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published by Tom Gallagher
TLeeves@yahoo.com

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Saturday, June 29, 2002
Takes all kinds

I'm glad
this man exists. If he didn't, someone would have to invent him in order to make this country what it is.

posted at 7:26 PM
Wash.DC pet peeve

There are many good reasons to live in Washington, DC. There are monuments and historic places galore. It is a city of Southern efficiency and Northern charm. (Did I say that right? Yes. In fact, I stole it from John F. Kennedy.)


My pet peeve is in the efficiency and charm department. The subway system, known as Metro, is clean and well laid out. When it works as planned, it is very convenient. But when it doesn't work, it is a major pain in the hind parts.


The public address system drones this morbid refrain all too often: "We regret any inconvenience and appreciate your patience."


The other day I was coming out of the Dupont Circle Metro station. This particular station has some of the longest escalators in the world. I hear that there is one in Moscow that is longer. All but one of them was out of order. The one that was working was moving down. People were huffing and puffing to climb the two stationary escalators. Some of those people were elderly.


It really looked dangerous to their health. So I went to the station manager's kiosk and asked why the one operable escalator was going the wrong way. I pointed out that people were huffing and puffing. Mr. M. Rich (according to his name tag) laughed.


I asked him if he was aware that Metro actually has a policy that when only one escalator is moving, it should move upward. Metro does have such a policy, instituted a couple of years ago after a man in his thirties died of a heart attack while climbing a stalled escalator on a hot day.


The manager said he was aware of the policy but was afraid if he tried to redirect the escalator it might stop working altogether.


I thought his excuse was ridiculous and told him so at the top of my voice. At that point, he turned off the intercom and sat behind his bulletproof glass.


I was infuriated.


Now, it turns out that the station manager's concern was more realistic than I gave him credit for. The Dupont Circle escalators are particularly fragile. According to yesterday's Wash. Post
they are the third worst in the city. They had 47 breakdowns between March and May this year.


So, come to Washington this year. See the monuments. Visit the Capitol. Tour the White House. Go to the Supreme Court. It really is wonderful.


But be sure to drive. Oh, wait a minute. There's no place to park in the whole town. Take Amtrak. No, never mind, they might be out of business. OK, come by plane. You can land at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, the only airport named for two presidents; from there you can take a taxi without a meter and you can trust the driver to tell you the correct fare.


P.S. I work at a magazine called "Traffic World."


posted at 6:47 PM
War Profiteering?

At a time like this, can you think of a more despicable thing to do? Everyone else is pulling together to marshal all our resources to fight a terrible enemy. Are these characters using our loyalty to con us out of our resources?

Somebody needs to fact check this report from Mother Jones. One of my magazine's Associate Editors will have a report soon. Sure, Mother Jones is a left wing outfit, always ready to muckrake and find fault with those who work for the Department of Defense. But what if it's true? Could we find a harsh enough punishment for such s.o.b.s?



posted at 2:18 PM
Friday, June 28, 2002
Inside the Blogosphere

The Blogosphere Press Conference was held today at the National Press Club in Washington, DC to discuss the state of the art. The event was sponsored by
www.the-idler.com.


Panelists included bloggers from
opinionjournal.com/best
artsjournal
microcontentnews and
mobylives.


Instapundit couldn't be there, as he explains, because of airplane trouble.


The views expressed were surprisingly unpolitical, considering the amount of such content on the web. The panelists treated blogging as a species of journalism.


"Blogs need editing," said opinionjournal.com/best. "My assistant reads everything I write before it goes online." Others addressed the problem by saying reader feedback and the conversational nature of web communication provide any necessary editing. microcontentnews said that his readers copy edit everything he does, right down to the commas.


The 'search for truth' is an oft-cited purpose of blogging. "Frankly, a lot of blogging is b*** sh**," said artsjournal. A questioner in the audience asked what bloggers could do to help protect readers from deliberate falsehood. She pointed out that children and unsophisticated readers often can not cope with the vast freedom provided by the web. Panelists had no direct answer but to say their freedom was an antidote to misinformation. Several pointed out that children are more sophisticated in detecting trustworthiness and its lack than ever before. Another member of the audience pointed out that the cure for freedom of speech is more of it.


One questioner predicted that "legacy media" such as newspapers would one day become obsolete and go out of business. He wanted the opinion of the panelists on his prediction as well as their ideas about how blogging would pay for itself.


The consensus seemed to be that old line media would not pass away, but that blogging would influence the way that they evolve. Radio, for example, has evolved since the advent of TV, but it has survived. Panelists predicted that newspapers will become more sensitive to reader response. Blogging is in many ways dependent on the hard reporting and raw digging up of fact that newspapers do. Blogs are more opinion oriented than reporting oriented. So they will not supplant the older media.


What's the economic model? Opinionjournal.com/best gets paid a salary and benefits to produce what is essentially a newspaper blog. The corporation hopes that by attracting readers the blog will encourage increased subscription rates and expose readers to advertising and other revenue generating means on the main web site. Mobylives countered that some of the trust bloggers earn is by virtue of the very fact that they are not making any money on what they do. He has refused advertising on his blog in order to maintain his independence in a field (book publishing) that is rife with corporate sponsored reviewing that cannot avoid bias.


UPDATE: For another report see Corante/bottomline


posted at 3:22 PM
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Unconstitutional?!!?

I Pledge Allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.


The Pledge still sends chills up and down my spine. It has an interesting history.


I can say it anytime I like. What's unconstitutional is to get the government to make somebody else listen while I do. I keep writing away on my blog. If I can't attract you to it without government coercion, oh well.


It seems to me that the court has focused on just the right reasoning. As quoted in the Wash.Post, et al:

"A profession that we are a nation 'under God' is identical . . . to a profession that we are a nation 'under Jesus,' a nation 'under Vishnu,' a nation 'under Zeus,' or a nation 'under no god,' because none of these professions can be neutral with respect to religion," Judge Alfred T. Goodwin, an appointee of President Richard M. Nixon currently serving as a semi-retired senior judge, wrote for the three-judge panel. Goodwin was joined by Stephen Reinhardt, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter.


I don't want to make all those other professions. And I certainly don't want my daughter to be taught in her public school that one or another of those is the way she must believe in order to be a good American.

I want all Americans to feel loyalty, not just the ones who believe in the God I believe in.



The NY Times disagrees about the value of the decision.




posted at 11:49 AM
Wednesday, June 26, 2002
Dream On!


Michael Kelly is talking pie in the sky this morning. If half of what he predicts comes true, GW Bush ought to get the Nobel Peace Prize that once went to that other benefactor to humankind Yasser Arafat.

A little shot of reality from the chief obstacle himself is less sanguine.

Don't count your chickens, Michael, or your peace doves, until they're hatched.
posted at 11:17 AM
Tuesday, June 25, 2002
Hope springs eternal

A closer reading of the Post report
Both Sides Feel Vindicated By Bush's Peace Proposal shows that both sides are not equally delighted.

A Palestinian negotiator says it is not a plan because it contains no timelines or specifics. The official Israeli response claims self-righteously that the proposal echoes their own position. Putting this thing together is still going to be a very difficult task.


posted at 10:03 AM
United Airlines asks $2B in federal loan backing

Last week, [United] secured wage cuts of nearly $1 billion over three years from pilots and salaried and management workers.
— JOC

Amtrak asks $0.2B in federal loan backing

"Amtrak must continue to search for ways to cut expenses and to build on David Gunn's initial efforts to get control of its finances," Mineta said. — Wash. Post

posted at 9:41 AM
Monday, June 24, 2002
Left? Right? I'm so confused.

But that's the way I like it.

Predictable left-wing excuses for Palestinian terrorists and condemnation of Israeli defenses grate on my nerves. We leftists used to be the party of the people. We're supposed to be the ones whose respect for life supersedes respect for property. The insanity of killing people because they live next to you is not really a left/right problem. Our old friends at
Pravda have come down on the "right" side this time.
posted at 12:50 PM
Racism right here in River City

A
front page article and an op-ed piece in today's Washington Post make me worry about the suburban community where I grew up.

My high school in Montgomery County Maryland had exactly no blacks. We were all white. Then the '60s happened. Things changed. At least we thought they did. Now it seems that redneck racism and white collar racism are both alive and well in the schools.

Some kids have acted out violently on their parents' racist attitudes, and their parents seem to think it is no big deal.

That this has happened is not as surprising, nor as hard to combat, as the insidious, cleverly justified bigotry of the school officials themselves.
posted at 12:32 PM
How does your website look?

Are you in business to sell something or just to be another pretty face? Both purposes are legitimate, of course.
CIO's interview with two design gurus makes clear that some design factors are basic while others are very open to creative input. The gurus don't agree, though, on which are which.
posted at 12:22 PM
Sunday, June 23, 2002
Spam killers

Does your company's IT dept. know about
these methods for blocking spam?

Spamming has increased 400% at my company over the last 6 months. It wastes time and causes honest messages to be overlooked. One of these companies should be able to help.



posted at 8:12 PM



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Tom Gallagher is
the web editor at
TrafficWorld.com. He has been Webweaver for Bet Mishpachah Synagogue and headed web related operations at ELS Language Centers in Washington, DC.

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