Archive | April, 2010
I am so very, very sick of people who think writers should work for free. (Like Examiner.com or any of the numerous sites that think professional writers should be thrilled to Get Their Name Out There! Trust me, honey, the thrill of a byline soon fades. But the excitement of a regular paycheck stays with you for a long, long time.)
There are a lot of people who think writing is easy; I know this, because they’re always telling me: “You know, I’ve often thought I’d be a really good writer.” I guess I’ll have to take your word for it, since you’ve never actually written anything, but okay.
I’m good at what I do. If I’m going to write for anyone but myself, I’d like to get paid. It is, after all, my profession.
But the entire online world (*cough* Arianna *cough*) now writes business plans based on FREE content, and they’re proclaimed as media geniuses.
Well, as my dad used to tell us, “You buy shit, you get shit.”
Whenever I can afford it, I support small blogs. After all, their writing inspires, entertains and enlightens me. Many of you have been supporting this blog for a long time, probably for the same reason.
And for the Washington Post to dangle a fake carrot in front of a blogger, expecting them to bite — that’s plain insulting. Shame on them.
As Liz Phair says, “It’s nice to be liked but it’s better by far to get paid.“
I was at the dentist today, getting the permanent crown on, and I’m done until I get another job.
Dr. Wilson, who really is the nicest, most interesting guy, gave me a copy of the new Seth Grodin book as a present. (He’s a real geek, he loves stuff like this.)
But I wanted the gory details about his recent brush with death.
He had a kidney stone that blocked a duct – and his kidney ruptured. “There I was, minding my own business, and all of a sudden I’m on the floor, writing in pain,” he said.
I wanted to know what a kidney looks like when it ruptures. “Does it, you know, explode?” I said, gesturing with my hands.
“It’s more like when a tomato splits open,” he said. Oh.
This sounds like an actual progressive stand Obama might be taking. Who’d a thunk it?
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama, preparing to make his second nominee to the Supreme Court, warned Wednesday of a “conservative” brand of judicial activism in which the courts are often not showing appropriate deference to the decision of lawmakers.
Obama made clear that his views on judicial restraint are not the only basis he will use in choosing his next nominee for the high court, a decision expected over the next few weeks.
But his comments underscore just how much he thinks courts are being vested with too much power and are overruling legislative will, a factor that will influence his nominee choice.
Obama already has openly criticized the Supreme Court for a January ruling – one led by the court’s conservative members – that allowed corporations and unions to spend freely to influence elections. Obama has vowed to replace retiring Justice John Paul Stevens with a like-minded justice who will not let powerful interests crowd out voices of ordinary people.
I was heartened the other day to read that Arlen Specter was encouraging him to pick a fighter:
Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter, who switched parties last year and is now in a tight Democratic primary race for his seat, said Obama shouldn’t shy away from a political fight.
“There has to be a recognition that the Supreme Court conference room is an ideological battleground,” Specter said. The president should pick justices “who can carry forward the ideological battle on his terms.”
She tells Republicans to choose: Banks — or families?
It’s time for senators — especially the Republicans — to square their upcoming votes on financial reform with their long-professed desire to protect families, said consumer advocate and federal bailout watchdog Elizabeth Warren on Wednesday in an interview with the Huffington Post.
“Everyone in Washington claims to be on the side of families and to support reform,” said Warren, a member of the 2010 TIME 100 list of the world’s most influential people. “But the test is who votes to paper over problems with another regulatory system designed to fail and who votes for real Wall Street accountability even if it means that some donors will be disappointed.
“I’m tired of hearing politicians claim to support families and, at the same time, vote with the big banks on the most important financial reform package in generations. I’m deep-down tired of it.”
Of all the proposals in the 1,400-page Senate bill attempting to reform Wall Street and protect American consumers, none is more contentious than the one calling for the creation of a consumer-focused agency dedicated to protecting borrowers from abusive lenders.
Reform-minded Democrats want a powerful independent entity able to defend powerless families from the banks and financial firms that squeeze profits out of customers through tricks, traps and outright predatory loans.
Moderates want to say that they voted for a bill that protects consumers — even if it really doesn’t.
Republicans profess a desire to protect consumers, acknowledging regulators’ past failures, but they also don’t want to stem the flow of credit or needlessly harm lenders’ ability to make a buck.
I’m sure the reality-based community has all sorts of explanations for this:
I used to like those Gulf coast beaches. Oh well! But the people in charge know better than us, and it’s all gonna be O-KAY!!!!
The oil well spewing crude into the Gulf of Mexico didn’t have a remote-control shut-off switch used in two other major oil-producing nations as last-resort protection against underwater spills.
The lack of the device, called an acoustic switch, could amplify concerns over the environmental impact of offshore drilling after the explosion and sinking of the Deepwater Horizon rig, hired by oil giant BP PLC, last week.
BP’s Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles said Thursday on NBC’s “Today” that as much as 5,000 barrels of oil a day may be leaking into the Gulf, up from original estimates of 1,000 barrels a day, matching calculations issued late Wednesday from federal investigators. Mr. Suttles said BP and government scientists have to estimate the flow based on what reaches the surface because there is no way to measure the oil pouring out on the seabed. The company also said it welcomes an offer of U.S. military help to get the spill under control.
The accident has led to one of the largest ever oil spills in U.S. water and the loss of 11 lives.
U.S. regulators don’t mandate use of the remote-control device on offshore rigs, and the Deepwater Horizon didn’t have one. With a remote control, a crew can attempt to trigger an underwater valve that shuts down the well even if the oil rig itself is damaged or evacuated.
The efficacy of the devices is unclear. Major offshore oil-well blowouts are rare, and it remained unclear Wednesday evening whether acoustic switches have ever been put to the test in a real-world accident. When wells do surge out of control, the primary shut-off systems almost always work. Remote control systems such as the acoustic switch, which have been tested in simulations, are intended as a last resort.
Nevertheless, regulators in two major oil-producing countries, Norway and Brazil, in effect require them. Norway has had acoustic triggers on almost every offshore rig since 1993.