Posts from June 26, 2005

Do not build it. Not there.

Do not build it. Not there.

: TakeBacktheMemorial.com reports receiving more than 1,000 signatures from 9/11 family members and 18,000 signatures total in its petition not to build the International Freedom Center and Drawing Center at Ground Zero. Earlier post here.

Supporting news

Supporting news

: The latest Pew Research Center survey on the press is out. Kit Seelye’s take from The Times:

The latest survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has found overwhelming American dissatisfaction with the news media, with a rising number of people saying that the press is “too critical of America.”

And while Democrats have generally been more supportive of the press than Republicans, the survey found a marked increase in the number of Democrats who say reporters are too soft on the Bush administration….

“Republicans increasingly express the view that the press is excessively critical of the United States,” the survey said, with 67 percent agreeing with that statement, compared with 42 percent in July 2002.

About one-quarter of Democrats say the press is too critical, the same level as three years ago.

Any good will that the press earned after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, appears to have eroded.

In November 2001, 69 percent of all respondents said that the press stood up for America. Only 17 percent found it too critical. At the same time, 60 percent said the press did a good job of protecting democracy while only 19 percent said it was hurting democracy.

Now, only 47 percent say the press protects democracy and 33 percent say it hurts.

But the Pew Research report says it’s not all bad:

Yet despite these criticisms, most Americans continue to say that they like mainstream news outlets. By wide margins, more Americans give favorable than unfavorable ratings to their daily newspaper (80%-20%), local TV news (79%-21%), and cable TV news networks (79%-21%), among those able to rate these organizations. The margin is only slightly smaller for network TV news (75%-25%).

In fact, the favorable ratings for most categories of news organizations surpass positive ratings for President Bush and major political institutions ? the Supreme Court, Congress, and the two major political parties.

Now that’s a case of damning with faint praise if I’ve ever heard it….

pew1.gifBut here’s the really bad news: The public believes the press less and less:

The gap is most striking between the public’s evaluations of the credibility, and favorability, of their daily newspapers. The percentage saying they can believe most of what they read in their daily newspaper dropped from 84% in 1985 to 54% in 2004. But the number expressing a favorable opinion of their daily newspaper, based on those familiar enough to give a rating, declined just eight points over the same period (from 88% to 80%).

And, not surprisingly, younger Americans are getting more of their news from the internet:

One-in-four (24%) list the internet as a main source of news. Roughly the same number (23%) say they go online for news every day, up from 15% in 2000; the percentage checking the web for news at least once a week has grown from 33% to 44% over the same time period.

While online news consumption is highest among young people (those under age 30), it is not an activity that is limited to the very young. Three-in-ten Americans ages 30-49 cite the internet as a main source of news….

Fully 62% of internet news consumers say they read the websites of local or national newspapers….

People who read the newspaper online have a far less favorable opinion of network and local TV news programming than do people who read the print version, and also have a somewhat less favorable view of the daily newspaper they are most familiar with. But consumers of online newspapers feel far more favorably toward large nationally influential newspapers, such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Lots more interesting stats there.

Speaking of supporting news

Speaking of supporting news

: Newsweek reports on codpiece snuggies.

Blogging pays

Blogging pays

: Romenesko makes $152,163. And yes, it is a blog, albeit a self-loathing blog. [via Reynolds]

Have at me, Apple cultists

Have at me, Apple cultists

: OK, I’m so disgusted with Dell I am thinking of switching to Apple. Mind you, the entire reason I left Apple in the ’90s was its very sucky laptops. But Apple has changed, eh? So have at me. Why should I?

I’ve also been thinking that someone should start the Lexus of laptop companies: I would pay more if I actually believed that I would get quality, albeit expensive, service, as I did with my trusty RX300.

: NEXT question: Anybody using a Mac Powerbook and the Verizon EVDO highspeed wireless card?

Sorry, Al Gore… LBJ invented the internet

Sorry, Al Gore… LBJ invented the internet

: This week’s On The Media has tape from the speech Lyndon Johnson gave when he signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and here’s the amazing part: Like a science-fiction author, he invented the internet long before it is what we know today. Listen:

I believe the time has come to stake another claim in the name of all the people, stake a claim based upon the combined resources of communications. I believe the time has come to enlist the computer and the satellite, as well as television and radio, and to enlist them in the cause of education….

So I think we must consider new ways to build a great network for knowledge-not just a broadcast system, but one that employs every means of sending and of storing information that the individual can rise.

Think of the lives that this would change:

–the student in a small college could tap the resources of a great university….

–the country doctor getting help from a distant laboratory or a teaching hospital;

–a scholar in Atlanta might draw instantly on a library in New York;

–a famous teacher could reach with ideas and inspirations into some far-off classroom, so that no child need be neglected. Eventually, I think this electronic knowledge bank could be as valuable as the Federal Reserve Bank.

And such a system could involve other nations, too–it could involve them in a partnership to share knowledge and to thus enrich all mankind.

A wild and visionary idea? Not at all. Yesterday’s strangest dreams are today’s headlines and change is getting swifter every moment.

I have already asked my advisers to begin to explore the possibility of a network for knowledge–and then to draw up a suggested blueprint for it.

Just do not build it!

Just do not build it!

: With short-sighted attempts to distract from the 9/11 memorial with cultural institutions, Gov. Pataki has only built himself a political hole deeper than the empty crater at the World Trade Center.

Pataki and his cohorts are now offending absolutely everyone possible.

The only solution, the only way out, is to do what the families and I have been saying:

Do not build it. Not there.

After the New York Daily News revealed yesterday that the Drawing Center is equally offensive to the International Freedom Center next door, Pataki tried to backpedal. He said he didn’t want either to be “offensive.” But, of course, that offended those who are putting together the exhibits and who now cry free speech. I’ll fly my free-speech flag next to any other, but this is not about free speech — at least, it wasn’t until Pataki stuck his foot in his mouth. It is about the memorial. And so Pataki also offended the families for not going far enough, for not stopping these mistakes.

Pataki can’t win — because he’s a loser.

Gov. George E. Pataki delivered an ultimatum to two important cultural players at ground zero yesterday, demanding “an absolute guarantee” that they would not mount exhibitions that could offend 9/11 families and pilgrims to a proposed memorial nearby.

Now that’s absurd on its face: One cannot give an “absolute guarantee” of offending no one in an age of offense. So right there you see how hopeless his predicament is, a predicament he made for himself when he took over Ground Zero and tried to please everyone, pleasing no one.

The Times can’t even try to be subtle about his vice:

Treading warily into the nexus of art and politics, the First Amendment and the symbolism of the twin towers site, Mr. Pataki made the demand after learning that one of the groups, the Drawing Center, has featured some politically themed and controversial artwork in its shows. A current display at its SoHo gallery, for instance, appears to make light of President Bush’s description of Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the Axis of Evil.

While saying that he respected artistic expression, Mr. Pataki invoked the solemnity of past battlegrounds in promising to preserve the hallowed ground in Lower Manhattan and ensure that no one will come away feeling offended by the reborn site.

“I view that memorial site as sacred grounds, akin to the beaches of Normandy or Pearl Harbor, and we will not tolerate anything on that site that denigrates America, denigrates New York or freedom, or denigrates the sacrifice or courage that the heroes showed on Sept. 11,” Mr. Pataki told reporters in Albany.

So don’t build it, Governor. It is in your power, if you’d just realize that.

Referring to the two cultural groups, he continued, “They have to do that, or they will not be at the memorial site – to the extent that I have the ability to do that.” As governor, Mr. Pataki appoints members to oversight boards for ground zero’s redevelopment, and after more than a decade in office, he almost certainly has the allies and the clout to change course and block cultural institutions from the site.

There. The Times says it in front of the world: You have the power, Governor. But do you have the leadership and courage to make a decision?

The Times goes on to show the fix he’s in: “Mr. Pataki’s demand, which was denounced by several arts groups and Democrats as a violation of free speech…” Once given the opportunity to speak, taking it away is a most unfortunate position to put yourself in. Oh, yes, people who use this opportunity to speak offense over the graves of the innocents and heroes of that day are offensive themselves, but Pataki will not have that defense. He will be the man who cut off their speech. Or he will be the man who invited it: “At the same time, several relatives of Sept. 11 victims have complained increasingly about the location at the memorial site of the proposed cultural center for the two groups….”

So who’s going to decide what’s offensive, Governor? You want that job? I don’t think so.

And you’ll get no help from your even less testosterone rich colleague, Mayor Bloomberg:

At his own news conference yesterday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg appeared to wrestle with his own sense of obligation to the site, to the governor and to First Amendment principles.

“The problem is, of course, that you can probably not find any reputable cultural institution any place in the world where some of what they display or do would be appropriate there, but not appropriate at this site,” he said. “And so the balance has got to be, and the challenge for the curators is going to be: given the context of where these cultural institutions are, what’s appropriate here?”

Listen to yourselves, gentlemen. You have no way out except to say:

Do not build it. Not there.

You should have said that immediately. Now you can suggest that they build it somewhere else and you’ll still find them yelling at you. But better that than leaving as your legacy for generations to come the most tangible memorial to political compromise ever built.

: In the Daily News, Pataki tried to sound tough but his words only gloss over indecision:

We will not tolerate anything on that site that denigrates America, denigrates New York or freedom or denigrates the sacrifice and courage that the heroes showed on Sept. 11….

Sure, there can be debate. But I don’t want that debate to be occurring at Ground Zero.

If you don’t want debate then, indeed, you don’t want speech. But what do you expect when you ask in the crew you did to build these centers?

Once again, Governor, you do not want to find yourself editing the the discussion to make sure it’s not debate, not offensive.

I said the same thing to Debra Burlingame, who, bless her, brought this to our attention: There is no point in trying to unstack the committees or edit their content. The only point at Ground Zero is the memorial.

: The New York Post sees through the efforts at tough talk:

Shame on Pataki.

If ever there was a time for him to stand up and do the right thing for New York, yesterday was it.

As always, his rhetoric yesterday sounded tough.

: But enough rhetoric.

: Here is my suggestion for what to do, Governor: Go use some political capital, if you have any left, to get a rich friend and benefactor to donate space for each center somewhere else in New York. Take the government and government funds out of this. You can say that this is best because there must be no distraction from the memorial at the World Trade Center. You can say (if you are good at keeping a straight face, which you are) that you wanted to find a new home for the centers with new funds to depoliticize them. You can say (with pure sincerity) that we must do nothing to stand in the way of the memory of that day.

That’s what you should do, Governor.

: And you, dear readers, can join the thousands at TakeBackTheMemorial.com who have signed the petition telling the governor:

Do not build it. Not there.

Dell still sucks. Dell still lies.

Dell still sucks. Dell still lies.

: Well, my Dell hell continues. The machine’s networking just goes off on its own; the green connection light goes off and the machine either turns off or does not recognize its networking (while other machines in the room work fine). I even got a new wireless router to make sure there was no problem on that end. Other machines: fine. Dell machine: sucks.

The machine then freezes and gives me the blue screen of death, which I never once had with my Sony Viao’s — which is what I will buy as soon as I get a refund for this piece of crap.

The keyboard still does not work.

And I’m getting email from Dell people who clearly are not paying attention. “Dear Mr. Langley,” said one. I corrected them and said the name’s Jarvis. The response: “Dear Ms. Kolar.”

It’d be funny if it were SO DAMNED IRRITATING.

The issue here remains: Dell sold me “at-home service.” They sold me a high-end warranty. They sold me “complete care” promising to replace this machine if I lit it on fire… which is very tempting, believe me.

But they take their sweet fucking time sending me email that doesn’t give me the confidence that they even know who they’re talking to.

Well, the machine they made is is a DAMNED LEMON and under federal warranty law, they are warned.

And their warranty is a fraud. I’m not getting my machine fixed. I am not getting at-home service. I am not getting complete care.

Is anybody at Dell listening? I know you are. What do you have to say, Dell?

: While you’re at it, Dell, go here and and here and here and read the comments and see how y our customers hate you. (And that extra space in “your” is because of your broken keyboard, by the way.)

: A snarker in the comments says, “Buyer beware.”

No, we are in the new era of “Seller beware.” Now when you screw your customers, your customers can fight back and publish and organize. I just sent this link to Dell’s media relations department and told them to read the comments and see what their real public relations look like.

: Oh, and by the way, the ONLY reason I bought this Dell was because of the alleged at-home service. The machine is not as well-designed as a Viao. It is heavier. There are cheaper machines out there. But now that I’m self-employed (that is, without the blessed in-house PC support department,) I decided to buy a machine from a company that offered me at-home service and a complete care guarantee. And I decided to pay extra for it.

That is the heart of the issue here. That is the essence of the fraud.