Of a Fire in Christiantown

I’m a member of the volunteer firefighting company of Tisbury 651, a ladder truck that also goes by the nickname Tisbury Tower One, on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. Saturday morning, three days ago, my company was called out to a fire on Christiantown Road in West Tisbury, a town that borders on Tisbury, under a mutual aid arrangement between the towns. The fire was at the home of Danny Prowten, a 63 year old thirty-year veteran of the West Tisbury Volunteer Fire Department. Mr. Prowten, whom I never met, died in the fire.

Many of the firefighters, EMTs and police who responded to the call, and all of those to first arrive, knew Danny Prowten well. Some of them had been his firefighting companions for twenty years or more. As I came to learn, he was reknowned for his courage and selflessness.

Newspaper accounts of the fire appear here and here and here, but they all say pretty much the same thing (and anyway, it’s not at all clear that any of these outlets actually had reporters on the scene — or if they were there, that they were allowed to stay anywhere nearby. I certainly didn’t notice anybody who wasn’t fire/police/EMT or family.)

I spent about seven hours on the call, and about two and a half hours at a “critical incident debriefing” Sunday, so the events of this past weekend are very much in my mind today.

Below, a few bloggish remarks slightly edited from notes I jotted Saturday & Sunday nights–just my way of decompressing.

R.I.P., brother Prowten.

UPDATED I have added and deleted some things since first posting. Please see the first paragraph after the fold.

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Update: Apology to Craig Settles

I owe Craig Settles an apology for my snarky aside in my piece on what the broadband stimulus does. Craig has written his own rebuttal to the NY Times piece, in which he explains that the reporter lifted a single quote from a 30 minute interview out of context. In private correspondence (as well as in a comment on the original post), he has shown himself an advocate for rural broadband and certainly not a tool of industry. He also gets high ratings from Jim Baller, one of the real heroes of munibroadband and broadband policy generally.

I’ve amended the original post to take out any reference to Craig and the out-of-context quote.

Stay tuned . . .

I've been spamtrapped!

I was just trying to add a comment to Harold’s blog entry, below, when the screen suddenly went a horrible blue, and a (probably illegally used, copyrightwise) image of a can of Spam(tm) appeared, along with this message:

You’ve been spamtrapped

we will not tolerate spam Als u menselijk bent en u denkt dat u onterecht wordt beschuldigd van spam activiteiten op mijn weblog, ga dan terug naar de vorige pagina. Mogelijkerwijs bevat uw commentaar een link naar een site welke ik op dit weblog weer. Ook kan het gebruik van verschillende woorden zoals casino u naar deze pagina hebben geleid.

If you are human and you think that you are wrongly beeing accused of trying to spam my blog, please return to the previous page by going back. You’ve been sent here because the original comment contains illegal keywords like casino or links to spamming websites. I will not tolerate these links on my weblog and as a precaution all content is filtered before submitted to the site.

What’s particularly galling this remark is the sentence, “I will not tolerate these links on my weblog:” WTF? Hey, it’s MY GODDAMN WEBLOG, YOU STUPID PIECE OF SOFTWARE! WHO THE BLEEP DO YOU THINK YOU ARE????

Anyway, over the last few weeks we have recieved some email from friends of the site to the effect that they had been prevented from making comments. I put that on my list of things to worry about at some time in the future. Now that it has happened to me & I have experienced first hand just how irritating and insulting it is, let me just say that this problem has gotten my attention for real. I cannot promise how soon we’ll get it resolved, but it will probably be sooner than if I had not been spamptrapped. In the meantime, any of you who have been impoperly spamtrapped, please accept my apology on behalf of my well-meaning but incompetent and rude spam blocker.

By the way, here’s my comment on Harold’s blog entry (below the fold):

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Update: I may owe Powell an apology

As I said last night, the refusal to look at new evidence is what makes the difference between religious conviction and mere operating bias. More recent stories now quote the only FCC source to go on the record (as opposed to unnamed sources) as saying the suppression of the report was ordered by “a senior official,” rather than definitively going up to Powell. Powell denies he ever saw the report or ordered it destroyed.

All the more reason for Martin to conduct an investigation and get this matter resolved. Because I’ve read the study and run it past an economist and, as far as he and I can determine, it is sound methodologically and valuable in the debate on ownership. It should have been published when it came out. If there is a “senior official” at the FCC who ordered it destroyed who is still there, that “senior official” needs to get removed from the process.

So I will start with an apology to Powell for rushing to judgment. It is entirely possible that some “senior official,” entirely unknown to Michael Powell, killed the report to avoid giving Powell news he thought Powell would not want to see. I will add that I wish I lived in a world where my first thought was not “that is just so typical of this administration.” And no, it’s not Powell’s fault that after admant denials that the administration was spying on Americans, it turned out they were, and after adamant denials that the administration did not keep prisoners in secret prisons in Europe, we did, etc. But Powell deserves to have his chance to reply and deserves an investigation at the FCC to resolve the matter once and for all.

Stay tuned.