Homeland Security it is: I

Homeland Security it is
: I disagree with Mickey Kaus and half of Blogville already. Kaus doesn’t like the moniker “Homeland Security.” I do. He argues that “homeland” is too Teutonic — too much like the Germans’ “Heimat.” What, so anything German is now Nazi and verboten? No hamburgers for you! (This must be the first time that PC anti-defamation finger-wagging has been done on behalf of Germans.)

I like “homeland” — vs. the predictable “domestic” — precisely because it conjurs up the idea of our nation, our Heimat, our land, our America. It has a patriotic undertone. That is precisely what the Department of Homeland Security should be about: protecting America.

And as for fears that “security” is too Big Brotherish: Get used to it.

: So Peggy Noonan joins the campaign I started months ago: Putting Rudy Guliani in charge of Homeland Security. This bandwagon’s getting crowded.

: It amazes me that people who irritate you think that you then will want to do business with them.

If a spammer offered me the greatest product in the world for the lowest price, I wouldn’t trust them for a second, wouldn’t ever buy from them.

The latest popunder trick to irritate us: The ad moves all over your screen so you can’t catch up with it to close the damned thing.

Not-so-fast food
: The Guardian reports that McDonald’s and Coke are about to spend billions to convince us Americans to eat healthy (in an attempt, they say avoid cigarette lawsuits).

Makes a person feel sorry for the corporate giants. What silliness. What we eat is clearly our choice. Fast food is not an addiction (at worst, it is a bad habit — one I used to have). If you choose to eat burgers every day, you shouldn’t be able to blame Ronald McD for that. But, of course, someone will. If you get fat, its your fault, not theirs. Take a little responsibility, people!

So now we have companies forced to advertise not to use their products too much. What has capitalism come to?

: I do love fast food. Used to eat it all the time. But then I got older. I got married. I saw my father-in-law in the cardiac unit. I try to eat well. But I still love fast food. And my kids eat it. So now I try to find the healthy fast food.

I’m pissed at Burger King (the chicken nugget house of choice in my house) for they ruined their grilled chicken sandwich. The BK Broiler was great but they morphed it into the Chicken Whopper; the chicken is no longer marinated; it’s dull; its chewier; it’s just not as good.

I loved Taco Bell’s new grilled stuffed burrito (chicken).

And I’m very excited by McDonald’s new menu item: The grilled chicken flatbread sandwich (peppery grilled chicken, grilled onions — a very nice touch, pepper-jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, on a nice slab of flatbread). I’ll take two, please.

: Monkeys drinking Coke is an entirely different matter.

: Doc is in Munich, blogging away. He notes how wi-fi in public places makes computing social (an observation I saw elsewhere in recent days — thought it was Denton but can’t find it now):

having a wi-fi hot spot in a social space (the library on the boat, the lobby in the hotel) has social effects. Guests aren’t in their rooms, jacked to the Net in private. They’re working, corresponding and chewing fat, all at once. The social protocols are interesting, too. Sometimes people collaborate (“look up ‘munich bierhaus’ on Google and click on the third link…”). Sometimes they pound their keyboards in private. Others respect both the private and public behaviors.

What he blogs
: Kottke on the dreaded also-ran browsers that drive us web-site creators completely batty when trying to do anything new or nice for our users:

I agree, Netscape 4 has to go. Please get it out of my sight. It sucks because it’s not a browser as much as it’s a dirty bomb lobbed over the fence in the heat of the browser wars. If Netscape 4 were a car, they would have recalled it years ago.

But I’m not sure that Mozilla is any better. Mozilla is a toy built by developers for developers…a return to the days of Mosaic when some geeks in Illinois built browsers for other geeks around the world. Developers slobber over things like support for standards and XUL (which are cool), but end users have different needs and priorities.

Yeah, remember them? The end users? The ones that you’re building the software for? They don’t care about your damn cross-platform interoperability…they want fast, they want features to help them browse the Web, they want an interface that was designed by someone who knows about interface design, and they want a good user experience.

Your friendly neighborhood blogger
: Arnold Kling at Corante’s Bottom Line asks — with some help from John Hiler and Dave Winer — whether blogging is really just the decentralization (or, as we’d say in the ’70s, devolution) of news and media. That is, at the start of the last century, every town had its own local paper and we didn’t have big broadcasting conglomerates; does blogging cut all our media centralization back down to size so, thanks to bloggers, you can find the best story that interests you regardless of the source or publisher or distributor?

This is a corollary to the decades-old debate over whether the mass audience is dead. I used to be part of that debate when I was a TV critic, witnessing the growth of choice thanks to the remote control and cable and the VCR (and now satellites and the Internet, too). Never again, it was said then, would all of America ask the next morning, “Who shot J.R.?” because we now had far more choice; some of us would be watching MTV or CNN or TBS instead. True. But the mass audience did not die; it only shrank; it only became harder to reach; it changed the economics of entertainment media.

So Kling is wise to add an important question to Hiler and Winer’s speculation: The economic question: “Somebody has to figure out how to get money to flow to the reporter in Pakistan, the musician, and probably to the more useful recommendation services or weblogs.” Right, and nobody has figured it out, least of all me. It’s what Bill Quick and I talked about over coffee the other day; it’s what we all talk about.

It might sound cool to say that bloggers replace publishers but that misses the fact that there is no money in blogging and the only way there will be money is if its consumers pay or if it becomes big enough — yes, mass enough — for advertisers to pay attention to it and if these advertisers have easy ways — that is, through convenient conglomerates — to market through it.

It’s not a brave new world yet.