Impressions on the Social Age

White House Stops Bullets

Posted in Local DC by Trace on November 16, 2011

Image: Associated Press

Two bullets were found outside the White House on Tuesday, having been fired by an unknown person. The Secret Service is investigating the source of the shooting as well as the shooter. Neither bullet is thought to have penetrated White House security do to the ballistic glass in place behind the historic glass on all White House windows.

One bullet was found after it had hit the ballistic glass, and another was found outside.

Gunshots were heard near the White House on November 11th. The Secret Service were quick to respond. Within five minutes of the shots, police had secured a vehicle on the 2300 block of Constitution Avenue, which runs along the National Mall near the White House. In the vehicle, police found an AK-47 assault rifle registered to Oscar Ramiro Ortega.

The evidence recovered at the scene led police to open an arrest warrant for Ortega, a 21 year-old white-hispanic male. Ortega is 5′ 11″ weighs 160 pounds, with a medium build, brown eyes and black hair and beard. He has a visible tattoo on his neck reading “Israel.”

Neither President Obama nor First Lady, Michelle Obama were at home when the gunshots were hear. That afternoon they were heading to San Diego, before heading to Hawaii for the Asia-Pacific economic forum.

According to a statement issued by the Secret Service, the sounds of gunfire likely originated from the Ellipse, a grassy area just south of the White House. If the shots were fired from the AK-47, and the Secret Service did not indicate this was the case, then they traveled 700-800 yards before hitting the White House. The AK-47’s effective range is only around 300 yards.

“There’s always an outer perimeter and this was on the very outer perimeter of our security,” the Secret Service official told CNN. “The gun and car were found within several minutes. We have a lot of security — a lot of layered security down there and the security worked.”

While the Secret Service does have a warrent for the arrest of Ortega, they are not saying the gunshots on Friday are conclusively tied to the two bullets found. But rather Ortega is a person of interest and the manhunt is currently underway. The Occupy Washington DC protest camp was searched in relation to the hunt when a few calls were placed possibly placing Ortega at the scene.

According to the US Park Police blog post, anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact local law enforcement or US Park Police at (202) 610-7500 for immediate assistance, or the Criminal Investigations Branch Tip Line at (202) 610-8737 for non emergent information.

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OFA progress goes, “Oof!”

Posted in Reading Response by Trace on June 11, 2010

Since electing the most wired President in history – and I’m not talking about the coffee & nicotine –Obama for America Campaign has become Organizing for America (OFA) and subsequently lost its mojo. After Obama’s victory lap and OFA’s absorbtion into the DNC fundraising machine; it became just another mindless direct-mail system. Asking us to spend small amounts of money and sending us email after email after email after email after email. Which is why we all left MoveOn.org in the first place.

The DNC took the OFA and transformed them into the Borg. For those of you that missed the cultural staple that is Star Trek the Next Generation (STNG): the Borg were not a Swedish rock band, but a race of beings that valued the collective over the individual. The Borg assimilated humans & aliens alike, implanting strange lasers, giant metal chest pieces and leg augmentations that looked painful and generally impeded their forward motion. The Borg were the symbol of synergy and collectivism to the point of degradation of any excitement and emotion. Your MBA professor would be thrilled. These part-man part-machine beings were emotionless, grey and did what was best for the collective, often sacrificing their own humanity (alienity?) to serve the hive-mind.

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Just Another Obama Campaign Commentary

Posted in Reading Response, Social Networking Discovery by Trace on June 2, 2010

In the 2008 election, Obama and the media had no love lost between them (practically speaking) in comparison to his opposition (both during the primary and the general elections). This was in part supported by Obama’s media-buy being twice as much as others. (Source: Edelman Digital, January 2009)

During the 2008 Obama’s internet communications strategy aimed at concrete, focused and measurable goals, this is something all communications campaigns must do. Measurement to ensures reproduction.

“Even with the relatively vast resources at hand, Obama’s internet communications staff built carefully, innovated only as needed, and invested in projects that seemed to have a real chance of paying off in time to win.” says Delany in Learning from Obama on ePolitics101.

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Bai Bai Birdie

Posted in Reading Response by Trace on May 24, 2010

Reading The Argument by Matt Bai this week reminded me of reading another verbose publication. Then I realized Bai worked for the other, the New York Times. I enjoyed Bai’s book, it was an interesting topic and is a relevant book for those interested in working with politics. It’s important (and fun) to learn the behind-the-scenes of a political sphere, but when looking at the old democrats we can always find lots of interesting characters. Speaking of characters, I enjoyed how Bai often used literary designs usually relegated to the fictional writer to describe non-fiction characters; some of whom are still quite prominent in media and politics.

Bai’s book was far from an eye opener, and closer to a narrative, but the book itself described many considerations sometimes readily apparent to the casual political observer. For example, people are more important that constituency. When asked who influences politicians, its not just the people of the district, state or country who elected the officials, but often other officials, lobbyists, friends and colleagues.

This comes as no surprise to many of us, but the reasoning behind it (while not surprising) is not often put forth. Insecurity. Doubt. Confusion. Not to say politicians are stupid, but they are people. In our society of strong media personalities, public relations, media relations and highly sensationalized and celebritized figures, it’s strange to think that famous Americans are just another odd kid in a suit.

My favorite part of the book was the exposure of these celebrity leaders as not just politicians with talking points, but people who can be influenced by direct and purposeful information. People who can be spoken to like any other, befriended like any other, and argued with like any other.

As I like to tell my friends, “Even Obama has sit on the toilet to take a poop.”