Monday, March 27, 2006

Some tales from the weekend

The Inquirer is trying to tempt me to broaden my home Sunday subscription by delivering Thurs-Sat papers for free. This is not likely to work, but this weekend I actually had time to read a few papers, and the following stories caught my eye as being of interest here:
  • The controversy over the planned Spring Garden area tower continues, with neighbors arguing about how many hours of shadow the new building would cast on their properties. There aren't actually new developments here, but mainly an expansion of the story from earlier in the week. However, noteworthy to me was the inclusion in the paper (although not at the above link) of a selection of the many comments left on the paper's website in response to the original story. They ranged from the thoughtful to the looney, but it's still a remarkable cross-over of blog-like feedback into ongoing reporting...

  • The Democratic State Committee met this weekend to decide on official party endorsements for statewide races, and the results were pretty much as expected -- Casey, Rendell, and Knoll by a landslide for Senate, Governor, and Lieutenant Governor, respectively. The actual vote on Casey wasn't reported. Two noteworthy bits in the coverage:

    1. The subheader for the article made it sound as though winning the endorsement was directly equivalent to winning the primary: "The Democrat will take on Rick Santorum, who he said was out of touch with Pennsylvanians." Um, I think there's a little formality in May first...

    2. The first great quote on the race that I've ever seen from Casey:
      Casey said Santorum had voted with President Bush 98 percent of the time since Bush was elected and Santorum became the third-ranking GOP leader in the Senate in 2000.

      "When two people agree 98 percent of the time, one of them is not necessary," he added.
      heh heh...

  • Casey also tangled with a group called the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, which claims to be running nonpartisan get-out-the-vote training but had Sen. Santorum address their last meeting. Casey argues that he should be given equal time, and the organization promises to let him appear, although he may not get to address an issue to his taste.

  • State legislators may have repealed their pay-hike last year, but many of them appear to be in a position to continue to reap its benefits, as the higher rate is used in the (arcane) formula by which pensions are calculated. The gift that keeps on giving...

  • An Inquirer reporter asks several Big Dogs from the Philadelphia area to comment on the union choice to oppose waterless urinals in the Comcast Tower (see prev. here) -- and comes up with an across-the-board "no comment." Much pee-related humor is had along the way...

  • An odd bit reports on the experience of the Mariano Blog, which tracked developments in the case on a nearly live basis -- the brutality of blog commentators and the ill effects of anonymity are dredged up here for some hand-wringing and amusement simultaneously.
    As you might expect, it was a free-for-all. And within a day or two, the forum looked less like an electronic town square that enabled civic-minded debate than like a high-tech bathroom wall that permitted smear after smear under the cloak of anonymity.
    Awwwww. This is why long-term discussion sites often require registration or at least the consistent use of pseudonyms, so that people can decide whom to ignore.
    Just before the trial was done, we took down the link to readers' posts. Though the law has treated unedited message boards the same way it treats telephone companies - that is, not responsible for what users say about people - we didn't like being associated with it. Call it the ickiness standard.
    Looks like the mainstream press isn't ready for the rough and tumble online world anytime soon. Or at least, they'll leave it to Blinq, where the light isn't quite so bright (or the sensibilities so delicate)...

4 Comments:

Blogger Friedman said...

I didn't think that Nutter's statements were a non-comment. The article said that Nutter got on the phone himself and said "I'm no expert on the subject of waterless urinals," he began tentatively, but soon the floodgates were open: "To continue to be a great city, you have to make sure you're on the cutting edge of technology... . Sustainability is fundamentally the direction we should be moving." Sounds like he's inclined to support waterless urinals - and progressive environmental policies generally - to me.

3:36 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

you're right, actually. and Knox had some thoughts too. I guess I was more following the theme of the article (which was the delicacy of the dance) than the specifics -- thanks for the correction.

3:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks for the mention, even if you called blinq a dull bulb.

dan rubin

1:48 PM  
Blogger ACM said...

no! :(
I don't think Blinq is a dull bulb, just a good blog read by people who like blogs. in contrast, the Mariano Blog was read by a lot of people who, I suspect, were interested in that scandal but don't otherwise read blogs -- thus a rare spotlight for an experimental bloggage...

2:45 PM  

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