Monday, May 28, 2007

We need a new commissioner

...almost as badly as we need a new president.

This Ann Killion column puts it perfectly.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

My relatives on a reality show!

This show ain't gonna win any awards, but it's fun seeing my in-laws and their cute little girl on TV!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another "Day", another $10 mil for Kiefer

The second best thing about 24 (besides its Keiferliciousness) is that when it ends, it ends.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Green Mall?

I'm not a big Bill Maher fan, but he's dead on with this recent comment:

There's no such thing as a "green" shopping mall. Developers in Chicago are building the first "environmentally sensitive" mall. Yes, nothing says "I care about the planet" quite like a vast, air-conditioned temple to disposable consumerism. Surrounded by 300 acres of concrete. "Look, honey, the Wetzel's Pretzel has organic salt!" Some things are just never going to be easy on the environment.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Chronicle to cut staff by 25 percent

Scary stuff.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Security theater

That's what my husband calls it. He's right, of course. Those folks with the TSA badge-patches are actors (albeit surly bullies of actors who couldn't get actual jobs as rent-a-cops) in a play portraying safer skies.

The TSA must be operating under the assumption that the average person equates hassle with safety. "The more of a pain it is to get on a plane, the harder it must be to hijack/blow up/fly into a building!" So far, the effect on me is that they've unrepentantly stolen one of my son's shoes and confiscated a 4 ounce travel bottle half full of sunscreen.

Friday, May 18, 2007

More evidence that plastic bags are evil

My mother-in-law told me about this when we were at the zoo last week.

The Saint Louis Zoo is sad to announce that our male polar bear, Churchill, died on May 27 (2005). Our long-time resident had undergone stomach surgery by the Zoo’s veterinary staff to remove an obstruction...Surgery showed that a piece of cloth and bits of black plastic trash bag had obstructed the pyloric region.

Nice blog by commenter Michelle!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Brief hiatus

Postings will be few, if they happen at all, this week. The humidity here at my in-laws house in St. Louis makes it too arduous to type, much less think of stuff to blog about.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

O'Reilly uses name-calling about once every seven seconds

From Romenesko:

An Indiana University study finds that Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly calls a person or a group a derogatory name once every 6.8 seconds, on average, or nearly nine times every minute during the editorials that open his program each night. "It's obvious he's very big into calling people names, and he's very big into glittering generalities," says IU j-prof Mike Conway . "He's not very subtle. He's going to call people names, or he's going to paint something in a positive way, often without any real evidence to support that viewpoint."

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Top Ten Signs Your Newspaper is in Trouble

10. Covers all news that happens within one block of the office

9. Today's exclusive -- "Nixon Dead!"

8. Reporter sent to jail for refusing to divulge a source... Oh, and he also killed a dude

7. All horoscopes: "Now would be a good time to get out of the newspaper business"

6. Paper's motto: "Suck it"

5. Every "hot" gossip item is about Jack Klugman

4. Managing editor and guy who wheels around breakfast? Same guy

3. Under "Weather," it just reads "Yes"

2. Instead of "Garfield," has a comic strip called "Garfunkel"

1. It endorsed Dennis Kucinich

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Outrage over Reilly case misplaced

Bay Guardian editorial:

In the days following the historic settlement of Clint Reilly's lawsuit against the Bay Area's newspaper barons, the local dailies, the media blogs, and the trade publications such as Editor and Publisher were buzzing with debate and speculation over a few of the agreement's terms.

Would Reilly actually get space in the local papers to make his political points every month? Where would that space go? Would it be paid ad space, or would he get it free? Would he be able to appoint a citizen member to the editorial boards of Dean Singleton's dailies (including the San Jose Mercury News and the Contra Costa Times)? Or could the papers' managers reject his nominations?

Back and forth, back and forth. And all of it entirely missed the point.

This was the fine print of the deal, the stuff that, a few months from now, nobody will remember or care about.

You could get the real news from the headline in a blog post by former Chronicle city editor Alan Mutter: "Hearst-MediaNews deal scuttled."

That's what happened here: Reilly, acting with his own money, with no support from the federal or state regulators, broke up a deal that would have put the owners of the Chronicle directly in business with Singleton's MediaNews Group, the owner of almost every other major daily in the region. It would have been the end of daily newspaper competition in the Bay Area.

The Hearst Corp., documents that came out during the suit showed, wanted to combine some printing, distribution, and sales efforts with MediaNews Group. And Hearst wanted to convert an investment in MediaNews into direct stock in the company's local papers. That would have, in effect, made one of the last non-MediaNews papers in the area part of the same business group.

As G.W. Schulz reports in "Beyond the Reilly Settlement," on page 11, if Reilly hadn't intervened, nobody would have known about it until it was over and too late to stop. That's the point here, and that's what journalists, political scientists, and critics ought to be talking about.

Instead, we've heard outrage from some editors over the fact that Reilly might get some space in the papers. It's really a nonissue; he could have bought ad space for his opinions anyway, and all that the settlement did was give him that space free. And a lot of papers ask citizens to serve on advisory boards; Reilly's nominees are very unlikely to change anyone's editorial policies.

Meanwhile, where is the outrage over the original Hearst-MediaNews deal, which would have ended editorial competition the same way the 1965 joint operating agreement between the Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner did?