Category Archives: Politics

Yes we scan

Today Nancy Scola introduced me to a delightfully quirky character named Carl Malamud in her June 13, 2010 article entitled “Washinton’s IT Guy” in The American Prospect. So impressed was I by her description that I visited Mr. Malamud’s website Public.Resource.Org where I found a link to this video. In this amusing and informative presentation, Mr. Malamud describes his 10 rules for radicals and relates the story of his mission to make “Government Information More Accessible.”

The Public.Resource.Org YouTube channel.

Oh, by the way, in case you are wondering about the title of this post, it comes from Ms. Scola’s article. Here’s the quote:

Malamud, who has made a career of exploring and developing the transformative technology of the latter 20th and early 21st centuries, was eager to convert the job of public printer, which traces its roots to Benjamin Franklin, into an Internet-age publisher. He started a campaign for an appointment under the slogan “Yes We Scan.”


Online activism

This is from an email I sent to a couple of friends this morning about the tendency to forward messages we receive advocating activism to resolve some problem we see as important.

DP> Sorry, XXXX. This one’s older than the other one. See

PP> I guess I want to do something about high gas prices for myself and
PP> friends. This is getting ridiculous.

Guys, yesterday you both sent me the same oft-circulated, but unfortunately simplistic, email, reflecting your desire to do something about rising gas prices.

My goal isn’t to make you feel bad about having done so. All of us have been bitten in the ass by our desire to take some simple step that might make a difference, so we have forwarded a message like that which sounds good only if you say it fast and don’t think about it too critically. I have fallen victim too, so I’m not any more critical a thinker than either of you or than most of our population for that matter. Simple answers are invariably seductive. (“For every human problem, there is a neat, simple solution; and it is always wrong.” — H. L. Mencken, Mencken’s Metalaw)

However, by contrast, this morning I caught the Senate Energy Committee’s 1 hour and 47 minute session on the Summer Energy Outlook on C-SPAN. Afterwards, having been impressed by it and thinking I might write a blog post about it, I searched for it online and found it at this link. It is the first search result at that link, and it requires RealAudio to view/listen to it. It will be available online only for the next 15 days.

I continue to be struck by how different it is to watch an actual news event (typically on C-SPAN) than to catch the sound-byte report of such events on the various news programs, and even more so, how different the actual thing is than listening to the slanted spin put on it by the so-called pundits, from either side.

If you have enough of a concern about the issue you wrote me about yesterday and if you are willing to expend the time and energy to spend almost two hours to become better informed about the subject, I’d suggest this is a good place to start. If not, I understand. It is a rare individual who is concerned enough to invest the time and devote the attention required to inform himself on such subjects before forming his opinion and/or speaking his mind. Since you are both thoughtful guys, I thought you might appreciate this pointer to this resource.

Purple Mountain Majesty

You’ll recognize the title of this piece as a line from America the Beautiful. Yet that isn’t the America I see on this April morning in 2007. America today, if you believe the media, is divided into Red and Blue states. But if you combine red and blue, you get purple. In my opinion, America needs to be purple again, because as someone once said “united we stand, and divided we fall.”

Please take 3 minutes and 3 seconds of your time to watch this video and allow Sam Waterston to explain how Unity08 hopes to achieve the goal of making America purple again.

Here is the link to the video on YouTube.

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If you’d like to see and hear Mr. Waterston’s 22 minute speech to the National Press Club about Unity08, read more below.

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