Politics, Technology, and Language

If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought — George Orwell

Archive for December 2nd, 2006

Giving it away and getting it back

Posted by metaphorical on 2 December 2006

Cory Doctorow, in Forbes, of all places:

I’ve been giving away my books ever since my first novel came out, and boy has it ever made me a bunch of money. […]

Most people who download the book don’t end up buying it, but they wouldn’t have bought it in any event, so I haven’t lost any sales, I’ve just won an audience. A tiny minority of downloaders treat the free e-book as a substitute for the printed book–those are the lost sales. But a much larger minority treat the e-book as an enticement to buy the printed book. They’re gained sales. As long as gained sales outnumber lost sales, I’m ahead of the game. After all, distributing nearly a million copies of my book has cost me nothing.

I wrote about this in my July 2002 column in Spectrum, “Lost and Found: Media Sales.” It’s good to see the basic idea–you don’t necessarily lose sales by making books and music available for free–still rings true. Ironically, the article is no longer available on-line for free.

Posted in journalism, technology, the arts | Leave a Comment »

Cambone’s extraordinary rendition back to civilian life

Posted by metaphorical on 2 December 2006

Senior Pentagon official Stephen Cambone to resign

Fri Dec 1, 8:38 PM ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Stephen Cambone, the U.S.
Defense Department’s top intelligence official and a
close aide to outgoing Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld, will resign on December 31, the Pentagon
said on Friday.

Cambone, of course, was the guy back at the Pentagon responsible for the horrors of Abu Ghraib. Here’s how The Nation put it back in 2004:

The interrogations at Abu Ghraib were part of a highly classified Special Access Program (SAP) code-named Copper Green, authorized by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and ultimately overseen by Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence Stephen Cambone.

The backstory here is that the CIA is no longer in charge of national intelligence, the Department of Defense is, and, though it started long before this administration, Cambone’s appointment was the culmination of that shift.

According to the Center for American Progress, “as the nation’s first ever undersecretary of defense for intelligence, Cambone wields vast power within the intelligence community; yet, his only qualifications for the post are a fierce loyalty to Donald Rumsfeld and an unshakeable right wing ideology.”

Though without operational authority per se, the undersecretary – or defense intelligence czar, as the position is known – wields tremendous power though his mandate to set the intelligence-gathering agenda and oversee budget allocation.

[…]

As intelligence expert Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists recently told the New Republic, the effect of creating this new position is “to shift the intelligence community’s center of gravity further into the Pentagon.” “Shift,” however, surely understates what has transpired. The OUSD-I now coordinates 85 percent of the United States’ total intelligence budget; the director of central intelligence (DCI), in contrast, manages only 12 percent.

The newspeak lesson is clear: When you call something a central intelligence agency, people think it’s the central agency when it comes to intelligence, but it ain’t necessarily so.

Posted in politics | 1 Comment »