Saturday, July 3, 2010


Video: MSNBC

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Recap - Week of 6/28/10
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Recap - Week of 6/28/10
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News
Videos: Comedy Central

Marketplace Minute for 7/2 from Marketplace on Vimeo.

Long Live the King

Larry King is in the Guinness Book of World Records for hosting the
longest-running show on the same network and in the same time slot.

So what to do with an aging icon as his ratings lurch ever-downward?

His voluntary exit solves one problem... But a larger one remains: What to do now?

Recent night moves by CNN's programming execs haven't worked to boost critical acclaim, audience ratings or anyone's confidence.
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 6/30/10, Reporter: David Folkenflik.

The Spy Who Loved Him

Alex Chapman with his former wife, alleged Russian spy Anya Kushchenkova, on their wedding day in 2002.

This week’s spy saga turned into an international investigation with reports that Anna Chapman may be a second generation spy, the daughter of a KGB operative, and that British security service MI-5 is looking into the activities of Anna Chapman in part by talking to Alex Chapman about his former wife. The World’s Laura Lynch reports.
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World 7/2/10, Host: Katy Clark.

Recalling the young couple

Video: ITN

Although divorced since 2006, Alex Chapman (the British ex-husband) remained in communication with alleged spy Anna Chapman...
A series of emails she sent him weeks before her arrest, described regrets over the life she had chosen.

Part of that recent life was keeping company with a 60 year old NJ millionaire with a taste for the high life and Russian beauties.

Anna explained the attraction of New York

Video: Russia Today

Video: CNN

The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)

Video: MSNBC

Cat vs Human

Cartoon from Cat vs Human blog by Bay Area illustrator Yasmine Surovec

Afro Celt Sound System

Afro Celt Sound System, with their mixture of African, Eastern, and Irish music, coupled with electronic grooves and moods has contributed some of the defining sounds of Echoes... Which led the program's listeners to select them as one of the 20 Icons of the show's anniversary celebration.
Audio Embed: Echoes, an ambient music program on public radio with an extensive archive of audio for download via subscription.

Brace Yourself

Video: CBS Late Show with David Letterman


It's not something you get from the Car Talk guys.

Video: Jimmy Kimmel Live / ABC

Friday, July 2, 2010

Jobless and Less

The U.S. Labor Department reported 7/1 that new jobless claims unexpectedly rose the previous week, while the number of people collecting extended benefits dropped by 376,000 – not because they found jobs – but because Congress has halted the program.

As the ranks of the unemployed anxiously wait to see if Congress will extend what they consider to be their lifeline, unemployed blogger Norm Elrod writes about his experiences in New York. He's still relatively positive despite being laid off four times in nine years... His blog is called Jobless and Less.
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 7/1/10, Host: Robin Young.

Video: MSNBC

Code Name: Starfish Prime

It was a light show that dwarfed any other...
And had nothing to do with killing ants.

Terry Luke/Honolulu Star-Advertiser
When Americans launched their first atomic nuclear tests above the Earth's atmosphere in 1958, the atom bombs had little effect on the magnetosphere... But the hydrogen bomb of July 9, 1962, did.

Code-named "Starfish Prime" by the military, it literally created a man-made aurora, an artificial multi-colored extension of the Van Allen radiation belts, that could be seen across the Pacific Ocean, from Hawaii to New Zealand.

In Honolulu, the explosions were front page news. "N-Blast Tonight May Be Dazzling: Good View Likely," said the Honolulu Advertiser. Hotels held what they called "Rainbow Bomb Parties" on rooftops and verandas. When the bomb burst, people told of blackouts and strange electrical malfunctions, like garage doors opening and closing on their own. But the big show was in the sky.
Audio Embed: All Things Considered 7/1/10.
Reporter Robert Krulwich's Starfish Prime slide show is here.

Blame It On Bacon

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Blame 6/29/10
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

Vote Carefully

The Supreme Court Can't Save You From Stupidity

The disturbing bottom line of Elena Kagan's confirmation hearings.
Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 6/30/10


Al-Qaeda Calls Off Attack To Spare Life Of 'Twilight' Author
Videos: MSNBC & The Onion

Vaccination, Lax Nation

In California, an outbreak of whooping cough — a bacterial infection that results in fits of coughing — has reached epidemic proportions. Five infants, all of them Latino, have died this year. California health officials are urging residents to get vaccinated. Meanwhile, in Colorado, an outbreak of meningitis has killed two Fort Collins residents.

The two diseases aren't connected except that both are preventable by routine vaccinations starting in childhood.

Dr. Richard Wenzel, former president of the International Society for Infectious Diseases and current professor of internal medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, runs through the reasons diseases public health defeated have experienced a resurgence.
Audio Embed: PRI & WNYC's program The Takeaway 7/1/10,
Hosts Celeste Headlee & John Hockenberry.

Itty Bitty Obelisk

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Mysteries of the Ancient Unknown - King Tut's Penis 6/30/10
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Videos MSNBC

(AP Photo via WBUR)
In this 1969 picture, workers used straw to absorb oil from the beach at Santa Barbara Harbor. The blowout at a Union Oil platform which helped lead to the Clean Water Act was never controlled by human response... The oil pocket bled out completely... Sending its entire contents into the Pacific.

There were two big oil spills that year that are still shaping public and scientific perspectives on oil and the environment, partly due to their iconic locations: the other was in Buzzards Bay at Cape Cod, MA.

Scientists from UCSB & Woods Hole who witnessed their local events compare and contrast the immediate and lasting impacts.
Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WBUR's Here & Now 6/30/10, Host: Deborah Becker.

Too Hot For Tea

Convention Bagged

Candidate Caught

Videos: MSNBC

Sharron Angle faced questions from veteran Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston on TV's Face to Face on Tuesday 6/29.

Among my favorite questions, Ralston asked if Angle would support a bill now before Congress which would funnel billions to small business with the intention of stimulating job growth.

After a boilerplate response lauding small business, Republican nominee Sharron Angle announced she would vote for the bill... Which Ralston then revealed was authored by her opponent, Majority Leader Harry Reid.

Cold War Leftovers

On June 28th, federal prosecutors charged eleven people living in New York, Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Northern Virginia with being part of a Russian espionage ring.

So what year was that again?

Audio Embed: BBC, PRI & WGBH's The World 6/29/10, Reporter: David Margolis.

Of course the neighbors never suspected a thing...

The NY Post christened her "The Red Hot Beauty."

Both the Washington Post and Huffington Post assembled a slide shows of photogenic accused spy Anna Chapman, because part of her blending in included posting on social media sites like Facebook... But one clue that something wasn't right was that you could also find her on Odnoklassniki, which is Russian for "classmates."

But Chapman, a 28-year-old divorcee with a masters in economics and an online real estate business, had a cover that even involved returning to Moscow as an American entrepreneur looking to invest in Russian start-up businesses, and speaking like a foreigner.

The Warren Buffett?

MI-5 is investigating the almost five years Chapman, born Anya Kushchenkova (daughter of a Russian "diplomat"), lived in Britain. And early research on her CV, which paints a picture of a high-flying existence working in a string of top London companies before launching her own international property firm with a multi-million dollar turnover and boasting that her work in the capital brought her into contact with Buffett proved greatly exaggerated.

The Telegraph (UK) reports the spposed Buffett connection was really a temporary secretarial job at NetJets, the luxury aircraft charter company partly owned by Mr Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway group.

Résumé inflation & big time name dropping seem very American.

Wall Street Bull

The death of West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd has thrown the timing of financial reform legislation into doubt.

Despite his failing health, the longest serving member of the Senate had compiled a 98% attendance record during his career... Including being wheeled into the chamber in the middle of the night for crucial cloture votes to overcome Republican filibuster tactics.

Clearing the Senate has become the greatest obstacle to anything the Obama Administration even remotely supports.

Meanwhile, there's lots of high priced legal and financial types already scheming to evade the letter, and defeat the spirit, of each proposed regulation.

Audie Cornish spoke with journalist Suzanne McGee, whose new book "Chasing Goldman Sachs: How the Masters of the Universe Melted Wall Street Down and Why They'll Take Us to the Brink Again" explores the reasons the financial crisis happened and the role perverse compensation schemes will play in creating bubbles.

McGee, who is a contributing editor at Barron's, also has written about financial markets for The New York Post and The Financial Times. Her conversation with Cornish preceded Byrd's death.
Audio Embed: Weekend Edition Sunday 6/27/10.

Bachelorette Update

Jimmy Kimmel Live 6/29/10

Up On The Roof

Brandon Hoy, Anastasia Cole, Gwen Schantz, Chris Parachini and Ben Flanner had an idea that they could bring agriculture back to New York City, where farms once flourished in the burroughs of Brooklyn & Queens. Calling themselves Brooklyn Grange, their goal was to grow vegetables in the city, sell them to local people and businesses and to improve access to very good food.

But since land was so pricey, they decided they had to go vertical and put their experimental farm on a rooftop.

By summer solstice everything was ready and their crops were in... On an office building roof in Queens.

Audio Embed: PRI's Living On Earth 6/26/10, Reporter: Stephanie Hughes.

And You Can Dance To It

Following the tribute package, Ryan Seacrest appeared next to Dick Clark in the front row of the Daytime Emmys... Where he embraced "America's Oldest Teenager" and told him he loved him.

After Clark's stroke, it was Seacrest who replaced him as host of ABC's New Year's Rockin' Eve just as he'd inherited hosting American Top 40 (celebrating its 40th anniversary this weekend) and the morning show at KIIS-FM Los Angeles. So just one guy... The same guy had replaced Dick Clark, Casey Kasem & Rick Dees.

Not to mention American Idol.

You have to wonder if he's that good, that connected or if radio has eaten so many of its own young that there's no working talent left.

In the best possible sense, Seacrest is his generation's Regis...
The go to guy.

In a Forbes Magazine interview he hinted it may be time to say "Seacrest out" when his weekday radio show contract ends November 1. Forbes cites recent rumors he is being courted by CBS Chief Executive Leslie Moonves to develop a talk-show hour that will be ready as Oprah Winfrey leaves broadcast TV in 2011.

Will he succeed the Queen of Daytime, or perhaps become king?

Larry went on to tell Bill Maher he thought if Ryan Seacrest had any interest in politics, he'd make a good replacement.

So is that a natural step or a shark jumping move? Time will tell... But odds are they'll be scooped by Us or Entertainment Weekly.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


On the second day of questioning during her confirmation hearing, Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan responded to criticisms from Republican senators. Jan Crawford reports from Capitol Hill.

Gen. David Petraeus cleared a Senate panel in his quest to be the new commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan. David Martin reports on the changes which lie ahead for future war operations in the area.

Videos: CBS

Split screen works better on college football than Senate hearings... But that probably didn't deter hard core CSPAN wonks.

Right Angle, Wrong Answer

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
You can run, but you can't hide forever.

Sharron Angle, the ultra-controversial, ultra-conservative Tea Party-backed Republican nominee running against incumbent Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, has restricted media exposure to right wing talk radio and their cable brethren on Fox. She's even been captured on tape literally running away from reporters who had the nerve to ask her to explain positions on her own website.

But on Tuesday, Angle was scheduled to face questions from veteran Nevada political journalist Jon Ralston on his TV program Face to Face. And NPR's Ina Jaffe explained why not only Nevadans, but political junkies nationwide, anxiously awaited the showdown, or possible meltdown, broadcast statewide on all three NBC affiliates.
Audio Embed: Morning Edition 6/29/10... See the encounter on Face to Face.

Notice that Jaffe's report is national, and doesn't come from the member stations of Nevada Public Radio?

That's because the regional public radio monopoly doesn't have any news reporters on staff. KNPR's one specific local news hire, Kyril "Ky" Plaskon, stayed 2003-2005 before leaving for CBS affiliate KLAS-TV, where he was a general assignment reporter until September 2008 layoffs that claimed a total of 17 station employees.

Nevada Public Radio originates a public affairs interview program called "State of Nevada" and some local commentary, but not news.

Justice Delayed

Chicago aldermen called for action against former police lieutenant Jon Burge, who was at the heart of a police torture scandal, which hung over the city for decades. Hearings held 7/24/07 found extensive evidence that torture took place under Burge.
Audio Embed: Chicago Public Radio 7/25/07, Reporter: Ben Calhoun.

The process took nearly three more years, but in Chicago on Monday 6/28/10, that former lieutenant was convicted on all counts of federal perjury and obstruction of justice charges. The statute of limitations had run out on the actual torture, but not on his lying about abusing suspects during a civil suit in 2003 when he denied ever witnessing abuse or participating in torture... Statements Burge repeated at his trial.

Over decades, dozens of men claimed that Jon Burge and and his underlings routinely beat and tortured suspects to pry out confessions. Burge now faces up to 45 years in prison.
Audio Embed: Morning Edition 6/29/10, Reporter: Robert Wildeboer,
Chicago Public Radio.

For some, the conviction marks the end of a tragic chapter in the city's history. Others, including federal prosecutors, suggest it could be just a start.

While no other perjury or obstruction of justice indictments have been announced, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald has said the investigation into the decades-long cover-up is ongoing.

No More Turning Away

Amnesty International

A Momentary Lapse of Reason (1987)


What might have been...

The final score: 4-1... Leaving English football fans to ask what if...

  • They had a different coach?
  • They had faster defenders?
  • The Premier League schedule wasn't so exhausting?
  • Officials hadn't missed the call, and the match was tied at 2?
  • They'd never sold the octopus to the Germans?

    Recriminations sound great in British accents.

    Video: ITN
  • The Wet Look

    Video: CNN

    Lori Ann

    Not really her.
    He liked to think of himself as able to pass for a guy with a bum leg, but it was a tougher sell in the summer. Waiting out the daytime sun and cutting through the air-conditioned casino hadn't been enough to overcome the heat of a triple digit day. And as he made his way toward the Subway, he was soaked through by the time he reached the top of the stairs.

    As he paused to switch his cane and reach for the railing, the last of three young women coming up the steps stopped next to him.

    "Are you having fun?" she asked.

    "No. Just a sandwich," he replied with a lopsided smile.

    And somehow that overcame everything else working against a good first impression. They exchanged names and a handshake.

    She wanted to know if he was a local. True for nearly ten years, but still not fully accustomed to the heat. She thought it must have reached 45 that day, so he asked which province she called home.

    She liked how quickly he'd recognized her as a Canadian, and that living 3 hours inland from Vancouver most likely meant she was from BC's relatively dry & dusty interior, but shy of Kamloops or Kelowna.

    Her face was pink from a day in the sun and her bright blue eyes opened even wider when he suggested it would've been a good day to knock back a Kokanee, but he'd never seen BC's favorite local brew on sale in Las Vegas. Indeed, she'd been relegated to a Budweiser... And even that one proved to be one too many for her taste.

    They seemed to connect so easily for two people separated by great distance and 3 plus decades. And as that thought formed in his mind, she reached up to wipe away the perspiration from his cheek.

    "Why did you stop to talk to me?" he wondered aloud.

    She had guessed not enough people did, and he admitted looking down to navigate without tripping limited eye contact. She knew he wasn't as old as the seniors she worked with at home, but found conversations with older people rewarding... They had better stories.

    So maybe part of it was her being professional. Maybe another part was his looking more than a bit pathetic. But on vacation in a distant place with her girlfriends, she was definitely off duty... And he had felt an unmistakable and highly personal tenderness in her touch.

    He realized he hadn't told her any of his story beyond what she could infer from their conversation, but he'd soaked in all the details of their moment. And as he wished Lori Ann a safe and pleasant stay, she embraced him enthusiastically in a good bye hug.

    "Thank you for remembering my name," she smiled.

    He would, with affection... Each time he retold their story.

    Postscript: The hit map app picked up a visit from Merritt, BC on 11/08/10, a very plausible hometown. I wonder if it was her... And did she recognize herself portrayed beside someone elese's picture?

    Tuesday, June 29, 2010

    Under the Gun

    Videos: MSNBC


    Video: CBS & MSNBC

    Any Regrets?


    For a 4 star, being dismissed from command is the equivalent of being declared to be unfit
    for command.

    So Stanley McChrystal, removed last week as the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan, has told the Army he will retire.

    And No

    Videos: CNN & MSNBC

    Mission Creeps

    During an interview on ABC television's Sunday news show "This Week," Director of Central Intelligence Leon Panetta rationalized a $100-million contract with the controversial firm formerly named Blackwater to provide "security services" in Afghanistan.

    Director Panetta claimed during the interview that his agency did not have much choice but to turn to one of the few firms capable of providing large-scale security services in war zones... Read killers for hire. These guys are mostly ex-special forces, not mall cops.

    Another $120-million went to the same company in the form of a State Department contract announced the same week. Mercenaries employed by Blackwater, whose new new corporate name is Xe Services, may be the ones who go where official forces can't, in pursuit of those who aren't where we are anymore.
    Audio Embed: Dave Ross, KIRO-FM/Seattle, 6/28/10.

    $800 Buyout

    Probably no way he could have known what it would become of course, but Apple’s third co-founder, Ron Wayne, had 10% of Apple’s original stock in 1976, and sold it soon after the company was founded – it would be worth $22 billion today (assuming he kept it all for all of these years).

    Video: CNN

    At least Steve Wozniak held on long enough to stage a good show.

    Bored To Death

    The attorney for a man who has plead guilty to looking at President Barack Obama's student loan records says his client only did it because he and others were bored at work... At a U.S. Department of Education contractor in Iowa where employees routinely looked up celebrities during down time, but without malicious intent.

    Boredom can get you into trouble... Or maybe even kill you.
    Audio Embed: CBS Radio's Osgood File 6/28/10.


    From the CD New Miserable Experience (1992).

    Monday, June 28, 2010

    Coverage vs. Coverup

    South African Lara Logan has been CBS News Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent since February 2006, but as the US war in Afghanistan began in November 2001, she was anything but an established beat reporter... She conned her way in country and infiltrated the US/UK-backed Northern Alliance and even managed to interview its commander.

    Extensive embedding with American armed forces (including Iraq), and the institutional values of both the military and mainstream TV journalism's approach to beat reporting have sunk in thoroughly.

    So how did Michael Hastings get such candor from McChrystal and his advisers?

    Speaking frankly isn't unusual, but very seldom published.

    CNN's former senior Pentagon correspondent Jamie McIntyre was on the military beat for 16 years. His theory: the beat reporter versus freelancer divide.

    Beat reporters may be less likely to use such candid moments in their stories for fear of losing future access. For a freelancer like Hastings that's not much of a concern.
    Audio Embed: WNYC's On The Media 6/26/10, Host: Bob Garfield.
    Video Embeds: CBS. CNN.


    Acclaimed novelist Lydia Millet imagines a future where a genetic engineering accident has wiped out much of the earth's plant life. When a few blades of grass appear on a remote island, a scientist goes to investigate. Martha Plimpton reads the story... With audio production by John Delore.
    Audio Embed: PRI & WNYC's program Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen 6/18/10.

    Lightning Crashes

    Lightning bolts simultaneously striking the new Trump Tower and the (former Sears) now Willis Tower, captured 6/23/10 by Chris Sweda of the Chicago Tribune.

    I'm Looking Through You

    Eizo of Japan manufacturers computer monitors, including high resolution display systems used for medical imaging. Their ad agency produced a pinup calendar for 2010, including Miss December (above).

    The Lennon-McCartney classic from Rubber Soul (1965) was covered by "The Wallflowers" for the movie soundtrack CD of I Am Sam 2001).