After a decade of waiting for the first “Internet election,” its finally here, and were adrift from all the old-media moorings. “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one,” the great critic A. J. Liebling wrote more than half a century ago. Today, of course, were all press lords, or can be. But the “crowd-sourcing” of news cuts both ways. Like democracy itself, it can cleanse, correct and ennoble. Or it can coarsen, spread lies and degrade the national conversation.
Everything about the Web is double-edged. Its hard to believe, but YouTube wasnt even around in 2004. Now it or other streamed video is a godsend for anyone who wants to follow politics closely. But YouTube is also a pixilated guillotine for any public figures inclined to show a little humanity that is, fallibility or a penchant for inconvenient truth-telling when they step out of their house. Colin Powell told me recently that hes even had to put up with picture takers in the mens room.
Alter makes a number of good points in this mini-rant/whine about the interwebs and the reality of a democratized media. As one actually educated in how the media works and how much works it takes to make much of it look effortless on the consumer end, he makes some good points.
I have started a new productivity initiative where I’ll be using my desktop for writing and my laptop for blogging. Hopefully this will work out better for everyone. With that being said, I have to clear off my desktop, here’s the stuff I didn’t get to, but thought was worthwhile
Here’s the walking across the U.S. for a good cause.
SAN DIEGO (AP) ― It took 10 months, 24 pairs of shoes and 40 pounds of flesh, but former New York Giant George Martin has finished a cross-country walk to raise money for people with health problems linked to the September 11 attacks.
Vice President Dick Cheney’s office was involved in removing statements on health risks posed by global warming from a draft of a health official’s Senate testimony last year, a former senior government environmental official said on Tuesday.
He hasn’t been heard from much lately, but he’s up to the same old b.s.
Jerusalem – Israel plans to build some 1,800 new homes in two Jewish neighbourhoods of Jerusalem built on occupied West Bank land, Israel Radio reported Wednesday.
Some 900 homes will be built in Homat Shmuel G’, an eastern extension of Israel’s controversial Har Homa neighbourhood, on Jerusalem’s southern outskirts, the radio said.
This settlement building just keeps angreing the Palestinians and even goes agiainst what the U.S. has asked for. With each new settlement built under protest, peace retreats a bit more. Stop building until an greement is reached, por favor.
GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba (AP) — The judge in the first American war crimes trial since World War II barred evidence on Monday that interrogators obtained from Osama bin Laden’s driver, ruling he was subjected to “highly coercive” conditions in Afghanistan.
But Judge Keith Allred, a Navy captain, left the door open for the prosecution to use statements Salim Hamdan made at Guantanamo, despite defense claims that all his statements were tainted by alleged abuse including sleep deprivation and solitary confinement.
Hamdan, who was captured at a roadblock in Afghanistan in November 2001, pleaded not guilty at the start of a trial that will be closely watched as the first full test of the Pentagon’s system for prosecuting alleged terrorists. He faces a maximum life sentence if convicted of conspiracy and aiding terrorism.
It looks like they are going to allow “coerced” (i.e. tortured) testimony in these trials. So much for “justice”
And last but not least, my favorite song of the summer.
WASHINGTON, July 16 (Reuters) – With just six months left in office, the Bush administration has done an about-face in joining talks with Tehran over its nuclear program, a move analysts say is driven partly by a desire to avoid war with Iran.
For years, the Bush administration said it would join nuclear talks with Iran only if it gave up uranium enrichment, but with President George W. Bush’s term ending in January and tensions rising with Tehran, Washington feels it cannot afford to be excluded.
The perception, especially in global financial markets, of a growing likelihood of a confrontation between Iran and the United States or Israel has rattled oil markets in recent months, helping drive prices to record highs.
Ahh, finally we found the way to leverage the Bush administration to action…the near total collapse of the U.S. economy…at least it would if we attacked Iran. Mere speculation has probably added 10-15% of the price of oil. War itself would do something along the lines of 100-150%.
And the main weapon they have is economic. Which is where we happen to be weakest at the moment.
So the talks began. And since the story above is from a week or so back, here’s the results…
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accused Iran on Monday of not being serious at weekend talks about its disputed nuclear program despite the presence of a senior U.S. diplomat, and warned it may soon face new sanctions.
In her first public comments since Saturday’s meeting in Switzerland, Rice said Iran had given the run-around to envoys from the U.S. and five other world powers. She said all six nations were serious about a two-week deadline Iran now has to agree to freeze suspect activities and start negotiations or be hit with new penalties.
Rice was briefed on the meeting by the State Department’s No. 3 diplomat, Undersecretary of State William Burns, who attended the session in a shift from Washington’s previous insistence that it would not meet with the Iranians unless enrichment of uranium had stopped.
So there was little progress on this go round. That is understandable, since now positions are being re-trenched. There are also limits to the punitive actions that can be taken, which complicates the options for the Six Allies.
Meanwhile, world oil prices rose above $130 a barrel in part on concerns that the threat of new sanctions against Iran may escalate tensions in the Middle East.
At Saturday’s meeting, Iran had been expected to respond to a package of incentives offered in exchange for halting enrichment of uranium, which can be used to fuel atomic weapons. The Bush administration broke with long-standing policy to send a top diplomat to support the offer.
However, Rice said that instead of a coherent answer, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili delivered a “meandering” monologue full of irrelevant “small talk about culture” that appeared to annoy many of the others present at the table in Geneva.
And so the haggling begins. The next round should be in two weeks or so…
“We will see what Iran does in two weeks, but I think the diplomatic process now has a new kind of energy to it,” she said. “If they do not decide to suspend then we will be in a situation where we have to return to the Security Council.”
High-level contact between the United States and Iran is extremely rare and Burns’ presence at the talks may have confused the Iranians, Rice said, acknowledging a tactical change to demonstrate U.S. unity with the other five powers: Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
“From time to time, it is important to invigorate the diplomacy,” she said. “I think that the fact that we went may have been a bit surprising to the Iranians, and they didn’t react in a way that gave anyone any confidence.”
Hey, at least we’re talking. It’s a fair sight better than shooting.
WASHINGTON (CNN) — Former Republican Sen. Phil Gramm said Friday that he is stepping down as co-chairman of Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign amid criticism for saying last week that “we have sort of become a nation of whiners.”
Phil Gramm, left, said his comments have become a “distraction” for Sen. John McCain’s campaign.
Gramm on Friday said he would “join the growing number of rank-and-file McCain supporters.”
Democrats blasted Gramm for the comments, made in a Washington Times interview published July 10, and McCain forcefully repudiated the remarks.
In a written statement released Friday, Gramm said his comments had become a distraction for McCain.
“It is clear to me that Democrats want to attack me rather than debate Senator McCain on important economic issues facing the country,” Gramm said.
I hate to see a fellow Texan go down, but that’s probably the way it had to be. His comments were so far in line with the typical Bush line that he could no longer be a public presence on the campaign.
I’m glad to see this. But it doesn’t really address the larger issue, which is McCain.