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May 2008

May 29, 2008

eState Keynote

Dscf1044 More from the eState Symposium.

Keynote speaker Lewis Feldstein is the president of the New Hampshire Charitable Foundation, but more importantly, he's the author (with Robert Putnam) of Better Together: Restoring the American Community. The Alumni Auditorium is almost full for his speech, and there are people watching on streaming video from Manchester, Montpelier, Newport and Brattleboro.

He mainly talked about social capital, i.e. community, and why it's important. "It's not just a kumbaya, la de da, isn't that nice, let's all have community," he says. "There are real benefits."

Continue reading "eState Keynote" »

eState Intro

Just getting settled at the eState Symposium. Not sure what to call it. The name is kinda long "Building Community in a 'Connected Age'" doesn't quite roll off the tongue. BCiaCA? BuCCA? I think I'll go with eState Symposium.

I'm sitting at a table, waiting for the sessions to begin. Who's here? I've already met an interesting cross-section of attendees.

Wesley, a student at Champlain, studying "art and animation." He's in the video game program, but didn't describe himself that way so he'd seem less nerdy. Didn't seem nerdy at all, actually.

Mary Catherine Jones, who works with the Children's Literacy Foundation. CLiF donates new books to libraries, schools and battered womens' shelters. We talked about how our forebearers didn't have book growing up. And that morphed into,"Can you imagine, someday we'll be talking about how our forebearers talked on phones that were connected to the wall." Ha ha.

David Punia, from the Vermont Assisstive Technology Program. He's working on a tablet PC with a bumper sticker on the back: "Your attitude just might be my biggest barrier."

"Technology is increasingly the way that many people with disabilities can access community electronically," he tells me. "For many people, it's just opening so many doors."

The room is filling up with people, and I feel anti-social for working on my computer.

Live Blogging the e-State Symposium

This morning I'm headed to Champlain College for the Snelling Center's day-long symposium, "Building Community in a 'Connected Age'".

I agreed to be on the organizing committee months ago, when I was feeling optimistic about the amount of time I have for anything that's not related to my job or my growing family. But of course I got swamped with work as usual, and I haven't been reminding everyone that I'm going to be live blogging the event today on Blurt. So expect a flurry of posts about panels and keynotes and such.

Bill Simmon will also be live blogging at Candleblog.

May 28, 2008

Rebecca Drysdale, Time-Traveling Lesbian

One of my lady-loving friends just sent this to me on Facebook. "This is laugh-out-loud outrageous show that you must watch!" she says. "And because each episode is under 5 minutes, you can fit it into your busy lifestyle."

Must-watch, indeed. This is "Episode I: She hears the call."

Burlington Telecom Meeting Report

No, it's not an official Seven Days write-up. I was working while this meeting was going on. Not sure if one of the writers made it there.

But Haik Bedrosian showed up, and posted this meeting round-up on BurlingtonPol.

*Councilor Decelles spoke against keeping Al Jazeera on Burlington Telecom, citing veterans who live in Ward Seven. In a moment of muddled logic, he said he would never subscribe to Burlington Telecom because of them. Actually, Paul will never subscribe because he doesn't believe in the city owning a telecom company, whether they have Al Jazeera or not.

*Several speakers including James Vos reminded the committee that Al Jazeera has a large audience in Israel.

*One lady reminded councilor Decelles that veterans fought for our freedoms, including freedom of speech.

*Owen Mulligan said it was pathetic that BT no longer takes cash payments.

The Free Press has a more thorough but less colorful account. There will be another public meeting in a few weeks. Stay tuned!

May 27, 2008

Project Porchlight Launch

I wanted to follow up on my earlier Project Porchlight post with a more recent video.

After swapping one million light bulbs in Canada, Project Porchlight launched last week in the States. 36,000 CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs) are headed into Vermont porches free of charge. You can still volunteer to help hand 'em out.

Continue reading "Project Porchlight Launch" »

Mouse Wars

Cimg0237 Episode I: The Rodent Menace

    Roughly a week ago, Seven Days office manager and Solid State blogger Bridget Burns gave me some homemade cookies to take home to my new apartment in downtown Burlington. When I got home, I left   the cookies on top of my fridge, forgetting to put them away before I went to sleep.
    When I awoke, the napkin I wrapped the cookies in was on the kitchen floor and upon further examination, one cookie was missing. No crumbs, remnants or shreds of cookie were found.
    “Oh, no,” I thought, “I’ve been sleep-eating. This is not good”
    Later that day, I discovered the cookie on the side of my stove. Only, this was no ordinary cookie.
    The center of the baked delight was gnawed out by little teeth.
    “Oh crap. I have a mouse.”
    I began hunting to avenge the cookie, armed with old school mousetraps and extra chunky peanut butter.

Continue reading "Mouse Wars" »

On Academic Elitism

Graduation season just came and went. For recent graduates and their parents, that meant silly hats and free mini hot dogs. But college degrees, lest we forget, are also important political tools, not to mention bell weathers of class warfare, social inequality and other less-savory aspects of the American Dream.

Jumping on the annual graduation-related-story bandwagon, Sunday's New York Times explored America's "ambivalent" obsession with educational cred. In her think piece, "The Snare of Privilege," reporter Elizabeth Bumiller pointed out that, despite their populist rhetoric, all three presidential candidates are graduates of elite universities.

(Curious to know which ones? Obama went to Columbia and Harvard; Clinton to Wellesley and Yale and McCain to the U.S. Naval Academy.)

"In an increasingly populist country," Bumiller wrote, "it’s not surprising that all three presidential contenders have been sprinting away from the elitist label for much of this primary season. But do they really expect to get away with it?"

"More to the point," she added, "should they? Don’t voters want the best and brightest, and best-credentialed, rising to the top?"


Continue reading "On Academic Elitism" »

With God on Our Side

Markos Kounalakis, president of The Washington Monthly magazine, has directed a short-film adaptation of Mark Twain's "The War Prayer," a searing indictment of the toxic mix of religion and patriotism, written in 1905. It's definitely worth 14 minutes, 21 seconds of your time.

The illustrations, by the animator Akis Dimitrakopoulos, are haunting. Actor/activist Peter Coyote narrates, with the poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti taking over as the mysterious visitor, "come from the throne — bearing a message from Almighty God!"

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.

Amen.

Al Jazeera to Film Burlington Meeting

Hey, Burlington Telecom subscribers! This is your big chance to be on Al Jazeera!

The Arab news network has hired a local film crew to record the public meeting tonight at City Hall, where two advisory boards discuss BT's recent announcement that it will drop the channel from its cable lineup. Show up at Burlington City Hall at 4 p.m. tonight to add your two cents to the debate and you might get 15 seconds of fame.

Whether you'll be able to tune in to see the broadcast is still up in the air...

UPDATE: If you can't make it tonight, you can watch the live video stream on the CCTV website.

UPDATE II: Oops. What I meant was, BT subscribers can watch the meeting live on Channel 317. The program will air at a later date on the website, and on Channel 17. Sorry for the confusion.

 

 

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