Paging Dr. Sinclair, 2008 calling! Paging Dr. Sinclair! 1

Birthers have to be among the dumbest people on Earth. Listen carefully to this exchange between these two intellectual giants, Pamela Geller (of anti-Muslim blog Atlas Shrugged fame) and Eric Bolling (of Fox Business News fame). After “analyzing” the image posted on the White House website, Bolling rhetorically asks Geller why the physician attending Barack Obama II’s birth back in 1961 never mentioned to his family that he had delivered the future 44th President of the United States. Maybe it was because the doctor, David A. Sinclair, died in 2003, five years before Obama, a senator from Illinois, even entered the presidential race. Doctor Who can travel through time. Doctor Sinclair, I suspect, could not.

Chinese censors suppress news about Egypt

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — Al Jazeera reports that the net nannies in China are blocking discussion about the democratic movements in Egypt on a popular micro-blogging service. Chinageeks.org reports official news sources are keeping mum about the reasons for the protests, if they carry any reports about them at all. Apparently, China is also blocking Al Jazeera’s live video streams and sanitizing discussion forums as quickly as anyone posts. Maybe the leaders in Beijing are a little worried. One wonders why.

In case your local paper pulled this comic …

Apparently, some local papers, fearing an uproar from readers, pulled this syndicated comic by Wiley Miller so no one would see it. The comic of course is a play on the Where’s Waldo? children’s books. Then, there is the current phobia about anything even vaguely Muslim, Islamic or Arab. “The sky is falling! Terrorists! Mosques! AAGGGH!” You could also consider it a snark on the Muslim ban against depicting the image of Muhammad anywhere. Or the unsale-ability of the book title. But, there’s another angle. You can’t find Muhammad (as in a common name for a Muslim guy) in the picture, because he probably looks just like anyone else. Just a regular guy, and not some crazy extremist ready to force sharia law on US citizens. Of course, if you’re paranoid or watched too many spy movies, maybe you’d think Muhammad is disguised as the ice cream guy, who’s got a bomb in his cart. If you think that way, you need to get out more. Seriously.

The little girl in the photo, 38 years later

This photograph, taken by Vietnamese photog Nick Ut for the Associated Press, has been called the iconic photo of the Vietnam War. I remember seeing it in the newspapers when I was in high school, and the image is still stored away somewhere in my brain. Ut snapped it as children fled their Napalmed village, Bang Trang, on July 8, 1972. The little girl in the center is Kim Phuc, who was nine years old at the time. The Napalm had burned off all her clothes and left her with horrible burns over half her body. Ut and a film crew for ITN, the British TV network, saved Phuc’s life, twice. First, they doused her with water and rushed her to a British hospital. Then the ITN crew arranged for her to be transferred to a US hospital for further treatment. Since then, Phuc, now 47, has enjoyed periods of anonymity and suffered from the glare of publicity. The Vietnamese government used her as a “poster child” for the war while she was a young woman, against her wishes. She was able to attend university in Cuba, where she married a fellow Viet student. On their way to Moscow for ...

But this news is not funny at all …

JISHOU, HUNAN — I read tonight that Editor & Publisher, which has been the unofficial watchdog of the U.S. newspaper industry for 108 years, is going bye-bye. E&P was indispensable reading for us (former and present) newspaper types, even if we were only reading the classified for jobs or getting our jollies from the headline bloopers on the last page of the magazine. The trade journal is a casualty of corporate media conglomerates, who value profit over service. E&P’s owner, The Neilson Group, is selling off some of its publications to new owners, but axing E&P completely. Journalists are protesting the move, but who knows if protests will succeed in saving Editor & Publisher. Like the Columbia Journalism Review, E&P critiqued the newspaper trade, and especially noted the media’s servile role during the Bush administration, where it seemed most newspapers were just doing PR for the White House instead of questioning it. Some allege that E&P’s tendency to criticize the Bush administration and point out corporate media’s dearth of fact-checking may have led to its demise. This is as depressing as Rupert Murdoch buying The Wall Street Journal.

Oh, yeah! That’ll work – a coup d’etat … 5

JISHOU, HUNAN — A columnist on a right-wing website Tuesday suggested that the US military maybe might possibly be considering a coup to remove President Barack Obama from office. Following some negative publicity, the site, Newsmax.com , quickly removed the offending column from sight. What the hell are these people smoking? It’s gotta be laced with something than fries your brain permanently. John L. Perry has been a regular contributor to Newsmax.com since 1999, according to his bio there. He supposedly worked in the Carter administration, but has since gone over to the Dark Side, it seems. In a column published Sept. 29, he suggests the military could be considering a solution to the “Obama problem.” There is a remote, although gaining, possibility America's military will intervene as a last resort to resolve the "Obama problem." Don't dismiss it as unrealistic. America isn't the Third World. If a military coup does occur here it will be civilized. That it has never happened doesn't mean it wont. Describing what may be afoot is not to advocate it. So, view the following through military eyes: Officers swear to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and ...

The truth behind AM talk radio 2

If you love Rush Limbaugh and others of his ilk, then don’t read the article I’m linking to here. It might demolish your faith in their sincerity and/or expertise. On the other hand, if you hate Limbaugh, et alia, then you can read to your heart’s content. Dan Shelley is a former news and program director of WTMJ, an AM talk outlet in Milwaukee and home of local rightwing radio mouth Charlie Sykes. In a revealing, almost confessional essay for Milwaukee Magazine, Shelley exposes the dirty underside of wingnut talk radio. [Read the comments, too. There's some gems from the readers.] Above all, Shelley says, talk radio is not journalism; it’s entertainment. The hosts carefully choose their topics and their reactions to those topics specifically to draw huge audiences. There is no pretense to be, as Fox News says, “fair and balanced.” Rather, radio talkers are like rabid pit bulls, who attack the “enemy” with a savageness bordering on demagoguery. To support their whackjob arguments, the hosts carefully weed out facts and data that contradict their theses, while denying callers with different opinions a chance to get any decent airtime. Each host, Sykes included, is like a petty dictator once ...
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