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Have you heard that Snopes pretends to be the last word on not just rumors?

TRUE OR FALSE? SNOPES began as a website to debunk urban myths, but since being bought by a major internet conglomerate, Snopes acts as final word on which conspiracy theories have merit and which are too disruptive of the dominant narrative. As the internet grew, Snopes gathered geek cred to join National Geographic Magazine and the History Channel as de facto authoritive brands trusted to provide nonpartisan accounts of current and past events, except of course all three simply confirm the authorized story. Another would-be gatekeeper, on who says what's what, is Wikipedea. Because the online encyclopaedia is crowd-sourced, its authority is regularly questioned, and Wikipedia entries on controversial issues are demonstraby slanted by editorial teams advancing agendas that mirror the fully funded propaganda campaigns dominating conventional media. While Snopes was great at arresting rumors about vanishing hitchhikers or microwaved babies, more and more we see Snopes consulted about news scoops and whistleblower revelations, and it's no surprise that Snopes summarily dismisses incidiary exposees that threaten established power. Don't take my word for it, let's ask Snopes!

Clicktivist shaming is also clicktivism

As a street activist, I take heed of neither what police want me to do, nor politicians, nor ministers. Why should I treat online advice givers any different? I understand the frustration we all have about internet "clicktivism" substituting for in-person activism, but calling out the behavior as if online social media isn't the revolution's killer app is dumb and very probably mendacious. Fuck you PC culture for whom every political event is an opportunity to lecture others on how not to squeeze the most out of the privilege ie- fleeting power they have against the omnipotent state. Fuck you blacksplainers who think being African American is license to tell others how to be allies. "Allies" to what? Handwringing? Bench-sitting? Imagine if abolitionists had heeded the will of the majority of slaves to remain slaves! Shouted from the streets "what white people can do to help" would be relevant, but coming from people who are otherwise advocating for voting, or lobbying, or holding prayer vigils, or capitulating to power, your must-needs are irrelevant. Those in the streets are your comrades. Your online "stop doing this" lists are for chumps.

Popularity of “mind blowing” posts points to collective lack of imagination

Click bait posts on social media promise surprise and wonder, such that "you will not believe" and "this will blow your mind" but doing so reveal the terrifying vacuum of the average reader's mind. As the internet allows users to cloudsource their brain functions, very consciously the memory storage, we are also consigning it our processing. In interspace no one can hear you think.

Is Facebook censoring NMT headlines like they already do our images?

Who can say what is the cause? But this began in November when suddenly images on the Not My Tribe website would no longer appear alongside the NMT articles being crowd-aggregated by Facebook users. Now a link to our Snooze article failed to resolve into a post headline, instead remaining a raw http link, further reducing NMT's visibility on the social network. If eventually we are completely blocked you won't know it. Facebook is the new AOL. Already if a tree falls outside the shopping mall, America doesn't hear it.

MIT drives Aaron Swartz to suicide, guards JSTOR for ivory tower and intel analysts only

RSS pioneer, Reddit cofounder and information activist Aaron Swartz, was found hanged this week. He was 26. Swartz was facing 35 years for hacking, aka liberating MIT research archives buried behind a pay-wall, often to the frustration of their own authors. You might think schools of higher learning are in favor of disseminating knowledge instead of confining studies in repositories. Aaron Swartz did. Swartz advocated for uninhibited access to information over the internet, in particular with scholarship often bought, paid for, and then buried by academic institutions. Swartz was charged with hacking into MIT's JSTOR archives, in September 2011. They might have considered his motives, but instead pursued charges. MIT's response to Swartz's suicide was to direct anyone affected by his death to "Mental Health Services".

Everything’s up to date in Kansas City

Yep-- They've gone about as far as they can go. Broadway's otherwise obsolete lyrics about civilization's western edge might be true again! Kansas City will now have 1-Gig/second internet access. One hundred times faster than yours. It's a new project of Google's, called Google Fiber, to set a new benchmark for ISPs. Your local cable monopoly has no incentive to offer you that level of service, except now it's going to be hard to pretend they can't, or pretend they need to cap your current use. Did Google pick Kansas City because the ad campaign had a ready made ditty? "Everything's up to date in Kansas City" works. Set in turn-of-the-last-century, the musical Oklahoma was abuzz about gas buggies going by their-selves, telephones, indoor outhouses and skyscrapers seven stories high, "about as high as a building ought to grow." By the third verse, the technical fascination with modernity becomes distracted by the promiscuous, the visitor from Kansas City having seen a strip show, internet-like. I got to Kansas City on a Frid'y By Sattidy I larned a thing or two 'Coz up to then I didn't have an idy Of whut the modren world was comin' to! ... Ev'rythin's like a dream in Kansas City, It's better than a magic lantern show! ... They got a big theayter they call a burleeque. Fer fifty cents you c'n see a dandy show. --------- For the curious, here are the full lyrics to Oklahoma's "Kansas City" Will: I got to Kansas City on a Frid'y By Sattidy I larned a thing or two 'Coz up to then I didn't have an idy Of whut the modren world was comin' to! I counted twenty gas buggies goin' by theirsel's Almost ev'ry time I tuk a walk. 'Nen I put my ear to a Bell Telephone And a strange womern started in to talk! Man 1: To you? Man 2: Whut next! Men: Yeah whut! Will: Whut next? Gather 'round! Ev'rythin's up to date in Kansas City They've gone about as fur as they c'n go! They went and built a skyscraper seven stories high, About as high as a buildin' orta grow. Ev'rythin's like a dream in Kansas City, It's better than a magic lantern show! Y' c'n turn the radiator on Whenever you want some heat. With ev'ry kind o' comfort Ev'ry house is all complete. You c'n walk to privies in the rain And never wet your feet! They've gone about as fur as they c'n go, Men: Yes sir! They've gone about as fur as they c'n go! Will: Ev'rythin's up to date in Kansas City They've gone about as fur as they c'n go! They got a big theayter they call a burleeque. Fer fifty cents you c'n see a dandy show. Man 1: Gals? Will: One of the gals was fat and pink and pretty, As round above as she was round below. I could swear that she was padded From her shoulder to her heel, But latter in the second act When she began to peel She proved that ev'rythin' she had was absolutely real! She went about as fur as she could go, Men: Yes sir! She went about as fur as she could go!

Facebook advertisers can repost “likes” in your name so you don’t have to

Users of Facebook are accustomed to seeing friends listed in right-column ads, mentioned liking such-and-such a brand, or two or three. It's understood that those friends at some point visited the brand's page and clicked "like", permitting that company, Amazon for example, to pay Facebook to advertise the "like" as frequently as it wishes. It's also understood that when one "likes" a page, a post is simultaneously shared to herald the act and appears on the user's wall unless that feature is turned off. What you may not know is that your initial timeline post can be reposted, in the center-thread, at the advertiser's whim, perhaps limited to when you're online, perhaps triggered when you log on, but not logged on your wall and thus unseen by you. Does it also boost the number of people pretended to be "talking about" that brand? Are 372,523 talking about Starbucks? That could include "you", repeating yourself ad-maybe-nauseum. Or maybe, for a premium, your original "like" is not shared simultaneously, but doled out as each of your friends comes online to guarantee one hundred percent reach. Who knows. As personalized as we know the ads can be, no doubt the algorithm is not calculated for clarity. Do you remember which pages you've liked or not? Perhaps you clicked like to be able to comment on the page, or to monitor a monopolistic miscreant, or perhaps it was before Wells Fargo, Bank of America, or British Petroleum became persons and not-so-grata. Maybe now you'd rather not be said to like Chevron, Monsanto, or killer Coke. You can review your "likes" under INFO, then INTERESTS. Or you can check the list below. On each page, see if beside the LIKE button, you have the option to unlike, for example, Facebook. Here's a quick list of corporate brands which have fallen from fashion among those with fashion sense. You can click on each to check whether you are counted among their unpaid repeated endorsers. Nike Gap Fox News CNN AT&T Caterpillar Disney Walmart Target K-mart Toys-r-us Lowes Ikea Home Depot And the fat merchants: McDonalds Burger King Hardees Carl's Jr Wendy's Taco Bell KFC Pizza Hut Sonic Chick-fil-A Jimmy Johns Subway Outback Dairy Queen Dunkin Donuts Krispy Kreme

Do you Facebook? You’re a Yahoo

What is Facebook worth? To whom does it belong? Reigning property right schemes aren't reciprocal to Facebook's actual content providers. Maybe an outrageous IPO will prompt a user's bill of rights and a new intellectual rights paradigm, monetizing the net to flow outward instead of inward to the cyber 1%. Facebook is the whole world in a filing cabinet, but they're your files, and you're the volunteer file clerk. Facebook is Yahoo outsourced basically, because Google is too complicated for thought-overwhelmed people. Yahoo mapped the known internet, Google rationalized the database, but the social networking outfits calculated that interests could be predicted along personal ties. We're sheep after all, and we only want to follow where the flock is going. While Twitter's cues comes at you like Space Invaders, Facebook provided the blinders and rear view mirrors to coax the reluctant along, and resurrected the virtual community of the World Wide Web's first internment camp, AOL. This time when everyone is comfortably corralled, it will be interesting to see what becomes of the web's open range.

Step on up folks, He-Who-Shoots-From-Cover Indian name hits nerve with identity-obscuring internet trolls

A little bird tells me there's been a discussion on Facebook, an overnight marathon of name-calling about ME. Alias-extrovert Agent Doubt offered a beer or coffee to whoever could come up with the best quip to counter my Indian-name for Chairforce pilots and other US soldiers who wield disproportionate force: He Who Shoots From Cover. I guess this sobriquet hit too close to home for identity-concealing internet snipers too. In any case, it looks like Doubt's outsourcing his creativity again, and sneaking the makings of a date on an unsuspecting winner.

Verizon doesn’t want to hear you now

OCCUPIED COLORADO SPRINGS- A photo from this weekend's march against SOPA supporters AT&T and Verizon. SOPA and its House of Lords twin PIPA are not dead, their sponsors are playing possum until public outcry blows over. When Occupy freezes over --not even.

Mr Smith goes to #FuckYouWashington

The netizens are revolting. On the eve of US "austerity measures" the Twitterverse is crowdsourcing its ire against the de facto seat of world government. The unprintable hashtag won't trend on social networks -- it's alleged, even as momentum builds like a movie title mashup. Typical sentiment: FuckYouWashington for putting profit above people. The laundry list of injustices is staggering and as a political party platform, it's writing itself. What is democracy but crowdsourced grievances in search of redress? As tweeters hurry to open external floodgates, it's going to be interesting to see which if any of the social networks decide to unleash its participants from the censorship which constrains the profanity they want to share. #FuckYouWashington for your mass murder, inhumanity, enslavement, penury and usury and then telling me this hashtag is profane.

Straight blogger confesses he’s lesbian

So a retired Air Force man has to fess up that he was "Paula Brooks," editor of the blog LEZ GET REAL. More critically, Bill Graber, 58, of Ohio, was a shill for fellow hoaxer Thomas MacMaster aka the Gay Girl In Demascus, whose wife Britta Froelicher has yet to be implicated directly, though she's a Syria scholar at a Neocon leaning institution, and as supposed activists, their talking points are concern trollishly generic. With Graber unmasked, LezGetReal is being handed off to alternating erstwhile shill "Linda Carbonell", who says she doesn't use her married name La Victoire lest she jeopardize her husband's job with the government. "Victory?" Hello? Commenters are all LOL because LezGetReal still won't get a real lesbian for an editor, and tittering because Graber and MacMaster flirted online, unknowingly middle-aged-man-on-man. Heehee, yeah, I don't think so. MSM interviewers ponder that no one appeared to intend harm, but aren't they missing a wooded Virginia campus for the trees? If psy ops programs were indeed coordinating trolls, what do you think the motley crew would look like? No doubt you've encountered your share already, a drearily uncreative bunch, frequently on the fringe of the military, with their fingers in many pies, the gay issue being not so distantly DoD-related.   "Paula Brooks" was one of the smelly loose ends of the Tom MacMaster Amina Arraf hoax, so I'm glad that someone smoked Graber out. But on the other hand I'm not. I intended, with the title of this post, to lampoon the now repeated twist of lesbian bloggers turning out to be straight men. To get attention now, you'd have to be a straight blogger who is discovered to really be a lesbian. But then no one meant to bring this kind of attention to themselves, you'd think. Maybe you'd be wrong. The worst element of this fraudulent blogger meme, is the seed of mistrust which increasingly poisons the internet. The only edge the established media had on the blogosphere was an inherent credibility, the indoctrination that if something is in print, it must be true. Though MSM journalism has been losing ground to the superior investigative output of the internet, hoaxes such as this work in their favor. Although it's been fun to unmask these frauds, and seek credit for the collar, the more attention paid to the story, the more eroded becomes the public trust. Yes, we've proven that the net will find you out, or more precisely CAN find you out. But what's our success rate? It feels like 100%, but that counts only the identities we question. There's no telling how many frauds remain undetected. And worse, internet sleuths are slashing away at the very anonymity they cherish. To be a credible voice now, you have to be completely out, you have to show your papers basically. Who celebrates that? We may think we've embarrassed MacMaster and Graber and Froelicher and La Victoire, but if they are indeed intelligence spoilers, they can go right back underground and on to the

Second Life had a less virtual life cycle

NEUFREISTADT, COLORADO-- While Odile and Balder succumbed to the seemingly infinite potential of virtual surreality, younger tech-weaned eyes were never fooled, Second Life was a game. Hello? Just. A. Game. Yes, we could recognize the learning curve and ever-fading novelty, yes our immersion was obsessive, but what value have intimate explorations if less than fully lived? Second Life offered idealized selves, idealized travel, social opportunity and locomotion beyond perhaps the reality of many. It could also provide surroundings of your design, to those players who could afford it. While our little native gamers moved on to single-player Sims games where your custom-built world wasn't going to be compromised by others, we persevered, albeit in virtual retirement, trying to read SL's future like traders studying the market. I wonder if we didn't find our level maxed when we uploaded our real life Colorado backdrop to upholster our virtual homestead.

Revolution in Egypt: cue the jackals

The struggle in Egypt between spontaneous uprising and desperate measures taken by Mubarak has become complicated by covert intelligence action. Looters have been unmasked as security agents, the police withdrew from the streets only to reappear as thugs unleashed on the vulnerable public. As the popular revolution appears irreversible, world bankers and investors are threatening to destabilize Egypt with the usual market sanctions.

Wikileaks Cablegate on 2008 Olympics: US rats on Dutch radio avoiding IOC & Chinese censors via complex intertubes

Aftenposten's monopoly on unleaked-by-Wikileaks-leaks went comparatively stale this weekend for American readers at least, but there was this nugget in a Beijing Olympics "Situation Report." The last item of an August 21, 2008 diplomatic cable told how a Dutch pirate radio operation was able to circumvent Chinese censors and an International Olympic Committee exclusivity contract. By reporting "Radio 538 is using a complex system of ISDN telephone lines," the US embassy was less ratting out the Dutch than revealing its own misunderestimation of Chinese internets and/or intertubes. 22. (U) Dutch Radio Station Evades Censors: The Dutch commercial broadcaster Radio 538 on 08/19/2008 continued to defy both the Chinese censors and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by broadcasting live from Beijing during the Olympic Games, according to a Dutch radio report. Officially, the only Dutch broadcaster registered to broadcast from Beijing during the Olympics is public broadcaster NOS. Unlike officially registered broadcasters, Radio 538 is not required to send its feed through the Olympics Broadcast Center, where Chinese authorities could theoretically censor its output. Instead, Radio 538 is using a complex system of integrated service digital networks (ISDN) telephone lines to transmit its broadcasts out of Beijing and to foil authorities´ attempts to block its transmissions. Radio 538´s connection with its Beijing studio has been down for only 20 minutes on one day since the beginning of the Olympics, according to the Dutch radio report. For the regularly appended list of USG cables released exclusively in Norway, check this Aftenposten link. For a daily summary written for an English audience, check Views and News from Norway.

When will INTERPOL investigate cyber attacks on Wikileaks? aka 88.80.13.160

Wikileaks has been deprived its DNS service by everydns.net, but you can still reach the site by going to their direct IP, 88.80.13.160. Pass it on. Here is a full list of Wikileaks websites and mirrors. The US War on Freedom is on, and Wikileaks reminds us, we are the troops. wikileaks.org - Official Wikileaks Page [46.51.171.90, 184.72.37.90] cablegate.wikileaks.org - Secret US Embassy Cables [91.194.60.90, 91.194.60.112, 204.236.131.131] chat.wikileaks.org - Secure SSL Chat Page [88.80.13.160] sunshinepress.org - Secure Document Submission Page [88.80.2.32] wikileaks.com - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.net - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.biz - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.de - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.eu - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.fi - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.mobi - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.nl - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.pl - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.us - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] ljsf.org - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160] wikileaks.info - Mirror hosted in Switzerland [62.2.16.94] wikileaks.se - Mirror hosted in Sweden [88.80.6.179] nyud.net - Mirror hosted in the United States [129.170.214.192] twitter.com/wikileaks - Official Wikileaks Twitter Page facebook.com/wikileaks - Official Wikileaks Facebook Page

Need another reason to boycott 900 lb bully Amazon? Censoring Wikileaks

Amazon booted Wikileaks from its cloud server service, at the behest of Zionist warmonger Joe Lieberman. Twittered Wikileaks in response: "If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books." The corporate media is already censoring "Cablegate" with misdirection, describing the leaked diplomatic cables as indelicate embarrassments, as opposed to incriminating revelations of America's imperialist anti-democratic outrages. The Interpol has declared an international manhunt of the Wikileaks founder based on scurrilous accusations of sexual misconduct, Canada is calling for Julian Assange's execution via US drone, our politicians want to prosecute the Australian Assange under the draconian 1917 US Espionage Act. Amazon's cowardly deed today is a reminder of the private sector's omniscient control over everyone's access to information. Imagine a world where whistleblowers are denied whistles. Shopping bags only please. On Amazon's internet no one can hear you scream. While the US media is scolding Wikileaks spokespeople for shaming US diplomacy, the free presses are reporting about the cables which detail the US abuse of diplomatic cover to supply intelligence data, some of it intended to direct US/Israeli drone strikes. The collusion of foreign governments to help the US circumvent international law, US complicity in the Honduran coup, among many other crimes. Bradley Manning allegedly confessed leaking Cablegate to FBI informer Adrian Lamo, describing the trove of damning revelations thus: “Hilary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available in a searchable format to the public. Everywhere there is a U.S. post there is a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed. It is open diplomacy, worldwide anarchy in CSV format. It’s Climategate with a global scope and breathtaking depth. It is beautiful and horrifying." Although an estimated half million US government operatives had access to these cables, only 20-year-old intelligence analyst Manning had the conscience to recognize the immorality being kept from public view. That's a military culture of Don't Ask Don't Tell, of which discrimination against sexual preference is the smallest consequence. Have you read any of the objective coverage of the damning cables? What's been released is only a fraction, so as not to overwhelm a media which can only focus on a single soundbite at a time. Is the absence of cables critical of Israel evidence that Julian Assange is actually MOSSAD? Rather, and I'm not alone in pointing this out, the dearth of diplomatic cables to and from Israel indicates the streamlined collusion with the US. Only in Tarantino movies do hired killers have dialog. Old comrades don't regale each other with revelations about Quarter Pounder versus Le Royale. Israeli and US diplomats have nothing to have to keep abreast about. Is Assange really CIA/MOSSAD/AIPAC? I'd say the smears against him more likely are. When the same voices disparaging Assange ALSO find themselves horrified by the revelations of the US diplomatic cables, is when I'll start giving them

QuiBids internet racketeers threaten Not My Tribe with scam legal letter

Game On QuiBids. We received a letter today from an Oklahoma law firm, on behalf of "QuiBids LLC," apparently the preeminent of "penny auction site" confidence scams, who took exception to our earlier look-see into their rip-off operation. Frankly, I assumed our cries of foul were latecomers, while someone more responsible was ringing the OK attorney general. As QuiBids has the temerity to threaten "whatever action is necessary," I'll make the call personally. As it is I already feel duped for reprinting the letter below, because it reads like typical QuiBids fake advertorials. Name-dropping Better Business Bureau, Chamber of Commerce, yada yada. And of course: "Sadly, the same cannot be said about some of QuiBids' competitors," the we're-not-like-the-other-con-artists routine. The phoniest passage pretends that QuiBids "was forced to file suit against another online penny auction site for its unlawful activities." HAHAHA. Unlawful activities are prosecuted by the state, you flunkies. As you'll learn presently. Actually I am 100% certain that charges are already filed, and this aggressive PR is a smokescreen. I'll post all ensuing developments. By the way, consumers can contact BBBs to register complaints, but a business membership does not imply endorsement. Same with the Chamber of Commerce. And WHO considers the chamber any kind of arbiter of ethical business practice? That mindset comes from someone who didn't stray beyond the business school building. Hohoho. Who does QuiBids take us for? Their marks? To be clear, QuiBids and the "penny auction" ilk are neither auctions, nor gambling sites. Whether or not they deploy shill bidders or mischievous software, the QuiBids money-for-nothing scheme is fraud. A penny auction website pretends to offer "dibs" to the last customer who puts money in the pot, and proceeds to collect "bid" payments for a virtually unlimited time span, until the last desperate player decides he's lost enough. Whether or not the victim is entitled to purchase the item at full retail price, as a consolation, does not mitigate the fact that they were duped. Look no further than QuiBids' own protestations. QuiBids differentiates itself from "the other penny auction sites" which it asserts without a hint of irony, are inherently guilty. Oh do go on, QuiBids, expound for us on the illegality of your competitors... Add to the fraudulent transaction, the deceptive methods used to promote QuiBids. And now, contriving a legal threat to fain legitimacy. McAfee &Taft appears to be a significant law firm, why does this letter read like a QuiBids promotional blurb? We need to forward this to the partners McAfee and Taft themselves, to show them the sophomore crap being circulated under their letterhead. At the risk of simply spreading the Quibids PR drivel, here it is. McAFEE & TAFT A PROFESSIONAL CORPORATION 10TH FLOOR - TWO LEADERSHIP SQUARE 21 NORTH ROBINSON - OKLAHOMA CITY, OK 73102-7103 (405) 235-9621 - FAX (405) 235-0439 www.mcafeetaft.com Ryan L. Lobato Attorney at Law September 3, 2010 VIA EMAIL AND CERTIFIED MAIL RETURN RECEIPT REQUESTED Eric Verlo editorial @ notmytribe.com Not My Tribe 29 E. Bijou, Room 222 Colorado Springs, CO 80903 Re: Trademark Infringement Mr. Verlo: We represent QuiBids, L.L.C. ("QuiBids") in intellectual

Scam auction site Swipebids poses French celebrity Melissa Theuriau as generic newsperson all over the web

Penny auction scammers know their audience. Stupid Americans aren't going to recognize one phony news reporter over another, even if it's French anchorwoman Melissa Theuriau. Imagine if Lisa Hartman's misnamed image popped up in embedded advertorials.   Not only are fake "penny auction" news pages posing the A-list celebrity as a generic TV spokesperson, but ads have been placed across the internet, on authentic media like MSNBC. Certainly the banner ad managers of MSM websites know that Theuriau is not shilling for penny auction scammers.

$35 iNDIApad running Linux reveals iPad users pay for intellectual property

While MIT has been racing to design the world's first $100 computer, India has performed an end-run at a third the price, and it's a tablet no less. Running with open-source software, as genuine volks-werks will, the iNDIAPAD will reach third world schoolchildren for $35, developers at the India Institute of Science hope even as low as $10. Absent keypad and hand crank, but with camera, touchscreen and wireless. Which begs the question of course, what indispensable features drive Apple prices? Bill Gates earned his fortune on them. Patents.

Dear President Obama, your email MailMerge function needs tweaking

When a Codepink blogger offered her public reply to President Obama's "This Fourth of July" email, I thought I'd poke my own fun at passages like "as America comes ever closer to achieving the perfect Union our founders dreamed." But when I examined the email Obama sent me, that laugh line had been scrubbed. Did you know our personal notes from the president were indeed personal? It surprises no one I'm sure, to imagine that mass emails would be personalized to address the recipient. "Dear Eric, how's the weather in Colorado, etc." It's no great leap then to customize each theme according to subjects of concern to me more than others. Obama knows apparently that I'm not likely to buy "today is a day to reflect on our independence, and the sacrifice of our troops standing in harm’s way to preserve and protect it." In fact I do not give a rat's ass for a single one of our soldiers standing in harm's way. Although we have only guesstimated body counts to go on, obviously 99% of that harm flows the other way. Soldiers who resist orders to keep heaping harm on innocents is who I care about. Fighting for America's freedom begins at home. Let any citizen try to petition his government for redress and he'll see exactly whose side the soldiers are on. My personal 4th of July email from the president does mention our soldiers and their sacrifice, but adds another emphasis: That sacrifice is shared with husbands and wives, with sons and daughters, with fathers and mothers, who are asked to wait at home as their loved ones protect our nation. Their heroism, too, has helped pave the path of our freedom. Now where did the White House Mail Merge function get its wires crossed on that one? If there are Americans about whom I care less than the GIs, it's the parents who couldn't give them better advice. Theirs was no heroism at all, it was go with the flow. Stuck hoping their child escapes unscathed is their just due. Mothers who raised their boy to be a soldier, did it for Charles Darwin. Neither do I care to honor those military wives furiously praying for stateside widowhood and a $100,000 insurance payoff. Clearly my Obama message was intended to inspire a flag-drapper. How many variation of the Obama 4th of July email do you suppose went around? I hesitate to wonder what my personal email from Obama would look like if indeed he had my number. I am hoping to avoid "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka!"

Composer Jason Robert Brown wants to protect his unintellectual rights

As a musician and fan of stage musicals, I must proffer this disclaimer about American theater composer Jason Robert Brown: he's terrible. Brown is a poster child for the music industry's common mediocrity, of commerce's habitual triumph over art. Now Brown has appointed himself defender of intellectual property rights, holding that teens should not use the internet to pirate his sheet music. Of course, I can only wish him foolproof success. American musical theater saw a golden age in the 1940s, with notable glimmers of resurgence since then, in ever infrequent cycles. I don't think anyone would argue that in-between was constant dreck --to which "show tunes" owe their stigma. Defenders of Andrew Lloyd Webber will find themselves similarly unrestrained enthusiasts for popular music, popular fiction and television. To each his own slop. I have particular antipathy for contemporary composers of awfulness because they drive the inartistic music publishing industry where it does irreparable harm. School bands and theater departments are influenced to pay royalties for the performance pieces whose rights are most profitably leveraged, at the expense of older works of renown. Instead of seeding young repertoires with melodies and lyrics to enrich their memories, teachers pollute their students with forgettable claptrap, courtesy of bards like Brown. I have the same prejudice with regard to literature. Why aren't today's students reading Stevenson or Poe instead of Blume or Rowling? Of course, composer JR Brown is more on par with author RL Stine, he's that horrible. But don't take my word for it, have a listen. That said, here's Jason Robert Brown championing not just the exclusive right to sell online what his publishers hawk through their network of scholastic pushers, but he wants the same markup. If ever a commodity could change hands for its true worth, Brown's entire catalog should be ventilated for free through file sharing. Instead he's personally joining various trading websites and then emailing each and every member who appears to be trading in his goods. To paraphrase: Hello, I'm Jason Robert Brown, yes, The Jason Robert Brown, and I'd appreciate it if you stopped illegally sharing my music, since it deprives me of my rightful royalties. Brown has posted some of the ensuing email exchanges on his blog, without any mention of offering remuneration for their contributions. Most laughable, but consistent with the weakness of his music work, Brown has engaged chiefly teens in his discussion of intellectual rights. He lists one discussion in which he compares his stolen sheet music to a loaned screwdriver, a Xerox'd book, and a copied CD. Mr. Brown, might I direct you to the innumerable organizations which argue that intellectual property rights are not inalienable. They are restraints to trade, impediments to idea sharing, and diametric to elevating community wealth. You have every right to contrive a product and sell it by whatever connivance, but your monopoly ends there. Whoever were your customers should have the right to do with their purchases what they will. What right have you to tax the use of your

Scriptmatix “penny auctions” such as Quibids are less scams than pure fraud

Shell games tempt only the gullible, don't they? So long as YOU don't fall for them, what's a little income redistribution among wretches? That's an attitude shared only by the uninitiated. So-called internet "penny auctions" exploit human vulnerability like trust and avarice, leaving victims to blame their own stupidity or greed. You may shrug off getting burned as a lesson learned, but all confidence tricks count on that. Websites like Quibids and Scriptmatix's PennyAuction are neither novel discount methods, adventure shopping, gambling scenarios or lotteries. They are con games that lead you to believe you are getting something for your money, until you don't. Just because YOU can figure it out -from an objective distance- doesn't mean Quibids is not patently dishonest. US laws governing fraud are enforced by local statutes, but common law is enough to define this internet scam as representation of falsehood with the intent to profit. Whether or not the auctions use shill bidders, or fail to honor unprofitable outcomes, as have been accused by disgruntled victims, the websites are misrepresentations. The former are obvious illegal practices. The latter is fraud. Or are we so cynical that we accept this kind of scam as merely "predatory capitalism?" Wikipedia defines fraud in layman's terms: 1. a representation of an existing fact; 2. its materiality; 3. its falsity; 4. the speaker's knowledge of its falsity; 5. the speaker's intent that it shall be acted upon by the plaintiff; 6. plaintiff's ignorance of its falsity; 7. plaintiff's reliance on the truth of the representation; 8. plaintiff's right to rely upon it; and 9. consequent damages suffered by plaintiff. In particular this scam begin with what's known as the advance-fee fraud except this buy-in is ongoing and lasts until a mark is tapped-out. Quibids and ilk call themselves "penny auctions" as if there is such a thing. Onlooker suspicions are assuaged by the inherent implication that if a business scam has a name, it must not be a crime. Are penny auctions a veritable thing, besides the self-defined new crook on the block? Well, yes, but. The "penny auctions" of yesteryear had nothing to do with these pay-to-play auction schemes where bidders buy vouchers for the privilege to ante into a bidding pool. Penny auction refers to the Depression era strategy of sabotaging farm liquidation auctions by forcing the auctioneer to accept bids in increments of one penny. Aided by cooperative neighbors, bankruptcy victims were able to grind their creditor's actions to a halt, for a time, because collusion was itself unlawful. Obviously this is a far cry from the neo penny auctions which require customers to buy "bids" with which to place dibs on a desired item, increasing its auction price by a penny each time and prolonging the bidding for another fixed period. On Quibids, price and time increments can vary between auction items to confuse watchers trying to do the math. As an average, a bidder might pay 60 cents each time he wants to put his name on the desired item, raise its price a penny, and extend the auction expiration by another ten

Case of curious cellphone, bandana and Greyson Chance’s perfect microphone

PT Barnum would have been a terror on Youtube --I'm certainly sobered to see what fools America every time. Is sudden-tween-throb Greyson Chance's talent for real? Too soon to say. But the 6th grade sound man at Cheyenne School of Edmond, Oklahoma has unlikely genius. * What's hard to believe about doctors bandaging Bret Michaels' massive brain hemorrhage with his signature headband? * And my favorite, Oprah Winfrey recording a show performance with her cellphone to attest to her surprise at "the coolest thing ever!" Oprah It happened ages ago (in blog-years) but television talk shows bind these three example together. Do you remember Oprah's anniversary whatsit, taped like a big tailgate party in downtown Chicago? Oprah stood there on the outdoor stage beside the Black Eyed Peas and held her cellphone up, aimed at the audience, as if the dozen or more cameras on cranes, wires and rails weren't going to be enough. And the crowd erupted in spontaneous dance, although it was choreographed, and a concept swiped from a European video. But Oprah's deal went viral because, OMG would you believe it, and there was Oprah, OMG'ding herself, careful to record it to show her friends in case they wouldn't have believe her, or watched the show. Now how many of you believe the media diva even has her own phone, much less carries it or knows how it works? Watching the video again, an establishing shot before the music begins shows someone in the audience (who later would turn out to be a dancer) aiming their cellphone like a camera, in case the audience at home needed a reminder that's what normal people do today, and that's what Oprah would be doing, to confound your awe with hers. Compound. After the video had done its viral thing, Oprah had all the crowdsourced uploads removed, being unlicensed and all. I think it was really because her feigned incredulity wasn't going to pass muster. Better a memory gone viral than video evidence of Oprah taking her viewers for fools. Bret Bret Michael's blue bandana as he reclined on the hospital bed on the cover of People Magazine was just too silly for words. No doubt America wouldn't know him without his bandana wig, so it was definitely an art director's call. Alright, it wasn't a video, but the internet rumors went viral. Fans started to twitter about an oddly fortuitous recovery which put him back on the Celebrity Apprentice season finale, so now poor Bret is back in the hospital to prove it wasn't a PR stunt, this time for a hole-in-the-heart, probably something to do with a tatoo, in any case nothing to interfere with his headband. Greyson Brand-spanking-fresh-phenom Greyson Michael Chance wowed everyone on Youtube, and Ellen's people, reportedly before his views had even hit five-digits --are talent scouts that grassroots? He encored with the same brilliant performance on her show, thus certifying his authentic talent, based on the law that lightening can't be fixed twice. Although the equalizer setting, for lack of a

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