Iceberg journalism

Icebergs are always breaking off that are the size of something or other, but this story uses a metaphor than always confuses me:

NASA scientists are watching a giant crack forming over a vulnerable Antarctic glacier and they think it will soon break off into an iceberg the size of New York City.

Manhattan, or all 5 boroughs? Staten Island is a LOT bigger than Manhattan, for instance, but one wants specifics.
The Telegraph says the iceberg will be “the size of Berlin,” 880 square kilometers, so that’s all 5 boroughs. Much clearer! Though I find it interesting that a London newspaper would use Berlin as its example….

Weird underediting from the BBC

One of my Google News searches is art + theft. This morning it turned up a story on the recovery of two Bolivian paintings in Washington, DC, where a dealer asked the Art Loss Register to check out the two.

The portraits, Saint Rose of Viterbo and Saint Augustin, were among more than 100 religious artefacts stolen from the church, which is a national monument, at the same time.

Admittedly, it’s the BBC news FOR Latin America, but still. That’s not quite English. Or Art-talk. First, we don’t call those things portraits, since they aren’t. They are icons (even in the non-Byzantine orbit) or, more simply, paintings. Second, if you’re going to call her Rose of Viterbo, you might as well refer to him as Augustine. Or Rosa and Augustin. Either way. But not a mix.

Professor Althouse has some advice for future journalists

Every would-be journalist should study this clip. This is what lying looks like. This is how a powerful, ambitious individual endeavors to push you back.

She refers to Congressman Weiner in full Shameless Liar-mode. Here’s her entry.
Actually, a course in “how liars lie” might be very interesting. It would be easy to collect lots of bi-partisan video of before, during, and after statements. Weiner is serving up the flavor of the week, though.
On a related note, here’s a beautiful diagram of why the “At least he’s not a hypocrite” defense is really not much of a defense at all, unless you want to be the Stupid Party.

How I hope he runs for mayor of New York City!

Not that he’s ashamed enough to resign, like the shirtless Republican congressman from Western New York. But after all — this is a man whose wedding was performed by Bill Clinton.

From CNN: Weiner, a New York Democrat, said he is not resigning his seat, nor is he planning on separating from his wife. But he said he took responsibility for his actions — both the relationships and for lying about sending the photo of his bulging underwear on his Twitter account.

Will she separate from him? Well, she was a Hillary Clinton aide — so her role model isn’t someone who was willing to put up with a difficult husband in the interests of his (and her eventual) political career.
You may sex scandals don’t matter — but it’s pretty obvious that LYING does. Repeated lying to his wife, to colleagues, and to the press (that is, to us through the press). Oh well, all will be forgiven. I just hope he runs for mayor and people get to rake through all of this again! It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
CNN got someone in Congress to say so, too.

Many Democrats first rallied around the liberal congressman. But members of the House Democratic leadership have talked repeatedly in recent days to try to get him to end what has become an unwelcome political distraction, a member of the party’s leadership told CNN before Weiner’s press conference Monday.
“It’s frustrating because we’ll talk to him, and say clean it up, and then he goes out and does stuff,” said the member of the House Democratic leadership, who declined to speak on the record about private discussions with Weiner.

Megan McArdle has a thoughtful comparison to Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich — should we know these things about political leaders? Does it make them less fit to lead?

I don’t think that the good faith proponents of the argument for ignoring sex scandals actually believe that poor impulse control, accomplished lying, and a willingness to break one’s most solemn promises in pursuit of a covert thrill have absolutely no bearing on job performance. I assume they believe that this sort of sexual infidelity is so widespread among powerful men that it has absolutely no predictive power–and also that it’s not society’s job to punish people who break their marriage vows.

L’Aquila Earthquake — remember that?

The 2nd anniversary of the earthquake in l’Aquila, about 70 miles east of Rome, passed this week. They noticed in Italy — and one of the main questions is what happened to the 75 million euros donated by people sending SMS. I can’t find any articles in English yet, but here’s a link in Italian: DONAZIONI PER L’AQUILA: I SOLDI VOLANO, LE MACERIE RESTANO, Seguiamo la pista (tortuosa) dei milioni donati dagli italiani e dall’estero [Donations for L’Aquila: the money vanishes, the ruins remain: we follow the (torturous) path of the millions donated by Italians and from abroad].

A demonstration of Presentism

Ezra Klein: The Constitution “is confusing because it was written more than 100 years ago.” Honest, that’s what he said.
But that, Mr. Klein, is why some people major in things other than Political Science, so that we can understand old things. Some of us like to read REALLY old things, written in DEAD languages, and even imagine that we can understand bits of them.
I figure his other statement was just a slip. About the Republicans threatening to read the whole Constitution at the beginning of the next Congress, he says “……it has no binding power on anything.” I’m hopeful Mr. Klein means that the act of reading it changes nothing, because the Constitution sure has a lot of binding power.
People pay this man to write and talk about politics? As opposed to just leading a conspiracy of Democratic* journalists?
Further: a detailed post mortem.
*They’re not Left, they’re just partisan. Much like the professoriate, many of whom are better understood as Reactionaries of the Democratic Center than Leftists.

Pardon me for being a cranky, childless, late-middle aged man in the middle of your holiday season . . .

. . . but some people are crazy. Example: AP headline and coverage of the ski lift failure in Maine:

Hospital: Children were injured on Maine ski lift

By GLENN ADAMS, Associated Press – 31 mins ago
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine – A 35-year-old chair lift set for improvements failed Tuesday at a popular Maine resort, sending skiers — some of them children — plummeting into ungroomed snow far below that fell with the Northeast’s recent blizzard and softened the landing.
At least eight people, the children among them, were taken to a hospital after the double-chair lift at Sugarloaf derailed during a busy vacation week at the resort 120 miles north of Portland.
[my emphases]

Heaven forfend! Children falling from the sky! Parents letting children ride ski lifts to ski in winter in Maine! (by the way, “The failed lift is 4,013 feet long, gains 1,454 feet of elevation and nearly reaches the summit of 4,327-foot Sugarloaf, the state’s second-tallest mountain. It went into service in 1975 and was modified in 1983, according to Sugarloaf officials.” Sounds like someone got ahold of a press release. From the “officials” at the ski slope.)
Back to your regularly scheduled holiday cheeriness!

The terror and the pity of the Mainstream Media

The Washington Post sells Newsweek for $1 to a 91 year-old with no background in media. Yeah – he’s going to revitalize a faded brand to save it for the Democratic party (his wife is a member of the House of Representatives). “Harman added that his “primary responsibility” will be building a succession plan for Newsweek to hand it over to his children or an outside owner upon his death.”
He’d better work fast – statistically he doesn’t have long.
Funny, the WaPo story doesn’t give the price. The Daily Beast does.
Jon Meacham, fellow McCallie alumnus, will resign. Well, on his watch the magazine collapsed. “The Post Co.’s magazine division — chiefly, Newsweek — earned $31.4 million in 2007 but reported a $47.5 million operating loss in 2009. Newsweek has 1.5 million subscribers, down from its high of 3.2 million.” Not that it’s his fault, entirely – but the switch to even more Democratic-orthodox opinion and less news didn’t arrest the slide.

More verbal violence from the Journolisters

Really – these immature idiots should all be fired. The Journolisters rejoice in the aftermath of the last election:

LAURA ROZEN, MOTHER JONES (now POLITICO): People we no longer have to listen to: would it be unwise to start a thread of people we are grateful we no longer have to listen to? If not, I’ll start off: Michael Rubin.
. . .
SPENCER ACKERMAN: Let’s just throw Ledeen against a wall. Or, pace Dr. Alterman, throw him through a plate glass window. I’ll bet a little spot of violence would shut him right the fuck up, as with most bullies.
[He’s a bully? And you’re the one wanting to throw him through a plate glass window?]
JOE KLEIN, TIME: Pete Wehner…these sort of things always end badly.

Not that I like car racing enough to stand up and walk to the window to watch a car go by, but referring to those who do like the sport as “retards” makes me wonder what NASCAR enthusiasts might make of Mr. Alterman’s preferences. What a tool. I wonder if he thinks of himself as serving the people. Because you know, a lot of (the) people like NASCAR.

The Democratic-Media Complex exposed

This is beautiful. Especially piquant – their feeling that what they do “serves the people.”

Michael Tomasky, a writer for the Guardian, also tried to rally his fellow members of Journolist: “Listen folks-in my opinion, we all have to do what we can to kill ABC and this idiocy in whatever venues we have. This isn’t about defending Obama. This is about how the [mainstream media] kills any chance of discourse that actually serves the people.”

Someday the whole Journolist archive will be out and available and we’ll see more of these things.

About those Illegal (Russian) Immigrants

About the Russian spies – go to Jules Crittenden for a great media and blog roundup – and be sure to read this footnote on the nomenclature of illegals in context:

* “Illegals,” holdover Cold War spy talk for undercover agents operating on false pretenses, is in fact a hurtful use of the term in these more enlightened times. NYT more sensitively refers to them as “so-called illegals.” The claims made in affidavits would suggest these people were illegal immigrants who happened to be using fraudulent documents and may have engaged in some illegal activity. Advocates for illegal aliens lately have informed us those can be legitimate lifestyle choices that, rather than being prosecuted, should be supported by allowing people to obtain government papers such as driver’s licenses without having to produce supporting documents, and that people who lack legal authority to be here should be allowed to move freely, work, attend schools and receive government benefits. So in keeping with current fashion, these accused Russian agents should more correctly be refered to as “falsely documented espionage workers.”

National Geographic and Metal Detectors

My parents told me that the National Geographic Channel was premiering a show about the Staffordshire Hoard last night, so I tuned in. It was pretty good, despite the title: Lost Gold of the Dark Ages. BIG SIGH. But other than some pretty badly fitting helmets on the re-enactors, I didn’t mind it much. Lots of good interviews. Right in the middle was an advertisement from the manufacturer of the very metal detector used to find the hoard – you too can pull riches from the earth!

One of the causes of our creep towards dynastic politics might be a press that cares about the offspring of politicians. Had you heard of Luci Baines Johnson? Goodness knows I hadn’t, until CNN informed me that she’s been hospitalized. Though I am briefly sorry for her and her family, I wonder why we need to expend pixels (not ink and paper, at least), on the younger daughter of a man who became president by accident about the time I was born and decided not to run for a second term more than 40 years ago.
I mean, her illness hadn’t even made it to her wikipedia entry, where I found out that she and her sister were both given names so they had the same initials as their father. How – um – Texas, and not in one of the charming ways.