Monthly Archives: February 2008

A rare post…

It’s a pretty rare event that I post on February 29th, and for a change, it has nothing to do with how busy I am. ;) A few pre-midterm thoughts while Twitter is MIA (again!)…

  • Don’t let the RIAA fool you — the music lawsuits were never about protectnig the artists. I’ll be really surprised to see if artists get any cut at all when it’s all said and done.
  • I feel another obsession coming on. A friend of mine sent me a YouTube link to Thunder in Paradise, a very short-lived show featuring Hulk Hogan with a kickass boat and lots of scantily-clad women. I used to really dig it when it was on TNT…and it seems as if I can watch it. Many years later, I see why the show was so short-lived.
  • The blogger/tweeter meetup last night was pretty fantastic. I stayed way later than I expected, but had a great time. Shuffleboard at Gene’s is a fantastic time. Highly recommended. It was great to meet some new folks as well as see some folks I hadn’t seen in a while!
  • One more midterm, and the student side of my life is off for a week.

Hope your Friday is fun!

Limited weather reporting for a couple days

A large tree branch decided that I needed a break from reporting weather from my station for a few days, falling on my anemometer during a storm today and taking it out. Worse, the nose is broken off of it. The nose has a weight in it, which keeps the anemometer right on track. It was reasonable to replace, so I went ahead and ordered a new one. Therefore, don’t expect much from my station for the next few days. It’ll be a good chance to do maintenance on that machine anyway. I should be back reporting by next week.

Political Discourse In America

We all know that I’m not a fan of immunity for telecommunications companies that helped the government in its (at best) legally-questionable warrantless wiretapping program. (Which, thankfully, the House grew some backbone and stopped on Thursday! :) ) Today, Facebook and ABC News asked about telecom immunity in its latest poll question, and I jumped in a bit. I like talking about this topic; it’s gone fairly unnoticed with all the election hubris, and it’s a pretty pivotal deal in terms of rule of law in America.

At first, the debate was level-headed, a quiet discussion of the facts in the situation and a respectful exchange on both sides.

Then enter M, who clearly takes a cue from Sean Hannity or other hate radio purveyors, with gems like this, a happy wish for those who oppose warrantless wiretapping:

To those of you who believe that it’s wrong of the government to be doing this, it’s my every wish that a terror attack affects your family.

Thanks, M. I’ll be sure to pass your wishes along to my family, who also read my blog.

After another post by him telling me that he didn’t want to “die for my stupidity,” I pretty much let him have his soapbox. He then mentioned that he didn’t know what good things Truman did as President and that there should be a separate country for liberals. He was then fed to the virtual equivalent of rabid lions.

I love the Internet(s), and I love this country, because despite how nasty it may be, he has the right to state that opinion. There’s nothing in the Constitution about decorum in free speech, after all. However, it’s unfortunate that we still have to deal with the poison in our public discourse, particularly over the Internet. It’s not about calmly bringing issues to the table and debating their merits anymore; it’s about shouting, name-calling, ad hominem garbage that drives traffic and ad revenue. Both sides do it. It’s plainly obvious where our divisions come from; the fringes have mobilized very well on the Internet and began their shouting, which is so loud that the moderates are largely drowned out (Joe Gandelman & co. being an exception). And I think, despite what the fringes want you to think, that a majority of America is still moderate and understands the value in a calm debate of the issues.

Or maybe I’m just being idealistic, young, and foolish again.

A Valentine’s mea culpa, ten years in the making

This post is the genesis of much internal turmoil and self-debate, as there are a number of angles I can come at Valentine’s Day with. The original plan was to come at it from my typical tongue-in-cheek style with a pinch of self-deprecation and bitterness over being single for the 20th time on the 14th of February. I could have made jokes about it being a “Hallmark holiday” and all that, like I typically do. Then, I came across Agricola’s post entitled Pad 39, a really nifty, sentimental piece about a part of his teenager-hood. A portion of the post, in which he compares his first kiss to “sticking [his] finger in an electric socket,” was really inspiring, and I nearly wrote about my first kiss, which was electric in its own right — it was on the beach with lightning in the distance, an unusually fitting first kiss for a weather nerd such as myself.

Then, I realized the timing of this year, and the subject matter of this post completely changed. Despite the risk of being accused of living in the past and dredging up old things that are likely irrelevant, I must use this precious space to do the right thing. Continue reading

Telecom immunity passes

This makes me ill (via NYT):

The Senate rejected a series of amendments that would have restricted the government’s surveillance powers and eliminated immunity for the phone carriers, and it voted in convincing fashion — 69 to 29 — to end debate and bring the issue to a final vote. That vote is expected later this afternoon, with the result all but assured.

So how, exactly, can anybody say with a straight face that this warrantless surveillance is legal if we have to immunize the culpable parties? Isn’t giving them immunity basically an admission that these telecoms have been breaking the law by listening to Americans’ phone conversations? Where will it end? I’m almost scared to find out. This Congress, one of the most spineless in history, is now officially useless to me. We have officially legalized a total surveillance state, where the agents of the government are private enterprise, who are not bound by any constitution and are apparently above the law.

They say they do it to protect us from those who do us harm — but isn’t a government that respects the rule of law only when it benefits itself just as bad, if not WORSE, than any tyranny a foreign agent could unleash upon us?

My first BlackBerry outage

So this is what a BlackBerry holiday feels like. RIM has got a case of the Mondays. No clue when e-mail will be back. Guess it’s back to the good old days of checking in every now and again…

Update: More from Engadget. Yes, I too would like to know about the “this will never happen again…” I’ve been evangelizing BlackBerry to everybody I know. This could hurt. Microsoft Direct Push would not have this issue…

Update: De-asided this…it’s kind of a big deal. Most of North America’s BlackBerries went dark. Crazy. Good news, though — I just got a rush of e-mail, and word on the street is that the backlog is clearing out. Good news for sure, though RIM will have a lot of explaining to do.

This is what I do in school

I think people would be interested to know what I do in class — so here goes. This is for my Television News Reporting class.

My “news team” rocks. Justin, the guy who taped this, does part-time work in the College’s documentary department as a photog — and it shows, in 24p goodness. Alison, who helped Justin with taping and did other behind-the-scenes coaching, has done work with at least two TV stations and brought that experience into the field, helping me be at least a little more professional. I did the graphics and cut the tape together…that was fun. It’s all one giant learning experience for me, and it’s a heck of a time.