Fake News, Makes News

Does the “York News-Times” look like a fake news website — playing off the history of the venerable “New York Times” — a newspaper that has been in publication since 1851? The York News-Times is actually a hundred-year-old newspaper publishing from York, Nebraska — a platte of 7,700 people in the Mid-South center of the state that has had a local newspaper since 1883.

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No Pension for You

It has always been a fascination when I read about pensions — especially forced pension payments from those who are made to pay as a requirement of their continued employment, with some paying over $800 a month into State “pension” coffers — and how those workers are demonized by the Far Right who believe public servants and private pensioners are somehow taking advantage of those who do not pay into a pension program. Pensions are not payoffs or welfare. Pensions are earned investment money entrusted to public or private equity.

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A Skewed Semiotic: When a Picture Speaks the Wrong Thousand Words

Nicholas Kristof wrote a fascinating couple of opinion articles for the NYTimes over the last two weeks, and the reason for some reader dissent and confusion in the first story appears to stem from a core misunderstanding — purposeful or not — about the image.

Here’s what Kristof wrote on February 22, 2014:

As an infant, Johnny was deaf but no one noticed or got him the timely medical care he needed to restore his hearing. He lives in a trailer here in the hills of rural Appalachia with a mom who loves him and tries to support him but is also juggling bills, frozen pipes and a broken car that she can’t afford to fix.

The first error Kristof makes — but has yet to apologize for, or clarify — is labeling Johnny “Deaf.”  Deafness is a cultural condition from which one does not get “healed” so the proper term should have been “hearing loss” since the “Deafness” was not actual, but imagined, by Kristof.

The real outrage aimed at Kristof was not over his inappropriate use of “Deaf” — but rather the way some of his readers felt he was celebrating a degenerate lifestyle of poverty in this image:

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Remembering Over Reinventing: Obituaries and the Unnamed

As we creep closer to sliding into our graves, we cannot help but look back over the arc of our lives and be tempted to wonder what is and what might have been.  There’s no regret in the ongoing evaluation of who we are and what we intended to become.

I always found it odd, and a little off-putting, growing up as a child in the Midwest, and having the older folks around me scan the obituaries page in the daily newspaper.

Looking for deaths — sometimes with both hope and regret — was maudlin and a little frightening to me, but the obit page was the final period on the end of a single image forged in sweat and hope against an impending darkness.  You were okay to be forgotten as long as the descriptive bits of you found final ink on a page.

Now that I live in the New York City area, and moved by both time and tide, I cannot help but be driven by my Midwestern DNA to scan the obituaries page of the New York Times.  It’s a wildly different experience reading the East Coast death roll call because these were the famous, and the infamous, and we are expected to remember them longer than the same sort of dead friends reported from the farmlands and valleys of the regular clarion — but we won’t.

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Google News Badges. Really?

For the brief time I was a Boy Scout, I loved merit badges above all else. The very idea that I would get these tangible pieces of evidence that I had done something — be it learning something or accomplishing something and it was of sufficient significance to award said badge — I loved it. I cherished those badges, though sadly not enough to put them somewhere I could continue to see them now if I wished to do so — I probably disposed of them when removing clutter from my possessions. I suppose if those badges had been recorded in some kind of database, you would now be able to look it up by my name on the Boy Scouts of America web site. Perhaps it is better that it is in the past.

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Sarah Palin and the New Paul Revere Refudiation

I used to not fear Sarah Palin — but after her recent refudiation of what really happened during Paul Revere’s famous ride — I am beginning to become uncomfortable with the incredible amount of positive press she’s getting for being wrong about almost everything she claims to be factual.

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When the New York Times Tells You Sunday Means Saturday and Sunday

If there’s anything I love in the world of print journalism, it’s the Sunday New York Times. There are so many sections exploding with glorious information waiting to be devoured, from the Magazine to the special fashion inserts. This is precisely why, when I saw a New York Times sale booth a few weeks ago with lovely tote bags being offered for subscribers that I felt that I had to bite. I knew exactly what I wanted — the Sunday New York Times.

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