RizWords – Daily Politics and Tech
Episode 32 – download nowsubscribe now

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Normally, something like this would be a complete non-story in terms of what we normally cover on the show, but so many of my friends (quite rightly so) decry the worthiness of the mainstream American media, and point to the UK’s Guardian as the only bastion of credible American news, of course never forgetting to point out the irony that it’s from the UK. Today, Art and I rip apart a very poignant article that best represents the feelings and opinions of the UK Guardian we’ve ever seen.

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps

From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all

Tuesday April 24, 2007
The Guardian

1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy – September 11th
2. Create a gulag – Guantanamo Bay

3. Develop a thug caste – Security Contractors (Halliburton), Homeland Security

4. Set up an internal surveillance system – Wiretap of Private Citizens

5. Harass citizens’ groups – the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents: a secret Pentagon database includes more than four dozen peaceful anti-war meetings, rallies or marches by American citizens in its category of 1,500 “suspicious incidents”.

6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release – People who have found themselves on the list? Two middle-aged women peace activists in San Francisco; liberal Senator Edward Kennedy; a member of Venezuela’s government – after Venezuela’s president had criticised Bush; and thousands of ordinary US citizens.

7. Target key individuals – Various CIA people, Plame incident, Wesley Clark

8. Control the press – You won’t have a shutdown of news in modern America – it is not possible. But you can have, as Frank Rich and Sidney Blumenthal have pointed out, a steady stream of lies polluting the news well. What you already have is a White House directing a stream of false information that is so relentless that it is increasingly hard to sort out truth from untruth. In a fascist system, it’s not the lies that count but the muddying. When citizens can’t tell real news from fake, they give up their demands for accountability bit by bit.

9. Dissent equals treason – We US citizens will get a trial eventually – for now. But legal rights activists at the Center for Constitutional Rights say that the Bush administration is trying increasingly aggressively to find ways to get around giving even US citizens fair trials.

10. Suspend the rule of law – The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency – which the president now has enhanced powers to declare – he can send Michigan’s militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state’s governor and its citizens.

In more humorous news, Jason Calacanis talks about how to meet Jason Calacanis (We’re not sure we do):

Who Wants to Meet a Calacanis?
I’ve developed some deep relationships over the past couple of years blogging and I realize that those relationships manifest themselves in the links I find when I do my 28x a daily ego search over at Technorati. The quickest way to develop a relationship with me isn’t to twitter me, call me, email me, or skype me. Heck, even posting a comment here–the second best way to develop a relationship with me–is weak when compared to the power of the link.

If someone writes anything about me or links to this blog I find out about it instantly with my various RSS alerts, Technorati, Google blog search, Bloglines, etc.

Some folks have figured this out and they get on my radar by writing a critical piece. That’s a savvy move–to a point. I’d like to outline the best way to link bait a person like me:

The Blogosphere has stopped it’s all encompassing growth. Am I the only one
who sees Blobosphere when people write that? I guess the similarities from the blobosphere to the blogosphere end at semantics now:

blogosphereBlogosphere is Expanding No More
It’s the web media equivalent of the central cosmological constant: does the universe of personal sites expand ad infinitum, or else collapse under its own weight? And we may finally have an answer. The number of active blogs tracked by Technorati has stalled at about 15 million. Now that’s still a remarkable number, even before one adds in quasi-blogs, such as pages on social network sites such as Myspace. But, compared with the conventional wisdom — that every human, and household pet, will eventually have a blog — the reality is sobering. (The irony: these numbers on active blogs were provided by Dave Sifry of Technorati, whose state of the blogosphere reports have created the illusion of limitless growth; and the data emerged because the blog index boss was asked to distinguish between active and inactive sites by a reporter at Business Week, the magazine that has done more than any other to hype up the medium.) After the jump, your take. I have my theories, but, first, why do you think the number of active bloggers is flat?

The $100 Laptop isn’t $100 anymore….:

‘$100 laptop’ to cost $175
The founder of the ambitious “$100 laptop” project, which plans to give inexpensive computers to schoolchildren in developing countries, revealed Thursday that the machine for now costs $175, and it will be able to run Windows in addition to its homegrown, open-source interface.

Get in the Choppah!:

If You Want To Live, Send $40k To This Paypalcom.ru Account
Online extortion scams seem to be a recurring problem, even though script kiddies are killing the margins. The latest scam sees users being spammed with a note from a would-be contract killer, saying he’s been paid to kill them, but will let them live for $40,000, then responds to emails with personal information stolen from other sites. The whole thing sounds about as believable as the average 419 spam, but given the number of folks who should have known better that have fallen for them, it’s probably worth highlighting for the sake of the wealthy individuals who are being targeted. In particular, heed the last line of the original article, which relays that a security expert “recommended that no one reply to these e-mails” — unlike all those other scams you keep replying to.

Oh noes! our pages are bl4nk!:

Glitch Has Users Fuming, Google ‘Frantic’
netbuzz writes “A problem with Google’s Personalized Home Page feature has apparently cost a lot of users their carefully crafted doors to the Internet. And Google, which says it is frantically searching for a fix, also acknowledges that it is not sure if it will be able to recover the lost settings. ‘The problem is the latest in what seems a regular stream of technical glitches and availability problems affecting Google’s online services. In the past six months, Google services like Blogger, Gmail and Google Apps have all experienced significant technical issues that have left users fuming. The problems highlight one of the risks of relying on hosted applications providers, which offer to house software and its data for individuals and organizations. Google is one of the biggest cheerleaders for this software provisioning model, which many see as a viable option to the traditional approach of having users install applications on their own PCs and servers.'”

And the same story, worded better from Google Operating System (if not a bit more sensationally):

Homeless Internet Citizens
So you open the door, you step inside and you discover that your house is empty: no furniture, no books, no family, no pets. Your home became empty and nobody bothered to explain why.

That’s what happened to Google Personalized Homepage for some users today. Says Michael M.:

Today, I logged on at college and all was fine on my homepage. When I got home, I turned on my laptop and my homepage had reverted to the default, with all of the default gadgets and the default theme. I tried to re-add my gadgets, but it keeps going back to the default style. I’ve tried clearing my cookies/history and signing in/out.

The personalized homepage is the page I visit most on the internet, it tracks all my news and weather and lets me keep track of my schedule and chat to my friends on Google Talk.

My homepage looks the same, but there’s a big thread at Google Groups with people who lost their homepages. Google’s answer is so endearing:

We’re now in frantic-chase-down-this-bug mode here at the Googleplex, and I hope to have more info for you soon. For now, we’re not entirely sure of this, but it’s possible that changing your homepage theme might cause the problem. SO, if you still have your homepage intact, please avoid changing your theme until further notice. The big question I know you’ll all want answered is whether you’ll get your homepage back once we sort things out… and the really honest answer is that I hope so, but I just don’t know yet.


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