Rules for Reading the News

I put this up on Facebook, but for convenient linking and reposting I’ll duplicate it here, too.

Jacob’s Rules for Reading the News

Rule 1: The Media Lies.

They will selectively present, selectively edit, misrepresent, misquote, mis-paraphrase, or just flat out make things up to support their preferred narrative. If there’s absolutely no way for them to do any of that, they will either bury the story in a corner below the fold on the want-ad pages (or the equivalent), or simply not report it at all.

Rule 2: The Media is Lazy.

Even if they’re being honest, as long as they can fill their required word count or time for the story, they don’t care if there are unanswered questions, or unaddressed viewpoints, or witnesses/experts who can flesh out the story to make it complete. They’re done.

Rule 3: The Media Doesn’t Know What It Doesn’t Know.

Whatever they actually teach in journalism school, it’s not physics, biology, medicine, math, statistics, history, etc. Reporters and editors will happily publish a story with claims that violate the laws of physics, contradict known historical/medical/scientific facts, or quote statistics that completely contradict what they claim. Because not only do they not know any better, they don’t even know they don’t know, and they don’t know that there are questions they should be asking to clarify or correct their errors.

Rule 4: Always Remember the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect.

You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. You read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.


QOTD 2015-04-13: Gay Marriage Edition

Where the State affirms the contract, e.g., Justice of the Peace or Judge, it should be blind to the terms, where a private party (e.g., clergy) does the affirmation, they should be allowed to follow their conscience or the doctrine of their faith. Where’s the problem here?

From a comment to an article discussing Rand Paul on gay marriage. This statement does a pretty good job of summing up my position on the issue.

Oh, yeah. By the way, I’m not dead yet.


Every paper in the free world

…should do this.


The correct term is “negligently”

As in, “the police officer negligently shot himself in the stomach in an elevator, while endangering his wife by fumbling with a loaded gun while his hands were full.”

Like Tam says, “stop touching it!


Obama’s not even trying to look competent, anymore.

What else can you call it when he appoints a lawyer as the Czar in charge of responding to a possible outbreak of a deadly disease?

Ron Klain, an attorney who worked for Vice Presidents Joe Biden and Al Gore, is president of Case Holdings, which handles business interests for former AOL CEO Steve Case, and general counsel at Revolution LLC, a tech-focused venture capital firm in Washington, according to the White House.

A lawyer, in charge of a medical crisis. What could possibly go wrong?

What are his qualifications?

Although Mr. Klain does not come from the public health sector, the White House said he possesses “strong management credentials, extensive federal government experience overseeing complex operations and good working relationships with leading members of Congress, as well as senior Obama administration officials, including the president.”

Okay. No medical or public health experience whatsoever. So what are his qualifications?

Well, according to Wikipedia, he “was involved in both of Bill Clinton‘s campaigns, oversaw Clinton’s judicial nominations, and was General Counsel to Al Gore’s recount committee in the 2000 election aftermath.” He has served as Chief of Staff under former Vice President Al Gore and current Vice President Joe Biden. He was “heavily involved behind the scenes in John Kerry‘s campaign”. He “apparently signed off on President Obama’s support of a $535 million loan guarantee for now-defunct solar-panel company Solyndra.”

In other words, he’s been a loyal Party hack supporter and lobbyist for a long time, and this position of status and power is his reward.

Never mind the lives at stake, we have to reward Our Glorious Leader’s supporters! SMH.



[Source: Washington Times article, retrieved 10/16/2014]

[Source: Wikipedia entry for Ron Klain, retrieved 10/16/2014]


If you clicked through the product links in my last post, you may have noticed that they went to something called “AmazonSmile”, instead of just plain Amazon. But what is AmazonSmile? It’s pretty much just Amazon – in fact, it is Amazon – but when you buy through Smile, a portion of the purchase price is donated to the charity of your choice.

When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same low prices, vast selection and convenient shopping experience as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization. You can choose from nearly one million organizations to support.

You log in to Smile with your same Amazon account, and the first time you log in you are prompted to choose an organization. You can change which organization gets the donation at any time. I have my account set up to donate to my local Rescue Squad (the same one I’m a member of, actually).

I have compared between Smile and regular Amazon, and the prices I’ve checked are the same. They’re donating part of their profits (albeit a small part), not tacking on an extra charge. It seems well worth it, to me!

I encourage everyone who uses Amazon to at least consider AmazonSmile. It looks like a good setup.


First Aid Kit Upgrade!

After reading Tam’s post on adding stuff to her first aid kits the other day, and seeing some offerings on Amazon, I decided (after looking at the checkbook and doing some math) that it was time to finally upgrade my current kit.

What was wrong with my old kit, you ask? Well, that requires a short history lesson. I’ve mentioned before that I’m a member of my town’s Rescue Squad. Back in the late ’90’s, we started up a bicycle EMS team for special events (mainly university football games). For that first year, while it was still being run on a trial basis, we were responsible for providing our own bicycles and our own bags for gear. Since our response area during football games included the dorms and other campus buildings, we had to be able to take our gear with us while leaving the bikes outside, so most of us used some form of fanny-pack. What I ended up getting was this:

Am I going fishing, or rescuing someone?

Am I going fishing, or rescuing someone?

That is actually a fishing pack that I picked up at Wally-World. Cheap, portable, and the extra belt pockets allowed a little more organization than most fanny-packs that were available at the time. But it’s also bulky, the main compartment has no internal organization, and it’s neither marked as a first aid kit nor is it a conspicuous color.

It worked, and it has worked as my in-car kit for over a decade, but it’s far from ideal. Last week, the stars aligned and I ordered this bag as a replacement.

IMAG0084It’s designed from the ground up as a medical kit, has multiple internal pockets and loops for better organization, is a conspicuous color (“Rescue Red”) and can be easily marked as a medkit with a Velcro patch. It is a little smaller, with less internal volume, but I also planned on thinning out my inventory a bit, since it’s main purpose is now as an off-duty personal kit.

So, on to the RFAK (Responder First Aid Kit) building! (Below the fold, since there are several pictures to load.)


Blowing out the cobwebs

Wow, it’s, uh, been a while, hasn’t it? Well, in the immortal words of Granny Weatherwax, “I aten’t ded.” Sorry about the long silence.

Anyway, I’m actually working on a new post. It should be up in the next day or so.

Snapshot of a College Town

Sitting in the downtown Waffle House yesterday, I heard the folks at the next table discussing, in all seriousness, whether the rise of the Galactic Empire in Star Wars more closely resembles the transformation of Rome from republic to empire, or the rise of the Nazi regime prior to WWII.

Political history as presented in contemporary popular science fiction. Not as unserious as it sounds.


Busy gun show

The great part about where I live is that the local gun shows are about halfway between my house and my parents. That means that Dad and I have gotten into the habit of meeting at the gun show and spending the day together. Yesterday, we met there and after we had finished wandering around the show I followed him home.

We knew that it would be crowded, and it was. Dad got there first and bought our tickets, after waiting in line for half an hour. Even with tickets in hand we had to wait in line to get in. By the time we made it in it was obvious that centerfire AR type rifles were in very short supply, and of the few that I saw the lowest price was $1250 – and while I’m no judge of AR’s, I think that one may have had something wrong with it. The next lowest was a bare bones model for $1500, that was similar to one I saw at the last show for about $800. Mini-14s were going for $850 minimum for a basic polymer stock model (Dad was irritated. He’s been thinking about selling his – an NRA edition that he paid about $600 for – and he realized he could probably have gotten a grand for it easily even before he got in the door.) The ammo tables were looking a bit anemic by 1:00, with empty pallets and most of the bins only about half full.

And while it was, as usual, full of exceedingly polite people – “please” and “thank you” and “excuse me”, and patiently waiting without a bit of shoving despite the crowding – the anger and concern were also quite palpable. This wasn’t a gun show that people were at to enjoy, it was a show that people were at because they were worried they wouldn’t get another chance. There was also a big fear that private sales will definitely be on the chopping block.

My objective was simple: some stripper clips for my Mauser. I didn’t find any of those, but I did pick up some ammo for it, along with some .45 FMJ for practice.

It was interesting, and a bit fun, but I hit my limit for crowds about halfway through (even if I did keep going). I think any anti-gun politician who wants a second term who saw that would (and should) be shaking in his boots right now.

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