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Friday, August 23, 2002
5:50 PM      

"High Powered Hosting with a Human Touch"
I'm happy to say that BeansAboutIt will soon be served from CornerHost, our new presence provider. The rates, software and support are fabulous. I was prompted to go that way after I realized that Communitech.Net [our soon-to-be former presence provider] was still running a very old version of PHP, with no plans to upgrade any time soon. Their support has always been spotty, but it became an issue when I decided to implement my e-card system for the first time.

It gets interesting. I found a presence provider called Hot Web, that looked like they were a good fit. Rates and terms were good, and I had little trouble FTPing my PHP files and configuring the cards. It all looked good... for about a month. There had already been a few flaky things going on with getting service started, and then Verisign said that they had no record of Hot Web's DNS, so I was in trouble if I planned to re-point the BeansAboutIt.com domain.

This all happened right at the end of my billing term at Communitech. I'd cornered myself. I couldn't get a response from Hot Web before the cut-off date at Communitech; I had no choice but to re-up with Communitech for another 3 months.

Hot Web never did seem to have their act together. I never got any invoices from them, and then one day my e-cards disappeared. Guess they just yanked my server space without any warning or attempt to resolve it.

It gets funnier... about a month ago, I got an e-mail from Hot Web out of the blue thanking me for being a customer!

By contrast, I found out about CornerHost through Blogger.com. They gave a very strong recommendation of the service. I checked out the site, and liked what I saw. I started corresponding with them, and found Michal Wallace, my contact, to be very easy to work with. And yes, his e-mail voice was very human. The guy's got incredible patience, because I must have exchanged a dozen or more messages with him over more than two months before finally placing my order. Never once did he push.

The server space is ready. The sub-domains are set up... Now it's time to send my files over...

You'll probably see more changes to the Beans constellation soon... I'm really getting into PHP and Flash.

:::

"I was there when..."
A couple of years ago I performed in a series of benefit performances with a very talented singer named Lauren Echo and my friend Warren Kimmel. You could tell then, that Lauren had the drive, talent and looks to go somewhere in the music business.

Well, Lauren's been collaborating with some Nashville songwriters, working on her presentation and sound, and now she's releasing her first album.

She's got a bunch of songs on MP3.com. The first song that appears on the site is "Broken Glass," which was co-written by Warren.

It's kind of a drag that you have to register just to stream the songs, but I don't mind too much. At least they're complete songs. You can download MP3s or even buy the CD, if you like. I like the way the streaming works with iTunes on my Mac. The URLs get stored in the iTunes library so I can just play the streams at will, without having to surf back there.

:::

Salon featured a review of the book Heat Wave: A social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago by Eric Klinenberg. It's premise is chilling: " The 739 people killed by Chicago's 1995 heat wave were the victims of a mayor who believed in running his city like a business."

If this story has any heroes, Edmund Donoghue, the city's chief medical examiner, is one. Mayor Daley (whose initial public comment on the heat wave was "It's hot ... It's very hot, but let's not blow it out of proportion ... we go to extremes in Chicago. And that's why people like Chicago"), concerned with maintaining the perception that he was a good "manager" who had made Chicago economically efficient while still providing services (and not wanting anything to ruin his coup of luring the Democratic National Convention back to the city in 1996), publicly cast doubt on Donoghue's numbers. "Every day," he said, "people die of natural causes. You cannot claim that everybody who has died in the last eight or nine days dies of heat. Then everybody in the summer that dies will die of heat."

Resisting immense political pressure from Daley, Donoghue stuck to his guns and insisted that no one who died during the heat wave had died from anything but the heat, an opinion that was later affirmed by medical examiners around the country and by epidemiologists from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Daley's response was to order the Health Department commissioner not to release the numbers of the dead. ...

...The horror of the story Klinenberg tells here, though, is that the Chicago city government operated exactly as a government is intended to operate when it's following the entrepreneurial model. ...

The entrepreneurial government, Klinenberg explains, replaces the idea of government's sacred obligation to care for its citizens (and the care he's talking about includes such basics as emergency medical services, that is, adequate police, fire and paramedic personnel) with a model in which people are expected to act as informed consumers. The trouble, as Klinenberg notes, is that the people most in need of those services -- the old, the sick, those who have outlived family and friends -- are often the least able to access the information they need. ...

...His analysis of how the Chicago media handled the story, how they relied on those in power for their information and thus parroted official "wisdom," and his understanding of the way the news cycle continuously drops developing stories in favor of new ones, suggests why the story of the 1995 heat wave had to be written by a sociologist. (For example, the Chicago media regularly talked about the "debate" over what caused the deaths. But there was no debate: There was scientific fact and there were Mayor Daley's efforts to cover his ass.) ...

read more... [Salon's getting clever - There may be an interstitial ad on the link. If you dont' see the story right away, click the "Go Directly to Story" link.]

:::

... and this from Time: Iraq: The GOP War With Itself

Looking to answer critics of his lack of foreign policy experience as he ran for president in the spring of 2000, George W. Bush countered with his wise men. Doesn't matter, said Bush. I don't have to know everything; elect me, and I'll call on all the best people for advice: Heavy hitters like Colin Powell, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft. But what if your advisers give contradictory counsel? The acid test of that CEO presidential style has come over the question of Iraq, where Bush's advisers fundamentally (and very publicly) disagree about what to do about Saddam Hussein.

While GOP hawks continue to press the case for war, some of those wise men spent much of last week issuing strong warnings against a hasty march on Iraq. Former Reagan national security adviser Lawrence Eagleburger said the U.S. had no grounds to take out Saddam unless Baghdad was about to attack America or its allies. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and Gulf War hero General Norman Schwarzkopf saw merit in the idea of removing Hussein, but cautioned against the U.S. acting alone. But the harshest warning of all came from former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, the Gulf War strategic thinker closest to the President's father, who warned that the potentially catastrophic consequences outweighed any good that an invasion could achieve. ...

...As early as five years ago, [Perle and Wolfowitz - prominent conservatives] became increasingly critical of what they see as a mistake by the first Bush administration in failing to destroy Saddam's regime during the Gulf War. They urged that the U.S. put its own muscle behind a policy of regime change in Baghdad. September 11 made the mainstream more receptive to a position previously confined to conservative think tanks America had been alerted to its own vulnerability, and Perle, Wolfowitz and others warned that leaving Saddam's regime in place increased the likelihood of a chemical or biological attack on these shores. ...

For a President known to prize loyalty above most else, last week's internecine bloodletting among senior Republicans was more than a little embarrassing since it implied an absence of leadership on the issue from the White House. ...

Interesting that a guy who can't help shooting from the hip with misfired sound-bytes about the economy that seem to screw things up even more, won't grant many interviews. (Wonder what he's hiding?!) Recently, he made one exception: he gave an interview to Runner's World to tout how fit he is. Of course, Today had the obilgatory interview with the interviewer piece. Nope "News" is no longer new, and it's been a long time since it was meant to inform.



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