Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lutz Heilmann Makes Himself FAMOUS!

Lutz Heilmann, a (formerly) little-known German politician and former member of the East Germany Stasi, has joined the sadly never-ending roll call of politicians who just don't get the Internet--which, if you'll remember, is a series of tubes. Heilmann accomplished this through an epic feat of killjoyery, by getting an injunction against wikipedia.de which pulled the site for a few days this week over a claim in his article that he didn't complete his university degree (!!!). That's right, apparently he's fine with the whole Communist secret police thing, but you impugn his diploma at your own peril.

Anybody could've told him what was about to happen, but some people have to learn these things the hard way: the German Internet dropped on his head like a ton of bricks (along with the press...and Slashdot, of course), forcing him to drop the injunction and eat a plate of crow.

Apart from not being able to predict the oh-so-predictable uproar, Heilmann is a 1.0 thinker in a 2.0 world. Consider this:
  • wikipedia.de, the local site that the court injunction pulled, isn't actually the German Wikipedia site, but a search engine which passes you off to the main pages. Technically, it's the only site he could act on, since de.wikipedia.org operates under Florida jurisdiction, just like the rest of the Wikipedia family.
  • Any Wikipedian can tell him that you don't kill a negative article through the court system; you kill it by getting an aide to edit it on the sly for you. Apparently Heilmann actually tried that, but the edits were traced directly to the Bundestag building, which is pretty damn weak. What part of the Stasi did you work for again?
  • Instead of the expected search page, German users were greeted not only with the bad news, but an invitation to make a monetary donation to Wikimedia Deutschland. As a result, the contributions spiked roughly 500% over the weekend. Great job!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Something we can all get behind

Today, in lieu of the expected political post: PUPPIES!



From The Guardian: "Puppy cam has notched up 2,464,939 views as I write this. But enjoy it while it lasts because Autumn, Ayumi, Amaya, Aki, Akoni and Ando reached their five-week birthday on Tuesday - and that means there's only three weeks before the puppies leave the nest." Which only goes to show, if you can't be amazing at what you do, you can still become Internet-famous by being uncontrollably adorable.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Adventures In Not Checking Your Facts Before Opening Your Big Mouth

Have you been caught spreading a story about how Joe Wurzelbacher was a relative of Charles Keating? Or more recently that Sarah Palin thought Africa was a country? Those charming yarns that seemed too good to be true?

Well, this is a good news/bad news day for you. The good news is that now you have the source. The bad news? You've been had, jerk. But don't feel so bad, bub; MSNBC swallowed it whole, too.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

"Vote for us, we're openly despicable."

Yes, it's time to get over it and get on with it, but I couldn't resist Charlie Brooker's latest Guardian column about the election and a GOP campaign "so nakedly horrible it could only have been orchestrated by Skeletor."

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Moment Of Truth

Yes, it's another link to the Obama campaign's Flickr page from election night. They've actually been feeding this account since the primaries, but as usual I found out after the rest of the civilized world. And some parts of the world controlled by psychic lemurs.

The best part for bloggers is that all of these were released under a Creative Commons license, so we won't get sued! Whee!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Ring The Bell...

Oh, the things I miss when I take my eye off the ball: Wednesday afternoon, the Raleigh News & Observer bit the bullet that MSNBC still can't and called North Carolina for Obama, which, as I mentioned in the last post, would make Obama the first Democrat prez candidate to carry NC since Carter in 1976. To commemorate this occasion, I expect my smart-ass out-of-state friends to dial down their Tarheel State Threat Level from "hell hole" to "heck hole." A little frickin' decorum, if you please.

And who do we thank? Say it with me, kids...

BOB BARR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Mozilla fans want to kill me now for that BLINK tag...)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Holy Cow...

I saw this before going to bed last night. When I woke up, it was still there. It really happened. Amazing.

Also, if you're looking at the map in the previous post, you'll notice that my state of North Carolina is still too close to call with 100% reporting, although Obama did take the popular vote by a thin margin. I can't escape the idea that Bob Barr (BOB BARR!) helped flip the Tarheel State for the first time since Carter, and although I've developed an annoying habit of saying "We've Been Here Before" (complete with Meaningful Capitals) whenever something bizarre/amazing/just plain different happens that causes people to run around like crazed animals...well, let's just say that we've never been here before. Not exactly.

And the John McCain we've seen over the past week, easy-rolling, self-kidding, and (especially in last night's concession) gracious...where the hell has this guy been for the past six months? If he had run a campaign to make his grandkids proud instead of going with whatever cynical garbage the ex-Bush 43 campaign team fed him, we might be having a different conversation today. Whether it would be about a different result? I leave that as an exercise for the reader...

This ridiculously overlong two year process is over. The polling, the whispering, the acid campaign messages. They were fun, but it's time to put those toys away. Now comes a very important part that's not terribly sexy but essential to keep the country working, as if the past eight years haven't taught you that: if the new president strays from his promised path, he needs (deserves, even) your feedback. Obama asked for your help, so I'm sure he wouldn't mind hearing your vision of where you want your country to be in the next four years. If you don't think he'll agree with you, you definitely need to let him know. Of course, your Senator or House rep will answer your letter faster, so get to know them, too. Engaging with the system shouldn't end on election day.

And if the Democratic party (the party I most closely identify with, if the picture at the top doesn't clue you in) demonstrates it hasn't learned a thing from the wrong turns of the past eight years, I won't be a bit surprised if we get a second "Gingrich revolution." That's a pretty harsh hammer to drop while we're still basking in the afterglow, but Pelosi and the lot need to remember not to be stupid. This isn't a blank check. The first lesson that we learned from Bush is that blank checks have grave consequences. This is a conditional loan. We're still paying attention.

The only other thing I can come up with right now is the same friendly warning I've always offered the GOP: bridge building doesn't mean making the other side build the bridge to you, then setting up a toll booth on your side and charging them a dollar a head to cross.

Here's the ball. Let's see what you can do.

And seriously, BOB BARR helped flip NC.


Go on. Admit I'm right.

(Edit @ 7:31pm: Henry Blodgett of Clusterstock made an interesting (and, in my mind, fairly realistic) short post about what the "real work" in "now the real work begins" is all about. Standard political blog disclaimer: read the comments at your own peril.)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Results! REALLY!

First polls close at 7pm ET, or if you want to follow along old media style, there's live streaming of MSNBC's complete coverage at their website.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Well, that's how I do it, anyway...

The A.C. Nielsen Company tells us that nearly a third of all American at-home Internet activity happens while the user is watching television, and that net-heads spend more time watching TV daily than non-wired households.


That part I can get behind, but the article goes on to tell us that "as a group, teen girls are the most likely to engage in streaming, 82 percent." Which makes the popularity of 2 Girls 1 Cup that much more alarming.