It’s always sad when one must displace Lou Guzzo at the top of the page, but a new day beckons. Welcome to what Goldy and I hope — if we can overcome our natural tendencies to laziness — will be a daily (at least on weekdays) feature: a brief overview of a few of the day’s top stories, as determined by our friends in the local corporate media, blogs and various other sources, and our own quirkiness, offered to You The Reader first thing in the morning.
Today, in case you hadn’t noticed, is Wednesday. It’s a slow news day.
Local pundits are already gushing over Hillary Clinton’s visit to valued
donors supporters in Seattle next Monday. Yet someone who’s done far more good in the world — 2006 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus — visited the Seattle area yesterday, and local media, with one exception, could not have cared less. Local TV ignored Yunus’s visit to speak at the Microsoft campus. So did the P-I. The only local story appeared in the Seattle Times.
Why is Yunus a big deal?
Yunus, 67, developed the system of microcredit, helping poor people improve their standard of living by using tiny loans to start businesses. Since giving out its first loans in 1983, the Grameen Bank he founded has reached more than 7 million borrowers who would have no access to credit through traditional banks. About 97 percent of them are women.
So why would Microsoft care?
“Microsoft is realizing that in the future a lot of their growth is going to have to come from poorer people of the world, so they’re interested from both a business and a philanthropy perspective,” [ex-Microsoft executive Paul] Maritz said.
More to the point, because their competitors care.
The ideas are starting to receive a warm reception from some corporate giants, too. Intel Chairman Craig Barrett last month visited Yunus in Dhaka and signed an agreement to help Grameen expand technology, broadband Internet access and education programs. IBM this week announced it would throw its support behind a new software system for microcredit institutions around the world.
And tellingly, Yunus sees a lot of parallels between the predations of capitalism in his native Bangladesh and the economy of George W. Bush’s America.
“Seattle has lots of pawn shops,” he said. “I see it in every city. Payday loans, check cashing. … It’s an indication the financial system doesn’t work here.”
Well, it works for some people. Comcast announced yesterday — in public notices quietly placed in newspapers around the state — a statewide $3/month hike in its cable rates, and a story in The Olympian (of all places) gives a clue as to why rates are rising (hint: it’s not the cost of the company’s commitment to outstanding customer service):
In counties where Comcast faces more competition, monthly cable TV rates tend to be lower…
Like where? Certainly not Seattle.
In Pierce County, Comcast faces competition in the form of the Click! Network, a fiber-optic cable TV service offered through Tacoma Power…
Ah, that evil, government-run Pierce County TV service we hear so many bad things about! Well, at least the free market offers superior content, right?
TV Tacoma, the City’s 24-hour government information channel, took home four national programming awards recently at the 22nd annual National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA) video awards…
Right. Meanwhile, back in the world of commercial television, last night NBC deviated from its usual parade of reality TV freaks to present us with, um, a reality TV freak: an exclusive interview with disgraced Idaho Senator Larry “Happy Feet” Craig. The interview is likely to be commented upon mostly for Craig’s shot at the presidential candidate he until recently worked for, Mitt Romney: “He not only threw me under his campaign bus, he backed up and ran over me again.” (A line Craig stole directly from Keith Olbermann.)
But my favorite Craig line from the interview was a different one: our studly senator’s assertion that
“I go to bathrooms to use bathrooms.”
Uh, to do what, Larry? With his stony-faced wife also in the interview, he could hardly say…
Locally, Muhammad Yunus didn’t make the quality cut because it’s time instead for TV to trot out a perennial favorite story fetish this time of year: It Might Get Really, Really Windy Soon! Like, blowing leaves into a big swirling pile windy! Like, sustained winds of 20 mph windy! Like,
whipping rippling the hair of the poor junior reporter stuck on the roof reporting live that it’s really gusting out here windy! Expect this “story” to dominate local media for the next three days.
To its marginal credit, KING-5 noted at the very end of its story that
There are two systems in the Pacific that are moving in, so what happens with those could lead to a change in the forecast.
In other words, stay tuned for updated forecasts! Or, as National Weather Service Johnny Berg put it in the PI’s nearly-as-breathless top story this morning,
“If the storm goes north toward Vancouver Island, we may not see anything out of the ordinary in Seattle.”
And that’s the news for Wednesday morning.