One of the real pleasures of attending the blogger's conference over the weekend was sitting next to Dave Neiwert, and learning about his blog, Orcinus (pronounced orSInus). It was my duty, and distinct honor, to introduce Dave at the conference, and I am equally pleased to be able to introduce him to Olybloggers. Dave's background is in newspaper reporting, and he also worked at MSNBC. More recently, he is the author of several books, including his most recent, Strawberry Days: How Internment Destroyed a Japanese American Community. His calling, it appears, is to expose, examine, and repudiate right-wing extremism in its several forms. His writing is clear, well-thought out, and effective. For example, he encapsulates an argument about what is wrong with the MSM in the following exerpt from a recent post (discussing comments of a journalist from the Boston Globe named Young):
For the bulk of my journalistic career, I probably saw the world in terms similar to Young's: the left and right, both for their virtues and their flaws, tended to balance each other out. For every bit of ugliness on the right, you could often find a counterpart on the left. This leaves those of us in the middle to balance things out. I think this view dominated in most of the newsrooms where I worked as well.
But I also studied logic and ethics back in the day (philosophy was a second major) and after awhile came to see that what many of us were doing in "balancing" our stories was in fact the antithesis of seeking out the truth, which is what journalism is supposed to be about. Specifically, many of us -- not just journalists -- were indulging in a classic logical fallacy, namely, the "false middle," or the argumentum ad temperantiam: "If two groups are locked in argument, one maintaining that 2+2=4, and the other claiming that 2+2=6, sure enough, an Englishman will walk in and settle on 2+2=5, denouncing both groups as extremists."
I don't know if the balance that I used to see ever existed. But in the 1990s, when it became clear that a lot of people on the right were declaring that 2+2=6, and a lot of people in the media were reporting their claims without batting an eye, any balance I had seen before began to vanish -- and it has not returned.
For Young to suggest that the vicious rhetoric that sprung from the right during those years had any kind of counterpart on the left is simply absurd. While we were being regularly regaled with Vince Foster and Mena Airport and Black Love Child conspiracy theories from mainstream right-wing pundits ranging from the Wall Street Journal to Rush Limbaugh to Fox News, as well as assassination talk from the likes of Ann Coulter, there simply was no counterpart for this kind of talk on the left during those years. The left, indeed, remained remarkably subdued during the Clinton years, except for those more liberal than Clinton who criticized him for being too conservative.
I kick myself for not having found my way to his blog before now, and I hope that Olybloggers will click their way over and check it out; it is well worth the effort.
WASHINGTON — Some U.S. jobs pay living wages, are in fast-growing fields, have lots of openings and don't require bachelor's degrees.
Most of them aren't glamorous, but they won't be offshored anytime soon either, according to a newly published analysis by the nonprofit agency Jobs for the Future.
Among them: truck and bus driving, nursing, construction and computer-tech jobs.
In this installment I'll focus on Richards.
No, I didn't know him.
I've wandered all over this country
Prospecting and digging for gold
I've tunnelled, hydraulicked and cradled
And I have been frequently sold
For one who gets riches by mining
Perceiving that hundreds grow poor
I made up my mind to try farming
The only pursuit that is sure
Rolling my grub in the blanket
I left all my tools on the ground
I started one morning to shank it
For the country they call Puget Sound
Although Evergreen is now known for being a hotbed of cartoonists, it wasn't always that way. TESC is a college with a curriculum chiefly based on collaboration and cooperation, seminars and group work. Cartoonists by nature are solitary beings, geeky basement apartment dwellers who must stand apart from the crowd in order to observe and record.
The CPJ didn't really have any regularly appearing comic strips until Kathleen Meighan, under the pen-name "Katy Did," produced Da Boidz 1975-76. The first real page devoted to comix appeared in Oct. 1975, but it wasn't until Matt Groening became editor a couple years later the comix feature started being consistent.
From The Olympian:
- Focus on Olympia as a capital city to preserve the community's identity and economy. Officials will lobby the state for money to rebuild the Percival Landing boardwalk, which is succumbing to age and marine elements. They'll seek a state study on how Olympia compares with other state capitals when it comes to conference centers and other kinds of meeting spaces for visitors.
- Improve the effectiveness of government. For example, officials want to improve how services are delivered by moving forward with a new City Hall with departments under one roof. They'll expand what people can do online, such as paying utility bills and parking tickets.
- Put sustainability into action. Officials plan to increase recycling services, find more customers for reclaimed water, cut the use of toxins and reduce car emissions. They'll use green building practices and encourage businesses to do the same. And they'll follow up on a provision in the nuclear-free ordinance that gave the city manager a year to study how the city's investment practices can fall in line -- whether, for example, the city should buy federal bonds or invest with a bank that does business with a company that makes nuclear weapons.
Early October, 1974. The school year was just starting. The "Encountering America" coordinated studies program went into a retreat somewhere at a lake up in Mason County.
One of the faculty members, Dumi Maraire, prepared dinner for us. Dumi was a native of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe, where Dumi returned and died in 1999) and had a short and controversial career at Evergreen. He brought in a live goat and slaughtered it before the assembled students. Then we cooked and ate it. I think even some of the vegetarians took part, since it was almost an insult not to. Actually, it was pretty good.
While I was helping unload the car of another faculty member who was bringing in supplies from the outside world, I saw the headlines of a newspaper she had just picked up. Back at TESC, an Evergreen student named Vicki Schneider had fallen, jumped, or was pushed off a top floor of A Dorm and landed on the pavement next to the circle. Right under my window. Matt Groening's room was next door.
When I got back to TESC I learned all my roommates had been first on the scene. The death was ruled suicide.
It was going to be a very weird quarter.
Flagler is riddled with concrete gun batteries, bunkers, and observation boxes. During one evening at a retreat, I went into one of the observation boxes to enjoy the pleasure of smoking a fine cigar. Well, a cheap cigar. Some of my habits, like drinking black coffee, eating meat, making lame puns, and especially smoking cigars offended many of my classmates.
But then, as now, smoking a cigar is my way of meditating. You can't really do much else when you start burning one of those babies. So I'm looking out at a panoramic view of the Sound when my solitude is broken by some guy who obviously has lost the sense of smell. "Dude," he greeted me, "Can I have a drag?"
I suspect he thought I had something else, but I let him take a nice deep lung-full anyway. His response reminded me it is best not to inhale those things.
Portrait of the cartoonist as a young maze, or, The path I took in trying to figure out what I wanted to do when I grew up.
From AP News:
WASHINGTON -- Dissatisfied with the nation's direction, Americans are leaning toward wanting a change in which political party leads Congress -- preferring that Democrats take control, an AP-Ipsos poll found. Democrats are favored over Republicans 49 percent to 36 percent.
The polling came as disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to tax evasion, fraud and corruption charges and agreed to aid a federal investigation of members of Congress and other government officials.
President Bush's job approval remains low -- 40 percent in the AP-Ipsos poll, with only one-third saying the country is headed in the right direction. Bush also remains low on his handling of Iraq, where violence against Iraqis and U.S. troops has been surging.
"I just don't like the direction our country is going in," said Steve Brown, a political independent from Olympia, Wash. "I think a balance of power would be beneficial right now."
Steve is evidently a master of understatement.