Video: The Phantom Dog

Posted: January 19th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Economics, Foreign Policy, Journalism, South Asia, Video | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

I’m back on BloggingHeads today, this time talking up my work in Pakistan with Zeke Webster (alias: Don Zeko) of the blog Discord. We cover counterterrorism and counterinsurgency in general, US counterterrorism/counterinsurgency in South Asia, what Pakistan is really thinking, and the rights of South Asian women. Though they just posted this to BHTV, we filmed in mid-December, when I was in Karachi, and before the last wave of attacks in Pakistan and in the U.S. Some of this is outdated, but hopefully it still informs and entertains.

Comment here.

*Title Character is revealed at 10:28, 24:05 and most hilariously, at 42:00.

Maha Breaks the Space-Time Continuum

Posted: December 8th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Culture, Ephemera, Politics, Video | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Today, from my bedroom in New York, I video-blog about the problems with the cultural/individualist left, postmodernism and the dire state of environmental reform:

Also today, from Islamabad, I opine on the role of the middle class in Pakistan’s political future:
Capitalism is the best insurer of political stability, Nasr posits, but not all capitalisms are equal. To promote peace, growth must do more than simply reduce absolute poverty by expanding the proverbial economic pie. It must also curb inequality by expanding the middle class, and tie their success explicitly to the stability of the state.

Illustration: Jayachandran / Mint

Illustration: Jayachandran / Mint

The Muslim world’s middle classes are the ultimate stakeholders in the war on terrorism. While demanding liberal pro-growth policies that raise the incomes of those at the bottom, middle-class business leaders remain dependent on the state for core services such as education and healthcare which both facilitate their own entrepreneurship and benefit the poor.

Unlike upper-crust investors, they can’t pack up their assets and their families and leave when political turmoil hits. Because they have real wealth to lose if the state falls apart, middle classes remain engaged in the democratic process and protect democratic institutions from violence and corruption. By strengthening the state, and enriching their societies, they undermine the sales pitch of militant leaders who prey on inequalities and power vacuums to recruit followers. Even in economically troubled, war-torn Pakistan, a small middle class is beginning to play this very role. [Read the rest.]

Am I miraculous, or what?

Couldn’t have said it better myself

Posted: November 20th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Journalism, Politics, Technology, Video | Tags: , , , , , | No Comments »

Great chat between Cato’s Julian Sanchez and American Scene’s Conor Friedersdorf about the future of media, what constitutes journalism and how politicians try to work the media narrative. The chat covers two subjects I’ve touched on before: the federal shield law and Google’s impact on media production. It’s solid stuff, the whole way through. Worth taking an hour this weekend for.

Bloggers Should be Seen and Heard

Posted: September 22nd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Journalism, Technology, Video | Tags: , , | No Comments »

So believes video website, which I’ve plugged and linked to on this page many-a-time before. Basically, the site pairs journalists, policy folk and and academics on video chats and then plays back the conversations in a split screen. The result: long-ish wonky chats that show us what broadcast TV would look like if they didn’t edit every interview down to its 10 second soundbyte.

Anyway, they’re now letting fans video-blog on the site, albeit with some weird masking that is supposed to anonymize lay folk, but really just makes everyone look weird. Ironically enough, the debut ‘amateur’ ‘vloggers were professional journos–Portland-based Ethan Epstein, and myself (!)–discussing (what else?) the future of media.
Watch the video below, and let us know what you think, either here or on BHTV’s comments forum.

Elephant in the Room

Posted: January 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Foreign Policy, Video | Tags: , | 1 Comment »

Lest anyone think I am being callous or unfeeling in not covering the war in Gaza, let me explain: it’s because I am so dismayed and so bereft of useful things to say on this topic. BUT if you do want to hear an optimistic and actionable plan for how to untangle the Mid-East mess, watch this video clip. I more or less agree with everything in this plan–someone give this man a job as an envoy to the region and get this ball rolling.

I am thankful for…

Posted: November 27th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Ephemera, Technology, Video | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »

…two new additions to my tech life:

1. GoodReads, where I can keep lists of books I mean to read, see what my friends are reading, read and write reviews, and buy books over Amazon. This is helping transition the print intransigents, people who still want the culture of curling up with a good book, to the web, by showing them how digital tools can serve analog practices.

2., which I’m convinced is truly revolutionary. Here’s how it works–two academics or journos each get on their computer’s built in cameras and simultaneously turn on their video recorders and their video phones–then they film their phone chat, usually for an hour, on a given public policy topic. The site broadcasts it as a “diavlog,” a video blog entry where we see a split screen of the two speakers simultaneously.

So far all the internet has done for broadcast media is enabled the uploading of clips; but this doesn’t come close to what blogs did for print, because it doesn’t allow for the interactivity of Web 2.0: you can’t link into and out of a podcast. The great thing about BloggingHeads is that as you watch, you see links to relevant items on the side of the screen–articles by the speakers, articles they reference, bios of people they reference and you get the sense of personal connection that comes with blogs. What I’d love to see is a marriage of this format with what I blogged about at MobDub, allowing users to add links to the diavlogs too.

For now, as you sit digesting your turkey, enjoy this conversation between my two favorite Bloggingheads, John McWhorter and Glenn Loury.