“In the past decade, Republicans slashed taxes, started two wars, approved a big unfunded entitlement, and presided over an economic collapse that cratered tax revenues and required massive government spending to counteract. That’s pretty much 100% of our existing deficit problem right there. All we’re doing now is trying to clean up the mess the GOP has left us.”
“I have learned over the years that if you want to make a living in music the first thing to do is ditch anything that sounds like a song. They’re more trouble than they’re worth.”
My friend Verona writes:
A couple of weeks ago I invited some friends along to a coffee morning cum soup-at- lunchtime session, and the instruction was to bring a piece of good news. Something to cheer us all, that would be an inspiration in these gloomy times. The day on which I conceived it happened to be one of those ultra-grey days, when cooking a large pot of soup was therapeutic. The day on which people came was a gift, with sunshine pouring into my small cottagey living room. We had such fun! We spoke of simple good things, and gave tips on how we keep ourselves upbeat. The beneficial effect lasted for days.
What a superb idea.
This comment, on a post by Charles Arthur, sums up the most frustrating thing about working in a newsroom:
Once a story has run in one mainstream outlet, it’s put up to conference *before* it’s given to a writer to check. Once it’s been sold to conference, the news desk can’t nix it without looking silly, and in all probability getting shouted at, so they have no interest at all in listening to any journalist who tells them it’s bollocks. The journalist will, in all likelihood, be told to write it anyway, or fudge it, and may, to boot, get a reputation for being ‘awkward’.
A brief bit of background for non-journalists: “conference” means the editorial conference during which the senior editors gather together and decide what stories matter most. The editors will instruct the news desk team to follow particular angles on particular stories; the news desk team then go back to the desk and start giving instructions to reporters.
Karl’s comment is spot-on: many were the times when I witnessed a reporter being shouted at or treated with scorn because he or she had followed up a story and found it to be full of holes. The news editors didn’t want to have to go back to the senior staff and tell them that, so they would force the reporter to try again and find another way of backing up the story.
In many cases, the decision to follow up the story was made by a senior editor solely because he (in my experience, it was always a “he”) had seen it reported elsewhere and didn’t want his news organisation to be seen to be left behind: the story had to be covered, no matter how wrong or ridiculous it was.
It’s like the difference between the brain and the mind. Explore the Internet and you find cables and computers. Explore the Web and you find information.
– A Free and Simple Computer Link in the New York Times, December 1993.
The term is over: the holidays have begun. The dream is ended: this is the morning … The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. And for us, this is the end of all the stories. And we can most truly say that they all lived happily ever after. But for them, it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in this world had only been the cover and the title page. Now, at last, they were beginning chapter one of the great story which no-one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
— CS Lewis, The Last Battle (final paragraph)
That’s the advantage of associating exclusively with the most venal
and corrupt: you can trust them to follow base self interest at all
times. They are, if nothing else, at least predictable. This is the
best we can hope for in a bleak and uncaring world replete with scum
and villainy. You should know that: you, too, have lived in Wiltshire.