News Check: Bailout

December 6, 2008

On November 22, Andrew Sparrow of Teresacentric had this to say about the auto industry bailout hearings:

Of course, flying into Congress to testify on private jets costing 20,000 dollars doesn’t exactly give off the impression that you are ready to trim the fat. The money caused on irate Senator to mock the auto exec’s,”They got off those private executive jets with tin cups in hand.”

In our News Check , we find the auto industry executives opting for a slightly less ostentatious mode of travel.


Throwing tomatoes, outsourcing journalism

December 4, 2008

On the Gristmill blog, Tom Philpott examined what happens when a few large buyers dominate a market.

Anyone who keeps up with my posts — still there, mom? — knows what’s coming next: The buyers gain the power to dictate to dictate terms and conditions to sellers.

…I often focus on meat to illustrate the ills of market concentration. But as this post from the Ethicurean’s excellent Mental Masala shows, things are just as bad in produce markets. Riffing off an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Mental invites us to consider California’s mighty tomato-processing industry.

Jason Preston weighed in at Eat Sleep Publish on why he thinks outsourcing newspaper work overseas (as described in this New York Times column by Maureen Dowd) is a bad idea.

As we move forward, the business model is going to have to adapt, which means exploring ideas like metered content. All the outsourcing does is lower the dollar cost of production while accelerating the process making the product itself into a boring commodity.


Three views of President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton

December 3, 2008

Right now there’s a lot of spirited discussion at Jack & Jill Politics about Hillary Clinton’s appointment to the post of Secretary of State.

Jack Turner (Baratunde Thurston) wrote in Booman On Obama’s National Security Team: The Kiddie Table:

In part because I’m tired of fighting and in part because I did vote and campaign for the man, so I should trust his judgment, I’ve been laying low on the “oh-my-God-the-Clintons-are-back” reactions. I’m practicing being quiet and cool for a minute. If Booman and others are correct, Obama has isolated many of his most potentially dangerous critics and bought himself some wiggle room. What he does with that room still bears close scrutiny, but I’m willing to give the man some time before declaring the sky fallen.

On the same day Jill Tubman (Cheryl Contee) wrote Clinton, Obama and Kumbaya – I Don’t Think So:

The bottom line though is that this kumbaya ain’t likely to last. It’s been a mighty long time since Mrs. Clinton has had a boss. She and Obama have significant differences in opinion around foreign policy — for example, he always thought the Iraq war was a bad idea and she not only supported it, but has basically said that the idea wasn’t bad, just poorly executed.

To which dNa responded with Thoughts On The Clinton Appointment:

Hillary and Obama dealt with different kinds of prejudice, but they are really the only two people on earth who have even a remote idea of what the other faced. And I think that counts for a lot. They may not like each other, but for that reason I think they trust each other. As for Bill, well I can’t speak to that.


Obama leaks, GNR rocks, and Jason raps

November 24, 2008

It’s a cold and clear autumn night here in Seattle — good weather for a blog roundup!

In a November 23 post, Charles Sumpter voiced his concerns about the leaks coming from the Obama transition team:

Firstly, the transition team needs to do a better job at keeping these selections known to only the highest levels as possible on the team, then and only then can Obama and the rest of the team stop the leaks before they get out (or at least know where they are coming from). It is not a good sign for any transitioning team to watch the internal discussions between the team and the Clinton’s on national television; these are private and serious matters.

Over at Ear Candy, Travis Hay marked the release of the long-awaited Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy by republishing a review of the band’s last concert that he wrote in college:

It is one of my earliest concert reviews and I almost stand by everything I said six years ago when it was written.

I will say that Axl Rose is possibly the best rock frontman I have ever seen perform. He put on an amazing show six years ago and to this day it is still in my top 10 favorite shows I have seen (and I’ve seen hundreds of shows throughout my career as a music critic).

Jason Preston’s been hard at work recently putting together The Pitch, an event where anyone interested in the future of publishing is welcome to come and share their thoughts. On Eat Sleep Publish he linked to an interview about The Pitch that he did with Ryan Sholin from MediaShift IdeaLab.

From the very beginning, I’ve wanted to make ESP a hub for opinion as much as a broadcast platform for my own ideas, and given that Seattle has such a vibrant tech community and there are inherent limitations to just how social a WordPress installation can be, I thought doing a real life event would be a natural fit.