Archive for the 'Media' Category

My radio TiVo

Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

So I finally got around to setting up radioSHARK. The software installed on my Mac in a matter of seconds. Then you just plug in your radioSHARK device in any available USB port and you’re ready to go. I’m just now recording the interview with artist/painter Wayne Thiebaud I mentioned earlier.

Katrina media fallout

Monday, September 5th, 2005

Following Katrina, some US journalists have started asking some, um, uncomfortable questions.

Joe Scarborough (Scarborough Country, September 4) We deserve answers, Mr. President:

With so many trying to figure out why so few acted professionally in the first days of this epic crisis, I offer an insider’s view of who is to blame for this national disgrace.

We begin with Harry Truman who famously declared that the buck always stops at the president’s desk. For those who now define the term conservative as unwavering support for George W. Bush, even this suggestion is maddening.

But the bottom line is that despite the fact the president was strapped with two governors who bungled this crisis badly, in the end it is the president who sends in the National Guard and FEMA relief.

The president’s suggestion that the size of this storm caught all by surprise just doesn’t get it. His administration was 48 hours late sending in the National Guard and poor Americans got raped and killed because of those mistakes.

A painful assessment from a supporter of the president, but also true.

Keith Olbermann (Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann, September 5): The “city” of Louisiana:

But, nationally, these are leaders who won re-election last year largely by portraying their opponents as incapable of keeping the country safe. These are leaders who regularly pressure the news media in this country to report the reopening of a school or a power station in Iraq, and defies its citizens not to stand up and cheer. Yet they couldn’t even keep one school or power station from being devastated by infrastructure collapse in New Orleans — even though the government had heard all the “chatter” from the scientists and city planners and hurricane centers and some group whose purposes the government couldn’t quite discern… a group called The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

And most chillingly of all, this is the Law and Order and Terror government. It promised protection — or at least amelioration — against all threats: conventional, radiological, or biological.

It has just proved that it cannot save its citizens from a biological weapon called standing water.

Bob Herbert (New York Times op-ed, September 5): A Failure of Leadership (free registration required):

Mr. Bush flew south on Friday and proved (as if more proof were needed) that he didn’t get it. Instead of urgently focusing on the people who were stranded, hungry, sick and dying, he engaged in small talk, reminiscing at one point about the days when he used to party in New Orleans, and mentioning that Trent Lott had lost one of his houses but that it would be replaced with “a fantastic house - and I’m looking forward to sitting on the porch.”

Mr. Bush’s performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever by a president during a dire national emergency. What we witnessed, as clearly as the overwhelming agony of the city of New Orleans, was the dangerous incompetence and the staggering indifference to human suffering of the president and his administration.

And it is this incompetence and indifference to suffering (yes, the carnage continues to mount in Iraq) that makes it so hard to be optimistic about the prospects for the United States over the next few years. At a time when effective, innovative leadership is desperately needed to cope with matters of war and peace, terrorism and domestic security, the economic imperatives of globalization and the rising competition for oil, the United States is being led by a man who seems oblivious to the reality of his awesome responsibilities.

Paul Krugman (New York Times op-ed, September 5): Killed by Contempt (free registration required):

Several recent news analyses on FEMA’s sorry state have attributed the agency’s decline to its inclusion in the Department of Homeland Security, whose prime concern is terrorism, not natural disasters. But that supposed change in focus misses a crucial part of the story.

For one thing, the undermining of FEMA began as soon as President Bush took office. Instead of choosing a professional with expertise in responses to disaster to head the agency, Mr. Bush appointed Joseph Allbaugh, a close political confidant. Mr. Allbaugh quickly began trying to scale back some of FEMA’s preparedness programs.

You might have expected the administration to reconsider its hostility to emergency preparedness after 9/11 - after all, emergency management is as important in the aftermath of a terrorist attack as it is following a natural disaster. As many people have noticed, the failed response to Katrina shows that we are less ready to cope with a terrorist attack today than we were four years ago.

But the downgrading of FEMA continued, with the appointment of Michael Brown as Mr. Allbaugh’s successor.

Mr. Brown had no obvious qualifications, other than having been Mr. Allbaugh’s college roommate. But Mr. Brown was made deputy director of FEMA; The Boston Herald reports that he was forced out of his previous job, overseeing horse shows. And when Mr. Allbaugh left, Mr. Brown became the agency’s director. The raw cronyism of that appointment showed the contempt the administration felt for the agency; one can only imagine the effects on staff morale.

Eugene Robinson (Washington Post op-ed, September 6): It’s Your Failure, Too, Mr. Bush (free registration required):

At the top, things are still hopeless. Federal, local and state officials who perform for the cameras here at the Louisiana State Police complex, headquarters for the relief effort, still spend an unconscionable amount of time debating who’s in charge. Is the president the ultimate authority, or is it Blanco, Nagin, Chertoff, Brown or the generals? The answer seems to vary from hour to hour, depending on who’s holding court in the hot, stuffy briefing room or outside on the portico, where visiting luminaries get mobbed by microphones.

First, an administration that since Sept. 11, 2001, has told us a major terrorist strike is inevitable should have had in place a well-elaborated plan for evacuating a major American city. Even if there wasn’t a specific plan for New Orleans — although it was clear that a breach of the city’s levees was one of the likeliest natural catastrophes — there should have been a generic plan. George W. Bush told us time and again that our cities were threatened. Shouldn’t he have ordered up a plan to get people out?

Second, someone should have thought about what to do with hundreds of thousands of evacuees, both in the days after a disaster and in the long term. As people flooded out of New Orleans, it was officials at the state and local level who rose to the challenge, making it up as they went along. Bring a bunch of people to the Astrodome. We have a vacant hotel that we can use. Send a hundred or so down to our church and we’ll do the best we can.

Tent cities aren’t a happy option, but neither is haphazard improvisation. Is the problem the Bush administration’s ideological fervor for small government? Does the White House really believe that primary responsibility should fall on volunteers, church groups and individuals? Or is it just stunning incompetence and lack of foresight?

NewsHour with Jim Lehrer: Politics after Katarina

Friday, September 2nd, 2005

New York Times columnist David Brooks, Boston Globe columnist Tom Oliphant and NewsHour essayist and Chicago Tribune columnist Clarence Page talk about the horrific events following Hurricane Katrina, including the possible political ramifications of the disaster.

DAVID BROOKS: I think it is a huge reaction we are about to see. I mean, first of all, they violated the social fabric, which is in the moments of crisis you take care of the poor first. That didn’t happen; it’s like leaving wounded on the battlefield.

So there is just — in 9/11 you had a great surge of public confidence. Now I think we are going to see a great decline in public confidence in our institutions. And so I just think this is sort of the anti-9/11 as one of the bloggers wrote. has the full transcript of this September 2, 2005 edition of NewsHour with Jim Lehrer.

German Dream

Wednesday, August 24th, 2005

German public television ZDF is coming out with a series of 30 interviews about the “German Dream” (translation mine):

Germany is undergoing change and is in search of a new dream. What is Germany about? What will be its future role in the world? In the series “German Dream - Dreaming for Germany” we will ask 30 leading thinkers, artists, and scientists from all over the world about their very personal dreams about the future of Germany - from Paulo Coelho (Brazil) to Wangari Maathai (Kenya), from Henning Mankell (Sweden) to Jeremy Rifkin (USA).

The dream conversations are presented in the original as well as in a translated version. You can listen to them as audio streams or even download them to your computer in mp3 file format.

We look forward to hearing about your dreams, too.

Interesting. I’ll be listening. Please listen, too, if you are from somewhere else and care about Germany. We may need your help.

By the way, I mentioned the series’ author, Wolfgang Harrer, earlier in my July 17 post about German public radio experimenting with podcasts. Don’t know if German Dream will remain web-only or whether it will be further integrated with TV. At first glance, though, it looks like a very good application of podcasting in the public broadcasting arena.

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Deutschlandradio Podcasts

Saturday, July 30th, 2005

Deutschlandfunk interviews of the day now available as podcasts (via Wortfeld).

Why Plame matters

Friday, July 22nd, 2005

Excellent live coverage on C-SPAN today of A Special Joint Oversight Hearing on the National Security Consequences of Disclosing the Identity of a Covert Intelligence Officer by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee. Their website offers a full transcript of the hearing (PDF).

Interesting to listen to what these witnesses had to say (and it wasn’t pretty):

  • Larry Johnson, Former CIA Analyst
  • Colonel W. Patrick Lang (retired), Former Director, Defense Human Intelligence (HUMINT) Service
  • James Marcinkowski, Former CIA Case Officer
  • David MacMichael, Former Senior Estimates Officer, National Intelligence Council
  • Mel Goodman, Former Senior CIA Analyst

Wikipedia has more coverage of the Plame affair and has a chronology of events titled The Wilson-Plame-Novak-Rove Blame Game.

German Public Radio experimenting with podcasts

Sunday, July 17th, 2005

Cologne-based Westdeutscher Rundfunk, WDR (Web, Wikipedia) - where I happened to be a three-time student employee years ago - has recently begun experimenting with podcasts, as Georg Berg states in an interview with German webzine Mac Essentials, Podcasting und der WDR (in German). Fabian Mohr has an interview with San Francisco-based German journalist Wolfgang Harrer, who claims podcasting may actually be - surprise - a good thing for public radio: “Das Radio hat jetzt die Chance zur Wiedergeburt”“Das Radio hat jetzt die Chance zur Wiedergeburt” (in German):

Was die Entscheider in den Sendern aber noch nicht verstehen wollen, ist, dass sie mit umfangreicheren Podcasts viele Hörer wieder erreichen könnten, die ihnen schon vor Jahren verloren gingen. Die große Schwäche des Mediums Radio ist ja, dass es von seinen Hörern immer noch erwartet, ihre private Tagesplanung nach dem starren Programmschema der Sender auszurichten. Eine Erwartung, die nicht mehr haltbar ist. Es gibt nichts antiquierteres als die morgendlichen Programmhinweise auf BR2 oder SWR2, in denen den Hörern angekündigt wird, welche Sendungen sie heute wieder verpassen. Was spräche beispielsweise dagegen, einen RSS-Podcastfeed aller Wissenschaftssendungen aller ARD-Hörfunksender anzubieten? Wir haben für diese Sendungen bereits bezahlt, warum macht die ARD sie uns nicht leichter zugänglich?

True. I would also suggest offering much smaller chunks of audio (in general, 60 minutes or longer can be somewhat impractical to listen to) and promote heavily the use of social bookmarking among listeners.

For now, check out Sunday morning’s Presseclub podcast (in German).

Newsweek: Matt Cooper’s Source

Sunday, July 10th, 2005

Matt Cooper’s Source - What Karl Rove told Time magazine’s reporter. By Michael Isikoff, Newsweek.

Wikipedia coverage of London terrorist blasts

Thursday, July 7th, 2005

Another astonishing example of the power of Wikipedia: 7 July 2005 London bombings. The first entry was posted at 9.18am this morning. Nine hours and close to 2,000 modifications later you have what must be the most comprehensive account of today’s events anywhere on the web.


Thursday, June 9th, 2005

I’ve been listening to KQED public radio ever since I first found out about it about three years or so ago. They have instantly become my favorite radio station here in the Bay Area. If you want to be at least somewhat informed it’s pretty much the only choice you have (it beats most of what you get on TV these days by far!). I made a pledge to support KQED right the day after moving over in May.

By the way, I was immediately rewarded by listening to a remarkable interview with artist/painter Wayne Thiebaud. Unfortunately, there seems to be no audio available at this point.

Addendum: KQED Listener Service just sent me the dates for the repeats. “City Arts - Thiebaud” will be broadcast again Sunday, September 25th 1pm, Tuesday the 27th 8pm, and Wednesday the 28th, 2am - mark your calendars!