R.I.P. Arthur Lee

[Lolla post has moved here] arthur lee by brian vander brug / LA TimesThe great Arthur Lee passed away Thursday night after a struggle with leukemia with his wife at his bedside. Lee, the man behind the band Love and the all-time classic 1967 album Forever Changes inspired many performers and songwriters through the years and had been on tour as recently as late 2005.

R.I.P. Arthur Lee. (There is an excellent obituary in the Saturday L.A. Times here).

Free Josh Wolf

free joshua wolfEarlier this week, Joshua Wolf, a 24-year-old freelance journalist and blogger, became the first journalist to be jailed for refusing to disclose information in a court of law since Judith Miller. These are hardly the “Scooter” Libby “Flame” top secrets revealed over a snazzy Georgetown meal, however, as Wolf would be the first to proclaim that he is no friend of the administration.Wolf had been blogging his experience here, until the 1st of August, when, as his mother wrote: “Although the July 20th hearing seemed promising, today the judge, Judge Alsop ruled against all motions including 5th amendment rights, rights coming under freedom of the press, against bail or a stay. Josh is in Dublin federal prison, in the East Bay area of the San Francisco Bay.”

It makes no difference that the video he withheld was of self-proclaimed anarchists at an anti-G8 summit — the “crime” it supposedly captured was a “riot” that grew out of the protest. Surely, one would think there were other camerapeople documenting the event.

This is a direct attack on freedom of speech and the expression of dissent that one often hears about in countries with extensively repressive governments such as China. Surely an appeal will be filed and the case will go to the 9th Circuit, but it may not be until next summer.

The SF Chronicle attests to these journalistic freedoms in an editorial titled “Free Josh Wolf.”

Netscape Buys Into the Social-Bookmarking Pyramid

Jason Calcanis, CEO of Weblogs, Inc. and now heading up the “new” Netscape.com announced the first 10 Netscape “Navigators”:

We’ve hired three of the top 12 DIGG users, the #1 user from Newsvine, the #1 user from Reddit, and a bunch of Weblogs, Inc. folks…

If nothing else, this is a smart PR move in that it calls out the growing masses of Digg / Newsvine / Reddit users early in the game, before there is a hands-down go to socially-bookmarked news portal. Digg, arguably the industry leader in this field has only been around since December 2004 after all.

Perhaps this is the safest and smartest way to go — we shall see — but many people who felt they caught the early wave on the revamped Netscape portal will surely be bummed to know that these selections were based on these numbers: 60% of Digg’s front page content is from the top 0.03% users.

Richard MacManus is not surprised by the imbalance of digg-posting wealth. But I must wonder if Digg will be at all affected negatively and whether or not Netscape will truly benefit from bringing the formerly faceless top Diggers on board.

It’s probably a good idea for portals driven by social bookmarking to hire talented aggregators, but why must Netscape be so non-organic in doing so? In going head-to-head with Digg (and its publisher, John Battelle’s Federated Media), the era of Netscape vs. the World (1994-~2003) is clearly dead.


P.S. I’m also a bit curious as to why the screenshot on the page explaining the new Netscape features photos of both Donald Rumsfeld and Ann Coulter…. jus’ wonderin’ 😉