links for 2009-02-24

  • “A quick scan through the legislation pending in Congress and things look pretty good. They’re working on fixing the economy, helping people keep their homes, protecting children from online predators, etc. But with every piece of legislation, there is the ideal it represents, and then there is the specific changes to the law it proposes in order to achieve that ideal.

    Usually it’s the specifics that really matter. That’s why we’re adding inline commenting for all legislative text on OpenCongress. For every bill in Congress, now you can leave comments and spark discussion on specific blocks of text within a bill. Just scroll over any section of bill text, and the option to leave a comment will appear. After you leave a comment, a marker will show up next to the block of text you commented on so that everyone who reads through the bill knows that they can click through to view your comment.”

    (sources: Twitter user @EllnMllr)
  • “Will the Obama Administration follow the precedent of the Bush Administration by instructing the U.S. Attorney in the District of Columbia not to enforce Congress’s contempt sanctions after they are voted? Enforcement is not discretionary. In the language of the statute it’s mandated. It is a straightforward test of the rule-of-law premises of our Constitution, and for the Obama team it presents a clear test: do they value the Constitution more highly than the imperial powers that the Bush team left them?”
  • “Treo creator Jeff Hawkins urges us to take a new look at the brain — to see it not as a fast processor, but as a memory system that stores and plays back experiences to help us predict, intelligently, what will happen next.”
  • “[T]his is what we saw with the original World Wide Web. Most of the initial content was free. Even now, the bulk of the content on the Web is supported by advertising. But that advertising business model has created more than one multibillion-dollar company. Meanwhile, other business models also thrive, much as I predicted back in 1996 when I wrote ‘Publishing Models for Internet Commerce.'”