Congress, now live on YouTube

Posted by

Robert Kyncl, Vice President, Global Head of Content Partnerships for YouTube

& Susan Molinari, Vice President, Public Policy and Government Relations

Video plays a powerful role in bringing us closer together, especially when it connects people in real time. By transcending borders, empowering citizens, and increasing transparency, it’s one of the many ways technology allows democracy to thrive. Starting this week, all members of the U.S. Congress will have the opportunity to access enhanced features on their YouTube channels, including the ability to live stream video.

Live video is already allowing elected officials and their constituents to reach one another in innovative ways. Thousands tuned in to YouTube to watch the president’s State of the Union address and the corresponding Republican response this February. Engagement is growing across many types of platforms — Google+ Hangouts, for example, have sparked face-to-face conversations on topics ranging from gun control to the national economy and have allowed people on the other side of the world to share their stories at Congressional hearings.

If you’re a member of Congress and would like to know more, check out these Dear Colleague letters issued by the House and Senate. Whether it’s to share a look into your daily work, broadcast speeches and meetings, or showcase events in your state or district, we can’t wait to see how you connect with your constituents.

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Peeking into the Science Museum’s “Information Age” gallery

Last night, we were treated to a glimpse of the construction underway for the London Science Museum’s new gallery about the history of communications — starting with a new name, “Information Age”.

Due to open in September 2014, “Information Age” will show how the history of information is a history of networked communication. It will showcase transformations in the way people have used technology to connect to each other. Google is among the principal funders for the gallery, which will be a permanent fixture in the museum and take up a whopping 2,500 square metres.

The gallery will be divided into six sections, corresponding to six different communications technologies: telegraph, broadcast TV and radio, telephone exchanges, satellite, web and mobile. Each section will focus on 3 to 4 significant moments, which will be brought to life by bringing historic objects together with the human stories of how they came about and were used. Inventors and their breakthroughs will be celebrated, but crucially also the influence of everyday users whose experiences shaped the way technologies were embraced and evolved.


Artist impressions c.2013, shown with kind permission of Science Museum, University Design Studio 
Top: Cable Network, exploring the impact of the electric telegraph in the 19th century
Middle: The tuning coil from Rugby Radio, positioned at the centre of the gallery
Bottom: A GPS satellite model, viewed from the gallery’s sweeping elevated walkway

Google strongly endorses the role of museums in helping adults and children alike to appreciate the wonders of science and inspire the next generation of innovators. We’re excited by the plans revealed for “Information Age”, and can’t want to see them made real.

Posted by Peter Barron, Director, External Relations
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Reelecciòn: Barra lo quiso, Evo lo pudo

Cuando Rodolfo Barra presentò el argumento de que la vida constitucional renacìa de cero, luego de la reforma constitucional de 1994, y que por tanto Carlos Menem no se presentaba a una tercera, sino a una primera reelecciòn, nos reìmos todos, primero, y luego, afortunadamente, todos lo repudiamos. Còmo se podìa mentir tan descaradamente, dijimos. Còmo se podìa bastardear tan burdamente al derecho, exclamamos indignados. En la actualidad, sigo usando el argumento del nazi aquel como ejemplo del caràcter caricaturesco que a veces puede adquirir el derecho.

Ahora, caramba, el Tribunal Constitucional Boliviano usa ese mismo argumento de burla al derecho…pero resulta que Evo Morales es amigo, y que nos cae simpàtico, entonces bueno, no debe estar tan mal, vamos para adelante, y el que critica es un retrògrado. El menem-kirchnerismo avanza por Amèrica Latina: mentir, mentir, mentir, ya nada importa salvo volver a ganar.
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European consumers embrace online content

The Internet has been disruptive for the media industries – film, television, gaming, music, books and news. But it’s now becoming clear that whilst initially painful, this disruption is proving positive, as three recent studies released by Booz & Co, Floor 64 Research, and Boston Consulting Group show. The digital era is starting to benefit both Europe’s content producers and consumers.

Boston Consulting Group’s “Follow the Surplus” report (disclosure: commissioned by Google), published this week reveals growing confidence in online content. Three quarters of consumers surveyed in nine European countries judged that online content had improved in quality, and nearly two thirds expect continued improvement.

The report also noted that two-thirds of respondents value the diversity of information and opinions available to them online, and substantial majorities (as high as 75% in some countries) are more excited about the benefits of the Internet than they are worried about any perceived risks.

This optimism is generating a large ‘consumer surplus’ – the theoretical value consumers attribute to a product or service above and beyond what they paid for it – valued at an average of EUR 1,100 per person per year for online media.

It’s clear too that European consumers are increasingly willing to pay for content. Booz’s report (disclosure: also commissioned by Google) calculates digital revenues at €30 billion higher in 2011 than in 2001. Floor 64’s research shows that in 2007, there were just 11 legal digital music services in Germany, in 2011 there were 68. The British Recorded Music Industry’s recent annual report says UK digital music revenues last year overtook sales or records and CDs for the first time. And according to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry’s Digital Music Report 2013, digital revenues now account for 34% of total global revenues for the recording industry.

These reports all paint a picture of a large digital opportunity for the creative sectors – and of an industry in the process of reorienting itself to the online world. We’re keen to partner with the creative sectors and answer growing consumer demand for quality online media.

Posted by Simon Morrison, Public Policy Manager, Google
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Basta de violencia policial 3

Página 12 se escandalizaba hoy frente a la resistencia del gobierno de la Ciudad a pensar siquiera la renuncia del Ministro de Seguridad porteño.
Permítanme decirlo con todas las letras: no tienen autoridad alguna para reclamar la renuncia de ningún funcionario, luego de diez años de vergonzoso encubrimiento y silencio cómplice frente a las directas responsabilidades del Ejecutivo kirchnerista en el asesinato de Mariano Ferreyra, el espionaje a la izquierda, la masacre del Once, las muertes en la Plata.
Nosotros, en cambio, desde acá, y con absoluta tranquilidad de conciencia, seguimos reclamando la renuncia de Montenegro, de Berni, de Garré, de de Vido, de Boudou: Que se vayan todos y que no vuelvan nunca más.

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Interpretación 3: Balkin

Para quienes están siguiendo la (debo decirlo) excelente colección de Igualitaria sobre Derecho y Política (publicada con Siglo XXI), el concepto de “constitucionalismo popular” o, tal vez más precisamente, “constitucionalismo democrático”, no es una novedad. Han conocido ya, al menos, una gran compilación de textos de dos de los principales mentores de esta corriente: Robert Post y Reva Siegel, en el libro que publicamos bajo el título Constitucionalismo Democrático.

Jack Balkin vendría a ser el tercero en discordia (o mejor, concordia). También podríamos incluir dentro del grupo a Larry Kramer y su importante libro The People Themselves, que trata sobre sobre el “constitucionalismo popular y la revisión judicial”

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Sin embargo, Balkin (autor, junto con Siegel, del original libro “The Constitution in 2020,” que en nuestra colección emulamos con el local “La Constitución en 2020″) forma parte del “núcleo” original de la corriente -corriente que, desde sus inicios, ha anidado centralmente en la Universidad de Yale.

Balkin es un autor de primera, que acaba de publicar su gran libro, Living Originalism. Como deja en claro desde el título de su última obra, la posición de Balkin pretende, de un modo peculiar, mediar entre el originalismo (aunque Balkin rechaza fuertemente la particular posición de Scalia sobre el tema), y la contraria propuesta de la “constitución viviente” (living constitutionalism). Lo que propone, en todo caso, es algo que en parte se relaciona con la interpretación constitucional, pero en parte no: Balkin quiere ofrecer una teoría sobre la “construcción constitucional”: qué es lo que en la realidad ocurre cuando se discute (y entonces interpreta) la Constitución. Para él, el sistema de “frenos y contrapesos” -originalmente ideado como “clave” en dicho proceso de construcción constitucional, ha sido reemplazado en los hechos por otro más amplio, que trasciende el mecanismo de “checks and balances” (“ambition against ambition”): Hoy, la Constitución se discute y renueva a través de acuerdos, razones y conflictos, en donde los “movimientos y contramovimientos” (“mobilization against countermobilization”) juegan un papel central, que debe ser reconocido por la doctrina y jurisprudencia constitucionales.

El libro de Balkin es inteligente y complejo, y convendría no trivializarlo en unas pocas líneas, por lo cual este post debe ser tomado sólo como una mínima introducción al mismo. Puedo decir, en todo caso, que Balkin ve a su propuesta, centralmente, de la siguiente forma. Ella es originalista de un modo básico y minimalista: suscribe un “originalismo marco” (framework originalism) a partir del cual la política se pone en movimiento para dar contenido a la vida constitucional a lo largo del tiempo, y a través de un proceso de construcción colectiva. En ese proceso colectivo intervienen tanto políticos y jueces como movimientos sociales. (Debe notarse que éste solo punto no es menor: lo que el originalismo de Scalia puede llegar a admitir sólo como una excepción o una anomalía constitucional, producto del stare decisis -pongamos, los derechos iguales conseguidos por las mujeres- entra en la concepción de Balkin por la puerta de entrada principal, y de pleno derecho).

Del modo citado, el originalismo en una versión minimalista se torna compatible con las exigencias de la “Constitución viviente”: la Constitución pasa a asemejarse entonces a un organismo vivo, que crece y cambia con el tiempo, en diálogo con, o en relación a, impulsos sociales, políticos y económicos propios del contexto en el que la Constitución se encuentra ubicada.

Esta forma de entender la Constitución, sensible a los lentos, disputados y razonados cambios del momento, se parece en parte pero también se diferencia, de modo relevante, de la lectura Ackermaniana de la Constitución (en donde la misma es leída e interpretada a la luz de episódicos, ocasionales, grandiosos, “momentos constitucionales”). Aquí, los cambios son progresivos, graduales, constantes, no excepcionales: para Balkin, la construcción constitucional viene en “talles diversos”, grandes y pequeños, sin obedecer a secuencias pautadas y predefinidas, como en la fórmula de Ackerman.

Living originalism es un libro con el que puedo no estar de acuerdo, pero al que reconocería como realmente importante, dentro de la doctrina constitucional contemporánea. Un buen contrincante para las lecturas originalistas, procedimentalistas, dworkinianas, minimalistas, de la Constitución.

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Labour relations in Belfast: a series of events

Belfast City Council is to host a series of events to mark the rise of the trades union movement a century ago.

Announcing the programme, Councillor Maire Hendron, Chair of the council`s Good Relations Steering Group, commented: “The period between 1912 and 1922 witnessed some dramatic changes in this part of the world, and it is only right that, a century later, we recognise and remember the importance of that decade of key historical moments, and explore some of the significant events in detail.

“The role of the labour movement, and in particular the rise of the trades unions, in that period cannot be under-estimated, especially as they brought together men and women from all social, economic, political and religious backgrounds to fight for a common goal.”

To mark the centenary, a series of events is being held at the City Hall, as follows:

Tuesday 7 May: The story of the Belfast Dockers’ Strike and subsequent 1913 Dubin Lockout, told in words and music with folk singers Jane Cassidy and Maurice Leyden, as well as some special guests.

Wednesday 15 May: The role of women in the labour movement, with Therese Moriarty.

Tuesday 21 May: Supping at the `bitter gourd`: struggles of the Belfast Labour Movement 1906 -1932, with John Gray, author of `City in Revolt – James Larkin and the Belfast Dock Strike`.

Thursday 30 May: The Dublin Lockout of 1913 – A Very British Conflict, with Padraig Yeates.

Thursday 6 June: Migration and the Making of a City, with Professor Stephen Royle and Agnieszka Martynowicz exploring the theme from the famine of the 1840s through the rise of the shipbuilding, engineering and linen industries in the latter 18th century, to the impact of the expansion of the European Union.

All these events start at 7.15pm (except Padraig Yeates, which is at 12.15pm) and are free of charge. Tickets can be obtained from the Belfast Welcome Centre in Donegall Place (telephone 9024 6609). More details.

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