Wednesday, May 30, 2007
More than 30 journalists have been killed in the past six years in Mexico, including a television reporter in Acapulco and a print journalist in the northern state of Sonora in the month before López and Paredes disappeared. Countless others have been kidnapped in a campaign of intimidation largely attributed to the drug cartels.
As more reporters die, journalism itself is suffering. A newspaper in Sonora said last week that it was temporarily shutting down because of attacks and threats by criminal gangs. Top editors at the two largest newspapers here in Monterrey, Milenio and El Norte, said in interviews that they no longer ask crime reporters to dig deeply on their stories.
"I don't know how to do investigations without getting people killed," Roberta Gomez, Milenio's executive editor, said during an interview at a Monterrey seafood restaurant where gunmen opened fire during the lunch rush not long ago.
Crime reporters have begun requesting anonymity on stories, and rarely delve deeper than police reports. The suppression of the fourth estate through violence is bad for Mexican democracy, and gives too much power to both the government and the drug cartels.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
The fact that bloggers could affect such change on the local level is astonishing to me. It's true that netroots take a lot of credit for getting people involved at the grassroots level, but it's so hard to understand why s Furthermore, because Democrats (at least now) view themselves as so favored to win in the next election, it seems they're shying away from fighting difficult races like what Dion's race would have been had he stayed in.
Ultimately I'm unsure of whether Dion was a "good candidate" or not, but I certainly support having someone to speak for those that are the victims of hate crimes. We need more people that are willing to make this their primary issue.
Sunday, May 27, 2007
The report and the article are great ways to squeeze at people's hearts about the consequences of extended leave, but I am going to make one argument. It is often portrayed that the absent mother is the most egregious thing a woman can do. The same stigma is not attached to the absent father. Why should father on an extended tour be any less bad that a mother on an extended tour?
Friday, May 25, 2007
Thursday, May 24, 2007
The Style section of The Washington Post has won first place for general excellence in the Missouri Lifestyle Journalism competition for the second consecutive year. The competition, which began in 1960, is regarded as one of the oldest and best-known feature writing contests in American newspaper journalism. ... many of even the biggest and best newspapers are cutting back or eliminating feature sections. At such a time, they said, "the Post continues to dazzle.""Dazzle"? Really?
This reminds us that Europe, while extremely progressive as a whole on most issues, is not a Utopian paradise. There are still human rights battles to be fought, and such restrictions in Ireland are a clue to what might happen in the United States if the right succeeds in outlawing abortion. Those that could afford to "make the journey" would obtain abortions abroad, but others would be forced into a life they may not want or be prepared for. At least in Ireland getting to another country doesn't require as much of a travel investment as someone from a rural area in the United States would be forced to make.
I also discovered last week that Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, where I worked last summer helping them develop their new site, won the City and Regional Magazine Award for general excellence online.
Monday, May 21, 2007
A recent Army study found that more than one-third of veterans returning Iraq veterans have sought help for PTSD-related symptoms. Beth Hudnall Stamm, director of telehealth and principal investigator of the Institute of Rural Health at Idaho State University, estimates that 6 to 8 percent of veterans suffer from life time PTSD, of which 4 percent are chronic cases. She estimates that anywhere from 6 to 20 percent of this generation of veterans will suffer from some form of PTSD, but other studies suggest that number might be as high as nearly 40 percent.
Clinical and forensic psychologist Saul Rosenberg, who testified at the hearing, envisions a system where solders would be given psychiatric evaluations upon entering the military, to get a baseline, then tested once again upon return from combat operations to flag those who might be at risk for developing PTSD. Psychologists and regular doctors could follow up with these soldiers. Such testing could allow mental health professionals to "identify those at greatest risk;" Rosenberg estimates the initial screenings would cost the government about $60 per returning soldier.
Since so many veterans come to their primary care physicians or go to their local Veterans Administration (VA) hospital with symptoms related to PTSD, Rosenberg said he would like to see the renowned VA computer diagnosis system, VistA, used during regular doctor visits to assist with diagnosis. This would help primary care doctors become educated about PTSD, which many experts view as a normal reaction to abnormal levels of violence or abuse.
Read the whole thing here. (Note: The site requires free registration.)
Sunday, May 20, 2007
In an age of information, this kind of comprehensive ranking is at a premium. Colleges and universities may not like them, but it's the best tool prospective students have if they want to know how to invest several tens (and sometimes hundreds) of thousands of dollars. Now, if only there was comprehensive information about other big-ticket investments like the housing market ...
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
They have a point, though, since they want to make getting a gun license at least as hard as it is to get a driver's license. The last time I checked they were both considered deadly weapons in court.
Friday, May 11, 2007
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Monday, May 7, 2007
The simple fact of the matter is that getting things passed is hard, especially with a divided government and the power of nearly any given lobby. Even when a party gets an idea through the House and Senate, it's usually altered -- sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse.
- Pandora has been fighting a campaign to save Internet radio. A recent ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board has determined that Internet radio (apparently in an extreme departure from regular radio) cannot play copyrighted music on the Internet, even if it's for the purposes of streaming. This causes popular sites like Pandora to go under, if they must pay for each song that a user accesses. For more on why copyright is overrated, read Wendy Kaminer's column in TAP and the (somewhat) recent New Yorker article on the Google Books project.
- The Post Office is planning to put a higher rate on publications under a certain circulation, essentially in an effort to "tax the poor." This is one that affects many of the magazines I actually read. I'm sure it made sense to the Postal board at the time -- give high-volume senders a discount -- but this is the same reason why Wal-Mart shuts out small stores.
Wednesday, May 2, 2007
In all seriousness, it could be construed as a commentary on the profession of journalism. Journalists are typically least critical of those closest to them. It's their job to investigate people, but when those people are also cozy with them, they don't want to disrupt personal relationships. It's a paradox journalists must always face. In order to get "the story" they have to get close to people, but it's this closeness that can also cause them to miss really important stories.
The unanswered question raised at the end of the article, "Why couldn't the Obama people find the money to work out an amicable arrangement with Anthony? What are they spending the $26 million they raised last quarter on?" is a good one.
The first comment is somewhat creepy: "It's really sad to witness what a so-called 'volunteer' for the Obama campaign is willing to do to blackmail the campaign. Honestly, no serious Barack Obama supporter would behave like this."
It's always been my issue that people who like Obama really like Obama. They almost obsessively and unquestioningly follow him. Who is a "serious Barack Obama supporter" anyway? How do they pick them out from the un-serious ones?
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
As Anne Statham said in 2000 (note: I could only access the abstract), feminists tend to have a more reactionary view of the world, while environmentalists take a "holistic life view." So the idea of joining these two movements isn't exactly a brand-new one. I was thinking about it on my own, and I came up with a few things that feminists that are pro-environmental can think about:
- One thing brought to my attention was the simple cost of having a period. Seems silly, right? But the amount of waste generated by this monthly experience is something to think about. Tampons, sanitary napkins, and panty liners all generate a significant amount of waste over the period of a lifetime. Products like the Keeper and the Mooncup are designed to reduce waste. I myself haven't tried these products, but I have to admit, it's food for thought.
- If periods indeed generate so much waste, why not simply reduce the number of them? With hormonal birth control, you can simply have a period once every three months instead of once a month, thus cutting the use of feminine products by two-thirds.
- Given that, I'm not sure if hormonal birth-control treatments are manufactured in an environmentally friendly way. Where does the waste go?
- Besides all that icky period stuff, there's something for third-wave enviro-feminists to think about in particular. Makeup that's manufactured in an environmentally and animal un-friendly should be avoided. Not to mention that the volume of packaging makeup sometimes comes in is a bit ridiculous.