Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why journalism matters: John Walcott

Walcott wins journalism medal for Iraq coverage
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - McClatchy's Washington bureau chief has won the Nieman Foundation's first I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence for pre-Iraq war coverage.

Congratulations to Walcott for a richly deserved award and the Nieman Foundation for making so excellent a choice.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The problem with Gmail

I just received an email from a spammer using a Gmail account. Perusing Gmail support, I was unable to work out how to report spam. I have no desire to join a discussion group, I simply want a way to inform Google that, a spammer who lists their contact address as whoisdatashield[@]gmail[.]com, is using Gmai. If I were Google, I would want to know about things like that.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Incredibly Sad News, Ed Foster has died

Ed Foster: 1949-2008
I'm sorry to inform you all that my dad, Ed Foster, Died on Saturday of an apparent heart attack. He was 59. He was very proud of the work he had done and the community he had built here. He was very engaged in what you all had to say, and we had many running instant message conversations about comments or emails people had sent. He was an extremely smart man, and he loved to be mentally stimulated, whether it was a good book, an interesting conversation, or one of the many comments you posted that made him look at something in a slightly different way. As you can probably tell, I'm not half the writer my dad was, and it's very difficult for me to think of the words to say what I feel(It doesn't help that when I get stuck on a word or phrase, I think "I know, I'll ask my dad!") , but I just want everybody to know that this site and the people on it meant a lot to him. I'm going to miss him. More then words could express, even if he was here to help me think of them.

He was an incredible consumer advocate and made a tremendous contribution to product quality. We will not see his like again, he will be missed.

Venture Capital slumps

Capital Funding Slips, Slowing Business Development
Locally, the National Venture Capital Association said this month that disclosed second-quarter venture capital investment slid 15 percent from the same period of 2007, to $234 million.

Not very encouraging, but still better than housing or finance.

Why I swtiched to Cuil

Like everyone else, I noticed the huge discussion about the launch of Cuil. Even though the initial response was not favorable, I decided to give it a try. It is now my default search engine for two reasons, privacy, and they made it easy to put it on my Firefox search bar. I also like the visual presentation of the search results, it is very cool to the eye.

examines how Cuil got such a spectacular launch. From a PR point of view, two things interest me; first of all, do people really care about privacy? How many will choose Cuil just for privacy protection. This will be an excellent test of the market power of privacy marketing.

The other thing that interests me is their methodology If Cuil catches on the whole science of search engine optimization will become passé. No longer will we worry about disgruntled elements dirtying up our clients' search results, and no longer will we be gaming search results. That would be a very positive thing.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The coming boom market in crisis commiunications and litigation support

Exposing Bush's historic abuse of power
July 23, 2008 | WASHINGTON -- The last several years have brought a parade of dark revelations about the George W. Bush administration, from the manipulation of intelligence to torture to extrajudicial spying inside the United States. But there are growing indications that these known abuses of power may only be the tip of the iceberg. Now, in the twilight of the Bush presidency, a movement is stirring in Washington for a sweeping new inquiry into White House malfeasance that would be modeled after the famous Church Committee congressional investigation of the 1970s.

There is a specialty within crisis communications PR that trains clients for testifying before congress. Those people are going to be very rich.

We are going to spend the next twenty years examining the misconduct of the Bush administration. Look for major advances in content management, enterprise search, litigation support, e-discovery, and evidence recovery.

The Open Web Foundation

Community-Driven Specifications
At OSCON yesterday Dave Recordon, of Movable Type, announced a new nonprofit organization. The Open Web Foundation has been created to support the development and protection of non-proprietary specifications for Web technologies.

Standards for mobile banking

FSTC Establishes Mobile Standards Group
The Financial Services Technology Consortium (FSTC) has created a working group to establish mobile banking standards and best practices. The goal is to facilitate a model that allows for interoperability of a mobile payments infrastructure, according to the New York-based industry group.

If you have an opinion about this, now is the time to get involved.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

New to me local business blog

The Female Entrepreneur, As you can probably guess, I'm a female entrepreneur. I'm blogging to share my thoughts, experiences and cool stuff I've learned.

Anti-CIA paranoia

CIA-Funded UW Program Trains the Next Generation of Online Spies
When classes at the University of Washington resume this fall, some students at the school will be under the watchful eye of a Central Intelligence Agency spook. In fact, some of them will even be learning from him.

This fall, Dr. Tim Thomas, a CIA agent specializing in "open source" data mining, will begin a two-year stint as an officer-in-residence at the UW's Institute for National Security Education and Research (INSER), which is financed by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That office is an umbrella organization for groups such as the U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and the CIA—which will provide the university with $2.5 million in grant money over the next five years.

There is nothing sinister in what is described here. We use this sort of technology in public relations. We use software that spiders the internet for anything concerning our clients and then analyze it for trends. The difference is that this sort of data-mining from publicly available sources is looking for different material for different purposes.

The threat to freedom does not come from data-mining, it comes from lack of privacy. If our financial, medical, and other personal data is subject to this sort of monitoring then indeed freedom is at risk.

Open source intelligence is reading my blog, subscribing to my twitter feed, and otherwise following publicly available information. Snooping is tapping my phone, reading my email, and a bunch of other things that infringe on my right to privacy. These are not subtle distinctions.

Congratulations Homeland Security Today

HSToday Wins Prestigious Azbee Award of Editorial Excellence
HSToday has won the Gold Azbee Award for Excellence for the Central Southeast Region from the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) for its “2007 Homeland Security Report Card.”

GAO questions progress in informaiton sharing

Information Sharing Effectiveness Questioned by GAO
Now nearly seven years since 9/11, not only are state and local law enforcement agencies across the nation questioning the efficacy of anti-terror information sharing pushed by the federal government and intelligence reform measures, but the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports the government isn’t able to effectively measure whether it has made progress in information sharing, or how effective it’s been in thwarting terrorism.

“Work remains, including defining and communicating the Information Sharing Environment’s (ISE) scope, such as determining all terrorism-related information that should be part of the ISE, and communicating that information to stakeholders involved in the development of the ISE,” GAO reported to Congress this week.

Information sharing isn't just about exposing terrorist plots, it is also about catching money laudering, gun running, drug dealing, fencing operations and other sorts of crime.

Intelligence collection, walk down memory lane

David Hubler
In those Cold War days, listening to and translating news items into English from Radio Moscow and satellite states’ broadcasts from Prague, Warsaw, Budapest, Bucharest, East Berlin, Sofia, Beijing, Pyongyang, Havana and, yes, even Tirana, proved invaluable to the agency, the White House and the rest of the intelligence community.

President Kennedy learned that the Soviet naval vessels were being turned around and would not attempt to cross the Cuban blockade from a news “flash” on Radio Moscow in 1962.

It used to be that intelligence gathered from public sources would be put into a report and the report marked classified. Nowadays the classification system is a little more pragmatic. The practice of gathering information from public sources and analyzing it for strategic significance is known as Open Source Intelligence, or its acronym, OSINT. We are going to be hearing much more about this.

Bloggers and the media food chain

New Cision Research Shows Growing Blog Influence in Print Media has Elevated Need to Develop Strong Blogger Relationships
ision ( recently released figures that clearly demonstrate the growing influence of blogs in the mainstream print media. A study of the top 20 national magazines and newspapers shows that over the last 5 years, the number of times blogs and bloggers are mentioned in articles has increased more than 16-fold. ...

..."As stories with origins in the blogosphere begin to spill into magazines and newspapers, the benefits of developing relationships with bloggers continue to grow," Granat said.

For the most part the media food chain seems to start in the commerical press, filter down to amateur bloggers, and sometimes filters back up. Blogs are a test of newsworthiness and blog buzz makes it easier to pitch a story to the commercial press.

The most important thing to remember about blogs is that the time to make friends is before you need them.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Seachles Discovery comes to

Discovery Widget Launches on's MyPost Personal Profile Pages
Intelligent search technology powered by Searchles auto-assembles a user-generated tag cloud based on consumption -- both quickly relaying user interests and expertise when viewing profiles as well as serving as a basis to offer a display of related users. A 'searchle it!' bookmark button will also be installed on articles, pushing content out to Searchles' community of users as well.

I am not clear on how this is different from Sphere.

Verizon's 911 failures endanger Prince William County

Service Disrupted Four Times in Past Two Months
The first gap in service occurred May 28, when 911 calls to report a house fire in the 4500 block of Kingston Road in Dale City went unanswered, McGee said.

Jennifer Meyer, who lives across the street, said: "In the time that I watched the fire spread while listening to the phone ring, it went from a small fire to a fire that was throughout the entire top story of the house. If the 911 call had been answered promptly, the family that was living there might still be living there and their house might be reparable, instead of gutted." No one was injured in the fire.

An investigation by the fire department and Verizon found that "software issues" left the calls "trapped in the equipment," causing 911 service to be out for five minutes and 20 seconds.

To prevent future glitches, Verizon has agreed to submit its plans to the county in writing before starting work and have qualified technicians on hand to fix all types of equipment, McGee said.

The 911 service failed three more times in the next 15 days, McGee said. On July 4, supervisors at the communications center discovered the problem and reported it to Verizon, which reestablished service.

The investigation found that Verizon was notified about the disruption but did not notify the county. The 911 operators were pushed off-line, Verizon said, when a server replaced May 28 rebooted itself. Verizon replaced the data switch that had caused the reboot the next day and revised how it notifies the county of system problems.

This is the kind of disaster that can turn opinion against a company like no other.

My advice to localities is to award public safety contracts to members if IJIS, that way you know they understand the requirements of public safety.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What is the New Leaders Council?

The New Leaders Council says that it is "building the future of progressive leadership by providing young people with mentoring, networking and job placement programs in the fields of journalism, business, politics, and government."

They do not list their board of directors, staff, or chief sources of funds. They don't even give their address and phone number. They do however, have an online donation form. They don't inspire very much confidence.

Congratulations Lurita Doan

Just received this from Federal News Radio:
Federal News Radio Continues To Grow Staff
Lurita Doan On Board as Analyst and Commentator

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 22, 2008 – Washington’s Federal News Radio WFED (1050 AM) has announced the addition of the Honorable Lurita Doan, the candid and controversial former Administrator of the General Services Administration, as a regular contributor of commentary and analysis. Her segment - “Leadership Matters” - will focus on leadership challenges facing the federal government. “Leadership Matters” will air every Tuesday morning at 7:28 a.m. beginning July 29.

Administrator Doan has been described as controversial, outspoken, a contrarian, a catalyst, a breath of fresh air, and an “inside Washington outsider.”

“Those characteristics make her a perfect fit for commentary and analysis on Federal News Radio,” says Program Director Lisa Wolfe. “Her insights on how the federal government operates and her opinions on how it should operate will be food for thought for the senior executive, political and contractor. You’ll be able to hear her commentary on the radio and also read her OP-EDs on the web at”

Doan served as the Administrator of GSA from May 2006 to April 2008. Prior to her Senate confirmation, Lurita worked for 15 years as the CEO of a surveillance technology company she founded in 1990. Administrator Doan has received numerous awards, including the prestigious, tri-national 2008 “Friend of the Americas.” Previous recipients include Secretary Tom Ridge and then Governor George Bush. Other honors include the National Women’s Business Council Award for Entrepreneurship, the Committee of 200 Luminary Award for Innovation in Technology, the Office Depot Entrepreneurial Visionary Award, the Visionary Award from the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, Network Journal’s 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business and Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business.

Quite a change of pace. I am glad to see that she landed on her feet.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New to me local writing blog

The Editorial Advantage

Deep-packet inspection, or Stalker Marketing

Internet Providers Quietly Test Expanded Tracking of Web Use to Target Advertising
Although common tracking systems, known as cookies, have counted a consumer's visits to a network of sites, the new monitoring, known as "deep-packet inspection," enables a far wider view -- every Web page visited, every e-mail sent and every search entered. Every bit of data is divided into packets -- like electronic envelopes -- that the system can access and analyze for content.

"You don't want the phone company tapping your phone calls, and in the same way you don't want your ISP tapping your Web traffic," said Ari Schwartz of the Center for Democracy and Technology, an advocacy group. "There's a fear here that a user's ISP is going to betray them and turn their information over to a third party."

What's in your customer service agreement?

Every security expert I have spoken with tells me that lack of privacy is itself a security vulnerability. Besides, it is just plain creepy to be stalked.

Solzhenitsyn Quote on Data and Privacy

As every man goes through life he fills in a number of forms for the record, each containing a number of questions . .. There are thus hundreds of little threads radiating from every man, millions of threads in all. If these threads were suddenly to become visible, the whole sky would look like a spider's web, and if they materialized as rubber bands, buses; trams and even people would all lose the ability to move, and the wind would be unable to carry torn-up newspapers or autumn leaves along the streets of the city. They are not visible, they are not material, but every man is constantly aware of their existence.... Each man, permanently aware of his own invisible threads, naturally develops a respect for the people who manipulate the threads.

Congratulations Geoff Livingston!

Social Media Group to Acquire Livingston Communications

Friday, July 18, 2008

Military cyber and electronic security

Since we're talking military cyber operations, a blog reader asked for my opinion of the new story U.S. Army challenges USAF on network warfare. I saw this first hand at a cyber conference recently. The Air Force colonel who will be vice commander of Cyber Command, Tony Buntyn, spoke, followed by an Army colonel, John Blaine, from NetCom. Col Blaine said the Army had been doing cyber operations for years, seemingly in contrast to the "new" Air Force Cyber Command. Of course, my previous history post noted that the Air Force Information Warfare Center was established in 1993, and the AFCERT was created the year earlier. Air Force cyber history is very extensive, especially if you expand to electronic warfare in Vietnam.

Selling your book proposal

Adam Shostack
So a proposal for a new book has to do two main things: first identify a market niche that your idea will sell, and second, convince the publisher that you can write. You do that with an outline and a sample chapter. Those are the core bits of a proposal. There are other things, and most publishers have web sites like Addison Wesley's Write for us or Writing For O'Reilly. Think of each of these as a reason for some mean editor who doesn't understand you to disqualify your book, and make sure you don't give them that reason.

Adam didn't do too badly, his book was reviewed on the front page of Slashdot.

I wanted to write a book about how the voting machines industry blew their public relations, but never put together a proper proposal, so I have a lot of respect for writers with the discipline to do this.

Great moments in records management policies

Using a File Erasure Tool Considered Suspicious
By a California court:

The designer, Carter Bryant, has been accused by Mattel of using Evidence Eliminator on his laptop computer just two days before investigators were due to copy its hard drive.

Carter hasn't denied that the program was run on his computer, but he said it wasn't to destroy evidence. He said he had legitimate reasons to use the software.

Schneier goes on to say:
I have often recommended that people use file erasure tools regularly, especially when crossing international borders with their computers. Now we have one more reason to use them regularly: plausible deniability if you're accused of erasing data to keep it from the police.

Not sure about that, might want to check with the revised rules for civil procedure.

Homeland Security accountability

Bruce Schneier recommends The Quixotic Quest for Invulnerability: Assessing the Costs, Benefits, and Probabilities of Protecting the Homeland, which concludes amongst other things, that we abandon any effort to imagine a terrorist target list.

Maybe, but it seems likely that targets that have been hit in the past will be targeted in the future. It is difficult to imagine that our adversaries would ignore possible targets such as the White House, Capitol, and Pentagon. But then maybe he is correct. Once you start thinking of likely targets in the Greater Washington area you will never stop.

New to me defense blog

Naval Open Source INTelligence

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The international market for crisis communications

IRS asks Swiss for help probing $100B in tax evasion
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has asked the Swiss government to help in an expanding investigation of tax evasion by U.S. clients of banking giant UBS.

It's also a great day for XBRL.

The coming boom market in crisis commiunications and corporate reputation repair

Auction rate probe hits Wachovia

Securities regulators from several U.S. states on Thursday raided the St. Louis headquarters of Wachovia Securities, seeking documents and records on the company's sales practices. ...

... In April, the Securities Division launched a full-scale investigation, requesting documents, e-mails, transcripts and other records from Wachovia Securities and other banks.

Wachovia Securities has not fully complied with these requests, prompting Thursday's onsite inspection, Missouri officials said.

It's a great time to be in e-discovery.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Congratulations Mark Amtower

Mark Amtower is included in BtoB's WHO's WHO IN 2008, see the Direct and Database section.

Nice to see a local boy do well.

What is this product?

Identity Engines Releases Authenticated Network Architecture
SUNNYVALE, CA--(Marketwire - July 14, 2008) - Identity Engines, a leading provider of role-based access control solutions for heterogeneous networks, today announced the Authenticated Network Architecture (ANA): the industry's first vendor-neutral best practices framework outlining how organizations can migrate from the static, IP-address based architectures of the past, to the newer identity-based controls enabled by recent standards including IEEE 802.1X.

Regulatory compliance mandates such as HIPAA, SOX, PCI, GLBA, NERC/FERC, FERPA, HSPD-12 across multiple industries have driven IT organizations to search for secure, efficient, cost-effective methods of controlling access to their network infrastructure. The ANA framework fulfills that need by leveraging latent enforcement capabilities present in most enterprise network equipment, enabling transparent role-based access across all existing infrastructure (wired, wireless, remote access).

I read the whole release three times, and I only have a vague notion of the product. First of all, what is an authenticated network? If I don't know there is a good chance that even a trade audience won't know. What is a role based access control as oppposed to other forms of access control, and does that belong in the first paragraph?

I don't want to be too censorious here, I used to send out press release like this. Nowadays I use a copy editor, and I keep rewriting the release until she understands what I am talking about. It is a good idea to have a second pair of eyes.

Preach it brother Livingston

When Your Newspaper Is Written by Interns

In honor of Bastille Day

tennis_oath.jpg (8340 bytes)

The Tennis Court Oath

The National Assembly, considering that it has been called to establish the constitution of the realm, to bring about the regeneration of public order, and to maintain the true principles of monarchy; nothing may prevent it from continuing its deliberations in any place it is forced to establish itself; and, finally, the National Assembly exists wherever its members are gathered

Decrees that all members of this assembly immediately take a solemn oath never to separate, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the realm is established and fixed upon solid foundations; and that said oath having been sworn, all members and each one individually confirm this unwavering resolution with his signature.

Bailly: I demand that the secretaries and I swear the oath first; which they do immediately according to the following formula:

We swear never to separate ourselves from the National Assembly, and to reassemble wherever circumstances require, until the constitution of the realm is drawn up and fixed upon solid foundations.

All the members swear the same oath between the hands of the president.

Conditional access TV goes mass market in Italy

SmarDTV to be bundled with Italian Samsung TVs
Over the past two years SmarDTV, backed by security company Kudelski, has worked closely with the major TV set manufacturers, the Italian broadcasters Mediaset, Telecom Italia Media, and Pangea, and with the DGTVi committee representing all TV broadcasters in Italy. The result of these efforts is not only the SmarCAM Italia product, but also a set of implementation guidelines, an interoperability partner program, and a broadcaster certification process.

Very cool.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Reader response to newspaper layoffs

'News & Observer' Subscriber Sues Paper -- Over Cutbacks

NEW YORK In a move that was probably inevitable amid the ongoing wave of newspaper staff cuts, a subscriber to The News & Observer in Raleigh, N.C., is suing the paper -- for cutting its staff and issue size.

Keith Hempstead, a Durham lawyer and former reporter for the Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer, filed the suit last month in Wake Superior Court, the N&O reported. "He says he renewed his subscription in May just before the paper announced on June 16 the layoffs of 70 staff members and cuts in news pages," the paper added. "The paper, he says, is now not worth what he signed up for and therefore the cuts breached the paper's contract with him....

I'm not sure product quality case law supports this.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Great moments in rank hypocrisy

Bush Looks to His (Secret) Legacy
George W. Bush, who has expanded his power to access the e-mails and other electronic communications of Americans, is resisting congressional demands that White House e-mails be saved for later research by historians.

SNCR call for nominations

Each year the Society for New Communications Research presents the prestigious SNCR Excellence in New Communications Awards.
These awards honor corporations, governmental and nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, media outlets, and individuals who are innovating the use of social media, ICT, mobile media, online communities and virtual worlds and collaborative technologies in the areas of business, media, and professional communications, including advertising, marketing, public relations and corporate communications, as well as entertainment, education, politics, and social initiatives.Awards are granted in six divisions: Corporate, Government, Media, Nonprofit/NGO, Academic, and Technology Innovation (for New Communications and Social Media Technology Vendors), and in seven categories: Online Reputation Management; Behind the Firewall; Blogger Relations; External Communications & Communities; New Media Creation; Collaboration & Co-creation; and Mobile Media.

iPhone applications sales

Before the App Store “Opens”, it has already made Apple $55,000
Tucked away on the iPhone 2.0 version of Apple’s Application Store is a counter for the number of times that each application has been purchased . When this information is combined with an application’s price, and the uniform 30% that Apple pockets on each download, it is possible to know how much Apple is making from the App Store. As of 4PM (PST), that number hovers around $55,000.

If you are interested in becoming an iPhone devloper, About Objects, Inc. offers training.

Selling to the Federal Government

Mark Amtower is offering another one of his terrific conferences

Government Marketing Best Practices 2008 returns to the Tower Club
Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Where: Tower Club, 8000 Towers Crescent Drive, Vienna, VA, 17th floor
When: Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Time: 7:30 AM- 11:00 AM - Continental breakfast served
Investment: $195, includes workbook, 2 bonus CDs (Amtower on PR and a
second bonus CD tba)

Join Mark Amtower, the "Godfather of Government Marketing" in the first
session of Government Marketing Best Practices in over a year!

This is an entirely new presentation and will include the GMBP Web 2.0 Marketing Tactics.

Stay tuned for more info!

To Reserve Your Seat Today, click here now!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Everything is dead

We are told that the press release is dead, email is dead, voice mail is dead, and today brings us another edition of advertising is dead.

There is one, and only one way, to guarantee visibility in the publications you want with the visual presentation you want. Buy the media real estate. Advertising remains the best way to get your company before the public.

PR is everything from how you answer the phone, to the associations you join, to customer service, to your relations with the press. PR stands for public relations, it has to do with your company's relationship to the public. It is not a substitute for marketing and advertising. Incidentally, the press really don't like it when you send advertising copy under the guise of a press release, they want you to buy advertising. It's how they stay in business.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

In honor of the Glorious Fourth

The Declaration of Independence

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
John Hancock
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The coming boom market in crisis communications, reputation repair, e-discovery, litigation support, and criminal defense

IMF finally knocks on Uncle Sam's door
Der Spiegel wrote that the IMF had "informed" Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke of plans that would have been unheard of in the past: a general examination of the US financial system. The IMF's board of directors has ruled that a so-called Financial Sector Assessment Program is to be carried out in the US.

This, Der Spiegel wrote, "is nothing less than an X-ray of the entire US financial system", adding that "no Fed chief in US history has been forced to submit to the kind of humiliation that Ben Bernanke is facing".

Obviously it is not just Bernanke and the Federal Reserve that is on the line, the entire American financial sector will be sucked into the coming investigations.

Redefining keywords

The Way You Say It Says It All: Using the 'Right' Keywords can Catapult a Run-of-the-Mill Story to Major Multi-Outlet Coverage, Experts Say
Strategic word selection can catapult an announcement about a study, a product or a "breakthrough" onto the evening news instead of to its usual destination — the spam folder or circular file. "PR people want to invest time in things that are going to get picked up, so they try to put something to the 'who cares?' and 'so what?' test," says Kate Robins, a longtime public relations consultant. "If you say something is first, most, fastest, tallest — that's likely to get attention. If you can use the words like 'money,' 'fat,' 'cancer' or 'sex,' you're likely to get some ink in the general audience media," she said, the International Herald Tribune reports.

In the age of Google News Alerts it is necessary to reexamine what constitutes a keyword. We want our stories to be picked up by editors; but even more, we want our stories to be picked up by readers.

Everywhere I go people tell me that they get most of their technology news from email newsletters and Google News Alerts. If you have right keywords in your relesase, they will read it whether it is on PR Newswire or The Washington Post. Google News Alerts draws no distinction.

What are these key words? Not "breakthrough", or "safe," "easy" "secret," "trick" or any sort of buzz word. The keywords you need have to do with subject matter, such as Sarbanes Oxely, Sox, Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (FRCP), electronically stored information (ESI), or whatever keywords or phrases are relevant to your audience. Nobody is stetting up a search on "breakthough" and using the word sex is a good way to land in the spam filter.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Bad news for hacks is bad news for flacks

Baltimore Sun Cutting 100 Jobs
BALTIMORE, MD (July 1, 2008) – The Baltimore Sun will cut 100 jobs by August to reduce costs, the publisher told employees, reducing the workforce through voluntary buy-outs, layoffs, attrition, and closing job positions that have been left open.

The majority of the cuts are expected to come from the newsroom.
It will be harder than ever to place stories.

It is going to be harder than ever to place stories.

Bad economy for Venture Capital

A Cringing Quarter for Venture Capitalists
The National Venture Capital Association, the industry’s trade group, largely blamed a weak economy for the trouble its members are having finding profitable exits. But it said the government is to blame too, particularly for the dearth of initial public offerings. Were it not for excessive regulation in the form of Sarbanes-Oxley, it would cost less for companies to go public and there would be more offerings, the industry group said.

I don't think that there is any possibility of changing Sarbanes-Oxley in the present political environment.

On Canada Day

Let's hear it for a country with a functioning health care system.