I seem to have found myself on the list of one very angry group of universal health care activists. This what they had to say about the recent public concern over the push for universal health care. Below is content of an email sent to me.
You may have seen it: An angry mob in Texas carrying fake tombstones with Rep. Lloyd Doggett’s name on it. Signs with an “SS” symbol on it calling Obama a Nazi. A cardboard version of Rep. Frank Kratovil hanged in effigy outside his district office by “Teabaggers” in Maryland.
The Right-Wing Scream Machine is back.
Who are they? So-called “Birthers” who think President Obama’s birth certificate is a fake. “Teabaggers” who don’t want to pay taxes for schools, police, or roads. And they’re backed up by insurance industry and right-wing funded front groups who are encouraging Republicans to disrupt healthcare townhalls anyway they can throughout August.
Their goal isn’t to debate or get their voices heard. Their goal is to stop any kind of civil dialogue.
That’s not how we enact thoughtful reform. It’s important that we aren’t drawn into their divisive tactics and discredit our broad-based bipartisan support for real reform. And it’s up to us to make sure they don’t drown out America’s support for the choice of a public healthcare option.
Will you join me in taking the high road and sign the Public Option Action Pledge?
As reported by TalkingPointsMemo, here’s an outline of their tactics from a recently circulated right-wing plan:
“pack the hall… spread out” to make their numbers seem more significant, and to “rock-the-boat early in the Rep’s presentation…to yell out and challenge the Rep’s statements early… to rattle him, get him off his prepared script and agenda…stand up and shout and sit right back down.”
In response, I’ve signed the Public Option Action Pledge.
Will you join me?
It’s going to be a long, hot August. But we’re going to keep our cool and represent the 76% of Americans who support one of President Obama’s top priorities — a public health insurance option.
Working together, we’ll beat the Right-Wing Scream Machine and pass healthcare reform that gives America a choice.
Thank you for everything you do.
Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America
I took the liberty of signing up for their pledge on the off chance they ask me to get involved. I figure I’ll go on the inside that way I can really make a difference. I wonder if they will let me join ACORN. Alas, I don’t have any felonies on my record, so I might not qualify.
I think the Tea Partiers all over America should signup for things like this, so each time an email like this goes out we can infiltrate. Nothing better to see the tactics from the inside right? Just a thought.
I think what is really needed is an open dialogue. So to open the lines of communication I’m going to call these guys everyday for a month.
Here’s the info I found on their site. I think Mr. Dean, Mr. Watson and I should have some long conversations about health reform. I’m sure he’d like to hear about my fun visits to the DMV. I can’t wait to inform him about the fun that awaits us all when we get to stand in line for hours to see a doctor. I’m sure he’d like to hear from all of you as well.
Watson, Timothy firstname.lastname@example.org
Democracy For America
PO Box 8313
Burlington, Vermont 05402
Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some very talented people. The people at the Independence Institute have asked me help promote one of their recent video projects. The new video covers the national health care debate. And yes, the primary character is one of the authors of this blog. : )
I’m simply covering marketing aspect of the video. I didn’t participate in the production of this video.
To promote the video I had two communications methods. First, the use of the social networks like twitter and facebook, to create an initial buzz. I asked two friends to post links to the video on their facebook profiles. These two friends have over 1000 friends each of facebook, making the potential audience for each for each video relatively large for just three accounts.
Second, I used google insights for search. Based on the fact that this video focused on health care, I did some searches using google insights for search, and came up with this result. If you look a the Obama Care line, you can see that there is a spike on the 25th of June. I was attempting to use insights to indicate an increase in general traffic, relative to other related search terms.
I then named the video, Obama Care. Knowing the search volume for these keywords gave this video a larger potential audience. Using insights for search also forces me, (the marketer) to to test my hypothetical titles and keyword usage against real data.
As of now the Obama Care video has performed quite well for this industry. It has received some honors from youtube and currently has more than 300 comments and almost 24,000 views.
In the past I’ve used insights for search to market some of other videos posted to youtube, like this one.
I haven’t posted anything in awhile but with Obama coming to Denver this tuesday to sign another giant bailout, I figured I’d make a comment. But then, I thought about it and just like many people who work in my profession, why reinvent the wheel? So rather than going into a long winded rant as I tend to do. I’m going to use someone else’s words to get my point across.
The section of this video I’d like to point out takes place at the 40 second mark.
As President Obama comes to back to Colorado, he is signing away the my future and the future of millions of young Americans. As Washington continues to attack the free enterprise system in which I make my living, I’ve realized that Washington has become that far distant capital. And I dear to say this, the intelectual elite in Washington have it wrong. Throwing trillions of dollars a the problem is not going to fix anything.
I understand hope and change now… An America where I will not have and change in a my pocket and an America is which I hope to survive.
Recently I’ve found myself immersed in something called transparency. Truly, this is an important subject to anyone who works hard that they have very little time for important civic activities. Why should the average person be interested in transparency? It comes down to this. Most of us don’t have the time to go to the city council meeting, school board, hearings or the state capital, let alone make a trip to DC.
Well implemented government transparency programs make it easier for those people with the time and will, to keep a watchful eye on government. I’ll admit this, I don’t like going to meetings and for most people, they’d probably find something better to do than fight the local water board over its .01 % increase in sale tax, that should have ended 20 years ago. For the one individual willing to fight this battle, why not support their efforts?
Regardless of the individual’s incentive to act as a whistle blower, I believe that the more people monitoring what government is doing, the better. So why do so few people take action? For the same reason that I’d rather work on the old car than go down to the water board, I don’t want to deal with the hassle.
Warning: Geekism starts now. That is why I’ve started researching government transparency through web technology. There are two acronyms that I think everyone should become aquatinted with XML and WSAPI.
Let’s start with my assumptions and biases. I’m a web application programmer. Look at some of my work. I know there are armies of people like me hacking away late into the night working on the next big idea like Youtube or Ebay. Yes, I am one of these guys. When corporations like Google or Ebay offer people like me access to their internal databases interesting things can happen. At the beginning of the personal computer revolution, companies like Microsoft and Apple gained access to the back rooms of corporations like IBM and Xerox. Both used their access to these organizations to build their own companies nitch. Back then, the concept of letting outsiders into the research and development lab had to be a foreign concept. Today, companies like Google and Ebay grant software developers access to these lab to their benefit.
This concept is called API. (Application Programming Interface) Rather than letting Gates and Jobs into the storage warehouse as happened in the 80’s, companies like Google allow armies of developers into the warehouse via the internet.
Once in the warehouse, the developer can use structured data, serialized machine readable format or in one example (XML), to load Google’s data directly into their own code. It’s sort of a library system that makes it very easy to load large amounts of Google data into the developer’s own system. This process removes the need for the trip to google and copy to a blank DVD. The whole process is sped up. Not only does the developer get access, but the developer can access specific pieces of data in realtime.
Now to the example: Google granted me access to their mapping service for the school choice website I developed with my then colleagues at the Independence Institute, maps.google.com in real-time via the Google maps API. code.google.com/apis/maps/. At this point, my colleagues at Independence Institute data mined all the schools in the state of Colorado. Then they added their own research which they conducted for each school into their own Colorado Public Schools database. Using the Google maps API and their database, I mashed the two worlds together into a single web interface that allows parents to find school choice options by typing in their home address. Without Google offering such a service, the parents of Colorado would need to consult multiple district websites and school websites when researching public education options in their area. In some cases, parents might need to visit 30 different sites make numerous phone calls or even make multiple trips to accomplish the task this website offers.
Now, imagine the hardest part of developing this website came in the data mining process. Someone, an II staffer in this case, had to find all the schools, and then research each school individually to build their database. In a perfect world, this information should be as easily accessible as the Google mapping interface, right? It should not be surprising to anyone that governments typically do not offer this sort of access to their databases. In the few cases that it has been attempted, they couldn’t seem to get it right. XML or similar data format is a must. And, for the sake of everyone’s time, a Google WS-API is required.
What is the WS-API? (Web Services Application Programming Interface) This means that as the developer of a new transparency website that focuses on transparency in government expenditures for the state of Colorado, my website’s visitor can ask for a specific piece of information from the state’s database, without my website needing to do a ton of extra work, in less time than it takes my website visitor to click submit. This is the basic concept behind a mash-up. The goal is multiple databases being accessed simultaneously across vast differences in location, political philosophy or individual identity.
The overall concept is simple, make information that is currently publicly accessible, quicker to obtain and easier to evaluate. The implications of this technology will create a giant leap forward in government transparency. Whistleblowers everywhere, regardless of ideology or motivation will rejoice at no longer needing to make trips to some government agency to just figure out their tax rates and parents might find it easier to research the best school option for their child.
Yesterday, we all got to see the very first unseemly games of the Obama approach to governance. Last minute workers in Indianapolis were irate over showing up for their pay only to find an empty, locked office and a sign saying someone would arrive at 1:00. At 1:30, they started to get angry and police were called in. As of yesterday morning, several were saying the pay they eventually got was far less than what they were owed and they intended to file formal complaints.
The paper breaking the story disabled comments, ostensibly because there were too many to moderate.
As of today, the link to the original story goes directly to a lovely piece about how Obama’s people have made all well and right. Getting to the original story takes some effort. But you’ll find in that story that the regional Obama office never reported the expenditure or paid taxes on the wages, as if they never had any intention of paying anyone at all.
Now, let’s think about this. People were unwilling to give up their free time until someone else was willing to pay $10 an hour for that time. With an incentive, they worked hard, and they also showed up first thing in the morning the day after the election to get paid.
When they finally got their money, they were angry that it was less than what was owed.
What’s going on here is an economics degree in about half a day.
People work hard and trade value when there is an incentive in it, something worth more to them in the future than what they are giving up immediately. In this case, $10 an hour for each hour of your weekend, to be paid on Wednesday morning.
And when the person who extracted the value of hard work for a promise of reward breaks that promise, these people became spontaneously angry. They were angry over being expected to work their hardest for someone else’s benefit without any reward.
Yet they voted for and worked for a man who plans to base his entire economic policy on the theory that people will happily slave away, unrewarded, for someone else.
When they found that the Obama campaign’s behavior indicated an intent not to pay and when the pay they got was less than what was owed, they were angry over being lied to, treated like fools, and used.
Yet their annointed leader plans to fashion a social policy that treats all individuals like cogs in a statist machine, beings whose innate dignity may be summarily dismissed to pursue some greater end.
Presumably, these Obama supporters intended to screw someone else over to get well. Yet they find themselves the screwed. This is what always happens when we think we can vote ourselves rich. Maybe they’ll reflect on what they hoped for and what they can do to change it.
Dwell on this: “If, after five years of Communism, you cannot put food on a man’s table or provide shoes for his childrens’ feet, he will not believe that Communism is a good thing, no matter what you tell him. Call it what you will, incentives are what get people to work hard.”
Who said it? Nikita Kruschev.