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Monday, March 22, 2010

Google may pull out of China

China has fired back official responses to Google's threatened pull out of mainland China, and moving its base to the independent provence of Hong Kong. The Las Vegas Review Journal on Monday March 22 reports that China charges Google with ignoring its agreements when it entered the worlds largest single market. The AP report says "The withdrawal of its search engine makes Google the latest foreign Internet company to founder in the heavily regulated China market. Companies such as Yahoo, EBay and Microsoft's MSN instant messaging service have never gained the traction in the China market that their homegrown rivals do." While relocating the search engine to Hong Kone, Google will retain gmail and Google News, although many of the links will be blocked or censored by the Chinese Government

The remainder is form a posting on this blog in January of this year:

Google is threatening to pull out of China over the large number of attacks on computers originating in China, including an organized attack on G-mail. The Washington Post reports that the attacks on G-mail were focused on Chinese civil rights activist and could have come from or been sanctioned by the Chinese government.

Marketplace on American Public Radio reports that Google may give up billions in potential business and simply let someone else deal with China. They have told their workers there to "take an extended paid holiday" while things sort out. The attack cannot, at this time, be traced, but it looks at if it came from inside the government of China, as all the intent was pro-policy and to limit information and communication using g-mail and other Google services.

A different angle from a blog reader: (Language Advisory)

"Here is an interesting blog about Chinese hackers breaking into Google’s internal spy system and potentially stealing all of our catlogued personal information. This is pretty scary, considering that google bots scour and catalogue the web 24/7 and organize it into a very sophisticated database containing all sorts of obscure and personal information. Facebook accounts, email addresses, blog entries, etc. Even search engine inquiries are stored and can be used as ammunition. Also, google has been known to turn over this information to governments (including the Chinese government) in (criminal?) court cases.

Seems to me that we are in a perpetual cold war, not only with China but with all government. F--k the Patriot Act, Google (and other companies for certain) have all the data anyone will ever need to hold over our heads if shit hits the fan."

First posted 1-10-2010

Why care about the lowly poppy?

Heroine is the fastest growing consumer product in Europe and the US, quite literally. The drug comes from poppies, and is farmed in the middle east by the Taliban and others, in South East Asia, in China, in Mexico and even on hidden farms in the US.

Heroine was once the drug of the wealthy, but today it is making its way into middle schools and the darkest most depressed slums of the US and the world.

Your input, response and research will be shared on this blog.

See also Taliban NarcoTrafficers.

Coverage of Health Care Vote

"The Wrap", a Hollywood based industry news on-line only publication, has an interesting to view day after review of how the media, and the blogs, put their own spins on the final moments of the health care debate in the house. It is an interesting study of the way media works hard to shape public opinion. Click here.

The short sentences, inaccurate or over simplified slogans and half truths that have permeated this debate will be used as a study of the media, its influence on society, its impact on public policy and it change self defined role for quite come time to come. Millions are sure that we are now socialist, or worse communist, despite a bill that is decidedly centrist. Others see the hand of big business and the insurance industry in this bill, because "it did not go far enough" to offer any form of affordable or universal health system. The divide of opinions is amplified, supported and reinforced by the commentators and media who "cover" it.

While he has passed away, I recommend the writings of Walter Cronkite to put a perspective on how the news has shifted from the "yellow" corporate controlled journalism of the 1880's and 90's, toward the illusion of "balance" and "fair" during the 1950's to 1970's, and what has happened since. Tom Brokow has similar observations, as do many others both within the media and looking at it from the outside.

How did the end of the "Fairness Doctrine" and a decrease in print journalism impact this change?

How has short form information (television, radio) over long form journals, magazines and in depth newspaper coverage changed our society?

Why do we believe, or want to believe, the worst in everyone? Or do we? Why do we attack without taking the time to understand, compromise or at least empathize?

Why do students sit quietly instead of partaking in well researched debate, with a reasoned confirmation of the other sides values and rebuttal of key points? Instead we sit and just get mad inside or tune out and ignore. Why? What has happened to our society and what does it mean for the future?

Anyway you look at it, we have changed forever and what we have now is a constant time filler, six minute increment or units sold entertainment and sensationalism 24 hour 7 day a week substitute for reasoned and balanced journalism.

Can we return to any sanity? Or are we set to be  Tea Party or Progressive Liberal, Republican or Democrat, Religious or Athieist bipolar warring people for decades ahead, fed on hatred, disourtisy, disrespect, acidic and even evil sterotypes and charactures?

What happened to civility?

Can we return?

Please review this link and provide your feedback by posting a comment at the end of this blog segment.

There is potential extra credit in it for my students, and just an ability to vent for the rest of you.

Photo from "The Wrap".

Shift away from business for Wall Street Journal?

When he purchase "The Wall Street Journal" Rupert Murdock of Newscorp (owners of FOX News) would be making changes. He was open that he would take the national business daily newspaper, created to bring the business news to the forefront in a way that both business professionals and customers could understand, and turn it into a New York City daily newspaper to compete against the New York Times and his own New  York Post tabloid.

He led the shift to adding sports, fashion, two magazines a month and other features and sections to directly take on the Times. He cut staff and eliminated some of the cutting edge investigative journalism that the Wall Street Journal was known for replacing it with local sales, marketing and conservative columnist and opinions. Staring in April the New York City editon will have a full service local news section added to the mix, at the expense of some of the in depth Wall Street coverage space. Local Sports will also be added, eventually becoming its own section in the New York edition.

In an age of internet competition, with newsprint shrinking, the battle is not as much about money as personal. Murdocks scandal sheet, public oriented Post was unable to dethrone or have much of a major news impact on the Times. The Wall Street Journal, with its history and cache, is in a position to give the times a run for its money.

Of course the real business reason Murdock owns the Wall Street Journal, is that he, in partnership with his company News Corp,  needed the Dow Jones Corporation added to his empire. Dow Jones owned and operated the Wall Street Journal. The Dow is a major business research, tracking, analysis and reporting organization with divisions ranging from sales support, to news research experts, to up to to the minutes business annalysis, to radio and television outreach, to the way the nation and the world takes the temperature of Wall Street and the economy.

Photo from the Wall Street Journal: The section will cover topics including state and local politics as well as New York business, culture, sports and real estate, six days a week.

A Searchlight "Tea" Party

Searchlight, NV, the hometown of US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, is the site of a major planned Tea Party Rally. The response has been interesting, including from Harry Reid. "Come on down" and spend money, see the sights and learn about Nevada! The town of just over 1,000 was so small when Reid grew up there that he went to school in "far away" Henderson, graduating from Basic High School.

The Review Journal has a major front page story among other things reporting on how Nevada Republicans will be there in force, candidates and political leaders, hoping to gain Tea Party votes which threaten to go to far right or Libertarian (not the same thing) candidates during primary and possibly the general election.

Maybe the Tea Party people will learn how well loved Reid is, how down home his town is, and how conservative he really is despite how he is painted by the national media and the literally dozens of millions of dollars spent by out of state interests to convince Nevadans, particlarly the majority who were not raised in Nevada, that we must lose the power of having the most powerful man in Senate representing our state.

And then maybe the senior citizens who call Searchlight home may just brew some good Nevada Sun Tea for their out of town visitors, just to be hospitable.