Michael Williams is a software engineer and technological visionary who recently completed a PhD in computer science from UCLA; his major field was artificial intelligence and he has minors in psychology and computational algorithms. He enjoys international politics, law, history, all sorts of gaming, and long walks on the beach. His favorite color is clear. He’s a Christian who wasn’t born into it but chose it voluntarily. He is currently escaping from Los Angeles and moving to St. Louis to put his AI expertise to use in the defense industry. Don’t tell anyone.
Simon Owens: As a software engineer, what new kinds of blogging software do you think will appear in the near future to enhance the power of blogging even more?
Michael Williams: One of the things I’m most looking forward to is high quality transcription software that will let a person speak to their blog through their cell phone and then post their words as text. (I don’t really like audio and video blogs.)
Simon Owens: With the recent Guantanamo Bay Supreme Court rulings, how do you think the executive powers will react? Do you agree with the Supreme Court’s decision?
Michael Williams: I think Hamdan v. Rumsfeld will have a negligable effect on our policy of detaining prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. I’m not a lawyer, but my understanding is that the ruling simply requires Congress to more explicitly authorize the tribunals President Bush wants, and I’m sure they’ll do it. In the bigger picture, America is entirely justified in holding prisoners caught on the field of combat indefinitely until hostilities are over. This isn’t a new policy; to the best of my knowledge, it’s how wars have worked for millenia (or at least since we’ve stopped killing prisoners outright). The terrorists won’t follow the Geneva Conventions when dealing with us, so we have no obligation to follow it in our dealings with them. Treaties are based on reciprocity.
Simon Owens: Many people have noticed that liberal political blogs seem to be out-performing conservative blogs when it comes to audience. Why do you think this is?
Michael Williams: I don’t think that’s the case. Leftist movements tend to be more centrally controlled, so the large leftist blogs are very large because everyone wants to be part of the crowd. Conservative/libertarian movements tend to be more diffuse and individualized, which leads to a greater number of smaller blogs. So, I suppose it depends on how you define “performance”. It seems clear to me that the rightist side of the blogosphere has had far more impact on national and international policy than the leftist side.
Simon Owens: Have you been following the recent squabbles between Daily Kos and The New Republic over the power of blogs? How effective are political blogs, and do you think they’re more effective with local or national politics?
Michael Williams: I haven’t been. Unfortunately I have more time to blog than to read blogs. I do believe that blogs are powerful tools, mainly for disseminating information and expertise (cf. Rathergate). Insofar as they’re read by policymakers, blogs have influence; insofar as they organize voters, blogs have power.
Simon Owens: What are going to be some of the biggest obstacles for Republicans in the upcoming elections?
Michael Williams: Overcoming President Bush’s disasterous handling of illegal immigration and his administration’s insane spending spree. I think the various ethics scandals will be a wash between the parties — everyone knows politicians are corrupt, and we like to see them arrested, but no one believes the Democrats are cleaner than the Republicans (cf. Chicago, Washington, DC, Massachusetts, etc.). The Republicans will win if they stick to their guns with the War on Terror and return to Reagan’s ideals of limited government.
Simon Owens: What are the five blogs you’d recommend to supplement the reading of your own?
Michael Williams: Some of these are columnists rather than bloggers, but these days, what’s the difference?
- Clayton Cramer
- The Daily Spork
- Mark Steyn
- Kudlow’s Money Politic$
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