Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Afer magazines, magazine covers

From the ASME (American Society of Magazine Editors, ASME's TOP 40 MAGAZINE COVERS OF THE PAST 40 YEARS. John and Yoko, of course, as well as some of those classic Esquires....

Monday, February 26, 2007

Great magazines

The aptly named Good Magazine publishes a list of the 51 Best Magazines Ever, by Grayson Carter. Number one? Esquire, the version published from 1961-1973. I'd go along with that. It was the Tom Wolfe and Gay Talese era, and every issue opened up new ideas. But, most of all, I think, I'd pick it for the wonderful essays by Nora Ephron. Especially, of course, her 'A Few Words About Breasts'. Not online, unfortunately, but reprinted in her book Crazy Salad...

Lots more of my favorites come in near the top, including the early years of WIRED (number 8) and Rolling Stone (number 11), and even Ramparts (number 18)...

Investigate your congressman

...well, at least her Website. The Sunlight Foundation has a new initiative, The Congressional Website Investigation Project. They're looking for citizens to go over the Websites of the 127 Congresspersons they haven't covered yet, to study them for usefulness, accessibility, and disclosure.
Want to be a 'citizen journalist'? They say it will take only 10 minutes of your time.

(Via Dan Gillmor)

(Added later:) Oh, and there's more, via Boing Boing: Sunlight Foundation's OpenCongress site, where there's news about Congressional bills, gathered from government and Congressional sites, blogs

On another note, the Washington Post used Senate disclosure documents from Hillary Clinton to create a database of her husband's speeches and his fees. The places where Bill Clinton spoke are linked on a map: Clinton's Golden Voice. Golden, all right, to the tune of $31 million over five years.


More on veterans' treatment

After posting on this the other day, I'm prodded to mention a couple other reports I had considered linking to, on our treatment of American veterans:

Sheila Lennon links to a column by Joe Galloway that ran recently on the McClatchy Washington Bureau site: Disgusting treatment for those to whom we owe so much. Galloway:
If the American people are not sickened and disgusted by this then, by God, we don't deserve to be defended from the wolves of this world.

McClatchy also had a long report a couple weeks ago, VA system ill-equipped to treat mental anguish of war. Much more veterans coverage here.

And, in Attytood, Will Bunch mentioned last week that 3 of the 12 George Polk awards announced last week were to stories covering veterans' issues or American troops put in danger. Bunch:
We look forward to reading some great journalism in 2007, but we can't bear to see one more story about the mistreatment of American troops.

(Added note:) Not quite on topic, but not so far off, McClatchy also had a report, by Tony Pugh, about the increasing numbers of people in severe poverty in the U.S. The number of severely poor -- that's families making under about $10000 or individuals making under about $5000 -- increased by 56% between 2000 and 2005. Let's see, what happened in 2000?

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Weekend update and more Wikipedia controversy

Lots of interesting things the last few weeks about Wikipedia. Gary Price links to several of them on this report at Resourseshelf. Among them, a report that Middlebury College's history department has banned use of Wikipedia as a reference, after a prof noted many exam papers had the same erroneous information, which could only have come from Wikipedia.
I posted a link to The Miami Herald's story on Fuzzy Zoeller the other day. There's much more in the Resourceshelf posting.
Today a Newslib member posted a link to Wikipedia's guide to researchers, important reading for those of us who find the online encyclopedia useful (with reservations).

(Added later:) Rex Hammock has some interesting things to say about this, too, including what he calls the 'rexblog motto': Wikipedia is a gateway to facts, not a source of facts.

Apologies for late posting, but I have been busy posting to the other blog.....

The other links:

  • DSIRE, database of information on state, local, utility, and federal incentives that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency.
  • America's Favorite Architecture, a list of best-loved buildings nationwide, from AIA. Empire State Building wins over the White House and the rest. The Vanderbilt House in Asheville comes in eighth of the 150 buildings listed, just before the Chrysler Building and the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial.
  • Noonsite: for cruising sailors around the world. News, piracy reports, country guides.
  • Electronic Orange Book: Approved Drug Products
    with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations
    from FDA.

  • Migration Information Data Hub from Migration Policy Institute. Has a new data collection of census data on foreign born by state.

    Governments, Politics:
  • Presidents Resources from the FREE government information collection at

  • Almanac of American Wealth from Fortune.

    Public Records:
  • Courier-News Data Universe has lots of searchable public records databases from New Jersey, including property, public employees, death records and much more.

    Some interesting stories/blogs:
  • Danger Room,a new WIRED blog on defense and security.

  • Friday, February 23, 2007

    UK withdrawal and our veterans failed

    None of the news stories I've seen yet have said anything but that the British withdrawal from Iraq is leaving the Basra area more secure.

    There's another side to the story, though, according to this report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies: The British Defeat in the South and the Uncertain Bush "Strategy" in Iraq. Patrick Cockburn reports on this study in The Independent: Revealed: The true extent of Britain's failure in Basra.

    Hmm. Just as the prince has gotten his orders....

    Disturbing new report by the New York Times' Lizette Alvarez: Long Iraq Tours Can Make Home a Trying Front. According to this, decades-long military marriages are ending in divorce after too many deployments to Iraq.
    Some therapists say they are bracing for this year’s divorces. Mary Coe, a marriage and family therapist working near Fort Campbell, an Army base on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, said she was seeing “many, many divorces” right now. The 101st Airborne Division recently returned from its second deployment with an astonishing level of rage, she said. “Now we are seeing 15- to 20-year marriages not making it, and these are families that survived 20 years of deployments,” Dr. Coe said.

    This follows, of course, the Washington Post report from this weekend on housing for wounded soldiers near Walter Reed Hospital: Today's story says the problem has been solved ... with a coat of paint (link to original story is in the sidebar to this one).

    Much more important, of course, is getting new tax breaks enacted for America's richest families (Matt Taibbi story from Rolling Stone; more from The Carpetbagger).

    Can't say we don't put family values first.....

    Newspapers and linking

    Seems like just a couple years ago (it was!) that there was a definite aversion in newsrooms to having any Web features that linked outside the newspaper. That's why most papers took so long to feature bloggers, and why many consisted of writing with no links.
    When I started my Miami Herald blog it was still an unknown proposition; because I was doing lots of linking people questioned the wisdom of having it there.

    Now things are very different, at least at some papers. Recently searching a topic in several newspapers, I found a few that actually featured links to other papers' stories on the same topic! What a shock, and what a great service to their readers and researchers.

    So I really like Jeff Jarvis' posting from yesterday: New rule: Cover what you do best. Link to the rest.

    How long have some people been saying this? It just makes so much sense. Jarvis:
    That’s not how newspapers work now. They try to cover everything because they used to have to be all things to all people in their markets. So they had their own reporters replicate the work of other reporters elsewhere so they could say that they did it under their own bylines as a matter of pride and propriety.
    ...It means that when you sit down to see a story that others have worked on, you should ask, “can we do it better?” If not, then link. And devote your time to what you can do better.
    In the rearchitecture of news, what needs to happen is that people are driven to the best coverage, not the 87th version of the same coverage.

    One of the most annoying things some newspapers do is to totally ignore stories their competitors got first. It forces readers to go elsewhere, and they may not come back. I say (and have said, for years), link to those stories, or at least run a version crediting the original source. Their readers will benefit and if they leave your newspaper or your website, they will have a good reason to come back for more. It only makes sense.

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    South Florida talk

    The entire country is talking about a Broward County judge. Erika Bolstad discusses the reaction to his handling of the Anna Nicole case in the Miami Herald.

    Dave Barry, on the other hand, says there's only one reason for this judge's antics,
    ...instead of a thoughtful, dignified, decorous, mentally stable judge, we got an American Idol contestant -- sometimes sobbing like Dorothy when she had to say goodbye to the Scarecrow; sometimes firing off one-liners that he apparently thought were hilarious. Ha ha! Stop it, Judge, you Krazy Kourtroom Karacter!

    The reason: The South Florida Giant Underground Weirdness Magnet.

    Well, sure. We've known about this one for years. So all the things that Dave mentions in this column should have included things from even further back in history: I mean, yeah, he mentions Elian and OJ, but those are relatively recent. What about the early '80s cocaine cowboys and the Dadeland shootout; what about Edward Leedskalnin and the Coral Castle? The Coconut Grove freakshow of the 60s and 70s? All those goofy 50s tourist traps? The weird murders Edna Buchanan used to write about? It's been going on for a long time.

    On the Anna Nicole topic, note that Miami Herald editor/blogger Steve Rothaus has posted a profile he wrote in 2005 about Richard Milstein, the court-appointed guardian in this case, to his blog.

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    Thursday, February 22, 2007

    Bad stats and bad info

    In Herald Watch, Henry Gomez discusses an Ana Menendez column on the decline of the middle class in the Miami area, and disputes her statistics. While, he says, her theory may be right, she's using statistics from the city of Miami -- statistically small and less diverse -- instead of the Miami metropolitan area. It's a common problem that confuses people and skews murder rate stats and lots more.

    In Wikipedia news, yet again a public figure is fighting the effect of bad postings to the online encyclopedia. Golfer Fuzzy Zoeller, according to this Miami Herald story by Patrick Danner, is suing a Miami company because someone using one of its computers posted the defamatory statements to Wikipedia. Zoeller's attorney says the remarks were removed, repeatedly, but he is concerned the bad information will remain on and caches.


    Monday, February 19, 2007

    Blogger book

    Always nice to hear of a blogger getting attention for the writing. Here's one who just got a book contract for a book based on her blog, Wife in the North. She's a former education correspondent for the Sunday Times who moved to the north of Britain to raise her children in a rural area; her husband works in London. The story in Times Online says she got a 70,000 pound book contract, after drawing attention from other bloggers.

    The writing -- reflecting the dismay of a woman alone in a house in the country with small children -- is wonderful:
    Ok, the move. I am at risk of spontaneous combustion. I am at risk of the children coming to find me and finding instead a flaming office chair and a pair of charred sheepskin slippers, smelling of burnt wool and cheesey feet. If you could scream on the internet I would do it. What was I thinking? What was I doing agreeing to move house in such a cack-handed way? I hold myself responsible. I believed my husband when he said it would be OK. It was not OK.


    Sunday, February 18, 2007

    Kapono who?

    After seeing two Heat players take the skills and three-point championships last night, I can't help pointing to more on Jason Kapono, who isn't nearly as well known as Dwyane Wade who won the skills, but who won the distance shooting contest and had everyone asking, 'Kapono who?':

    In the Palm Beach Post, Chris Perkins calls him Quirky but cool:
    Thursday night in Vegas, the Kaponos arrived at an event minutes after everyone else because Jason didn't want to pay for valet parking. His wife had to walk from the parking lot in high-heeled boots....During the Heat's championship parade last summer, Shaquille O'Neal called Kapono the "coolest dude on the team," something that puzzles Kapono.

    David Hyde in the Sun-Sentinel: Who is Jason Kapono?
    Kapono is legitimately funny in a way you don't often see in sports, walking around the Heat locker room imitating Talladega Nights lines or saying his Hawaiian ancestry was so famous it's found on the state seal...he had to beat the genetic odds, too. His dad is 5 feet 8. His mom, 5-5. Their son somehow rose to 6-8.


    A few more on the presidency

    The Librarians' Index to the Internet has a great new collection of links put up for the 2008 campaign: the U.S. Presidency.

    Under the 2008 race section, two links so far, but they're good ones: The Washington Post's The Presidential Field; and George Washington University's Race for the White House.

    Weekend update: More research links from the week

    In the government section, some new resources for presidential research, just in time for Presidents' Day.

    The links:

  • NOAAWatch: quick access to current weather and climate info, local forecasts, hazard warnings.
  • Links on resources for cultural awareness and country awareness, compiled by Resourseshelf.

  • Escaping the Trap: Why the United States Must Leave Iraq (press release) and full text PDF; Cato Institute report.
  • Illegal Parrot Trade, new report from Defenders of Wildlife.

  • ISAF 2006 Worldwide Shark Attack Summary.
  • The US gun stock: results from the 2004 national firearms survey.

    Governments, Politics:
  • Foreign Ownership of U.S. Infastructure, new report from Council on Foreign Relations.
  • Beginner's Guide to nation building, from RAND Corp.
  • Presidential Timeline covers the last twelve presidents, with resources from presidential libraries and national archives.
  • American President, online reference from Miller Center at UVa.

    Public Records:
  • Justia: search Federal Court filings. Quick way to find out if there's a recent docket without using PACER: will still need PACER for full docket report, and filings are back only to January '06.

  • JournaWiki, about journalism. 203 articles posted or being edited, on lots of topics.

    Some interesting stories/blogs:
  • L.A. Homicide Report: Los Angeles Times blog chronicles every homicide in the city.
  • 33 Reasons Why Libraries and Librarians are Still Extremely Important.

  • Friday, February 16, 2007

    Blogs, journalism, and a monumental mistake

    The Oklahoman's Notes from the Newsroom blog is a fun way for reporters to post things they might not get to write about otherwise. According to one editor, the blog has been a good source for story ideas too. Less structured than many newspaper blogs and a nice connect with readers.

    Peter Norvig is Google's research director, and he's got something to say about news reporters: Reporters and Parrots. He says he's "...appalled by the shoddy level of reporting I see".
    Mark Schaver objects.

    Lots of links today to a blog by Robert Stein, called Connecting.the.dots. Stein, a former magazine editor, was profiled in his local newspaper, the Stamford (CT) Advocate, which calls him a 'blogtogenarian'. He's 82. Stein's stated blogging purpose is to cast a historical light on current events: "Everybody, it seems, learns something from past mistakes except you-know-who."

    Nancy Pelosi's office has a blog, called The Gavel. Includes videos of House members's speeches on the floor, as well as news.

    The National Security Archives has posted a new collection of briefing materials from 2002 on a possible invastion of Iraq, by Centcom: Top Secret Polo Step. In it, the military brass projected that most U.S. troops would be out of Iraq in 45 months -- only 5000 as of December 2006. 'Delusional', according to NSA's director.

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    Tuesday, February 13, 2007

    Iran: more and more a question

    Lots more discussion each day on the situation with Iran. Some thoughts:

    Aside from Newsweek's Blowup? story, the UK press is pushing hardest on the story of a possible U.S. strike on Iran, especially this story in the Guardian, Saturday: Target Iran: U.S. able to attack in the spring; and this story in The Independent, yesterday, by Patrick Cockburn: Target Teheran: Washington sets stage for a new confrontation.

    Harper's has a new feature, War with Iran? a continuing online forum with opinions from some independent analysts. From one, A. Richard Norton:
    Remember that in 1990–91 and then again in 2003 the very fact that the United States assembled a formidable array of forces in the Gulf region became an argument for using those forces and launching wars. The United States will soon have two carrier task forces on station, and perhaps a third carrier task force will soon be deployed. It will be difficult for the United States to step down from its combative perch without Iran accepting some fairly significant concessions.

    Memeorandum is linking daily to reports, including today's furor over an article in The Telegraph on Austrian guns found used by Iraqi insurgents. The guns were originally shipped to Iran. The comments seem to be from conservative bloggers mostly...

    A Corrente blogger finds a disturbing line in a Washington Post story: a Cheney aide says war with Iran is a 'real possibility' despite Bush denials....Dan Froomkin has more on the denials:
    ...those sour-faced, unhappy-sounding critics Bush was mocking have, time and again, been proved right.

    Meanwhile, MSNBC reports the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says there's no proof Iran is supplying weapons to Iraqi insurgents.....More in The Washington Post.

    JustForeignPolicy is starting a campaign to encourage Congress to oppose any U.S. intervention in Iran.

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    Monday, February 12, 2007

    All in the family, Iran, Guantanamo, Big story in South Florida, a new Lincoln photo, and Valentines

    This week must be 'pick on Bush/Cheney family members' week, but these stories seem to fit in with the private contractor links of a couple days ago. More random links from today's browsing below.

    Let's see. First we have Bush's uncle, William H.T. Bush, who is under investigation by the SEC for stock option violations, in a military contracting company which he served on the board and profited from. Bush has longstanding ties to other members of the administration besides his nephew, too, according to Talking Points Memo.

    And then there's Dick Cheney’s Dangerous Son-In-Law: Washington Monthly says William Perry, general counsel of the OMB and later for the Dept of Homeland Security, blocked legislation that would have helped protect chemical sites in the U.S. from terrorist attack.

    A couple sensible comments on the Iran 'revelations', from Knox View's R. Neal, and Dave Winer. From Winer:
    1. If you don't want Americans blown up by Iranian weapons, get them out of Iraq.
    2. It's a big surprise? We're calling them names, threatening them, moving our aircraft carriers into their ports, and we're supposed to be shocked that they're helping people who are fighting with us in Iraq? I would be surprised if it were otherwise, if they weren't helping them.

    And more.

    From Neal:
    See, we invaded Iraq because they had active chemical and biological weapons programs and stockpiles, and an advanced nuclear weapons program.
    But now, they don't even have a machinist skilled enough to make roadside pipe bombs, so they must be getting them from Iran.

    In the March Vanity Fair, Marie Brenner on the JAG lawyer and legal scholar suing the U.S. Government: Taking on Guantánamo.

    The Broward-Palm Beach New Times reports on the chaos surrounding the story of Anna Nicole Smith: Hollywood (Florida) Confidential. Interesting that the ad above the story is for a local exhibit on Marilyn Monroe.

    Here's something amazing: someone bought an old dauguerrotype of a young Illinois man, and realized the man in the photo looked like Abraham Lincoln. He had it analyzed by experts: It seems to be Lincoln. It's a revealing new image we've never seen before.

    Lastly, here are some greeting cards for those of us who don't make a big deal of Valentine's day (or most other made-up commercialized holidays): Be my anti-Valentine. These are all pretty good: my favorite might be, "Nothing says I love you like saturated fat and slutty lingerie".
    For more on not celebrating Valentine's, some great links from Al Tompkins at Poynter, including why you shouldn't buy roses or other flowers imported from Latin America(unless you like banned pesticides, fungicides and support unsafe working conditions for underpaid workers). Of course, they all are this time of year, so unless you know a florist who only sells locally grown greenhouse flowers, switch to the healthy dark chocolate instead. Oh, wait: chocolate is grown and processed by slave labor in Africa. There's always diamonds...uh, no. Support a local jewelry maker. Bake a nice loaf of whole grain bread.

    Weekend update: More research links from the week

    The links:

  • Documents From The Trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, posted online by the Associated Press.

  • National Intelligence Estimate — Prospects for Iraq’s Stability: A Challenging Road Ahead

    Governments, Politics:
  • United States Budget, FY 2008

  • News Gems: SPJ blog highlighting great stories.
  • More SPJ blogs.
  • Knight Citizen News Network links, info, examples of citizen journalism from the J-lab.

  • Guide to Area Economic Development Agencies via SiteSelection.
  • Guide to Utilities, also from SiteSelection. Find links to companies by state or area. This is not complete as it doesn't find the local electric cooperative in Georgia that covers this part of NC.
  • Financial Services Fact Book from Insurance Information Institute.
  • Gasoline prices and the consumer, latest study of purchasing behavior, from National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS).
  • Small Business Glossary from the SBA.

  • Phone Validator determines whether phone number you enter is land or cell line, and provider, with links to directory assistance and Google results. Or try Fone Finder, with international searches too; More phone locator links from Resourceshelf.
  • Top 100 Alternative Search Engines from ReadWriteWeb.

  • the Newseum's website has been totally redesigned, including the Front Pages, now redesigned to make it easier to find a specific newspaper front page.

    Public Records:
  • Minnesota public criminal history search.

  • Friday, February 09, 2007

    Death of a young woman

    Several blogs are remarking on the intense coverage of the Anna Nicole Smith story and how it overshadows what may be much more important news.

    All of these focus on the death of another young woman, Marine corporal Jennifer Parcell, who was killed in Iraq the other day.

    Greg Mitchell at Editor & Publisher: Young Woman Meets Tragic End -- No, It's Not Anna Nicole .

    Will Bunch at Attytood: Breaking news: Young woman meets sudden, tragic death;
    This is not a special report.
    ...You may think that we're crazy here, to devote all our attention to the story of just one woman.
    ...If a woman's death ever deserved wall-to-wall coverage, it was this one.

    And, in NBC News' Daily Nightly blog, anchor Brian Williams comments too on the coverage of Smith's death and the contrast with Parcell's: About last night...
    Some of my colleagues thought it was the lead story. Others did not. I did not. Others pointed to the drop-everything, wall-to-wall live coverage all day on all three cable networks. To that argument I responded that I worked in cable for several years. I know cable. Cable is a friend of mine. We are not cable.

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    More on Iraq, war, and journalism

    A few more things too good to leave out....

    The 2006 World Press Photo awards have been announced and the winning photos are displayed on the site. The photo of the year is a view of some (obviously rich) young Lebanese women being driven, in a red convertible, through a bombed-out area of West Beirut. Woh. But there's one even more devastating, an Iraq veteran's wedding photo, winner in the portrait category. So sad I can't bear to look at it.

    In the Washington Post, Robert Reilly writes about how the Voice of America's Arab radio service has stopped broadcasting news and substituted pop music: Britney vs. The Terrorists:
    This change in format provoked other angry questions: Are Americans playing music because they are afraid to tell the truth? Do they not have a truth to tell? Or do they not consider us worth telling the truth to?

    In the Neiman Watchdog, by Dan Froomkin: How the press can prevent another Iraq. Lots of reaction to this one from commenters, who question why the press should have to be told these simple guidelines. Note one commenter, researcher Tish Wells of the McClatchy Washington Bureau (formerly Knight Ridder), wants it put on record that her team did not stint on going behind the press information to report on the lead-up to this war.

    While the media ignores the Iraq war as much as possible, Think Progress adds up the coverage of Anna Nicole Smith's death in comparison, which it calls a 'national media embarassment'.

    Missed the protests in Washington weekend before last? Still want to do something? Jennifer Earl reports in the Washington Post all the ways protesters are finding new media for their dissent: Where Have All the Protests Gone? Online.

    Also on the war, new Sen. Jim Webb is more and more becoming a fluent voice for the opposition to the war. For the latest example: A time for the Senate to lead.

    Here's a new site I hadn't seen before:, which includes this, updated daily from US Deaths in Iraq since March 20th, 2003

    Oh yeah, and then there's this: Bush's Last Day, where you can buy keychains and other items counting down to 1/20/08 (Oooh, I mean 1/20/09, longer than I thought.....)

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    Blog conference in Miami

    This week was Miami's first We Media conference, held at the University of Miami, and attendee J. D. Lasica has lots of info and links, including a set of photos he took there. His report doesn't mention any Miami bloggers, although it does mention Marc Fest who has lots of web presence, including a couple newish blogs,, video interviews of early morning beachgoers; and his moblog of dogs he meets,

    One longtime Miami blogger who was going to be there was Babalu Blog's Val Prieto, but although he posted announcements of webcasts, he hasn't really reported his experience yet.

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    Private contractors, war and Iraq

    Some interesting things today:

    Vanity Fair's article, Washington's $8 Billion Shadow is about a company we probably never heard of (I'm sure I haven't): SAIC (for Science Applications International Corporation).
    This company, headquartered in San Diego but with a huge Washington component, made $8 billion last year --- nearly all from the federal government. According to the article, by renowned investigative journalists Bartlett and Steele, the company the size of a full-fledged government agency—in fact, it is larger than the departments of Labor, Energy, and Housing and Urban Development combined.
    ...If "contract backlog" is any measure—that is, contracts negotiated and pending—the future seems assured. The backlog stands at $13.6 billion. That's one and a half times more than the backlog at KBR Inc., a subsidiary of the far better known government contractor once run by Vice President Dick Cheney, the Halliburton Company.
    It is a simple fact of life these days that, owing to a deliberate decision to downsize government, Washington can operate only by paying private companies to perform a wide range of functions. To get some idea of the scale: contractors absorb the taxes paid by everyone in America with incomes under $100,000. In other words, more than 90 percent of all taxpayers might as well remit everything they owe directly to SAIC or some other contractor rather than to the IRS.
    ...There isn't a politically correct way to put it, but this is what needs to be said: 9/11 was a personal tragedy for thousands of families and a national tragedy for all of America, but it was very, very good for SAIC.
    ...SAIC executives have been involved at every stage of the life cycle of the war in Iraq. SAIC personnel were instrumental in pressing the case that weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq in the first place, and that war was the only way to get rid of them. Then, as war became inevitable, SAIC secured contracts for a broad range of operations in soon-to-be-occupied Iraq. When no weapons of mass destruction were found, SAIC personnel staffed the commission that was set up to investigate how American intelligence could have been so disastrously wrong.

    On that note, a new website based in the UK,, offers information an links for companies specializing in providing private military and security support around the world. The site offers corporate profiles, research papers, news, information on NGOs, think tanks and other organizations, maps and equipment info, a job search, links to sites supporting contractors in Iraq, and more. (Note one link is to an American Contractors in Iraq group holding a convention in Knoxville tomorrow.)

    From the Council on Foreign Relations, a new publication: After the Surge: The Case for U.S. Military Disengagement from Iraq. Fulltext can be downloaded.
    (Via Resourceshelf and Docuticker.)


    Wednesday, February 07, 2007

    Tropical Dreams.....

    Alesh at Critical Miami has posted some photos of the Fruit and Spice Park in the Redland, one of my favorite haunts in my time in Miami.

    (Memo to Alesh: the grapy fruit is Jaboticaba (top photo). It's Brazilian (blogger friend Sonia, at Leaves of Grass, has them too). I had one in my South Miami yard, and they were sweet and delicious. I do miss my tropical fruit trees: the jaboticaba, the surinam cherry, the key limes, the mangos, avocado, oranges.....even the macadamias, which I never managed to eat...)

    Interesting thing about Alesh's pictures: one of the photos contains 'Miracle Fruit', which I never heard of before, but which has suddenly hit the blogosphere with postings on Metafilter and elsewhere. Apparently eating it changes the taste of anything you eat afterwards, making limes sweet, for example. Most links don't even say what the real name of the fruit is, but this article, from 1992, says it's a sapodilla.

    I had a better photo of the jaboticabas, but couldn't find it right away. Check Sonia's site for better images.


    Environmental impacts posts a report listing the most environmentally friendly vehicles. NONE are made in the U.S. There's also a list of the least eco-friendly cars: most are made in Europe, because many of them are diesels. Listed as the worst car for the environment, one I wouldn't have expected: the diesel version of the Volkswagen Touareg. Oh, and a couple of those giant American pickup trucks I see more and more. (Never have figured out the reason for those....)

    Fascinating graphic posted on Michael Silence's blog at the Knoxville News, tracking corporate jets leaving Miami-area airports the morning after the Super Bowl. Interesting discussion on the post, too, about the environmental impact of all those light jets coming into production. Now I understand a little better why we see so many planes overhead here: looks like a good portion of the planes plotted went right over us.

    And, an interesting report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy: Potential for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy to Meet Florida's Growing Energy Demand. Some frightening stats:
    Florida is among the fastest growing states in the country, and the state’s electricity demand is growing even faster than the state’s population. To sustain economic growth, Florida needs to take action – now – to meet the increased energy demand. A particular challenge is peak demand – those times when extreme heat or extreme cold crank up air conditioners and heaters. Peak demand is growing even faster than Florida’s regular day-to-day electricity demand, and it is the most expensive type of electricity.

    The authors propose some solutions, and there's a link from this summary to the full report.

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    Tuesday, February 06, 2007

    Printer blues -- going away?

    I wouldn't link to two Business Week stories in a row, but this one is worth a mention, I think:
    Kodak Launches a Printer Offensive. Sez here Kodak has developed a new ink that prints photos that are sharper, more colorful, and will last 100 years. The printers they will soon be offering (in range from about $150 to $300) will be multifunction printers as well as photo printers, and the replacement ink cartridges will be much cheaper, by half.

    Can't wait. I have a good printer/copier/fax but rarely print photos on it. Wouldn't mind having something that will print good ones without the high cost of ink. And I'm glad for Kodak. As a daughter of a longtime Kodak chemist (who had a hand in the development of Kodachrome and other films) I'm glad the company seems to be weathering the decline of the film business.

    Wade's empire

    A quick link on my Gmail feed to a Business Week story on Dwyane Wade (luckily spelled right on the story although the Gmail link had it spelled Dwayne): Building a Megabrand Named Dwyane.
    It's sort of disturbing to see this nice kid becoming an advertising superstar, but it's the price of talent and success. "Dwyane kind of snuck up on people with how great a player he is," says NBA legend Charles Barkley. (Barkley, of course, is featured with Wade in a couple clever commercials including the one in which a ditsy waitress asks if Sir Charles is Wade's dad.)
    The news here: Wade is partnering with Google (he's a user himself, the story says. Well, duh!) to create a website:
    A fully interactive site built by Google with Google Search functions embedded. Fans would get a customized mix of e-mail, sports news feeds, flash games, and promotional messages. Hundreds of Wade basketball videos exist on Google and YouTube, and Stroth wants to link them to Wade's site. "This notion of user-generated content is unbelievable," Stroth says. "We want to fuel that."

    Monday, February 05, 2007

    Florida developers

    There's a post today on Florida Blog about a press release from the Florida League Against Progress. It features an entertaining bumper sticker:

    I admire the sentiment, but ask just one thing: don't bring them here. We have too many already.


    Front pages, easier to use

    Linked in my reference directory, and for a long time in the sidebar here, the Newseum's Today's Front Pages is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in newspapers. Want to see the front page every day of your far-away home town newspaper? Just go to Front Pages. There are daily front pages there from 532 newspapers in 52 countries.

    For years the papers were listed alphabetically by state or country, so you'd have to browse quite awhile to find the one you wanted. Now the Newseum has redesigned their Web site, in anticipation of the coming opening of their new building in downtown Washington, DC. Front Pages now lets you browse by region, click on 'list' to get an easy-to-read list of links, or click on a map.

    Once you have a front page displayed (in a large, readable JPEG) you can also see it in a searchable PDF, or print it.

    I am struck, looking at today's Miami Herald front page, how much better this is than the small GIF image of the front page, a week's worth, barely readable, that makes available to visitors. The Herald has PDFs of the entire paper, but available online only to subscribers to, and they don't make it easy to find out about that on the main website. is worth subscribing to if you want a better look at all the news in the paper today, and it also includes a sizeable archive.

    A life well lived

    A good sign is when the tributes just keep coming days after you leave this world. Molly Ivins is getting plenty of those. And I said I'd posted the last on this topic but these are just too good to miss:

    Morton Mintz reminisces about Molly Ivins' writing on the Neiman Watchdog site, and reminds us what Molly said when she first announced she had breast cancer, several years ago:
    "I would like the beloved women readers to do something for me: Go. Get. The. Damn. Mammogram. Done."
    (I did, finally, this past year, and it was suspicious enough that I had a second mammogram, then a biopsy with ultrasound. It was a hassle and expense but it's worth knowing there's nothing wrong.)

    Mintz also quotes from a recent column. How can it be said any better?
    What happened to the nation that never tortured? The nation that wasn't supposed to start wars of choice? The nation that respected human rights and life? A nation that from the beginning was against tyranny? Where have we gone? How did we let these people take us there? How did we let them fool us?

    Also, Sheila Lennon posts lots of links to coverage of Molly Ivins' funeral by bloggers and participants.

    Sunday, February 04, 2007

    Weekend update: More research links from the week

    I haven't done this in a few weeks, but this week and last a few useful new sites showed up:

    The links:

  • Links on climate change and global warming from Society of Environmental Journalists.
  • Links on NGOs from Resourceshelf.

  • Things Fall Apart: Containing the Spillover from an Iraqi Civil War, analysis from Brookings Institution.
  • Tagging on the Internet, report from Pew Internet and American Life Project.

  • Worldwide Statistical Sources, a guide from OECD.

    Governments, Politics:
  • Constitution Finder at University of Richmond, constitutions, charters, amendments, and other related documents from nations of the world.
  • White House Tapes at UVa's Miller Center, has some interesting presidential history compilations, including a special exhibit on Lyndon Baines Johnson and Dwight Eisenhower and the Vietnam war. Note also links to tapes mentioning E. Howart Hunt and Gerald Ford.

  • Goodbye Gutenberg, Neiman reports winter '06, on future of print.

  •, provides women experts for current events and other topics.

  • Health Information Technology Costs & Benefits Database Project, database of literature.
  • The Language of Trade, a glossary from Business Roundtable.

  • Another list of public-domain image sites from a Daily Kos contributor.
  • Booksearch searches three fulltext book search engines (A9, Google, and MSN) at once.

  • News Coverage Index: Project for Excellence in Journalism compiles coverage from newspapers, talk shows and compares top stories.

    Public Records:
  • has links to criminal/inmate searches nationwide. Not all links lead to searches, though, some just link to county jail sites.

  • Friday, February 02, 2007

    Climate report

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued its report, Climate Change 2007. On the website: video, chapter outlines, and the 21-page summary in PDF. Lots more background material, too, including previous reports.
    According to The Guardian:
    The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.

    On a discouraging note, The Guardian also reports on the American Enterprise Institute's campaign to undermine the results by offering $10,000 each to scientists and economists to write articles disputing the conclusions of the study. Not that the AEI is unbiased on this topic:
    The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees.

    (Via Guardian News Blog.)

    The New York Times story on the report calls it 'bleak' and powerful. Links to blogger reactions at Memeorandum.

    That Nobel nomination for Gore is looking better and better. Of course, you can't judge much by nominations. Anyone can be nominated for a Peace Prize. To Wit: Rush Limbaugh.


    One more

    Don't miss Maya Angelou's tribute to Molly Ivins, in the Washington Post: Molly Ivins Shook the Walls with her Clarion Call.

    Thursday, February 01, 2007

    Media responsibility

    A couple discussions are going on in blogland about some major media coverage:

    In the first case, Eric Boehlert in Media Matters disputes some coverage of John Kerry's speech refusing a second bid for the presidency: The press manufactures John Kerry's tears . According to Boehlert, several outlets reported Kerry 'choked up' about having to give up a campaign; but the transcript reveals Kerry "...was momentarily overcome with emotion when he noted that the misguided war in Iraq threatened to undo everything he had fought for since his return from Vietnam more than three decades ago.". Only the Chicago Tribune got it right:
    As The Chicago Tribune's political blog, The Swamp, accurately noted, "It was when Kerry talked about coming home from Vietnam that he choked up."

    In the second, much discussion over a New York Times report mentioning an Iraqi vet who claims he was spit on during Saturday's peace march in Washington. TPM Cafe analyzes the various interviews, comments, and reporting. More on Digby's blog; Media Matters questions the story too.
    Both question why the Times did not mention that the veteran in question is a frequent commentator on Fox and was a guest of Dennis Hastert at the State of the Union speech; he's gained enough publicity to have his own Wikipedia entry.

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    Miami birding

    Dave Barry does a photoblog post out his window: I would have said it's a Blue Heron (white phase) although one commenter says it's a Great White Egret (of which the Blue Heron is the Southern Phase). Hmm. Nice pictures anyway.


    The Fort Worth Star-Telegram has an obit, and a selection of her best columns, among other things.

    In Mother Jones: Thank You, Molly Ivins, where they'll be posting and archive of her columns soon. In The Nation: Remembering Molly Ivins. In the Texas Observer. Some links to obits and bloggers's reactions on Memeorandum.

    More of her columns.

    I saw Molly Ivins once, when she spoke at a Special Libraries Association convention in San Antonio. The other headliner that year: Dave Barry. What a double whammy. (I think Molly was funnier....) Some quotes from these speeches in the Library Journal article (Last few paragraphs), which mentions me too!

    She spoke for a lot of us. From her last column, Stand up against the 'surge'...
    We are the people who run this country. We are the deciders. And every single day, every single one of us needs to step outside and take some action to help stop this war. Raise hell. Think of something to make the ridiculous look ridiculous. Make our troops know we're for them and trying to get them out of there. Hit the streets to protest Bush's proposed surge. If you can, go to the peace march in Washington on Jan. 27. We need people in the streets, banging pots and pans and demanding, "Stop it, now!"

    (Added later:) Sheila Lennon's post on Molly has more links, including a link to Molly Ivins Quotes and another story archive from Creators Syndicate.