Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Not a war, but wars

NBC News' Baghdad correspondent Richard Engel has a story in Nieman Reports that is not to be missed: Misperceptions of the 'War' in Iraq. It gives an historical and cultural persepective to understanding what's going on in Iraq that you rarely find.
From the report:
The war in Iraq is not what it seems. In fact, there is no "war" in Iraq—there are many wars, some centuries old, playing out on this ancient land. But this is not what Americans are often led to believe.
...U.S. politicians and military commanders often complain that the Iraqi government "won't step up and do its job." ... Perhaps the question should be, "Which job?" American soldiers often ask me when the Iraqis will "step up and fight for their own country." They are already fighting for their country.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Weekend roundup

Just a few research links this week, but they are some good ones:

  • Le Numero, address and phone directory from France. Find by name, type, number, address, or proximity.
  • Readable Laws: new Wiki makes federal legislation easier to understand. Not much here yet but this project is from News Assignment/Jay Rosen; following the 'Assignment Zero' experiment, they're also now working on Off the Bus, "campaign coverage for people who aren't in the club" (hosted by Huffington Post). Just posted: Jay Rosen's tips for Off the Bus bloggers.
  • Federal Contractor Misconduct Database from POGO, Project On Government Oversight.
  • BizJournals Business Profiles, beta test of these profiles from American City Business Journals, via Sacramento Biz Journal site.
  • Skin Deep cosmetics database from Environmental Working Group, evaluates and rates over 700 sunscreens, finding 83% either don't protect from sun or contain harmful ingredients.

    Housekeeping note: blogging may be light the next week as I travel North.

  • Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Culinary diversions

    I don't know why I find this so compelling, but this 'Minimalist' column from the New York Times has me reading it over and over: Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less. First, I guess, that there really are 101 meals here (at least, if you add a salad, bread, and/or a side). And that the last one is: hotdogs with beans.
    Some of these I wouldn't attempt. But there are some fun ideas here, or reminders of simple meal pleasures. And, they really are simple:
    11 Warm olive oil in a skillet with at least three cloves sliced garlic. When the garlic colors, add at least a teaspoon each of cumin and pimentón. A minute later, add a dozen or so shrimp, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley, serve with lemon and bread.

    On another culinary note, the Dallas Morning News has what may be the first published recipe for Joe's Stone Crab's Key lime pie. Or at least they say "For many years, the recipe for Joe's famous Key lime pie was a secret, but now the family is letting that secret out."

    Along with the Miami Beach restaurant's recipe, the article links to Nellie & Joe's key lime juice company's website with recipes from Nellie's Kitchen.

    As a long-time Key lime pie baker (My tree grew from Key limes given me by a friend who'd gotten the seeds for her tree from Key West in the 1940s) I like the Joe's recipe, especially the addition of the zest, which many recipes leave out. But some of the recipes on the Nellie & Joe's site are good too. The Abraham's Key lime pie is closest to my recipe, although I use two whole eggs instead of 3 yolks, and less cream cheese. I also like the 'no cook' Cool Whip pie recipe, which I made for a few years after picking up a similar recipe at Gardners' market. The 'lo fat' recipe, with yogurt instead of eggs, is intriguing too.

    I miss my Key lime tree but have found that the Mexican limones sold in local markets here (usually too green but occasionally found close to ripe) can do the job.

    In the minds of conservatives

    Johann Hari writes in The Independent about joining a cruise hosted by the National Review: Neocons on a Cruise: What Conservatives Say When They Think We Aren't Listening (posted on Alternet):
    The Iraq war has been an amazing success, global warming is just a myth and Guantanamo Bay is practically a holiday camp. The annual cruise organized by the 'National Review,' mouthpiece of right-wing America, is a parallel universe populated by straight-talking, gun-toting, God-fearing Republicans.

    He finds, most of all, that everyone one the cruise wants to remind him that 'Muslims are taking over Europe':
    A sweet elderly lady from Los Angeles is sitting on the rocks nearby, telling me dreamily about her son. "Is he your only child?" I ask.
    "Yes," she says. "Do you have a child back in England?" she asks. No, I say. Her face darkens. "You'd better start," she says. "The Muslims are breeding. Soon, they'll have the whole of Europe."

    In the Palm Beach Post, Frank Cerabino writes about yet another attempt to get a Florida school to drop books from the curriculum: Concerned mom a closed book as all observe her rite of pages.

    Says Cerabino:
    Let's face it, some books are just plain hard to even look at - never mind to actually open them and read the words inside.
    I once forced myself to read a collection of Ann Coulter's political rants, and since then, just the sight of one of her book covers makes me actually stick my tongue out and emit an involuntary gagging sound at the dust jacket photo. I'm not proud of it, but it happens.
    So I can sympathize with Lopez, and I understand how some books might create a visceral reaction of disgust.
    But, he goes on:
    I also see her mission as foolish, but hey, it's her right to instill whatever she thinks is important on her own children.
    I have just one teeny problem with Lopez. I hate to nitpick, but I don't agree that her mission should be the mission of the public schools.
    This is why there is home schooling.

    Small houses

    It seems everyone's talking about small houses these days. Sheila Lennon links to one also featured on the news yesterday: Woman content living in 84-sq. ft. dream home. I have to admit, this may be the smallest I've heard of.

    A couple of weeks ago lots of links appeared to this SF Chronicle story about a tiny house (250 sq. ft.) in Pacifica: Cottage Industry. Here's the owner's website about his house.

    Here's a New York Times story about the phenomenon, from this spring: Think Small.

    The Small House Society's website has lots of resources for those who want to learn more. Also, lots of books on this topic listed at

    And then, of course, there are the Katrina Cottages. (More from the St. Petersburg Times, and from Mississippi Renewal Forum.) You can buy the plans from Lowe's now. One of these is big enough for a large family, with 3 bedrooms plus master, plus study, but still just around 1800 sq. ft.

    But all I see being built, it seems, is 'McMansions' or their huge log cabin equivalent. The one thing I am seeing around here, though, is a trend to create resorts, using tiny portable cabins, for RV-ers and motorcyclists. You buy a small lot with an 800-sq-ft or so cabin (and room to park your RV or bikes), then add porches and decks if you want outdoor living space. Some of these look perfectly comfortable.

    Our house in South Miami was a little under 1400 sq. ft. and seemed small, but mostly only when we had guests or in the summer when need for air conditioning kept us inside. Our house in the mountains is about the same size, but feels bigger with addition of a garage and basement (usable for a shop and additional sleeping area) and a high-ceilinged great room. But there are times, especially in the winter, when we think a small easy-to-heat cabin would be more

    If you spend much of your time outdoors, anyway, why would you need more? If I had one of these tiny homes, I'd be adding porches and garden areas everywhere around it.


    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    Blogging history followup, and death of another newspaper

    Rex Hammock has a thoughtful addition to the 'first blogger' discussion mentioned yesterday. His chronology makes a lot of sense, but Hammock says up front that everyone remembers blogging differently. He calls it The history of blogging founding-myths — based solely on what I can remember off the top of my head:
    In addition to “the first blogger,” it would be interesting to then note the first bloggers who did specific things (blog from a warzone, political convention, outer-space) — that could open up years of debates.
    Come to think of it, I think everyone should write their own version of the history of blogging. Or, how they remember it. Maybe just the history of their own blog — or maybe the history of how they think blogging started. Or the history of how they first read a blog.

    And, in another sad days for newspapers, Scripps' Cincinnati/Kentucky Post announces it will cease publishing at the end of this year.
    Editor Mike Philipps writes a poignant column about his paper's demise:
    I wish things were different. I wish the world was more agreeable to the profession I have invested more than 35 years trying to master.
    I wish young people read more. I wish advertisers realized the value of an product with ads that can't be filtered out. But, as Napoleon observed, and Donald Rumsfeld famously cribbed, "We must take things as we find them, and not as we might wish them to be."

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    Politics, the Iraq war and Cuban food

    In a shocking editorial turn-around, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, a conservative paper owned by Richard Mellon Scaife, is asking President Bush to end the war in Iraq.
    Jack Murtha put it best: The Pennsylvania congressman, among the first to make the cogent argument that staying the course in Iraq was the exercise in futility that indeed the war has become, says President Bush is delusional.
    Based on the president's recent performance, we could not agree more. "Staying the course" is not simply futile -- it is a prescription for American suicide.
    We've urged for months to bring our troops home. Now is the time.

    Why is this shocking? Because Scaife is a long-time contributor to Republican and conservative causes, including funding investigations into the Clintons' finances. More from Editor & Publisher.

    In Facing South, news that several freshmen Democratic senators are urging creation of a commission to investigate war contracts. This harkens back to the Truman Committee, "...which conducted hundreds of hearings and investigations into government waste, saving American taxpayers more than $15 billion (1943 dollars)".
    Says Facing South: It worked during World War II, why not do it now -- when it's needed even more?

    Also on Facing South, some disturbing reporting here and here about Sen. John Edwards' connection to the health insurance industry....Or, as Sen. Mike Gravel said:
    "Follow the money," Gravel urged. Joe Biden is "getting a lot of money from the trial lawyers. The rest are getting millions from the health care industry. If you think they're going to do something for you on health care, you're more gullible than I thought."

    In nearby Maryville, Tennesee, a Cuban restaurant is opening, the first in the area. The Maryville Daily Times has a lovely detailed article about Cuban cooking: A Taste of Cuba. (via Knox Views)

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    Monday, July 16, 2007

    Blogging history, citizen journalism, and a weekend roundup

    Who was the first blogger? After all these years, bloggers still can't agree on who started it all. Was it Dave Winer? Jorn Barger? Or even Marc Andreessen or Tim Berners-Lee?

    This most recent discussion started with this Wall St. Journal article, Happy Blogiversary.
    Writer Tunku Varadajan seems to lean to Barger, who probably did come up with the 'Weblog' name, but certainly wasn't the first. Winer celebrated his 10th anniversary this spring, and doesn't claim to be the first (but has hinted at it).

    Duncan Riley claims blogging started much earlier than 10 years ago, but doesn't claim a pioneer.

    Salon's Scott Rosenberg goes over the history, and claims "there is no 'first blogger'". But if you were to mention names, he says, you can't ignore Berners-Lee's page at CERN, the first Website and, since it was a list of links, arguably the first blog. Or maybe it was Netscape founder Andreessen, who started a 'What's New?' list at NCSA in 1993. And then there was Justin Hall, whose site was called just ''.....

    At any rate, the Journal story's claim that Barger was the first blogger seems to be thoroughly debunked. It's worth a read, though, for the blogger and celebrity comments on blogging. Especially Tom Wolfe's:
    Forty years ago, (Marshall McLuhan) said that modern communications technology would turn the young into tribal primitives who pay attention not to objective "news" reports but only to what the drums say, i.e., rumors.
    And there you have blogs. The universe of blogs is a universe of rumors, and the tribe likes it that way.

    Lots of discussion, too, about the future of local citizen journalism since is closing and Assignment Zero losing steam done (Wired article, Did Assignment Zero Fail? and discussion on Jay Rosen's blog).

    Dan Gillmor has a great post wrapping up the state of citizen journalism today: Citizen Media: A Progress Report. More links on Mindy McAdams' Teaching Online Journalism blog.

    And, on a lighter note, fascinating discussion in Boing Boing over which Sesame Street sketches or characters scared you as a kid.....

    Weekend roundup:

    I didn't collect many more links last week but a few are interesting:

  • Why Terrorism Doesn't Work from MIT Press, research report from Kennedy School.
  • Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center: native plant database browse plants by type or search by state.

    Public Records:
  • Skipease Blog, news on public records and people searches.
  • Skipease Firefox add-on for people and public records searches, recommended by a NewsLib poster. Looks good except for the extra room the toolbar takes up.
  •, another new online public records guide by state and county. I checked a couple local counties and the links went only to the main county page or non-existent page. This was linked in a comment on my latest posting on public records sites.

  • SEC: State sponsors of terrorism; links to filings from companies doing business in Cuba, Syria, Sudan, Iran, and North Korea.

  • Dollars, Not Sense: Government Contracting Under the Bush Administration, report from House Oversight Committee, including a searchable database of problem contracts. "Between 2000 and 2005, procurement spending increased by over $175 billion dollars, making federal contracts the fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending."

  • All Nations Expatriates & Travelers Telephone Search Engine from expat site, choose country you're calling from and get country codes and links to phone directories, other info, by country. (via Depth Reporting.)

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  • Friday, July 13, 2007

    Health care help

    Seems this issue has been spurred by Sicko. Suddenly there's a wealth of information to help us decide what we want our government to do about this.

    Highlighted just this week:

  • The United States National Health Insurance Act, H.R. 676 ("Expanded & Improved Medicare For All"), bill for universal coverage via Medicare, from Reps. John Conyers, Dennis Kucinich, Jim McDermott and Donna Christensen.

  • Single Payer Health Insurance, proposed plan and guide from Physicians for a National Health Program.

  • Health Care Costs: Kaiser Family Foundation Snapshot.

  • Healthcare Costs and U.S. Competitiveness, report from Council on Foreign Relations.

  • Rising health care costs and their consequences for federal health insurance programs constitute the nation's central fiscal challenge, guide from Congressional Budget Office.

  •, health as a presidential campaign issue, from Kaiser Family Foundation.

    Confused about the facts in the movie (like CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta)? Here are the backup data from Michael Moore's website.


  • Bad week for politicians

    Facing South summarizes it all as well as anything I've read: Biggest Southern scandal weeks ever.
    ...over the last month, a veritable popcorn machine of crooked deals and moral failings have burst across the region's headlines, leaving even the most jaded politicos aghast.

    And, in OpinionJournal, even Peggy Noonan has turned against the president: American Grit: We can't fire the president right now, so we're waiting it out.
    I'm not referring to what used to be called Bush Derangement Syndrome. That phrase suggested that to passionately dislike the president was to be somewhat unhinged. No one thinks that anymore. reminded me of another, one a friend received some months ago: "I took the W off my car today," it said on the subject line. It sounded like a country western song, like a great lament.
    ...Americans have always been somewhat romantic about the meaning of our country, and the beacon it can be for the world, and what the Founders did. But they like the president to be the cool-eyed realist, the tough customer who understands harsh realities.
    With Mr. Bush it is the people who are forced to be cool-eyed and realistic. He's the one who goes off on the toots. This is extremely irritating, and also unnatural. Actually it's weird.


    25 years of viruses?

    Boing Boing posts about what was probably the first computer virus, launched 25 years ago by a Pennsylvania high school student. Hmm. That student was Richard Skrenta. The same Rich Skrenta who was founder CEO of news/forum aggregator The same, according to his Wikipedia entry.....and this Topix blog entryon his stepping down....

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Getting out

    Here's a wonderfully logical essay from The Populist Party's Michael Boldin: Top-Ten Reasons to Get Out of Iraq. Now!
    Starting with:
    10. The U.S. military has absolutely no right, whether legal or moral, to be killing people who live in Iraq. It has no right to even be in Iraq. Why is this? Because neither the Iraqi government nor the Iraqi people ever attacked the United States. This fact makes the war in Iraq an optional one, not a necessary one.
    And including:
    3. We fought in Vietnam to stop the "domino effect" of communism, but when the communists took over, the world didn't come to an end. We "saved" Kuwait from an evil dictator, but it's still run by a family dynasty that has no interest in liberty for the people. We waged war on Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden. Oddly, rights violations are still rampant and Afghani opium production has soared since the invasion. And then, of course, we have all the "good" done in Iraq.
    2. You don't bring freedom to people by waging war on their cities and towns, and you don't protect innocent people by killing innocent people. It is a crime to aggressively take the life of another person. There is no murder of innocent people that can be justified by claiming that it was necessary for the "greater good."

    Best of all:
    If government should be playing any role at all in foreign affairs, it should be only to keep us out of wars. Their sole job is to ensure that this country will not be attacked so you and your family can live in peace.

    And, if you're wondering what anyone in Congress is doing about it (aren't we all?), here's a good summary from TPM Cafe's Election Central: Here It Is! A Handy Guide To All The Democrats' Plans To End Iraq War.

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    Monday, July 09, 2007

    War coverage: 5-time reservist, and al Qaeda and the press

    Now here's a story in a major newspaper that focuses on what the war means to those who are in it: The talented Amy Driscoll writes a must-read in the Miami Herald: Reservist fighting his fifth war call-up. That's five, 5! times this 26-year old has been called to serve the 'War on Terror', once in Afghanistan and three times in Iraq so far.
    Nearly seven years into his eight-year commitment to the reserves, the personal costs are higher for Botta. He could lose his home. His job at Sikorsky, working on the Black Hawk military helicopter, could be on the line. He's halfway to his electrical engineering degree, planning a career in defense work, but his professors say he'll suffer a significant setback if he is deployed. He doesn't mention the danger another deployment would bring, but his wife and parents do.

    On a broader level, the New York Times' new Public Editor, Clark Hoyt, writes a column that is cited as an example of what's wrong with journalistic coverage of this war.
    Hoyt's column, from yesterday, is Seeing Al Qaeda Around Every Corner, and discusses how the administration is trying to keep focus on al Qaeda as the reason for our continuing presence in Iraq: using the language of the administration, the newspaper has also failed at times to distinguish between Al Qaeda, the group that attacked the United States on Sept. 11, and Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, an Iraqi group that didn’t even exist until after the American invasion.
    ...While a president running out of time and policy options may want to talk about a single enemy that Americans hate and fear in the hope of uniting the country behind him, journalists have the obligation to ask tough questions about the accuracy of his statements.

    Glenn Greenwald, however, in The ongoing journalistic scandal at the New York Times finds a whole lot more wrong with The Times' coverage of the war, and in Hoyt's apology:
    At exactly the time when journalistic skepticism was needed most, as our country debated whether to invade another country which had not attacked us, the Times allowed itself to be completely manipulated by the government and/or eagerly participated in its propaganda campaign, obediently reciting the government's false claims on its front pages and selling this war to its then-trusting readers.
    ...Hoyt's column yesterday demonstrates that exactly the opposite is true. The Times is still doing exactly what it did before the invasion of Iraq -- the activities that supposedly brought it such "shame" -- and in many cases, it is exactly the same people who are doing it.
    ...most significantly of all, Hoyt's criticisms are grounded not in a technical violation of some petty rule or failure to adhere to some debatable journalistic custom, but rather, involve the worst journalistic sin of all: namely, a failure to treat government claims with skepticism and a willingness mindlessly to recite such claims without scrutiny.

    And, relevant to the previous posting here, he carries this argument back to Vietnam:
    In 1994 -- on the 30-year anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin incident that spawned the escalation of the Vietnam war -- journalists Jeff Cohen and Norman Solomon documented the role of the shoddy reporting by the American media, tragically led by the NYT, which enabled the government to perpetuate false claims about that incident
    ...see if there is a single material difference between what happened then, what happened in 2002-2003, and what is happening now. There is none.

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    New airplane and free books

    A couple useful links today from ResourceShelf:

    Resources relating to Boeing 787 Dreamliner and Airbus A380.

    Also: Notice that the World eBook Fair is now open, with a month of over 500,000 free online books to download available.


    End game

    Is this a turning point? the New York Times finally admits to the inevitable, in this editorial: The Road Home.
    It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit. is frighteningly clear that Mr Bush's plan is to stay the course as long as he is president and dump the mess on his successor. Whatever his cause was, it is lost.
    ...We can go on allowing Mr. Bush to drag out this war without end or purpose. Or we can insist that American troops are withdrawn as quickly and safely as we can manage — with as much effort as possible to stop the chaos from spreading.

    The Guardian's Roy Greenslade collects some relevant links, and includes reference to a Beirut Daily Star editorial:
    What is Bush's cause? To the people of this region, Bush's cause has long been painfully evident: to gain control of Iraq's oil resources.
    ...Now that Bush has completely shattered the Iraqi nation, he wants to deprive the Iraqi people of one of the only means they have to repair it.

    As I was reading about 1968 yesterday, this just jumped out at me: thoughts from Robert F. Kennedy, from his first campaign speech in March 1968. Just subsitute Iraq for 'South Vietnam':
    If the South Vietnamese troops will not carry the fight for their own cities, we cannot ourselves destroy them. That kind of salvation is not an act we can presume to perform for them. For we must ask our government, and we must ask ourselves: where does such logic end? If it becomes necessary to destroy all of South Vietnam to save it, will we do that too? And if we care so little about South Vietnam, that we are willing to see its land destroyed, and its people dead, then why are we there in the first place?
    (Via Jack Newfield's 1969 biography, Robert Kennedy, a Memoir.)


    Friday, July 06, 2007

    Health care and terrorism

    Hard to see this connection, but there's some reaction to a comment on Fox News that said the UK terrorism plot is a result of national health care; here's Think Progress and Political Animal.

    The Raw Story takes it further, compiling blog comments on Michael Moore's Sicko, including one claiming the doctors in the plot "...are not Jihadists at all but simply men driven insane by their employer?"

    There's also an interesting discussion going on about the widely held concept that terrorism is caused by lack of education, while the latest plot involved doctors. In the Wall St. Journal Online, David Wessel writes Princeton Economist Says Lack of Civil Liberties, Not Poverty, Breeds Terrorism. More on this on Freakonomics.

    On the topic of Sicko, here's a thoughtful column in Firedoglake, SiCKO: Ask The Right Question First. What a concept: instead of trying to find a way to provide universal health INSURANCE, why aren't we looking at a much simpler system of universal health CARE, eliminating the middlemen (well, we know why not, but....):
    Because that’s what health care is: an essential public service to which every person (not just citizens) is entitled, just like police and fire protection, and health and safety inspectors, and schools and dozens of other essential public services.
    ...That’s what Democrats should offer to the American people. We can figure out how to pay for it, and how to make the transition, just as our friends and neighbors did, in committee hearings later. But first things first.

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    Wednesday, July 04, 2007

    Thoughts for the fourth

    Leonard Pitts: Can Ideals Save America?
    One can only wonder what history will someday say about this era where torture is defended, the rule of law is flouted, civil liberties are abridged, hate groups are rising, people are frightened and the very idea of American exceptionalism, that there are some risks you take, some things you don't do, some challenges you just have to meet, because this is, after all, America, seems frayed and worn and spent.

    Keith Olbermann: You ceased to be the President of the United States:
    It is nearly July 4th, Mr. Bush, the commemoration of the moment we Americans decided that rather than live under a King who made up the laws, or erased them, or ignored them — or commuted the sentences of those rightly convicted under them — we would force our independence, and regain our sacred freedoms.
    ...Display just that iota of patriotism which Richard Nixon showed, on August 9th, 1974.
    And give us someone — anyone – about whom all of us might yet be able to quote John Wayne, and say, “I didn’t vote for him, but he’s my president, and I hope he does a good job.”

    Just about every post on Digby's blog the last couple days.

    Can we even show the flag on days like this?

    Monday, July 02, 2007

    Last week's research links, and Wikipedia as news

    In the New York Times Magazine, a story by Jonathan Dee: All the News That’s Fit to Print Out, about how Wikipedia is becoming a great resource for breaking news. So good, in fact, that their sister site Wikinews is becoming unnecessary.

    It describes how one Wikipedian editor filled in the story on the Fort Dix plot: constant cyberconversation with an ever-growing pack of other self-appointed editors, Gracenotes — whose real name is Matthew Gruen — expanded and corrected this stub 59 times, ultimately shaping it into a respectable, balanced and even footnoted 50-line account of that day’s major development in the war on terror. By the time he was done, “2007 Fort Dix Attack Plot” was featured on Wikipedia’s front page. Finally, around midnight, Gruen left a note on the site saying, “Off to bed,” and the next morning he went back to his junior year of high school.

    Fascinating stuff, including a good look at the editing process, and how it differs from journalism:
    ...Gruen fleshed out the Fort Dix story entirely by searching sources on Google and its offshoot, Google News. During the editing frenzy on May 8, he told me, “There was one dispute where somebody thought we should be using the word ‘alleged’ a lot more than we were, because it was, like, how do you know they were really planning on doing it? But I was kind of against too much use of ‘alleged,’ because, well, I don’t know, I just kind of felt that the F.B.I. was a pretty reliable source.” At which point thousands of dead journalism professors turned over in their graves.

    Well....there are some pillars of journalism that just seem silly to readers and viewers. And if anyone thinks there isn't a great resource out there for finding future journalists, couldn't this be it?

    In fact, according to Dee,
    ...when Wikipedia’s function is journalistic, its aim is not; rather than report the news, the goal is to act as a kind of phenomenally fast, bias-free digest of what others have already reported elsewhere.
    ...Not exactly investigative journalism, but it doesn’t pretend to be; it relies on others for that.

    The other links:

  • Strikestar has a current lightning strike map for the U.S. and Canada; other Links for lightning information from Resourceshelf.
  • Sky and Telescope's Almanac.
  • Complementary and Alternative Medicine Index from UMd. Medical Center.
  • World eBook Fair will provide free access from July 4-Aug 4 to World Public Library. This has over 400,000 e-books to download, including audio books. Normal cost is just $8.95/year, but there's also a public access section with over 75,000 free searchable e-books.
  • Actual Innocence awareness database includes documents, news stories, etc. on wrongful conviction, from UT's law library.

  • The Best Laid Plans: The Story of How the Government Ignored Its Own Gulf Coast Hurricane Plans; press release, documents and full report from CREW, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

  • State of the World Population, 2007, links to full document, press kit, charts, and version for youth from UN Pulse.

    Governments, Politics:
  • GovEngine is a new directory of federal, state, local governments and courts.

  • Omgili, a new search engine for discussion forums, recommended by Jon Dube.