Anything from current events, campaign finance reform, sports (especially baseball), corporate/political/legal ethics, pop culture, confessions of a recovering comic book addict, and probably some overly indulgent discourses about my 3-year old daughter. E-Mail: sardonicviews -at-
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Friday, July 08, 2005

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Finally seems to be up and running.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Qualified Support

Yes, the servers are still down. Very strange.

Over at Crain's, in their Editor's Choice from yesterday by Jeff Stacklin, is a bit about the issue of defining journalists (rather than journalism) for a potential federal "shield" law.

As written, the bills would appear to leave out not just bloggers, but all freelance journalists "without contracts or those who publish solely on the web," according to a summary by the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press.

Committee executive director Lucy Dalglish said lawmakers are rewriting the bills to clarify the language about internet-based journalists. But she said even if protections for online journalists make it into the final bills, they will likely be limited.
Lovely. Even a protected journalist like Stacklin is uncomfortable with the law.
On the first part, regarding journalists and jail time, amen. Having confidential sources is paramount to doing this job well. On the second part, regarding bloggers getting the same protections as journalists, I strongly disagree. I think bloggers, despite my dislike of some blogs, should be allowed to exercise their First Amendment rights and publish, regardless if it's on newsprint, the airwaves or on the web, without prejudice.

Journalists are not licensed. We do not take a test to get a card for our wallets. We do, from time to time, have to apply for credentials to get access to certain "press activities" like news conferences and interviews, but if someone wants to start a blog to cover a presidential campaign or sports team, he or she should be allowed reasonable access.
I'm now a little curious as to which blogs he dislikes and why -- surely he doesn't mean me. Does he? Still he's right. The last thing any reporter or writer should want is to have the government stepping in to define the job.

Matt Welch makes the reasonable recommendation of protecting the act, rather than the actors.

As the bill percolates through committee, here's my solution to the central conundrum: Offer the protection to any citizen who is in the process of conducting journalism. Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper clearly identified themselves as working on articles they hoped would be published. That's journalism. Similarly, freelance writer Vanessa LeggettÂ?who was shamefully jailed for 168 days a few years back for refusing to cough up notes on a Houston murder she was compiling for a book, after the Justice Department successfully argued she was not a "working journalist" -- would have also qualified.

Non-"professional" bloggers, too, could qualify, in the extremely unlikely event that A) they were actually compiling original data worth subpoenaing, and B) they had identified themselves to interview subjects as working on something to be published. Making this determination would be far less complicated than the current federal shield bill's messy attempt to define a "covered person" by publication or outlet.

Therapists, lawyers, priests, and spouses all have at least some protection against having their confidential conversations made into fodder for rampaging prosecutors.
It seems too obvious to ever be enacted.

Snow Day In July

The whole system is down. Can't blog at NEO Babble. No,, and so on.

Must be a hell of a problem. Not sure when it happened. I was on the road most of the day, coming back from my parents' house in Pennsylvania.

Angie essentially had part two of her birthday party. She had a wonderful time and was wonderfully affectionate to her great-grandparents. My grandma still had the collection of miniature Maurice Sendak books, and she gave them to me to give to Angie when she is old enough. Very sweet.

Between all of the presents (including a tricycle) and the outlet shopping (no sales tax on clothing in Pennsylvania), the Saturn was going to be full.

Some kids remember their father's lessons on riding a bike, fishing or something like that. No, my dad taught me how to load a car trunk.

A great and practical skill that has served me extremely well especially in the last 3 years. Everytime I hear the satisfying click of the trunk latch after successfully fitting all of the luggage, bags, awkwardly shaped objects into the trunk, I smile. All the while, secure in the knowledge that nothing will shift, break or cause the lid to pop open while speeding down the turnpike.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


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