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Kevin Beddingfield
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My ~1.5 year old post on queuing rpc requests in GWT is now the #1 search result in google for people searching on such things :-)
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The Web 2.0 Summit conference, held each year in San Francisco, has become one of the premier tech gatherings in part to the solid lineup of industry speakers that it attracts. But it was a politician, not a tech executive, who was the highlight of the conference's first day.

Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, spoke common sense about the intersection of technology and policy. He demonstrated a command of key issues, not a memorized list of talking points.

Venture Beat's Dean Takahashi has a good roundup of what Wyden had to say (see link below). I want to emphasize a portion of Wyden's comments, because they were so important in the national conversation we should be having over tech and policy. I say "should" because we're scarcely having any debate at all beyond superficialities.

Among Wyden's most important recent actions as a senator have related to a grotesque bill, sponsored by alleged liberal Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont. The "Protect IP Act" -- https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2011/05/protect-ip-act-coica-redux -- is designed, as Wyden accurately said, to let the copyright cartel "use government as a club to go after another part of our economy, which is the innovation sector and everything the internet represents." Wyden has put a hold on the bill, as any senator can do with any legislation, but he's one person against one of the most powerful lobbies around -- and the cartel is nothing if not patient.

Wyden also took aim at the Obama administration's secret interpretation of the already terrible "Patriot Act" (has a law ever been more cynically named?) that grants massive spying powers to government with little accountability. Obama's government is apparently spying in vast new ways on Americans, but we're not even allowed to know how his administration is viewing its authority under the law -- it's a secret, you know. Again almost alone, Wyden is trying to pry open this abuse of the system by an administration that has been, in key ways, even more hostile to civil liberties than its predecessor.

Wyden paraphrased Benjamin Franklin's admonition, which has never rung more true: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."

The American people have forgotten this warning -- and we are swiftly heading toward the end of liberty. With politicians like Wyden around, however, there's still some hope.

(Note: An embarrassing moment in Wyden's appearance came when his interviewer, John Heilemann, a political writer for New York magazine, told the audience that he and the senator are friends, whereupon Wyden told the audience to buy Heilemann's book about the 2008 campaign. There was a joking tone to it all, but I've rarely seen a better demonstration of Washington insider culture, in which the "journalists" are proud members of the club.)
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However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.

GEORGE WASHINGTON
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If you're not in awe of how little you knew 5 years ago than you might not be learning enough.
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Hot dogs grilling on an autumn saturday
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Optimism is not a good default setting when it comes to people changing their behavior.
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Baby seal at marina beach park
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