Monthly ArchiveJuly 2004

Politics 30 Jul 2004 01:31 pm

Mediocre, Irrelevant Media Coverage of Presidential Race

Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Triumph of the Trivial” href=””>The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Triumph of the Trivial

I agree with Paul Krugman’s assessment of the media coverage of the presidential race so far. It has been completely vacuous. I hear more about what a pundit thinks Kerry has to do to win votes, or what Bush has to convince the people than what the candidates are actually saying.

This type of coverage plays well for Bush who seems to have no compelling position on anything other than war, but then again, I can’t say that because how would I know just from watching the news?

I have dug a little deeper on Kerry (my bias) and he does have good ideas about how the country could be lead. Once again, how would anyone know from watching the news?

I was particularly unimpressed by MSNBC’s coverage of the convention. The Daily Show pointed out one glaring moment. Brian Williams was interviewing Al Sharpton after his speech. It was a great speech. It was eloquent and powerful, and carried substantial messages about the party platform. People were excited and energized by it. It was an important speech.

However, it did last 23 minutes instead of his allotted 6 minutes, and apparently he didn’t read the speech that was playing on the teleprompter. So, what were the questions that Brian Williams asked? Not anything about anything he said, but instead he asked him why he didn’t read what was on the teleprompter and instead “riffed on whatever you were riffing on” for so long. No questions on the content were asked in the short interview.

He apparently didn’t even listen to the speech to analyze it to ask good questions. WTF!

There have been many other instances in which I have been annoyed at the commentator coverage. (I don’t think we should call them reporters.)

What I would like in press coverage:
I want to know what the platform is and I want to hear critical discussion of the planks of the platform. I want to know how other candidates and citizens are responding to the message of the platform.

I don’t give a crap what the candidates are wearing or who they ate lunch with or what some idiot with a microphone thinks they need to do to win votes. I also don’t care what the commentator thinks personally. I want information about the issues, supported with facts from verifiable, reliable sources. I want multiple different reporters on the story.

More journalism on the presidential race please! More people demanding journalism please!

If we ask for that, the media will give it because they think it will keep us watching, which is money in their pocket. We can make this change. We need good journalism to be effective citizens. We cannot make good decisions without information.

Politics 29 Jul 2004 01:22 am

Good speech of hope

Barack Obama, Illinois State Senator, gave a good speech at the Democratic convention.

In particular, I like the message of unity and hope. One of the major problems facing us today is even being able to have a constructive dialog. The country seems quite polarized, and many are unaccepting of different viewpoints.

I believe that critical dialog and action based on reason are the ways to a better life in America. I hope that we can raise the level of discussion and work together to live up to the ideals of the founders.

I so much like the line from the Declaration of Independence that Obama reused in the speech, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

I really like the next line as it has a direct bearing on our current circumstance, “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,”

The people grant government a limited right to rule. It is up to us to issue our consent judiciously so that government does not become unwieldy and oppressive. It is the fruits of our labor that we invest in government to do our will. We need to be aware of what powers we give to whom in government and what they do with it.

We should make sure to elect people who will keep that trust and we should make sure to keep an eye on them with a free and independent press.

Philosophy 15 Jul 2004 02:26 am

Spirituality and Technology symposium

TechNetCast – Will Spiritual Robots Replace Humanity By 2100? This was a very interesting symposium that Bill and I attended.

It was thought-provoking and sometimes over the top. To have so many different bright thinkers on the panel made it really good though.

I remember John Holland calling someone out for not being very scientific in their predictions. That was amusing.

Altogether, this panel took a much more serious look at the issues at a time when Bill Joy had just come out with his article in Wired about the future not needing us.

Great Outdoors 15 Jul 2004 02:05 am


So, most of our spare time for the last 2-3 weeks has involved apricots. Specifically, either picking from the tree, cleaning up from the ground, washing, chopping into halves or little bits, giving to friends, boiling, freezing, canning, jamming and more cleaning up in the kitchen, apricots. Oh yeah, and eating them.

They are quite delicious, especially picked right from the tree. The jam is good too. Halves chilled in the fridge are also a nice treat. They are good in oatmeal. They go great with lentils and other grains. Supposedly, you can even make great mixed drinks with them.

But, you can only have so much of them at once. I am starting to wonder if I have discovered how many apricots it takes to get to the center of an apricot-pop. Which also makes me wonder if the many jams, jars, and frozen bags of apricots will be appealing several months from now. I hope so.

Well, gotta keep on jamming no matter.

Uncategorized 14 Jul 2004 05:18 am

Long Time No Blogging

I’ve been really busy lately, and haven’t gotten to blog.

Things to blog about soon: ADC, TDD, LISP, APRICOTS, ALIEN BUGS, and more.