Monday, September 29, 2008

Blame it on CAR

Fascinating brief link on Romenesko today, to a conservative blog that links to a claim that the mortgage/credit crisis is all the fault of the Atlanta Journal Constitution!

Back in 1988, Bill Dedman did a pioneering Computer Assisted Reporting project for that paper, The Color of Money, comparing mortgages issued to people in white and black sections of the county. No surprise, blacks -- no matter their income levels -- didn't get mortgages as easily as whites. Dedman won a Pulitzer Prize for his reporting.

The column linked on Red State Conservative was by Mike Masterson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, who says:
...a former investigative reporter for Atlanta’s daily newspaper likely pitched the snowball that grew into the avalanche and buried our leading mortgage institutions... the practice of redlining by banks that routinely declined risky home loans in low-income neighborhoods...

Dedman replies to the Red State link,
See what he did? Hearing "black," Mr. Masterson decided that meant "low-income." He thought "black" meant "risky."
Mr. Masterson's assumption is precisely the same one that many bankers in Atlanta and elsewhere applied at that time. For years they had made loans in even the poorest white neighborhoods, while avoiding Atlanta's middle-class and more affluent black areas.

Fascinating, especially to those of us who've followed the evolution of CAR over the years.


Saturday, September 27, 2008

Some updates

Not much to report here, except that I have added some new news researcher blog links to the NewsliBlog's sidebar.

And, for those of you reading the 1968 recaps and wanting a chronological version, I've taken all the blog postings so far and put them on the website: 40 Years Ago: 1968. I'll copy the upcoming posts there, too, as they're published to the blog.

There's a lot more to remember about 1968.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

Miami makeover

I hadn't seen the new Miami Herald website until I noticed a mention at South Florida Daily Blog.

Yep, the site is easier to navigate for sure, much closer to what seems to becoming the standard site layout for newspaper front pages, rather like the NY Times.

Says Executive Editor Anders Gyllenhaal, about the makeover and the site:
Online readers of have skyrocketed in the past year, making this the leading website for news and information in South Florida...
So, my question is, is the Herald online readership 'skyrocketing' because of the content and layout, or is it because in the last couple years bloggers like Rick of South Florida Daily Blog have been heavily linking to the best stories that readers might not have found -- or looked for -- on the site on their own?

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Where's a news researcher when you need one?

Interesting stuff in this first part of Katie Couric's interview with Sarah Palin.

Obviously, she needs a researcher:
Couric: But can you give me any other concrete examples? Because I know you've said Barack Obama is a lot of talk and no action. Can you give me any other examples in his 26 years of John McCain truly taking a stand on this?

Palin: I can give you examples of things that John McCain has done, that has shown his foresight, his pragmatism, and his leadership abilities. And that is what America needs today.

Couric: I'm just going to ask you one more time - not to belabor the point. Specific examples in his 26 years of pushing for more regulation.

Palin: I'll try to find you some and I'll bring them to you.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

40 Years Ago

(An occasional reminiscence on the events of 1968)

This month, Yale junior Garry Trudeau began to draw a comics series about the football team, called 'bull tales'; they would run in the Yale Daily News, starring BD and Mike Doonesbury.

On the cover of GQ, September 1968: Omar Sharif, wearing a plaid wool jacket.

On September 7 at the Miss America pageant, Atlantic City: Despite the legend, no bra burning took place. several dozen women's liberation protesters from New York City joined with women from around the country to stage a show on the boardwalk. From Jo Freeman, who was there:

Women’s liberation took advantage of this to stage several guerilla theater actions. A live sheep was crowned Miss America. Objects of female oppression – high heeled shoes, girdles, bras, curlers, tweezers – were tossed into a Freedom Trash Can. A proposal to burn the can’s contents was scuttled when the police said that a fire would pose a risk to the wooden boardwalk. Women sang songs that parodied the contest and the idea of selling women’s bodies: ‘Ain’t she sweet; making profits off her meat.’ A tall, Miss America puppet was auctioned off.

That weekend, Led Zeppelin performed for the first time at a club in Europe; at their first show, they were billed as The Yardbirds (the Yardbirds had disbanded two months earlier, and guitarist Jimmy Page subsequently formed this new group).

On September 16, Dr. Orlando Bosch, an anti-Castro terrorist, drove his Cadillac to Dodge Island, the Port of Miami, where he and his accomplices fired a 57-millimeter bazooka, hitting the Polish freighter Polanica. Years later a Cuban news report would accuse Bosch and cronies of being responsible for several dozen bombings or attempted bombings against countries that traded with Cuba, that year.

On September 18 presidential candidate Richard Nixon appeared on Laugh-In, sticking his head through the well-known wall of opening doors and saying “Sock it to ME?”

Protesters against the government continued in Mexico, increasing as the international focus was on the Olympics, to be held in Mexico City in October. President Díaz Ordaz ordered the army to occupy the National Autonomous University campus on the 18th. Students were beaten and arrested indiscriminately and fighting continued around the city including at Polytechnic, occupied five days later.

60 minutes debuted on CBS September 24, the first weekly news magazine on television. It was on a Tuesday.
Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand, opened in theaters. Streisand had been a hit on Broadway in 1964 with this musical about the life of Fanny Brice.

On Sept. 26, President Johnson appointed Washington Post editor J. Russell Wiggins to be UN ambassador, after George W. Ball resigned to join the Humphrey campaign. Russ Wiggins would be sworn in on Oct. 4, leaving Ben Bradlee as the top editor of the Post 3 months early. Graham and Bradlee offered the managing editor job to Eugene Patterson, recent editor of the Atlanta Constitution. Howard Simons, passed over for the managing editor job, would get it three years later when Patterson left the Post, disgruntled. About this time Steve Isaacs was named metropolitan editor and Richard Harwood, national editor.

September 29: “Piece of My Heart,” the lone Top Forty hit by Big Brother and the Holding Company, enters the charts. It would reach #12.

On September 30, the first Boeing 747 rolled out of the Everett, WA, factory.

On that day, the 900th US plane was shot down over Hanoi. 538 Americans were killed in action that month, highest of the year.

Sometime around this time the Post library staffer who had casualty duty went on vacation. I got to fill in, and call the Pentagon a few Fridays for 'body counts'. Many things made the war personal to me, despite not having a loved one in it. This one was deeply felt, talking to the enlisted man who read the numbers in a dull voice over the phone. Just numbers.

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Monday, September 22, 2008

Books...and social networks

When I was a kid, maybe 12 or so, I was enjoying reading so much I wanted to keep track of my books. So I started a file card system. It lasted a few months.

I was getting my own little collection of books. You could buy Pocket Books of the classics for 25-50 cents. When my mother took me downtown shopping we would often stop at the lunch counter at Sibley's department store. Right next to it was a little book section. I'd spend some of my allowance each time on a book. I got lovely little copies with attractive covers of things like Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, Last of the Mohicans. Still have some.

I still have wanted at times to track my reading, just to see how much and what variety I've read, or to be able to remember a book whose author or title is foggy.

A year ago my niece Kerry invited me to Goodreads. Sounded like a fun thing to do, if just to list my books. Now I discover in a year I've read 52 books. Just as I thought, a book a week.

The first book I listed, which I'd actually read a week or so before I started this, was John Scalzi's Old Man's War. I'm still meaning to find more in this fascinating science fiction series. The last, on my 'reading now' list, Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns. Finished it last night. Wonderful.

I hadn't joined any social networks but this one; I later joined LinkedIn, which I like for the connections it gives me to former colleagues, but I use it lightly.

I've resisted any others so far. But I did recently get a Facebook invite from a former colleague, which I've been pondering. I think I'll join, thanks for asking, Kathy. And thanks, Kerry, for Goodreads. It's been fun.

One more thing: Sheila Lennon posted a link to this song, which I hadn't heard in years. Jesse Colin Young was a genius. Darkness, Darkness, Youngbloods.
(Update:) Jesse's website, where he sells his home-grown Kona coffee and songs, has a link to something I hadn't heard of before but endorse wholeheartedly: A Nobel Peace Prize for Pete Seeger.


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Charts, sometimes no other words needed

From Digby, today: (Via Economists for Obama)

From South Florida Daily Blog, a few days ago: (Via Little Joe)

Or even this earlier version, comparing the two, via Digby:


Thursday, September 18, 2008

A new news researcher blog

Sharon Clairmont, of the Orange County Register, has started the Answers. Sources. Knowledge. Blog.

Lots more news researcher blogs listed at


Monday, September 15, 2008

Follow up

Just a bit more on the last post.

Just in case you missed it, we knew Tina Fey would be perfect as Palin but this is amazing:

And one comment from Rick at South Florida Daily Blog:
I'm frustrated that I'm unable to make Sarah Palin a Democrat for one week so that we could all sit back and watch the same hypocritical gasbags who have exalted her as the new Ronald Reagan tear her experience and background to shreds.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

That woman

Amazing the amount of interest Sarah Palin's raising around the country. I heard talk of her everywhere this week, places I wouldn't have expected.

Daily Source has compiled a comprehensive list of resources on Palin's background, at Special section: an in-depth look at the record and policies of McCain’s VP choice Sarah Palin. There's similar coverage at Mahalo: Sarah Palin.

The Anchorage newspaper, of course, compiled all their news coverage of Palin on their website, at Gov. Sarah Palin: Background from Anchorage Daily News.

A blog: Women against Sarah Palin. With links to more, like Impalin. (Thanks Deb.)


Sunday, September 07, 2008

Drug mystery, research roundup, and blogging status

I'm always a sucker for a good conspiracy mystery, especially when it involves drug planes, the CIA, and south Florida.

So here's a good one, with a roundup from Boing Boing (Update on CIA drug plane owned by “Donna Blue Aircraft, Inc”), linking to the site that seems to be breaking this story, Mad Cow Morning News, by Daniel Hopsicker. A lot of fun research went into this report. Enjoy.

Only a couple research links this week:

  • Online Encyclopedia of Mass Violence
  • Gov. Sarah Palin: Background from Anchorage Daily News.

    And in other news, I'm starting treatments for a health condition that has been building for the last couple months. I don't know how much I'll be able to blog over the next few weeks, and things have already slowed down here quite a bit as I have been spending much of my time visiting doctors and hospitals for tests and preliminary treatments.

    Hope things will get back to normal around here but for now expect light blogging. I have continued to post photos to my other blog (Southern Highlands Cam) and may be doing so there. We'll just have to see. Wish me luck.

  • Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    Political conventions, protests and politics (shades of '68)

    Deja vu. Amazing news about the arrest of Amy Goodman and two colleagues from FSTV and Democracy Now, as St. Paul and Minneapolis police seem to be overreacting to anti-war protesters and media coverage.

    Goodman's gentle but determined coverage of the news has been growing on me over the last few months.

    The networks' websites have details; lots more links at Boing Boing. In 1968 it was the democratic convention that exploded. This year, Republican? Hmm. Is this just the beginning?
    (Updated:) Michael Froomkin has been following links to the protests and police reaction in the Twin Cities, too.

    In other political discussion, interesting reactions to the Palin appointment. Among them, PolitFact's Flip-o-Meter, which has added a new posting about Palin's so-called opposition to the 'bridge to nowhere'. PolitFact's ruling: a complete flip.

    Joel Achenbach, as usual, has some interesting thoughts about the Palin questions, in Achenblog: Vetting is for Wimps.
    You can see why America is a great country.....You can go from beauty queen to sports anchorwoman to snowmobile saleswoman to mayor of a town so small that the town hall looks, according to Carville, like a "south Louisiana bait shop" -- and still, in just a couple of years, with a twist of fate here and there, wind up first in line to be the Leader of the Free World.

    That 'bait shop' city hall? Think Carville's exaggerating? Note these photos of Wasilla, Alaska, posted on the South Florida Daily Blog.

    Isn't it time for some fun about the campaigns? The Jib Jab folks have done it again, with Vote Here. (Thanks, Deb.)