18 August 2014

ROLDO RIGHTS ON BROOK PARK VOTERS
SENDING STRONG MESSAGE…?

1702 by Jeff Hess

By Roldo Bartimole

Is there a crucial message from Brook Park voters turning down two tax measures by significant margins? One was three to one and the other two to one defeat in an election a week ago. A harsh rebuke.

My journalistic take is this: Workers squeezed by years of no or little income increases and a tough job climate–are telling representatives that they don’t have the money to give more to local governments.

Finally.

They expressed their dissatisfaction at the ballot box in no uncertain terms. (Unfortunately, voters are playing suckers to sports franchises that have the ability to pay themselves but will to shove it off on taxpayers with help of office holders.)

Brook Park–a working class suburb contiguous to Cleveland–has a population of some 19,000, 92 percent white. The major private business is Ford Motors with some 1,300 employees.

Here is part of the essence of the voter turn down. People are tapped out. Squeezed.

In 1990, Brook Park median family income (half above, half below) was $36,000. Checking the Consumer Price Index inflation calculator for 2014 Continue Reading »

18 August 2014

MEATBALL JOURNALISM*: FINISH, MOVE ON…

0900 by Jeff Hess

When I started writing journalism I had absolutely no formal training—not one day in J-school, nor even on my high school newspaper. All I had going for me was the smug self-confidence of the slumming aesthete. The editors of the Chicago Reader took me in, and, article by article, gradually tortured the condescension out of me and forced me to learn the rudiments of my trade. Finish the story, they’d always tell me: just finish it, finish it now, and move on. Journalism is not for the ages; it’s what you know on the day. The next day you’ll know something different, and you’ll write a different story then. But that’s exactly what’s great about journalism, they’d say: there’s always another story. Every day you get a fresh chance.

I’ve never forgotten that. Ever since then, I’ve never gone looking for subjects, and I’ve never lacked for them. I’ve trusted that they would find their way to me, and they always have.

But there was one lesson that’s stuck with me more tenaciously than all the rest. It was a kind of parable about the nature of journalistic morality. I heard it from one of the Reader’s most gifted editors, Kitry Krause. She said she’d once spent months writing a feature story about a colorful local character, the habitue of a neighborhood pool hall. Just as she was finishing it, a mutual friend called to let her know that he’d died unexpectedly the night before. Kitry hung up the phone; another editor came by, saw her expression, and asked what was wrong. She told him, and he immediately slapped his palm on her desk and said, “There! You’ve got the perfect ending!”

Kitry said to me, “I think at least 15 seconds would have gone by before I’d have had the same thought myself. And I pray that’s what happens to you. Because those 15 seconds are the only hope a journalist has of getting into heaven.”

Lee Sandlin writing in The 15-Second Rule for The American Scholar.

*Meatball journalism

18 August 2014

SOCIAL/ECONOMIC COMMENT FROM 1955: NO. 10…

0800 by Jeff Hess

I turn 59 next month. My dad emailed me a series of photos and captions purported to be from 1955. I haven’t verified any of the quotes, but they’re fun nonetheless.
1955j 140809

I’m afraid the Volkswagen car is going to
open the door to a whole lot of foreign business.

From my dad, of course…

18 August 2014

15-SECOND RULE TO CREATIVE SLEEP…

0715 by Jeff Hess
  • The 15-Second Rule saved 133 days ago.
  • Writing Lessons saved 132 days ago.
  • FX Fargo saved 127 days ago.
  • Syracuse City School District saved 127 days ago.
  • New and Developing Research on Disparities in Discipline saved 126 days ago.
  • Public Intellectual Deathmatch: Coates & Chait saved 125 days ago.
  • Keep Cleveland Strong saved 125 days ago.
  • Other People’s Pathologies saved 125 days ago.
  • The Daily Routines of Famous Writers saved 125 days ago.
  • Stephen King on Writing and Wakeful Dreaming saved 122 days ago.
  • This is my exercise in shoveling out the blogpile…

    18 August 2014

    RULE NO. 47: SKIP THE SUPPLEMENTS…

    0600 by Jeff Hess

    Rule No. 47 – Be The Kind of Person Who Takes Supplements – Then Skip the Supplements.

    From Food Rules, an eater’s manual by Michael Pollan

    Previously…

    Found in my electronic chapbook. See also Eating Mindfully by Jan Chozen Bey.

    18 August 2014

    MICHAEL BROWN SHOT SIX TIMES…

    0530 by Jeff Hess

    ferguson a 140818
    Ferguson: Missouri national guard to be deployed.

    18 August 2014

    NOT THE MARIETTA TIMES

    0500 by Jeff Hess

    TODAY’S MARIETTA TIMES FRONT PAGE

    Today’s headlines include:

    Local News

    Grand finale: Thousands enjoy this year’s Waterford Fair
    Crash kills 2 in Williamstown
    Family history tour organized
    Preserving a brick sidewalk
    Americorps-Vista volunteer gains experience

    Top Headlines Poll: What was your favorite part of the Waterford fair?

    Great pictures of Marietta

    What’s going on here

    Previously

    17 August 2014

    SOCIAL/ECONOMIC COMMENT FROM 1955: NO. 9…

    1030 by Jeff Hess

    I turn 59 next month. My dad emailed me a series of photos and captions purported to be from 1955. I haven’t verified any of the quotes, but they’re fun nonetheless.
    1955i 140809

    It won’t be long before young couples are going
    to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work.

    From my dad, of course…

    17 August 2014

    COSMOS TO RECIPE FOR GENTLEMAN’S RELISH…

    0900 by Jeff Hess
  • Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey saved 154 days ago.
  • Cryptic crossword saved 148 days ago.
  • Lawrence Block In Taiwan saved 147 days ago.
  • Afi Scruggs: Digital Storyteller saved 147 days ago.
  • Microsoft admits to reading journalist’s emails saved 144 days ago.
  • Gentleman’s Relish saved 140 days ago.
  • Word count saved 140 days ago.
  • NSA critics express ‘deep concern’ for House reform bill saved 138 days ago.
  • Gentlemen’s relish & scrambled eggs saved 134 days ago.
  • Gentleman’s relish recipe saved 134 days ago.
  • This is my exercise in shoveling out the blogpile…

    17 August 2014

    GAWD, I DO MISS NIGHT COURT

    0800 by Jeff Hess

    Arguably the funniest scene from the series. The John Larroquette Show promised to be just as funny, if not funnier, until the writers decided to go mainstream and ruined the show.

    17 August 2014

    RULE NO. 46: LOVE YOUR SPICES…

    0600 by Jeff Hess

    Rule No. 46 – Love Your Spices.

    From Food Rules, an eater’s manual by Michael Pollan

    Previously…

    Found in my electronic chapbook. See also Eating Mindfully by Jan Chozen Bey.

    17 August 2014

    NOT THE (SUNDAY) MARIETTA TIMES…

    0500 by Jeff Hess

    TODAY’S PARKERSBURG NEWS AND SENTINEL FRONT PAGE

    Today’s headlines include:

    Local News

    Kogo wins fifth half marathon
    Fun For All Ages
    Parade sees clears skies, 125 entries
    Almost Queen and food draws crowds
    Big Red Band marks 90 years with reunion

    Top Headlines Poll: Do you believe it is possible for a politician to avoid “campaigning from office” if he or she plans to continue a career as a public official?

    Great pictures of Marietta

    What’s going on here

    Previously

    17 August 2014

    WE MUST DEMILITARIZE THE POLICE…?

    0400 by Jeff Hess

    There is a systemic problem with today’s law enforcement.

    Not surprisingly, big government has been at the heart of the problem. Washington has incentivized the militarization of local police precincts by using federal dollars to help municipal governments build what are essentially small armies—where police departments compete to acquire military gear that goes far beyond what most of Americans think of as law enforcement.

    This is usually done in the name of fighting the war on drugs or terrorism. The Heritage Foundation’s Evan Bernick wrote in 2013 that, “the Department of Homeland Security has handed out anti-terrorism grants to cities and towns across the country, enabling them to buy armored vehicles, guns, armor, aircraft, and other equipment.”

    Bernick continued, “federal agencies of all stripes, as well as local police departments in towns with populations less than 14,000, come equipped with SWAT teams and heavy artillery.”

    Bernick noted the cartoonish imbalance between the equipment some police departments possess and the constituents they serve, “today, Bossier Parish, Louisiana, has a .50 caliber gun mounted on an armored vehicle. The Pentagon gives away millions of pieces of military equipment to police departments across the country—tanks included.”

    When you couple this militarization of law enforcement with an erosion of civil liberties and due process that allows the police to become judge and jury—national security letters, no-knock searches, broad general warrants, pre-conviction forfeiture—we begin to have a very serious problem on our hands.

    Given these developments, it is almost impossible for many Americans not to feel like their government is targeting them. Given the racial disparities in our criminal justice system, it is impossible for African-Americans not to feel like their government is particularly targeting them.

    This is part of the anguish we are seeing in the tragic events outside of St. Louis, Missouri. It is what the citizens of Ferguson feel when there is an unfortunate and heartbreaking shooting like the incident with Michael Brown.

    Anyone who thinks that race does not still, even if inadvertently, skew the application of criminal justice in this country is just not paying close enough attention. Our prisons are full of black and brown men and women who are serving inappropriately long and harsh sentences for non-violent mistakes in their youth.

    The militarization of our law enforcement is due to an unprecedented expansion of government power in this realm. It is one thing for federal officials to work in conjunction with local authorities to reduce or solve crime. It is quite another for them to subsidize it.

    Americans must never sacrifice their liberty for an illusive and dangerous, or false, security.

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) writing in We Must Demilitarize the Police for Time Magazine.

    16 August 2014

    WHEN PROTESTERS BECOME BROADCASTERS…

    1334 by Jeff Hess

    In Ferguson, Missouri this week, the public has turned the notion of “see something, say something” back on the state, via a digital tool of enormous power: online pictures and video. Their efforts – which began days before reporters descended when Twitter user @TheePharaoh posted pictures immediately after a police officer killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown – have helped bring international attention to both Brown’s death and law enforcement’s disproportionate response to the ensuing protests.

    Antonio French, an alderman in nearby St Louis, spent days posting to Twitter pictures and a series of videos of the demonstrations and police actions that he captured on his mobile phone – and was reportedly arrested and then released on Wednesday evening. He is a citizen journalist of the best kind: a credible witness who has helped inform the wider public about a critical matter. Can anyone plausibly doubt that he and the two professional journalists who were briefly taken into custody after police demanded they stop recording were targeted because they were documenting law enforcement actions?

    Ferguson isn’t the first example of this kind of citizen journalism, which has been going on for years in any number of other places including Iran, Egypt, Occupy Wall Street and Syria. But the videos, blog posts, tweets, and photos from French and others on the ground have complemented the work of the traditional journalists on the scene – and have reminded us of what is becoming a civic duty in today’s America.

    Dan Gillmor writing in Ferguson’s citizen journalists revealed the value of an undeniable video for The Guardian.

    16 August 2014

    SOCIAL/ECONOMIC COMMENT FROM 1955: NO. 8…

    1030 by Jeff Hess

    I turn 59 next month. My dad emailed me a series of photos and captions purported to be from 1955. I haven’t verified any of the quotes, but they’re fun nonetheless.

    1950s Woman At Grocery Store Checkout Counter Handing Items Over to Cashier

    It’s too bad things are so tough nowadays.
    I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet.

    From my dad, of course…

    16 August 2014

    CUTE HACKING CAT VIDEOS…

    0942 by Jeff Hess

    Many otherwise well-informed people think they have to do something wrong, or stupid, or insecure to get hacked—like clicking on the wrong attachments, or browsing malicious websites. People also think that the NSA and its international partners are the only ones who have turned the internet into a militarized zone. But according to research I am releasing today at the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, many of these commonly held beliefs are not necessarily true. The only thing you need to do to render your computer’s secrets—your private conversations, banking information, photographs—transparent to prying eyes is watch a cute cat video on YouTube, and catch the interest of a nation-state or law enforcement agency that has $1 million or so to spare.

    To understand why, you have to realize that even in today’s increasingly security-conscious internet, much of the traffic is still unencrypted. You might be surprised to learn that even popular sites that advertise their use of encryption frequently still serve some unencrypted content or advertisements. While people now recognize that unencrypted traffic can be monitored, they may not recognize that it also serves as a direct path into compromising their computers.

    Morgan Marquis-Boire writing in You Can Get Hacked Just By Watching This Cat Video on YouTube for The//Intercept.

    16 August 2014

    YAY CLEVELAND…!

    0929 by Jeff Hess

    gay games 140815

    Four years ago, Konstantin Yablotskiy was not looking to change his life. He had travelled to Cologne to attend the Gay Games, an LGBT-friendly athletics festival. He was a figure skater, not an activist. Most of his friends or family did not even know he was gay. But then he took to the ice in front of a fully accepting audience, receiving whistles and applause on as he spun to a mid-tempo jazz number, later earning gold and silver medals for his performances.

    He watched athletes from around the world competing openly, unafraid of expressing their orientation. Before Yablotskiy left, he decided that he would would organize an LGBT athletics organization in his home country, Russia.

    When he returned to the Gay Games this year, Yablotskiy was leading a team of 33 athletes representing the 1,000-plus membership of the Russian LGBT Sports Federation.

    The Gay Games are a week-long athletics and cultural festival held every four years. This year’s games, held jointly in Cleveland, Ohio, and nearby Akron, and which culminate on Saturday, have drawn nearly 8,000 participants from more than 50 countries, competing in sports from football to bowling to synchronized swimming.

    Since they began in 1982, the Gay Games stated goal has been to display the athletic ability of the LGBT community, promoting equality by showing that gay and lesbian athletes are just the same as their heterosexual peers. Organizers promote full inclusion at the events, allowing participation regardless of sexual orientation, gender, race, ideology or physical ability. The long tail of the games, however, has been in empowering participants to create change in their own communities, especially in places where LGBT rights remain elusive.

    Skyler Reid writing in ‘It’s a huge human rights event. The Gay Games are changing the world’ for The Guardian.

    A bit of good news in Cleveland is much appreciated.

    16 August 2014

    THE INFORMATION WAR ROLLS ON…

    0921 by Jeff Hess

    Protesters and riot police have clashed again in Ferguson, Missouri amid renewed tension over the shooting of an unarmed teenage boy by a police officer.

    Police fired a teargas canister at a crowd of around 200 people last night who gathered near a shop that Michael Brown, 18, was suspected of robbing.

    Some protesters threw bottles at officers in riot gear and chanted “hands up, don’t shoot”.

    A 24-hour period of relative calm came to an end after local police released a video that appeared to show Brown stealing cigars and intimidating the owner of the convenience store minutes before his death.

    Jon Swaine writing in Ferguson police clash with Michael Brown protesters again overnight

    Huh? I thought that Missouri Governor Jay Nixon had inserted state police, under the command of Ferguson native, Captain Ronald S Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol. How did this happen?

    16 August 2014

    GREAT TAILS OF JOY…

    0852 by Jeff Hess

    wiley miller 140816

    I’m sitting here in my office with five tails of joy (four canine and one feline) peacefully quiet and napping.

    16 August 2014

    NOW, THIS IS GOOD NEWS THIS MORNING…

    0838 by Jeff Hess

    A grand jury indicted Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Friday for allegedly abusing the powers of his office by carrying out a threat to veto funding for state prosecutors investigating public corruption — making the possible 2016 presidential hopeful his state’s first indicted governor in nearly a century.

    A special prosecutor spent months calling witnesses and presenting evidence that Perry broke the law when he promised publicly to nix $7.5 million over two years for the public integrity unit run by the office of Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg. Lehmberg, a Democrat, was convicted of drunken driving, but refused Perry’s calls to resign.

    Though the Republican governor now faces two felony indictments, politics dominates the case. Lehmberg is based in Austin, which is heavily Democratic, in contrast to most of the rest of fiercely conservative Texas. The grand jury was comprised of Austin-area residents.

    Associated press staff writing in Gov. Rick Perry of Texas indicted on abuse of power charges for New Orleans’ The Times-Picayune.

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