Thursday, February 28, 2008

The World According To Zell

  • Zell Cartoon

  • Liberty, journalism and Sam Zell

    Seattle Post-Intelligencer

    Who is Sam Zell and why should you care? The answer to the second part of that question is easy: the health of our nation depends on an informed electorate and an informed electorate depends on an unfettered news media willing to tell people more than what they want to hear.

    The answer to the first part of that question is that Sam Zell is the most vulgar embodiment of a pervasive bean counter mentality that is threatening the best of American journalism.

  • Complete Article

  • Editor & Publisher Story
  • Certain Remarks Noted In T-Ville Discussion; Or, How To Moderate Voices That Have Nowhere Else To Go ...

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Evolution Of T-Ville A Hot Topic":

    ""Once those things happen, you will have the migration of gays and bohemians who recognize the undervalued real-estate in the neighborhood. With them will come quirky new businesses and a lively social scene.

    Following the gays and bohemians will be the bourgeois who gentrify the neighborhood, in turn will attract chain retail to have a presence there."

    We're already got the tattoo parlors, so I'd say the artists are already in T-Ville!!!!!!!!!!

    And I'm not sure Enfield is up to having a lively nightlife aimed
    at gays and bohemians? That would certainly require additional police presence downtown."

    Could someone tell me how these remarks don't smack of the worst kind of ageism and homophobia?

    Maybe you don't get this…

    The idea is for the gays and bohemians to DISPLACE and REPLACE the criminals.

    The cost of more visible police presence on Friday and Saturday night is fraction of what it costs to round up the drug dealers.

    Posted by Anonymous to The Cool Justice Report at 11:33 AM

    Editor's Note:

    It's good to see all remarks noted, digested and discussed. In addition to the gay and bohemian comments, I also wondered how the residents cited in the posting below would "certainly stand out!"


    Bulldoze down the vacant buildings, the low income housing and crumbling mill houses, and
    the people dealing drugs and carry guns on T-ville streets will leave cuz they won't be able to stay in Enfield (... its highly unlikely they could afford to live in a single family home in Southwood Acres or Whit Acres, or historic district. At the very least, they'd certainly stand out!)"

  • Evolution Of T-Ville A Hot Topic

  • This Item As Posted @ Cool Justice
  • Reading A Blog

    A Reading Journal / Blogging Assignment

    Pick a blog, any blog.

    Read at least a few weeks of postings.

    Sample a few entries from the more distant past.

    Look at the first week ever.

    What other kinds of information is shared?

    What's the look?

    Does the blogger respond to threads or comments and join in the discussion?

    Consider leaving comments.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Muckraking Blogger Wins Polk Award

    NY Times

    Blogger, Sans Pajamas, Rakes Muck and a Prize


    Of the many landmarks along a journalist’s career, two are among those that stand out: winning an award and making the government back down. Last week, Joshua Micah Marshall achieved both.

    On Tuesday, it was announced that he had won a George Polk Award for legal reporting for coverage of the firing of eight United States attorneys, critics charged under political circumstances. The “tenacious investigative reporting sparked interest by the traditional news media and led to the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales,” the citation read.

    Also last week, the Justice Department put him back on its mailing list for reporters with credentials after removing him last year.

    Mr. Marshall does not belong to any traditional news organization. Instead, he is creating his own. His Web site, Talking Points Memo (, is the first Internet-only news operation to receive the Polk (though in 2003, an award for Internet reporting was given to the Center for Public Integrity), and certainly one of the most influential political blogs in the country.

    To scores of bloggers, it was a case of local boy makes good. Many took it as vindication of their enterprise — that anyone can assume the mantle of reporting on the pressing issues affecting the nation and the world, with the imprimatur of a mainstream media outlet or not. And most reassuringly, it showed that fair numbers of people out there were paying attention.

    Mr. Marshall was recognized for a style of online reporting that greatly expands the definition of blogging. And he operates a long way from the clich├ęd pajama-wearing, coffee-sipping commentator on the news. He has a newsroom in Manhattan and seven reporters for his sites, including two in Washington.

    Yet Mr. Marshall does not shy away from the notion of blogging. “I think of us as journalists; the medium we work in is blogging,” he said, something that can involve matters as varied as the tone of the writing or the display of articles in reverse chronological order. “We have kind of broken free of the model of discrete articles that have a beginning and end. Instead, there are an ongoing series of dispatches.”

  • Complete Article

  • TalkingPointsMemo
  • Friday, February 22, 2008

    Fred Gets Happy ...

  • Complete Article

  • ... And Shares Some Provocative Links In A Comment

  • Online Disinhibition & Judy Aron Blog

  • Note: Blogger Judy Aron, "Consent Of The Governed" and a homeschooler, will be a future guest in class.

    Thursday, February 21, 2008


    Cutting Edge-Site
    For News, Opinion & Lots Of Fun Stuff

    “In politics, an absurdity is not a handicap”

    Napoleon Bonaparte

    “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”

    Hunter S. Thompson

  • Home Page

  • About e.politics
  • Perspective On McCain NY Times Story

    Colin McEnroe, To Wit

    Editor's Note: This story is spinning every which way through various media. Here are Colin's piece and a few other points of view ...

    I don't much care about the blonde. The blonde is the hook. The blonde is what makes people read the story. (I had the same reaction as Wonkette. She looks like a young Cindy McCain. Or like Amy

    Poehler imprersonating Cindy McCain. Wonkette's bullet points, by the way, aren't bad if you're too lazy to read the whole Times story.)

    The larger problem for John McCain is that the story makes clear the degree to which -- despite all his post-Keating self-flagellation -- John McCain continued to operate in a way that was not appreciably different from his pre-Keating days. If you're flying around in the corporate jets of people who have business in front of your committee, you're a reformer in a rather puny sense.

  • Complete Article

  • The New Republic Chimes In

  • McCain's Daughter's Blog

  • The Source?

  • Weaver Statement

  • McCain Using Story To Raise Money

  • Conservative Commentator: NYT On Acid

  • Without Popular Upsurge, Elections Mean Nothing
  • Love, The IM Way

  • Video
  • Tuesday, February 12, 2008

    At Harvard, a Proposal to Publish Free on Web

    NY Times


    Publish or perish has long been the burden of every aspiring university professor. But the question the Harvard faculty will decide on Tuesday is whether to publish — on the Web, at least — free.

    Faculty members are scheduled to vote on a measure that would permit Harvard to distribute their scholarship online, instead of signing exclusive agreements with scholarly journals that often have tiny readerships and high subscription costs.

    Although the outcome of Tuesday’s vote would apply only to Harvard’s arts and sciences faculty, the impact, given the university’s prestige, could be significant for the open-access movement, which seeks to make scientific and scholarly research available to as many people as possible at no cost.

    “In place of a closed, privileged and costly system, it will help open up the world of learning to everyone who wants to learn,” said Robert Darnton, director of the university library. “It will be a first step toward freeing scholarship from the stranglehold of commercial publishers by making it freely available on our own university repository.”

  • Complete Article
  • Sunday, February 3, 2008

    Stories Are For Joining The Past To The Future

    Forty-three years old, and the war occurred half a lifetime ago, and yet the remembering makes it now.

    And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever.

    That's what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can't remember how you got from where you were to where you are.

    Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.

    -- Tim O'Brien, winner of the National Book Award

    Friday, February 1, 2008

    Mystery Novelist Chris Knopf, Adman By Day, Talks With Colin

    Chris Knopf, author of Two Time and The Last Refuge (both finalists for Connecticut Book Awards, is a copywriter and principal of Mintz & Hoke Communications Group in Avon, CT.

    A native of Philadelphia, educated in the U.S. and London, Knopf lives with his wife Mary Farrell and Wheaten Terrier Sam in Avon and Southampton, Long Island where he writes on the front porch.

    His forthcoming novel, Head Wounds, will be available in May.

  • Knopf Podcast On Colin McEnroe Show

  • The Last Refuge

  • Two Time

  • WTIC 1080

  • Colin McEnroe Blog / To Wit
  • Burma Arrests Blogger


    Bangkok, Thailand - Burma's junta has stepped up surveillance of the Internet, arresting one blogger who wrote about the stifling of free expression in the military-ruled nation, a media advocacy group said.

    The blogger, Nay Myo Latt, was taken into custody in Yangon on Wednesday after writing about the suppression of freedoms following last fall's crushing of pro-democracy demonstrations, Reporters Without Borders said.

    Despite international condemnation and pressure following the demonstrations, there is little evidence that the junta is easing its repressive rule or moving closer to reconciliation with pro-democracy forces led by Suu Kyi.

    The arrested blogger, a member of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, owns three Internet cafes, Paris-based Reporters Without Borders said in a release seen Thursday.

  • Complete Article

  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Guest Feb. 7, Ron Samul

    Ron will talk about:

    * Creating a web presence.

    * His personal blog.

    * Professional work, creative work, reading lists, etc.

    * His writing journal where he fosters ideas and post items such the essay below.

    * Postings of images and videos.

    "On the technical side - I think I will discuss writing styles for different blogs and new media. And how to protect your work, when to close a blog to users, how to get the most out your blogs and driving traffic.

    "Of course this won't be strictly lecture, it will be conversation where people can jump in and discuss their own experience and work on the web.

    "Below is a recent journal article I ran on a blog for ideas and reference material."

    In Agreement With Poe

    by Ron Samul

    In April 1846, Edgar Allan Poe published The Philosophy of Composition in Graham's Magazine. And in the first paragraph is the idea that I think is important for writing long fiction. That knowing the ending or at least the moment of truth - is critical in understanding the novel and its current construction.

    "Nothing is more clear than that every plot, worth the name, must be elaborated to its denouement before any thing be attempted with the pen. It is only the denouement constantly in view that we an give a plot its indispensable air of consequence, or causation, by making the incidents, and especially the tone at all points, tend to the development of the intention."

    So, what do we know of denouement in plot? Let's lay it out here for reference in the future. This concept by Poe falls into line with my own thinking so exactly, that it must be expanded to show others its importance. Denouement in simple terms is the resolution of a literary work. However, as it is suggested by Poe and in other resources, novels fail when the beginning is not directly connected to the end, and therefore the end directly related to the beginning.

    In the article The Problematic of Ending in Narrative by J. Hillis Miller (Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Vol. 33, No. 1, Special Issue: Narrative Endings. (Jun., 1978), pp. 3-7.) To write without an understanding of the ending is almost impossible to arc the connection and the disconnection of the plot and the denouement.

    By a strange but entirely necessary paradox, the problem of the ending here becomes displaced to the problem of the beginning. The whole drama is ending and beginning at once, a beginning/ending which must always presuppose something outside of itself, something anterior or ulterior, in order either to begin or to end, in order to begin ending. The moment of reversal, when tying becomes untying, can never be shown as such or identified as such because the two motions are inextricably the same, as in the double antithetical word "articulate," which means simultaneously putting together and taking apart. The tying and untying, the turning point, is diffused throughout the whole action. Any point the spectator focuses on is a turning which both ties and unties…. This ending must, however, it seems, simultaneously be thought of as a tying up, a neat knotting leaving no loose threads hanging out, no characters unaccounted for, and at the same time as an untying, as the combing out of the tangled narrative threads so that they may be clearly seen, shining side by side, all mystery or complexity revealed."

    Perhaps this is the place for another essay, but why does death seem like the right answer to end a novel? This is an interesting idea.

    "Death is the most enigmatic, the most open-ended ending of all. It is the best dramatization of the way an ending, in the sense of a clarifying telos, law or ground of the whole story, always recedes, escapes, vanishes. The best one can have, writer or reader, is what Frank Kermode, in his admirable phrase, calls "the sense of an ending."

    To me successful endings don't have to end in death, but it is the ultimate change. In thinking of the writing I've done in the novel, they all end in death. However, there is always the survivor, the one who remains to live on, or to live without. If we take that into the circular idea of undoing the knot while we are sewing it up, then did these characters live without from the beginning of the novel. In The Staff, the answer is yes. Taska has been denied things all her life. By living with Cain, she has been denied her right to live alone and peacefully. In Hinterland, the survivors are the three people that moved around Kushter. If Kushter's knot is to pull apart and come back together, is that what's happening with the other characters. Elizabeth is clearly fits and Maribel still holds in the idea that you have to fall apart to become whole. The Barnacle Girl might not fit as well into that model. While I think death is ending, not all books need to have it. Some of

    The great books I've read, push that idea off. In the Giant's House (McCracken) is a good example of love and living without the tragic death. A Gracious Plenty (Reynolds) is a unique book that shares the stage with ghosts from the beginning and her control over the voices bring about her change into a life beyond the dead. Novelists always ask, what's at stake! And if it isn't life changing - then who give a shit? As we think about how we know our novels and our endings before any writing is "attempted with the pen," we have to consider the ultimate loss. And perhaps it is a sign that we are all facing that idea and the condition of living.

    In the two novel ideas that are being developed, death or the risk of death is important. Yet, it The Vile (as a concept) it isn't the main characters death, but his fight to stave it off in a twisted version of hope. In Night Blind, Silas spends much of the book preparing to kill someone. He realizes he has to live it, understand it, and believe it is his only course of action. As he evolves into this killer, everything shifts when he sees the girl go back to the arms of the man that raped her. That is the moment of truth.

    The moment of truth is the big "aha" moment of the big twist that everything hinges on. Denouement is the resolution - but the moment of truth is where we have the final twist of fate. Does this occur at the end of novels? Does it have a specific place in a novel? Sometimes that moment of truth is a suspended moment in time, like Hardy's A Pair of Blue Eyes. Everything moves around that first time he sees her. It is that idea of significant impression. (See coming entry for that.) In No Country for Old Men, if he didn't go back and try to help a man who was already dead, he wouldn't have been caught in the killers cross-hairs. I suppose in just explaining that, the irony of that statement makes the story line bound from beginning to end. He marked himself as a dead man by trying to help a man who was already dead. Moment of truth, or the big revelation is an important piece for the plot. Perhaps it is at the apex of the plot line. From then on, does the denouement seal that fates of all until it is complete? I think that is a fair interpretation.

    If anything, this entry proves that by understanding the relevance and importance of the ending, only then can you safely go forward and drive the characters with purpose, insight, and focus to the known end. We all should have a known end.

    Without it, we wander and worry all the time.

    Ron Samul
    MFA Professional Writing

  • Ron Samul Blog

  • Miranda Magazine
  • Eight New Student Blogs

    Students in ENG298, Writing For New Media, created eight blogs Thursday night.

    They are as follows:









    See links at bottom of the home page.


    Writing For New Media Official Announcement
    December 4, 2007

    Investigative Reporter will teach "Writing for New Media"
    in spring at Northwestern Connecticut Community College

    Blogs increasingly serve as a major source of news information about world happenings ranging across the globe as well as next door. That is the opinion of Andy Thibault, a well-known investigative reporter who will teach a course in Writing for New Media at Northwestern Connecticut Community College at its Winsted campus in January.

    The course will explore the background, research tools, writing styles and approaches used by bloggers active in this rapidly evolving news phenomenon that often breaks stories that are later picked up by conventional news outlets, like television and daily newspapers. Writing for this new media, students will learn how they can produce a blog and with friends and colleagues share news feeds, audio, video and photos via personal online journals.

    Thibault is an award-winning journalist who currently publishes a blog he describes as covering "cops, courts, general news and the arts." In a recent interview he said that Writing for New Media will not only appeal to prospective investigative reporters, but also to people who like "music, sports, politics, video games, or any of the various arts." The interview with Thibault in which he discusses many other topics in addition to his approach to teaching Writing for New Media, can be found on the NCCC website, at

  • Interview Link

  • A visit to Thibault's blog -- -- discloses the intricate details of a number of gritty news stories that range from last year's Smolinski missing person/love triangle case in Waterbury, to shady land deals in Enfield aimed at closing down a Montessori school, to a civil rights case involving a high school student whose write-in election victory for class secretary was suppressed by administrators of the school.

    The noted attorney, F. Lee Bailey has described Thibault as "a gunslinger from the Old West, ready to fire at anything that moves-especially if he doesn't take kindly to the movement…He is in a way a corollary of Robin Hood: he takes from the powerful and gives to the weak."

  • Cool Justice

  • Thibault is the author of three books, Law and Justice in Everyday Life, the most recent one, was published in 2002. Between 2000 and 2006, he published the "Cool Justice" column in The Connecticut Law Tribune. He is a regular guest on radio and TV interview shows in Hartford. He served as chief investigator for the Washington, D.C. public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, at the time of its investigation of corruption activities in the U. S. Commerce Department. In 2004, Thibault delivered the Pew Memorial Lecture in Journalism at Widener University in Chester, Pennsylvania.

    Currently, Andy Thibault is an adjunct lecturer in English and a mentor in the MFA writing program at Western Connecticut State University. He is author of The History of the Connecticut State Police and The 12-Minute MBA for Lawyers, a consulting editor of the literary journal, Connecticut Review, and-as an indication of his many outside interests-a licensed professional boxing judge.

    ENG 298 - Writing for New Media,
    one of two cutting edge special courses offered by the English Department at Northwestern Connecticut Community College, will meet on Thursdays from 6:30-9:30 p.m. during spring 2008 semester. Instructor April Dolata will teach the other innovative English course, ENG 271 - Film and Literature, which will meet on Fridays from 9:00 a.m.-12:05 p.m.

    For further information about registering for these courses or for other courses offered by the college, contact the Registrar's Office at 860-738-6314, the Admissions Office at 860-738-6330, if you are not already an NCCC student or go online to the college's website at

    NCCC - The small college that does great things