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Amazon Takes On Microsoft, Google With WorkMail For Businesses

swillden Re:Privacy (62 comments)

Sure, you've been able to use S/MIME or PGP for years. I used to use S/MIME religiously. Adoption is, of course, the big obstacle. Maybe encouragement from Google will help to make it less of a niche, geeky thing. I'm not holding my breath, but it isn't inconceivable.

1 hour ago
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Amazon Takes On Microsoft, Google With WorkMail For Businesses

swillden Re:Privacy (62 comments)

Google is working on enabling OpenPGP-encrypted e-mail for Gmail with a Chrome extension: https://github.com/google/end-...

Or you can have it on Firefox right now with enigmail. Or well, you could. Maybe it doesn't work any more. I had nobody to exchange encrypted email with, so I no longer have it installed.

Yup, that is the issue. I'm weakly hopeful that having Google behind it will encourage wider use. Weakly.

1 hour ago
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Amazon Takes On Microsoft, Google With WorkMail For Businesses

swillden Re:Privacy (62 comments)

Though you have to trust AWS with the plain text at some time since every mail server and client has to hand the message over in plain text (it may come in over an encrypted tunnel, but it needs to be decrypted by their mailservers).

No, it doesn't. S/MIME, PGP-mail, etc. Of course that only works if the party you're e-mailing can also use client-side e-mail encryption.

Google is working on enabling OpenPGP-encrypted e-mail for Gmail with a Chrome extension: https://github.com/google/end-...

yesterday
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The American App Economy Is Now "Bigger Than Hollywood"

swillden Everything is bigger than Hollywood (134 comments)

Meh. Everything is bigger than Hollywood.

Okay, that's a little bit of an exaggeration, but honestly, on the scale of major first-world institutions that people know and recognize, Hollywood is pretty small potatoes. Apple alone rakes in more than double the entire worldwide film industry's take. 2013 worldwide film industry revenues: $88B, and Hollywood is only about 2/3 of that. 2014 Apple revenues: $183B. IBM also is also bigger than Hollywood. Google is about as big as Hollywood. Ford is bigger than Hollywood. GM is bigger than Hollywood. Exxon Mobil is more than six times as large as Hollywoood.

The film industry is almost noise in the US national economy. It's chump change.

Where Hollywood is a heavyweight, though, is in politics. It has massively disproportionate power in comparison to its segment of the economy. Why? Simple: political power is about influence, not money, and Hollywood has direct access to the voters' brains. Large quantities of money can also buy access to said brains, but there is no amount of money that could buy as much political advertising as Hollywood can pack into its entertainment output. And any individual actor of note can stand up and say something and get press coverage that would cost tens of millions if purchased, free.

Luckily, Hollywood isn't politically homogeneous, so to a large degree the politics of our entertainment media reflect the same varied sets of opinions found in the nation as a whole. Not perfectly, but largely. There are some areas in which the interests of Hollywood are highly homogeneous, however, such as around copyright law, and there they wield incredible clout.

Anyway, my core point here isn't about that, it's just that Hollywood's visibility and influence makes it seem much bigger than its actual economic status.

yesterday
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Opera Founder Is Back, WIth a Feature-Heavy, Chromium-Based Browser

swillden Re:I want to have to support another browser (158 comments)

Funny, and I want to have three open browsers so I can sandbox various activities from one another.

One browser that supports multiple profiles should accomplish that just fine.

Who said you had to support it? Are you the support guy for the entire interweb or something?

Nobody is forcing you to use it or support it.

You're not a web developer are you?

2 days ago
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Young Cubans Set Up Mini-Internet

swillden Re:Saddest line ever (140 comments)

The NSA is already going through your bank statements, and emails because you used the words destroying and communism in the same sentence.

Do you really think that America is any better? we give up rights to the government daily. just look at the TSA. you have to have a body cavity search just to board a plane now. They want to expand the TSA to cover all transportation too.

Do you think a Cuban could make a post as critical of their government as you just did? Or are you expecting to be disappeared tonight?

2 days ago
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Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

swillden Re:Jesus, we're fucked. (351 comments)

The fact that so many of us didn't get any chemistry is vindication of the statement that we're fucked [...] Everyone should be getting basic chemistry and biology, like it or not.

Meh. I took two years of chemistry in high school (second was AP). It was okay, and I suppose it's been marginally useful. I'm not sure everyone needs more chemistry than is taught in seventh and eighth grade science class, though... atoms and molecules, a bit about chemical reactions, an overview of the periodic table, including a basic notion of what the columns mean, a brief discussion of the ideal gas law, etc. I think that's sufficient for most. Stoichiometry, understanding valence shells, etc... not so much. The general structure is crucial. The details, including the construction of chemical names, really isn't.

What's more important, and not taught very well at all, is the theory and operation of the scientific method as a whole. I discovered a while ago that my wife -- who has a BS in biology and taught junior and high school science -- didn't really understand the scientific method. Specifically, she didn't understand the distinction between hypothesis and prediction, or why it matters, and didn't fully understand the critical nature of falsifiability and its implication that science is and always will be a series of successive approximations to the truth, never achieving perfect truth, yet being by far the most effective tool we have for getting ever closer to it.

4 days ago
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Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

swillden Re:Just for fun (351 comments)

Yanno, next time you are feeling pedantic ya might want to do a more thorough job of it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P...

However, in computer enthusiast circles in the late 20th century and early 21st, the non-standard viri form (sometimes even virii) was well-attested, generally in the context of computer viruses.[2]

The AC addressed this point quite well, so I'll let his comment stand.

I'd like to reply to the rest of your post but you didn't seem to say anything.

Your reading comprehension needs work, then. But I'll summarize: I was agreeing with you.

4 days ago
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Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

swillden Re:Jesus, we're fucked. (351 comments)

Slashdot has classified this as a "humour" story, but I find it simply frightening. There's always going to be a certain quantity of dullards on the left end of the curve, but... 80%?! 80% of Americans are unfamiliar with one of, if not *the* most fundamental concepts of biology? This isn't "Dihydrogen Monoxide" trickery, DNA is DNA and it's functionality is taught in high school- usually repeatedly.

I don't think it's that bad. I think this is "Dihydrogen Monoxide" trickery, only a slightly subtler form.

The dihydrogen monoxide trickery is using an unfamiliar name for a familiar substance. Unless you've taken some chemisty and know how to parse "dihydrogen monoxide" as "a molecule consisting of two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms", you don't realize it's water and the selective quotes, presented in a context that implies that the speaker/writer is a reasonably-intelligent person who genuinely believes there is a risk, obviously causes listeners to assume that it's dangerous.

A really essential part of the joke/scam is the fact that the speaker/writer appears to be intelligent and sincere. It's a social engineering scam, relying on the fact that most people are intelligent and sincere (the slashdot elitist tendency to assume general stupidity notwithstanding) and that therefore absent some sort of contraindications people tend to believe other people, because that's what makes society work.

In this case, I'd be willing to bet that the vast majority of the 80% who were confused actually know perfectly well what DNA is, and fully understand that most of our food contains it because most of our food is made from living organisms. And they understand that children get their DNA from their parents, including their mother.

But the way this is presented strongly implies that the topic of discussion is some other DNA, which is not supposed to be in the food and can have some sort of deleterious effect, and that warning labels might be useful. Further, the similarity of the ratio with those who support labeling of GMO foods indicates that the presentation may have caused the respondents to conflate the question with one about GMO. Some of them might even have assumed that the survey was in error and intended to ask about GMO foods and answered in the affirmative while shaking their heads about the cluelessness of the survey author. The apparent intelligence and sincerity of the speaker motivates people to believe there's a real issue, rather than this being a joke or a trick.

So I suspect that the 80/20 split here is less an artifact of education levels than it is an artifact of the distribution of different personality types. To what degree are you skeptical of scientific-sounding claims that are presented to you as factual? And how willing are you to lend your support to crusades pushed by apparently well-intentioned people, particularly when they appear to have little, if any, downside? The suggestion that the action to be taken is just labeling makes this a relatively low-impact campaign, even if successful, so the cost to society is low, and the cost to the survey respondent is nearly zero. In that sort of situation, many people will agree merely to be agreeable, regardless of their opinion on the issue.

4 days ago
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Americans Support Mandatory Labeling of Food That Contains DNA

swillden Re:Just for fun (351 comments)

Virii

I'm feeling pedantic this morning: The correct English plural of virus is viruses. In Latin the word is a mass noun, which means that the notion of a plural form didn't make any sense. In modern times we've applied a new definition which does allow for sensible pluralization, but historical Latin writings give us no clue about how to pluralize it. The most probable forms, though would be "vira" and "viri", not "virii". In English, though, the word is viruses.

Viruses are natural vectors for genes to cross species. Are you more comfortable with this happening at random in the wild or when it's watched and monitored in a lab?

It's ridiculous to assume that the mechanisms of selective breeding, where the changes originate in random mutations -- often accelerated by the use of mutagens -- plus random viral- and bacterial-vectored transgenic splicing, is somehow safer than deliberately-engineered splicing. It's like expecting that a bridge created by a fallen tree is more trustworthy than a manmade construct.

4 days ago
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By the Numbers: The Highest-Paying States For Tech Professionals

swillden Re:Flash? (136 comments)

And when you order something on Amazon or New Egg, they charge you less because you live in the mid-west?

Of course not. The main cost of living difference is housing. By way of example, consider me (I live in the Mountain West; Utah) and one of my colleagues (in Sunnyvale, CA). He bought a house last year for $1.2M. If I bought a comparable house in my area, it would be maybe $150K, probably less. My $400K house would cost at least $7-8M in the bay area. His house cost so much that he can't make the mortgage payments on his (fairly nice, by most standards) Google salary, so he actually rents out his master bedroom to make ends meet. He rents that one bedroom and attached bathroom out for not much less than it would cost to rent my whole 4000 square foot house.

The two of us make similar incomes. This means that while Amazon charges us the same, I have substantially more disposable income to spend (or would, if it weren't for my kids).

4 days ago
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Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

swillden Re:If all goes well. . . (228 comments)

..except for say, renting the information to "partners" for linking with offline purchases

Google doesn't do that. Rent, sell, donate, whatever. If you have some evidence to the contrary (e.g. public financial filings?), I'd be interested in seeing it. So would the FTC, actually, since AFAICT it would be a violation of Google's consent decree.

or if you switch browsers or somehow the cookie gets removed or you switch to a private browser window

I'm not entirely sure what you mean here, unless perhaps you're talking about losing your opt-out cookie? If that's what you mean, Google provides browser extensions that ensure that never happens.

Google doesn't only derive value from the information they gather about you by displaying you targeted online ads.

Yep, pretty much, that's it. Unless you're paying for Google services or buying Google hardware, online advertising is Google's revenue model. If you have some evidence to the contrary, I'd be interested in seeing it.

There are reasons why every ad network offering an 'opt-out' only stop displaying you targeted ads while it is in effect.

Again, I'm not sure what you mean here. Are you saying that if you stop opting out from targeted ads you start seeing targeted ads? That seems pretty obvious to me.

And none of them are for your benefit.

None of what are for my benefit? The ads? If that's what you mean, I beg to differ. Most ads are useless to me, I agree, but it does happen from time to time that I see one that's useful. Even more importantly, those ads are how the sites that I like get funded, so they benefit me very directly.

(In my particular case, Google ads also pay most of my salary. But I felt the same about all of this before I joined Google so I honestly don't think that affects my opinions much.)

4 days ago
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Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

swillden Re:If all goes well. . . (228 comments)

It's disingenuous to assert that Google doesn't know about the data that is collects, sells it (the http_referrer coin collection), and that the advertiser whose link you clicked doesn't know you, perhaps by name (referring to the fact that the IPv4 address space has largely known destinations to the street address and user-characteristics).

First, I never asserted that Google doesn't know about the data that it collects. That would be to deny a tautology. Second, you seem to be asserting that Google sells the data, which isn't true, as I explained in more detail in my first post in this thread. Third, the advertiser may well know you by name, etc., but not because Google told them anything about you. The fact that your IP may be linked to your identity in various ways is true, but not Google's fault, and Google doesn't participate in spreading information about you.

If you don't want an advertiser to get your IP, I suppose you should avoid clicking on ads.

Slashdot knows who I am. My IP is known. They can be linked. One can become somewhat anonymous on the Internet, but only by trying really, really hard to accomplish this, and it's transient at best-- as accumulated information becomes your dossier.

To the degree that it is cross-referenced, yes. And Google Analytics gives Google perhaps more of this sort of information than any other entity -- unless, of course, you opt out of analytics tracking, in which case Google doesn't track you.

The implications of dossiers are for a different forum, but in this circumstance, this thread, this post, it's my criticism of the pretension within the post, viz: "And with your permission and all of that, you are interacting with the things going on in the room" means that your devices will be forced to respond to its ambient environment, and what you do, even say, maybe your sexual responses, all of these will become exposed, modesty and your intentions to hide these things, vanquished by environmental probes.

Well, then, don't give your permission. I think that's the key; opt out of the services you find too intrusive. That doesn't completely solve the problem, because of the cross-referencing issue. I think we'll need to deal with that legislatively, to bar companies from cross-referencing the data they have about individuals, and to give individuals access to the information held about them, and the opportunity to request that it be deleted... with, of course, serious consequences for failing to comply with such requests.

5 days ago
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Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

swillden Re:If all goes well. . . (228 comments)

Which exonerates Google..... no.

Google of course, has NO idea that you clicked. Nope, never, nada. /sarcasm.

I'm really not sure what you're on about.

Yes, Google knows you clicked, because they use that to track advertising effectiveness statistics, and, I assume, as a signal that the ad is for something you're interested in. Normally, of course, a web site doesn't know about clicks on links to other sites. When you click a search result or an ad, you're actually hitting a link to Google, which then redirects you to the destination. This is done so that Google knows you clicked. For both search results and ads, that's an important signal to Google that lets them know they ranked results/ads well and showed you what you were looking for.

Yes, the advertiser's web site knows you clicked, just like any web site you visit. Slashdot knows you viewed this article, and posted, and what you posted, etc. If you use a site, the system and therefore its operators know you did.

I don't see what about all of this upsets you, or what you think someone is trying to hide from you.

5 days ago
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Google Just Made It Easier To Run Linux On Your Chromebook

swillden Re:Thank fricking God it requires developer mode. (169 comments)

I can't work out if you're joking. I would never want a computer where I couldn't replace the OS with 3 minutes and a screwdriver.

But do you want a computer where someone else can replace your OS with three minutes and a screwdriver without you being able to tell that they did so?

5 days ago
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Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

swillden Re:If all goes well. . . (228 comments)

Yes, if you click a link that takes you to the advertiser's site, they know you did so. It's no different than if you typed in their URL, except that they see a referer header from Google, and find out what search terms you used to find them. Google didn't give them any of that information, though, YOU did.

5 days ago
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Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

swillden Re:If all goes well. . . (228 comments)

If you opt out of personalized ads, there's no value to Google in tracking you.

5 days ago
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U.S. Gas Stations Vulnerable To Internet Attacks

swillden Re:Thanks Guys. (100 comments)

The news at 11, of course, is that said serial port access is provided via TCP on a public IP, on a known port, with no password.

about a week ago
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Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

swillden Re:If all goes well. . . (228 comments)

You CAN'T opt-out of being tracked.

Yes, you can, at least with Google. Google provides opt-out tools, and they work. I know some of the engineers who work on opt-out and they're quite serious about ensuring that nothing identifiable gets stored about users who present an opt-out cookie. Any team that tried to work around opt out would be in trouble... and would get Google in trouble during its regular FTC privacy audits, pursuant to the consent decree Google signed.

(Disclaimer: I work for Google, but I don't speak for Google. The above represents only my personal opinions.)

about a week ago
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Eric Schmidt: Our Perception of the Internet Will Fade

swillden Re:If all goes well. . . (228 comments)

Google gets your permission to vacuum the contents of Gmail, liberate data from your Android phone, and then somehow, removing "personal identifiable information", liberates this data and sells it to others, who reassemble the information.

This is a common misunderstanding of Google's business model. Google doesn't sell information. At least, not very much. I think there are a few minor products that involve selling aggregated, statistical information, but they're an insignificant part of Google's revenue stream. Where Google makes money isn't by selling information about users, it's by using information about users. Google doesn't deliver information to advertisers for them to decide who to advertise to, Google accepts ads from the advertisers and uses the information it has to decide which ones to show to which users. Advertisers don't see the user data and have very little control over the targeting of their ads, which is fine with them because Google is better at the targeting than they are anyway.

(Disclaimer: I work for Google, but I don't speak for Google. The above is all public information.)

about a week ago

Submissions

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Details of iOS and Android Device Encryption

swillden swillden writes  |  about 4 months ago

swillden (191260) writes "There's been a lot of discussion of what, exactly, is meant by the Apple announcement about iOS8 device encryption, and the subsequent announcement by Google that Android L will enable encryption by default. Two security researchers tackled these questions in blog posts:

Matthew Green tackled iOS encryption, concluding that at bottom the change really boils down to applying the existing iOS encryption methods to more data. He also reviews the iOS approach, which uses Apple's "Secure Enclave" chip as the basis for the encryption and guesses at how it is that Apple can say it's unable to decrypt the devices. He concludes, with some clarification from a commenter, that Apple really can't (unless you use a weak password which can be brute-forced, and even then it's hard).

Nikolay Elenkov looks into the preview release of Android "L". He finds that not only has Google turned encryption on by default, but appears to have incorporated hardware-based security as well, to make it impossible (or at least much more difficult) to perform brute force password searches off-device."
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Google Wallet now works with any card

swillden swillden writes  |  more than 2 years ago

swillden writes "Google posted on Wednesday: 'we’re releasing a new, cloud-based version of the Google Wallet app that supports all credit and debit cards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover. Now, you can use any card when you shop in-store or online with Google Wallet. With the new version, you can also remotely disable your mobile wallet app from your Google Wallet account on the web.'"
Link to Original Source
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Google+ for Google Apps Released

swillden swillden writes  |  more than 3 years ago

swillden (191260) writes "Finally addressing a problem with the new Google+ social network that has generated a great number of complaints from long-time Google users, Google has announced the availability of Google+ for users with Google Apps accounts. The feature isn't enabled automatically for all Google Apps domains, though, it's necessary for the domain administrator to turn it on."
Link to Original Source
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Real-world RAID0 performance

swillden swillden writes  |  more than 6 years ago

swillden writes "I recently got the opportunity to play with some fairly high-end hardware and I was very surprised at the poor I/O performance. The machine was a 4-way Xeon with a high-end RAID controller and five 300GB SCSI Ultra-320 15,000 RPM drives, to be configured as a very high-performance database server. I didn't care so much about the real database workload, though, I just wanted to see what kind of data rate I could get, for fun.

Given that each of these drives individually can sustain over 100 MB/s, and given that I'd expect RAID0 to scale roughly linearly with the number of drives, I was expecting in the neighborhood of 500 MB/s. What I got (according to bonnie++) was about 200 MB/s, less than half the expected data rate. Disappointed, I decided to give Linux MD RAID a try, which got me up to about 240 MB/s, 20% faster than the hardware RAID, but still disappointing.

My question for the slashdot geeks that play with this kind of stuff all the time is: What kind of performance should I expect out of a system like this? Does RAID0 always scale so poorly? And, just for good nerdish fun, what's the fasted storage I/O you've ever seen?"
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What examples of Security Theater have you seen?

swillden swillden writes  |  more than 6 years ago

swillden writes "Everyone who pays any attention at all to security, both computer security and "meatspace" security, has heard the phrase Security Theater. For years I've paid close attention to security setups that I come in contact with, and tried to evaluate their real effectiveness vs their theatrical aspects. In the process I've found many examples of pure theater, but even more cases where the security was really a cover for another motive.

Recently, a neighbor uncovered a good example. He and his wife attended a local semi-pro baseball game where security guards were checking all bags for weapons. Since his wife carries a small pistol in her purse, they were concerned that there would be a problem. They decided to try anyway, and see if her concealed weapon permit satisfied the policy. The guard looked at her gun, said nothing and passed them in, then stopped the man behind them because he had beer and snacks in his bag. Park rules prohibit outside food. It's clear what the "security" check was really about: improving park food vending revenues.

So, what examples of pure security theater have slashdotters noticed? Even more interesting, what examples of security-as-excuse have you seen?."
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swillden swillden writes  |  more than 8 years ago

swillden writes "I've come across an increasing number of GPL programs lately that display an EULA-style click-wrap agreement during installation. While not exactly wrong, this seems like a bad idea to me, since it perpetuates the idea that you must agree to some arbitrary set of conditions in order to install and use a piece of software. In this case the conditions are very liberal (there are none, really), but still it reinforces the notion that you can't install a package unless you agree.

The FSF says that such click-wrapping is neither required nor forbidden but it seems like a bad idea to promote the click-wrap meme, even if the license is user-friendly. What do slashdotters think?"

Journals

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10 seconds that can help boot Orrin Hatch out of office

swillden swillden writes  |  more than 8 years ago

I'm sure all of you have seen the many articles about various wacko things Senator Orrin Hatch has done to support the RIAA and MPAA. Among other things, he'd like to empower the media industry to remotely destroy the computers of people they suspect of illegally sharing files.

Wouldn't be great to give him the boot? You can help, by doing nothing more than voting on a web site.

See, for the first time in quite a few years Hatch has a serious contender for his seat. Pete Ashdown is a smart, tech-savvy businessman who's taken a year off to run his campaign. Ashdown is the sort of moderate Democrat who has a chance to win in Utah, and Utahns have expressed their opinion in polls that Hatch has been in office long enough and they'd like a change.

However good Ashdown's chances in theory, though, campaigning is about money, and he needs it.

That's where this vote comes in. Barbara Boxer has some campaign cash she's going to give to one of the Democrats running against a long-term incumbent senator. If Ashdown can win that vote, he'll have a great warchest to start the campaign with. It won't be enough, but it will give him a good start and will hopefully prime the pump for other large democratic contributions.

So go vote, and get all of your friends and neighbors to do the same! Even if they're Republicans, they still have to appreciate that an utterly one-sided race like Hatch has had in the past is not good for democracy. Get them to vote!

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