i said earlier that i would write a review of my new wonder wash after using it for a while. i've been using it for about a week now, and i have mostly positive things to say about it. it has successfully achieved my goals of reduced water, detergent, electricity, and cost, as well as increased schedule flexibility and exercise for my laundry needs. the clothes are generally as clean as what i would get out of a laundry machine, and in the rare instances where they aren't quite as clean, i expect more closely following the instructions regarding amount of water and detergent would fix that. i've just been doing rough guesses so far.

my main worry before trying the wonder wash was the handle breaking, as the few comments i had found online indicating that might happen. but my handle is detachable, so i don't know how it could possibly break. another positive surprise has been how little time it takes to do a load of laundry. i can fill, wash, rinse, hand wring, and hang a load of laundry (about a day and a half worth of clothes for one person) in only about fifteen minutes. in general, i haven't had any real problem so far, and i would recommend the wonder wash.

Update: Wonder Wash instructions have been posted to my website, thanks to Hanna Bachman for typing them and sending them to me.

 

today, the bloomington-normal citizens for peace and justice held an alternative bush inauguration in downtown bloomington. we inaugurated a juniper bush. you can read the press release over on gabe's weblog. i wrote most of the speech that was read. here it is:

This bush has never betrayed our trust. It has never mislead us about weapons of mass destruction. It has never made hollow statements about protecting our environment while pushing laws to harm our environment. It has never promised to educate our children, and failed to honor its promise. Every word this bush has ever spoken was true. This is an honest bush. An honest bush is good for America. An honest government is good for America.
This bush has never killed. It has never put a single American in harm's way. It has never attacked another country without reason. This bush believes in the value of human life, and fights to preserve it, not destroy it. This is a peaceful bush. A peaceful bush is good for America. A peaceful government is good for America.
This bush improves the environment. This bush has a record of removing harmful carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. This bush knows global warming is a problem, and is working with plants and people around the world to solve this problem. This bush has no ties with the oil industry. This bush supports renewable energy sources. This is an environmentally friendly bush. An environmentally friendly bush is good for America. An environmentally friendly government is good for America.
This bush doesn't waste money. This bush provides resources for everyone. This bush does not support corporate welfare. This bush sides with working people over big business. This bush will provide for all, rich or poor, old or young. This bush has never spent more money than it has. This bush never threw itself lavish parties while ignoring those in need. This is a fiscally responsible bush. A fiscally responsible bush is good for America. A fiscally responsible government is good for America.
This bush believes in equal rights. This bush has never attacked a minority for political gain. This bush has never called for inequality to smear our nation's constitution. This bush treats all Americans the same. A bush that supports equality is good for America. A government that supports equality is good for America.
This bush is good for America. This is the best bush we know. We hereby inaugurate this bush.
An inauguration is a new beginning, an opportunity to rededicate ourselves to what we know is right. On this inauguration day, we inaugurate this bush, and with it we inaugurate the values that are good for America. We inaugurate honesty. We inaugurate peace. We inaugurate a healthy planet. We inaugurate responsibility. And we inaugurate equality.
 

shelley writes:

So it’s not surprising, though perhaps is ironic, to see that there is actually better representation of women and blacks and other racial minorities in the professional journalist circles than there is in the so-called ‘citizen journalistic’ ranks of weblogging, because there is no economic or social incentive for the citizen journalists to look outside of their ranks. At least, not at the moment.

i find that both interesting and suspicious. the interesting part is that the most famous professional journalists are, quite ironically, more diverse than the most famous webloggers. at the same time, i had this sneaking suspicion that the famous in either camp weren't actually representative of the wholes. so are women and minorities really disproportionally under-represented within "citizen journalism" (i.e. weblogging)? i have no doubt that they are under-represented within the so-called "a-list" of weblogging, but what about the other 99%?

i thought i read somewhere that there were more women than men with weblogs. turns out that was on shelley's weblog. so women, at least, would appear to be reasonably represented in weblogging. i'll assume the same is not true for lower-income people, as internet access costs money and time. and i have no idea about racial minorities, but i doubt the disparity is as great within weblogging as it is within professional journalism.

so what about the other 99% in professional journalism? how do the local markets fair in minority representation? within weblogging, it would appear that those with the largest audiences are the least diverse. however, the opposite seems to be true in professional journalism. see this table of data from "Minorities and Women in Radio News," a report by vernon stone of the missouri school of journalism:

____________________________________________

Table 1. Female and Minority Shares of the
Radio News Work Force -- 1994 
____________________________________________

                    Female   Minority     N

All stations         31.3%     11.3%     248

Major markets        32.9%     16.4%      35
Large markets        26.6%     16.8%      44
Medium markets       29.9%     10.0%      82
Small markets        28.8%      5.0%      90
____________________________________________

both women and minorities are less common in smaller markets. given the limited sample size, the date, and geographic area, that may not be representative of broader trends today, but i would guess that it is.

so what does a statement like there is actually better representation of women and blacks and other racial minorities in the professional journalist circles mean when there are, actually, proportionally fewer women and minorities in professional journalism as a whole? it means we are measuring representation by the top section of the medium, rather than by the whole. this is a common mistake, but we need to stop making it if we hope to improve any of this.

the problem is that resposibility and authority are intertwined. every time we assert that someone has a responsibility, we are assuming that they have - and implying that they should have - the authority to exercise that resposibility. that's okay when they should have that authority, not so good when they shouldn't but do have the authority, and downright bad when they don't even have the authority and we are demanding responsibility as if they do. specifically, unless we are willing to allow the "a-list" webloggers to rule "citizen journalism," we should stop demanding that they rule fairly. if we don't like what they are doing, we should ignore them before we don't have that option.

the same is true of professional media. this is a point i frequently raise within my local peace and justice organization. members frequently complain of an apparent right-wing bias in the local newspaper, yet when it comes time to do some advertising, we invariably send our money to the same local newspaper. and most subscribe to the same paper. and those who write letters send them to the same paper, despite the existance of a viable and friendlier alternative, "the indy".

there is, of course, a balancing act. the readership of the indy is an important factor in considering support. likewise, if you want an idea to be heard online, you probably don't want to completely disassociate yourself with everyone who has a sizable audience. but it's my impression that most of those i see complaining about by media, whether professional or weblog, don't even stop to seriously consider the possibility of ending all association with the media they don't like. i think ignoring is an under-used tactic for changing. and it may just be the best tactic where attention defines value.

 

one of my recent projects was a collective bibliography tool. it's pretty much del.icio.us with books and films added to the tagged mix. unfortunately, of about 120 users for whom i made accounts and announced this tool, i appear to be the only person using it. i'm not sure why i bother, but i continue to post everything i see recommended on this group's email list, hoping some day someone else will notice this nifty tool and start using it.

but that's not why i'm pointing you to it. you can't actually post items using this tool unless you are one of the select few who has an account, and odds are you're not. but you can see what a bunch of peaceniks are recommending to each other and appreciate what a great application i made.

 

i just ordered myself a "wonder wash," a hand-operated pressure washing machine. i wasn't able to track down more than a couple online reviews of similar machines, and both suggested that the handle might fall off, though both seemed to continue using it after that happened. it's only $50, so i thought it was worth the risk. i'm hoping this will give me more flexibility with where and when i do my laundry, give me a reason to get some exercise, and maybe even help the environment a bit. i'll try to post some sort of review up here after i've used it a few times for anyone else considering buying one.

update: see review, as promised.

 

Disemployed is currently closed. sigh...