Op-ed:

  • An interesting op-ed piece by Jeffrey Dvorkin that discusses the alleged liberal bias of the media – BTW, I think he is right. The media isn’t neccesarily liberal, but rather lazy. “Lazy” wasn’t the word used by Dvokin, but I think it is the right word to describe Dvorkin’s concern that the media (be it MSNBC, CNN, NPR, Fox News, the NY Times, or even the Daily Disappointment) fails most notably, by focusing too narrowly. This problem is partially due to a lack of resources to pursue all points of view, but I think is more often the result of a desire to reach certain “target audiences” or to not offend sponsors. In that aspect, I think that non-profit media has distinct advantage over for-profit media.
  • NY Times: The Greater Danger by By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF – an op-ed piece that dicussses the serious danger that North Korea poses, and the importance of American efforts to woo the nation’s leader away from isolationism
  • NY Times: Our wretched states by PAUL KRUGMAN – This op-ed essay says that we can forsee the difficulties of the future federal budget by looking at the current sorry state of many State governments who are now paying dearly for cuting taxes and increasing spending during the last economic boom

News:

  • NPR: What color is the universe?

      And the Color of the Universe Is …

      Pale turquoise.

      Scientists from Johns Hopkins University wrapped up the American Astronomical Society’s meeting today with that announcement, Richard Harris reports for All Things Considered.

      Ivan Baldry and his collaborators amassed detailed light measurements from more than 200,000 galaxies. They then constructed a “cosmic spectrum,” which represents all the energy in the local universe emitted at different optical wavelengths of light. They realized that if they simply summed up those measurements, they might be able to deduce something about the average wavelength, or color, of the light coming from their huge sample of objects.

      For example, the human eye, taking in a particular palette of colors and adding them together, ends up perceiving one dominant color. Applying this idea to their cosmic spectrum, the researchers came up with a color that’s just a few shades greener than pale turquoise.

  • NY Times: Scientists paint universe as a vast sea of green – Another report on the color of the universe
  • NY Times: Major Death Penalty Appeal Accepted
      WASHINGTON, Jan. 11 — The Supreme Court agreed today to decide a potentially far-reaching challenge to the constitutionality of the death penalty laws in nine states where judges rather than juries determine whether to sentence a killer to death.
  • NY Times: First ‘Unlawful Combatants’ seized in Afghanistan arrive at U.S. base in Cuba
      . . .Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld called the prisoners “unlawful combatants,” distinguishing them from prisoners of war. “Unlawful combatants do not have any rights under the Geneva Convention,” Mr. Rumsfeld said. “We have indicated that we do plan to, for the most part, treat them in a manner that is reasonably consistent with the Geneva Conventions, to the extent they are appropriate.” . . .

    So far, it looks like (based on what the rest of the story says) the DOD is treating the prisoners fairly well (at least in comparison to the cruel way that prisoners are treated in many county jails and state prisons in the US) but Rumseld’s little “disclaimer” still leaves the door wide open. And since there won’t be any media present, then there is nothing to stop the CIA from using torture as a means of intelligence gathering or from conducting summary executions sans trial of prisoners who don’t cooperate.

    If these men are in anyway connected to the terrorist attacks, then bring them to the US to stand trial before an American jury. If not, then either recognize them as P.O.W.’s with the rights due to them under the Geneva Convention or release them. Doing anything besides this is shameful and is a disgrace to the values of our great republic.

  • NY Times: City girds for protests at economic summit meeting
  • MSNBC: Bush backs automotive revolution – This is a good news/bad news kind of story. Good that that Bush is backing fuel cells, but bad that he is passing up the chance for genuine improvements now through the use of hybrid technology. I am afraid that he is taking the easy way out, by making future administrations deal with how to combat air pollution and fuel shortages.