Thursday, January 18, 2007

Government Registration Of Bloggers?

Well, we knew the day had to come when they would require us to register for one thing or another, but who would have thought it would be for exercising our right to speak freely? Politicians are posed to pass Senate Bill 1, (go figure that this particular piece of crap would be the first thing they attempted to ramrod through) in an attempt to further muzzle free speech in this country. This particular bill would require bloggers who communicate with at least 500 people to register and make quarterly reports to the Congress. Those who choose to be refuseniks may well face fines and/or jail time.
“Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history, critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.
“The bill would require reporting of ‘paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying,’ but defines ‘paid’ merely as communications to 500 or more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.
“On January 9, the Senate passed Amendment 7 to S. 1, to create criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone ‘knowingly and willingly fails to file or report.’
While there is currently an amendment out there to remove section 220 from the bill, it should be noted that one of the bills sponsors is involved with that. Knowing politicians as we do I can only assume that he would rather see his bill passed than amended out of existence.

Those of us who belong to or are even on the mailing lists of an organisation which may lobby Congress will likely find ourselves behind the 8-ball on this one. And, lest some think this is solely the hideous stepchild of the leftists in Congress, I'd urge you to look at the list of co-sponsors. This crosses back and forth across the party lines in an almost orgiastic disregard for freedom, liberty and our rights. When you see both Trent Lott and Diane Feinstein on the same bill you know that there is truly no difference between the "two parties" and that you are well and truly screwed. Those so-called "libertarians" who think that siding with Republicans because "we" are more like them than the left had best check their premises.

Of course the Leftists have yet to raise a cry over this. Wonder what Kos and MoveOn think about this? Probably loving it, since it "can't possibly apply to them". Heh...maybe they should check their history books and call up the ghosts of some of their Marxist forefathers.

Will this be the final straw for libertarians and others? Doubtful, given the previous depredations foisted upon us. It'll likely be business as usual until people are hauled away to some Halliburton built kampf and most people won't even raise an eyebrow. Then again, bloggers may just surprise me and break out their torches, pitchforks and nooses. I'm not going to hold my breath, tho even if blue doesn't look all that bad on me. I wonder what colour star they'll make us wear?

UPDATE: Section 220 was amended out of existence by a Senate vote of 55-43 (all 43 were Democrats and were the "usual" suspects such as Kennedy, Biden, Rockefeller, Byrd, Boxer, Obama, Kerry, etc...). There is always a chance that the House could "re-invent" section 220 or that El Presidente' could add a signing statement to replace it. The government is unlikely to rest until the people who blog are reined in.

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Sunday, January 14, 2007

To Switch Or Not To Switch?

Now that Blogger has come out of the beta period for the "new and improved" version of their site/operation I need to figure out whether to switch or not. One assumes that the switch will have to come at some point, regardless of my wishes on the matter. Have any of you who read here and use blogger made the switch? I'd really like to know if anyone has run into serious unresolved issues with the change. Losing links and having to redo even the few add-ons I have are truly unappealing to me. So...any ideas, comments or suggestions? Advantages? Disadvantages?

Given the limited amount of information Blogger gives in their "See What's New" tour I don't see huge advantages that outweigh the potential risk of losing things and the aggravation of repairing them. If I have a blog with a custom template (I am associated with one that does have a custom template) am I going to have issues that will require mental health duct tape? Inquiring minds really, really want to know.

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