Monthly Archives: May 2006

Still around, just not here

I’ve been busy at work, on Philly Future, and most importantly, at home these past few weeks. Being away from paradox1x has been refreshing, and in a way, illuminating.

paradox1x is going to evolve into something more personal, for friends, family, and those who need to know about me and things I am involved in. In short – a personal home page with blog. The majority of my news and tech related writing will be shared at Philly Future.

Catchyas around.

Listen to the new “silent majority”

Read Will Bunch’s terrific post for a breath of fresh air:

…The Democrat’s positions are very much in the majority — a new kind of “silent majority” that leans to center-left as opposed to Nixon’s center-right grouping.

They are not the people posting multiple diaries on blogs like Daily Kos, or obsessing over the latest doings inside the Beltway — as you probably do if you’re reading this. They’re too busy making a modest living.

They are, instead, the people that we see so often when TV or radio tries some rare “man on the street” reporting — bashing the war in Iraq or asking the government to stay out of their bedroom, and occasionally getting funny looks from reporters who fail to realize just how “mainstream” these points of view actually are.

They are cab drivers and nurses, waitresses and insurance agents. They don’t read blogs but most of them vote — and so it’s why the Democrats got the most ballots for president in 1992, 1996, and 2000, and came within an eyelash of ousting “a war president” in 2004.

The things that this “silent majority” believes may not boil down easily to a single word or a short soundbite, but they are common sense ideals, and truly American. And so they believe in family values and probably in a God as well, but not in the government intruding on their private lives, let along reading their emails. They believe in a strong defense, but not in wars that America starts first. They believe in free-market capitalism, as long as rich people pay their fair share and the environment is protected.

True, in many ways they are a different “silent majority” from the one that elected Richard Nixon in 1968. Times have changed. America is both more diverse and — Lou Dobbs and his noisy minority of fanatics notwithstanding — tolerates more diversity.

And so they are all around you, and yet this “silent majority” is able to hide in plain sight, not just from the news media but even from the leaders of the Democratic Party, the partisans who would seem best positioned to represent them in D.C.

And so we watch a Democratic Party that is splitting itself in two, arguing what’s the real message and what’s the best way to woo over a mass of people who might very well tell you — if you would just listen — that “you had me at ‘hello.’” And we guess there will always be debates over strategy and tactics — that’s why consultants and even a few bloggers get paid the big bucks.

But at the end of the day, should it really be hard for a Democrat like Sherrod Brown to win in 2006?

Everyone should just stop yelling for a moment…and listen to your silent majority.

U.S. has second worst newborn death rate in modern world, report says

If you are pro-life, then it’s this that should concern you: CNN.com:

American babies are three times more likely to die in their first month as children born in Japan, and newborn mortality is 2.5 times higher in the United States than in Finland, Iceland or Norway.

…The “Mothers’ Index” in the report ranks 125 nations according to 10 gauges of well-being — six for mothers and four for children — including objective measures such as lifetime mortality risk for mothers and infant mortality rate and subjective measures such as the political status of women.

Charles MacCormack, president and CEO of Save the Children, said the report card “illustrates the direct line between the status of mothers and the status of their children.”

“In countries where mothers do well, children do well,” he said in a written statement accompanying the report.

…As Americans celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, “5,000 mothers will mourn the loss of the newborn they bear that very day in the developing world,” said Anne Tinker, director of Save the Children’s Saving Newborn Lives initiative.

“All children, no matter where they are born, deserve a healthy start in life,” Melinda Gates wrote in a foreword to the report, which was funded in part by the foundation she runs with her husband, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates.

…The report highlights the three areas it says have the most influence on child well-being: female education, presence of a trained attendant at birth and use of family planning services.

Educated women, the report said, are more likely to marry and give birth later in life, to seek health care and to encourage education for their children, including girls.

The report said that family planning and increased contraception use leads to lower maternal and infant death rates. Many women and children in developing nations, it said, die as a result of births that come at the wrong time — too close together, too early or too late in the mother’s life.

Unbelievable: you must be loyal to the President with your heart and soul

Or no contracts for you! Dallas Business Journal: “HUD secretary’s blunt warning”:

Once the color barrier has been broken, minority contractors seeking government work may need to overcome the Bush barrier.

That’s the message U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson seemed to send during an April 28 talk in Dallas.

Jackson, a former president and CEO of the Dallas Housing Authority, was among the featured speakers at a forum sponsored by the Real Estate Executive Council, a national minority real estate consortium.

After discussing the huge strides the agency has made in doing business with minority-owned companies, Jackson closed with a cautionary tale, relaying a conversation he had with a prospective advertising contractor.

“He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years,” Jackson said of the prospective contractor. “He made a heck of a proposal and was on the (General Services Administration) list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him. Then he said something … he said, ‘I have a problem with your president.’

“I said, ‘What do you mean?’ He said, ‘I don’t like President Bush.’ I thought to myself, ‘Brother, you have a disconnect — the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn’t be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don’t tell the secretary.’

“He didn’t get the contract,” Jackson continued. “Why should I reward someone who doesn’t like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don’t get the contract. That’s the way I believe.”

Now he’s denying he ever said that. More at Google News.

MySpace Launches IM

Coming a day after news of AIM Pages comes word that MySpace launches “myspaceim”. AIM Pages better launch soon, and see some major participation.

Speaking of needing participation, Nick Carr recently pieced together the real new economy emerging from participatory media:

I fear that to view the attention economy as “more than just a subset of the financial economy” is to misread it, to project on it a yearning for an escape (if only a temporary one) from the consumer culture. There’s no such escape online. When we communicate to promote ourselves, to gain attention, all we are doing is turning ourselves into goods and our communications into advertising. We become salesmen of ourselves, hucksters of the “I.” In peddling our interests, moreover, we also peddle the commodities that give those interests form: songs, videos, and other saleable products. And in tying our interests to our identities, we give marketers the information they need to control those interests and, in the end, those identities. Karp’s wrong to say that MySpace is resistant to advertising. MySpace is nothing but advertising.

…Far from existing outside the financial economy, the online attention economy is its fulfillment, its perfection. It’s the place where marketing ceases to be marketing and becomes life.

This was his reply to Scott Karp’s thought provoking take on the question : “what if no one will pay for content?”:

In media 1.0, brands paid for the attention that media companies gathered by offering people news and entertainment (e.g. TV) in exchange for their attention. In media 2.0, people are more likely to give their attention in exchange for OTHER PEOPLE’S ATTENTION.

Karp wonders who will get paid when the interMEDIAries are gone. It’s a good question. I think Nick Carr shared something close to an answer.

Amazing: Will AOL get its Mojo back?

Normally I avoid the hype on such things, but this deserves some attention – AIM Pages coming launch signals a return to core competencies. AOL’s chatroom/profile/buddy discovery system was the first large scale ‘social networking’ app that normal folks used and loved. It changed the way we communicated (remember “You Got Mail?” folks?).

What’s so amazing about this you ask? Well it’s amazing it took AOL this long to leverage it’s AIM user base and get back in the game of connecting people.

Ask yourself how do you discover new online friends and how do they get on your buddy list. Think back to 1997 for a second. Remember how you did it back then? Think hard about it. Come back to the present day and watch a teenager use MySpace. Anything familiar?

MySpace is the the second generation (third most likely) of that system from way back when. That’s why some of the digerati dismiss or even hate it so much – it empowers normal folks to use the web for what they want to use it for – communicate and connect – and it looks messy.

If AOL gets their mojo back – and it is social networking that was AOL’s first true blue call to fame – then the space will get interesting. Yahoo!’s 360 is boring and kinda complicated sadly. Will AIM Pages be any different? We shall see.

Polices? A potential party platform

Read Atrios’s “We’re the Decider”. I think it lists what a consensus of the “liberal netroots” believes in admirably, and by the looks of it, that includes me. Let me add however one thing:

Bring focus to the war on terror – bring to justice those that attacked us on 9/11. Now.

The longer they are on the loose, the worst we look and the more unstable the world. It is rediculous that five years down the line we are still getting video tapes by this gang. It is a sign of just how incompetent and unfocussed this Administration has been.

It’s also a sign of how far too many put loyalty to party above what is important to the country. The G.O.P. the party of national security? After these past five years of a consolidated one party rule in Washington – do you feel safer? Really? What is it you smoking then?