Josh Mack blogging at the intersection of technology and the liberal arts, and occasionally on; bicycles, politics, Brooklyn, parenting, crafts, and good reading. Currently helping to build a new NYC neighborhood news site - nearsay.com, that celebrates the voices that make our city. Subscribe to the daily newsletter it gives you what you need to know.
My father, Peter Mack, sends a newsletter to his clients called Note From The Front: In the Great Battle for Investment Victory. His latest called Restoring Trust about the causes and stages of the financial crisis is a great read.
The NYT endorsed Obama today. They also put up an interesting time-line of all of their endorsements. Of the 37 prior elections they chose the winner 21 times, a 57% percent record. Surprising to me they didn't endorse TDR of FDR (in his 1st term). They have endorsed 12 Republicans. Six of them from 1860 through 1884 Lincoln (2 terms), Grant, Hayes (2 terms), Garfield. and then Wendell Wilkie. And again in the 40's and early 50's with Wilkie, Dewey and Eisenhower. The time-line also links to .pdfs of the endorsements.
I kept hearing the words Cone of Silence today and it sounded so familiar. It came from Get Smart as the wikipedia and this commercial point out. Of course to our national debate and Presidential election are now referring to a failed technology on a television show about an inept (no offense meant Maxwell) spy with no regard to the absurdity of its source. Still if this becomes something, bad form to cheat in a church.
"I've always said that you need to keep it on the table, and you need
to look at these things, because now people are dying because of this
administration. That's the truth. And they won't change course. They
are ignoring the Congress. They keep signing these signing statements
which mean that he's decided not to enforce the law. This is as close
as we've ever come to a dictatorship. When you have a situation where
Congress is stepped on, that means the American people are stepped on." - Barbara Boxer in a interview yesterday.
In his editorial, Earth to G.O.P, the Gipper is Dead (Times Select needed), Frank Rich mentions Ron Suskind's article Why Are These Men Laughing in which John DiIluio says "...What you’ve got is everything—and I mean
everything—being run by the political arm. It’s the reign of the
Mayberry Machiavellis." Below is the author's note that sits in front of the article.
Are These Men Laughing" contained a series of critiques of the Bush
administration from an ex-White House official, John DiIlulio. DiIluio,
whose thoughts were sent to the author in a polished, elegantly
constructed seven-page memo, was the first ranking administration
official to publicly criticize his boss. According to DiIulio, the
political team at the White House was making every policy decision,
ignoring the advice of experts. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman,
commenting on this article, said it was now clear that the Bush White
House had "no interest in the substance of policy, caring only about political payoffs."
Shortly after the article appeared in Esquire, the White House went on
the offensive, forcing DiIulio to apologize for his assessments that
drew a comparison to Stalinist Russia in the Washington Post.
The text of a speech Rham Emanuel gave today at The Brookings Institution " it's a broad indictment of the Bush administration that argues that
all-pervasive partisanship, not incompetence, is the common thread
linking all of the administration's manifold failings." (via Talking Points Memo)
Interesting thing going on over at Talking Points Memo's TPMmuckracker site. They are asking for help in poring through the latest "document dump" from the Justice Department. Readers are asked to go through the documents now online at the DOJ site as .pdfs and then post comments on the TPM site. They have issued a naming convention to keep the whole thing manageable.
I love this. A friend of mine was working on a project, that never came to pass for the ACLU that was going to do something similar.
I would have loved the opportunity to do something similar when Ron Suskind and I built the site for his book the The Price of Loyalty. We put up a selection of documents from Sec. O'Neill's hard drive and contemplated doing a "dump" that would have made policy wonks very happy but were prevented by several factors from doing so. Perhaps one day we will revisit it or at the very least turn on comments.
Patricia Volk's NYT article about NYC Jews and Chinese Food is genetic revelation for me. I think it explains that my once a week craving for dumplings is not just habit but could in fact be a genetic trait going back thousands of years. It also makes me yearn for a restaurant I never knew, Bernstein-on-Essex which featured kosher chicken liver lo mein served by Jewish waiters wearing skull caps with tassels. Lastly I am just thrilled to learn that in China they actually serve General Tso's chicken.
From the blog of my new friend, Shel Holtz, comes a post "Podcasting: What's in a name?" about the semantic debate currently raging around the term. For Shel and the Wikipedia, the fact that you subscribe to an RSS feed to retrieve the content makes it a podcast, not whether the audio is listened to on a device or not. I actually agree with that, but am also very aware that the term podcast is being used to describe a kind of episodic show which is sometimes too limiting a factor. This is similar to the issue of blogs and people thinking that a blog, is well like this one, as opposed to other forms of sites using blogging engines. I understand why the promoters of these "new words" do it but ,some days more than others, resent its effect. I do agree with his last point which is to stop worrying about it too much and to just stay focused on the exciting potential of the medium.
Also on podcasting paidcontent reports that NPR is doing a deal with melodeo to make their podcasts available on mobile phones.
IWantMedia's interview with Elizabeth Spier's, the first editor of Gawker, on her new blogging play DealBreaker. I agree with her points about the model being very appealing for traditional media.
Q: Can blogging be a good business?
I think it's a good business if you do it correctly. I also think that
blogs could be used for testing editorial concepts. For print,
I'm surprised that more big media companies don't use the Web for concept
testing. Especially in broadcasting. They put millions of dollars in a
TV pilot, don't know if it works and waste all that money. Many pilots
are thrown away that don't even go into syndication anywhere.
that we have iTunes syndicating old CBS shows, I think there's a model
there where people could produce really cheap TV pilots and get better
user data on what viewers actually think.
Blogs are starting to integrate with social networking apps, which is very
interesting. That's the next generation -- the user who thinks of the
Web as this necessary kind of way of life and sculpts his entire social
world around it.
Not an election, mind you - though those victories will come - but an
official governmental recognition that what you all do is a valuable
part of the democratic experiment, and one which should not be thwarted
by the incursion of the federal government.