Wednesday, 31 December 2014

With a friend like Tony Blair who would need an enemy?

Hardly cheerful New Year’s eve reading for the UK Labour leader Ed Milliband on page one of London’s Daily Telegraph. Tony Blair, his party’s last election winning leader, and the most electorally successful politician in Labour history, declares that Mr Miliband risked taking his party back to the dark days of the Eighties and early Nineties, when it suffered a series of heavy defeats to the Tories. May’s general election risked becoming one in which a “traditional Left-wing party competes with a traditional Right-wing party, with the traditional result”.
Asked by The Economist if he meant that the Conservatives would win in those circumstances, Mr Blair replied: “Yes, that is what happens.”
Mr Miliband has repeatedly attempted to distance himself from New Labour, but has faced criticism for Left-wing policies, which some have argued are anti-business.
In a thinly veiled condemnation of Mr Miliband’s leadership, Mr Blair said that Labour “succeeds best when it is in the centre ground”.
“I am still very much New Labour and Ed would not describe himself in that way, so there is obviously a difference there,” Mr Blair said.
“I am convinced the Labour Party succeeds best when it is in the centre ground”. When asked what lessons he derives from his experience of winning elections, Mr Blair replied: “Not alienating large parts of business, for one thing.”
So far the opinion polls are predicting a better result for Ed Milliband’s Labour than Tony Blair appears to be if the Telegraph can be believed. The UK Polling Report website in its poll of polls survey has Labour three points ahead of the Conservatives – 34% Labour, Conservatives 31% with the Liberal Democrats on 8% trailing UKIP at  15% with the Greens on 5%.
The Owl’s market based UK Election Indicator similarly has Labour marginally more likely than the Conservatives tp be the party that wins the most seats.
UK election indicator
When it comes to predicting the party that provides the Prime Minister after the election things get more complicated. The greatest probability is that no party emerges with an overall majority
Majority government indicator UK

Fox the clear US cable news winner again

The O’Reilly Factor the top news program
“The O’Reilly Factor,” was again top dog among all cable news programs
  • Fox News Dominates Cable News Ratings in 2014; MSNBC Tumbles – In a generally overall down year for the cable news genre, Fox News remained the dominant ratings force in 2014, while CNN made some meaningful demo strides relative to a sagging MSNBC. Behind the highest-rated programs in cable news — including “The O’Reilly Factor,” which was again top dog among all programs — Fox News finished on top in both total viewers and the adults 25-54 news demo for a 13th straight year, according to Nielsen’s “most current” estimates through Dec. 26.
  • Greece’s election: The euro’s next crisis – Why an early election spells big dangers for Greece—and for the euro
  • A Greek Crisis, but not a Euro Crisis -
  • Pot Pie, Redefined? Chefs Start to Experiment With Cannabis – Recreational marijuana is both illegal and controversial in most of the country, and its relationship to food does not rise much above a joke about brownies or a stoner chef’s late-night pork belly poutine. But cooking with cannabis is emerging as a legitimate and very lucrative culinary pursuit. In Colorado, which has issued more than 160 edible marijuana licenses, skilled line cooks are leaving respected restaurants to take more lucrative jobs infusing cannabis into food and drinks. In Washington, one of four states that allow recreational marijuana sales, a large cannabis bakery dedicated to affluent customers with good palates will soon open in Seattle.
  • The big kill – New Zealand’s crusade to rid itself of mammals.
  • Working Too Hard Makes Leading More Difficult
  • Broken sleep – People once woke up halfway through the night to think, write or make love. What have we lost by sleeping straight through.
  • 31-12-2014 yachtingforsaleCYC bans Oz reporter Sue Neales from Sydney to Hobart for her story – ‘When seemingly unbeatable Wild Oats XI glided first across the finish line of the Sydney to Hobart yacht race on Sunday afternoon for the eighth time in 10 years, cheers rang out from thousands of admiring spectators lining Hobart’s historic wharves. But elsewhere around Australia there were collective groans from less avid sailing fans. Social media was full of posts and tweets that repeatedly linked the great race with the words “boring”, “predictable” and, most worryingly for race organisers, “yawn” and “I’m not interested any more”.’

Try the latest Danish delight - compressed watermelon, smoked cheese and marijuana-oil vinaigrette

Pot Pie, Redefined? Chefs Start to Experiment With Cannabis - NYTimes.com:
"Recreational marijuana is both illegal and controversial in most of the country, and its relationship to food does not rise much above a joke about brownies or a stoner chef’s late-night pork belly poutine.
But cooking with cannabis is emerging as a legitimate and very lucrative culinary pursuit. In Colorado, which has issued more than 160 edible marijuana licenses, skilled line cooks are leaving respected restaurants to take more lucrative jobs infusing cannabis into food and drinks.
In Washington, one of four states that allow recreational marijuana sales, a large cannabis bakery dedicated to affluent customers with good palates will soon open in Seattle."

'via Blog this'

There’s never been a safer time to fly

safer time to fly2014 air fatalities

Friday, 26 December 2014

In cricket two neutral umpires are better than one and certainly better than none

  • Not really cricket: Home bias in officiating - "There has been interest among both sports fans and academics in whether pressure from home crowds affects decision making of officials. This column investigates this problem using new data from cricket matches. The authors find that neutral umpires decrease the bias against away teams, making neutral officials very important for a fair contest. "
  • 26-12-2014 thegreatreformer
  • Chronicle of a papacy foretold - The ideological roots of Latin America’s Jesuit pontiff, Pope Francis - "The pope also shows more sign than his predecessors of understanding the human dilemmas posed by abortion and assisted suicide, but still hews to the church’s teaching on the sanctity of life. Even among people who disagree with all those views, Francis commands sympathy. For his part, he has acknowledged the integrity of people, including atheists and Marxists, whose beliefs differ from his own; and the respect is often mutual. His idiosyncratic humanism, forged in a land of political and economic turmoil, seems infectious. This book explains where it comes from."
  • Religion Without God - "... God-neutral faith is growing rapidly, in many cases with even less role for God than among Unitarians. Atheist services have sprung up around the country, even in the Bible Belt. Many of them are connected to Sunday Assembly, which was founded in Britain by two comedians, Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans. They are avowed atheists. Yet they have created a movement that draws thousands of people to events with music, sermons, readings, reflections and (to judge by photos) even the waving of upraised hands."
  • Video games should be in Olympics, says Warcraft maker - "Millions watch the most popular games, both at stadium-sized events and online."
  • Race to Deliver Nicotine’s Punch, With Less Risk - "The rush by Philip Morris and other tobacco companies to develop new ways of selling nicotine is occurring as more consumers are trying e-cigarettes, devices that heat a nicotine-containing fluid to create a vapor that users inhale. While only a small percentage of smokers have switched to the devices — experts say early e-cigarettes did not deliver enough nicotine to satisfy a smoker’s cravings — major tobacco companies are deploying their financial resources and knowledge in a bid to dominate a potentially huge market for cigarette alternatives."
  • Growth slowdowns: Middle-income trap vs. regression to the mean - "Dozens of nations think they are in the ‘middle-income trap’. Lant Pritchett and Larry Summers present new evidence that this trap is actually just growth reverting to its mean. This matters since belief in the ‘trap’ can lead governments to misinterpret current challenges. For lower-middle-income nations the 21st century beckons, but there are still 19th century problems to address. Moreover, sustaining rapid growth requires both parts of creative destruction, but only one is popular with governments and economic elites."

Thursday, 25 December 2014

The quality of your grade three teachers matter throughout life

  • The Importance of Teacher Quality – From an interview with he John Bates Clark medal winning economist Raj Chetty: “Much to our surprise, it immediately became evident that students who were assigned to high value-added teachers showed substantially larger gains in terms of earnings, college attendance rates, significantly lower teenage birth rates; they lived in better neighborhoods as adults; they had higher levels of retirement savings. Across a broad spectrum of outcomes, there were quite substantial and meaningful impacts on children’s long-term success, despite seeing the same fade-out pattern for test scores.”
  • Politicians ought to have a pint with their opponents more often – Politics without blind tribal dogma? I’ll drink to that.
  • The more things shuffle, more they stay the same – “Reshuffling the cabinet is like changing who wears which colour skivvy in the Wiggles: it doesn’t make any difference, and they all end up singing the same old tunes, writes Tim Dunlop.”
  • France PM calls for calm after spate of attacks – “French authorities have called for calm after a string of attacks across the country left dozens of people injured, saying there was no evidence to connect the spate of violent acts.”
  • Is Saudi Arabia Trying to Cripple American Fracking? Well, it’s said as much, but the real reason for the flood of new Saudi oil is more complicated. “Saudi Arabia isn’t flooding the oil market to cripple America’s shale revolution, it’s doing it to win favor with Washington by weakening Russia and Iran.”
  • Average temperature in Finland has risen by more than two degrees – “According to a recent University of Eastern Finland and Finnish Meteorological Institute study, the rise in the temperature has been especially fast over the past 40 years, with the temperature rising by more than 0.2 degrees per decade. “The biggest temperature rise has coincided with November, December and January. Temperatures have also risen faster than the annual average in the spring months, i.e., March, April and May. In the summer months, however, the temperature rise has not been as significant,” says Professor Ari Laaksonen of the University of Eastern Finland and the Finnish Meteorological Institute. As a result of the temperature rising, lakes in Finland get their ice cover later than before, and the ice cover also melts away earlier in the spring. “

The reaction to cabinet and leadership changes? Support falls

The Federal Coalition does a few ministerial sackings and a little of Cabinet reshuffling. NSW forces out its parliamentary leader. And the immediate reaction is a general yawn of indifference and a market that marks down the election chances.
Not big moves admittedly. But a warning for both the Federal Coalition and NSW Labor nevertheless. The slides of both will not easily be turned around.
Federal indicator
NSW Indicator

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Basic rights for an orangutan

sandra
  • A court in Argentina has ruled that a shy orangutan who spent the last 20 years in a zoo can be granted some legal rights enjoyed by humans. Lawyers had appealed to free Sandra from the Buenos Aires zoo by arguing that although not human, she should be given legal rights.
  • Peter Singer on The Ransom Dilemma – “Governments that pay ransoms are saving the lives of some of their citizens, but putting the remainder of their citizens – and others – at greater risk. The refusal to pay ransoms to terrorists can seem callous, but in truth it is the only ethical policy. Every government should adhere to it.”
  • A change is gonna come – “The great civil rights song turns 50 – the political made personal, and heartbreak transmuted into fiery action”
  • Army of Spin – “Following in Putin’s footsteps, the Turkish government is gearing up for full-fledged information warfare.”
  • Japan: ‘Solo weddings’ for single women – “A travel agency in one of Japan’s most beautiful cities, Kyoto, has started organising bridal ceremonies for single women. Kyodo news agency reports that Cerca Travel’s two-day “solo wedding” package includes choosing your own special gown, bouquet and hairstyle, a limousine service, a stay at a hotel and a commemorative photo album. “This package boosted my sense of self-esteem… the effect was equal to a more extraordinary experience, such as visiting a World Heritage castle,” says Tomoe Sawano, one of the first to try out a “solo wedding”. About 30 women from across Japan have become “solo brides” since the service was launched in May.”
  • Sky: All to play for – “Broadcaster is facing the toughest competition of its 25-year history”

NSW Labor searching for another sacrificial leader?

New South Wales Labor seems to be back playing its familiar game of throwing another good person after bad. From this morning’s tabloid terror:
RobbofacesLaboraxe
Opposition Leader John Robertson meets the definition of a bad leader if the ability to win an election is the principal criterion. Under his stewardship Labor is heading for near certain defeat. The latest Newspoll in The Australian had the gap at 10 percentage points. Hence this new round of change the leader.
But what would be the point of changing with three months to go? Perhaps a new man might salvage a point or two but more likely the sacrificial leader would just remind voters of the side-show during the years before the Liberals and Nationals were given such a resounding victory next time.
Better to let Robbo roll on to inglorious defeat without destroying one of the few remaining Labor members with talent.
owlnswindicator

Tony Abbott now has a dangerous duo of spurned colleagues in the Senate

Now there will be little argument about David Johnston not really having the gift of the political gab. As Defence Minister he suffered by actually saying what he thought and that will never do when the political contest is about avoiding unwanted controversy. Fancy a politician saying that he would not trust the Adelaide based submarine corporation to build a canoe? Leave aside the truth that the feather-bedding of ship building in South Australia has cost taxpayers unnecessary billions. Surely the man realised that honesty would put thousands of votes at risk? Breaking an election promise to hand the next submarine construction contract to such a wasteful contractor needs finesse not brutal honesty.
So off to the backbench with the one Liberal and National Party member of parliament who actually made a keen study of defence matters during those long years in opposition. The Tony Abbott government wants safe hands ijn charge of our armed forces not sensible ones.
So David Johnston will move to the red back benches to join another mature aged Liberal rejected for ministerial office because of a perceived inability to play the modern political game where perception is king.
Now Ian Macdonald is a Senator I would not claim to know well but when I was in my Eden fish-sausage making days, and doing the books for some of the battling south coast trawler owners, I found him a knowledgeable and understanding Minister for Fisheries, Forestry and Conservation. During my 50 years on the fringes of political life I’ve met far less competent and decent occupants of high office and I’m sure that’s the case today; a veteran Queensland stalwart of the Liberal Party just did not fit in to the ministerial mold prescribed by the modern Liberal party apparatchiks who Tony Abbott bows down to.
So Senator Macdonald has spent the year and a bit since being passed over after the election sitting on the backbench and making the occasional pointed criticism of how the Abbott government is performing without really rocking the boat.
But now that he is joined on the Senate backbench by another Liberal veteran in Senator Johnston, the potential for influencing the shape of government decisions increases considerably. Not that I expect the pair of them to indulge in a pubic game of threatening to cross the floor in a closely divided Senate. Rather they have the potential to play a game of bluff with the Prime Minister who spurned them before things get to the voting stage.
I am sure the lobbyists will be aware of the potential.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

An editorial in "The Australian" that should be read by all political journalists

Forget you prejudices. This morning The Australian has an editorial that deserves to be read; an editorial that puts the political adventure of Clive Palmer into a proper perspective.


The conclusion from the well argued Media can’t see story for dinosaurs and twerking:
Mr Palmer is our very own Silvio Berlusconi; a cashed-up bully willing to use his lawyers, money and, apparently, his business partner’s funds to get his way, even at the expense of our country’s future. But to what end? To settle scores, sure, and, perhaps, to advance his business interests, but certainly not to assist the national fiscal challenge. In fact, he does great harm. The only eventuality more humiliating for our national political discourse than Mr Palmer’s ability to win seats and hold sway in our national parliament is the parallel willingness of the bulk of our journalists to indulge his antics, ignore his failings and refuse to report or investigate his business affairs.
I, for one, plead guilty to having, in the editorial's words, "suspended normal scepticism about Mr Palmer’s political plays and business dealings." I will endeavour to do better.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Please send Tony Abbott to the beach with a novel – he looks and sounds like a tired and troubled man

When the morning television hosts turn on you a politician knows he is in trouble. Last week for Tony Abbott it was Karl Stefanovic on Today treating him with scant respect. This morning it was Sunrise’s David Koch out to prove that a Port Adelaide man can be tougher than a friend of that rugby loving Alan Jones like Karl. Both interviews would make Liberals squirm as their leader made a botch of trying to appear like an honest man.
2014-12-08_sunrise
The Prime Minister looked and sounded tired and troubled.
Surely it is time to get him out of sight and into his Speedos for rest and recuperation and a little contemplation about what to do and say in the year ahead.

A slowing growth in China, the myth of the American dream and other news and views for Monday 8 December 2014

  • China trade data well below expectations - “Trade data from the world’s second largest economy, China, came in well below expectations on Monday, heightening fears of a sharper slowdown. China’s exports rose 4.7% in November from a year ago, compared to market forecasts of a 8.2% jump. Imports fell 6.7% in the same period against predictions of a 3.9% rise.”
  • David Murray has gone rogue – “David Murray, and panel members Craig Dunn, former CEO of AMP, and Carolyn Hewson, former director of Schroders and BT Investment management, seem to have had a late life conversion, realising that the system they’ve been part of has failed. Consumers, it says, have not been getting fair treatment and the current regulatory framework ‘is not sufficient’. This is directly contrary to what the government, and the banks and retail super funds such as AMP, have been saying.”
  • It’s Brown, It’s Barrel-Aged, It’s … Gin? – “While many know gin for its light, bright and dry characteristics — citrusy, herbal flavors that go so well with tonic water — another gin sits at the opposite end of the spectrum. Malty, lightly tannic, and with the subtle sweetness and spice of a young whiskey, dark, barrel-aged gin is pushing the frontiers of this spirit forward. Dark gins are distilled the usual way, then spend months or even years resting in oak barrels — the same ones used to age whisky, wine and sherry. That final step yields surprisingly complex results. The wood tones down the intensity of the juniper, and adds notes of vanilla, caramel and often baking spices, somewhere between a bourbonlike gin and a ginlike bourbon.
Maca root
From Wikipedia
The pupils made their games using software made available with the popular medieval fantasy game Neverwinter Nights 2 - University of Sussex
The pupils made their games using software made available with the popular medieval fantasy game Neverwinter Nights 2 – University of Sussex
  • Girls better than boys at making story-based computer games, Sussex study finds – “Researchers in the [Sussex] University’s Informatics department asked pupils at a secondary school to design and program their own computer game using a new visual programming language that shows pupils the computer programs they have written in plain English. Dr Kate Howland and Dr Judith Good found that the girls in the classroom wrote more complex programs in their games than the boys and also learnt more about coding compared to the boys. There are persistent concerns about the underrepresentation of women in computing – only 17% of the UK’s computer science graduates in 2012 were female, despite a promising reduction of the gender gap in maths-related subjects at school level.”

Force me to bet on the Australian election and I’d back the Coalition

The opinion polls showing Labor with a comfortable lead over the Coalition keep coming. At the weekend there was Galaxy putting the twp party shares at 45% for the Coalition and 55% for Labor. This morning Fairfax-Ipsos had it 48% Coalition 52% Labor.
It is an uncommon thing to have a government so consistently behind the opposition for such a lengthy period in its first year or so in office but would you really like to put your own hard earned on Labor winning? I certainly wouldn’t and if you forced me to have a wager I’d be backing the Coalition. To me the Owl’s federal election indicator considerably overstates Labor’s chances of being the majority party come polling day.
Australian federal election indicator
Now don’t get me wrong. Tony Abbott is an unpopular Prime Minister. It’s just that with almost two years to go one of two things will most likely happen. Abbott will change his ways or his party will dump him. In both cases the voting public will start to look more closely at Labor’s Bill Shorten.
To my mind Shorten is a man who will fall short under real scrutiny, bringing the Labor vote down with him.

A big story with little coverage – Nick Xenophon and his NXT

The stultifying impact of the group think that dominates the federal press gallery was never more obvious than at the weekend when the announcement of a new political party went virtually unreported. In my opinion, Nick Xenophon’s announcement that he is taking his independent  ideas national is the most significant political event of 2014. The NXT – the Nick Xenophon Team – should rock the major parties to their very foundations as it boosts the already strong movement by voters away from Liberal, Labor and National. Yet the launch by Senator Xenophon of his new Team was ignored at the weekend and again this morning by the so-called movers and shakers of political journalism. Such reports as you will find are based on an orthodox straight report from AAP with this, stuck away at the bottom of the Sydney Sunday Telegraph, being typical:
nxt
Only the Senator’s home town Sunday Mail gave the Xenophon statement the prominence it deserved:
Party time for Mr X
Not that being so stupidly ignored by most of the media will blunt for long the South Australian Senator’s plan to take his attack on the two party system. He is the supreme parliamentary publicist of my 50 years reporting from Canberra. We will be reading and hearing much about NXT in 2015 and beyond.
Here is the full text of the statement that should have been on page one everywhere”
NXT Launch
Speech by Nick Xenophon, 7 December:
The last two weeks in federal parliament are glaring proof that politics in Australia has become so toxic, so negative that its destroying our trust in our democracy, and the ability to fix nation’s problems.
Every couple of years the major political parties have expected us to walk into a polling booth and put a number one in the box of the political party we dislike the least.
Voters are sick of parties that promise one thing before an election and do the opposite afterwards. And they’re sick of the sort of behaviour we’ve been seeing in Parliament.
Now, there are good people in the Coalition and Labor.
But the current two-party system is so suffocating that good politicians can’t do what they believe is the right thing.
Way back in 1988, when the current Parliament House was opened in Canberra, Australians were actively encouraged to walk on the huge lawns above our nation’s capital building.
The designers of Parliament House thought that symbolically, it was incredibly important that any Australian – woman, man, or child – could casually stroll above their elected leaders.
It was a reminder that at the top of our political system are the people – not the pollies, not the donors, not the spin doctors – but the people.
And that’s the way it must always be.
That’s why today I am announcing my intention to launch a new and better national political choice for Australia.
While I’m a little uneasy about using my name for this new choice, I’ve been convinced by others that it’ll make it easier to find NXT on a ballot paper.
NXT is about politics, done differently.
It’s about creating a common sense approach to politics.
NXT will be a centrist choice.
It’s not about left or right, it’s about right or wrong.
It’s about looking at every issue on its merits and working out the best outcome for everyone.
For too long the major parties have cynically got together to block sensible reforms, because of narrow powerful interests. Pokies are a classic and tragic example where the public interest has been crushed by the vested interests of the gambling lobby.
It’s time politicians were honest with the Australian people.
Voters shouldn’t be forced to choose between the left or the right of the political spectrum, when most of us just want to be somewhere in the middle.
For the past few months I have been working with a small team planning this launch.
And in the next year I will find like-minded people to run in every state and territory who share the same common sense approach to politics.
The NXT will be committed to open and honest communication with the Australian people.
We’re not going to spin. We’re not going to rely on fear campaigns.
We’re not going to spend all our efforts trying to make our opponents look bad.
NXT will simply tell you how we see things, get your advice and then tell you straight what we intend to do about it.
If you like what we plan to do, you can vote for us. It’s that simple.
If successful, we will continue the kind of collaborative approach I’ve always employed in my dealings with my fellow Senators.
I believe that a spirit of co-operation should be the norm, not the exception.
That said, real independence will be important to NXT.
We’re not going to be for sale to the highest bidder in the way the major parties sometimes seem to be.
Put simply, you can give NXT money if you like what we do, but you can’t give us money to change what we do.
The NXT wants donors, not owners.
Hopefully the NXT will be able to sustain itself with small donations from ordinary Australians who just want democracy to work for them.
Now, I’ve been in politics for a decade and a half.
And I can’t think of a time when Australian voters have seemed more disillusioned and disengaged.
I cannot tell you how many people have stopped me around the nation, from Broome to Ballarat, from the top end to Tasmania – especially in the last two years – and asked if they will ever be offered a different, better choice in Canberra.
The answer is yes, and that’s why I am sticking my neck out.
Politicians should listen to the people instead of walking all over them.
And they should respect the fact that they are here to serve, not to rule.
That’s what NXT will stand for.
And I hope the people of Australia will support NXT.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

The future looks incredibly bleak for social democrats

  • Surfers Without Waves – Is Social Democracy Dead In The Water? - “No social democratic party anywhere in the world is on the front foot. Sure, parties may find themselves in government – as they do in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and France, in their own right or as part of a coalition – but this happens by accident and tends to be down to the failures of the right. And in office, social democrats tend to follow austerity or austerity-lite measures. No social democratic party has a strident and confident set of intellectual and organisational ideas that propel a meaningful alternative political project. The future looks incredibly bleak. Why? … The brief upturn in the electoral fortunes of social democrats in the mid 1990s around the third way, the new middle and Clintonism was won at the expense of the further erosion of an increasingly ignored electoral base. In the mistaken belief it had nowhere else to go, core support was traded for core values and reliance pinned on a dysfunctional financialised capitalism that backfired spectacularly in 2008 with social democrats caught with their fingers in the neo-liberal till. … Instead of more things we didn’t know we wanted, paid for with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t know, social democrats are going have to talk about more of other things – more time, public space, clean air, community and autonomy.
  • Antarctic seawater temperatures rising – “New research published … in the journal Science shows how shallow shelf seas of West Antarctica have warmed over the last 50 years. The international research team say that this has accelerated the melting and sliding of glaciers in the area, and that there is no indication that this trend will reverse.”
  • Racial Divide: The Tragedy of America’s First Black President – Police killings of black youth in Ferguson and Cleveland have outraged many in the US. The tragic events show how deep the societal divide remains between blacks and whites. Many have given up hope that President Obama can change anything.
  • The Last Chapter – Books and bookselling have been with us for a couple of thousand years, in which time they have progressed out of the libraries and into bookshops and homes, away from institutions and towards individuals. A great success story, but nearly all stories have an ending.
  • New Asahi Shimbun chief promises to restore public trust in daily – “The Asahi Shimbun’s new president vowed Friday to rebuild domestic and international trust in the beleaguered paper by broadening the range of views expressed in its pages, correcting erroneous information in a timely manner and being more careful with investigative stories. Masataka Watanabe, 55, formally assumed his new post as president Friday, taking over from Tadakazu Kimura, who stepped down to take responsibility for errant reporting based on the transcript of a government interview with Masao Yoshida, the late head of the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.”
New Republic
  • Have You Resigned from The New Republic Yet? – “Yesterday, the magazine’s two top editors, Franklin Foer and Leon Wieseltier, quit before they could be fired. Gabriel Snyder, a former editor of Gawker and the Atlantic Wire, is the new editor of the magazine, which will reduce its frequency from 20 issues per year to 10. (Foer reportedly learned he was going to be replaced from reading a post on Gawker.) … The pair’s ousting has led to a mass exodus from the masthead, which began yesterday when contributing editors Jonathan Chait and Ryan Lizza cut ties via Twitter, and picked up this morning. By our count, 33 of the magazine’s editors and contributors have also resigned.
  • Can anyone be a journalist? UGA researcher examines citizen journalism – Citizen journalists are expanding the definition of journalists. And new research by a University of Georgia professor looks at how two court cases work together to uphold freedom of expression.
  • Looking at El Niño’s past to predict its future