Tales of the Sausage Factory

How Fox News Killed The Bradley Effect

Pundits and talking heads have debated the Bradley Effect (or, as we locals call it, the Wilder Effect) and whether Obama’s current lead in the polls represents false positive. Even before Obama, there existed considerable evidence that the Bradley Effect was fading. Having canvassed this weekend in VA, I have concluded that it has pretty much vanished.

Why? Because conservative talk radio and Fox News have given voters the tools they need to say things that might sound racist, but don’t really make you a racist for saying them. Whatever one may think of this as an argument, it has had the enormous benefit of eliminating the polling problems associated with the embarrassment of being mistaken for a racist when you are simply saying things that only sound racist.

More below . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Worshippers of the Gods of the Marketplace Get A Little Too Literal

In a slightly revised version of Exodus 32:1

And the investors did gather unto Bernacke and said: “Let us make for ourselves a god to go before us, for this man Bush, who raised us up to a 14,000 Dow, we do not know what has become of him!”

Stay tuned . . .

Posted in General, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged | 1 Comment (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

McCain Campaign Wusses Out On NAF Tech Smackdown.

So my friends at New America Foundation went to all the trouble to arrange for a final Technology Smackdown between former FCC Chair and Obama Campaign surrogate Reed Hunt and McCain Campaign surrogate Douglas Holtz-Eakin. Holtz-Eakin, you may recall, was the man who traced the invention of the Blackberry back to McCain’s stalwart leadership on the Commerce Committee, ignoring the fact that the Blackberry is manufactured by a Canadian company and that only limited models are available in the U.S. thanks to McCain’s awesome tech policies, which can be summed up as “no taxes, no regulation, no clue.”

So needless to say, I and every other policy wonk in DC came ready to see the sparks fly. Reed Hunt, former FCC Chair, known for saying what he thinks and letting the chips fall where they may. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, looking for any kind of “game changer” and hoping to prove how his man has mastery of this key policy arena rather than the young and untested Obama. Who will take it? Whose tech cuisine will reign supreme?

But then this morning, Douglas Holtz-Eakin canceled and the McCain campaign informed NAF they could not send a surrogate. NAF scurried, but could find no one blessed by the McCain campaign to debate Reed Hunt. With Washington tech wonkdom descending on their doorstep, NAF decided to hold the event anyway. This allowed Reed to switch from technology policy and plug his new comedy CD – “Reed Hunt — Unplugged Because I’m Using Wireless Which Will Be Far More Competitive Under An Obama FCC Which I Will Now Illustrate With An Anecdote And Could You Please Remind Me What The Question Was Again.” (Trust me, in policy wonk circles, this is hysterical.)

There may be many reasons why Holtz-Eakin did not show up. But for the campaign to refuse to send a substitute surrogate is a totally punk move. What, no one on the Straight Talk Express can use a computer? And if you all whine about how unfair it was that Reed went on to trash talk you guys or that NAF was “in the tank for Obama” because they went ahead and held the highly publicized and well attended event anyway, all I can say is “shut up, punks! McCain’s tech policy is for wussy incumbents who want their market power protected. In keeping with geek tradition, I shall taunt you with my very very bad Monty Python impression. [outrageous French accent] I fart in your general direction! I wave my private parts at you — you silly de-regulatory free-market Libertarian persons. Now go away or I shall taunt you some more.”

OK, my trash talk is a bit weak. But Holtz-Eakin and the McCain tech team are still punks.

Stay tuned . . .

UPDATE: Apparently, Holtz-Eakin ditched out to try to convince MSNBC viewers that it is Obama who will be four more years of Bush. You can find more details on how the McCain Campaign vetoed Carly Fiorina and generally punked out here on ThinkProgress.

Posted in Life In The Sausage Factory, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

Tales of the Sausage Factory

CORRECTION: The Record Is NOT Closed In White Spaces. Record On That Item Open Until Friday.

Serves me right for rushing something out late last night. As one reader pointed out to me in email, the FCC has not closed the record on the white spaces proceeding, although it has on the other agenda items. The record for white spaces will remain open until Friday, October 31.

Although closing the record a week before the meeting is usual, the FCC has authority to extend the time for ex parte presentations and hold the record open. The last time I recall them doing this was before the first 700 MHz Order back in April 2007.

I do not think this extension of the Sunshine period is necessarily good or bad for any side in the white spaces debate, although I would prefer if they would just vote the Order on circulation and get it out (which won’t happen ntil the record closes). At a guess, I think Martin (and it is his prerogative as Chair) extended the opportunity for presentations because the Commissioners have been on travel as roving amabassadors for the DTV transition, and getting meetings with Commissioners and their staff has been very difficult for folks — especially given the crush of other items on the agenda. The Order is also fairly complicated from a technical perspective, and, as a political matter, it helps mitigate the accusation about a “rush to judgment” (because five years is just too short, ya know).

Stay tuned . . . .

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

Record Now Officially Closed In White Spaces, Mergers, USF.

The FCC has now published the official agenda for the Nov. 4 meeting. The agenda has not varied from the tentative agenda released 3 weeks ago.

For white spaces, and the other items on the agenda, the focus of lobbying is now (of necessity) the Congress and in the popular press. Members of Congress can still write to put pressure on FCC Commissioners, and FCC Commissioners and staff can actively solicit information. But no new presentations can be made or evidence placed in the record.

Items can still be pulled. Or they can be voted on before the meeting — especially if they are non-controversial.

I will do a more full analysis of the agenda a bit later, God willing and there is time.

Stay tuned . . . .

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Inventing the Future

Voting and the Emergent Value of Presence

There’s a lot of interest in voting technology for the expected record numbers of voters in the US presidential election, and voting widgets have become an expected accessory in social Web sites. But the simplest voting technology is no explicit technology. Is there a place for that in virtual worlds?

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My Thoughts Exactly

Wealth Transfer

According to this article in the New York Times, the baillout money that was ostensibly given to the banks to jumpstart the economy or forestall a collapse, etc, by opening up the credit spigots is not in fact, being used for that purpose.

It’s being transferred directly to the bankers.

I am, shocked, shocked!

Posted in "A Republic, if you can keep it", My Thoughts Exactly | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments (Comments closed)

My Thoughts Exactly

Doggone it, you betcha, this is the most moving video of all time!

Poignant, funny, bittersweet, sweepingly cinematic, poetic, and maybe even a tad disturbing.

The Russians really do have a genetic gift for melancholy, I think. This guy may displace Pasternak! Laura from Dr. Zhivago, step aside. There is a new star in the firmament, a new heartbreaking love-object just out of reach. And her name is

Sarah!

Posted in Memology, My Thoughts Exactly | Tagged | Comments closed

My Thoughts Exactly

Wah! Why Can't *I* be Michael Pollan??

The other day I was listening to Terri Gross on Freh-share, and her guest was Michael Pollan of “Omnivore’s Dilemma” (and Martha’s Vineyard hippie) fame. They were talking about his recent article in the New York Times Magazine, which was essentially about marrying agricultural policy to national health and community-wellbeing policy.

Below the fold: Ag Ec Rock Star!

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Tales of the Sausage Factory

NAB/MSTV Embrace Radio Pirates, Make Up Engineering Data, And Do Whatever Else It Takes To Kill White Space Devices.

I gotta admire the broadcasters (as represented by their trade orgs, the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and the Association for Maximum Service Television (MSTV)). Even with the facts completely against them, they never give up trying. Sadly, they all too often succeed through a combination of heavy duty lobbying power (what politician doesn’t suck up to his or her local broadcaster?) and the fact that most decision makers don’t know squat about engineering and regard the whole thing as black magic. Heck, it worked to hamstring low-power FM (LPFM) radio, despite a subsequent independent government report showing the broadcaster interference claims were unsubstantiated bologna.

But embracing radio pirates by proposing to expand the availability of wireless microphones in the broadcast white spaces for their political allies and tacitly agreeing to amnesty for illegal wireless microphone users? Even I never thought they would go that far.

So let me get this straight, NAB, a million unauthorized mobile wireless microphone users operating “dumb” transmitters at higher power don’t cause interference. But smart devices, identical to those relied upon by the U.S. military to share frequencies with unlicensed devices, operating at much lower power and required to use a geolocational database, do cause interference? Wow, that makes so much sense. I can see why NAB and MSTV did not include any actual engineering analysis with their comments.

Personally, I think that if spectrum sensing and “smart radio” is good enough to protect the lives of American soldiers, we can trust it to protect viewers of American Idol. But I do not expect the broadcasters to let a piddly little thing like reality stop them — especially when using false interference claims and blatantly bogus evidence made it possible to clip the wings of the fledging low-power FM (LPFM) radio service back in 2000 (more details on the Prometheus Radio website LPFM fact sheet).

Still, I never thought I would actually lie to see the day the NAB would embrace unauthorized users, utterly reverse everything it ever said about the need to restrict access to the broadcast bands, and walk away from the more than 1 million unauthorized users in the band. Mind, you’d think that after a five year proceeding marked by such shenanigans as giving themselves free air time to push bogus interference concerns onto the public, adorable made up videos that purport to be real like Your Neighbor’s Static (aka “white spaces Reefer Madness), and the ”experiment we refuse to explain so you can’t check the results,“ the NAB would have already shot its credibility beyond all hope of recovery. But since no one not obsessed with this proceeding pays much attention to it, the NAB and friends gets to rerun the same bogus claims over and over and over again.

On the plus side, I hope my friends at Prometheus Radio are taking notes for when they make another run at Congress next year (or even this year in a lame duck session) to get the Local Community Broadcasters Act passed and get the shackles based on the broadcasters’ bogus ”interference concerns” lifted. After all, if the NAB doesn’t give a rat’s patootie about interference from unauthorized users anymore and is willing to embrace unauthorized operators, Congress should take them at their word.

More below . . .

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Posted in Spectrum, Tales of the Sausage Factory | Tagged , , , , , , | 16 Comments (Comments closed)
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