Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Friday, June 24, 2011
Monday, June 20, 2011
The anonymous quality of the internet has always bothered me for a variety of reasons. Everything I post on the internet - every comment I make anywhere in society - has my name and face attached to it. For that reason, I am accountable for what I say. And I never put anything in print that I am embarrassed or reluctant to claim. And I view with suspicion anyone who posts anonymously - or, with ridiculous pseudonyms. I have often considered refusing to post anonymous comments on my blog because I have little respect for someone who will criticize or challenge my public posts, yet refuses to put a name to the comments. It always seems a little cowardly and childish. Of course, I acknowledge the time-honored tradition of anonymous news sources, especially as whistle blowers. But they are not what I am talking about - we can't extend whistle blower, anonymous source protection to everyone who wants to write a negative review of a product on Amazon. Can we? Should we?
One of the biggest mistakes I think Americans make regarding privacy issues is to believe they have a right to be invisible, or a right to not be seen. This weighs heavily in public places like schools, airports, and streets. No one is guaranteed invisibility if they are going to walk down a public street or enter a public building. The right to privacy does not endow invisibility. And, that should probably extend to anonymity. Author Michael Lewis wrote about this years ago in his book Next: The Future Just Happened. In analyzing the unintended results of the rise of the anonymity, he chronicled stories of young people who broke down the walls of the legal profession and Wall Street by using the anonymity of the internet. For example, Jonathon Lebed was the youngest person ever indicted for internet stock fraud after he bought penny stocks and then posted anonymous hype of financial message boards. Lewis explains that his "hype" was believable only because no one knew the financial advice was coming from a teenager with no credentials. Anonymity allowed Lebed to crash the gates of financial advising - and enabled him to generate nearly $900,000 in about fifteen months. Whether that was a positive impact on society, I don't know.
Ultimately, accountability is important. This is especially true in economic situations. Trust is integral to the integrity of a system. And, outside the situation of whistle blowers, anonymity is not a positive quality for American society.
Saturday, June 18, 2011
Friday, June 17, 2011
Thursday, June 16, 2011
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Monday, June 13, 2011
Friday, June 10, 2011
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
What a year for Regis Jesuit High School athletics in Colorado. They won state championships in boys tennis, golf, basketball, swimming, lacrosse, baseball, and a second-place finish in football. Of course, there's no reason to suspect athletic recruiting at this school of 900 students - except they actually admitted illegal recruiting practices to CHSAA last fall. Though Regis has dominated boys swimming for years, they’ve made a dramatic leap to domination in all sports in a very short time. And, it’s not a question of if they are recruiting – it’s a matter of how extensive the violations have been. The coincidence between the recent string of victories and the illegal recruiting admission last fall should not be ignored.
Unfortunately CHSAA has taken no serious action toward private school recruiting, and public schools are understandably troubled by this trend. Last fall, the Florida High School Athletic Association fined Mandarin Christian High School $142,000 - a penalty so harsh it may destroy the school's entire sports program. While it may seem extreme, Florida should be applauded for taking the issue seriously. It’s worth asking how a similar hard-line might change high school playoffs in Colorado.
At one time, Jesuit schools had a reputation for a rigid code of ethics and a devout focus on education. Hopefully, that hasn't changed in Colorado, though recent results certainly cast suspicion. The problem with recruiting is it's difficult to prove - thus, when it's discovered, regulators need to make it hurt. By not doing so, CHSAA is condoning behavior detrimental to high school sports.