The New Yorker: How Far Did PBS Go to Avoid Offending a Sponsor?
Woof. When one has to beg for public dollars, pushing a shiv into your largest donors comes hard.
NY Times: Revisiting the ‘Crack Babies’ Epidemic That Was Not.
This makes me want to spit nails. It wasn’t an epidemic. But it existed — don’t try to wash it away. Until you’ve taken infant CPR, walked the floors with a newborn who won’t stop crying from suffering detox, having to remain calm when their heart monitor goes off (again), and more … I’d certainly like to give these folks a piece of my mind. Not a one of these ‘investigative reports’ ever talks with foster parents of the era.
Later: Perhaps I wasn’t clear. Many of the victims are dead from heart defects. If they made a year, they were lucky. Who speaks for them?
NY Times: My Medical Choice.
Angelina Jolie undergoes a voluntary double mastectomy. Gutsy lady.
The Verge: I’m still here: back online after a year without the internet.
Tech or no tech, you can’t escape yourself.
CJR: That’s incredible.
“At a younger age, they sometimes believe that if someone put it online, it must be true.” They need to learn — sooner than later — that we are awash in opinion fueled by a general paucity of poorly-understood facts. If we reduced news to facts, we’d save one hell of a lot of bandwidth. Perhaps that’s a better road to ‘energy independence’ …
Keith Hennessey: George W. Bush is smarter than you.
ProPublica: What Went Wrong in West, Texas — and Where Were the Regulators?
“The land was available out there that way; they could get sewer and other stuff that way without building a bunch of new lines. [snip] There never was any thought about it. Maybe that was wrong.” Ya think?
CJR: The social media tail mustn’t wag the MSM dog.
“No mainstream journalism outlet should allow its coverage of a major story to be hijacked by backchannel noise — especially when a large part of the value such outlets provide is that they filter out the noise and transmit only a reliable signal.”
Guardian.UK: Texas fertilizer plant explosion—no government watchdog visits since 2007.
“The OSHA covers 7 million worksites in the US but has just 2,000 inspectors nationwide. Under its current funding, it can only conduct 40,000 inspections every year. The sequester will hit the OSHA further. Under the automatic spending cuts – caused by a failure to reach compromise in Congress – the agency will have its budget cut by 8.2%, about $50m.” Our nonexistent tax dollars, logically not at work.
The Nation: Terror Hysteria Over Boston Bombs.
“Maybe Al Qaeda is involved, and maybe it isn’t. But if the sort of mini-terrorism that we saw in Boston is the best that they can do, then it’s hardly a threat of major proportions. Here and there, a few commentators are making this point. But if you watch CNN, Fox, MSNBC and other television or cable news channels, you’d think it was the end of the world. ”
Guardian.UK: Reddit’s Boston marathon speculation shows the limits of crowdsourcing.
As I got to the end of the article, I thought what a shame it was that this even has to be said. Perhaps it’s all the cop and CSI type shows we watch. Criminal investigation is easy because the bad guys are always instantly recognizable and fall into archetypal behavior. (Not.)
I hereby rescind my previous post theorizing about crowdsourcing analysis. I was too naive. Crowdsourced analysis could never exist in an objective vacuum.
Mashable: FBI Criticizes Internet Vigilantes in Boston Case.
“This is vigilantism, and it’s only the illusion that what we do online is not as significant as what we do offline that allows this to go on.” It’s the equivalent of an old West hanging party, or simply mob mentality [2:13].
FBI: Photos of suspects in Boston Marathon event.
I told you. Other extremist blogs were posting pictures of brown-skinned individuals with what looked like photo backpacks. This guy’s carrying a load.
Guardian.UK: Moment of explosion near Waco, Texas.
Everyone knows fertilizer is an efficient explosive, but noone really thinks about the fact until you see something like this. Pre-explosion photos of the location show a well-worn, slightly tatty facility that the city has allowed housing and business to encroach … unwisely. Some Einstein built a school and a retirement complex within short walking distance. The risk of explosion, however small, was not recognized. Not unusual, however. I know of other places just as unwise … such as Linden, NJ. Tank farm at the foot of a runway … and housing?
I suppose my real concern here is, as America’s infrastructure continues to suffer from tax cuts, austerity and the generally poor economy, these kinds of incidents will happen more often. Can we find a minute in all this to prescribe an ounce of prevention?
NY Times: News Media Weigh Use of Photos of Carnage.
I suppose the fact I remember My Lai colors my opinion here.
NY Times: F.B.I. Criticizes False Reports of a Bombing Arrest.
“CNN and Fox News spent about an hour discussing the news of an arrest with various correspondents and experts before backing off when they received further information.” What on earth did they talk about? Scratch that - I really don’t want to know.
CJR: The other side of reporting a tragedy.
“Even though we’re all writing and tweeting mainly for an audience that’s not directly invested—people who didn’t have family members at the finish line—before you hit send in the immediate wake of a tragedy, try to read each tweet as if you do have loved ones at the scene. Think about whether you’re adding practical information and amplifying news that’s been vetted, or whether you’re adding to the noise. You can always opine later. ” Good advice. Noone will pay attention to it, but good advice.
You’ll notice I’m going to avoid Boston links for a while.
Blogging through years of past national tragedies, one realizes that real, solid information only comes out about three days to a week after such events (if then). Until the time when the authorities release actionable info, everyone’s picking at the same old minutiae, doing what chimpanzees do — looking for patterns. Turn off the ape-brain. Do something else with your time.
Guardian.UK: News is bad for you – and giving up reading it will make you happier.
The Morning Sentinel: Special camera helped nab ‘North Pond Hermit’.
Coining a new term: Klepto-survivalism.
Guardian.UK: Margaret Thatcher left a dark legacy that has still not disappeared.
Posthumously publishing an obituary. That’s a new one on me. Drips with contempt that builds over the course of the article.
Guardian.UK: Margaret Thatcher dies—live reaction and updates.
Instead of reading America’s “Lady Reagan” accolades, read what those affected by her leadership actually thought.
PS Mag: Why Is the South in Love With Brad Paisley?
Hmmm. Expect Toby Keith to record an anti-Brad screed in short order?
Chronicle of Higher Ed: Our Age of Anxiety.
Reuters: China rebukes North Korea, says no state should sow chaos.
“No expert on North Korea has suggested China would abandon Kim or even implement the new sanctions to the letter, but China appears to have run out of patience after years of trying to coax Pyongyang out of isolation and to embrace economic reform. China’s new leaders, including Xi, do not have the emotional ties to North Korea that their predecessors had.” The giant wakes, grabs flyswatter, is irascible from being rudely awoken.