Friday, 23 January 2009

High-Tech White House

There are bits and pieces of stories today of how the new Obama team are arriving and not feeling adequate in what technology exists in the White House. They have also hinted to a small degree of too much control with the security folks who control the "media empire" of the White House. To make the President happy over losing his Blackberry, it now appears that a secure-Blackberry has been given to him. The term of "uncrackable" has been tossed on this secure-Blackberry.

I paused for a while and pondered this moment of technology. I would imagine that tonight....over three hundred hackers are thinking on how to crack into the President's "uncrackable" Blackberry.

The curious thing is that there is probably a "funnel" somewhere...where personal emails of friends and associates can send their emails where they rest on some server, get reviewed by someone, who tosses them over into some bin where they get transmitted to the president.

Finding out the address of the emails...will likely occur by Tuesday...with the address handed out to thousands of people by the end of next week.

There will be turmoil within a week or two by the technology staff at the White House....having to create a new email address for the President, and then letting his friends know what this one is. Then a repeat of this entire exercise again.

Eventually, you will see a secure-Blackberry that is used less and less. It'll be strictly for office correspondence or internal White House memo-sharing. Most of the staff will be deeply upset over the continual tough security regulations handed to them. In the real world....they have their firewall and enough security to do their work....this will crimp their style.

Virus issues? Spam? Technology that interferes with other technology? Microsoft products that don't work? Secure tools that limit input and output? Yep...its life for a high-technology team. The geeks who work in the White House....EARN their paycheck.

New York's Senator

The Governor got around to announcing the new Senator for New York....Rep Kirsten Gillibrand. She had a fair bit of positive press over the past year.....at least from local New York press. The amusing thing today....watching the reaction....was this strange commentary from a handful of Democrats who felt she was NOT the best choice. She apparently didn't think much of the financial rescue package from last fall, which the majority of New York Democrats supported in some fashion. Then there is this issue of Kirsten having been given a positive read by the NRA (National Rifle Assocation for you folks from Cape Cod). Apparently, her family had always had a hunter's prospective on hunting and weapons.

So for better or worse, New York got its pick. I think they got a decent pick. The only problem I see is that she has barely two years to get state-wide attention before the next election. She needs issues and answers....and a positive spin by the NY press.

Reality

I wrote a simple blog over C-SPAN yesterday. Once a year, I'll pick topic that tics folks off....so this was it. Its a curious thing....I really didn't cut down C-SPAN, and I thought I kinda made it clear.....C-SPAN is about real people....not slanted info or topics that go way off into distant directions. A guy sitting at his desk could find out everything he needed on a DC political topic in 30 minutes with C-Span. Its not Fox, it's not Time, it's not Newsweek, it's not anything other than real people with facts, not fiction.

So, now that I've sprinkled the field with my positive.....I'll offer the negative....which was obvious from the commenting.

First, there are people absolutely obsessed with C-SPAN....to be handled as though it was "Jesus Christ" or "the Holy Grail". After cutting off commentary....I'd say 90 percent felt that I had came too far negative against "the Holy Grail". I could have written negative about Brittney Spears, and likely only generated one or two negative comments.

Second, when I said some folks were watching an awful lot of C-SPAN....I got the impression that twenty percent of the commenterS were doing more than just an hour a day of the show. It reminded me of commenting on folks who watch the "700 Club" or the PTL crowd and would do twelve hours a day of each if they could. They are....deeply religious folks who were terribly concreted to some Christian belief....but went completely overboard in attaching that belief to some TV show. I see some commenters in the same arena. I believe if I monitored these folks who do eight to twelve hours...they probably spend another two or three hours trying to talk to relatives or friends or neighbors over their "beliefs" (kinda like a deeply religious person), and then find that some folks eventually don't want to talk politics at all. They can't understand why someone doesn't want to chat over Stimilus Bill #2146, and why people can't readily cite twenty-six facts about failed social security. If you've began to notice fewer folks wanting to chat over politics....ask yourself why.

Third, I got the impression that fifteen percent of the commenting crowd weren't that articulate, or else had a pretty rough night....maybe doing a shot of bourbon every time a guy from CNN said the word "Obama". The other eighty percent were fairly intelligent and simply defended "their" show. I can understand that crowd to some degree. The other fifteen percent probably ought to shift over to shots of Pepsi.

What I will suggest here....reviewing feelings in 1850 and comparing them against today....is that we are generating the same hostile generation all over again.

While a great majority of the commenting was associated with people saying that they were "keeping in touch" with DC and its constant business of government....they were admitting that they were far more intelligent on matters that they might have been twenty years ago. The problem is that they are quickly assessing and recognizing the significant amount of issues, corruption, and turmoil that exists today. Some (a handful) readily admitted that its (the national government) something that bothers them.....which it does me (I got this way over eight years ago).

So on one hand, C-SPAN is the great educator of the people....but on the other hand....the people are reaching a point where they really feel a daily "pain" over governmental affairs. Everyone wants to say how they influence things by writing letters or email to their senator, congressman or President. They feel this accomplishes something. The aggravation that is building up....is something though that continually pops up and becomes weapons of verbal destruction at church meetings, family reunions, trailer parks, bars, and office water-coolers. If you noticed my list here of places I mentioned.....its where REAL people hang out.

So I'm going back to a comment that I made long ago and largely stand by. We used to talk about politics and DC business alot less. In the 1960s, we barely knew one of our two senators in the state, probably could name the President but not the Vice-President, and most of representatives or senators barely showed up fifty percent of the time to vote or say anything. There were sports reporters who covered Washington Senator's games....reporting numerous real senators sitting in the stands....rather than at work in the capital. Every four years....for a brief ten months....we got lightly charged up on politics, voted, and then accepted the outcome and went back to work feeling "ok but mostly unchanged". Something happened over the past forty years. Something stepped into our house, our lives and our future....and got us all charged up on politics. Its like "March Madness" all year round now.

What do I really take home from this entire C-SPAN blog? First, if you ever blog C-SPAN in the future.....and want to make just a simple comment....always refer to them as "C-SP*N"....that way, only your close-hold readers read the commentary......and maybe some grandma who wrong keyed on her blog search pattern. Second, there are a small number of younger guys with a fetish for butt-cracks who do watch "C-SP*N" (I'm thinking you older gals over 60 don't have that fetish....but maybe I'm wrong). Third, and final....if at all possible....criticize that Keith Olbermann dude, the Red Sox, or some Mexican soap opera if all all possible before you even make any comment over C-SP*N.

Above all things.....remember, C-SP*N is the "Holy Grail". Now if you don't mind...I'm turning the channel back over for my twelve hour dose of Gunsmoke and Bonanza.