July 27th, 2006

Are attacks on journalists increasing?

najb.jb It would seem that attacks on journalists are increasing. I was looking at a UNESCO site for information about the preservation of cultural artifacts and noticed a UNESCO press release condeming the recent killings of journalists in The Philippines and other regions. So where is our press (U.S.A. & Alaska) – they seem to have missed the story?

Hey girls and guys in the “mainstream press” why don’t you try talking your editors into a story about Layal Najib? The Committee to Protect Journalists reported on July 24, 2006:

“Layal Najib, 23, a freelance photographer for the Lebanese magazine Al-Jaras and Agence France-Presse, became the first journalist to be killed since Israel began attacks on Lebanon in response to a cross-border raid by the Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah. Najib was in a taxi yesterday trying to meet up with a convoy of villagers fleeing the Israeli bombardment of south Lebanon when she was hit by shrapnel from a missile on the road between the villages of Sadiqeen and Qana, local media reported. She died at the scene.”

July 22nd, 2006

Sorry for “slowdown” – it’s summer in Alaska

I can’t speak for my co-conspirators but I’m sorry that it’s been slow here at “The Nest” for the past few days. But heh, it’s summer in Alaska. I’ve been helping a friend put a new spruce deck on his duck cabin out on the Susitna Mud Flats (just west of the “Little Sue”) and I think that Great Grey is off flying around somewhere (isn’t that what Owls do?). I’ve been working on a bunch of things, like “how to read the Anchorage Daily News,” a few interesting tidbits about Don Young and ADN’s coverage of the Nabor’s Industries story and a description of my recent bike ride along the Turnagain Arm, from “Bird to Gird;” all of which will, hopefully, see the “light of day” in the near future. I hope your summer (or winter) is going well; summer always seems much too short.

July 10th, 2006

An Orwell quote

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” –George Orwell

July 9th, 2006

Musing: The “Corporate” Press is not your friend

Just thinking out loud.

Now that 2500+* U.S. citizens enlisted in the military have died in Iraq and Afghanistan and 10′s of thousands more have been left legless, armless or had their brains scrambled I can’t help but wonder when the “press” will start reporting on defective equipment that has been designed, developed and distributed to our troops by the “corporate elites;” some with family ties to the White House. So far “the press” has been silent despite numerous opportunities to report what’s really happening. What have all those billions of dollars – our tax dollars – really been spent on???? Where is “the press?” Body armor aside (a popular topic for “the press” that only touches the tip of the iceberg), what about ceramic armor on humvees etal. that improperly cured sends a cloud of knife like shards through the body of the vehicle tearing flesh to hamburger when struck by a rocket or an IED? What of the active amour that has zapped the mechanics working on the equipment or more than a few troops, perhaps more dead than those it was intended to protect? Where the “f___” is “the press?” A liberal press my ass; the Fourth Estate is guilty of silence. If history repeats itself, it will be the vets who will expose the corruption and thievery of the procurement birds in the Pentagon.

* And what about the contract employees, the former SF, Delta Force, and SEALs and others with long term or specialized military experience who opted to go with private contractors. Maybe the number of dead U.S. Civilians should be placed closer to 4,000 or even 5,000? D.O.D. has engaged private firms, in part, to keep the US body count low. Mums the press. And don’t think I’ve forgotten about the dead people who used to live in the countries we’ve decided to invade; they out number US casualties, as usual, by a substantial margin.

July 6th, 2006

ADN: a sin of omission

The Anchorage Daily News (ADN) routinely, and perhaps conveniently, fails to report some of the news that is important to its’ readership. Here’s just one example of what, in this ADN readers view, constitutes a bad job of editing down at the Daily News.

I’m certain that when my copy of The Anchorage Daily News arrives in a few hours there will be a story about Alaska Senate President Ben Stevens dropping out of the race for the Senate seat that he currently holds. After all, ADN got this story up on their webpage post haste yesterday afternoon. It is, I would think, pretty hard to avoid printing news about the President of the State Senate, isn’t it?

I wonder if ADN will mention the fine that The Alaska Public Offices Commission (APOC) leveled against Stevens last Wednesday? And I can’t help but wonder why ADN didn’t report the story about the Stevens fine last Thursday like they should have.

ADN’s omission last week of Stevens most recent transgression was a poor decision on the part of ADN editors. In my opionion ADN did a lousy job (for some maybe they did a good job); and their blunder is yet another example of lousy journalism. It seems to me the editors at ADN got caught with their knickers down around their knees on this one

UPDATE: 2006 JULY 06, 04:17 am

Just got my copy of the Anchorage Daily News and guess what?


There is no mention in ADN today of the fines that APOC leveled against Sen. Ben Stevens last week. What gives??? ADN did cover Sen. Stevens decision not to run and placed the story by Don Hunter on the front page (above the fold), “Stevens to Leave Juneau.” But the ADN story failed to mention last weeks APOC fines and Sen. Stevens sagging poll numbers. I hope that Ray Metcalfe, a “gadfly” according to Hunter’s ADN story, does not stop biting at Sen. Stevens heals. If Sen. Stevens has violated Alaska’s financial disclosure rules, he has soiled the trust he must hold with the citizens of this state and should be held responsible for his actions. Perhaps Sen. Stevens, and maybe even some at the Anchorage Daily News, now hope that all will be forgotten or forgiven since our senator has decided not to run; I sure hope not! By deciding not to report the APOC findings and the resulting fines against Sen. Stevens, the editors at the Anchorage Daily News have done the voters and the citizens of Alaska wrong; Fourth Estate my…….

Edit: A list of some of Ben’s Bribes. (gg)

July 4th, 2006

Inconvienient Truth: time to wake-up

Inconvient truth

Go see this movie NOW and then get other people go see it!

In the film Inconvenient Truth former Vice-President and popularly elected candidate for President of the United States Al Gore makes the case for why global warming is something we should all pay attention to. Gore lays out the issues and facts in a way that might even sway skeptics – if the skeptics can be convinced to go see the movie. Gore takes the evidence that has been produced by science and puts it into a format that almost anybody can understand. He addresses, head on, the issues raised by skeptics, debunking the myths put forward by the oil companies and their paid cadre [my words, not his]. FWIW Gore points out that there are, for all practical purposes, no skeptics in the scientific community, only in the popular press.

Second only to a nuclear conflagration, I think the causes of global warming and the changes that global warming will force us to face is the greatest challenge facing all of us and our continued existence on this planet. For me, all doubt ceased when the Larsen-B ice sheet (1250 sq. miles of 650 foot thick ice) slid into the ocean in 2003. Gore argues that the same processes that caused Larsen-B’s surprising demise are “at work” on much larger ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica; sheets of ice large enough to raise ocean levels around the world by 20 feet (that’s not a typo) should either of them melt.

Here in Alaska folks who are skeptical that global warming is man-made abound and come from all corners of the political spectrum. I suppose that’s not surprising given the influence that “big oil” has in my state. The most often cited reason I’ve heard here for why global warming is not the result of our use of fossil fuels and other damaging technologies is that the warming is simply a a cyclical trend. Gore makes mince-meat out of this argument pointing out that data shows that the CO2 levels are higher now than they ever have been in the past 600,000 years (as far back as scientists can measure) and correlating that data with a sustained temperature rise that exceeds that of any period for which we have knowledge.

When challenged by “global warming” skeptics the first thing I point out is that 10 years ago they would have claimed that there was no global warming (the oil company experts were calling it the “myth of global warming” at the time). Hell, the first glacier I ever saw, from the ground, was the Matanuska Glacier, east of Chickaloon off the Glen Hwy. That was in 1997 when we stopped there for a rest. I drove past that same spot 2 weeks ago on the way to Chitina to fish for salmon and there is nothing there but till – gone, zip, nada, nothing, no ice. Same goes for the Portage Glacier off the Seward highway on the way to the Kenai Peninsula. The glacier isn’t all gone yet, it’s just not visible from the million dollar visitors observation center that was built some years back. Anybody living in Alaska that has ventured more than 50 miles from their front door knows that something has changed.

Pragmatists (as in philosophers) argue that the “state of belief” is one in which the believer no longer asks questions or seeks information – the believer opting for the bliss that comes with belief. I can’t help but wonder how many of my fellow Alaskans are in a blissful state believing that global warming is nonsense and how many are just not aware of the consequences we will all face if we do not, or can not mitigate the causes of global warming? Gore points out that while global warming skeptics are virtually non-existent among scientists 56% of the global warming stories in the “popular press” highlight skepticism of the global warming phenomena. How many members of the Anchorage Assembly have studied the issue, how many of Alaska’s Legislators have seen the movie or studied the issue? Do my states’ elected U.S. Congressional Reps: Lisa, Ted, or Don give a shit or are they being careful not to offend corporate donors?

Good luck to us all!

July 1st, 2006

Son of Ted gets a bundle

Our friends at Insurgent 49 have published Ray Metcalfe’s analysis of the funds Alaska State Senator Ben Stevens (aka “little Hulk”) has received from a variety of sources – sheesh I wish I had that kind of money.

Ray Metcalfe, “Follow the Money.”

P.S. It would seem from Metcalfe’s analysis that Dad (U.S. Senator Ted Stevens) helped his son (State Senator Ben Stevens) out with a few of our Federal dollars.