In New York’s state capital, Albany, critics have compared the budget process to the old Soviet Politburo – but, some suggest, even more secretive and more in the red. Despite a reform bill that passed two years ago, legislative leaders still craft budget bills behind closed doors and send them out for quick votes. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who rode to office vowing to reform state government, has focused more on ethics and lobbying reform than on transparency.
Charlie deTar: There’s an elephant in the room during this discussion: Wikileaks. The US government is torturing a whistleblower in prison right now. How do we resolve a conversation about the future of new media in diplomacy with the government’s actions regarding Wikileaks?
PJC: “I spent 26 years in the air force. What is happening to Manning is ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid, and I don’t know why the DoD is doing it. Nevertheless, Manning is in the right place.” There are leaks everywhere in Washington – it’s a town that can’t keep a secret. But the scale is different. It was a colossal failure by the DoD to allow this mass of documents to be transported outside the network. Historically, someone has picked up a file of papers and passed it around – the information exposed is on one country or one subject. But this is a scale we’ve never seen before. If Julian Assange is right and we’re in an era where there are no secrets, do we expect that people will release Google’s search engine algorithms? The formula for Coca Cola? Some things are best kept secret. If we’re negotiating between the Israelis and the Palestinians, there will be compromises that are hard for each side to sell to their people – there’s a need for secrets.
This may be the stupidest thing I have ever read in The New Yorker. One of the most glorious things about my hometown is that you do not need a car to explore any part of it. Driving and parking a car in the city (especially Manhattan) is an unnecessary hassle. Cassidy may insist on pursuing the peculiar habit of driving his beloved Jaguar everywhere, but to think that anyone else in the city should give a damn about his habit, or his resentment of bikes, is laughable.
The demand for real-time reporting also saw Al Jazeera’s live blog grow immensely popular. “At any given time there were three times more people on the live blog than on the main story [on Al Jazeera’s homepage]. Your editor usually invests [so much time] in the lead story… but if you look at the numbers, people were on the live blog hitting refresh. [So] we threw more resources into that,” Nanabhay said.
I suggested that this looked like a failure of imagination in the VP of Engineering – made worse by a CEO who’s never lived through a code rewrite – and compounded by a board that also doesn’t get it and hasn’t challenged either of them for a creative solution.
To assign it all an aggregate value of potential hours of creative and generous activity is about as meaningful as computing one’s velocity on a bicycle as a fraction of the speed of light: it tells us nothing about either the public value or the opportunity cost of any given web-based activity.
Ambassador Fujisaki’s opening remarks to the conference were a forceful call for us to use Japanese know-how and equipment for our high speed rail. Most extraordinarily, the ambassador stated that he believes Japan will pay for up to half of the cost of the California’s HSR.
To conclude, NGOs need to build relationships of trust on social networking platforms like Twitter and Facebook in order to attract more visits to their website, and in order to build a community of supporters that are more likely to donate, participate in advocacy campaigns, and stay actively engaged.
No amount of polite hand-wringing or half-hearted tweaks from the complacent frequent-flyer class will provide cover at this juncture. The message is clear: Unenlightened soul-sucking planet-eating bean counters of the universe, your day is over.
What created an environment so conducive to the spread of this epidemic? I’d put it this way. Yesterday’s institutions were built to narcotize us into sleep—and while we dozed, they purloined our future, looted our societies, trampled nature, eviscerated our communities, ransacked our values, and body-slammed our own sense of self-worth. If we ever needed a revolutionary imperative…