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Monday, February 28, 2005
Lots of excitement in the British press about the Around-the World flight scheduled today taking off from Salina, Kansas. The GlobalFlyer, piloted by Steve Fossett and the brainchild of Virgin's Richard Branson, is the subject of a whole section in Britain's Guardian Online, including Blog postings and A Flash animation.(0) comments
The Salina Journal is also blogging the flight. Right now the flight is scheduled to take off at 5 pm Kansas time.
posted by liz at 3:29 PM
This may have happened to others already, but it's a first for me, a new version of the 'Nigerian email' that exploits another tragedy:(0) comments
Well, I lost all my family members and was seriously injured as a result of this catastrophe and currently hospitalised in Dubai, U.A.E. My illness has defiled all form of medical treatment and I only have about a few months to live according to medical report. I have not particularly lived my life so well, as I never really cared for anyone not even myself but my business. But now I regret all these as I now know that there is more to life than just wanting to have or make all the money in this world. Now that I know my time is near, I want to will and give most of my properties and assets to you... "
Suppposedly, I would take all the money and use it for tsunami relief. How trusting!
And then, there's this:
posted by liz at 9:26 AM
Sunday, February 27, 2005
One column really struck me this weekend, it's this one by Maureen Dowd: Swifties Slime Again (registration may be required). Dowd discusses the new anti-AARP campaign by United Seniors Association, a subsidiary of USA Next, a lobbying organization, which is using the publicists who designed the Swift Boat veterans campaign against John Kerry. (Washington Monthly called United Seniors Assn a "soft-money slush fund" for the pharmaceutical industry.)(0) comments
Last week bloggers were in an uproar over a proposed online ad for the organization which hinted that AARP was against the military and pro-homosexual.
Of the ad, Dowd says:
It is amazing how quickly these ideas take hold across the country. All that campaign money and soft money for propaganda. And it works. Seems like we've read predictions of this.....
posted by liz at 6:37 PM
Friday, February 25, 2005
One of the things getting a lot of attention is Robin Givhan's story in the Washington Post, Condoleeza Rice's Commanding Clothes (registration may be required).(0) comments
Seems like Condi's done a lot of clothes shopping lately for her new job, and it shows. She's definitely been looking good.
posted by liz at 12:33 PM
Too much out there these days on the blogs v. journalists question, but still some have interesting things to say. Here's But Who Watches the Watchdogs?, a column by liberal cartoonist Ted Rall that makes some good points about some of the hate-spewing bloggers out there:(0) comments
I found this link via a new column on slate, Today's Blogs, which links to topics that blogs are talking about every day. There are lots of ways to monitor blogs, including Memeorandum, and blog montior/search engines like Technorati, Feedster, Daypop, and more. Slate's feature will make it easier.
posted by liz at 11:14 AM
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
With the continually escalating racket about Social Security, the AARP, whether the elderly are stealing from the young, malpractice insurance costs, not to mention the continual worry about the war and the economy, it's hard not to wonder just what is going on in our democracy. There's a serious look at what it all means on the Daily Kos: The Rise of Rove's Republic. It should give worried Americans something to ponder:(1) comments
posted by liz at 12:44 PM
I guess bacon is having a comeback. The March issue of Saveur magazine (it's not online) has a story called, 'The Best Food in the World', about bacon. Now comes Bacon Whores, a site devoted to one purpose: having someone come to your house to cook bacon. According to a press release, this service is now available in Miami. (My suspicion: the real purpose of the site is to sell T-shirts.)(0) comments
posted by liz at 11:38 AM
Dan Froomkin reports (in the Washington Post's White House Briefing column) that George Bush, during a meal with French president Jacques Chirac, made a point of calling the potato dish "French fries". I sure hope that 'freedom fries' thing is over, although it seems to be permanently on the wall menu at one food establishment I frequent...(0) comments
posted by liz at 11:14 AM
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
Newsweek has a disturbing report about a CIA plane that carries terror suspects around the world to a secret prison network. From a victim:(0) comments
posted by liz at 10:55 AM
Here's a column worth checking out, if only for its mentions of Carl Hiaasen and The Rock Bottom Remainders (the band Dave Barry plays in): Tom Wolfe on Hunter S. Thompson in the WSJ's Opinion Journal.(0) comments
For much, much more on Hunter S. Thompson, Sheila Lennon at Subterranean Homepage Blues at the Providence Journal has collected lots and lots of links and her personal musings on the man:
Who better than Lennon, a dedicated chronicler of the cultural history of the '60s and beyond, to craft this tribute to the Duke?
posted by liz at 10:40 AM
Monday, February 21, 2005
(I'm adding new things to the bottom of this posting, so scroll down.)(0) comments
Shocking news of the suicide of Gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson; the New York Times has assembled collections of stories, an obituary and book reviews (registration may be required). Yahoo News, always fast on the draw with links to Web sites and news from around the country, has a Hunter S. Thompson page up with links, including to the Aspen Time report of the death (Thompson's hometown paper), and ESPN's collection of his stories for them.
The reactions are just starting to come in, but here's one from JD Lasica that I think expresses what many feel about Thompson:
Yeah, he was known for gonzo journalism, but when you strip it down, it was about the idea that anyone with a typewriter, a modicum of reporting talent and the gumption to ask the hard questions could be a reporter. Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Jimmy Breslin and others dressed it up in fancier clothes and called it "the new journalism," but the idea was that journalistic objectivity was pretty much bullshit, that the writer was very much a part of the story he was covering -- a notion that is now a core precept of the blogosphere."
The Guardian also makes the point, saying:
The Guardian also cites the Wikipedia entry on Thompson, which apparently called him 'the grandfather of the blogging movement', although that statement seems to have been edited out now.
posted by liz at 10:00 AM
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Looks like the bloggers are all over the story about the George W. Bush tapes released by a friend who taped conversations with him in 1998-2000. Here's what the Daily Kos and commenters and Wizbang have to say, for example.(0) comments
For a look at the Jeff Gannon story from the other side of the Atlantic, The Observer puts the story in the broader context of a crisis in American journalism:
posted by liz at 4:33 PM
Friday, February 18, 2005
I'm glad I finally figured out how to activate comments in Blogger for this blog (I turned them on when I first switched to Blogger but it never worked), because it gives readers a chance to set me straight if I report something without checking it.(0) comments
Today there's a comment on yesterday's posting about the Men's News report on Russell Mokhiber, the "Scottie and Me" blogger, that says Mokhiber has been a legitimate reporter for many years.
Sure enough, his recent work is with left-oriented news sites, but he's been writing books and reporting on corporate misdoing in the 'mainstream media' for many years, as evidenced by this Washington Monthly article from 1986. According to Nexis, he's contributed stories and columns to many major newspapers, although as far back as Nexis goes, he's usually described as something like 'an attorney with the Washington-based Corporate Accountability Research Group' (in a 1986 op-ed piece in the LA Times, for example), not as a staff writer. Here's a 2003 interview with Mokhiber on NPR's On the Media.
Note also the comment stating that Men's News Daily is connected to Talon News/GOPUSA. The sites are very similar, even though the domain registrations don't show anything in common. But Mens News Daily has all the Gannon columns deleted from Talon News online, and carries other Talon news reports, including some by Bobby Eberle, a pretty strong indication. And, strangely, there's an ad on the site for 'ultimate fitness' with photos of a man who resembles Gannon/Guckert.
This just all seems to be another case of muddying the waters.
posted by liz at 5:26 PM
It would be nice to be able to totally ignore this story but it's the biggest thing going: the Michaal Jackson trial is on, and The Smoking Gun has made it possible for everyone to see what it's about: today they released the Grand Jury report on Jackson and have put lots of it online. More to come. This follows Smoking Gun's previous posting of Witness testimony last month. This could keep you busy for days.(0) comments
posted by liz at 5:09 PM
The more that comes out about the story that public records vendor Choicepoint was selling subscriptions to people who didn't have a legitimate use for the information, the scarier it gets. MSNBC has the details, and related stories. Robert O'Harrow is covering the story at the Washington Post (registration required); but O'Harrow has also been doing an investigative project on the whole topic of privacy and who gets access to your records; there's a book and a Website, No Place to Hide. On the Website: multimedia reports including interviews with key players like John Ashcroft.(0) comments
Choicepoint started in California, but bought a Florida company -- Database Technologies -- a few years back so their databases have a wealth of data on Florida residents. No word on whether any Florida folks had their information released, but at first they thought only California records had been stolen, and changed the story later.
(Via Dan Gillmor.)
posted by liz at 1:51 PM
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Here's an interesting new Web site that at first glance offers a great service: putting the U.S. Statistical Abstract online in an easier to use form than the PDF version available from the Census.(0) comments
Facster has the Abstract, that wonderful compendium of statistics put together by various agencies of the U.S. government, in a format that should be easy to browse to find just exactly the right statistic. I found the response time slow (lots of people must have been checking it out today, since it was recommended on the ResearchBuzz); and the pages that showed the data stretch off to the right so you have to be sure to scroll right to see the actual numbers. Some data comes up with no numbers because it comes from copyright sources (links to the actual source are given). There are some fun random facts in blog format on the main page.
But even more interesting is the Facster Mission:
...At Facster we believe the answer lies in making the facts underlying the political issues easier to retrieve and use in discussion. To that end we've created a site where you can easily find and check all the facts."
I hope this site lives up to its potential. Worth keeping an eye on.
(Added Friday:) an email from Facster's Jack Fox assures me that the chart formatting which forces data to the right is being looked at. And that the copyrighted data not available here is available on the Census site and Facster is working on getting permission to link it all, too. Interestingly, though, the United Nations has refused permission. It just goes to show how complicated it is to make a useful site.
(And, today the site is no longer slow. I just hit it at a bad time, I guess.)
posted by liz at 5:47 PM
Following the Jeff Gannon/JD Guckert controversy, I wondered how long it would be before the folks on the other side found a 'liberal reporter' with no credentials in the White House press room. Answer: Not long. Some 'news' organization called Mens News Daily says "Left-Wing Activist Poses as a Reporter" and that the information comes from Accuracy in Media, an organization with a long record of attacking journalists. The 'reporter', Russell Mokhiber, has a regular column on the Common Dreams site called 'Scottie and Me', listing his questions and answers coming from spokesman Scottie McClellan.(3) comments
The difference between him and Gannon/Guckert? McClellan enthusiastically replied to 'Gannon' and seems to ignore Mokhiber.
posted by liz at 10:56 AM
Wednesday, February 16, 2005
So, I'm a little late for Valentine's, but former Herald reporter Joel Achenbach, now at the Washington Post, had a perfect love story in Sunday's Post: Crazy Love, about Edward Leedskalnin and the Coral Castle he built near Homestead. (Registration may be required.)(0) comments
posted by liz at 11:57 AM
Overtown has its own Website, created by the Overtown Civic Partnership and Design Center. Nice to see such an historic part of Miami finally get its spot on the Web. There's news about projects, community information, and lots more. For background there's a whole section covering Overtown's history, demographics, a factsheet with community leaders' contacts, and mapping tools. The 'Projects' area has information on all the things going on in Overtown right now, including the expansion of the old Lyric Theater by the Black Archives.(0) comments
posted by liz at 10:24 AM
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
There was an organized campaign to send Valentine's Day roses to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Cal, for her stand during the Condoleeza Rice hearings. Boxer thanks the Daily Kos blog for the thought and sends photos of the thousands of roses she received. (The roses are going to wounded soldiers at Walter Reed and Bethesda military hospitals.)(0) comments
posted by liz at 1:14 PM
(Every time someone mentions this, my first thought is: 'Bill Gates'? Shows how much Microsoft has permeated our culture.)(0) comments
For some new perspective on the New York art installation by Christo and Jean-Claude, a view from space: Space Imaging has relased a a satellite image of Manhattan's Central Park from Saturday, when
'The Gates' was unveiled. This is a large photo which might take awhile to download, but shows amazing detail...including boats in the Hudson River and ice on the Central Park lakes. Some background on The Gates from Wired New York.
(Space Imaging photo via ResourceShelf.)
posted by liz at 10:24 AM
On the Eason Jordan story: from Editors Weblog, an international journalism forum and from NYU journalism prof Jay Rosen. Reaction to this story in journalism circles: astonishment, belief the resignation was an extreme reaction, and ...."Something's happening here and you don't know what it is"....(0) comments
posted by liz at 9:48 AM
Monday, February 14, 2005
Here's something fun before we get to the unpleasant: The Baby Name Wizard shows you a graphical representation of name popularity over the decades. Hold cursor over lines to see names or type in a name. Interesting to see a name like 'Robert', near the top for several decades, now not very popular at all, contrasting with names like 'Emily', out of favor in the mid-20th c., now near the top.(0) comments
(Via Morning Meeting.)
And back to the 'Jeff Gannon' story, about the man admitted to White House briefings as a 'correspondent' for conservative Web news sites, and discovered (by bloggers) to be working under an assumed name with no experience as a journalist: despite 'Gannon's' denials, the information that he seemed to be involved with military escort sex sites has been followed up and shown to be more serious than we thought: John at Americablog found evidence linking the man to what appears to be solicitation; don't look if you're offended by explicit photos; the nudity is blotted out but there are links to the originals. Despite accusations of a liberal 'witch hunt', this material, in face of the denials, seems pretty relevant. Also, on a lighter note, 'Gannon's' Press pass for sale on E-Bay.
On the other hand, conservative bloggers are claiming victory in the resignation of CNN chief Eason Jordan, whose comments at the economic conference at Davos were picked up and echoed by bloggers, although never reported in news stories. Jordan reportedly said troops in Iraq were 'targeting' journalists. As the story built in blogs and finally in some news stories, Eason resigned on Friday. The story isn't going away though; Several links to this story in Glenn Reynolds' blog at MSNBC, and elsewhere. Bloggers like Jeff Jarvis are unhappy with the coverage of this story in the mainstream media like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal.
posted by liz at 6:52 PM
Friday, February 11, 2005
The 9/11 Commission has finally released a staff report that details information the FAA knew about possible terrorist attacks using airplanes as weapons several months before September 11, 2001. Lots of reaction on the Web to this, including lots of questions about why this wasn't released before the election. Good question. The National Security Archive has it online. (Added later:) The New York Times reports Dozens of warnings preceded 9/11. (Link is to version in the International Herald Tribune.)(0) comments
And, on the Jeff Gannon story, of course, the major media did report on his quitting yesterday. Quite a bit of fallout ranging from dismay to accusations of snarkiness on the part of the blogger/researchers, but in most cases asking questions on how someone using a fake name and with no background could have gotten White House credentials. The strongest story was probably the one in New York Daily News; the blogs cited in posts below have links to more.
posted by liz at 10:12 AM
Wednesday, February 09, 2005
Following up on the Jeff Gannon story, it seems that the readers of South Knox Bubba blog picked up on the weirdness several months ago. Who says bloggers don't know how to get a story?(0) comments
If you want to read more about this story, there's quite a bit of documentation on Americablog.
posted by liz at 4:42 PM
From a fascinating new study done by journalism students at Northwestern University and sponsored by American Public Media, a report on travel by members of the U.S. Congress. The study covers several years, from 2000 on, and ranks members by amount of travel, has a report on each member, and links to information about the sponsoring organization. Here's a report on one local congressperson, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who took 4 trips worth $49,000, and ranks 97th of 582 members.(0) comments
(Via Al's Morning Meeting.)
posted by liz at 10:05 AM
..on the recent post about a dubious 'White House correspondent', some reaction: MediaChannel's director, MediaCitizen, reports Jeff Gannon has quit his position as correspondent for Talon News. Gannon's personal Website has also been shut down; he says he's returning to private life. From MediaCitizen's Timothy Karr:(0) comments
On the Deep Throat story, MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has a summary of the story so far with some fun background tidbits, including a mention of how Carl Bernstein was once interviewed by one of the possible 'Throat' candidates, Pat Buchanan (about Bernstein's book on the Pope). An odd image, indeed.
posted by liz at 9:46 AM
Tuesday, February 08, 2005
Over the months (or is it years, now?) I've linked to lots of blogs from Iraqis, from soldiers, from people all over the world who care what's happening there. I've also linked to places to find these blogs and other sites, like The Future of Iraq Portal. But, aside from that site, it's often hard to find a good listing of all the places you might find information. Two librarians from Western Washington University have helped remedy that with this article in Searcher magazine, available on the Website of publisher Information Today: Blogs of War. From the article:(0) comments
For anyone seeking out what's really going on, finding and reading the words of the people living it can be a good thing. This article is a great start to help in finding those voices, as it explains why each site is important and what its agenda may be.
posted by liz at 5:15 PM
Monday, February 07, 2005
Following up on Friday's Watergate news, this weekend's news focused on the Watergate informant, "Deep Throat". Former Nixon White House counsel John Dean says the man is critically ill and Bob Woodward is writing an obituary. The column is in the Los Angeles Times so may require registration.(0) comments
But, on the other hand, a letter writer to the Poynter Institute's Romenesko column says 'Deep Throat' may have been George H.W. Bush. The writer, an author of a book which speculated 'Throat' was a composite, now says of Bush and Woodward:
Of course, if the current president's father is Deep Throat, the critically ill story becomes dubious....
posted by liz at 1:36 PM
Friday, February 04, 2005
Jeff Jarvis asked for stories about how blogging has changed people's lives. He has gotten a fair amount of comments, but I was struck by one from Rossi, who blogs in verse, and says:(0) comments
when i first started blogging
i started my blog
what was supposed to be a humourous rant
and then one week later
i think (the blog is) one of the largest reasons
i came thru
the 911 disaster
now my blog is the way i
voice my intense frustration about the political climate in this country
and the way i reach out to friends
old and new
i have friends who i have never met
and probably never will...
...all in all
having a blog
is a bit like having
a very, very loud mouth
that thousands of people can hear
posted by liz at 1:57 PM
This is a piece of history that still fascinates many people, including me. I wonder after all these years what the Cuba connection was, why was it Miami men who did the breakin? Seems there were never really good answers to these questions. And what about Howard Hughes? Now that everyone's going to see The Aviator there's interest in his strange life again too, and some of the burglars had connections to his organizations.(0) comments
So now comes what many of us have been waiting for: Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward sold their papers to the University of Texas a couple years back, and now the university has put them online, or at least some of them. There is an online catalog and exhibitions showing some of the documents from 'Woodstein's' files, including a story that I had a part in, at least in some way, since I worked in the Post's library at the time and may have helped find some of this information.
Someone did a lovely design for this site, using typewriter fonts and images of the original documents. The home page looks like items from my desk at the time. Nostalgia.
posted by liz at 10:05 AM
Thursday, February 03, 2005
If you weren't quite happy with George W. Bush's State of the Union message, take heart: you can write your own speech. The Bush Speechwriter lets you drag useful phrases into the speech, then when you're done, the speech will be read to you in GWB's voice. Have fun!(0) comments
posted by liz at 1:57 PM
Journalists are dismayed over recent polls and surveys showing that their credibility rates around that of a used car salesman in the mind of the American public. Most journalists went into the profession hoping to do some good by raising the public's awareness of problems and pointing to solutions. So it's disheartening to hear the constant drumroll these days, about 'biased journalists'. (Not a new thing, of course, it started with vice president Spiro Agnew during the Nixon administration -- but seems to have gotten a new harsher tone recently, culminating in the anti-Dan Rather blather.)(0) comments
So it's nice to read about a new study (reported in a USA Today story) which finds that journalists rate high on a test of ethical values, ranking below only seminarians and philosophers, medical students, and physicians. It's a bit disheartening that they come in at 48 percent (seminarians and philosophers rate 65 percent); but that's still way above the average American (at 40 percent).
"Journalists get in this business out of an overriding sense of wanting to serve the public interest. They work bad hours, are grossly underpaid, they are derided by other media in Hollywood and increasingly distrusted by the public.
On another, stranger note, discussion of a popular icon with some disturbing background:
Lots of talk on Metafilter about an essay by a prominent scientist who was key to the development of the birth control pill, Carl Djerassi, about his search for Alfred E Neuman. Seems the popular Mad Magazine cover figure was based on a common advertising image which may also have been featured on an antisemitic poster put out by the Nazis in 1930s Germany.
This is fascinating, including the discussion on Metafilter. (Via Sheila Lennon.)
posted by liz at 1:22 PM
Sometimes only a photo can show you the real meaning of something, and in the case of the southeast Asian tsunami, before and after photos. I've posted a couple sites with photos, but this one (from friend and reader Lynne) really brings it home: Before and after satellite photos of tsunami disaster sites. Click on the photo or 'after' for each site photo (there are 20) to see how it changed.(0) comments
posted by liz at 1:09 PM
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Doll or real person? Lots of buzz about the latest hostage scare from Iraq: bloggers at Fark and other sites (Tech Central Station, eg) are having lots of fun with this one, where the supposed hostage seems to be an action figure produced by a toy company and sold in Kuwait.(0) comments
State of the Union, of course. The Center for Responsive Politics has posted a State of the Union preview, discussing issues and the political contributors who influence them. (Added later:)If you're interested in seeing what bloggers are saying about the speech, Tech Central Station will be linking to blogs covering it.
There's a lot of talk about a certain 'White House correspondent' who seems to get preferential treatment in the daily briefings. Daily Kos reports that 'Talon News' correspondent Jeff Gannon may have been behind the Valerie Plame leak. Media Matters cites quotes from several White House briefings to show how Gannon's questions sometimes frame the debate.
(Via Cursor and Dan Gillmor.) (Added later:) The Boston Globe also writes about Gannon today.
Former Miami Herald reporter Joel Achenbach, now with the Washington Post, has a blog on the Post's site, and is writing about a trip to Orlando for a space gathering. Joel points out a
story in the Post about a young Army Lieutenant shot to death while trying to get out the vote in Iraq. A wonderful piece of writing, and a very sad story. (Registration may be required.)
Several bloggers are linking to this 1967 story in the New York Times: U.S. ENCOURAGED BY VIETNAM VOTE; Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror. Some things never change. (The link just goes to the article summary. The fulltext, scanned from the original microfilm, is available for purchase in PDF format.) (Added later:) But if you want to read the story, someone has downloaded it and put it online.
posted by liz at 11:04 AM