Archive for July, 2008

Obama’s Service Plan

Posted in 2008 Election on July 9th, 2008

On Wednesday, July 2, 2008, the Democratic Presumptive Presidential Nominee Sen. Barack Obama, in his speech at the University of Colorado on national service, promised that, if elected as president of the United States of America he would “set a goal for all American middle and high school students to perform 50 hours of service a year, and for all college students to perform 100 hours of service a year.”

Sen. Obama has promised that he would ensure that these federally mandated goals are met by, among other things, attaching strings to federal education dollars. States whose school systems and universities didn’t meet federal quotas for student performed public service hours would be denied federal educational dollars.

While this plan does not – despite some conservative pundit’s rants – violate the 13th Amendment which outlawed slavery and most other forms of forced servitude, it is still a vile and pernicious assault on both States’ rights and individual liberty.

One must remember that a similar (mis)use of federal education dollars to enforce a federally mandated curriculum, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), has been reviled and complained about for years now. Yet it at least centered on curriculum and results-oriented accountability, whereas Obama’s proposed use of federal education dollars is for the purpose of mandating public service efforts by students.

Perhaps Sen. Obama should spend less time analyzing how he could, if elected as president, circumvent the 10th Amendment – which strictly limits the powers of the Federal Government – and spend more time reviewing the relevant Child Labor laws such as the the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

NOTE: This post only deals with that part of Obama’s National Service plan that deals with using federal education dollars to coerce the States into requiring public service work-hour quotas from students. There are other points in his plan that I endorse in principle, though as in all things involving the federal bureaucracy, I am skeptical of the implementation.

Related Reading:

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
59 Illustrated National Parks - Hardcover: 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service
Culturally Responsive Teaching and The Brain: Promoting Authentic Engagement and Rigor Among Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students
10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America (History Channel Presents)
Experience And Education

InfoWar – African Style

Posted in 2008 Olympics, Politics, Society on July 4th, 2008

InfoWar or Information Warfare is the use and management of information in pursuit of an advantage over an opponent. Information warfare may involve collection of tactical information, assurance that one’s own information is valid, spreading of propaganda or disinformation to demoralize the enemy and the public, undermining the quality of opposing force information and denial of information collection opportunities to opposing forces.

InfoWar has always been important in political and military struggles. In the modern world it possibly even more important for adversaries in a conflict to control and shape the information available.

Below is a video reporting on how some African citizen journalists – read that as Bloggers – are waging campaign of information warfare against the ruling parties in their lands who seek to maintain their authority at least partially by controlling and censoring what information is provided to their citizens and the world through the media.


This video is courtesy of Current_TV

These are some very brave and committed people who daily risk their freedom and their lives in an ongoing attempt to break their governments’ stranglehold on information dissemination. Across the globe citizen journalists – bloggers mostly – are engaged in an asymmetric war of information. They often manage though the porous nature of the internet to do what the Main Stream Media (MSM) is unable or unwilling to accomplish – the free and open release of information about unpopular, uncomfortable, and/or unprofitable issues.

Related Reading:

Cyber Dragon: Inside China's Information Warfare and Cyber Operations (Praeger Security International)
Journalism: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Technology: A World History (New Oxford World History)
How To Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog
Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future

Happy Birthday!

Posted in Politics, Society on July 3rd, 2008

232 years ago a group of insurgents rose up to cast off the shackles of an oppressive foreign power. Using asymmetric warfare techniques they forced an eventual withdraw of occupying and counter-insurgency troops from their land, despite being outnumbered and vastly out-gunned by their opposition.

They won their freedom from foreign tyranny and forged a new nation that still stands today.

Happy Birthday, America!

Related Reading:

FREEDOM: The End of the Human Condition
The Three Languages of Politics: Talking Across the Political Divides
The Politics Book: Big Ideas Simply Explained
The Basque Dragon (The Unicorn Rescue Society)
Dawn (Hero Society Book 1)