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105 posts from March 2007

March 31, 2007

4000 excess deaths in Katrina period

Fascinating post by Robert Lindsay.

Re: impersonating other bloggers in comments

Don't do it, unless you make it absolutely clear that it's a parody. Also, if you're going to spoof someone, leave your real email address.

This morning I deleted a spoof comment purporting to be from Althouse because I felt it crossed the line.

Hivemind: Creating the ultimate Rolodex

This is more of a discussion prompt than a specific question. Maybe there's already an off-the-shelf software solution for this, or maybe it's something I'll have to build for myself. I want to create a private searchable, database that will allow me to index all of my contacts, call records, notes, and recordings, and supporting documents. For example, when I get a new source, I want to be able to assign that person an identifying number and key in his or her name, telephone number, job title, and other contact information. I also want to be able to key in the date of first contact, the name of the person who introduced us, the dates and times of each subsequent communication, and links to any notes or audio generated in that communication. I'd like to be able to tag various records by story as well. So, let's say that I talked to Jane, Sam, and Bob for the XYZ story. I'd like to be able to search for "XZY story" and see all the sources I talked to, the days on which I talked to them, and links to the notes and audio from each call. Is there any existing software that will enable me to do this efficiently? I'd like to stay away from giant Excel files, if at all possible.

Update: I run OSX.

FOX grooms Rachel Marsden as next Ann Coulter

Fox News loves immigrants, as long as they are right wing Canadian pundits. According to this Salon article by Rebecca Traister, FOX is grooming Rachel Marsden to be the next Ann Coulter. This should be interesting... I was at Simon Fraser during the great Marsden/Donnelly stalking controversy.

Marsden pursued swim coach Liam Donnelly for years and later accused him of sexual harassment when he rebuffed her advances. The feminist community at SFU rallied behind her. Donnelly was fired, only to have his name cleared.

I know several of the SFU people Traister interviews for the article. Patricia O'Hagan, the sexual harrassment coordinator who resigned over the scandal, was my demography professor. Neil Boyd, the criminology professor who was harrassed by Marsden and later wrote a book about sexual harassment on campus, is a close colleague of my dad's an a longtime family friend.

While I was at SFU, I worked at Starbucks. One morning a woman came in and handed me a sheet of paper as I was working the till. It took me a second to figure out what it was, partly because I'd gotten up at 3:45 to work the opening shift, but mostly because it was such a bizarre-looking document with red hearts and garlands and several different fonts. It was a resume, Rachel Marsden's resume. I dutifully handed it off to my assistant manager, relishing the look of confusion and revulsion on my supervisor's face. She didn't get the job.

After leaving SFU, Marsden was charged with stalking former radio personality Michael Morgan between Oct. 1 and Nov. 14, 2002. In October, 2004Marsden plead guilty to criminal harassment and was sentenced to one year's probation.

Forget Coulter. I think FOX is grooming Marsden to be the next Bill O'Reilly.

March 30, 2007

Breast feeding and HIV transmission

Researchers have found that infants born to HIV postive mothers in Africa are less likely to contract HIV if they are fed nothing but breastmilk in the first 6 months of lilfe, compared to a mixture of breastmilk and other foods.

Infants who received formula milk or animal milk in addition to breast milk were nearly twice as likely to be infected as infants who received breast milk only.

And those given solids in addition to breast milk were almost 11 times more likely to acquire infection.

It is thought that this higher risk is due to the larger, more complex proteins found in solid foods which may lead to greater damage to the lining of the stomach, allowing the virus to pass through the gut wall. [BBC]

Breastfeeding carries a small but significant risk of mother-to-child transmission and women who can afford to feed their infants nothing but formula are advised to do so. However, many African women with HIV can't afford an all-formula diet.

Giuliani was briefed on Kerik's mob ties

Rudy Giuliani testified that he was briefed about Bernie Keriks ties to a mobbed up company before he promoted Kerik to Police Comissioner.

Mr. Giuliani’s testimony amounts to a significantly new version of what information was probably before him in the summer of 2000 as he was debating Mr. Kerik’s appointment as the city’s top law enforcement officer. Mr. Giuliani had previously said that he had never been told of Mr. Kerik’s entanglement with the company before promoting him to the police job or later supporting his failed bid to be the nation’s homeland security secretary.

In his testimony, given in April 2006, Mr. Giuliani indicated that he must have simply forgotten that he had been briefed on one or more occasions as part of the background investigation of Mr. Kerik before his appointment to the police post.

He said he learned only in late 2004 that the briefing or briefings had occurred, after the city’s investigation commissioner reviewed his own records from 2000. To this day, Mr. Giuliani testified, he has no specific recollection of any briefing or the details of what he was told. But he said he felt comforted because the chief investigator had cleared Mr. Kerik to be promoted. [NYT]

If you were hiring a police commissioner, don't you think you'd remember little details like the applicant's ties to organized crime?

March 29, 2007

Heeere fishy, fishy, fishy

A montage of a can of Russian fish. Tuna? Mackerel? Mmm, extra calcium.

I don't know if everything pictured came in the can, but if it didn't, whoever made those pictures could work as a high-powered food stylist.

Hat tip to Suzib and Loren.



Back from Gettysburg

Yesterday, I gave the Richardson Lecture at Gettysburg College. My talk was about the merits and limitations of the norms and attitudes that journalists call "objectivity." Journalistic objectivity turns out to have almost nothing in common with any philosophical concept of objectivity.

Gotta go take my computer to the shop--the power supply is broken and I've got about 15 minutes of battery life left!

I'm going to write up the talk as a paper/essay and post it on the blog. Sorry, no audiovisuals. There was a videographer there for Gettysburg closed circuit TV, so I might be able to get some clips from them.

Thanks again to the staff and students of Gettysburg for inviting me. It was a great pleasure to meet SteveG , Aspazia, and their colleagues and students. I was a little nervous, but they made me feel right at home.

March 28, 2007

Recommended reading

Facing South on Attorneygate-Little Rock.

DMI on HSBC quitting predatory lending.

Shakes on Althouse.

March 27, 2007

Female tech blogger cancels keynote amid death threats

Sad news: Tech blogger Kathy Sierra canceled her scheduled keynote adress at ETech because she was facing a barrage of online death- and rape threats. Over the past four weeks Kathy has been targeted for a barrage of increasingly credible threats of physical violence. In her post, Kathy reports that she has contacted the appropriate authorities and that they are taking her complaints seriously. I'm saddened to hear that another woman has foregone another opportunity because of misogynist intimidation.

I want Kathy to know that her colleagues in the feminist/lib-left blogosphere are pulling for her. Thanks to zuzu and Dr. Sox for voicing their support.