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Butuan Democrat

The greatest good is getting the enemy to surrender without ever having to fight. -Sunzi

Crushed and Pixelized

'All of this has happened before And all of this will happen again So say we all.' ~ Battlestar Galactica



March 8 is International Women's Day

Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls



For months now and perhaps to the detriment of my bar preparations, I have become an avid observer of the 2008 US Presidential Elections. In the beginning of the primary campaign, I was glued to CNN, MSNBC, BBC and miscellaneous American real and faux news shows (Good Morning America, Daily Show with Jon Stewart, Colbert Report). As I grew frustrated with the lack of in depth news coverage of my favorite candidate and the silly nonstop rhetorical questions posed by reporters, I turned to the Internet for my daily fix of cold hard facts and tidbits.

To my great amazement, there are hundreds of blogs and news sites catered to political addicts like me. So I squeed in happiness and changed my homepage to Daily Kos and Huffington Post where I am finally content. Now whenever I seek my news, I reach for my mouse first, remote control second and the newspaper last.

In this internet information age, the connected reader has only one use for the daily newspaper: to wrap fish with and perhaps to wipe out those streaks from your window glass. News items published in your daily newspaper is usually 24 hours behind online news.

Cable and local tv news shows (dubbed mainstream media by bloggers) are suspect. Recall the reason that drove me to the net was the paucity of news coverage of my favorite candidate and what I have found on the net was not only the information I sought but the knowledge that mainstream media can be biased in their presentation of news. Sometimes, they are so biased they won't even cover certain news.

Online news community is not only the freshest (news are often broken by those enterprising bloggers digging for answers because they are not content to issue rhetorical questions.) but also offers the most variety. Like MSM, new media can be biased but unlike MSM, you can get both sides of the story from two opposing views and decide your own opinions based on the most complete facts you can browse.

posted by Crushed & Pixelized @ 10:40 PM; |


Call for Graphic Health Warning on Cigarettes in the Philippines

Dear readers,

Please sign this petition I authored. I really need your help in getting this message out. I will be eternally grateful.



Sign now.


* Over 30 M Filipinos will suffer debilitating diseases and painful deaths due to smoking. Another 30 M Filipinos will suffer the same due to second hand smoke.

* 40 of the chemicals in cigarette smoke are carcinogens, like carbon monoxide, butane (used as lighter fluid), cyanide and formaldehyde, arsenic (rat poison), and ammonia (toilet cleaner). Ads do not disclose this.

Right now the textual health warnings for tobacco products cannot be understood or appreciated by the Filipino people. Other countries have recognized this and have since used picture based warnings in order to warn their citizens of the hazards of smoking. Statistics will show that such method is effective as it has significantly improved the overall health of their citizens.

The Filipino people have a right to life and health just as much as other citizens. They have the right to a better if not the best method to warn them of the danger inherent in smoking. The text warning right now is STILL NOT ENOUGH. Many are still smoking and dying while the young ones are curiously taking up the habit not knowing its effects, creating a vicious cycle of death that could be prevented through the use of picture based health warning that is universally understood by the people, especially the many who cannot read and understand.

Sign now. Because a picture can save millions of lives.



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posted by Rax @ 10:15 AM; |


Spam and viral marketing.

"I assume you are on the Internet. If you are not, then pardon my French, but vous êtes un big loser. Today EVERYBODY is on the Internet, including the primitive Mud People of the Amazon rain forest. In the old days, when the Mud People needed food, they had to manually throw spears at wild boars; whereas today they simply get on the Internet, go to www.spear-a-boar.com and click their mouse a few times (the Mud People use actual mice). Within three business days, a large box is delivered to them by a UPS driver, whom they eat."

~Dave Barry

Last week a friend sent me an spam email. One of those "send to x no. of people and win lots of stuff" emails. It made me laugh. When I was new to the net, I also fell into the bad habit of perpetuating CHAIN MAILS. Now that I am older and wiser, all such email are destroyed (thanks to that nifty SPAM button in Yahoo!mail). Anyway, her email reminded me of that phenomenon called VIRAL MARKETING.

Like that chain email, VIRAL MARKETING uses social networks to perpetuate a single message by infecting the receiver to believe the message and pass it further along. Basically, viral marketing is your simple word-of-mouth advertising, only it's all done online. Its usually resorted to by those who cannot afford expensive conventional advertisements.

Viral marketing works unusually well or primarily because of the Internet, which is basically one-giant social network where everyone has something to say. The ease of communication and passing a message to another is only getting better and better. In the past, viral marketing utilized text-only newsgroups and emails. Now, messages are not only text, they may include pictures, interactive games and videos. It's amazing really how webtechnology can do nowadays but then I realize, viral marketing hasn't change. Its still using the same formula it did a decade ago. Only the mode and form has changed.

Whatever form it takes, it is undeniable that viral marketing flourishes where there are people communicating. It's a symbiotic relationship, I think. Those who utilize viral marketing are getting to promote their product to a large number of people. Conversely, consumers can form groups to "demand" for the product they want.

Some articles on Viral Marketing you might find interesting

Viral Marketing at DFJ
GoViral - its a seeding agency. I just like the glittering maps on their site. :)
Boreme - Check out their viral competitions.

posted by Crushed & Pixelized @ 11:33 AM; |



Who says old Satur ain't cool? He can run but he can't hide?

Hiding no more and looking cool, party-list representative Satur Ocampo has surfaced --on a video posted in YouTube.
The Inquirer news dated March 16, 2007 says "the video of Ocampo was posted on the newly created Bayan Muna YouTube channel, http://youtube.com/bayanmunadotnet, at around 2:30 a.m. Thursday, roughly the same time a subcommittee of the US Senate foreign relations committee began hearings in Washington DC on the killings that human rights groups say have claimed more than 830 lives since 2001, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo came to power."
The video was taken at an undisclosed place "using an N80 mobile phone lent to Bayan Muna by an administration ally."
The government may try to search for Satur's Friendster account, if any, and check on his location.

posted by Butuan Democrat @ 1:56 PM; |


Online Office

I've heard of Barack Obama's plan to seek nomination of the Democrats in 2008 presidential elections against fellow Democrat and more popular nominee Hillary Clinton months ago. Both of them are gunning for the first: Obama as the first black president, while Clinton as the first lady president.
Both of them are good presidential timbers and that is good news to the Democrats who have just defeated the Republicans in Congress and have wrested majority seats. As to who of the two hopefuls should wrest the Democrat primaries is early to tell now.
But I came across of Barack Obama's online office. It's http://obama.senate.gov/. I'm not sure if Clinton or other politicians do have one, but my knowing of such kind of an office first from Obama creates a good impression for the guy, that he is being accountable to his people at all times.
Indeed, halls of power are not spared by the pervasive reach of information technology. For politicians and public servants, an online office is a good idea, which should not mean, however, that the actual and physical office should be abandoned.
Good job, Barack Obama. And Senator Salonga likes Barack, too.

posted by Butuan Democrat @ 1:21 PM; |


Real Life Consequences of Anonymous Online Attacks

“There is a powerful tension in our relationship to technology. We are excited by egalitarianism and anonymity, but we constantly fight for our identity.” ~ David Owens

The Washington Post featured an article last week,"Harsh Words Die Hard on the Web: Law Students Feel Lasting Effects of Anonymous Attacks" about a group of female law student targeted by malicious anonymous posters in an online forum.

One of the victim discovered the site when she investigated (i.e. Googled her name) why no one is hiring her despite her excellent academic performance. She found that participants of the forum had posted her name and pictures (taken from her Facebook pages), threatened physical and sexual violence, pretended to be her, ridiculed and objectified her. She was not alone. Dozens of other female law students were also similarly treated.

The forum, Law section in AutoAdmit.com (also uses the domain name xoxohth.com) is run by a 3rd year law student and an insurance agent. The forum owners defends their decision not to moderate or censor the the defamatory, sexist and racist posts of their users on First Amendment and freedom of expression.

Responsible moderators of such forums and other community blogs should, as an unwritten rule of netiquette, make sure that their members behave. It is ridiculous that a 3rd year law student would not know that there are limitations to the 1st Amendment such as hate speech, threats, obscenity, etc. These limitations also apply to online speech, even anonymous commenters. The offensive statements in the forum about these female law students could constitute defamation and the authors of these comments would be liable legally.

The fact that these particular statements were made anonymously may hinder or make it difficult for the victims to sue the individual posters. However, there is a recent decision by a Philadelphia judge ruling that "defamatory and libelous speech enjoys no constitutional protection."

That case which is strikingly analogous to our female law students' dilemna, Klehr Harrison Harvey Branzburg & Ellers v. JPA Development Inc., the Philadelphia judge ordered the owner of the website to turn over the identities of the anonymous authors of comments that allegedly defamed a Philadelphia law firm.

While it may be difficult, the victims or the targets of the attacks could bring a defamation suit, not unlike the suit against Don'tDateHimGirl.com.

In any case, it just shows that the owners of the Autoadmit discussion board are or have bad moderators who clearly don't understand netiquette and the dynamics of anonymous posting.

1. It is internet culture that moderators have absolute control over what is being posted in their turf. They can delete posts that do not follow the rules or violate the standards they have set. Responsible moderators do remove abusive posts.

2. Free speech refute free speech. While this might work for off-web speech, the moderator is just asking for a flame war. This deluge of speech will not guarantee what the courts would call a "meaningful exchange of ideas".

3. Anonymous posters should not be given credit or taken seriously. These are most likely trolls and sockpuppets who want to wank, spam or start a flame in your forum. If they are speaking the truth, they will post it under their own name.

Lastly, I completely agree with Atty. Eric Eden that "on the internet...abnormal behavior is the status quo." Moderators should take that into account on how they control and supervise their participants. Bloggers/commenters, anonymous or not should know/remember that there are legal consequences of abusing or harrassing someone online. Anonymity does not equal complete abdication of the law.

The Internet has made world wide, instantaneous communication easy. The average user now has the power to be heard by hundreds or even thousands of other users, but in terms of libel and defamation, the Net is not a new world of freedom. The reality is that libel and defamation laws are enforceable in the virtual world just like they are in the real world. ~Eric Eden

posted by Crushed & Pixelized @ 10:32 PM; |


The zugunruhe of politicians

"When a change comes, some species feel the urge to migrate, they call it zugunruhe. "A pull of the soul to a far off place," following a scent in the wind, a star in the sky. The ancient message comes calling the kindred to take flight and gather together. Only then they can hope to survive the cruel season to come."
-"from Heroes", episode 5

Zugunruhe is a scientific term used to describe the migratory drive in animals, especially birds. The instinct for survival is an innate characteristic which all living beings share. Now we also see this behavior at play in the political arena. Politicians agree that election campaigning is a media war. These months will see that coming war as the May 2007 Elections looms near... and that has caused the zugunruhe of politicians to a new battlefield: the INTERNET.

Senatorial candidate and House minority leader Francis “Chiz” Escudero has migrated to the World Wide Web for his campaign. According to GMA7, he is the first Filipino senatorial candidate to use live Internet technology to explain his platform of government.

He has already launched his official website and FRIENDSTER account [hats off to him... Friendster is probably the most widely visited site by Filipinos with over 5 Million users. His first account is already full, by the way, so he made another one...with already a friend count of 740.]

Escudero said:

“The Internet is the best way to reach people outside the country and share ideas with them in real time. Through this technology, I hope to hear what is on their minds. I am ready to answer questions they raise and explain my stand on issues relevant to my candidacy.”

Already more politicians are hopping on the internet bandwagon, after all it does level the playing field since the internet and its innovations, like blogs and podcasting, can be availed of without spending as much resources as one would normally spend on traditional campaigning.

According to the rules of the Commission on Elections and the Fair Elections Act, national candidates are limited to 120 minutes of television broadcasting time, and 180 minutes for radio. Asked whether these rules allow the poll body to regulate political advertisements appearing on the Internet, Comelec chairman Benjamin Abalos replied: " How can we control that? We have no jurisdiction [on the Internet]."

As usual, the law is slow on its feet, it has yet to catch up with this technological evolutions. But how does one regulate political advertising on the internet without bashing heads with Constitutional issues, like freedom of speech. I feel this is just the beginning. But as early as now, one can hear the warhorn sound in the distance...

"Evolution is imperfect and often a violent process. A battle between what exists and what is yet to be born. Amidst these birth pains, morality loses its meaning, the question of good and evil reduced to one simple choice: survive or perish."
-from "Heroes", episode6

posted by Rax @ 5:52 PM; |