WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

This Land Is Your Land

4 Comments · Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Florida is no place for black teenage boys to grow old.  

The Jay-Z Law, Streaming Pains and Chambers Attacked

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 17, 2013
Jay-Z and Beyonce's visit to Cuba prompts U.S. law-change effort (seriously), Thom Yorke says Spotify is bad for new artists (simples) and some nut-job attacked 73-year-old Lester Chambers over a song dedication.  

Zimmerman Reactions Overlook Broader Racial Issues in America

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 17, 2013
The focus on the Zimmerman trial and its surrounding racial controversy has left out discussion of systemic racial problems in America.  

Empty Bedrooms (for Trayvon, for Us)

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 17, 2013
I talked to my kids about Trayvon Martin, the flaws and intricacies of the American judicial system, about racial profiling and about how the smallest of bad choices can keep them from coming home at the end of the day.  

Go Ask Your Father

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Sixteen months ago in a gated Sanford, Fla., community patrolled by a zealous, jittery and armed volunteer neighborhood watchman who felt threatened by the mere presence of an “unfamiliar” black kid walking alone, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin died on a sidewalk of a single gunshot to the chest.   
by Ben L. Kaufman 12.11.2012
Posted In: Media Criticism, Media, News at 05:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Curmudgeon Notes 12.12.2012

Media musings from Cincinnati and beyond

• As much as I usually enjoy Krista Ramsey’s controlled, empathetic reporting and writing, I don’t understand why Enquirer editors wasted her talent and their limited space on their serial about a bank-robbing granny. Who cares? If I learned anything, it was from the front page dedicated to the start of the serial. It was pure, screaming tabloid and perfect practice for the day the Enquirer shrinks its page size again.  • The Enquirer discovered a foreign policy “expert” living silently among us for years. That’s their word: “expert.” He was outed on Monday’s page 1 in a lavishly illustrated story about his taxpayer-paid travels. It’s U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. Face it, travel doesn’t make anyone an expert. If it did, Rick Steves should be our next Secretary of State.  • Here we go again. Our Enquirer carrier is supposed to deliver the Enquirer seven days a week and the New York Times Monday-Saturday. Last Wednesday, the Enquirer arrived but the Times didn’t. Times call center people in Iowa promised a replacement paper by 2 p.m. We’re still waiting.  Thursday, there was no Times for the second day and, instead of a replacement Wednesday paper, the Enquirer carrier tossed a copy of the Wall Street Journal.  I can’t invent this stuff. The WSJ is the only serious challenger facing the Times as a national daily. Times people in Iowa promised a replacement Thursday paper. I’ve called so many times I can recite their script with them, including faux sincerity when apologizing for missed papers.  I also sent another note to the circulation VP at the Times, using the email address on the paper’s website. (I couldn’t find any such person or email in the online list of Enquirer contacts. No surprise.)  The Times circulation VP couldn’t happy about paying to deliver the WSJ. An aide called, saying he’d do all he could by phone. Not much. Actually, nothing.  Friday, finally, the Enquirer carrier got it right: Enquirer and Times. That can’t last. The lapses are not new.  • Questions are being raised about foreign research involving UC and Henry Heimlich. UC News Record reporter Benjamin Goldschmidt said, “The study tested whether or not a modified version of the Heimlich Maneuver could stop an acute asthma attack or treat asthma symptoms without contemporary treatment. The subjects’ parents gave consent and the results reported no adverse effects, according to the study. The 67 children who participated were between the ages of six and 16.” Goldschmidt said Heimlich’s son, Peter, is pressing the inquiry at UC and elsewhere. The younger Heimlich said that “Since at least 1996, based on dubious evidence, my father has claimed that the Heimlich Maneuver can stop asthma attacks, but asthma experts have expressed strong doubts . . . For example, in 2005, Loren Greenway, administrative director of respiratory and pulmonary medicine for Intermountain Health Care in Salt Lake City, told a reporter that using the Heimlich maneuver in an acute asthmatic condition … could actually kill somebody.” Peter Heimlich said he targeted UC because Charles Pierce, adjunct professor of psychiatry at UC, was involved with applying for loans for the study in Barbados, an Atlantic nation between Haiti and Venezuela. He cited email correspondence in the Winkler Center’s Heimlich Archives at UC.  The News Record quoted UC spokesman Greg Hand, who said the majority of Pierce’s work is done at Children’s Hospital, not with UC.    Previously, Peter Heimlich raised questions about his father’s foreign experiments on malariotherapy, which seeks to prove that infecting people with malaria creates HIV-killing fevers.  • If you missed it, find last week’s page 1 New York Post photo of a man about to be killed by a subway train.  Freelance photographer R. Umar Abbasi said it is one of dozens he shot using his flash unsuccessfully to alert the driver about an emergency. A furor followed the Post’s decision to print his photo. Photographers frequently are faulted for not intervening in violent or deadly situations. So let me offer a couple comments. First, Abbasi had no duty to try to lift Ki-Suck Han to safety.  He says he wasn’t close enough, the train was coming, he was unsure whether he could lift the man. Others, closer, did not try to help.  Whether photographers should set aside their cameras and get involved is a recurrent question. My answer is this: The greater the risk, the smaller the obligation to help. That’s how we get images of wounded and dying soldiers, people trapped in or rescued from bombed buildings, prisoners being shot, stabbed, torture, etc.  That’s what photographers do. They show us what’s happening and in many situations, photographers would have been casualties if they’d try to intervene.  An older colleague at the Minneapolis Star said a woman who survived the collapse of a downtown hotel complained that he photographed her instead of helping. My colleague sent her an autographed copy of the photo, inscribed, I recall, “Deadlines are deadlines, lady.”  Second, the Post wasn’t wrong to publish the photo. I’m on the side of showing what happens when things go very, very wrong. War is ugly. So are traffic accidents, trench cave-ins and shootings here. Sanitizing does no service to readers/viewers who need to know what happened in a newsworthy event. Is the photo disturbing? Yes. But not so much as Ki-Suck Han’s death at the hands of a stranger who pushed him on to the tracks.  • Photographers often spend their lives known for one news photo: Marines raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi, a young woman screaming over the body of a student at Kent State, a starving Sudanese child watched by a nearby vulture, a South Vietnamese officer executing a Viet Cong suspect with one shot to the head. Some images win famous prizes. Some photographers build careers on their moments. At least one, Kevin Carter, bedeviled by what he’d seen among Sudanese famine victims, killed himself. Abbasi will not easily shake the image of his image of that subway death.  • The Dec. 8 Economist online has a cautious update on the declining newspaper industry, including Gannett, owner of the Enquirer. Included is a look at the ways pay walls like that at the Enquirer are succeeding where online content long was free. At some papers, online income finally is seriously compensating for income from lost print ad revenue.  But the Economist warns “Most important, a paper’s content has to be worth paying for, which is bad news for (unnamed) papers that have cost-cut themselves into journalistic wraiths.”  • I love a journalistic hoax. A top Chinese daily, People’s Daily, reported that “The Onion has named North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong Un as the sexiest man alive for the year 2012.”  Obviously unaware that the Onion is an American satirical website, Chinese editors copied it verbatim: “With his devastatingly handsome, round face, his boyish charm, and his strong, sturdy frame, this Pyongyang-bred heartthrob is every woman's dream come true. Blessed with an air of power that masks an unmistakable cute, cuddly side, Kim made this newspaper's editorial board swoon with his impeccable fashion sense, chic short hairstyle, and, of course, that famous smile.” • Radio pranks are nothing new. Years ago, when WNOP “Radio Free Newport” broadcast from an Ohio River barge, it would play recordings of prank telephone calls. One was to a railroad asking if the caller could use its engine roundhouse to play a huge Bobby Breen U.S. Steel record. Another asked a department store lingerie clerk about an Erin go Bragh, and I think, a Freudian slip. A supermarket customer insisted he properly assembled his “chicken parts kit” but it would only fly backwards. What should he do? The “Green Hornet” called a garage, supposedly servicing his Black Beauty car to ask when his Filipino houseboy Kato could pick it up. Finally, there was the soldier who called a McDonald’s with a detailed order for an entire Army reserve or national guard unit. The laughs, of course, came as recipients of the calls struggled to make sense of the queries until they realized they’d been had.  • Sometimes, however, a clever media hoax goes sadly wrong. That’s apparently what happened last week when Australian radio DJs Mel Greig and Michael Christian fooled nurses at London’s King Edward VII Hospital into thinking they were the Queen and Prince Charles. They wanted to know how Kate was handling her severe morning sickness.  In an early morning telephone call, Greig, impersonating the Queen, said: “Oh, hello there. Could I please speak to Kate please, my granddaughter?” Thinking she was speaking to the Queen, immigrant nurse Jacintha Saldanha, on switchboard duty, replied; “Oh yes, just hold on ma’am.” She put the call through to the nurse in the Duchess’ room. That nurse, so far unnamed, also thought she was speaking to the Queen and provided details about Kate’s health.  The Sydney station, 2Day, heavily promoted its prank and broadcast it repeatedly. It became an international sensation; even the real Prince Charles was reported to have thought it funny. Nurse Saldanha was found dead Friday, three days later. London police said they are not treating her death as suspicious. That means suicide or natural causes. British news media assumed suicide, suggesting Saldanha couldn’t deal with humiliation after 2Day’s recording of her embarrassing error went viral. The London Telegraph said “the two presenters who made the call will be questioned by Australian police following a request by Scotland Yard, which will gather evidence for an inquest.” • Elizabeth P. McIntosh was a Honolulu Star-Bulletin reporter writing for women in 1941 when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. Editors killed her story, saying her graphic description of civilian victims would be too upsetting. Last week, the Washington Post published the uncut story with McIntosh’s recollections. It’s vivid, fine reporting, the kind of writing we seldom see today.    • An inexplicable failure of journalism honesty landed NBC in court. George Zimmerman, who admits he shot and killed unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin, sued the network. He says NBC editing of his original 911 call defamed him and caused intentional infliction of emotional distress.  NBC played the its reporter’s edited tape three times. On it, Zimmerman says, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. He looks black.” But on the unedited tape, Zimmerman says, “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.”  Then the 911 dispatcher says, “OK and this guy — is he white, black or Hispanic.”  Only then, in response, Zimmerman said, “He looks black.”  Neither the dispatcher’s question nor Zimmerman’s answer was racist. If a police officer was to be dispatched, it was important what the potential suspect, Trayvon Martin, looked like.  • Here’s a story I haven’t seen as we edge up to the fiscal cliff: how many billions are spent on fully employed people whose wages are so low that employers transfer their costs to the rest of us? Medicaid, food stamps, etc. aren’t limited to the unemployed or aged. And while they’re at it, reporters can tell us how much a full-time worker must earn to equal all of their taxpayer-supported benefits.  • And now, a birther alert. Ted Cruz, newly elected Hispanic and perfectly conservative senator from Texas, says his Canadian birth doesn’t disqualify him from a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016. He told Ryan Lizza in the New Yorker, “The Constitution requires that one be a natural-born citizen and my mother was a U.S. citizen when I was born.” He could have added that Americans captured Canada 200 years ago in the War of 1812, assuring Donald Trump of Cruz’s eligibility. And hey! Americans then defeated Santa Ana at the Alamo.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 07.25.2012
Posted In: News, Social Justice, Racism, Gun Violence at 05:14 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Trayvon Martin’s Parents Speak in Cincinnati

Maya Angelou, other activists encourage justice without hate

Panelists including the parents of slain Florida teenager Trayvon Martin talked about reconciliation and turning personal suffering into power at the National and Racial Healing Town Hall at the Duke Energy Convention Center on Wednesday during the Children’s Defense Fund National Conference. Tracy Martin, Trayvon’s father, broke down in tears as he told the story of how his son saved his life by dragging him out of their condo and calling 911 after Tracy had been badly burned in a grease fire. “My child is my hero,” Tracy Martin said. “He saved my life. Not to be there to save his is troublesome to me.” Trayvon Martin was shot and killed on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.  Trayvon, who was black, was unarmed and shot by the white and Hispanic Zimmerman after Zimmerman pursued him in defiance of a request by a police dispatcher. Zimmerman claims the shooting was in self-defense. Zimmerman is out on $1 million bail while awaiting trial on a charge of second degree murder. “Nothing anyone can do will bring Trayvon back,” Tracy Martin said. “You have to take that negative and turn it into a positive. We chose to keep our son's name alive and not let his death be in vain.” The town hall-style meeting was kicked off by poet and author Maya Angelou. She urged the hundreds of people in attendance, mostly young and black, to demand justice for Trayvon — referring to Zimmerman as “the brute” — but “that means we don’t become poisoned by hate.” Angelou wasn’t the only one who urged against hate. Black historian and civil rights activist Vincent Harding, who celebrated his 81st birthday on Wednesday, issued a challenge to the youth in attendance: “Are you ready to fight for the healing of George Zimmerman and all the George Zimmermans of America? Are you up to that?” he asked. “This country has no chance unless they are healed.” The panel was made up of social activists, many of whom had lost friends and family to violence or bigotry, but whose pain prompted activism instead of retaliation — panelists such as The Rev. Ronald and Kim Odom, who lost a son to gun violence but volunteer in intervention and outreach programs; Clemmie Greenlee, a former prostitute and gang member who formed a peacemaking organization to work with gang members after her son was killed; and Ndume Olatushani, a former prisoner who was released in June after 19 years on death row after being falsely convicted of murdering a Tennessee shopkeeper. The younger members of the audience were encouraged to ask questions after the panel presentation. Teenagers and young adults from as far as Tennessee, North Carolina and Minnesota asked questions about dismantling the system of racial oppression, overcoming odds stacked against young minorities and having society see past an old felony conviction. The panelists all tried to offer encouragement, while urging the younger generation to continue to try to fight to make things better. “When you look at the odds, it’s so horrific for a young minority American, you say ‘why even try, why even bother?’ ” said Benjamin Crump, a civil rights attorney who is representing Trayvon’s mother Sabryna Fulton. “But the reason you try and you bother, there is so many examples where we beat the odds every day and nobody even know about it or talked about it.” “It goes back to you and saying, ‘I am going to make something of myself. I don’t care about the statistics, I don’t care about the odds.’ … You say, ‘well, if it’s one out of a million, I’m going to be that one.’”
 
 
by German Lopez 07.25.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, Environment, News, Weather at 08:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

A performance audit for the Cincinnati Service Department could save the city $3.7 million. The audit claims $2 million could be saved every year if the city privately contracted solid waste collection and street sweeping. An additional $1.7 million could be saved if the city reduced overtime, sick leave and staffing levels. Along with other recommended savings measures, the changes could amount to 7.9 percent of Cincinnati’s budget. Trayvon Martin’s parents will be visiting Cincinnati today to take part in the national conference hosted by the Children’s Defense Fund. The conference will target violence and race-related issues. Procter & Gamble and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have teamed up to improve environmental sustainability at manufacturing facilities and supply chains. The worst U.S. drought in half a century is putting pressure on oil and gas companies to recycle and conserve water used for fracking. Fracking uses millions of gallons of water to free oil and gas from underground rock formations. Gay marriage has generated $259 million in economic activity in New York City. The Congressional Budget Office said repealing Obamacare would increase the deficit by $109 billion. Voters sometimes punish politicians for bad weather. Some scientists are saying the plot of The Amazing Spider-Man might not be too far off from reality.
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.21.2012
 
 
mallory

Morning News and Stuff

A local developer has offered to build a new jail adjacent to the Justice Center, a cost of $65 million, in return for the county leasing it for 30 years at $10 million a year, according to The Enquirer. The developer, Rob Smyjunas, said the offer isn’t about making a profit, just making the county better for his and other families.  Mayor Mallory didn’t answer The Enquirer’s questions about the potential for a Council majority to block the property tax increase in City Manager Milton Dohoney’s proposed budget. A Mallory spokesman says he’ll work behind the scenes on a budget that will win a Council majority and that he’s off to New Orleans for a conference on reclaiming vacant properties.  An environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro kicked off on Wednesday, with environmental groups and activists disappointed with the Rio+20’s lack of progress on creating clear goals for sustainable development.  The Sanford, Fla., police chief who drew criticism for not investigating the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has been fired. Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte said he relieved Bill Lee of his duties because the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the community.  A video of middle school kids in upstate New York bullying a 68-year-old bus monitor has drawn international media attention. The woman says the kids are all pretty much normal and are OK to deal with one-on-one.  The bullying continues unabated for about 10 minutes in the video, reducing Klein to tears as a giggling student jabs her arm with a book. Recorded by a student Monday with a cell phone camera, the brazen example of bullying went viral and spurred international outrage. A population of chinstrap penguins in Antarctica has declined by 36 percent due to melting sea ice.  "Actually, in the '90s it was thought that the climate change would favor the chinstrap penguin, because this species prefers sea waters without ice, unlike the Adelie penguin, which prefers the ice pack," study researcher Andres Barbosa told LiveScience. He added that at the time, chinstraps, named for the thin black facial line from cheek to cheek, seemed to increase in numbers, with some new colonies being established. The sea-ice decline in the winter, however, has become so big that it is now impacting krill populations, said Barbosa, of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. Researchers found evidence of ice on the moon.  A new study has found that eating disorders are common among older women. Researchers say weight and eating concerns do not discriminate based on age.College football BCS commissioners have endorsed a four-team playoff format to determine college football’s national champion instead of the current computer-human two-team system. The plan will go to the BCS presidential oversight committee on June 26 for approval. LeBron James and the Miami Heat are one win away from winning the NBA championship after going up 3 games to 1 with a 104-98 win in Game 4 Tuesday. 
 
 
by Danny Cross 05.18.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

After 18 months in the courts, Democrat Tracie Hunter has won a Hamilton County Juvenile Court judgeship, but a GOP challenge to the court's acceptance of Hunter's challenge is likely to follow. Republican John Williams led hunter by 23 votes on election night 2010, but Hunter filed a lawsuit over provisional ballots cast at incorrect polling stations that weren't counted. After a recount of 286 provisional ballots, Hunter moved ahead by 74 votes. Republican board of election members reportedly plan to argue that the 286 should not have been recounted. The Enquirer's Mark Curnutte today offered an analysis of recently released census data that shows a steady growth of the regional Hispanic population and a growth of minority population in areas outside the city that were once largely white. Cincinnati's data suggests that the city and region are slightly different than the nation's overall trend, which in 2011 for the first time found a majority of the country's under 1-year-old population minority (50.4 percent), up from 49.5 percent in 2010. Included in The Enquirer's story, which included a profile of a Mexican-American Florence family that moved to Northern Kentucky eight years ago from Los Angeles: A decrease of 1.3 percentage points in Hamilton County’s black population under 5 was countered by increases in the black population under 5 in each of the region’s six other core counties: Butler, Clermont and Warren in Ohio and Boone, Campbell and Kenton in Kentucky. Overall, the regional population of Hispanic children under 5 years rose from 7,583 in 2010 to 8,032 in 2011, a proportional increase of 0.4 percentage points to 6.1 percent. The family of a teenager fatally shot by a Cincinnati police officer on Fountain Square last summer has filed a federal lawsuit alleging police used excessive force and violated 16-year-old Davon Mullins' constitutional rights. Police say Mullins pulled a handgun, but the lawsuit says he had been disarmed before officer Oscar Cyranek shot him multiple times. Cincinnati's Bike Month revelers and Over-the-Rhine residents received some good news this week when Reser Bicycle Outfitters announced the opening of an OTR location. The store could open by June 1 in the 1400 block of Vine Street. Legislation regulating ownership and breeding of exotic animals has been approved by the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, 17-4. Senate Bill 310 could get through the full House and Senate next week and be signed by Gov. John Kasich soon afterward. The ban on the acquisition, sale and breeding of certain species would take affect 90 days later. Europe is preparing for Greece to completely duck out of the Eurozone. The world markets are feeling the pressure. Mitt Romney has released his first general election TV ad. And he's giving cookies to the media.Former Senator John Edwards will learn his fate today, as a jury was set to deliberate this morning on charges that Edwards used campaign funds to conceal an affair during his run for president. More than 200 pages of documents, photos and audio recordings were released yesterday offering further details about what happened the night George Zimmerman shot and killed Trayvon Martin. The documents include an FBI audio analysis of the 911 call placed by a resident that captured yells and screams. Two FBI examiners said they could not determine whether it was Martin or Zimmerman yelling because of the poor quality of the recording and the "extreme emotional state" of screamer. The AP is live-blogging Facebook's stock market debut. Why does Bono have so much Facebook? Cell phone maker Nokia has accused Apple of programming bias into its interactive Siri voice search by making it answer the question “What is the best smartphone ever?” by stating “"Wait... there are other phones?" The answer had apparently previously been “Nokia's Lumia 900.” Apple won't say whether or not it changed Siri's answer after finding the glitch. A new study suggests that nighttime fasting can go a long way toward keeping you slim even if you eat bad stuff during the day. Scientists have found a car-sized turtle shell. The private space launch is scheduled for 4:55 a.m. Saturday, and there will be alcohol involved.
 
 

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