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European Parliament rejects computer-implemented inventions directive

Wednesday, July 6, 2005  File:European-parliament-strasbourg.jpg

The European Parliament has rejected the directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions (software patent directive) sustained by lobbies of large software publicists such as the corporations Microsoft, Siemens, Nokia and Alcatel, grouped under the title of the European Information & Communications Technology Industry Association (EICTA, [1]). The directive involved the granting of software patents.

648 MEPs out of 680 rejected the text, 18 voted for and 14 abstained.

A rejection vote became the expected outcome when the European People’s Party, initially in favour of the directive, decided to reject it.

The European Greens, Socialist Group and European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party also voted for rejection of the directive for heterogeneous reason. Michel Rocard, author of a number of amendments to the original directive, said that the majority of the modifications were unlikely to be supported by the Commission and Council, with whom the Parliament would have had to enter a Conciliation procedure if it had voted for maintaining the directive in moditifed form. “Better have no text at all than a bad one”, he added.

Before the vote, Rocard pointed at the irritation of the Parliament towards the Commission: “There is collective anger throughout the Parliament because of the way the directive was handled by the Commission and the Council”.

During the debate on Tuesday, Commissioner Joaquín Almunia told MEPs: “Should you decide to reject the common position, the Commission will not submit a new proposal.”.

The rejection was welcomed by small and medium software companies, as well as by Free Software supporters. The Directive had been subject to an intense campaigning, within the Parliament, in the news media and on the Internet. The supporters of the Council position appear to have spent several ten millions, hiring prestigious PR agencies with at least 30-40 lobbyists who roamed the halls of the Parliament every day for 3 months, and many full-page advertisements in EU newspapers such as European Voice, EU Reporter etc. The opponents of software patentability (that is supporters of the position taken by the European Parliament in its 1st reading of 24 September 2003), coordinated under the roof of the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII), also had several lobbyists stationed in Brussels, conducted several conferences and demonstrations and published some newspaper advertisements, with a total budget of nearly 100,000 eur apart from countless unpaid working hours of a dedicated supporter base, consisting mainly of programmers and software entrepreneurs.

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FEMA accused of misusing trained disaster workers as public-relations workers

Monday, September 12, 2005 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is being criticized for misallocation of personnel in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. FEMA representatives said they requested volunteers from fire departments around the U.S., to handle its community relations campaign. However, a document FEMA sent to local fire departments asked for firefighters with very specific skills and who were capable of working in “austere conditions”. Fire departments around the nation responded by sending crews to the FEMA staging ground in Atlanta. Some of these crews were unaware that they were only going to be used for public relations work. Others, however, merely hoped that FEMA would allocate them to rescue and damage control operations once it saw their qualifications.

The firefighter’s objections are particularly poignant as one of FEMA public relations training seminars coincided with New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin plea for firefighters on national television, to relieve his own exhausted crews. It is unclear if FEMA’s request for firefighters prevented any municipalities from responding to Mayor Nagin’s request.

Some firefighters have objected to their use as FEMA public relations officers because their municipalities must bear the cost of their salaries, as well as endure reduced firefighting capacity. FEMA has stated that it sought to use firefighters to avoid background checks required of federal employees.

Firefighters began receiving their assignments Monday, September 5th. Among these was a crew of 50 assigned to tour the devastated areas with President Bush and the press.

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Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007 

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey’s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

David Shankbone: Does it bother you that your name has come to mean ‘homosexual’?

DS: [Laughs] “Sports Gay-zing”?

DS: Is your ancestry Sicilian or Northern?

DS: Southern, not Sicilian?

DS: Do you ever pay any attention to Italian politics and the happenings with the Lega Nord?

DS: They can’t seem to do anything politically. They can’t save Venice ….

DS: Do you believe in a higher power?

DS: What do you think happens when we die?

DS: Do you have religion?

DS: Do you pray?

DS: In certain moments more than others?

DS: When do you feel out of control?

DS: What did the letter say?

DS: How many times have you seen your own death?

DS: You wouldn’t want to be a Terri Schiavo.

DS: You’re quite sprite.

DS: Doing what you love

DS: What do you think is the reason there is this collective idea to give Americans a certain view of a place or a people that is not necessarily accurate? I think Iran is another good example, where we are consistently fed images and notions about a people and a culture that aren’t really accurate.

DS: Or fair minded. But the reality is far more interesting than the same stories we are consistently fed.

DS: And Americans are the donkeys as well?

DS: But people are still consuming what they’re throwing out there though.

DS: It’s dangerous to actually go out there and hit the pavement.

DS: How could there not be?

DS: Sure.

DS: Have you been there?

DS: Why haven’t you?

DS: That shouldn’t be too hard for you.

DS: Esquire?

DS: Esquire does political reporting.

DS: What would be the difficulties for you in achieving that? It seems like you would just have to make a phone call.

DS: I think you’re underrating your stature.

DS: I always wanted to know what the cemeteries are like there. What the funerals are like there. Are they like town meetings in a place where there is so much death?

DS: It fits a template.

DS: The press is often cited for it’s laziness and for reporting any source without checking its accuracy.

DS: Has the war affected you as a person?

DS: It hasn’t affected you then?

DS: It’s affected me.

DS: Every single person I interview I ask about the war because I think it’s important and it has affected me.

DS: That’s what Charles Rangel says.

DS: That’s the only thing that does seem to motivate people to be against the war is to be paying more at the gas pump.

DS: Does it bother you that there’s a lack of outrage?

DS: Or really much about anything.

DS: It doesn’t get better as you go higher

DS: No, that was one of the things that stood out to me at Fordham Law. It’s a top 25 law school in a very vibrant city with a lot of thinkers. I told this anecdote to Floyd Abrams: I was in a Constitutional Law class right after Alito was nominated to be on the Supreme Court. The professor asked 120 law students on the first day of class how many of them thought he should be confirmed. About five students raised their hands. “New York,” I thought. Then he asked how many of them thought Alito should not be confirmed. About ten students raised their hands. Then he asked how many did not feel they had enough information to know. about another five students raised their hands. What is that? 100 students in a Constitutional Law class at a top school can’t proffer an opinion on a Supreme Court nominee? Is that apathy…confusion…fear…? What is it?

DS: After Hurricane Katrina there was a lot of debate on whether we would rebuild one of our own cities as we were over in Iraq demolishing their cities. How did you feel about that?

DS: Yeah, the high areas; the rich areas–

DS: More than it used to be?

DS: Every year you go to Selma? Why?

DS: There was a Times report, I think, about Selma and they say that it is very changed.

DS: Recently Obama and Clinton were down there marching…

DS: And that’s going.

DS: Did you see the election in Alabama when the Christian Coalition defeated the ballot measure to remove the segregation language from the Alabama Constitution that said nobody is guaranteed a right to an education?

DS: Have you changed?

DS: When you were 25 did you look at black people the same way as you look at them now?

DS: Do you think Joel Klein has improved it?

DS: What do you think about Murdoch buying The Wall Street Journal?

DS: It’s painted that way.

DS: Not any more?

DS: Did you see Stephen Colbert roast the Washington Press Corp and Bush at the White House Press Correspondence dinner? Nobody laughed, because they were all coming from the same place.

DS: Because nobody reported about it, or they just said he bombed. Then it went out on the internet and took on a life of its own and people said, “This isn’t bombing, this a roasting of the entire power structure and the power structure decided they didn’t like it.”

DS: A view of the federal government from the national scene? “Here in Denver the reaction to Washington…”

DS: Reporting?

DS: The way it is now, they don’t get an interview with so-and-so if they write something, or they don’t get to go to someone’s party!

DS: Do you think Bob Woodward is still an intrepid Washington reporter? He’s often been accused of being too close to the people he covers.

DS: When I was in my teens and early twenties my travels were very Europe-centric. But as an adult I have been drawn to places either seemingly “dangerous” to me or places that I don’t feel like I know because I’ve read so much about them or seen so often in books and magazines. So Europe is off my map now, though I did sneak into Cuba.

DS: In 2002.

DS: Through the Caymans Islands.

DS: Just took a flight on Aero Caribbean. Now they’ve stopped using the dollar. But back then, they were very much encouraging American tourists to come via Mexico.

DS: 2002.

DS: They stopped using the dollar.

DS: You have the Cuban pesos.

DS: I’m not really sure now because when I was there they had the system where you could actually just use dollars. That’s what we used. The local currency was called pesos convertibles that were convertible into dollars. Of course they have no value anywhere else in the world except in Cuba, but then they stopped doing that. Castro has kind of created Batista’s society in some ways; not in every way. The poor are certainly a lot better off than they were under Batista. But with the embargo, the economy is now very tourist-based, which creates this tourist class. We didn’t stay in the hotels. We wanted to stay in what they call casa particulars and I remember talking to a woman who made $30 a month as a doctor. But running this casa particular, she was making around $300, $500 a month, which made her very rich.

DS: Like a rooming house. Exactly.

DS: That’s probably the best analogy. Staying at those the money goes more to the people. The other thing they tell you when you go to Cuba is to bring aspirin and all these things that are in short supply there. The people who run these Bed and Breakfasts, if you will, make out with all the stuff the tourists give them to be dispersed in their communities. I went to Ecuador. I went camping in the Amazon. These are the places that interest me now. Do you find it similar in your own travels to really seek out things underneath, to pull up rocks and try and find places off the beaten path. Going to Timbuktu or wherever. Do you have a travel philosophy?

DS: And talk to the people.

DS: And a happy society. At least I found a lot of people who were very content. They may not have an easy life, but they were quite content.

DS: People dancing in the streets at night.

DS: And friendly.

DS: My friend I was with was Colombian from Miami, and he made the exact same observation. He had a prejudice against Cubans from his time in Miami and he said, “These people aren’t anything like the Cubans in Miami.”

David Shankbone: Do you have a favorite country you have visited?

DS: You talk about China a lot.

DS: Is it interesting to you to watch China change?

DS: Do you get tired of going to the same region and then you’re like, ‘I need to go to Asia for a while?’

DS: I haven’t been to Asia. It doesn’t particularly interest me all that much. There are countries I would like to see, Cambodia being one. South America is one of the areas that I am most interested to explore because I speak Spanish.

DS: What are the gay bars like?

DS: Are they flamboyant?

DS: It’s because they kill them.

DS: How did you get introduced to a gay bar in Beijing?

DS: Including the European ones, right? English is the international language.

DS: And it’s so basic.

DS: I spoke with a young novelist named John Reed. He wrote a book called Snowball’s Chance that was an attack on Orwell and we were talking about the literary canon that’s taught in grade school and high school. He raised an interesting idea that I wanted to run by you. His point was that kids are not becoming readers. So much of what they learn with books and reading doesn’t seem applicable to their lives. I read in Newsweek that your five favorite novels and there was a lot of classics – The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, things like that. Reed’s point was that kids have a hard time bonding with these materials. What should be taught at those levels is modern literature. At the more senior levels, once they’ve developed acumen for reading and they relate to it on a personal level, then they’ll go exploring the classics and it’s almost more pertinent to them being able to understand it. An analogy would be as if you had children and they only watched Bette Davis and Joan Crawford movies and then the film genre would wither because young people found it difficult to relate to it. What do you think about that idea?

DS: Not kids.

DS: That’s a phenomenon. It’s not really that typical; I mean, it stands out because it’s a billion dollar author.

DS: And they can’t say certain things.

DS: Would you agree with the idea that children don’t grow up reading much anymore, outside of what’s required?

DS: You’re saying that there never was really a time when people read more unless they had cause to read a lot based upon their circumstances?

DS: Is that who you were reading at that age?

DS: I’ve read The Plot Against America.

Uncategorized

Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007 

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey’s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

David Shankbone: Does it bother you that your name has come to mean ‘homosexual’?

DS: [Laughs] “Sports Gay-zing”?

DS: Is your ancestry Sicilian or Northern?

DS: Southern, not Sicilian?

DS: Do you ever pay any attention to Italian politics and the happenings with the Lega Nord?

DS: They can’t seem to do anything politically. They can’t save Venice ….

DS: Do you believe in a higher power?

DS: What do you think happens when we die?

DS: Do you have religion?

DS: Do you pray?

DS: In certain moments more than others?

DS: When do you feel out of control?

DS: What did the letter say?

DS: How many times have you seen your own death?

DS: You wouldn’t want to be a Terri Schiavo.

DS: You’re quite sprite.

DS: Doing what you love

DS: What do you think is the reason there is this collective idea to give Americans a certain view of a place or a people that is not necessarily accurate? I think Iran is another good example, where we are consistently fed images and notions about a people and a culture that aren’t really accurate.

DS: Or fair minded. But the reality is far more interesting than the same stories we are consistently fed.

DS: And Americans are the donkeys as well?

DS: But people are still consuming what they’re throwing out there though.

DS: It’s dangerous to actually go out there and hit the pavement.

DS: How could there not be?

DS: Sure.

DS: Have you been there?

DS: Why haven’t you?

DS: That shouldn’t be too hard for you.

DS: Esquire?

DS: Esquire does political reporting.

DS: What would be the difficulties for you in achieving that? It seems like you would just have to make a phone call.

DS: I think you’re underrating your stature.

DS: I always wanted to know what the cemeteries are like there. What the funerals are like there. Are they like town meetings in a place where there is so much death?

DS: It fits a template.

DS: The press is often cited for it’s laziness and for reporting any source without checking its accuracy.

DS: Has the war affected you as a person?

DS: It hasn’t affected you then?

DS: It’s affected me.

DS: Every single person I interview I ask about the war because I think it’s important and it has affected me.

DS: That’s what Charles Rangel says.

DS: That’s the only thing that does seem to motivate people to be against the war is to be paying more at the gas pump.

DS: Does it bother you that there’s a lack of outrage?

DS: Or really much about anything.

DS: It doesn’t get better as you go higher

DS: No, that was one of the things that stood out to me at Fordham Law. It’s a top 25 law school in a very vibrant city with a lot of thinkers. I told this anecdote to Floyd Abrams: I was in a Constitutional Law class right after Alito was nominated to be on the Supreme Court. The professor asked 120 law students on the first day of class how many of them thought he should be confirmed. About five students raised their hands. “New York,” I thought. Then he asked how many of them thought Alito should not be confirmed. About ten students raised their hands. Then he asked how many did not feel they had enough information to know. about another five students raised their hands. What is that? 100 students in a Constitutional Law class at a top school can’t proffer an opinion on a Supreme Court nominee? Is that apathy…confusion…fear…? What is it?

DS: After Hurricane Katrina there was a lot of debate on whether we would rebuild one of our own cities as we were over in Iraq demolishing their cities. How did you feel about that?

DS: Yeah, the high areas; the rich areas–

DS: More than it used to be?

DS: Every year you go to Selma? Why?

DS: There was a Times report, I think, about Selma and they say that it is very changed.

DS: Recently Obama and Clinton were down there marching…

DS: And that’s going.

DS: Did you see the election in Alabama when the Christian Coalition defeated the ballot measure to remove the segregation language from the Alabama Constitution that said nobody is guaranteed a right to an education?

DS: Have you changed?

DS: When you were 25 did you look at black people the same way as you look at them now?

DS: Do you think Joel Klein has improved it?

DS: What do you think about Murdoch buying The Wall Street Journal?

DS: It’s painted that way.

DS: Not any more?

DS: Did you see Stephen Colbert roast the Washington Press Corp and Bush at the White House Press Correspondence dinner? Nobody laughed, because they were all coming from the same place.

DS: Because nobody reported about it, or they just said he bombed. Then it went out on the internet and took on a life of its own and people said, “This isn’t bombing, this a roasting of the entire power structure and the power structure decided they didn’t like it.”

DS: A view of the federal government from the national scene? “Here in Denver the reaction to Washington…”

DS: Reporting?

DS: The way it is now, they don’t get an interview with so-and-so if they write something, or they don’t get to go to someone’s party!

DS: Do you think Bob Woodward is still an intrepid Washington reporter? He’s often been accused of being too close to the people he covers.

DS: When I was in my teens and early twenties my travels were very Europe-centric. But as an adult I have been drawn to places either seemingly “dangerous” to me or places that I don’t feel like I know because I’ve read so much about them or seen so often in books and magazines. So Europe is off my map now, though I did sneak into Cuba.

DS: In 2002.

DS: Through the Caymans Islands.

DS: Just took a flight on Aero Caribbean. Now they’ve stopped using the dollar. But back then, they were very much encouraging American tourists to come via Mexico.

DS: 2002.

DS: They stopped using the dollar.

DS: You have the Cuban pesos.

DS: I’m not really sure now because when I was there they had the system where you could actually just use dollars. That’s what we used. The local currency was called pesos convertibles that were convertible into dollars. Of course they have no value anywhere else in the world except in Cuba, but then they stopped doing that. Castro has kind of created Batista’s society in some ways; not in every way. The poor are certainly a lot better off than they were under Batista. But with the embargo, the economy is now very tourist-based, which creates this tourist class. We didn’t stay in the hotels. We wanted to stay in what they call casa particulars and I remember talking to a woman who made $30 a month as a doctor. But running this casa particular, she was making around $300, $500 a month, which made her very rich.

DS: Like a rooming house. Exactly.

DS: That’s probably the best analogy. Staying at those the money goes more to the people. The other thing they tell you when you go to Cuba is to bring aspirin and all these things that are in short supply there. The people who run these Bed and Breakfasts, if you will, make out with all the stuff the tourists give them to be dispersed in their communities. I went to Ecuador. I went camping in the Amazon. These are the places that interest me now. Do you find it similar in your own travels to really seek out things underneath, to pull up rocks and try and find places off the beaten path. Going to Timbuktu or wherever. Do you have a travel philosophy?

DS: And talk to the people.

DS: And a happy society. At least I found a lot of people who were very content. They may not have an easy life, but they were quite content.

DS: People dancing in the streets at night.

DS: And friendly.

DS: My friend I was with was Colombian from Miami, and he made the exact same observation. He had a prejudice against Cubans from his time in Miami and he said, “These people aren’t anything like the Cubans in Miami.”

David Shankbone: Do you have a favorite country you have visited?

DS: You talk about China a lot.

DS: Is it interesting to you to watch China change?

DS: Do you get tired of going to the same region and then you’re like, ‘I need to go to Asia for a while?’

DS: I haven’t been to Asia. It doesn’t particularly interest me all that much. There are countries I would like to see, Cambodia being one. South America is one of the areas that I am most interested to explore because I speak Spanish.

DS: What are the gay bars like?

DS: Are they flamboyant?

DS: It’s because they kill them.

DS: How did you get introduced to a gay bar in Beijing?

DS: Including the European ones, right? English is the international language.

DS: And it’s so basic.

DS: I spoke with a young novelist named John Reed. He wrote a book called Snowball’s Chance that was an attack on Orwell and we were talking about the literary canon that’s taught in grade school and high school. He raised an interesting idea that I wanted to run by you. His point was that kids are not becoming readers. So much of what they learn with books and reading doesn’t seem applicable to their lives. I read in Newsweek that your five favorite novels and there was a lot of classics – The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, things like that. Reed’s point was that kids have a hard time bonding with these materials. What should be taught at those levels is modern literature. At the more senior levels, once they’ve developed acumen for reading and they relate to it on a personal level, then they’ll go exploring the classics and it’s almost more pertinent to them being able to understand it. An analogy would be as if you had children and they only watched Bette Davis and Joan Crawford movies and then the film genre would wither because young people found it difficult to relate to it. What do you think about that idea?

DS: Not kids.

DS: That’s a phenomenon. It’s not really that typical; I mean, it stands out because it’s a billion dollar author.

DS: And they can’t say certain things.

DS: Would you agree with the idea that children don’t grow up reading much anymore, outside of what’s required?

DS: You’re saying that there never was really a time when people read more unless they had cause to read a lot based upon their circumstances?

DS: Is that who you were reading at that age?

DS: I’ve read The Plot Against America.

Uncategorized

Gay Talese on the state of journalism, Iraq and his life

Saturday, October 27, 2007 

Gay Talese wants to go to Iraq. “It so happens there is someone that’s working on such a thing right now for me,” the 75-year-old legendary journalist and author told David Shankbone. “Even if I was on Al-Jazeera with a gun to my head, I wouldn’t be pleading with those bastards! I’d say, ‘Go ahead. Make my day.'”

Few reporters will ever reach the stature of Talese. His 1966 profile of Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra Has a Cold, was not only cited by The Economist as the greatest profile of Sinatra ever written, but is considered the greatest of any celebrity profile ever written. In the 70th anniversary issue of Esquire in October 2003, the editors declared the piece the “Best Story Esquire Ever Published.”

Talese helped create and define a new style of literary reporting called New Journalism. Talese himself told National Public Radio he rejects this label (“The term new journalism became very fashionable on college campuses in the 1970s and some of its practitioners tended to be a little loose with the facts. And that’s where I wanted to part company.”)

He is not bothered by the Bancrofts selling The Wall Street Journal—”It’s not like we should lament the passing of some noble dynasty!”—to Rupert Murdoch, but he is bothered by how the press supported and sold the Iraq War to the American people. “The press in Washington got us into this war as much as the people that are controlling it,” said Talese. “They took information that was second-hand information, and they went along with it.” He wants to see the Washington press corp disbanded and sent around the country to get back in touch with the people it covers; that the press should not be so focused on–and in bed with–the federal government.

Augusten Burroughs once said that writers are experience junkies, and Talese fits the bill. Talese–who has been married to Nan Talese (she edited James Frey’s Million Little Piece) for fifty years–can be found at baseball games in Cuba or the gay bars of Beijing, wanting to see humanity in all its experience.

Below is Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with Gay Talese.

David Shankbone: Does it bother you that your name has come to mean ‘homosexual’?

DS: [Laughs] “Sports Gay-zing”?

DS: Is your ancestry Sicilian or Northern?

DS: Southern, not Sicilian?

DS: Do you ever pay any attention to Italian politics and the happenings with the Lega Nord?

DS: They can’t seem to do anything politically. They can’t save Venice ….

DS: Do you believe in a higher power?

DS: What do you think happens when we die?

DS: Do you have religion?

DS: Do you pray?

DS: In certain moments more than others?

DS: When do you feel out of control?

DS: What did the letter say?

DS: How many times have you seen your own death?

DS: You wouldn’t want to be a Terri Schiavo.

DS: You’re quite sprite.

DS: Doing what you love

DS: What do you think is the reason there is this collective idea to give Americans a certain view of a place or a people that is not necessarily accurate? I think Iran is another good example, where we are consistently fed images and notions about a people and a culture that aren’t really accurate.

DS: Or fair minded. But the reality is far more interesting than the same stories we are consistently fed.

DS: And Americans are the donkeys as well?

DS: But people are still consuming what they’re throwing out there though.

DS: It’s dangerous to actually go out there and hit the pavement.

DS: How could there not be?

DS: Sure.

DS: Have you been there?

DS: Why haven’t you?

DS: That shouldn’t be too hard for you.

DS: Esquire?

DS: Esquire does political reporting.

DS: What would be the difficulties for you in achieving that? It seems like you would just have to make a phone call.

DS: I think you’re underrating your stature.

DS: I always wanted to know what the cemeteries are like there. What the funerals are like there. Are they like town meetings in a place where there is so much death?

DS: It fits a template.

DS: The press is often cited for it’s laziness and for reporting any source without checking its accuracy.

DS: Has the war affected you as a person?

DS: It hasn’t affected you then?

DS: It’s affected me.

DS: Every single person I interview I ask about the war because I think it’s important and it has affected me.

DS: That’s what Charles Rangel says.

DS: That’s the only thing that does seem to motivate people to be against the war is to be paying more at the gas pump.

DS: Does it bother you that there’s a lack of outrage?

DS: Or really much about anything.

DS: It doesn’t get better as you go higher

DS: No, that was one of the things that stood out to me at Fordham Law. It’s a top 25 law school in a very vibrant city with a lot of thinkers. I told this anecdote to Floyd Abrams: I was in a Constitutional Law class right after Alito was nominated to be on the Supreme Court. The professor asked 120 law students on the first day of class how many of them thought he should be confirmed. About five students raised their hands. “New York,” I thought. Then he asked how many of them thought Alito should not be confirmed. About ten students raised their hands. Then he asked how many did not feel they had enough information to know. about another five students raised their hands. What is that? 100 students in a Constitutional Law class at a top school can’t proffer an opinion on a Supreme Court nominee? Is that apathy…confusion…fear…? What is it?

DS: After Hurricane Katrina there was a lot of debate on whether we would rebuild one of our own cities as we were over in Iraq demolishing their cities. How did you feel about that?

DS: Yeah, the high areas; the rich areas–

DS: More than it used to be?

DS: Every year you go to Selma? Why?

DS: There was a Times report, I think, about Selma and they say that it is very changed.

DS: Recently Obama and Clinton were down there marching…

DS: And that’s going.

DS: Did you see the election in Alabama when the Christian Coalition defeated the ballot measure to remove the segregation language from the Alabama Constitution that said nobody is guaranteed a right to an education?

DS: Have you changed?

DS: When you were 25 did you look at black people the same way as you look at them now?

DS: Do you think Joel Klein has improved it?

DS: What do you think about Murdoch buying The Wall Street Journal?

DS: It’s painted that way.

DS: Not any more?

DS: Did you see Stephen Colbert roast the Washington Press Corp and Bush at the White House Press Correspondence dinner? Nobody laughed, because they were all coming from the same place.

DS: Because nobody reported about it, or they just said he bombed. Then it went out on the internet and took on a life of its own and people said, “This isn’t bombing, this a roasting of the entire power structure and the power structure decided they didn’t like it.”

DS: A view of the federal government from the national scene? “Here in Denver the reaction to Washington…”

DS: Reporting?

DS: The way it is now, they don’t get an interview with so-and-so if they write something, or they don’t get to go to someone’s party!

DS: Do you think Bob Woodward is still an intrepid Washington reporter? He’s often been accused of being too close to the people he covers.

DS: When I was in my teens and early twenties my travels were very Europe-centric. But as an adult I have been drawn to places either seemingly “dangerous” to me or places that I don’t feel like I know because I’ve read so much about them or seen so often in books and magazines. So Europe is off my map now, though I did sneak into Cuba.

DS: In 2002.

DS: Through the Caymans Islands.

DS: Just took a flight on Aero Caribbean. Now they’ve stopped using the dollar. But back then, they were very much encouraging American tourists to come via Mexico.

DS: 2002.

DS: They stopped using the dollar.

DS: You have the Cuban pesos.

DS: I’m not really sure now because when I was there they had the system where you could actually just use dollars. That’s what we used. The local currency was called pesos convertibles that were convertible into dollars. Of course they have no value anywhere else in the world except in Cuba, but then they stopped doing that. Castro has kind of created Batista’s society in some ways; not in every way. The poor are certainly a lot better off than they were under Batista. But with the embargo, the economy is now very tourist-based, which creates this tourist class. We didn’t stay in the hotels. We wanted to stay in what they call casa particulars and I remember talking to a woman who made $30 a month as a doctor. But running this casa particular, she was making around $300, $500 a month, which made her very rich.

DS: Like a rooming house. Exactly.

DS: That’s probably the best analogy. Staying at those the money goes more to the people. The other thing they tell you when you go to Cuba is to bring aspirin and all these things that are in short supply there. The people who run these Bed and Breakfasts, if you will, make out with all the stuff the tourists give them to be dispersed in their communities. I went to Ecuador. I went camping in the Amazon. These are the places that interest me now. Do you find it similar in your own travels to really seek out things underneath, to pull up rocks and try and find places off the beaten path. Going to Timbuktu or wherever. Do you have a travel philosophy?

DS: And talk to the people.

DS: And a happy society. At least I found a lot of people who were very content. They may not have an easy life, but they were quite content.

DS: People dancing in the streets at night.

DS: And friendly.

DS: My friend I was with was Colombian from Miami, and he made the exact same observation. He had a prejudice against Cubans from his time in Miami and he said, “These people aren’t anything like the Cubans in Miami.”

David Shankbone: Do you have a favorite country you have visited?

DS: You talk about China a lot.

DS: Is it interesting to you to watch China change?

DS: Do you get tired of going to the same region and then you’re like, ‘I need to go to Asia for a while?’

DS: I haven’t been to Asia. It doesn’t particularly interest me all that much. There are countries I would like to see, Cambodia being one. South America is one of the areas that I am most interested to explore because I speak Spanish.

DS: What are the gay bars like?

DS: Are they flamboyant?

DS: It’s because they kill them.

DS: How did you get introduced to a gay bar in Beijing?

DS: Including the European ones, right? English is the international language.

DS: And it’s so basic.

DS: I spoke with a young novelist named John Reed. He wrote a book called Snowball’s Chance that was an attack on Orwell and we were talking about the literary canon that’s taught in grade school and high school. He raised an interesting idea that I wanted to run by you. His point was that kids are not becoming readers. So much of what they learn with books and reading doesn’t seem applicable to their lives. I read in Newsweek that your five favorite novels and there was a lot of classics – The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, things like that. Reed’s point was that kids have a hard time bonding with these materials. What should be taught at those levels is modern literature. At the more senior levels, once they’ve developed acumen for reading and they relate to it on a personal level, then they’ll go exploring the classics and it’s almost more pertinent to them being able to understand it. An analogy would be as if you had children and they only watched Bette Davis and Joan Crawford movies and then the film genre would wither because young people found it difficult to relate to it. What do you think about that idea?

DS: Not kids.

DS: That’s a phenomenon. It’s not really that typical; I mean, it stands out because it’s a billion dollar author.

DS: And they can’t say certain things.

DS: Would you agree with the idea that children don’t grow up reading much anymore, outside of what’s required?

DS: You’re saying that there never was really a time when people read more unless they had cause to read a lot based upon their circumstances?

DS: Is that who you were reading at that age?

DS: I’ve read The Plot Against America.

Surveyors

Learning The Course Of Action Right Behind Home Loans Without Deposit Melbourne

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by

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So how exactly does home rent to buy Melbourne operates?

Usually income lender offers you about 95 % from the loan and tends to make design associated with an accredited credit card transporting something of about $ 20,500 combined with mortgage. A person\’s eye in the credit greeting card is as little as the property loan interest with the result that you are able to Rent To Buy Melbourne

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The actual lender expects that you show a balance of about 5% of getting value within your bank-account that has been stable pertaining to minimal 3 months. This is because there are people who take credit coming from fellow workers or perhaps buddies for few days in order that the lowest 5 percent quantity gets viewable inside the accounts. The three 30 days holding period of time helps to make the lender assured of one\’s capability to set up adequate funds. You can make utilization of imaginative method of capital just in case you would not have down payment associated with 5 percent much like the common standards of the financial institution. But this sort of Rent To Own Melbourne

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NASA: Series of errors led to loss of Mars Global Surveyor

Saturday, April 14, 2007 

A complex series of events, including a five month-old computer error, was responsible for the battery failure that led to the loss of NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor last year, an internal review board says. Findings from a preliminary report released on Friday say that while NASA controllers followed procedures while operating the craft, the procedures did not cover the types of errors that occurred.

According to NASA, on November 2, 2006, the Global Surveyor was ordered to perform a routine adjustment of its solar panels. However, the Global Surveyor reoriented to an angle that exposed one of its two batteries to direct sunlight. The battery overheated, which led to the depletion of both batteries. An incorrect setting in antenna orientation prevented Global Surveyor from relaying its status to NASA controllers. Its preprogrammed systems did not take into account the need to maintain a thermally safe orientation.

That was the last communication that NASA controllers had with the spacecraft.

The Global Surveyor was the first US mission to Mars in twenty years, For ten years, the craft returned detailed information to NASA scientists providing new insights, including evidence that appeared to show the presence of water on Mars and identification of deposits of water-related minerals, which led to selection of a Mars rover landing site.

“The loss of the spacecraft was the result of a series of events linked to a computer error made five months before the likely battery failure,” said Dolly Perkins, board chairperson and deputy director-technical of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The board concluded that NASA controllers had followed procedures, but that the procedures did not adequately cover the type of errors that occurred. In its final report, the board will offer recommendations applicable to future missions.

“We are making an end-to-end review of all our missions to be sure that we apply the lessons learned from Mars Global Surveyor to all our ongoing missions,” said Fuk Li, Mars Exploration Program manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The Global Surveyor was the longest operating spacecraft at Mars and had lasted four times longer than expected.

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Jewelry courier robbed in Washington; three men arrested

Thursday, September 27, 2007 

Three American men were arrested after they robbed a jewelry courier at gunpoint today. The robbery was made at a McDonalds restaurant in Factoria, Washington at approximately 9:40 a.m.

The men drove away but the courier was lucky enough to provide a description of the white van and the robbers, who were pursued by local police towards Interstate 90 in Snoqualmie, Washington, east of Factoria, where the van was stopped. The three men were arrested and the van was searched by a K-9 unit.

The value of the jewels is unknown.

Uncategorized

Jewelry courier robbed in Washington; three men arrested

Thursday, September 27, 2007 

Three American men were arrested after they robbed a jewelry courier at gunpoint today. The robbery was made at a McDonalds restaurant in Factoria, Washington at approximately 9:40 a.m.

The men drove away but the courier was lucky enough to provide a description of the white van and the robbers, who were pursued by local police towards Interstate 90 in Snoqualmie, Washington, east of Factoria, where the van was stopped. The three men were arrested and the van was searched by a K-9 unit.

The value of the jewels is unknown.