An unfortunate choice of texts

I went over all of the 80+ problems that have been assigned as homework over the first four weeks of Sam's Algebra 1 class at South Eugene High School. One in five was algebraic, the rest are word problems, graph plotting, fractions, and "tiles" (manipulatives to represent units (squares), variables (rectangles) and squares of variables (bigger squares). The work really is below grade level (fractions should have been done in 6, not reviewed in 9) and amazingly badly presented as a disjointed narrative.

The selection of this "college prep" product is public mis-governance.


5th WT/ICT Policy Forum

The fifth World Telecommunication/ICT Policy Forum (Geneva, 2013) takes place in the coming week. I've been afforded a "member of the public" status, so I'm going to be a remote participant. There will be three Working Groups: WG1 will address Internet Exchange Points (IXP), WG2 will address v6 uptake, and WG3 will address ... the decades long mess arising from transferring publicly funded invention from governments -- primarily the US's TCP/IP and the UK's Coloured Book Protocols and associated physical fabrics and interconnected computer centers and human intellectual capital -- to private investors, who take as little notice of territorial limits on profit making as lobbyists, lawyers and ideologies allow.

The WG3 documents are:

  • The Draft Opinions:
    • Draft Opinion 5: Supporting Multi-stakeholderism in Internet Governance
    • Draft Opinion 6: On supporting operationalizing the Enhanced Cooperation Process
  • The contributions by the membership
    • WTPF-13/4 -- a 57pp text from the Russian Federation
    • WTPF-13/5 -- a 1pp text from the Russian Federation
    • WTPF-13/6 -- a 3pp text from the United States
    • WTPF-13/7 -- a 3pp text from Turkey
    • WTPF-13/8 -- a 9pp text from RIPE NCC
    • WTPF-13/9 -- a 10pp text from ISOC
    • WTPF-13/11 -- a 3pp text from Australia

My mom, a career USN Mathematician / Computer Scientist, now retired, asked me what the underlying issue at contest is. I replied, "During the first Bush administration the US privatized the physical network, and during the Carter administration the US privatized the logical network, and, with the transfer of unique endpoint coordination to a private corporation (ICANN), has ever since argued that Government is only one of many "stakeholders" in policy making, necessarily subordinate to private, for-profit interests, a position common to the NATO member governments. Russia and several other governments hold the position that governments represent the interests of users, and are responsible to provide service where profit is absent or insufficient to motivate service, and are necessarily not subordinate to private, for-profit interests."

Mom nodded and asked if spam and bad acts were involved, and after a few words I stopped saying "no". I remembered who I was speaking to, a civilian DoD employee who held clearances above TS and with a "lifetime commitment" who wargamed as a Red Player in the Crazy Eighties. So I took a breath and revised, "The US is opposed to a treaty limiting the use of network attached computers for war fighting, or the targeting of network attached computers carrying out civil functions. Russia and China propose such a treaty." Mom nodded again and asked why the US was opposed to a treaty limiting cyberwar. I replied' "Because a treaty would create the possibility of a treaty enforcement entity." Mom nodded again, said "Birchers" and, dinner eaten, rose and went to her rooms to listen to music.

Extremism in the pursuit of ... gun lobby hegemony

Crime scenes are one thing ... an entire political jurisdiction. Several entire political jurisdictions -- Boston, Cambridge, Watertown -- is another. Populations in the millions directly enjoined to house arrest. Hundreds of thousands of commuters directly enjoined from entry of places of employment, education, recreation. A significant part of the Northeast Urban Agglomeration unable to participate in regional, national and international economic activity during a "lock down". It wasn't a snow emergency. It wasn't an outbreak of SARS coronavirus (SARS-CoV). It wasn't ... It was the possibility of a short sequence of firefights between the armed, armored and coordinated, and one armed adolescent. It was the capacity to engage a met target kinetically with hundreds of rounds of standard infantry ammunition with unlimited follow-on fire capabilities, and the capacity to engage a met target kinetically with tens of rounds and one unit of exit ordinance upon failure of evasion. As a rate of fire statement it was the capacity for a sustained high rate of coordinated fire vs zero or more bursts of planned fire plus zero or more bursts of unplanned fire plus zero or one 10 meter radius area denial explosion.

Data on engagements by symmetrically armed forces in urban areas is everywhere. Data on escape and evasion by armed actors in urban areas is also everywhere. Restated as a public health problem for the political executive(s) of one or more urban political jurisdiction(s), the risk to sworn peace officers presented by attempting to take into custody any intentionally armed actor is indistinguishable from the risk presented by the more numerous incidentally armed actors, as is the risk to others consequent to the attempts to take into custody. Firearms in the commissions of felonies is a given, independent of political jurisdiction, political theater is not.

Mortality and morbidity arising from pollen will occur today. The same arising from air pollution for private profit will also occur today. The same arising from building and safety code violations and structural failure or fire will also occur today. The same arising from ordinary, and exceptional errors of motor vehicle operator judgement and design defects will also occur today. The same arising from historically unprecedented resource disparity will also occur today. The same arising from illicit economic activity will also occur today, and the same, arising from sworn peace officer pursuit of lawful warrants of arrest or reasonable suspicion, will also occur today. The distribution of the aggregate of these over the political jurisdictions that form the Northeast urban Agglomeration is unremarkable. The convulsions of political executives, suspending the right of free assembly, the right of free speech, over all persons presently within, or with an interest in entering, or transiting, entire political jurisdictions, overreaching all rational contours of risk, is not unremarkable.

Sworn peace officers were at risk of injury, were injured, and one died in the line of duty Thursday. The executives of police bargaining units are likely to support the momentary contraction of first and fourth Amendment protections of the entire resident and incidental populations of these political jurisdictions, ordered, or "advised", by the executives of these political jurisdictions. However, the executives elected to advance bargaining unit economic interests, and the executives of inferior political jurisdictions elected by cyclic paid media buys and incidental accumulated earned media messages do not have a fundamental interest in the first, or fourth Amendments to the Constitution. That interest lies in the Article I, II, and III branches of the government of the United States, incorporated to the governments of States, and their electors.

The retail arm of the gun lobby didn't do so well yesterday, but the wholesale arm of the gun lobby did very, very well, and as always, there are many eager to surrender the first and fourth Amendment rights obtained by at cost by men and women facing the gallows and bayonets.

The present tense of "vergangenheitsbewältigung" is ...

A link to the several political party programs in Greece. "New Democracy", followed by "SYRIZA", "PASOK", "Independent Greeks", "Greek Communist Party", "Chrysi Avgi", "Democratic Left", and "Dimiourgia Xana".

I find it hard to prefer SYRIZA's platform over the clearer, statement of existing class warfare, in the KKE's platform.

I remember when the capitals of "Germany" were Bonn and East Berlin, when German domestic policy was exclusively made in Washington and Moscow. By itself, Germany is too small to prevent a return to Yalta, and basic domestic policy made elsewhere.

A good quote from the Athens Chamber of Commerce spokesperson to Sky News a few minutes ago, mid-day voting day:

This is not a Greek crisis, it never was - it's a pan-European crisis. If Germany believes in European vision, she should start behaving more as a European Germany and less as a Germanic Europe.

The Greek Crisis is not economic, it is cultural

There is an interesting interview in today's Le Soir on Greece and Europe. Two quotes:

"Les traits de caractère que j’évoque se retrouvent de Chypre à Vladivostok ! Notre chrétienté est celle du Moyen-Âge. Nous faisons partie de la civilisation européenne, sans partager les valeurs culturelles de l’Europe moderne." [The character traits I mention are found from Cyprus to Vladivostok (reference to the range of the non-Latin but Orthodox Churches). Our Christianity is that of the Middle Ages. We are part of European Civilization, without sharing the cultural values of Modern Europe (reference to the absence of Reformation, et seq., in Greece and more broadly, in non-Latin Europe).]

"Je vais être provocateur, mais l’héritage d’Aristote ou de Platon, c’est une affaire Allemande, pas grecque. Les Européens ont façonné notre héritage à leur image." [I may be overstating, but the heritage of Aristotle or Plato is a creation of the Germans, not Greek. The Europeans have fashioned our heritage in their image.]

The bulk of the interview is a Greek philosopher explaining to Richard Werly (Le Temps, Swiss) why viewing Greece as a European State is misleading. The interview is thought provoking, pointing both to the relative absence of Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek history in the construct of "Greek heritage", and to the external German (and English) sources of its construction.

The article his here, published in Le Soir (Bruxelles).

We write Law Profs too (draft)

The clever earned media by Jim Barnett, Scott Brown's Campaign Manager, has moved beyond the right-of-right tabloid Boston Herald and is making hermetic ripples in some mainstream legal blogs. Occasional contributor to The Volokh Conspiracy, Todd Zywicki has what he clearly believes is the best evidence and analysis -- New England Historical Genealogical Society Rescinds Conclusion that Elizabeth Warren Might Be Cherokee. Brian Leiter (Chicago), who co-authors Brian Leiter's Law School Reports with Dan Filler (Drexel), fires back with Todd Zywicki Jumps the Shark on his Elizabeth Warren Obsession. Carl Bogus (Roger Williams) also blogs on what he refers to as The Elizabeth Warren Mystery.

In a nutshell, Zywicki rules Warren a fraud pursuing hiring preferences, Leiter finds Zywicki a ideological hack, and Bogus finds pretty much as I did when I wrote We write Campaign Managers, last week, when the clever earned media by Jim Barnett, Scott Brown's Campaign Manager, was making the rounds in ICT -- in Lindsey Catherine Cornum's piece -- Elizabeth Warren and the Politics of Being Indian, and Steve Russel's piece -- Elizabeth Warren: Box-Checking for Fun and Profit, and Suzan Shown Harjo's piece -- What’s the Deal With Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee? and Rob Capriccioso's piece -- Elizabeth Warren Finally Teaches a Lesson on Native Identity, which includes extensive quotes from Robert Warrior.

Each of these writers -- Brian Leiter, Todd Zywicki, and Carl Bogus -- goes out of his way to mention blood -- missing the central legal point established by the Dawes Commissioners a century ago, that citizenship in any of the several Indian Territorial Removal polities, in particular the Cherokee Nation during the years the Dawes Commissioners were registering individuals as "Cherokee by blood" or "Cherrokee Freedman", was determined clerically, upon presentation by the individual seeking to be enrolled in the Commission's Rolls. Each also misses the corollary, the central issue of the Cherokee Nation elections of 2005 (principal chief election), 2007 (constitutional amendment election) and 2011 (principal chief election), that a citizen of the Cherokee Nation need not meet the "single drop of Indian blood" test.

In progress until this line is removed.
This from Carl Bogus' piece:

She also knew that claiming to be Native American when she was only 1/32 Cherokee, if examined by a hiring committee, would make her look foolish and be more likely to hurt rather than help her chances of being hired.

If Carl knew as little as I do about the CNO, he'd know at least one member of the Tribal Council has a BQ of ... (insert drum roll here) 1/256. That's a Citizen of the Nation, and lawfully elected official of the Nation, who could just as well hold any other Constitutional Office. The "she knew that" may be true, but if so it merely means that, like most Outlanders (I worked the 2006 election, so I actually know something, about the voter file, Outlanders eligible to vote, and how all over the map vote eligible Outlanders are and how susceptible they are to push messages, lacking any independent means of contact with the rest of the electorate), Elizabeth Warren knew two decades ago as little about Cherokee Identity as Carl Bogus does today.

In progress until this line is removed.

In progress until this line is removed.

We write Campaign Managers

Jim Barnett, Campaign Manager
Scott Brown for United States Senate
337 Summer St. Suite. 100
Boston MA 02210

Mr. Barnett,
When I started studies in the Berkeley Math Department it listed one female member of faculty with tenure. As the mathematician in question lived and taught in Paris, the representation was creative. Before I completed my studies the Department offered tenure to a woman who subsequently carried out significant research while at Berkeley, and has subsequently offered tenure to other women.

I fail to see how a teaching member of faculty can be associated with the representations made by a member of administrative staff for institutional purposes.

In the on-line edition of the Boston Globe of April 27th, Ms. Stephanie Ebbert writes that you have associated a representation made by a member of administrative staff for institutional purposes with Professor Warren. Ms. Ebbert writes that you assert that Professor Warren is personal responsible for a representation made by an unnamed “Harvard Law School spokesperson” to the Harvard Crimson at some time in 1996. I am unable to think of any rational for this error of association other than the fact that Professor Warren is contesting your employer’s candidacy to represent the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in the Senate of the United States. This error of association detracts from the quite serious question of whether appointment to major research universities is based on scholarly merit and teaching ability, or upon criteria that has already been examined and rejected by all three branches of the federal and state government.

I could enumerate the additional areas of probable error in your remarks as recorded in the Globe:

  1. The United States does not determine the citizenship of Federally Recognized Indian Tribes. 1 Neither do candidates to the Federal legislature, or their senior campaign staff.
  2. Indian status is not a “special minority status”. In the United States, as in Canada, Indian status arises from treaties between sovereigns, as well as acts of the Federal legislatures. Federal protections for historically discriminated classes of persons arise from acts of the Federal legislature alone, not from treaties.
  3. The access afforded Indians, whether self-identified or institutionally identified, to tenured positions in tertiary educational institutions in the 1990s, and the present, is impossible to rank as equal to, let alone greater than, the access afforded women.
  4. The benefit of representation of Professor Warren as “Indian” or “native” or having Indian or Native ancestry accrues to institutions attempting to meet the ABA’s diversity metric, not to the individual so represented.

However, I am instead sending a check for $100 to Professor Warren’s campaign.

As an occasional campaign professional I also wish to point out that the “dog whistle” in your message is audible. A “special rights” and “Indian” gambit is going to pull the demographic that opposes civil rights enforcement and the demographic that opposes Indian Gaming as a competitor to state and state licensed gambling. The Commonwealth is not one of the states in which an alignment of a campaign and resentment of the civil rights movement, and abolitionism before that, is likely to provide a persistent benefit to the campaign’s candidate.


Eric Brunner-Williams

Cc: Mindy Myers, Campaign Manager, Elizabeth for MA, PO Box 290568 Boston MA 02129

1 Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, 436 U.S. 49 (1978)

Dr. Renda opines in the WSJ

The editorial page of the Wall Street Journal has elected to publish an advocacy piece by Dr. Andrea Renda with the catchy title Andrea Renda: The U.N., Internet Regulator?. He errs in describing the Jon Postel period as "governance by private bodies". Next, he errs in ascribing to "civil society" a role equal to "business" in GNSO policy development. The wish list of "coulds" to improve the current balance of forces takes note of the single state with sole control over a resource (the IANA contract), but ignores the single corporation with monopoly power over another resource (the .com contract), and the limited success over the past decade to realize any of the enumerated "coulds". All in all, a good essay by any Chicago school ideologue -- free markets, no regulations, and no purpose for communication other than private profit and "free expression" for early adopters, so no fundamental problem of universal access yet to solve.

2011 was a bad year for civil society on the net

The image is the visual which accompanies the study released today (pdf) by Reporters sans frontières (RSF). I'll provide the details in updates for France, Australia, India and Egypt.

1656367_6_1fd7_la-carte-pour-2011-des-pays-ennemis_f669ba950adb23090ab304d290621b51.jpg removed.

Request for Proposal (RFP) SA1301-12-RP-IANA Cancelled

Normally today I'd be attending the GNSO Council working session, however college kids got all the sane flight tickets to Costa Rica so I'm a SAH policy wonk and coder this week. I did celebrate the beginning of the shark-and-chum-show yesterday morning with an "OUTSTANDING!!!" when I read the morning's mail from the General Services Administration -- it contained a link to the following:

Notice - Cancelled Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) Functions - Request for Proposal (RFP) SA1301-12-RP-IANA


Domain Name System

March 10, 2012

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) remains committed to preserving the stability and security of the Internet's domain name system (DNS). Critical to the DNS is the continued performance of the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions. In anticipation of the impending expiration of the IANA functions contract, NTIA, via two public notices in February and June 2011, consulted on how best to enhance the performance of the IANA functions. Based on the input received from stakeholders around the world, NTIA added new requirements to the IANA functions’ statement of work, including the need for structural separation of policymaking from implementation, a robust companywide conflict of interest policy, provisions reflecting heightened respect for local country laws, and a series of consultation and reporting requirements to increase transparency and accountability to the international community.

On November 10, 2011, the Department of Commerce issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) SA1301-12-RP-IANA for a new IANA functions contract with a deadline of December 19, 2011. The government may cancel any solicitation that does not meet the requirements. Accordingly, we are cancelling this RFP because we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community. The Department intends to reissue the RFP at a future date to be determined (TBD) so that the requirements of the global internet community can be served. Interested parties are encouraged to visit for updates.

What is "outstanding!" about the cancellation is that the far too brief notice to potential contractors last December has been extended -- the government has not settled for the only offer it received -- from the incumbent contractor. The original RFP invited responses from universities, non-profit corporations, and for-profit corporations located in the United States. The requirements -- well, they're summarized in para 1 above -- real separation of implementation (IANA function) from policymaking (ICANN GNSO politics), conflict of interest policy (no revolving door), reduced dominance of private interests over public interests (jurisdictions and laws), and reducing industry capture (transparency and accountability to more parties than "ICANN insiders", to quote from the Affirmation of Commitments).

The phrase " ... we received no proposals that met the requirements requested by the global community." is revealing.

Prior posts: here. Time to circulate a letter.


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