Thursday, March 31, 2005


Always important and for journalists under fire from inept critics on the right more pertinent than ever.

"But if a reporter who also has a Ph.D. in environmental science is writing about drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, it seems like something a reader ought to know. Certification would never, of course, be a prerequisite for practicing in a field, just as an accountant need not be a CPA to advise you on your income tax. But it is information worth having when you decide whom to listen to.

Journalists are realizing this, and journalism schools are responding to the market demand by offering midcareer certification programs in some substantive specialties, such as business reporting."

Philip Meyer of the UNC School of Journalism.

Age Discrimination

The Supreme Court's decision, "in an opinion by Justice John Paul Stevens, did not leave employers defenseless. They will be able to defend themselves by proving that a challenged policy was based on "reasonable factors other than age.""

Yeah and let me tell you from experience what this is: The younger worker will always be found to be more qualified. Their degree is better; the two jobs they had are better than the 12 years for the older worker. The clips are stronger and hence they are better qualified for the job. I doubt there is any case where the oldest worker was hired for a competative job opening in government or the private sector. My three claims were dismissed in house for these reasons. Moreover it's doubtful the EEOC would have found them meritorious to even take. So I didn't pursue it.

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Da Vinci Code

Other than the infringement claims of Lewis Perdue which concern archetypes and arrangement of ideas, plot points and structure similarities, I find ridiculous, the claims that Dan Brown says his book is actual true history. In other words this actually ocurred as he writes it. It's fiction and has elements of historical truth in the form of relics i.e. texts, the paintings, Dead Sea Scrolls, interpretation of Constantine's role on the Catholic Church, secret societies and lineage of Jesus and so on are factual but none of it leads to a conclusive verdict. It's speculation as novels frequently are. What's the crime in this? I'm afraid classic blasphemy charge heard all the way through history. There's nothing more to it than that.

The truth as this inquiry purports really requires hair-plitting that is the essence of history writing. I found the first example to be reading too much into a statement of novel dialogue. "The pagans and Christians were warring for years. Constantine picked the winning side." The Da Vinci Code. Only one side, Rome was doing the warring on a small sect says Prof. Erhman. Sure, but he still converted as a move of diplomacy. Which is where Brown goes in his church conspiracy. History requires an adversion to ultimate conclusion that a novelist can't afford.

No side can prove divinity. You can't prove a negative. The logical conclusion if Jesus was a human with an important political philosophy and movement who was killed for it. The Divine is indeed a human concoction, but I'm not surprised that believers want to take it out on Brown's shoddy research, after making him a multi-millionaire. Fiction is speculation. So is theology.

The Tricky World of Infringement

""History is not copyrightable," Mr. Plonsker said. "But if the manner in which you tell about a historical event is a particular expression of character or sequence of events, that is copyrightable. If you can show that the defendant had access and that the works are substantially similar, which is the legal standard, then you can win."

Certainly is and in my case I can. I'm only waiting for publication to compare my work with the other. Were sources used that only I had at the time?

Friday, March 25, 2005

A Side Issue

Says Geologist Kenneth Deffeyes of ANWR. I haven't read his book Hubbert's Peak but I should. So should you.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Blinded By Belief

There's no doubt that Terry Schiavo will never recover, yet Republicans, even doctors who hold strong religious views about the very nature of life, will suspend all history of training to shore up their beliefs in miracles. The concept is central to all faiths. It's natural for humans to want and need such a thing, but it's a whole different matter to deny reality because of it.

These are some scary dudes.

Monday, March 21, 2005


Are alive and working earning huge salaries in writng the celebrity book.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Here I am electrofishing the Jago River. I routinely saw bears and wolverines right out in the open. I can't think of another place where that happened empty-looking or not.

Arctic Refuge Facts

Water is scarce in the arctic coastal plain. Essentially it's a desert, so there's not enough water available for ice roads hence the inevitability of gravel permanant roads going every which way all across the calving grounds.

This is a new technology complex far afield from Prudhoe Bay. As the New York Times reports slant-drilling distances from the pad claims are exaggerated, currently just over a mile up from 0.9 miles in the past. This is hardly encouraging news.

Arctic Footprints

As this clearly shows, winter activity evidence never goes away in the tundra of the 1002 area under consideration for pillage by the Bush administration.

Range of the Porcupine Caribou herd


Dana Milbank has a great piece today. "Partisans," he says, "love to complain about bias when the facts are against them, but pleased to cite the mainstream media when the facts are in their favor."

Oh don't they though.

Friday, March 18, 2005

My NY Times Letter

My letter wasn't used, but others said the gist of it.

To the Editor:

Interior Secretary Gale Norton makes a feeble and shameless attempt to justify drilling in ANWR. "A small footprint" she says, and this: "When the spring thaw comes and the road melts, any evidence that a man or a machine ever crossed there will be gone."

This is factually false. shows tracks in the tundra from early exploration are still there today. Moreover, the ice roads she cites comes from vacuuming up water from all of the pothole lakes used by waterfowl. I know because measuring standing water for this very purpose was part of my job in 1989.

As a biologist myself I've seen and surveyed the 1002 area firsthand. The mountains are much closer to the coastal plain than in other areas of the Alaskan north slope already open to exploration. That's 85 percent of all arctic slope land. Isn't that enough? The 1002 area of ANWR is what we biologists call a "hotspot"; a perfect storm of biological life not found just anywhere. To let this administration befoul the last best place should not be allowed. The result would be a mish-mash of pipelines than would span the entire plain with devastating effects for 140, 000 caribou and other wildlife.

More animals and less room. Do the math.

Mark A. York

Thursday, March 17, 2005

One by one

The Iraq architechs slip out the back.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005


The Cantwell Amendment removing ANWR drilling goes down in defeat 51-49. Thank three turncoat Democrats for that: Inouye, and Akaka of Hawaii and Landrieu of Louisiana. There's more fight to come and with good reason. These straw man and false cause fallacies that dominate the Republican party thinking can't stand much light. We'll keep shining it in their eyes. Even with all the oil going out of the country should it go through they still make the false claim of energy inependence. Can't happen from this little symbolic nugget.

To their credit Republicans John McCain and Norm Coleman voted for the amendment to remove drilling from the budget. And the Maine delegation of Snowe and Collins.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Call of a Traitor

Interior Secretary Gale Norton makes a feeble attempt to justify drilling in ANWR. "A small footprint" she says, and this: "When the spring thaw comes and the road melts, any evidence that a man or a machine ever crossed there will be gone.

This is factually false. Tracks from early exploration are still there today. Moreover the ice comes from vacuuming up water from all of the pothole lakes used by waterfowl.

Scroll down on Norton's own agency information refutations of her NY Times piece.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Media- Bias Debunked

Howard Gold at Barron's online kills the whack-jobs who decry the liberal bias of the "MSM." Most viewers are smart enough to know a fantasy bridge deal when they see it. CNN is second and FOX in 19th place in the Nielsen's. The numbers don't lie but the wing-nuts can't say the same can they?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Chase Alaska Lives

"Jungle" Bob Durr came out with the second half of his memoir without my notice until now. My account in 1976 in Alaska Tales about my journey to his homestead community of Chase near Talkeetna is worth a look and so is the professor's here.

I found the Durr's to be arrogant and not particularly open to new settlers. It would have been different had I came with the girlfriend as I later did, but who knows? In the bush, as in town, the ones with the most money do the best and it's just as evident. Class warfare exists everywhere.

Vanity Cont'd

I'm making a note never to comment on vanity, small-presses and what constitutes publishing in general again. Bloggers and message board owners think they own the new presses and more will be duped into thinking the same is true of publishing. It's still the old fashioned way that works. Mail it in an take your chances. Everyone knows who the players are and the ones that don't are out of the way anyway. It's not worth the vendetta from the believers' crusade.

Visitors seeking real information about anything to do with writing would be well served to question anyone who wants to redefine established publishing definitions to suit themselves. If more people had been careful to see warning flags when someone wants to redefine terms to suit some agenda, PA would have far fewer

Posted by: gran | March 10, 2005 11:04 AM

They may hope to make a profit from getting readers, unlike PA, but there certainly is no "objective" consideration filter if you will, as to what the product is and who the author and their qualifications are, to take a chance on.

Try that on a commercial publisher and see what you get. Gary Kessler used Winterwolf to write a book about publishing. The books are POD only but I'm sure there will be exceptions of shelf placement and reviews. There was with PA too, so the blurring is not my invention as claimed by Ms. Fields. I don't care what they do. These new model instant small presses are yet another permutation of the "we publish anyone" press as well-intentioned and tweeked for the good, as they may well be. There is no filter as we know that to be in general. No filter=vanity press.

The clientel are the evidence. Vanity is lack of a filter. The desire to reject based on the market, offering, and reputation or lack thereof of the writer.

To the Swarm at Mindsight

I'm cross-posting this from Lee Goldberg's vanity press thread where the swarm from Mindsight series forum has piled in to defend the new publisher of ALL their books, or close to it.

This is my last response to the people from the other forum who are blinded by friendship to the authors of the new start-up in question. They call that bias-unobjective.

One day the owner [of Behler Publications] was a "happy" PA author. Of course like all of them the book hadn't come out yet. She collected other PA books in a lending library as as I recall. She attended a PA convention. And low and behold she starts a POD company with another PA author, then another and another and another....until they all were "published."

As with PA they all review each others books in circular fashion. Go to Amazon look at the names and cross-check.

Are you telling me all of these books would make the cut at a real publisher? What did the agents say? Oh yeah, what filter? I don't buy the premise and neither does the anyone else save the authors themselves. Small start-up? Try instant.

This may come to a surprise but in a thread about vanity publishing people involved can state an opinion without being attacked by those tied to the operation like a cult. That's PA still talking through you mouths.

The market will determine how successful any book is if its "out there" but without distribution and placement on shelves nationwide very few will sell.

So now gran (Jan Fields), owner of a webzine and no books, defends low sales because like their other books, that's a given. Which leaves us to the ad hominem psychoanalytic shot at my books for which at the time were free and don't take rights away from author. I did nothing to market them. I bought none.

It goes like this: since I have vanity press books I can't know anything about publishing, thus, I'm an angry author that atttacks PA authors to build myself up somehow. The Great Explainer they always use and have for two years. Unsuccessfully.

My apologies to Lee. He writes I comment, they swarm. That's the groupthink behavior that mirrors PA even if the arrangements are different. Handling criticism is not the strong suit of such writers. They expect Five-stars only no matter what they do. Let's see strangers give them on merit.

Feel free to attack me at my blog, but don't embarrass yourselves like this again. This is still America where one can have an opinion about a public venture. I call them as I see it, and don't call folks liars in public because we happen to differ on the facts. Funny how some always want to shut down speech and ban opposing views.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Rather II

During my stint at ANWR in 1989 when cornered and nervous about the scrutiny of the oil policies on the refuge by the Bush administration. The Manager, Donald Voros, said to me, "If Dan Rather shows up I'm leaving."

That says it all.

The full account is in my excerpt from Against a Strong Current.

Tough Reporter

Dan Rather certainly was a tough reporter, but the bias claim is a successful negative PR campaign by the wing-nut elite. The propensity for powerful Republicans to cut secret deals like in Iran/Contra for Bush 41 and then refuse to talk about when questioned is an affirmation of guilt. And of course Nixon, the role model.

That's no fault of the reporter no matter who it is. The guilt lies squarely on the shoulders of the stonewalling politician. No one dodges serious questions by attacking the questioner better than a Bush. They have to. The biased reporter model is a myth concocted by those who don't want to be exposed.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Journo Job Woes

What a tough line of your to break into. Even the smallest newspapers want the sun, moon and stars to make, get this $11-12 an hour with a BA in Journalism and Science in my case. Hell, even cheap temp clerical work pays more but I don't qualify for that either. One thing that bloggers would find out should they try to get paying work at the papers they criticise is that nothing blogged counts as clips for getting a job at a media company. Sure, some of the reporters blog but it's the print reporting that sells the papers.

Believe me they're (the editors) picky about what counts for that. It's simple interviewing and writing but they make it sound like a mission to Mars and the right candidate is crucial. It sounds to me like they're afraid to get someone who won't take a lot of abuse for next to no money. I can see why. With housing skyrocketing everywhere there's no way to justify moving to a Gucci community for a job that pays nothing. The publisher of these sorts of papers should just write things themselves and have it over with. Then it would be self-publishing which is what blogs are. Personally I rather be underpaid for writing my own stuff than spending twice as much as I'd make to take a small time job. The hunt for a decent position will continue. So will my own work for sale to the NY publishing houses.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Morons on my team

Goes the Goldman line from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. This painful read on pressthink illustrates how ludicrous it is to argue with anti-press right-wing whackjobs. Talking with them about what facts are or aren't and what a source is or isn't is like falling into a medievel bear trap. After a time you'd be willing to chew off your own leg like a cross fox in #4 Victor trap to get away.

Friday, March 04, 2005

To Thin?

Yes thin forests that have previous harvesting histories because these lands have been altered by man. Therefore, he must tend that work like a garden. The idea is to get a multiple species composition that return to an old growth condition. The idea derails when they keep sneaking in 400-year-old trees during the thinning contract negotiation. Activists can keep that from happening, but not by taking an absolutist stance. That should be taken on harvesting never before cut roadless lands in the public domain. That's the commons in our trust.

Myth of Balance

Insurgents don't need publicity to succeed. Journalists are NOT assisting them in any way if that's what the beef is here with the jingoists. They'll use it sure, but it's not necessary. They need weapons and money. They have them.

Every time I hear balance from a conservative I cringe. It assumes that the equation is already skewed against them when in fact the opposite is true. What they want is to snuff out the speck of truth from the scene.

Balance allows equal time for liars. The press is guilty of falling for that. They will continue to use that successful tactic to spread propaganda for the administration. That's what works.

Save the Refuge

Great letter here to Pres. Bush about the 1002 of ANWR. It is signed by a myriad of scientists, many professors of biology and many work for him although I'm sure he doesn't know them. Critics will say they're all junk scientists that are liberals.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Kill the Messenger

When the facts are against you what else is left? "Democracy needs a common set of facts," Ken Auletta notes in this piece. What we have now is two parallel universes and a beleaguered press with less access to information than ever and a surpluss of spin. This is no way to run a railroad.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Liberal Media?

I didn't notice this shocking ride-a-long video coming out before the election in our mainstream press. You'd think they have jumped all of this since people on the right claim the press is in the tank for the Democrats. Do those Iraqi citizens in Fallujah look like they're packing heat? I didn't see anything being carried.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005


Like vanity press authors who review and publish each other bloggers are kindred spirits. See Josh Levin:

Blogging is a circle jerk that never stops circling: links to posts by other bloggers, following links to newspaper stories about bloggers, following wonderment at the corruptions and complacency of old-fashioned, credentialed journalism.

Hear hear!


Arnold responds:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the status of the Roadless Area Conservation Rule. I am passionate about protecting California's natural resources. Preserving our land, air, and water will remain a central focus of my work as Governor.

The State of California has a keen interest in the management of all National Forest System lands-regardless of designation-under the stewardship of Region Five of the USDA Forest Service (USFS) in California. I believe that California's interests are best served when truly roadless areas remain roadless.

Due to pending legal questions about the status of existing roadless protections, I have taken strong action to ensure the safety of roadless areas in the Golden State. At my direction, Secretary for Resources, Mike Chrisman, has requested that the Forest Service undertake a rulemaking process for California that will result in a final Roadless Rule at least as protective as the existing rule. I am pleased to inform you that on January 27, 2005, the Forest Service agreed in writing to fulfill this request and finalize a rule to protect California's roadless areas.

Thank you for taking the time to write. California's uniqueness and beauty depends on concerned citizens like you who are invested in the future of this great State, its environment and its natural resources.


Arnold Schwarzenegger

We shall see if it is or isn't.
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