My take on SOPA/PIPA

Dear Congressman Rohrabacher, Senator Feinstein and Senator Boxer:

As one of your constituents, I have a beef with this whole SOPA/PIPA episode. Although I don’t work for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or even Google, I’ve been in digital marketing for over 10 years, and I think this kind of legislation sucks to a very high order!


SOPA and PIPA would put an undue onus on website owners to police user-contributed content and call for the unnecessary blocking of entire sites. Small sites won’t have sufficient resources to defend themselves. Big media companies may seek to cut off funding sources for their foreign competitors, even if copyright isn’t being infringed. Foreign sites will be blacklisted, which means they won’t show up in major search engines. SOPA and PIPA would build a framework for future restrictions and suppression. And on this very point, did it ever dawn on anyone in Washington that the internet is a GLOBAL medium?!? If there should be any legislation (and there shouldn’t) would it not be more appropriate to be a matter of international law?

In a world in which politicians regulate the Internet based on the influence of big money, Wikipedia — and sites like it — cannot survive. It galls me no end to see the folks in Washington try to legislate something about which they know absolutely bupkis!! Congress says it’s trying to protect the rights of copyright owners [yeah, right!!], but the “cure” that SOPA and PIPA represent is worse than the disease. SOPA and PIPA are not the answer: they would fatally damage the free and open Internet. For the record, I’m against piracy and I concede that folks on both sides of the issue should express their concerns in civil (if that’s possible any more) discourse, but this just seems like another government strong-arm tactic, akin to throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water.

I implore you to be very cautious about your course of action on this matter.

Respectfully submitted,


Is This How We Should Treat One Of Our Finest?

If you follow this blog, I posted earlier about the tradgey surrounding the grounding of the Costa Concordia (rant #1). My “hyperlocal” post (rant #2) has to do with a story that appeared in today’s Orange County Register.

According to the story, Eric Freedman, a young former Marine was unceremoniously dismissed from his volunteer lacrosse coaching position at Mission Viejo High School–under circumstances that could be easily described as dubious. I won’t rehash the whole story, which you can read here, but my takeaway is that this guy–who served his country with honor and distinction–should have never been subjected to this kind of treatment. Any claim about “not having filled out paperwork” and “not passing the background check” couldn’t be any more bogus! In order to serve on a Presidential detail–which he did for Presidents Bush and Obama, you must pass a full and complete background/security check, which he had! And apparently, his dismissal was extremely public and embarrassing, causing Freedman to feel “like a piece of trash.” Just what we want one of our “few, proud Marines” to feel. Not only that, his own father–a 20-year veteran Marine–coached the same team, and his own son, no less, which added to Freedman’s humiliation.

To say that there are a lot of folks that owe Freedman a debt of gratitude–and an apology–would be a huge understatement! Judging from the feedback already starting to roll in, I believe there are others who share this writer’s opinion on the matter. Full Disclosure: I also served with distinction in the U.S. Marine Corps for over 10 years, active and reserve, and take great exception to anyone who would besmirch the character of a good young man that just wanted to coach kids and help them excel–just like his father did for him! Oh, and did I say he was a volunteer?!?

If you agree, feel free to reply to this blog or the “Comments” section of the Register story.

Semper fi, Eric!

Master and Commander? NOT!!

Greetings, All! I’ve been radio silent for a while…mostly the holidays, and my mother-in-law took a bad spill just before Thanksgiving, so I took a break. But two stories caught my eye today–one international in scope; the other very local (we call it “hyperlocal,” these days)–and sparked enough outrage for me to comment, so here’s rant #1:

All the big news services–CNN, MSNBC, Fox and many others have joined in now, to unpack the chilling events surrounding the horrific accident of the Costa Concordia, over in Italy. As someone who spent about a decade in the cruise industry, and several others in business adjacent to it, I can’t begin to express my extreme anger at this event! As I posted on Facebook today, with all the advances in technology and improvements in navigation, this is an accident that NEVER SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED!! CNN has one of the better “slideshows” that follow the progression of the event and can be seen here: According to several of the stories, the ship struck a “rocky sandbar” and this collision apparently tore a gash into the hull about 90 meters long. That big of a hole would probably sink one of our largest aircraft carriers!! What’s worse, the challenges of sailing in these waters were well known, but good seamanship, sadly, wasn’t present this day.

Here’s where the story takes an even more dark turn: Apparently the captain of the vessel was apprehended and arrested for–allegedly–manslaughter and abandoning ship. Several of my friends in the industry are commenting on this as well, and expressing similar outrage over both the captain’s conduct through this and the incident, in general. In the 21st century, with cruise ships routinely traveling with upwards of 3,000 guests, navigation and safety couldn’t be more important, because if it isn’t, you’ve got yourself one helluva mess! Just ask the CEO of Costa.