23 April 2014

HOW THE NSA MISSED FRAZIER GLENN CROSS…

0457 by Jeff Hess

derf 140423

The Bush-Obama Security Scheme has priorities…

23 April 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0400 by Jeff Hess

TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

What’s going on here

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Drug prevention push launched
Dealer paid for his habit selling heroin
Green Valley merger called a plus
3 men arrested out of heroin discovery
Fleming back after severe injury

Top Headlines Poll: Have you attended any of the community meals around the Mid-Ohio Valley?

Previously

22 April 2014

I, LIBRARIANISTA…

1148 by Jeff Hess

The Paris Review: “The Art Of Fiction No. 203″ with Ray Bradbury:

INTERVIEWER: You’re self-educated, aren’t you?

BRADBURY: Yes, I am. I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on—well, what if you don’t like those books?

I am a librarian. I discovered me in the library. I went to find me in the library. Before I fell in love with libraries, I was just a six-year-old boy. The library fueled all of my curiosities, from dinosaurs to ancient Egypt. When I graduated from high school in 1938, I began going to the library three nights a week. I did this every week for almost ten years and finally, in 1947, around the time I got married, I figured I was done. So I graduated from the library when I was twenty-seven. I discovered that the library is the real school.

Growing up, I lived in the Washington County Library in Marietta, Ohio. There were few pleasures I relished more than spending a day there. I would take out a dozen or more books at a time and I recall once when I presented my stack and library card, a new librarians questioned whether I ought to take out so many books at once. The regular librarian overheard the conversation and intervened, telling the new comer that I would be back the following week for another load.

Years later, when I finally read A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, I identified with Betty Smith’s heroine because I had worked my way through the library in much the same way as she: starting at the A’s and going around the perimeter.

22 April 2014

WAS JACK BAUER THE ANTI-FINCH…?

0649 by Jeff Hess

I’ve been watching Person Of Interest of late, and I’ve been struck by a comparison of two topical and timely television characters–Harold Finch and Jack Bauer–and the way they are nearly mirror images.

Jack Bauer, played by Kiefer Sutherland on Fox’s 24 for eight seasons (2001-2010, and making a limited comeback next month) is Fox News’ poster boy for killing and torturing bad guys with only a tiny bit of bad conscience. The show had the amazing good luck to debut on 6 November 2001, only 8 weeks after the attacks of 11 September. Jack Bauer was exactly in the right place at the right time to be America’s new superhero.

Harold Finch, played by Michael Emerson on CBS beginning in 22 September 2011, 10 years after 24 and coincided, less tightly, but nearly as effectively as 24, with real political events, in this case, the 2010 leaking of devastating documents to WikiLeaks by Chelsea Elizabeth Manning and, I think most importantly, predated the 2013 heroic actions by NSA analyst Edward Snowden and their subsequent publication by Glenn Greenwald and others.

Much of what Person Of Interest seems to make up is not nearly as scary as what the Snowden documents continue to reveal about our Government, the Bush-Obama Security Scheme and the Five I’s. To my mind, Finch is everything that Bauer never was and more.

22 April 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0400 by Jeff Hess

above the fold 140422

Click on image for readable version from Newseum.

What’s going on here

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Finished business
Man in standoff ruled insane
Warren board lobbies for levy
Taste of Home Cooking School brings the taste of spring to Marietta
Lawrence still a hot topic

Top Headlines Poll: How sensitive are you to pollen levels in the Mid-Ohio Valley?

Previously

21 April 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON KEEP BILLIONAIRES STRONG…!

1243 by Jeff Hess

roldo 140421 rustwire

Angie Schmitt, Rustwire, Is Cleveland Strong?

Roldo Bartimole writes:

The claim is that we need more public investment to keep Cleveland strong. Does the evidence prove this? You know the answer.

On Sunday April 6 the Plain Dealer ran an article based on a study done for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It was meant to measure the value of sports facilities to our community.

Hiring a firm whose business essentially serves the industry it is asked to assess suggests you don’t really want a straight answer. You seek a rigged game.

The truth is the study done by a Texas based firm Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, and promoted on the Plain Dealer‘s front page represents the assessment of a business that advises about the building and renovating of arenas, stadiums, convention centers and more. It speaks to and for its client base.

The Cavalier management hired a firm supported by sports facilities to ask whether such ventures were economically productive. It got the answer it wanted.

The study estimated that more than $2.7 billion was added to the downtown economy and another $1.4 billion to the region.

In other word, the public financing was a big success. So the public should vote more subsidies.

The Plain Dealer decided the “study” was worthy of a striking front page using scarce space of 12 inches deep by four columns width in its Sunday edition. A large graphic of 210 small basketballs dramatized the points the report sought to make. It was Continue Reading »

21 April 2014

KURT VONNEGUT ON REVENGE…

0446 by Jeff Hess

Kurt Vonnegut said:

In our personal lives, our inner lives, at least, we can learn to live without the sick excitement, without the kick of having scores to settle with this particular person, or that bunch of people, or that particular institution or race or nation. And we can then reasonably ask forgiveness for our trespasses, since we forgive those who trespass against us. And we can teach our children and then our grandchildren to do the same – so that they, too, can never be a threat to anyone.

Vonnegut also said:

One of the things [Uncle Alex] found objectionable about human beings was that they so rarely noticed it when they were happy. He himself did his best to acknowledge it when times were sweet. We could be drinking lemonade in the shade of an apple tree in the summertime, and Uncle Alex would interrupt the conversation to say, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

So I hope that you will do the same for the rest of your lives. When things are going sweetly and peacefully, please pause a moment, and then say out loud, “If this isn’t nice, what is?”

How many times today will I (or you) be able to repeat Uncle Alex’s affirmation?

Previously…

21 April 2014

ONE COMMENT A HOT TOPIC MAKES…?

0428 by Jeff Hess

Mouse over the above screen capture from today’s Marietta Times to see what qualifies to be included in the paper’s What’s Hot category.

In a way, the paper is daily making the case that local newspapers are just not ready for an online presence. I’ve been thinking that Ogden might consider an archive function for its newspapers, allowing access to full stories after 30 days, so that those doing historical research can do their work.

This wouldn’t require anything fancy, just a straight, searchable data base that the paper, as do all newspapers that use computers to assemble their dead-tree editions, already has.

21 April 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0400 by Jeff Hess

above the fold 140421

Click on image for readable version from Newseum.

What’s going on here

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Unique facade
Mudslinging or free speech?
Standardized test discontent
Lawyers explain pipeline issues for Warren Twp.
Easter egg hunt in Oak Grove

Top Headlines Poll: At what age do you think it is appropriate for a child to have access to their own cellphone?

Previously

20 April 2014

HAPPY VERNAL EQUINOX…!

1652 by Jeff Hess

I attended a wonderful family wedding over the weekend and the Shaman officiating on Saturday made a point of saying that this was a wonderful time for a wedding because of the renewal of nature theme, the Easter, that had been celebrated by peoples around the world for more than five thousand years.

His subtle reminder that long before Jews incorporated the Vernal Equinox into Pesach (the first full Moon after the Vernal Equinox) or Christians developed their own mythic structure around the astronomical event (the first Sunday after the first full Moon after the Vernal Equinox) sky-aware peoples have chosen this event to mark the beginning of Spring.

Heather McDougall writes in The Guardian:

Easter is a pagan festival. If Easter isn’t really about Jesus, then what is it about? Today, we see a secular culture celebrating the spring equinox, whilst religious culture celebrates the resurrection. However, early Christianity made a pragmatic acceptance of ancient pagan practises, most of which we enjoy today at Easter. The general symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth, overcoming the powers of darkness, was a well worn story in the ancient world. There were plenty of parallel, rival resurrected saviours too.

The Sumerian goddess Inanna, or Ishtar, was hung naked on a stake, and was subsequently resurrected and ascended from the underworld. One of the oldest resurrection myths is Egyptian Horus. Born on 25 December, Horus and his damaged eye became symbols of life and rebirth. Mithras was born on what we now call Christmas day, and his followers celebrated the spring equinox. Even as late as the 4th century AD, the sol invictus, associated with Mithras, was the last great pagan cult the church had to overcome. Dionysus was a divine child, resurrected by his grandmother. Dionysus also brought his mum, Semele, back to life.

In an ironic twist, the Cybele cult flourished on today’s Vatican Hill. Cybele’s lover Attis, was born of a virgin, died and was reborn annually. This spring festival began as a day of blood on Black Friday, rising to a crescendo after three days, in rejoicing over the resurrection. There was violent conflict on Vatican Hill in the early days of Christianity between the Jesus worshippers and pagans who quarrelled over whose God was the true, and whose the imitation. What is interesting to note here is that in the ancient world, wherever you had popular resurrected god myths, Christianity found lots of converts. So, eventually Christianity came to an accommodation with the pagan Spring festival. Although we see no celebration of Easter in the New Testament, early church fathers celebrated it, and today many churches are offering “sunrise services” at Easter – an obvious pagan solar celebration. The date of Easter is not fixed, but instead is governed by the phases of the moon – how pagan is that?

All the fun things about Easter are pagan. Bunnies are a leftover from the pagan festival of Eostre, a great northern goddess whose symbol was a rabbit or hare. Exchange of eggs is an ancient custom, celebrated by many cultures. Hot cross buns are very ancient too. In the Old Testament we see the Israelites baking sweet buns for an idol, and religious leaders trying to put a stop to it. The early church clergy also tried to put a stop to sacred cakes being baked at Easter. In the end, in the face of defiant cake-baking pagan women, they gave up and blessed the cake instead.

Even the Gospels are confused. An examination of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John shows that the authors (who wrote in the name of the apostles nearly a century after the reported events) were interested in telling two very different stories. Matthew, Mark and Luke wanted to focus on the last supper (a Seder celebrating Pesach) which would have occurred after the sacrifice of the Pascal lambs. John, on the other hand, wished to portray the Jesus character as the Pascal Lamb and therefore needed him to die before the Seder would have occurred.

As PZ Myers noted yesterday, dangerous revelations occur when people actually read the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. They might read Matthew 27:51-53 and see this!

20 April 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0400 by Jeff Hess

What’s going on here

Today’s headlines include:

Since the Marietta Times does not publish a Sunday edition, what was your favorite story this week? What story did the Marietta Times not report or under-report this week?

Previously

19 April 2014

IN THE BELLY OF THE BEAST…

0817 by Jeff Hess

From this morning’s Marietta Times:

Leaders of a national atheist group say the best spot to find a nonbeliever is in a place of faith.

To that end, the American Atheists, in an effort to raise awareness and attract new members, are holding their annual conference over Easter weekend in the home of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

They say the church’s large influence in Utah has made atheists in the state reluctant to speak about religious doubts for fear of being shunned. Atheist group leaders also criticize the LDS influence as having overstepped its boundaries in areas of public policy.

“Religious morality is dictating the Legislature. That’s unconstitutional, and that’s why we’re fighting this fight,” atheist spokesman Dave Muscato said, speaking against the state’s ban on gay marriage.

I’m betting that there are more than a few people in Marietta who will wish they could comment on this story. (< snark >Of course, Mormons, like Catholics, aren’t real Christians, so this may not be a problem.< /snark >)

19 April 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0400 by Jeff Hess

What’s going on here

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Phones for kids
MHS band fundraising begins
Around Town
Watershed to reduce assessment
Student art on display

Top Headlines Poll: Will Congress adjust flood insurance premiums to benefit Marietta?

Previously

18 April 2014

GABRIEL GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ: 1927-1914…

0754 by Jeff Hess

I had occasion twice in the past month to mention Gabriel García Márquez. He first made an appearance in HCWW in 2005.

Today, The Paris Review chose this portion of his 1981 interview to memorialize Márquez:

INTERVIEWER: Why do you think fame is so destructive for a writer?

GARCÍA MÁRQUEZ: Primarily because it invades your private life. It takes away from the time that you spend with friends, and the time that you can work. It tends to isolate you from the real world. A famous writer who wants to continue writing has to be constantly defending himself against fame. I don’t really like to say this because it never sounds sincere, but I would really have liked for my books to have been published after my death, so I wouldn’t have to go through all this business of fame and being a great writer. In my case, the only advantage in fame is that I have been able to give it a political use. Otherwise, it is quite uncomfortable. The problem is that you’re famous for twenty-four hours a day and you can’t say, “Okay, I won’t be famous until tomorrow,” or press a button and say, “I won’t be famous here or now.”

Well, there’s always the nom de plume

In The Guardian, Richard Lea and Jo Tuckman write:

He wanted to return to his childhood and the imaginary village of Macondo he had created in Leaf Storm, but there was “always something missing”. After five years he hit upon the “right tone”, a style “based on the way my grandmother used to tell her stories”.

“She told things that sounded supernatural and fantastic, but she told them with complete naturalness,” García Márquez said. “When I finally discovered the tone I had to use, I sat down for 18 months and worked every day.”

Right from the elliptical opening sentence – which finds Colonel Aureliano Buendía facing a firing squad and remembering the “distant afternoon” many years before when “his father took him to discover ice” – One Hundred Years of Solitude weaves together the misfortunes of a family over seven generations. García Márquez tells the story of a doomed city of mirrors founded in the depths of the Colombian jungle with the “brick face” his grandmother used to tell ghost stories, folk tales and supernatural legends.

The novel was an instant bestseller, with the first edition of 8,000 copies selling out within a week of its publication in 1967. Hailed by the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda as “perhaps the greatest revelation in the Spanish language since Don Quixote of Cervantes.”

I’ll be re-reading 100 Years this weekend.

18 April 2014

IF THEY’RE BROKE, WHY FIX IT…?

0527 by Jeff Hess

Mano Singham writes:

The issue of college athletes being recognized as employees and having the right to unionize has resulted in a lot of information coming out about them. I had not realized that athletes at those universities that have big sports programs have to practice and watch game films and the like for fifty or more hours per week. That is shocking because that would leave them hardly any time to attend classes, let alone study for them. No wonder that this breeds the practice of bogus classes that they sign up for in order to maintain their academic standing.

It is a far cry from my university where we field teams but academics come first. We are nerds and proud of it. Some of my best students have been athletes and I have had students who, if an exam conflicts with a game, would skip the game and take the exam, even though I was willing to give a make-up exam. (There was a widespread belief among students that physics make up exams were harder than the regular ones.)

In his post, Mano embeds Jon Stewart’s commentary and Keith Knight nails the hypocrisy.

18 April 2014

ON THAT FREEDOM OF SPEECH CONCEPT…

0508 by Jeff Hess

xkcd 140418

18 April 2014

NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

0400 by Jeff Hess

What’s going on here

Today’s headlines include:

Local News

Flood of criticism
Insurance fraud alleged
Oak Grove Christian school forming
Beverly-Waterford 225th anniversary falls on Easter Sunday
Reminder on Armory Square parking

Top Headlines Poll: Will Congress adjust flood insurance premiums to benefit Marietta?

Previously

17 April 2014

NO ON ISSUE 7 RALLY WEDNESDAY 23 APRIL…

1150 by Jeff Hess

[Update @ 1445--In addition to the rally next Wednesday, 23 April, there is fundraiser this evening beginning at 7 p.m. See the details below.]

sin tax party 140417

From Coalition Against The Sin Tax:

Issue 7 Brings People Together…

TEAM UP WITH
The Coalition Against the Sin Tax
For a “Vote NO on Issue 7” Rally.
April 23rd, North West corner of Carnegie and Ontario @ 6pm

April 17, 2014 – Cleveland, Ohio – On Thursday, April 23rd, at the north west intersection of Carnegie and Ontario #clesintax hits the streets. We will be debuting the coalition’s Yard Signs and dancing to beats from local hip-hop artist B No Good, who is featured in our latest video.

Peter Pattakos, leader of the Coalition against the Sin Tax (C.A.S.T.), said “it’s time to hold our county and city leaders accountable. It‘s time to hold the big money that controls them accountable.” From the perspective of the residents of the Cuyahoga County and in particular, the City of Cleveland, we no longer have representation ‘of the people, for the people and by the people.’” He continued, “this rally will begin the process, leading up to the vote on Issue 7 on May 6th, of how and why we want our elected officials to represent the interests of the county and city residents over billionaire team owners and special interests groups.”

Peter and the rest of the volunteers of The Coalition against the Sin Tax invite all who feel underrepresented to join us in this rally.

PRESS CONTACT: Erin McCardle: 216.450.7574 or email

17 April 2014

WELSHMAN STUNNING GOAL FOR REAL MADRID…

1141 by Jeff Hess

This must be a Welsh kind of week…

17 April 2014

CODE BLUE…

1133 by Jeff Hess

Over at The Marietta Times (not to be confused with Not The Marietta Times) the conversation is all but over. I just took a peak and there are two, count them two, polls (and no articles) in the What’s Hot box: How interested are you in seeing so-called faith-based movies? (three comments, one each from LovesBuckeyes, chugger and flintnapper) and How often do you skip breakfast? (two comments, one each from ea333555 and LovesBuckeyes).

In the weeks leading up to the paywall around the Marietta Times, there were articles and polls that ran for dozens, if not hundreds, of comments. Granted, many of those comments were unenlightening, but still, readers were engaged.

In the Forums, the Latest Topics and Most Popular Topics sections, the vitality is even lower. The most popular topic: Union fat-cats…myth or reality? was last commented on 25 days ago and the latest topic: Barack Obama Legacy has devolved to the point that even John Wayne would have left the mud pit and walked away (as an aside, I love the sponsor of this clip).

Here’s my prediction: by the end of 2014 the Marietta Times will realize that the income (most likely the only standard of measurement that the folks at Ogden care about) from the web presence simply doesn’t cover costs and the decision will be made to shutter the online wing of the paper.

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