Monthly Archives: January 2008

The Proprietary Media

I think people are often startled when I, a fairly mild-mannered mostly-establishment guy at heart, suddenly start sounding like a wild-eyed radical when speaking about the social consequences of the concentration of mass media in the hands of a few corporations, many run as personal fiefdoms by hard right figures such as Rupert Murdoch.

I believe that there is a multitude of evidence, however, that right-wing ownership of radio and TV skews content far to the right. And now, alas, we have one more: see Orcinus on what happened at KIRO. Note that KIRO is in Seattle, one of the more liberal towns in America. And it can happen there.

Posted in The Media | Leave a comment

Lame Duck Watch

We seem suddenly to be in serious lame duck territory.

And, can you imagine a major network running anything even remotely like this a year ago? Much less less three or four years ago?

Posted in Politics: US | 2 Comments

More on How to Crash the Net

That the internet is fragile is not a new idea. (Remember USENET? “Death of the Internet predicted. Film at 11”?)

Not surprisingly, Wendy Grossman long ago noted the discussion at CFP in 1998(!), and wrote it up as Buy ten backhoes, and Simson Garfinkel listed 50 Ways to Crash the Net.

Update: And how could I forget Staniford, Paxson & Weaver, How to 0wn the Internet in Your Spare Time (2002)?

Posted in Internet | Leave a comment

The Internet is More Fragile Than You May Think

The internet may be a packet-switching network, but certain paths are in fact critical as they rely on fragile cables. Which break.

Today it's a major Mediterranean cable that's broken.

Egypt, it seems, has pretty much fallen off the Internet, and service to several other countries including Pakistan and India is impacted.

It's an important reminder that while many routes between A and B may be possible, sometimes there are not so many; and sometimes there's only one big pipe.

Which makes wiretaps — and full network monitoring — a lot easier.

I recall setting up a panel at CFP years ago on how one would destroy the internet. One guy described evil worms. Another had a nefarious DNS-killer. And then one fellow just said, “give me a backhoe…”.

Posted in Internet | 2 Comments

Let the GOP Food Fight Begin

The week before Super Tuesday should see the GOP dumping its opposition research on McCain. (And there's so much to mine.)

This anti-McCain ad is in one way quite brilliant:

The Republican base ought to hate this. But in another way it's quite insidious. If McCain survives this sort of onslaught, it may make him more electable by making him seem less conservative.

Is that a bug or a feature?

(FWIW I think that McCain's real weakness is character. One gets the feeling that too many people who know him personally think that he's a wacko; and too often he talks like a warmonger.)

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | Leave a comment

The Ownership Society, version 2.0

Calculated Risk has a graph which shows Homeownership Rate: Cliff Diving.

What this means is that the home ownership rate today is back to where it was in, say, 2001 and still falling.

In other words, most of the million or so families who have been foreclosed on this year are not buying new homes — how could they get the credit? — but renting (if they can pass the credit check for that!) or moving in with family. Or living rough? (Or is that what comes next?)

Posted in Econ & Money: Mortgage Mess | Leave a comment

Edwards Pulls Out

It's soon to be official: after his weak showing in Florida, John Edwards is pulling out of the race.

I guess that means I'm an Obama supporter now. Not that I couldn't support Clinton, but I have enough doubt about the people she surrounds herself with and attracts — DLCers for example — that Obama seems a better bet.

I also think Obama will have an advantage in foreign relations, as he'll be perceived as more of a clean slate than someone named Clinton. He's been an opponent of the Iraq war from the start, and still has a better, clearer position than Clinton on ending the war and removing US troops from Iraq (even though Edwards's position was better still). He's better on telecoms issues too.

That said, on domestic issues there's also much to like on paper about the Clinton candidacy as compared to Obama's especially on health care. How much of that would survive contact with lobbyists and Republicans is the question.

Whoever it was who said that Obama is running as (Bill) Clinton and (Sen.) Clinton is running as Gore got it mostly right. I didn't want either as my first choice; even if I get my third choice it is sure to be much better than the remaining alternatives.

And I hope Edwards becomes Attorney General. That would be something.

Posted in Politics: US: 2008 Elections | 8 Comments