Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Why Mighty Morphin Power Rangers was so popular?

MMPR was the most iconic and most famous because it was the first season. Kids loved it, a lot of parents hated it and the toy industry made a mint off it. When most non fans think of PR, they think of MMPR (unless maybe they have young children currently watching a new season of PR). But why is it so popular?

When you ask a non-fan about Power Rangers, it would be something about Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, and every Power Rangers parody is based on Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers.
When Disney did a poll for the five most popular Rangers, the only non-MMPR to make the list was Andros. Not a single Disney Ranger charted. In this case, first production company wins. That's easy to explain. The original Power Rangers used the same characters and actors from year to year. This made them a lot more recognizable than when the cast changes from year to year as in the later seasons. Usually, it would either be:
  1. MMPR is the best (First show).
  2. MMPR-PRIS is the best (First era).
  3. MMPR-PRWF is the best (First production crew).
Either way, it's a case of First wins.
(Someone's probably gonna shoot me because I used an image from the remastered MMPR.)
The first incarnation of anything that's wildly popular is usually the most memorable and ingrained into the public psyche, since it's what made it wildly popular in the first place. Then it lasts for two or three years and/or two or three incarnations that are of comparable success, then from then on it's diminishing returns, unless the franchise sticks around long enough to make a comeback (and even then it still remains in the shadow of the original). It's a pattern that works with almost any pop culture phenomenon you can think of, unless the second incarnation/second season is regarded as an abject failure.
The "big push" only exists with MMPR because it was the first of it's kind. Nobody had seen something of it's kind before. Once that became passe, it stopped being a big investment.

The franchise had sizably peaked by 1995 and was killed by "they changed it, now it sucks" with the cast and name changes, there's always backlash with an aging series that goes on without a break....there's more backlash to be had when that series jettisons it's entire cast of veterans.

From a marketing standpoint to the entire world, you couldn't go without knowing what MMPR was. It was a cultural revolution for our generation. EVERY child had watched the show, played with the toys, or pretended to morph at some point. Power Rangers hit the world just as hard as the Ninja Turtles, Pokemon, and Hannah Montana. It was the hottest ticket in existence. Once that fever subsided, there were a ton of kids who never knew anything about a "Zeo", let alone their parents. Furthermore, the majority of human beings have no idea Power Rangers still exists. There have been cast members who got calls from their agents to audition and replied "That show's still on?"

As far as people like us, however, people who never stopped loving or returned to loving Power Rangers hold MMPR in great nostalgic value, while not necessarily liking that iteration the best. I bet if there were a poll conducted over the most popular season amongst veteran fans, Zeo would probably take the title, with Space a possible contender. Even Time Force or Dino Thunder may slip in there.
Looking back, I can see why MMPR was what drew a lot of us in. The plot was simple: Bad guys are threatening Earth, and the Power Rangers have to stop them. Rita had no reason to be attacking the Earth besides conquering it. She wasn't looking for supplies for some huge diety. She wasn't serving anyone (initially - later seasons would build the evil side to the UAE of Space) and her whole army was either already released by those astronauts in the first 5 minutes of the first episode, or they were made from clay. All she wanted to do was defeat the Power Rangers, and that was IT. It's brilliance in its simplicity. Also, the blood-pumping theme song that says 'We're the Power Rangers! Shut up evil! BIZAM!' and, excuse my language here, the kick ass music of the Mighty Raw is about half the reason the original series is so great! It didn't act like a high drama like Lightspeed or Time Force, that's probably why fans are turned off by this. Like, if people wanted to watch a high drama, they shouldn't be watching Power Rangers. Because Power Rangers is a kids show, always have, always will. Granted, those seasons are amazing, but that's what people prefer.
I got the complete DVD collection of the Mighty Morphin two weeks ago.  I love the second season the most. 

I also bought seasons 4 - 7 boxset, because I watched Zeo.(Power Rangers ZEO, Power Rangers Turbo, Power Rangers In Space and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Enemies Within


This book contains the keys for understanding the political process in America. The Communist fronts of the 1930s and 40s never disappeared, but merely changed their names or even remained as they were. The end of the Cold War, it turns out, was irrelevant for the continued advance of socialism in America. All the basic methods for infiltrating American institutions were at hand, and the socialists were determined to change the country, change its economic system, and eliminate capitalism as far as they were able. In fact, this book also shows that the conservatives have dropped their guard even as they have dropped the ball. Nowhere do we find a firm counter to socialist extremism. Everywhere the socialists grab issues, even inventing crises where there are none. In this book we learn about the various fronts in the war of the far left to remake America as a socialist society. Immigration, the environment, and minority issues are shown as major avenues for the advance of socialism. If you want to understand what's really going on in the U.S., you have to read this.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bureaucratic collectivism in DC

Washington—This Town—might be loathed from every corner of the nation, yet these are fun and busy days at this nexus of big politics, big money, big media, and big vanity. There are no Democrats and Republicans anymore in the nation’s capital, just millionaires. That is the grubby secret of the place in the twenty-first century. You will always have lunch in This Town again. No matter how many elections you lose, apologies you make, or scandals you endure. In This Town, Mark Leibovich, chief national correspondent for The New York Times Magazine, presents a blistering, stunning—and often hysterically funny—examination of our ruling class’s incestuous “media industrial complex.” Through his eyes, we discover how the funeral for a beloved newsman becomes the social event of the year. How political reporters are fetishized for their ability to get their names into the predawn e-mail sent out by the city’s most powerful and puzzled-over journalist. How a disgraced Hill aide can overcome ignominy and maybe emerge with a more potent “brand” than many elected members of Congress. And how an administration bent on “changing Washington” can be sucked into the ways of This Town with the same ease with which Tea Party insurgents can, once elected, settle into it like a warm bath.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Xbox One is 2160p HDMI

The Xbox One is an upcoming video game console from Microsoft. Announced on May 21, 2013, it is the successor to the Xbox 360 and the third console in the Xbox family of consoles. The Xbox One is scheduled for release across North America, several European markets, Australia and New Zealand on November 22 2013, with later release in Japan and the remaining European markets in 2014. It will directly compete with Sony's PlayStation 4 and Nintendo's Wii U as part of the eighth generation of video game consoles. Microsoft and various publications have classified the device as an "all-in-one entertainment system," making it a competitor to other home media devices such as the Apple TV and the Google TV platform.

Moving away from the PowerPC based architecture used in the Xbox 360, the console features an AMD processor built around the x86-64 instruction set. The console places an increasing emphasis on entertainment and integration with the Kinect peripheral, offering the ability to use an existing set-top box to watch live television programming (augmented by an enhanced program guide with support for voice commands), a built-in Skype client, and improved second screen support. The console also provides new functionality for use in games, such as an expanded Xbox Live service, improved Kinect functionality, cloud computing, the ability to automatically record and share video highlights from gameplay, and integrated support for live streaming gameplay online.

The console's initial policies surrounding online connectivity requirements, mandatory integration with Kinect, and ambiguous restrictions on the resale and sharing of used games led to mixed reviews and concerns after the console's reveal. In response to these criticisms, Microsoft announced they would be dropping all of the originally planned digital rights management and internet connection requirements, and the mandatory use of Kinect.

Xbox One at E3 2013

The Xbox One is a successor to Microsoft's previous console, the Xbox 360. The Xbox 360 was introduced in 2005 as part of the seventh generation of video game consoles, and as of June 2013, remains in production by Microsoft through after a number of small hardware revisions to reduce the unit's size and improve its reliability. In 2010, Microsoft's Chris Lewis stated that the 360 was about "halfway" through its lifecycle; this was aided by the introduction of the Kinect device that year which Lewis stated would extend the lifecycle by five years.

Initial hardware for the 360's successor, commonly referred to by the industry as the "Xbox 720", was reportedly in hands of developers as early as May 2011. The official developer kit was codenamed Durango,[23] and appeared to be available to developers by mid-2012.[24] Leaked documents suggested that the new console would include an improved Kinect device, cloud access to games and media, integration with phone and tablet devices, and technology to provide players heads-up displays on glasses worn by the player, codenamed "Fortaleza"; Microsoft did not comment on these reported features. Similar, leaked design documents also suggested that Microsoft was seeking to eliminate the ability to play used games, though Microsoft later clarified they were still reviewing the design and were "thinking about what is next and how we can push the boundaries of technology like we did with Kinect", but did not comment on the validity of the information.

The console, now known as the Xbox One, was publicly unveiled on May 21, 2013 in a press conference designed to cover the unit's broad multimedia and social capabilities. A second press event for the console was held during E3 on June 10, 2013, focusing on its video game-oriented functionality. At that time, Microsoft announced that the console would release in 21 different markets at launch, but this was later amended down to 13. The change, which pushed the release date for the other 8 markets to 2014, was attributed to unforeseen complexity in localizing the new Kinect peripheral.

The Xbox One's exterior casing consists of a two-tone "liquid black" finish; with half finished in a matte grey, and the other in a glossier black. The Xbox One's components were designed to evoke a more entertainment-oriented and simplified design than previous iterations of the console; among other changes, the LED rings used by the Xbox 360 are replaced by a glowing white Xbox logo used to communicate the system's status to the user.

The Xbox One has an APU with eight x86-64 cores clocked at 1.75 GHz, based on the Jaguar architecture from AMD, and 8 GB of DDR3 RAM with a memory bandwidth of 68.3 GB/s. The memory subsystem also features an additional 32 MB of "embedded static" RAM, or ESRAM, with a memory bandwidth of 102 GB/s. Eurogamer has been told that for simultaneous read and write operations the ESRAM is capable of a theoretical memory bandwidth of 192 GB/s and that a memory bandwidth of 133 GB/s has been achieved with operations that involved alpha transparency blending. The system includes a 500 GB non-replaceable hard drive, and a Blu-ray Disc optical drive.[27][36][37] Kotaku, Game Informer, and Gizmodo state that 3 GB of RAM will be reserved for the operating system and apps, leaving 5 GB for games. The graphics processing unit (GPU) is based on an AMD GCN architecture with 12 compute units, which have a total of 768 cores, running at 853 MHz providing an estimated peak theoretical power of 1.31 TFLOPS. For networking, the Xbox One supports Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11n wireless, and Wi-Fi Direct.

The Xbox One will support 4K resolution (3840×2160) (2160p) video output and 7.1 surround sound. Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of marketing and strategy for Microsoft, has stated that there is no hardware restriction that would prevent games from running at 4K resolution. The Xbox One will support HDMI 1.4 for both input and output, and does not support composite or component video.

Xbox General Manager of Console Development Leo del Castillo has said the Xbox One will be able to monitor internal temperatures and adjust accordingly. As the system generates more heat, the fan speed will be increased to compensate. Additional measures can be taken, including forcing the hardware to run in a lower power state – a new feature that wasn't present on the Xbox 360. Restricting power consumption lowers maximum performance, but the setting would be intended as a last resort to avoid overheating that can lead to permanent hardware damage.


The Xbox One controller maintains the overall layout found in the Xbox 360 design. The directional pad has been changed to a four-way design, and the battery compartment is slimmer. Menu and View buttons have replaced the Start and Back buttons.[46] Each trigger will also feature independent rumble motors called "Impulse Triggers", which allows developers to program directional vibration. One trigger can be made to vibrate when firing a gun, or both can work together to create feedback that indicates the direction of an incoming hit. It remains to be seen exactly how developers will use the new feature. Pre-ordered Xbox One controllers have the words "Day One 2013" engraved in the center.


Further information: Kinect on the Xbox One
"We purposefully did not target the highest end graphics. We targeted it more as a broad entertainment play. And did it in an intelligent way."
– Greg Williams, GM of Xbox silicon development

The Xbox One will ship with an updated version of the Kinect sensor; the new Kinect uses a 1080p wide-angle time-of-flight camera (in comparison to the VGA resolution of the previous version), and processes 2 gigabits of data per second to read its environment. The new Kinect has greater accuracy over its predecessor, can track up to 6 skeletons at once, perform heart rate tracking, track gestures performed with an Xbox One controller, and scan QR codes to redeem Xbox Live gift cards. The Kinect microphone will remain active at all times so it can receive voice commands from the user when needed, even when the console is in sleep mode (so it can be woken back up with a command).

The Xbox One will still function if the Kinect sensor is disconnected, and if the sensor is connected to the console, users retain the right to turn off all Kinect functions.

A Windows-compatible version of the new Kinect will be released in 2014.[54]
Software and services
Media inter-connectivity

Similarly to Windows 8, the Xbox One will be able to snap applications (such as music, video, Skype, and Internet Explorer) to the side of the screen as a form of multitasking. The Xbox One will also be able to serve as a pass-through for an existing television set-top box over HDMI. This functionality allows users to watch live TV from their existing provider through the console, and access features such as show recommendations, an electronic program guide, and voice commands. The set-top box is controlled by the console through either an IR blaster or the HDMI-CEC protocol.
Voice control

The console will feature a similar, albeit richer set of voice control abilities than those found in the first generation Kinect. This will allow users to control Xbox functions via voice command. All voice control will be coordinated through the Kinect, and with this ability Skype will also become a function of the new Xbox.
Operating system

The device will run three operating systems: Xbox OS,[citation needed] an OS based on the Windows kernel, and another OS that will allow the other two operating systems to communicate by virtualisation (as a hypervisor). Such integration will include features like snapped Skype calls while in game.

The Windows edition on the Xbox will not be compatible with standard Windows apps, though developers will be able to port them over with little effort.
Xbox Live

Microsoft have stated that the Xbox Live service will be scaled up to use 300,000 servers for Xbox One users, but have not stated how many of the servers will be physical and how many will be virtual. Cloud storage will be offered to save music, films, games and saved content and developers will be able to use Live servers (along with the Windows Azure cloud computing platform) to offer "massive", "living and persistent worlds." The service will still be subscription-based. The friends list will expand to 1,000 friends.


Xbox SmartGlass will provide extended functionality on the Xbox One, allowing Windows Phone smartphones, Windows RT, and Windows 8 tablets to be used as a "second screen." A demo during the E3 press conference demonstrated its use for setting up a multiplayer match in another game in the background on a tablet while playing another game on the television.[28]
Recording and streaming

Xbox Live Gold subscribers will be able to use the Upload Studio app to edit and share clips from the last five minutes of gameplay footage that is automatically recorded by the console.[67] Integration with the live streaming platform Twitch will also be provided; users will be able to use voice commands to immediately begin streaming footage of their current game directly to the service, and use the Kinect microphone for commentary and voiceovers.[68][69] Despite the ability to record gameplay, the Xbox One will not include DVR functionality for recording television programs; executive Yusuf Mehdi indicated that the Xbox One would "work in tandem" with existing TV providers, but that Microsoft may need to work with them directly to provide extended functionality such as DVR integration.[70][71]


Microsoft presented several first-party and third-party titles for Xbox One at its E3 2013 news conference, some of which will be exclusive to the console. First-party titles unveiled for the Xbox One include Forza Motorsport 5, Ryse: Son of Rome, a revival of Killer Instinct, Project Spark and a teaser for an upcoming Halo game.

Xbox One games will be distributed on Blu-ray Disc and digitally through Xbox Live Marketplace. Games will be installed directly to the player's hard drive for faster access time, and will require the disc to play. However, if the game is installed on another console, and that console owner no longer has access to the disc, the owner has the option of unlocking the install on their hard drive by purchasing it through Xbox Live; the installed game will then act as a digital download. Though Microsoft had originally planned to tie disc-based games to the user's account (see Used games and Internet verification), disc-based games can be traded and sold by players after purchase.

Single-player games that take advantage of cloud computing will require an internet connection.

The Xbox One will not be backwards compatible with original Xbox or Xbox 360 games.


After the official reveal in May 2013, the editorial staff of Game Informer offered both praise and criticism for the console. Matt Helgeson described the console as Microsoft's intent to "control the living room". He called the Xbox One's instant switching features "impressive", and that the console was "a step in the right direction" with regards to TV entertainment, especially the prospect of avoiding the usage of non-intuitive user interfaces often found on cable set-top boxes. Jeff Cork said that Microsoft had "some great ideas" for the console, but that it failed to properly communicate them.

Following Microsoft's E3 press conference on June 10, 2013, perceptions of the Xbox One by critics changed. Multiple GameSpot writers were critical of the new console; Mark Walton considered the Xbox One's launch lineup to be "uninspired", "lackluster" and plagued by "old men in suits, a stream of buzzwords, and superficial games that valued visuals over innovation" (as opposed to the "new generation of gaming" that Microsoft had promised to present during the event, by contrast to its previous television-oriented presentation) alongside strict digital rights management (DRM) practices,[76] while editor Tom McShea noted that despite the increased capabilities and cloud-oriented nature of the Xbox One, the presentation consisted only of "pretty games that didn't offer any noticeable change to the core experience we've already been playing [on the Xbox 360]", providing existing owners with little reason for spending $499 on the new console. Journalists and consumers jokingly named the console the "Xbone", believing that Microsoft's decisions for the systems was in poor judgement.

After Sony's E3 press conference later that evening, McShea went on to say that Microsoft had become anti-consumerist, trying to "punish their loyal customers" with strict restrictions, and that "by saying no to the used game restrictions and always-online that Microsoft is so happily implementing on the Xbox One, Sony has elevated the PlayStation 4 as the console to grab this holiday season."

Rafi Mohammed, author of "The Art of Pricing" said on Bloomberg TV that Microsoft priced the Xbox One "too high" and the $100 premium over competitor could "derail" the system this holiday.
Initial used games and Internet verification policies

When first revealed, Microsoft unveiled a number of features and policies for Xbox One games that placed an emphasis on the console's "always-connected" design and digital content delivery, and that would bring a number of benefits to both developers and players. A DRM system would tie all game purchases (regardless of whether it was purchased digitally or physically) to the user's Xbox Live account and their Xbox One console. The system would allow a user's games to be accessed locally by any user on their Xbox One, through a cloud-based game library on any other Xbox One, and would allow a game library to be shared with up to ten designated "family" members (each game could only be played by one remote player at a time). However, this system would have also required the console to connect to the Internet on a periodic basis (at least once every 24 hours) in order to synchronize the library and download updates for games; failing to do so would prevent any games from being played until the console is connected to the internet again. Users would be able to trade in games at "participating retailers" at no extra charge, and could also transfer a game directly to any Xbox Live friend on their list for at least 30 days, but only once.

Industry and consumer reaction to these plans were largely negative. Gaming and PC websites expressed concern over the restriction on the resale of used games, and the requirement of online verification every 24 hours for offline games. Further official details released in June regarding the policy towards used games and Internet connection requirements caused negative backlash among gaming websites as well as concern among independent video game retailers. Microsoft clarified the situation, stating that it would be up to the game developers to decide if used games could be played and if there would be any activation fees. Matt Peckham of Time believed that the Xbox One used games policy went against the first-sale doctrine.[92] Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter has suggested that the game developers would limit the used game market for a period after the game was released but might then allow used games to be played.

Xbox Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Yusuf Mehdi defended the changes, stating that the Xbox One was primarily designed with digital distribution in mind, and that the changes to the licensing model on the console would be "easier to understand" when applied to just digital copies of games. He contended that the new system, which would also allow games to be accessed directly from cloud servers by various means (regardless of how they were purchased), would allow publishers to use "a diversity of business models" to meet their individual needs. Mehdi also noted that Microsoft was not attempting to "give in" to the criticism of used games by publishers, but rather trying to balance the needs of consumers and the industry itself. The position on online requirements was reinforced by Don Mattrick, the former president of Microsoft's Interactive Entertainment Business, who stated that those without Internet connectivity should simply purchase an Xbox 360 instead.

In planning its presentation of the competing PlayStation 4 at the E3 2013 conference, Sony looked at the negative criticism Microsoft received for its Xbox One DRM policies; SCE Worldwide Studios president Shuhei Yoshida stated that the PlayStation 4's DRM policy, which generally allows for used games and sharing, was well established before the Xbox One reveal, but called the public reaction a "very useful source" for how to present details of the console's capabilities. As such, many journalists considered that Sony had "won" the E3 conference over Microsoft, in part by highlighting its position on used games, Internet connectivity, and DRM in a compelling manner.

In response to the growing criticism, Microsoft released a statement on June 19 outlining how the policies as originally envisioned would be dropped in favor of a system that works in much the same way as the Xbox 360. The new policies include no Internet connection requirements (except for a one-time connection required for initial installation of a new game), no disc authentication, and no regional restrictions. As a result of the changes, the family sharing feature was dropped, as was the sharing feature for digital titles. Xbox One chief product officer Marc Whitten stated that the removal of the family sharing feature was due to the revised Xbox One policies so that they could deliver the console on time, and that the family sharing feature may return in the future. A patch will be required when the Xbox One is first connected to the Internet in order to enable offline mode and update the system software to allow the other policy changes. In his statement on the new policies, Mattrick said that the company took notice of the negative public opinion, and he thanked the public for giving their feedback "to reshape the future of Xbox One". Other analysts believed that the change was in direct response of Sony's aggressive position during the E3 conference.[103] Similar to the "Xbone" name, many journalists and players jokingly nicknamed the Xbox One as the "Xbox 180", due to Microsoft's reversal of their policies. Mattrick, who had been a leader in the Xbox One development, announced his departure from Microsoft on July 1, 2013, to become CEO of Zynga. Analysts speculated that his departure was predicated on the poor response and subsequent reversal of the plans for the Xbox One.

In an August 2013 interview with Eurogamer, Microsoft Studio's CEO Phil Spencer stated that their changes on the Xbox One are part of a "two-way conversation we have with our customers", and a strength on their ability to react to feedback, rather than a negative. Spencer stated that they want to remain true to the "vision around the digital ecosystem we want to put on Xbox Live", but recognized key features that consumers still want to have, and that implementing these features may push back the timing of their release on the Xbox One platform.
Privacy concerns

The console's prominent use of the Kinect sensor was the subject of concerns surrounding its potential use for surveillance, stemming from the originally announced requirement that the peripheral be plugged in at all times for the console to operate. Privacy advocates contended that the increased amount of data which could be collected with the new Kinect (such as a person's eye movements, heart rate, and mood) could be used for targeted advertising. Reports also surfaced regarding recent Microsoft patents involving Kinect, such as a DRM system based on detecting the number of viewers in a room, and tracking viewing habits by awarding achievements for watching television programs and advertising. While Microsoft stated that its privacy policy "prohibit[s] the collection, storage, or use of Kinect data for the purpose of advertising", critics did not rule out the possibility that these policies could be changed prior to the release of the console. Concerns were also raised that the device could also record conversations, as its microphone remains active at all times. In response to the criticism, a Microsoft spokesperson stated that users are "in control of when Kinect sensing is On, Off or Paused," will be provided with key privacy information and settings during the console's initial setup, and that user-generated content such as photos and videos "will not leave your Xbox One without your explicit permission." Microsoft ultimately decided to reverse its decision to require Kinect usage on the Xbox One.

Subsequent to the Xbox One's announcement, but prior to Microsoft's policy reversal, U.S. Representatives Mike Capuano and Walter Jones proposed and filed the We Are Watching You Act; the act would require 'video service operators' to inform users on how personal data is collected and used, require that users explicitly opt-in to data collection, provide an on-screen notification when data is being collected, and to provide identical service for those who opt-out. The Xbox One was not mentioned in the proposed act by name, as the unit also targeted data collection by the set-top-boxes supplied by television providers.

liberals' racial bullying

Democrats spent the first century of this country's existence refusing to treat black people like human beings, and the second refusing to treat them like adults.

After fighting the Civil War to continue enslaving black people and then subjecting newly freed black Americans to vicious, humiliating Jim Crow laws and Ku Klux Klan violence, Democrats set about frantically rewriting their own ugly history.

Step 1: Switch "Democrat" to "Southerner";

Step 2: Switch "Southerner" to "conservative Democrat";

Step 3: Switch "conservative Democrat" to "conservative."

Contrary to liberal folklore, the Democratic segregationists were not all Southern -- and they were certainly not conservative. They were dyed-in-the-wool liberal Democrats on all the litmus-test issues of their day.

All but one remained liberal Democrats until the day they died. That's the only one you've ever heard of: Strom Thurmond.

As soon as abortion is relegated to the same trash heap of history as slavery has been, liberals will be rewriting history to make Democrats the pro-lifers and Republicans the pro-choicers. That's precisely what they've done with the history of race in America.

In addition to lying in the history books, liberals lied on their personal resumes. Suddenly, every liberal remembered being beaten up by a 300-pound Southern sheriff during the civil rights movement.

Among the ones who have been caught falsely gassing about their civil rights heroism are Bob Beckel, Carl Bernstein and Joseph Ellis. (Some days, it seems as if there are more liberals pretending to have been Freedom Riders than pretending to be Cherokees!)

In the 1950s and '60s, Democrats were running segregationists for vice president, slapping Orval Faubus on the back and praising George Wallace voters for their "integrity." (That was Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in The New York Times.)

But the moment the real civil rights struggle was over, liberals decided to become black America's most self-important defenders.

Of course, once we got the Democrats to stop discriminating against blacks, there was no one else doing it. So liberals developed a rich fantasy life in which they played Atticus Finch and some poor white cop from Brooklyn would be designated Lester Maddox (racist Democrat, endorsed by Jimmy Carter).

White journalists who didn't know any actual black people (other than Grady the maid) became junior G-men searching for racists under every bed, requiring a steady stream of deeply pompous editorials.

 You will never see anything so brave as a liberal fighting nonexistent enemies.

Liberals drove the entire country crazy with their endless battles against imaginary racists, to make up for their having been AWOL during the real fight over civil rights.

Throughout this period, every black-on-white crime became a re-enactment of "To Kill a Mockingbird"; every cop who shot a black perp was Bull Connor; and every alleged racist incident was instantly presumed true, no matter how preposterous.

When it turned out the hate crime was a hoax, the cop was being mugged and the black kid was guilty, the whole story would just quietly disappear from the news, as if the media were reading a bedtime story to a child, whispering the ending and tiptoeing out of the room.

Then came the O.J. verdict.

Millions of Americans watched as a mostly black jury acquitted an obviously guilty black celebrity and saw black America cheer the verdict. The sight of black law students whooping and applauding O.J.'s acquittal had the same emotional impact as watching Palestinians celebrate the 9/11 attack.

Overnight, the white guilt bank -- once thought "too big to fail" -- was shut down. Henceforth, instead of producing stuttering embarrassment, liberal moral intimidation on race produced only eye-rolling. With that, America became a much healthier country, especially for black people.

Without nonsense claims of racist "code words" to stop them, Republicans were finally able to implement long-sought reforms on crime and welfare. The unqualified success of Rudy Giuliani's crime policies in New York saved tens of thousands of black lives. Welfare reform was such a stunning success that Bill Clinton claimed credit for it.

Blacks had won the final civil rights battle: The right to be treated like adults. Even liberals ceased their oohing and ahhing over every little thing any black person did.

But the post-O.J. paradise came to a crashing halt with the appearance of Barack Obama.

Obama allowed liberals to return to accusing Americans of being racists and get the most liberal president America has ever seen at the same time.

The only firm evidence that there are any actual racists left in America is the fact that so many whites voted for Obama as some sort of racial penance.

More white people voted for Obama in 2008 than had voted for any Democratic presidential candidate in nearly 40 years.

They must have felt guilty about something. Not harboring any racist impulses, I was free to vote Republican.

Now that Obama is up for re-election, liberals are back to their old tricks. A nation with more child pornographers than racists -- a nation that's already elected a (half) black president once -- is suddenly said to be bristling with racists again!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Liberty Amendments Chapter 1

he Liberty Amendments ✗ch a p ter one R estor ing the A m er ica n R epublic I und e r t o o k t hi s p roj e c t not because I believe the Con- stitution, as originally structured, is outdated and outmoded, thereby requiring modernization through amendments, but be- cause of the opposite—that is, the necessity and urgency of restor- ing constitutional republicanism and preserving the civil society from the growing authoritarianism of a federal Leviathan. This is not doomsaying or fearmongering but an acknowledgment of fact. The Statists have been successful in their century-long march to disfigure and mangle the constitutional order and undo the social compact. To disclaim the Statists’ campaign and aims is to impru- dently ignore the inventions and schemes hatched and promoted openly by their philosophers, experts, and academics, and the co- ercive application of their designs on the citizenry by a delusional governing elite. Their handiwork is omnipresent, for all to see— ✗M A R K R. LEV I N 2 a centralized and consolidated government with a ubiquitous net- work of laws and rules actively suppressing individual initiative, self-interest, and success in the name of the greater good and on behalf of the larger community. Nearly all will be emasculated by it, including the inattentive, ambivalent, and disbelieving. The nation has entered an age of post-constitutional soft tyr- anny. As French thinker and philosopher Alexis de Tocqueville explained presciently, “It covers the surface of society with a net- work of small complicated rules, minute and uniform, through which the most original minds and the most energetic characters cannot penetrate, to rise above the crowd. The will of man is not shattered, but softened, bent, and guided; men are seldom forced by it to act, but they are constantly restrained from acting. Such a power does not destroy, but it prevents existence; it does not tyrannize, but it compresses, enervates, extinguishes, and stupe- fies a people, till each nation is reduced to nothing better than a flock of timid and industrious animals, of which the government is the shepherd.” 1 Social engineering and central planning are imposed without end, since the governing masterminds, drunk with their own con- ceit and pomposity, have wild imaginations and infinite ideas for reshaping society and molding man’s nature in search of the ever- elusive utopian paradise. Their clumsy experiments and infantile pursuits are not measured against any rational standard. Their pi- ousness and sanctimony are justification enough. Tocqueville observed further, “It would seem as if the rulers of our time sought only to use men in order to make things great; I wish that they would try a little more to make great men; that they would set less value on the work and more upon the work- man; that they would never forget that a nation cannot long re- ✗T H E LIBERT Y A ME NDME NTS 3 main strong when every man belonging to it is individually weak; and that no form or combination of social polity has yet been devised to make an energetic people out of a community of pusil- lanimous and enfeebled citizens.” 2 Today Congress operates not as the Framers intended, but in the shadows, where it dreams up its most notorious and oppres- sive laws, coming into the light only to trumpet the genius and earnestness of its goings-on and to enable members to cast their votes. The people are left lamebrained and dumbfounded about their “representatives’ ” supposed good deeds, which usually take the form of omnibus bills numbering in hundreds if not thousands of pages, and utterly clueless about the effects these laws have on their lives. Of course, that is the point. The public is not to be informed but indoctrinated, manipulated, and misled. Congress also, and often, delegates unconstitutionally law- making power to a gigantic yet ever-growing administrative state that, in turn, unleashes on society myriad regulations and rules at such a rapid rate the people cannot possibly know of them, either—and if, by chance, they do, they cannot possibly com- prehend them. Nonetheless, ignorance, which is widespread and deliberately so, is no excuse for noncompliance, for which the citizen is heavily fined and severely punished. Not to be outdone, the current occupant of the Oval Office sees his primary duty as “fundamentally transforming the United States of America.” 3 By this, of course, President Barack Obama did not mean a fresh allegiance to the nation’s founding principles and a new respect for the Constitution’s limits on federal author- ity, but the converse. He is more blatant and aggressive than his twentieth-century predecessors, but faithfully follows the foot- steps of the most transgressive among them. The metamorphosis ✗M A R K R. LEV I N 4 of the executive branch into an immense institution exercising a conglomeration of powers, including lawmaking and decreeing, is clearly without constitutional origin, a quaint notion mostly derided these days. Having delegated broad lawmaking power to executive branch departments and agencies of its own creation, contravening the separation-of-powers doctrine, Congress now watches as the president inflates the congressional delegations even further and proclaims repeatedly the authority to rule by executive fiat in defi- ance of, or over the top of, the same Congress that sanctioned a domineering executive branch in the first place. Notwithstand- ing Congress’s delinquency, but because of it, an unquenched President Obama, in a hurry to expedite a societal makeover, has repeatedly admonished Congress that “[i]f [it] won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will!”—that is, if Congress will not genuflect to his demands, and pass laws to his liking, he will act on his own.4 And the president has made good on his refrain. On a grow- ing list of matters, he has, in fact, displayed an impressive ap- titude for imperial rule. With the help of a phalanx of policy “czars,” from immigration, the environment, and labor law to health care, welfare, and energy, the president has exercised his executive “discretion” to create new law, abrogate existing law, and generally contrive ways to exploit legal ambiguities as a means to his ends. He has also declared the Senate in recess when it was not, thereby bypassing the Senate’s constitutional “advice and consent” role to install several partisans in top federal posts. Today this is glorified and glamorized as compassionate pro- gressivism. The Framers called it despotism. In Federalist 48, James ✗T H E LIBERT Y A ME NDME NTS 5 Madison, considered the father of the Constitution, wrote, “An ELECTIVE DESPOTISM was not the government we fought for; but one which should not only be founded on free principles, but in which the powers of government should be so divided and bal- anced among several bodies of magistracy, as that no one could transcend their legal limits, without being effectually checked and restrained by the others.” 5 The third branch of the federal triarchy, the judiciary, is no better. Among the biggest myths is that the men and women of the judiciary, operating under monklike conditions, would duti- fully and faithfully focus their undivided mental faculties toward preserving the Constitution. They would apply their expertise, experience, and insight free from the political pressures and bi- ases of elections and the legislative and executive branches of government, and within a narrow scope of authority and purpose. Moreover, it was assumed there was little to fear from this part of government. In Federalist 78, Alexander Hamilton explained, “Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them.” 6 Yet, having seized for itself in the early years of the nation the final word on all matters before it, the Supreme Court with just five of its nine members can impose the most far-reaching and breathtaking rulings on the whole of society, for which there is no effective recourse. It turns out that justices are also God’s children; and being of this world, their makeup consists of actual flesh and blood. They are no more noble or virtuous than the rest of us, and in some ✙ ★ ✵M A R K R. LEV I N 6 cases less so, as they suffer from the usual human imperfections and frailties. And the Court’s history proves it. In addition to de- livering the routine and, in some cases, exceptional rulings, the Court is responsible for several notorious holdings, including Dred Scott v. Sandford 7 (endorsing slavery), Plessy v. Ferguson 8 (affirm- ing segregation), and Korematsu v. United States 9 (upholding the internment of Americans), among others. During the last eighty years or so, the justices have rewritten sections of the Constitu- tion, including the Commerce Clause (redefining noncommerce as commerce) and the tax provisions (redefining penalties as taxes), to accommodate the vast expansion of the federal govern- ment’s micromanagement over private economic activity. More- over, the justices have laced the Court’s jurisprudence with all manner of personal policy preferences relating to social, cultural, and religious issues, many of which could have been avoided or deferred. What was to be a relatively innocuous federal government, operating from a defined enumeration of specific grants of power, has become an ever-present and unaccountable force. It is the nation’s largest creditor, debtor, lender, employer, consumer, con- tractor, grantor, property owner, tenant, insurer, health-care pro- vider, and pension guarantor. Moreover, with aggrandized police powers, what it does not control directly it bans or mandates by regulation. For example, the federal government regulates most things in your bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen, as well as the mortgage you hold on your house. It designs your automo- bile and dictates the kind of fuel it uses. It regulates your baby’s toys, crib, and stroller; plans your children’s school curriculum and lunch menu; and administers their student loans in college. At your place of employment, the federal government oversees every- thing from the racial, gender, and age diversity of the workforce to the hours, wages, and benefits paid. Indeed, the question is not what the federal government regulates, but what it does not. And it makes you wonder—how can a people incapable of selecting their own lightbulbs and toilets possess enough competence to vote for their own rulers and fill out complicated tax returns? The illimitable regulatory activity, with which the federal government torments, harasses, and coerces the individual’s pri- vate and economic behavior, is the progeny of a colossal federal edifice with inexhaustible energy for societal manipulation and change. In order to satisfy its gluttonous appetite for program- matic schemes, the federal government not only hurriedly digests the Treasury’s annual revenue, funded with confiscatory taxes on a diminishing number of productive citizens, but desserts on the wealth not yet created by generations not yet born with uncon- strained indebtedness. And what havoc has this wrought. The federal government consumes nearly 25 percent of all goods and services produced each year by the American people.10 Yearly deficits routinely exceed $1 trillion.11 The federal govern- ment has incurred a fiscal operating debt of more than $17 tril- lion, far exceeding the total value of the annual economic wealth created by the American people, which is expected to reach about $26 trillion in a decade.12 It has accumulated unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs exceeding $90 trillion, which is growing at $4.6–6.9 trillion a year.13 There is not enough money on the planet to make good on the federal government’s financial obligations. Hence, the Fed- eral Reserve Board has swung into action with multiple versions of “quantitative easing,” which is nothing more than the federal government monetizing its own debt—or buying its own debt— ✵M A R K R. LEV I N 8 with a combination of borrowing, issuing itself credit, and print- ing money amounting to trillions of dollars.14 Of course, this has the eventual effect of devaluing the currency, fueling significant inflation or deflation, and destabilizing the economy at some fu- ture point. But like the laws of physics, there is no escaping the laws of economics. As these fiscal and monetary malpractices escalate, for there is no end in sight, the federal government will turn increas- ingly reckless and demanding, taking an even harder line against the individual’s accumulation of wealth and retention of private property. For example, when the federal income tax was instituted one hundred years ago, the top individual income tax rate was 7 percent. Today the top rate is about 40 percent, with propos- als to push it to nearly 50 percent. There is also serious talk from the governing elite about instituting a national value-added tax (VAT) on top of existing federal taxes,15 which is a form of sales tax, and divesting citizens of their 401(k) private pension plans.16 Even the rapaciousness of these policies will not be enough to fend off the severe and widespread misery unleashed from years of prof- ligacy. Smaller nations such as Cyprus, Spain, and Greece provide a window into the future, as their borrowing has reached its limit. Moreover, unable to print money, their day of reckoning is either looming or arrived. Therefore, bank accounts, other investments, and wealth generally are subject to governmental impoundment, sequester, and theft. The individual’s liberty, inextricably linked to his private property, is submerged in the quicksand of a govern- ment that is aggregating authority and imploding simultaneously. What, then, is the answer? Again, Tocqueville offers guidance. Looking back at the Constitutional Convention some fifty years afterward, he observed that “it is new in history of society to see ✵T H E LIBERT Y A ME NDME NTS 9 a great people turn a calm and scrutinizing eye upon itself when apprised by the legislature that the wheels of its government are stopped, to see it carefully examine the extent of the evil, and patiently wait two whole years until a remedy is discovered, to which it voluntarily submitted without its costing a tear or a drop of blood from mankind.” 17 It is asking too much of today’s governing masterminds and their fanatical adherents to reform the product of their own fatuity—that is, the continuing disassembly of the Constitution and society. After all, despite one credible source after another, both within and outside the federal government, ringing alarm bells about the nation’s hazardous track—describing it as unsus- tainable, desperate, and immoral—they are blinded to reason, ex- perience, and knowledge by their political DNA and ideological invincibility and therefore are intransigent to effective ameliora- tive steps. They long ago renounced by word and action their adherence to the Constitution’s confinements since the Statists’ utopia and the Framers’ Constitution cannot coexist. However, it is not asking too much of “a great people [to] turn a calm and scrutinizing eye upon itself ” and rally to their own salvation. It is time to return to self-government, where the people are sovereign and not subjects and can reclaim some con- trol over their future rather than accept as inevitable a dismal fate. Unlike the radicalism of the governing masterminds, who self-servingly oversee a century-old, perpetual counterrevolution against the American dawn, the people must have as their goal the reestablishment of the founding principles and the restora- tion of constitutional republicanism, thereby nurturing the in- dividual and preserving the civil society. This requires, first, an acknowledgment of the federal government’s unmooring from its ✵M A R K R. LEV I N 10 constitutional foundation; second, an acceptance that the con- dition is urgent and, if untreated, will ultimately be the death knell of the American Republic; third, the wisdom to rebalance the government in a way that is without novelty and true to the Framers’ original purpose; and, fourth, the courage to confront— intellectually and politically—the Statists’ stubborn grip on power. There is a path forward but it requires an enlightened look back at our founding. And what we find is that the Framers rightly insisted on preserving the prominent governing role of the state legislatures as a crucial mechanism to containing the power of the proposed new federal government. In fact, other than the limited, specified powers granted to the federal government, the states re- tained for themselves plenary governing authority. The debates during the Constitutional Convention and the state ratification conventions are unequivocal in this regard. During the ratifica- tion period, the Federalists repeatedly assured the Anti-Federalists and other skeptics of the proposed federal government’s limits. For example, Madison argued in Federalist 14, “In the first place, it is to be remembered, that the general government is not to be charged with the whole power of making and administering laws: its jurisdiction is limited to certain enumerated objects, which concern all the members of the republic, but which are not to be attained by the separate provisions of any.” 18 In Federalist 45 he insisted, “The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite.” 19 In Federalist 46, Madison asserted that “the powers proposed to be lodged in the federal government are as little formidable to those reserved to the individual States, as they are indispensably necessary to accomplish the purposes of the Union; and that all ■T H E LIBERT Y A ME NDME NTS 11 those alarms which have been sounded, of a meditated and con- sequential annihilation of the State governments, must, on the most favorable interpretation, be ascribed to the chimerical fears of the authors of them.” 20 Madison’s declarations were not unique among the Constitu- tion’s proponents but rather were commonplace. And without these assurances—and the additional pledge that the First Con- gress would offer amendments to the Constitution further ensuring that individual and state sovereignty would be safeguarded against the new federal government (what became the Bill of Rights, in- cluding the Ninth and Tenth Amendments)—the Constitution would not have been ratified. Thus, the Constitution, drafted by delegates who were sent by the states to Philadelphia in 1787 and ratified subsequently by delegates in the state conventions, pre- served the decisive role of the states in the American Republic. It requires emphasis that the states established the American Republic and, through the Constitution, retained for themselves significant authority to ensure the republic’s durability. This is not to say that the states are perfect governing institutions. Many are no more respectful of unalienable rights than is the federal gov- ernment. But the issue is how best to preserve the civil society in a world of imperfect people and institutions. The answer, the Framers concluded, is to diversify authority with a combination of governing checks, balances, and divisions, intended to prevent the concentration of unbridled power in the hands of a relative few imperfect people. Unlike the modern Statist, who defies, ignores, or rewrites the Constitution for the purpose of evasion, I propose that we, the ■M A R K R. LEV I N 12 people, take a closer look at the Constitution for our preserva- tion. The Constitution itself provides the means for restoring self- government and averting societal catastrophe (or, in the case of societal collapse, resurrecting the civil society) in Article V. Article V sets forth the two processes for amending the Con- stitution, the second of which I have emphasized in italics: The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Con- stitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conven- tions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress . . .21 Importantly, in neither case does the Article V amendment process provide for a constitutional convention. It provides for two methods of amending the Constitution. The first method, where two-thirds of Congress passes a proposed amendment and then forwards it to the state legislatures for possible ratification by three-fourths of the states, has occurred on twenty-seven oc- casions. The second method, involving the direct application of two-thirds of the state legislatures for a Convention for proposing Amendments, which would thereafter also require a three-fourths ratification vote by the states, has been tried in the past but with- out success. Today it sits dormant. The fact is that Article V expressly grants state legislatures ✷ ❁ ■T H E LIBERT Y A ME NDME NTS 13 significant authority to rebalance the constitutional structure for the purpose of restoring our founding principles should the fed- eral government shed its limitations, abandon its original pur- pose, and grow too powerful, as many delegates in Philadelphia and the state conventions had worried it might. The idea was first presented at the Constitutional Convention on May 29, 1787, by Edmund Randolph, governor of Virginia, as a proposal in the so- called Virginia Plan drafted by Madison. Resd. that provision ought to be made for the amendment of the Articles of Union whensoever it shall seem necessary, and that the assent of the National Legislature ought not be required thereto.22 On June 11, George Mason of Virginia—who had earlier drafted Virginia’s Declaration of Rights, the precursor to the Dec- laration of Independence—responded to some of the delegates who did not see the necessity of the proposal, by strongly advocat- ing for it. Col: Mason urged the necessity of such a provision. The plan now to be formed will certainly be defective, as the Confederation has been found on trial to be. Amendments therefore will be necessary, and it will be better to provide for them, in any easy, regular and Constitutional way than to trust to chance and violence. It would be improper to require the consent of the Natl Legislature, because they may abuse their power, and refuse their consent on that very account. . . .23 ■M A R K R. LEV I N 14 Later, when the delegates returned to the issue, Roger Sher- man of Connecticut—who had been a member of the Committee of Five, which helped draft the Declaration of Independence, and who coauthored the so-called Connecticut Plan, which served as the basis for our bicameral Congress—offered an alternative in which Congress would propose amendments and the states would ratify them. Madison suggested dropping the state convention al- together. On September 15, Mason, alarmed that Congress would have the sole power to propose amendments, continued to insist on state authority to call for conventions. Mason explained that an oppressive Congress would never agree to propose amendments curtailing its own tyranny: Col: Mason thought the plan of amending the Constitu- tion exceptionable & dangerous. As the proposing of amendments is in both the modes to depend, in the first immediately, and in the second, ultimately, on Congress, no amendments of the proper kind would ever be obtained by the people, if the Government should become oppressive, as he verily believed would be the case.24 Mr. [Gouverneur] Morris [of Pennsylvania] & Mr. [El- bridge] Gerry [of Massachusetts] moved to amend the article so as to require a Convention on application of 2/3 of the Sts [states].25 Earlier, Pennsylvania’s James Wilson, among the most active participants at the Constitutional Convention, had “moved to insert ‘three fourths of’ before the words ‘several States,’ ” which was adopted and then ultimately added as a requirement for both ■T H E LIBERT Y A ME NDME NTS 15 amendment processes under Article V.26 Consequently, under both amendment procedures, the Constitution requires that three-fourths of the states ratify amendments, either by their state legislatures or state conventions. I was originally skeptical of amending the Constitution by the state convention process. I fretted it could turn into a run- away caucus. As an ardent defender of the Constitution who reveres the brilliance of the Framers, I assumed this would play disastrously into the hands of the Statists. However, today I am a confident and enthusiastic advocate for the process. The text of Article V makes clear that there is a serious check in place. Whether the product of Congress or a convention, a proposed amendment has no effect at all unless “ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States or by Conventions in three fourths thereof. . . .” This should extinguish anxiety that the state convention process could hijack the Constitution. After more research and reflection, the issue crystallized fur- ther. If the Framers were alarmed that states calling for a Conven- tion for proposing Amendments could undo the entire undertaking of the Constitutional Convention, then why did they craft, adopt, and endorse the language? In Federalist 43, Madison considered both Article V amendment processes equally prudent and judi- cious. He wrote, in part, “That useful alterations will be suggested by experience, could not but be foreseen. It was requisite, there- fore, that a mode for introducing them should be provided. The mode preferred by the convention seems to be stamped with every mark of propriety. It guards equally against that extreme facility, which would render the Constitution too mutable; and that ex- treme difficulty, which might perpetuate its discovered faults. It, moreover, equally enables the general and the State governments ❛M A R K R. LEV I N 16 to originate the amendment of errors, as they may be pointed out by the experience on one side, or on the other. . . .” 27 There are other reasons for assuaging concerns. Robert G. Na- telson, a former professor of law at the University of Montana and an expert on the state convention process, explains that “a con- vention for proposing amendments is a federal convention; it is a creature of the states or, more specifically, of the state legislatures. And it is a limited-purpose convention. It is not designed to set up an entirely new constitution or a new form of government. How do we know that it’s a federal convention? [It] was the only kind of interstate convention the Founders ever knew, or likely ever considered. Indeed, when they talked during the ratification pro- cess about conventions for proposing amendments, they always talked about them as representing the states.” 28 Moreover, the state legislatures determine if they want to make application for a convention; the method for selecting their delegates; and the subject matter of the convention.29 In addition, Congress’s role in the state application process is minimal and ministerial. It could not be otherwise, as the Framers and ratifiers adopted the state convention process for the pur- pose of establishing an alternative to the congressionally initi- ated amendment process. It provided a constitutional solution should “the [federal] Government . . . become oppressive.” 30 The text and plain meaning of Article V are inarguable. In Federalist 85, Alexander Hamilton—a leading advocate of a robust federal government—explained that “the national rulers, whenever nine [two-thirds] States concur, will have no option upon the subject. By the fifth article of the plan, the Congress will be obliged ‘on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the States [which at present amount to nine], to call a convention for proposing ❛T H E LIBERT Y A ME NDME NTS 17 amendments, which shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the States, or by conventions in three fourths thereof.’ The words of this article are peremptory. The Congress ‘shall call a convention.’ Nothing in this particular is left to the discretion of that body. And of consequence, all the declamation about the disinclination to a change vanishes in air.” 31 I have no illusions about the political difficulty in rallying sup- port for amending the Constitution by this process. After all, all past efforts have fallen short. And the governing masterminds and their disciples are more powerful and strident than ever. There is no doubt that their resistance will be stubborn and their tac- tics desperate as they unleash the instrumentalities of the federal government and the outlets of a corroboratory media to vanquish such a movement and subdue the public. Having rejected the Constitution’s limits, they will not be persuaded by references to its text and history. Their evasion has been their design. Others who self-identify as originalists, constitutionalists, and conserva- tives in asserting allegiance to the Constitution, as I do, might nonetheless be wary of or opposed reflexively to the state con- vention process for several reasons, including their unfamiliarity with its history and workings. Perhaps, in time, their high regard for the Constitution will persuade them of the judiciousness in resorting to it before there is little left of it. Still more may be re- signed to a grim future, preferring lamentation to the hard work of purposeful action. And, of course, there are always the unmindful and content. Whatever the reasons, there are also untold numbers of citi- zens who comprehend the perilousness of the times and circum- stances, and the urgency of drawing the nation’s attention to the ❛M A R K R. LEV I N 18 restoration of constitutional republicanism. This book is an ap- peal to them. The Framers anticipated this day might arrive, for they knew that republics deteriorate at first from within. They provided a lawful and civil way to repair what has transpired. We, the people, through our state legislatures—and the state legisla- tures, acting collectively—have enormous power to constrain the federal government, reestablish self-government, and secure indi- vidual sovereignty. What follows are proposed amendments to the Constitu- tion—The Liberty Amendments. It is my hope and aspiration for our country that these amendments can spur interest in and, ul- timately, support for the state convention process. In any event, should there come a time, sooner or later, when the states con- vene a convention, these amendments or amendments of the same nature—as I make no claim of unassailable knowledge— may prove useful and find their way into the debate. But a plan is what is needed, as is a first step. This is mine.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Social MEdia

Engineering Your
Online Reputation
Regard your good name as the richest jewel you can possibly be possessed of—for
credit is like fire; when once you have kindled it you may easily preserve it, but if
you once extinguish it, you will find it an arduous task to rekindle it again. The way
to a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.
—Socrates (circa 469 BCE–399 BCE), Greek Philosopher


Can you remember a time when we did not have the Internet? Some of us can
remember when we had to rely upon the story or message that a business placed in
its newspaper advertisement. We may have seen a TV ad that embellished the ‘‘facts’’
about a product, but we had no way of knowing if those words were true.

Have you ever stood at the fax machine and impatiently waited for your 12 pages
to go through successfully? What about playing phone tag with an integral part of your
engineering team? Not too long ago, engineers had to fly to meetings, stay in hotels,
put up with unintelligible conference calling systems, be away from their families, and
hope that the important people made it to the same meeting.

In 2012, the Mckinsey Global Institute released a study entitled Unleashing Value
and Productivity Through Social Technologies, where it is estimated that social media
could add $1.3 trillion to the economy in the next six years. Of special note were the
fields of automotive, mechanical, and aerospace engineering. T

Introduction to Social Media Management

Quentin Hardy, states that ‘‘since they work with a lot of autonomy, but also in
consultation with others, [engineers] benefit the most from knowing such things
as which employees have the deepest knowledge in certain subjects, or who last
contributed to a project, and how to get in touch with them quickly.’’

Typically, engineering positions are a collaborative-type of work environment and
their communication efforts do not function well using the ‘‘one-way street’’ model
anymore. Now that social interaction venues are prevalent in the workplace, there is
no turning back to the old way of thinking—relying on word-of-mouth or believing
the company line. Employees and employers are diligently working proactively to be
informed, stay informed, and share vitally important data with others in worldwide
collaborations that bring startling results.

Of course, TV ads still scream as we passively sit on our couches and soak in the
information. And, consumers still largely base their opinions on the story that they are
told by whoever paid for the newspaper, television, magazine, or radio advertisement.
Some of that one-way information model will never be obsolete.

Historically, employees believed what they were told, and interacting with other
divisions within the same organization, or affiliate organizations was seen as somewhat
traitorous. Social media platforms change all that. ‘‘The proper use of social media
tools adds to productivity, an improved consumer focus as well as better-functioning
teams. Data and knowledge are exposed and shared instead of being hoarded,’’ says
Michael Chui, one of the authors of the McKinsey report.

Entering the Internet Age

The Internet has brought a virtual tidal wave of new possibilities, ideas, and methods
that engineers can use for communicating to the world and has blown the one-way
communication model to smithereens. The most profound change is that social media,
and the messages contained therein, are not owned by any business or organization.
Social media are owned by all of us. Engineers collaborating on one project, from all
over the world or in the next cubicle is what it is all about!

In her book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing, Shama Kabani states that social
media consists of ‘‘multiple online mediums all controlled by the people participating
within them—people who are busy having conversations, sharing resources, and form-
ing their own communities. Unlike radio, television, and print, it isn’t passive—users
don’t just receive content; they create it, too.’’
There is one element that historical marketing and social media campaigns have
in common. Both methods are designed to get consumers to take some kind of action.
Businesses still design and implement advertising campaigns to encourage consumers
1 Source: http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/mckinsey-says-social-media-adds-1-3-trillion-

2 Kabani, Shama, The Zen of Social Media Marketing, Dallas, TX: Ben Bella Books, 2012.

246 Chapter 12 Engineering Your Online Reputation

and open communication style that encourages online communities (composed of
consumers) to contribute to the message and branding of the product or service.
What the Internet and social media channels bring to the old marketing equation
is that consumers have stepped into the massively important role of using their own
voice to encourage or discourage other consumers to take action. Consumers use their
component of social media communities.

Conquering Your Fears of Social Media

Social media has become a source of fear and confusion for many. As with anything
new, there are fear-mongers and critics. There are also champions and evangelists. This
new method of communication can be wildly successful for engineering businesses, or
it can be an abysmal failure.
to promote yourself or your business. You will find a social media venue that fits your
needs. Discussed in the following pages are five of the most widely used social venues,
including WordPress blogs, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.
Some experts believe that having no online presence is tantamount to having a bad
online reputation. Have you ever read a bad review of a restaurant online and then
decided not to go? What would you do if that restaurant’s manager had responded to
the bad review and helped the disgruntled customer? Would you give the restaurant
a second chance? Most of us would. This is one way that social media can benefit

An umbrella that charges
a smart phone?

Vodafone’s Booster Brolly is an
umbrella that uses on-board solar
your phone and boost its 3G sig-
nal. Engineering students at Uni-
versity College of London worked
with Vodafone to develop this cool
For details, see the Preface for
the URL.
But social media is not just for
entertainment. Information Week Secu-
in 2010 and found that, ‘‘of those who
work in the aerospace, automotive, and
commercial-vehicle industries, 55% of
respondents said they use social media
sites for work-related reasons, and that
over half are allowed access while at
work.’’ 3
Social media is not a get-rich-quick
scheme, and it does not transform your
life or engineering business overnight.
It is, however, necessary for success in
today’s digital world.
3 ‘‘Engineers Use Social Media for Business.’’ Information Week Security.

Creating a WordPress Blog

Chances are that you have read an engineering blog within the past month. You may
have visited that blog on purpose, you may have stumbled upon it by accident, or you
may have landed on the blog and never knew that it was a ‘‘blog.’’
Understanding What a Blog Is
is supposed to be updated frequently with new articles and information about specific
topics. Blogs contain information from lots of different sources. For example, blogs’
owners (called ‘‘bloggers’’) can write articles themselves, or they can post articles that
they found on other websites. The information can also originate in print, or it can be
contributed by the readers of the blog.
blogs, food blogs, travel blogs, graphic design blogs, architecture blogs and engineering
blogs. Actually, there are too many types of blogs to list. The most important thing to
remember about a blog is that it is interactive and should be constantly changing. This
characteristic benefits both the reader and the blogger.
Participating in a Blog
By viewing and participating in a blog, engineers can be educated, drawn in to a
worthwhile conversation, join an online community of like-minded people, help build
a branding strategy, shape ideas by giving their opinion, or give advice to product
designers. Therefore, readers benefit by receiving information, ideas, or the chance to
get their opinion out there.
No matter what the reason is for creating the blog, the blog’s creator must
remember that the blog reader is a partner in the success of that blog. Perhaps some
bloggers want to become engineering experts in the ‘‘Bending Moment.’’ If that is the
case, their blogs will reflect their expertise in the elements involved in the Bending
Moment. Those bloggers would use titles and searchable keywords to funnel traffic to
their blog about the Bending Moment. This will allow the engineering blog to be found
by those who are searching for this topic.
Using a Blog for Professional Advantage
Engineers oftenusetheirblogsasameans ofcollaborationandnetworking withintheir
field. Blogs are an excellent platform to give and receive advice and expertise from
others engineers in your field. Who knows—you may end up getting an engineering
job from a blogging contact! For example, a small group of engineers has created a

248 Chapter 12 Engineering Your Online Reputation

blog and the tagline for their site is ‘‘Engineers writing about the workplace, common
engineering problems, and lessons to share with the world.’’ 4
Here is an example of using a blog to build a reputation as an engineering expert:
1. Blogger A (an engineer) needs advice from experts about a faulty modeling
process. He finds several blogs that discuss this topic, and he poses some
questions on the blogs. By posting his question on a well-known blog, he
increases the visibility of his own blog.

2. Blogger B, an engineering expert in the area of faulty modeling processes, sees
the post (by Blogger A). Because she is trying to build her online reputation
as an expert in faulty modeling processes, she posts a reply to Blogger A’s
question. She has just ‘‘advertised’’ to the world that she is an expert in faulty
modeling processes.

3. After several online (and highly visible) conversations, Blogger A takes the
advice of Blogger B. He follows the steps advised by Blogger B, and the issue
with the faulty modeling process is resolved!

4. Blogger A thanks Blogger B (again, online for all to see) for the great advice
and tells her that her advice resolved his issue. Blogger A looks good to his
clients or employer because he resolved the faulty modeling issue.
5. Blogger B has furthered her efforts at building her reputation as an expert in
faulty modeling processes. Her advice contributed to a real-life project.
6. Six months later, a person (prospective new client) conducts a search about
‘‘faulty modeling process.’’ The related engineering blog comes up in the search
because Blogger A’s and Blogger B’s posts used searchable keywords. The
person sees both sides of the conversation on the blog and sees that Blogger B
resolved the issue for Blogger A. The person sees Blogger B as an expert and
contacts her to help resolve a similar issue.

7. Blogger B scores some new business because of her online reputation!
In the above example, all the engineers win via the use of this blog. Blogging brings
people together even if they live in three different countries and never meet each other
in person.

See www.electricalengineeringonline.net/engineering-blogs for a list of the 50 top
engineering blogs found on the Internet.

Choosing Your Blog Software
Engineering students and professionals alike can benefit from creating their own
blogs. You might think that the example about Blogger A and B was make-believe.
happens every day. The sky is the limit when it comes to the usefulness of blogging for

4 Source: www.engineeringblogs.org
Beer c12.tex V3 - 03/04/2013 8:04 A.M. Page 249
Creating a WordPress Blog 249
Currently, the most user-friendly and intuitive blogging software available is
WordPress. Visit its site at: http://wordpress.org

WordPress has some excellent characteristics:

• It can be used to set up a free blog, although you can set up a custom URL for
as little as $17 per year.
• It does not require a single bit of programming knowledge.
• It comes with countless tutorials and technical support.
• It can be used for e-commerce by adding a shopping cart just in case you ever
decide to monetize all of your expertise!
• It can be updated or reorganized easily by a complete novice.
• It offers almost limitless graphic themes to promote yourself as an individual
or for your company brand, including custom colors, layouts, widgets, and
• It provides constant updates for free.

Exploring Engineering Blogs

If you are to understand blogging, you will have to visit a few. To find blogs that are
the best place to start your search. For example, type the following in to your browser:
Once you see the list of the top 25 engineering blogs, choose several to view. While
you are viewing each blog, consider the following:

• Is the blog visually attractive or distracting?
• Is the content relevant and up-to-date?
• Is it easy to see what specific areas are discussed on this blog?
• Is there an easy way to interact with the blog’s creator?
• If needed, does the blog provide evidence of professional engineering clout?

Turning body heat into energy?

that could be put to use; human
body heat. Engineers in Stockholm
are the first to use the body heat
of 250,000 daily commuters in one
train station to heat a building next
door. Wow.
For details, see the Preface for
the URL.
After reading a few blogs, you will
begin to understand the differences in
style, content, and professionalism. You
will also see the big difference between a
traditional information-only website and
the interactivity of a blog.
Remember, the main point to keep
in mind is that a blog gives you the ability
to interact with the blogger and others
who view the blog. When thinking about
designing your blog, make sure that the
content are all open and inviting.

250 Chapter 12 Engineering Your Online Reputation
You can visit my blog at: http://jillbrockmann.com
What will you write about on your blog? Visit the companion website to see step-
by-step instructions for designing and implementing your own blog. (See the Preface
for the URL.)


If you have never heard of Facebook, then you have probably been living under
a rock.
Here are some factoids about Facebook’s worldwide reach:
• Facebook is used by 70% of automotive and aerospace engineers to exchange
information on technical issues, according to a survey of SAE International. 5
• Facebook had over one billion monthly active users at the end of December
• On average, it had 526 million daily active users.
• In March 2012, there were 488 million monthly active users who used Facebook
mobile applications.
• Facebook had more than 600 million mobile monthly active users as of
December 5, 2012.
• DuringDecember2012,onaverage500millionuserswereactivewithFacebook
on at least six out of the last seven days. 6
Harnessing the Power of Facebook
and it promised to reach millions of people, worldwide forfree—would you bite? What
if you were offered unlimited access to a panel of 10,000 civil engineering experts (from
all over the world) that could help you unravel an issue with a traffic pattern—again,
all for free?
Consider this:
Did you know that every single person who interacts with your company or
organization via social media inadvertently becomes your cheerleader or critic? You
may have heard the old adage that if you like a business, you will tell three people. If
you don’t like it, you will tell ten people.
This phenomenon is what makes applications like Facebook such great venues
for engineers. Originally, Facebook was created to allow college students to connect
5 Source: www.informationweek.com/news/security/management/225900054
6 Facebook statistics, http://newsroom.fb.com/content/default.aspx?NewsAreaId=22

Building a Facebook Page for a Business 251
and share ideas, stories, events, and generally ‘‘socialize.’’ Now, people from all over
the world and from all professions use Facebook in order to share information, be
heard, and make connections. Instead of verbally telling ten people they didn’t like a
business, they are telling millions of people via Facebook. Instead of having one or two
aeronautical engineering experts to consult with, there are now thousands of them at
their fingertips.
For example, a Facebook page called ‘‘Interesting Engineering’’ has almost half
a million followers. Figure 12-1 shows a screenshot of what the home page looks like.
You can find this site by typing in the following URL in your browser:
Interesting Engineering’s Facebook page says, ‘‘If engineering is a headache for
you, join us. We will change the way you feel.’’ 7 How cool is that? They are using
Facebook to demystify engineering and target a younger audience.
As of this writing, the Facebook page in Figure 12-1 has 489,000 individual
‘‘likers,’’ and 337,060 people are talking about the content (a ‘‘liker’’ is an individual
that has subscribed to the news posted on this Facebook page). This is an example
of how Facebook creates a community of like-minded people who share an interest
in engineering, opinions, and ideas. The people in this community can connect, share
ideas, vent their frustrations, seek advice, talk about their successes, post project ideas,
and discuss all kinds of engineering-related subjects.
Figure 12-1 Facebook business page or fan page named ‘‘Interesting Engineering.’’
Source: www.facebook.com/interestingengineering
7 Source: www.facebook.com/interestingengineering/info

252 Chapter 12 Engineering Your Online Reputation
Here is an example of how engineering students and professionals can harness the
power of Facebook:
1. An engineering student is lurking around a classmate’s Facebook page and
sees that her classmate has ‘‘liked’’ a page titled ‘‘Interesting Engineering.’’ She
decides to click the live link and visit that page.
2. As she scrolls through the engineering-related articles and posts, she stumbles
across an article that discusses the subject of her thesis, wind turbine grid
3. The student reads the article and scrolls through the reader comments posted.
One of the participants, an engineering expert in the topic, has an unusual
opinion about wind turbines. The student clicks on the expert’s name and
immediately lands on the expert’s Facebook page.
4. The expert’s Facebook page has an About section that lists an email address,
phone number, website, blog address, professional associations, education
details, and current employer information. The student emails the expert
to ask for a telephone interview in order to get some quotes for her thesis.
5. The expert writes back, agrees to the interview, and schedules it for two days
6. Two days later, she gets her interview and obtains valuable information from a
well-known engineering industry expert. It adds immeasurably to the content
of her thesis.
7. The expert is so impressed with the passion and insight of the student, he offers
her an internship that turns in to a full-time engineering position after she
In the above example, both the engineering student and the expert benefit from
the connection they made via Facebook. This type of collaborative connection and
sharing happens every day on Facebook. Let us not forget that all of this interaction,
conversation, learning, and community building happens all across the world, seven
days a week, 24-hours per day—for free.
Using Facebook to Build Your Brand
You can use three methods to create your online presence (also referred to as your
‘‘brand’’) and display information on Facebook. Luckily, Facebook provides step-
by-step instructions to help you create profiles that can be customized to spotlight
engineering professionals.
Note Remember that every friend made, page liked, photograph posted, group joined,
event created, or comment left is a reflection of who we are or who we want the world
to perceive us as being. If you are creating your social media presence to reflect your
engineering business, choose your moves carefully. Visit the companion website to see
step-by-step instructions for designing and implementing your customized Facebook page.
Beer c12.tex V3 - 03/04/2013 8:04 A.M. Page 253
Building a Facebook Page for a Business 253
The three ways to create a profile on Facebook that presents your engineering
business are as follows:
1. Individual profile. This is referred to as the ‘‘human being’’ profile. It is for an
individual person, not a business. Anyone with an email address can build one
of these pages. An example of an individual Facebook page is shown below in
Figure 12-2.
2. Fan page. This is also referred to as a ‘‘business page’’: it could be for a product,
service, organization, club, politician, or any other business-related entity. In
order to create this page, you have to have an individual profile first. See
Figures 12-3 and 12-4 for an example of a fan page for the engineering company,
Structures, PE, LLP.
A Facebook fan page comes with some useful features for businesses. One
feature is a ‘‘People’’ page. This allows businesses to create a page that shows
off the expertise or specialization of their employees. Figure 12-4 shows an
example of the engineers at Structures PE, LLP.
3. Individual fan page. This type of page is a hybrid. It is just like the ‘‘business
page,’’ but it is used for an individual who is an engineering professional. In
order to create this page, you have to have an individual profile first.
Figure 12-2 Individual Facebook page for Jill Brockmann.
Source: www.facebook.com/jillbrockmann

254 Chapter 12 Engineering Your Online Reputation
Figure 12-3 Structures Fan Page on Facebook.
Source: www.facebook.com/Structures, PE, LLP.
Figure 12-4 Structures PE, LLPs People page on Facebook.
Source: www.facebook.com/StructuresPE/app_7146470109

Building a Facebook Page for a Business 255
For example, an individual engineer may have two Facebook pages:
• One page for his or her private life. This individual page includes family,
friends, hobbies, political views, music preferences, jokes, religious affiliations,
and vacation photos. This page is fun, relaxed, family-oriented, personal, and
• The other page lists the person’s name as the business name, and it contains
professional and engineering-related information only. This fan page is created
to promote the person’s engineering expertise or specializations. This page
contains no personal attributes that could be controversial such as political or
religious views. This page is strictly a method of promoting one’s engineering
expertise on Facebook.
The advantage of creating a Facebook fan page is that you can see demographic
data about the people visiting your page. You do this by analyzing Facebook traffic
using a tool called ‘‘Insights.’’ It enables you as the page owner to plan successful
content and interactions. Again, Facebook provides all of this data free of charge to
business (fan) pages. Visit the companion website to see instructions about how you
can use the Insights data to make your Facebook fan page more attractive to readers.
(See the Preface for the URL.)
The image shown in Figure 12-5 is an example of what one of the Insights pages
looks like.
Figure 12-5 Facebook Insights demographic page for Business and Technical
Communication at Austin Community College.
Source: www.facebook.com/BTCMACC

When creating and building your brand via a Facebook page, consider the
Want to live forever?
Wait until 2045.
Dmitry Itskov, a wealthy Russian,
is creating ‘‘Avatar.’’ First, he
will transplant human brains into
robots and then reverse-engineer
the brain to effectively ‘‘download’’
human consciousness onto a com-
puter chip. He estimates that by
2045 humans can buy immortality.
For details, see the Preface for
the URL.
• Will you create a personal page
and a professional page?
• How can you spotlight your field
of engineering?
• Can you visualize how you could
use the commenting functions
available on Facebook to gain
credibility and become known as
cialization? For example, when
Interesting Engineering’s Face-
book page, you will be seen by
half a million people.
• How will you make the design of your Facebook page look consistent with your
blog, website and other social media platforms?
• Subscribe to me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/jillbrockmann for tips and
tricks about using Facebook pages to promote your personal brand online.
Visit the companion website to see step-by-step instructions for designing and
implementing your very own Facebook pages. (See the Preface for the URL.)
If you have never heard of Twitter, then you have probably been living under
another rock.
Here are some interesting facts about Twitter:
• Many engineering companies, large and small, now use Twitter to communicate
with existing and potential customers. Also, many professional engineer-
ing publications post the latest news and links to their online articles on
Twitter. 8
• Even though it is a young social media venue, it has 500 million registered users
daily, and 33 billion tweets sent worldwide—daily. 9
• Anyone can read, write, share, or re-share messages about a field of interest, as
long as the message is 140 characters or less.
8 Source: http://blog.prosig.com/2011/02/24/how-can-social-networks-help-engineers/
9 Twitter Facts and Stats, by Bran Friedman, March 14, 2012. Source: http://socialmediatoday.com

Using Twitter to Connect and Share Information 257
• ‘‘Tweets,’’ or typed messages, are posted in real-time and can be read by
anyone, from anywhere, regardless of whether they are logged in to their
Twitter account.
• Twitter is fast becoming the ‘‘go to’’ medium for engineering information,
according to Bosch Rexroth, cited below.
After launching a pilot project to study how engineers used social media, Kevin
Gingerich from Bosch Rexroth (see Figure 12-6) stated, ‘‘We were astonished by the
vibrancy of the engineering and industry communities on Twitter. It’s become our
engine of choice for communicating to a broad audience, from recent innovations and
upcoming exhibitions to new technical references on our website.’’ 10
Using Twitter to Connect with Other Engineers
Why should you or your business join those who swear by Twitter for connecting to
others in the engineering field? Here are a few reasons:
• Ifyouareinterestedinspreadingthewordaboutyourownengineeringexpertise
or the specialty of your company, why would you ignore a virtual database of
opinions, trends, messages, stories, and networking opportunities?
• In the engineering context, Twitter is an environment that is rich with ideas,
conversations, and content from influential industry leaders. Don’t forget that
Figure 12-6 Twitter account home page for Bosch Rexroth Corporation.
Source: https://twitter.com/boschrexrothus
10 Machine Design.com. Twitter for Engineers. Source: http://machinedesign.com/article/twitter-for

258 Chapter 12 Engineering Your Online Reputation
all of this sharing, communicating, and brand-building activity is available 365
days a year, 24 hours per day—for free.
Figure 12-6 is an image of a successful engineering home page on Twitter.
Businesses can use Twitter # (hashtags) to corral participants at a company-
sponsored event, for curating crowd-sourced data about product research, and for
connecting directly with engineering clients and customers. More information about
the importance of hashtags and crowd-sourcing data can be found on the companion
website. See the Preface for the URL.
• Engineering professionals can use Twitter to funnel traffic to special events,
online design contests, interactive websites, new blog entries, product launches,
and other information-rich connections with consumers.
• Individual engineers can use Twitter to foster strong networking relationships
with other engineers by listening and gathering industry intelligence about
competition, market trends, and employment opportunities.
Imagine you are a graduating engineering student; here’s how you can use
1. You are about to graduate from a small college with a mechanical engineering
degree and have arrived at the International Manufacturing Technology Show
(IMTS) 2012 in Chicago. You are to visit the booth of the internationally known
company that paid for your flight, hotel, and admission to this event. You have
been told that it is located in Booth #10602. Only, they are not actually at that
location. No other information is available. Hmm. What to do?
2. Enormous Engineering Company (EEC), the company that paid for your
dream trip, had to move its booth to a different building because of mechanical
‘‘issues’’ with Booth #10602. EEC is worried that attendees will not be aware of
its last-minute location change. The company tweets immediately about its new
building location at IMTS.
3. You are following EEC on Twitter. You quickly scroll through your tweet feed
to see if there is any word from them. Bingo! They have moved to a different
building three blocks away.
4. You inspire and amaze EEC’s booth members by arriving early to express your
hearty thanks for the great trip, and you make sure that their mechanical issue is
fixed at the new location. They are grateful for your arrival at the new location
and glad that Twitter helped route you to the new location.
5. Upon returning home from your trip you find a letter from the president of
EEC, thanking you for your help with the booth and inviting you to dinner to
talk about your plans for after graduation.
In the above example, Twitter moved mountains for you and EEC. When a
company invests thousands of dollars setting up plans for an enormous event like
IMTS, it can be derailed quickly by a sudden event like changing a booth location.
Since Twitter is known for instantaneous communication, it is a perfect platform for
this occurrence. EEC could have missed a few thousand booth visitors, and you may
not have found them to say ‘‘thank you’’ for your trip. You would have missed the free
dinner invitation, too.
Generating Your Interactive Résumé on LinkedIn 259
Customizing Your Twitter Account
When creating the account for you or your engineering organization on Twitter,
consider the following:
• Make sure others can find you easily on Twitter. Customize your Twitter user
name, profile photo and design, bio, and online appearance by maintaining
brand consistency with colors, images, and logos. Use keywords in your bio to
help people find you.
• Don’t worry about how many followers you have. Instead, concentrate on
following engineering industry leaders, cutting-edge companies, and experts in
engineering. Read their tweets, place comments, re-tweet them, and actively
seek information that will bring you new information and ideas. Your own
followers will come eventually.
• Use customized searches and hashtags to filter out everything except the
information you need.
• Attach hashtags to photos or videos you upload so they are easily found in
searches. Remember to use authentic keywords whenever possible.
• To find people, companies or engineering organizations to follow, use
Twellow.com and WeFollow.com directories on Twitter that are categorized
by interest and industry.
Does adding sound to cars
increase safety?
Engineers have developed a vehi-
cle warning system that improves
safety for bicyclists. The system
consists of a GPS-enabled device
mounted to the dashboard of an
electric car (which are dangerously
quiet). It warns bicyclists of the
approach of a quiet car.
For details, see the Preface for
the URL.
Follow me on Twitter:
Who will you follow on Twitter?
How will you manage the information
and communications you receive on
Twitter? To get answers to these ques-
tions and others, visit the companion
website to see step-by-step instructions
for designing and implementing your
very own Twitter account. (See the
Preface for the URL.)
In a recent Wall Street Journal article titled ‘‘No More Résumés,’’ Rachel Emma
Silverman stated that ‘‘Instead of asking for résumés, a New York venture-capital
firm—which has invested in Twitter—asked applicants to send links representing their
‘Web presence.’ ’’ 11 What? No résumé?
11 Rachel Emma Silverman, ‘‘No More Résumés,’’ Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2012.
Source: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203750404577173031991814896.html
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260 Chapter 12 Engineering Your Online Reputation
Tech-savvy employers are acquiring evidence of people’s web reputation and
searching for their online interactions as a means of finding better-quality candidates
—especially for engineering companies or organizations that rely heavily in the
Internet and social media to build their brand, enhance employee collaboration, and
reach their customer base.
Increasing Visibility for Engineers
When it comes to actively participating in various social media platforms, the Society
of Automotive Engineers International (SAEI) has determined that ‘‘engineers are
a survey that revealed 61% of engineers polled use social media sites like Facebook,
LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube. 12
expertise, and network with other professionals in your field. Even though LinkedIn
is considered a ‘‘social’’ media site, the purpose of creating and maintaining a profile
on this platform is solely for professional networking, connecting, and building career-
oriented associations.
Figure 12-7 shows a typical LinkedIn profile of engineer, author, and speaker
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED, AP.
Completing your LinkedIn profile can be time-consuming, but the benefits are
enormous. The tools provided allow space to include all phases of your professional
life including your work experience, education, business associations, personal and
company websites, other social media accounts, volunteer activities, areas of special
expertise using keywords, and other ways to enhance your professional message to
other LinkedIn members.
Creating your LinkedIn Profile
When creating your profile on LinkedIn, consider the following:
• Complete your entire profile. A sparsely completed profile is almost as bad as
having no profile at all. Your profile should be compelling, interesting, accurate,
and complete. Include as much engineering-related information as possible.
Remember to use keywords.
• Actively participate in LinkedIn Answers. The answers feature helps nur-
ture professional engineering connections and gives you a chance to show
your expertise by answering questions posed by others. Participate by posing
questions yourself, too.
• Join groups. Find groups related to the engineering profession, join them,
and actively participate in ongoing conversations to get your name seen in the
forums. If there are not any groups about your specific area of engineering,
create one!
12 ‘‘Mobility Engineers Big Users of Social Media.’’ Society of Automotive Engineers International.
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Generating Your Interactive Résumé on LinkedIn 261
Figure 12-7 LinkedIn profile home page for
Anthony Fasano, PE, LEED, AP.
Source: www.linkedin.com/in/anthonyjfasano
• Use Advanced Search. The basic search function is great, but Advanced Search
has all sorts of ways to fine-tune your results, including engineering keywords
and product names in all your posts.
• Treat your LinkedIn profile similar to a website. Make sure your pro-
file is up-to-date, organized, well-formatted and contains lots of interest-
ing engineering-related information. It goes without saying that misspellings
are a no-no!
• Populate your profile with keywords. Use keywords that reflect your back-
ground, education, professional field, or expertise. Use variations of those
words, too: for example, use engineer, engineering, engineered.
• Increase the chances you will be found with search engines. Make sure that
your profile is marked as ‘‘public’’ so that you will show up in searches for your
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262 Chapter 12 Engineering Your Online Reputation
Giving and Receiving Recommendations
One of the best features offered to LinkedIn members is the Recommendation section.
This is a profile portion designed to highlight your achievements and the exceptional
work of other LinkedIn members.
You may politely ask an engineering colleague for a recommendation for any
collaborative work you performed. You may receive a request for a recommendation
from another LinkedIn member.
First algae-powered car?
The world’s first algae fuel-power-
ed vehicle, dubbed the Algaeus,
was revealed in San Francisco.
The plug-in hybrid car, which is a
Prius equipped with a nickel metal
hydride battery, runs on green
For details, see the Preface for
the URL.
People in charge of making hir-
ing decisions commonly review LinkedIn
profile pages. It is important that you
request recommendations that are rele-
vant to your engineering specialty. Make
the most of the section by requesting rec-
ommendations from colleagues you have
collaborated with and by giving accurate
and detailed recommendations to those
neering recommendations section on the
home page of an engineer’s LinkedIn

Visit the companion website to see step-by-step instructions for designing and
implementing your very own LinkedIn account. (See the Preface for the URL.)
Have you ever heard the word ‘‘google’’ used as a verb? Usually people say, ‘‘Google
it!’’ That is probably because Google is the largest search engine on the Internet.
Wouldn’t it be terrific if your engineering business came up at the top of the list when
someone searched, ‘‘expert chemical engineer’’?
Google+, Google Plus or just g+, is the brain-child of Google, Inc. Google is not
just a search engine. It has developed many collaboration-based applications that are
widely used throughout the engineering field. In an attempt to gather all of these
cutting-edge applications into one place, Google engineers created Google+. This
platform integrates many of Google’s products to create a broader social experience.
The result is a platform for professionals who want to increase their online visibility
and personal brand identity.
Figure 12-9 is an example of the Google+ page for the engineering program at
Stanford University.
Figure 12-9 Google+ profile page for Stanford University Engineering program.
Source: https://plus.google.com/u/0/102383602041872018960/posts

264 Chapter 12 Engineering Your Online Reputation
Creating Your Google+ Profile Page
If you do not have a Google+ account yet, it is easy to create. Type the following text
in your browser: http://plus.google.com
in minutes. Visit the companion website to see step-by-step instructions for designing
and customizing your own Google+ account. (See the Preface for the URL.)
Circling Engineering Experts
The main functions of Google+ are bundled to include a search engine, an email client,
an Internet browser, friend streams, circles of specialized contacts, group video chats
with a new feature called Hangouts, personalized and automated search functions,
the ability to target engineering industry experts, and the community-building feature
called Circles.
The Circles feature of Google+, at first glance, may look the same as ‘‘friending’’
people on Facebook. However, Circles is a much more intricate way to organize lists
(circles) of engineering industry experts, colleagues, and friends. The streamlining
of these circles of contacts allows you to create entirely separate groups (circles)
for family, friends, college alumni, colleagues, civil engineering experts, aeronautic
engineers, mechanical engineers, sports fans, and more.
The main point to remember about Google+ Circles is that it allows you to read
what you want, share what you want, share it when you want, and share it with whom
you want. It also allows you to filter out the noise from everyone in your circles and
drill down to reading only the content posted by the engineering experts you choose.
This ability to focus on a specific topic is a huge time saver. For example, if you want
to read about new developments in wind turbine grid engineering, you simply click
the circle (that you created and filled with experts) named ‘‘wind turbine experts’’ and
scroll through the posts of those experts.
Figure 12-10 shows an example of a Google+ Circles page.
Creating, adding, deleting, and modifying your Circles is as easy as a click or two.
You can also invite people who are in your circles to participate in a live online session
called a ‘‘Hangout.’’ These hangouts can be recorded and replayed via YouTube.com.
This function enables you to conduct online meetings with others. There is no more
flying to meetings. You can sit in your home office in your pajamas! You can join other
Hangouts as an active participant or simply observe and listen.
Maximizing Your Online Visibility
A useful feature of using Google+ in an engineering business is that your Google+
page content is part of Google’s web search integration and the ability for consumers
to ‘‘direct connect’’ to your page. Through this connection ability, consumers or clients
are directed to your website or other online venues, such as your blog.