Gongol.com Archives: December 2010
Brian Gongol

December 11, 2010

Computers and the Internet Omaha newspaper published names of signatories to mayoral recall petition
Enough people signed the petition that the mayor will probably be put up for a recall vote, tentatively scheduled for late January. The Omaha World-Herald has put the names of the petitioners online in a searchable database, which the newspaper's executive editor defends as a means of transparency in the vote. While there are certainly a lot of people who are surprised to find their names revealed in this way -- and some who are just angry about it, like radio host Tom Becka -- the editor makes a compelling case that petitions aren't a secret, unlike the individual's ballot. A person signing the petition must be witnessed by someone else in the process, and the petition itself -- aside from being a matter of public record anyway -- usually contains the names of other signatories by the time it comes to an individual, unless he or she just happens to be the first person to sign that particular page. What's interesting here is simply that it's taking place in the Internet era, which means one doesn't have to drive to the county courthouse to look up matters of public record, but can simply review them from anywhere on the planet via an Internet connection. Will there be reprisals against those who signed by those who oppose the petition? Maybe. But that really isn't grounds enough for keeping the petitioners' names secret.

Broadcasting American TV shows and movies win the propaganda war
Ideas matter, and so does their packaging. It should come as no surprise that cultural imperialism does more to win over hearts and minds than a lot of other diplomatic efforts.

Humor and Good News WikiLeaks storage facility based on a Bond villain's lair