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Making The Newsroom Of A Paper Sound The Way It Once Did

August 27, 2014

This is just a grand story.

Almost as if the digital revolution never happened, the newsroom of The Times once again resounds to the clatter of the old-fashioned typewriter.

Nearly three decades after Rupert Murdoch’s UK newspaper publisher revolutionised the industry by moving to Wapping and ending the “hot metal” era, his flagship title has reintroduced the distinctive sound of old Fleet Street.

To the surprise of Times journalists, a tall speaker on a stand has been erected in the newsroom to pump out typewriter sounds, to increase energy levels and help reporters to hit deadlines. The audio begins with the gentle patter of a single typewriter and slowly builds to a crescendo, with the keys of ranks of machines hammering down as the paper’s print edition is due to go to press.

The Times’s initiative coincides with a revival of interest in the typewriter, a trend which the newspaper reflected on Page 3 today, with a report on how the actor Tom Hanks has developed the Hanx Writer app, which simulates the sound of an old-fashioned typewriter and has gone to the top of the iTunes app store in the US. Hanks, it noted, can tell the difference between the sounds of an Olivetti, a Remington and a Royal typewriter model.

In Memory Of Mary Ann Pichelmann 1961-2014

August 27, 2014


I am very sad to hear of the passing of Mary Ann Pichelmann.  She was a special friend in my high school days providing both Todd Reichert and myself the type of understanding that made her most remarkable. She will always be recalled in my memory for the smile and laugh that came so easy to her.  It always meant a great deal in those years to have such a warm smile around me.  I guess the best way to sum up the ease she had with people was the long phone call we had in recent months.  I had not seen or spoken with her since shortly after we graduated, but once we were on the phone it was as though we had never been separated by the years.  It is a special person who can laugh again and pick up the conversation from decades past in the way she did and it made me know with certainty that true friendship always endures. I know that life was not easy for her at times, and she struggled to find her way.  I am trusting that peace and light surrounds her now and forever.

Mary Burke Leading Scott Walker In New Marquette University Poll

August 27, 2014

A newly-released poll from Marquette University shows Mary Burke leading Scott Walker among likely voters, 49-47.

Slowly but surely the tide is moving in the direction of turning away from the openly partisan warfare that has separated families and disrupted communities around the state.  What we have witnessed from the divide and conquer tactics of Scott Walker is not in the best interest of the state.  Walker loves the discord and has made a national name for himself as he aims to run for the White House in 2016.  But the first job of any governor is to look out for the local folks.

That has been lost  on Walker as he courts the big national donors and plays to the whims of the most conservative voices.

Step-by-step Burke is showing the flaws of Walker to all the voters in this state, and they are responding.  No one ever expected this race to a be a blow-out, and it will  be tight until the wee hours of Election Night in November.  But we must reclaim this state and again work to make politics a civil undertaking in the statehouse.

That message is one of many that is  making a difference in the polls.

UW-Madison And One Wisconsin Now Featured On “NewsHour” College Tutition Segment

August 27, 2014

This morning I watched last night’s NewsHour and was impressed with a segment dealing with staggering college tuition debts that are causing great national distress.  Both UW-Madison and One Wisconsin Now are featured, along with a sound political idea.

Through the recession, college tuition skyrocketed at public universities to make up for flagging state funding. Some students who borrowed to keep up with rising costs face crushing debt repayments. Hari Sreenivasan travelled to Wisconsin to report on one group hoping to turn the state’s student borrowers into a powerful voting bloc.

The news story can be viewed here.

Tough Day For Lawyers Trying To Explain Why Gay Couples Can Not Get Married

August 26, 2014

It was tough sledding today for lawyers who wanted to try and find a way to spin why same-sex couples should not be able to get married.

Lawyers for Indiana and Wisconsin on Tuesday tried, with little success, to explain to three judges why their laws banning same-sex couples from marrying were constitutional.

In the most lopsided arguments over marriage bans at a federal appeals court this year, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals judges clearly were ready to strike down the bans — with the only real question being what reasoning they will use to do so.

From the start of the arguments over Indiana’s ban at a little past 9:30 a.m. until the end of the arguments over Wisconsin’s ban at 11:11 a.m., 7th Circuit Judges Richard Posner, Ann Claire Williams, and David Hamilton pounded the two lawyers defending the bans with dismissive, incredulous questions about the basis and purpose for their respective states’ bans.

For the lawyers representing the same-sex couples, the judges almost assumed that the bans violate the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws. The only question in the hearing Tuesday was whether the bans also violated due-process guarantees because marriage is a fundamental right.

Within minutes of Indiana Solicitor General Thomas Fisher taking to the podium to start his arguments, the tone was set.

“Why do you prefer heterosexual adoption to homosexual adoption?” Judge Posner, appointed to the bench by President Reagan, asked. When Fisher began responding that the marriage laws were unrelated to adoption, Posner was almost vitriolic in his response, saying of the state’s treatment of the children of same-sex couples, “You want them to be worse off.”

The reason for Posner’s unbending focus on the impact of the marriage ban became clear later in the arguments, when he talked about the “harrowing” stories of the discrimination faced by the children of same-sex couples that were detailed in the Family Equality Council’s amicus curiae, or friend-of-the-court, brief submitted in the Wisconsin case.

During Fisher’s rebuttal time, generally used to respond to arguments made by opposing counsel, Posner returned to the issue of the children, describing the amicus brief and asking Fisher, “It didn’t make an impression?”

At different times, Posner referred to Fisher’s arguments as “pathetic,” “ridiculous,” and “absurd.”

Remarkably, Wisconsin’s counsel fared worse. Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General Timothy Samuelson, at several points, said that he had no answer to several of the questions posed by multiple judges. When he did answer, his two go-to responses for the purpose and justification for Wisconsin’s constitutional ban were “tradition” and that it was a “legislative choice.”

Posner was having none of it.

“How can tradition be the reason?” he asked, mocking the answer by responding that saying “we’ve been doing a stupid thing” for a long time certainly wouldn’t be enough of a justification to uphold a law or practice.

When Samuelson offered “deference to the democratic process [as] another purpose,” Posner wanted more, telling the frustrated lawyer, “You have to have something better.”

Most Powerful Photo From Today’s Newspaper

August 26, 2014

This morning I took the wrapper off The New York Times which had landed on the front stoop and just stared at the front page. It was one of those photos that packed a punch, made an impression that will linger, and one that was so profound it was almost audible.  Front page of the paper, and above the fold is always a great place to add powerful photos, but today’s picture was just so intense, and therefore this image will most likely be the most resonating one that is printed this week.

FUNERAL-articleLargeMichael Brown Sr. and others Monday as his son’s coffin was lowered into the ground at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Normandy, Mo. Credit Richard Perry/The New York Times       

Willy Street Co-op Is Correct For Standing Up For Birth Control Coverage Issue

August 26, 2014

Though it took longer to announce than I would have preferred there is no doubt a great deal of pleasure over the news from Willy Street Co-op that they will not be selling nine Eden Foods products due to the food producer’s restriction of birth control coverage for employees.  Simply put, the war on women over contraception must come to an end.

This issue regarding contraception can be solved with more political spine from elected officials, and also with more grass-roots boycotts.

Not placing of Eden Foods on the shelves for sale is a just boycott, and the effort will be applauded.  Following the June ruling by the Supreme Court that companies can use religious reasons for not covering birth control for employee health insurance plans means that it is up to the folks such as you and I to step in and make companies pay heed to the real concerns of women.

This is 2014 and yet one might think from the way the contraception issue is handled by some that we are not so far removed from arranged marriages for women.  There is no doubt that women and their doctors are best suited to make the personal medical decisions, and companies who only desire a fat bottom line must stay out of that process.

Since some companies seem overjoyed getting between a woman and her personal decisions it is then vital that consumers step up and demonstrate that we find it most objectionable to have women placed at such a disadvantage.

Though I am not a member of the C0-op, though I once was, I am heartened that so many gave voice for women over the contraceptive matter.  It demonstrates to me that at the grassroots level we still have the power it make change happen.


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