Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

NC budget is a fiscally responsible Goldilocks document | News & Observer

Thursday, September 24th, 2015

N&O contributor J. Peder Zane sometimes gets it right (see Confederate monument) but the rest of the time he lives in a libertarian paradise that, frankly, doesn’t exist.

Read how he pooh poohs the Renewable Energy Investment Tax Credit, calling its repeal a “free market prod.” Well, it’s news to me that Duke Energy’s state-chartered monopoly on electricity is a “free market.” I was never the best student but I do seem to recall learning in school how a monopoly is pretty much the opposite of a free market.

I can’t wait to get this electricity free market that Zane promises. I’m sure that killing off competition is the best way to get it, right J. Peder?

Allowing the renewable energy investment tax credit to expire may be the best thing to happen to the green sector. Replacing the crutch of state support with the free market’s prod is our best hope of developing cheap, efficient renewables. It also addresses the fact that these well-intentioned subsidies have become a form of crony capitalism, sopped up by big corporations.

Source: NC budget is a fiscally responsible Goldilocks document | News & Observer

News and Observer and I part ways

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Over the summer the bank canceled the credit card used by thieves on their New Jersey shopping spree. This was the same card used to pay for our News and Observer subscription, and on 12 July our subscription officially expired. The N&O continued to deliver papers and supplemented that with several letters in the mail asking us to call them. After repeatedly leaving messages for Miriam Widger, the newspaper’s “Audience Retention and Collection Agent,” she finally called me back.

Miriam told me we could continue to subscribe for the incredibly low price of $351 for 52 weeks.

“Gosh,” I responded, “I see on your website that we can get a new subscription for only $109.20 for 52 weeks. Why would you charge your long-time customers three times as much as a new subscriber?”

Amazon backs NC’s 1st large-scale wind farm | News & Observer News & Observer

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015

Remember last year when I wondered why Amazon would suddenly start collecting state sales taxes even though it had no presence in the state? The N&O’s John Murawski reported yesterday that Amazon is investing in a giant wind farm in eastern North Carolina. Boom, there’s your “unspecified investment.”

With the estimated $20-$30 million Amazon is now collecting in sales taxes, Amazon’s wind farm is not only powering 60,000 homes, it’s also powering teacher salaries.

The world’s largest developer of wind-energy farms has teamed up with online retail giant Amazon to build a major wind farm in coastal North Carolina.Amazon, which is building a network of wind farms and also testing Tesla storage batteries, announced the project Monday. The Amazon Wind Farm US East, to be built in Perquimans and Pasquotank counties, will power the online retailer’s cloud-computing division, Amazon Web Services, as part of a corporate goal of achieving energy sustainability.

The sprawling 34-square-mile wind farm will start with 104 turbine spires rising from the state’s eastern flatlands. The $400 million energy project will be built by Spanish wind farm developer Iberdrola Renewables and will start generating electricity for Amazon’s data centers in late 2016.

Source: Amazon backs NC’s 1st large-scale wind farm | News & Observer News & Observer

Daily Mail invents critics of Facebook’s “Celebrate Pride” feature

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

A friend shared a story on a website called the “Conservative Post” called “Everyone Who Changed Their Facebook Photos To Rainbow Just Got DUPED.” I’m always curious of what gets my righty friends all worked up so I read it.

Conservative Post got duped

Conservative Post got duped

Over a million people changed their facebook profile pictures to a rainbow filter in support of gay marriage.

New reports reveal that the “Celebrate Pride” tool may not have been the best idea…

According to Daily Mail, this tool was actually Facebook’s way of performing psychological testing on their users.

Cesar Hidalgo wrote on Facebook yesterday. “The question is, how long will it take for people to change their profile pictures back to normal.”

Experts say that by setting up the tool, Facebook was able to get an unprecedented insight on how to influence their users.


Seymour M. Hersh · The Killing of Osama bin Laden · LRB 21 May 2015

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015

On Sunday, Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published an account of the bin Laden SEAL raid that differs markedly from the official account. Hersh insists that Pakistan knew of the raid and that the Obama administration’s is a “lie.” Hersh’s reporting is now being called into question as he relies heavily on a single anonymous source.

I’ve been a fan of Hersh’s work, but these are extraordinary claims which demand convincing evidence. Unless Hersh can provide stronger sources I will have to wonder whether his account is trustworthy.

It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account.

Source: Seymour M. Hersh · The Killing of Osama bin Laden · LRB 21 May 2015

Folks don’t appreciate this

Friday, May 8th, 2015

I mostly agreed with this McLean’s story about America Dumbing Down, until the author quoted Susan Jacoby’s nitpicking the word “folks.”

By 2008, journalist Susan Jacoby was warning that the denseness—“a virulent mixture of anti-rationalism and low expectations”—was more of a permanent state. In her book, The Age of American Unreason, she posited that it trickled down from the top, fuelled by faux-populist politicians striving to make themselves sound approachable rather than smart. Their creeping tendency to refer to everyone—voters, experts, government officials—as “folks” is “symptomatic of a debasement of public speech inseparable from a more general erosion of American cultural standards,” she wrote. “Casual, colloquial language also conveys an implicit denial of the seriousness of whatever issue is being debated: talking about folks going off to war is the equivalent of describing rape victims as girls.”

Whoa. Talking about “folks” is like denigrating rape victims? Hyperbole much?

Obama can be “the most cerebral and eloquent American leader in a generation” and still say “folks” in a speech. Bill Clinton is brilliant and also … well, a “hayseed.” Can he not say “folks?”

There’s nothing wrong with the word “folks.” Unless you’re an elitist, that is.

via America dumbs down: a rising tide of anti-intellectual thinking.

Charles Lane has taken vet fire before

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Today’s opinion piece is not the first time Charles Lane has come under fire from veterans. Veteran blogger Jonn Lilyea took Lane apart after Lane took aim last year at TriCare, the veteran health care system:

So, this fairly disingenuous fellow, Charles Lane, writes in the Washington Post opinion section about how we veterans don’t deserve Tricare as it currently exists. Apparently, we shouldn’t expect the government to honor it’s promises after we’ve fulfilled our commitment;


Privatizing veteran’s care? I don’t think so

Sunday, April 26th, 2015

Journalist Charles Lane

Journalist Charles Lane

Washington Post opinion writer Charles Lane suggested today that “market signals” can do a better job than the Veteran’s Administration in taking care of our nation’s veterans.

Without market signals to help allocate resources, long waits and other patient frustrations are inevitable, no matter how sincerely, or how threateningly, Washington orders their elimination.

Ah yes, market signals. That must be why every hospital in America is clamoring to staff its cardiology department, since heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Cancer is #2, so cancer centers are springing up everywhere, too. There’s a huge market for these services but do they do anything to actually advance medical science? The vast majority of them do not. They are, however, unbelievably profitable for the hospitals that have them.

“Market signals” would say every hospital needs heart and cancer centers, but what about the other diseases that are just as deadly if not as popular? ALS was off the public’s radar until last year’s “Ice Bucket Challenge.” The fad brought in more research money for ALS than ever but will the interest remain? Should we not pursue research and treatment because the “market signals” say it’s not as profitable as cancer? Do you tell your loved one with ALS, “sorry, dear. Our death panels, … er, I mean “Wall Street analysts” … say you should’ve gotten cancer instead.”

Google View

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

Sitting in the dentist’s chair, enduring the agony of another teeth cleaning yesterday, I thought of the perfect use for the Google Fiber system coming to Raleigh.

I was being forced to watch Time Warner Cable’s News14 channel in front of me and thinking about how TWC’s local news model works. It didn’t take many minutes of watching the video (thankfully without audio, as the suction hose was often going) to realize how boilerplate it is. The TWC guys have an establishing shot, then zoom in on something dumb like police lights reflecting off the stolen car, then move on to another thing. It was obvious that the video doesn’t really tell the story – in fact, it is repetitive and dull. I could choose not to look up between rinses and feel like I didn’t really miss anything.

LTE on Skip Stam

Friday, March 13th, 2015

I sent this to the N&O regarding Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam’s apparent reversal of support for redistricting reform.

It is disappointing to see Rep. Paul “Skip” Stam, once a champion of redistricting reform, backing a bill that quite plainly gerrymanders the Wake County Commission. We the voters lose again.

My original version called Stam “long a champion,” but it appears his days of championing redistricting reform are over. I hope one version or another makes it to print.