by Eileen McGuire-Mahony | 9:47 am, March 2, 2012 4 Comments -->
We’re continuing our free courses for activists and bloggers with a two-part series on privacy issues and the online tools available to safeguard your information and reputation.
Our Privacy Fundamentals course takes place on Saturday, March 10th, from 10:00 – 1:30. This includes approximately two-hours of hands-on instruction with plenty of time allotted for questions and break.
The Fundamentals course includes an extremely brief overview of the current landscape in online privacy and some basic rules for fighting surveillance. Additionally, we’ll discuss how to define and control your identities online. We’ll also go through programs and computer settings for the following:
Removing and blocking cookies Combating common trackers
Password security Securing your wi-fi networks
Configuring browsers for privacy Using proxies
Securely using search engines E-mail and IM privacy
Social networks Locational privacy
Cloud services Theft protection and recovery
The focus in the Fundamentals course will be one free fixes that are easy to implement and don’t change the way you use your computer or the Web.
The following Saturday, on March 17th, we are offering Advanced Privacy Topics at the same time. In this class, we’ll cover:
BIOS passwords Keystroke and screen loggers
Stripping metadata Secure file deletion
Java scripts Advanced tricks to counter tracking
Encryption Mobile privacy
The Advanced class will also include an introduction to cryptography and steganography.
Wearing green or bringing your pet leprechaun is optional but encouraged. Sadly, we will not be able to serve Guinness.
Both classes are to be held at the Independence Institute’s lavish new Denver offices. We’ll provide snacks, copious amounts of coffee, secure wi-fi and power sources for laptops, and handouts. Unfortunately, until we make insane amounts of money, we don’t have any ‘loaner’ laptops, so please bring your own.
Please join us for both or for whichever sounds interesting to you. Both classes are led by PPC co-founder and resident privacy-nut Eileen McGuire-Mahony, with assistance and adult supervision from the rest of the PPC Board.
Please pre-register for one or both classes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHAT: PPC’S PRIVACY AND IDENTITY MANAGEMENT CLASSES
WHEN: MARCH 10, 2012 (FUNDAMENTALS) AND MARCH 17, 2012 (ADVANCED)
WHERE: THE INDEPENDENCE INSTITUTE
727 EAST 16TH AVENEUE
DENVER, CO 80203
COST: FREE (BUT WE DO NEED YOU TO PRE-REGISTER)
*** We’re also working on bringing you classes covering communications, research, legal issues, and argumentation and persuasion, among others. Stay tuned for dates on those. ***
by Jon Caldara | 1:25 am, March 8, 2012 No Comments -->
The last thing Governor Hickenlooper wants is for me to come to his defense, ever. Sorry John, I just gotta. As a guy who has his foot in his mouth so often I can tell if socks are cotton or poly-bend just by taste, I have to say Hick’s amusing slip about the mayor’s wife in the shower is not only no big deal, it’s, well, funny. Reading that black ministers are demanding a public apology for a joke that was clearly meant as a compliment just proves that the humorless and prudish keep reproducing. (And doesn’t that act take at least some appreciation of slapstick? I can show you pictures.)
Given my proclivity for endless sophomoric sex jokes (thus the Independence Institute motto – Come for the Public Policy, Stay for the Sexual Harassment), I know what it is like to unintentionally offend social moralists. Fortunately they always forgive my addiction to junior high raunch. (Great thing about Christians – ask for forgiveness and they give it. Try that with the IRS.) But at some point they really need to kick back and understand that while they may be uptight about adult humor, and they have every right to be as uptight as they like, the rest of us are not. In fact, most of us enjoy a good yuck, even if it’s a little naughty. Nudge nudge, wink wink. And it’s time for them to turn the other cheek (Holding back a butt joke here).
And while there will be folks who are offended by just about any joke, the whole idea of liberty is the acceptance that other people will value different things, well, differently. We free-marketeers yack about this all the time – don’t force us to use the light bulbs you think are best for us, don’t ban the trans fat that we might wish to enjoy, yadda, yadda. We understand that only smug we-know-how-you-should-live elitists insist on what our values must be. While politically correct leftists are renown for their lack of giggles (how many feminists does it take to screw in a light bulb – ONE DAMN IT, JUST ONE!), many social conservatives are too. And it breaks my heart when conservatives of any stripe share the up-tightness of collectivists.
As for the Guv, Hick please don’t apologize and certainly don’t second-guess your well intentioned, off-the-cuff comments. I hate that you are such a popular politician; and I am not looking forward to when you use your lovable, ah-shucks personality to pimp yet another tax increase (oh yes, it is coming). But your sense of humor is one of your greatest political assets. Don’t let a couple of hyper-sensitive prudes pressure you into self-censorship. Self-censorship is to only be experienced by Republican students on college campuses.
Oh, and Guv, welcome to my world.
P.S. If anyone is interested in me in the shower, the mayor’s wife has pictures. (Um, that’s a joke.)
Original Post: Jon Caldara » PPC
by Jon Caldara | 4:20 pm, March 7, 2012 No Comments -->
Here’s Amy Oliver on higher education transparency and energy policy (i.e. lots of “green” renewable talk) -
Here’s big time Jeep/GM dealer Yale King on the auto bailouts being a little more about politics than about rescuing an industry -
Original Post: Jon Caldara » PPC
by Robt Ball | 2:50 pm, March 7, 2012 Comments Off -->
Original Post: The Daily Blogster
by Kelly Sloan | 1:49 pm, March 7, 2012 No Comments -->
The sleepy Western Slope has begun to awaken politically over the past few weeks.
Beginning around a month ago with a simple traffic stop involving Rep. Laura Bradford (R-Collbran) that quickly became a political story of Pandora-esqe calibre, Mesa County’s two house districts have been the ones watch, (if only with furtive sideways glances, so as not to betray any actual concern that something of import may occur on the forbidding side of the Eisenhower tunnel.)
The news of Rep. Bradford being stopped by Denver police on suspicion of driving under the influence, spiced up by insinuations – later pronounced fallacious by the DPD – that the Collbran Republican tried avoiding prosecution by citing an obscure section of the Colorado constitution that forbids the arrest of a sitting member for anything less than a felony or treason on their way to or from a legislative function, touched off a chain of events that threatened the tenuous balance of power in the House, and shifted the political spotlight temporarily off of Denver, over the hills, through the woods, and onto Grand Junction.
An ensuing comedy of errors, highlighted by a flurry of allegations, counter-allegations, reversals, yet further allegations, and a general mishandling of the episode by nearly everyone involved, culminated in a fully matured scandal that left at least the perception (in a business where perception is nearly everything) of a weakened candidate in Laura Bradford, inviting the inevitable speculation that someone would emerge to challenge her for the seat.
Speculating ended officially last Thursday, March 1st, when John “Rusty” Price filed his candidacy with the Secretary of State’s office (a story broke by the present author in Colorado Peak Politics), followed by his formal announcement that evening at a general meeting of the Western Slope Conservative Alliance in Grand Junction.
The Palisade vineyard owner had stoked the rumor mill a week earlier by resigning as Chairman of the House District 54 Board, a rather ostentatious prerequisite for running as Representative for House District 54.
In an interview, Price said he was still working on his platform, but sought to make Colorado a “sovereign state” – explaining that he wished to keep the federal government out of the state, and reassert Colorado’s 10th Amendment rights. He also stressed his desire to be a “Citizen Legislator”, and to only seek two terms.
Price insisted that his decision to run for the seat had nothing to do with Rep. Bradford’s recent troubles, saying that he did not know her well, and made no judgment’s regarding the controversy.
Meanwhile, Mesa County’s other State House seat, 55, came to life this past week with the announcement last Monday by Democrat trial lawyer Dan Robinson that he would challenge GOP incumbent Ray Scott this fall. Robinson, a long time Grand Junction Democrat and current Colorado Mesa University trustee, is a former two-term District 51 school board member who ran unsuccessfully for Mesa County Commissioner four years ago, losing to Republican Craig Meis.
Robinson, whose filing with the Secretary of State had, at the time of this writing, yet to appear on the TRACER website (it’s ok, he has 10 days; we’ll be watching), mentioned at his announcement that he “held the same position” as Rep. Scott on oil and gas, and that he would seek to protect oil and gas jobs; a rather odd statement, considering the level of vitriol he aimed at Meis, during his Commissioner run, for having ties to the industry. Likewise, as recently as January 6th, during a meeting of local democrats with CD3 candidate Sal “mugshot” Pace, Robinson downplayed the importance of the energy industry, bemoaning how Mesa County was too “enamored with energy”, and that, in his opinion “energy was not the make or break… not the single most important” driver of jobs in the region, touting instead the agricultural, healthcare, and recreational industries as being the ones which will prove most valuable for job creation. Rep. Scott, suffice to say, holds a somewhat different position vis a vis oil and gas, despite Robinson’s claims.
At any rate, Mesa County, despite its distance from I-25, promises to offer quite the political show this year.
by Ari Armstrong | 1:34 pm, March 7, 2012 Comments Off -->
Jim Manley, lead attorney in the suit to overturn the concealed-cary ban at the University of Colorado, discussed the cast last night at CU, Boulder.
Manley said that not only CU but every “public” campus in the state now needs to ensure it does not ban concealed carry. He also pointed out that Colorado’s concealed carry law generally requires permit holders to be over 21 and go through fingerprinting and a background check.
Moreover, he said, Colorado State University has complied with state law for nearly a decade, and that example illustrates that campus concealed carry simply does not generate a problem.
Original Post: Ari Armstrong's Free Colorado » PPC
by Eddie | 1:22 pm, March 7, 2012 Comments Off -->
When I wrote a month ago about how the old momentum for open Colorado school district-union negotiations had returned, what came out at last night’s Douglas County school board meeting was something I didn’t expect to happen — at least not so soon. Ed News Colorado’s Nancy Mitchell offers up the somewhat surprising scoop:
In an unusual move, the president of the Douglas County teachers’ union on Tuesday asked school board members to open contract talks to the public.
“By letting the sunlight shine on our negotiations, parents, taxpayers and employees will benefit by seeing the open dialogue around our district’s priorities,” said Brenda Smith, president of the Douglas County Federation of teachers. “I hope you consider this.”
At the previous board meeting, a group of citizens with Parent Led Reform — following the release of their petition to open union negotiations — made the same plea initially. So pressure has been building for awhile, pressure for collective bargaining transparency in Colorado’s third-largest school district.
But last night’s development leaves this curious kid with two nagging questions. First, why would the DCF come out in favor of open negotiations and why now? Mike Antonucci, a guru on many issues related to teachers unions, has articulated well why union officials and district administrators tend to be naturally averse to the idea.
Maybe having supportive citizens allied with a supportive school board on the issue changes the dynamic. Maybe union leaders genuinely believe that transparency will give them a stronger negotiating leg to stand on. Maybe they simply realized it’s better to hop on the transparency train than to get run over by it. Maybe given the timing, the answer has to do with tomorrow’s legislative hearing on House Bill 1118, which would require school districts across Colorado to open union negotiation sessions and records to public observation.
So the second question is: What impact will the announcement have on the HB 1118 hearing? The Ed News story quotes the DCF / AFT’s big brother union, the Colorado Education Association, talking out of both sides of its mouth:
“Our members are very concerned about the potential consequences this bill could have on the success of negotiations,” Wetzel said, adding, “Opening bargaining sessions to the public could lead to harmful speculation and gossip in the community before ideas are fully formed, and runs counter to the ability of districts and associations to communicate openly and honestly and to find new, innovative solutions that will ultimately benefit the education of children.”
The CEA also doesn’t like the idea of a state mandate.
“CEA is supportive of transparency,” he said, “however, the decision on whether bargaining is open to the public should be determined by the local education association and the school board according to the needs of the local community.” [emphases added]
In other words, CEA leaders think transparency is a bad idea, except when they support transparency, which is when the state isn’t telling them to be transparent. Please excuse me while I scratch my head. Still, some honestly might wonder why legislation is needed if a district and union can come to a mutual understanding about open negotiations independently. Besides pointing out that most unions are tied to the anti-negotiation transparency CEA, one might also add that a state law could have helped Douglas County reach the same conclusion without so much debate and rancor.
Tomorrow morning’s House State Affairs committee hearing might just be one of those occasions for popping up some popcorn, breaking out the candy, and listening in.
Original Post: Ed is Watching
by Randall Smith | 7:00 am, March 7, 2012 Comments Off -->
Did you all enjoy Super Tuesday? The results are in for most of the states. As I write this, Mitt Romney is edging out Rick Santorum in Ohio by about half a percent. You can find all of the results on Google's election results page.
Mitt has an good sized lead in delegates and with what he picked yesterday, it may have pushed him over the hump into inevitable. Newt won his home state of Georgia but made almost no noise anywhere else. My guess is that he'll drop out within a week or two. That may let Santorum build the not-Romney votes but I'm skeptical.
On to the links.
- Higher ed in Colorado is looking at another $29 million in cuts. I wonder if it's getting on to time to cut CU and CSU loose and privatize them.
- Democrat big spender Pat Stryker has a history of ripping off the Federal government.
- Congrats to the various Colorado bloggers who have been digging up all sorts of nastiness surrounding Abound Solar and helping that story go national.
- Suing over high popcorn prices at the movies? Really? What a waste of time and money.
- The South Carolina GOP does the right thing and rejects a "purity pledge" for candidates.
- Obama wants to bail out housing speculators? No, you shouldn't get bailed out because you gambled and lost.
- Step 1) Get huge loans backed by the government. 2) Pay yourself huge bonuses. 3) Cash out while the company goes bankrupt.
- If Greece goes under, it's going to take all of Europe with it.
Original Post: PerlStalker's Ramblings
by Randall Smith | 7:09 pm, March 6, 2012 Comments Off -->
Colorado lawmakers ran into an obvious but contentious stumbling block while considering a bill to set legal levels for "driving while drugged."
But SB 117 carries with it some weighty baggage: The state Public Defender's Office estimates the bill will cost the office nearly $600,000 more per year to defend drugged-driving cases.
"The increased workload on my agency," Douglas Wilson, the state public defender, testified before a legislative committee debating the bill last month, "will be significant, and it will be costly."
That's right, the cost. If you're going to charge a person with "drugged-driving", you're going to have to pay someone to do it. This would be a wonderful use for drug taxes (such as those on medical marijuana). Despite the cost, this is an important first step if you want to legalize drug use.
Like alcohol, drugs screw with a person's perception of things. I have no problem if a person wants to fly at home but as soon as they get on the road, they become everyone else's problem. This law and ones like it provide suitable punishments if a user proves to be a menace to someone else on the road. We do exactly the same thing with alcohol.
The problem, currently, is that there are no legal standards for determining when a person is impaired due to drug use. If the state can't prove that a user meets a defined level, then any conviction is based solely on subjective evidence instead of facts. This law attempts to set that defined level.
Keep in mind, if a person is weaving all over the road, that person is going to be pulled over. It doesn't matter if the person is high or not. All this law does is ensure that that person faces additional penalties if provably.
Original Post: PerlStalker's Ramblings
by Joshua Sharf | 6:30 pm, March 6, 2012 Comments Off -->
Daily Links From Glimpse From a Height
- A Unified Brand – A Consistent UI
That’s been my experience. I know we’re trying to do that at Werner. And it’s definitely affected how our teams interact. If we can agree that consumers see a brand as having one “voice,” I’d argue that the internal organization’s infrastructure should be set up to reflect that singular voice: no more Web team, separate [...]
- Environmentalism As Religion
Not the first to make the connection, but he thinks through the parallel more thoroughly than most: There are two basic problems with this. The first is that while the religion template taps in to a deep psychological vein in the human spirit – some have suggested humanity may even carry a so-called “God gene” [...]
- Debt Grows Faster Than Economy for Foreseeable Future
More invaluable work from the Mercatus Center: Even in the steady-state starting in about 2016. Which implies that it won’t be so steady-state, after all.
- Tourists Like To Live To Show Off Their Photos
Which makes their return to Kashmir significant: India won by sealing the border and flooding the province with soldiers and police. The largely Moslem population of Kashmir eventually got tired of the Islamic terrorism and stopped supporting the Islamic radical groups. With few local recruits, far fewer trained terrorists crossing from Pakistan and growing casualties [...]
Puerto Rico Governor Luis Fortuno, whom some are pushing as a Republican Vice Presidential nominee, is predicting that the territory will finally vote for statehood this fall.
- Is Iran Already Nuclear-Capable?
From Germany, a report that North Korea may already have tested an Iranian bomb back in 2010: But why should North Korea keep the nuclear tests secret? asks Rühle. North Korea proudly advertised its previous nuclear tests. But the North Korean tests of 2006 and 2009 used bombs with a plutonium core. The 2010 tests, [...]
- The New Old Lie
Why the Left hates Act of Valor, and keeps churning out crap like Rendition and In the Valley of Elah: War, after all, is about competing purposes, competing causes, competing ideals—produced by polities, defined by policymakers, put into action by military professionals, and fought for by average soldiers. War itself does not care about the [...]
- When Predator Becomes Prey
Looking at the next generation of drones, and drone self-defense counter-measures: Against a well-equipped opponent the U.S. will have to rely more on space satellites (thus the great fear of Chinese attacks up there), higher UAV losses and the use of things like one-use rockets equipped with cameras. Ironically, the smaller UAVs like Raven will [...]
- How Keynes Overwhelmed Hayek
It’s not just about being right: The truth is that Keynes overwhelmed Hayek, simply by making more interesting and relevant statements. Of course, the roundaboutness of production under capitalism may sometimes lead to waste, but that does not justify government inactivity. Economists have squabbled about many things since the 1930s, including the relative effectiveness of [...]
- Roundup of Reaction to Obama’s AIPAC Speech
Some good, mostly concerned with what he whitewashed and left out. Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Studies: What fell through the cracks One additional item noticeable by its absence was any message to the people of Iran. This was a lost opportunity. At a time when the administration is counting, at [...]
- The South China Sea Follies
China begins clarifying their claims to the South China Sea. They might not insist on the whole thing, after all. Nevertheless, even articulation of a large but UNCLOS-compliant claim would offer several advantages in terms of dispute resolution. It would clarify where China’s EEZ claims from islands in the South China Sea overlap with the [...]
- Megan McArdle Takes a Break
From blogging. But there will be guest bloggers!
- Photo Gallery: East Germany’s Transformation
From Der Speigel. The before-and-after photos are striking. A couple of years ago, I found myself in a conversation with an old State Department hand who had been stationed in East Germany. When I commented that the East Germans were better off with the Communists gone and Germany re-united – which, to be honest, I [...]
- Dems Urge CFTC Action:
Blame Wall Street for gas prices they say aren’t high enough: “It is one of your primary duties — indeed, perhaps your most important — to ensure that the prices Americans pay for gasoline and heating oil are fair, and that the markets in which prices are discovered operate free from fraud, abuse and manipulation,” [...]
- Running Robot
DARPA’s running Cheetah robot has been all over the Interwebs today:
Original Post: View From a Height » PPC
by Robt Ball | 11:07 am, March 6, 2012 Comments Off -->In a reaction from yesterday's story from Breitbart;
Sources inform Breitbart.com today that Pam Dickler, director of the 1998 production of The Love Song of Saul Alinsky in Chicago that included a panel discussion featuring then-State Sen. Barack Obama, has a video tape of the play.
Original Post: The Daily Blogster
Praise for PPC From Our Lefty "Fan"
- "Zany-ass bombast-entertainment...Hackneyed weirdo communist pseudo-nostalgia" --Alan Franklin, ProgressNow
Modest Temporary Free Speech Victory in Cigarette Pack Pictures Ruling
This isn’t a mistake or an error in judgment. The “experts” in government agencies really do think they are smarter than we are – the rubes, the country class – and therefore arrogate unto themselves the job of telling us what to do. The word “arrogance” comes from “arrogate.” Appropriate, don’t you think?
- Free PPC Classes Continue with Privacy and Online Reputation Management (4)
- Bernanke Befuddled
- Feisty, Brash Andrew Breitbart, Conservative Lightning Rod, Dead at 43
- Appeals Court Refuses to Rule on Laptop Encryption Case
- China Hits Turning Point; Jobs Coming Back to the U.S.
- Group of 20 Balks, Stalls and Dithers