When fear subsides

The Bush campaign has been making a lot of the use of one word in a New York Times Magazine article on Oct. 10th: “nuisance” in relation to the way we live with terrorism.

Here’s the passage:

When I asked Kerry what it would take for Americans to feel safe again, he displayed a much less apocalyptic worldview. ”We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives, but they’re a nuisance,” Kerry said. ”As a former law-enforcement person, I know we’re never going to end prostitution. We’re never going to end illegal gambling. But we’re going to reduce it, organized crime, to a level where it isn’t on the rise. It isn’t threatening people’s lives every day, and fundamentally, it’s something that you continue to fight, but it’s not threatening the fabric of your life.”

Well, that’s just common sense, the kind of approach that has predominated in Israel, where life goes on despite the potential for terror attacks. Instead of creating an environment of elevated fear, which is precisely what the terrorists like to see since it doesn’t even require they conduct an attack in order to disrupt life in the United States, as the Bush administration has helped them to do, Kerry wants to help people overcome fear and get back to living. It’s a key to getting the economy going—again, the experience of Israel, a thriving economy in the midst of a poor region and a terrorist threat, is an excellent example.

In fact, experience here in the Pacific Northwest, where the Washington State Ferry System has reportedly become the target of terrorist plans, shows how Kerry’s approach can take hold and be effective if the government doesn’t magnify the threat. Fortunately, we in the Northwest are both calm and caffeinated enough that we notice suspicious behavior and report it. That’s just common sense, too.

Nineteen separate instances of “suspicious activity” thought to be related to terrorist activity have been reported by law enforcement, ferry workers and passengers since Sept. 11, 2001. We may be paranoid, but at least one of the people involved is the focus of an FBI terrorism investigation, but the point is that people going about their business and leisure make as good or better a defense against terrorism than the fear-mongering approach advocated by the Bush administration, which prefers a military approach and a society on the brink of martial law.

In fact, terrorism seems to be part of a redefined American mindset, according to the Bushies. As Dave Pell at electablog reports, President Bush today said that “our goal is not to reduce terror” and Vice President Cheney told an audience that “reducing terrorism” is “all part of a pre-9-11 mindset.”

We need to preserve American freedom, which requires we live free, reducing by force of will and the force of intelligent citizens the culture of fear that has been nursed by President Bush and his people. Senator Kerry sees that clearly, President Bush resists a decline in fear because it will allow people to challenge his absolutist simplifications.

So, this week during the last debate, when President Bush uses 9/11 as an excuse for the poor returns for all Americans from his massive tax cuts for the richest one percent, remember that fear is only a tool for diminishing our expectations. If we were to decide to live free from fear—intelligently—many of our domestic problems would evaporate rapidly. Vote Kerry.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer endorses Kerry

Washington may be already be counted in the Kerry column, but I found the reasons for the Seattle P-I’s endorsement of John Kerry to be succinct and on the mark:

Kerry is intellectually and ideologically equipped to succeed where Bush has failed. The obvious prospects for that success lie in his military, congressional and international experience, his superior intellectual curiosity and willingness to consider dissenting opinions, his commitment to protecting the civil liberties of all Americans and his potential to surround himself with a broad coalition of competent Cabinet members, staff and advisers.

The New Republic has run a very good series, “The Case Against Geoge W. Bush,” which has focused on Bush’s lack of curiosity and bloated self-aggrandizement that makes the same point in 18,000 words. What’s notable about the TNR argument is that magazine was aned is staunchly behind the war in Iraq, but still thinks we have the wrong commander in chief to win the peace.

You should read both, but the P-I’s makes short work of the reasons Kerry would be a better president.

Fun support facts to know and tell

If you want to install Apple’s Final Cut Express or Final Cut Pro on Mac OS X Server, you can’t. Although the software is supported on “Mac OS 10.2.5 and above” it doesn’t run on the server version of Mac OS, which makes no sense to me, especially since that’s what I run all my audio applications on already.

Having Googled this question before I bought the software, and having learned the answer from Apple’s support line, I thought I’d post it here in case anyone else wants to find the answer.

The power of the little voice

Folks, there’s a wave building to realize the dream of audioblogging at a scale few people could have anticipated. A week ago if you Googled “podcasting,” you’d have found a couple dozen references to the term. Today, as I write, the search produces 12,900 results. That’s some tipping point behavior, if you ask me.

A couple years ago, when a few of us were posting audio on blogs, there was talk about someday, when there would be a system for sharing audio conveniently so that people could program their own listening. Dave Sifry and I discussed hiring people to read blogs for a radio program at that time.

Rob Greenlee at WebTalkRadio was cutting a deal with Microsoft to distribute his show through Windows Media Player and, as a result, the program boasts more than a million listeners a month today. The appearance of iPodder, an application that routes audio from the net to iTunes playlists, from Adam Curry, who also produces the program Daily Source Code, upstart content creators like Dave Slusher of EvilGeniusChronicles and myriad other technology and creative folks is taking all the talk and making it real.

The reason iPodder is wicked cool is that it automates the delivery of audio files to a portable device. This functionality is going to be breaking out all over, but iPodder broke the conceptual barrier. Howard Greenstein provides an excellent summary about how to get these programs if you don’t have an iPod. Just wait, there is a tidal wave of this kind of functionality just around the corner.

Likewise, there are a slew of tools for producing audio that can be distributed through these new channels. If you look at this picture of the WebTalk studio, you’ll see a lot of equipment you don’t need anymore. Most of the functionality needed is available on the Mac or PC today, using a standard microphone and applications like Skype to connect guests to a host for recording direct to hard disc.


A million people are listening to this studio

All this points to an environment in which almost anyone can produce a program and, with a little luck and marketing skill, get it to millions of listeners. Al Gore’s INdTV network, which is hiring, is predicated on the same ideas applied to video (see my Red Herring posting about this). The result is a seriously large shift in media.

Add to that the fact that an established star like Howard Stern can get a half-billion dollar deal to take his show to satellite radio and the Internet and you can see the end of the line for media companies based on mass audiences. However, what’s missing is an economic model and that’s where the real fun will be, because it’s likely that smaller companies that can provide a way for break-out producers to turn their talent into a fortune are going to have a heyday.

Cheney’s Fake Web Source

Vice President Dick Cheney, in his refutation of the fact that Halliburton is under investigation for a variety of violations of federal law, cited “Factcheck.com” a site he said was created by the University of Pennsylvania, which he said demonstrated the charges were “false” and “without substance.” He got the name wrong. It’s FactCheck.org, a project of the Annenberg Center for Public Policy, which is located at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cheney is referring to the article on the site, “Kerry Ad Falsely Accuses Cheney on Halliburton.” However, this article does not deal with the allegations that Halliburton bribed foreign officials and falsified records, it deals only with the accusation that Cheney benefits directly from his former company’s contracts in Iraq.

Cheney, however, does benefit from gains in profits and stock price the company produces as a result of the contracts it receives—in the form of tax breaks for the charitable donations described here. Mr. Cheney refused to sell his assets when he became vice president, saying “I’d like not to give away all of my assets to serve the public.” The potential value of the charitable deductions is $8 million, enough to defray much of the future tax burden Cheney and his wife; so, there are gains with tangible benefits for the Vice President.

He then went on to say that he met Senator Edwards for the first time when they walked on stage this evening. Maybe he just doesn’t remember being in the same room on numerous occasions because Cheney hasn’t told Edwards to “Go fuck yourself.” He was in the room with Edwards on the day he told Pat Leahy to perform autofornication.

Maybe during the six sessions when Cheney appeared in the Senate as president pro tempore to cast a tie-breaking vote, he failed to look around. Edwards was there every time.

Maybe Dick isn’t a very friendly fellow? Maybe he isn’t a uniter, perhaps he is a divider. Maybe his dismissal of Senator Edwards’ record is based on trivial data and not substantive criticisms.

UPDATED: From Daily Kos comes this photographic evidence: