opinions, everybody's got one...
Saturday, July 17, 2004
Tell us Your Name, and Your Reasons For Not Revealing Your Identity
Some privacy issues in the news that look interesting:
The first is that the Commerce Department has a new Chief Privacy Officer. In typical government fashion, it appears that this is an internal move and the person filling the position will retain his old title, too. Guess that job didn't keep him too busy.
We're being told that the program to screen information about plane passengers, the Computer Assisted Passenger Pre-Screening System II, or CAPPS II is gone. But Wired points to the possibility that it might rise from the grave.
A crime and anti-terrorism database known as the MATRIX will become decentralized, which sounds good. The program combines State Vehicle and Crime information with commercial information. I'm glad that Delaware isn't one of the participating states. We're also told that the company producing the technology is being purchased by LexisNexis, which may have some privacy advocates concerned. It has me worried.
An article on picture phones and corporate security concerns makes some intriguing reading. A camera phone should definitely be in James Bond's arsenal of spy tools.
Friday, July 16, 2004
Blakely and Delaware Sentences
Talkleft has a post about a ruling in the Federal 6th Circuit, where it was decided that Blakely Invalidates Federal Sentencing Guidelines.
The Blakely ruling was in a Washington State case. The conclusion cited by Justice Scalia in the case?
Petitioner was sentenced to prison for more than three years beyond what the law allowed for the crime to which he confessed, on the basis of a disputed finding that he had acted with "deliberate cruelty." The Framers would not have thought it too much to demand that, before depriving a man of three more years of his liberty, the State should suffer the modest inconvenience of submitting its accusation to "the unanimous suffrage of twelve of his equals and neighbours," 4 Blackstone, Commentaries, at 343, rather than a lone employee of the State.A News Journal article from a couple of weeks back, involved a sentencing in Delaware's Federal Court which was postponed so that they could decide the impact of the Blakely case upon sentencings.
Will the law have an impact upon Delaware State courts? That's a good question, and it may get an answer in court. The Journal notes that
Sentencing guidelines, used in federal courts and, with variations, in state courts, allow judges to adjust an offender's sentence within a specified range based on factors in the case. In Delaware courts, those guidelines are advisory, but in federal court, they are binding.It's possible that the "advisory" nature of Delaware State sentences will mean that Blakely doesn't apply to them.
Celebrating Delaware City
Fireworks, mummers, games, food, ferry rides, and a tour of an infamous civil war prison. Tomorrow is Delaware City Day, and you can experience all of the above.
The image above was taken for a 1964 survey for the historic building register, and is from the Library of Congress.
The Fort has been fixed up some since then.
I've seen their fireworks show before, and it was definitely worth watching. If you go, have a good time.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
More Suspects, as Delaware Blogs
I'm searching for Delaware Bloggers.
If you look at Larry's entry yesterday, so is the Delaware Republican Party.
I don't think that any of the following Delaware weblog owners is the author who elevated the pulses of Delaware General Assembly members a couple of days ago. Frankly, I really didn't expect to uncover the secret identity of the writer of that post.
You know, the Delatacit article that had a Republican staffer upset enough to call Larry to interrogate him about it. The tie between Larry, and the post? There's a link on the Delaware Law Office blog to the blog where that post appears. That's it. No other relationship.
I'm reminded of one of my favorite articles from the inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, who wrote about The Implications of Links:
The intention in the design of the web was that normal links should simply be references, with no implied meaning.We do link to sites here that may express views we don't necessarily agree with.
Neither Larry nor I are the authors of any of the following Delaware blogs. And, I don't think any of them write for the Delatacit site. Just in case you Grand Old Party types aren't convinced, I'm not sure that it will be as easy to get the phone numbers of some of these other bloggers. But if you bookmark their sites, you might get a sense of what Delawareans might think about their lives and communities.
A number of them do express some thoughts on politics, and you just never know. One or all of them could really be Larry in disquise. Or the writer of the post about the attractiveness of Delaware's General Assembly members.
But I don't think so.
I visited Lars Hindley's Another Lousy Day in Paradise a couple of weeks ago, and didn't realize that he was a Delawarean. Certainly a good enough writer. Interested in politics. The Republican party better bookmark that one.
Next in the lineup is Paul Smith Jr.com, who is even more political in his writing than Lars, and who has some great links on his page, like one explaining why we have a Vice-President.
Should a couple of news radio jockeys be blogging? Flyn & Larrimore take on some important issues that the General Assembly considered seriously, such as recycling. These guys actually talk about Delaware legislation on their broadcasts.
A long time favorite Delaware-based blog is Fritz Schranck's Sneaking Suspicions, and I'm wondering if he was looking over my shoulder as I started putting together this post. He just added a new section to his blogroll listing "Blue Hen Bloggers". Thanks for including us there, Fritz.
Ivan's DeLaWho? DeLaWhat? DeLaWhere? just seemed too upbeat for him to be the writer the Delaware Republican party is searching for.
The author of Paul WishenBLOG also writes about politics. Some excellent movie reviews on his site, too.
I'm finding Stephen Donato's PHL-Citizens Aviation Watch fascinating, and it's great to get his perspective upon aviation over Delaware.
I met Daryl Cobranchi of Homeschool & Other Education Stuff a while ago, and should have linked to his site long ago. His pages focus mostly upon homeschooling, but he's as big a watchdog of local government as anyone.
Not every Delaware blog is political, though a post from Tine Norton describes her enthusiasm over the ability to vote. Yep, legislators of Delaware, these people are the ones who decide whether or not you stay in office.
Amongst the mostly music and performance type posts from The Look Machine is one about a band member's serious consideration of joining the Green Party. Democrats and Republicans alike should take note of his reasons why.
When you read Salvation Amy's garden posts, you might not deduce that she's a practicing attorney. Or you could realize how well written those posts are, and it might not come as a surprise.
I'm not sure that you can call Matt Hearn a usual suspect. Funny site. It's interesting to see Matt's perspective of Delaware. I think this may be the same Matt Hearn who helped me with a visual basic problem a few years back.
Matt Hearn seems to also have a hand in the colloborative blog Free Range Human. Some Delaware issues get addressed in posts there.
Imp, of slowerlower, claims to have three current readers. He deserves more than a few more.
The crew at blogolution have interesting perspectives on political events, and aren't afraid to air them. They don't seem to mind taking credit for their posts without the use of an alias.
Natalie, at Pomegranate Dreams, doesn't write much about politics. But she's a pretty good writer, like the folks above.
Larry is not the author of any of those blogs. Neither am I. We just link to them.
I know that there are more Delaware bloggers out there, and I'd love to hear from some of them. I think that we'll be adding a Delaware blogs link roll over the next couple of days. If you know of any other Delaware blogs out there that we should look at, please let us know.
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
who is delatacit?
I received a call from the Delaware Republican Party today. As a Republican, I took the call and tried to assist with their inquiry.
It was rumored that I am the anonymous author behind delatacit.com, a different Delaware blog. I was told that Delatacit had the look and feel of my weblogs, and that my site comes up high when they do an internet search for Delatacit.
There were apparently some political views and criticisms espoused on Delatacit that has the Republican Party curious. I am not sure what they are, particularly. I looked at the site and verified that it wasn't one of mine (perhaps one that I had created one wild night and subsequently forgot). I even did a search on popular web site registration resources to seek the web administrator's name. To no avail. It appears to be solidly anonymous.
My site comes back on a search for Delatacit because there is a link to it on my blog, along with numerous other legal and delaware related blogs. I guess my blog's decent Google rating brings a high placement for the search of Delatacit.
So lets be clear. Delatacit is not my work. I haven't read it. I have skimmed it and it appears to be interesting. But frankly, I haven't the time. To the extent that it is a forum for lawful free speech, I applaud it. But beyond that, I don't particularly care what it says.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
Radio Frequency Identification and School Kids
Children in a primary school in Osaka, Japan, will be carrying Radio Frequency Identification chips around with them so their movements around the school can be monitored.
I wonder what the reaction to that might be if it happened here in the US?
Slamming Doors in the Courtroom
Working in a courtroom can be a difficult situation.
And, it is important to maintain order. Conditions aren't always ideal.
But I'm going to say, with a quick apology to judges everywhere (including Larry), sometimes you just have to fix those doors before they slam.
Delaware Coast Press - Blogging Article
I couldn't find the recent article about blogging on the Delaware Coast Press - delmarvanow.com website, and so I am hosting a copy of it here, as Paige was kind enough to send me a copy.
ON THE WEB
WHAT: On line journals or blogs are the newest way for people to share their ideas with the public. WEB SITES: Pat Fish's blog at http://patfish.blogspot.com, Fred Schranck's blog at http://www.sneakingsuspicions.com, and Larry Sullivan's blog at http://www.delawoffice.com/news.html.
By Paige Lauren Deiner
Coast Press Reporter
Blogging, short for Web logging, or creating online journals, is a way for ordinary people to become columnists and write about the subjects that matter most to them, whether it be politics or gardening, and share them with the world via the Internet.
Blogging is a relatively new trend that is rapidly growing. A Google search on the Internet generates more than three million hits. Bloggers post information on the Internet and update their blog on a regular basis.
Pat Fish, who has a blog and lives in Milton said, "Blogs are out there so that the little people get a voice." She said blogging gives people the opportunity to share their opinions with a large audience without being employed by a newspaper. "A lot of famous people (columnists) are also starting blogs. Television personalities are writing blogs, but as many people read my blogs as read theirs. Their blogs are no more interesting, that makes the field equal," said Fish. Fish said she started blogging when her granddaughter was born in December of 2003. She said she had always kept an e-mail list of friends and family to send her thoughts to and when blogging became popular, it was a natural transition.
Fish said she uses her Web log as a medium to share the book she is writing for her granddaughter, Kaitlyn Mae. The blog is the making of a book, but also a public forum for her to express her viewpoints on everything from funny incidents, to gardens and birds, to politics and current events.
She posts her stories twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays, and generally writes them a week earlier so she "can edit them and let them cool off." An excerpt from a posting on June 13 on Fish's blog, entitled "The Drama That Is Iraq" reads:
"It's likely when you are an adult, Kaitlyn Mae, that the Iraq War will be but a footnote in the history text, if that. Right now it looms large on our national horizon. Grandmother thinks this conflict, and the Afghanistan conflict still under way as of this writing, is a study of dreams, ideals, intrigue, politics, violence and a clash of civilizations as great as any of the ancient past." Fish said, "People who do blogs are writers, if not they don't get read. There are lots of silly blogs, but no one wants to read crappy writing."
Fish said she plans to start her own Web site at the end of July, so she can upload pictures, and have more space, but currently her blog is hosted by blogspot, a free blog hosting site. She estimates that more than a hundred people read her blog each week. But she said, "I don't care if nobody reads them (my blogs). It makes me happy."
Shrank blogs to start dialogues.
Fred Schrank, a deputy attorney general who lives in Rehoboth Beach, is also a blogger. He said he began learning about blogging after Sept. 11 while he was searching out more information about what happened. He became hooked on the lyleks.com blog and then began his own blog in 2002. He said he usually posts content to his site five or six times a week, and he has gathered a following. Schrank said a satiric piece he wrote about marshmallow farming attracted thousands of reads. On the average, though, he said 250-350 people read his blog every day. He said that he doesn't make any money from his blog, but encourages people who enjoy reading his posts to donate to either the ALS foundation or the Epilepsy Foundation. There are links to each organization on his site.
Shrank said his posts, which range from serious to silly, have been conversation starters between him and other bloggers. He said sometimes other bloggers will comment on what he wrote on their blogs, or readers will e-mail him with questions.
Because of his blog, Shrank said he has met many interesting people, some of whom have become friends. "The nice thing about blogging, is that you meet people who really know their field and who are interested enough in it to write about it."
Sullivan blogs to inform clients
Larry Sullivan is a lawyer in Newark who started his blog on his work web-site three years ago as a way to disseminate information to his clients and provide free general legal information to the public. He said that he spends about 40 minutes a week on his blog and that other staff members spend about the same amount of time posting information to the site. Sullivan said there has been a large response, favorable comments and an increase in Web traffic to the site.
"As best we can determine, the site has about 2,000 hits per day, 600 visits per day to the site," said Sullivan. He said that his blog has increased business and provided a cost effective way for him to share information with his clients about changes to Delaware law. "It's clearly an effective method of meeting new clients," said Sullivan.
According to Sullivan, his blog is one of the few blogs in existence that just deals with legal issues in Delaware. "This is especially important in Delaware where the attorneys are traditionally conservative and slow to venture into the Internet, but they are doing so," said Sullivan. He said an added benefit to the blog is that by providing generalized legal information to the public, people know what types of questions to ask when they come in to see him.
E-mail Paige Lauren Deiner at email@example.com.