Archive | April, 2003


This AP article in USA Today takes a rosy survey of Estonia’s relative technological advancement, especially in comparison to other former soviet republics:

“Dubbed E-Stonia by some, the country ranked No. 8 out of 82 countries in putting the Net to practical use in a recent World Economic Forum report. The country ranked No. 2 in Internet banking and third in e-government. …

Many Estonians who now rely on wireless phones never had a landline phone. And most who now use the Internet to pay bills have never used a Western-style checkbook.”

This interests me primarily because my ancestry is Estonian (my paternal grandparents both immigrated after WWII), and it’s not a country you hear much about, even though it survived the collapse of the Soviet Union better than most. I’ve never been there, though I do want to go.

It’s also interesting to note that Estonia’s banks are mostly foreign owned, which is why they brought Internet technology so easily. Estonia is also where the popular file sharing program Kazaa was coded (hence the double vowel — Estonian is full of long double vowels, like in my last name, Riismandel).

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Robert McChesney On This Friday’s Mediageek Radioshow

Media scholar Robert McChesney will be my guest on this Friday’s mediageek radioshow (5:30 PM Friday at 90.1 FM for those of you in Central Illinois). It also happens to be pledge drive time at my station, WEFT, and Bob is a true pledge drive pro, so I’m very happy he’s offered to be on. Bob said he might also be bringing along Matthew Rothschild, editor of the Progressive magazine, but we won’t know until the show actually happens.

McChesney’s most recent book is Our Media, Not Their’s, which he co-authored with John Nichols of the Nation Magazine.

They both also have an article on FCC Commissioner Michael Copps in the April issue of the Progressive. In it they chart Copps remarkable exceptionalism in defending the public interest within an agency that more often adjudicates between competing corporate interests:

“But the big media had not figured in the Copps effect. Unwilling to roll over and allow the crushing of some of the last vestiges of regulatory protection for real diversity in media, Copps began to raise public interest concerns with a force not heard on the FCC since Nicholas Johnson challenged the corporate line back in the 1960s or Clifford Durr battled the networks as a progressive New Dealer in the 1940s. …

To understand how remarkable Copps’s questioning of the commission’s course is, consider what had been status quo for the FCC. Recall that former FCC Chairman William Kennard acknowledged that before he took the job in 1997 he was advised by a longtime FCC member that his job was ‘to referee fights between the very wealthy and the very, very wealthy,’ with the public entirely uninvolved in the FCC’s affairs.”

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