User-Centric Identity

Reading this post got me to thinking - why not take this a step further. Why not think about it in terms of developing user-centric tagging not as a standalone application but as one expression, one feature, of an entire user-centric online identity.

Earlier, I had been reading this post about social networking sites [and also recommend the May 15 New Yorker article on Mark Zuckerberg - which, btw is still not online. New Yorker: I luvs ya, but get your act together; when you write an excellent profile of the progenitor of one of the more interesting Internet phenomenons in the last few years, put it up online, and quick. I promise - you can sell ad space even - that the page views will make it well worth your while.] and it brought back some of the thoughts I had when Friendster came out - I adopted early and, despite the frustration with the site, developed an extensive network/online persona there. I also do have a MySpace, Orkut and Facebook account, but those are significantly less-developed networks (for a variety of reasons; my co-hort for the most part graduated college well before Facebook). And there's (some) overlap of network connections on those, but it's always been frustrating to me the repetitive/redundant work of doing what is, really, the same thing several times over. And for what? Resolving e-mail, IM contacts; same. And when I do blogging, or other online writing projects - same thing.

All this work and capital and ME is stranded out there, somewhere.

So - claimID is definitely a logical step towards staking a central pivot to what's already out there, and that's good. I think, though, that going forward it might be useful to think of these systems not as individual components but as modules to the unitary online experience: e-mail, IM, blogging, commenting, tagging, social networking are all of a piece.

The hard part, of course, is getting a whole lotta people to agree on a single standard that would then be interoperable across a whole range of sites/features/modules, and getting people cool with the idea that the primary owner and mover of the information is not the site owner/developer but the user, who can with little or no sacrifice move their usage elsewhere if the features are better. As Fred points out in the first-linked post, right now both user and site owner/developer lose value if the user leaves; making it easier for a user to leave with the value of the site experience (e.g., their tags) intact would, I think, actually also end up benefitting the sites. Because an easily portable and interoperable user identity could then be plugged right back in - with no wasted effort on either side - to a site if it became better (i.e., added/gained features that were a proximate cause for the user leaving in the first place).

More later.


Now You're a Man, a Man, Man, Man

Francis Wilkinson has an excellent article in the American Prospect on politics, manliness, and the politics of manliness. Useful bookends from it:
We are in our sixth year of government by gonads. Through conscious, concerted, disciplined, and relentless effort, Bush and his party have succeeded in cowing critics and defeating Democrats by advancing images of, and insinuations about, manliness in the public sphere. In the Republican political schemata, this is a man’s world. Men have made it dangerous. And only men -- real Republican men -- can make it safe again.
The one man who taught us better than any other to conquer fear was no Governor Terminator. His muscles were unimpressive. He had no physical swagger to him at all. His military experience was a desk job. He wore no cowboy gear. He smoked cigarettes not like a Marlboro Man but filtered through a slender, feminine holder that could have been a prop from the Follies Bergere. He didn’t promise to protect us. He made us believe we could protect ourselves -- from the violence of fascism and the vicissitudes of capitalism alike. And he handed us the tools to do the job. We built the better part of the American century on the back of an aristocratic, polio-addled cripple. Now that was a man.

When people say "manly," they are not always speaking, chiefly, about manliness. They are speaking about the positive attributes our society attributes chiefly to men - hard work, responsibility, toughness. Disentangling these positive attributes from exclusively male ownership is one of the chief challenges in the struggle for a truly egalitarian society.


Fight the Future

Glenn Greenwald notes:
...this spewing of racially-tinged anger over Nagin's re-election is both childish and ugly. These bloggers having their fun with "chocolate" and "flavor" jokes think they have a built-in defense for speaking that way (namely, Nagin's use of those terms), and so, like an 8-year-old who discovers some excuse for using a bad word, they just revel in it over and over. The second they think there is an opportunity to spew all sorts of racially-tinged bile, they take it. And thus, a mayoral election is spoken of in terms of "poverty pimps" and "chocolate cities" and overt claims that he was only elected because he's black.

Beyond that, the comparisons to Marion Barry are as baseless as they are telling. Barry is known for all sorts of behaviors that have long been at the crux of ugly racist stereotypes -- he's a drug addict who has been caught on camera using crack with hookers in a downtown hotel, and he then encountered all sorts of allegations of financial impropriety in connection with his political office.

None of that is true for Nagin. Nagin and Barry have nothing in common other than that they are black Mayors. It would be like comparing every white Southern Governor to Lester Maddux, or every white evangelical Christian male to Jim Bakker or every white Southern male to David Duke. It's deliberately inflammatory, and it purposely seizes what they perceive is an opportunity to traffic in racial stereotypes which they normally are too afraid to voice.
"Afraid" is the right word. These idiot racists are terrified children, terrified of their own weakness, yearning for the days when White Men ruled the world. They look to the future and see that whites will not simply rule based on their Whiteness - they see in their worst nightmares a future where all men are indeed judged by "the content of their character, not the color of their skin." And for these racists - these small, awful men - they know that there will be no glory there for them.


And - by the way, Nagin was re-elected with a substantial share of the conservative white vote.


Poor, crazy, cracker

Via MediaMatters:

From the May 16 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:

O'REILLY: Now in 1986, President Reagan thought he could solve the [immigration] problem by granting about 3 million illegal aliens amnesty. The New York Times was in heaven, editorializing back then, quote, "The new law won't work miracles but it will induce most employers to pay attention, to turn off the magnets, to slow the tide." Of course, just the opposite happened. But the Times hasn't learned a thing. That's because the newspaper and many far-left thinkers believe the white power structure that controls America is bad, so a drastic change is needed.

According to the lefty zealots, the white Christians who hold power must be swept out by a new multicultural tide, a rainbow coalition, if you will. This can only happen if demographics change in America.

An open-border policy and the legalization of millions of Hispanic illegal aliens would deeply affect the political landscape in America. That's what The New York Times and many others on the left want. They might get it. And that's the "Memo."



E.J. Dionne has an excellent column in today's WaPo about Karl Rove's increasingly desperate lying. On one point, however, even Rover has to concede the truth:
In explaining Bush's poor standing, Rove kept going back to the war in Iraq. "They're just sour right now on the war. And that's the way it's going to be," Rove said of the voters. At another point, he acknowledged that the war had created discontent in the land. "I think the war looms over everything," he said.
Gee, I can't possibly imagine why Americans would be "sour" over the war. They just must be a bunch of malcontents and depressives; certainly nothing about being lied into a disastrous war with no end could reasonably make people "sour," could it? And none of that would have anything to do with you, Karl, or your boss, could it? Huh, motherfucker?


Much Respect, Citigroup

Because it's important to note when the modern world and its many conveniences actually work - i.e., when the conveniences are actually convenient - I think it's worth noting that I just had perhaps my greatest customer-service experience, ever.

I no longer use my CitiCard, so when a charge showed up in my last billing cycle - $3.55 at an Au Bon Pain in Boston - I knew it was, well, fraud. So I called up the customer service number - keyed in my account number - password - and was immediately connected with a customer service representative (who actually sounded like he was somewhere on the North American continent). I reported that I was pretty sure my last transaction - gave the transaction number - was fraudulent, as I hadn't been in Boston since last fall. He asked if I loaned the card to anyone - no - and then said, okay, we're going to credit your account. I asked if there were any other transactions since - nope - okay, have a good weekend, man. Bing, bang, boop. 2:54 of talk time and my problem's taken care of.

So, CitiGroup, big ups to y'all. For today at least, I don't care that you launder and profit from drug money.


Death Star Governance

Glenn Greenwald notes the following:
This continuous evasion of judicial review by the administration is much more serious and disturbing than has been discussed and realized. By proclaiming the power to ignore Congressional law and to do whatever it wants in the area of national security, it is seizing the powers of the legislative branch. But by blocking courts from ruling on the multiple claims of illegality which have been made against it, the administration is essentially seizing the judicial power as well. It becomes the creator, the executor, and the interpreter of the law. And with that, the powers of all three branches become consolidated in The President, the single greatest nightmare of the founders.
Hmmm...where've I heard something like that before?
GRAND MOFF TARKIN: The Imperial Senate will no longer be of any concern to us. I have just received word that the Emperor has dissolved the council permanently. The last remnants of the Old Republic have been swept away.
GENERAL TAGGE: But that's impossible. How will the Emperor maintain control without the bureaucracy?
GRAND MOFF TARKIN: The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. Fear of this battle station.


He said "butt"

Bush will be the butt of every joke around, not in the Jay Leno way, but in the Joey Buttafuco way, someone who just isn't serious, in Bush's case, anymore.


Er...Remind me to never ever go to Cortez, CO

From a WaPo chat with Kos and Byron York:

Cortez, Colo.: This question is for Byron York. I disagree that Republicans are in trouble. Undoubtedly Mr. Rove will come up with something as compelling as the gay marriage scare to keep the party in line and of course the party owns the issue of world wide war on terror and abortion. After George Bush was elected in 2000 and then relected in 2004 with a Republican congress and supreme court, I was surprised to see no particular push to dismantle social programs including public education. Indeed, there were huge additions to said programs. I am curious now, if you know, what is the Republican plan or goal beyond staying in power and making Christianity a more dominant voice in government?

Byron York: A Republican strategist would probably tell you that George W. Bush never ran as a budget-cutting, small-government conservative. Of course, no one knew he would be as unworried about overspending as he has turned out to be. On the other hand, I think if you asked anyone in the White House what their one big goal is, it would be to win the war on terror.

Really, I don't know what more to say.


Double Shot

Blogger at my post yesterday, so it's two-for-Thursday: a trolley map of LA circa early 20th C., and a milk-snortingly good post by The Editors. Enjoy!

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