Karl Rove 86

Karl Rove just announced his resignation. Wow.
Speechless. He has brought a special set of qualifications to the advent of unprecedented partisanship and dysfunction in Government, not to mention being an extremely warm and personal friend of George W. Bush for so many years. Who could replace, Karl Rove for all the good he has done? See poll. (multiple selections ok!)

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Online Gambling and the Black Swan

Second Life is a metaverse, dissimiliar to Massive, Multiplayer online role playing games in that it is  a resident-created, and extremely  creative environment that seems designed more for enhancing human communication to profound levels than providing a gaming experience per se. And in which such spaces, Gartner group has predicted that within the next 5 years, 80 percent of internet users will acquire an account therein.

In SL, people assume lifelike avatar selves and explore several aspects of their personality and existence, sometimes those that cannot be explored in their local or state governance.  The enforcement of laws, and the exploration of issues must of first principles be aligned , if democratic principles are held - to those individual rights of the residents. As both David Brooks, and Douglas Hofstadter would recognize, these explorations have political implications. If at present seemingly banal.

Distinct from Role Playing Games, Online metaverses have had a strong history of success.  Fujitsu's Habitat - was the first profitable online space, precedent to myspace, livejournal and many other places that represent a space where people can meet and talk in representational, archetypes of themselves. As Hofstadter writes - the political effects of such profoundly realized alternative conceptions of self are important. Progressive principles, emphasizing the expression of a new and more responsive government, should be tested against these environments in which, Anarchy now reigns. And in which democracy is now tested.

Anarchy does have a function. It is often a better place to start than staid tradition or custom or relgious law. Countries like Iran, where democracy can grow will require some nominal amout of Anarchy as a necessary precursor to an organized and orderly transition to stable, representative democracy. "It ain't what we don't know, its what we know for certain that just ain't so".  I have seen such spaces evolve to democracy and it will in its own time happen. But to abandon democratic principle in any space, whether the blogosphere, second life, or otherwise, should be troubling to the reader.

Good decisions have been made here already. In fact, one of the unique aspects of SL is that it has a defensible and strong copyright model.  That is a model that has captured the interest of many. The defense of such copyright depends on the orderly operation of outside governance to validate it. Real world court systems arbitrate serious matters such as copyright, inventors rights, and trademark. Linden Lab's unique approach is , both protection in the outside world - and to set permissions in-world on an object you create. They  are set forever. No copy, means no copy. No transfer, no transfer. No modification, no modification.  This is a uniquely efficient way of solving many problems the RIAA has today. And in which music and art can grow. And does.

However, just as we explore many sides of our own personality - residents naturally at one point or another  moved to explore gambling. Places were created in which Casino Royale could be the date for the evening.  One can bet a thousand "linden" in a high stakes game, and be on the hook for all of 4$ USD. This allowed for the expression of several forms of play - there were those who had always wanted to work for a casino as a security guard, those who wanted to dance there, and those who are addicted to gambling in real life find venue to beat their habits. As always, the important element was that of radical inclusion and the philosophy of action - , those odd one or two that were there  to try out number and statistical theories had a place alongside the mafioso. No ticket to Las Vegas required. Shaken, not stirred. Please.

And almost as if to illustrate the problems of Governance online, and the Unitary Executive, Governor Linden (the ruler of such space) today almost arbitrarily cast a decision that immediately destroyed several of these places. This decision affects, now,  to my diplomatic count, about 1 Million people scattered throughout 34 countries including the Netherlands, America, Germany, Brazil, and The European Union.

In this space where highly visible political campaigns have been introduced, and where press attention has at times focussed -  for example,  John Edwards campaign headquarters in SL  and its concomittiant  "griefing" - there have been objections. Perhaps the most concise voice in this matter has been that of Wonkette who said "if you don't have a first life, you sure won't have a second one" (parahpr.) - this is true. But Wonkette  missed the intensely creative and radically inclusive aspect of the space; the ability of people to pursue ways of resolving political conflict without expensive litigation or lobbyist.  This  of course put some people in the Washington DC area where Wonkette plies her trade quite out of a job.   K Street will not be rebuilt in Second Life.   but...

..  the Twin Towers, that were struck down in an attack by Al Qaeda , on September 11, 2001, have already been rebuilt and stand there today. Visit them sometime.  (thank you Adrianne D. it was a good date after all I guess.. :-)

And so that brings us to a question - perhaps one on the periphery of the slate of modern issues but that, IMHO holds the potential for being a "Black Swan" - (cf. Taleb) statistically, a turning point or "outlier event" that could have unexpected results. And now, perhaps one in  which a dangerous precedent of might makes right, is now being set.  One in which certainly the voices of residents ne' - constituents are being ignored at the behest of the backroom deal (a mainstay of K street politics - which has a now perfect track record of not being able to deal with Black Swans..). Ask yourself - what would K street do to the blogosphere?

Should online gaming, be allowed, in such spaces where micropayment and the existence of tradeable currency is in many ways symbolic?   Where gambling is a form of expression?

I believe such questions and actions, are similiar to the net neutrality issue at least insofar as it is related to the rights of individuals to get what they paid for (IE, when I buy an internet connection I am not on the hook for a "special highway" that I have to buy somewhere else). Forms of expression such as blogging have been prohibited by some countries.  A new wikipedia-like system will soon be introduced that will allow people to leak documents about there government.  Expression seems to the key here, and the similiarity to these issues relates largely to the simple representational aspect of it. Would you want a site where you can sneak a peek on leaked government documents? How about a place where you could play-gamble?  A blog where you could rant about your job without fear of reprisal from the CEO? They are related by concepts of self. And of your own rights, as an individual. And they relate the underpinnings of government itself. Soo.... thats why I think the question is relevant.  One can never be sure one has truly found an outlier event, until later. Only the best of the best can spot them before them happen. That might not be me.

The question is to you.  What do you think?

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Bill Richardson/ Debate Performance

In the debate last night, as in the debates before - a central issue dominated the entire debate. The single most important factor in the newly awakened American perspective on the differences between the parties - and in which representative government holds its greatest test.

With a majority of Americans opposing the war in Iraq, and with the Iraqis themselves currently stating by a margin of three to one, that Americans should be completely out of Iraq - Bill Richardson again , to my mind, laid the one clear perspective on how to get out of Iraq. Simply. Leave.

I believe we can debate about that sort of thing for months. Other candidates proposed a brigade a month, or some form of residual forces.

It took America almost no time at all to push an invading force into Iraq. The distinction between "bringing them home" and withdrawing them to staging areas outside of the border should be called into play.  Richardsons plan to get them out of Iraq is the most effecient and best use of our resources and represents a radical break with previous and failed American foreign policy.

I know what you're going to say to this post. You're going to say.. so... what makes you think he has what it takes to be president.


Seriously. Did anyone else besides me think Bill did ok?

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Bill Richardson : Dark Horse Rising

Bill Richardson in the latest New Hampshire polling has now risen into the first tier, though still well behind the obama/clinton juggernaut in terms of percentages.

When Bill first threw his name in the hat I posted that he's the best qualified of them all. The brilliance of his ads aimed at playing to that strength, are paying off slowly and steadily.

Obama and Clinton are easily and far and away headed to the nomination. Edwards in the latest poll, seems to have slipped.

Americans, however, love a horse race. Here's what I have to say about Bill Richardson. He won't stop . As much as he's been steadily gaining, and the fundraising support he's getting from states like California - he will not stop. He is going to be a strong finisher + IMHO holds uniquely among all the candidates, the ability to carry the south and its many electoral votes as well as, we have seen here, rise up in the eyes of the New Hampshiremen.

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Richardson in Second Place / Town Hall

Its amazing to note that Bill Richardson, in the short space of three months of a positive cash flow financed campaign, has somehow made it to second place in the moveon.org members town hall.

Moveon.org is one of the most powerful and influential organizations in the United States, with the largest member base of almost any organization.  It is a radically progressive organization that centers its focus on rational governance, including opposition to the war of Iraq, healthcare, and adequate civil liberties.

Bill Richardson has vaulted from a second tier candidate, in this poll, to a first tier contender. Those of us who knew him from New Mexico knew he would do this all along.

He is the official dark horse of this race. And now, its official that he's in the hunt.

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Red State: Let it Bleed

Red states are bleeding cash from the GOP. Less than two months ago, ,the Democratic party in the state of Georgia raised 3 for ever 2 dollars the GOP raised; in a state where 76% of registered voters, voted Republican in the last presidential election. Recent stats show the Democratic field gaining an even bigger advantage.

The southern strategy has failed? No. Voter apathy is rampant amongst this bloc. They see Hillary as Mrs. Oral sex. They ignore the rest of the field, and complain about the GOP. They are unaligned.

The strategy to play to the lower end by painting the GOP as the party of the cash elite, the one that has all the money - has collapsed. If the democratic state parties choose to embrace a progressive agenda, and possibly call the GOP to the floor on the ideal that this sort of trickle down future is going to play to workers rights, then maybe the unions and the dems have a chance here. Lots of electoral votes in the south.

This is just a thought.  But at present the Dems are not really talking about how at least in this state, they're outraising the GOP. As usual we're written off.  Let it bleed.

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Richardson's Gambit

I have been quietly dawning Richardsons full withdrawal plan , here in the land of the conservative white man. Lo and behold he's got traction even amongst the reddest of redneck red states. Thats to me, quietly amazing and represents a great gambit that richardson can take.

The red states are begging for hillary to run, and be the candidate -first and foremost. The billboards are printed, the flyers are out there. They want hillary.  And they've already de-tuned the population against her. It is a huge uphill battle for Hillary in the red states.

But Bill Richardson is a dark horse and when people learn he's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize four times, he was an UN Ambassador, a Secretary of Energy - they stop and listen. And then, most importantly, when the red staters hear that Bill's plan is to bring all the troops back - at a specific and firm date , where we bring all of America's weight to bear on the newly formed Iraqi government to take over and step in, just as we did in Afghanistan (to a great extent) - its hitting home with joe six pack and thats huge down here. Georgia is 17 electoral votes (I think), Florida  is being influenced by the elite of Atlanta. The whole of south carolina wrests in a hugely conservative bloc that has all but officially declared that they are up in the air and looking on both sides of the aisle.

Its not conservative credentials that, to my view, comprise the weight of Richardson's gambit - its his diplomatic and executive credentials - throw that into the hat, and we just might see Bill coming out a winner. I am frankly surprised at the traction Bill is gaining, and I for one,  believe that there is fertile ground in Atlanta for Bill to plow.   And whats even more interesting is that - a person I know who is connected to the Edwards campaign openly speaks of bill to be a great choice for VP.   What to my mind makes the game all the more interesting is what seems to be the natural conversation flow, that follows a statement like "He's my second choice. I think he'd make a great VP".  You almost always tend to get the following ...

  • He'd make a great Secretary of State

  • He'd be an Awesome Cabinet Member for Dept. of Energy

  • He could be really effective as a mid East Diplomat

As it dawns on me, personally - that the real weight of the Iraq problem - as long as we don't essentially cede both Iran and Iraq to the European Union,  is diplomatic in Nature, involving a balance of Power with Turkey (re: Kurdistan) and the forces of Iran and Saudi Arabia, and even to a lesser extent Syria and perhaps Israel - when you take all that together, those are the countries that could really press Iraq into a configuration that works. Right now, corruption is institutionalized in the Iraqi constitution (ministers caught taking bribes can legally pay ministers above them to dismiss the investigation) - and two stunning statistics - 70% of Iraqi citizens feel America should not be there in their country, and a full 60% of Iraqi citizens consider the option of murdering Americans to make them leave, a valid and acceptable choice.

Its not my intent to make this a Bill Richardson love fest. His "interview" ads sort of really brought out alot about what I had been saying much before the race started heating up, regarding his qualifications. When we discussed the race tonight, and as I warm up to get involved - I really want to hear the different viewpoints. Some believe its like going into your girlfriends home and bringing your kids, and then , the idea of complete withdrawal akin to messing up her home and not fixing it, you know - sort of trashing the place and not cleaning up after ourselves. A kind of rude and unacceptable thing.  I am politically quite an independent although the Democrats have given me no reason whatsoever to desert them, and what I want to know, as, over the years I am now finding myself quite willing to cast my lot with them (I am told people stay democrats for life) - what of Bill Richardson, if he were the democratic party's de facto leader, would make him any better than some of the other candidates?  What are his weak points? Could his solution really work? All I know is that there is something both profound and , if you will, slightly amusing that there exists a candidate who could also be his own cabinet if he were so appointed. >:)

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Liquid Coal

The last few days or so, a friend I met in 2nd life pointed me to a book that she wanted me to read called "The Princess Trilogy" by Jean Sasson. Now, this book doesn't paint the Saudi Arabians in too nice of a light. In fact, its a true story and its kind of shocking. But what was interesting was, that this book is a bestseller and it is so difficult to find.

First, I couldn't find it at the big book sellers. Then I couldn't find it in the rare book sellers. I live in a city where there is 3 million people. No one. Finally I found one of the three volumes on a bookshelf near where I live.

Liquid coal is another solution to the energy problem. But isn't it just possible that this is another red herring, laid down by the Saudi interests in our government - to keep people miling about and purchasing their oil?    People have seen the electric car killed off, they pay too much for hybrids, and american auto manufacturers, even to the point of driving them to near bankruptcy - continue to make gas guzzling cars that people really would prefer not to drive. Tokyo seems to be free of the grip of the Saudi lobby, and they are home to the worlds largest and most profitable automaker , that continually turns out green cars. America seems to struggle with the alternatives, hydrogen, hybrids, ethanol, electrics and now coal?

The bookstores I went to , were huge. There were thousands of books. I am beginning to wonder if the matrix has us. Liquid coal, to me, seems to be .. just short of a joke. Throwing more pollution in the air? Am I wrong? Will this be something that will be a bad move?  I have learned from a long time ago that
one of the ways that bad people win the game is to rig it. Suppose liquid coal is just another dodge, like trash books that eventually end up in the bargain bin while the controversial books that would ask of us a bit more than docile submission - are 'special order only'.  

Is liquid coal a shill for the saudis? Will it die, because it is made to die , as a possible source of fuel. Or is it for real? Can someone help me with this. I can't seem to put the pieces together..

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Ground Support for Edwards Move on Spectrum

Moveon.org and Edwards yesterday got the ball rolling with the public licensure of spectrum for use in internet access and quite possibly a myriad of other applications which have not yet arisen. The effect of the allocation of this new block of very high priced real estate (communications speaking) will be severalfold but one major effect it will have is (in this writers semi-learned opinion) to heal the Rift between the various standards, as well as the actions of the telcos, that have resulted from the landmark 1996 deregulation of their industry. America still lags behind other countries as a result - and the proposed FCC move goes a long way to pushing America forward in her move to become a leader in the wireless space. BTW we have a large market, and are a large consumer of broadband but unlike Japan, who invested in tower strength early on, America still has spotty coverage, competing and non compatible standards beneath, between and behind. Rural areas, for example, sometimes get better access than metro. Philadelphia, for instance, had an odd situation with Verizon stopping the city from laying out a metro wide , wireless hot spot. Google wants to make free wireless access available to everyone in the Bay area... things like this will go forward
if the FCC decides the spectrum in our favor.

So this post, the purpose of it - is simple - to support John Edwards and Moveon - I thought here I could collect the activist links and what you can do to help so it could be a resource for anyone who wanted to stand up for, really, basically , net neutrality and the move to have better internet access.

What else? Don't know  but I thought maybe throwing this diary on would be a good start to getting back into it. BTW I have made political mistakes in the past,  I post at the mercy of the myDD administration but this is one issue I think that unites and does not divide.  And is obviously the right way to go. Lets get broadband everywhere. One day its really going to be important. Things  - like Microsofts 'surface' are coming along that are going to change everything  - and if we're set up properly - we can easily lead again. After all, didn't america invent the telephone? Seems a shame to watch other people more or less re-invent the cellphone and wireless. Don't you think so?

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