aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, April 19, 2007
She told CBS News it was busy and she did not remember him as much as she remembered his package, but not due to its contents, just the address. She had to look up the zip code for Rockefeller Plaza.
The package had been intended to arrive in one day, but the address was wrong. Instead of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, it was “30 Rockefeller Ave.,” and the ZIP code was wrong.
NBC & the video
Siva’s right, material from the killer should not have aired, releasing the video was disrespectful to the victims and their families. And… from the moment I heard there was a video there was no question it would be shown. There’s no stopping it these days - I’m not sure I want to; time, place and manner is another question - but I was shocked to see it the very next day. On another network.
Which puts the lie to NBC’s claim of agonized sensitivity: the NBC News logo, in color, was on every frame. If there was even the slightest notion of some serving of the public interest by showing that video, it was undone by that logo’s branding of the video. It underscored the craven nature of the showing.
In an ideal world I’d hand the material over to officials. Wait for the story to cool. Release without logos (and not with the intention of keeping the story going). Maybe put it on the web, but then every other network would put it on the air anyway.
RELATED LISTENING: Radio Open Source, “what, exactly, is new here? Besides the zeros and the ones, and the ease of dissemination and reconfiguration, is there a difference between a 19th-century suicide note and a 21st-century QuickTime movie?”
Gonzales still standing
Everyone in the world seems to know Alberto Gonzales is a stone around the president’s neck except for Gonzales & Bush. I’m happy for him to stay; more fodder for the press:
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., busts out a big, big chart. Which happens after almost everyone has gone home. The chart compares the Clinton protocol for appropriate contacts between the White House and the DoJ on pending criminal cases with the Bush protocol. According to Whitehouse, the Clinton protocol authorized just four folks at the White House to chat with three folks at Justice. The chart had four boxes talking to three boxes. Out comes the Bush protocol, and now 417 different people at the White House have contacts about pending criminal cases with 30-some people at Justice. You can just see zillions of small boxes nattering back and forth. It seems that just about everyone in the White House, including the guys in the mailroom, had a vote on ongoing criminal matters.
Sen. Pat Leahy, D-Vt., calls this “the most astounding thing” he’s seen in 32 years.
At bottom, the worst ickiness is that while Gonzales thinks he should retain his position despite all he has to apologize for (after all, he has learned from his mistakes), he’s more than willing to point to the single mistake made by his subordinates that doomed their careers, one by one. (Daniel Bogden = low “energy.” Paul Charlton = “poor judgment.” Kevin Ryan = “bad manager.” John McKay = bad “information sharing.” Carol Lam = Carol Lame.) He is willing to detail everything Paul McNulty should have done differently and everything Kyle Sampson did wrong. Time and again Gonzales wants to claim the benefit of the doubt for all the “great things” he’s achieved as attorney general, but he’s the only one who gets it. Second chances only run one way at Justice.
Which leaves Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., to ask why the attorney general should not be “judged by the same standards you’ve used to judge the U.S. attorneys.” The senator calls Gonzales’ handling of the situation “incompetent” and “atrocious” and says that it’s generous to call his false claims “misstatements.’” Coburn suggests that “the best way to put this behind us is for you to resign.” Did I mention that he is a rock-solid Republican?
Open Source traffic jam: Thunderbird 2 & Feisty Fawn
A big day for Open Source. Thunderbird 2:
Thunderbird 2, with its enhanced features, is intended to ease the organization of e-mail via message tags, advanced folder viewing, and speedier inbox and message searching.
Under its message tagging feature, users can assign single or multiple custom tags to their e-mail, such as “from mom” or “weekend projects.” Users would also be able to assign default tags, as well.
And Ubuntu’s Feisty Fawn:
Canonical on Thursday released version 7.04 of Ubuntu Linux, nicknamed Feisty Fawn, but the company’s Web site was unable to keep up with the demand for the software.
The up-and-coming Ubuntu has yet to attain the commercially blessed status of Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell’s Suse Linux Enterprise, which have been in the marketplace years longer and are certified to work with many software and hardware products. But Canonical‘s software has built a significant fan base with its twice-yearly updates, user-friendly values and cutesy naming scheme.
Farm bill or Food bill?
Michael Pollan has an essay coming in this weekend’s New York Times Magazine. In it he argues, persuasively, that we should recognize the farm bill for what it is - a food bill. For our food system is no longer made up of idyllic family farms meeting America’s needs, rather factory-style agribusinesses are but the producers of industrial raw materials for food processors.
A taste from the introduction:
A few years ago, an obesity researcher at the University of Washington named Adam Drewnowski ventured into the supermarket to solve a mystery. He wanted to figure out why it is that the most reliable predictor of obesity in America today is a person’s wealth. For most of history, after all, the poor have typically suffered from a shortage of calories, not a surfeit. So how is it that today the people with the least amount of money to spend on food are the ones most likely to be overweight?
Drewnowski gave himself a hypothetical dollar to spend, using it to purchase as many calories as he possibly could. He discovered that he could buy the most calories per dollar in the middle aisles of the supermarket, among the towering canyons of processed food and soft drink. (In the typical American supermarket, the fresh foods - dairy, meat, fish and produce - line the perimeter walls, while the imperishable packaged goods dominate the center.) Drewnowski found that a dollar could buy 1,200 calories of cookies or potato chips but only 250 calories of carrots. Looking for something to wash down those chips, he discovered that his dollar bought 875 calories of soda but only 170 calories of orange juice.
As a rule, processed foods are more “energy dense” than fresh foods: they contain less water and fiber but more added fat and sugar, which makes them both less filling and more fattening. These particular calories also happen to be the least healthful ones in the marketplace, which is why we call the foods that contain them “junk.Ã¢â‚¬Â� Drewnowski concluded that the rules of the food game in America are organized in such a way that if you are eating on a budget, the most rational economic strategy is to eat badly - and get fat.
I’ll have more later and will link when the story is brought out from behind the paywall.
GA “tourist attraction” town requires gun ownership
Old news given new resonance, there’s a university there, too. I didn’t even know:
KENNESAW, Ga., April 18 (Reuters) - The Virginia Tech killings have set off calls for tighter U.S. gun laws but anyone wanting to know why those demands likely will make little headway should visit Kennesaw, a town where owning a gun is both popular and mandatory.
The town north of Atlanta had little prominence until it passed a gun ordinance in 1982 that required all heads of a household to own a firearm and ammunition. [...]
Residents say they are comfortable with the image the gun law projects on the city as a bastion of gun freedom.
“There’s been no move to get rid of the law. Why would you?” said Robert Jones, president of the Kennesaw Historical Society. “The law is a great tourist attraction. It’s the town with the Gun Law.
The estimate is that 50% of residents now own guns. No one has been arrested for not owning a gun and “some residents said they found the law objectionable or silly and simply ignored it.” But what about the values and traditions of those who support the law?
Dent “Wildman” Myers, 76, styles himself as a keeper of the flame when it comes to Kennesaw’s gun ordinance. His downtown shop contains a cornucopia of artifacts, including old uniforms and dozens of flags of the Confederacy that fought the Union in part in defense of slavery in the Civil War. At the back is a Ku Klux Klan outfit with a noose and a hood.
There also are posters praising defenders of the white race, White Power CDs and a sign that reads: “No Dogs Allowed, No Negroes, No Mexicans.” Someone had crossed out the first part of the sign and added “Dogs Allowed.”
Myers said he wanted to protect the values that made the town and the South distinct from other parts of the United States.
Via The Moderate Voice, “There is no easy solution when fear and violence take possession of one’s mind and thought. Banning [guns], or having more and more strict legislation, alone would not help much.”