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Saturday, January 29, 2005
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:(0) comments
...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."
posted by liz at 5:26 PM
Thursday, January 27, 2005
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.)(0) comments
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
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.(0) comments
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
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.(0) comments
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
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:(0) comments
...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
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
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.(0) comments
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
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:(0) comments
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:
...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
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.(0) comments
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
Monday, January 24, 2005
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.(0) comments
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:
So if you're a Tiki buff, get involved!
posted by liz at 5:20 PM
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?)(0) comments
posted by liz at 1:37 PM
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.(0) comments
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.
...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.
posted by liz at 1:25 PM
Wednesday, January 19, 2005
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.)(0) comments
posted by liz at 3:36 PM
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.(0) comments
(Via South of the Suwannee.)
posted by liz at 3:22 PM
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.(0) comments
posted by liz at 3:02 PM
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.(0) comments
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:
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
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:(0) comments
It apparently makes our current system look better and better:
posted by liz at 11:39 AM
Tuesday, January 18, 2005
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.".(0) comments
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:
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
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:(0) comments
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
Friday, January 14, 2005
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:(0) comments
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:
Another latest post discusses the errors in Bush's latest speech on Social Security.
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 Findlaw.com.
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,
...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:
posted by liz at 9:47 AM
Thursday, January 13, 2005
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.(0) comments
(Via Guardian Newsblog.)
posted by liz at 3:09 PM
The U.S. Department of Agriculture has released New Dietary Guidelines for 2005. Among the recommendations, listed in this analysis by MSNBC:(0) comments
Here's more background and summaries of the guidelines, along with brochures and other healthy living links.
posted by liz at 1:46 PM
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".(0) comments
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.
posted by liz at 1:11 PM
Wednesday, January 12, 2005
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.(0) comments
(Via The Virtual Chase news alert.)
posted by liz at 10:49 AM
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 Ratherbiased.com). 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:(0) comments
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
Tuesday, January 11, 2005
(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.)(0) comments
Answers.com 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 Answers.com: 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
Monday, January 10, 2005
Here are a couple fascinating new reports:(0) comments
Few American voters ever change their minds, report on a study by the Annenberg Public Policy Center. Fascinating stuff about how voters think:
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.
posted by liz at 10:52 AM
Friday, January 07, 2005
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:(0) comments
...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
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.(0) comments
posted by liz at 10:37 AM
Thursday, January 06, 2005
Blogging uberstar Dave Winer of Scripting.com 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.(0) comments
posted by liz at 11:34 AM
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.....(0) comments
(If you're a blogger you can post your own here, too.)
posted by liz at 11:28 AM
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?.(0) comments
Florida News blog links to a story in the Guardian, covering Jeb Bush in Phuket, Thailand:
"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
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:(0) comments
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
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:(0) comments
Looking for the "land of the free"? Try Estonia.
posted by liz at 9:47 AM
Wednesday, January 05, 2005
Doe anyone know anything about this lost buoy that washed up on Cocoa Beach? (Via Boing Boing.)(0) comments
posted by liz at 5:04 PM
Tuesday, January 04, 2005
As bloggers return from the holiday, some interesting posts they found along the way:(1) comments
How to fix Mom's computer is a great guide from Gina Trapani at Scribbling.net 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
Monday, January 03, 2005
John Kerry was interviewed for Newsweek and comments on the election and his future plans.(0) comments
posted by liz at 1:31 PM
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.(0) comments
posted by liz at 1:05 PM
Sunday, January 02, 2005
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.(0) comments
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