Archive - Apr 2007

April 19th

orange and maroon effect day

Yesterday, I was reading Are We There Yet?and found out that Friday is Orange and Maroon Effect Day. I commented there about my lack of orange and maroon outfits. Kim jumped in and said that to make up for the lack of orange and maroon clothes, she would go to the crafts store and get orange and maroon ribbons.

We have spent the afternoon putting together orange and maroon ribbons that we will hand out at the JJB dinner Friday evening.

orange and maroon effect day, originally uploaded by Aldon.

I then went out to find out who else is doing what with orange and maroon effect day. New MexiKen, Salon and Gather, even Microsoft and Free Republic are talking about it.

So, please, wear orange and maroon tomorrow. If you’re going to the JJB dinner, look for Kim and I and we’ll be handing out orange and maroon ribbons.

Jim Himes for Congress

Yesterday, Jim Himes filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to set up a campaign to run for Congress against Rep. Chris Shays yesterday. Reports about Jim’s campaign can be found in the mainstream media at Stamford Advocate (and the Greenwich Time and the Hartford Courant), the Connecticut Post, The Stamford Times (and Wilton Villager and Norwalk Hour), The Journal-Inquirer, Channel 30, and The Associated Press (Via channel 8).

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April 18th

Visual DNA

One of the interesting new social networks and widget tools.

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A proactive media code of ethics

My mind is still spinning as I try to process the events of yesterday at Virginia Tech. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I stumbled across the Pyschological First Aid Field Operations Guide of the Medical Reserve Corps, National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and National Center for PTSD The Core Actions have particularly jumped out at me.

Recently, Tim O’Reilly has drafted a Blogger’s Code of Conduct. It has sparked a lot of interesting discussions. Some have suggested that it is better to work off of the Society of Professional Journalism’s Code of Ethics. Others point out that not all bloggers consider themselves journalists.

I’ve often pointed to the rules of MyLeftNutmeg, “Don't be an asshole.” That sums things up pretty nicely, and it is surprising the how difficult it seems for some many people. In my mind, it also ties back to the key of the Hippocratic Oath, to do no harm.

Whether you are talking about shock radio, rap, a lot of the political punditry, or many other forms of media, none of these rules seem to be followed.

Yet coming up with a “do no harm” type code seems somehow lacking, especially in light of yesterday. Instead, it seems like we need a media code of ethics that is proactive, that essentially performs key tasks of psychological first aid. Because of this, I’ve taken some of the core actions of the PFA Field Operations Guide, and adapted them to a general statement which is a code I would like to see many people in media, both old and new, strive towards:

We will seek to respond to contacts initiated by people, or initiate contacts in a non-intrusive, compassionate, and helpful manner. We will seek to enhance immediate and ongoing safety, and provide physical and emotional comfort. We will seek to calm and orient emotionally-overwhelmed/distraught people. We will seek to identify immediate needs and concerns of our audience and tailor our message accordingly. We will seek to offer practical help to people in addressing immediate needs and concerns. We will seek to help establish contacts with other sources of support. We will seek to provide information to reduces distress and promote adaptive functioning. We will seek to inform and link people with available services.

I realize that all of these goals cannot be achieved all of the time. I realize that some people will be satisfied simply with doing no harm, and I realize that some people actually like being assholes. A lot of people may not agree to this proactive code of ethics, but that is some of the beauty of such codes. People can adopt the SPJ code, O’Reilly’s code, this code, the MyLeftNutmeg code, or many other codes. I simply hope that more people will focus not only on doing no harm, but actually doing some good.

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April 17th

Live blogging the Virginia Tech Convocation

I am struggling with a complicated mix of emotions as I watch the Virginia Tech convocation, which is being covered on just about every TV station I get. It seems strange to live blog something like this, but here I go.

At the end of the convocation, Poet Nikki Giovanni got up and spoke. “We are Virginia Tech”, she repeated through her talk. For those who don’t know Nikki Giovanni, she is an incredible poet and Virginia Tech is particularly blessed to have her there as a professor, poet and speaker, especially at a time like this.

One of my favorite poems of hers is Ego Tripping.

I am so perfect so divine so ethereal so surreal
I cannot be comprehended except by my permission

As she ends, the crowd starts chanting, “Let’s go Hokies, Let’s go Hokies”

The convocation ends with a speaker saying, “Boy, we needed that.”

OldenGoldenDecoy has the text of Nikki Giovanni's words over at

“We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today and we will be sad for quite awhile. WE are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to know when to cry and sad enough to know we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did not deserve it but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, but neither do the invisible children walking the night to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community be devastated for ivory; neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokier Nation embraces our own with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think, not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility we will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears, through all this sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail, we will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech. "

I hope someone puts it up on YouTube.