Oct 3, 2015

Saturday Data: Words Unspoken, Conspiracy Promoted

  The latest mass shooting in America...the one that left nine people dead and many injured at a Community College in Oregon, also advanced a new technique on the part of officials investigating the murders. Douglas County Sheriff John Hanlin refused to say the name of the shooter, as though that action---even if followed by every law enforcement agent in America---would somehow convince other shooters not to shoot.

    On top of that, Mother Jones and other media now report Sheriff Hanlin posted and wrote approvingly about a "truther" video about the Sandy Hook shootings on his personal Facebook page. It promotes conspiracy beliefs that the distraught parents of those innocent children were actually actors. 
     The L.A. Times reported he also opposed any additional gun control measures after Sandy Hook:

Amid national calls for tighter gun control laws, Hanlin has been firm in his opposition. He spoke out against gun control legislation last year, telling a state legislative committee that mandating background checks for private, person-to-person gun sales would not prevent criminals from getting firearms.
Hanlin also sent a letter to Vice President Joe Biden after the 2012 shooting at a Newtown, Conn., elementary school.
Hanlin said he and his deputies would refuse to enforce new gun control restrictions “offending the constitutional rights of my citizens.”
On Friday, Hanlin said he hasn’t changed his position on gun control, but refused to discuss any details.
 A website that tracks mass shootings in the U.S. reports there is now an average of one every day.
   Perhaps there will be a tipping point for mass shootings that will result in direct action to limit access to weapons. But it didn't happen after Sandy Hook. And I doubt it will happen after Umpqua Community College.
[PLUS: The Washington Post reports the most American gun owners live in the rural South.]

[Saturday Data is a regular feature of www.TimLennox.com]

Sep 30, 2015

Do You Know?

Is crime and the prison population up or down in your state since 2009?

Crime: Down 15%
Imprisonment: Down 3% 

The study is from PEW Research. It finds both are down in 30 States. Crime was up only in North and South Dakota.
Imprisonment was up in 18 states.

Check YOUR state HERE.

Sep 28, 2015

Alabama Harvest Time

Farmer Tom Duncan brought by the pumpkin this morning, providing me with a centerpiece for a home photo shoot this evening.  He sells his product at the Montgomery EastChase Shopping center Farmer's Market. Thanks Tom!

Special comment from Jay, former Montgomery resident, now way up in Mary-Land: "That's not a pumpkin. THIS is a pumpkin!"http://thumbs.media.smithsonianmag.com//filer/Competitive-vegetables-prize-pumpkin-631.jpg__800x600_q85_crop.jpg

Media Extra: Media Trust (or lack thereof)

Gallup finds trust in the media remains low, especially among younger Americans:

"....some of the loss in trust may have been self-inflicted. Major venerable news organizations have been caught making serious mistakes in the past several years, including the scandal involving former NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams in 2015 that some of his firsthand accounts of news events had been exaggerated or "misremembered."


MMMM #508 Buzz Words, Local Journalism, and Real Reality

What happens as local journalism dies? 
"...unless some entity comes along and does what local newspapers have been doing all these years, we're gonna have corruption at a level we've never experienced. ... So many papers now can't afford to have a beat reporter. ... To cover city hall, you have to be there every day and ... know the overall story, not just report what happens on a particular day."
                                                                                                      Bob Schieffer
                                                                                  CBS news

     The comment was part of a CNN story about the slow demise of local journalism, at least as practiced by local newspapers.
     And while i don't disagree with his defense of the "beat" system, it did have its weakness. Reporters on the beat were so close to the players that it was difficult to avoid pulling punches. They depended  more on inside sources, sources who could easily be angered because of critical stories. It is part of the same pressure suburban bureau reporters face.


Language is important, and should have actual meaning.
An op-ed column by a state representative:

"...because we refused to tax working families when there is free money on the table through expanding Medicaid and elective money on the table through an education lottery.

I've made it clear to Gov. Bentley and clear to the people of my district. I would never support tax increases on working families..."  

                 State Rep. Dario Melton, House Democratic Chair 

Alabama Capitol Building 1906
     I won't argue with the Representative's belief that those two steps could solve the state's General Fund deficit and more. But let me point out that only income gathering entities can pay taxes. Businesses that make no money, or are out of business, pay none. Nor do people who are unemployed. In terms of personal taxes, that leaves workers, or "working families" if you will, and the only people who can pay taxes. But the term working families sounds so nice.  


Aljazeera America praises an editorial in the NY Times for calling out some of the candidates in the second GOP debate, but asks why reporters didn't actually report what was happening:

This is called “objective” journalism. It has its virtues. It can guard against media outlets putting their own twist on every story. Going to authorities and experts can protect a journalist from being blamed if the statement of contradiction is wrong or incomplete.
The pejorative name for this is Chinese menu journalism: The reporter orders two quotes, one from column A and one from column B, and there’s a complete news meal. Describing it that way reveals the inherent weakness of the method.


PLUS: a weekend story told of the exploits of a Canadian
newspaper reporter who died at the age of 77 last week. A good read. Reporters like Alistar Dow did seem more colorful back then.
"Alastair Dow and fellow Toronto Star editors Bruce Garvey and Jim Rennie decided over a booze-soaked lunch to fly across the Atlantic, just because."

[The Monday Morning Media Memo is a regular/longtime feature of TimLennox.com.]

Sep 27, 2015

Tonight's eclipse

Clouds may block the view, but......

The total lunar eclipse in Montgomery, Alabama:

Begins: Sun, Sep 27, 2015 at 7:11 PM
Maximum: Sun, Sep 27, 2015 at 9:47 PM
Ends: Mon, Sep 28, 2015 at 12:22 AM

Source: www.TimeandDate.com