Beauty by Cole Zehren


The sweet sound of jazz.
First of a kind.
Body side-to-side.
Where we rest, we shall all walk
But in beauty or sorrow, we have dreams
But it is your dream that comes true.



Copyright Cole Zehren 2013

Dreams by Cole Zehren


My dream
It comes naturally
A lovely new sight
Making the world wonderful
A woken dream for you and me
Nothing like it
We must see it
A deep drive into beauty
In beauty we shall all walk.

Copyright Cole Zehren 2013

Don’t Leave Before the Miracle Happens

This week friends and family celebrated the life of Veronica McCarthy. While she may have died of cancer, she lived of joy and grace. I went to the funeral this week which was at first surreal and upsetting, but it turned out different. I was struck by an overwhelming sense of gratitude. I looked down the pew and saw all these men and woman who she had touched in profound and material ways. Some of these men I’ve known for over two decades and they are different because of her. Different (as in better) in ways you can’t begin to measure or put a price on. All I could think was what a blessing she was and how lucky we were to know her. She did for some of us what we couldn’t do for ourselves. She instilled a faith and sense of possibility that I couldn’t see at the time, but she could. She also did it in a way that made you feel special, like she was only talking to you. I guess that’s one of those grandma tricks, where all the kids feel most special. When I think of Veronica, or St Veronica as some of us called her, I can only say – Thank you.

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the Open Act, What others are saying…

Although it’s great to have a POV, it’s also good to hear what the other side is saying from time to time. This is a handout going around the Hill distributed by pro-sopa interests.



Everyone agrees that foreign criminal Internet operators who steal American products and jobs must be stopped. No legitimate Internet service should profit from illegal activity or lead its users to illegal sites. The OPEN Act does nothing to stop this behavior and may even make the problem worse. It does not establish a workable framework, standards or remedies. It is not supported by those it purports to protect. It needs to be scrapped. Stakeholders and Congress need to start over with a fresh look at solving this problem.

Sets dangerous precedents with impossibly high, useless standards. Even a site that openly acknowledges it is entirely composed of illegal material is exempt, as long as the material is added or used by others and not the site owner or operator. This excuses willful blindness and outright complicity in illegal activity. In addition, anyone who takes down one illegal file is immune, even if it’s simply reposted minutes later. Couple these with the virtually impossible requirement to prove that the owner or operator of an elusive foreign site acted willfully, and the OPEN Act remains closed to nearly any claim, but serves as an excuse that something is being done.

Prohibits small business victims from seeking relief. OPEN Act claimants would be required to hire a lawyer with International Trade Commission expertise (among the most expensive bars in the country), come to D.C. to pursue the claim, and post a bond for the issuance of a cease and desist order (that they may not get back). This puts justice out of reach for small business American victims of IP theft.

Allows indefinite delays while the market for American works are “scooped” by foreign criminals. The OPEN Act provides no timing for initiation of an investigation, if an investigation is granted at all. A claim could languish for months or years before any action is taken. And, while the bill requires the ITC to rule on an injunction within 30 days after the start of any investigation, there is absolutely no timing given for the ruling on a temporary cease and desist order – what the bill ironically calls “expedited consideration.” Add on provisions for endless submissions by parties such as Google, hearings, etc., and relief is elusive for victims suffering while foreign site operators are allowed to continue their illegal activity.

Offers an empty toolbox. Typically, when illegal activity is found, the law provides for action against the activity itself. OPEN prohibits action against the site, and doesn’t allow the ITC’s standard exclusion order (available in other ITC claims). OPEN takes away the very tools the ITC has been granted. The relief is so limited it applies only to ad networks that directly share ad revenues with the criminal site (rendering more complicated revenue relationships immune) and only payment processors that transact with customers in the U.S. (allowing transactions for foreign rogue sites to continue with international customers by U.S. providers). And, of course, the White House can throw out an order for any reason, trumping an administrative decision with a political one.

Makes compliance rare. The OPEN Act actually prohibits claimants from seeking a compliance order from the ITC. Instead, it allows only the Attorney General of the U.S. to bring an action against anyone who ignores an order. The victim is left powerless to ensure compliance even if they win.

It’s anticompetitive. The bill’s narrow view of financial transaction provider and Internet advertising service conveniently exempt services such as Google Wallet and Google’s Doubleclick, but include Visa and MasterCard. And, further benefitting Google which has 90% of the search market on the Internet, the bill completely exempts search engines from any responsibility.

The OPEN Act is an excuse, not an answer.

Protected: Dad Madness 2012

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In the past few days I saw two messages that I thought were interesting, not sure why but wanted to share them.

The first was a sign in San francisco near the convention center.  My kids asked “why should we be afraid of Google” –it was like someone told them to be afraid of Santa Claus. A quick G search and behold a whole gallery of work from xvala, a street artist.

The second was a daily email I get from Politico, an insider DC political newsletter I like to read.  The subject line read “POLITICO Playbook presented by Google…” and the following text was included in the body of the email:

** A message from Google: Toothpaste, playing cards, and beef jerky may seem like an ordinary shopping list. But to a deployed soldier, a care package with these basics is a big deal. That’s why Meredith Leyva’s nonprofit,, lets people thank servicemen by creating custom care packages online. is based in Schertz, Texas, but connects to gift-givers around the U.S. using Google AdWords. Americans like Meredith support our troops. And Google is helping. **

Net net, the two messages, their placement,  audiences, and POV are thought provoking.

Marching Along – Privacy Forward

A bunch of folks, including Alex Fowler, Sid Stamm, and Mike Hanson to mention only a few, did some nice work developing Mozilla’s comments on the FTC’s  proposed privacy framework.  More details, including the comments, are available on the blog.

I’m still reading through some of the responses, and it’s really interesting seeing the diverse perspectives. Some saying the creation of a comprehensive US privacy framework will stifle innovation, leading to economic collapse and ruin, others suggesting the FTC hasn’t gone far enough.  (+1 to an open government process with a robust debate and competing ideas)

One theme that seems to pervade the narrative unfortunately is the notion that doing right by the user from a privacy perspective is somehow hostile to innovation and business.  This is a false paradigm. (We saw the same themes in the net-neutrality debate, but that’s a different story.)  Innovating in services, managing information while being user centric and respectful aren’t competing values in my view.  What’s right for the user doesn’t mean being hostile (or captive) to commercial motivations, nor should it mean rolling over to the great data slurp in the cloud.

As Eben Moglen recently reminded us, the web is young – some 7,000+ days young.  Thus, there’s so much more to come, and we can’t drive by looking in the rear view mirror.  So when I look forward, and see some of the ideas kicking around that give users both the benefits and control of their information in a “privacy forward” way, within and outside the Mozilla community,  I see lots of opportunity and innovation.

This is pretty exciting, and on a good day, I feel lucky to observe and participate.