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  • Infomaniac: WeBlog



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


    Tuesday, May 31, 2005

    Who cares? 

    With the Deep Throat news, there will certainly be lots of reaction from those under 40 -- or maybe under 50 -- like this comment, from the Point Five blog:
      "So armies of aging lefties throughout America are rising from their Laz-Y-Boy recliners to fetch their walkers and dial their friends on oversized-button phones to spread the word."

    (Added later:) On this note, the Post's Joel Achenbach also rounds up a lot of the writing on 'Throat' and Felt, and says there's no particular reason this was a big deal:
      "We made a huge fetish about Deep Throat for one reason: We didn't know his name. The most interesting thing about him was his anonymity, and Woodward/Bernstein/Bradlee's adherence to their long-ago promise. Everyone loves a mystery.
      ...the solution to the riddle is not complicated but head-smackingly simple: Woodward had a highly placed law enforcement source who had all the FBI investigative material handed to him every day. Source helps reporter. Reporter writes stories. Complications ensue.
      ...If Mark Felt really is Deep Throat, all we can say is: Oh. Him. Um, now what do we do?
      I still think it was Nixon himself. "

    I worked at the Post during Watergate, and whenever I tell anyone that or anyone mentions it, the first question ALWAYS is: "Do you know who Deep Throat is?" I always wanted to say 'Who Cares?' too. I mean, really. What did it matter?
    Right now it matters a lot to Mark Felt's family, because they wanted this to come out. They thought their father and grandfather was a hero who needed to get his due before he dies. There's a photo on the Post's story of Felt at his front door today greeting reporters with his daughter Joan. They are positively beaming, especially her. This is for them.

    posted by liz at 5:58 PM
    (1) comments

    More on Mark Felt 

    (Added later:) Now the Washington Post's Bob Woodward has confirmed Felt is Deep Throat. See lots of coverage on The Post's Web site.

    This story is steamrolling, so links to some interesting stuff about Mark Felt (who has supposedly admitted being 'Deep Throat', see below):

    posted by liz at 5:25 PM
    (0) comments

    Confusion 

    If Paris Hilton marries Paris Latsis, what will they call each other?

    posted by liz at 2:09 PM
    (0) comments

    Deep throat 

    Breaking news about an article in the upcoming Vanity fair that says Washington Post reporters Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward's unidentified source was assistant FBI director W. Mark Felt. The link points to coverage on MSNBC.
    (Added later:) A preview copy of the story is available in PDF on Vanity Fair's Website. (Via Metafilter.)
    (Added later:) A more readable version of the story (if you have trouble downloading the PDF) is now on the Vanity Fair site.

    posted by liz at 1:56 PM
    (0) comments

    Blog cards 

    Britain's Hugh Macleod blogs at Gaping Void and also draws cartoons on the backs of business cards. The blog has become so popular that it's number 3 in popularity in Britain, and the cards are so loved that he is now selling them to bloggers and others who want a personalized cartoon on their business card. He created this one for super blogger Joi Ito and because so many asked for it he's now selling frameable prints.
    "Have you blogged it yet?"
    (Added later:) Correction, he's MAKING frameable prints. No word yet on whether any of the 50 prints will be sold to the public.

    (This reminds me of the great T-shirt that was popular a year or so ago: it just said: "I'm blogging this". I wanted one.)

    posted by liz at 1:15 PM
    (0) comments

    Friday, May 27, 2005

    Airport security and nude photos 

    The Providence Journal's Sheila Lennon has gathered Links and information about the latest airport scanner technology that will allow TSA employees to have 'X-ray vision', seeing details of travelers' bodies that we'd probably rather not have looked at. After showing photos of what the scans will look at and reporting much of the discussion around them, Sheila says:
      "Wags have noted that there'll be a boom in people lining up for these jobs. Volunteering, even.
      We're smarter than this, aren't we? If we aren't, I'll drive to my next vacation spot."


    On a totally different topic, note Sheila's link to a totally cool new bike designed to help kids learn to ride without training wheels. It's a trike that works like a bike, from designers at Purdue.

    posted by liz at 10:22 AM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, May 26, 2005

    Bickering in pod land 

    This all a bit of inside baseball about something that you can care about or not, but the feud between Dave Winer and Adam Curry over who is the most responsible for the current Podcast craze is getting interesting. Winer, a mobile guy who's now living near the beach in Florida, is a blog pioneer who created blogging systems and RSS feeds, and had the idea of including sound files in feeds early. Curry is the former MTV VeeJay who lives in Holland and has been doing Podcasts for a couple years now and recently got a gig to put his 'casts on Sirius satellite radio.
    The two of them collaborated on some early Podcasting promotions and last year met in Miami Beach where they 'casted together.
    Now their feud has reached the mainstream with this Boston Globe story.
    Winer comments on the story in his blog today, with a Podcast of his own and an aside that seems to be aimed at the Providence Journal's Sheila Lennon: "It's a new medium and a new world, I don't care how much they sniff in pro-jo land." (Lennon recently commented that she'd listened to a lot of Podcasts and found them boring, although she later said she'd found some good music 'casts. I don't listen myself because I have a slow Web connection and expect most of them to be boring anyway.)

    posted by liz at 10:32 AM
    (0) comments

    A fun diversion 

    Blogthings is a site that creates fun things to put on your blog. This is the sort of thing that I often skip over, but when I noticed Doc Searls used their What does your birthdate mean? quiz and thought the analysis was right on, I decided to try it. I have to admit, the description of people born on May 23 fits me somewhat....







    Your Birthdate: May 23

    With a birthday on the 23rd of the month (5 energy) you are inclined to work well with people and enjoy them.
    You are talented and versatile, very good at presenting ideas.
    You may have a tendency to get itchy feet at times and need change and travel.

    You tend to be very progressive, imaginative and adaptable.
    Your mind is quick, clever and analytical.
    A restlessness in your nature may make you a bit impatient and easily bored with routine.
    You may have a tendency to shirk responsibility.
    Very sociable, you make friends easily and you are an excellent traveling companion.

    (Although some days I'm not sure how 'quick' that mind is, or feel that 'sociable' and the 'shirk responsibily' is a bit strong....more like 'procrastinate'...)

    posted by liz at 10:15 AM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, May 25, 2005

    Beat the lag 

    For anyone planning to travel to Europe -- or further -- this summer, there's help to combat the insidious effects of jet lag: The Anti-Jet Lag Diet, created by Chicago's Argonne National Laboratory, and tested on National Guard soldiers flying across 9 time zones. The diet takes a few days, alternating high-protein and high-carb meals, with some fasting and meal manipulation aboard the plane (get up and walk around and talk after 1:30 on a flight to Paris, for example. Let's hope if you do this your flight companions aren't trying to sleep...). But they say it will bring your body clock into line with the time zone you're going to. For a fee, the site will calculate your diet for you.

    posted by liz at 6:16 PM
    (0) comments

    Postcards 

    Delivr is a new service based on the hugely popular Flickr online photo storage site. Use Delivr to find photos in Flickr databases, and send them as digital postcards. There are over 600,000 photos to search from; here's a selection found using a search of 'coconut grove'. Note although some of these photos do seem to be from Miami's Grove, most of them aren't. But it's a fun way to find some unusual images... or try searching Miami, an even stranger collection of photos (but some of those folks look familiar....).

    posted by liz at 4:06 PM
    (0) comments

    No more 'freedom fries'? 

    The Guardian says that the Congressman who led the campaign to change 'French fries' to 'freedom fries' has changed his mind. According to The Guardian, Rep. Walter B. Jones, R-NC, told the News & Observer in Raleigh that "it was meant as a "light-hearted gesture"", but that now "I wish it had never happened." and that now he believes the US went to war "with no justification".
    The original story in the News & Observer doesn't seem to be available on their Website.

    posted by liz at 2:45 PM
    (0) comments

    Tuesday, May 24, 2005

    Web feeds 

    Did you know you could get Web feeds of Miami Herald stories and blogs? Web feeds are the latest name for RSS or XML feeds, sometimes called newsfeeds or news syndications or aggregations. The Herald's RSS page explains how it works and gives you a list of feeds available (just about every news category). It also gives you a link to News readers you can download from Download.com.
    I have some other suggestions. If you don't want to download a reader, there are a couple things you can do online. My Yahoo! lets you add any Web feed to your personal page. Bloglines is a Web-based feed reader, you just need to sign up. Feedster does much of the same thing. For more on feeds and readers and how they work, here's some good explanations from How Stuff Works and Wikipedia.

    posted by liz at 5:31 PM
    (0) comments

    Don't do this 

    Did you hear the one about the Star Wars fans who made light sabers filled with gasoline and critically injured themselves? (From the BBC.)

    posted by liz at 3:34 PM
    (0) comments

    Florida's wetlands 

    ...are disappearing fast, according to this several-day report in the St. Petersburg Times. The reporters used satellite photos and government records to find that:
    • The corps approves more permits to destroy wetlands in Florida than any other state, and allows a higher percentage of destruction in Florida than nationally. Between 1999 and 2003, it approved more than 12,000 wetland permits and rejected one.

    • The federal Clean Water Act and the no net loss policy say wetlands should be protected. But the corps trains its Florida staff to presume that every proposal to destroy wetlands is "in the public interest" and tells them to help developers get permits.

    • To make up for the destruction, the corps requires developers to create man-made wetlands that are usually expensive failures. Developers also can preserve wetlands under a formula that counts existing acres as if they were new. But the corps doesn't track whether most developers follow through on their permit requirements.

    • Building in wetlands costs the taxpayers. The government sometimes buys and tears down flooded houses, pays to clean up pollution and tries to replace lost sources of drinking water. In Collier County, $30-million in tax money is buying neighborhoods that flooded because of wetlands development.

    posted by liz at 12:48 PM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, May 19, 2005

    Wrath and Fonda 

    In one of the longest-running soap operas around, the tale of Jane Fonda and her trip to North Vietnam during the war there is still having ramifications, especially since she's starring in her first movie in 15 years. She was recently spit on by a vet at an appearance, and a Kentucky vet theater owner is refusing to show the film. So it's not a surprise that she was a topic on Bill O'Reilly's show recently, or that it was a heated discussion. Media Matters has segments of the O'Reilly rant, and links to the Snopes and About.com sites that debunk the 'urban legend' that has many vets believing Fonda sold some of them out in N. Vietnam, including a denial of the story by the last surviving American prisoner who could have been involved.

    posted by liz at 12:25 PM
    (0) comments

    Mailer converted 

    Norman Mailer has an entry in the Huffington Post about the Newsweek controversy, and starts it out with, "I'm beginning to see why one would want to write a blog." After discussing the possibility of some sort of dirty tricks involved, he says, "There still resides, however, under my aging novelist's pate a volunteer intelligence agent, sadly manque."
    Yes, Mr. Mailer, why not write a blog? It's mindboggling what that 'volunteer intelligence agent' might find out, and just imagine all the readers.....

    posted by liz at 11:55 AM
    (0) comments

    Public radio threatened? 

    Hard news to take for die-hard fans of WLRN, but there's a lot of discussion about changes to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting that may put an end to the open political discourse on our public radio and television stations. Bill Moyers spoke this weekend about the Bush adminstration's appointees to run the corporation, and is worried:
      "As some of you know, CPB was established almost 40 years ago to set broad policy for public broadcasting and to be a firewall between political influence and program content. What some on this board are now doing today - led by its chairman, Kenneth Tomlinson - is too important, too disturbing and yes, even too dangerous for a gathering like this not to address.
      We're seeing unfold a contemporary example of the age-old ambition of power and ideology to squelch and punish journalists who tell the stories that make princes and priests uncomfortable.
      ...This is the point of my story: Ideologues don't want you to go beyond the typical labels of left and right. They embrace a world view that can't be proven wrong because they will admit no evidence to the contrary. They want your reporting to validate their belief system and when it doesn't, God forbid.
      ...We are not too fragile or insecure to see America and the world entire for all their magnificent and sometimes violent confusion. "There used to be a thing or a commodity we put great store by," John Steinbeck wrote. "It was called the people.""


    On this very topic, a timely animated cartoon by Mark Fiore.

    posted by liz at 11:03 AM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, May 18, 2005

    UFO over Florida 

    This is fun: Robot Wisdom points to a Google Maps satellite view of ZIP code 33409 (West Palm Beach) which shows something very strange in the image. A UFO? Lots of discussion on the Google Sightseeing blog (highlighting all sorts of cool images from Google Maps), which found the image a few days ago. It's provoked lots of comments, many from people who suspect it's a weather balloon.


    posted by liz at 4:38 PM
    (0) comments

    Supporting Venezuelan oil 

    Interesting campaign going on at Common Dreams, and one that may not be viewed positively by many in Miami: Buy your gas at Citgo. Why? Because Citgo, according to this, is a subsidiary of the Venezuelan state-owned oil company, and buying Venezuelan-produced gasoline is a slap at Bush administration energy policies, as well as denying oil revenues to Saudi Arabia and other middle eastern producers. And, according to Common Dreams,
      "Of the top oil producing countries in the world, only one is a democracy with a president who was elected on a platform of using his nation's oil revenue to benefit the poor. The country is Venezuela. The President is Hugo Chavez. Call him "the Anti-Bush.""

    Hmm. Fighting words to many who believe Chavez is a left-wing despot and friend of Fidel Castro's Cuba.
    For those who want to find Citgo gasoline, there's a handy Citgo station locator.
    (Via Robot Wisdom.)

    posted by liz at 4:10 PM
    (1) comments

    How we went to war 

    There's been a simmering discussion of the case for going to war in Iraq, sparked by the release of the secret British government memo saying the Bush administration had already decided to go to war months earlier and was going to find a way to do it by tweaking the intelligence. Bloggers have been complaining the memo hasn't gotten much press in this country since it was published in The Times on May 1. (Note this is a different memo than the similar secret British Attorney General memo I linked to last month.)
    Now there's The Secret Way to War, a long thorough analysis in the New York Review of Books, on the memo (including the text, at the end). It says:
      The memo, which records the minutes of a meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair's senior foreign policy and security officials, shows that even as President Bush told Americans in October 2002 that he "hope[d] the use of force will not become necessary" - that such a decision depended on whether or not the Iraqis complied with his demands to rid themselves of their weapons of mass destruction - the President had in fact already definitively decided, at least three months before, to choose this "last resort" of going "into battle" with Iraq.
      ...in the United States, on the other hand, the Downing Street memorandum has attracted little attention. As I write, no American newspaper has published it and few writers have bothered to comment on it. The war continues, and Americans have grown weary of it; few seem much interested now in discussing how it began, and why their country came to fight a war in the cause of destroying weapons that turned out not to exist.
      ...Though this seems on its face to be a disquisition on religion and faith, it is of course an argument about power, and its influence on truth. Power, the argument runs, can shape truth: power, in the end, can determine reality, or at least the reality that most people accept...

    That point seems to be a theme in a lot of the discussions I've been linking to lately...

    (Added later:) There's a whole Website, DowningStreetMemo.com devoted to this topic.

    posted by liz at 11:15 AM
    (0) comments

    Posada Carriles 

    A lot less reaction on the Web to the arrest of Luis Posada Carriles. From the Herald story:
      "Posada, who has been linked to the 1976 bombing of a Cuban jetliner and to a 1997 series of bombings at tourist hotels in Havana, was arrested in Miami-Dade on the same day Cuban President Fidel Castro mounted a massive march in Havana to accuse U.S. leaders of hypocrisy for sheltering the accused bomber."

    A Technorati search finds lots of blogs linking to or posting the story from the newswires, but little comment, except for EspionageBlog, which says: Since when does Castro get to decide who the terrorists are? , and South Knox Bubba, who says: Castro demands. Bush complies.

    posted by liz at 10:50 AM
    (0) comments

    Newsweek Reaction 

    The Newsweek/Guantanamo story is being discussed a lot on blogs and journalism analysis sites. A lot of it is rhetoric, but there are a few bloggers and columnists who have actually contributed some insight to the story. Here are a couple:
  • UPI's Pamela Hess actually lays out the timeline of how the story -- and the retraction -- came out, and says:
      "...Newsweek's error is not the only factor here. The Pentagon and White House regard "mainstream media" (read: "liberal media") as hostile to their interests. It may be, and an anecdotal case can be made to that end. But rather than trying to blunt that perceived hostility, they fan its flames.
      ...The White House and Pentagon were quick to blame Newsweek for the Afghan riots over the weekend, despite Myers' on-the-record statements to the contrary. What Myers might have known is that most Afghans don't read, much less in English. Even fewer get subscriptions to Newsweek.
      ...By government admission the United States is fighting a "war of ideas" to help moderates win influence in the Muslim world. The eagerness with which the rioters embraced a fallacious report, and to which normally friendly governments lent their voices, suggests it has a long way to go."

  • MSNBC's Keith Olbermann has a lot to say about the story, and blames the White House's Scott McClellan for much of it:
      "Or would somebody rather play politics with this? The way Craig Crawford reconstructed it, this one went similarly to the way the Killian Memos story evolved at the White House. The news organization turns to the administration for a denial. The administration says nothing. The news organization runs the story. The administration jumps on the necks of the news organization with both feet - or has its proxies do it for them."

  • ThinkProgress has Why the Newsweek Mess Really Matters "The media may prefer RatherGate Part II, but this is the real story."
  • Digby, at Hullaballoo is rounding up a lot of the reaction and the history at Guantanamo.
    (Some links via South Knox Bubba.)

    posted by liz at 9:49 AM
  • (0) comments

    Real life in the movies? 

    A fascinating column item by the Washington Post's Dan Froomkin pulls together several links that compare the story in the latest Star Wars epic 'Revenge of the Sith' to the current events in Washington and the war in Iraq.
      "'Revenge of the Sith,' it turns out, can also be seen as a cautionary tale for our time -- a blistering critique of the war in Iraq, a reminder of how democracies can give up their freedoms too easily, and an admonition about the seduction of good people by absolute power."

    (You may need to register at Washingtonpost.com to read the column. Via Dan Froomkin's brother, UM Law prof Michael Froomkin, at Discourse.net.)

    posted by liz at 9:20 AM
    (0) comments

    Monday, May 16, 2005

    Blog news 

    I'm adding some more blogs to the Florida Blogs list in the right-hand column; they should show up there later today.

    Here's one that's not strictly a Florida blog, but regularly provides news about Florida: Facing South, a blog from the Institute for Southern Studies, founded by civil rights leader Julian Bond and based in Durham, NC.

    Some Knight Ridder newspapers are posting new blogs using a new blogging software (Type Pad): The San Jose Mercury News has Good Morning Silicon Valley, previously a Website and newsletter, now a Type Pad blog. And the Philadelphia Inquirer has introduced Blinq, a blog on local news, blogging and news from blogs in the Philadelphia area. Will the Miami Herald get in on this? Stay tuned.

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

    Newsweek's answer 

    The hottest topic of discussion out there right now is the explanation from Newsweek on the story about the use (abuse) of the Koran in the Guantanamo detention camp that led to bloody riots in Afghanistan. The story has released another firestorm besides the reaction in Islamic nations: bloggers are finding it another reason to denounce the MSM -- main stream media.
    In this column, Newsweek says they're not the first to report such desecrations of the sacred book, but that the allegations they cited can not be totally verified, but that more such stories may still come out.
    From Newsweek:
      "...Westerners, including those at NEWSWEEK, may underestimate how severely Muslims resent the American presence, especially when it in any way interferes with Islamic religious faith."

    There's a long series of roundups of reactions to this story on Memeorandum, among other places.
    (Added later:) Lots and lots of comments on Kevin Drum's assessment of the story on Political Animal.

    posted by liz at 10:48 AM
    (1) comments

    Can't get away from it 

    If you think the sex offender registry should help you to keep your distance, think again: the St. Petersburg Times found 9 out of 10 people in the Tampa Bay area live within a half mile of a sex offender. With 2600 offenders in the area, it's hard to get away. No wonder there are tragedies. I expect an analysis of other areas -- such as South Florida -- would show similar numbers.
    (Via I Dig Answers.)

    posted by liz at 9:09 AM
    (0) comments

    Thursday, May 12, 2005

    What's your politics? 

    According to the Pew Research Center, Americans' politics aren't easily defined into Red vs. Blue, as the media would like us to think. It breaks voters down into several categories (in the middle: the 'disaffecteds', the 'upbeats', and the 'bystanders', for example); but finds that right now most Americans are leaning towards the Republican Party, although this is not reflected in actual affiliation.
      Republicans have neither gained nor lost in party identification in 2005. Moreover, divisions within the Republican coalition over economic and domestic issues may loom larger in the future, given the increasing salience of these matters. The Democratic party faces its own formidable challenges, despite the fact that the public sides with them on many key values and policy questions. Their constituencies are more diverse and, while united in opposition to President Bush, the Democrats are fractured by differences over social and personal values.

    Well, we knew that, but there are some interesting points in the report, like this:
      Poorer Republicans and Democrats have strikingly different outlooks on their lives and possibilities. Pro-Government Conservatives are optimistic and positive; Disadvantaged Democrats are pessimistic and cynical.

    And this:
      George W. Bush has the broadest personal appeal of any national political figure among the main independent groups, the Upbeats and Disaffecteds.
      ...Bill and Hillary Clinton's favorable ratings have risen among the public, and both earn relatively high ratings from the GOP's Pro-Government Conservatives.


    And here's a guide for new college graduates on How to get ahead in a politically fractured world, from a speech given to Yale graduates by John Kenneth Galbraith in 1979. Amazing how relevant some parts of it still remain. He told them, among other things: "You can join the great conservative revolt and serve the fortunate while pretending, even believing, that you are serving the public good. Or you can join Mr. Carter's liberals in Washington and serve the rich by doing nothing at all."

    And, for those who are still not clear on exactly where they fall in the political spectrum, a test: How Republican are You?, rather tongue-in-cheek. (I won't say where I came out. Let's just say I was surprised.) (Via Discourse.Net.)

    posted by liz at 12:33 PM
    (0) comments

    Wednesday, May 11, 2005

    Star Wars 

    OK, I haven't posted anything on it. So just for those who can't live without a constant fix: The Darth Side: Memories of a Monster a new Blogspot blog. 'Darth' is a hard taskmaster:
      ""It is vital that you enhance the inter-departmental syngergies of your operation," I said. And then I killed him."

    Lots of other good Star Wars links here, too. Of course, you can get a whole lot more on the film by going to Knight-Ridder's special package on Star Wars. It includes stories from The Herald and other Knight Ridder newspapers, a complete guide to Star Wars Websites, and answers to Star Wars questions from KR Star Wars expert, researcher and Web mistress Tish Wells.

    posted by liz at 2:48 PM
    (0) comments

    Sports and politics 

    Fascinating story in CounterPunch about NBA MVP Steve Nash and his anti-Iraq war statements. According to author Dave Zirin,
      "Nash was the first high profile athlete to come out against Dick Cheney's "war of a generation" showing up at the 2003 All-Star game in 2003 wearing a T-shirt that read, "Shoot baskets not people."
      ...In a country where much of the media, and sports media, have been in a race to the right, Shaquille O'Neal would have been a more appealing choice. Shaq's main dream after basketball is to become a cop."

    Zirin also comments on the recent column by The Herald's Dan Le Batard in which he speculated on race as a factor in the voting:
      "If basketball writers were suckers for plucky Caucasians with gaudy assist numbers, John Stockton would have won TEN MVPs instead of zero."

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

    Go Miami 

    Miami-Dade County's new transportation portal is being launched tomorrow. Go.MiamiDade.gov gives you all the transportation information available from one page.
    Check flight arrivals/departures at Miami International Airport, or find out where to go for baggage or check out a map of stores and restaurants in the terminals.
    Find bus and Metrorail schedules, get highway traffic updates, or find out about Tri-Rail.
    Look for shipping information such as cruise ship schedules, cargo ship arrivals/departures, and travel tips. There's also Accessible Services information.
    Or, for the complete package, use the Trip Planner to navigate your way around the county using public transportation. In addition, the page will soon add a planner that can find routes and systems throughout Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties.

    posted by liz at 10:56 AM
    (0) comments

    Tuesday, May 10, 2005

    England gets cooler, Florida gets....lower? 

    UM law prof Michael Froomkin links to a report that the British Isles can expect colder weather in coming years as the Gulf Stream may be slowing. Bad news for Florida, too, as this could cause a rise in the waters...big problems for a low country. Froomkin provides other links, too, as well as altitude stats from around Florida.

    posted by liz at 5:39 PM
    (0) comments

    Life at the Chelsea 

    If you've ever wondered what it would be like to spend some time hanging around New York's famed Chelsea Hotel, home of some of New York's most celebrated residents over the years, here's the Hotel Chelsea Blog with stories from the hotel gleaned from lots of different sources.
    (Via Guardian Newsblog.)

    posted by liz at 5:35 PM
    (0) comments

    White women get more? 

    Attention, apparently, according to a column in the Chicago Tribune, complaining that the 'runaway bride' was a story on cable TV only because she is white. The original column by Former Bob Dole press secretary Douglas MacKinnon requires registration to read, but there have been plenty of comments in reaction, as in this Roland Martin column,The media's infatuation with missing white women.

    posted by liz at 10:25 AM
    (0) comments

    Monday, May 09, 2005

    On a lighter note 

    Here's a wonderful new way to spend some enjoyable time: The OEDILF (The Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form) makes looking up words in a dictionary fun. Each term (here's Aorta) is expressed in limericks contributed by members. This will be a long project as they've worked their way thru 'a' to 'b'.
    (Via Good Morning Silicon Valley.)

    (Added later:) Here are a couple more entertaining sites that showed up today on BoingBoing: Someone made a USB drive out of a Barbie doll. You just pull her head off and stick her neck in the USB slot. And:
    Chinese watermelon art. The pictures are carved into the watermelon skin.

    posted by liz at 1:22 PM
    (0) comments

    Religion vs. politics 

    Did you hear about the church in western North Carolina that 'excommunicated' several parishioners because they voted for John Kerry? The Asheville Citizen Times has been following this story. This is some of the same thinking that led former Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XIV) to tell American bishops they should excommunicate candidates who supported abortion rights. The pastor of a Baptist church in East Waynesville, NC, went a little further in assuming that anyone who voted for Kerry must also be in favor of abortion.

    (Added later:) The Baptist State Convention of North Carolina calls the pastor's move 'highly irregular'.

    posted by liz at 12:59 PM
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    Watercraft in the National Parks? 

    There is a new campaign to allow use of personal watercraft in waters belonging to the national parks. Apparently witnesses are testifying in Congressional hearings that the new craft (Jet-Skis and the like) are quieter and less polluting than older models. The Blue Ribbon Commission is a 'boating access group' that's pushing for the change, and is actually part of a larger campaign called Share our Trails that campaigns for access to all national park lands by all-terrain and other vehicles. According to the media release, much of the questioning during the hearings concerned Biscayne National Park. The Park Service's legislative page notes the hearings, which were held Friday, but doesn't show any more on the schedule.
    (Via Morning Meeting.)
    For the other side of this story, the Acoustic Ecology organization brings attention to the concern for quiet in our natural public spaces, and includes news about noise.

    posted by liz at 11:43 AM
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    Criticism of Cuba 

    An email from Friends of Cuban Libraries points out a story there about Che Guevara's grandson, who wrote that today's Cuban government is 'obsessed' with 'surveillance, control, repression'. The site is monitoring the ongoing attacks on personal freedom in Cuba.

    posted by liz at 10:17 AM
    (0) comments

    New Blog 

    Today is the debut of The Huffington Post, a much-anticipated blog from Arianna Huffington. She's assembled a stable of prominent celebrities and pundits to blog on her site. Many serious bloggers have scoffed, saying celebrities won't have anything useful to say. But everyone wants to see what comes up. Today there are postings from Mike Nichols, John Cusack, Ellen DeGeneres, and several more. Harry Shearer is doing what looks like a regular column, Eat the Press. The front page has additional news and story links, or you can go straight to The Blog.

    Followup:
    The Huffington Post points to a new article in Vanity Fair,
    Jeff Gannon's Public Blogging
    , more fodder for those of us who just couldn't get enough of the bizarre Jeff Gannon/JD Guckert story....

    posted by liz at 9:54 AM
    (0) comments

    Friday, May 06, 2005

    Random tidbits 

    Some things I've run into worth a look:

    Bethlehem Bloggers is a report (from 'The Bethlehem Ghetto') from some Palestinians and international residents of Bethlehem. It's a nice looking blog with neat photographs (although they seem to be having some formatting problems at present). Interesting to see what people are talking about there.

    Whatever happened to polio? is an interactive site from the Smithsonian Institution on the history and progress of the fight against polio. Relevant, as there is still news of polio outbreaks in Africa and Indonesia because of Muslim fear of vaccinations from the U.S.; and to thousands of polio survivors (like me) still living in the United States.

    Philly Feed is a new Podcasting service from the Philadelphia Daily News (another Knight Ridder newspaper). It includes interviews, sports talk, and music. There's room for comments and a place to upload your songs. A great service for a newspaper to offer.

    There's lots of discussion of the new Google Web Accelerator, which you must install to run your Web searching through Google's servers, where it retrieves cached versions of Web pages faster than using your own ISP. Many commenters feel this is giving Google too much information about what you're searching. A reader in China found he could use it to see sites blocked by China's ISPs. Jeff Jarvis, among others, is against it.

    For more on the latest exciting bird discovery, Rediscovering the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker gives you the background and the videos, from Cornell's Ornithology dept.

    Lots of talk about Global Voices, the news aggregator that finds useful news from blogs around the world, especially from places you don't often hear from.

    posted by liz at 12:33 PM
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    Thursday, May 05, 2005

    Election night 

    If you're following the election in the UK, you might want to check in on The Guardian's Election 2005 Blog tonight as the results come in.

    For straight news, of course, there's The Guardian's coverage, and coverage from the BBC, to start.

    posted by liz at 3:37 PM
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    Wednesday, May 04, 2005

    Stand your ground? 

    Via Florida Blog, an analysis of Florida's new self-defense law just signed into law by Gov. Jeb Bush: Florida's New "Stand Your Ground" Law: Why It's More Extreme than Other States' Self-Defense Measures, And How It Got that Way" by Anthony Sebok on the FindLaw Website. Sebok says, among other things:
      "Suppose that a doctor's drug addict brother breaks into his mansion to raid the medicine cabinet. Now, the doctor can kill his brother to ensure that he will be the sole heir to their wealthy parents' estate.
      Or suppose a teacher, in a school parking lot, finds a student to whom he's just given an "F," breaking into his SUV, so that he can deface the interior. Though the intent was clearly vandalism, and the boy has no record of violence, the irate teacher guns down the student. According to Florida, this would appear to be legal."

    posted by liz at 2:43 PM
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    Not the party I knew 

    A new report from the Cato Institute, The Grand Old Spending Party: How Republicans Became Big Spenders, discusses the increase in military and domestic spending under the Bush administration. According to Cato,
      The GOP was once effective at controlling nondefense spending. The final nondefense budgets under Clinton were a combined $57 billion smaller than what he proposed from 1996 to 2001. Under Bush, Congress passed budgets that spent a total of $91 billion more than the president requested for domestic programs. Bush signed every one of those bills during his first term. Even if Congress passes Bush's new budget exactly as proposed, not a single cabinet-level agency will be smaller than when Bush assumed office.

    The summary page leads to the full report in PDF. So is Cato just another left, liberal think tank, you ask? Not hardly. According to their Web page, the Cato Institute is for "consideration of the traditional American principles of limited government, individual liberty, free markets and peace."
    Not exactly your radical liberal agenda. Or....is it? These once-Republican values seem to have crossed the line to the other side. Cato's 'About' link says they like the term 'market liberals' to describe their philosophy.

    And, on that Social Security problem:
    A new report from the Century Foundation highlights A new plan to fix Social Security, by Robert M. Ball, who ran the Social Security Administration for many years. According to the summary, the plan's five simple steps would solve the funding problem for the next 75 years.
    (I'm impressed. Bob Ball was a classmate of my father's (Wesleyan U, 1935) and my Dad mentioned him often. Dad died 12 years ago at 80, he's be proud to know Ball is still around and doing good work.)
    (Both of these reports via Docuticker.)

    posted by liz at 1:42 PM
    (0) comments

    Monday, May 02, 2005

    What they're saying today 

    A roundup of some things people are talking about on the Web:

    Joel Achenbach says the parents of the 'runaway bride' should be charged, for helping plan a huge wedding. Achenbach (a former Herald reporter) prefers a wedding like his own, held on a pier, "so austere that it was only at the last minute that I succumbed to social pressure and invited my fiancee.". I'm with Joel. Big weddings are an abhorrance to me. Mine was in the Key West courthouse, just the groom and me before a 20-year-old clerk. That's the way I wanted it.

    Bob Herbert, in the New York Times, writes about a Florida man who became a conscientious objector after seeing soldiers mistreating Iraqis, including detainees in Abu Ghraib, while he was stationed there.
      "Mr. Delgado confronted a sergeant who, he said, had fired on the detainees. "I asked him," said Mr. Delgado, "if he was proud that he had shot unarmed men behind barbed wire for throwing stones. He didn't get mad at all. He was, like, 'Well, I saw them bloody my buddy's nose, so I knelt down. I said a prayer. I stood up, and I shot them down.' ""

    If any of you are bloggers who dream about getting to make a living blogging, feast on the story of Brittney, a waitress, who just started a new job blogging full time for a local Nashville TV station: Nashville is Talking.

    And, on the subject of blogs, a question on a researchers' group I belong to elicited a link to Rebecca Blood's history of Weblogs, a fascinating essay on where blogs came from, what they are, and what people use them for.

    posted by liz at 2:29 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 Herald.com 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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