(ATLANTA :: 1 Dec. 2008) - With the world's attention culminating again today, Dec. 1, each year we get a little closer to understanding how HIV and AIDS affects Atlanta, the country and the rest of the world.
On the 20th annual World AIDS Day, I'm happy to announce the official launch of ARTvision's Web site... our third year of bringing together artists and buyers in the name of charity. We have a record number of donating artists this year and have already sold our first piece - with hopefully more to follow!
Positive Impact is our beneficiary. Get to know them... We embark on ARTvision's month-long fundraising drive for a reason - PI is in very real need of funds to sustain their HIV prevention programs and to help offset leasing costs and the economic downturn. A wide range of price points - from $50 to $800 - means you have lots of opportunities to help PI make a good chunk of change. (browse now)
So, an ARTvision purchase is a direct and unfettered statement of support for PI's broad-based prevention and treatment services, which are now coming from a more macro perspective, expanded from a sex-behavior theory to a total lifestyle ideology.
ARTvision is the perfect chance to lock in a last-minute tax deduction, support a great organization and receive some snazzy artwork in the process.
Watch the site this week as we load more artists. Let's make some cash! - WP
"I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all. "
- "...President Jeb Bush is running for a third term as U.S. President." Yeah, not so much. We've had enough Bush for 8 years.
- "...Ivan has been employed at a large Danish abattoir for 26 years." No idea what this means. But I like it better than the previous result.
- "...and mankind has been annihilated, hunted to extinction by a century's worth of alien attacks." Nah, Palin should probably be in retirement by then. Oops! Just a video game teaser.
- "...The workplace has evolved into the 'dynamic and wise workplace.' This has demanded that business and information professionals manage information from a myriad of sources in a myriad of formats, and consolidate it into a tapestry of intelligence." Dig it. A "tapestry" of anything has GOT to be good.
- "...and the United States has elected its first woman as well as the first Jewish president, Susan Goldfarb." Hmmm... maybe someday. Remember how close Lieberman was to VP? Oy.
- "...and the world is changing, perhaps permanently, for the worst. In the rapidly moving city of New York, the problem blossoms and threatens to unfold." Seriously? I know NYC is full of wingnuts, but really... Now that we have all of that disintegrated negativity out of the way, here's the true vision to hold. Thanks again to Gini for passing this along: The Vision: Seeing Obama in Office
The year is 2016. We glance at the television one morning and see Obama having another of his many press conferences. He has now been in office for almost 8 years. It hasn't been perfect, but things are completely different than when he took office in January of 2009. It is almost hard to remember how lost we were in the country at that time and how the world community had lost its faith in the United States.
Now... the sense of promise and pride that has always defined the vision of America has been restored, deepened, and expanded, and we live in a world marked by collaboration, partnership, and respect--largely due to the extraordinary leadership of perhaps our greatest President. You notice that his hair has whitened a bit and that he still has that winning smile and that take-charge/positive energy that he had when he was campaigning way back in 2008. You remember back to how concerned you were about whether or not he would win in 2008 and you feel deeply contented that he has been safely in office for such a long time.
He and Congress have done remarkable and historic work to address and create new economic opportunities, bring into existence the whole world of green collar jobs and a whole new energy matrix for our country and the world. Fossil fuels are no longer dominating our lives and our economic system and the new and clean energy industry has been born and is viably and reliably serving and meeting our needs.
We have completely redefined national security, and halted global warming, health care is available to all for the first time ever, quality education is back at the center of our national agenda, and our schools and teachers are producing results we have always dreamed of for the next generation of leaders. Terrorism is part of history and is no longer a threat. We care for and collaborate with other nations and where people are desperate and in need, they no longer need to resort to desperate tactics because the world community is organized to hold them and help them find their place and their contribution.
In many other areas, what was previous unthinkable is now the reality of our time. We have challenges, yes, and we also have the courage and the resolve and the confidence in ourselves and our world to meet them. We are awake, clear, and our leadership and our nation is inspired, has integrity is trustworthy and trusted.
When you stop and think about the magnitude of the transformation, you feeldeep gratitude for the past eight years and how things have unfolded.
See it... Feel it... Breathe it.... Pass it on.
THE CHALLENGE: Take 30 seconds right now. Close your eyes and imagine exactly what our country will feel like with President Obama. Imagine how good it will feel. Imagine whatever it is about him that you desire. Imagine the pride. Imagine the diplomacy. Imagine the peace. Imagine the wind mills and the clean cars. Imagine the citizen groups. Imagine the earth being healed and revitalized. Imagine being very proud of your country and its leader. Imagine whatever it is that draws you to support Obama. Imagine what your life will look like.
Stop worrying and start visualizing. 30 seconds. Do it several times a day. We can shift and change the vibration of this country with positive visions just like this. It's only 30 seconds.
-- New header capture -- Soft launch of ARTvision 2008, with new artists, photographers and musicians -- Some new articles from the vault -- An excerpt form my (nearly completed) book proposal -- A newly relaunched "Tunes" tab, including songs from me and a playlist
(ATLANTA :: 3 Nov. 2008) This race is not just about race. Underlying threads of an "Us vs. Them" mentality have been poisoning our politics, our daily lives actually, for decades. In the words of Colin Powell, we need a "transformational figure" to dismantle and permanently dissolve that ideology:
Barack Obama is just that person to bring about dramatic change in our country. Yes, he's only one person and yes, he's just a politician... with the same shortcomings as any of us.
But as I told my relatives out West, it's not just about what he represents - it's about whom he'd surround himself with; the potential pool of those sharp, astute policy wonks - people who can problem solve and not wag fingers (that is, when they're not sitting on their hands). That made the difference for me. We need expert leadership in as many positions in government as possible, and now here's our chance.
Even Andrew Sullivan, a conservative writer and pundit, someone I watch intently, has been blogging about why Obama is the best choice. Thanks to Musty for passing along his post about an essay in the Times of London, talking about how Obama is the sensible salve for "profound national demoralization."
This is not about party affiliation or loyalty for me - this is about who presents the better solutions for our social (Supreme Court), economic (broken credit markets) and other woes.
I've already voted Obama and Jim Martin to defeat Saxby Chambliss, and will be volunteering tomorrow on Election Day. I will bring my camera along with me and record anything of interest.
As I said before... can you imagine intellectual curiosity in the White House again?
And the answer should be the same on California's Proposition 8, which limits marriage between a man and a woman... and has incited some dangerous language along with it.
Listen to right-wing nut job Tony Perkins "interview" people about this legislation:
For so long, for TOO long, we've used religion as a way of restricting freedoms instead of celebrating them. It's time for that to stop.
You have people, responsible ones, who want to "focus on the family" and have settled, safe, abundant lives and you're actually trying to stop that success? Seriously?
My committed (and now married) friends, Brenda & Julie and Wayne & Ed, are not attempting to infiltrate the nation's families. Do your family dynamics - some of them are laughable, some admirable - somehow contribute to mine?
Note to Manchurian Candidate voters: your numbers are waning and the message is hollow.
As I've always said, never mistake fairness for liberalism. In the same way, don't interpret hatred and fear of the unknown as standing up to a "terrorist" threat.
Thanks to Gini for passing this along. John McCain and Sarah Palin should be ashamed, but definitely not surprised, by the reverberations of their more recent lines of attack. A "greatest hits" of hate:
I have a question for the "balance of power" voters who are resisting a fully Democratic congress and executive branch -- is THIS the balance you want in the White House? Seriously? Does this campaign demonstrate the capacity we need for that balance?
Make a protest against this nefarious, deviant campaign and vote Obama. Send McCain back to Arizona and Palin and her First Dude back to Alaska.
(ATLANTA :: 13 October 2008) Do we really want to continue with the "Boot In The Ass" politics of the past? Do we *actually* want W's policies to live on past their 20 January 2009 dying day? Take a look at this clip, and then some comment excerpts following:
All the below comments, included without editing, come from the blog Macsmind. I normally don't give air time to festering wingnuts, but I want you to see and read firsthand how people have reacted to this video (courtesy of Anita sharing on Facebook):
Warden writes: "If Obama is elected you will no longer be living in a free nation."
Phipps writes: "Obama would have us show up for the gun fight at the OK corral with bare hands to negotiate! In his own words, Obama has declared this country open territory for every nut job in the world to do as they please."
Smith writes: "He IS someone to fear, and we Americans are the sheep going to slaughter if we don’t stop him."
Barber writes: "What every conservative christian in America should be doing is praying for God to have mercy on America one more time. If Obama gets this important possition, we have no hope in the values our fore-Fathers built this fine nation on."
Anonymous writes: "O’bama is a Muslim !! Anyone that will sit there and tell you that he will disarm our America definitely isn’t an American.We weren’t disarmed when our New York City exploded..We weren’t disarmed when our ships took on dynamite..Concerned,Very much so if we are lead by a Muslim.You “white” O’Bama nuts are only voting for this man because you hate george Bush so very much! He and his wife Hates White folks!!! The Blacks,what can I say more?They’re voting for him Because he is black..I don’t like the way GB has run our country either but I’m be damned if I’ll give a Muslim my vote!!!"
Assuming that many of these posters were transformed by 9/11, as we all were, fear is the guiding principle of their opposition to Obama. Fear of being left unprotected; that if we aren't always on offense we are pussies, wimps, losers, un-Christian and un-American. Fear of the great unknown.
That is a steaming pile of horse shit.
We've tried George Bush's America, his OK Corral, his anti-compassionate conservatism, and it hasn't worked. Time for something new.
But I'll go a step further: don't wave a loaded gun in my face and tell me your a peacekeeper. Fear makes everyone a gun-toting trailblazer - when you think you're protecting yourself from the angry mob in your neighborhood or if you're in the armed services. Guns, missile defenses, threats of war and phony posturing are all tools of a disintegrated masculine tirade, and it's all a bunch of crap.
If you believe radical Islam is out to get you, you should equally be fearful of radical Christianity, or radical anything. The McCain campaign has tried to instill fear in the American electorate by insinuations and wonderings aloud:
There are "leaders" who bait and switch because they don't have the chops, and there are leaders who... LEAD. There is sensible protection that doesn't inflame our friends, and then there is aggression for the sake of being a badass. We have failed on that point, and many others, over the past seven years.
If we continually operate from a place of fear, we will never, repeat NEVER, advance or learn from what happened on 9/11, as referenced in the above comments.
So, here the final thought: no more chest thumping, no more brow beating, no more "this town ain't big enough...", no more my dick is bigger than yours.
Peace will lead to prosperity and understanding. Sensible protectionism and normalized military mobilization is our best chance for freedom and world leadership.
This report is about a month old, but it puts Palin's refusal to cooperate now in better context. Flouting rules and abuse of power is exactly why we find ourselves in the messes, plural, that we're in now. Is Palin cut from that cloth?
Sometimes I just can't take it... If you understand what Violent Affection Syndrome is, and see the following pictures, you'll know why I want to strangle Zach (at left) and Henry. Of course, said strangling is only in the metaphorical sense. But still. they are so cute it's just outrageous, lame and makes me cray-zee. Here's what I mean:
This is the perfect break from our icky political season. Cheers... More N&N VAS coming soon.
(ATLANTA :: 5 October 2008) Step out of the shadows.
That's the message from Deepak Chopra, writing a piece called "Obama and The Palin Effect," for the HuffPost. Chopra argues that Sarah Palin represents the shadow self, tantalizing and luring us into embracing fear and suspicions rather than engaging our more integrated, enlightened and higher self.
"She is the reverse of Barack Obama, in essence his shadow, deriding his idealism and exhorting people to obey their worst impulses," he writes. "In psychological terms the shadow is that part of the psyche that hides out of sight, countering our aspirations, virtue, and vision with qualities we are ashamed to face: anger, fear, revenge, violence, selfishness, and suspicion of 'the other.' For millions of Americans, Obama triggers those feelings, but they don't want to express them." Chopra's piece is a masterstroke in sensible reality creation and understanding where, either subliminally or directly, one can attempt to darken an otherwise bright and optimistic horizon. To turn the fear on its ear, think instead of "the other" as possibly "the one" for which we could be looking. You are not subverting yourself to believe in a single agent of change. In fact, it's the very leadership we need in the face of the three "Es": energy, the environment and our pummeled economy, to name a few.
So, because I believe so strongly in Barack Obama as a catalyst for change in this country, I ask you to stop and look forward:
...It's Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008. It's mid morning and you're into your third cup of coffee. One full month after our general election has passed; we are gearing up for the holiday season - but also, the next administration is conducting transition plans for January 20, 2009. These plans include choosing people for cabinet positions; setting critical policy direction and decisions; and ramping up other important political machinations that will shape our future.
On this day, would you prefer to be anticipating a McCain-Palin administration to take over, with much of the same philosophies and strategies and shortcomings of our current administration? Or, while in the transition, would you prefer to be anticipating a more dramatic change, with confidence that, no matter how scary the unknown may actually be, that by our own action and decisions, our country is going to fundamentally shift to a new tone, direction and priority system?
If you envision yourself on that day, awaiting the transition... which scenario fits with our collective needs as a country?
And in the broadest of terms: would you prefer to install the oldest president ever chosen, an outwardly bitter and angry person, who chose a profoundly unqualified running mate; or would you want instead to be a witness to history - led by a clearly more integrated, connected, reasoned, decent human being, the first African American ever elected? Does that last idea bring up a pang of fear or a feeling of pride?
If you answer "both," you're not alone. No change comes without preceding chaos, and Palin is sure tryin' hard to instill that in us - with a shameful accusation that Obama is "paling around with terrorists." Seriously?
Do not give in to fear. Chopra writes:
"Obama's call for higher ideals in politics can't be seen in a vacuum. The shadow is real; it was bound to respond. Not just conservatives possess a shadow -- we all do. So what comes next is a contest between the two forces of progress and inertia. Will the shadow win again, or has its furtive appeal become exhausted?" I believe the latter.
So... your future self is sitting in the presidential transition, on that fateful Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008, with the hope that we step out of the shadows as a powerful statement against the sad, manipulative pandering of both the Bush administration and what the McCain-Palin ticket has thus far stood for.
Neither party is perfect. But this year we have a clear choice. Step out of the shadows and embrace progress.
# # #
(graphic courtesy of geeksugar; chopra picture: intent.com)
Update: McCain gestures to Obama during debate last night (7 Oct. 2008) and says "that one," intending to be ironically and heroically dismissive and yet ending up looking like an ignoramus.
That seems to be what we're up to the past few days - both in the election and with the credit markets.
So I submit "Equilibrium" for your consideration... to help your soul know that hope is on the horizon. I submitted it to JPGmag.com in the "faith" category because we're always closer to our spiritual side in nature. Click the link to learn more.
Also, heading up wp.com for October is "Awash" - another in my Costa Rican Orchid Garden series. This image is one of a few captures that will be featured in ARTvision 2008. More on that very soon.
Other new features this month:
- Updated Jump pages - New navigation, including a new tab to my Twitter profile, the newest (and most addictive) social networking site - Revised bio, including new projects - New captures loaded to my MobileMe gallery, including the 40/70 celebration - New vault articles
Whether or not Palin actually makes it to Nov. 4, the choice underscores McCain's poor judgment. If you agree that we are as good as the people we gather around us, he's starting off with one of the biggest mistakes of his career.
But there's a somewhat strong chorus of boos coming from a surprising group of people: conservatives.
(ATLANTA :: 29 September 2008) - Take a break from the financial disaster we are in for a moment. I learned a scary thing today - one of many that we can't lose sight of when we go to the voting booth. We are in the midst of an attempted religious hijacking of American politics from pulpits across the country.
We don't need more examples of this than McCain's choice of Palin; she's fired up the conservative base of the party. But here's a clear one in case you do. Many people have expressed concern about her freakishly conservative religious views that could be a "heartbeat away" from the presidency.
Are we open to that idea? Absolutely NOT.
A group of pastors are going to intentionally violate tax law and endorse McCain - the same candidate who called Jerry Fallwell an "agent of intolerance" and then a few years later embraced him and spoke at his school. (The self-proclaimed "Maverick" is a shape-shifting neo-con cypher that is a shadow of the shadow he used to be back in 2000.)
Still more dangerous is the Alliance Defense Fund (link intentionally omitted), a group that is poised to defend these pastors in court as they attempt to shape the campaign from the pulpit.
So, let me understand: you're going to break the law and then ask us to foot the bill when you are taken to court? This is not civil disobedience - you are BREAKING THE LAW. Equally bad is that you're pushing your religious beliefs in the public sector and our Constitution says it's wrong.
Let your parishioners make up their own minds and stay out of the process. Your job as spiritual adviser and advocate does not make the podium on which you speak a political bully pulpit.
Allow this trail of religion to inject itself and you'll see Roe v. Wade blown up... and our Supreme Court will start looking more like an Evangelical revival than a respected judicial body.
We can see how well we do when we see ourselves as the chosen ones. Vote Obama and quite literally block this delusional world view from infecting our political system.
(ATLANTA :: 14 September 2008) - The nomination of Sarah "Caribou Barbie" Palin was the straw. I had actually been leaning toward Obama for some time now, even through the primaries. And I'll always go to the polls and vote... but not publicly on my blog say anything about a particular candidate, or endorse - to at least maintain a modicum of integrity and neutrality as a journalist. Two words: fuck that.
My political reporting for the MSM pretty much began and ended with marketwatch.com, anyway.
From this point forward, you'll see and hear many posts on wp.com about why Obama is the better choice than McCain-Spears, and why we need to bring light to the fundamental (pun intended) differences between our choices this year.
It's this sound byte that got me:
Just as I've done with this post, don't devolve your vote or sell it short as de facto "buying into" or "endorsing" a person as a phenomenon. Rather, see it as an opportunity to appoint someone to a lofty, unthinkable position in which we will drive him to be the best he can be - without ever letting up, no matter what your political persuasions are.
The side of the people should be the side of the president, and the reverse is true. For too long it has been precisely the opposite.
We live in a country that has been hijacked by corporations, fringe groups and crusaders; we are promised election reform, and always vow to change it, yet it never happens; our economy is in the crapper due DIRECTLY to perverted, GOP-led ostrich financial principals; we are on the cusp of some of the most important Supreme Court nominations of our time, perhaps ever; we have states that are teetering as full-on toss-ups with every single vote mattering; and we have been overrun by liars and their surrogates who try to convince us that Iraq a) had something to do with 9/11 and b) that our fight there somehow threatens Americans' daily lives.
That's right, I said liars. In this sick, warped world where up is down, day is night and blue is red.
Palin is George W. Bush in a miniskirt, and you should be scared. Be VERY afraid that this person, regardless of gender, has the ear of a potential president.
Watch my blog for a three-part series on why Obama is the better choice than McCain, and I've added a link to his Web site at the top of my blog. It'll be there until Nov. 5.
Meantime, get educated, be as active as you can and tell your friends. If you haven't already, of course, which I'm sure you have. Talk with your friends and family and make sure your decision is the best it can be.
As I was finishing this post, "The Man Who Waited" came up on TV as an animated short. An amazing parallel. If you have not seen it, do it as soon as you can. The film is a stirring existential interpretation of the consequences of waiting for the truth.
With love and gratitude to Reeno for sending this creepiest of images along. If I may say, the protest vote is starting to look more and more like a "Great Grandpaw Godzilla for President" campaign postcard!
Here's a clip from behind the scenes as Justin Cave and the rest of the Ground Breakers crew shoots the final act of the green renovation at 844:
I was busy filming this and a few other clips before I took my turn in front of the camera.
This experience has been memorable from the start and I'm grateful to the entire HGTV team (not to mention Lynn Saussy for introducing us) for making the project so much fun. More info to follow about when the episode will air, but I'm thinking it'll be in the fall sometime. They followed us from beginning to end and will likely do quite a bit of morphing and time-lapse photography on some of the elements. Mary Grace even snapped a shot of me in make-up! Of course, I ended up sweating most of it off...
During one of my more recent Marta rides, I shared a moment with a gal on the train... She was sitting across from me when I spotted a note that had obviously not found its intended recipient. The note was next to her left shoulder, and like the obnoxious photog that I am... I took out my camera and shot the sad little scrap right then and there. I handed her my business card and we both went on our way.
Later, I did a post about it - and I was actually quite happy with one of the photos. Just today I received an e-mail from the gal, Marina. who found my site and made a comment on the blog post. We both agreed that finding the note livened up an otherwise boring subway ride.
"It's nice to see my brush with Internet fame," she wrote today. "Finding that note certainly made my Marta trip to the airport a lot more fun."
Thanks to Marina for being my partner in crime that day.
(CHARLOTTESVILLE :: 11 August 2008) The color may have changed quite dramatically since my original post on the subject, but the crisis of conscience remains the same. So goes my driving life with the as-yet-unnamed, gently used 2005 BMW X3 - a capable if bland SUV that gets me to my point B pretty nicely, albeit a bit more wasteful on gas than I'd like.
But then, on a steamy summer day in Atlanta when I was off to the recycling center at Dekalb Farmer's Market, I realized the true spirit of being "green" (vs. baby-spew orange) is not defined by MPG alone. It's measured in how and what you do with your footprint.
I live within a half-mile of where I work. I walk there and other places. I combine errands to reduce emissions. I walk to my workouts. I try and drive evenly so as to not waste gas (that last one being extremely difficult in the third-world war zone driving scene that is Atlanta). I carpool. I have stopped driving to the airport altogether.
There's something else: I miss my stick shift. Big time. But the trade-off there, if there could be one, is that I know Gracie's new owner - and he's taking good care of her down in Savannah. He's promised me pictures of her, and when he sends them, I'll do a post about it. It's a cool story.
I knew it was just a matter of time before someone snatched up Gracie from the dealership. Back to being green. I continue to clamor for an SUV in the nice-ish luxury category that has not just low emissions - try ZERO. I anticipate that day because I'll be first in line. We need that. To be kind to the planet, to be off our addition to oil (both foreign and domestic) and to be the fabulous country we used to be. Maybe one of those snazzy new diesel engines would do the trick, too. I'm considering a 2009 X3 European delivery with a standard transmission - juice boxes be damned.
So, while you're considering the hybrid "badge of honor," or if you think being green is some sort of status symbol you wear for showmanship, think again. It's in the total picture of the person that really and truly makes a tree hugger.
Alas, I was counting on Basil as my "in" for Halloween, but it wasn't mean to be - at least not in this lifetime. He's now making another driver in metro Atlanta think hard about mileage... and about color.
This was a nice honor today... Stone Four Media, my little fledgling company, has received the 2008 Best of Atlanta Award from the USLBA in the Graphic Design & Art category. How cool is that? The award comes from the U.S. Local Business Association, based in Washington, D.C., a group that "serves as an advocate for small and medium size businesses and business entrepreneurs across America."
The group finds its award recipients by using "information gathered internally in conjunction with third-party data as part of its selection process," according to Ashley Carter, Selection Committee Chair. The rest of their criteria, she added, is private due to non-disclosure agreements.
Check out this piece on WSB-TV that features Radial Cafe! If you haven't yet visited this Atlanta landmark, you should do so ASAP. Similar article forthcoming from yours truly in Atlanta Intown newspaper. Radial is using biodegradable to-go materials (pictured here) and is exploring the idea of composting egg shells and coffee grounds.
Second, and more importantly, I'd like to claim at least a little responsibility for my pal Chris (husband of my high school best gal pal, Rachel) and his unbelievable fashion sense. The jeans and the shirt are perfect, my friend.
'Stophe, I'm sure Ditchini immediately jumped your bones just as soon as that taping was over.
I was doing my green duty riding Marta to the airport the other day and stumbled across this note... it was initially hidden from my view, but when a passenger got up I spotted it. There was a nice gal seated to the left of the note, across from me, who thought I was nuts taking this picture -- but I wanted to capture it. All the Marta riders around me cocked their heads to figure out what I was doing.
In the spirit of "Postsecret," a collection of secrets from anonymous sources (thanks to Wayne and Ed for showing it to me), I've helped give Byron one last chance to reach the girl of his dreams. This made riding Marta that day totally worth it.
I also gave the gal who tolerated me shooting this picture my info, so I hope she gets back. If so, give me a shout! Thanks to her for putting up with me.
So... Here is an example of honest and spontaneous affection that seems to have not found its recipient... So I'm putting this out there to keep his hopes alive.
# # #
Update: I did hear from my gal pal on Marta! Thanks to Marina for dropping me a line. See the comments section for more.
"I try to bring more than I can handle; I bring it to the table, I bring what I am able."
I keep forgetting what an amazing talent Sarah McLachlan is. She makes music worth listening to.
There's obviously a parallel between "World on Fire" and our commitment to the planet... where you can do your part, your little part, that affects the greater good. It's about challenging ourselves for tough decisions, and not to shy away from something that appears complex on its face, but that can and will be tremendously rewarding in the end.
I admire people who can so eloquently tell that story and inspire us to walk the earth with greater respect -- of people and of nature.
That's not tree-hugger sensibility, it's humanity. Easy.
Thanks to Medill alum Robert Kazel for posting about this, a quote from the late Leo Buscaglia, who was an author and professor at USC. Kazel sent this out to us after a hot exchange between a bitchy alum wanting to curtail certain forms of speech on the Medill listserv.
We are our own worst enemies sometimes, and each other's, too; so instead of short, hurtful bursts of attitude -- be real and settle differences. Work to make things right.
"Don't be afraid of disagreements and arguments," Buscaglia said. "The only people who don't argue are people who don't care or are dead. In fact, don't have short arguments. Make certain they are thoroughly over and done with." As in... live a conscious life. Don't leave unfinished, self-serving actions out there with the idea that they *might* shape or advance your agenda.
If we don't act from a place of love, all the time, we are just taking up space.
The below NBC News report talks about the deep cuts in the newspaper business.
And my alma mater thinks that, since reporting and writing is moving online, graduate schools must train journalists as thoughtless, shallow, promotional whores instead of real reporters.
Well, don't let the deep newspaper attrition fool you: we need good training more than ever. If we want to find the next Frank Rich, the only way to do that is to keep training journalists the old fashioned way - and then fold them in with new media.
In other words, if we don't apply tried-and-true standards to our bold new medium, we'll just become big shipping carriers of information without the depth we so desperately need in a country with a free press.
As it turns out, since then, we've come to know the Bush Administration for playing fast and loose with our freedoms, our military and foreign-policy decisions, and his choices to head up key leadership roles. And that's just for starters.
"Doin' a heckuva job Brownie."
From self-aggrandizing executive signing orders to consolidating executive-branch power, he's not only a failure but a danger to our nation as long as he's in office. I'm counting the days.
I'd be ashamed if he were from Atlanta (or New York, or Virginia -- even West Virginia). The good news? We got that great CD out of the whole affair, and they were rewarded for it at the Grammys.
As you watch the above beautiful video, remember how much shit Maines and the Chicks got (remember the radio station-sponsored bulldozers running over their CDs?) and how she transmuted it into something truly amazing.
Turns out, I'm very often not ready to make nice, either.
McCain's spokeswoman is nice to look at, articulate, pedigreed, whatever.
But it's her comments about Gen. Wesley Clark that have caused Twirl Factor 10 in the Pollock household this morning.
Will someone please tell me when Clark joined the Obama campaign? Oh that's right... NEVER. Clark's opinion that getting shot down in open warfare doesn't qualify someone to be commander in chief has been contorted by Hazelbaker. Partial clip from RedLasso:
Quoting directly from American Morning: "This is not about Wesley Clark, this is about Barrack Obama. Let's drop the pretense that Barrack Obama is going to raise the dialogue and elevate the debate in this election. If Barrack Obama really wanted to do that, he would get Wesley Clark off the airwaves attacking John McCain's long record of and legacy of service to the American people."
Even though John Roberts meekly tried to explain to this hack that Clark wasn't impugning McCain's integrity, she replied (this portion is not in the clip because the interview rolled over the top of the hour):
"John, let's be clear, this is not about Wesley Clark, this is about Barrack Obama. He talks about changing this country and yet his surrogates are attacking John McCain on a daily basis. This is a pattern of going at John McCain's strength which is his military service and his long legacy of leadership in this country. And if Barrack Obama wants to really let us believe that there is truth behind his words he would stop his surrogates from attacking John McCain." So let's US be clear: Gen. Clark is not an Obama spokesman. He is on his own. He speaks from his own experience. He may be vying for a VP spot, but Obama has no control over what he says, nor should he try to exert any. This is a concerted attempt by the McCain campaign to redirect and spin political gold out of a nothing quote, a nothing event -- on behalf of a candidate that looks desperate to surf a false tide of negativity against his opponent.
Most of all, I wish Roberts would have reiterated the fact that Clark is not -- despite the frequent use of this pejorative word -- a "surrogate" of Obama's campaign.
Hey Jill, dude: stick to the issues. Our country is in the crapper and we need to focus on how to move forward.
This is a sequel post from yesterday. Mission accomplished.
I suppose I played right into their hands by attending the concert, but at least I kept my protest clean by not patronizing Ticketwhore, oh sorry, I mean Ticketmaster. I bought directly from Variety Playhouse's box office.
Today, Bush is heckling Congress that if they don't act before recess, they've got the blood of $4 per gallon gas on their hands without domestic drilling. Without a formal plan for alternative energy, he's just trying to make his fat-cat buddies even fatter than they were before.
Bush is incompetent. He's an elitist scumbag who thinks he's God's gift (literally, figuratively...), which, as evidenced by the below video, is definitely not true.
It's sad that impeachment is summarily off the table basically because we're so close to him leaving. Just on energy policy alone, his grade is "F".
Discovery Channel's "Planet Green" -- a brand-new, all-green channel with requisite tree-hugger programming -- will feature the house renovation next week. Check your local listings, but on my Comcast DVR it's slated for Wednesday night at 6 p.m., on "Renovation Nation."
As you check your local listings, watch out for the "Renovation Nation" that focuses on the Atlanta area.
"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being 'in love' which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident." (taken from Captain Corelli's Mandolin)
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, appearing on the tribute "Meet The Press" episode celebrating Tim Russert (1950-2008), honored the longtime host today with a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt:
"Remember, the nicest men in the world are those who always keep something of the little boy in them." True for all of us. That show, the longest running in TV history, will have enormous shoes to fill.
Who's going to operate the whiteboard this November?
David Gregory is a great choice to replace Russert, even though it is way too early to be thinking about that.
After all, someone could only succeed him -- he was irreplaceable... especially during this unprecedented and historic political year.
(ATLANTA :: 10 June 2008) As I embark on this active journey to refashion the house on Myrtle, I’ve come to know my home on a deeper level - and, as it turns out, I have sharpened my home-improvement priorities even further. As a writer/blogger, I see it as an obligation to write about my experiences - to show that eco-friendly practices, home updates and renovation need not break the bank. In fact, they can end up saving money in the long run.
And let’s not forget, as we update our homes we are suiting our own priorities in addition to writing the next chapters for those who live in the house after us.
What have I learned? Here’s a primer:
- GeoDeck. I now have this pastic-sludge derived product abutting the front door of my historic, Midtown Atlanta home. The “driftwood” color reminds me of the grey shingles you’d find on a Cape Cod home on Nantucket - except it’s virtually indestructible. Don’t try to install it by yourself - even someone like Steve Thomas had issues trying to lay it correctly at the house. (We had to order another batch because of the error.)
- Brac Greywater system. This product has its faults, including leaving rings on toilets and needing filter maintenance. But when you’re in a drought-prone area like I am, this system will come in handy. It’s in place for the future of the house once I put on the addition and more water can feed into it.
- Rinnai tankless water heater. The advantage here is that, once your H20 is hot, it stays that way. In standard water heaters, you keep a set amount of water hot for use at all times - and use energy to keep it that way. With a tankless, you turn your home into an on-demand consumption zone and save energy.
My improvement pursuits have also spurred a story idea - one that has been accepted by The Sunday Paper. Through an extended title search during the renovation I learned that my home was quite likely the first owned by a woman in the state of Georgia. (For more, watch the HGTV episode.) Her family, the Cannons, owned the property for roughly 50 years. So, I thought, what a great idea to name the house after them.
I’m now on a mission to find this family and include them on the renaming - and also create a commemorative plaque for the house’s façade. Watch for that soon.
Meantime, here’s my final message and lesson learned: always embark on your home-improvement journey ready to learn more. About your home, its history, and your own priorities.
Many of you have asked me what this means in my "about me" section recently... well, here's your answer.
Also, I've put a permanent link in the sidebar for the future. Being a civil libertarian indicates a political thought process rather than a specific party loyalty.
In a nutshell, this country was founded on freedoms, with an "s" - and our founding fathers' intent should never be interpreted as a tool of restriction, prejudice, hatred, excessive intrusion or any other violation that keeps America from the greatness it once knew.
For the past seven years, "power to the people" has been overtly, blatantly, construed and twisted into "power to the executive branch." And that royally sucks. I hope we're on our way to changing that.
Freedom is also NOT something we can "spread" or impose on other people. It's not a tool, it's a privilege. We should treat it as such. Personal freedoms, our civil liberties, are both a collective and a personal obligation. And that's why it's so important to me to protect them... so long as we use them wisely.
Remember: live consciously, be responsible and achieve, think freely and love regularly. That makes our freedom actually mean something. - WP
(ATLANTA - 31 May 2008) :: OK, so I did my gay duty and went to see Sex And The Citymovie on its premiere night. Thanks to Thom for coming with.
The film was uproarious, vivid, full of couture, acted and written exceedingly well, and all expectations were surpassed... save for the hideous exception of a visible boom mic.
And not just in one scene - multiple times, and in such an overt way that you think some local loon is standing over the screen on a ladder, holding the long-arm mic, taunting you, teasing you for no apparent reason.
Please, New Line & WB, do us all a favor and fix this in post production somehow. Blame for this error stretches across multiple roles in this film, resting not only with the boom operator... but with the production crew, as well as the actors and director, for not catching it in the film's dailies.
Even so, this movie is so good that it'll wipe out this weekend's competition despite "the long arm of the sound" stepping in front of its cast. The film stays so true to the original series - in fact, elevates it so elegantly - that the mistakes turn out to be just, quite literally, blips on the screen.
And believe me when I tell you - this boom-mic story is intended as fair warning, not as spoiler. I wish I had been warned ahead of time myself.
Why? Because she's a clueless hack with very little ability to see past party loyalty. She's a Yes Girl, a presidential suck-up, and one of the many dozens of poor choices that Bush has made in his two terms. I trust her about as much as I trusted Christie Todd Whitman to craft energy policy - or to analyze global-warming causes after her tenure ended.
Consider this C-Span clip, in which Townsend says if Osama had an actual street address we'd have already nabbed him:
There are countless other examples of her mealy-mouthed rendition of facts and fiction. Today, with Scott McClennan's book out, she was given full reign on CNN this afternoon to respond to claims that the president knowingly misled the public with pre-war Iraq propoganda. It was twirl-factor 10 in the Pollock household.
Her sour grapes were disgusting to watch, even on a good day. With CNN's Brianna Keilar putting up softball questions to Townsend with soft-voiced ease, the interview turned out to be free White House rebuttal time.
Disgusting. I don't care if McClellan's book is a Peter Pan fairy tale spun from magic gold, let's take it to people who are trying to save their own bacon on international TV, and never give them a free pass like that again. - WP
(ATLANTA - original date: 27 May 2008 | updated on 4 May 2011) :: In many ways, we *are the people around us.
We are an amalgam of personalities, legacies, love, hatred, ambivalence, random acts of all kinds - and yet we wake up some days thinking the entire world tilts on our axis; that everyone is against us and the sky is falling. And if you look just a little bit closer, you’ll see that’s a bunch of hooey.
Why does it matter? In the end, come judgment day - if you subscribe to such an idea - aren’t we all just gonna be part of the earth, anyway? I mean, why am I yammering on about people, the friends and family, new and old, unseen and known, who've taken the time to read, to listen, to love? Does my train of thought actually have a caboose? Maybe. This is about knowing where love lies... about where it breathes, how we contribute to its collective, where it compounds itself and how, and when it's likely to happen again. When we turn the right stones, or seek the right fortune, there it will be. And that's for those of us lucky enough to have found love more than once, in more than one person; who are brave enough to risk the fool after getting the shaft and going great guns to find it again.
Truthfully, we're all faced with many great challenges over the term of our lifetimes. Our resiliency during these periods often help shape the way we cherish ourselves, and equally important, each other.
Jimmy Roberts, sports reporter for NBC and commenting on Andre Agassi some time ago, shared this spontaneous, eloquent gem about a person's unspoken impact: "An old friend of mine used to say that there are people in this lifetime who leave footprints. In other words, there are these people, and we all know them, who have an impact. They aren’t necessarily the best at what they do; they might not always behave the way we wish they might, but they make an impact on all of us."
This thought is true for everyone - not just those like Andre, whom we might put on a pedestal. Consider Chris "Crusty" Haddle's fight against mucinous adenocarcinoma, which caused a dull ache he detected in his lower abdomen that felt like simple appendicitis, but turned out to be stage-two cancer that required radical surgery. He'll need six months of chemotherapy to make sure nothing has spread.
Also consider Gene Rector, who was officially diagnosed today with lymphoma, and who will start with his doctor on a treatment course that will likely include chemo *and* radiation since it has spread to his spleen.
So what's or who is at work here? None of us can point to one thing. But the remaining residue - both in emotional and metaphysical terms - is that we should always know the fingerprints that our friends, family, neighbors, strangers on the street, anyone, leave on us. They contribute to your own. They are the cherished gas in our engine, the great person we've not yet met, the random person in public with whom you've just connected somehow... on a road that would be much more boring and barren without them.
So, run to the windows, rush to the phone... tell your mother, your friend, even someone you're unsure about. Tell them their impact. Crusty and Gene have both in their own ways changed me for the better, and for that I'll always be grateful.
Being good to each other, even when it might step on your own purpose or agenda, is tantamount to a peaceful coexistence. Think about it. If we use that mission in everything we do - from the politicians we choose down to the type of milk we buy - we'll see a spontaneously different world around us.
Because someday, somehow... someone will see your "footprints" in the sand, your fingerprints on something great, and admire the decisions you made. - WP
"Idol Chat," a v-log that Penny and Jim have been doing this season of American Idol, has apparently garnered quite a fan base.
One admirer, in fact, was changed quite dramatically after watching the show:
"I wanted to say thank you. You guys have changed who I am, and you have no idea. I've lived in a smaller city my hole life, there are like 50,000 people here. And until the last couple of years, you would have never known that there were gay people who live here. I live in a city where people don't accept gays very openly, I guess you could say. And up until recently I guess I was just like everyone else. But since I've been watching your show, I have realized that I was being just like everyone else. And even if I didn't mean it, I know I'm not a bad person, but I was raised to think it's wrong, I guess. But now I realize that the way I was thinking wasn't fair or right.I have absolutely fallen in love with you guys. I think you are hillarious, and very talented. And no one would have guessed it, but I actually love spending time with the gay men that I work with now. So thank you again so much, for making me realize that it's ok not to think like everyone else." (Tasha, undisclosed location)
It's a testament to their appeal that someone could have such a transformation, and I'm proud to have been a part of it... watch for the final episode this week, with a greatest hits montage coming soon, too.
I've been having this hideous exchange with a Bible chucker and it's clearly time for someone else to weigh in.
Background: Thom and I took to the streets during Pride last year and gave the protestors more than just a little bit of hell. We stumbled upon and interviewed Rev. Paul as he stood outside of Piedmont Park welcoming people in. He was the lone person amongst about 25 protestors carrying hideous signs.
Make sure to add your comments to the YouTube page, and in the meantime, here's the short video. (The video was picked up by Rev. Paul's congregation and played at First MCC the following Sunday.)
WASHINGTON, DC—An 8,976-foot foul ball off the bat of Washington third baseman Ryan Zimmerman crashed through the U.S. Capitol Building rotunda Sunday afternoon, prompting both the Nationals and the opposing Pittsburgh Pirates to gasp, turn...
I bought a new car. I got a great deal on it. Since it was a loaner that had just come off its "temp" status, I snagged it for considerably less than list.
He's an SUV, and he gets an uber-crappy 14 miles to the gallon in the city. His name is Basil, named after the big boss in the Austin Powers movies. (For those of you playing at home, yes, he puts the "Grrrr" in swinger.) But for someone concerned about our dependency on foreign oil and saving the planet, those gas numbers royally suck. The car, however, doesn't - it's a Land Rover LR2, funky in its baby-spew orange and comfortable over Atlanta's obnoxious, lunar-surface city streets.
Still, my conscience is heavy. It's a second car to help me schlep a little easier, and navigate without bottoming out every five seconds on a shitty street like Juniper. (Chuck Benny is using Gracie for the time being.)
But no matter how elegant and agile, no matter how joyous Basil makes the jaunt from point A to B, I wish we had more choices in the luxury, small-scale SUV category that would be easier on the environment.
Until that time, and in light of this decision, I've shifted some habits that might help compensate. To wit:
-- Use Basil for recycling everything under the sun, including cardboard, glass, plastic and other household goods that the city ignores. -- Instead of driving to my workout sessions with Eric on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I walk to his place and work out there. -- Combine errands in a single outing and make sure to go easy on acceleration. -- Walk to the office. -- Do not involve myself in traffic. -- Walk more in midtown to restaurants and shops, where possible (already doing that).
I'm so jazzed by the idea of using a new diesel engine with fry oil that I believe "Basil" will be a temporary indulgence. It'll be fun while it lasts.
In the meantime, Atlanta roads look and feel a lot less like the moon. - WP
From here on out, "always tell stories" will be the tagline that accompanies willpollock.com. The phrase basically embodies everything I do, on a personal and professional level. so I guess it just made sense.
You'll also find this month's header capture, "chaingang," which features an image from a junkyard in West Midtown. The well-known destination has this bright-orange rail car just sitting there with a bunch of other castaway items. Georgia Tech photography students are frequently seen shooting that place.
Shown in this post: "Lust in Luster," an image from Pike's Market in Seattle.
"Genius" is defined by FreeDictionary.com as "extraordinary intellectual and creative power." It's exactly this power that GeniusSuite, a project I'm working on, is designed to capture. Way too often today's corporations allow their talent to simply walk out the door - or stay on site, untapped - without allowing it to propel future success.
Check out the latest craze on the Web -- Penny & Jim in "Idol Chat." They've already got a comment! This week I edited the blog for AfterElton.com, while our pal Dennis was on vacation. Thanks to Dennis for letting me fill in!
"The Medill School of Audience and Consumer Information"
Excuse me for putting it this way, but FUCK THAT.
I just spent the weekend learning how to be a better journalist, learning how to tell better stories in every project, every article... and all I want to say is this: new media and technology should not precede journalism training, it should absolutely be the other way around.
I brought an excitement and aptitude for technology/new media to Medill, an ability that was enhanced and informed by the man-on-the-street, boots-on-the-ground science of journalism.
This is a disgrace. Even if the name changes and lands in the neighborhood of the above proposal, I'll probably renounce my degree.
I graduated Medill with honors and the school is in my heart, in my DNA. This change will cause the school I love to cease to exist.
OP-ED COLUMNIST George Speaks, Badly By GAIL COLLINS Published: March 15, 2008 We’re really past expecting anything much, but in times of crisis you would like to at least believe your leader has the capacity to pretend he’s in control.
Eric Zorn has closed the book on "Quotegate," which I'm super bummed about because he's been tenaciously digging the dirt and exposing our school for the shitstorm they have caused. I wrote a nasty-gram comment in support of his editorial.
I think the only way to stand up to this crap is to do what comes naturally to us Medillians... report and write.
(BOSTON - 14 March 2008) As I make my way to the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism, hosted in Boston this weekend, my shoulders are slouched at the state of affairs at my beloved Medill School of Journalism. At stake? The journalism construct as we know it.
The one and only reason I'm even attending this Harvard-sponsored event - full of fire-in-the-eyes writers who crave the next best story, the next best assignment, the next impact phrase that might change the world - is due to my time at Medill. I picked it up off the listserv, made my reservations, and here I am.
Since graduation, I have worn the alumni badge with pride, interviewing potential students in Atlanta, giving annually to both Medill and NU, working with fellow alumni in various capacities, returning to Evanston to see my mentors and instructors - even considering returning one day long in the future as a professor.
Those days are over. At least temporarily. With Dean Lavine's sordid curriculum change, not to mention "Quotegate," his falsified-sourcing scandal that is still unfolding as of this writing, I am ashamed of a school that plopped me square in the center of a stratosphere-level talent pool, ready to take on the world.
...and it's a talent pool from the Medill School of Journalism. One more time, THE MEDILL SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM.
Yes, that's right. I'm breaking it down to repetitive, grade-school, Bush-level communication for a reason: Northwestern University is sitting back and watching the implosion of one of the most respected *journalism* institutions in the country, the world for that matter, and there are many of us in the alumni ranks who just cant stand to listen to the noise anymore. (Some have taken matters in their own hands; I'll just do a blog post.)
The road to any meaningful catharsis is always long... but allow me to take a moment and catalog some of the comments we're picking up from the Medill Listserv, articles and blogs around the country, that may help soothe the pain. They are truly extraordinary. To wit:
- The "Mush Mouth" statement. Andrew Bossone (MSJ '05) has been all over this story, pointing out recently how NU president Bienen is lamely futzing his way through this entire ordeal. He cites the piece entitled "Paging President Bienen," Chicago Tribune, 8 March 2008. "I heard from a reliable source that NU President Bienen and Provost Linzer will meet with the faculty," Bossone wrote yesterday. "Apparently the page is being answered." (UPDATE: Andrew just wrote me and said the meeting's message was "put up, shut up or get out" (I'm summarizing) to the faculty. More of the same; see my comment below about the Bush administration.)
- "Journalism" May Fade Away?Eric Zorn writes for the Chicago Tribune about how the name, focus and curriculum switches have been the conspicuous symptoms of a institution with a case of walking pneumonia. "They’ve shunned an open search for the truth in a controversy swirling around Medill Dean John Lavine, brazenly failed to take the basic steps that a rookie reporter would take to investigate the allegation that Lavine made up quotes in an article he published and cloaked their excuses for Lavine in dark innuendo." Zorn has compiled an amazing "Webliography" of Quotegate, available here.
- The defiant, "sure"-enough dean. Dean Lavine addressed students earlier this week and once again denied fabricating quotes for a story in Medill magazine - quotes from an unnamed source that strangely echoed Lavine's own icky-everyman vernacular. The assertion that Quotegate has sprung legs because of faculty and alumni venom over his curriculum changes is partially true - you can't run an institution like Medill without holding yourself to the same standards you ask of your students. Neither can you pursue an unpopular new direction given said circumstances, especially when said Dean is attempting to cram said direction down people's throats. No thanks.
- A science that "makes craftsmen." Of all the voluminous posts on the subject, Jenny Gavacs (BSJ '00) was most eloquent. In a time when our very existence as journalists is called into question on a daily basis, she argues that now is not the time for Lavine to abandon our true self-idenfication. "The science of writing naturally has slightly different rules than biochemistry, but things like AP Style, the correct spelling of names, and quote attribution are just as fundamental to us as organic compounds are in Tech," she writes. "The problem is that in biochemistry, if something goes wrong, there are explosions or disintegration that objectively announce failure. In journalism, you may fabricate entire articles for The York Times but still have a job. Sometimes journalists only know that their science is corrupted when someone else points to the standards that have fallen. "Journalism is a social science, like psychology," she continues. "You can't control everything in a situation, but you can control three or four key variables that will yield solid results. That's why Medill exists: To teach us to be rigorous, so we can uncover truth. There used to be a debate over whether a journalism degree was necessary - after all, people without journalism training have always gotten published. But Northwestern answered that challenge by showing that there is a difference between writing and writing well. Eric Zorn is a writer; it takes a Woodward and Bernstein, or a McPhee, or a Talese, or a Capote to be a craftsman. Medill was meant to make craftsmen." Like Jenny, I don't disagree with all of Lavine's ideas. But it's the way in which change has been sought, and the disregard for the craft and institution; and subsequent, convoluted denials and false bravado within Quotegate, that have turned me rotten-milk sour on what Lavine is doing.
This situation is eerily similar to how I perceive the Bush Administration... mistakes that beget more ego-fueled mistakes, and the flippant disregard in their wake; changing the storied heart of a school because blogs are the new newspaper (does Lavine even subscribe to a single RSS feed?); shifting the sails because the wind is changing and yet disregarding the rudder to steer the ship. It's all bollocks. Give him the boot and do it soon.
Footnotes to a shadow Medill:
- The popular networking site LinkedIn does not provide Medill as one of NU's official schools. - Medill has no official information about Kappa Tau Alpha on its Web site or materials, despite having awarded its students that honor. We should have a chapter manager among our ranks. We don't. - The Medill site also has done away with its "Alumni Voices" Web section, taking away a vibrant, creative outlet for many of us who want to rant about something. - Our site now looks like a third-rate cable company's landing page, and neither speaks to or draws inspiration from the legacy that Joseph Medill articulated. Not even close.
If NU's president (or board or someone) does not relieve Lavine, I will permanently cease all gifts, stop my interviewing and just plain give up. Our reputation has been trashed and we're all sick of the distraction. Let's restore and keep and polish what makes us great: journalism.
Much like our country. A return to greatness awaits. - WP
Whether or not you agree with the content, it's worth a look. Thanks to MediaBistro for doing a post about this.
I like both Democratic candidates. But I don't like the way the Clinton camp responded to insinuations about Obama's religon, about his electability ("if you can't win Pennsylvania you can't win the general election) and about Ferraro's comments.
You do not have to be good. You do not have to walk on your knees for a hundred miles through the desert repenting. You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves. Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile the world goes on. Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain are moving across the landscapes, over the prairies and the deep trees, the mountains and the rivers. Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air, are heading home again. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting — over and over announcing your place in the family of things. - taken from "Dream Work" by Mary Oliver, published by Atlantic Monthly Press; photo courtesy of panhala.net.
In choosing our next president, are we in the business of ego, or of hope? Of true credentials or gender- and race-based double-standards?
You are about to watch the combative, partial meltdown of a social and political trailblazer who remains enraptured by her own comments - to the point of sticking by the conceptual argument that Obama is "lucky" to be in the position he's in. Not because he's qualified, not because he brings new energy to the equation... because he's black.
This is exactly the type of misplaced candidate loyalty that is allowing the new direction of our country to slip away. Ferraro is diminishing herself in the same breath, as if Mondale only chose her as his running mate to make a statement - not for the content of her character.
• A tab that will lead you to my LinkedIn profile • A bit of a tab re-org that more suits the site • The addition of "folio," which shows some samples of writing and photography • Updated "captures" page • Updated Jump pages • More videos on YouTube
The header capture this month was made possible by Rob & Patrick, since they invited us down and CB came across our friend the salamander.
Salon.com has a spot-on piece today about the five-year anniversary of the Iraq conflict... how the media has not only blown coverage of this blowhard and foolish war, but enabled it from the beginning.
Even as recently as our much-ballyhooed escalation, we in the media are reluctant to speak ill.
Consider this tight passage by Salon writer Greg Mitchell:
"In early 2007, with the announcement of the "surge" of troops in Iraq, TV commentators punted at the most crucial moment since the invasion of Iraq -- and not a single major newspaper came out against the escalation until after it was announced. They were all sleepwalking into the abyss. Even if the "surge" proved relatively successful, it would guarantee at least several more years of heavy U.S. presence in Iraq, and the deaths of thousands of more Americans."
I've loaded the full story to my Facebook profile, but you'll need to log in to read it. Try getting Salon.com here, too.
Photo/graphic courtesy of Salon.com/AFP Photo/Stephen Jaffe
I am reluctantly posting this rant because it's important to remember the type of people out there who think they are doing God's work by hating those around them.
This brilliant oratory was brought to light by the brave people at VictoryFund, so make sure to check them out.
At the risk of giving this lady more of a platform than she deserves, it's seems important to expose people like this and risk undue elevation. It's words like hers that get people beaten up and killed, despite her right to say them.
So... if you have the stomach for it, take a look below, and reply to some of the posters.
"Where my heart lies," wrote Robert Browning in his prayerful poem, "let my brain lie also." That's my wish for you to experience in the coming weeks, Gemini. It's not a wistful, ineffectual wish, either: My astrological analysis indicates that the cosmos will be conspiring to unify more than a few of your fragmented parts.
Just watched the documentary "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib." Very important watching, if you haven't seen it already.
The film shines a magnifying glass on our unfathomable disregard for human rights in Iraq. Even if you think you know what happened, see this movie and your mind will be changed.
Whatever you believe before, during or after we invaded Iraq, no one should be subjected to treatment like this. Take a look at the director clip here:
"We listened as his soul cracked" is a direct quote from one of the detainees, whose father was abused, tortured and left to die. His description of these actions and egregious disregard for human life will chill you to the bone.
Many officers involves in this scandal, even those on its periphery, were faced with a choicepoint -- either accept orders that seemingly came from (or were at least condoned by) the top, or speak out against them. Those who did the latter suffered great legal, personal and professional consequences.
Question: after viewing this movie, do you still think Germany was wrong in labeling and charging Rumsfeld as a war criminal? What about those responsible for hiring him?
With the election coming, make sure to keep this in mind -- that our government, at every level, failed us.
One last note: This film unfortunately connects the Iraq choice-conflict with 9/11... and the only reason this connection holds up is to create greater understanding about why our soldiers were driven to this level of aggression.
The saddest part is that the "God told me to do it" war actually ended up creating unbelievably difficult reality-creation choices for people who never should have been in the situation in the first place.
Let's own the abuses to prisoners as well as acknowledge those who stood up to it.
Fox & Friends dedicated nearly five airtime minutes misquoting Keith Olbermann. Have a look below (if you can stomach it), and also, make sure to check out the accurate accounting at Media Bistro.
"Anchor Blues" (full editorial below) is a series I started some time ago that looks at the amount of energy that news organizations waste yelling at each other.
To borrow the erudite words of Bill Maher, New Rule: Anchors can no longer be the news.
Let’s use one of the more current commissions of media heresy as our baseline. Would everyone reading this please raise your hand if you know the plural of the noun, “ho”?
Is “ho” simply singular and plural, like “elk,” or would it follow with “es” at the end? Hmmm… we’ll just go with “hos,” without the “e” and no apostrophe, lest we imply possession of a gardening implement. Or we might ask Santa Claus, since he often uses that word more than once at a time; or Hostess, maker of Ho Hos, the trans-fat lard bombs cloaked in a chocolaty veneer, which (I’m told) often comes at least two to an artery-clogging package.
Sadly, our distinguished media have successfully solved “ho” in the plural. Paula Zahn was one of them, thrusting “hos” Out in the Open when she led a panel deconstruction of Don Imus’ hideously nonsensical, random and offensive “nappy headed hos” phrase – part of his well-publicized rant about the Rutgers Women’s basketball team. Both the CNN crawl and Zahn’s program slug that night used the word “hos” in the plural; I almost did a double take because I had never seen that word on a screen before. I hope I never do again.
Like a rat gnawing at a piece of stale cheese (but without the flavor), a broader, related issue has been eating at me for months: Why is it, in this great business of ours, that we as journalists, commentators, producers and anchors have stepped so solidly in front of the news we’re supposed to be covering? Specifically, stratosphere-salaried anchors, including hosts of all stripes – radio, primary broadcast, cable-TV screamers, satellite, morning show personalities, reporters – are all consistently upstaging their content.
NBC receiving the murderous manifesto is an ironic example of how, inadvertently or otherwise, we sometimes become what we’re reporting. More on the Virginia Tech nightmare, and NBC’s coverage of it, in a moment.
The fact is, Don Imus has been pushing envelopes and buttons for 30 years… and this random sound byte is in keeping with his standard histrionics. But I’ve noticed enough drama in other media circles in the past six months that I think it begs a few questions. First, are we simply serving at the pleasure of personality? That is to say, are we making that quality in people too important? Are we building them up just so we can break them down when we’re done? Further, is this all a bottom-line, zero-sum ratings game we’re in – where the work of good, solid journalists are being eclipsed and overshadowed by, well, assholes?
Consider these recent episodes, where news – even that which attempts to entertain us – was far beside the point:
• Bill O’Reilly and Geraldo Rivera – both gunning hard for title of Biggest On-air Tool – kept the spit cleaners busy recently when they got into verbal fisticuffs that might as well have been a WWF title bout. (I thought they were going to punch each other out.) Question: did they cover the topic of an illegal-immigrant crime, as was the platform, or was it a shouting match with fancy Fox News stagelights that, making matters considerably worse, elbowed out real news coverage on other channels that day? It was a train wreck in the highest order, but yet we can’t stop watching. Views on YouTube had eclipsed the 500,000 mark as of this writing.
• With ABC’s World News gaining on NBC Nightly News, executive producer John Reiss was reportedly axed in favor of Alexandra Wallace (one of only a handful of women to serve in that role, on any network) – despite the fact that Brian Williams had, during Reiss’ tenure, continued to set the standard (of the Peter Jennings ilk) for elegant, insightful, sensitive and thoughtful journalism. This is the journalistic equivalent of a melodramatic overreaction. Without Williams’ journalistic leadership in the past 18 months – ala Anderson Cooper – New Orleans, for example, would be even more of a forgotten city. We wouldn’t be asking the right questions about Alberto Gonzales or our invasion of Iraq or the installation of Sam Fox, a recess appointee who Bush transformed from a GOP donor to ambassador to Belgium. Reiss helped power Williams and “Nightly” to multiple award victories, yet he still was apparently shown the door.
• “Some say” Katie Couric’s interview with John and Elizabeth Edwards was a smiling softball snugglefest; “others say” her style descended into a sad example of style over substance. Oh and by the by, Elizabeth Edwards’ cancer returned, right? Viewers, me included, took away Couric’s approach more than they did the newsworthiness of the Edwards’ decision to continue campaigning in a crowded 2008 election field. Aside from this misfire interview, Couric’s publicized network switch, fashion choices, chatty style and plunging ratings have, in general, far eclipsed the competent work of a field reporter like Lara Logan in Iraq – work that Couric is supposed to be shining a light on. Again, we’re missing the point.
• When I caught part of Rosie’s “View” debut last September I said to myself, “oh Jeez, Babs ain’t gonna have any of this.” By “Babs” I mean, of course, Barbara Walters, and by “this” I mean the match-and-gasoline bravado that is O’Donnell’s new anti-queen-of-nice personae. Her daily verbal smackdown on “The View” eventually spawned “Rosie vs. The Donald,” that icky mud-slinging bonanza that neither person really won and we all were subjected to. I want to see neither the real combover nor Rosie’s interpretation of it ever again. Still, “View” ratings shot up 60% in the early term of Rosie’s addition, and have been up steadily since, as she has regularly spouted off wild conspiracy theories and sparred with co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck.
This is just the tip of the media-sideshow iceberg: When you factor in NBC’s reluctant Scooter Libby witness and cozy-source example Tim Russert; Oprah’s holier-than-thou pushing the vast “riches” of The Secret; the exhausting audacity of Headline News’ Nancy Grace (sued for wrongful death by the family of a Florida woman she aggressively interviewed last year); and the unnecessary yet all too public “reassignment” of CNN American Morning’s Miles O’Brien and Soledad O’Brien (a team that gave us the only consistent pace, personality and sophistication of our current slew of morning shows) – anchors have more and more been the stories than reported them. It’s time for us to make a mammoth shift in our priorities, and perhaps with the Imus firing we can put people like Coulter, Limbaugh, Beck and O’Reilly on notice: is it not “mission accomplished” when you are the news.
Meanwhile, there are people who are doing yeoman’s work through this ongoing malaise. Keith Olbermann, for lively and confident news judgment that shapes MSNBC’s “Countdown”; CNN’s Kyra Phillips for mining unusual, heartfelt stories out of the Iraq quagmire; a humble Diane Sawyer serving as de facto ambassador to North Korea during her tightly controlled swing through the country; and the aforementioned Miles O’Brien, who has been a joy as the geek go-to guy for science, aviation and aeronautical issues… and who almost certainly has a copy of “October Sky” in his DVD library. I’ll miss waking up with him at 6 a.m.
With questions now being raised about NBC’s decision to air footage from Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui, the media have opened yet another chapter in their own story. And I say, we’re in quite likely the most pointed example of, “Don’t shoot the messenger.” Why? As much sympathy and wished-healing I hold for the students at Virginia Tech, its alumni and the people of Blacksburg, Virginia, I believe history will look at NBC’s decision as one of measured conscience – the news-judgment process working in its most compassionate, careful and thoughtful way. As the only news organization that received messages from Cho, a clearly disturbed and tortured madman, I believe they acted on a journalistic obligation to know more about what drove him to such a horrific act. And any other news organization criticizing that move – you know who you are – sounds like sour grapes to me. The only people who have any standing to criticize are the victims’ families.
The grieving families are a living, breathing example of why we should always search for and find the story’s emotional thread and never discount its power in helping you come to a natural conclusion. I watched a lot of NBC’s coverage and I believe they did just that.
For Medill’s part, it is more critical than ever to know what your personal ethics are as a journalist as you enter this nutty business. Do not be the news, be the impartial gifter of it. If you go to the producer side of things, don’t hang your anchors out to dry because you think your closest competitor is gaining on you. Stand in your integrity. As a journalist working in a few different areas, that’s my mission, and it always will be, and it should be for all of us. Your self-defined purpose matters, and your audience cares.
Personally, I wish the Rutgers team had decided against making statements like “we were stripped of this moment” and claiming that Imus had “stolen a moment of pure grace.” As right as it might feel to express their hurt in this way, the fact is that they are giving too much power to a person who never had it, or deserved it, to begin with, despite his attempts to the contrary. I’m glad they accepted his apology; I have my own opinions about forgiveness – how to use it, when it’s appropriate, how it can change people for the better – but those statements gave away power when nobody, especially that power’s creators, should relinquish it. Nothing, nobody, will take away their Cinderella rise to the finals or the example they have set for women who will most certainly follow in their footsteps.
As such, we can say the same for assigning too much power (or in the case of Miles & Soledad, too little respect) to the anchor desk and to our media personalities as a whole. I for one would like us to bring fundamental change in this area – for the betterment of our business, and also so I can wake up at 6 a.m. with a smile on my face.
Now, I’m going back to eating the rest of my Ho Hos.
"Around the corner I have a friend, that has no endYet the days go by and weeks rush onAnd before I know it, a year is gone.
And I never see my old friend’s face,For life is a swift and terrible race,He knows I like him just as well,As in the days when I rang his bell.
And he rang mine but we were younger then,And now we are busy, tired men.Tired of playing a foolish game,Tired of trying to make a name."Tomorrow" I say! "I will call on JimJust to show that I'm thinking of him."
But tomorrow comes and tomorrow goes,And distance between us grows and grows.Around the corner, yet miles away,"Here's a telegram sir," "Jim died today."And that's what we get and deserve in the end.
Around the corner, a vanished friend.Remember to always say what you mean.If you love someone, tell them.Because when you decide that it is the right time, it might be too late.
Seize the day. Never have regrets. And most importantly, stay close to your friends and family, for they have helped make you the person that you are today."
...especially when its guts are turned inside out. Take a close look at the hideous basement and the boring, ivy-laden front yard. Their days are numbered.
Just today workers were blazing through the half-baked drywall down there to prepare for the "big dig" down to the footings. I'm hiding out at the office now. Oy. And yes, the basement really is that hideous.
I originally had chosen a piece from Ireland as January's wp.com header, but hey - when a better urge comes along, go with it, right?
To honor the artists and buyers for ARTvision - specifically, Rebecca Walt and Larry Goldstein, buyers of "Trust Your Turn" - I modified the photo that spoke so clearly to the people who were listening... Thanks to Rebecca and Larry for being so enthusiastically connected to this year's event. This version of TYT is a limited edition of five, and three still remain for this year's ARTvision. Speaking of which, sales are still open! We've discounted some pieces and would love it if you'd go and browse.
We've just blazed past the $2K mark, with hopefully more sales to go, so it's been a huge success. Ongoing thanks to Craig Eister for helping to support the event for ASP.