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Boston Globe columnist calls for an end to internet comments

Got a comment? Keep it to yourself - The Boston Globe Part of me agrees with him, that the comments section below news stories are usually just hate-filled baths of crazy, racism and evil. But the other part of me often enjoys the spectacle and ignorance that can be mined therein.
My problems with these forums can be boiled down to three peeves: The level of commentary demeans and devalues the very product newspapers should be promoting; sniping, misinformation, and insensitivity that would not be tolerated in the newspaper that hosts the forums are regularly posted, seemingly encouraged, and even granted an aura of legitimacy from the association with the host’s brand; they create a self-perpetuating cycle in which anonymous, unverified information creeps into legitimate news coverage in ways that haven’t been fully vetted. I feel sorry for today’s reporters and columnists, who work hard gathering information dutifully trying to raise the debate on issues or inform the public on a burning topic only to have some agenda-driven bonehead who doesn’t have the courage - or need - to identify himself or herself and isn’t bound by the same ethics or policies tear down the work product the moment it appears. Have newspaper publishers and editors really thought through all the repercussions? Is it just a numbers game; that is, do they think the volume of comments equals support for good journalism?

July 26, 2009

Oh, that bicycle race. It just says "summer."

tour09.jpgWe watched the final stage (21) of the Tour de France this afternoon, after throwing the yammering children outside to play in the rain. Some British fellow won the stage with some very fancy sprinting, and some Spanish fellow won the whole magilla by being Superman or something. The shots of the racers zooming past the monuments during the eight laps on the Champs-Élysées were breathtaking. The New York Times does go on and on about Lance Armstrong, who came in third. And then the mention the winner, Alberto Contador, who sadly is not an American. US network Versus embarrasses itself by hosting video interviews with Armstrong and stage 21 winner Mark Cavendish -- the only Brit to ever win six stages -- but not Contador.

July 24, 2009

Bad idea: Hungry Cameroonians stealing food from lions

BBC - Earth News - People steal meat from wild lions A few days ago I was complaining that our new bakery had bagels that I didn't love. Then a thing, a story, like this pops up and you realize that we really are living in a cushy bourgeoisie world. Because no matter how much your job sucks, no matter how much you dislike your neighborhood or your state, at least you aren't kill-stealing from starving lions.
Lions in Cameroon are having their kills stolen from under their noses by hungry villagers. Incidences of such kleptoparasitism, the stealing of food from another, usually occur between top predators such as lion, hyena and cheetah. But people are increasingly getting in on the act, conservationists say. They suspect the practice may be much more common than thought, and are concerned that it could threaten the dwindling numbers of lions in Cameroon.
(For the record, I love my neighborhood and even my state.)

July 23, 2009

Florida neurosurgeon/activist forwards racist Obama pic to protest health care

Conservative Activist Forwards Racist Pic Showing Obama As Witch Doctor | TPMMuckraker This racist jerkoff sent this around to various TeaBagger groups. He's a member of the AMA, so no surprise he's against affordable health care.
Now, Tea Party activists trafficking in racist imagery are pretty much dog bites man. But McKalip isn't just some random winger. He's a Florida neurosurgeon, who serves as a member of the American Medical Association's House of Delegates. He's also an energetic conservative opponent of health-care reform. McKalip founded the anti-reform group Doctors For Patient Freedom, as well as what seems to be a now defunct group called Cut Taxes Now. Last month he joined GOP congressmen Tom Price and Phil Gingrey, among others, for a virtual town hall to warn about the coming "government takeover of medicine." And in a recent anti-reform op-ed published in the St. Petersburg Times, McKalip wrote that "Congress wants to create larger, government-funded programs for health care and more bureaucracy that ration care and impose cookbook medicine." Asked about the email in a brief phone interview with TPMmuckraker, McKalip said he believes that by depicting the president as an African witch doctor, the "artist" who created the image "was expressing concerns that the health-care proposals [made by President Obama] would make the quality of medical care worse in our country." McKalip said he didn't know who created it.

Eternal Moonwalk

Eternal moonwalk - A tribute to Michael Jackson. Via @ThatKevinSmith.

People's Weekly World to cease print edition

UPDATE: Black and White and Red No More: Communist Paper Going Online-Only
Next January, the United States Communist Party is shutting down the print edition of its People's Weekly World newspaper, the successor to the Daily Worker. The paper will then go online-only. People's Weekly World is now producing a PDF version for its Web site each week, and it is also offering daily news online.