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Facebook Privacy Debate is NOT about Privacy June 19, 2010

Posted by shwaldman in Family, Society, Technology, Work.
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We recently watched the Ricky Gervais movie, “The Invention of Lying.” The movie itself was so-so. But the premise was very interesting. People simply spoke what was on their minds, there was no lying (white or otherwise), there was no sugar coating… Jennifer Garner played this role so well! The movie made everyone seem sad and depressed because the negative was right in front of them. I did not like this aspect of the movie, because, I would hope, that people would be able to live more free without the burden of living a different reality.

Then I was llistening to one of my NPR podcasts Friday morning and heard a story about Facebook and the privacy debate that is raging on around the world. The story was informative, but kind of glossed over the main point of what the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, is ultimately trying to accomplish with his very controversial changes to the privacy settings in Facebook.

Since many people know the debate, I will only gloss over it here. Basically, many users and the media have complained that users of Facebook are by default providing personal information to all the world. People are required to make many complex and hidden changes to the security settings of their accounts in order to prevent certain people from seeing items in their profile. Essentially users are asking the social networking site to create two or more worlds where people can separate their life into personal, work, and whatever other groups of people they want to define.

Now, think about this… what if everyone knew everything about you? Potential and current employers knew what you did on your weekends. Friends and family knew the truth about what you are doing and when. If you could not lie or hide the truth, what would you do differently? Would you live you life differently? People think about what would I do if I won the lottery. Well, what if everyone lived the same reality?

I think what Facebook might change about the world is that people live in a single world. There is no longer a distinction between the person at work and the person at home. If you want to be true to yourself, you have to be true to everyone around you. You have to live life with the understanding that you should be your best self all the time. There should be nothing to be embarrassed about. That is how I want to live my life! The only secrets I have are when I buy someone a present.

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Healthcare Plan: A new idea September 15, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Politics, Society.
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While on my lunch time jog to/thru/from a nearby park, I came up with a “new” idea for the healthcare debate. I was thinking about how our society has become a bit of “us vs them.” The political environment is Republican vs Democrat, our economic world is rich vs poor…. how can we come up with a solution that meets everyone’s needs.

So, here it is. We need to change our tax approach. Clearly this would be harder and more expensive to implement than what we already have, but it would reduce the strain on those people who think we don’t need higher taxes while still supporting the services that other people do need. I will call it Vested Taxes. The new system would allow people to opt out of certain taxes. However, by doing so, they would be opting out of the services that those taxes support. At the local level, people could opt out of supporting the library, however if they went to use the library, they would pay a premium (more than $0) to utilize those resources… obviously, this would require more system integration to allow instant information to the services on every individual, but the Patriot Act already opened the door to this possibility.

At the national level is where we find health care, and social security high level examples. I really do not like the idea of having to do this. But I certainly like it better than where we are headed… talk of states succeeding and individuals saying, “if you don’t like it, why don’t you move?” We don’t want to divide our nation into classes, but look at us now.

The vesting comes in if individuals suddenly need help and change their minds. The government response can then justifiably be, “sorry, you haven’t been contributing, so we have to deny you.” Everyone gets what they want!

Healthcare Plan in the News September 8, 2009

Posted by shwaldman in Society, Technology.
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I am not sure if you have heard, but there is talk in the US of health care reform. Yes, a little sarcasm, but look what this article has to say about how well the INFORMATION is being report…. 8% – that is pathetic. We should be having town hall meetings to discuss how poorly the news media is serving us. Unfortunately, it is all about the ratings and sensationalism and very little to do with the facts.

Quality News Reporting,… NOT!

Equally disturbing to how this debate is unfolding is how little concern some people have for the well being of others. I really do not understand how people think the whole “death panel” was a real thing. Some people are either too gullible or just plain ill-informed. We watched a moving real-life story about Nathenial Ayers last night. The movie is called “The Soloist” and starts Robert Downey Jr and Jamie Foxx… two of today’s best actors, for sure. Anyway, Ayers life was spent mostly as a homeless man in Los Angeles. Watching this film really brought home the problems we have in our society. Seeing the living conditions of the people on the streets – and they were lucky, living in such a mild climate like LA – shows our society can be so inhumane. Because we don’t know what to do, we do nothing. That is unacceptable and that seems to be where this debate on healthcare reform is going.

Tax Proposals Comparison October 8, 2008

Posted by shwaldman in Politics.
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When the debate happens, it is really not clear at all what they are proposing. This is why I love the web. I saw this graphic a while ago and am finally taking the time to post it. It came from the Washington Post site and references the Tax Policy Center, so don’t know the exact origins, but it certainly illustrates some important philosophical differences.

Do you get the sense from the debate their tax plans looked like this?

Do you get the sense from the debate their tax plans looked like this?

Maverick McCain Doesn’t Work Well with Others October 8, 2008

Posted by shwaldman in Politics, Society.
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It is one thing to be a maverick and do what YOU THINK are the best interests of the people. It is an entirely different thing to just be plain rude with whom you disagree. I blogged about his interest in the League of Democracies a while back (and he even mentioned it again last night) – I think this is just reiterates his lack of openiness and ability take input from people with different opinions (much like our current president).

Full Disclosure: They shake hands right prior Brokaw’s final closing (when he asked them to get out of his way of the tele-prompter). However, I honestly believe that one was “for the cameras.”