aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, May 13, 2005
Graduation road trip
Doug the doctor graduates on Thursday so we’re hitting the road for a 5 city 10 day road trip.
To my loyal and ever-so-appreciated readers, please understand that postings may be sparse. I have my trusty laptop and cables for every contingency (and a quickie free AOL account), but I will be in places with limited connectivity. And Doug asks that I please vacation some. (Hey, I find posting relaxing!)
I’ve asked my guest blogger Jen to try to post more in my absence.
More on Target v Wal-Mart
Wal-Mart is starting to lose its edge over more upscale rival Target, if recent stock trends are any indication...Since moving to Northern Virginia, which has the worst Wal-Mart stores I’ve seen in years, I’ve avoided Wal-Mart and shopped at Target whenever possible. While its prices are slightly higher, its better customer service, convenience, and pleasant atmosphere are worth the trade-off.
Still, Target is not going to surpass Wal-Mart anytime soon. Target stores are not nearly as ubiquitous. Wal-Mart has pursued a business strategy of putting Super Center stores even in smallish communities, such as Jacksonville, Alabama, where my parents live. Indeed, there are three Super Centers within 25 miles of their house.
Wal-Mart built its business up from small rural communities (and started out southern). We’ve got one Super Center and another being built 15 miles up the road here in a sparsely populated rural area.
I expect Wal-Mart’s past its prime and like GM will die a slow death of its own weight. But as I’ve said before the culture of Wal-Mart is totally entrenched here and Target won’t be coming here anytime soon.
Another example of why we need an architecture of freedom:
I manage the campus computer labs. We recently switched to a card swipe entry system; students swipe their IDs for access. It’s a new semester and we find that many are denied access. Why? They’ve yet to pay their fees.
There is a grace period to pay those fees, but the computer says no fee no services. And between semesters? Or Juniors who will be Seniors not attending but here during the summer? There used to be access, but now with a swipe access is denied.
We do allow them in and will come up with a policy where before there was none. The technology has raised the question, giving us a means of control where before there was none. You know that some will be tempted to use it.
A war on moderates?
Mr. Specter is in a particularly tight spot. He is trying to remain neutral, but as Judiciary Committee chairman is expected to advocate for the nominees. John Breaux, a centrist Democrat who was in the Senate until last year, said defying party leaders could be especially risky for a committee chairman.
“They can put an awful lot of pressure on you,” he said of the leaders. “They say, ‘Look, you’re a chairman because your party is in control, and you’ve got to be with the party.’ So when you break with them, you have to be fast on foot to explain it.”
Ms. Collins, chairwoman of the domestic security committee, is also taking that risk. Along with Ms. Snowe, she has expressed reservations about the rules change, as well as the Social Security plan. Last week, the two returned to Maine to find themselves the targets of an advertising campaign on the judicial nominees, a campaign that had the endorsement of Dr. Frist.
Armando comments, “Can you believe that the Senate Majority Leader has approved running ads against Senators from his OWN Party?”
What would Joe Gandelman say?
Thursday, May 12, 2005
Sex offenders, the media, & O’Reily yet again
On Tuesday, the Houston Chronicle published an editorial which said that Florida’s new sex offender law “has emotional appeal,” but isn’t the best way “to stop sexual predators from preying on children.” It quotes an expert who says that abduction/murders are very rare, and that most sexual abuse is committed by people in the child’s household, or by family friends or acquaintances.
The editorial says there’s no proof that universal GPS tracking will work, argues that “less showy and better documented measures are likely to work better” and concludes:
Although some compulsive offenders can only be contained rather than cured, counseling reduces recidivism. Community watch programs - as simple as parents patrolling play areas - are a powerful disincentive for predators, researchers say. Finally, educating children about healthy and unhealthy touch, whether by family or acquaintances, remains the best defense against sexual abuse.
At the start of the segment, O’Reilly stated that the Chronicle had “taken a lot of shots at me, so it must be left of center.” O’Reilly’s name has appeared only once in a Chronicle editorial, which concerned not O’Reilly, but Fox News’ suit against Al Franken for his use of the phrase “fair and balanced.” The suit was thrown out of court...O’Reilly told his viewers that the Chronicle editorial said the Florida law was too harsh. He was mistaken. The editorial excerpts that O’Reilly projected on the screen said nothing about the harshness of the punishment. The editorial, citing extensive research on this subject, said hooking GPS monitors to sexual predators released from prison might prove less effective than closer supervision by parole officers and other low-tech strategies. The Chronicle did not call for lighter punishment; it called for the adoption of the most effective measures to protect our children.
O’Reilly said the editorial advocated “community service” for sexual predators. It did not.
O’Reilly accused his guest, Austin defense attorney Courtney Anderson, of misleading the audience when she defended the Chronicle editorial. O’Reilly then read what he said was a quote from the editorial. Unfortunately, not one word of what O’Reilly read appeared in the Chronicle editorial or anywhere else in the paper. He and his staff apparently confused someone else’s commentary with the Chronicle’s.
World O’Crap concludes:
Lately hosts from Fox News (and CNN) seem to be on a crusade to scare parents, and to convince them that sex offenders are poised to snatch their kids. For instance, on Monday, while talking about the case of the murdered girls in Illinois, Sean Hannity said that it’s no longer safe to left your kids ride their bikes unsupervised. He also stated that the police should round up all the registered sex offenders in the area because “These guys kidnap children from their beds, molest them, and murder them!” That the girls were killed by one girl’s father probably was as unwelcome a surprise to Sean and his ilk as was the fact that the missing bride wasn’t murdered by her fiance...See, instead of warning viewers of dangerous ex-cons, they could be educating viewers about domestic violence and the dangers it poses to children. But while info like that might actually be useful, it’s kind of depressing and unsensational, and so doesn’t bring in the viewers — plus, it might make viewers wary of guys with bad tempers who shout a lot.
Oprah, who looked at it as a domestic issue, introduced her show yesterday with this: “Child molesters are in your neighborhoods, your schools, your churches...” Her website has links to “research sex offenders in your area.”
Our school sent out a legally required announcement of how to find out if there are sex offenders in our area. There are lots. But are there really? Are that many people among us really that dangerous? Or are there false accusations and faulty convictions in amongst them? Is there proportion? Where’s the line?
To err on the side of caution may sound reasonable but all reason is gone. A woman at work bought a house, found out that a sex offender was in the neighborhood and sold immediately. The accusation alone is enough to ruin lives. There is no reason in that.
Pain & the police state
My uncle died last week; my aunt is dying and is expected to pass soon. They lived long happy lives, they were outgoing and gregarious; loved to dance. Joyful people. Dying so close together seems poetic in its way as well.
But then there’s this: my aunt is in terrible, tortuous pain. This outgoing convivial woman doesn’t want to see anyone. She’s suffering and alone. My mother went anyway.
She reports that my aunt says she never knew pain like this in all her 85 years. Her mouth is swollen to the point where eating hurts so much that she chooses not to. How is it that a life lived so fully can end like this?
I asked, why she wasn’t given pain medication? My mother said that soon they’d give her morphine. Soon? The woman’s been in this awful pain for two weeks. That’s two weeks too long! What on earth are they thinking? How can this be?
The world of chronic pain and its potentially addictive treatments is clashing increasingly with law enforcement, pitting patients and doctors against prosecutors and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration. While trafficking is a real problem, some contend those in chronic pain are suffering the most.
Richard Paey went from being an Ivy League law school student to serving 25 years in a Florida prison after a long, strange and painful journey from surgical patient to state prisoner.
A car accident led to debilitating pain. When he moved from New Jersey to Florida, doctors essentially refused to write prescriptions for the high dosage he was on.
When he moved there, Paey did not know that the pharmacies where he filled prescriptions were under surveillance by local police and the DEA.
Florida prosecutor Scott Andringa built a case accusing Paey of forging prescriptions using the name of his former doctor in New Jersey. According to a search warrant, Paey had filled more than 200 prescriptions involving 18,000 pills in the space of about a year.
Paey maintains he never sold the drugs. “I think a true pain patient would never sell their medication,” he said. “It’s too hard to get.”
In fact, the prosecutor concedes he had no evidence Paey used the drugs for anything other than his own pain.
“There was no proof that he had sold these substances,” Andringa said. “There was an implication, there was a suspicion, there was a belief that he must have been selling these medications based on the number of pills. But there was no proof, and therefore we did not argue that at trial.”
The guy’s in jail.
In Florida, the illegal possession of certain prescription painkillers - in amounts more than 28 grams, enough to fill less than two bottles - is considered drug trafficking. The penalty is equivalent to that meted out to hard-core heroin dealers - a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison. Prosecutors convinced a jury that Paey had forged enough prescriptions to qualify as a drug trafficker. He is barely a year into serving the sentence...Ironically enough, Paey is now getting the treatment for his chronic pain that he had such trouble finding outside of the prison walls. A morphine pump the size of a hockey puck has been sewn into his side, delivering a controlled dose of medication.
So what’s with the DEA?
In August, the DEA posted a set of policy guidelines - in the form of “frequently asked questions” - that had been ironed out over three years among top specialists and regulators.
It made clear that simply the dosage of narcotic painkillers or the number of patients in a practice who receive them do not, by themselves, indicate a problem.
But the guidelines were removed from the DEA’s Web site during Hurwitz’s trial in October due to legal “misstatements.” For pain specialists, that was an ominous sign that the DEA had issued itself a new hunting license...much of the medical community feels strongly that federal agents and prosecutors, so intently focused on drug abuse, are sending the wrong message to the vast majority of physicians whose primary concern is to ease suffering. And, intended or not, the practical result of such an aggressive policy is to sentence many innocent patients to a lifetime of pain.
Probably not really related to my aunt’s situation. Except in as much as we look at pain killers through the lense of criminal narcotics, instead of as medicinal relief from suffering.
Y! Music Unlimited (Beta)
When iTunes first debuted I pointed out that Apple missed an opportunity to undercut other services on price. In a way they did offer a cheaper alternative by dropping mandatory subscription fees, but Apple’s motto has always been “We’ll make it good; someone else will make it cheap.” This was true for the Mac, for digital music players, and for online music services.
Now comes Yahoo! Music Unlimited (beta) with the “we’re cheaper” philosophy. For a monthly priced USD7 or $5/mo if you sign up for a whole year, you get unlimited streams out of a 1 million+ song catalog. (Brief news coverage here on Market-day.net)
His conclusion? “I confess I don’t see anything here that I’m willing to try to plow through...”
Jeffrey Weiss writes: “Maybe 20 years ago, the Miami Herald did a sting that I considered brilliant and still do. Two reporters—one white and one black, about the same age—were given similar fictitious “resumes” and were sent out to try to rent an apartment at various places in the area. You can guess the results.” Kit R. Roane says the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mirage Bar sting “was a thing of beauty. And the idea that it is seen as a relic of the past should be mourned, not praised.”
Critics of the Spokesman-Review investigation of Jim West are just plain wrong!
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
That will be fun.
Now I see, in tomorrow’s New York Times, Audio Blogs for Those Who Aspire to Be D.J.’s:
Ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, podcasts are essentially do-it-yourself recorded radio programs posted online. Anyone can download them free, and, using special software, listeners can subscribe to favorite shows and even have them automatically downloaded to a portable digital music player.
The article lists and links to some of the “special software.” The panel (in March) said the software needs improvement; it sounds like it already has. And I still have a couple months to go.
Home prices here are inflated. Forty miles from the nearest Interstate with six prisons and a state hospital in decline, the town’s not exactly booming. But in the towns all around us and in Macon, housing costs considerably less.
A friend who’s leaving to take a job at another university just sold his house--quickly--and he got a good price. It sold to students. Or more precisely, the parents of students. When the last university president left, her house, next to friends of ours, was bought by parents, for students. The university president’s house.
Today All Things Considered looked at merit-based scholarships:
Georgia was the first state to offer college scholarships based on student performance, and so far 13 states have adopted them. Now some are asking whether the programs are helping the people they were expected to help.
One consequence of this merit-based scholarship is that needs-based giving, which before HOPE was at 90%, has fallen to 70%. (Students are fine with that. Said one, “You know, we made the same grades they did, so we deserve it. That’s how I look at it.")
HOPE pays for tuition, fees and books. So it’s not surprising to find that the state has cut funding and tuition has gone up, a trend that’s expected to continue, shifting the cost of middle class education to the more regressive lottery-based funding, even as policy makers worry it can’t carry the load. All this for a program we don’t need: 90% of students would have gone to college even without the scholarship.
I read about HOPE in the early 90s when it was proposed, and generally favored it. Today I’m left wondering if HOPE’s a virtue.
CNET’s stolen scoop
While reading Thomas Hawk’s excellent post on the Google Web Accelerator I clicked through to Jason Calacanis‘ post asking, Should bloggers boycott linking to CNET? It seems they stole a scoop:
So CNET’s Gamespot and News.com finally gave credit to Engadget after stealing their big scoop about the XBOX 360. CNET lifted the photos from our site (we have technical proof) and didn’t even bother to ask or give credit. That’s low.
Jason believes that CNET wants to keep people from blogs:
You see bloggers respect bloggers because they know how much hard work it takes to get a scoop like this. Of course, CNET not putting this up earlier today cost us hundreds of thousands of page views which results in a loss of hundreds-if not thousands-of dollars. Not to mention the fact that CNET takes credit for the story with their readers.
That’s really what CNET is up to: they don’t want to introduce their readers to new-AND BETTER-news sources like Engadget, Gizmodo, GigaOm, Battelle Search Blog, and Rafat Ali’s PaidContent.org.
I’m inclined to think it’s cultural. I have little patience for the AND BETTER argument, and not a whole lot for the economic either. Bloggers have a culture of linking, and truth be told, have learned that linking is in their self-interest.
I understand that the problem is real and legit and must be addressed. But I won’t boycott linking to CNET. I believe the better course is to get CNET (and the rest of the MSM) to change their ways and see that giving bloggers credit is in their best interest too.
Bloggers have shown me that better than the boycott is to make lots of noise.
George W. Bush Jack-in-the-Box
Now here’s a hoot, destined to become an American classic:
For a “Commander in Chief” performance, turn the handle to play the triumphant “Hail to the Chief”. Out pops the President, standing before an official Presidential Podium, poised and ready to address the Nation.
Throw in a George W. Bush boble-head lapel pin and I’m sold.
World O’Crap found it, and features it in Who Said It?
The gameshow that asks YOU to name the Townhall* columnist responsible for various quotes, and tantalizes you with exciting prizes...Prize courtesy of AmericanFlagFactory, whose motto is “Bringing you the world’s largest Flag and Patriotic products.” But yeah, I’ve seen larger jack-in-the-boxes. (You can make your own joke about large jackasses.)
*Okay, they’re not really all from Townhall.
She says this one is easy:
Are you straight guys as irritated as I am by the metrosexual craze? Please please please don’t remove a single hair from your body. Ignore Queer Eye. We homos aren’t all crazed, plucked product queens.
Andrew Sullivan? I hope so otherwise I got none right.
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
The future of the iPod
Robert X. Cringely speculates on the future of the iPod:
Looking at the unused iTunes icons that shipped with your new version of [Mac OS] 10.4, you’ll notice icons for currently-not-supported ogg vorbis and Windows Media Audio (wma), as well as several others including a variety of video formats, too.
With this new information we can make a pretty good guess about the evolution of both iTunes and iPod. When Apple feels that the success of iTunes is absolutely assured, which will be shortly, they’ll address the user complaint that iPod only supports AAC and MP3 audio by adding these additional formats, leading to increased iPod sales. And at the same time, the video icons strongly suggest that Apple will also have a video iPod this year.
Apple’s own downward price pressure on portable media players gives us another element of the probable iPod strategy...what Apple wants to do is make its money through iTunes, where the profit margins are better in the long term and the system is easily scalable. It was necessary to create the iPod platform to make this happen...the trick is to know when to switch the business from being a mix of hardware and software to one that is software-only. That switch, which I believe to be inevitable, will happen shortly after Apple begins to license iPod clones.
...If Apple licensed iPod technology, the company would receive from its OEMs a per-CPU license fee of anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on how smooth Steve is as a salesman and how desperate the would-be OEMs are for that license. As Apple’s profit drops on each iPod it makes, eventually the per-CPU figure will approach what Apple might receive from licensees. At that moment it makes more sense for Apple to license clones than it does to make more iPods.
We need more than yellow ribbons
Where is Rush Limbaugh’s plea to his listeners to enlist? How about Sean Hannity? Bill O’Reilly? Nevermind they passed on serving their nation when they had a chance. Why aren’t they using their influence to encourage military service?
How about President Bush? Where is he in this important issue? Joe Lieberman? Bill Frist? Tom DeLay? Sure, they shirked their duty given the chance. But since they’re cheering the quagmire in the Gulf, shouldn’t they be working balls-out to ensure we have the resources to fight their war?
Kos goes on to say he agrees with this:
In an appeal to the nation’s patriotism, the Army’s vice chief of staff, Gen. Richard Cody, warns this issue is about far more than military service alone.
“This recruiting problem is not just an Army problems, this is America’s problem,” he said. “And what we have to really do is talk about service to this nation - and a sense of duty to this nation.”
I agree with both.
UPDATE: Jonah Goldberg’s reaction, “Yawn.”
The Huffington Post
I have nothing to add to the blogosphere’s reaction to The Huffington Post, but I figured what the heck, join the crowd. I like Jack Schafer’s take at Slate, Arianna’s Echo Park. And Xeni at Boing Boing points to Salon and LA Weekly. I’m not surprised at 8 million hits on the first day. How can that much star power not attract gawkers?
I am surprised to find that Crooks and Liars like it:
I admire all the actors and celebs for partaking in this venture. Whether liberal or conservative, their views will now be heard and they could pay a price for being outspoken in this day and age.
Maybe I’m missing something here. My taste is not everyone’s taste, after all. But I read blogs because I enjoy the author’s voice and enjoy seeing them engage with the rest of the blogosphere. An enormous dumping ground of miscellaneous paragraphs parachuting out of the sky, on the other hand, doesn’t seem that appealing.
That’s exactly right. It’s too much. And not enough. I expect there will be interesting stuff from time to time, but others will have to find it and point me there. The way it’s organized and delivered now makes no sense to me.
For my Hollywood fix, I’ll stick with Wil Wheaton.
NY Loves Target
Crain’s New York Business yesterday, Wal-Mart makes an easy Target:
New Yorkers have responded to Target and Wal-Mart in starkly different ways.
Target has opened five stores here over the past eight years--in Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx--with virtually no protest. New Yorkers are flocking to the stores. Wal-Mart, which has 5,000 locations worldwide but none in the city, was chased away from Queens last winter by a fierce political and public relations campaign. It remains a lightning rod as it continues to seek an entree here.
Uh, here’s the difference: Target isn’t being sued for a) sexual discrimination, b)not paying workers, c)locking workers in at night.
Target is non-union, but pays their workers better, treats them better and provides a better shopping experience. Sure, they give to the GOP and they aren’t unionized, BUT, they don’t take glee in it...Wal-Mart and Target approach the same issues in VERY different ways.
Here they prefer Wal-Mart’s approach. Wal-Mart is the clear favorite; there is a Wal-Mart culture. It’s very hard to live here and not shop at Wal-Mart. And it’s because of the sensibility and style. Wal-Mart has no pretension, shoppers here like the Wal-Mart shopping experience with its emphasis on nothing but price. There is little awareness of how Wal-Mart works or that Wal-Mart flouts the USA first issues that are held in such high regard here.
As to Target, there’s one in Macon. Target won’t be coming here anytime soon.
Google’s Web Accelerator
Is there a security flaw in Google’s Web Accelerator, and how does it affect me?
Yes, Google acknowledged a vulnerability in the beta software last week, after several online critics spotted the flaw.
The software can serve cached copies of private discussion groups or password-protected pages to people using the software. For example, using the software, a Web surfer might call up a discussion group page and see the name of another group member, making it appear as if the surfer is signed in as that other user…
Apart from the flaw, is my privacy in jeopardy by using Web Accelerator?
What is Google’s responsibility toward me when I use this software?
None, really, if you read and agree to Google’s terms of service…
The scent of attraction
More evidence that sexual orientation is not a preference?
Using a brain imaging technique, Swedish researchers have shown that homosexual and heterosexual men respond differently to two odors that may be involved in sexual arousal, and that the gay men respond in the same way as women.
The new research may open the way to studying human pheromones, as well as the biological basis of sexual preference. Pheromones, chemicals emitted by one individual to evoke some behavior in another of the same species, are known to govern sexual activity in animals, but experts differ as to what role, if any, they play in making humans sexually attractive to one another.
Monday, May 09, 2005
Computer graded essays
I have a good number of friends who hope this software works:
Student essays always seem to be riddled with the same sorts of flaws. So sociology professor Ed Brent decided to hand the work over to a computer.
Students in Brent’s Introduction to Sociology course at the University of Missouri-Columbia now submit drafts through the SAGrader software he designed. It counts the number of points he wanted his students to include and analyzes how well concepts are explained.
And within seconds, students have a score. [...]
Software now scores everything from routine assignments in high school English classes to an essay on the GMAT, the standardized test for business school admission. (The essay section just added to the Scholastic Aptitude Test or SAT for the college-bound is graded by humans).
This was and is an obvious consequence of your DRM-ed world, Miss Rosen. Apple is simply doing what comes natural. Having insisted on the means for exclusion being legally protected (i.e. DMCA), Apple is using those means to exclude competitors...You can’t have it both ways Miss Rosen. If you want DRM, someone is going to have to control that DRM. And if you don’t think they won’t use that control to their ultimate advantage, you obviously didn’t learn anything from your association with the music industry.
She was there to earn, not learn. Obviously.
There’s a smoking ban in Georgia
Gov. Sonny Perdue signed a bill Monday to ban smoking in most public places in Georgia, ending a guessing game that had gone on for weeks.
The law will allow smokers to light up in only a few places, including bars and restaurants that do not admit people under 18; designated hotel and motel rooms; and workplace smoking areas that have an independent air handling system. Violators face fines of $100 to $500.
The Republican governor had said for weeks that he had misgivings about the bill, believing that government should not become “the end-all and be-all nanny for all people.”
His decision came just one day short of the deadline for him to sign or veto bills passed during the most recent session of the Legislature.
Hooray! I was wrong.
Kerry on gay marriage
I missed it when it was reported last week that Massachusetts Democrats plan to endorse same-sex marriage. John “I think it’s a mistake” Kerry didn’t. HRC responds:
The Human Rights Campaign denounced the statements of Sen. John Kerry yesterday, who called the decision of the Massachusetts Democratic Party adding support to its platform for same-sex marriage equality “a mistake.”
“The Massachusetts Democratic Party is simply affirming the reality that 5,000 same-sex couples and families are stronger and more secure today because of marriage equality,” said HRC President Joe Solmonese. “As a husband, father and a long time supporter of the gay community Sen. Kerry should understand the importance of the stability and security that marriage provides to all families.Ã¢â‚¬Â�
A recent poll by the Boston Globe showed that statewide, overall support for marriage equality is at 56 percent, with only 37 percent of residents opposing. The same poll showed that 71 percent of Democrats, 53 percent of Independents, and 35 percent of Republicans all support equal marriage rights.
I like the poll numbers (and think they can only get better) and am hopeful that new HRC President Joe Solmonese will breath new fire into the organization and on the topic at hand, I agree with John Aravosis, John Kerry should just go away.
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Google does movie reviews
What won’t they think of next? Google aggregates movie reviews.
Via Dan Gillmore whose commenters point out this was introduced 3 or 4 weeks ago, praise Google’s “Microsoft-like rise along with their Apple-like talent and expertise” and offer up some…
# Get showtimes and theaters for a particular movie:
hitch san francisco ca
# Get movie details:
# Find the top movies playing near you and their theater location:
movie: movies 94103
movie: films san francisco ca
# Find the theaters near you and their movie showtimes of the top movies:
movie: theaters 94103
movie: showtimes san francisco ca
I read the Adam Cohen piece on blogging ethics in the Times last night and was bugged some by his framing of the statement that “if [bloggers] want to reform the American media, that is going to have to include reforming themselves.” I see media “reform” as more by-product than grand plan and fully expect “ethics guidelines and prominently posted corrections policies” or some variation on the theme in a future iteration of the blog. But otherwise I found the column pretty innocuous.
Seeing the blogosphere as a collective endeavour where the “hive mind” is the appropriate unit of analysis is something most traditional journalists have a lot of trouble with, because this is a radically different conception from their own media, which seek to be definitive at the level of rival publications. But as Dan Gillmor says, blogs are a seminar, not a lecture.
But Worstall’s view of why blogger ethics are undesirable leaves a lot to be desired. Worstall says that the blogosphere seeks truth at a system level, and that restrictive ethics at the individual level is therefore unimportant or even counter-productive...Actually, it could be argued that in that respect, “MSM” journalism is actually a lot like the blogosphere. Individual stories build up a body of material in the public realm that is picked up by other outlets. Errors of fact are exposed by rival media. Stories develop over time and across outlets. The investigative, book-length version of events corrects the errors hidden away in the cuttings library.
He goes on to explain “that ethics applied to individuals are often about defending the credibility of the system as a whole” and, using journalism as his example, suggests that there’s “enlightened self-interest underlying all those ethics codes.” He concludes:
Both Worstall and Cohen are wrong. Bloggers need ethics, but not because they should be more like professional journos. Bloggers need ethics because it essential for the blogosphere as a whole to retain and expand the influence they already have on public discussion. The blog form will only flourish if it is seen by its readers to have some predictable level of credibility.
And in Garrison Keillor’s Confessions of a Listener there is this that I can only hope is true:
After the iPod takes half the radio audience and satellite radio subtracts half of the remainder and Internet radio gets a third of the rest and Clear Channel has to start cutting its losses and selling off frequencies, good-neighbor radio will come back. People do enjoy being spoken to by other people who are alive and who live within a few miles of you.