The Reality-Based Community

I know there’s some sentiment in the RBC community that we should stick to our wonkery and remain above partisan warfare. But unless we deal with the meta-problem of the well-financed, fanatical, unprincipled, unpatriotic, and downright mean fringe movement that has succeeded in taking over one of our two political parties and creating a media echo-chamber that isolates not only its ignorant followers but also its leaders from consensus reality, we won’t be able to deal with any of the actual problems.

Harsh.

Transcript of President Barack Obama’s 2012 election night victory speech in Chicago

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.

You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse who’s working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

Wolf in sheep???s clothing: MPAA???s Dodd pushes ???more subtle??? approach to anti-piracy

???We???re in a transformative period with an explosion of technology that???s going to need content,??? Dodd, a former U.S. Senator, told Variety at an industry event this weekend. He added: ???We???re going to have to be more subtle and consumer-oriented. We???re on the wrong track if we describe this as thievery.???

That “technology that???s going to need content??? is true, but the content it needs, and has proved the most successful in engaging the “consumer” is the product of other “consumers,” not commercial peddlers of lowest common denominator entertainment.

Sure Hollywood gets the headlines, Hollywood has always got the headlines, but connection between people is much more important, and has been known to be so since 2001. Andrew Odlyzko’s “Content is not King” showed this:

“The Internet is widely regarded as primarily a content delivery system. Yet historically, connectivity has mattered much more than content. Even on the Internet, content is not as important as is often claimed”

http://www.dtc.umn.edu/~odlyzko/doc/history.communications2.pdf

His example of email as the killer app, is dated, but social networks aren’t. And if you follow the money, you’ll find how insignificant content is relative to connection.

Even more advice for David Shearer

Explaining is everything: Some pundits love to repeat the phrase that ???in politics explaining is losing??? ??? the subtext being that the public are too stupid to understand any complex political or policy issues. But the political science consistently shows that in matters of controversy the public looks to their political leaders (amongst other people) to explain what???s happening and to argue their case. This is something National is really good at ??? Key especially ??? and Labour generally doesn???t do at all, which means our window of political debate is constantly being shifted to the right as National wins almost every argument by default (Welfare and education being the obvious examples). The great exception to this phenomena: Capital Gains Tax. The conventional wisdom was that this policy was political suicide, but David Cunliffe went out, made the arguments and won them all. By the time the election came around public support for Capital Gains was roughly double the level of support for the Labour Party. Not explaining is losing.

That paragraph alone. Always a bit suspicious of aphorisms.

"Chris Dodd is a lying weasel."

We???re not going to mince words. Chris Dodd is a lying weasel. It is hard enough to swallow that the senator had no idea that he got preferential treatment on his home mortgages that saved him thousands of dollars. Or that, simply out of friendship, a wealthy New York man, who was later convicted in a huge stock swindle, picked up much of the cost of a condo Dodd bought in Washington; or that the stock swindler???s business partner out of a love of Ireland did the same for Dodd when the senator bought a waterfront house in Ireland.

Now, Dodd flat-out has lied about his role in legislation that is allowing employees of American International Group to receive $400 million in bonuses despite receiving $173 billion in taxpayer money to keep the failed financial giant alive.

Perhaps Chris Dodd’s outrage is that of one who has served his paymasters well, finding that when he becomes a paymaster, the game is over.

Those who count on quote ???Hollywood??? for support…

???Those who count on quote ???Hollywood??? for support need to understand that this industry is watching very carefully who???s going to stand up for them when their job is at stake. Don???t ask me to write a check for you when you think your job is at risk and then don???t pay any attention to me when my job is at stake.???

Protect IP (PIPA) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are a step towards a different kind of Internet.  They are a step towards an Internet in which those with money and lawyers and access to power have a greater voice than those who don???t. 

It is clear that the step toward a democracy “in which those with money and lawyers and access to power have a greater voice than those who don???t” has long since been taken in American politics.

No wonder ex-Senator Dodd is so distressed that he would reveal these disappointed expectations with menace.