ebw's blog

Justice Posner is also a comedian

This para made me chuckle:

... I can set to one side three of the components of the [Obama Jobs] program: extension of unemployment benefits, tax credits for employers who hire the unemployed, and financial assistance in refinancing home mortgages—the estimated cost of these three programs is $72 billion. They are losers. Extending unemployment benefits, while it will increase the income of the recipients, and in that respect have an effect similar [to] that a tax credit or refund could be expected to have on people who pay income taxes, will actually reduce the hiring of the unemployed by reducing the cost to them of remaining unemployed; generally, the intensity of job search by unemployed persons surges when unemployment benefits are about to run out, and that date will be postponed for the recipient of the extended benefits.

The inference that households that lost one (or more) incomes 6 to 18 months ago did not, and will not, pay income taxes adds to this gem, along with the apparent necessity of using a simile to to tax credits or tax refund to explain the effect of extended unemployment benefits -- as the average B & O reader requires special assistance to comprehend the concept of unemployment benefits.

In the next paragraph the author of "efficient breach" observes that "there is no labor shortage" -- so no jobs for those saved-from-a-safety-net.

The bottom-line-punch-line is that there are so few fully planned, and deferred public works projects that the $90bn proposed for public works -- if approved -- will sit idle for years -- and therefore "red tape" must be cut! To borrow the use of simile, and make a covert reference to my last network policy junket -- in 2008 the City State of Singapore had $2bn in fully planned and deferred public works -- so the aggregated public works needs and plans of the United States -- in the Po-verse -- is about 30 times the 286 square miles Singapore boasts -- or about the size of New Jersey.

Perhaps he has in mind the United States of Rhode Island, Delaware and Connecticut.

The original is here.

Foreign Economic Collection 2001

Placeholder text.

Recognizing Palestine

At the Rome ICANN meeting in March 2004 I'd the pleasure of having lunch with the new manager for .ps -- the ccTLD delegated to the Palestinian Authority. The existence of "ps" and "eu" in the ISO 3166-1 table are the odd stories of the two useful "non-country" entries in iso3166-1 (there are lots of uninteresting and marginally useful "non-country" entries in iso3166-1, basically, any place where a "post office" ever existed and a British stamp dirtied with ink, or the equivalent colonial power, has a 3166-1 entry, along with a dozen "intellectual property" non-state entities), and both have been delegated, allowing the ".eu" gTLD registry, and the ".ps" ccTLD registry to exist.

If the US has to unfund UNESCO because of Congressional NeoCon Caucus brain-damage, I suppose all that is protecting the IANA root from being swept overseas is the fact that the contract is a no-cost contract.

Timely reading is Juan Cole's comment on the UNESCO vote, and the consequences of US ... unfunding of bodies that do ... recognized (or resolve) Palestine (or DNS A records in the .ps namespace).

Later: PalTel has been targeted by a distributed system today. A circa 2006 description of the Palestinian IT sector is in this piece from Al Jazeera English link.

ICANN CEO Search

A brief bit of context. When Paul Twomey was let go as CEO, the Peter Dengate-Thrush dominated Board selected Rod Beckstrom as the new CEO. I didn't think the choice prudent, as Rod was a failed Bush-Regime Intelligence Community "cyber-security czar" with no other exposure to the fundamental issue of de-monopolization and cooperative policy development by a body with "no statutory authority". As CEO Beckstrom promptly caused the departure of David Conrad from the IANA, and others, and added some other high profile security deadwood, similarly lacking domain specific industry clue.

In a separate post I'll review the NTIA's NOI concerning the IANA contract, his letter, and mine [link pending]. I was not surprised, but I was pleased, when I learned that his contract would not be renewed at the end of the current contract period. The ICANN announcements of Rob Beckstrom's departure is [link pending] and [link pending].


To: ceosearch2012@icann.org
Subject: One contributor's views to the ICANN Search Committee for a Chief Executive Officer
Dear Search Committee Members,

I write to share with you my views on the search for a new CEO.

First, ICANN is not a for-profit entity, nor is work at ICANN part of a revolving-door to work at other for-profit entities. We should be looking at the non-profits and NGOs which have some similarities to ICANN for where our senior staff comes from. The executive management task is moderate -- a head-count of approximately 100, mostly in Marina del Rey, and distributed in a few locations. The technical exoticia of the position is quite limited and adequate staff support is available to support the external communications function.

The real importance, in my view, after the internal line management responsibility, is the cultivation of institutional relations with an eye towards the long-term -- the institutional permanence of end-point identifier uniqueness coordination with the other actors, from the RIRs to the major operators of overlapping namespaces, starting with the PRC.

To sum these two inter-related points -- the better applicants will not be predisposed to favor the continued capture of ICANN as an agency of governance by the legacy incumbent monopoly operator, or the larger set of actors pursuing for-profit goals in the content or connectivity market, and they will prioritize cooperation and long-term enlightened interdependence with similar entities with similar agency capabilities.

Next, in my view, the internal managerial functions of the CEO and the external relationship cultivation functions of the President are distinct, and not necessarily unified as a single role, nor likely to be executed equitably by any individual having more interest and experience in one, but not both, functional responsibilities.

Next, and here I'm reiterating my comments to earlier NomCom interviewers in the context of selection for the Board, your choices should not be limited to individuals who are litigation-adverse. Many parties, first and foremost, Verisign, are not litigation-adverse.

When ICANN implements policies consistent with the competition policy goals of the United States expressed in the Green and White Papers, or when ICANN implements policies consistent with the experiment and development policy goals of the United States, also expressed in the Green and White Papers, parties who's interests are the preservation of the status quo are likely to litigate.

The point I am not trying to make is that the better candidates will be from the Common Law legal culture, but that the better candidates will have an awareness of where the controlling venue actually is located, and what the rules of engagement actually are, and will be able to distinguish between claims based upon the Federal Administrative Practices Act of 1946 and claims based upon wishful thinking about multi-stakeholder-isms and a body of International Law that doesn't actually exist yet.

Finally, I recommend that the Board seek applicants who love the job, not the perqs -- we need applicants who consider the tasks of carefully, with minimal disruption, leading the corporation in the disentanglement of Verisign from its legacy role as the single-source, one-time competitive contractor, and constructively interact with the staff and the non-commercial community and end the stasis forced by actors pursuing the status quo.

I hope this finds you all well, and I wish you the best of luck in a very important process. In a separate note I'll offer the names of some individuals I think would be worth consideration.

Eric Brunner-Williams
Ithaca, New York and Monterey, California


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Transitions :: Eloise Cobell, Blackfoot

Overnight, via Bill McAllister, the public relations contact for the Cobell litigation effort.

Elouise Cobell, an enrolled member of Montana's Blackfeet Tribe who led a 16-year landmark legal fight to get the federal government to pay an estimated 500,000 Native Americans for mismanaging their trust accounts, died tonight in at Benefis Hospital in Great Falls, Mont. A great granddaughter of Mountain Chief, one of the legendary Indian leaders of the West, she had been diagnosed with cancer weeks before her class-action lawsuit was given final approval by a federal district judge in Washington on June 20.

Born on the Blackfeet Reservation on Nov. 5, 1945, with the Indian name Yellow Bird Woman, Ms. Cobell was one of eight children. Her survivors include: her husband, Alvin Cobell of Blacktail, Mont., a son, Turk Cobell and his wife, Bobbie, of Las Vegas, two grandchildren, Olivia, and Gabriella, a brother, Dale Pepion of Browning, Mont., and three sisters, Julene Kennerly of Browning, Mont., Joy Ketah of Seattle and Karen Powell of Browning, Mont.

In 1996, Ms Cobell and four other Native Americans filed a lawsuit against the federal government demanding that the government give Native Americans an accounting of billions of dollars it received for oil and gas leases and other uses of individual Indian lands held in trust by the United States. After a long, tenacious fight with the government, the Obama administration agreed to settle the lawsuit in December, 2009, creating a $3.4 billion fund to, among other things, make payments to individual Indian money account holders. This was the largest class action settlement with the government in American history.

After finding government records of the Indian accounts inadequate to support an accounting of all items of the Individual Indian Trust, a federal judge declared the Indians could never receive a full accounting of their funds and other trust assets. He then urged the parties to engage in direct negotiations at the highest levels, negotiations that led to the historic settlement. The settlement was ratified by both Houses of Congress and approved by the President of the United States. It then went back to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for final approval and judgment, which was entered on August 4, 2011.

Ms Cobell served as lead plaintiff in the lawsuit and tirelessly led the effort from Browning, quietly raising millions of dollars for expert witnesses and other major costs associated with the litigation. In part, Ms. Cobell used funds from her own 1997 "Genius Grant” from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation's Fellows program to fund the cost of the lawsuit.

In 2005, she received a Cultural Freedom Fellowship from the Lannan Foundation, an award that cited her persistence in bringing to light the “more than a century of government malfeasance and dishonesty” with the government-run Indian Trust. Two years later, she was one of 10 people given an AARP Impact Award (for making the world a better place), and in 2004 the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development presented her with the Jay Silverheels Achievement Award. This year, she was named "Montana Citizen of the Year" by the Montana Trial Lawyers Association. She received the 2002 International Women’s Forum award for “Women Who Make a Difference,” in Mexico City.

Ms. Cobell was one of the founders of the Native American Bank, based in Denver. Her professional and civic experience and expertise includes serving as co-chair of Native American Bank NA and as a former trustee of the National Museum of the American Indian, as well as service on other boards. She served for 13 years as treasurer for the Blackfeet Indian Nation in Montana. She also served as executive director of the Native American Community Development Corp, the bank's nonprofit affiliate.

With her husband, Alvin Cobell, she operated a working ranch that produced cattle and crops. She was active in Montana agriculture and environmental issues, founding the first Land Trust in Indian Country. She also served as a trustee for the Nature Conservancy of Montana. She graduated from Great Falls Business College and attended Montana State University, from which she later received an honorary doctorate. She also has honorary degrees from Rollins College and Dartmouth College.

Other obits: Legal Times and Le Monde.

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MB, Grace and Sam visit Liberty Plaza

MB sent me a nice photo, which I'll post. The teens have "been there, done that, got the Occupy Wall Street Journal". Eleven years ago they were in a tandem stroller holding a sign protesting the Bush/Cheney voter fraud in Florida. Red diaper babies coming of age.

Two Cornell Law 3Ls (one not in frame) and two former Florida Recount Protest Babies, now in middle and high school.

The "Wikileaks" Executive Order

Among the unintended consequences of the "reform" of government data management that took the blame for the success of the Atta Gang's murder-suicide was the extension of access to previously agency-partitioned data sets. The prosecution of PFC Bradley E. Manning rests upon the claim that he had access to SIPRNet, along with about a half-million other persons, some of whom are nationals of Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand... (consequent of a RAND report that found that occupation forces in Iraq and Afghanistan were "at mortal risk" due to lack of direct access to SIPDIS (SIPrnet DIStribution) product -- a problem for which coordination rather than direct access is an alternate choice), and that State Department Cables and other agencies data could, and should be accessed by anyone "vetted" by enlistment in any branch of the military (or employment by many civilian contractors) and completion of a training at a signals school.

The "reform" of a "fragmented intelligence community" was to merge the previously separate data sets, and defund the previously separate distribution networks -- because that was sufficient -- under the prevailing theory of cause and effect -- to have caused the timely identification of the threat posed by the Atta Gang.

The number of cause-and-effect assumptions, inter-intelligence-agency competitions, DoD and DHS budget justifications contained in this rational for "reform" is worth a moment's quiet reflection. Since SIPRINet, like its precursor, DSNet (I, II, III), is just another packet data network using the TCP/IP suite of protocols, the fundamental issue of partition and protection should be readily comprehensible to anyone with a slightly informed opinion on the consequences of allowing any Facebook App "frictionless" access to all user prior behavioral and current connection state data, correlated with off-line data sources such as the Axion data archives of consumer credit data.

Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper are to to establish an “Insider Threat Task Force”, consisting, as such tasks forces must, of representatives of heads of consumer and producer agencies. Will the ITTF will identify re-partitioning the data sets, and re-establishing agency-specific distribution networks, as "critical information infrastructure", or will the ITTF simply attempt to "harden" access to what is, by institutional infrastructure design, a single point of failure?

The larger issue is agency-level data management, in a large administrative state. Mohammad Atta and his gang are no more. Wikileaks may continue -- I hope it does as the protections for "whistle blowers" are inadequate -- but its disclosure of circa 2007 SIPDIS product too has a limited effective life. Restated, the "threat" is absent, exhausted by execution or the passage of time, but the dependency of governmental agencies upon data networks is not, and the number of rational economic actors, and potential rational non-economic actors, which can benefit by access to, even control over, agency data, is non-zero, and unlikely to ever be zero.

The DoD's Fiscal Year 2012 Budget Request (34pp .pdf) identifies $2.3bn in proposed spending -- for current war fighting requirements alone -- on computational infrastructure, along with another billion for other information assurance expenses, a 2% budget increase over the 2011 budget year. Related, the DHS is seeking another billion for its computational infrastructure expenses, a 12% increase over the 2010 DHS computational infrastructure budget. From these budget requests it seems likely that continuation of, with "hardening" rather than a departure from the merged data, common distribution media, unlimited attack surface, is what the administration's senior administrative and defense technology managers are proposing for the next budget cycle.

The text of the Executive Order of October 7th, 2011, "Structural Reforms to Improve the Security of Classified Networks and the Responsible Sharing and Safeguarding of Classified Information" is here at the White House Briefing Room. An accompanying "fact sheet" is available here.

Their Obama didn't "carry" the cacuses in Iowa or Texas

The early returns in today's Socialist Party primary are good. The two mainstream socialist candidates are tied, and the Obama-equivalent socialist-of-convenience is down with Manuel Vallis and Jean-Michelle Baylet in the weeds.

François Hollande (39%), Martine Aubry (31%), Arnaud Montebourg (17%) and Ségolène Royal (7%).

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The Fourth Estate includes bloggers (in France)

Writing in rue89.fr, Mourad Guichard reports that the La Cour de cassation (the court of final appeal for civil and criminal matters) has ruled that Antoine Bardet, writing as "Fansolo", when publishing political satire -- imaginary statements of support for Serge Grouard (UMP), seeking re-election to the post of mayor of Orléans -- was protected by the law of 29 July 1881 relative to the liberty of the press.

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转基因玉米 (GM Maize) in the PRC

Three pages in the Asian Times by Peter Lee on GMO use in the PRC. A very readable overview of the field.

An additional resource is the Journal of Maize Sciences (Chinese/English).

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