Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blog Conversations



I feel bad not having responded to recent blog comments.

Dave Winer and Jay Rosen have a Podcast called Rebooting the News. On a recent episode Winer made the observation that blogs aren't conversations, rather blogs are publishing. He's got a point, but comments still mean a lot to me.

First of all regarding computer talk, I'm about the last person who ought to be writing about it as I know so little.

A friend who commented uses a Mac. As he's an artist and illustrator that choice makes so much sense for him. Not that he mentioned it, but there is a subtext perhaps to his comment regarding free and open source software. Linux is not pirate software and in fact there are various business models for making money related to the operating system.

I don't know enough about Linux to be a fanboy. I love OSX from what little I've played around on it; heck I love XP. There seems to me much that's interesting about the Linux operating system, but I'm looking at what I've written below and it doesn't seem interesting, so I'll delete it. What I really want to say to my friend Pingting is I love that you create wonderful art using a Mac.

Daisy wrote:
"This is a very, very serious political moment right now. Fascism is the bull at the gate..."
The 27th Comrade in Uganda sees the seriousness of the present here in the USA too. How to respond to Daisy in particular gives me a mental block. Fascism is the word I think but out of habit do not say.

I don't know how to respond.

Today's top story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette made me so agitated and angry I could barely sit still. Local radio station WDUQ offers additional reporting on the story. The gist of the story is that the Director of State Homeland Security Col. James F. Powers--no relation--contracted with an Israeli company ITRR to
"inform state police and homeland security about 'credible threats to critical infrastructure' around the state, meaning potential attempts by terrorist to destroy roads, bridges, buildings, power facilities or other important facilities."
What the company actually did was to disseminate "wrongful and improper reports" about "environmental groups, tax protesters, people at gay and lesbian rallies and even supporters of more funding for education."

We all know how dangerous people at gay and lesbian rallies are and those dastardly people concerned about education can be--rolls eyes. The part that's made me so angry has to do with the politics of the exploitation of Marcellus Shale Gas which is a huge political issue right now. ITRR was providing "wrongful and improper" reports to Gas companies. Our lame-duck Governor says he's embarrassed but will not discipline Col. Powers over the matter.

Jan Jarrett, President & CEO of PennFuture a civil society group which advocates on behalf of the environment said that she is satisfied with Governor Rendell's apology over the matter.

Her satisfaction sticks in my craw. The recently appointed State Department of Environmental Protection head is John Hanger and he was former head of PennFuture. The organization is lobbying in favor of passage of a severance tax on deep natural gas drilling by October 1st. I'm supportive of this effort. I'm less sure of my support for various options floating around the Legislature for what to do with the money, mostly because reporting on it has been weak.

National elections are coming in November and the Tea Party is well represented by candidates for the highest offices--yes Daisy I know it's not just a Southern thing! So I see the bind that Jarret is in: Governor Rendell is more or less aligned with PennFuture's position, and the organization has the ear of his administration. But on the other hand that the Governor has offered an apology to Jarrett means that "wrong and improper" reports have been disseminated concerning the thousands of PennFuture supporters to gas companies, who oppose this legislation. The Governor is clear that he intends to take no action to redress this horrendous violation of state power. Jan Jarrett may be satisfied with an empty apology, I am not.

The trouble with me is I'm not so good with conversations, I rant. I've been ranting about Newsweek Magazine to my father for years now. He finally let his subscription lapse, just at the time the magazine was sold. Newsweek International editor, Fareed Zakaria wrote an important piece for September 11th, which I didn't get to see in print, What America Has Lost: It is clear we overreacted to 9/11. This business in Pennsylvania is just a tiny piece of a overwhelming juggernaut. Here's another piece, The Surge in Defense Spending: What Did The Pentagon Do With That Extra Trillion Dollars?. Even as bad as the US media is, and it's plenty bad, there's no shortage of evidence that we're seriously lost as a nation.

My dad watches TV so in the background I hear political ads and they fill me with rage. But I know that my rage does more harm than good; people just think I'm nuts. I hear you Daisy, but not so clear as to what I ought to do with the bull at the gate.

I stepped outside for a moment and heard a coyote howl. I've been hearing coyotes for a couple of years around here, but hadn't seen one until this Sunday. The coyote was walking along the road along the field in front of the house. A friend told me they're in the corn fields because turkeys are feeding there, "Every day is Thanksgiving for the coyote." Once the corn is cut my friend assures me the coyotes will hide once again. I'm fond of coyotes because of the beautiful oeuvre of Native American coyote stories. The trouble is coyotes are known to kill cats.

The picture is of our cat Sam who is no longer alive. Pingting gave me a photo scanner and I tested it out with that photo of Sam. He was a cat of great distinction. One of the current resident cats here is Barney a black "tux" cat. When I'm outside Barney will call to me and make his way over for a pat. When Sam was around and our paths would cross he would glare at me as if to say, "Don't bug me when I'm working." Here's a Youtube of Little Village performing a song with just that title.

2 comments:

The 27th Comrade said...

Ah, so that is Sam. He looks a lot like my own cat called Peking (as this latter one grows).

I chuckled at the need to no-relation that Powers guy. :o)

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