Information Is Becoming A Distraction; Can We Blame The iPod or iPad?

I did a double take when I read President Obama’s statement about how information, or I should say too much information, is placing a strain on our democratic process. The president made this startling revelation during a speech he gave at Hampton University in Virginia during its graduation ceremony. Another point the President was trying to make is this:

“‘You’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank all that high on the truth meter,’ Obama said at Hampton University, Virginia,” AFP reports. “‘With iPods and iPads and Xboxes and PlayStations, — none of which I know how to work — information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation,’ Obama said.”

I agree that some of the information we receive may be shaded or downright lies, but hasn’t this always been the case with news media, even before the electronic age?

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

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Virginia Court Strikes Down Anti-Spam Law

In a surprise move, Supreme Court in the state of Virgina has struck down that states anti-spam law.  To add insult to injury, the court ruling also freed a man considered by some to be the worse spammer around. It seems that the court felt that Virgina’s anti-spam law violated the persons first amendment right to freedom of speech. The court also stated:

The Virginia law “is unconstitutionally overbroad on its face because it prohibits the anonymous transmission of all unsolicited bulk e-mails, including those containing political, religious or other speech protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution,” Justice G. Steven Agee wrote.

Agee wrote that “were the Federalist Papers just being published today via e-mail, that transmission by Publius would violate the statute.” Publius was the pseudonym used by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay in essays urging ratification of the Constitution.

This is a interesting twist in what appears to be the courts interpretation in saying that spam is OK. Terrific. Let us hope that this goes to the US Supreme Court and the law is upheld. If not, we can all expect to be bombarded with a ton more of spam.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

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New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence

The idea is simple. It has been done twice before. First during WWII when the US was able to develop an atomic weapon and again when we put a man on the moon. Both times the US gathered the best of the best to tackle the problem and both times a solution was obtained. So this is what Congressman Randy Forbes of Virginia is proposing in his ‘New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence’.

Congressman Forbes suggests three solutions to the current oil crisis. Dig for more crude, conserve or develop alternatives. One would think that this is obvious, which it is. But the obvious appears to be only being made by the American people and not Congress. One can see why Congress has a 9% approval rating, which is well deserved.

On Congressman Forbes’s website he states:

Just this week I introduced a bold initiative that will undoubtedly challenge the United States in a significant way. If the goals of this initiative are met, it will get at the very core of our energy problem and we will be an energy independent nation. The “New Manhattan Project for Energy Independence” challenges the United States to achieve 50% energy independence in ten years and 100% energy independence in 20 years. To achieve this goal, the New Manhattan Project will bring together the best and brightest scientists in our nation in a competitive format to effectively research one of seven established energy goals and will award significant prizes to any group, school, team, or company who reaches the goal. Any American citizen can participate, and the first person to meet the goals as determined by a New Manhattan Project commission of scientists will receive the respective prize. These goals are not easy. The processes to reach them are not simple. And many Americans may think them impossible. But if we do reach them, we will move closer to energy independence and begin a new way of life in the United States.

Why the “New Manhattan Project”? First, because it will inspire a new generation of math, science, and engineering students, scientists, and researchers to overcome a common national challenge. Second, because it was the original Manhattan Project in the midst of World War II that brought together the best scientists and researchers to solve one of the most challenging scientific missions to face our nation – and by pure hard work and dedication to a unified mission, they succeeded. We can do it again.

Some may call it “unreasonable” and “absurd.” Some may say the task is too great and find themselves more comfortable pointing fingers and simply complaining. But I believe in the greatness of America and the American people, and I know that greatness finds its birth in our values and our refusal to quit. Perhaps the New Manhattan Project will write a new page in our history books reflecting once again that the size of our accomplishments is only limited by the size of our doors.    

It is refreshing to finally see at least one of our political leaders who is actually taking the oil crisis problem seriously. What is disturbing is that neither McCaine nor Obama  have mentioned this proposal, nor have they mentioned supporting such an initiative.

It is time for the American people to push our leaders into supporting what appears to be a start in the right direction. The US needs to break the hold that the oil producing nations have over us and to cut back on the $700 billion dollars we seen to them each year.

The choice is ours. We can continue to do nothing or try a new approach.

What do you think?

Comments welcome.

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