September 2005
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Day September 18, 2005

All Songs Considered: Sigur Ros Live Concert

Bob Boylan:

Hear a full concert by Iceland’s ambient rock group Sigur Ros, recorded live from the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Md. The band’s performance originally webcast live on NPR.org Sept. 11 as part of NPR Music’s ongoing concert series from All Songs Considered.

“Obeying Orders” More on Yahoo Helping the Chinese Government Put a Reporter in Jail

Washington Post Editorial Page:

This is not merely an abstract business ethics issue: Yahoo’s behavior in China could have real consequences for U.S. foreign policy. Over the past two decades, many have argued — ourselves included — that despite China’s authoritarian and sometimes openly hostile government, it is nevertheless right to encourage American companies to work there. Their very presence has been thought to make the society more open, if not necessarily more democratic. If that is no longer the case — if, in fact, American companies are helping China become more authoritarian, more hostile and more of an obstacle to U.S. goals of democracy promotion around the world — then it is time to rethink the rules under which they operate.

WSJ Reader Comments: Customer Service & Sears

Hampton P. Wansley writing in the Wall Street Journal, relates his recent experience shopping at Sears.

I visited a Sears store last week for a washer, dryer and microwave. The salesman couldn’t give details about specifications on the machines. A microwave was priced at $119; the salesman said that was wrong price and that it should be $148. I had a terrible conversation with the credit people from the home office. They tried to sell me disability insurance. I said I didn’t need it as I hadn’t purchased anything. Finally, I ended up buying a Sears long-distance phone card and paid cash. After ringing up the sale, they said card wasn’t good until 24 hours had transpired. What a horrible shopping experience. It took over two hours. Sears lost $960 in sales. I went to Home Depot the same day and bought a washer, dryer and microwave for the new home. The transaction took 35 minutes and all the goods were delivered the next day. Mr. Lampert: you’ve got a very serious problem.

Changing US Foreign Policy in the Pacifc

Edward Cody surveys US policy in the Western Pacific:

The rise of China as a regional force has shaken assumptions that had governed this vast region since the end of World War II, including that of uncontested U.S. naval and air power from California to the Chinese coast. With those days soon to end, senior officers said, the U.S. military in Asia is retooling to reflect new war-making technology, better prepare for military crises and counter any future threat from the emergent Chinese navy and air force.

Water Wars: The State of the San Joaquin River

As the water wars arrive in Wisconsin, it’s useful to take a look at what has happened in other parts of the United States. Juliana Barbassa does just that in California’s Ansel Adams Wilderness Area:

It begins as fresh snowmelt, streaming from Mount Ritter’s gray granite faces into Thousand Island Lake, a bouldered mirror. The clear blue water spills out through a narrow canyon, and the San Joaquin River is born.

When conservationist and mountaineer John Muir first explored these upper reaches, the narrow gorge barely contained the power of the living river, which carried the continent’s southernmost salmon run, sustained Indian tribes and set the rhythm of life in the valley below with floods and droughts.

“Certainly this Joaquin Canyon is the most remarkable in many ways of all I have entered,” Muir wrote in 1873.

Dutch Treat: Personal Database from Cradle to Grave

AP:

The Dutch government will begin tracking every citizen from cradle to grave in a single database, opening a personal electronic dossier for every child at birth with health and family data, and eventually adding school and police records.

As a privacy safeguard, no single person will be able to access someone’s entire file. And each agency that contributes to the records will maintain its own files as well.

But organizations can raise “red flags” in the dossier to caution other agencies of potential problems with children, said ministry spokesman Jan Brouwer. Until now, schools and police have been unable to communicate with each other about truancy records and criminality, which are often linked.