CNN’s Fake News Chart

If your memory is good, you may remember CNN as Jon Stewart’s favorite punching bag. Cable News Network, has had its ups and downs since Ted Turner founded it in 1980. Turner said the first all-news network and the first 24-hour news network was “my greatest career achievement.” (Marrying Jane Fonda was a personal achievement.)

Turner sold his greatest achievement, as part of Turner Broadcasting, to Time Warner in 1996 for $7.3 billion in stock. After Time Warner purchased AOL in 2001 Turner’s net worth sank along with T-W’s stock price.

CNN made its reputation with its coverage of the first Gulf War in 1991 and burnished it with reporting on 9/11. The network lost much of its reputation with incessant dubious reporting on plane crashes and disappeared young blonde women.

The renamed WarnerMedia is now owned by AT&T; CNN is now the favorite punching bag of the current occupant of the White House.

The Leader of the Free World

Although not in the same class as the above video, CNN recently performed a public service by publishing an interactive graphic charting the White House’s ever-changing answers to various issues:

  • Russian Collusion
  • Comey Firing
  • Mueller Legal Process
  • Russian Business Ties
  • Trump Associates

Click here to have more fun than spinning your fidget.

Today’s Climate Word: “Hormesis”

In its relentless effort to make the common good even gooder, the White House has proposed a Presidential Committee on Climate Security to determine what, if any, threat to national security is posed by climate change. The panel, to be established by executive order, will be headed by William Happer, a senior director of the National Security Council. He is an emeritus professor of physics at Princeton University. Happer is on record that carbon emissions linked to climate change should be viewed as an asset rather than a pollutant.

Not to worry, though. Even if you think CO2 is a pollutant, the Environmental Protection Agency is adopting Hormesis, the belief that certain levels of pollution are actually good for us. Hormesis will replace LNT, the “linear no-threshold” mode that posits any level of pollution is bad.

Ed Calabrese is the person responsible for junkscience.com, the favorite web site of the willfully ignorant. He made his name in the 1980s, doing purported research financed by tobacco companies. Calabrese’s crackpot ideas were considered crackpot until the current occupant of the White House decided the EPA should be filled with energy-company lobbyists and climate-change deniers.

Read about it here so you can tell your grandchildren what happened.

The Legend of Ken “The Hawk” Harrelson

Baseball has always prided itself as the game without a clock. Unlike football or soccer or basketball, a team with a lead cannot “run out the clock” in the waning minutes of a game; baseball gives each team the same number of outs. An average Major League Baseball game takes over three hours. In the 1970s, it was two-and-a-half hours. In the forties, a game took two hours.

Seeking ways to speed up the game, Major League Baseball is inaugurating a twenty-second pitch clock for spring training this year. There is no word yet if the clock will carry into the regular season. Regular-season all-star pitcher Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw has already announced he will ignore the clock and what’re ya gonna do about it. (Kershaw’s salary is about $185,000 per inning pitched.) MLB recently instituted a rule limiting the number of visits a coach or manager or catcher may make to the pitcher’s mound and how long the visit can last.

I have a suggestion: ban batting gloves.

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The Legend of Gimme Shelter

It was late on an autumn night in 1969. Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were in a Los Angeles recording studio, dubbing vocals into a song for their new album Let It Bleed. Producer Jack Nitzsche suggested a female background voice. He called his first choice who turned him down. He then called Merry Clayton, a veteran backup singer. Clayton, in the late stage of pregnancy, was asleep in bed with her husband. She said she’d never heard of the Rolling Stones. Her husband convinced her she should go. She had worked with Nitzsche on other projects and helping him out on this could benefit her career in the long run.

She did two takes and then went back home, to suffer a miscarriage shortly after. The song was “Gimme Shelter.” Merry Clayton’s galvanizing performance on the recording made that song one of the band’s most memorable. The oft-told story of her participation has become legend in the annals of rock ’n’ roll.

I have wondered what she was paid for making that recording so memorable.

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Not Really Fake News

Goodloe Sutton, editor of the weekly Democrat-Reporter newspaper in Linden, Arkansas (60 miles west of Selma, population 2,123) has made national news resulting from his editorial calling for the Ku Klux Klan to ride again. He advocates lynching Democrats – ironic considering his paper’s name.

Reveling in the attention, Sutton is doubling down, “… It’s not calling for the lynchings of Americans. These are socialist-communists we’re talking about. Do you know what socialism and communism is?”

The University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Communication reacted by removing him from their Hall of Fame. The quality of his writing makes one wonder how Goodloe Sutton got into the Hall of Fame in the first place.






Jackie Robinson’s Progeny

Jackie Robinson, who would have been one-hundred years old this February, stepped out of the Dodgers’ dugout and took his position at first base on April 15, 1947. He was the first African-American to play major-league baseball since the sport became restricted to whites in the 1880s. More than half of the 26,623 spectators at Ebbets Field that day were black. (An unintended consequence: the beginning of the end of the Negro Leagues.) Three decades later, 19% of MLB players were black.

African-Americans constitute 14% of the U.S. population; today, they make up just 8% of the MLB rosters. (Only 3% of pitchers.) By contrast, 74% of NBA players are black; in the NFL it’s 60%, even soccer’s 10% exceeds MLB.

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