August 8, 2006

Cutover Note

Filed under: General — Tom @ 8:46 pm

I have quite a potential backlog of items to post, but I’m going to hold off until I can figure out why paragraph breaks are all showing up as line breaks without the blank line in between paragraphs.

UPDATE: Breaks are fixed, along with a few other annoyances.

A Quick Acknowledgment to Gateway Pundit

A tipster referred me to a couple of suspicious-looking pics from Lebanon published in “The (former) Newspaper of Record” that is quickly devolving into Manhattan’s quaint little alternative newspaper — i.e., The New York Times. I referred them to Gateway Pundit and others.

Heck, I was only worried about the dust-free nature of the photo. You won’t BELIEVE what GP with the help of others found — And don’t forget that this is a different photographer from the one who perpetrated Reutergate.

Thanks to GP for the acknowledgment. Michelle Malkin is on this too.

Can you say “the widening scandal”?


UPDATE, August 9: You can tell I’m still going through cutover pains to have forgotten linking back. The GP posts that investigated the pics are here and here. Apologies for the delay.

UPDATE 2: Zombietime has an indispensable primer on the four types of photo fraud, or Fauxtography, as it is coming to be known. The four types are –

1. Digitally manipulating images after the photographs have been taken.
2. Photographing scenes staged by Hezbollah and presenting the images as if they were of authentic spontaneous news events.
3. Photographers themselves staging scenes or moving objects, and presenting photos of the set-ups as if they were naturally occurring.
4. Giving false or misleading captions to otherwise real photos that were taken at a different time or place.

Go there for explanations and astonishing examples.

Standards for Photojournalism Have Been Proposed, and Are Obviously Necessary

Following the disgrace that is Reutergate (link is to my NewsBusters post Sunday morning, which in turn links to many of the bloggers who did the detailed work), Dumb Looks Are Free (HT American Thinker) has proposed a set of guidelines news organizations should follow to establish the trustworthiness of the photojournalism.

I’m not expert enough to evaluate all the details, but anyone with eyes can see that photojournalism is on an accelerating descent towards a place where, without standards, nothing that we see can be believed. DLAF’s most important guidelines relate to access to originals as they were taken and before any touch-ups of any kind took place. If companies, financial services people, and others are required to keep their e-mails and other corporate records for many, many years, why shouldn’t photojournalists be under the same constraints? I would argue that the raw pictures taken by photojournalists are “corporate records” to media companies that are as important as any other. In fact, I would hope that their corporate lawyers are making those arguments even as you read this.

There’s obviously nothing wrong with making a picture look more presentable — or maybe there is, and maybe no-changes-whatsoever should be the standard if even the people doing the touching up can’t be trusted not to manipulate images. Regardless, there is something seriously amiss when the pervasive image manipulation practiced freely by Adnan Hajj and others is either considered acceptable or is so poorly supervised that it doesn’t get caught (please don’t tell me this is an “isolated incident,” or isolated to one guy).

Hajj’s photoshopping was so clumsy that it was easily caught. The question of bigger concern is how much “expert” photoshopping designed to politicize or persuade is getting past everybody?

If photojournalists don’t begin to take these issues seriously, they may find their work relegated to the equivalent of comics without the humor, and we will all be poorer for it. As DLAF says, “The era of easy acceptance of a photograph as the actual image of an event is now gone.” Photojournalists and their media buyers should recognize that this is indeed the dire fix they find themselves in, and do their utmost to recover their credibility.

Here’s Another Reason Why People Fighting Eminent Domain MUST Be Able to Stay in Their Homes

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 5:07 pm

You may recall that the three holdout families who triumphed in the Norwood, Ohio eminent domain case had to give up their homes for their lawsuit to proceed. Fortunately, that in-effect eviction is part of what the Ohio Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional.

The holdouts are learning a hard lesson in why the old law was wrong — If you’re not there, anything could happen to your property (HT Can’t Make This Stuff Up):

Three homeowners who won a battle to keep their property celebrated their victory Thursday night at the Edge Inn Tavern — but they’re still hot over the destruction of their neighborhood.

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled last week that the city of Norwood couldn’t use eminent domain to take private property to make way for a $125 million commercial development.

Carl and Joy Gamble said they’re anxious to return to their home of 35 years, but first there’s work to be done: The house has been vandalized since they moved out.

“The back door’s off — the back storm door. It’s broken. Front side of the garage door won’t move,” Joy Gamble said. The displaced families said they aren’t budging from their position, either — no matter how much cash the developer might offer.

Of course the developers who were negligent in the management of the properties should be made to pay for all repairs and restoration. In fact, no one should even have to ask. But will they?

Bizzy’s Late PM Biz-Econ-Life Links (080806)

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:16 pm

Free Links:

  • Cue Stuart Scott Saying “That Ain’t Right” — NFL refs are going to have new uniforms (HT The American Mind). What, is it because they got tired of being called “zebras”? They may learn that there are ARE worse terms.
  • Uh-oh, as in “OMG”“Microsoft’s next operating system–Windows Vista–is still not ready for prime-time. At least that’s the view of three prominent Microsoft watchers who have been testing pre-release versions of the system.” They’re suggesting delays of six months or more. Apple’s tweak of Microsoft’s corporate nose at yesterday’s Mac Worldwide Developer’s conference was well-timed.
  • Something you never heard about (HT John Leo) — On April 24, “Although President George W. Bush was scheduled to meet with fellows at the Hoover Institution on Friday, the presence of more than 1,000 protestors forced him to change his plans and meet with advisers and faculty members at the residence of former Secretary of State and Hoover Fellow George Shultz on the outskirts of the Stanford campus.” I wonder why?
  • Radio Equalizer Digest (aka That Darn Free Market) — Despite hype that others can only dream about, liberal talk network Air America is stagnating and in turmoil. Meanwhile, two hosts who were supposedly heading downhill, Michael Savage and Dr. Laura, are gaining ground again.
  • Human Rights Watch is late to a denunciation (HT Sierra Faith) — Geez, it takes them 25 days to condemn Hezbollah? This is another in a long series of “See, we said something about it” statements meaning nothing that come from so-called “human rights” organizations (here’s another example from a short time ago).
  • One more reason to avoid “automatic billing” if at all possible — A woman whose father died spent nine months in customer service hell trying to stop AOL’s monthly dial-up charges to his credit card.

Positivity: Amputee and War Hero to be Welcomed to Boston Fire Department

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 4:05 pm

Boston’s mayor steps up (HT Pundit Review):

Hero’s welcome on the job – Mayor wants amputee for BFD
Tuesday, August 8, 2006 – Updated: 08:55 AM EST

Mayor Thomas M. Menino will have one message for Iraq war hero Brian Fountaine when he returns to Dorchester this month: Welcome to the Boston Fire Department.

Menino said it’s the “least the city could do,” is help Fountaine, a 24-year-old soldier who lost his legs in a blast while serving his second tour of duty in Iraq.

The Herald reported yesterday that, despite the life-changing injury, the Dorchester native never gave up his dream of becoming the third generation in a long line of men who devoted themselves to the Boston Fire Department. The mayor says that’s a dream that will be made reality.

“Brian is an American hero,” Menino told the Herald yesterday. “I would hope that as a city we could at least help him reach his goals. We need to step up and help him realize his dream and get him some sort of job with the Boston Fire Department.”

Menino has already spoken to acting BFD Commissioner Kevin MacCurtain about hiring Fountaine in “some capacity” and was not opposed to helping the injured Army sergeant become the first firefighter in the country to work with prosthetic feet – once he passes the BFD civil service test.

“We will work with him,” Menino said, adding that there are many children of city cops and firefighters who are serving in Iraq. “They are over there, leaving their families, to go fight in a war that no one has a real explanation for. They are the heroes that will never make in the history books, but they made a difference.”

Menino’s move was applauded by firefighters in Rescue 2, the elite company based in Roxbury’s Egleston Square where the soldier’s father, Paul Fountaine, is assigned.

“Brian will be overwhelmed. The amount of support that has come out of the city so far has already been incredible. This is truly overwhelming,” Paul Fountaine said. “I went into the service to get my job, and so did he. And there are a lot of kids of firefighters over in Iraq right now.”

Fountaine’s Rescue 2 lieutenant, Mike Walsh, has two sons serving in the military right now. Walsh has taken up the drive to deliver hundreds of BFD T-shirts to soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where Brian Fountaine remains hospitalized.
“I know Brian will be absolutely ecstatic to hear this, but he is not the only one. He says it all the time. He’s not the only one,” Fountaine said. “Brian doesn’t think he’s a hero. He knows the heroes are still over there.”

Fountaine enlisted in the Army in April 2001, and was in Iraq for the second time when he was critically injured in the June 8 explosion in Baghdad. He was working out at Walter Reed last night, and could not be reached for comment about Menino’s decision.

I’m Baaaaack

Filed under: General — Tom @ 2:52 pm

E-mail isn’t working yet, but posting is, so there’s lots happening during the remainder of the day.

Thanks to Webmaster/Webwhiz Charles Moser for the redesign. Of course there will be tweaks, but overall I would say it rocks.