Citizenship in a Republic

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face in marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Theodore Roosevelt in a speech delivered at the Sorbonne, Paris, April 23, 1910

The address can be read in its entirety at the Theodore Roosevelt Association site. It is chock full of amazing and inspiration insight. Here’s another favorite of mine:

Probably the best test of true love of liberty in any country in the way in which minorities are treated in that country. Not only should there be complete liberty in matters of religion and opinion, but complete liberty for each man to lead his life as he desires, provided only that in so he does not wrong his neighbor.

I was reintroduced to this after seeing the first quote on Destraynor’s site.

Modern art was CIA ‘weapon’ »

Wow… via @ssummers “how the spy agency used unwitting artists such as Pollock and de Kooning in a cultural Cold War” A choice bit: “The Congress for Cultural Freedom also gave the CIA the ideal front to promote its covert interest in Abstract Expressionism.”

Warren Buffett on Tax Breaks

for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Warren E. Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

His full editorial, Stop Coddling the Super-Rich, is an excellent breakdown of the current state of tax breaks for the ultra-rich.

Visualizing the Debt Crisis: Layers of Passion and Opinion

Screenshot Taken on NYTimes.com

I love how the New York Times uses user-generated content with real-time(ish) visualization for this piece title The Debt Crisis: What Should Congress Do?

The spread of opinion and the level of passion for each point is instantly visible at both an individual and aggregate level. The requirement that each submissions must also include a comment adds further depth and understanding.

Privacy, Facebook and 170 Options

Facebook’s Privacy Policy is 5,830 words long; the United States Constitution, without any of its amendments, is a concise 4,543 words.

Price of Facebook Privacy? Start Clicking

Navigating FB Privacy (Image from the New York Times)

Navigating Facebook's Privacy (Links to NY Times)

Given Facebook’s release of a slew of developer tools and APIs, providing Web sites the world over with the ability to access the user data of Facebook users and the ever (d)evolving changes to Facebook’s privacy settings, it’s no surprise that there’s an outcry from individuals and privacy groups. The New York Times has published a great set of infographics laying out the “50 settings with more than 170 options” that a user has to work with to control how their information is used.

The accompanying article, Price of Facebook Privacy? Start Clicking is well worth a read for anyone unfamiliar with the issues at stake.

The Length of Facebook's Privacy Policy (Image from New York Times)

The Length of Facebook's Privacy Policy (Links to NY Times)

The second infographic illustrates Facebook’s ever-lengthening privacy policy. It’s interesting to note that the policy has grown longer at the same rate that previously private user information has become public.

Additional Resources

Images from the New York Times

Electoral Prediction: 353 Obama – 185 McCain

I’ll go out on a limb here and throw out my prediction for tonight’s election. As Noted in the post’s title, I think Senator Obama will hit 353, while Senator McCain will gain 185 electoral votes. The odds of my numbers being exactly right probably aren’t prefect, but I think I’ll be close. We’ll see.

Election '08 Prediction

Election '08 Prediction

I created this map with the Pick Your President tool from The Washington Post. It was a convenient way to visualize my picks and tinker with the results of the states that are hard to call (I put North Carolina in Obama’s column, but gave Missouri to McCain). I tinkered with the color values in Photoshop as the original map were a bit muted.

This Ain't Right: Fight the Orphan Works Act

Jeffrey Zeldman pointed out the dangerous Orphan Works Acts making their way through Congress. This act has far-reaching implications for everyone, but the impact is even larger for those who work or publish on the ‘Net. Ultimately Congress is attempting to reduce your rights as a creator (whether you write, draw, design Web sites or sing), by allowing the infringer to make the distinction as to whether or not they tried hard enough to find the owner of the work and reducing the rights of the artist, designer or author.

As noted by Mr. Zeldman, so called “orphaned” content “will be made legally available for use by commercial interests, even when the copyright holder is alive, in business, and licensing the work.”

That strikes the very heart of our society. You work hard to create something, you have every right to maintain ownership and be compensated for that work. If someone steals from you, you have recourse.

It’s Easy to Fight this Law

Luckily there is an easy way to contact our representatives in Congress to educate them on the dangers of this law and to inform them that we expect each and every one to oppose the bad legislation: Go to the Legislative Action Center tell them where you live (so they can match you with your representatives) and choose a letter that you want to send – click and go.

Here’s a snippet of the letter I sent to Senators John Cornyn and Kay Bailey Hutchison and Representative Lloyd Doggett:

I am told that the Copyright Office conducted a study of Orphan Works and that these bills are based on that study. I understand that an orphan work is a work whose owner can’t be located. I am alive, working and managing my copyrights. I can be located. My clients locate me all the time. But that does not mean that anyone anywhere can find me. And frankly, why should the failure of any one person to find me be the measure of whether or not I can be found?

What if 10 people can find me but one can’t? Why should that one person get a free pass to use my work? Won’t that give infringers an incentive not to find me? And why should I be obligated to go into court to prove anything about the diligence of the searcher or the value of my work? What if the same work is found an orphan in one legal proceeding and not in another?

Join the list of groups opposing this bill, spend three minutes to protect the basic rights of those who create what you enjoy.

Your Billion Dollar President

It’s estimated that the 2008 presidential election process will exceed $1,000,000,000 when all is tallied up. NPR has a new set of specials “crunching the numbers with you over the next few months on public radio and on this website.” The specials, and the daily morning shows, which will start in early ’08 are “designed for an audience interested in real dialogue, up-to-the-minute news, global perspectives and engaging conversation on and off the air. I really enjoy the clips asking folks of all ages (including children) and levels of expertise (normal citizens and political scientists) how they would redesign the election process.