Saturday, May 10, 2008

The Ghost of Barry Goldwater: Barry Knows Dead and Conservatism Ain't It

Yep. I'm a Conservative. Or a Progressive. Funny how it all boils down to the ability to question authority and laugh at the answer.

The Ghost of Barry Goldwater: Barry Knows Dead and Conservatism Ain't It

There's more...

The Conservative supports the right of workers to unionize and bargain collectively for their own Betterment. But he also supports the right of the individual to eschew forced membership in such groups as his conscience dictates.

The Conservative supports access to education for all and the formation of public services that “form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty”. But Barry insists that these services be controlled at the local level, where they are accountable to the people who benefit or suffer under them.

The Conservative supports free enterprise and, as a direct consequence, sees Corporatism, as anathema to individual liberty, honest government, and democracy. As such we oppose laws that protect corporations from public accountability, specialized tax incentives for specific businesses, public funding or stipends of any kind for business, protectionism from foreign or domestic competition, and policy that subordinates the greater public good for the narrow corporate good.

The Conservative supports legislation that protects people from discrimination, enables and facilitates free speech, holds moneyed interests accountable to the people, seeks equality under the law, and protects the liberty of the individual. But we do not support legislation that treats the individual like dull witted chattel, who must be corralled and trained to better their natures. That’s the providence of T.V. preachers and Liberal do-gooders.


What Hath The Patriot Act Wrought?

Help Tracy Ingle find justice.

Tracy is yet another innocent victim of no-knock warrants and the so-called war on drugs. Please read his story below and take a look at the limited press coverage of the incident. Everyone in America needs to hear about this.

Press Coverage



Reason.com - Tracy Ingle: Another Drug War Outrage

Information About the Incident

Tracy Ingle was asleep in his house when armed police using a no-knock warrant burst in. Unsure about what was happening, he reached for a non-functioning pistol, but began to drop it as soon as he realized who they were. The gesture was too late -- officers shot him 5 times.
He and his family are trying to get a lawyer to fight this injustice but do not have the necessary funds, yet.
 blog it
When there are real Grey Lensmen, we can try this again.

"Idealism counts - but it counts with a sword"

Who Pays As They Wait For Our Ideals? by Anthony McCarthy 

The all or nothing fixation, the worst kind of this idealism, is a form of self-satisfied preening. It has been with us for as long as one leftist could attain personal status by being the most leftist in the room. It has helped lead us into the disaster we find ourselves in today. And it has produced nothing. Nothing. Rigid, uncompromising and insistent idealism is sterile and useless in the real world. It would be better to call it what it really is, vanity.
 blog it
Everything said here is just as correct when speaking of the US Right.

Pit the two against one another and you have the perfect conditions for a civil war, for many of the same reasons that led Jefferson to predict the First.

Pheonix Feeley wins $29000 for topless bust

clipped from people.tribe.net

Daily News June 17, 2007

New Yorker Jill Coccaro, who goes by name Phoenix Feeley has banked $29K for her false arrest. (Photo Courtesy Istock.com)
 blog it
Her bust can be validated, but the ARREST could not be - as it happens to be legal to be topless in NYC.

Of course, the cops roughed her up and took her in for a mental checkup before the DA gave them the embarrassing news.

Patience; under reconstruction

Just in case you were about to bellow:

Major Malfunction T-Shirt shirt



I got sick enough of my earlier template that I bit my lip and started work on redoing the site. This is probably the only post for today...

[Update: AAAAGGHHH!!!! ]

Major Malfunction T-Shirtby webcarve Get this custom shirt at Zazzle

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The invisible hand is caught in a reacharound.

Lets see what that invisible hand is up to today | hell's handmaiden: "The story, the day the music died, is a sad tale of corporate shenanagins and consumer pain. Read the article and ask yourself, “Where exactly is that invisible hand in all of this?”

The answer I’d like to propose is that it doesn’t exist. It isn’t there, not in the way that most of your hard right free market proponents need it to be. Ponder. I’m going to leave it at that for now, though if you wondering why I claim to not bash Smith but only the right wing twits who never read him: Smith “made it clear in his writings that quite considerable structure was required in society before the invisible hand mechanism could work efficiently.” The twits tend to forget that ‘considerable social structure’ part and head straight for ‘get the government the hell out of everything’ thus creating what I like to think of as a government so minimal that it stops working."
As I've dryly noted here and there, now and again, I'm a great believer in the free market. And some day I'd like to try it for myself to see how it works.

In fact, Smith was pretty firm on that, that considerable "market intervention" was required to keep the market from being "cornered." Proponents of "lazez-fair" regulation see no problem with that - or apparently milk and gas hitting the four dollar mark.

There can be no individual liberty if we are reduced to slavery in effect by economic means. And that has always been the preferred option - serfs are ever so much easier to maintain than slaves. Worse yet, one has legal obligations toward slaves.

So, as a libertarian, I'm pro choice (as the gag goes, on everything), pro fair trade, pro social justice, pro infrastructure, pro just-big-enough-government and pro REAL , fair and free markets.

The closest thing that we have ever had is the Web, by the by, and you can tell that the Faux Libertarians are doing their damnedest to turn it all into AOHell.

Isn't it odd that in order to be that sort of Libertarian, you have to both deny your own individuality while also denying the possibility that individual definitions of value and reward might apply?

At this point you may wonder why I don't just call myself a Liberal and be done with it. Re-read the above paragraph and substitute the word "liberal."

Having the wrong thing done unto me for the wrong reasons under the delusion that it's possible to meaningfully calculate "the greatest good of the greatest number" in most areas of social policy leads inevitably to the struggle over the right to choose what "blessings" we will receive.

Oddly, it seems that the same people who decry regulation - are all too willing to advise "prudent" intervention when Liberals are in power.

Meditating on "Postie" ethics.

For Sale t-shirt shirt

For Sale t-shirt by webcarve
Get this template driven custom shirt at Zazzle
and put YOUR reputation up for bid!

There is another side to the Google Spanking story. I stumbled across the exact sort of blogger that I'd consider to be a problem, and his response to being considered the problem.


From the small biz blog.

It's true. I guess my blog just isn't good enough for them.

WordPress told me to get out of Dodge; that they didn't want my scummy blog soiling their servers.

According to them, a blog that promotes online businesses, products and information is against their terms of service, labeling all blogs of this sort "Get Rich Quick" blogs. Exactly how is WordPress doing business? Online, isn't it? Pot, kettle, black.

Take your biz and shove it, WordPress!

Anyone else had any bad experiences to report with WordPress?

Regards,

Tony
My first thought was, "what part of terms and services did you not understand?" I've looked into Wordpress. It's a teense fascist in some ways. Blogger is a lot looser in letting you do your thing. What you want to do should dictate the services you use, especially if you aren't paying for the services. The idea is to perform a service of value in order to get paid, not to get paid for creating nothing of value using stolen bandwidth. (This is why Blogger gets the top bar on my site. Bind not the mouth of the kine that treadeth the grain.)

I use Blogger because I like the interface and because I write controversial things from time to time - and have suffered DNS and hack jobs as a result. I'm not an IT guy, and Google has some of the smartest people in the world making and interface that allows even an idiot to create a professional-looking blog.

And clearly they do. See above. WordPress - and this is just an impression, folks - seems to think of it's users as an unfortunate necessity, and certainly a resource that needs weeding. Well, I can understand both viewpoints.

And frankly, were it my servers, I would have done the same. The "small business blog" above is not just spam. It is "make money fast spam." Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam... and it is embarrassing to me that they are a "featured blog" on Pay Per Post today. That is a problem. If they are featured, people think I'm doing what they do. Worse yet, potential advertisers will look at the featured site - and run like hell!

You see, I approach a paid post as being content, first and foremost. I'm attaching my name to it, after all, and my credibility is simply not for sale. At least, not that cheaply.

But I do have to consider the fact that in choosing to take paid posts, people will assume that I do it in the same way and for the same reasons. Worse yet, I have a feeling that this "postie" gets the juicy offers while I'm down in the five to ten dollar range, after the massive Google Spank.

Well, if this is a typical example of a "Good Postie" - spank us again. But I think a more targeted approach would be a good idea.

This "small business blog" is simply a scam to get paid posts into engines, essentially getting free advertising. And it is blatantly using a free blog service (once wordpress, now Blogger) to do that. It's theft of services, plain and simple - even more so with Blogger, since that's a Google service, and Google owns Adwords and, of course, Google.

Me, I strive to produce content that's worth indexing. Most businesses suck at bragging about themselves - hell, sometimes it's hard to discern what it is they do. They often overlook the better aspects of their products and services, as well as entire demographics that might like what they have to offer. Well, that's the sort of post I do, if I take the post at all.

Just do a site search for "payperpost" and you can review what I've done for yourself.

But there is one thing I refuse to do, and that is pretend that I'm passing on the good word from the goodness of my heart. My readers deserve that very important piece of information, and I'm not going to lie either by commission or omission.

So, even though often advertisers say "No in-post disclosure" - meaning no obvious indication that it is a paid post, I often cheerfully ignore it - although, to be frank, I'm far more likely to just snort and pass on by. You want me to write a positive article on your business, a hundred words, and give no indication that this turd landed in my feed for a princely five bucks? No. I also want something worth writing about, and your offer tells me that you GOT nothin'.

Look, you clearly get what you pay for. And clearly, a slot on sites like "the small business blog" is going to generate what those of us who learned some of the webmaster trade in the Adult industry refer to as "crap traffic."

"Crap traffic" is traffic that may be overwhelming, but has a conversion rate of under half a percent. Or in other words, all they want is something for nothing. And this traffic is helpfully generated by a class of entrepreneurs (to be kind) that also want something for nothing. Free traffic, or money from you in return for a lot of nothing worth having. Some of those entrepreneurs do sites like this, others deluge your inbox with offers to "optimize your site."

Caveat Emptor always applies. And this applies to advertisers, to bloggers, and of course to readers. "What's in it for you, that I believe this?"

A lot of the time, I click through on an offer only to find some useless eye-bleeding monstrosity that sells overpriced crap to stupid people. I don't take those opportunities, because I absolutely do not want my site linked to that site. I don't use "nofollow" on these posts, because if I'm willing to write about it, I DO wish to be associated with it in the Google Index.

For myself, I hope that you think well enough of me that you would not assume I'd waste your time and mine for trivial sums. What's in it for me is a great post on a topic I probably would not have come across any other way. In other words, it's just like Alternet or Media Matters in a very real sense, but with a kicker: You think well enough of yourself or your product to pay me an honorarium for the time it takes to do the background and the post.

That's an important thing to know. And I think it's important for my readers to know as well - especially when you leave what is said up to me. I'm perfectly willing to take your money and tell you that you have a bad site or a crappy idea. That sort of feedback may be less welcome, but it's cheap at the price. And I STILL get a good post that attracts traffic organically.

But I may be in a distinct minority. That saddens me. I confess I'm not a very social being, so checking out "the community" didn't much interest or appeal to me. If I had, I may well have thought twice before joining - but it is an idea of such potential value to me and potentially of general value to the web - that I think I would have ultimately come down on the side of doing it right. The web really cannot exist without a commercial aspect to it, but in order for that to be properly realized, we have to figure out ways of doing it that are not simply newspaper ads that blink.

In fact - and I learned this creating ads for a local newspaper with knife and wax, while mildly high from the developer solution from the optical typesetter - that the best ads were informative ones. Those were the ones that became regular accounts. Those ads were content that readers who were familiar with a business would actually want.

IZEA has taken a good deal of crap for the fallout and disappointment, some of it quite justified, but I think some of it was simply the fact that they overlooked the necessity to have a much stronger imposed code of ethics. For instance - the two or three post a day limit means little if you have seven blogs, all of them mostly spam.

And I think in part that is due to the fact that in order to make more than beer money, with blogs of average rank, you have to really grind them out, do the minimum, crank out a minimal interstitial about your cat and then grind out another, Rinse, repeat.

Now, I personally want to be able to make money blogging. I want it to be what I do for my career. But I don't intend to change what I talk about or the way I talk - because that is essential to my ambitions and the thing that makes a post from me distinct in it's own right.

Advertisers need to be both willing and able to reward those of us who go the extra mile, and to consider us as individuals with individual perspectives. Further, I think a greater recognition for the value of a post over time is required.

I mean, I don't know if some bloggers go back and strip out paid posts. I don't, but I could see some advantages to it, I suppose, in terms of maintaining page rank. And it's not exactly dishonest...

But then, there's that ethics thing, again. I give full measure, pressed down and running over as a policy. As a result, my PPP posts are approved automatically, and payouts are quick. Once I got into a groove, I haven't had a single post rejected. And in some ways I'm a little miffed, because some of the posts I have written for money get higher traffic than my own, "far more important" content.

But, however they get here, they are here, and I get a chance at putting one of my little ethics bugs in their brains.

I can't do that if I cheat to do it. I do not want someone clicking on a google entry from my blog and going "Oh, crap. Scammed again." And I think that is ultimately the attitude that will separate the wheat from the chaff. And I think that IZEA's "SocialSpark" network will be the forum in which the means to do that will be sorted out.

And no, this was not a paid post. If you like it, buy a t-shirt or something. :P

An Ethical Business Model

The good folks at lifelock would like me to remind you about them. I've blogged enthusiastically about their credit monitoring and identity-theft protection before and I'd be happy to do it again - but that's what hyperlinks are for.

I get a lot of traffic looking for that post. And yet identity theft has not stopped, because frankly lots of us find the whole thing too baffling and confusing to deal with.
For the seventh year in a row, identity theft tops the Federal Trade Commission's complaint list, accounting for 36 percent of the 674,354 complaints received between January 1 and December 31, 2006.*
Now, you might think that having a credit card with what seems like a similar service is the same thing, but it's not. It's generally not as comprehensive as Lifelock's - and it's not really a service to you - it's their routine fraud prevention presented as a service. (Ever had to call your card number to confirm that you really did want to buy a left-handed garden rake for Uncle Joey?)

Lifelock has no transactional interest in your doings, other than being paid a flat fee for keeping an eye on things. Their website is a model of openness, and frankly, I think it should be a research assignment in all business and marketing classes. Very little hype, no weasel words, and all limitations in the same type size as the promise. It's a model of an ethical contract.

And THAT is the point to this post. I don't need to tell you to trust them. Everything you need to know is on their site - including the rarely mentioned but vital bit of information - to what extent they can be trusted.

That extent is one million dollars.

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