Even though the stats say people read this little site regularly, the fact is not many people comment. One of the few people who I’d call a “regular commenter” was Cynthia.

It is with great sadness that I must report that Cynthia passed away this morning. She leaves behind a long-term boyfriend, assorted distant relatives, a grandson, and one daughter. That would be me.

In Closing: rubble bucket challenge; an interesting and relevant graph; on inequality and impounded cars; cop cams; one less one less problem; Karl calls ’em as he sees ’em; shhh, ancient oligarch secret; and thanks to bankruptcy “reform,” there is no hope of this getting better until the previous item miraculously vanishes; I still wonder why insurance companies haven’t put their considerable clout behind this; and won’t somebody please think of the children (unless of course they are brown).



You mean news should be informative rather than just sensationalist?

As far as I am concerned, the mainstream TV news sources should be utterly and completely ashamed of themselves.

A new study shows that the most informed “news” watchers are not the ones watching CNN or Fox or even reading their local newspapers. The most informed consumers of news are the ones watching Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

Remember back in the 2004 elections? Presidential candidate and then Senator John Kerry went on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart? He didn’t really do that well. Tucker Carlson wanted to rag on Jon Stewart for not asking hard enough questions, who said among other things “I didn’t realize — and maybe this explains quite a bit — that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity. . . . If your idea of confronting me is that I don’t ask hard-hitting enough news questions, we’re in bad shape, fellows.” 

So here we are, a few months shy of a decade later, and Comedy Central is more than “Where more Americans get their news than probably should.” Comedy Central is in fact where the most informed Americans get their news. Stephen Colbert is doing a better job of explaining convoluted topics like campaign finance than any traditional news source, and that is a pity.

Maybe — just maybe — that’s why all the major news channels are seeing a drop in viewers.

In Closing: “Come on guys, you’re making us look like a bunch of morons“; Portland Japanese Gardens; 86 real Life Pro Tips with pictures!; a few random economy things; a few really random NSA and spying on Americans things; Thank heaven Radley isn’t working for HuffPo anymore (because now I can get a freaking feed that is just him rather than 102 things I don’t care about plus just try to find what he wrote — is HuffPo that desperate for readers?); the only reason I hope Senator Warren doesn’t run for President is that she’s too useful where she is; oh look, they noticed; antibiotic resistance; and the importance of good research methodology.

Back to School Time is Back to the Vaccine Debate Time

So my local CBS affiliate is trying real hard to do the fair-and-balanced two-sides-of-every-issue thing.

In one corner, we have a highly respected local pediatrician who works in a local hospital pointing out that he’s seen 4 cases of whooping cough in the last 2 months, adding “Vaccines are one of the most important advances in the field of pediatrics in the last fifty years….”

In the other corner, we have a “Holistic Physician” — whose degree, source of expertise, and workplace are undisclosed — saying whoa, just hold on a minute, there are “factors to take into consideration as to if you should vaccinate, when you should vaccinate and what are the alternatives to vaccination.” Apparently “holistic physicians” believe you can prevent measles and other diseases with a proper diet. Seriously.

A little research shows that this “doctor” is a chiropractor, with online reviews that range from good, up to “sounds like it might have been written by a staffer”, down to abysmal. As nearly as I can tell, the scope of practice for chiropractors in Nevada does not include prescribing rights or the ability to perform injections. That would of course include administration of vaccines. At least he’s not a “Naturopathic Physician.” Remember kids, ND means Not a Doctor.

At least nobody brought up that discredited “research” showing vaccines “cause” autism.

Look folks, here’s the alternative to vaccines: your kid could get sick and possibly die from a completely preventable disease. Vaccination doesn’t take long to do, the complication rate is very low, and your kid’s school probably requires it anyway. In this day and age of protecting kids from the imaginary predator around every corner, what excuse is there for not getting it done?

So what’s next, local news? What topic can you pretend there are two sides to present and take up a few minutes of airtime? Here’s an idea for you: Murder! Police and safety experts say it’s bad, but killers say some people just gotta get whacked. You decide!

In closing: “Hey, calm down!”



The Post on the Host

It seems that March’s second day
is a special birthing day,
for Dr. Seuss of children’s lore
joined our world in Nineteen Four!

Should I, could I make a cake?
That’s fattening, for goodness sake!
Maybe I should write a poem
Though, truth is, I didn’t know him.

You could go to a memorial,
or to a library for a tutorial.
Perhaps Seussville seems like fun
(think so? You’re not the only one!)

Perhaps we could slice up some rare, Who roast beast,
with Green Eggs and Ham for a tasty feast!
Could wacky Wikis be your speed?
Or should we just sit down… and read?

In closing: Canadians prefer their news be made of truth; on taxes; uh, bad idea; so be it; which version do you like better?; ok, that sounds like a spending cut I can support; Timmy stamps his foot; right to work; too much sugar still isn’t good for you; unclear on how the government gets revenue; I saw the news today, oh boy; we’re doin it wrong; and time warp.

What’s Wrong with This Picture?

This week’s Time Magazine arrived in the mail a little while ago. Here’s what the cover looks like. Accompanied by a big picture of a deflated football, the cover stories are “The Most Dangerous Game. How to Fix Football” and “The Crisis in High Schools.”

My immediate thought was that somehow football is more important that education? Will football impact America’s ability to compete in the world economy more than what high school kids are learning?

I have a soft spot in my heart for educational issues, so I opened it up and tried to find the article on what crisis is befalling our high schools. I could find no such article title in the table of contents, so I began to flip through. Oh, look 10 questions from readers posed to Ozzy Osbourne, that’s nice. Good picture of him too. Bomb crater in Baghdad, shame the picture isn’t in the online edition. Flip, flip, flip…. Joe Klein on “Failing our Schools“. Huh, not about high school, but about how the evil teachers unions are preventing meaningful reform of our schools. Not even the same author mentioned on the cover. Moving on. Disaster porn, pictures of the devastation in Haiti. Can Bank Bashing Help Obama (yes, only if it comes with rules and regulations that protect us from predatory banking). What Obama should learn from Reagan (stand up for something, blame the guy you replaced for everything that’s wrong). Oh, we’re up to the cover article on football now.

And the article on what’s wrong with our high schools! Finally fount it! Is it standards that are too low? Curricula that don’t get kids to the standards? Is it teachers? Is it helicopter parents? Is it student apathy? High stakes testing? Too little focus on preparing kids for college and the workforce? Underfunded technology initiatives??

No, the article that the cover bragged was on a crisis in our high schools is in fact called “A Lifetime Penalty: In Texas, catastrophic spinal injuries aren’t enough to change high school football.” The article isn’t about instructional issues at all, but the tragedy of a handful of kids who suffer serious, crippling injuries on the football field. What schools are “failing” to do is keep young players of a dangerous, full-contact sport safe. The writer’s answer to this problem? Not better coaching to avoid injuries. Not getting rid of a dangerous extracurricular activity with debatable educational value. Not educating the teen-aged players about the risks of concussions and more serious injuries. Not changing the “win at any cost” mentality that makes this an acceptable risk for communities, coaches, and the players that understand the risks. No, he thinks there should be an ambulance at every high school football game.

Yeah, that will really keep kids from ending up in wheelchairs.

Not to make light of these kids, but is that really the biggest problem our high schools face?

This is what passes for a news magazine in our country. And that is part of the educational crisis in our country.