Move along, nothing to see here: "Many Americans confronted with stories of media manipulation by
government officials aren't, at this point, shocked and awed. Instead
they've come to expect it. Increasingly, they consider the media simply
a mouthpiece for whoever has the most power. You don't have to tell
John Q. Public that the fix is in; he takes it for granted."
Because I am an idiot I failed to notice that tix for the Arcade Fire/Superchunk show aren't available until tomorrow, so I walked over to the old courthouse and then to the Obama office on Friendly where they clued me in.
While I was at the office a woman from Reidsville came in and voiced frustration that the office keeps running out of yard signs and other supplies, which is probably good in terms of demand but annoying if you are trying to get some supplies to Reidsville.
The concert tix will be available at a table outside the old courthouse so I realized I should just vote early tomorrow as I will be traveling on primary day, duh.
I noticed that my children had left $3 in my wallet which bought me a hotdog and a drink by the Gallucci gate. I thought as I ate that it would be great if GSO native and semi-official EdCone.com portrait artist Jack McCook would rejoin Superchunk for a few songs next Thursday, and even better if Obama showed up to do a Tracy Partridge thing with the tambourine.
The NCGOP remains one of the NCDP's greatest assets.
UPDATE: "Not so long ago almost nothing was too extreme for North Carolina
politics, including the Helms' campaign portraying Democrat Jim Hunt as
someone backed by gays and lesbians, not to mention Teddy Kennedy and
UPDATE: "The Next Six Months: Some Republican or conservative group runs a dumb ad. John McCain nobly distances himself from it. Cable news spends all day talking about it and showing it for free. Rinse. Repeat."
UPDATE: "Some McCain supporters are spinning the disavowal of the ad as a masterful strategy to stay above the fray. Nonsense. It’s an idiotic strategy to convince more rank-and-file Republicans to stop giving money to the Beltway GOP elite."
This meaningful-primary stuff is entertaining in all kinds of ways.
How do you pick a candidate for judge? The N&R asks, but the answer is frustrating: vote for the person who seems...judicious. Fair, honest, knowledgeable.
OK, but how do we know who qualifies?
I know Robby Hassell belongs on the bench, because I know him and I can say without reservation that he has a fine mind and an impeccable character, but I'm clueless on a lot of other races.
The N&R doesn't endorse district court candidates in the primaries -- a shame, because that's where the biggest info-gap lies. I don't really need the paper to tell me its institutional preference in any number of high-profile contests, but I could use some help with judicial races where information is scarce.
Doug Clark fills in some of the gaps in an appeals court race.
We don't know much even about supreme court candidates, which was why it's important for bloggers to step into the breach.
Candidate websites would be helpful, but they are thin on the ground.
CourtWatch is an independent group that does what the name suggests, but its online presence is skeletal.
Nancy McLaughlin points to an article about the shock of modest clothing.
The polygamist sect seems to have been playing by some rules of its own, but it followed a general pattern of communities (e.g., Amish, Hasids) that turn back the clock on fashion to make a religious statement.
They always seem to choose gear from the era their sect was founded. I guess the LDS offshoots look at pioneer days as the time their religion was born, but I always wonder why the look for these groups isn't more in the line of sandals and robes or whatever people wore in Biblical times.
UPDATE: Anna sends a link to Quaker Jane's page on Plain Dress. That practice was long gone by the time I got to Haverford, interesting to see it survives. Old-style Quaker speech is spoofed gently in a scene from The Philadelphia Story (about a minute into the clip):
This time its not opaque acronymic instruments causing the pain, it's good old fashioned loan-loss provisions. "Banks establish bad-loan reserves as a cushion against
expected losses on defaulted loans. Additions to these reserves, called 'provisions,' get booked as an expense in a bank's income statement and
reduce earnings...as the economic downturn starts to bite, rising defaults are
prompting banks to add larger sums to the reserves."
Keith Brown says, "Tonight in Greensboro at the City Council Chambers from 6:00 pm - 8:00
pm is a great time to Lobby your State Legislators on any issue you
think needs to be addressed. Like Protest Petitions in Greensboro."
Nancy Franklin on the Philly debate: "Charles Gibson, ABC’s nightly-news anchor, moderated, and was greasily
avuncular and patronizing; if ever Gibson was in danger of raising the
questioning to a level that might actually yield something useful for
viewers, George Stephanopoulos, ABC’s Sunday-morning political
quarterback, was by his side to make sure that didn’t happen. Clinton
and Obama were trapped by questions that were unworthy of them, and
trapped by not getting a chance to answer good questions that never
came. ABC, Gibson, and Stephanopoulos actively trashed an important
Paying someone a salary without being able to direct their work is
probably the biggest challenge to managerial culture within a business
that one can imagine.
I spoke with Clay Shirky this morning about some of the ideas in his book, Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. The timing was good, because I had just read this post by Nick Carr, and it all led to a post at the DJB, Decoding the Professionalization of Linux.
"The Afghan Army and police forces should be able to secure most of Afghanistan by 2011, allowing international forces to start withdrawing, the American commander of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, Gen. Dan K. McNeill, said Sunday."
I wonder what we might have accomplished there, in military and political terms, if we'd made the central front in the war on terror the central front in the war on terror.
Ludicrous as the whole spectacle was, ABC would not have been so widely pilloried had it not tapped into a larger national discontent with news media fatuousness.
Still, Stephanopoulos and Charlie "$200K is middle class" Gibson earn special discredit for their "failure to ask about the mortgage crisis, health care, the
environment, torture, education, China policy, the pending G.I. bill to
aid veterans, or the war we’re losing in Afghanistan...Such defacing of American values is to be
expected, I guess, from a network whose debate moderators refuse to
wear flag pins."
N&O: "Black Mountain College was a small yet dynamic ripple in the cultural
tsunami that swept across America after World War II. It is this larger
story -- of a time when the arts were not at the margin but at the
center of American culture -- that the Wilson Library tells."
I started my session on communities with obvious examples of groups bound by geography and political interest. When I wanted to broaden the discussion to communities of interest that transcend geography, I called on Vera, who talked about the craft-blogging community (apparently the flame wars between knitters and crocheters can be intense) and also the iguana-blogging world in which her husband participated. (At dinner the night before she told me about another community of interest: the foot-fetishists who show up at knitting blogs to check out the sock models. Who knew?)
(I liked the side-by-side format in the print edition -- anyway to reproduce the front of today's opinion section as a PDF?)
I'm against the sales-tax increase -- the N&R is right that we need to quit raising property taxes, but I'd like to see some cuts to offset the bond-driven increases. The sales tax bump would increase revenue by $16 million -- surely we can find something to trim in a nearly $600 million county budget instead.
It's hard to argue against the bonds (the N&R says a reluctant no to the parks, but they're a rounding era on this big package). We need to have the best schools around, we need a new jail -- those things are investments, not frills. But I'd love to see a few bucks come off my property tax bill as we add these things to it.
That's not the way government usually works. Wouldn't it be nice if ours worked better than usual?
So the EG put me up at Camelot by the Sea, which bills itself as "Myrtle Beach's only theme resort." I asked Slusher if he chose it for the kitsch value, but he said it was because they didn't require a two-night stay.
Anyway, the only thematic elements visible were a suit of armor stuck behind some plants, along with a tapestry and a mural in the small lobby, some Ren Faire shirts on the check-in crew, and a sign in the garage saying that parking rules were "by order of the King." I felt a little short-changed, or short-cheesed.
But I was given a 17th-floor room, from which I enjoyed a moonlit view last night and
shot this today before taking an extremely nice walk on the beach. There were kids in the cold water at 8 AM and a few more people around than I expected, but the whole town had that sleepy off-season vibe, which I liked very much.
We talked at the conference about creating communities and discovering new ones and I confessed that I was a member of the community of middle-aged people who bore others with reminiscences of boyhood trips to Myrtle Beach when the Patricia was a weatherbeaten old building instead of a highrise and the town was not yet Branson-by-the-Sea (a previous flare-up of the syndrome here).
To the public, these men are members of a familiar fraternity,
presented tens of thousands of times on television and radio as "military analysts" whose long service has equipped them to give
authoritative and unfettered judgments about the most pressing issues
of the post-Sept. 11 world.
Hidden behind that appearance of
objectivity, though, is a Pentagon information apparatus that has used
those analysts in a campaign to generate favorable news coverage of the
administration’s wartime performance...The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and
military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of
the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war
policies they are asked to assess on air.
relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the viewers, and sometimes
not even to the networks themselves...
...[M]embers of this group have echoed administration talking
points, sometimes even when they suspected the information was false or
inflated. Some analysts acknowledge they suppressed doubts because they
feared jeopardizing their access.
A few expressed regret for
participating in what they regarded as an effort to dupe the American
public with propaganda dressed as independent military analysis.
CreateSouth has a good feel to it. Reminds me a lot of our original Piedmont blogger con -- I hope it has a similar impact for this part of South Carolina in terms of advancing a self-aware online community.
Nice venue, too -- the restored Myrtle Beach train depot.
Organized campaigns of falsehoods, distortions and
smears used to be something most people thought of as a bad thing, if
not something that's ever been too far removed from American politics.
Now, however, members of the prestige press appear to see it not as a
matter of guilty slumming but rather a positive journalistic obligation
to engage in their own organized campaign of falsehood, distortion and
smear on the reasoning that it anticipates the eventual one to be
mounted by Republicans.
Jim Buie has a roundup from Obama's visit to Raleigh.
It seems to me that's the fundamental difference between Obama and
Hillary Clinton. She speaks of "I," he speaks of "we." She's from the
television era of voters as passive observers of politics. Obama is
from the new Internet era of voters as active participants in politics.
I'm hearing that five more people were laid off from the N&R
yesterday, although none on the reporting and editing side. My source says the Randolph County office, which included a customer service
representative and maybe an ad person, is now closed. Any confirmation or clarification from East Market St?
Also, ME Ann Morris is leaving the paper. I don't know Ann well, but my sense is that she was well-respected. Managing editor is a critical position, it will be interesting to see how the N&R fills the job.
Certainly the economic elites of this country have done a bang-up job of turning "elite" into a dirty word that somehow doesn't apply to them.
Obama had a point about working people getting hosed but not having a platform to talk about it. Cultural issues are not always defined by economic status -- that was part of Obama's mistake. But it should be possible to discuss economic issues without being drowned out by shouts of "class warfare."
As Warren Buffett said, "If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning."
The authors don't expect the surge to turn things around, either.
Nothing shocking in the document -- its criticisms of policy and strategy and people are all stuff you've read in horrible Bush-bashing blogs for years -- but considering the source and the convenient packaging, a useful addition to the literature.
"Sadly, much of the postinvasion state of affairs had been predicted. Many government and civilian experts had spoken well and loudly about the dangers of postwar Iraq, but their warnings were not heeded."
A knock on my office door, it's a guy I've known for years, we're friendly acquaintances, never talked too much beyond basketball and the weather. He asked if I had a moment, sure, he says it's kind of personal, so I close the door. He pauses, then starts: I read your column...
Recently diagnosed. Feels confident about treatment and recovery, just wanted to talk. Hasn't told many people, not because he's ashamed but because he's a private guy. I put him in touch with Ralph, and they talked, too.
This is turninginto one of the more rewarding experiences of my career.
Joel Gillespie takes issue with Richard Cizik's statement on global warming, but he closes with a message that should reach across a lot of religious and political lines:
We cannot preach the gospel with integrity to our neighbor if we are
killing him with our waste products. And pray tell, how many people do
you know, when they need retreat, when they need to get away and pray
and be with their God, prefer parking lots and freeways and such? We
need special places, not only for the sake of God's glory (as their
beauty reflect back to him) and for the sake of the creatures (which
God declared to be "good" and which he blessed), but also for the sake
of our own spirits as we seek to hear God amidst the din of this noisy
and dirty world.
I flipped through the Clinton-Obama debate last night, but I've heard the candidates already and I found ABC's Charles Gibson unbearable.
At some points he seemed to think he was one of the debaters, and at others he just whiffed, as when he noted the anniversary of the murders at VA Tech and said "probably every American during this day, at one point or another, said
a small prayer for the great people at that university and for those
who died." I said out loud to the teevee that journalists are supposed to avoid generalizations like "every American," as it seems obvious that many Americans were oblivious of the anniversary, and that many others -- even some deeply touched by the event -- would not have marked the occasion with prayer. What a tool.
And I tuned in late, when they were actually talking policy. Apparently the earlier segments were worse in their own way: "Charlie Gibson and George Stephanopoulos, turned in shoddy, despicable performances...dwelled entirely on specious and gossipy trivia that already has been
hashed and rehashed, in the hope of getting the candidates to claw at
one another over disputes that are no longer news. Some were barely
news to begin with...the most fascinating aspect was waiting to see how low [Gibson] and Stephanopoulos would go, and then being appalled at the answer." MORE: "[T]he most embarrassing performance by the media in a major presidential debate in years."
UPDATE: Bunch says, "you disgraced my profession of journalism."
The ebb and flow of service at PTI has been maddening. There was a time in the '80s when Piedmont offered high-quality service, and -- pressed by People Express -- low prices. Overall service was very good. Then US Despair bought Piedmont, and things began to go south. There was our brief and wonderful run as a Continental mini-hub. And there have been long fallow periods, caused not just by airline industry woes but the decline of local business travel as well.
UPDATE: Just found out while planning some business travel that there are no more non-stop flights between PTI and Boston. That's one of the issues that really matters here -- not my trip in particular, but accessibility by air as an economic development question. If your business wants to put a facility or even a remote worker in this region, the ability to get in and out counts.
Arthur Sleeper writes in the N&R that fares are too low. He may have a point, although I don't think discount airlines themselves are a bad idea.
One possible payoff from GSO's Skybus adventure: it showed that this area will support a discounter, so maybe we can attract another one.