The New Tork Times ends its paid subscription service

The New York Times

I’d like to share a cup of coffee with the brainiac who came up with the subscription concept.

“Let’s put all of our editorials and news columnists behind a wall and force webusers to pay to view content.”

Helloooo… do you USE the internet? I’m not going to pay for something I can read for free with a clever search string. Or I’ll just click on over to the Washington Post and read their columnists instead.

I know traditional newspaper companies are struggling to find a business model that works, but so far I haven’t seen any newspaper sites break out with anything worth paying for.


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MLK Library

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library received historic landmark status from the D.C. Historic Preservation Review Board — which grants legal protection against demolition.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the glass and steel building in 1972… in my humble and amateur opinion, not his best example of modernist architecture.

I’ve spent time in this building. While I applaud the effort to save this example of architecture, it should not be the main branch of the DC public library.

1. It’s hard to find what you’re looking for.

2. It’s not a comfortable atmosphere to read in — poorly lit and claustrophic.

3. The few meeting rooms available are dark and gloomy.

4. The current interior layout and placement of resources (computer labs vs. books) does not maximize the use of space.

I’m hopeful that the powers that be here in DC figure out a way to keep and restore the building while providing it’s tax-paying citizens with a decent public library suitable to meet 21st century needs.

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I Have a Dream

Martin Luther King, Jr.

When I was in 6th grade, my social studies teacher instructed us to find a political speech, learn it, and prepare to recite it. My best friend Dee cried at recess because she was terrified to get up in front of the whole class. She wanted me to devise some scheme to get her out of the assignment… but instead of consoling her, I pointed out how much fun this was going to be. She thought I was crazy.

The next day I told my teacher that I wanted to do “I Have a Dream.” I went to the library and learned all about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement and memorized the speech… well the second half of the speech (from “I say to you today my friends”).

Unlike some people who planned ahead for the long holiday weekend, I’ll be here in DC. Below are some of the activities planned to honor the great man.

2007 Annual Civil Rights “Film Festival”
January 7-15, 2007, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Frederick Douglass National Historic Site
1411 W Street, SE, Washington, DC
Honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday viewing films featuring the struggles and triumphs of the civil rights movement and celebrate the life and contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For more information, call (202) 426-5961.

A Martin Luther King Observance
January 15, 2007.
Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site
1318 Vermont Ave., NW, Washington, DC.(202)673-2402.

Family Day Celebration
January 13, 2007. 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
A commemoration of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the National Archives – William G. McGowan Theater and Lobby; Constitution Avenue N.W. between 7th and 9th Streets. Meet “Frederick Douglass,” “Ida B. Wells,” “Rosa Parks” and “Martin Luther King, Jr.” and learn about their lives and work. The event includes hands-on activities and a film about the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at 11:15 a.m., noon, and 12:45 p.m.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Birthday Celebration at Strathmore
January 15, 2007, 4 – 6 p.m.
The world class Music Center at Strathmore will honor Dr. King with musical entertainment. This year’s keynote speaker will be former NASA astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr., the first African American to walk in space. The annual celebration is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and tickets must be reserved.

King Memorial Peace Walk
January 15, 2007, 9 a.m.
Meet at the Big Chair in Anacostia, 2101 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, Washington, DC. Walk to Covenant Baptist Church, 3845 South Capitol St. SW, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Brian McKnight and the Let Freedom Ring Choir
Sunday, January, 15, 2007 at 6 p.m.
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
2700 F St. NW, Washington, DC. Free performance. This concert is a part of Georgetown University’s Let Freedom Ring initiative, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What have you got planned for the long holiday weekend?

Keep reading to see the speech in it’s entirety. Continue reading

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Lessons Learned Review

Scott McClellan

White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan says the Bush administration is conducting a lessons learned review into what went wrong with the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina when it hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005.

So I thought I’d conduct a lessons learned review of my own.

  1. If there is a national emergency, I am on my own.
  2. Have a plan – when the infrastructure collapses around me, knowing where I’m going will save stress and ease heartache.
  3. Keep cash on hand – I probably won’t have access to ATMs and banks.
  4. Being insured isn’t the insurance it once was. Save now for that rainy day. If there’s an incident of national significance, I need to be prepared to pay my way for months.
  5. Be prepared to help others along the way…. karma is a two way street.
  6. It is not crazy to stockpile water, cans of tuna, first aid supplies and batteries.
  7. Don’t panic and remember to breathe.
  8. Expect long lines and lots of delays — so carry a couple good books to read during the waits.
  9. It’s better to travel in pairs…. so find a buddy to commiserate with.
  10. Count my blessings and maintain a sense of humor.


Do you have anything to add? Or maybe you’ve got your own lessons learned review?



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Where’s Your Allegiance?


What is going on with this country?

A federal judge declared it unconstitutional to recite the pledge of allegiance in public schools today. What greater purpose does that serve? Really?

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by feelings of frustration at the direction this country is moving towards… a direction determined by special interests and lots of money. It’s a criticism of both political parties and the nation as a whole.

What are we becoming?

Perhaps I’m being naive. Maybe the U.S. (the land of the free, the home of the brave) has always catered to the whims of the loudest bully or the wealthiest citizen. It could be a case of magnifying a state of being because I just happen to be living through it instead of reading about it in books.

Or maybe I’m taking politics too seriously because it’s constantly in my face – from the whir of motorcade sirens, to casual conversations in grocery store lines, to headlines of local newspapers, to the weekend rallies and protests.

Does anyone else feel like our fearless leaders don’t have a clue? That everyone has sold their soul to a devil of choice and the rest of us be damned? Do I just need a vacation?

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Half time


If I had my way, I’d live 6 months in Lisbon and 6 months in Washington, DC. I would divide my life, my possessions, and carry out my daily routines on two continents.


In high school, I knew this girl who had never traveled further north than Boston or south past Providence, RI. The only state line she crossed was Massachusetts into Rhode Island and she had no desire to go further.

No intention of skiing in Vermont or New Hampshire… no appetite to try BBQ from the south… no thirst to tour the great vineyards of California… no longing to watch the sunset from each of the four corners of the globe.

She loved the town we grew up in and couldn’t imagine finding anything worth trying outside of a 45 minute drive.

And I was appalled… I found it inconceivable that anyone could really be happy within such a confined space… with such a limited experience.

Just LOOK at all that poor girl would be missing!

Today it was announced that Gregory Olsen is going to visit the International Space Station in October. The 60-year-old scientist will be testing crystals, for the infrared cameras he manufacturers in New Jersey, when the next Soyuz Space Shuttle mission is scheduled to bring supplies and a new crew to the orbiting station.

It only cost him $20 million.

Hopefully the price will decrease for outerspace trips over the next few decades and I’ll be able to write about my experience traveling to some orbiting space station in 2035. Until then I can plan my eventual dual residence in DC and Portugal.

And try, very very hard, to control my wanderlust.

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Shopping for a new phone


I love gadgets. Especially hi-tech, hi-speed, wifi gadgets. Especially when they’re shiny and sleek and slim and take photos and videos and keep your calendar current AND make phone calls.

Today’s cell phone companies manufacture products with an endless list of features.

You can purchase a cell phone that – in addition to providing caller ID, conference call capabilities and voicemail (Duh) – will:

– Make calls over a Wi-Fi VoIP Connection
– Shoot photos
– Capture short video clips
– Surf the web
– Check Email
– Send short messages or use an instant messenger
– Listen to music by using MP3 and AAC files
– Play Tetris, Solitaire and Pacman
– Watch TV like CNN news segments, short clips from shows like The Daily Show and music videos
– Watch original programming (with a service like MobiTV or V Cast)

And that’s not all…. now Orange, a cellular carrier in the UK, is providing cell phone users with the option to Etch-a-Sketch.

I mean, seriously… when will phone companies produce an inexpensive phone that will work in all 50 states and abroad?

I need to replace my cell phone and fast (the casing cracked and retrieving voicemail is an uphill battle). I’m looking at Sprint’s Samsung IP-A790 but cringe at the $400 price tag. Unfortunately it’s the only phone I know of that is unlocked – so it can use foreign SIM cards (unlike it’s Verizon counterpart) – and will place calls on PCS and GSM frequencies.

If anyone knows of a less expensive alternative, I’m all ears.

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Elevator Etiquette


If you live on the second or third floor and call for the elevator, you’d better be:

1. pushing a stroller with a cranky baby

2. traveling with 6 suitcases

3. physically disabled

Because when you step on, in your 4-inch heels and Coach briefcase, we’re all going to stop and shoot you a very dirty look while praying that you have the worst day imaginable.

Take the stairs!