Monday, October 26, 2009

Big Brother?

George Orwell’s “1984” promised (and delivered) a frightening look into a society where the government controlled every aspect of people's lives.

There’s a piece of legislation sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jay Rockefeller of West Virginia officially known as “S. 773: Cyber Security Act of 2009.”

According to, "The bill would also give the President new authority to 'declare a cybersecurity emergency and order the limitation or shutdown of Internet traffic to and from any compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information system or network.'"

On the surface it sounds good. Protect the federal government. The troubling part is drawing the line at exactly how “critical infrastructure information system or network” would be defined and how one person, the POTUS, would make the decision.

The bill was written much earlier this year and is in “committee,” which means that it’s essentially parked until further notice.

Here’s what some are saying about S. 773:

Lots of opinions. (Aren’t there always?)

What are yours?


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at

Monday, October 19, 2009

Points to Ponder

I’m sharing these passages (with attributions) from various items I’ve read. You can draw your own conclusions, thoughts and ideas from them.

  • Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

-First Amendment to the United States Constitution.

  • The Internet [...] has also nurtured an “artificial” sense of community among the hateful [...] When you have a venue for ventilating rage, your belief in that rage is ratified [...] It increases their belief that their behavior is acceptable. Their behavior is applauded, seconded. In that case, it’s scary. It does seem to roll and escalate.

-Shari Julian, psychologist, in an article in the Denver Post about Craigslist cracking down on what was being posted on its site.

  • One, I think there’s so much information out there that it’s hard to know what to believe and what not to believe. Two, rumors take on a life of their own. Three, the democratization of all this information undermines any kind of authority. Everybody’s an authority, so nobody’s an authority.

    -Dee Dee Meyers, former White House press secretary, in an article from Public Relations Tactics magazine.
  • It started as privacy protection for the abused, the oppressed and the bashful. Now it shields creeps, criminals and malicious mobs. One story example was about a girl who, after sneaking out of the house, grabbed the keys to her dad’s Porche® and ended up crashing and killed in an accident. Gruesome photos of her mangled remains showed up online on Google™, Yahoo!® and Photobucket. Captions accused the girl of being a spoiled rich girl who deserved it. The postings were all anonymous.

-Paraphrased from the Forbes magazine article "Anonymity & the Net."

Food for thought.

John W. Scherer
John is CEO & Founder of Video
Reach him at

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Education reform: Back to the future?

President Obama is talking about extending school schedules into the summer months. Classes on weekends are even being discussed in some circles.

The goal is a good one: to make our kids at least as competitive as their counterparts in other countries. It’s no secret American school kids lag behind many countries in key skill sets like math, reading and science. Way behind.

How did we get to this point in the first place? A generation or two ago our education system was the envy of the world. Students from that time went on to get us to the moon. They went on to design the best cars in the world. They invented computers. They developed lifesaving medical procedures and cures.

What happened? Where did we lose it? Why did we fall behind?

We must have been doing something right back in the day. Maybe we need to look backward so we can move forward again.

It’s apparent our education system has taken a wrong turn. Maybe it’s time to double back and get on the right track again.

If the system is shortchanging our kids and our future, making days longer will just make it worse.

Back to the future. That’s the answer. What worked once can work again.


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at

Monday, October 05, 2009

Enough with the polls.

When I summon up the courage to watch the news these days, in most cases I’m confronted by a poll of some sort.

I’ve never been polled, but the way the results are presented I might be the only person in America who hasn’t.

Depending on the pollster, the network and day of the week I’ve come up with the following conclusions.

  • People want Healthcare Reform.
  • People don’t want Healthcare Reform.
  • People like the job the President is doing.
  • People don’t like the job the President is doing.
  • The BCS stinks. (Have to admit I agree with that one.)

Polls are called “scientific.” Not being a mathematician, I guess I’ll have to take their word for it. But how can a survey of a few hundred people truly be representative of a nation of 300 MILLION people?

One thing is for sure, there are two types of politicians out there. Those who let the polls drive them are followers. Those that ignore them are leaders.


John W. Scherer

John is CEO & Founder of Video Professor, Inc.

You can reach him at