aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, September 30, 2005
They’re locking up our culture
“Right now,” [Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) President and CEO Gary] Shapiro reported, “the recording industry is approaching another Senate committee with a proposal to give the FCC broad power to impose design requirements on new digital radios. Unlike the TV ‘broadcast flag,’ the proposal from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) is not aimed at mass, indiscriminate, anonymous distribution of content over the Internet. The RIAA digital radio proposal is aimed squarely at limiting noncommercial recording entirely within private homes and automobiles.
Twenty members of Congress are calling for the reinstatement of the “broadcast flag,” a controversial form of copy prevention technology for digital TV broadcasts.
In a letter Thursday, the politicians called for rapid approval of a federal law adopting the broadcast flag, which would outlaw over-the-air digital TV receivers and computer tuner cards that don’t follow strict anticopying standards.
We’ve got to take back our culture or we’ll have none of it left tomorrow.
I just wonder
So we know now that we were warned again and again of the consequences of a storm hitting New Orleans. I wonder, what have we learned?
A global influenza pandemic is imminent and will kill up to 150 million people, the UN official in charge of coordinating the worldwide response to an outbreak has warned.
David Nabarro, one of the most senior public health experts at the World Health Organisation, said outbreaks of bird flu, which have killed at least 65 people in Asia, could mutate into a form transmittable between people.
“The consequences in terms of human life when the pandemic does start are going to be extraordinary and very damaging,” he said.
I know, I know, the press feeds on scaring people.
A computer for the whole world
A sub-$100 PC:
Professor [Nicholas Negroponte, chairman and founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Labs] came up with the idea for a cheap computer for all after visiting a Cambodian village.
His non-profit One Laptop Per Child group plans to have up to 15 million machines in production within a year.
A prototype of the machine should be ready in November at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Tunisia.
Children in Brazil, China, Egypt, Thailand, and South Africa will be among the first to get the under-$100 (Ã‚Â£57) computer, said Professor Negroponte at the Emerging Technologies conference at MIT.
Via Steve Gillard, who apparently doesn’t get it:
So, who writes the software?
It’s not like you can use Office, can you?
This isn’t a bad idea, but it seems to be less thought out than you would think.
It seems very thought out to me - hand cranked power, super bright screens, a shared “brain.”
How about the notion that they’ll write their own software? Maybe even open source; less bloated! And not bought into our Mac chic and Microsoft money.
A movement I can support:
Negroponte thinks that even $100 remains too expensive for some.
He said he is committed to the idea that children all over the world should be equipped with technology so that they can tap into the educational and communications benefits of the net.
Miller & the downfall of the Times
I watched last not for Arianna’s reaction. It came at 2:30 a.m.:
The claim that Miller “has finally received a direct and uncoerced waiver” is laughableÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and, indeed, has already been laughed at by 1) my increasingly frustrated sources within the Times 2) a chorus of voices in the blogosphere (see here, here, and here [I’d add here]) and 3) (and much more significantly) Joseph Tate, Scooter Libby’s lawyer, who told the Washington Post yesterday that he informed Miller’s attorney, Floyd Abrams, a year ago that Libby’s waiver “was voluntary and that Miller was free to testify”.
The truth of the matter is there is no way that the New York Times editorial claiming “it should be clearÃ¢â‚¬Â¦that Ms. Miller is not going to change her mind” can be squared with Ms. Miller changing her mind. And there is no way to accept at face value Miller’s grandstanding about “fighting for the cause of the free flow of information.” Who is she still trying to convince? Herself?
After she answers Patrick Fitzgerald’s questions today, Judy Miller needs to start answering some of the obvious questions raised by her head-scratching stance.
UPDATE, it looks like Salon’s with me:
The biggest loser in Judith Miller’s capitulation yesterday to special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald isn’t freedom of the press. And it isn’t Miller, the New York Times reporter whose reporting on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq had previously sullied her reputation.
It’s the Times editorial page
Thursday, September 29, 2005
Slate says now’s the time:
Picture quality has gone way up, and prices have gone way down. True, this has been the unabated trend for the past three years. But I think we have now reached a point where the better sets are so good, and their prices are so low (relative to where they were), that further improvements will take place more slowly, and less dramatically, than those not just of the past year but of the past few months.
I still think I’ll wait until after Christmas.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in a widely expected move vetoed a bill on Thursday that would have allowed gay couples to marry.
The Republican governor had said earlier this month that he would veto the bill passed by California’s Democrat-led legislature. The bill was the first of its kind approved by a state legislature.
Gay priests, now and forever
My experience tells me this is true:
The problem with [a ban on gay priests] is twofold. First, banning gay seminarians will only drive the issue underground, precisely the situation before the sexual revolution permitted people-even priests-to be more honest about their sexuality. The most notorious clerical child molesters were all ordained before the sexual revolution and before the changes wrought in the church by the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). Secrecy and silence encourage immaturity and duplicity, necessary precursors for inappropriate sexual behavior. Second, as my exchange with my friend indicates, many of those priests the right wing considers “their own” are also gay, and only a willful ignorance would fail to see it.
Such a willful ignorance must exist. When I was in the seminary in the mid-1980s, a local bishop came to visit. The bishop dressed for mass in the rectory next door. We seminarians were a bit late in arriving and were met by the bishop’s secretary who said, “Come on boys, get into your dresses. Grandma is coming.” Grandma was the bishop. The secretary had a feminine nickname, which, I am told, his intimates still use. To complete the screenplay quality of the experience, one of the priests who was in attendance that day left the priesthood shortly thereafter to become a flight steward or, as he called it, “a waitress in the sky.” This kind of campiness was common both in the seminary and in my experiences with those already ordained. As for the secretary, he is now a bishop much in favor with conservatives.
Will the church take a similarly intolerant stands on birth control, premarital sex and divorce?
Susan Wood, the FDA & political cronyism
Susan Wood, the one-time director of the Office of Women’s Health who resigned over the Plan B “morning after” pill last month was on Nightline the other night.
She says science at the FDA is overruled by politics.
KOPPEL: Do you remember what the vote was?
WOOD: It was 23 to 4 I believe in favor and unanimous that it was safe for women to use over the counter.
KOPPEL: And within the FDA?
WOOD: Within the FDA, you know FDA does overturn its advisory committees on occasion and usually when they do so it’s for good reason. In this case the FDA staff at every level within the agency, multiple levels, agreed that it should be approved for over the counter status, agreed that it was appropriate for women to have access in a timely manner so it would actually work more effectively.
A couple weeks ago Wood was replaced by a male veterinarian. Three days later, after “active and largely negative comment on the Internet and elsewhere,” a spokeswoman for the agency said the vet “had never been appointed acting director.”
I can only wonder if the guy wasn’t another victim of Mike Brown.
Internal e-mail messages obtained by TIME show that scientists’ drug-safety decisions at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are being second-guessed by a 33-year-old doctor turned stock picker. At the Office of Management and Budget, an ex-lobbyist with minimal purchasing experience oversaw $300 billion in spending, until his arrest last week. At the Department of Homeland Security, an agency the Administration initially resisted, a well-connected White House aide with minimal experience is poised to take over what many consider the single most crucial post in ensuring that terrorists do not enter the country again. And who is acting as watchdog at every federal agency? A corps of inspectors general who may be increasingly chosen more for their political credentials than their investigative ones.
Nowhere in the federal bureaucracy is it more important to insulate government experts from the influences of politics and special interests than at the Food and Drug Administration, the agency charged with assuring the safety of everything from new vaccines and dietary supplements to animal feed and hair dye. That is why many within the department, as well as in the broader scientific community, were startled when, in July, Scott Gottlieb was named deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs, one of three deputies in the agency’s second-ranked post at FDA.
His official FDA biography notes that Gottlieb, 33, who got his medical degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, did a previous stint providing policy advice at the agency, as well as at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and was a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative think tank. What the bio omits is that his most recent job was as editor of a popular Wall Street newsletter, the Forbes/Gottlieb Medical Technology Investor, in which he offered such tips as “Three Biotech Stocks to Buy Now.” In declaring Gottlieb a “noted authority” who had written more than 300 policy and medical articles, the biography neglects the fact that many of those articles criticized the FDA for being too slow to approve new drugs and too quick to issue warning letters when it suspects ones already on the market might be unsafe.
Susan Wood says she’s surprised by the attention she got. Coming as it did during Katrina, it got less attention than it otherwise would have.
Wood says she feels deeply about the issue and will be speaking out. She should be heard.
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
Hope for Arnold
...I’m mildly intrigued that Arnold still hasn’t vetoed the bill the Legislature sent him legalizing same-sex marriage. He promised to veto it, it’s been on his desk for six days, and there it still sits. Do you think—dare we think—that the TV ads comparing him to George Wallace, and the entreaties from Hollywood pals and Maria might—just might—have gotten to him?
Could he actually be thinking about his legacy, and wondering which chapter he wants to be included in? The one about bigots who fought the very last battles opposing inevitable civil-rights advances—or the one about minimally visionary politicians who were able to look a mere year or two into the future and see that that cutting-edge bill was just ever-so-slightly ahead of its time?
Knowing what I know of the Governator, I don’t think he’d be happy being in the George Wallace chapter at all.
Mike wants us to take action and contact Arnold. I’m hopeful.
No one shot at helicopters in NOLA
A report on Good Morning America featured a Times Picayune reporter saying that no one shot at helicopters and that the reporting blew things out of proportion. More precisely, that frantic, excited, panicked exhausted people told reporters things that turned out not to be true.
The shooting-at-rescue-helicopters story was oft quoted in these parts. Today I searched some for more; when I can get the GMA transcript I’ll quote it because the guy was great. I didn’t trust the helicopters story when I heard it; I’m glad to see it turn out to be false:
As floodwaters forced tens of thousands of evacuees into the Dome and Convention Center, news of unspeakable acts poured out of the nation’s media: evacuees firing at helicopters trying to save them; women, children and even babies raped with abandon; people killed for food and water; a 7-year-old raped and killed at the Convention Center. Police, according to their chief, Eddie Compass, found themselves in multiple shootouts inside both shelters, and were forced to race toward muzzle flashes through the dark to disarm the criminals; snipers supposedly fired at doctors and soldiers from downtown high-rises.
In interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Compass reported rapes of “babies,” and Mayor Ray Nagin spoke of “hundreds of armed gang members” killing and raping people inside the Dome. Unidentified evacuees told of children stepping over so many bodies, “we couldn’t count.”
The picture that emerged was one of the impoverished, masses of flood victims resorting to utter depravity, randomly attacking each other, as well as the police trying to protect them and the rescue workers trying to save them. Nagin told Winfrey the crowd has descended to an “almost animalistic state.”
Four weeks after the storm, few of the widely reported atrocities have been backed with evidence. The piles of bodies never materialized, and soldiers, police officers and rescue personnel on the front lines say that although anarchy reigned at times and people suffered unimaginable indignities, most of the worst crimes reported at the time never happened.
The Market and Intelligent Design
This guy’s one smart fellow. He says that evolution’s been proven and Intelligent Design refuted but “rehashing the refutation” isn’t his goal because “those who reject evolution are usually immune to such arguments.”
Rather, what he does is point to ”a surprising crossing of political lines:”
How it is that modern free-market economies are as complex as they are, boasting amazingly elaborate production, distribution and communication systems? Go into almost any drug store, and you can find your favorite candy bar. And what’s true at the personal level is true at the industrial level. Somehow there are enough ball bearings and computer chips in just the right places in factories all over the country. The physical infrastructure and communication networks are also marvels of integrated complexity. Fuel supplies are, by and large, where they’re needed. E-mail reaches you in Miami as well as in Milwaukee, not to mention Barcelona and Bangkok.
The natural question, discussed first by Adam Smith and later by Friedrich Hayek and Karl Popper among others, is: Who designed this marvel of complexity? Which commissar decreed the number of packets of dental floss for each retail outlet? The answer, of course, is that no economic god designed this system. It emerged and grew by itself. No one argues that all the components of the candy bar distribution system must have been put into place at once, or else there would be no Snickers at the corner store.
So far, so good. What is more than a bit odd, however, is that some of the most ardent opponents of Darwinian evolution - for example, many fundamentalist Christians - are among the most ardent supporters of the free market. They accept the market’s complexity without qualm, yet insist the complexity of biological phenomena requires a designer.
They would reject the idea that there is or should be central planning in the economy. They would point out that simple economic exchanges, which are beneficial to people, become entrenched and then gradually modified as they become part of larger systems of exchange, while those that are not beneficial die out. Yet some of these same people refuse to believe natural selection and “blind processes” can lead to biological order arising spontaneously.
I will be using that illustration again and again with the fundamentalist students I work with, who I find to be intellectually curious and good thinkers. When they proffer a good answer, I’ll be sure to share it.
If you found yourself needing an old biology textbook and couldn’t locate your battered copy from college, you’d have a few options.
You could go to a university bookstore and snag a used copy; you could drop a few dollars on a new one at Amazon.com; or you could track down some old college chums and ask for their copies.
But if Jimmy Wales and his colleagues at the Wikimedia Foundation have anything to say about it, you could have another way to go--the Wikibooks project. It’s their attempt to create a comprehensive, kindergarten-to-college curriculum of textbooks that are free and freely distributable, based on an open-source development model.
Brown told congressional investigators Monday that he is being paid as a consultant to help FEMA assess what went wrong in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to a senior official familiar with the meeting.
On Saturday, Jane wrote:
And now I will leave you to guess where this bit of gossip came from, because I promised not to tell. But one of the above-mentioned folks called me this afternoon to say that according to sources within the Enquirer itself, the source for Bush’s drinking story is—an incredibly pissed-off, recently scapegoated head of a federal agency who thinks that BushCo. done him wrong.
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Here’s an OSX icon set based on the illustrations.
Neighbors already have a giant lighted blow-up pumpkin and witch and the Christmas section at K-Mart opened last week.
Drum on Bush on Oil
Kevin Drum says Bush’s comments on oil conservation “show off practically everything that’s wrong with his governing instincts:”
First, he talks about conservation but asks only that people “pitch in.” He is unwilling to propose any serious government action to reduce oil use.
Second, he talks about environmental restrictions disliked by the energy industry. On this score, unlike the first, he is happy to propose government action.
Third, at the end of a discussion directed solely at oil use, he suggests that nuclear power is part of the answer, seemingly oblivious to the fact that nuclear power is a source of electricity, an industry that uses virtually no oil. Increased use of nuclear power would have no effect on oil consumption at all.
From the frying pan
A leading Republican donor and fundraiser was elected chairman of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting yesterday, tightening conservative control over the agency that oversees National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service.
Cheryl F. Halpern, a New Jersey lawyer and real estate developer, won approval from the CPB’s board. She succeeds a close board ally, Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, who stirred controversy earlier this year by contending that public broadcasting favors liberal views. Tomlinson’s term as chairman had expired, but he will remain a member of the board.
The board also elected another conservative, Gay Hart Gaines, as its vice chairman. Gaines, an interior decorator by training, was a charter member and a chairman of GOPAC, a Republican fundraising group that then-Rep. Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) used to engineer the GOP takeover of the House in 1994.
With the changes, conservatives with close ties to the Bush administration have assumed control of every important position at the agency, which distributes about $400 million in federal funds to noncommercial radio and TV stations and is supposed to act as a buffer against outside political influence.
I hold out virtually no hope for Public Broadcasting ever becoming what I believe it should be.
Let’s all watch now for the new conservative arguments in favor of it.
Climate change & hurricanes
What I’ll be interested to see the shift in public opinion on the topic in the months ahead. After storms and the coming winter’s heating bills, I expect a big one.
Monday, September 26, 2005
Blinded by the light
My dog ran into the screen on a patio door tonight and though uninjured, was reluctant to try a second time. That’s nothing; I had no idea that millions of birds die each year from crashing into glass:
Tourists have always flocked to see the bright lights of New York City, but starting this week, the city is dimming parts of its renowned skyline to ward off one group of visitors: migratory birds. The Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, the Citigroup Center, the Morgan Stanley Building and the World Financial Center are among the high-profile high-rises that have agreed to requests from the city and the Audubon Society to dim or turn off nonessential lighting at midnight.
Toronto, cool Canada, started dimming in 1993, Chicago in 1999:
The combination of glass, tall buildings and bright light is extremely dangerous for birds, according to Daniel Klem, an ornithologist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pa. He says that a conservative estimate is that more than 100 million birds die each year from crashing into glass on structures of all types, even houses.
“Here is the bottom line: Birds just don’t see glass,” said Professor Klem. “The animals are not able to recognize glass as a barrier and avoid it.”
And lights, particularly those from skyscrapers, distract migratory birds from the visual cues they receive from the stars and the moon, said Douglas Stotz, a conservation ecologist at the Field Museum in Chicago.
Yahoo! wants to be a media company that mixes content with distribution. They’ve got Lloyd Braun, formerly chairman of ABC’s entertainment group, to do it:
“I come from a medium which allows you to represent a pretty static linear picture,” Mr. Braun said. “It’s very passive.” At Yahoo, he does not plan any half-hour or hourlong programs, but shorter segments that users can assemble into longer experiences of their own choosing.
The Internet reflects what Mr. Braun calls “the A.D.D. generation,” where people watch TV, read something online, chat on a cellphone and send instant messages - all at the same time. He talks of short, frequent video segments, surrounded by other information that users can interact with in their own way and contribute to as well.
One of Yahoo’s secret weapons, Mr. Braun says, is that it can personalize information for the interests of each user, such as its My Yahoo page and the song recommendations provided to users of its music service. Mr. Braun is weaving this technology into a video player Yahoo will introduce near the end of the year.
“It will almost be like a television set,” Mr. Braun said, except as people watch one program, on the center of the player, other areas will offer additional programming choices, based on their past viewing habits. It will let them use Yahoo’s video search to find programs from amateur videographers and video bloggers. And it will, of course, promote the glitzy shows Mr. Braun is creating.
“People want the freedom to do exactly what they want to do,” he said. “But they also like to be programmed to and reminded of the different things that exist. Yahoo is in a position to do both of those.”
That’s the first I’ve heard of the video player. I’ll be interested to see how it develops. As to their business strategy, I’m glad to see user created content featured in their four pillars:
First, is search, of course, to fend off Google, which has become the fastest-growing Internet company. Next comes community, as he calls the vast growth of content contributed by everyday users and semiprofessionals like bloggers. Third, is the professionally created content that Mr. Braun oversees, made both by Yahoo and other traditional media providers. And last, is personalization technology to help users sort through vast choices to find what interests them.
RELATED: Yahoo! hired nine financial writers.
No school today
The governor cancelled it. Democrats think that a bad idea:
“Right now, half of Georgia is saying, ‘Just how out of touch is this guy?’ and that’s going to be remembered,” said Morton Brilliant, campaign manager for Secretary of State Cathy Cox, who is challenging Perdue. Lt. Gov. Mark Taylor, another Perdue opponent, also criticized the move.
“When he made this hasty decision, Gov. Perdue obviously didn’t take into account the family needs of parents and students and didn’t seem to understand that this could easily create a panic that will drive up gas prices and hurt consumers,” said Kristi Huller, Taylor’s spokeswoman. “Sadly, it’s part of a pattern. With Gov. Perdue, schools, students and families always come last.”
Democrats also argue that Perdue’s call to remain calm in the face of possible fuel shortages caused a rush to the pumps, similar to what happened just after Katrina.
“This is typical of him. He has an idea, he doesn’t talk to anyone, and he does it,” said Rep. Bob Holmes (D-Atlanta), a Clark Atlanta University political scientist.
I’m not a fan of Perdue but I’m not sure what I think of the decision to close schools. There was a Katrina gas rush in my town too; maybe suspending school and the gas tax has kept us calmer this time around.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
The theater here was recently renovated so I’ve been wanting to get back to going out to the movies. I’d like to see Good Night and Good Luck for example.
People here don’t go out to the movies much anymore. They’re not alone:
I think moviegoing is doomed to die off slowly unless Hollywood can come up with a reasonable new experience. As it now stands, I can feed an HDTV signal into a standard Toshiba LCD projector through the composite video ports and blow out a 100-inch 16:9 image on a screen and get a theater experience in the home. With progressive scan or line-doubling DVD players, the experience is phenomenal. Use a DLP theater projector or a large-screen plasma display, and you’re in heaven.
So why do I now want to go to the theater? Do I want to go because it’s more expensive than a DVD rental? Do I want to go for the greasy popcorn coated with trans-fat butter-flavored oil? Do I want to go so I can hear cell phones going off all over the place and people yakking on them? Do I want to go because most of the movies aren’t shown on large screens at all, but in boxcar-sized rooms with screens not much bigger than my projector screen at home? Do I want to go because the sound is turned too loud and pumped through a mediocre audio system?
A friend mounted his living room projector and drop down screen yesterday; his sound system is probably better than the theater’s. Another, a Bollywood buff, cancelled his popular home movie nights until he gets his tenure packet in at the end of the month.
It’s not likely I’ll get them to go out to a theater with me.
Less TV today
Personally I’m not too disappointed as I find myself watching less and less television these days anyways. I’m down to one show, Six Feet Under, and even with that I’m now 4 weeks behind. Shhhh. don’t give anything away. The problem is competing media that increasingly moves me away from television. The primary culprits? Flickr. Photography. Blogging. RSS.
I’m right there with him. The show I wanted to get to, all summer, is the last 4 episodes of last season’s West Wing, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I want to get to those episodes before the new season begins.
Odds are I’m not going to make it.
Months ago I promised video blogging and took off with a camera to shoot. I posted my first 2 snippets (on [deleted by request] and Gay Media), successfully got them to Google (after some frustration; and still no Mac!) and not a thing since.
Here’s what’s up…
I’ve been working hard opening a new Media Lab for the college. We opened the day after Labor Day but the official grand opening is the week after next. The Media Lab includes webcasts and podcasts so that’s another thing keeping me busy.
There have been organizational and procedural obstacles to get by, lots of hardware and software to install and learn, a student staff to train and a student body to motivate, all while doing the regular work of the labs.
On the home front we’re still putting the house together from the summer renovations. Keeping busy there too.
So I’m looking forward to getting back to my video blogging; I imagine cool winter weekends working on the video already shot, finding out more about Our Media and Participatory Culture, and shooting more.
There’s lots of interesting stuff to shoot around here, but I’m still an old school video guy, and that takes time. But maybe the students will teach me and I’ll learn to be a free and easy video guy; find a new way and do my own version of Walking in LA.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Opinion v news
Kos on the Times v Wall Street Journal influencing public opinion:
The Wall Street Journal is not stupid. They’re smart. They’ve put their news content behind a pay wall and have done quite well revenue-wise for their troubles. BUT, they also want to influence public opinion. And being a key component of the Right Wing Noise Machine, the WSJ editorial board has made sure their opinion material is accessible to everyone. Heck, they have a guy emailing their content to bloggers. They even have a separate site for it: OpinionJournal.com. You want your dose of Peggy Noonan (must ... supress ... gag reflex), or John Fund, or James Taranto? You’ve got them. No pesky paywall between their opinion content and the people they hope to influence.
The New York Times, on the other hand, is the textbook definition of stupid. They take the one part of the paper that is a commodity—the opinion—and try to charge for that. No Krugman? Who cares. Give me Brad DeLong. No Bob Herbert? Whatever. Give me James Wolcott or anyone at the American Prospect or Washington Monthly. Or any of the thousands of columnists at other newspapers, and the tens of thousands of political bloggers.
Is it really stupid to try to charge for your commodity? What else do you charge for?
As a citizen rather than as a partisan, I think hard news is more important than opinion. I want opinion based on hard news. Keeping the news pages open is more important. I applaud the Times for that.
As a left-leaning partisan, I note how the left abandons the columnists they profess to admire over a measly $4.16 a month. It seems a reasonable price point to me to help keep a valuable media asset afloat.
TimesSelect may well fail and I’d prefer an advertiser model (though I note that bloggers object to that too) but I sure don’t blame them for trying. I quote again from Business Week’s important story on the challenges facing the Times:
THE CONSTANCY OF THEIR COMMITMENT to high-cost journalism has put the Sulzbergers in an increasingly contrarian position. Many of the country’s surviving big-city dailies once were owned by similarly high-minded dynastic families that long ago surrendered control to big public corporations that prize earnings per share above all else. Editorial budgets at most newspapers, as well as TV and radio stations, have been squeezed so hard for so long that asphyxiation is a mounting risk. The proliferation of Web sites and cable-TV stations has produced an abundance of commentary and analysis, but the kind of thorough, original reporting in which the Times specializes is, if anything, increasingly scarce.
In effect, the Sulzbergers have subsidized the Times in valuing good journalism and the prestige it confers over profits and the wealth it creates.
We say we want that in our media institutions, but we flat-out want it for free. Sounds like the left has an issue with money to me.
I’m as big a fan of citizen produced media as the next guy, but I’ve got just as much praise for the MSM. It’s a wonderfully synergistic ecosphere we’ve got these days, and I’m on the side of those who’d like to see what newspapers like the Times do continued.
99Ã‚Â¢ store a thing of the past?
Apple’s fighting with the labels:
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The love affair between record labels and Apple Computer Inc.
could be headed for the rocks as they bicker over prices ahead of licensing renegotiations set for early next year.
The licensing agreements between Apple, maker of the wildly popular iPod digital music player and operator of the most widely used music download service, and the record labels are set to expire next spring.
Both sides, which have benefited enormously from music sales created by the iPod phenomenon, are jockeying for position.
Apple’s chief executive Steve Jobs, believed by some to be the savior of the music industry, insists that prices should be uniform at 99 cents a song and $9.99 an album, saying that the buying experience for consumers should be simple.
Record executives, however, are seeking some flexibility in prices, including the ability to charge more for some songs and less for others, the way they do in the traditional retail world.
Much as I dislike the content cartel, for the moment I’m agnostic on the issue. “Some flexibility” seems reasonable.
Then again, my “some” and their “sum” are likely to be very different.