Friday, March 02, 2007

Podcasting politicians and halibut wars

Here's a glimpse of future "Blackberry politics" as described by this Democratic strategist. "You'll not only be able to text people with messages, you'll be able to raise money, deliver video, audio, create viral organizing — where one person sees something really interesting and it gets passed on and on," said Fowler, who recently started a company, Cherry Tree Mobile Media, to promote wireless communication as a campaign tool.

These schooner style halibut boats were designed to make money at 25 cents a fish. Commercial fishermen could put plenty of moolah in their pockets at today's prices if they chose boats like these. I know a fisherman who made his own out of ferro-cememt.

"Fewer than 1 in 10 Americans were online in 1995, compared with nearly 8 in 10 a decade later, according to Michael Bassik, a vice president with MSHC Partners, a leading online political ad agency. Some say the Internet is no more inherently good or bad than, say, a printing press."

"If you've got someone out to polarize and they're good at it, they'll polarize," said Internet consultant Michael Cornfield. "If someone's out to build a consensus, and they're good at it, they'll build consensus."

"Whether accessed via laptop, BlackBerry or cellphone, the Internet is indisputably empowering, making politics more horizontal and creating broad new communities of interest, even in an age of increased fragmentation."

The point I see is that issues can easily go "viral" on the Internet and spread like no campaign buttons ever could. Maybe this is a peek at how old dinosaurs in Congress will be leap-frogged by the nimble.

On to bureaucrats; William Hogarth, the head of the National Marine Fisheries Service, has no business giving his opinion on what should be done about the charter halibut fishing sector of the fishery. Here's an alternative to his wanting Alaska fish at his favorite D.C. restaurant after not being able to resurrect the East Coast fish stocks: allow as many charter operations as there were professional halibut fishing crewmen who got nothing when passing out the Individual Fishing Quotas the first time.

For all anyone knows for sure, these charter operators are the halibut crewmen just trying to stay fishing. The Administration did the right thing and rejected the low blow to the charter fleet by the industry-connected commissioners of the International Pacific Halibut Commission. Why can't Mr. Hogarth just act like an administrator and not like a sore loser. Whose side is he on anyway, the public's, or the halibut fishing corporations and the processors'? I'll give you one guess.