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Archive for the ‘thenews’ Category

National Postal Museum


The Church Street Post Office in Manhattan processed the mail for the World Trade Center. After the September 11 destruction, curators at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum debated whether to collect any objects related to the tragedy. Immediately following the horrible events, historian Nancy Pope was determined that they not preserve any artifacts. It was a graveyard to her, not a place to gather museum objects. She and others eventually decided it was a historical event that needed to be documented and the museum obtained several items and also the recollections of one of the postal carriers on site. The zip codes used for the World Trade Center were withdrawn from use. The museum has a postal handstamp bearing the September 11 date and zip code 10007.

Living Stamp Subjects


The U.S. Postal Service isn’t doing well financially and as the government moves to help with proposals such as removing Saturday delivery, the Director of Stamp Services has announced that living persons can now be featured on stamps. Previously only people dead for five years could be considered and until 2007 it was ten years. The exception to the rule was U.S. Presidents. They hope to have their first living person stamp in 2012 and are taking suggestions. They’ll also now look at those who died within the last five years. I’m thinking not of what I’d like to see on a stamp but what might bring in the most money from collectors around the world. Over 124 million Elvis stamps were collected. Perhaps what we really need is something equivalent to Pokemon cards.

Posted in money,thenews

Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Wall


While it’s a low point that some would prefer to forget, the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II is a historical event that needs to be remembered so it isn’t repeated. The Japanese residents of Bainbridge Island, just west of Seattle, were among the first of the eventual 120,000 who were sent to detainment camps. The Japanese on Bainbridge had integrated well into the local community and their removal was especially heartfelt. Upon their return many found that their land and homes had been kept for them by their neighbors, unlike other Japanese, even those that were U.S. citizens, who had nothing left. On Saturday, the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Community dedicated a wall to memorialize the relocation. Constructed of cedar and stone, the wall has the names of all 276 residents who were sent away. 150 of them returned to island, a high percentage due in no small part to the community who kept their memories alive with newspaper articles of their lives at camp. The local paper and its publisher inspired the novel and film “Snow Falling on Cedars.” The Minidoka National Historic Site in Idaho commemorates one of the internment camps and the Bainbridge Island wall has been designated an official satellite of that site. The wall is inscribed with “Nidoto Nai Yoni.” Translation: “Let it not happen again.”

Posted in thenews

Seattle Police OverTweet


It’s a strange new social media world when the top headline in the local section of the newspaper is “Police unload volley of tweets“.  Reading almost like an opinion piece (but suitably factual and mostly balanced), the Seattle Times articles says “For 12 hours Tuesday, police bombarded their Twitter followers with nearly every incident reported to officers.”  It was a day of non-stop tweets that illustrated the busy and varied life of the Seattle Police from welfare checks to traffic stops with shoplifting and accidents in between. The 12 hour experiment (and PR exercise) lost @SeattlePD some followers as phones and Twitter clients “blew up” with the constant posts, but a police spokesman says they’ll rejoin.  Since the tweetathon ended, there have only been six tweets. Surely there’s a balance they can strike there, perhaps closer to the six in 24 hours than the six in a minute.

Written by ltao

July 28th, 2011 at 12:50 am

Posted in thenews

The Shiny Round Thing in the Sky


Just as Seattle area residents are thinking about maybe, just maybe, putting away the flannel sleepwear and pulling off the flannel sheets, the Seattle Times publishes an editorial denouncing, of all things, the weather. They demand that Mother Nature get a move on and bring in summer for real instead of continuing to tease us with sun only to drizzle and pour again. The thing is, every long-time Seattle resident knows that summer here starts no earlier than the day after the 4th of July. So don’t start making us believe that your editorial was what made summer come, Seattle Times — if it ever does (sigh).

Written by ltao

July 1st, 2011 at 1:08 am

Posted in thenews

Page One


Andrew Rossi’s “Page One: Inside The New York Times” is a documentary on print journalism at a time when many say the medium is dying. The print part may be gone one day, but journalism itself will continue. Times reporter David Carr, one of the film’s major subjects, tells the Seattle Times that originally he was the sole subject of the documentary but the camera was affecting his interviews so he asked Rossi to include some colleagues. That contributed to the film’s focus on only one part of the Times’ team, the Media Desk. Critics have pointed out the lack of women in the film and also that it excludes the Times’ investigative reporting team. As happens with the filming of real lives, only those who wished to be on-screen were willing to participate. Carr says “You’re seeing males, hambone little banty rooster males who were more willing to be on camera.” Of the lack of female participation despite the fact that 40% of the Times’ newsroom is women, Glynnis MacNicol at Business Insider sums up “it seems we only have ourselves to blame.” I’d rather think those who declined prefer to stick to their role of not being part of the story. In his “no conflict of interest here” review in The New York Times itself, Michael Kinsley recommends seeing “His Girl Friday” instead (great idea).

Written by ltao

June 27th, 2011 at 12:43 am

Posted in culture,thenews

Berating the Beret


Ten years ago the U.S. Army decided, as part of an initiative to “erase the distinctions between heavy and light forces,” that all soldiers would wear a black beret as part of their combat uniform. Many in the 75th Ranger Regiment protested the decision as the black beret had been their symbol. A tan beret was authorized to keep the Rangers distinct. However, the black beret has now been pulled, ultimately a casualty of impracticality. Soldiers found the wool beret hot and it offered no shade to compensate. They needed two hands to put it on and had to also bring a cap along when their field work required it. The army patrol cap is now once again the default head covering for the Army combat uniform.

Written by ltao

June 15th, 2011 at 12:12 am

Posted in thenews

Seattle Eye


Seattle Center, the location of city’s iconic Space Needle, will install a 200-foot tall observation wheel in April and leave it up for the Center’s 50th Anniversary in 2012. This isn’t the only manifestation of the global mega wheel trend in Seattle. The owner of Pier 57 plans to install one on his waterfront site and he’s not pleased that the city decided to put up their own first. The city responded that theirs will be gone before he can get his up (they said he has a “long permitting process” ahead of him, which I’m sure they didn’t mean in an obstructive way). Seattle is partnering with Great City Attractions, a British company that is operating wheels in the UK, Ireland, Australia, and Singapore, which holds the record for tallest. The company’s plans for huge wheels in Beijing, Orlando, and Berlin have all stalled with financial difficulties. The Seattle wheel will be placed between the EMP and Center House, filling the gap left by the closed Fun Forest amusement park rides. The tippy top of the Space Needle’s aircraft beacon is at 605 feet, so the wheel will still be dwarfed by the city’s futuristic symbol.

Posted in thenews

Commercial Volume


Ever notice that television commercials are often louder than the show you were watching? It could be on purpose to catch your attention or a side effect of different compression techniques. Either way it sends many viewers scrambling for the volume button. Both the Senate and Congress have approved a bill that would require the FCC “to adopt industry standards that coordinate ad decibel levels to those of the regular program.” In characteristic politician-speak, Senate bill sponsor Sheldon Whitehouse (R.I.) stated “Every American has likely experienced the frustration of abrasively loud television commercials…(It) adds unnecessary stress to the daily lives of many Americans.” The name of the bill is the Commercial Advertisement Loudness Mitigation Act, or CALM Act.

Posted in thenews

…and the little one said “roll over, roll over”


With the resignation of Helen Thomas, the coveted front row, center seat in the White House Briefing Room had several suitors from other rows.  Here’s the now outdated chart for reference.  NPR had advocacy groups pushing for a move.  Fox News and Bloomberg News also lobbied for the seat.  The White House Correspondents Association solved the problem by moving first row Associated Press over into Thomas’ old seat and promoting second row Fox and third row NPR up a row.  The NPR advocates are at least content that Fox didn’t get the center seat.

Posted in thenews