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

    Saturday, January 29, 2005

    On that crisis 

    There's an article worth reading in Rolling Stone, The Fake Crisis, an interview with Paul Krugman, who's been writing about the administration's reform proposals. He's trying to beat down the perception that there's a crisis in Social Security, and his figures are interesting:
      "Even if the trust fund does run out, Social Security will still be able to pay eighty percent of promised benefits. The actual shortfall would be a pretty small part of the federal budget, quite easily made up from other sources. Once the whole baby-boomer generation is into the retirement pool, Social Security's share of the gross domestic product will only increase by about two percent. Well, President Bush's tax cuts are more than two percent of GDP -- and they're happening right now, not fifty years from now. So the idea that there's this Social Security thing that is a huge problem is just wrong.
      ...It's hard to understand why anyone would want to return us to the days before the New Deal, when millions of elderly people lived in poverty. But if you really dislike the notion that the government provides a safety net for the poor, then Social Security is the prime target."

    (Via Interstate4Jamming.)

    posted by liz at 5:26 PM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, January 27, 2005

    Blogs and businesses 

    DeepBlog is a new site that offers you "An Easy Guide to the Best Bloggers". For those just starting out reading blogs, this would be a fine way to get started. It gives you a selection of blogs under various categories. There's also news about blogs, and links to blogs on hot topics. (Via Doc Searls.)

    On a totally different topic, Amazon has just released an add-on to their A9 search engine: A9 Yellow Pages Search. This Yellow Pages search has features not found in other YP searches, including pictures of the businesses in some cases, so far only in a few major cities, not in the sample search (Charlotte). Here's an example with pictures, in Atlanta.
    A few weeks ago I posted a link to a site that did a similar thing with London businesses and said I wished someone would do it here. Amazing how whenever I wish for something on the Web, it shows up eventually. Not the first time this has happened. Obviously the Web allows ideas to spread in ways we don't even comprehend yet.

    posted by liz at 3:14 PM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, January 26, 2005


    Thought you'd heard enough on the CBS/Bush military record fiasco? There's more: One of the document experts says the report defamed him by suggesting he was not a qualified expert, among other things, a story in Editor & Publisher.

    On social security, another blog, this one from the pro-privatization side: Social Security Choice, from the Club for Growth. And, mentioned here: No Thanks AARP.

    posted by liz at 3:05 PM
    (0) comments

    Party in Jacksonville 

    Sheila Lennon of the Providence Journal has lots and lots of links about the upcoming Super Bowl in Jacksonville, including a wealth of information from The Pittsburgh Tribune Review.
    I can understand the interest of the Providence paper, where they are all Patriots fans, but Pittsburgh isn't going. I guess they were planning ahead.

    posted by liz at 1:25 PM
    (0) comments

    Pushing Social Security 'Reform' 

    Capital Eye, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics, has done a study of Lobbying for Social Security reform. By studying lobbyist filings and campaign contribution databases, the group finds that some groups who have financial incentive to change Social Security are pouring money into the campaign. Their example:
      The Alliance for Worker Retirement Security is the leading business coalition backing Bush's proposal that would allow workers to invest some of their Social Security payroll taxes in private investment accounts. The Alliance's 35 members include representatives of industries that could profit enormously from such a plan, including the Securities Industry Association, Wall Street's main trade group, and PaineWebber -- now called UBS Financial Services and one of the biggest campaign contributors in the securities and investment industry.
      ...Some investment analysts have said the fees associated with private accounts might be too small to provide much of a financial windfall.
      ...As a member of the Alliance, however, the Securities Industry Association has made its support for private investment accounts unequivocal. The SIA has contributed $2.1 million to federal candidates and political parties since 1999, of which $1.2 million went to Republicans. Additionally, the association spent more than $10 million on obbying from January 2003 through June 2004.

    There is also information about opposition to the proposal from AARP.

    posted by liz at 11:58 AM
    (0) comments

    Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    Indians in Florida 

    In a delicious piece of irony, it's reported that the Cleveland Indians may be leaving their spring training facility in Winter Haven. Interstate4Jamming has the links. Apparently the team wanted a new facility, and wanted public funding, and the city wanted to make money off the existing property.
    Seems so appropriate after the Indians abandoned the spring training facility the City of Homestead built for them years ago: they say it was because the stadium was destroyed in Hurricane Andrew, but to my recollection it came through just fine after a bit of rebuilding. I went to a motocross show there not long after and was impressed by the facility. Too bad. Homestead seens to be booming, and a beautiful baseball stadium still sits unused most of the time. Maybe the Indians should think about coming back!
    It's interesting that the Lakeland Ledger story says that there was hurricane damage to the current stadium, but that doesn't have anything to do with the team's displeasure.
    (Via Florida Blog.)

    posted by liz at 2:21 PM
    (0) comments

    Blogging Iraq 

    With the election coming up and the after-inauguration lull in news about Iraq, some interesting things coming out of that country, worth checking out:

    Birding Babylon is a rare bird, indeed, a blog by a birding enthusiast now stationed in the war zone. Nice to see that some positive enthusiasms don't get left behind in the middle of violence. Beautiful photos and a bird list too.

    Friends of Democracy is an election blog from various Iraqi bloggers, with news and comments on how it's working.

    Riverbend, of Baghdad Burning, who I've linked to several times, continues to post contrarian reports from Baghdad. As she sees it, life is bad there now and continues to get worse, and she has little hope for the election:
      "There hasn't been a drop of water in the faucets for six days...Water is like peace - you never really know just how valuable it is until someone takes it away...
      ...I'm sure people outside of the country are shaking their heads at the words 'collective punishment'. "No, Riverbend," they are saying, "That's impossible." But anything is possible these days. People in many areas are being told that if they don't vote - Sunnis and Shia alike - the food and supply rations we are supposed to get monthly will be cut off. We've been getting these rations since the beginning of the nineties and for many families, it's their main source of sustenance. What sort of democracy is it when you FORCE people to go vote for someone or another they don't want?"

    The BBC has several people blogging from Iraq about the election.
    Links to more blogs from Iraq at the Future of Iraq Portal.
    (Thanks to Guardian News Blog.)

    posted by liz at 1:55 PM
    (0) comments

    Warming news 

    A letter from a reader who is concerned about this topic wonders why The Herald and other major newspapers haven't reported on a new study warning that global warming is becoming a critical problem. The link is to a short version of the story from the AP in the Toronto Globe & Mail; a quick search finds the Chicago Tribune also had the story but it requires subscription to read. Since one of the sponsors is the Center for American Progress, you can also find A summary of the report, or download the full report, on their Website.
    I would hope that there will be more reporting on this topic as reporters read and discuss the claims made there.

    posted by liz at 10:39 AM
    (0) comments

    Monday, January 24, 2005

    Fake food 

    Not something I think about very often, but I do remember being fascinated by a dessert idea we all made in girl scouts many many years ago: fake fried egg on toast, made with poundcake, whipped cream and apricots.
    Now the folks at Boing Boing are linking to some clever 'sushi' made with Twinkies, or with Rice Krispies snacks and fruit roll. Sounds like fun, but I am much more impressed with this Jell-O aquarium one of them linked to, also by the creator of the twinkie sushi. Hope they cleaned that fish bowl thoroughly....

    Also from Boing Boing: Critiki, a listing of tiki bars around the country. Mostly in California, but Fort Lauderdale's Mai Kai is listed among the 'highest' and most popular.
    A fun return to the '60s...or maybe '50s.

    (Added later:) An email from 'Humuhumu', creator of Crikiki, says this:
      As you noticed, the Florida representation is relatively thin compared to California... of course, this is largely due to Polynesian Pop having a larger impact over here in the 50s and 60s (and the fact that Los Angeles is my home base), but Florida was no slouch on that front, and there's a lot of great history there. I'm working on beefing up the Florida locations in Critiki, spurred by the growing interest in tiki in Florida--no doubt helped by the major Hukilau event that's happened at the Mai Kai for the past few years. Florida tikiphiles are now getting together more regularly and informally... as a matter of fact, just this past weekend I flew out to Daytona Beach just to get together with a few dozen friends for dinner at the Hawaiian Inn. The Mai Kai is absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite tiki bar... and I've been to many dozens of tiki bars.

    So if you're a Tiki buff, get involved!

    posted by liz at 5:20 PM
    (0) comments

    Buck up, it's only a day 

    This may not be so relevant to people in South Florida, even when the temperature's only 57 degrees; but The Guardian reports that January 24th has been calculated to be the most depressing day of the year. So buck up, read The Guardian's recommendations for reasons to be optimistic, and also read the entry below. (And have fun wondering why The Guardian thinks today's a holiday in the U.S. Did they get confused with last week's MLKing holiday?)

    posted by liz at 1:37 PM
    (0) comments

    News fatigue 

    I know it's hard these days to read a newspaper, nearly as hard to watch TV news or even -- heaven! -- blogs and news Websites.
    Lots of people I know are discouraged and tired of it all. How long can you tolerate the continual reports of bombings and dead soldiers and civilians in Iraq, let alone the posturing and strutting in Washington?
    But here's something worth reading. San Francisco Chronical columnist Mark Morford asks, Do You Suffer News Fatigue?
    Sick of dour headlines? Too much Bush and war and death and homophobia and Bush? You are not alone
      I know how it is. Even in a good month, following the media and keeping yourself truly informed is rarely easy and infrequently pleasurable and unless you're a fanatical media junkie absolutely never better than sex.
      ...This, then, is the irony. Because now is the time when vigilance is needed more than ever...
      ...Know that this is not you. Know that you do not have to kowtow and you do not have to succumb and you do not have to bury your head and merely endure. Know that you have this one humble and luminous choice, always and always and every single day: no matter if it's dark energy or light, low vibration or high, raw intimate self-defined sensual divinity or dumbed-down numbed-out force-fed conservative sanctimony, you can either trust that truth and follow your own hot moral compass, or allow it to be stained and warped and doused in fear and led wide, wide astray. It's not about them. It's about you.

    (Via J-Log.)

    posted by liz at 1:25 PM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, January 19, 2005

    In Key West 

    Pat Croce has a blog, and discusses the opening of his new venture in Key West, Pirate Soul. There's a Website too. (Also via South of the Suwannee.)

    posted by liz at 3:36 PM
    (0) comments

    Ask and you receive 

    A few weeks ago I pointed to state encyclopedias in Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina (Texas has one too), and wondered why there wasn't one for Florida. Well, now I know. There's a Floripedia, part of a great site of Florida teaching resources called Exploring Florida, from the University of South Florida. This one is being built and recently added lots of entries from a 1904 history of Florida.
    (Via South of the Suwannee.)

    posted by liz at 3:22 PM
    (0) comments

    More on social security 

    A new Website called There is no Crisis pulls together information from lots of different news sources and groups (like AARP and the Democratic party) about whether or not the Social Security system needs to be replaced.

    posted by liz at 3:02 PM
    (0) comments

    The war and other wars 

    Lots of talk around the 'net about The Coming Wars, Seymour Hersh's latest investigative article in The New Yorker, which claims that heavy -duty U.S. intelligence in Iran seems to indicate there are plans to attack there at some point.
      ""The Bush Administration is looking at this as a huge war zone," the former high-level intelligence official told me. "Next, we're going to have the Iranian campaign. We've declared war and the bad guys, wherever they are, are the enemy. This is the last hurrah -we've got four years, and want to come out of this saying we won the war on terrorism.""

    The story has raised enough alarm that The Defense Department has published a list of errors in the story.

    Meanwhile, in Iraq, soldiers are adopting stray animals to keep them company. Military Mascots is an organisation dedicated to help these soldiers get their animals back to the States. However, there seems to be a rash of stories about recent military decisions to get rid of mascot animals. A Live Journal blog of a soldier's family tells of their devastation at the forced euthanization of their dog, Connor:
      "Connor's death was the result of a USMC general order to put down all dogs. We had raised over $1200, and had all arrangements made. When we went to pick her up at the remote location where they had been watching her in order to take her to the plane, she was missing. She had been found and taken less than twelve hours prior."

    And, back to another war, a last word on the CBS report on President Bush's military service: the Associated Press's investigation led to the details of Bush's missing months in the service, based on government and military documents and listed in a Salon article, quoted here by The Daily Kos.

    posted by liz at 11:47 AM
    (0) comments


    For more on how the privitization of the British equivalent of Social Security has gone, here's A Bloody Mess by a senior Financial Times writer, in The American Prospect. Not good, it seems:
      " ...the government was spending much more than it was saving by bribing people to leave SERPS (State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme). What had once been a £1.6-billion surplus in the National Insurance Fund vanished completely. Worst of all, many workers left good occupational plans and faced being worse off, not better off, in retirement by depending on the privatized schemes."

    It apparently makes our current system look better and better:
      "And so, at the exact moment that America contemplates replicating this disaster, many in Britain -- some conservatives included -- are looking more and more kindly on American Social Security as a model for reform. The National Association of Pension Funds, a group of employers who sponsor the nation's largest schemes, is urging government not to expect the private sector to shoulder the burden of keeping the nation's elderly from poverty. Chief executive Christine Farnish notes that it's "actually cheaper for the state to carry the risk," adding that in looking for a system that offers the best combination of modest guaranteed retirement benefits delivered at low cost, the U.S. Social Security program seems the best model. "It doesn't have to make a profit, and it delivers efficiencies of scale that most companies would die for," she says."

    posted by liz at 11:39 AM
    (0) comments

    Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    Gaudy, tasteless, appropriate? 

    Lots of discussion building up to this week about the most expensive inauguration so far happening this week when much of the world isn't in the mood for celebration. Dan Gillmor says "What Bush and his allies are doing is just plain vulgar, particularly in wartime.".

    CBS correspondent Bob Schieffer, on Face the Nation, worries that much of the cost of the inauguration is being dumped on the taxpayers in Washington, DC:
      "But this time the administration has informed D.C. authorities they'll have to absorb the cost and suggests that they use federal funds that had earlier been earmarked to fight terrorism...Why would an administration, already under severe criticism for sending soldiers into battle without enough armor, put itself in a position where it appears equally indifferent to equipping those charged with fighting terrorist at home?"

    Then there's Not One Damn Dime Day.

    Michael Froomkin says there are more important things to worry about.

    posted by liz at 1:37 PM
    (0) comments

    Looking back 

    For a fun trip into the past, here's a quiz to let you know What Kind of Sixties Person are You? Here are my results:

    You are a Folkie. Good for you.

    What kind of Sixties Person are you?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    Sounds about right to me. Disclaimer: I WAS a sixties person.
    (Via Guardian News Blog.)

    posted by liz at 1:23 PM
    (0) comments

    Friday, January 14, 2005

    Missing: perception of truth 

    The Web is abuzz with discussions of President Bush's politics, policies and decisions these days. Some of the strongest criticisms ever of this administration have been showing up in blogs, columns, and forums in the last few days. The topics: Iraq and WMDs, and Social Security. Many commentators are linking the two:
    Social Security:
    This is the topic that seems to be raising the most passion in blogs and other conversations online. There is lots of worry and anger out there, and I'm not seeing much defense of the president's proposals anywhere.
    Among the strongest protests, The Daily Howler looks at Bush's latest statements on Social Security and flatly accuses him of lying.
    Kevin Drum of Political Animal has been commenting regularly about the Social Security proposals, and pulls much of his thoughts together in this post, with links to official reports on the state of the system.
    Joshua Micah Marshall at Talking Points Memo also has lots and lots of quotes and links on this topic.
    The Dead Parrot Society, a group blog, has also been filled with postings on Social Security. One interesting recent post is on the failure of Britain's privatization system, here quoting an article in The American Prospect:
      "Just as the United States prepares to funnel untold billions to its private sector for the management of private accounts, back in 2002, many U.K. insurance companies, mindful of tough new rules against giving bad advice, began to write to their customers urging them to consider abandoning their private savings and returning to the state pension system -- something hundreds of thousands of Britons have done already."

    Another latest post discusses the errors in Bush's latest speech on Social Security.

    Iraq's WMDs:
    The CIA's Iraq Survey Group has given up on the search for weapons of mass distruction. Their final report, issued in September, is available online at
    The Washington Post (registration may be required) has a chart comparing the group's report to previous administration statements.
    South Knox Bubba has also pulled together all the adminstration's past statements on WMDs (now proven wrong).
    The AP compares administration statements from before the war, and after, when they had to find other justification for the invasion.
    Editor and Publisher's Greg Mitchell has a column comparing the WMD question to the CBS report on Bush's military service. He criticises the media for giving more coverage to the latter than the former.
    Also on this topic, The High Price of Official Lies in the New American.

    In an opinion column in the Washington Post (registration may be required), Harold Meyerson calls Bush "President of Fabricated Crises" and says,
      "... when historians look back at the Bush presidency, they're more likely to note that what sets Bush apart is not the crises he managed but the crises he fabricated. The fabricated crisis is the hallmark of the Bush presidency. To attain goals that he had set for himself before he took office -- the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, the privatization of Social Security -- he concocted crises where there were none.
      ...We've had plenty of presidents, Richard Nixon most notoriously, who divided the media into friendly and enemy camps. I can't think of one, however, so fundamentally invested in the spread of disinformation -- and so fundamentally indifferent to the corrosive effect of propaganda on democracy -- as Bush. That, too, should earn him a page in the history books."

    David Corn of The Nation also writes on this, saying:
      "No WMDs. No Social Security crisis. Reality does not reign in Bush's world. It's wrong that conservative columnist Armstrong Williams was paid by the administration to push pro-Bush propaganda. But what's far worse--and more dangerous--is that (White House spokesman Scott) McClellan receives taxpayer dollars to promote and defend Bush's facts-free fantasies."

    posted by liz at 9:47 AM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    Military genius 

    Here's a fascinating story in the New Yorker, Battle Lessons, about how lower-level U.S. military commanders in Iraq are having to make split second decisions that may change the course of the war. Apparently some of them are coming up with really clever solutions to problems, and one reason may be a couple Internet sites created to help them learn about command.
      "The officers fighting in Iraq are, most of the time, remarkably enthusiastic. This is their war, the only one they may get in their careers. It follows an attack on the United States, even if the connection between the attack and the war has been questioned. Within the tiny sliver of the war each sees, examples of brilliance and bravery abound. They're proud to be a part of "the most beautiful Army in the history of the world," as one recently returned captain put it; he praised his immediate commander for wisdom and compassion, and his company for being so disciplined and professional that it could turn off the violence "like a good hunting dog.""

    (Via Guardian Newsblog.)

    posted by liz at 3:09 PM
    (0) comments

    Eat Right 

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released New Dietary Guidelines for 2005. Among the recommendations, listed in this analysis by MSNBC:
    • Half of all grains consumed should be whole grains, at least three servings per day.
    • Less than 10 percent of calories should come from saturated fats, and fat should make up no more than 25 to 30 percent of total calories. No firm guideline was set for trans fats, only a recommendation to keep them "as low as possible."
    • Whole foods are generally preferred over processed: fresh fruit, for example, rather than juice.
    • Protein sources should be lean and low-fat.
    • Foods should be fiber-rich and contain "little added sugars or caloric sweeteners."
    • Recommended daily sodium intake was lowered to 2,300 mg or less, about 1 teaspoon of salt.
    • Everyone should get a minimum of 30 to 60 minutes each day of moderate exercise - brisk walking or bicycling, for example. Losing weight will require 60 to 90 minutes of more intense daily exercise.

    Here's more background and summaries of the guidelines, along with brochures and other healthy living links.

    posted by liz at 1:46 PM
    (0) comments

    It's coming 

    The presidential Inauguration is nearing. To find out more, The Census has a page of Fun facts for the Inauguration, including a list of places named "Bush" in the U.S. There actually aren't many, but there are: Bush, Ill., Bush CCD (Census County Division), Ky., Bush township, Neb., Bush township, N.D., and Bushton, Kan. There are also a few places named "Cheney".

    Speaking of the inauguration, United for Peace lists several protests planned for inauguration day, including a push to have everyone wear a white ribbon in memory of the soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's also a major protest planned for Fayetteville, NC (site of Fort Bragg) on the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, March 19.

    Another interesting link from the United for Peace site: Iraq Occupation Watch, keeping an eye on what's going on there.

    Also coming: Martin Luther King day. The Census also has Facts for Martin Luther King day and Black History month, including some interesting facts on population, families, education, etc. Did you know, for example, that there are 8.9 million black families, and 2.3 million black military veterans.
    On this topic, here's a great new Black Studies resource list from the libraries of City College of New York.
    (Via Resourceshelf.)

    posted by liz at 1:11 PM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    Expecting email from Europe? 

    If your Internet service is from Verizon and you use their email service, you may have a long wait. Wired reports that Verizon is blocking email from Great Britain and other parts of Europe. The company states it's because there's too much spam coming from those countries.
    (Via The Virtual Chase news alert.)

    posted by liz at 10:49 AM
    (0) comments

    'Rathergate', continued... 

    Since the CBS News independent panel report (on the 60 minutes story on GW Bush's military service) came out, it's been talked over and over (see what comes up on it if you search blogs in Technorati, e.g., or check out the links in But if you want to read the report yourself, it's available online: CBS Report in PDF format. It's quite a long document, over 200 pages, but definitely worth a read, if only to match it to the claims being made. I've heard of radio reports claiming it cofirms that the documents reported on in the original story were definitely fabricated. That's way beyond the conclusions of this report, but it does say this about the documents:
      "First, in many instances, the content of the Killian documents does not
      mesh well substantively with the official Bush records. Second, the Killian documents vary in significant ways from the standard format and jargon of documents issued by the 147th Fighter Interceptor Group in the early 1970s. Thus, the Panel believes that there remain substantial questions regarding the authenticity of the Killian documents. The Panel believes that careful reporting prior to airing the Segment should have identified these questions and, at a minimum, should have delayed the broadcast so that more reporting could be conducted."

    The discrepancies in the documents are listed, and they concern more than just a question of typefaces proving when the document was first printed.

    posted by liz at 10:10 AM
    (0) comments

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Yesterday's News 

    (I meant to add these posts yesterday, but got to it late and today I find I've now been scooped by Sheila Lennon. Good company.) is a new free service which was formerly called GuruNet, a pay service. Their claim is that they give you 'answers, not links'. It seems to be true. I've tried several searches and find that it's particularly useful for geographic or people information, since it searches encyclopedias, dictionaries and other reference books. Try a place search (Coral Gables), or a search like Jeb Bush: you'll be impressed. Note links to news stories and more.
    Also note that on the left, there are links to perform the same search on news, images, even blogs. I ran the blog search and found results from Technorati, including links to the entry on this topic I wrote on my journalism blog, as well as Sheila Lennon's link.
    Even more at if you like doing these searches in your browser, you can also download a version that will work in any software on your computer.
    Even better, if you like to browse, there's a whole Directory page that can lead you to reference books that cover your topic.

    On the nerd front, Google has redesigned their 'Groups' section, and put highlights of 20 years of Usenet online. Usenet is the Internet messaging system that preceded email, IM, blogs, and just about everything else, and was the way that researchers communicated. Eventually, around the late '80s, it became a more popular communications system. The entire archive -- including posts back to 1981 -- is searchable on Google, and here are listed, in timeline format, many of the most interesting posts. First mention of Michael Jordan: Feb 1983. First mention of Madonna: July 1983. On a serious note, the first discussion of AIDS in 1982. How things have changed.

    posted by liz at 11:31 AM
    (0) comments

    Monday, January 10, 2005

    What are they thinking? 

    Here are a couple fascinating new reports:
    Few American voters ever change their minds, report on a study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Fascinating stuff about how voters think:
      "Just 16 percent of those who voted for George W. Bush said there was "ever a time" when they thought they would vote for John Kerry. And 15 percent of Kerry voters said there was "ever a time" when they thought they would vote for Bush."
      And, "Another finding of the post-election survey of 8,664 adults who had already been interviewed once before Election Day was that the public gave the Bush campaign less credit for honesty than it gave the Kerry campaign."

    (Leonard Pitts wrote about a similar study a few weeks ago.)

    On another topic, but one that gives us pause about the people we elect to public office, a report from the National Taxpayers Union, NUTF estimates pension benefits for recently-retired members of Congress. Interesting to see how our taxes are being spent: Tom Daschle, for example, the former Democratic leader in the Senate who was defeated last fall, will likely make over $5 million in pension benefits for his 26 years of service in Congress, or about $121,000 a year. Not bad.
    (Via Docuticker.)

    posted by liz at 10:52 AM
    (0) comments

    Friday, January 07, 2005

    Deja vu 

    Hearing about the long drawn-out decisionmaking process in the Washington governor's race certainly has brought back back memories of the 2000 election in Florida. Blogger Orcinus gives us the gory details and dubious political claims:
      "Gosh, we certainly can't have people taking higher office in America when some portion of the populace believes the election to be illegitimate. Heavens no.
      ...It's clear that the difference between Florida and Washington is that we had the good fortune of having elected a secretary of state with genuine integrity, instead of someone willing to game the system for partisan gain.
      ...The Republicans failed because of incompetence, pure and simple, and now they're counting on clubbing Gregoire with the "illegitimate" label for the next four years. The irony is delicious. The hypocrisy, though, is what we've come to expect."

    posted by liz at 10:46 AM
    (0) comments

    Remember the election? 

    The voting problems in Ohio continue to occupy discussions in many blogs and political forums. Now it's reached Congress, where both houses are debating a challenge to the Ohio vote. There's no point try to replicate the coverage that Sheila Lennon at the Providence Journal is doing to point to information on the topic. She's been telling us what people are saying about election problems for months, and her posts from this week are filled with good links and information.

    posted by liz at 10:37 AM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, January 06, 2005

    Bloggers in Miami 

    Blogging uberstar Dave Winer of is in Miami for a conference. He's hanging out with Dutch uberblogger Adam Curry (formerly of MTV). Having lunch on the Beach, they see Shaquille O'Neal hanging out. Some beautiful women recognize Curry. They discover Cuban food. (See Winers' posts from Jan. 5, yesterday.) Winer's photos from the beach.

    posted by liz at 11:34 AM
    (0) comments

    How's that resolution going? 

    See what other people have resolved in Technorati's New Years Resolutions page, which aggregates posts from bloggers listing their hopes for 2005. Maybe seeing what other people are hoping will help us keep to ours.....
    (If you're a blogger you can post your own here, too.)

    posted by liz at 11:28 AM
    (0) comments

    The president's brother 

    Gee, I should have read the paper before posting this: Jim DeFede also has this story in today's column titled A politically motivated trip to Asia?.
    Florida News blog links to a story in the Guardian, covering Jeb Bush in Phuket, Thailand:
      "But even though he is the brother of the most powerful man of earth and came bearing news of a $350m (£186m) US contribution to the $2.5bn international relief effort, nobody seemed to know who he was.
      "Who are you?" asked one slightly bemused Australian consular official as the large-girthed US stranger pumped his hand.
      "I'm Jeb Bush."
      "Oh, are you a relative of the president?" said the interlocuter, jokingly.
      "Yes I am. I am his little brother."
      "Oh," came the reply. "Good for you." "

    posted by liz at 11:05 AM
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    The Columbia Journalism Review discusses last summer's flap about Dan Rather's report on George W. Bush's military record, and finds CBS made some mistakes, but the bloggers who raised a stink about it did too:
      "First, much of the bloggers' vaunted fact-checking was seriously warped. Their driving assumptions were often drawn from flawed information or based on faulty logic. Personal attacks passed for analysis. Second, and worse, the reviled MSM often followed the bloggers' lead. As mainstream media critics of CBS piled on, rumors shaped the news and conventions of sourcing and skepticism fell by the wayside. Dan Rather is not alone on this one; respected journalists made mistakes all around."

    This article, as can be expected, has raised a clamor among the conservative bloggers who look at this as their finest hour.
    Seems as though the 'MSM' (main stream media) isn't paying as much attention.

    posted by liz at 10:35 AM
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    It's our freedom 

    Index of Economic Freedom, 2005: This is a new report from Heritage Foundation and Wall St. Journal, available for sale or online or by download. Among the top countries, the U.S. is no longer in top ten. In the lower countries, not quite in the bottom ten: Cuba. From the report's description:
    Looking for the "land of the free"? Try Estonia.
    OR IRELAND. OR CHILE. OR DENMARK. OR EVEN ICELAND. These countries now offer more economic freedom than the United States.
    Long a symbol of economic prosperity and might, America for the first time ever no longer ranks among the top 10 "free" nations of the world, according to the 2005 Index of Economic Freedom.

    posted by liz at 9:47 AM
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    Wednesday, January 05, 2005

    Lost on the beach 

    Doe anyone know anything about this lost buoy that washed up on Cocoa Beach? (Via Boing Boing.)

    posted by liz at 5:04 PM
    (0) comments

    Tuesday, January 04, 2005

    Random but useful 

    As bloggers return from the holiday, some interesting posts they found along the way:
    How to fix Mom's computer is a great guide from Gina Trapani at on what to do to get a sluggish computer virus- and spyware-free and updated. Her Mom's was running Windows 98, but I know a lot of people (including me) still using it. Useful for those annual trips to Mom's, but also for the rest of us who may not have been keeping our own computers up-to-date. This has step-by-step instructions and screenshots. (Linked from several places but I last saw it linked from Sheila Lennon's Subterranean Homepage Blues blog.)

    Do you visit London? If you do, make sure to check out Street Sensation, which lets you find stores, restaurants and the like along particular streets there. This is a very cool application. Not only does it give you all the information about the places, like opening hours, web links, etc. but it actually shows you a picture of the street with description of each building below. I love this, and wish it was available in some American cities. How about Miami? But then, maybe it wouldn't work so well in a place where most of the best stores are in malls. Lincoln Road, at least....and the Grove? South Miami? Las Olas, of course. (Via FreePint.)

    For more coverage of the tsunami disaster, I like The Guardian's special report, which has lots of links to lots of stuff, including this one I haven't seen before: Indonesia Help blog, and a new group blog, Bloggers Without Borders, which hopes to be a permanent international relief information organization.

    posted by liz at 1:36 PM
    (1) comments

    Monday, January 03, 2005


    John Kerry was interviewed for Newsweek and comments on the election and his future plans.

    posted by liz at 1:31 PM
    (0) comments

    Florida reaction 

    The Pensacola Beach Blogger has been contributing links and reports on how Florida hurricane victims are responding to the tsunami disaster. More on the main page.

    posted by liz at 1:05 PM
    (0) comments

    Sunday, January 02, 2005

    Following up 

    The tsunami story is everywhere but every once in a while something really unique pops up: here's a new disaster relief site from Digital Divide Network. There are lots of links here to news and places to go to help.
    Kevin Sites, who has been doing some amazing blogging from Iraq, has now started posting from Asia, where he's covering the disaster.
    Lonely Planet, the travel site, has a collection of tsuami links including links to missing persons sites.
    Evelyn Rodriquez, a blogger from California, was a tsunami victim "just a flesh wound" in Thailand, and since she's returned home is posting lots of links to tsunami news.
    Jeff Jarvis has been posting lots and lots of tsunami news links.
    Then there's the story of a little girl named 'Tsunami'...
    Here's a graphic comparing the tsunami dead to the World Trade tower deaths. (53 towers so far in Indonesia)...

    posted by liz at 3:21 PM
    (0) 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.

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