aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Friday, August 18, 2006
Bush pardon and pardoning Bush
By granting absolution to a convicted moonshiner, George W. Bush also earned the unique distinction of becoming the first president to pardon a cast member of the 1972 Academy Award-nominated movie “Deliverance.”
Randall Leece Deal of Clayton, Georgia, had a small role in the film about four Atlanta businessmen who have unpleasant encounters with locals during a north Georgia canoe trip…
Deal has never made a single federal political contribution, according to Federal Election Commission records. When asked if he had any special political connections with the White House, Deal laughed and said, “Oh no. No sir. None whatsoever.”
Deal did describe himself as a Bush supporter, pardon or no pardon.
That last line is not unusual coming as it does from a man working in a north Georgia sheriff’s office. But consider the story of 74-year-old Ethel Williams, a Ninth Ward New Orleans resident visited by President Bush after Katrina destroyed her home:
“We’ve got a strategy to help the good folks down here rebuild,” the president said that day. “Part of it has to do with funding; part of it has to do with housing; and a lot of it has to do with encouraging volunteers from around the United States to come down and help people like Mrs. Williams. So we’re proud to be here with you, Mrs. Williams, and God bless you.” [...]
But since that day, not much has happened. Williams’ house has stood gutted, just as it was when the president left.
This is a fascinating story, all the more so because of Mrs. Williams reaction:
Williams says she’s not angry at anyone—especially not the president. She never voted for Mr. Bush, but she says she really felt a connection with him that day in April. She now calls the president a friend.
She’s confident that President Bush will make sure things work out: “You can’t get me to say he won’t, because he will. Watch.”
“What’s your name? I’m gonna call you. I’m gonna prove it to you. Before you leave, let me know how to get in touch with you. I’m gonna call you.”
I have to say I was surprised that the Rove team would let Mrs. Williams’ home become an example like this. But I was more surprised by her reaction.
If I were ‘W’ I’d get that woman’s house fixed then go have gumbo and dirty rice with her!
Snakes and Sam
The Times calls it an amusingly crude, honestly satisfying artifact:
There are several different ways to die from an encounter with a snake and this film has them all. Not long after the passenger lights turn off, the rubber, computer-generated and (several hundred) live snakes slither into the main cabin, where they proceed to sink fangs into faces, necks, limbs, torsos, one bared and bountiful female breast and the unseen organ of a male passenger who forgets the number one rule of using strange bathrooms: check the toilet bowl. Naughty by nature or perhaps more by design, these snakes don’t just dart out of toilets; they also slide up bare legs and under dresses, moving in and out of more bodily orifices than the adult-film star Ron Jeremy did in his prime.
RELATED: Salon in July on why “Snakes on a Plane” turned into Snakes on a Plane.
iPod: Made in China
With no forced labor:
Apple Computer said Thursday that it had found no evidence of forced-labor conditions at a Chinese factory that makes iPod digital music players.
But it said that a company investigation found several violations of Apple’s code of conduct and that the supplier, Foxconn, was changing its practices as a result.
Apple sent an audit team to a Foxconn factory this summer after The Daily Mail of London reported forced labor and other sweatshop working conditions in Longhua, a suburb of the southern city of Shenzhen, where iPods are manufactured.
Here’s Apple’s report.
On Social Media and the Networked Public Sphere
Ulises Ali Mejias provides an excellent summary of the issues surrounding digital publics:
Can social media increase and improve civic participation? If so, in what ways? There’s a lot being said and written about the subject these days, but it is difficult to get a clear overview of the opinions. I attempt here to collect viewpoints both for and against the premise that social media is creating a better public sphere, and analyze them in the context of what constitutes a public and its antithesis, a mass. In presenting what are sometimes extreme positions within this debate (too idealistic v. too critical), my hope is to begin to understand the reality that lies in the middle, and come closer to understanding social media’s potential (and limitations) as a tool to bring about social change.
At a general level, we could say that on one side of the debate are those who believe that social media can increase civic participation and shift the balance of power away from the institutions that currently stand in the way of change. On the other side are those who warn that social media can only offer a reduced form of participation, that it diminishes the value of individual contributions, and that it leaves social systems more prone to manipulation by lowering their intelligence to the minimum common denominator (i.e., stupidity or mediocrity).
Thus, the debate can be framed in terms of whether social media can engender democratic publics that embody an intelligence and capacity for action greater than the sum of its members, or whether it will merely continue to support the production of anti-democratic masses of disenfranchised and alienated consumers. Of course, social media is a big label encompassing many different technologies, and even the same technologies can be applied differently in various contexts. But while features and applications might differ, the people contributing to this debate are obviously focused on the aggregated impact that social media is having on our societies rather than on specific examples of applications.
Via Liz Losh:
Mejias focuses on three areas of concern in current debates: 1) the balance between the ability to produce and consume ideas, 2) the access to affordable and effective means of producing ideas, and 3) how (or if) these ideas are translated into action. It’s worth looking at the comments as well, since Howard Rheingold weighs in with a correction of his position about the NPOV ethos of wiki-communities.