Bush comes clean: “Boy were we wrong! Oh and 9/11! Heh.”

Credit: J. Scott Applewhite / AP file, from MSNBCAfter realizing that nobody was buying the “trust us, we’ll find those damn WMDs… soon… ish…” party line, Bush has accepted responsibility for being a moron.

“I am,” Bush said solemnly in speech to US soliders, “a moron.”

“No you’re not,” someone offered from the friendly, mostly reality-despising crowd.

This about-face appears to negate months of lies and misdirections that the administration has tried to feed us about the reasons why we’re at war in Iraq right now and how it’s really been going. Interestingly, the international community has known about this intricate web of self-deception both in Bush and his country for some time. They jokingly have taken to calling it “Bush’s Folly” (Silly Canadians).

Bush’s additional omiss… I mean, admission…, that he is to blame for going to war, should come as no surprise, since, according to the veep, the authority to go to war lies solely with the president. And, for those of you dozing off, Bush is, still, somehow, the president. And oh yes, the Constitution is just a damn piece of paper anyway, so even if someone were to try and make the case that only Congress has the authority to go to war, you’d have to search pretty far and wide to actually substantiate your claims.

Anyway, before we conclude this fake news snippet, just wanted to make mention of another interesting tidbit. Even now, as Bush concedes that the intelligence that justified his case for war (yeah, remember the mobile mobile weapons labs?) is really, no, really full of shyte, we’re reminded that this was the right thing to do™. C’mon, his goals were always bigger than just removing Saddam. Pssh, duh.

And yes, as we enter the holiday season and begin to bargain for our sins with a benevolent and Wal-mart backed Santa, Bush continues to believe that having on his conscience more than 2,300 American casualties, 30,000 Iraqi deaths, and the ruination of 100s of thousands more doesn’t warrant any kind of repetence.

So be it. Now that we’ve got him on record, it’ll be great to hear the full story be told, from beginning to end, sans bullshit, sans Rovian spin. Kent, need any help?

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Gems from Sean Coon

Tara pointed me to a great post on the power of tagging and the creation of grassroots, semantic content creation on Connecting*the*dots. A couple excerpts:

So what’s the connection between geo-political events and blogging and the tactical fervor of Web 2.0? (social bookmarking, tagging, open source, open content, etc.) In a nutshell: everything.

He calls tagging:

a tactical [strategy] in the battle of the information age. … The effort, I believe, is based on the desire of individual voices to be heard amidst the shelling of the mainstream media.

The legitimization of the individual (creative and political) perspective is being sustained in the 21st century by the conviction of the blogosphere, …The concept of social dialog and the elemental foundation of Capitalism are beginning to shift in exciting ways.

Blogs are beginning to bridge the social and communication gaps between nations. My peers are thinking differently when developing this medium, even in traditional business development circumstances. The tactical approach to producing, managing, sharing, finding and using information objects — defined from the bottom up — is finally getting it’s due.

connecting*the*dots: Tag! We’re It! Part II

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Observations on the perceived failure of community after Katrina

Hope - by SALOThe more I read about the crisis in New Orleans, the more I am confused and saddened at what’s happening. And the more I see and hear of the US Government’s response, the more concerned I am for the general and ongoing wellbeing and protection of America’s citizenry.
What’s unfolding in New Orleans is being portrayed as utter chaos and what comes down to a failure of the community to take care of and fend for itself. Rather, it seems, individuals are ruining the relief efforts for everyone by apparently looking out only for themselves and their families:

“Hospitals are trying to evacuate,” said Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Cheri Ben-Iesan, spokesman at the city emergency operations center. “At every one of them, there are reports that as the helicopters come in people are shooting at them. There are people just taking potshots at police and at helicopters, telling them, “You better come get my family.”

While I don’t believe that this behavior is true of everyone or even the majority, it is significant enough to be causing the relief efforts to fail or to become to dangerous for those administering them.

And in the midst of all this, our president has the gall to callously call for a crackdown on the looting:

“I think there ought to be zero tolerance of people breaking the law during an emergency such as this — whether it be looting, or price gouging at the gasoline pump, or taking advantage of charitable giving or insurance fraud,” Bush said. “And I’ve made that clear to our attorney general. The citizens ought to be working together.”

This from the man who sold us on a bogus war in a time when the last thing we as a people coming together needed was to crackdown on a minor madman. What we needed was community leadership that brought us together — and that helped us to see our common humanity. The more I hear and see of this president, the more my concerns are confirmed that he is not one who can lead us towards a greater empathic understanding of ourselves or our neighbors. Instead, his example will further encourage divisive behavior against our better nature.
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Understanding in the modern world

SkyTV shows Moblog photoI found out about the London attacks this morning when my roommate told me about them on the way into work. Truth be told, I was out with friends last night and didn’t have direct access to any kind of news sources, so I was quite surprised when he explained what’d happened.

So today, when I started exploring what had been posted online, I was struck by how I went about looking for information versus how I ultimate found anything of substance. I started at a major news outlet earlier in the day and was disappointed by not only the detachment in the writing (“objective” journalism, they call it) but by the meager pictures available. I mean, I’m a visual person and I thrive on being able to see things — in order that I might gain a better understanding of what actually happened.

Only this evening when I sought to understand things more completely did I turn, almost accidently, to Flickr. I hadn’t really considered Flickr a citizen journalism site, but as I landed on the tags page, I realized that this community of people, equipped with cameras and living in the open could be my eyes on the scene — and would help me comprehend what happened with their photos. And beyond what Reuters could provide, I could go back before the attacks and learn about the very individual lives of each witness in their photostreams.

In addition to that, I stumbled upon an ad-hoc community of well-wishers setup within Flickr, called the 7/7 Community, whose specific focus is on the bombings.

What’s interesting in all of this and in my discovery process is that these various technologies and tools that are able to bring me so much closer to such a foreign reality are starting to become more widely used and disseminated throughout the general public. People are not only coming to web to share, to communicate and to understand, but there are finally there are tools to help express and capture reality as it unfolds. Even a year ago, this kind of local civic engagement over the web would have been very hard to pull off.

An uncertain result, however, as pointed out in this post on Radio Open Source (discovered in one of the Flickr groups) concerns how a number of Flickr photos are turning up across the world in the mass media. While I am a strong believer in participatory culture and citizen reportage, the mass media seems to be coopting this emerging trend by reappropriating such content without, in my view, being a good contributing citizen itself. Let’s face it: the media doesn’t “do” open source and yet they’re greedily snatching up the contributions of regular folks to sell their papers, magazines and so on… I know that this material needs to get out there and the more people who see it the better, but something about it simply doesn’t sit well with me.

I guess until initiatives like Dan Gillmor’s Bayosphere or media “escrow” repositories like morgueFile become more ubitquitous and well known, citizen journalists will have to tough it out on their own, finding a voice that stands out starkly against the lulling hum of the industrial megamedia machine and developing an organic community of readers who are themselves active participants in creating, telling and retelling the stories that matter to them, and to us all.

Harrison Bergeron cited in case against capping taxes

The future of educationIt seems like my good friend Harrison Bergeron is being invoked in an effort to increase school funding allocation in Kansas. School advocates contend that funding is inadequate and unevenly distributed across rich and poor districts. As such is the case, posit that “capping local taxes on schools [is] unconstitutional” and handicaps students’ abilities to receive a decent education.

But apparently aside from the well-written brief that the students’ lawyers prepared, Vonnegut suggests that they didn’t quite get the story: “It’s about intelligence and talent, and wealth is not a demonstration of either one.”.

“Kansas is apparently handicapping schoolchildren, no matter how gifted and talented, with lousy educations if their parents are poor,” he said.

State attorneys had a curious rebuttal to the effort to lift the caps: “I would classify this as the Johnson County viewpoint of the world,” Rupe said. “This kind of viewpoint exists when there is not adequate funding for all schools,” he said.

Hmm. So you’re suggesting that because there is inadequate funding for education, people have unenlightened views? Really… you don’t say.

Networks in cities and fungi

Mushroom CongestionBala Pillai posted this to the Minciu Sodas mailing list… brilliant:

This is such a great example that I need to quote the entire thing. MeshForum wants contributions from people who have looked into this kind of thing. Monkeymagic: Traffic, Congestion and Information Flows

This is exciting from the New Scientist: apparently New roads can cause congestion. [via 3quarks daily]

Traffic should flow best in cities when only a limited number of roads lead to the centre. This counter-intuitive finding could allow planners to prevent gridlock by closing roads rather than building new ones.

It comes from a new way of thinking about complex networks developed by Neil Johnson, Douglas Ashton and Timothy Jarrett at the University of Oxford, UK.

Fascinatingly, the article goes on to say:

The same process of analysing the costs associated with moving across a network could help solve a long-standing problem in biology: why some natural networks are centralised like cities, whereas others are decentralised like the internet.

“Organisms such as fungi have managed to evolve a complex network in which there are centralised and decentralised pathways to move nutrients around,” Johnson says. “Now we can look at biological systems in terms of the ‘costs’ and ‘benefits’ of the connections rather than in terms of the physical structures themselves,” he says.