Monday, 16 January 2017

A possible new era

Hello. I'm Tim Abbott, I am a media guy. 

I am a freelance radio editor, currently out of work. I love working with underserved communities in particular. I was working as an editor and social media manager for the local tribal radio station.

My most cherished beliefs are peace and equality, and that those are the foundation of humanity, if left free of coertion.

That also pretty firmly puts me in the Anarcho-Pacifist corner of politics.

I was born by the banks of the River Thames, with Cerebral Palsy. I wear my scars with pride. I am a #spoonie. I used to present a Disability rights show on Resonance 104.4 FM in London.

That show, Technical Difficulties, returned after I got married and emigrated.  Fridays between noon and 1pm Central Time on 88.1 FM KPPP-LP in Fargo-Moorhead.

I also have engineered on radio, and will probably return to that.

I grew up by the River Douglas in Lancashire and now live by the banks of the Red River of the North in Moorhead, MN.

I graduated from Nottingham Trent University, and in a round about way have eventually found my major - Broadcast Journalism - to be quite useful.

I am a romantic immigrant - that is, I moved here to be with my wife and our cat. We are infertile.

I am a proud bisexual man.

I am not romantic about the country to which I have moved, built as it was through theft and misappropriation from Mexica.

I am a white, European or "Gichi-mookomaan", to use the Ojibwe phrase.

Despite the disturbingly, forcefully mainstream politics of much of modern sport, I grew up as an all-sports guy (local favorites included soccer, cricket and two different types of rugby) and remain one.

Also, as an experienced traveler, I have rooting interests in most sports and most regions but am most at home watching (any) basketball or (Manchester United) footy.

I am least comfortable trying to help run such organisations.

Any other questions, feel free to ask. Although I may not answer.

Tim

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Previous about post

Hello. I'm Tim Abbott, I am a media guy. 

My most cherished beliefs are peace and equality, and that those are the foundation of humanity, if left free of coertion.

That also pretty firmly puts me in the Anarcho-Pacifist corner of politics.

I was born by the banks of the River Thames, with Cerebral Palsy. I wear my scars with pride. I am a #spoonie. I used presented a Disability rights show on Resonance 104.4 FM in London. That show, Technical Difficulties, returned after I got married and emigrated.

Fridays between noon and 1pm Central Time on 88.1 FM KPPP-LP in Fargo-Moorhead.

I also have engineered on radio, and will probably return to that.

I grew up by the River Douglas in Lancashire and now live by the banks of the Red River of the North in Moorhead, MN.

I graduated from Nottingham Trent University, and in a round about way have eventually found my major - Broadcast Journalism - to be quite useful.

I am a romantic immigrant - that is, I moved here to be with my wife and our cat. We are infertile.

I am a proud bisexual man.

I am not romantic about the country to which I have moved, built as it was through theft and misappropriation from Mexica.

I work for a couple of radio stations (KKWE & KPPP-LP) , mostly working to restore recordings which have been recorded in sub-optimal circumstances but whose cultural value makes restoration essential.

I am a white, European or "Gichi-mookomaan", to use the Ojibwe phrase.

Despite the disturbingly, forcefully mainstream politics of much of modern sport, I grew up as an all-sports guy (local favorites included soccer, cricket and two different types of rugby) and remain one.

Also, as an experienced traveler, I have rooting interests in most sports and most regions but am most at home watching (any) basketball or (Manchester United) footy.

I am least comfortable trying to help run such organisations.

Any other questions, feel free to ask. Although I may not answer.

Tim

Friday, 11 November 2016

President Trump is coming

Boozhoo, this week saw the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States.

Politics is not my beat, however I believe the following things are possibilities from a Trump White House.

Approval of the pipelines Keystone XL (waiting on a State Department permit) and DAPL (waiting on permission from the Army Corps of Engineers)

Repeal of marriage equality (although in his first interview he backtracked on opposing this)

Removal of Roe v Wade

The end of Obamacare (A key plank of his platform, although he has suggested reforms too)

The end of Minnesota HCP (The state provider of subsidised health plans is under threat from a Republican Party now in control of both houses of MN congress)
A wall between the US and Mexico
A ban on Muslim immigration
The end of NAFTA/TPP (declared positions)
The end of NATO (which would fail if the US pulls out - a Trump position)

A detente with Russia (implied, if not yet planned)
Dispute with China over currency manipulation (stated position)
Tariffs on imported goods (stated position)

I will add, nobody outside of the Transition Team really knows what Trump/Pence/Bannon will do.

After all, this is a vibrantly anti-Semitic administration which now has a stated aim of supporting the state of Israel.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Privilege, intersectional identity and the US election #Cripthevote

This week's #cripcast was canceled after an hour long chat with Alice Wong and Andrew Pulrang was lost to a technical issue on my recorder.

They were two of the three founders of the #Cripthevote campaign, along with Gregg Beratan

It airs every Friday at noon Central Time on 88.1 FM in Fargo-Moorhead and www.kpppfm.com everywhere

It is repeated at noon on Saturdays.

Alice suggested that I blog about our chat. I didn't take notes and my memory is unreliable so having recovered from frustration and anxiety, I decided to blog on the recurrent themes I remember.

Firstly, the majority of the press coverage of disability themes in this election has devolved into Trump's treatment of Serge Kovaleski versus the appearance of Anastacia Somoza at the Democratic National Committee.

It, and disabled people, are more complicated than that.

I am a white, male journalist and all three of these traits entitle me.

Kovaleski is also all three of these and in fact privileged by being a professional employee of one of the most well-known media organizations in the world in the guise of the New York Times.

This brings me on to the next theme.

My guests told me that what has emerged during the campaign is a picture of disabled people as individuals - people of different races, genders and political preferences.

Andrew and I are white men and therefore we benefit from such privilege. Alice is an woman of color and therefore has different experience.

What also emerged was the appetite and need for disabled people inside the political system, shaping policy rather than just voting on slates of policies fully formed by non-disabled people.

In all my observations, which I believe were echoed by Alice and Andrew, Obamacare was a rare point of almost complete agreement amongst disabled people - especially those of us with a pre-existing condition. The one dissenter to that view is a Twitter acquaintance known as Fracking Test Subject who has seen increases in her healthcare.gov premiums reach levels which would undercut her finances. The solution to the problems most evident in Obamacare's workings right now are something no one has really addressed. Democrats are on the back foot and most Republicans are only calling for repeal,which would destroy the pre-existing condition protection with apparently no parachute whilst a new law is formulated.

I don't know if this recollection is from our chat or elsewhere but it has been pointed out that the way forward for insurance companies complaining about the cost of providing insurance could be the model that Romney developed in Massachusetts - mandatory insurance but entirely based on the market place, with public subsidies on a sliding scale linked to income.

I became aware that the US system presents an opportunity for people to work their way up from school board or sanitation commissioner through state parliaments to national politicial offices and this pyramid offers disabled people the chance to test out their stamina before it becomes a focus of attack advertising.

The UK on the other hand leaves the vast majority of parliamentarians experiencing their first experience of the details when they step into parliament the first time.

This blog post was posted rough to reach you before the show slot (this week, a repeat). Let me know about any inaccuracies.

Thanks for reading,

Wear your scars with pride.

Tim

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Handling #NoDAPL

Today was a training session at KKWE. As a professional, FCC-licensed station, the ongoing civil disobedience in Cannonball and beyond aimed at blocking construction of Dakota Access Pipeline has posed a problem. That problem is that the majority of the audio coming out of the protests is live streamed, or posted on Facebook and YouTube. The authors are unconventional but to me, worthy of the traditional journalistic protection of sources. The station manager disagrees.

Apparently if you can't say where audio came on air, you can't use it.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Technical Difficulties is returning

Back in London town, I was at the helm of a disability rights radio show, Technical Difficulties, on the unique freeform radio station Resonance 104.4 FM. Guests were predominantly women. I am proud of the gender balance we achieved. However, we unconsciously failed to represent a racial mix - despite being in one of the most diverse cities in the world.

Soon, I am rebooting the show on KPPP-LPFM here in Fargo-Moorhead, one of the least diverse metropolitan areas in any of the United States.

KPPP is a media justice project and as such it presents an opportunity for me to redress that racial imbalance, to amplify those voices who are literally invisible in this area.

Wear your scars with pride,
We all have Technical Difficulties
Stay tuned.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Oppression, allegiance, militarism and Kaepernick

First off, I'm not going to address Colin Kaepernick directly. His decision, and I'm fairly sure it's protected speech. He's also an employee, but his employers at the 49ers confirmed his freedom of expression.

More so for me, it made me think.

I am a privileged white man, but I am also an immigrant. Naturalization would force me to pledge to fight "all enemies, foreign and domestic", since securing a waiver on the grounds of pacifism is both unusual and expensive.

I can see why Black people, living with the legacy of slavery, and Native Americans, who saw a massive invasion steal their country... would object to pledging allegiance to 'the republic for which it stands' - and to standing to attention alongside.

There is a strand of Native culture which I have yet to understand, and that is the willingness to serve in the same military which fought to exterminate them, and a country which either ignores or oppresses them.

That brings me to the singing of the National Anthem before every sporting thing here. Sam Borden of the New York Times, a good journo, reflected on this from an American perspective:

Lost in (the Kaepernick debate) , though, is that while high-level sports are a type of entertainment, few other forms of mass-consumed entertainment — movies or concerts or exhibitions — have the anthem ingrained into every performance.

The full article is here, and it is beautifully written.

Do I have a duty to stand? I'm often not physically able. That aside, I'm not, and probably won't ever be, American (see above).

Borden points to Drew Brees conflating the flag with the military, an unfortunate habit which seems unique to this country. This is not helped by the fact that the anthem is literally about war and how glorious it is to survive war.

The British anthem is a pledge to our own status quo,  "long to reign us, God Bless the Queen". As an agnostic republican, I'm grateful there was no pledge or tradition of saluting a flag. There is, however, a tradition of singing along when it IS sung, usually before international games. God Save the Queen is a dirge, and the massive crowds at England games often sing it with alcohol-fuelled bluntness and poor rhythm - often leading the crowd to be at least a beat ahead of whichever professional is performing the anthem in the centre circle.

If someone started to play the British national anthem before Manchester United games, there would be widespread confusion - but no one would dare accuse the millions of attendants of soccer of being unpatriotic.

The main reason I object to the national anthem at a domestic event is this:

Sports are largely a borderless world, where your nationality matters less to the fans than what team colors you 'bleed', and the incessant playing of a national anthem undercuts this ecumenical spirit and possibly irritates or confuses the non - Americans who make up a substantial caucus within all levels of all US sports with the possible - and pointed - exception of American Football.

The first verse of Francis Scott Key's Star Spangled Banner (which is as far as most 20th century sheet music goes) ends with a question:

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Maybe Colin Kaepernick just decided the answer was no.