Monthly Archives: January 2009

An Open Letter to AT&T: “Adapt or whither”

Dear AT&T Wireless management…

I have had to pay my mobile phone bill late on a few occasions over the years, but I have always paid as soon as I was able, in full, and without question. This time, however, I am pushed to the very edge of my fiscal ability, when I am forced to realign my priorities and consider what services and resources will be absolutely necessary to help me get me through this very difficult period in our history. So, I would like to share the following thoughts with you…

Your rates, your late fees, and the cost of your products have not only become excessive, but are out-of-touch with and indifferent to these difficult times. It would seem prudent for AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and Nextel to adapt — when global economies are collapsing, and millions of people are losing their jobs and homes every month — so as to retain their respective client base and keep their employees employed. I suspect that if the telecommunications industry does not make the necessary adjustments, both it and its employees may be next on the chopping block. But to add a personal dimension to the challenges presented, though I have a societally valuable and contributive role, I am an independent photojournalist and an artist, and thus monetarily undervalued, at least in the United States. So, though I should have equal access to quality services and products, it would seems that I do not make an income that will afford me a functional phone with its associated services.

As for the reality of my current situation, though I would like to use my mobile phone more often, I don’t. This is because my calls are regularly dropped, I have to piece together sentences that are broken, and/or the signal is so poor that I have to put effort into going outdoors with the hope that it will connect properly. As a result, 90% of my communications occur on a land line or through my email and Facebook profile. Though these options might not provide me with the perceived instant gratification, geographic mobility, and convenience of a mobile phone, they are a small fraction of the cost. And honestly, as expensive as it is for me to have a mobile phone, it has benefitted me very little while in its current incarnation, mostly adding another source of stress and frustration.

If you would like to retain your clientele, I suggest you make the necessary adjustments very soon. However, if you would like to retain me as a client, I would like to know asap if you will waive my late fee, consider reducing my monthly bill, and provide me with a better phone, without attempting to bind me with unrealistic commitments? If not, I will be researching other options for mobile phone service, or simply drop it altogether until it can functionally serve my needs.

Finally, because I am an independent journalist and I speak for many others, I feel compelled to share this letter in its entirety with my extensive network of friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and my online communities for consideration.

Thank you for taking the time to understand my concerns. I look forward to hearing from you and discussing a fair and reasonable compromise.

Sincerely,
Craig Morse

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A Petition to President Obama: Appoint The First Ever ‘U.S. Secretary of The Arts’

In their myriad forms, the arts are essential to the collective psychological health, welfare, progress, and maturity of any civilized society. As well, the arts instill a sense of purpose and alignment into the hearts of creative people who contribute their wealth of enlightening, challenging, provocative, and beautiful ideas. Art compels us to think, to question, to emote, to confront, to challenge conventions, to heal, and to remember. Art has the ability to instill cultural pride while raising the collective morale. Art defines space, and place, and cultural identity at a particular time and place. The selection of a highly respected creative colleague to the position of The Secretary of The Arts, empowered by federal funding, is ESSENTIAL to the healthful resuscitation, functioning, and maintenance of our national heart and soul.

While other countries have appointed Ministers of the Arts and Culture for decades, if not centuries, the United States has never had such a position. We need this NOW more than ever. Please visit Secretary Of The Arts and sign this important petition, then pass it along to your friends and colleagues. Thank you! :) Craig

February 2007 - New Orleans, LA.  The Guardians of the Flame are several children of Mardi Gras Indians and the Congo Nation.  They seek to keep alive the custom of paying homage to the Native Americans who gave refuge to their enslaved ancestors and treated them as equals.

February 2007 - New Orleans, LA. The Guardians of the Flame are several children of Mardi Gras Indians and the Congo Nation. They seek to keep alive the custom of paying homage to the Native Americans who gave refuge to their enslaved ancestors and treated them as equals.

“Just A Thought”: DNA or N/A?

During a January 2, 2009, radio interview with Kobi Nnamdi of WAMU, Maryland Attorney General, Douglas F. Gansler, discussed his support for a recently ratified law that states that people charged with a violent crime in Maryland, or who attempt to commit one, must submit a DNA sample to the state’s DNA database.

My primary concern with regard to this law is that even a person who is charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. In my opinion, DNA should only be allowed to be databased after a person has been convicted of a violent crime beyond a reasonable doubt.

Additionally, Attorney Gensler stated that the collection of DNA is no different from the decades old practice of taking a baby’s footprint or a person’s fingerprint. I strongly disagree.

Though DNA evidence collected from an earlier crime scene may help to vindicate an innocent person who has been wrongly convicted of a crime. And though DNA evidence gathered from a convicted criminal may help to solve other crimes committed by this person. The process of DNA collection proposed by the new law in Maryland, especially by an underqualified officer of the law, is by default, subject to any number of human errors. And knowing the weight that DNA carries in a court of law, a savvy criminal could easily plant a person’s DNA – be it hair, nail, skin, blood, or semen – onto a victim or at the scene of a violent crime. By contrast, it would take great lengths to do so with a fingerprint.

What do you think?