentic” documents come into question when Al Qaeda later calls them forgeries. So these terrorists who go out of their way to claim responsibility for all these attacks, all of a sudden retreat when we supposedly stumble upon a letter? This is as stupid as the under cover British soldiers getting caught dressed up as insurgents and shooting at the Iraqi police.

Point being, Bush might say he hates Al Qaeda, Saddam, Syria, Iran, and everyone else we’ve deemed terroritsts… but it’s the best thing that’s happened to him. If it wasn’t for 9/11 and Iraq, where would he be? 9/11 alone gave him a 30 percentage point gain! Bush would have to hand every american a cool 10 grand before he would see a non-terrorism related ratings jump of that magnitude (IMHO).

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Rick beat me to this post by a few minutes, so I want to add that MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann did a great story on this tonight, highlighting over ten examples of strange conincidences between Bush approval slumps and terror warnings (video links). Sayeth former Secretary of Homeland Security Ridge looking back on the terror alert level changes, issued on his watch:

“More often than not we were the least inclined to raise it. Sometimes we disagreed with the intelligence assessment. Sometimes we thought even if the intelligence was good, you don’t necessarily put the country on (alert): there were times when some people were really aggressive about raising it, and we said ‘for that?’

We’ve also covered these weird coincidences in the past. It’s good to see them finally getting some mainstream media coverage.


Desperate for Approval Ratings Boost, Bush Stages Scripted Teleconference With Soldiers

Bush Staged Photo OpAhhh, it may have worked before the internet grew… when rumors that such an event was staged could be stifled before hitting the headlines, but not now. Even the main stream media is catching on to Bush’s attempts to round up support.

Ya see, cell phones and blogs can expose anything in seconds. Eventually, the mainstream media can’t just let the blogsphere have all the fun and get all the stories… they’ll lose readers! So when pressured, they’ll report it to save face. Even Fox News posted an article about it. I bet Bill O’Reilly is hopping mad about that one!

But I can’t blame the man for wanting the teleconference to go as smoothly as possible. I mean, practice makes perfect!

A brief rehearsal ensued.

“OK, so let’s just walk through this,” Barber said. “Captain Kennedy, you answer the first question and you hand the mike to whom?”

“Captain Smith,” Kennedy said.

“Captain. Smith? You take the mike and you hand it to whom?” she asked.

“Captain Kennedy,” the soldier replied.

And so it went.

Then throw in some jokes and some friendly chit chat, and you’re good to go. Except when you get caught later.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: The White House is still adamantly denying the event was scripted. I just love it when they insult my intelligence so blatantly.

Another Update: NPR has the audio of the rehearsal.

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LNC Launches Libertarian Leadership School

I\'m blogging thisI’m glad to see that the Libertarian Party is launching the Libertarian Leadership School (LLS) in the coming months. From the website:

The LLS offers courses and training on a variety of topics ranging from Candidate Training to Ballot Access. The LLS is open to all members of the Libertarian Party. Courses are a minimum of six weeks long and require a significant time commitment from students.

I got an email from Shane Cory asking me to teach the course for Blogging 101 (and tentatively 102 — campaign blogging) which will cover everything from setting up, configuring and theming the blog software (WordPress being the obvious choice for instructional purposes) to self-promotion and visitor growth to news gathering to posting styles, with all the steps in between that define what makes a blog popular. The first class is expected to begin in January, so bookmark the LLS website now if you plan to enroll.

I’m excited to be a part of this new leadership school with the LP and I look forward to teaching blogging to libertarians (with the caveat being that I will be creating more competition for Hammer of Truth, heh).


Cell Phone Tracking

Word comes from Brian J. that the state of Missouri may begin spying on drivers through their cell phones. Now being a Missourian this scares me I mean the Department of Transportation that doesn’t even do a good job fixing the roads wants to spy on me.

The Missouri Department of Transportation will spend $3 million annually on a program to monitor the movements of individuals on highways via their cell phones — without their knowledge or consent.

Delcan NET, a Canadian company, developed the system which triangulates the location of each driver by monitoring the signal sent from the cell phone as it is handed off from one cell tower to the next. Each phone is uniquely identified and the information is compared with a highway map to record on what road each motorist is traveling at any given time. The system also records the speed of each vehicle, opening up another potential ticketing technology.

Sounds like it’s time to blame Canada.

“The traffic community has been really excited for quite some time about the possibility of being able to use cell phones to track vehicles,” Valerie Briggs, program manager for transportation operations at the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials told the Associated Press. “Almost everyone has a cell phone, so you have a lot of potential data points, and you can track data almost anywhere on the whole (road) system.”

Read full story.

Spy on people through their phones, hell why were at it why don’t we just put a camera in everyone’s bedroom. A start of a police state? If it looks like one, acts like one umm maybe it is one.

Update by Rick Rajter: Not to mention a recently granted patent to the NSA (number 6947978 ) that allows for geographically locating a webuser by analyzing his or her traffic and essentially triangulating the position much like one finds the epicenter of an earthquake. Kinda scary. Here’s an article for more information.


Nationwide Trucker Strike Slated for October 31st

trucker rigs lined up

We got the tipoff last month that there was trouble stirring in the trucking industry, with a possible strike between September 8 & 12 (that never panned out). But it looks like the trucker mantra may be to keep on rolling, as another strike is now scheduled for October 31st. From the somewhat dubious source (dubious, because anyone can issue a press release):

Owner operator, Mychael says “The freight rates are the same as they were 10 years ago, yet the price of fuel has tripled. This shut down has been a long time coming and we need to open some eyes!”

[…]The trucking industry is the largest and most needed in the country. Close to 12,000 small businesses in the industry have gone under in the last few years. The average truck gets 6 miles to the gallon in fuel. When fuel prices are three dollars a gallon, it takes fifty cents per mile alone in fuel to run that truck. With most freight rates at $1.00 a mile, ( which is what many owner operators receive, however, a lot are only getting 88 cents a mile), you can see that there is barely anything left out of profits by the time you figure fuel, not to mention, maintenance and repairs on equipment. So how are these people getting their families fed?

Interestingly, there seems to be little organization at the moment, however don’t be fooled, as previous independent trucker strikes have worked well in the past. Earlier this summer, a 1 week New Brunswick trucker strike sent scores of Canadians searching across the border for bread and other essentials in Maine:

see more…

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Bush to Miers: “P.S. No more public scatology”

P.S. No more public scatology

This has to be the most bizarre in-joke I’ve ever seen. An actual letter from Bush to Miers (barely legible handwriting notwithstanding) ended with a strange postscript — P.S. No more public scatology. For those unaware, scatology is an obsession with excrement or excretory functions.

Media sources seem baffled as well, with most reports pointing out a warmer than usual relationship between the two:

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers told George W. Bush in a 1997 birthday card that he was “the best governor ever” and, in a separate note to her boss, said she hoped his twin daughters recognize their parents are “cool.”

I’m not sure if that warmth is coming from a steaming pile of poo or something else, but from now on I’m replacing the phrase “taking the Browns to the Super Bowl” with “nominating Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court.”

Update: Some of you are saying this could be a Bushism for eschatology (the branch of theology that is concerned with the end of the world). Because you know, Bush is like the special kid with the helmet according to some of you.

If Miers is indeed a doom-and-gloomer fundie, that alone could flush her nomination with more moderate Republicans.


Harriet Miers: The SCOTUS Anti-Nominee?

Harriet MiersWe haven’t done a whole lot of coverage of the Harriet Miers nomination for Supreme Court justice, mostly because she seems like such a long-shot, but some recent news has made us wonder just what the Bush administration was smoking when they nominated her.

Half of Senate Republicans are shying away from this blatant display of cronyism (defined here by heading the candidate committee and then getting selected herself), as reported in a poll by the conservative Washington Times newspaper:

What’s troubling for President Bush, however, is that 27 Republican senators — almost half of his party’s members in the chamber — have publicly expressed specific doubts about Miss Miers or said they must withhold any support whatsoever for her nomination until after the hearings.

Things are so bad, it appears the Bush administration has blundered their way into selecting a losing nominee with a majority of the conservative crowd. Glenn Reynolds weighed in with this poignant remark:

More and more, I have to wonder what the White House was thinking with this. First of all, when you’re already under fire for cronyism, and you nominate someone who’s, well, a crony, you ought to be locked-and-loaded in terms of response. They weren’t.

Second of all, they seem to have managed to convince a lot of people on the social right that she’s too liberal, while people on the libertarian-right worry that she’s too much a fan of government power. Third, their response to critics and complaints has been slow and weak.

Our international associate over at Finland for Thought thinks that perhaps Miers is an anti-nominee, and that this is a Machiavellian plan where she was never intended to win and will only soften the blow for a later, more qualified candidate:

Stop taking Bush’s latest supreme court nominee, Harriet Miers, so seriously. Bush knows she won’t get the seat, the Republicans know she won’t get the seat, and even she knows she won’t get the seat. She’s just a decoy.

[…] The plan is the toss a few decoys like this into the mix. The Republicans will make the Democrats look like a gang of partisan assholes. Then after a few decoys, Bush will throw in his real contender who will take the seat.

Whatever the deal is, all bets are off on Miers, even if she were the perfect libertarian wet-dream nominee (she’s not), the administration has completely FUBARed this beyond hope at this point.

Update: Speaking of cronyism, don’t miss, whose slogan reads: “The hottest government careers — for entitled plutocrats like you!” Good satire of the whole Bush administration cronyism scandal.


“Papa Smurf must leave within 48 hours…”

“…his refusal to do so will result in military conflict, commenced at a time of our choosing.”

UNICEF bombs the Smurfs

UNICEF has unveiled a wicked insane commercial showcasing the ravages of war against children, featuring the Smurfs getting aerially bombed (via jwz):

It opens with the Smurfs dancing, hand-in-hand, around a campfire and singing the Smurf song. Bluebirds flutter past and rabbits gambol around their familiar village of mushroom- shaped houses until, without warning, bombs begin to rain from the sky.

Tiny Smurfs scatter and run in vain from the whistling bombs, before being felled by blast waves and fiery explosions. The final scene shows a scorched and tattered Baby Smurf sobbing inconsolably, surrounded by prone Smurfs.

The Snorks — who led the coalition invasion against the Smurfs Village — were quick to point out that they were liberating the Smurfs from their tyrannical leader and from the terrorist network in the northern Smurf forest, led by Al Garmagel and Al Azrael:

“Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom and make their own way.”

“Snorks will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that smurfettes welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any smurf aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.

“… In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no smurf rights without smurf liberty.”


Libertarian Girl Hoaxer Fesses Up

Fake Libertarian GirlEnding the long saga of who’s behind the Libertarian Girl Hoax, it turns out a blogger by the name of Michael over at Half Sigma confesses to that hoax and a slew of others (via Catallarchy).

Why did I do it and why reveal the hoaxes now? My reasons for doing these hoaxes are two-fold: (1) I really wanted a blog that people would actually read; and (2) it’s kind of fun tricking people.

Interestingly, he also ran the popular blog Calico Cat (now defunct), which was linked on occasion from Wonkette. Michael sure knows how to self-promote. I have to give him props for realizing boobs equals traffic, but it’s a shame he’s not spending his time more constructively.


Bush To Veto Spending Bill

But it is not because of the massive national debt it is because of the governments right to torture prisoners. And I was beginning to think he had became a conservative.

The man behind the legislation, Republican Senator John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner in Vietnam, said the move was backed by American soldiers. His amendment would prohibit the “cruel, inhumane or degrading” treatment of prisoners in the custody of America’s defence department.

The vote was one of the largest and best supported congressional revolts during President George W Bush’s five years in office and shocked the White House.

“We have put out a Statement of Administration Policy saying that his advisers would recommend that he vetoes it if it contains such language,” White House spokesman Scott McClellan warned yesterday.

The administration said Congress was attempting to tie its hands in the war against terrorism.

Read more.

I would like to hear from those that were or are currently in the military to know if they support this anti-torture legislation and why or why not that way I can make a more informed opinion on the subject but currently I am saying that when a few torture and go unpunished they make the whole military look bad. I also acknowledge the military is punishing the criminals but I think this legislation is needed.

Update by Stephen VanDyke: Another hollow veto threat? Bush makes history – a five-year streak without saying ‘no’:

“For fiscal conservatives, it’s frustrating to watch,” says David Keating, executive director at the Club for Growth, a Washington group that advocates fiscal responsibility and lower taxes. “He’s beginning to lose all credibility with these veto threats.”


Libertarian Students for Saving Social Security?

Unfortunately, I do not have a link to this, as it was sent via e-mail. Basically, it was a plea to support the Bush plan for Social Security Reform. From the e-mail:

I am the president of the Columbia College Libertarians, and I am working on national outreach for Students for Saving Social Security, the leading non-partisan, nationwide student organization advocating for personal accounts…

As a libertarian, I understand that perhaps you do not appreciate many of the policies of the Bush Administration, neither do I. However, we can agree with President Bush that Social Security needs reform. SSSS is working to give our generation a voice in the campaign for lasting Social Security reform.

Ahhh, the poor fools. Their hearts are in the right place, but they’re delusional if they truly think the plan calls for any “privatization” or freedom on the part of the workers in this country.

Let’s see. Is Social Security a binding contract? Nope. Benefits can be diminished/terminated at any time.

Would you have access to that money prior to retiring? Nope.

Can you invest that money anywhere? Nope.

Can you opt out? Apparently not.

But hey! You get to pick from a predetermined set of stocks for the government to invest your money in… and regardless of how well your picks do, you’ll pretty much get the same (small) monthly paycheck when you’re 65.


250,000 Bullets Per Insurgent

This story has been around for a couple weeks, but it keeps getting picked up… this time, by Free Market News Network:

Annual ammunition usage has more than doubled over the last five years and the government estimates that American forces use 1.8 billion bullets annually. Experts point out that since bombs and artillery have killed a number of insurgents, the 250,000 is actually a low estimate.

Perhaps our soldiers should spend some time in the off season at a paintball range to boast their percentages. Though to be fair, some ammunition is used for target practice. So in combat, it’s likely to be only 150,000 per kill.

But have no fear, our “good friend” Israel is more than happy to sell us the ammunition and make some money off us on the side.

How’s that quote from George Washington go? Something something… “entangling alliances”, etc etc. Baahhh, who cares.


Perfect for that Wintry Rally at the 50 Cent Concert

Anticon hoodie for Hip Hop gangsta 13yo KlankidsThese hoodies being pitched at the new French clothing site Anticon are pretty clever, you can zip them all the way up and there’s little eyeholes pre-cut. From the BoingBoing writeup on what this means for the UK surveillance society (and eventually the US):

Here in Britain, closed-circuit cameras are everywhere: the average Londoner is said to be photographed some 300 times a day. Equally ubiquitous are the signs that demand that you take off your hoodie’s hood or your motorcycle crash-helmet so that it won’t interfere with the universal surveillance.

So imagine the reaction that these awesome, masked French hoodies will evince when they land on Britain’s shore. All they lack is a cluster of hidden, high-intensity infra-red LEDs that can overwhelm the charge-coupled device arrays in some digital cameras.

Surveillance, Smurveillance… Let us be the first to call this thing what it looks like: clothing for 13-year-old Hip-Hop Klan gangstas.

Word life!


Has Blogging Jumped the Shark?

blogging jumps the sharkYou know when blogs are valued at $564.64 per inlink (which makes Hammer of Truth worth roughly less than $70K), there’s a little bit of a bubble:

AOL bought Weblogs inc., the two year old weblog network founded by Jason Calacanis and Brian Alvey, for a number that is rumored to be anywhere between $25 million and $40 million. In this process, Time Warner may be providing some ideas as to the valuation of blogs by traditional media.

[…]Should we now assume that traditional media companies are willing to pay between $500 and $1000 per site that links into a blog?

Not quite. The incremental value is in the size of the network and the underlying tools. Jason and Brian have been working on developing a blog authoring technology, called BlogSmith, that sits at the core of their network and one has to believe that AOL saw some value in the software too. However, one can easily say that blog valuations are going to be easier to make after this deal since it provides the first yardstick in that space.

In which case, the yardstick says AOL got fleeced. Welcome to Intarweb 2.0, milk it while you can mofo.

But in case you thought the blog hype only pervaded the boardroom, you need to take a look at the classroom where one enterprising English teacher instructs his students to create a blog, and one student applies the old and worn essay format to dissecting others’ blog posts:

In English 11, we have been given the assignment of creating a blog. I’m still a bit uncertain as to what a blog is; however, I feel that with all of the technology incorporated into the curriculum I will learn more about the options available. This blog will allow me to publish some of my work and will enhance my learning skills!

Thanks to Joe Stump for pointing out one of her blog entries, a long rambling analysis of his post about Jared the Subway guy:

The Joe Smug blog includes the author’s point of view on weightloss and the success of Jared by incorporating certain facts from a CNN article link. The author gives a personal testimony of his recent battle with weightloss, showing how he is personally affected by the issue. He then discusses two examples of those who lost weight, his college freshman roomate’s success with weightloss, losing 80 pounds in one summer, and Jared Fogle.

The author then writes for another 400 words in order to meet the teacher’s requirement for essay length. Seriously, rambling… AT IT’S BEST! YAY INTARWEB!

If this is how Internet 2.0 is shaping up, I’m more than a little disappointed.

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Ohio Bloggers (Political or Otherwise)

I’m doing some digging for Ohio Bloggers, preferably political and leaning libertarian. For what I’m doing I’ll take what I can get (you know, because when you put a blog on a campaign website, you have to link to other people and stuff).

If you know any blogs or lists, add them to the comments. If you are a Ohio blogger, feel free to add your blog here. I’m pretty sure Hammer of Truth has big ups on the pagerank enough to get this to be a nice list in the coming weeks.