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  • Infomaniac: WeBlog

    Overheard on the Web, and other Web links
    From The Herald's Research Editor

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    This blog is old news 

    The Miami Herald blog that replaced this one, Infomaniac, is no longer being posted to. Since I'm no longer working in any capacity for the Herald, all blog posts are now at my original news research blog, Behind the News. I also post photos of the Appalachian mountains at my Southern Highlands Cam blog.

    This blog hasn't been updated before now for over a year, aside from comment spam.

    posted by liz at 10:41 AM
    (2) comments

    Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    No more entries here 

    This is the old blog. The new blog is here. The archives of this blog, covering 10/04-7/05, will remain here.

    posted by liz at 9:49 AM
    (18) comments

    Monday, August 01, 2005

    The blog is moving 

    I've started posting to the new Infomaniac blog on If you need to change a link, the address is

    This blog will stay where it is (the archives will not be moved to the new blog) and so far the blogroll is more complete here than on the new blog. So you may want to keep this link for reference purposes, although I won't be adding new posts.

    Note, again, the even older blog is still on along with its archive (July 2003-October 2004. It seems longer than that.)

    Please come visit me on the new address. The new blog is done in Type Pad so it has more useful features, including easier commenting, Trackback, and an XML feed.

    posted by liz at 10:54 AM
    (3) comments

    Friday, July 29, 2005

    Teele and DeFede 

    (I'm finding more and more as the day goes on. New links being added at bottom of this post.)

    As expected, there's discussion of this story in local blogs, giving a different perspective beyond the journalistic ones I pointed to yesterday evening. The Cuban bloggers, who have strong feelings about DeFede, have lots to say about The Herald, its coverage of this story, and the journalists who are signing the petition of support for DeFede:
    From The 26th Parallel:
      "Let's get to the good first: Their firing of Jim DeFede was the right thing to do. What DeFede did was ethically wrong, and of course illegal.
      ...What's really disappointing to me is the relatively large number of people who've signed the letter, including several current Herald reporters whose work I've been reading for quite a few years now."

    'Conductor' at Cuban-American Pundits has a different take:
      "Now, I'm not a fan of Mr. Defede. He has been consistently against Cuban-Americans and I rarely agree with anything he writes, but that's entirely besides the point. I think in firing Defede, the Herald, embodies journalistic hypocrisy. If the conversations that were recorded, were part of an investigation to a White House cover up like Watergate, then I'm sure they would not have fired him."

    George Moneo at Babalu Blog reacts to those commentators that suggest opposition to DeFede from the Cuban community may have fueled the firing:
      "It's the fault of the Cubans in Miami! The Mafia, los gusanos! Man, are we powerful or what!? I cannot tell you how much this has helped my self-esteem. I feel... well, omnipotent. Thanks, Mr. Rivers, for clearing that up."

    As far as the other blogs, CriticalMiami, is well, very critical of The Herald's role in this whole story. Read it yourself, I'm not quoting it.

    The conservative Peer Review links to the on-line petition, and signs it.

    The comments on the online petition are also pretty heated, and interesting. Among the commenters: Babalu Blog's Val Prieto.

    For more reaction, stories in The Washington Post and the New York Times (registration required).

    And, in blogs outside of Florida, as this story resonates, it looks like it's going to attract the attention that other big media ethics stories got: interesting discussions in C aptain's Quarters, Reidblog, Mark in Mexico, for example. a Technorati search finds much, much more.

    posted by liz at 2:03 PM
    (2) comments

    Thursday, July 28, 2005


    The Arthur Teele story has been raising a lot of questions in journalism circles; there are several postings and letters on the Romenesko site, for example. Now some journalists have set up an online petition in support of Jim DeFede.

    And, some readers are upset about this story, too. Note this comment was added to the last post:
      How can u ignore the whole art teele thing? It happened in your very building. Are the mafia editors going to fire you too if you talk? The Herald doesn't believe in the 1st amendment, does it?

    In all the discussions about whether what DeFede did was legal or not, there is disagreement. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press has a guide, called Can We Tape? which lays out the law on taping in each state. But there seems to be a dispute even over whether the RCFP's account is accurate. This seems to be a case where expressing one's personal opinion isn't going to add much.

    posted by liz at 7:18 PM
    (4) comments

    Remembering a different tragedy 

    Someone posted to Metafilter today that it's the 60th anniversary of the day a plane hit the Empire State Building. It was an Army Air Corps plane, trying to land at Newark airport. The pilot, flying in bad conditions, saw the East River below, and thought it was the Hudson. This was a terrible tragedy, but now mostly forgotten. Many people don't even know it happened. According to this historical report,
      Nearby buildings were damaged by fragments of the impact and one of the planes engines was found on the South side of the building in the top of a twelve story building. The engine had flown over thirty-third St. and had crashed through a skylight in a penthouse. The engine started a $78,000.00 fire in the studio of sculptor Henry Hering. Hotel magnet Vincent Astor owned this 12-story building.

    14 people, including the plane's crew, were killed.

    Speaking of forgotten tragedies, did you know that in early 1953, a runaway train loaded with passengers arriving in Washington, DC for Dwight Eisenhower's inauguration, crashed through a wall and into the concourse of DC's Union Station? 87 people were injured.

    posted by liz at 12:53 PM
    (8) comments

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    Watching the shuttle 

    Last night we were sitting outside and looking at the stars, and wondering: would the Space Shuttle pass in view any time during its voyage? Of course, there's help from NASA:
    Realtime Tracking draws a map of the earth and shows you exactly where the shuttle and the International Space Station are in relation. Right now the shuttle is over the Indian Ocean and the ISS over New Zealand. I had no idea how fast they move; a few minutes ago the shuttle was over South America and the ISS over the Indian Ocean. Looks like the shuttle has made one pass over North America since.

    If you want to know what time you can go out and see the shuttle (or ISS) overhead, check out NASA's Sightings site. There's a Javascript application to show you, or you can check a text index by city. Here's Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
    Unfortunately the shuttle won't be over the east coast during dark hours until this weekend, and it will require getting up really early in the morning, and hoping it's not cloudy.

    Want to keep up on other things going around the earth? NASA's J-Track tracks satellites, Hubble and Mir.
    (Thanks to Gary Price for the hints.)

    posted by liz at 11:12 AM
    (1) comments

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Bloggers jump on Microsoft's map service 

    Lots of posts everywhere about this, but a new blog scanning site from C/Net, Blogma, seems to have the best summary. When Microsoft released their beta version of MSN Virtual Earth just a few weeks after Google launched Google Earth, bloggers were bound to try to compare them.
    Funny thing. They looked up the Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA, and found that it showed a bare piece of land there. Google Earth clearly shows lots of buildings. Did Microsoft try to eliminate any trace of their competitor? Not likely. It turns out they're using satellite images from 1991. Not what their copyright notice says. Either way, MS is the butt of blogosphere jokes right now....

    posted by liz at 3:15 PM
    (0) comments

    Florida blog news 

    Finally, the blogging bug seems to be hitting Florida. You may have noticed I added a couple more blog links to the Florida list on right side: here's another, and it's local. Critical Miami has been around since April, and posts on South Florida news and living. (Check out their recipe for Miami Hummus, for example. Now I know I've had this before...)
    (Via Metafilter.)

    I also found a link here to another site: Coconut Grove Grapevine. Wonderful photos of the Grove, with news and links. The first posting was in early May, according to the archive. What better place than the Grove for a photoblog?
    I'll be adding these to the blogroll too.

    (Added later:) Speaking of statewide blog lists, there are a few organized ones. Check out Rocky Top Brigade for Tennessee bloggers, for example, or NC Blogs or North State Blogs for North Carolina blogs. Sheila Lennon at the Providence Journal is putting together a list of Rhode Island bloggers.

    posted by liz at 2:08 PM
    (4) comments

    Follow the money 

    Here's an astonishing story, from The London Review of Books, Where has all the money gone? (a shorter version is in The Guardian: So, Mr Bremer, where did all the money go? ) The story actually ran a couple weeks ago; the link from Digby , says "I urge you to read the whole story. It was published earlier this month and fell down the memory hole. It's simply unbelievable."
    I've seen some references to this but never this detail. It's stunning. From the Guardian's version:
      "The auditors have so far referred more than a hundred contracts, involving billions of dollars paid to American personnel and corporations, for investigation and possible criminal prosecution. They have also discovered that $8.8bn that passed through the new Iraqi government ministries in Baghdad while Bremer was in charge is unaccounted for, with little prospect of finding out where it has gone. A further $3.4bn appropriated by Congress for Iraqi development has since been siphoned off to finance "security".
      ...Both Saddam and the US profited handsomely during his reign. He controlled Iraq's wealth while most of Iraq's oil went to Californian refineries to provide cheap petrol for American voters. US corporations, like those who enjoyed Saddam's favour, grew rich. Today, the system is much the same: the oil goes to California, and the new Iraqi government spends the national wealth with impunity."

    Meanwhile, Knight Ridder correspondents report that things are worse than ever in Baghdad: people are finding worms in their drinking water.

    posted by liz at 1:48 PM
    (6) comments

    Bloggers clearinghouse 

    Artist, marketer and blogger Hugh Macleod of Gaping Void (check out his cartoon cards if you haven't seen them yet) has come up with a genius idea for bloggers who have a need they'd like to get spread around. Have you written a restaurant or movie review? Have a freelance business, need a job, want to find a date? If you've posted it on your blog, Hugh's created the HughPage Wiki where you can post links to your announcement or information. He calls it "an open-source 'Craigslist' for bloggers".
    (Via Doc Searls.)

    posted by liz at 12:18 PM
    (1) comments

    By the way.... 

    There was a blog on that lasted over two years before this blog switched over to a Blogspot address (see below for coming changes). The links to the old blog somehow disappeared along the way, but yesterday I was Googling something and ran across a link to one of my blog pages from 2003. Lo and behold, there were all the links to the entire two-year run of the blog! I haven't checked every link to see if they all work, but for a look at what this blog used to look like, it's here.

    posted by liz at 12:12 PM
    (0) comments

    Terrorism, intelligence, and war costs 

    Londonist discusses the shooting of Jean Charles de Menezes and has some interesting things to say about what this will mean for people in London, and the rest of us:
      "It definitely wasn't a random event and of course it's still happening - the poor bastard was only on his way to work. This morning 7 million other people are doing the exact same thing. Already wary of others around them following the attacks are Londoners now going to have to think twice before running for a train in case plain clothes armed police have them in their sights?"

    A commenter says one enterprising Web entrepreneur is already selling T-shirts that say "Don't shoot! I am not a terrorist!"

    A neighbor of Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame, who is also their attorney, tells what the family is really like and how the leak to the Novak column devastated them:
      "As I finished reading the column, Joe ventured out onto his deck and offered a neighborly hello. I held up the paper and yelled over, "I had no idea about Valerie!" Joe looked stricken and gestured to me to keep my voice down. I immediately realized the "outing" of Valerie as a covert CIA operative had had a devastating effect on the Wilson family. In the weeks to follow, I came to understand just how harrowing the disclosure was. Obviously, the identification of Valerie meant an end to her decades-long career. It also meant the country had lost an essential part of the services provided by someone who was an expert on weapons of mass destruction."

    Left I on the media wondered why only one newspaper mentioned one thing that Lance Armstrong said after winning the Tour de France:
      "The biggest downside to a war in Iraq is what you could do with that money. What does a war in Iraq cost a week? A billion? Maybe a billion a day? The budget for the National Cancer Institute is four billion. That has to change."

    I hadn't seen this site before but they do seem to link to news I haven't seen anywhere else.....
    (The following story is about Jane Fonda's new antiwar protest: "In a related story, right-wingers across the land died of an overdose of ectasy.")

    posted by liz at 11:51 AM
    (13) comments

    Elisabeth Donovan

    Elisabeth (Liz) Donovan was a Herald librarian for 10 years, and Research Editor for 13 years. She came to The Herald in 1981, following several years at the Washington Post. She started blogging in 2000, with a news research blog, followed by the blog at in 2003. A frequent speaker and writer on news research, she was honored in 2004 by the News Division of the Special Libraries Association for her contributions to the field.

     Latest posts

       •  This blog is old news
       •  No more entries here
       •  The blog is moving
       •  Teele and DeFede
       •  Reaction
       •  Remembering a different tragedy
       •  Watching the shuttle
       •  Bloggers jump on Microsoft's map service
       •  Florida blog news
       •  Follow the money

       •  July 1990
       •  October 2004
       •  November 2004
       •  December 2004
       •  January 2005
       •  February 2005
       •  March 2005
       •  April 2005
       •  May 2005
       •  June 2005
       •  July 2005
       •  August 2005
       •  July 2006

    Old blog (WeBlog at, 7/2003-10/2004)

    Florida Blogs:
  • Abstract Appeal
  • Babalu Blog (from Miami)
  • Bark Bark Woof Woof (Miami)
  • Buzz Bruggerman
  • Rogers Cadenhead
  • Coconut Grove Grapevine
  • Critical Miami
  • Cuban-American Pundits
  • UM law prof Michael Froomkin
  • The Disney Blog
  • Drudge (Miami Beach)
  • Eye of the Storm (Tallahassee)
  • Florida Blog
  • Florida Cracker
  • Florida Politics
  • Florida News
  • The Garden's Gift (Tampa area)
  • Hatless (from Broward)
  • Hidden City (from Miami)
  • An Imperfect Equilibrium (Perry)
  • Interstate4Jamming (Central FL)
  • Paperfrog
  • Paxety
  • Peer Review (Tallahassee)
  • Pensacola Beach Blog
  • The Pensito Review (St. Augustine)
  • ReidBlog (South Florida)
  • Sharkbitten
  • Somewhere on A1A
  • South of the Suwanee
  • Sticks of Fire(Tampa)
  • Taming of the Band-Aid (Naples)
  • The 26th Parallel (Miami)