July 26th, 2004

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Anchors Speak

Go here.

Find and watch: News Anchors Discuss ''The Press & the Election''

This is extremely interesting. All the major news editors from all the major networks (Brokaw (NBC), Rather (CBS), Jennings (ABC), Lehrer (PBS), Woodruff (CNN)) in a mediated discussion at the JFK School for Government about the roll of the media in the elections. It never occured to me that a conversation like this could ever happen. Watching this and critically thinking about this is an incredible opportunity for anyone who is interested in media's relationship to politics.

It's very interesting to see these folks debate with each other, to see their different perspectives on running a news organization, on the pressures they feel from the public and from their corporate structures, on their feelings about each other's news organizations, on their feelings about this year's reduced coverage of the conventions, on their collective disappointment with the resources that are given to them by their owner corporations.

On a number of questions they're very clearly giving signals that they can't quite speak freely for fear of upsetting their bosses ("I'm not stupid enough to sit up here and say it's a Disney issue." - Jennings). But they are letting out some pretty surprising and interesting tidbits.

Jennings comes off as surprisingly cool. Just after Brokaw and others get done explaining that outside pressure absolutely does not affect the objectivity of their stories, Jennings says:

"I'm not sure how far out on this limb I want to go, being as I'm not retiring as soon as Tom but I think there are a lot of people in this room who believe what we're saying. And I'm not 100% sure we believe it ourselves. I mean no ... you're talking to men and women who are friends and close collegues. I think there is this anxiety that you're talking about and I think it comes in part from the corporate suite. I think that the rise not merely of the presence of conservative opinion but the related noise being made in the media by conservative voices these days, I think has had an effect in the corporate suites. And I think it worries people. And I may be dead wrong about you [Brokaw], but I hear more about conservative concern than I did in the past."

"This wave of resentment rushes at our advertisers, rushes at the corporate suites, and gets under the newsroom's skin, if not completely into the decision making process, to a greater degree than it was before."


Jennings seems pretty cool. As soon as he said this every single other person was rushing to disclaim his comments, to say that they have absolute freedom from pressure from their corporate structure, that they love their bosses, etc.

The audience asks a lot of really important questions. This is why C-SPAN is so fucking cool. All the questions that I would want to ask these anchors if I got to interview them are actually getting asked. Some of their answers are side-stepping but they are surprisingly frank and insightful with their answers. These are some smart folks.

Anyway, the whole piece is pretty interesting. I encourage folks to pull up the stream and check it out. Sadly there seems to not be a transcript.
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Dream Roundup

I've had a huge number of very interesting dreams lately but I've been lax in writing them down so now I'll attempt to dredge up the few little tidbits of otherwise lengthy and complex dreams that I've had in the past few days:


I'm in Seattle and I'm hanging out with xymboulos at some outdoor cafe/bar type place. In this dream he is really a wildly different person only being played by my friend because he is at a place in life where he has had a long streak of striking out in the dating department (in real life he is happily married) and he just rashly and randomly decides to seize the day and hit on the waitress who is serving us.

He invites her to go to another bar later that night. Amazingly she accepts. Somehow she doesn't realize it is a date and he doesn't want to admit that it is a date so he ends up inviting me along and she ends up inviting her boyfriend along and much awkwardness ensues when xymboulos for some reason doesn't get it and hits on her anyway (with the classic yawn, arm stretch, reach around, hug thing that people only do in the movies).

I have no idea how it resolved but the weirdest thing about this dream was that it was all in a very realistic setting and the dream was dominated by dialog. I remarked to cassiopia that my dreams are usually much more surreal and much more focused on setting and mood. I said my dreams are usually more Star Wars and less American Graffitti, more Dogma and less Clerks, more Kubrick and less Hartley. This dream did not fit that stereotype.

I wish I could remember all the brilliant witty ironic dialog. (My dialog dreams are usually structured like a movie, all my dreams are structured like movies....there was plenty of ironic foreshadowing about what was going to happen later in the dream....or at least it _seemed_ clever to the dreaming mind....it was of course probably just the cleverness detector neurons short circuiting while the actual dialog was gibberish).


I'm at a garage sale and there is a bolt cutter for sale (in real life I was just at a pawn shop where a bolt cutter was for sale). I joke to my dad (again, random dream character played by my dad) that it would be ironic if someone were to buy the bolt cutter and use it to steal something of greater value from the seller. My dad thinks this is such a funny idea that, as a joke, he will do just that. He buys the bolt cutter and while the seller isn't looking he cuts down the support braces on an air conditioning unit that is hanging over our heads. Suddenly we all have to rush in to support the air conditioner unit that is now about to fall on us.

As we wrestle it to the ground one of those dream reality shifts happens and it turns out to be a tiny little micro-car. A car the size of an air conditioner. The owner of this little car traded it in for a newer model of tiny little car that was slightly bigger because she couldn't fit in this one.

As if it is a dare, I decide that _I_ can fit in this one. I scoot into the car against the wishes of the owner (possibly colluding with the whole previous "theft" theme of the dream, I might be trying to make a get away to cover for my dad) but as I climb into this impossibly small space the mere momentum of my shimmying into the car puts it into motion. And I'm in no position to work the breaks so I'm rolling along out of control and I end up hitting and denting the new tiny car that is parked nearby (thus turning this small innocent joke robbery with a bolt cutter into a major expensive liability as I'll have to pay for) and I keep rolling.

The dream becomes a variation on my ongoing series of always different out of control car dreams. I'm holding the breaks down and the car is just skidding but it doesn't slow down. So then I pump the breaks. Then I take evasive action. Then I end up going down a hill. I am forced to go through intersections with red lights and face the danger that is now out of my control. I wake up before I can resolve the problem. But I wake up with the last minute thought "oh duh...if I'd turned the car around and pointed uphill (gravity removes kinetic energy) I could have used gravity to stop me and then ditched it in the grass (friction removes potential energy!) once I slowed down to keep me from rolling backwards". If only I could go to sleep and enact that brilliant plan.


Huh. I guess I've actually completely forgotten the other 3 or 4 good dreams. Damn.
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This weekend.

Ok This is the last weekend that I have to hang out in Chicago for the next month and a half. I haven't hung with Chicago folks in a while so I intend to make the most of it.

My sister is going to bring me up to Chicago on Wednesday.

sarpo is going to be in town on Wednesday and desires to just hang out at a dive bar or some such thing.

duck2ducks will be appearing in Boomstick on Friday and Saturday and I really want to see that.

boannan will be done with the bar as of Wednesday night.

cassiopia and I are going go to to Bristol Renaissance Faire on Sunday. We want company.

Even though I have no plans yet and few of these people know I'm planning on coming up, this long-weekend is going to rock.

I must warn, however, that I MUST get some work done on Thursday and Friday. So I'll be plopping myself down in front of someone's broadband with my laptop and my WAP for several hours during the day on those days. It won't be ALL party.
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So uh...I've been horribly remiss in coordinating travel to UP Michigan which is only a week and a half away. Who is still planning on joining us? cassiopia and I are driving up on Wednesday night (Aug 4). We'll stop in Madison or Wassau or something. We'll get to Ontonagon Thursday afternoon or evening.

My parents have reserved one of the cabins for me and my friends (and maybe some of my sister's friends. So far me and cassiopia and the_sween and Eva are all confirmed. We probably have room for 3-4 more people in the cabin and then people will have to start pitching tents or getting rooms across the street (there's plenty of places to get rooms we just don't have them reserved yet).

Please let me know if you still want to come up there.