17 October 2006

Random Thoughts

Been scrolling around through various news archives as is my early morning habit, and on Molly Ivins column (click here to read it) she gives the best description of a reporter's job I've ever heard, right in her opening sentence: "I sacrificed an hour Friday evening to watch the Texas gubernatorial debate on your behalf, since I knew none of you would do it."

The New York Times writes that "expunged" criminal records are still readily available through private "data companies" and that the offer to expunge records just doesn't mean much anymore. Here's a great quote from the story: "Thomas A. Wilder, the district clerk for Tarrant County in Fort Worth, said he had received harsh criticism for refusing, on principle, to sell criminal history records in bulk. “How the hell do I expunge anything,” Mr. Wilder asked, “if I sell tapes and disks all over the country?” "

Shouldn't it be illegal to sell information like that?

Project Censored (click here) asks an interesting question about the power of media: "If a national movement calling for the impeachment of the President is rapidly emerging and the corporate media are not covering it, is there really a national movement for the impeachment of the President?" Of course, what I really enjoyed was the "top 25 censored news stories of 2007." Do they know something we don't, or are they just as prone to numerical typos as the rest of us?

My dial-up internet connection has kept me away from two intriguing stories posted at the Mother Jones website: a radio piece on "is Google evil" and a video piece where Colin Powell discusses his termination. I did enjoy this piece, however, on more ethics violations in Congress. Do you ever get the feeling that, once elected, politicians (of whatever party) think that gives them open season to do whatever the hell they want?

Now, no one wants to take less than seriously a very serious situation, and Harpers Weekly reports just such a situation - but it happens to include one of the best quotes I've seen this week. (We writer-type people appreciate a good quote even more than a cold beer - most of the time.) No, it's not the soldier who said "that damn marijuana," (though that was good, too). Seems a couple in Virgina are trying to "give back" the 15-year old boy they adopted after discovering he's a sexual predator. The mom's comment? “They just told me he was hyperactive."

There's snow on both Bee Top and Scotchman today. Unless I want all my income to go to Avista this year, I'd best get away from the computer and build a fire in the wood stove, then build a fire in myself by splitting a little more firewood.

1 comment:

Trock said...

I followed your link to that Mother Jones story about Google. If you believe that power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, it's all a bit chilling. We used to be able to attribute good motives to Google, back when it was privately held by a couple young guys out of Standford who were smart enough to sweep aside Yahoo and Microsoft (and who coined the company phrase, "Don't Be Evil" as a jab at Microsoft's abuse of its massive power). Now Google is giving Microsoft a run for its money -- and we're talking lots of money here, folk, on on both sides. When Google went public it became just as likely to morph into another colossal corporation that serves its shareholders and bottom line above all else. And it's doing that before our eyes. Now with fully half of ALL searches done on the Internet, Google is amassing vast amounts of information about every user who does a search at its website. The ways this information can ultimately be used is mind boggling -- it's about more then Google knowing that you did a search for steamy photos of the hot new movie star. As it catalogs every search you do over weeks and months and years, Google eventually will be able to predict your behavior (probably more accurately than you could yourself). Does power corrupt, absolutely? Well, we're probably going to find out.