Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Another Day in the Year of Betty

(via Jezebel)
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Condescension in Arkansas

It's not exactly clear what transpired, but it seems a reporter who does freelance work for the Jacksonville (AR) Patriot was late for the city council meeting and while she was waiting to ask the Mayor questions, he asked her to "cover her ears" during a discussion he was having with the local NAACP reps and she left with the Chief of Police.

The Chief and the Mayor say that the reporter wasn't asked to leave city property, while those involved in the discussion and the reporter, Kate Knable, apparently had a different impression.
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Quickie: Montana Advertises to a Select Market

Montana spends most of their tourism ad budget regionally, but because New Yorker readers are passionate about the publication, are much more likely to travel and have an income 2.5 times that of an average Montanan, they decided to gamble 18% of their summer magazine budget on a single ad.
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PullQuote: Even Hardcore Islamics "Like" Lesbians

From an article about Iranian homosexuals escaping to Turkey;

Under Iran’s Islamic law, the punishment for same-sex intercourse between two men is death and between two women is 100 lashes for the first three offenses and the death penalty for the fourth.
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Monday, April 12, 2010

Island Hopes Whitewater Scandal Left No Scar

Adjoining the Roosevelt Campobello International Park and New Brunswick's Herring Cove Provincial Park is the rustic Lupine Lodge, which up until the end of last season offered accommodations and the island's only fine dining.

The estate was originally developed by a family of Roosevelt cousins, who used it as a getaway until the 1970s, when they turned it over to the New Brunswick Department of Tourism and Parks. Due to budget limitations, the Parks Department let the property sit empty and fall into disrepair until the 1980s, when a brash developer from Arkansas did a flyover and saw potential in the place.

Jim and Susan McDougal of Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan and "Whitewater" fame bought 3000 acres on Campobello Island in the 80s. They built roads, cut lots and entered into an agreement with the New Brunswick government to develop the old Adams Estate in a full service resort, which they used to entertain friends, clients and potential buyers for their property development.

After the savings and loan crash and the dissolution of Madison Guaranty, a private corporation operated the resort under contract until 2009, when economic conditions and border procedures changed. Over the course of that year, a local non-profit was established to operate the lodge, which took over full management in August of 2009.

Then, without explanation and with only two days notice, the provincial government ended their contract with the Compass Institute in January 2010 and because it's now time for the local tourist economy to spring to life, the island's residents are getting concerned. After all, the lodge has traditionally employed about twenty people and it's estimated they do $60,000 in local purchasing, with the bulk going to the local grocer.

As of the March 26th edition of the Quoddy Times, the provincial government still had not announced any plans for the property and they've told local residents that the "process doesn't require" local input. Also prior to February, New Brunswick had held no discussions with the International Park, though now at least one meeting has occurred.

Unfortunately, beyond getting "official" answers from the various governmental bodies, the status of any negotiations or plans for the summer season are still completely unknown.
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PullQuote: Oprah May Not be Gay

Kitty Kelley promoting her unauthorized biography of Oprah Winfrey;

I know people are expecting me to 'out' her. But I think she's just asexual. She's poured all of her energies into her career. And if she is, she is never ever, ever going to come out.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tea Party Candidate Gets a Point for Style

I don't know much about Mike Yost, who is running for the Republican nomination to face the Democratic incumbent in Florida's 3rd, except what can be found in a couple of quick articles announcing that he'd gathered more than enough signatures, his website mentions the Tea Party on their front page and he really should boost his YouTube channel.

But, I did find it amusing that at his recent press event, he said about Rep. Corrine Brown; "She's promised people the moon and she couldn't even deliver a Moon Pie", as he passed out the Southern delicacy, then added "microwave for an out of this world dessert!".
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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Head Scratcher: A Non-Story in Questionable Taste

Phoebe Prince, a student at South Hadley High committed suicide.

Several of her classmates were indicted by a Grand Jury for contributing to her death, which takes the case into national headlines, so WWLP in Springfield (MA) filed a report on whether it sells hotel rooms?

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Arizona Highways to Help State Parks

A couple of months ago, the Arizona legislature voted to take 60% of the state park budget, which is comprised entirely of user fees with no state contribution, six months after the budget went into effect.

As I reported at the time, the move would force the division to several parks, reduce the maintenance budget and turn the whole system into a threadbare operation, which is kind of self-defeating because they need the user fees to continue the services which remain.

In response to the legislative action, the State Parks Board voted to close thirteen parks and keep nine open. The best I can tell from a glance, five of those which remain open are operating on a five day a week schedule and several of the previously closed parks have been given a temporary reprieve by partnering with local governments.

Toward the same end, Arizona Highways magazine has graciously offered five dollars from every subscription sold using a specific checkout code to the state park ofyour choice and they're suggesting that people consider buying multiple subscriptions, as gifts.

Related: For a look at how far a state government might go to be considered ridiculous, follow the AZ tag for a shock.
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LocalLinks: WV Mining Disaster

WVNS in Beckley, West Virginia seems to be doing sort of a liveblog with updated information, plus they're streaming and archiving the various press conferences.

The Beckley Register-Herald, thus far seems to have one major story that appears to have been put together in increments and it certainly has the "local" angle. One assumes their larger website will be updated, as information about the Montcoal mining disaster becomes available.

Also worth monitoring: WVVA (Beckley); WSAZ (Charleston); the Huntington Herald-Dispatch; Charleston's Daily Mail and Gazette

Massey Energy: Official Site; Wikipedia

U.S. Mine Safety & Health Administration
WV Division of Mining & Reclamation

If and when other local sources are identified, this post will be updated accordingly and suggestions for local blogs or other sources are more than welcome in the comments.
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Monday, April 5, 2010

PullQuote: A New Kind of Duress

Bobby Goodson, star of Discovery's Swamp Loggers on what it's like to work on camera;

It took a little while to get used to. But when you got cameras in your face for five and a half months, you kind of get used to them. It's aggravating. I'm not going to tell you it's not. Because they do get in the way. And we're out there trying to do our job and they're trying to do their job and sometimes we collide. But there haven't been any fights yet.
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Television Wins from Health Care Reform

Over a nine day span prior to the House of Representatives voting on reconciliation for the Health Care Reform Act, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent $522,000 on television ads urging Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO) to vote against the bill, as she had originally.

Unfortunately for them, she changed her position because as she told the Washington Post, she felt the revised measure had better cost containment, she liked the improvements to benefit small business, the better financing and the CBO's finding that it would reduce the deficit.

After she became one of the seven Democrats to change their vote, the Service Employees International Union and the Democratic National Committee spent $270,000 on advertising to thank her and the National Republican Congressional Committee spent $1,725 chastising her with spillover media from Wyoming.

Thus far in the first quarter of this year, she has raised $505,000 for her re-election bid in what promises to be a hotly contested race, with $355,000 coming after she had announced her change.
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Another College Paper Generates Firestorm

College is where many people learn limits and that seems to be especially true, when it comes to student newspapers.

In the short life of this blog, I've pointed toward a questionable column from a self-described provocateur at American University which has received some national press, a week-long learning opportunity from a text ad purchased by a Holocaust denier and an instance when the humor magazine at Georgetown crossed over a line.

Now, it's the University of Colorado at Denver's turn.

Most of the news articles for their April 1st "joke" edition was prefaced with the line, "Please read this fake article only if you can take a joke", which allows for an easy search and the overwhelming majority of articles are rather innocuous.

There's one about an intervention to combat the student Vice-President's Furby addiction; An article announcing a medical marijuana dispensary in the cafeteria; A how-to for opening a portal to hell and a culinary review of a local dumpster.

Then, there are those which dance close to the line, if not straddle it, inappropriately. A writer compares a romantic breakup to the Chilean earthquake. An article announcing that CU-Boulder will be going private because it's where all the "privileged white students want to party" and then there's the piece heralding the benefits of bulimia.

Though,what seems to be stirring up most of the storm is an op-ed written from the point of view of a racist from the reactionary right, entitled "Enjoy obamacare if you like payin for illegal mexicans" and an advice column called "Dear White Guys", in which they say minorities have more children and are looking to steal white kids.

The paper has now released an editorial, where they invoke the First Amendment, lament the fact that more than half of their run was stolen and say that the edition will be available all week.

To their credit, they also encourage people to write letters to the editor and to attend a protest this morning. Which, though they intended it as a joke, if there's a modicum of truth to their own sense of irrelevance, all this publicity and fanning the flames could get them more readers.
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Stimulus Stimulated Pennsylvania Business

Alan Levin of Northeast Building Products was skeptical of the President's stimulus plan until he had to take his factory to 24/7, adding two shifts and almost doubling his workforce.

And, before he was written-up in his local paper, interviewed by CNN and ABC, profiled on Bloomberg, mentioned in the President's State of the Union, blogged about by a member of the Vice President's staff, held-up as an example by the Secretary of Commerce at a European conference and his company was called "the best example in the country of what the economic recovery act has done in getting the economy back on track" by the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Needless to say, he and his employees have had a pretty good year.
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Sheriff Embarrassed to be Lauded by Playboy

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PullQuote: Air Force to Begin Forced Layoffs

Clipped from a letter, Air Force Chief of Staff Norton A. Schwartz sent to base newspapers announcing a change toward seeking non-voluntary separations of service;

We are nearly 5,000 airmen above our authorized, funded end strength ceiling. We must correct these overages and skill imbalances by sizing and shaping our force within our authorized, funded ceiling.
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