(Working) Vacation

As of an hour ago, I’m officially on vacation until September. Tomorrow morning I’m putting on my journalist hat (and cape?) and will be covering the Democratic National Convention from Denver.

Keystone Politics, my business, will be credentialed to cover the convention. We’ll be doing our usual stories and also have a brand-new channel on YouTube.

In addition to that, I’ll be doing TV segments for NBN of the Philippines and hopefully I’ll get a few pieces in the Guardian’s website as well.

Phew! That’ll be more than enough work for me. I’ll keep you posted – look for my first Youtube video on Friday.

Bill Sali Isn’t Smart

There are many stupid members of Congress, but Bill Sali might be numero uno. From ThinkProgress:

Rep. Bill Sali (R-ID), who is participating in the GOP’s ongoing “Drill Now” energy stunt, has a unique idea about how to bring down gas prices: extracting oil from trees. In a meeting in his Capitol Hill office, Sali reportedly told a candidate for Idaho’s House of Representatives, Byron Yankey, that there “‘could be up to 40 barrels of oil’ in a single tree.”

Covering the Olympics Behind the Great Firewall

I didn’t catch this last month, but enjoyed reading the Talk to the Newsroom where the Times’ two Olympics editors answered questions. Truth be told, I enjoy this feature immensely, but it was particularly interesting to see the sorts of questions readers asked about covering the Olympics.

Flash forward a month and the Times ran a worthwhile and fairly critical story of how the Chinese government has walled off “undesirable” areas of Beijing so Olympic visitors can’t see them. The story is balanced, though I tend to think the situation in China is worse for the average citizen than we know.

First, a Chinese official comments:

A planning official, Zhi Wenguang, said, “We extended an existing wall to improve the overall environment for Olympic events.”

That, of course, is quite a bit of Doublespeak (and interestingly until I read that Wiki entry I thought Orwell coined the term). The view of local business owners seems more accurate:

Now a wall conceals a little cove of entrepreneurship where several
migrant families sell socks, book bags, pants, noodles and shish kebabs
cooked in a spicy soup. One family behind the wall sells ice cream,
popsicles and cold drinks from a refrigerator on wheels.

Zhao
Fengxia, a neighbor who owns three shops, said she believed that
officials and developers were using Olympic beautification as a pretext
to strangle their business and put pressure on them to leave.