Thursday, June 30, 2005

Censorship via Corporate CYA

The big point about corporate ownership of media is that the news is slanted toward the interest of the corporate parent and corporations in general. If that were the case, I would think that we would see instances of negative spin applied to corporate rivals more often than we are. News agencies aren't the only ones supposedly under the gun. I recall a scene from Bob Roberts of a Saturday Night Live-like show that was afraid to put an anti-nuke sketch out of fear of offending their nuke building corporate parent.

An angle that is making itself felt is where corporations, and their media properties, are looking at the consequences of pissing off government regulators over a story. AOL/Time Warner is facing that decision now regarding the Plame scandal and upcoming mergers. I have always believed that corporate influences on government are less extensive than hyped. The power has always been the other way around, any company can find itself regulated into oblivion.

A respected, lightly monitored media outlet is a good possession for a corporation. If this direction were to continue, however, no corporation would be willing to risk light monitoring. Forget government lawyers, it will be the corporate lawyers, in a fit of CYA, that will be doing the dirty work.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Anyone Surprised by This?

I for one certainly am not. Canadian officials are considering banning the export of price-controlled medication to the United States. The first reason is that Canadian taxpayers are footing a good portion of the bills from these medications going to Americans. The other reason is that the pharmaceutical companies are willing to play along with Canadian price controls. Why do they do that? Because they know that they can make up the losses by soaking the American market. For Americans, remember that the prices you are trying to get away from are caused in part by the discount you are getting in Canada. For Canadians, if the pharma companies feel they are getting too shafted on the deal, then suddenly they will stop cutting Canada its break, and now Canadians aren't getting the sweet deal.

I wonder just how many people who head to Canada for prescriptions complain about the cost of illegal Mexican immigrants sponging of their tax dollars?

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Do They Have Reservations?

If they do then sign me up for a weekend. The proposed hotel would sit on the site currently occupied by the home of Justice Souter, one of the justices who supported the Kelo decision. You can add this to the list of arguments against the lifetime appointments of judges: even more than elected representative, judges become cut off from the "commoners". The Supreme Court building is architecturally rather squat, but that hasn't seemed to have stopped it from becoming another ivory tower.

Link via The Blogfaddah

Update: Evidently they are taking reservations. This way, the business model has a good forecast of generating tax revenue.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Grist for the Storage Locker

Weblogs are so handy to keep track of articles relavant to face-to-face debates. Justices Affirm Property Seizures
The argument here was which party's appointed judges, Dems or Reps, were the majority. Some friends swore that it must have been the Reps who voted for eminent domain as this is the easiest way to give more to rich corporations. I said that the conservative justices were the minority that actually stood firm on individual property rights. Guess who was right?
Stevens was joined in the majority by Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer.
O'Connor was joined in her dissent by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. They wrote that the majority had tilted in favor of those with "disproportionate influence and power in the political process, including large corporations and development firms."

Am I biased in my selection of articles for my collection? Damn straight, brothers and sisters. That's the beauty of having your own blog, and I highly recommend it.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

It Must Have Been a Good Decision

Regarding EPA rules changes pertaining to emission upgrades, a federal appeals court left a split decision. Both sides are claiming victory while muttering about the other side's advances. Being a moderate usually implies getting clobbered from both sides, so I figure that the court must have gotten this one right.

Friday, June 24, 2005

The Count for 2005 is 20

I have been pretty calm for most topics this year, but the Supreme Court's ruling in the Kelo case has be vastly steamed. Stephen Bainbridge writes at Tech Central Station with several sources expounding on the nature of private property as essential to liberty. You might as well kiss your property rights away if someone else can make a reasonable claim of making a "better" use of your land. The danger of the decision is that it has broadened the definition of "public good" to include a private enterprise that can bring in more tax revenue. Call me cynical (you won't be the first) but I can't see how this is anything but a chance for local governments to be bribed with their citizens' own tax dollars.

Just to be clear, this is not the free market. Eminent domain denies the owner of the property the ability to include intangible values in the price. For instance, one family who just moved in next door to a family who owned their house for three generations would have more or less the same "fair value" assessed to their homes. On the other hand, if a new city council were to dislike the WalMart that went in the year before, nothing is saying that they can't take the big box and turn it into a mall for the displaced Mom and Pop's shops. Look out for political fights in town councils all over the country to get really nasty in the near future.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

The Mordor System

I see, in the near future, a science fiction epic based around the quest of an unlikely hero tasked to destroy a humanity ravaging device while stout friends stand against the uber-powerful foe on other fronts. If the foe gets possession of the device, then all of the galaxy is lost. Forget New Zealand, we have the perfect location for a third of the story.

I tell you, it can't miss.

Link courtesy VodkaPundit

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

How Did This Evolve?

Cool story about a common virus that seems to target cancerous cells. The virus exists in a large majority of the population with no pathological effects. Theory goes that it is far better for a body to harmless with respect to its host. The whole bite-the-hand-that-feeds just doesn't work in the long term.

The mechanism for the virus is that it needs other viruses to carry it into cells. The story says that it kills cancer cells, but it seems that the actual mechanism is that it prevents viruses that cause cancer from gaining a foothold. I would think what happens is that AAV-2 hijacks the hijacker, and AAV-2 replicates itself while preventing the other virus from doing so. The rate of intruder propogation and virus load would be lower than it otherwise would be. If I am right, this is a symbiotic relationship that would be worth general innoculation beyond viral therapy.

I always appreciate feedback in the case that I am mistaken about any particulars.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

SUV Guilt? Yeah, Right

Not a bad idea to sell emission credits to consumers equal to the emission production of their cars. I am surprised at the surprise voiced by the founder of TerraPass, Tom Arnold (no relation, I believe).
Not surprisingly, few SUV drivers have been buying them. Most have gone to owners of fuel-efficient cars that produce relatively few pollutants.

That initially surprised Arnold.

"We fully expected to target SUV drivers with SUV guilt," he said. "It just doesn't exist"

To put it succinctly, Duh. Wouldn't you think that anyone who would feel guilty about driving an SUV would avoid buying SUV's? Where there might be more of a market would be Baby Boomers who own vintage cars that are grandfathered out of most state emissions programs. Just a suggestion.

The Definition of Extraordinary

Call it what it is, the endless debate on John Bolton's nomination is a filibuster hiding behind the pretense of "needing more information". The fact that the word "filibuster" has not been used in this context seems to have satisfied the Moderate Fourteen into not beginning discussions.

Evidently then, we have established the definition of extraordinary. Namely, extraordinary is anything having to do with the Senate's commentary on the exercise of presidential power. So in a way, Senate Democrats are returning to Constitutional Originalism in a big way.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Automated Building

I would really like to see this, a machine that uses extruded concrete to construct walls guided only by computer renderings. The creator, Prof. Behrokh Khoshnevis of USC, claims that further refinements will be able to place reinforcements, wiring and plumbing lines, and simulate insulation. With all of those components, it would be conceivable to build an entire habitable structure, less doors, windows, appliances, and other non-structural accutrements.

It is the step of non-concrete wall elements that will be the true test. At this point, I am unable to see how an extruded form would be controllable enough for rebar and wires. Living here in Southern California, aka Shakeytown, the rebar is of particular concern. I doubt that it will be accomplished very soon, but I am more than willing to be proven wrong on this one.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Now That's a Big Number

40 million

For people who spend too much time reading articles about government spending, yours truly included, anything less then three digits of millions doesn't seem like much. When you are talking about people and their information, it is a refreshing snap back to reality from number fatigue.

While there isa no way that such a breach of security should have happened, I wonder if there might be a modicum of protection for the victims in the fact that such a large number of files were taken. Much like a school of fish, it is highly unlikely that all of the information could be preyed upon in a timely manner. However, those who do get caught will pay a very high price, be they fish or credit card user. Surely at some point the utility of one, a hundred, or a thousand more files becomes effectively zero. Little consolation to those who get burned, and no consolation for CardSystems, but maybe buffer enough for those effected to change their accounts prior to burning.

Friday, June 17, 2005

So Maybe My Day Wasn't That Bad

So take that, Murphy's Law. Not everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Not even close to one percent of it.

So take that all ye agents of bad luck, I shall not be in fear of you. If anyone else needs me, I'll be in my locked bedroom for the next five years or so.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

The Answer: The Bump and Run

The Question: What do you do when you combine an earthquake and a tub of hydrofluoric acid.

No worries here, I wasn't using the solution at that moment. It is still wise, however, to back away when the fume hood starts rattling.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Which Question When

The autopsy of Terri Schiavo has been released. For those who felt strongly about one position or another, this changes squat.

As long as I have written about the case, I had described it as chaotic. Not chaotic in the sense that matters were out of everyone's control, but in the sense that one's view of the matter was sensitively dependant on one's philosophical beliefs. I've made a decision tree detailing some of the questions I came up with, doubtless there is more.
  1. Does the soul exist?
  2. If so, is its presence or absence absolutely linked to the state of the body?
  3. If yes, then Terri's soul would have been entombed in a body incapable of sensing or communicating with its environment. If the soul is still aware while the body is in such a state, it would be the state in which most people, and presumably Terri, would not wish to continue to live. Is any state of physiological activity preferable to one's reward in the after life?
  4. If no to #2, then at what state of physiological damage does the soul leave the body? If Terri was below that state, then Terri would not have required Michael's assistance in relieving her of entrapment.
  5. If the soul does not exist, then how much damage to the brain can be withstood before the mind ceases to be the same identity as the person before the damage? Beyond that particular level of damage, Michael's obligation to his wife's presumed wishes would be satisfied as that which was Terri is no more.
These barely scratch the surface of the questions brought up in this tragedy. Any questions as to the husband's motives or the cause of her injury are further complications, but in my mind they rank secondary to the question of whether Terri still existed within the body that lived.

Of course, the fact that I say that the state of the soul is the primary concern is the first of many divergence points in this discussion. In the end, I suppose the main determinant of one's final opinion would be what precise sequence one pondered the questions.

Update: John Cole looks at a some comments made elsewhere as to why this does not satisfy many of the "Life for Terri" supporters. I figure that just asking my questions above, I would be considered part of the "Culture of Death". [Cue Darth Vader respirator effect]

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

What's So Hard to Understand?

I admit that this is the first time that I have heard the theory that the WTC collapse must have been the result of professional demolition.
Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7.


Reynolds commented from his Texas A&M office, "It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings."

I'd be very interested as to what facts Mr. Reynolds is refering, but several facts also discount his "pofessional demolition" theory. The Discovery Channel ran a documentary on the practice of controlled explosive demolition several years ago. The documentary showed that the demolition of a 12 story building required direct access to the support columns, hundreds of charges, and thousands of feet wire and fuse line. None of those can possibly be done without any people noticing.

On the other angle of refutation, there is nothing that is commonly known about the collapse that does not fit into the standard theory. Part one: initiation of the collapse. Surely everyone has seen footage of a blacksmith at work. The metal is taken out of the forge glowing hot. The blacksmith then hammers the steel into shape. Heat softens metal and enough heat will remove the requisite rigidity necessary to hold a given load. Jet fuel is formulated to burn hot, and the fires resulting from the impacts burned long enough to allow the loads of the upper floors to buckle the heated columns.

Part two: collapse of the below-impact floors. While the structural frame of the Towers were able to hold the upper floors for years, they did so under static conditions. Aside from flex from the wind, the columns faced no change in momentum. Picture a brick balanced on the head of a nail. The static state can last for as long as you want it. Now lift the brick and let it fall on the head. Dropped from a sufficient height, the nail will buckle. The support pillars of the WTC Towers were no nails, but that was one hell of a brick that fell across the burning levels.

Mr. Reynolds claims to want a "scientific debate". Given the ability of the simpler theory to explain the results, I doubt that he neither wants nor would accept a truly scientific analysis. I might suspect ulterior motives when he makes the non-sequitur link of "faulty engineering ergo faulty policy". Methinks the policy is the true target of his scepticism.

Link via Little Green Footballs

Monday, June 13, 2005

Smackdown on Dracula

Evidently James Lileks is not big on vampires.

OK, so not much of a post. What do you expect after a long afternoon of not caring about the Michael Jackson verdict.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

The Other Side of Probablity

Every week or so a story comes out regarding the increased risk of this or that malady associated with a particular medication. A for-instance is this article detailing increased risk of heart attack in response to the uses of NSAID pain relievers. Included in that group is the over-the-counter analgesic ibuprofin (Motrin). The article includes the standard verbiage:
The worst risks were with diclofenac, a prescription painkiller, which increased the risk by 55 per cent.

The increased risk of a heart attack for those taking rofecoxib was 32 per cent. For ibuprofen it was 24 per cent and for celecoxib 21 per cent.

The big problem with these articles is that they assume that the reader already knows what the original risk was and can then calculate the new risk. Not knowing those values, and relying on the "double the risk" statements" frequently lead to hysteria and legislation, two things that rarely end well.

So, I would like to thank Celia Hall, the author, for including other aspects of the statistics.
Julia Hippisley-Cox, professor of clinical epidemiology and general practice at Nottingham, said this meant for those over 65 taking diclofenac that one extra patient for every 521 would have a heart attack linked to the drug.

For those who had taken rofecoxib the figure was one patient at risk for every 695 taking the drug and for ibuprofen the figure was one for every 1,005 patients.

This way, customers can choose whether they want to take the drug and risk being the extra one-in-a-thousand.

Link via Roger L. Simon

Friday, June 10, 2005

Storage Locker Bound

Keeping this article Developers get taste of Intel-based Macs | Tech News on ZDNet for my friends the home-based computer techs. They have a love-hate relationship with Windows, they hate it like anyone else who gets into the guts of computers and love it because Windows PC's are 98% of their business.

331 Miles For a REAL Newsstory

Citizen Smash, The Indepundit, asks for a little clarity in the public's attention span. Between the Michael Jackson trial and the missing Alabama girl in Aruba, the general populace is missing out on the story of al-Qaeda trained personnel arrested in California. Smash is right on point when he compares the trial and the search with shark attacks and the skirts on "Ally McBeal".

Allow me to add that I think the relative airtime given to these stories shows the general media attitudes. Namely, that red-staters want things like all Michael all the time. Personally, I avoid those stories solely out of fear of seeing a picture of Michael Jackson. The other attitude is that the discovery of an al-Qaeda cell would be a major coup for Bush and the Patriot Act, regardless of whether the Patriot Act was actually useful in the arrests.

So, on the off chance that any of the superfluous (read "All") reporters at the Jackson trial actually want to go where there is real news happening, I have included these directions on how to get from one courthouse to the other. Safe driving.

Thanks to Doc in the Box for the link.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Begin Envy

Damn I wish I could write like Lileks. Writing about Revenge of the Sith, he hit all of the high and low points of the movie. Especially the part about how the movie would be better if it were silent with only sound effects and score. Flash the dialog on the screen with frames or subtitles, and the total effect would be the same. Suggestion for the special edition DVD: give the option for just that, Turn off dialog, activate subtitles.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Evidently, the Tips Are Better in Florida

Back in my pizza delivery days, I could usually hope for three bucks per delivery, regardless of the size of the order. For that, I wouldn't make a delivery if there were a slightly irritated poodle in the yard. The people of Florida must have a greater appreciation for pizza delivery. At least those who don't try to shoot the delivery guy have that appreciation. In return, this pizza guy continued his rounds even after being shot.

I sure hope that Hungry Howie's Pizza offers medical coverage, or at least gives a serious discount if the driver bleeds on it on the way to your house.

Link via Dave Barry

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Welcome to Philosophy 101, Now F*** You

I am a voracious reader of popular science novels like A Brief History of Time or The Elegant Universe. I was pleased to find a similar idea in the philosophy section with The Matrix and Philosophy: Welcome to the Desert of the Real. This collection of essays is a good starting point for an exploration into philosophical concepts. Plato's allegory of the cave and Cartesian doubt (the extreme scepticism in sensory phenomena that lead to "I Think, Therefore I Am") make frequent appearances. Even a feminist examination of the implications of the various instances of penetration was not off putting.

Then I got to the last essay in the collection, The Matrix: Or, The Two Sides of Perversion. Slavoj Zizek, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana, started his essay with this line:
When I saw The Matrix at a local theater in Slovenia, I had the opportunity of sitting close to the ideal spectator of the film - namely, to an idiot.

While the professor may be a good philosopher, his understanding of his audience seems to be a little lacking. The great unwashed are going to be reading his essay solely based on the connection to the movie. To denigrate the film's audience is to denigrate the book's audience.

I can't say that the rest of the essay was any better. I can't because the rest of it was largely incomprehensible. In one sense that might justify his opinion of fans of the movie, but I think it had more to do with writing in the vocabulary of the initiated. I gave up when he got to the part about two sub-groups of the Winnebago tribe that drew different maps of their common village. What that had to do with The Matrix was unclear as the movie hadn't been mentioned in the previous five hundred or so words.

If anything, the essay left me with a strange curiosity. What would it be like to sit in the first session with this professor? Something tells me that I would be bringing apples, although the method of delivery would be of a higher velocity than is customary.

Monday, June 06, 2005

My Two Bits, Unless It Has to Cross State Lines

Everyone is blogging about the Supreme Court ruling that declared federal drug laws superior over the states by way of the Interstate Commerce Clause (aka The Clause That Screamed). A number of people expressing their disappointment with Justice Scalia for siding with the majority on this one.

Ann Althouse writes to defend Scalia on this one, but one of the points she makes struck me as philosophically unsound.
Scalia emphasized Congress's power to regulate what is certainly an interstate market. He notes that the Lopez Court said that private gun possession could be regulated as “an essential part of a larger regulation of economic activity, in which the regulatory scheme could be undercut unless the intrastate activity were regulated.”

As a general rule, I don't put much faith in aggregate concepts. There is less society than a tendency for people to value the same things. There is less a storm than a particular state of air molecules. And here, I say that there is less market than individual transactions.
Scalia's opinion seems to be one that the Interstate Commerce Clause applies in all cases if any instance of a transaction occurs across state lines. Even more than saying that one merchant might want to ship wine to online customers, Scalia's opinion would seem to indicate that if any instance of a sale, with the seller's knowledge or no, results in the good traveling across state lines entitles the federal government to regulate the whole industry. For instance, if a fireworks store deep in the heart of one state were to sell to a customer who ultimately takes the pyrotechnics to another state, then the entire fireworks market is open to federal regulation. Suddenly, Georgia is denied fireworks because California is at too great of a risk from firework-started blazes.

I'm with the majority of the Libertarian bloggers, this is not a good decision on the basis of states-rights and limited government.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Piecemeal Vindication for NEWSWEEK

The Pentagon released the report of its investigation into abuses of the Koran at Guantanamo Bay. Released after business friday, the typical time for news that is forgotten by monday, the report details improper action by US personnel and detainees. What is most interesting is that according to the report, far more incidents of Koran abuse, including attempted flushings, were perpetrated by detainees.

It makes me wonder just how the anonymous source phrased his information to Michael Isikoff of NEWSWEEK. Given the Telephone Game nature of the information passed down, I could certainly see where the actions of one party gets attributed to another, especially when one is predisposed to the altered version.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Inflation of Allusion

I may be turning into George "A near miss is a hit" Carlin in how the misuse of language gets under my skin. I've been all over word inflation, using strong words in inappropriate contexts that result in the devaluation of the word.

Add to that pet peeve the misuse of allusions. For the past several months is the comparison of X to Hitler. Insert demagogic target for X.

Amnesty International has just opened the floodgates with it's comparison of Guantanamo Bay with the Gulags. That the comparison is laughable, although the Gulags not even allowing holy books did make that crime a hard one to commit.

Mark my words: within the next few months we'll be hearing Gulag allusions for everything from Club Fed to UN postings that don't have mints on the pillows.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Bush Carried the Philistines

That seems to be John Kerry's explaination for why he lost in 2004 in a column by P.J. O'Rourke. A quote from Kerry's speach and O'Rourke's reaction:
Addressing the audience of tame Democrats, Kerry explained his defeat. "There has been," he said, "a profound and negative change in the relationship of America's media with the American people. . . . If 77 percent of the people who voted for George Bush on Election Day believed weapons of mass destruction had been found in Iraq--as they did--and 77 percent of the people who voted for him believed that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11--as they did--then something has happened in the way in which we are talking to each other and who is arbitrating the truth in American politics. . . . When fear is dominating the discussion and when there are false choices presented and there is no arbitrator, we have a problem."

America is not doctrinaire. It's hard for an American politician to come up with an ideological position that is permanently unforgivable. Henry Wallace never quite managed, or George Wallace either. But Kerry's done it. American free speech needs to be submitted to arbitration because Americans aren't smart enough to have a First Amendment, and you can tell this is so, because Americans weren't smart enough to vote for John Kerry.

I'm with O'Rourke with that part. Even from way back we've been seeing signs that voting Democrat is the hallmark of an intelligent person and supporting Bush the sign of the opposite.

I'm going to take a riff on the next quotation in the article:
"We learned," Kerry continued, "that the mainstream media, over the course of the last year, did a pretty good job of discerning. But there's a subculture and a sub-media that talks and keeps things going for entertainment purposes rather than for the flow of information. And that has a profound impact and undermines what we call the mainstream media of the country. And so the decision-making ability of the American electorate has been profoundly impacted as a consequence of that. The question is, what are we going to do about it?"

What did the mainstream media do a good job of discerning? From what I read over that same year was just about every method of finding dirt on the president and ensuring that no one in the country forgot about it. I won't presume to guess what Sen. Kerry means by "subculture and sub-media". Actually, I will guess that he means conservative talk radio and bloggers, and that they alone were able to throw over all of the good work that the mainstream media had done. I share O'Rourke's giggle about how the rabble overthrew the media nobility.

Another thing I found interesting was the way he linked "the mainstream media" with "the decision-making ability of the American electorate", particularly with the use of the "profound/profoundly" pair. Sen. Kerry explicitly says that it is the media that shapes the electorate, and that as the first goes, so should the second. The delicate equlibrium had been disrupted, and, as he asked, "What are we going to do about it?"

It is clear that the failure of the electorate to elect him was not the fault of the media not putting out the "proper" information for its "appropriate" cycles. Where the malfunction occurred is that the electorate failed to follow through on the information provided, or even to pay any attention whatsoever.

To rectify this matter, I make the following modest proposal: Whenever someone turns on their TV or goes online, they must sit through a news broadcast and answer a brief quiz at the end of it before they may change the channel or go to another site. That way, we can be certain that the electorate are ingesting the proper facts so that they may come to the right decisions.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Drug War Draft

Perry de Havilland of Samizdata is not engaging in too much hyperbole when he refers to the proposed law that would create mandatory minimum sentences for failure to report drug crimes An American law worthy of Stalin. I first heard of the bill proffered by Sen Sensenbrenner (R - Wisconsin) a couple of months ago, and I still see it as the federal government working at cross purposes. The Samizdata post has a link to a petition that includes some other contentious hypotheticals:
Here are some examples of offenses you would have to report to the police within 24 hours:

* You see someone you know pass a joint to a 20-year old college student.

* Your cousin mentions that he bought Ecstasy for some of his college friends.

* You find out that your brother, who has kids, recently bought a small amount of marijuana to share with his wife.

* Your substance-abusing daughter recently begged her boyfriend to find her some drugs even though they're both in drug treatment.

Remember: Nothing is outside of the government sphere if it is "For the Children". And it was the Republicans who were mocking Hillary Clinton for the "It takes a village" meme?

Watergate? Yeah, I Might Have Heard About It.

I was around for most of the Watergate scandal, although my priorities at the time were either chillin' in my crib or wondering where my freaking pacifier had disappeared to. I do recall that it was a time most of America was disabused of their faith in the government, and with the revelation of the identity of Deep Throat, it has become a hot topic once again.

With the perspective of never having trusted the government in the first place, the biggest impact that the scandal had was, in my opinion, on the media. It was the first taste of power that the media had. Two reporters worked a story until a President unpopular within the profession was taken down.

From that point on, journalism was a profession from which an individual could change the world. Thirty years after the fact, the journalism school students of that day are the senior executives of their outlets. The entire culture is now based on the power of journalism. If one wishes to change the world, however, one has to have a sense of what changes would be good. Journalism, like science, can not have a set end goal in mind and still remain true to its ideals. With the black eyes of the false Bush memos or the NEWSWEEK Koran story, many people are distrusting the media in much the same way that they distrust the government. At least those who don't want the world to change the way the same way most reporters do, anyway.