Saturday, September 26, 2009

Underreported? 2009 Head to Head

As is tradition here, I give you the Project Censored "Top 25 Censored Stories" and the WorldNetDaily "Most Ignored Stories" lists. Unfortunately, they're on somewhat different cycles, with WND working from calendar years and PC working on more of an academic year. As usual, I will bold the ones I've heard of. I make no claims about the truth of any of these stories, only that they are considered underreported; I have edited them slightly for length and clarity.
Project Censored, 2008-2009
1. US Congress Sells Out to Wall Street
2. US Schools are More Segregated than in the 1950s
3. Toxic Waste Behind Somali Pirates
4. Nuclear Waste Pools in North Carolina
5. Europe Blocks US Toxic Products
6. Lobbyists Buy Congress
7. Obama’s Military Appointments Have Corrupt Past
8. Bailed out Banks and America’s Wealthiest Cheat IRS Out of Billions
9. US Arms Used for War Crimes in Gaza
10. Ecuador Declares Foreign Debt Illegitimate
11. Private Corporations Profit from the Occupation of Palestine
12. Mysterious Death of Mike Connell—Karl Rove’s Election Thief
13. Katrina’s Hidden Race War
14. Congress Invested in Defense Contracts
15. World Bank’s Carbon Trade Fiasco
16. US Repression of Haiti Continues
17. The ICC Facilitates US Covert War in Sudan
18. Ecuador’s Constitutional Rights of Nature
19. Bank Bailout Recipients Spent to Defeat Labor
20. Secret Control of the Presidential Debates
21. Recession Causes States to Cut Welfare
22. Obama’s Trilateral Commission Team
23. World Water Forum a Corporate-Driven Fraud
24. Dollar Glut Finances US Military Expansion
25. Fast Track Oil Exploitation in Western Amazon
WorldNetDaily, 2008
1. Charges that Barack Obama is not a natural born citizen of the U.S.
2. hundreds of top scientists tell Senate they believe claims of man-caused global warming are fraudulent
3. The true causes of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, which point directly to the Democratic Party
4. Obama's ties to terrorists and extremists
5. The campaigns of third-party presidential candidates, especially Ron Paul's
6. The stunning success of the Iraq war
7. The sources of Obama's campaign contributions
8. Obama's far-left voting record
9. Bush's refusal to pardon imprisoned border agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean
10. Suppression of Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders' film, "Fitna," which posits worldwide threat from Islam

This is the first year, I think, that I've actually heard all ten of the WND stories, probably because it was election year stuff which actually got a lot of play. This is typical for WND, though: their list is made up of stories which should have, they think, changed things; the fact that they were widely reported, usually debunked, and people moved on is evidence, as far as they're concerned, that the story was under-reported. It's not the same thing.

I'd heard of six of the top ten PC stories, 11 out of 25: I think that's a bit low for me (hmm, checking the past years, it's actually on the high side), but some of these, if true (and not overstated), clearly are under-reported. The ones I've heard of, mostly come from my leftist sources, but almost never make it into the wider, so-called "mainstream" media in any detail or depth.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Comment Elsewhere: Zero-Risk Culture

Over at Terry's place I wrote:
I’m not the first to make this point, but our nation’s “zero-risk” approach to life is going to paralyze us if we don’t start pushing back on it pretty hard.

Terry turned that into a very interesting and personal discussion of the nature of risk and fear. Some key points
Taking a chance means being willing to fail in order to succeed, and we should be able to evaluate those odd objectively. Going for a morning run in the park is a reasonable risk, as is taking a solo vacation, or submitting a novel. Yes, there’s a chance of failure, but the potential reward makes it a good payoff.

That doesn’t mean being stupid, however. We need to recognize when danger is real and respond accordingly, by locking our house doors, checking references of daycare providers, making sure the brakes on our cars are in good working condition. And that also means stopping to question whether what we’re hearing on the tv is told to scale or if it’s inflated to sensationalist proportions in order to win ratings. Quite often, there’s more at work than just the facts.

I couldn't agree more.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quotation: "It subverts meritocracy."

Via Andrew Sullivan, Paul Campos relates a tale from a Mr. Harry Hopkins (yes, it's third-hand. Doesn't mean it isn't true.):
"I remember back in the late 1990s, when Ira Katznelson, an eminent political scientist at Columbia, came to deliver a guest lecture. Prof. Katznelson described a lunch he had with Irving Kristol during the first Bush administration.

The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle's chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics.

Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon's domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at the White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC [Republican National Committee] and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at Penn and the Kennedy School of Government.

"With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of affirmative action. 'I oppose it,' Irving replied. 'It subverts meritocracy.' "

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Photo Essay: Things I Destroyed With My Hedge Trimmer, aka, Of course I take my camera with me when I'm doing yard work, don't you?

It'd been a year with no trimming of any kind for the border plants and small trees, not to mention the vines and weeds. I don't mind a slightly wild yard, mind you, but it was getting hard to mow around them and the holly, in particular, wasn't playing nicely when the ball rolled that way. I didn't kill the hibiscus, I don't think, but I did take off a bunch of flowers and got it back on our side of the fence.
I'm sure the spiderweb didn't survive the trimmer, but I'm sure the spider lived to spin another day. It'll just have to move a lot further in, now. I do wish the picture had come out better, but after swinging the hedge trimmer around for a while, my arms just didn't have the patience for a lot of that shoot-check-shoot again-check again stuff.
Here's a sight you really don't want to stumble on suddenly in the midst of a vigorous trim! Fortunately, the wasps were out and about, or something. Just one flew around for a bit, and I continued on my destructive path, unmolested.
Actually, this little worm/caterpillar/larval something is probably just fine. Maybe even happier with the new layer of foliage on the ground to burrow around, though that won't be there long: tomorrow the mulching mower does the cleanup!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

My rainbow is Brown?!?!?!

Your rainbow is shaded brown.


What is says about you: You are a deep thinking person. You appreciate the roughness of nature. You feel closer to people when you understand their imperfections.

Find the colors of your rainbow at [via]