Quote of the Day

People all over the world spend countless hours of their lives every week being fed entertainment in the form of movies, TV shows, newspapers, YouTube videos and the Internet. And it’s ludicrous to believe that this stuff doesn’t alter our brains.

It’s also equally ludicrous to believe that — at the very least — this mass distraction and manipulation is not convenient for the people who are in charge.

Charlie Kaufman

About Boston (and other “newsworthy” trends)

I may have offended a few folks recently when I asked (rather emphatically) to be excluded from all the helpful, breathless, up-to-the-minute crap about the Boston Marathon bombings.  Sorry for the offense, but it wasn’t really my fault.  If you people weren’t in the habit of (1) getting your information from the wrong places; and (2) blasting it all around to your Friends, Contacts, Correspondents and who-the-hell-ever else without asking them if they want the benefit of your curatorship, it wouldn’t have been necessary.  Why do I think it was necessary?  Well…

Events of the past few days have demonstrated that more than adequately, I believe.  All the media have been blasting out every bit of information and ephemera about the events in Boston, and what did they accomplish?  Folks on the Internet, perusing available coverage, falsely accused a number of bystanders of being accomplices.  CNN and others adverted to a completely unrelated issue of a student missing from a nearby university for a few weeks, and intimated that he might have been involved.  That has since proven to be nonsense, but tell that to the poor s.o.b. who will have it following him for the rest of his life.  All sorts of bits and pieces have been floating around and reported by supposedly responsible — and patently less responsible — sources, and as Mark Twain once remarked, so many commentators have shone darkness on the subject that we shall soon know nothing about it at all.

The penchant for breaking news has ruined news.  I almost never follow news in the electronic media — practically never watch TV at all — for that very reason.  The rush to be the first with every little tidbit insures that a lot of the tidbits will be so fresh they’re rotten.  As was suggested today in an excellent article in Slate, the best way to follow breaking events is to turn off all electronic media, refuse to discuss the issue at all, and then read a couple of well-researched and thought-out articles in one of the newspapers of record the next day.  (Personally, I recommend The Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, and Al Jazeera for a well-balanced range.)  I’ve been doing it for years, with the result that I save a lot of time, emotion, and come out at the end considerably less confused.

So, again, sorry for any offense.  But now that you get the idea, why not carry the concept over to the next breaking news?  Rest assured that if I’m interested, I’ll be on it as soon as the flames have had time to die down.  News, like revenge, is a meal best eaten cold.

Michael Kinsley: On blogger Felix Salmon’s argument that good writing is overrated

Michael Kinsley: On blogger Felix Salmon’s argument that good writing is overrated – latimes.com.

The ‘West Memphis Three’ and combating cognitive biases – latimes.com

This article is illustrative of a problem that exists in a great many other areas.

The ‘West Memphis Three’ and combating cognitive biases – latimes.com.

Smoke and Shadows

Israel ‘delegitimization’: The ‘delegitimization’ of Israel is a distraction – latimes.com http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-rosenberg-israel-20110717,0,1885732.story

The Marriage Vow — An Un-Christian, Bigoted Screed

A bunch of wingnuts in Iowa have published a document that they call “THE MARRIAGE VOW A Declaration of Dependence upon MARRIAGE and FAMiLY.”  What garbage!  The portions of the agenda that are  desirable are ruined by the rest of the document’s contents, and by the blatant attempt to stuff it down everyone’s throat.  It isn’t even a vow to protect marriage, although they have tried to weasel the wording so that they can claim that it is.  It is nothing less than a platform that they want every candidate for public office to swear to push forward.  It is racist, bigoted, and about as un-Christian as anything I’ve read since Mein Kampf — a blatant attempt to foist the agenda of a few onto the many.

I was going to publish it in its entirety, but could only find it in .pdf.  I would have had to convert and then edit the disgusting trash, and I didn’t want to subject myself to reading it again.

Here’s a link to an article in the Portland Examiner. You can take it from there.  If you want to comment here, feel free.  However, I’m not going to read the comments because it might cause me to change my mind about the sanity — and desirability — of some of my friends.

Among the 14 pledges in The Marriage Vow are faithfulness to one’s spouse, respect for the marital bonds of others and “opposition to any redefinition of the Institution of Marriage — faithful monogamy between one man and one woman — through statutory-, bureaucratic-, or court-imposed recognition of intimate unions which are bigamous, polygamous, polyandrous, same-sex, etc.” Also included are the rejection of “Sharia Islam and all other anti-woman, anti-human rights forms of totalitarian control” and a commitment to reducing the size of government and lowering the public debt.

But wait! There’s more! You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet (pun intended).


Navy Times — SEALs Knew The Mission Was A One-Shot Deal

WASHINGTON — Those who planned the secret mission to get Osama bin Laden in Pakistan knew it was a one-shot deal, and it nearly went terribly wrong.

The U.S. deliberately hid the operation from Pakistan, and predicted that national outrage over the breach of Pakistani sovereignty would make it impossible to try again if the raid on bin Laden’s suspected redoubt came up dry.

Once the raiders reached their target, things started to go awry almost immediately…

Read the rest…