News in these here now United States


At the end of a Monday, this is the top news of a wealthy, well-known Southern California beach resort, population about 90,000. There’s a lot going on in my town. News-type news happens! More than most cities this size. We have a harbor and a large beach.

But apparently the Register (and everyone else, really) decided to save $5 and fire all their reporters. Top stories here include two actual news items, two rewarmed press releases, three canned data stories, and a real estate tout. Just from hearing sirens during the day anyone can tell that a couple of those data-repeating or PR stories could be replaced with a car crash, for chrissakes.

The Register was never an excellent newspaper, but they did cover local news. If a column of smoke was rising from the Westside or 8 cop cars arrived at the high school, you knew they’d have something about it the next day.

Welp that’s done!

What do you all think? What’s the likely effect of disappearing local news over the next decade or so?

Gruntfish, fang frogs, and microbears

From Chuck Shepherd’s News of the Weird today:

Among the species discovered recently in Papua New Guinea were tiny bear-like creatures, frogs with fangs, fish that grunt, kangaroos that live in trees, and what is probably the world’s largest rat (with no fear of humans). Scientists from Britain, the United States, and Papua New Guinea announced the findings in September, among more than 40 new species from a jungle habitat a half-mile deep inside the centuries-dormant Mount Bosavi volcano crater. [The Guardian (London), 9-7-09]

Updated guidelines, initiatives, and talking points


It’s time again to review. Let’s all stay focused on the issues and talking points listed below, and be sure to bring them up early and often and push the point home. In particular let’s remember to use the exact phrases the Department has issued. While it may seem tempting to “freestyle,” remember to stick to the carefully prepared ideas and presentations below. Here are the current initiatives:

  • Militarization of chiropractors
  • NAFTA and Clamato: Why Chelada means we have failed
  • Infiltration of family restaurants by homosexualists
  • GPS tracking of at-risk juveniles: unqualified boon, or pork-barrel windfall giveaway?
  • Federal caps on mercury and arsenic content will take water from the elderly. Speak out now!
  • The urgent necessity of school uniforms for university students
  • Private entomology companies can make a difference
  • Premium branded snack and leisure foods and the increasing Chinese threat

As always, thanks for your 110% cooperation. We need to be loud and clear and unified on these points to make the most impact on the issues threatening our families.

The shot

Political violence is frightening and enraging. In the case of Dr. Tiller’s death this week, the violence was explicitly religious and terrorist in intent. What’s worse is the behavior of political and media leaders who supported and gave a voice to dangerous extremists. That’s an institutional problem and those people must be called to account.

But let’s remember everyone else who got shot in the U.S. last week. The others weren’t politically controversial, well-known professionals. Some of them were jerks or screwups, others were children or retirees or just unremarkable people walking down their streets. And many of them were victims of explicitly terrorist organizations: street gangs doing local ethnic cleansing, corrupt police forces, mafias.

And these people are written off too, by the same politicians and media authorities. They generally don’t exist, and when they are mentioned at all it’s assumed that they were up to no good and therefore deserved what they got. No one deserves a death like that.

There were a lot of them. This small sampling locally gives some idea.

So don’t let the outrage from Dr. Tiller’s death stop. Keep it rolling, because the powers that be need to keep hearing that we don’t approve of anyone’s murder, at all.



SPACE WALK ASTRONAUTS LOSE TOOLS (This happened in a Stanislaw Lem story and it was fucking hilarious. Poor guy spends the rest of his trip being taunted by the wrench orbiting his spaceship, going by the cockpit window.)