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Today's word on journalism

Monday, October 22, 2007

Can’t Scare the Old Gray Lady:

"Good journalism for an intelligent general audience is hard. And we’re really good at it. Taking on The Times is not as easy as waving a credit card and proclaiming yourself 'fair and balanced. . . .' We have every reason to feel confident that we can hold our own if [Rupert] Murdoch decides to build The Journal beyond its business-reader base. In all the Murdoch parlor-gaming, I don’t hear anyone suggesting that he would attempt to match the depth of our coverage in culture, science, education, health, religion, sports, lifestyle, etc., etc. Not to mention business coverage that even devout Journal readers find they can’t afford to miss."

-- Bill Keller, editor, New York Times, on Murdoch’s promised Wall Street Journal challenge to Times national dominance, Oct. 16, 2007

Time to solve global warming problem

By Jen Beasley

September 28, 2007 | There are two kinds of nations a-romping on the world playground. There are those that apologize when they've made a mess, and there are those that persist in wallowing in their own filth.

A member of the second club since our refusal to enact the Kyoto Protocol, the U.S. has engaged in a fine display of immaturity on the issue of global warming. Kyoto required a collective reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 5 percent from 1990 levels by the year 2012. Thirty-six industrialized nations found it reasonable. But the biggest kid on the pollution playground said it would give the economy an owie. Ironically, the very notion of reducing them actually led to a swift increase in U.S. emissions, arriving in the form of a shrill "But-China-and-India-Don't-Have-To!" whine.

Which led to the U.S. two-step plan to combat global warming:
Step one: Suck thumb.
Step two: Sit on it.

No wonder the guy stepping in is the Kindergarten Cop. This week, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (long known for his aversion to crybabies) took polluting nations to task for their finger-pointing and tattle-telling at a U.N. summit on climate change, saying it was time for each nation to take responsibility.

The Terminator called for "action, action, action." The Decider didn't show at all, though he attended a dinner later, and even hosted his own separate summit on climate change at his clubhouse in Washington D.C. At that summit, Secretary of State Condolezza Rice reiterated the Bush administration's perspective that each nation should volunteer to reduce emissions, dealing with global warming "in the ways they deem best." Like ice cream for dinner. Rice also said global warming must be approached from an angle that will not hurt the economy.

OK. That means fixing it.

Whoever believes that solving problems is to the economy as a sharp pin is to a helium balloon probably needs a little remedial logic instruction. Solving problems does not ruin the economy. Solving problems is the economy. The observation of needs, and their fulfillment, is the economy.

What would have become of the economy if we had forsaken inventing the wheel to save the job of the sled maker? What really hurts the economy is a thought environment that accepts stagnation as a solution to problems. The status quo. Cessation of innovation.

For those of you in the back who insist on believing in the Santa Claus Science that claims global warming is not real, consider that you have clearly outsmarted the entire world scientific community, and should therefore have sufficient brain power to find our alternative energy during recess. No problem, right?

Global warming is a problem. We need to solve it.

The U.S. needs to start doing its homework. It's time to wean this country from its fossil fuel security blanket. It's time to take a little responsibility at the next U.N. summit in Bali. It's time to clean our room. It's time to grow up.


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