Tag Archives: Larry Lessig

Some thoughts on the Saskatchewan Election

Murray Mandryk hits on the NDP campaign here.  My thoughts on his thoughts are here. 

  1. Brad Wall ran the classic front runner incumbent campaign.  It was the same campaign the federal NDP ran last fall and the BC NDP ran in British Columbia.  The difference was that he was the front runner and the incumbent.
  2. I thought the Saskatchewan Party platform was visionless and not worth a second mandate but the NDP didn’t do anything to discredit it or point out that with the economy struggling, some of it’s major planks were not going to happen.  When your major plank is helping people sell more puffed wheat cake and fixing more highways and that is really it, it’s a visionless campaign.
  3. With both parties running candidates with DWIs, neither campaign had any moral high ground.  It’s the first campaign with what is written on Facebook was considered worse than driving while impaired.  Saskatchewan values?
  4. Plus, we all know the next budget will have the Saskatchewan Party saying a) we don’t have a spending problem, we have a revenue problem and b) massive cuts to education, health, social services.  It’s going to be bad for all of us.  I am not saying that it is the wrong path but they do have a revenue and a spending problem and the spending is going to have to stop.
  5. How poor are the candidates for the NDP that it never occurred to them do delete their Facebook accounts when they decided to run or the nomination.  Also, the lack of simple vetting was ridiculous and speaks poorly about Frank Quennel’s leadership of the NDP.  It was a fixed election date, not a snap election.  That cut the knees out from Cam Broten in the first week of the campaign.  They never recovered. 
  6. I really don’t care what NDP candidates in rural Saskatchewan say to me during the campaign about the leader but it does speak to the lack of discipline they have and the state of the party in rural Saskatchewan.  This goes back to the Romanow years and isn’t getting better.  The NDP are very unpopular in rural ridings and nothing we saw in this campaign will change that.   For years the Saskatchewan Party was looking for an urban break through.  Remember Elwin Hermanson’s last campaign?  He lived in Saskatoon and Regina and didn’t see the promised breakthrough.    My point is that I think the NDP have massive problems in rural Saskatchewan an it is going to take them at least one more election before that changes.
  7. For those of you out there who are going to write off the NDP after this election, may I show you about a hundred articles saying the same thing after Stephane Dion and then Michael Ignatieff lost.  Also the Liberals were in third place going into this last provincial election.  Same thing for Mike Harris and the Progressive Conservatives when he won in Ontario the first time. 
  8. Speaking of the Liberals, I think it was a huge mistake for Darrin Lameroux to avoid Twitter and social media during the entire campaign.  It’s free media and it was the only medium the Liberals could use that would give them a provincial voice.  Instead he decided to meet people face to face.  Huge mistake.  It’s not an either/or, it’s a both/and.
  9. No campaign took advantage of one of the best political blogs out there and that was Tammy Robert’s musings.  I don’t know what Tammy’s stats are like but it was well read by many politicos and journalists in the province.  Howard Dean got huge play out of posting on Larry Lessig’s blog for a week.  Part of me thinks that it would have been advantageous for Darrin Lameroux or Cam Broten to do some guest posts and interact with commenters during the writ for a day.
  10. Personally I don’t think the NDP should turf Cam Broten.  Dalton McGuinty went through this. Rachel Notley went through this.  Stephen Harper went through this.  Tossing the leader won’t ail what is wrong for the NDP.   Plus a lot is going to change in four years.

Lessig on Aaron Swartz

Powerful read by Larry Lessig in the prosecutor’s role in Aaron Swartz’s suicide

No doubt it is a certain crazy that brings a person as loved as Aaron was loved (and he was surrounded in NY by people who loved him) to do what Aaron did. It angers me that he did what he did. But if we’re going to learn from this, we can’t let slide what brought him here.

First, of course, Aaron brought Aaron here. As I said when I wrote about the case (when obligations required I say something publicly), if what the government alleged was true — and I say “if” because I am not revealing what Aaron said to me then — then what he did was wrong. And if not legally wrong, then at least morally wrong. The causes that Aaron fought for are my causes too. But as much as I respect those who disagree with me about this, these means are not mine.

But all this shows is that if the government proved its case, some punishment was appropriate. So what was that appropriate punishment? Was Aaron a terrorist? Or a cracker trying to profit from stolen goods? Or was this something completely different?

Early on, and to its great credit, JSTOR figured “appropriate” out: They declined to pursue their own action against Aaron, and they asked the government to drop its. MIT, to its great shame, was not as clear, and so the prosecutor had the excuse he needed to continue his war against the “criminal” who we who loved him knew as Aaron.

Here is where we need a better sense of justice, and shame. For the outrageousness in this story is not just Aaron. It is also the absurdity of the prosecutor’s behavior. From the beginning, the government worked as hard as it could to characterize what Aaron did in the most extreme and absurd way. The “property” Aaron had “stolen,” we were told, was worth “millions of dollars” — with the hint, and then the suggestion, that his aim must have been to profit from his crime. But anyone who says that there is money to be made in a stash of ACADEMIC ARTICLES is either an idiot or a liar. It was clear what this was not, yet our government continued to push as if it had caught the 9/11 terrorists red-handed.

 

Why I Love Dopplr

My personal velocity

Dopplr I have become a big fan of Dopplr over the last years.  It’s a service that allows you to plan and share your trips online.  It also does some fun things like track your personal velocity which as you can see, isn’t that impressive (Joi Ito’s personal velocity is that of a Whippet while Larry Lessig’s is the same as an elephant while Wendy’s is the same as a glacier) and also shows how much carbon you are emitting.image

It also ties into Flickr and shows your photos for each of your previous trips.

Like all Web 2.0 sites, it allows you to share data with your friends and also contribute reviews of restaurants, places to explore, and places to stay when you travel.  It uses Flickr’s machine tags to link your own photos of places to places where you have been.  I have contributed to places all over the world but if you look at Arlington Beach on Dopplr, you can see how it works in a local community.

Dopplr app for iPhone and iPod Touch For those of you with an iPod Touch or a iPhone, there is also a great Dopplr app that allows you to find attractions and reviews of sites in your area.  I would have loved to have it when I was Chicago earlier this year.

One of the reason however that I have become a big fan of Dopplr is that as a family, it gives us a chance to visualize what the next couple of months have in store for us.  It let’s us look at our schedule, budget, plans, and goals and helps us find when we can go to the lake, do some travelling, and figure out when work is going to put demands on us.  Wendy is using Dopplr now as well and even Mark is going online to check out hers or my profiles to figure out when he needs to be packed.

The other cool way Dopplr is helpful is their annual report that is generated for all users.  Below is one for Barack Obama which gives you an idea of how much travelling he had to do in his run for President of the United States.

2008 Personal annual report for Barack Obama on Dopplr

My friend Dan Sheffield who works for the Free Methodist Church in Canada uses Dopplr.  Dan’s world travels would make his annual report fascinating (to me anyways).  It reminded me that it would be an effective for any denominational executive or someone who both had to travel a lot and be responsible to a constituency. 

I would love to see my city councilor, MLA, MP, and other elected officials use Dopplr (I would give bonus points to anyone who actually gave honest reviews that made my travelling easier).  If you are using Dopplr and want to connect with me, you can find me at dopplr.com/traveller/jordon.

Larry Lessig quits blogging

While I believe in his new project, it is sad to see his blog put into stasis.

First, as I peer over the abyss of child number 3 (expected in a couple weeks), I can’t begin to imagine how I would be able to allocate the time to give this space the attention it needs. I’ve already fretted about my failure to give this community the time it deserves in REMIX. Things will only get worse.

Second, even if I could, I’m entering a stage of my work when the ratio of speaking to reading/listening/thinking is changing significantly. I’ve just taken up my role as director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard. As announced, this means the launch of a 5 year research project on institutional corruption. While I expect that project will have a critical cyber-presence, I don’t want its life to be framed by this blog. The mission, the understanding, the community is different.

Third, even if I could, and even if the work I was doing meant I should, there’s an increasingly technical burden to maintaining a blog that I don’t have the cycles to support. Some very good friends — Theo Armour and M. David Peterson — have been volunteering time to do the mechanics of site maintenance. That has gotten overwhelming. Theo estimates that 1/3 of the 30,000 comments that were posted to the blog over these 7 years were fraudsters. He’s been working endlessly to remove them. At one point late last year, Google kicked me off their index because too many illegal casino sites were linking from the bowels of my server. I know some will respond with the equivalent of "you should have put bars on your windows and double bolted locks on your front door." Maybe. Or maybe had legislatures devoted 1/10th the energy devoted to the copyright wars to addressing this muck, it might be easier for free speech to be free.

This isn’t an announcement of my disappearance. I’m still trying to understand twitter. My channel at blip.tv will remain. As will the podcast, updated as I speak. I will continue to guest blog at Huffington Post. And as Change-Congress.org enters a new stage, I hope to be doing more there. But this community, this space, this board will now rest.