Because the president can seize stuff from news outlets when he's investigating a crime:
Asked to address the controversial seizure of phone logs from Associated Press journalists by the Department of Justice, President Barack Obama on Thursday said he had no regrets for prosecuting individuals responsible for leaking classified information because they placed the country at risk.
"I make no apologies and I don't think the American people would expect me as commander-in-chief not to be concerned about information that might compromise their missions or might get them killed," he said, standing alongside Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the White House Rose Garden.
I wonder how far this logic goes. If the Feds are investigating a murder in Los Angeles, can they just clean the hard drive of every LA Times reporter who may have gotten a tip?
XRAY.FM, named after the influential X-Ray Cafe venue from Portland's past, has been a long work in progress for the folks at the Cascade Educational Broadcast Service (CEBS). The station is hoping to offer true, listenable free-form radio, much in the manner of the influential New York-area WFMU station. The self-proclaimed mission is "to advance a new radio outlet focusing on the exposure of innovative recording artists, presented by music anoraks heavy-into collecting vinyl." So yeah, you'll be wanting to free up one of those preset buttons on your car stereo.
In the meantime, XRAY Fest has a lot to offer, including DJ sets from Mudhoney's Steve Turner, Voodoo Doughnuts' Tres Shannon, and former mayor Sam Adams, plus live shows from the Bats, Kelli Schaefer, and lots more—plus some cool film screenings as well. Check out all the goings-on after the jump, and hop over to XRAY Fest's site for more info.
The Justice Department secretly obtained two months of telephone records of reporters and editors for The Associated Press in what the news cooperative's top executive called a "massive and unprecedented intrusion" into how news organizations gather the news.
The records obtained by the Justice Department listed incoming and outgoing calls, and the duration of each call, for the work and personal phone numbers of individual reporters, general AP office numbers in New York, Washington and Hartford, Conn., and the main number for AP reporters in the House of Representatives press gallery, according to attorneys for the AP...The government would not say why it sought the records. U.S. officials have previously said in public testimony that the U.S. attorney in Washington is conducting a criminal investigation into who may have leaked information contained in a May 7, 2012, AP story about a foiled terror plot. The story disclosed details of a CIA operation in Yemen that stopped an al-Qaida plot in the spring of 2012 to detonate a bomb on an airplane bound for the United States.
You can read that May 7 story here. President Obama's second term is quickly getting weighed down by these sorts of eminently avoidable scandals, and their liberal base isn't eager to defend them from critics, when they're committing shitty Bush-Administration-style acts like this.
WELL, HAVE NO FEAR, because here's the NEWEST person for you to love on the internet: Melinda Brown Duncan BAY-BEE, who has a few choice and hilariously filthy (and on point) words to share with the leadership of Detroit. I'd vote for her anytime, and anywhere. (That is until we hear that she did something terrible. What a fickle internet we are!)
The always-awesome David Carr at the New York Times writes:
Will Bourne, who became editor in chief of The Village Voice in November, and Jessica Lustig, the deputy editor since January, are leaving the weekly publication.
They met with the staff at 11 a.m. on Thursday and said that Christine Brennan, executive editor of Voice Media Group, had instructed them to lay off or drastically reduce the role of five employees on the 20-person staff. Rather than carrying out the cuts, they resigned and left immediately.
Good for Bourne and Lustig. Cutting (or drastically reducing) the staff of the Voice by a quarter would have been a truly awful experience. And working in that post-cut newsroom would probably have been worse than being unemployed. If these cuts go through, I can only imagine that the Voice's scope is going to have to be drastically reduced.
From PICA's website:
Mike Daisey, hailed by The New York Times as "the master storyteller," returns to Portland with the world premiere of a new work. In a single night, Daisey takes us on a fantastic journey through the sprawling landscape of journalism right now—how it functions, how it fails us, and how it chooses to tell our stories. Using his own scandal as a jumping-off point, he illuminates how the myth of objective journalism weakens us and has made our public discourse easy to manipulate. From CNN to alt-weeklies, this is a true love letter to journalism—an impossible calling caught in a time of transformation, where people struggle every day to tell a story that actually shows us the truth.
I have mixed feelings about this. I think Daisey is a brilliant performer, but I certainly stopped rooting for him after it was revealed that he lied both in his show The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs and to the fact-checkers at This American Life who attempted to verify his claims. I just reread the apology blog post he wrote last year:
I would also like to apologize to the journalists I gave interviews to in which I exaggerated my own experiences.
That's me! And dozens of my colleagues. I guess I haven't decided if I accept that apology or not, or whether he's really who I want to hear from on "the myth of objective journalism."
The show's May 21 at the Tiffany Center; tickets are here.
What do you guys think?
Here's a provocative headline from CNN Money:
Peter Thiel: Twitter will outlast the New York Times
Sounds like an old-fashioned bar bet to me!
I used to work for a TV news station, so I know when an on-air personality is being TORTURED by the staff. In this clip, a TV weatherman is trying valiantly to be serious while reporting on heavy rainstorms, but is beset by an absolutely hilarious hiccup attack that just keeps getting worse. (Meanwhile in the control room, they could've dumped out of the segment to let him get some water—but people in control rooms are dicks who love this kind of stuff... SO NO WAY. I know, I was a control room dick.)
In another slight shift for the Portland Bureau of Transportation—actively in the hunt for a new director while also grappling with the best way to change directions in response to Mayor Charlie Hales' push for paving—the Mercury has learned that both of PBOT's media relations hands are stepping down for new jobs.
Spokeswoman Cheryl Kuck is moving over to a community outreach job with the city's Bureau of Environmental Services, while spokesman Dan Anderson told PBOT staffers he's taking a "great professional opportunity" outside Oregon. The departures come amid news that 44 people have applied for the bureau's top job, the fruits of a national search launched after Hales asked former director Tom Miller to step down. Hales appointed former maintenance chief John "Toby" Widmer to run the bureau on an interim basis.
The departures also come after Hales' team asked Miller to suspend hiring for a deputy director post that would have directly overseen the bureau's communications shop. So are the moves indicative of some kind of restructuring in a bureau that's received a bit more political and media glare, of late, than some others?
"It's a coincidence," Anderson says of his and Kuck's near-simultaneous departures. "It wasn't planned, and it definitely was under good terms, and it was not a restructuring."
It's unclear whether one or both jobs will be filled permanently in light of the search for a new director—and in the face of citywide budget cuts and PBOT's struggle to redirect its own revenue (mostly tied up in big-ticket infrastructure projects enthusiastically approved by city council) toward road maintenance.
Update 11:15 AM: Dana Haynes, Hales' spokesman, said both Anderson and Kuck did "a great job" and are "a loss" for the bureau. The mayor's office's "first instinct" is to wait for a permanent director and maybe bring in an interim flack. PBOT's communications work, Haynes reminds, aren't just about strategically responding to reporters and pushing out story ideas. It's also about getting the word out to regular Portlanders about specific paving projects and road closures and snow alerts and crosswalk stings, etc.
"We totally don't underestimate that," he says.
Anderson made $71,482 in 2012, according to a Portland Business Journal database of city salary information. Kuck earned $79,255.
A reporter in China stops her wedding to report on this past weekend's massive earthquake in the region—while still in her wedding dress. That's adorable! (Or is it? Stand by for the movie version, Runaway Reporter Bride!)
North Dakota's newest news anchor stumbles out of the gay fucking gate. (Via Towleroad.)
The new issue features a cover story on Marnie Stern (who's playing at Mississippi Studios on Friday, April 26—she'll be in next week's Mercury as well). There are also pieces on Mary Timony (Helium/Wild Flag), nine-year-old wunderkind Zoe Thomson, Erin Smith (Bratmobile), and an article on female basses, including Kathy Foster of the Thermals, plus gear reviews and tablature. The new cover also showcases the new She Shreds logo, designed by Natalie Baker.
As for this Friday's release show, there will be live performances by Key Losers, Marisa Anderson, and the Ghost Ease, plus the premiere of a short film that documents LKN (Lauren K. Newman) and Lisa Schonberg performing together for the first time inside a local print shop (I watched it; it rips). There's also a raffle, with prizes including a Corin Tucker tote bag full of Kill Rock Stars goodies, and a guitar with two hours of rehearsal-space time from Guitar Center. Also, free Sizzle Pie from 8-9. All this sounds awesome, and now you know.
Troubadour Studio, 1020 SE Market, Fri April 19, 8 pm-midnight, $5, all ages
Blogtown/Mercury reader Mike wrote in with the following:
So when I got home from work today, I had another weekly waiting for me in my mailbox. And as all incoming paper gets thrown on the kitchen table, it quickly joined the current copy of the Mercury. Wow—what an oddball photo op it turned out to be!
As art director Scrappers so aptly put it: "Swagger jackers!!"
Swagger jackers, indeed.
Today, The Hollywood Reporter published a long story about how Ain't It Cool News has gone from the must-read website for nerdy spoilers to a nearly defunct vanity project. It's a sad story, with a sad beginning:
It was July 2012, and Harry Knowles was working up a sweat. Eighteen months earlier, the creator-owner-figurehead of Ain't It Cool News collapsed and had back surgery to treat the effects of spinal stenosis, a chronic condition stemming in part from a 1996 fall that left him intermittently reliant on a wheelchair. So now he was walking on a treadmill at a clinic near his Austin home as part of his physical therapy.
His phone rang. Still trudging, Knowles answered. It was Roland De Noie, his business manager.
"I really f—-ed up," said De Noie in a panic. "It's all my fault." He had discovered that Ain't It Cool News — the website Knowles started in his Texas bedroom that grew to be the scourge of Hollywood, redefined the nature and pace of entertainment journalism and turned an overweight, ginger-haired self-diagnosed movie nerd into the face of a geek nation on the rise — owed about $300,000 in unpaid taxes.
When I first started using the internet on a regular basis, I visited Ain't It Cool News all the time for Buffy the Vampire Slayer spoilers and updates on movie news that I couldn't find anywhere else. Now when I make the occasional visit, it's like dropping by to check in on a high school friend who still lives in his mom's basement.
A brand of the paid sick leave program that Portland just approved may soon spread to the nation's largest metropolis, New York City—affecting millions of people. Back home, though, the sour-grapes Oregonian editorial board is inveighing against a sensible expansion of the policy statewide.
An editorial released over the weekend, part of the paper's right-leaning "agenda" for Oregon, calls a requirement that lets workers stay home when they're ill—without worrying about how they'll make rent this month—a "mistake" and something that makes Portland "a place where businesses fear to tread."
The editorial is pegged to a hearing on HB 3390, which would apply a sick leave policy similar to Portland's all throughout Oregon. Portland's policy, pushed by Commissioner Amanda Fritz in concert with worker's rights advocates, allows for such a development. It's seen as a way of removing incentives for businesses who don't want to treat their workers to bolt for the other side of the city line.
The author of the piece kindly allows that sick time is "well-intentioned"—as far as the editorial goes in acknowledging that working conditions isn't just a financial issue. It's a moral issue, too. But the main idea is that we can't afford to do that right thing. And the editorial draws heavily from a report on San Francisco's experience and cited examples in which some employers reported reducing other benefits or deciding not to hand out raises so easily.
Nice try, but not quite. The report deals only with 26 businesses, with the O plucking the worst anecdotes. Of course, there's a wide world of anecdotes that all say the opposite. Like in this research article, published today, that quotes a pizzeria owner in San Francisco formerly opposed to paid sick time but now pleasantly surprised at how little it's cost her.
“I thought the sick day ordinance could become an excuse for my servers or other employees to call in sick at the last minute and leave shifts unstaffed,” Piallat said. “Turns out, that hasn’t been a problem at all.”
Nor has the ordinance cost her nearly as much money as she originally expected. Piallat anticipated paid sick leave for her 32 employees would cost $35,000 per year, but since 2006 she hasn’t spent more than $7,000 per year total on her employees’ sick leave.
But why trade solely in anecdotes?
THIS JUST IN: British people are hilariously level-headed when it comes to the subject of children throwing triangular-shaped flapjacks at each other. WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR YOU PEOPLE TO GET UPSET?!? THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS PROBLEM, OKAY?!!?
Quarter-sized hail pounded the Houston area this week, which was pretty terrible. On the upside, we've discovered the best amateur meteorologist ever, who I would watch every day of my life on TV—because I love her so much. And now, let's go to Houston's Michelle Clark at the Action News Weather KABOOOYOW! desk!
Be thankful you live in Portland! Because life is veerrrrrrrrrrry different in Putnam County, Ohio—and you would not fare so well there.
Next on Channel 4 Action News... a man spotted wearing women's sunglasses... and CAPRI PANTS??
Exhibit A: The latest monstrosity from Hot Pockets, featuring a horny idiot guy, a blowup-doll of a woman, and whatever the fuck Hot Pockets are.
Exhibit B: The latest billboard hyping McDonald's Fish McBites, featuring a complete failure of a tagline, which is succinctly dissed by AdPulp here. (Seriously, "The Catch That's Caught Here"? A five-word phrase featuring "the," "that," and two uses of "catch"? AND WHERE IS 'HERE'??)
Not long ago there was speculation that Anna Wintour—the editor of American Vogue and probably the most widely recognizable person in the fashion world—might become the president's ambassador to the UK (where she is originally from). That didn't quite pan out, but her new gig, announced last night, is arguably even more influential. Conde Nast created her the position of Creative Director for the entire company (that's not only Vogue but Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, GQ, so many more) in order to prevent her from ditching the company. Basically virtually any mainstream glossy you pick up will bear her influence, which is kind of awesome. I'm not a big fan of American Vogue (it's boring), but Wintour is a genius (some might say an evil one), and it certainly is successful. It will be interesting to see how her power plays out across the CN catalog. This could be a cush way to pad out her path to retirement, or it could signal a sea change. Then again, Wintour has already basically set the tone for the modern lifestyle magazine, so it could also end up being business as usual. After having read her biography and watching the excellent September Issue, though, I'm gonna bet that kicking back isn't on the agenda.
Because everything has to be a popularity contest, the Alliance For Audited Media has released its numbers for which celebs garned the highest and lowest pickup rates for grocery store glossies like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. It's a somewhat inscrutable look into the mind of the last-minute impulse consumer's attraction to Lady Gaga (who had the highest selling Vogue cover of the year), and somewhat puzzling rejection of Rihanna (her Vogue appearance rated 32% below the average copies sold). This handy slideshow tours you through the highlights and lowlights, if you want numerical confirmation of, say, the Kardashian's (possibly? please?) waning popularity or to wring your hands over the stupidity of customers who failed to pick up Architectural Digest's issue featuring Valentino and his pugs—don't worry, I've got a copy you can borrow.
At least according to a new study that was most definitely paid for, statistically compiled by, and rewritten to suit their needs by The Onion staff.
WASHINGTON—Following one of the finest and most widely praised weeks in the history of The Onion, a new study published today found that the trusted news outlet has never been more popular, more admired, or more respected among Americans, with record numbers of readers saying the last five or six days in particular constitute a veritable high watermark for the company.
“I love The Onion’s reporting now more than ever, especially their social media presence and live coverage of events, and I can’t think of anything that has happened recently that would make me think they are anything but flawless and beyond reproach,” said Onion reader James Harte, echoing the opinion of 311 million Americans who ranked the paper above all other news outlets in areas such as fairness and credibility, and who said they are unable to recall a single instance, particularly recently, in which they’ve ever been displeased with anything The Onion has said or done.
Well, that's all I needed to hear. Keep up the good work, Onion! (Read the rest here.)
1. Red State blogger Erick Erickson has caused a shitstorm on conservative blogs with this morning's editorial about how the conservative media has gone crazy:
I think conservative media is failing to advance ideas and stories. Certainly part of that is because the general media has an ideological bias against conservatives, which makes it harder for the media to take our views seriously. But many conservatives are, instead of working doubly hard to overcome that bias, just yelling louder about the same things. The echo in the chamber has gotten so loud it is not well understood outside the echo chamber in the mainstream press and in the public. It translates only as anger and noise, neither of which are conducive to the art of persuasion.
Conservatives are trying so hard to highlight controversies, no matter how trivial, we have forgotten the basics of reporting...The “Obamaphone” is a great example of this. Conservatives laughed out loud at the video of the lady saying Barack Obama had given her a phone. Conservatives used it as an example of all that was wrong with the expansion of the welfare state under Barack Obama. What many conservatives missed was that the program was a pre-existing program. In fact, the “Obamaphone” idea goes back to the Reagan Administration, but the present program was implemented in 2008 when George W. Bush was President. Government funds are not even used directly.
Like other truth-tellers in the Republican Party, Erickson will probably get drummed out of the—well, I almost said "drummed out of the union," but a conservative blogger's union is kind of an impossible idea, isn't it? How about "Erickson will probably get kicked out of Galt's Gulch," instead.
2. In other conservative media news, weekly conservative magazine Human Events is ending print publication, effective immediately.
3. Meanwhile, Sarah Palin just keeps repeating untrue shit she reads in chain e-mails forwarded by Republican grandpas and grandmas. Way to stay relevant, "governor!"
The New Yorker's Amy Davidson tells it like it is. One choice nugget:
The Academy is supposedly a trade group, and yet it devoted its opening number to degrading a good part of its membership. And who knows what the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus thought that it was doing by serving as MacFarlane’s backup singers, but it’s hard not to wonder what the rhetorical point was meant to be. We saw your boobs, but that’s not even what we find attractive, so you exerted no power in doing so—all you did was humiliate yourself? Maybe that’s reading too much into it. It could be that MacFarlane just thought it would be funny for him to say the word “gay” as often as possible.
Read the whole thing here.
Meanwhile, Vulture's Margaret Lyons provides reinforcements and then some:
MacFarlane's opening musical number, "We Saw Your Boobs," might as well have been a siren blaring, "This isn't for you." Come on, everyone likes boobs, right? No. The answer is no. They're not something I hate, and heck, I have a pair to call my own, and yet my takeaway from The Accused was not "Finally, I've seen Jodie Foster's breasts." My lasting memory of Boys Don't Cry is not "Hey, free breasts!" At least there was that super timely and relevant reference to Kate Winslet's many nude scenes.
Jeez, the song was a joke! Can't you take a joke? Yes, I can take a joke. I can take a bunch! A thousand, 10,000, maybe even more! But after 30 or so years, this stuff doesn't feel like joking. It's dehumanizing and humiliating, and as if every single one of those jokes is an ostensibly gentler way of saying, "I don't think you belong here." All those little instances add up, grain of sand by grain of sand until I'm stranded in a desert of every "tits or GTFO" joke I've ever tried to ignore.
Whole thing here.
..a fact which doesn't bode well for the latest provocation by Camille Paglia, the world's preeminent chronicler of the importance of Madonna's 1984-1991 output. Paglia begins her 2,000-word Sunday Times think piece "Why Rihanna Is the New Diana" with the above mischaracterization of one of her main characters, and hopes sentences like "Diana and Rihanna began as sensitive, wounded, but appealingly bubbly and good-natured provincial girls who slowly discovered their own photogenic virtuosity and began to conceptualize themselves as living sculpture for the lens..." will inspire readers to purchase the full story.
Read the free-and-worth-every-penny excerpt here.
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