Sunday, November 19, 2006

What I learned in church today...

Now, for those of you not so evangelically inclined, please don't mistake my Bible quotin' for some new slant on this blog. I respect that others understand God differently than I do; I am not a "my way or the highway" alcoholic, nor do I in any way advocate a Christian approach to recovery as the only way.

I am, however, a Christian. Jesus Christ is God as I understand him. And these past few months of sobriety have brought me before him in a more fundamental way than I've ever been before.

The following are the scriptures read at Mass today:

11And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
12And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
13And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the opening of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah? 1 Kings 19

22 Immediately (after Jesus fed the multitude he)made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. 23After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone, 24but the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.
25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid."
28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."
29"Come," he said.
Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
32 And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God." Matthew 14
So. The voice of God is the small whisper after all of nature's noise. Had it been me, instead of Elijah, I would have instantly jumped on the first ruckus, the first dramatic noise, as God's presence.

Had it been me, instead of Peter, I don't know that I'd have tried to walk to Jesus at all. I'd have been back in the boat cowering with the other apostles. And from where had they all just come? From Jesus feeding the multitudes from a few loaves of bread and a few fish.

No, it's not important to me, really, whether these are literal miracles, or parables, or whatever you want to call them. What's important to me is the truth in these stories. That God's voice is a small voice dwelling not outside, but inside of us, if we'll only learn to seek it out and listen to it. That even when we're fresh from witnessing one blessing, we still doubt and fear and distrust God.

Home group tonight.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Narrative, A Proposal, and an Apology
There’s an old story that in the middle ages, the youngest conversant child in a community would be brought to witness major land contracts, which were done by the shake of a hand – and beaten severely enough to ensure that they would be able to remember the contract for at least another 40 or 50 years.

I remember April 2003 as one of the best months of my life -- the month we saw the magic come of out the Meetup community in full, extraordinary, bottom up glory-- but also in part because Joe Trippi is not a quiet screamer. He makes Dean’s Scream sound like Mary Had a Little Lamb.

“Zephyr!!!!!!!!!” would come tearing out, long before I actually saw his face poke into the small closet the web team at the time called “the cave.” (With a nice poster of “Trogolodytes for Dean”) on the wall).

“MAAAAATTT” was for Matt Gross.

Joe was roiling with visions at the time, and he couldn't waste time explaining himself to us -- very new, very naive. When Joe screamed, we were slow, insane, and "just didn’t get it."

I remember the first day of his complete anger, because it also coincides with the time he got obsessed with “getting Kos.”

April 1, 2003, was the first enormous nationwide Meetup, and it had gone fabulously. We’d raised $83,000 online in a single day the day before, breaking all expectations and records. We’d stayed for a few drinks after the Meetup, and then went back to the office.

Some time around 10 PM, the scream came. Kos had put up an online poll, comparing the candidates, and Dean was not winning. I think Kerry was, but I’m sure its all on record.

"WHAT THE HELL" he came screaming into the cave.

“Look at Daily Kos” he said.

"How long as that poll been up. How could you miss that poll."

“He’s trying to fuck us.”

“He’s doing his poll right while everyone’s at Meetup. He’s trying to fuck us.”

During the next day, we went to every listserv and contacts we had and asked them to get on that poll.

If you walked by his office the next day, he wouldn’t talk to you, but he’d sit there, with his back to the door (you could see the computer screen from the door), hitting refresh on the Daily Kos poll. You could hear him seething that it wasn't moving.

Matt thought he was testing us. He wanted to see how much muscle we could force into this poll.

After that, he would come tearing into the office every time Kos said something negative about Dean or positive about Clark or another candidate. “Why I am always the first one to catch it?” he said, until Matt was checking Kos (no feed at the time) every 15 minutes or so.

It was sometime in the next few weeks that we got the contract for Armstrong/Zuniga.

Jerome wanted to come work for Dean at the office, and I think Joe wanted him to.

So Joe asked Matt to figure out which blog was more important to get for influence in the blogosphere: MyDD or DailyKos. Matt decided DailyKos was more important. I don’t remember the reasoning, but the blogosphere was all entirely new to me – I never read blogs before the campaign – and everything I learned about the heirarchy was new, and mostly from Matt.

Okay then, Joe said, its okay if Jerome came to work for us and stopped blogging, we’d still have DailyKos.

“Get Kos on the phone!” Trippi would scream. “Where’s Jerome! He’s not calling me back! Are they going to fuck us?”

Trippi asked us to look over the consulting contract that Markos/Zuniga proposed and tell him what we thought. We thought it was good, but had a lot of the ideas we’d heard elsewhere (at the time we were getting pitched by a handful of internet consulting firms), and they didn’t provide any unique technical service that we wouldn’t want to hire in house. I told Joe that if he didn’t want them for other reasons, the consulting contract wasn’t worth it. He said we needed Kos for Dean, and, more importantly, not to go work for someone else.

I think there was also some indications that Armstrong/Zuniga was actively talking to another campaign (Kerry’s?) as consultants, and Joe thought that would be death, but I remember that less clearly.

Joe liked Jerome personally, and trusted him – later that year I would hear Joe call Jerome for political and blog advice, and he respected him a lot. Jerome had access to Joe that most consultants never had. I also heard him, though less frequently, talk to Kos and ask his advice over the year.

Furthermore, I think its right to note that MyDD and Jerome had the most powerful impact on the campaign by introducing Meetup to the campaign, months before any of this came up – and Meetup changed everything.

There were a few days where I think Kos started putting up a Draft Clark effort that Joe went into absolute panic, and we were beaten with screams about talking to Kos, talking to Jerome, getting that contract through. “We NEED Kos” Joe kept screaming.

Needless to say, the contract went through.

“How on earth,” Might you say, “can you say this isn’t unethical?” “You were part of a group that was trying to pay prominent bloggers so that they would keep saying nice things about Dean, and so that they would NOT go support Clark. That’s nuts!”

You may think it’s a technical answer, but I think its an important one, and its one on which Trippi and I completely agree: its silly to talk about ethics and blogging in those days, it was all new! We were doing outreach to prominent voices online – applying the habits of politicians for ages to bloggers. Joe was a real visionary in this way – he wanted to canvass the important online voices and get them over to Dean – and whether or not this should happen in the future (I think it shouldn’t, but it definitely will), the revelation that you could take old politics (how to get the village elder in Iowa on your side) and apply it to online politics was absolutely brilliant.

Ethics, to my mind, is where you violate a broadly accepted norm, and there were no broadly accepted norms. There were no norms at all.

The reason I raised this was because I want there to be broadly accepted norms in the future, and I wanted people to think, in VERY Concrete terms, about the pressures inside a campaign to “get bloggers” who have a following. Of course this is going to happen again, its going to happen times ten. Trippi often said I was very naïve, and it may be a fair criticism – but now I’m a citizen, and not working for anyone, I want to use that naivete – my reckless willingness to believe things can be different in politics -- to try to change things.

I, as a reader, as a citizen, want to make sure that during the next election, I can read prominent bloggers and trust that they are not subtly influenced by candidates they are working for, talking to, and paid by. I heard yesterday that Coca-Cola is spending only a third of its advertising money on television advertisements, and the biggest growth is “peer to peer” advertising. That's smart, but its also spooky. I want to believe that people who read far more than I do, and filter that information, will filter it because of their own judgment.

A few people have asked me to propose a positive proposal for the future, a working one, where we can try to build that trust. What I’m thinking right now is that the best pressure points, for the future, are candidates, not bloggers themselves. Its more efficient, and its more likely to be effective. I’m not inclined to think (especially after being called all kinds of lovely things during this debacle), that communities are wont to police themselves.

Therefore, I think one thing we should do is engage citizen watchdog groups in finding out what bloggers are tied to what consulting companies, and prominently publish any contracts – and ask candidates not to hire any of the truly prominent bloggers unless they, like Jerome did, agree not post while consulting.

People have asked me to apologize, and my first reaction is “hell, no! I’m telling the truth!” but, upon reflection, I do want to make one apology. I think that I did not adequately praise Jerome’s completely scrupulous behavior with shutting down MyDD while consulting – he’s a model for what people should do in the future. Jerome was right when he said that I made it sound like he could be bought and sold, and I don’t think he can. I'm sorry, Jerome.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Hello struck !
Revoilà more forms me that never... as far as possible in what relates to me. Mika will not need more to type my texts, but will continue certainly these comments. This aprem' I thought of you, and here are what it is come out from it :

My schizo with me :
I considered a long time that we were two in one. There was that which wanted to fight against its cardiac disease, and the other disillusioned one. I had even begun a novel which was entitled " it ". It, it was it me which wanted me evil.

In 2001, I completely pété leads, I believed myself in a dream and I heard a voice of young girl who told me "assistance me, I have badly". The dreamer, unconsciously (since it slept) drove back on me all his phantasms and all his violence. I thought that the sun would awake it and that thus our world would explode.
I was treated amongst other things with the haldol and other nerve sedatives which involved at home a lassitude and a dislike of myself important. Aujourd' today I am regarded as maniaco depressive, it be-with-statement which I can pass from an euphoric mood to an intense disverys in a few seconds.
Each phase causes unverifiable reactions, unforeseeable and independent of my will :
- in phase maniac, I spend my money with all goes
- in depressive phase, either I try to open the veins to me, or I try to commit suicide with the drugs.
This situation is very embarrassing because I have people who like me and I make them evil ; it thus results from this a guilt feeling which comes to reinforce my dislike of me.

Friday, March 03, 2006

A group of futurology on cultural industries
Installed on January 30 by Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres, the strategic Group of analysis of cultural industries (GASIC) is charged to join together and confront expertises and studies on this sector which counts more than 20 000 companies and 220 000 employment. Among the subjects of reflexion of this group made up of various personalities resulting from the world from the company and organizations financing the cultural sector: questions relating to research (international standardization, emergent technologies), the financial engineering of the cultural production, indicators of cultural diversity…

All the blogs are not concerned with the exemption of declaration which has just decided Cnil in a deliberation qu’it has just made public. As L’article 24 of the law of August 6, 2004 gives him the right of it, the national Commission of L’data-processing and freedoms put forth a recommendation which releases from L’obligation of declaration the Web sites of private individuals diffusing or collecting personal data within a private framework. The purely personal blogs as the blogs D’adolescent are obviously aimed by this text. On the other hand, the blogs but also all the personal sites with vocational guidance, associative or different are excluded from it. C’is for example the case of the " blog-notes D’Alain Juppe " which should make L’object D’such a formality. L’Ex-first minister declared his site political ( but not its blog which also has political contents. On the other hand, if L’ex-First minister opened a bearing blog on an unspecified personal passion, it N’would not have to declare it.If the personal sites are exonerated from L’obligation of declaration, they remain held to conform to the provisions of Data-processing law the "and freedoms ". Thus must they respect the rights of the people of which the data are reproduced on the site : right D’opposition, D’access, of correction, collects honest data, etc. On the significant data (political, religious, relating to health or the sexual life, etc), Cnil goes beyond the law by recommending to make them available " qu’to the only people identified by the person in charge for the Web site ". Once diffused on Internet, the data is not, indeed, more controllable. And concerning the data dissemination relative to minors, the Commission recalls qu’it " cannot S’carry out qu’with L’agreement and L’authorization express of the parents ".C’is the fifth decision of exemption of declaration of Cnil within the framework of the new Data-processing law "and freedoms ". It aims at limiting the formalities when that relates to treatments which do not involve apparently risks for freedoms