Monthly Archives: March 2009

Killing Journalism One Bear at a Time

ViaDave Barry, I see the Internet continues to trivialize and undermine the seriousness of the news:

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North Dakota Flooding

If we’re not all too busy talking about Obama’s teleprompter, the earth iskind of caving in over here.

Help out here.

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Retention Guarantees

Political-pictures-senators-truthfully

Everybody’s got a co-worker, right, who does this?Marches in every couple months and demands more money or else he or she will leave? And the question isn’t whether he or she deserves more money, it’s whether blackmail is a long-term negotiating tactic. You can only pull that card so many times.

Because honestly, there’s a part of me that gets the bonus argument; Mr. A used to work at a place that gave out bonuses. Nothing close to what’s being talked about with AIG (dude, can you imagine the blog we’d have if it had been? Hot and cold running interns, crack vans every day, a compound in the French Quarter where you’d all be welcome to shack up …) but a bonus, still. And there were people who banked on those bonuses, counted on them to pay off debt each year or make a major purchase, so I can see the argument that jerking those bonuses away is devastating to them.

The problem, though, is that this shit happens all the time. People count on their jobs, right, and those jobs get yanked away when the world economy goes kablooie and there’s no arguing that you were budgeting for that salary so give it to me anyway. People count on all kinds of stuff, and there are times when your bosses are bullshitting you about how much they want to pay you and you deserve to squeeze them a little, and times when genuinely, there is no money for you, so threatening to leave is kind of pointless.

Such as when you’ve been bailed out by the taxpayers after you kind of wrecked the whole world. So maybe on balance it would be better not to threaten to leave lest your employers, at this time you and me in the case of AIG, look at you across the desk and say, “Well, go on then, split already.”

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Why?

Isthis really necessary?

Camp lemonir

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti – There’s a wonderful view of Camp Lemonier from a
lofty watch tower smack in the middle of the base. In one direction, you can see
row after row of housing units stretching into the distance. In another, you can
see neighboring Djibouti International Airport. The tower is so tall that a
keen-eyed spotter can see all the way to the beach that marks the post’s
boundary.

This tower in the center of Lemonier was once actually near the edge of the
camp. Increasing American activity in the Horn of Africa has propelled Lemonier
from a sleepy 97-acre post to a 500-acre base that’s become one of the
military’s major installations on the continent. Last year’s stand-up of U.S.
Africa Command means the base is only going to get busier.

SNIP

But the most telling indicators of the camp’s larger role may be the new
infrastructure that will allow it to serve as a support hub for Africa Command.
Crews have already broken ground on new taxiways to increase its ability to
manage aircraft. Leaders are considering putting in a “hot pad” that will allow
planes to refuel, rearm and get back on their way quickly.

Lemonier is now set to be an enduring base of operations for Africa Command.(my emphasis)

It Wasn’t Just The Jokey Bullshit, Morons

Jesus. Politico, attempting to WIN THE MORNING:

Seeking to rebound from his widely-panned rebuttal of Obama’s address
to Congress last month, Jindal took repeated aim at the new president.
Conservatives have embraced Jindal as a 2012 GOP hopeful, but his stiff
delivery in his TV address last month made many wonder whether he’s
ready for prime time.

It wasn’t just his delivery, you trivial dipshits. It was that he got up and offered the same tired crap we’ve been hearing for 30 years about how the government doesn’t need to pay for anything, we just all need to believe in unicorns and faeries and cotton candy that grows on trees and the ability of rich choads to decide for themselves that they can abide by rules they make up and not make as much money anymore because it’s good for America and apple pie and Bristol Palin’s children and by the way did you know I TOTALLY RESCUED PEOPLE IN BOATS except not so much because of bureaucrats except not so much again and we don’t need to watch volcanos to see if they’re about to blow up and whoops one did this week and Nancy Pelosi wants to use your tax dollars to make mice gay and now it’s time for my nap someobdy find my teething ring fuck you Al Gore.

Seriously. His grinning toolishness didn’t help, but he could have delivered that speech with the gravity and skill of Jesus on the mount and it would still have been “widely panned.”

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Videos

One Shining Moment

Siena vs Ohio State was a great game and even included security ripping away the ubiquitous “John 3:16” sign. (at 14 second mark)


Willie B Imposter

A Not-Willie-B St.Patty’s Day video:

You Have to Not Suck

In order to make it as a newspaper:

At a time when daily newspapers seem to be going away at the rate of
one a week and weeklies are madly cutting to stay afloat, The
Chronicle, which has revenue of approximately $8.5 million a year, has
not laid off anyone, has no plans to do so, and its business is off
just 7 percent in the last three years.

Part of the reason may
have to do with price (free) but there is something else afoot. The
Chronicle is knit into civic and cultural life in Austin to a degree
that may make other newspapers nervous. While other regional news
outlets do house ads and commercials about their connection to the
community, The Chronicle started the South by Southwest conference, its
founders have helped finance local filmmakers, and when you step off
the airplane and see a huge bookstore branded with The Chronicle’s
name, it’s clear that the weekly plays big for its size.

Relentless, inescapable marketing.

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She makes time stand still

Patty Griffin’s birthday was last week and damn it, I forgot to post a video. So I herewith correct that grievous oversight. While I was looking through videos, I stumbled across thisradio interview that Maddow did with her a few years ago. Maddow says,”You get the sense that you’ve read something by the time you are done listening to one of her album” and she’s so right. That “literary quality” is no doubt one of the reasons Griffin got spot #19 inPaste Magazine’s100 Best Living Songwriters. As anyone who’s seen her live will tell you, her musical chops are every bit the match of her writing.

44 years ago today

On March 25, 1965, the third march from Selma to Montgomery ended triumphantly as 25,000 marchers arrived at the State Capitol building in Montgomery. That moment marked the largest gathering to date of civil rights demonstrators in the south, and the culmination of thevoting rights movement. March leaders delivered a petition for Alabama Governor George Wallace:

We have come not only five days and 50 miles, but we have come from three centuries of suffering and hardship. We have come to you, the Governor of Alabama, to declare that we must have our freedom NOW. We must have the right to vote; we must have equal protection of the law, and an end to police brutality.

But the real message of the day was delivered by Dr. King:

Journalism Ethics Panel

Bloggers have undone us all:

As of the beginning of last week, The Post had a backlog of hundreds of
correction requests, a few dating to 2004. In many cases, readers never
heard whether The Post had rejected their request, or why. For them, it
was like sending a correction request into a black hole.

The newspaper’s process for handling correction requests has not
worked properly. In some instances, reporters were never even notified
that readers had requested corrections to their stories.

There is little statistical analysis to spot trends in errors or to
detect reporters (or editors) with high correction rates. As the saying
goes, what gets measured gets fixed.

This is whythe stylebook argument is bullshit. It’s why canting about how bloggers have no standards is really, really bullshit. The standards are different everywhere. It works differently everywhere. The way I used to do corrections was that somebody would call me up screaming about something I’d screwed up, and I’d have to go to my editor and tell him I’d screwed up, and then write the damn correction myself. It’s why I remember all of them word for fucking word. God, I hated writing corrections. I’d give anything not to even know about them.

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How Dare You, Sir? I Say, How Dare You?!11!OMG!!!BBQ!

Oh, God, now they’re going after Notre Dame. Release the flying monkeys!

PERFIDY!

The word “perfidy” derives from the Latin “perfidus,” that is,
“faithless” or “detrimental to faith”; it is also synonymous with
“treachery,” or “violation of allegiance or trust.” The University of
Notre Dame’s decision to honor President Obama as its commencement
speaker in May is perfidious and treacherous in the extreme.

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Department of GIRL NO

Not a wartime correspondent:

Bachmann then began to talk about her role as Representative at the
nation’s Capitol. Explaining the resources available at her U.S. House
website which enable her to communicate what is happening in D.C. to
the public, such as her Bachmann Bulletin, Bachmann Blog, and links to
her Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace pages, the Congresswoman said, “I’m
a foreign correspondent on enemy lines and I try to let everyone back
here in Minnesota know exactly the nefarious activities that are taking
place in Washington.”

Let me be blunt here. I know, because I usually beat around the bush, but: Bachmann here isn’t risking shit. She has by all accounts a pretty cushy job from which she Twitters back craziness to the people who elected her, and at no time is she in mortal danger of anything other than saying something stupid on TV.

Not so, Uma Singh:

About 15 unidentified people attacked Uma Singh, a 27-year-old
print and radio reporter, in her home in the southeastern district of Dhanusa
in the Janakpur zone in the south of Nepal
near the border with India,
according to local and international news reports. Singh died of multiple stab
wounds to the head and upper body while being transferred from a local hospital
to a larger one later that evening.

Some journalists and civil society groups said they believe
local Maoists may have been involved in the murder. Among other suggested
motives, Nepal’s
National Human Rights Commission suspects she was silenced by Maoist workers,
who Singh blamed for the abduction and murder of her father and brother in
2006, according to the My Republica news Web site.

Mark Bench with the World Press Freedom Committee visited
Janakpur in early February as part of an International Media Support mission looking
into Singh’s murder. He told CPJ by e-mail that the district police
superintendenthe interviewed believed her
role as a journalist was a likely cause of her death. “She was known for
her naming names and for blaming the Maoists for the murder of two family
murders,” he wrote. “We spoke with 11 female journalists from Janakpur. All
spoke of her forthrightness that likely got her killed.”

Not so, Francis Nyaruri:

Prior
to his disappearance, Nyaruri had written a series of articles that exposed local
police corruption, local journalists told CPJ. The journalists said Nyaruri had
told them police officers had threatened him in response to articles he had
written in theWeekly Citizen.

Before
the body was found, local police did not broadcast
information about the reporter’s disappearance despite repeated requests by his
family, according to local journalists and relatives.

Not so, 125 men and women all over the world:

About 13 percent of jailed journalists face no formal charge at all.
The tactic is used by countries as diverse as Eritrea, Israel, Iran,
the United States, and Uzbekistan, where journalists are being held in
open-ended detentions without due process. At least 16 journalists
worldwide are being held in secret locations. Among them is Gambian
journalist “Chief” Ebrima Manneh, whose whereabouts, legal status, and
health have beenkept secret since his arrest in July 2006. From theU.S. Senate
to the West African human rights court, international observers have
called on authorities to free Manneh, who was jailed for trying to
publish a critical report about Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.

We like to make a lot of fun of wingnuts’ inflated self-importance, the way they describe themselves as Strike Forces and talk about themselves in the florid language of the resistance movement. The truth is, there are people every day who live the kind of lives Michelle Bachmann and her ilk like to talk about, who go out every day and do the job Michelle only pretends to do. That’s why this kind of thing isn’t funny and it isn’t cute and it isn’t harmless hyperbole. She’s presuming, and she shouldn’t.

To the actual foreign correspondents working every day — under conditions which would send the 101st Fighting Keyboarders screaming for their mommies — to their memory, to their families, and to everyone who knows or knew them, Bachmann should apologize.

Via Shakesville.

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Paying It Back

Some of the bonus money being returned:

NEW YORK –New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said Monday that 15 employees who received some of the largest bonuses fromAmerican International Group Inc. have agreed to return the more than $30 million worth of payments in full.

In
total, AIG employees have agreed to return about $50 million of the
$165 million in bonuses awarded earlier this month by the troubled
insurer, Cuomo’s office said.

Cuomo said he
still hopes that more AIG employees will return their bonuses. At most,
Cuomo said his office could hope to recoup $80 million of the bonuses —
roughly the amount paid out to American employees.

“I
applaud the employees who are returning the bonuses,” Cuomo said during
a conference call with reporters. “I think they are being responsive to
theAmerican people.”

[snip]

About 400 employees and future employees in AIG’s financial products
division received bonuses. Documents provided by AIG to theTreasury Department
said the awards ranged from $1,000 to nearly $6.5 million. Seven
employees were to receive more than $3 million. Last week Cuomo said
AIG paid bonuses of $1 million or more to 73 employees, including 11
who no longer work there.

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Lucky dead duckies

Thistsunami warning system doesn’t seem like the biggestblack swan on Louisiana’s cloudy horizon, but could we get a “thanks but no thanks” from our Christian/”Scientist” Governor, just for the record?

The tsunami warning announcement to be broadcast at 8 a.m. on April 2 is no April Fools Day joke.

It’s
a first-ever test of a new Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico tsunami warning
system designed to cue coastal communities of the potential danger of
huge waves caused by earthquakes.

Patriots should organize a tea party to protest this floatable porkfest!

The
United States warning system was updated in 2005 after an Indian Ocean
tsunami struck coastlines in the Indian Ocean with little or no
warning, killing about 230,000 people in a number of countries.

Yeah,
but what the liberal drive-by MSM doesn’t tell you is that, before they
drowned like animals, those 230,000 people enjoyed dynamic tax savings
compounded over many years, because they didn’t have to underwrite all
thisporktastic “monitoring” technology, like we do.

Lucky duckies.
===

H/T toNoladder.

Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin Need to Talk

About that silly “volcano monitoring” stuff:

ANCHORAGE, Alaska(AP)
— Alaska’s Mount Redoubt volcano erupted four times overnight, sending
an ash plume more than 9 miles high into the air, but the state’s
largest city has likely been spared from any ashfall.

“The ash
cloud went to 50,000 feet, and it’s currently drifting toward the
north, northeast,” said Janet Schaefer, a geologist with the Alaska
Volcano Observatory.

The first eruption, in a sparsely area
across Cook Inlet from the Kenai Peninsula, occurred at 10:38 p.m.
Sunday and the fourth happened at 1:39 a.m. Monday, according to the
observatory.

The wind patterns were taking the ash cloud away
from Anchorage, toward Willow and Talkneetna, near Mount McKinley,
North America’s largest mountain in Denali National Park.

Geophysicist John Power said no cities have yet reported any ash fall
from the volcano, but noted that it was still early.

Using
radar and satellite technology, the National Weather Service is
predicting ash to start falling later Monday morning.

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There Is No Crisis

Not any more of one than there always has been for working mothers without six names who don’t get featured in the New York Times Magazine:

Now, I’m just as jealous of the
yoga-pants-at-9-a.m.-on-Monday-morning crowd as the next frazzled
working mom. But, I’m sorry to say, however delicious charting the
downfall of the wealthy at-home mom may be, we do have to stop for a
little reality check. While the rich, bathed in our attention, are
turning necessity into a hand-wringing sociological event, most women
in this country are just going about their business, much as they
always have.

We — journalists and readers both — simply must, for once, resist
the temptation to let what may or may not be happening to the top 5
percent (or 1 percent) of our country’s families set the story line for
what women’s lives are becoming in this recession.

Because, the fact is, the story’s not about them.

Seriously. One more trend story about how manicures are too expensive these days and I’m gonna scream. And it’s interesting that this is more prevalent at the big-city papers than it is in the smaller ones, wherechronicling the day-to-day lives of people struggling has always been the mission:

Hall said a lot of male teachers take such summer jobs as painting,
roofing and carpentry, while female teachers often work retail sales,
office work and waiting tables.

The
school district was a major employer itself, hiring many teachers for
the summer school program that helped slower learning students, Lacey
said.

But that
program was cut from 24 days to nine last summer after voters rejected
school levies. The district is deciding how extensive the program will
be this year.

The most gifted teacher I ever knew, the man who taught me about the power of words and whose love of learning and debate made all his students fearless in their arguments, worked construction in the summers to pay the mortgage, and this was in the early 90s, when times were supposedly so good. There has always been a struggle to pay the bills in middle-class America. It’s just that until the prices of manicures start soaring, the punditry doesn’t really notice all that much, and it’s really only a problem when they say it is, right?

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