Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Short Attention Span Musing...

During the tumult of the last few days over the FISA bill and the number of Democrats that crossed over to support the imperial Presidency aspirations of Bush, a few things came up that deserve a little attention...

...Turns out that there are more-or-less matching bills in the House and Senate that clarify journalist shield laws.

From The Register (UK) -
US bloggers set for journalistic shield

A US bill that would shield journalists, including bloggers, from revealing their sources has cleared the House Judiciary Committee, an important stage in becoming law. There is already legislation in the UK which protects journalists and bloggers.

The US Free Flow of Information Act protects journalistic sources generally, but does include several exceptions regarding terrorism, national security, imminent death and trade secret leaks.

However, there is a gap in the proposal that is far more relevant to most bloggers than those exceptions, exceptions that most of us will never have to worry about. More from the article -
The modified bill which passed the committee on 2nd August included a provision that limits its protections to those who make "financial gain or livelihood" from their journalism.

This essentially means that most individual bloggers, who may make a small income from Google adverts, seem unlikely to get protection – though this will depend on how broadly the courts interpret "financial gain".

Maybe this is my cynicism showing, but that 'modification' sounds an awful lot like something that a lobbyist for a corporate media conglomerate would have put in to reduce competition from independent amateur journalists such as bloggers.

Like yours truly, and most people who write blogs.

Note: the bills are HR2102 and S1267, the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007. Those numbers might be good to know if someone wanted to contact their Congresscritter and suggest broadening the protections to amateurs. {hint, hint :)) }

...California's Secretary of State, Debra Bowman, did something that warmed the hearts of everyone who loves democracy, and raised the hackles on Jan Brewer's neck. Secretary of State Bowman decertified the electronic voting machines made by some of the industry's biggest players...

Also from The Register -
E-voting gets bitch-slapped in Calfornia

California's top election official has decertified electronic voting machines made by the industry's four biggest vendors, in response to a report that highlighted their potential for election tampering.

The move by California Secretary of State Debra Bowman effectively bars the machines of three of the manufacturers - Diebold Election Systems, Sequoia Voting Systems and Hart InterCivic - unless new measures are implemented to safeguard against abuse.

Bowen also decertified e-voting machines sold by Election Systems and Software, which didn't turn over source code and other materials in time to be tested in in a "top-to-bottom" review designed to assess the security of all ballot machines. ES&S machines could be certified for use in the future.

There have been hundreds of articles on this topic, but none had quite so evocative a headline. :))

Wonder how AZ Secretary of State Brewer is going to defend her own approval of the same machines from the same vendors for use in Arizona's elections?

The announcement from Ms. Bowen is here.

...Hillary Clinton may not have lost the nomination over the weekend, but she made it clear that she's DLC to the core and not trying to appeal to the Party's grassroots.

A strong defense of big-money lobbyists will tend to do that.

From The Atlantic Online -
"A lot of those lobbyists whether you like it not, represent real Americans," she said. "They represent nurses, social workers" -- here the audience began to boo -- "and yes, they represent corporations and they employ a lot of people." "I just... I just ask you to look at my record." Never, she said, in her 35 years of public service, had she bowed to the will of a lobbyist. But she would not change her mind.

Her speech at YearlyKos may bring in more corporate and PAC donations for her campaign, but donations aren't votes and chasing corporate cash so blatantly will cost her more votes and support than the money she receives will buy.

...Wonder if Nissan had a certain Republican legislator from Lake Havasu in mind when they started development work on their latest car...

From BBC News (UK) -
Nissan studies drink-proof cars

Japanese carmaker Nissan has unveiled new technology designed to detect whether a driver has been drinking.

It includes odour sensors that monitor breath, detectors which analyse perspiration of the palms, and a camera that checks alertness by eye scan.

If John Kavanagh (R-LD8) found ignition interlock devices so onerous that he proposed repealing the law making them mandatory even before it went into effect, what would the introduction of these cars into Arizona make him do, have a seizure??

Of course, perhaps a campaign contribution from a Valley Nissan dealer would soothe his nerves...


1 comment:

appleblossom said...

Senator Clinton is accurate when she said that lobbyists are more than just the corporate ones.

Unions have lobbyists, environmental groups have them and so on. There is a place for them but should they be paid?