Personalization Technologies & Voting

A handful of articles the day before the midterms:

  • New Telemarketing Ploy Steers Voters on Republican Path

    During the automated calls, which last about a minute, the moderator first asks whether the listener is a registered voter or which candidate he favors. Voters receive different sets of questions depending on how they answer. The system then asks a series of “yes” or “no” questions about different issues, and each answer guides the system forward.

    For instance, in the Montana race, if a voter agrees that liberal-leaning judges seem to go too far, the moderator quickly jumps to another question that highlights the differences between Mr. Tester and the Republican incumbent, Senator Conrad Burns: “Does the fact that Jon Tester says he would have voted against common-sense, pro-life judges like Samuel Alito and John Roberts, and Conrad Burns supported them, make you less favorable toward Jon Tester?”

    In Tennessee, after listeners are asked if terrorists should have the same rights as Americans, this comparison between Representative Harold E. Ford Jr., the Democratic Senate candidate, and Bob Corker, the Republican, is given: “Fact: Harold Ford Jr. voted against the recommendations of the 9/11 commission and voted against renewing the Patriot Act, which treats terrorists as terrorists. Fact: Bob Corker supports renewal of the Patriot Act and how it would treat terrorists.”

  • With bits of data, parties assemble a voter portrait

    Seeking to match a highly successful Republican strategy that many say resulted in President Bush’s reelection in 2004, Democrats have spent many millions of dollars on “microtargeting,” compiling what they believe is the most sophisticated and accurate portrait of voters they have ever assembled, relying on consumer data about everything from car ownership to hunting licenses to magazine subscriptions.

    Now, according to party leaders, even the smallest campaigns across the country can constantly upload and download data about millions of potential voters. Campaign specialists said the data could be crucial in improving field organizations, which can make up to a 4 percent difference in elections — more than enough to be decisive in many close races.

Some more general political articles

Does “Pop” == “Monoculture”? A Question for Internet Distribution

In a World of Cacophony, Experience for Sharing

The rock critic Robert Christgau gave an interview last month to the Web site popmatters.com. Mr. Christgau, who was recently dismissed from The Village Voice after 37 years, talked a little bit about recent history. But he also talked about an old obsession of his: the decline of truly popular music.

“When I grew up, there was a monoculture,” he said. “Everybody listened to the same music on the radio. I miss monoculture. I think it’s good for people to have a shared experience.”

[…] It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. Only a few years ago, the Internet threatened to blur boundaries of genre and culture making it easy for listeners to fill their iPods with whatever caught their fancy.

But listeners of all sorts like having what Mr. Christgau called a shared experience. That’s why the old monoculture flourished in the first place. And today’s indie-rock fans have something that’s smaller yet similar: a mini-monoculture. That is, a robust infrastructure of Web sites and blogs, along with a (necessarily vague) consensus about what indie-rock sounds like.

OT: Less Than A Week To Election Day

A few thoughts:

  • The Great Divider

    But when candidates for lower office make their opponents out to be friends of Osama bin Laden, or try to turn a minor gaffe into a near felony, that’s just depressing. When the president of the United States gleefully bathes in the muck to divide Americans into those who love their country and those who don’t, it is destructive to the fabric of the nation he is supposed to be leading.

    This is hardly the first time that Mr. Bush has played the politics of fear, anger and division; if he’s ever missed a chance to wave the bloody flag of 9/11, we can’t think of when. But Mr. Bush’s latest outbursts go way beyond that. They leave us wondering whether this president will ever be willing or able to make room for bipartisanship, compromise and statesmanship in the two years he has left in office.

  • Olbermann’s Special Comment : There is no line this President has not crossed — nor will not cross — to keep one political party, in power; wherein McCain is also taken to task over the ruling Party’s latest grasp at straws

    This, is our beloved country now, as you have re-defined it, Mr. Bush.

    Get a tortured Vietnam veteran to attack a decorated Vietnam veteran, in defense of military personnel, whom that decorated veteran did not insult.

    Or, get your henchmen to take advantage of the evil lingering dregs of the fear of miscegenation in Tennessee, in your party’s advertisements against Harold Ford.

    Or, get the satellites who orbit around you, like Rush Limbaugh, to exploit the illness — and the bi-partisanship — of Michael J. Fox — yes, get someone to make fun of the cripple.

FCC Reasserts Meaning of “Unregulated Spectrum”

“Unregulated” + “federal preemption” = “you can’t regulate it either!” FCC shoots down Logan Airport’s ban on independent WiFi servicespdf

A two-year effort by Logan International Airport officials to shut down private alternatives to the airport’s $8-a-day wireless Internet service was decisively rejected yesterday by federal regulators, who blasted airport officials for raising bogus legal and technological arguments.

The FCC ruling; Copps statement; Adelstein’s statement

Copps’ statement includes the following:

Today’s declaratory ruling reaffirms the Commission’s dedication to promoting the widespread deployment of unlicensed Wi-Fi devices. It clarifies that American consumers and businesses are free to install Wi-Fi antennas under our OTARD rules – meaning without seeking approval from their landlords – just as they are free to install antennas for video programming and other fixed wireless applications.

Wi-Fi is one of the Commission’s greatest wireless success stories. The genius of this unlicensed technology is that no central authority controls or manages how and where these networks spring up. Instead, any private or commercial operator who sees a need for a local Wi-Fi network may build and operate one. The price that Wi-Fi users pay for this freedom is that they, like all Part 15 users, must accept interference from other devices in the unlicensed bands. But the nation’s half-decade of experience with this new technology has made it quite plain that this trade-off is more than worth it. When it comes to providing broadband over the unlicensed bands, the airwaves are truly the people’s airwaves. So while I certainly support strong licensing regulation in some contexts, I think it is equally important that we leave other portions of the spectrum open to unlicensed uses.