Sunday, 30 September 2007


Two books for budding journalists

So you memorized All The President’s Men (You even bought the book!), reviewed Bill Shirer’s Berlin Diary, and tattooed that “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable” quotation on your chest. And now you’ve embarked on four years of education that will, hopefully, yield you a B.A.(J.), and the opportunity of chasing one of the ever-shrinking number of jobs in that great institution called “the press.” I know you already have a reading list as long as your arm, but let me suggest a couple of additions.

Both are short– one is just 200 pages, the other 275. Both are informal and humorous. Both authors demonstrate a healthy measure of cynicism about the business of news coverage, and the people who do it. And both offer valuable advice that you might not get from your professors and colleagues.

Good advice and cynicism– a great start for any reporter!


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Saturday, 29 September 2007


It was forty years ago today...

(Well, tomorrow, actually!)

That the BBC reorganized U.K. radio:

Forty years ago today, Britain had only three legal radio stations. There was the Light Programme, full of jolly tunes for housewives. There was the Home Service, full of plummy announcers and erudite discussion. And there was the Third Programme, full of gramophone concertos and stuffy operas.

Forty years ago tomorrow, all that changed. Suddenly there were four radio stations, numbered One, Two, Three and Four, and groovy teens suddenly had something worth listening to. Broadcasting would never be the same again. So let's remember the threshold of modern radio, established 1967.
From Diamond Geezer, who offers a host of links.

Oh, and get your very own Radio 1 badge here.

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Thursday, 27 September 2007


Arizona skyscapes

At Desert Cat's Paradise:

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In Passing

IBD wakes up, smells coffee

Investor's Business Daily discovers that the Saudis haven't been exactly cooperative in the war on terror:

There's new evidence the Saudis aren't cooperating in our battle to eradicate terrorists or those who bankroll them. Their negligence is shocking even to cynics.
Nice that you've noticed, guys.  Where've you been the last six years?

Via: Glenn Reynolds, who noticed them noticing.

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Wednesday, 26 September 2007


Time for a Solomon Amendment that applies to cities

Captain Greg Corrales commands the police traffic bureau that works with crews shooting commercials, TV shows and movies in the city. He's also a Marine veteran and his son is serving his third tour of duty in Iraq.

He says Film Commission Executive Director Stefanie Coyote would only allow the Marine's production crew to film on California Street if there were no Marines in the picture. They wound up filming the empty street and will have to superimpose the Marines later.

"It's insulting, it's demeaning. This woman is going to insult these young heroes by just arbitrarily saying, 'no, you're not going to film any Marines on California Street'"... -- KGO TV report

Naming Names:
     Stefanie Coyote, Executive Director
     San Francisco Film Commission
     (415) 554-6241

Reference: Solomon Amendment
Via: Steven Den Beste

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The Press

One more datapoint

Katie Couric at the National Press Club:

“The whole culture of wearing flags on our lapel and saying ‘we’ when referring to the United States and, even the ‘shock and awe’ of the initial stages, it was just too jubilant and just a little uncomfortable. And I remember feeling, when I was anchoring the ‘Today’ show, this inevitable march towards war and kind of feeling like, ‘Will anybody put the brakes on this?’ And is this really being properly challenged by the right people? And I think, at the time, anyone who questioned the administration was considered unpatriotic and it was a very difficult position to be in.”

If her discomfort with being an American becomes too much to bear, Couric can always use her network-derived millions to helicopter away to a Switzerland, or a Singapore, or a Moscow. There, as a member in good standing of the international nomenklatura, she can continue to observe comfortably, in splendid insulation from the consequences of her actions here.

More on the Couric speech:

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Monday, 24 September 2007

The Press

Decline and fall continues

In the latest on the BBC's phone-in scandals, it's now revealed that they couldn't even name a cat without cheating.

The BBC has confirmed children's show Blue Peter broke guidelines in a vote to name its cat, as it revealed three other breaches of editorial rules.

The cat was called Socks after staff changed the results of an online poll. Viewers wanted the cat named Cookie.
But they promise penance:
An apology will be broadcast to Blue Peter viewers when the show's new series begins on Tuesday.

Socks will be joined on the programme by a new kitten, Cookie, to reflect the results of the original audience vote in January 2006.
So they'll have two cats. Which makes it a win for the cats, I guess.


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It's not enough to treat the 20-year-olds like children

Let's do the same with the 80-year-olds!

Seniors balk at ban on free doughnuts
County officials concerned donated pastries will contribute to health ills

Read the quotes. Smell the condesension.

UPDATE 070926 15:35: Jeff Goldstein is heard from.

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In Passing

England swings, like a pendulum do

     Bobbies on bi-cycles, two by two...[1]

Cops riding bicycles 'too risky' - The Sun

POLICE have been stopped from riding BICYCLES — in case they fall off and get hurt.
Its latest health-and-safety ruling was yesterday branded “loony” by MPs. Three hundred cops and police community support officers (PCSOs) have been banned by Greater Manchester Police from patrolling on their mountain bikes.

[1] Lyrics here (For some reason they want to call him "Miller Roger.") Performance.

HT: eddiebear at Ace

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Welcome to the Peoples Republic of Colorado. Your papers, please.

From Declan McCullagh/PoliTech:

The Gilpin County Sheriff's Office in Colorado, a rural area not that far west of Denver, recently set up a highway checkpoint where motorists were stopped and, at least in some cases, not allowed to leave until they gave breath, blood, and saliva samples for the benefit of a private research firm. A report by Ernie Hancock says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was involved as well. [highlighting mine - o.g.]
The "private research firm" turns out to be a not-for-profit neo-prohibitionist QUANGO and major federal contractor called "Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation," which is located not on the west coast, but in the beltway town of Calverton, Maryland.
It specializes in funneling over $35 million of taxpayer money a year into its own coffers through law enforcement contracts of dubious utility, mostly dealing with drugs and alcohol, from sources including the U.S. Department of Justice. 100 percent of its budget appears to come from government contracts or grants.

Although PIRE pretends to be a "nonprofit" organization -- at least that label helps to collect those fat taxpayer-funded checks from the DOJ -- in reality it spends about $1.35 million a year on lobbyists. Not a bad 30-fold return on investment. And [several of] its employees are paid six-figure salaries that would be handsome even by for-profit standards.
It gets worse. Read the whole thing.

First Issue: There's been a lot of discussion[1] in recent days about the authority of police in their interactions with the average citizen, especially in cases where the average citizen may be doing nothing wrong. The "legal establishment" consensus appears to be
You cannot resist arrest - period. You get a hearing later to determine the facts (was the arrest lawful, etc.) but you must comply with the officer’s orders. Any other rule would be a invitation to anarchy - with every prospective arrestee free to decide whether the officer’s actions are lawful. - "Brian," in DP comments thread
Okay, that's arrests.  But what about "refusing to obey an illegal order, when failure to obey is implied as a cause for arrest?"  Hey Beldar, got anything to say about this one?

Second Issue:  Ain't it great that our government spends $35 million a year to fund a neo-prohibitionist group?

Naming names: If you're upset about this and want to let someone know, Declan's report has a lot of helpful contact information.

Previously:  Your Tax Dollars At Work

[1] Some of the discussions:
HT to Tamara. And thanks for ruining my Sunday evening

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