ShellyBlog Shelly Brisbin's life consists of several long tails. She writes about them here.

September 24, 2009

Blog Bullets: Reader, ACORN, and appointed senators

Filed under: Politics and Public Affairs — Shelly Brisbin @ 8:46 AM

Hi again, dear friends.

I’ve been using Google Reader a lot lately. The decision was forced upon me when NewsGator, maker of my preferred newsreader, NetNewswire, went and killed off its own feed-syncing service in favor of a connection to Google Reader. I can understand why they did it, but, like most people, I hate change when it affects me.

I found my old Google Reader account, cleaned it out, and synced it to my NNW stuff. In the process, I discovered the fun of sharing news stories with friends, via the Reader Web page. I still read a lot in NNW, which has yet to add Google Reader sharing or liking to its toolbox. That would be my preferred way of reading news.

I’m reading more feeds, and sharing items with a few people. You wanna share with me? I’d love that. As a result of all this sharing, here are a few things I’ve been thinking about:

  • When all the ACORN defunding stuff broke out last week, I wondered how it was that Congress could strip this organization, which has contracts with a number of government agencies, of its funding, but take no action against military and state department contractors who have been either negligent or downright evil. I mean, seriously! One contractor allowed our soldiers to be electrocuted in their showers in Iraq. Another opened fire on civilians there, killing a whole bunch of them. A third failed to discipline its employees who partied on the job as embassy guards in Afghanistan. And we’re all cheesed off about some dumb ACORN employees? Sure. Fire ACORN, or put them on long-term time-out. Fine with me. But let’s have some perspective here, people. By the way, a Congressman is attempting to push the notion that the ACORN actions constitute a “bill of attainder” and are therefore unconditional. A bill of attainder is one that is designed to punish or reward one specific person or group. And you can’t do that. Honestly, I think a whole lot of the earmark process falls squarely under that prohibition, or should.
  • I want Massachusetts to have a new senator,and I want that person to start work quickly. But this whole revising the revised law to make that possible gives me the willies. It will come back to bite the Dems, I promise. The whole issue of governors appointing senators has become kind of nuts. Did you know that five senators have ben appointed in the past year? Here’s my idea: when citizens elect a senator, they should also choose an alternate. “If for some reason senator Blowhard is unable to fulfill his or her obligations, Alternate A will take his or her place.” Madame or Mr. Alternate could serve in the elected senator’s office, learning the ropes and meeting all the lobbyists constituents when they come to town. Succession, should it become necessary, would be a breeze. On the other hand, sitting senators would need more bodyguards, wouldn’t they?

September 10, 2009

Blog Bullets: iPhone, Fundraising, and Social Media Skills Development

Filed under: New Media and Tech,Politics and Public Affairs — Tags: , , , , , — Shelly Brisbin @ 2:37 PM

Time once again for a very irregular feature, in which I rattle off some short comments about a variety of seemingly random subjects. If you listen to my podcast, think of it as a text-y Lightning Round(tm).

  • iPhone 3.1, the “oh yeah, that” of yesterday’s Apple announcement, features a bunch of accessibility updates that make me extremely happy, and more likely to use accessibility on a regular basis. These are genuinely updates, not new features, but they are the kind of thing you get in a .1 release that shows Apple’s commitment to accessibility that is useful, not just window-dressing. I’ll have more to say on my next show, but the highlights include: the ability to toggle accessibility on and off easily, cut and paste support, VoiceOver access in Google Maps.
  • I think Apple’s announcements yesterday will one day be viewed as the beginning of the end of the over-driven hype train that is the Apple product release cycle. Apple may well have many fantastic products ahead of it. I simply think that a growing number of observers are finding some perspective, and putting the events Apple hosts, and the products it produces into a more realistic context. As a professional curmudgeon, I think that’s a good thing, and will lead to better journalism and reviews, and perhaps even a little less irrational hatred.
  • Democrats have (sensibly) been taking huge advantage of the opportunity presented by the whack job congressman who heckled the president’s speech last night. His 2010 opponent has raised a boatload of money. Before writing that check, will someone at least take the trouble to find out if he’s 1) a decent candidate 2) taken good positions on one or more Democratic issues? kthxbai.
  • I’m no Sarah Palin fan. No. I’m not. But I have to say that if anyone else was managing to get the mileage she has from a couple of Facebook posts, they’d be anointed the next social media genius. This is especially relevant since, like most social media geniuses, Palin is currently without other gainful employment.

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