Monthly Archives: July 2005

Blogs Tools for Public Service Announcements?

ol cranky has shared at Philly Future an intriguing idea whose time has come – I suggest blog PSAs (public service announcements) for missing persons; yes, I’m suggesting blogs become today’s milk cartons. My ultimate goal (with which I need help, since I have no idea how to do this myself) is for bloggers to be able to register somewhere so they can place missing person PSAs on their blog that will be generated randomly to rotate those currently on police/FBI blotters as missing persons.

The SIMS are now under attack

This witch hunt is going too far.

There are talks about banning The SIMS! Read about it at Gamespot.

A women has sued the makers of GTA.

And Hillary Clinton has already slid to the right in asking for $90 million of taxpayer dollars to study the effects video games on children – something that’s been done quite a bit already.

Like Rafe said, Steven Johnson’s op-ed in response to Hillary Clinton’s call for a $90 million study on the effects of video games on children is a must read.

I have this to say to Mrs. Clinton – You have identified yourself as this generation’s Tipper Gore. The metalheads reading this know exactly what I mean. Reaching out to the right with gestures this hollow and expensive play into the hands of those against you.

To divert resources that can be better used fighting known, real problems in this country – for a dubious endeavor at best – for what appears to be a middle-America vote advertisement – is wrong.

Call me naive but I expect Democratic leaders to represent working and poor Americans who keep this country running every day. To be the party of the American dream. This has NOTHING to do with that.

The New York Review of Books: What’s the Matter with Liberals?:

…The hallmark of a “backlash conservative” is that he or she approaches politics not as a defender of the existing order or as a genteel aristocrat but as an average working person offended by the arrogance of the (liberal) upper class. The sensibility was perfectly caught during the campaign by onetime Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, who explained it to The New York Times like this: “Joe Six-Pack doesn’t understand why the world and his culture are changing and why he doesn’t have a say in it.”[3] These are powerful words, the sort of phrase that could once have been a slogan of the fighting, egalitarian left. Today, though, it was conservatives who claimed to be fighting for the little guy, assailing the powerful, and shrieking in outrage at the direction in which the world is irresistibly sliding.

…what Karl Rove called a “mobilization election” in which victory would go to the party that best rallied its faithful. What this meant in practice was backlash all the way: an appeal to class resentment and cultural dread that was unprecedented in its breadth; ingenious state-level ballot initiatives on “values” questions that would energize voters; massive church-based get-out-the-vote efforts; and paranoid suggestions from all sides inviting voters to believe the worst about those tyrannical liberal snobs.

Senator Sam Brownback’s activities at the Republican convention offer us a glimpse of this strategy in microcosm. In his speech before the assembled delegates and the eyes of the world, the godly Kansan came off as a thoughtful, caring Republican who wanted only to heal the sick and halt religious persecution overseas; when he spoke at a private meeting of evangelical Christians, however, he took on the tone of affronted middle-American victimhood, complaining to a roomful of Christian conservatives that “the press beats up on you like there’s something wrong with faith, family and freedom” and exhorting them to “win this culture war.”[4] For the conservative rank and file, this election was to be the culture-war Armageddon, and they were battling for the Lord.

Whenever Democrats play the Republican class-culture war game – it’s a win for Republicans. Democrats need to pursue policies – not cultural politics – that help give a leg up (not a hand-out) – this is the real moral that needs to be addressed – and that what I expect the Democratic party to represent.

From the article linked above:

…the most powerful evocation of the backlash spirit always comes from personal testimony, a tale of how one man came to realize that liberals weren’t the friends of common folks but just the opposite. In the past it was figures like George Wallace and Norman Podhoretz and Ronald Reagan who declared that they hadn’t left the Democratic Party, the party had left them; in 2004 that traditional role fell to Zell Miller, Democratic senator from Georgia, whose thunderous indictment of his liberal colleagues from the podium of the Republican convention caused such excitement in conservative circles. Here was Miller to assure Republicans that everything they’d ever suspected was true: that the real problem with American politics was that the Democrats had swerved too far to the left; that those same Democrats were led by self-hating people who think “America is the problem, not the solution”; that their presidential candidate was so beguiled by Frenchness—a classic stand-in for devitalized upper-classness—that he “would let Paris decide when America needs defending.”[9]

Oddly enough, this same Zell Miller had once been known as a fairly formidable class warrior on the left, blasting Bush’s father in a famous 1992 speech as a clueless “aristocrat” who knew nothing of hard work and then dropping this memorable zinger on Dan Quayle: “Not all of us can be born rich, handsome, and lucky, and that’s why we have a Democratic Party.”

“Not all of us can be born rich, handsome, and lucky, and that’s why we have a Democratic Party.”

I like to believe we still have a Democratic party. We need it now more than ever.

No Learning Curve as the Most Important Feature of a Web App

Bokardo: No Learning Curve as the Most Important Feature of a Web App:

Jason Fried says that the most innovative software in the next 10 years will come from companies like his, those who build web-based applications for very small businesses.

Though much of Jason’s mantra seems to be – do it our way, I think that most of what he’s saying dovetails nicely with the notion I’ve been playing around with: tryability.

Jason says: “What they (independent freelancers) crave are low/no-learning curve, simple focused tools that let them get their work done quickly and then get out of their way.”

Note the low/no-learning curve part, I think that’s key. This is exactly the feature that people need when they can’t find an immediate answer to the question: “how is this application better than the one I’m currently using?”.

It’s not that people aren’t smart enough to figure this stuff out on their own. Given enough time, anybody can do anything, or close to it. It’s that we lack the window of attention to do all the things that we want to do. How long, do you think, would it take to evaluate all desktop email applications right now? One day, a week, a month? The point is that nobody is going to take the time to find out!

Tucker Carlson: “Where would you rather vacation, Aruba or West Philly?”

Has truth about the motivations of some media been revealed in how it is handling LaToyia Figueroa’s disappearence? Read Ol Cranky and Attytood on Carlson – you decide. For most of my readers, this won’t shock you. For others, it will leave you raging mad.

This is the transcript for Wednesday’s show, the one for Thursday isn’t up yet, but it is even more revealing as SpinDentist from the All Spin Zone goes toe to toe with them:

CARLSON: All right, but we start with the tale of two missing women tonight, the first, of course, Natalee Holloway, missing in Aruba since May 30.

Authorities today drained a pond near the Marriott Hotel on the island, so far, apparently, to no avail.

The missing woman is 24-year-old Latoyia Figueroa. She’s pregnant and the mother of one. She disappeared nine days ago in Philadelphia. The search for Latoyia intensified after a man named Richard Blair began blogging about her because of her race and her background.

And his point was the obvious one. And it is that black women from city centers, from urban areas who disappear get none of the coverage that like Natalee Holloway get, who are obviously from a different demographic. And, you know, it’s impossible to deny the truth of this.

The point, I guess, I would make is, I think we may be overstating the effect of media attention on these cases. You can think of missing women cases, Chandra Levy, Natalee Holloway, for that matter, that didn’t make all the difference. These women have not been found. They made all the difference for us in the press. We got great ratings.

CRAMER: Right.

CARLSON: But it didn’t solve the crime.

CRAMER: I think we got to focus on this ratings issue for a second, because I don’t think people—we all—we all understand this because we’re in the business. I didn’t get.

If you can get a huge number of people watching a particular story, it gives you the license to do a lot of other stories. Now, some people abuse the license by going to Aruba every single night, as far as I’m concerned. But I have to—I—I—I love programing that gets watched.

CARLSON: Yes. I do, too.

CRAMER: So, I’m not going to damn this kind of story.

CARLSON: I’m not either.

MADDOW: No. And the media makes decisions based on what is going to sell advertising. And so, what is going to…

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER: It’s commercialism.

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER: Isn’t that why we have CBS and that thing, that radio air network that you’re on?

MADDOW: That thing that I’m on? Yes, I can never remember…

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER: It’s only on Sirius Satellite. That’s the problem, right?

MADDOW: No, we’re not on Sirius.

CRAMER: Oh. Oh, OK.

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER: I was close, close.

MADDOW: If you must know, 1190 in New York, if you need to know.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: Good luck.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW: Thank you. But, listen, but, see, you can’t blame…

CRAMER: You worked that in.

MADDOW: You can’t blame the media in the sense of what they decide to cover. But you have to admit that it does—I think it does drive the police coverage and I think it does drive the resources. We wouldn’t be draining that pond in Aruba…

CARLSON: Yes. No, you’re right.

MADDOW: … if Natalee Holloway wasn’t such a big story.

CARLSON: You’re right. However…

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER: That’s breaking news. Did you say just they drained the pond in Aruba?

CARLSON: Yes.

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER: That’s breaking news.

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: You obviously—you obviously don’t watch cable, because, Jim, that was breaking news last night.

(LAUGHTER)

CRAMER: No, you can slug breaking news whenever you want and—it’s also first on MSNBC.

CARLSON: Exactly.

MADDOW: Right.

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: That’s right.

(CROSSTALK)

MADDOW: … team coverage right now.

(CROSSTALK)

(LAUGHTER)

CARLSON: I do think our viewers should know…

CRAMER: SWAT team coverage. Excuse me.

CARLSON: People who don’t—people who don’t work in the press who look at this and immediately draw the conclusion that people who work in the press are racist ought to know there’s another dynamic involved here. And it is this. Things that are unusual or perceived to be unusual are the ones that are considered news.

It’s like planes that land safely aren’t news. When someone, not just a black person or a Hispanic person, but someone who lives in a tough neighborhood, is injured in a crime, the feeling, right or not—or wrong—and it’s probably wrong—is, this is a more common occurrence than if it were to happen in a suburban area.

MADDOW: But it’s the per—again, it’s the perception. We’ve got a woman who has been missing for nine days. She’s pregnant. She’s a young mother. It has all the components of the other stories that get covered. But because of the race, because she’s from West Philly, it’s not getting covered.

CARLSON: But…

MADDOW: So, people are trying to drive…

CARLSON: But…

MADDOW: … the media…

(CROSSTALK)

CARLSON: But the truth is, we are covering it. It was on our air today. And it’s on our air…

MADDOW: Because of an enterprising blogger.

CARLSON: It’s…

CRAWFORD: Where would you rather vacation, Aruba or West Philly?

MADDOW: West Philly has…

(CROSSTALK)

CRAMER: Forty-second and Baltimore is nothing like Aruba.

(LAUGHTER)