Archive for May, 2008

It’s People! Stonehenge is People!

Posted on May 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Speaking of bodies, it turns out that Stonehenge was a cemetery.  

Researchers estimated that up to 240 people were buried there, all as cremation deposits. Other evidence from the British Isles shows that skeletal burials were rare at this time and that cremation was the custom for the elite

Everyone else was preserved for the Bodies exhibit…..


Quote of the Day, #2

Posted on May 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Premier [Exhibitions] cannot independently verify that the human remains you are viewing are not those of persons who were incarcerated in Chinese prisons.”

—from a warning sign negotiated between Premier and New York State attorney general Andrew Cuomo about the “Bodies” exhibit on display at New York’s South Street Seaport and elsewhere.

Iron Woman

Posted on May 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

What a poignant story: A woman spends almost 60 years living inside an iron lung, then dies when a thunderstorm causes a power outage….  

She began her life in the iron lung after being stricken with polio at age 3; the LA Times has this remarkable photo of a polio ward from the 1940s or ’50s.

Sometimes we do forget how lucky we are….


Quote of the Day

Posted on May 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 10 Comments »

Tech journalist Kara Swisher recently asked Facebook founder (well, depending on who you talk to) Mark Zuckerberg, “How was Harvard”?

According to Barron’s, his [roughly transcribed] response [emphasis added] was….

It was funny listening to Bill Gates yesterday tell how he never went to class. They have core curriculum; I was taking an art class about Rome and Augustus; I did not go to class all term; in reading period, I was planning on making it up, instead I built Facebook. Few days before the final I went to the course web site, downloaded the images, made Web site with an image of each piece of art work, and within half an hour, all the information on the artwork was there. I passed the course


Posted on May 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Two friends are writing terrific blogs, especially for the food-lovers amongst you. 

Eliza Wing, who runs, writes this blog called Morsels, about food and life. Eliza’s a beautiful writer and a hell of a cook.

Similarly, my old co-worker from 02138, Califia (not ka—lee—feah, but cal—i—fia) Suntree, has created an online zine about food and cooking called Spooning.

Its motto: Food Lovers of the World Unite!


How Washington Works

Posted on May 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

In its piece on the McClellan book, the Washington Post includes a quote McClellan himself once gave about a tell-all by former national security adviser Richard Clarke. 

Why, all of a sudden, if he had all these grave concerns, did he not raise these sooner?” McClellan said. “This is 1 1/2 years after he left the administration. . . . He has written a book, and he certainly wants to go out there and promote that book.

Great quote, right? Makes McClellan look bad and all. Ironic at the very least. Good digging by the Washington Post!

Except…not really. Turns out the Post had a little help from the White House.

As Politico reports, emphasis added…..

As part of a sophisticated pushback by presidential allies, a little bird pointed reporters to a 2004 briefing in which McClellan said of a critical book by former anti-terror czar Richard Clarke, “I mean, why, all of a sudden, if he had all these grave concerns, did he not raise these sooner?

”Might that little bird be this person?


Posted on May 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Yesterday I wrote that the Times had erred in allowing the White House to portray former press secretary Scott McClellan as “disgruntled” without asking McClellan for comment, and also suggesting that he had been “pushed out” of the White House without providing details. 

Today the Times more or less admits the error [emphasis added].

As news of Mr. McClellan’s new tell-all book — in which he calls the war in Iraq a “strategic blunder” and accuses Mr. Bush of engaging in “self-deception” — dominated the airwaves, the White House and a tight-knit group of former aides pushed back. They sought to paint the former press secretary as a disgruntled man trying to redeem his own reputation after long remaining silent about concerns he is suddenly taking public.

In this follow-up story by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, there is absolutely no mention of McClellan being “pushed out” of the White House.

And, unlike yesterday, this time the paper tried to get a comment from McClellan.

As for Mr. McClellan, he was mum on Wednesday….


The Case for Blogging

Posted on May 29th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Greg Mankiw reports that he’s had 5,000,000 visits to his blog in two years. 

The rationales I hear from Harvard profs who decline to blog—too busy, blogs are insufficiently scholarly—seem underwhelming in light of such a number. Mankiw has clearly found, or created an audience; initiated a conversation; found a way to extend himself as a thinker and teacher.

Isn’t the skepticism re blogging really just a resistance to change?

More on the McClellan Book

Posted on May 28th, 2008 in Uncategorized | No Comments »

The Times got beat by both and the Washington Post on the Scott McClellan tell-all, so it has an update today in which it suggests that the book is the result of sour grapes on McClellan’s part after “three tumultuous years” in the White House.  

The Times has this quote from current press secretary Dana Perino:

“Scott, we now know, is disgruntled about his experience at the White House,” she said.

If McClellan was given the chance to respond to that quote, we are not informed of it by the Times.

And at the end of the story, the paper returns to that trope [emphasis added].

He does have a number of kind words for Mr. Bush, particularly from the April day in 2006 when Mr. Bush met with Mr. McClellan after he learned he was being pushed out. “His charm was on full display, but it was hard to know if it was sincere or just an attempt to make me feel better,” Mr. McClellan writes. “But as he continued, something I had never seen before happened: tears were streaming down both his cheeks.

Sounds pretty interesting, right? I either didn’t know or had forgotten that McClellan had been “pushed out.”

It’d be even better if the Times had bothered to tell me just what happened, or was said to have happened, with McClellan.

But the paper of record…doesn’t!It’s just, “tumultuous years” and “pushed out” and then we’re left to ascertain the rest for ourselves.

Which is a disservice both to McClellan, as it plants a thought in the reader’s head (“disgruntled”) but provides no context or explanation or balance, and to the reader, who would like to know more.

It’s just sloppy, lazy, lousy journalism….

Hillary—Just Plain Lying?

Posted on May 28th, 2008 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

She’s claiming that she’s a stronger candidate than Barack Obama against John McCain in every poll.  

You have to ask yourself, who is the stronger candidate? And based on every analysis, of every bit of research and every poll that has been taken and every state that a Democrat has to win, I am the stronger candidate against John McCain in the fall.

As CBS reporter Fernando Suarez points out, that’s not even close to being true.

The problem is, there are a number of polls that show Clinton in a close race with John McCain, many within the margin of error, not including a few that show Barack Obama beating McCain by a larger margin than Clinton. …For days, Clinton has been grasping at almost anything to make her case to voters as the clock in the campaign winds down. Most recently Clinton compared the plight of Florida and Michigan voters to the struggles of the early suffragists and likened the primaries of those states to the fraudulent election that took place in Zimbabwe.

She’s also claiming that she’s the only candidate who can end the war.

Also: She can singlehandedly stop global warming, solve the Yankees’ pitching problems, and remove red wine stains from white fabric.