I’ll be doing this. I hope you will, too.
DEAR USERS OF THE INTERNET,
In January 2012 we defeated the SOPA and PIPA censorship legislation with the largest Internet protest in history. Today we face another critical threat, one that again undermines the Internet and the notion that any of us live in a genuinely free society: mass surveillance.
In celebration of the win against SOPA and PIPA two years ago, and in memory of one of its leaders,Aaron Swartz, we are planning a day of protest against mass surveillance, to take place this February 11th.
Together we will push back against powers that seek to observe, collect, and analyze our every digital action. Together, we will make it clear that such behavior is not compatible with democratic governance. Together, if we persist, we will win this fight.
Paula Myrick Short, Ph.D.
Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, University of Houston
Dear Vice President Short,
The actions of Lisa Shumate yesterday are causing a backlash against Houston Public Media, as you are no doubt aware. I and untold numbers of others have cancelled our memberships due to the unceremonious dismissals of people that just made extraordinary efforts in the fundraising campaign. Promises of continued, improved multi-modal support for the Houston arts community ring hollow on the back of canceling The Front Row and instead relaying music programmed elsewhere.
Classical music fans are extremely spoiled today: three dedicated satellite radio channels; almost limitless options online via internet radio stations and services like Spotify and Pandora; cars that can play anything from an iPod…virtually the entire classical catalog is available instantly. To differentiate itself in this consumer paradise, KUHA has a golden opportunity: offering 24/7 access to the Houston arts scene. Live and recorded music from the Moores School alone could fill several hours each day without repeating. Add in The Front Row and programming the Shepherd School, HGO, HSO, and the many professional ensembles and choral groups that call Houston home, and you have a complete schedule that will never run dry.
Houston Public Media, as demonstrated by Lisa Shumate yesterday, is neither Houston nor Public. I urge you to replace her with someone that understands the true potential of 91.7, and to restore the employees she has let go.
Joe Carl White
former KUHA member and listener
Lisa Trapani Shumate
Executive Director & General Manager
KUHA-FM Classical 91.7 Houston Public Radio
I am terribly disappointed at the news of the staff firings today. To do so after having just conducted a membership campaign is truly reprehensible. Therefore, I have cancelled my membership.
Joe Carl White
N.B. Today, Mrs. Shumate fired 10 of the local announcers on our classical public radio station, after they completed the membership drive.
I would like to invite you to my concert Sentimental Journey: Threeton & White Do Songs of the 30′s & 40′s, on Saturday, October 12.
For all those who wish to give more power to the state.
From Ken White at Popehat:
Armando Saldate, Jr. had been adjudged to be a liar on four occasions and a lawbreaker on five others.
No rational person would accept his word as an adequate basis to do anything of importance — let alone as a basis to take a life.
But we do not speak of rational people today. We speak of the criminal justice system. And the criminal justice system is choked with people it has thoroughly captured — people irrationally convinced of, or indifferent to, the credibility of people like Armando Saldate, Jr.
That’s because Armando Saldate, Jr. was a police officer.
The State of Arizona, based on almost nothing but Saldate’s word, has been trying to kill Debra Jean Milke for nearly a quarter-century. Today the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said they can’t.
[From The Presumption of Truth]
Please, read the whole thing.
In recent weeks I (and my family and clients) have been exposed to a number of scams. I thought I should highlight them to help others avoid falling for them.
- Both sets of my in-laws received a call from (302) 464-5393. The caller, a male who spoke with a heavy Indian accent, claimed to be from Microsoft and stated that their machine had been hacked, but that they could repair it remotely. You can see reports of similar scam calls from this number at 800notes.com, callercenter.com, & whocallsme.com.
- A client was having issues with their ATT/Yahoo! email, and was trying to find a number for customer support. The number that they found, 888-307-9126, is for a company that is not related to AT&T or Yahoo, and may or may not be legitimate. The correct number for AT&T support is 877-722-3755 (or 800-288-2020 for U-verse).
There was a young woman trolling our neighborhood stating her name as Angel Germain, claiming to be a neighbor and that she’s a mechanical engineering major at UT working on restoring a P51 Mustang. She said that her dad is making her get off her duff and raise funds so that she can go work with Boeing on the restoration. But “do to laws” she couldn’t fundraise directly, so was selling books that would be donated to Texas Children’s Hospital, and a portion of the proceeds would help her group (she then shows me the her laminated certificate with Angelica Germain on it…ooh, official!). When I told her we had a household policy of not donating at the door but asked her for a website for the group working on project, she stormed off in a huff, saying if I couldn’t help her the way she asked, then not to bother.
Glad I had finished my remote clients early in order to play detective: https://local.nixle.com/alert/4868486/
I then drove around and found her at a neighbor’s house…too late to save them from giving her a couple of bucks, but while she was still at the door I asked the homeowner what name she had given…this time, it was Zimmerman. As she started to leave, I asked her for her actual address. “2005 Addison.” Doesn’t exist. She then started leaving in a hurry, saying I was harassing her. “On the contrary, you’re scamming my neighbors.” She was last seen walking west down Holcombe (to which I also advised the local constabulary). White female, ~5’5″, early-mid 20′s, skinny, glasses, two long braids in fabric wrappers.
It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there…keep your wits about you.
I wish I had a tenth of his letter-writing skills.
Here’s a letter to the Washington Post:
Have you noticed the enormous increase in greedy speculation in the northeast over the past two days? It’s quite something! In advance of hurricane Sandy, consumers are now artificially increasing the scarcity today of the likes of bottled water, canned goods, batteries, and medicines by stocking up on these goods.
And all of this self-interested speculation – done merely in anticipation of staple goods being much more scarce after Sandy strikes than they are today – is applauded and even encouraged by the news media and government leaders!
What gives? Many of the same people who today publicly encourage us to speculate (“Make sure your family has ample supplies of batteries!”) are among the loudest critics of speculation at other times and in other markets.
But in fact the oil speculator who, say, buys oil today in anticipation of oil becoming more scarce tomorrow does just what a consumer does today in a supermarket in anticipation of a disruptive storm: both persons usefully transfer resources across time. They both stock up on resources that are today relatively abundant in order to preserve these resources for consumption at a time when they are relatively more scarce (and, hence, more precious). Both persons transfer resources from today – when the consumption of any one bottle of water or gallon of gasoline provides relatively less benefit – to tomorrow when the consumption of that same bottle of water or gallon of gasoline will provide relatively more benefit.
Anticipating the future and taking actions to allocate goods and services from times of relative abundance to times of relatively greater scarcity is an immensely useful activity. And we all perform such speculation whether or not we are popularly identified as “speculators.”
Donald J. Boudreaux
Professor of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
[From Speculators Storm Safeway!]
John Gremillion and I are biking 1850 miles to raise money for the MMRF in honor of my mom. Check it out at http://danube2012.com
I love the Journal of Improbable Research
Seventeenth century opera houses produced more than just music, a reality brought forth in this study:
‘Pots, Privies and WCs: Crapping at the Opera in London before 1830‘, Michael Burden. Cambridge Opera Journal, vol. 23, nos. 1-2, July 2011), pp 27-50.
Author Michael Burden [pictured here] is Tutor in Music, Dean, Chattels and Pictures Fellow and Professor of Opera Studies at New College, University of Oxford. His study contains the following indication, perhaps for multiple reasons: ”This article was conceived while working at the Huntington Library, San Marino, California on an Andrew Mellon Fellowship.”
Here’s the abstract of this lavishly detailed study:
What was the interplay between plumbing and the routines of audience behaviour at London’s eighteenth-century opera house? A simple question, perhaps, but it proves to be a subject with scarce evidence, and even scarcer commentary. This article sets out to document as far as possible the developments in plumbing in the London theatres, moving from the chamber pot to the privy to the installation of the first water-closets, addressing questions of the audience’s general behaviour, the beginnings in London of a ‘listening’ audience, and the performance of music between the acts. It concludes that the bills were performed without intervals, and that in an evening that frequently ran to four hours in length, audience members moved around the auditorium, and came and went much as they pleased (to the pot, privy or WC), demonstrating that singers would have had to contend throughout their performances with a large quantity of low-level noise.
(Thanks to investigator Susan DeFelice for bringing this to our attention.)
[From “Crapping at the Opera in London before 1830? [study]]
Full study here.