I’m so glad I found this blog. I was so tired of these other blogs with pictures of sprinkled donuts and intoxicated kids that I thought thats what Tumblr basically is, which is kind of true. Anyways, I like to know the things going around plus I want to be a comedian and these issues posted here are sometimes potential stage materials for me. I have not been on stage but I’m still writing. Thank you though. Keep it going.
» We say: Aww, you’re too kind. The thing with Tumblr is that there’s lots of room for headier stuff, and a lot of media sites are already here. We wish you the best of luck with your comedy stuff and hope we can offer you some good ideas.
yakmascara said: The opinions on gays serving in the military are also significantly better among people who’ve served with someone gay before.
» We say: You got it, and to me that seems blatantly clear from the categories listed. I have an ex-Marine brother and this EXACTLY how I would predict the trends based on my experiences with people in the military.
I want to make it in the magazine world. Any suggestions? I am currently a junior at Cal State Northridge. I will be doing my practicum next semester.
» We say: Consider starting out in the newspaper industry, and then branching out. There are a few reasons to suggest this – first, it’s less competitive than magazines, and could be a great way to establish yourself. Second, the conventions of newspapers lend themselves to learning basic structures (which you can eventually break out of) a little better than magazines. Finally – and here’s the key one – magazine internships often don’t pay. Newspaper internships usually do. As a result, you don’t need a trust fund to get your foot in the door. Have any clips, by the way? We can offer more specific advice from there.
Why Marinette school officials didn't notice the hostage situation
one The lights were off in the classroom at the time the hostage crisis started, so it didn’t look like anyone was in there.
two A sign was posted on the door telling seventh period students to go to the library, which was common at the school.
three While administrators were suspicious, they didn’t check until a parent said something – two hours later. source
» About the shooter: Sam Hengel, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, strangely did not make any demands during the situation and even joked about music and movies. Hengel, a straight-A student who liked the outdoors, apparently didn’t show any telltale signs beforehand. His parents are staying mum in the wake of the incident.
“At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drive. Now how do we present that? It’s a difficult problem. … To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it.”—Wikileaks’ Julian Assange • Explaining how they leak material to the press, but dropping the fact that they have a bunch of stuff from Bank of America ready to leak. This was completely ignored by the press (and even we didn’t make much of it when we posted about it a few months back). But then our boy Julian talked to Forbes, people put two and two together, and all of a sudden Bank of America’s stock went down today. The difference? Assange wasn’t seen as a threat when he made this interview a year ago. Now … he’s a threat. source (via • follow)
“This action by Comcast threatens the open Internet and is a clear abuse of the dominant control that Comcast exerts in broadband access. With this action, Comcast is preventing competing content from ever being delivered to Comcast’s subscribers at all, unless Comcast’s unilaterally determined toll is paid.”—Level 3 Communications Chief Legal Officer Thomas Stortz • Expressing anger with Comcast’s added bandwidth fees on the internet middleman, which Netflix uses for its uber-popular streaming services. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Whoa. Did you hear that? Yeah, we think we did. That’s the sound of the FCC nailing Comcast for anticompetitive activity and killing their planned buyout of NBC because they aren’t playing fair. What? You didn’t hear it? We must have imagined it. We can dream, can’t we? source (via • follow)
“The teacher was nothing short of heroic. She kept a very cool head and kept the suspect as calm as possible. We really give that teacher a lot of credit.”—Marinette, Wisconsin Police Chief Jeff Skorik • Describing how the teacher involved in last night’s high school hostage situation ensured that things didn’t get worse. The 15-year-old student, who has not been named, was carrying two types of guns and a duffel bag loaded ammunition when he held a classroom hostage last night. He’s reportedly suffering from life-threatening injuries due to wounds self-inflicted as the hostages were released. It could have been far worse, kids. source (via • follow)
European Union targets its frickin' laser beam at Google's head
Is Google acting anti-competitively? Does it use its search-engine prowess to favor its own services over those of competitors? Does the company’s market share (66 percent in the U.S., 80 percent in Europe) constitute a monopoly? Do sites like Foundem, eJustice.fr and Ciao (the latter owned by Microsoft) have bad luck with Google because of crappy information-thin design that completely wastes your time and has little relevance (which we’d argue with the first two) or because there are competitive issues afoot (which seems realistic with the last one)? The European Union is asking these questions themselves as part of an antitrust trial. Seems Google’s getting too big for its britches. source
Tons of new Picasso artwork found in some guy's trunk
271previously unknown Picasso works unearthed in France source
» Picasso’s electrician just tore the art world a new one. Pierre Le Guennec used to install burglar alarms for Pablo Picasso. Last September, he approached the Picasso estate with an astonishing revelation: for the past several decades, he’d had been keeping 271 previously unreleased Picasso originals in a trunk in his house. He wanted Picasso’s relatives to authenticate the work; instead, the filed suit against him for illegal possession. Le Guennec claims they were a gift from the late artist; Picasso’s family thinks he stole them. No matter who prevails in court, art lovers are the real winners here. This is a huge find.
» We say: Our thought is that there’s more good about a globalized culture than bad, though obviously it isn’t perfect. Westernized culture has taken over the world in a lot of ways, but the results haven’t whitewashed other cultures entirely. Our favorite way of thinking about this is how things like cell phones, Facebook and Twitter have caught on with other cultures, while leaving the heart of those cultures intact. Economically, though, we have fundamental issues with the way that many corporations have used a global economy to reach their means. We grew up in the Midwest – we saw what the decline of the domestic auto industry did to Michigan. And there is a tinge of guilt every time we read about the way Chinese workers who build iPhones get treated. It’s unrealistic, though, to think that we can do things the way we did them 60 years ago while being able to buy crap from Wal-Mart at insanely cheap prices. Free markets and free trade are great and all, but there’s room for an ethical approach. (It’s our Office Hours! Ask us a question!)
050458 answered: Do you see the (what I see as) inevitable collapse of North Korea as an outside event, such as war with the US and the South, or an implosion
» We say: It’s inevitable, yes (and something the U.S. suggests in their own diplomatic cables), but they’re such loose cannons that we can’t see them collapsing under the weight of their own hubris. The scary thing is that they have nuclear capabilities and do things to provoke other countries seemingly randomly. Eventually, something’s going to happen even bigger than last week’s shelling. And nobody wants that. Whenever Kim Jong-il loses power through death or incapacitation, it’s likely the country will weaken (especially since Kim Jong-un is a terrible choice for heir apparent). But it won’t collapse that easily – there’s too much bad blood with the South for them to surrender on their own. (It’s our Office Hours! Ask us a question!)
“It could take down a bank or two.”—Wikileaks founder Julian Assange • Discussing an upcoming “megaleak” to be released early next year. Assange is being characteristically tight-lipped about this, but he says it will expose both “the ecosystem of corruption” and “the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices.” The only precedent, he says, is the Enron emails. source (via • follow)
Marinette, Wisconsin hostage situation ends; coverage still sucks
good The high school hostage crisis is over in Marinette, Wisconsin and only the gunman was hurt. The situation lasted about five hours.
bad The coverage was still very scarce for hours, though Green Bay finally has some photos. Can anyone explain why this happened? source
» There’s a lesson here: In the past few years, newspaper companies have cut their resources very thin, especially at companies like Gannett, which owns the nearby Green Bay Press-Gazette. It’s sad to think that when something genuinely bad happens in small-town America, there are no details because we’ve cut our resources that much. We’re sad for the town that trusts the local news; we’re also glad that things weren’t worse.
» We say: *pulls away curtain* Hi, Ernie Smith here. There’s kind of a long story about how ShortFormBlog came into being.
» Who I am: Basically, I’m a journalist and newspaper designer and I’ve worked a lot of places in my career. Back in 2008, I had this wonderful job at a newspaper called Link, owned by The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va. Link was focused on younger readers and had a short-form editorial style which emphasized info-packed morsels like numbers and blurbs over long prose (some samples of my work, including some from Link are here).
» SFB’s origin story: One day, at the peak of the financial crisis, we were informed that there would be mass layoffs throughout the company, and (gulp) Link would be killed. I lost my job a month later. While waiting on a pending job offer (which eventually became a design gig at the Washington Post Express), I had a few weeks to kill around the holidays. I thought about how awful it was that we were losing such a great concept of editing – one highly regarded by the journalism community at large – and I wanted to keep it alive somehow. Problem: No budget. So, I spent a few weeks learning PHP from scratch and built ShortFormBlog as a way to translate these ideas of presenting news to the Web. It was my attempt to keep a really cool idea (and some really good memories) alive.
» What happened next: The first few months it was around, I got a lot ofpositivepress. Then I got a bunch of readers on my Wordpress site, linked a couple of times by Andrew Sullivan and Slate (Sullivan has crashed my site twice), I got a side gig with AOL News (including some entertaining hate mail for this piece) and eventually another writer in the form of Seth Millstein. But I’ve spent nearly two years putting everything I have into this crazy idea, and eventually I brought it to Tumblr. Smartest move I’ve made with the blog in two years. You guys rock.
» More details: My friend Charles Apple wrote a long piece about it when it launched. If you like journalism, he runs a killer blog for ACES. If you have any other questions, I’ll be here a while. (It’s our Office Hours! Ask us a question!)
“She’s become the issue. She’ll never be an effective negotiator with diplomats who refuse to forgive her exuberances, and even foreign diplomats who do forgive her will still regard her as the symbol of an overreaching United States. Diplomacy is about face, and the only way for other nations to save face will be to give them Clinton’s scalp.”—Slate’s Jack Shafer • Arguing that the Wikileaks report on the diplomatic cables may be enough to do her in as Secretary of State. Why? Because, according to Wikileaks documents, she ordered her diplomats to spy on the people they were talking to. Even if she did nothing illegal, it’s going to be tough for other countries to trust someone they think is spying on them. If it does kill her career as Secretary of State, though, we don’t think it kills her political career. She’s too good to go away that quickly. source (via • follow)
What happens if there's a school hostage situation, but no media?
Well, that’s what appears to be happening in Marinette, Wisconsin. Granted, the town of around 11,000 isn’t big or anything, but it’s within shouting distance of Green Bay, and police have been on the scene for somewhere around three hours, yet this isall the coveragewe appear to have. Small-town Wisconsin is small-town Wisconsin, but it’s weird that a hostage situation has been going on for somewhere in the neighborhood of three hours, yet all we seemingly have is the lead paragraph. (In the case of the Green Bay Press-Gazette, a reporter is driving out there now.) Have we gotten that lax about paying small-town reporters or having comprehensive coverage? source
We had some good questions and answers during last week’s Office Hours. So we’re doing it again. Tonight, from roughly 9-12, we’ll be taking your questions on news and politics. This week, the topic du jour is Wikileaks. There’s also a lame-duck session of Congress, so something might come out of that. Let us know what you got – either reply here or ask us a question. We’ll take them either way.
A federal pay freeze might halt out-of-whack wage increases
3%the yearly increase in pay rates above inflation for public-sector workers
0.8%the increase of the same measure for private-sector workers source
» Also worth noting:As of 2010, 82,000 federal workers make over $150,000 – a huge leap from even five years earlier. And had Obama not ordered the pay freeze, federal pay would’ve gone up by 1.4 percent across the board. Federal workers are getting paid out of whack with the private sector as-is. To stop this now, as he’s getting hit on all sides, seems like a very smart move on Obama’s part, though we’ll see as the story develops.
This is gonna hurt federal workers en masse. Obama will offer details in a press conference in a little while, but expect DC residents to feel the hurt, as 600,000 federal workers reside in this little out-of-the-way villa. Hey, Obama, could we make a suggestion for you, as outside observers? Cut the pay of the highest-paid federal workers – the bureaucrats with random non-public-facing jobs, but raise it for TSA staffers, because they’re not getting paid enough to take their arguably more important job seriously. source
“Is it a natural part of diplomatic activity to have diplomats collecting biometric data? … [It’s] a contravention of how diplomats are supposed to conduct business.”—Wikileaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson • Expressing the organization’s level of surprise at the extent of the espionage they found. The State Department claimed that its diplomats were in fact not spying. ”Contrary to some Wikileaks’ reporting,” wrote State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley, “our diplomats are diplomats. They are not intelligence assets.” source (via • follow)