Category Archives: Tangential to B2

I offer some of my posts as a sub-category to B2 so that my professor, Greeley Kyle, eponym of this blog in its current incarnation, gets to know a bit of my background and approach to school, news-gathering, photography and storytelling.

If only Congress drove a Hyundai

achstillMy esteemed colleague, Elyse Pickle, recently profiled the Hyundai Assurance incentive program.

The Hyundai offer promises that if you find yourself “upside down” in a car (i.e. responsible for payments that, collectively, vastly out-value the vehicle you’re paying for) due to certain, contractually specified, circumstances you get to walk away, credit intact.

They keep the car, but it rescues some consumers from a payment schedule jacked sky-high by late fees and penalties.

This program popped into my head tonight as I read this drudge-linked FT article about Obama’s notion to transform banks into IKEAs, or at least get a little Swedish in approach.

The ‘negative-equity‘ tie-in came from Lindsey Graham’s quote:

“Mr Graham says that people across the US accept his argument that it is untenable to keep throwing good money after bad into institutions such as Citigroup and Bank of America, which now have a lower net value than the amount of public funds they have received.

It’s important, in view of this harrowing assessment of the book-value of those institutions we collectively ‘rescued’ to make sure that stimpak dollars are spent on capital improvements, not to pay salaries.

Also, note the URL suffix of the Hyundai program…”/walkawayusa” … wow.

Podcast – KBIA Newscast Self-Critique

kbia-log3I anchor the live Thursday afternoon newscasts for KBIA, the Columbia, Mo NPR affiliate.

This week I’m doubling up because I’m previously engaged this coming Thursday.

Here’s a link to the podcast of tonight’s 5:32 P.M. regional news update.

I wanted to mention three things about my performance:

1.  My main criticism of my live performance comes down to breathing at inopportune times.  It’s a concept we cover in class, and something I’m working to improve in practice.  The previous three broadcasts that night were markedly free of weird breathing breaks, though I did stumble at points, specifically over a particular sentence with about 6 hard “k’s” in sequence (my own oversight, but I’d managed to nail it in practice runs and was sort of up to the challenge…it just started to sound weird in my headphones).  I’m planning to take another voicing class before mid-semester to practice breathing big at the top and often at the periods, semi-colons and some commas only.

2.  I reported and wrote the lead story.  Instead of just reporting what the Trib was writing, I worked directly from the police report and took the question of a colleague “Why’d his friends get charged too?” as my angle.  I knew the answer from law school, but that did little good for the listener.  I put in a call to the assistant prosecutor, who got back to me just before I needed to write the 5:32 newscast.  I bumped another story, and wrote a narrative of what happened that night, trying to convert the police-report-ese to broadcast English.  The writing is just okay in my mind, maybe a bit wordy.

The prosecutor was very accomodating, and appreciated the fact that I was asking specific questions.  The interview lasted maybe three minutes.  The result is a newscast that provides the answer to the question that my colleague asked from the source who’s take on the legal proceedings matters.  It’s not feature-worthy or innovative, just solid.

3.  There was a cub scout troop visiting while I read that newscast and I’d really have liked to have been reporting just about anything else.

Obama and State Secrets

The New York Times is reporting in tomorrow’s print edition that Douglas N. Letter, a Justice Department attorney, has indicated to a panel of judges that the Obama Administration shall continue the practice of invoking the “State Secrets” doctrine to force dismissals in civil cases brought by foreign nationals sucked up into “extraordinary rendition” flibatboy-scannedghts, and allegedly tortured once transport to less-legal jurisdictions was effected.

Some of the judges on the panel were surprised at the position.

Judge Schroeder asked, “The change in administration has no bearing?”

Once more, he said, “No, Your Honor.” The position he was taking in court on behalf of the government had been “thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new administration,” and “these are the authorized positions,” he said.

The most telling bit from the really excellently bite-sized but nutritious piece from The Times came here:

But Mr. Letter said that the lower court judge, James Ware, did receive classified information and came to the correct conclusion in dismissing the case last year. He urged the judges to pore over the same material, and predicted “you will understand precisely, as Judge Ware did, why this case can’t be litigated.”

I’m completely nonplussed by this argument and rhetoric.  It’s begging historians and journalists to FOIA up right now in preparation for the eventual declassification of whatever the heck it is that the judges get to see/read.  This, in my opinion, is not a tack taken by an attorney who’s operating under protest or for political cover; this sounds like a dude who’s got genuine pictures of JFK making out with an alien or something.

Photo Slide Show: Jay Nixon’s Inauguration Preparations

Here’s a link to a slide show of photographs I took on inauguration day, 2009, in Jefferson City, Mo for KBIA.orgkbia-log2.

Listen Online: JuicyCampus.com shuts down – KBIA 91.3 Feature Story

Here’s the link to the JuicyCampus.com story that the intrepid and amazingly immersive Sara Wittmeyer and I produced for KBIA.  It aired this afternoon on the Kevin Lorenz produced Under the Microscope sci/tech show.

The piece includes clips and interview with Matt Ivester , JuicyCampus’ CEO, that was done just a week or so ago, before the company folded.  It also features some proper start-up financing schoolin’ by Jim Spencer of Newsy.com.

juicycampusThe story was supposed to be a feature-length profie of JuicyCampus.com and its arguably deleterious effect on campus social civility, but we were rushed into production on a business and technology angle about how the market did what student councils and legal teams have been unable or unwilling to do – shut down a site that lends credence to John Gabriel’s G.I.F.T. theory (nsfw language).  I think the result is pretty good – a great deal of credit for that going to Sara Wittmeyer’s amazing speed and skill.

Anyway, we’ll have the promised unedited Ivester interview audio up on KBIA.org in the morning.  There’s a great moment when Sara asks him to explain the difference between himself and Joe Francis.  The response will be presented without comment.

Enjoy!

Online Video: Prof. Robert Farris Thompson

timothydwightcoatofarmsProf. Robert Farris Thompson is a personal hero of mine.  Master of Timothy Dwight College since before I was born, he introduced me to capoeira, mambo and how to be cool.  Brilliant man, amazing professor, genuinely caring soul.

When I came across this rather lurid, though completely plausible explanation of the etymology of the term “Rock n’ Roll” that was tagged by a blogger as associated to RFT, I knew I just had to share my fave YouTube clip of him, offering his poetic take on Gullah culture and the visual grammar of black-Atlantic textiles and visual art:

Listen Online: My first radio anchor shift at KBIA 91.3FM

kbia-logoI’ll be your LIVE! drive-time news anchor on KBIA 91.3 FM in Columbia, Mo every Thursday afternoon from now until May.

Links below to listen to me on my first day this past week via KBIA.org podcasts: