Recommending Investigative Journalists

TPMMuckraker is one of the features at Josh Marshall’s Talking Points Memo. Here’s an interesting example of the kind of good work Zachary Roth does: “In Testimony, Rove Hedged On Role in Siegelman Prosecution” (8/13/09).

Glenn Greenwald‘s “Unclaimed Territory” is at He was previously a constitutional lawyer and civil rights litigator in New York. On of a number of collaborators on big investigative stories, he is incredible bright and passionate and tells it like it is without blinking. Here’s a recent good post: “John Brennan’s dangerous national security advice” (8/14/09).

ACLU Blog of Rights – “Because Freedom Can’t Blog Itself” is from the American Civil Liberties Union. Posts are about capital punishment, civil liberties, drug law reform, closing Guantanamo, free speech, government spying, human rights, immigrant rights, LGBT rights, racial justice, religion & belief, reproductive rights, torture and abuse, Supreme Court, voting rights and women’s rights.

Secrecy News is a publication of the Federation of American Scientists. The FAS Project on Government Secrecy reports on new developments in government secrecy and provides public
access to documentary resources on secrecy, intelligence and national
security policy. It is written by Steven Aftergood. Here’s a recent good story: “Information Sharing as a Form of Secrecy” (8/17/09).

Emptywheel (Marcy Wheeler) writes at Firedoglake. Marcy is the very best at investigative digging, and is a widely respected member of the collaborators that do the major investigative work in the blogosphere. Here is a typically good piece of work (this time on Dick Cheney): “The crazy man above the garage” (8/18/09).

Spy Talk at CQ Politics is a daily blog by Jeff Stein. His slogan is “Intelligence for Thinking People.” His post, “Interrogator:’Intolerance’ Led to Torture” (8/11/09) is an example of his investigative work using good contacts.

The Washington Independent‘s “National Security” section features Spencer Ackerman, one of the most respected sources contributing regularly to the collaborative efforts mentioned above. His story, “U.S. Prepares for Questions of Legitimacy in Afghan Election” (8/18/09) is subtitled, “United States May Push Winner To Incorporate Losing Factions Into Government.”

Wired: Threat Level is about privacy, crime and security online. David Kravets often writes the posts. This one by Kim Zetter is titled “Outspoken Privacy Advocate Joins FTC” (8/17/09). It is about Christopher Soghoian, an outspoken privacy advocate.

Suburban Guerilla is by former journalist Susie Madrack. Her slogan is “Keeping a jaundiced eye on corporate media.” Featured as a moderator at the recent Netroots Nation Convention, she also writes for Crooks and Liars. Her post on Matt Taibbi’s searing article on progressives and health care reform (8/18/09) is worth the read.

Blogs: My news and political blog is at South by Southwest. My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. And Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for my websites.

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Bits About Twitter

Twitter is in a way a very “social” site, so people come to know you from your profile page and from your tweets. Since it is a social site, it is about with whom you network. I follow 58 members. I do not know why (27) people are following me since I began Feb. 26th. I have posted 168 tweets. I have some followers that I do not choose to follow because they are more “commercial” than interesting. You can tell this from their profile page because they follow hundreds or thousands. In other words, following reciprocity is not required. And you can always unfollow someone after a trial period if they aren’t keeping your interest. The main reason, by the way, that I like Twitter is for keeping up with the very latest news.

Some people are very self-disclosing and some are “all business.” Senator Claire McKaskill advised in a tweet, “Be candid & random to keep it interesting.” I’ve heard it said that no more than 20 tweets per day is reasonable number. I like to follow writers who are Quirky & Outrageous (AnnaMarieCox), Scary Smart (ChrisLHayes), Funny (PourMeCoffee), Newsy (MarkKnoller), or wonderfully accessible (JohnDickerson), whom I quote in a recent tweet “jdickersonJust ate a double cheese burger with butter at Kroll’s in Green Bay. I may get a visit from one of those death panels soon.” He has two identities, the one I quoted is his personal one, and he has another for links, where he is appearing, etc.

I’m sure many of you already know all this, but I include this paragraph because you’ll want people to know you know your way around the site by what you post. Tweet forms vary. The @Name is the way you reply/comment with a member. The RT-Name is for giving someone credit for a tweet that is good enough to be read again. (At this point that is just a user convention. Twitter has something in Beta that will make it a formal thing in the next few weeks). The Twitter-assigned tiny URL at the end is the referential link about which you’ve written your tweet. The #subject is the form used to identify something as searchable because of wide current interest.

So, to summarize: Pay attention to your Twitter network and your profile page. Know your way around with the Twitter forms and conventions. News items should be timely, and can point to any link. Tweets should stand out in some interesting way. Interactivity increases visibility. And have fun!

Useful Links: Twitter profiles to attract Twitter followers | New Media |JBS …” says your profile can make a difference. Here are Ten ways to instantly attract followers on Twitter (687). And last How to attract followers on Twitter and build a useful network … might be helpful.

Some of my favorite things from my e-mail box

Published by Congressional Quarterly. From Behind The Lines, by David C. Morrison (7/28/09). This newsletter is where I got the original idea for the Behind the Links website. To sign up for CQ’s free newsletters, click here. To quote from yesterday’s national security newsletter:

Feds: DHS has denied an Iraqi artist tortured under Saddam Hussein permanent residency because he gofered as a teenager for the same political party to which Iraq’s current prime minister belongs, McClatchy NewspapersMarisa Taylor tells. (“Do not let the DHS bureaucracy created in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks label innocent people . . . terrorists,” a Daily Kos poster implores President Obama.) If the Obama administration opts to create an inter-agency team of terror interrogators, bear in mind that “the history of inter-agency cooperation on interrogation is both brief and bleak,” Time Magazine’s Bobby Ghosh analyzes — as The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Muskal offers a Q&A primer on the controversy surrounding a still-born Bush-era terrorist assassination effort.

Like many other people I love Twitter. Here are a few of my favorite links:

  • From JoeBidenNewsPhoto: “President Obama with the Apollo 11 Crew (7/29/09).”
  • From anamariecox (7/22/09): “Post-presser banter largely about WHO WAS THAT GUY WHO ANSWERED LYNN SWEET’S QUESTION!?! Now HIS admin would be fun to cover!
  • From Astro_127, (STS-127 Commander Mark Polansky, on Twitter from space) 7/20/09): “Good night from orbit. Had a wonderful time eating dinner and trading stories w/our ISS hosts. Wonderful 2 b w/an int’l crew. 2nd EVA tmrw.”
  • From Senator Claire McKaskill (D-Mo) (5/14/09), “I support public option for health care reform. I want people to have a choice between public and private.”

Nonprofit investigative news organization,
is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. You can also Join the ProPublica reporting Network. Here are some excellent story examples: Report: FDIC Bailout Will Save Banks $24 Billion by Paul Kiel (7/27/09); Their Own Private Guantanamo, by Chisun Lee (7/23/09); and Bill Gates Offers Stimulus Advice (7/22/09).

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Water and other necessities of life – links

On July 9, Diane sent some links to articles on water (from AlterNet) that she says are “worth the read:”
Her into:

____I’m glad we installed a reverse-osmosis system back in 2002 so we didn’t have to buy bottled water. I hope more people will do so (or use the Brita (sp???) water pitcher – coming from Michigan and living not that far from a local inland lake, made me aware of not only the water supply and our needs, but protecting the waters for fish – etc. I think these articles are worth checking out. Diane

Will bottled water companies suck the Great Lakes dry?~”
Tell Congress you want to know what’s in your bottled water~”
Michigan citizens win a victory over Nestle~”
Wake up California; here’s what a real water crisis looks like~”
David v. Goliath: Help Michigan citizens protect their water from Nestle bottling operations~”
Singapore becomes a model for water technology and reuse~”
Small Towns vs. Nestlé~”


Farmer group focuses ire on Monsanto~” is from Signs of the Times (7/2/09).

Big brother is watching: The technologies that keep track of you~,” is from The Telegraph-UK (7/2/09).

Healthier Hygiene — Finding Safer Personal Care Products#,” is from Web MD. Jon notes,”I have been buying unscented products for a long time.”

Spake the geezer to the stripling youth*,” is from Joe (4/26/09). Betmo labels it a, “breath of fresh air.”

Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are Betmo*, Diane~ and Jon#.

Blogs: My news and political blog is at South by Southwest. My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. And Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for my websites.

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Volunteering, what’s in it for you?

Today at my political website, South by Southwest, I wrote about the importance of citizen participation in the political process. The writing took me back in memory to the days when I was actively involved in volunteering for a variety of causes in my local community.

Those days of working without a paycheck brought me other riches. As a member of the League of Women Voters, I got the equivalent of a degree in government. I learned how county government worked, how fair elections come about and how to influence policy change. Making a difference can be heady stuff.

Volunteering brings a certain freedom of action and independence. Though volunteers in agencies or large organizations are most often supervised by paid staff, they are always free for the most part to set their own timetables, vacations, and job descriptions. In later years I was one of those paid staff supervisors, and I was acutely aware of the power those volunteers wielded.

Volunteering puts you in touch with interesting people. In the League, I met elected officials and city planners, as well as community activist leaders. As a volunteer for the Mental Health Association I met mental health professionals, clients and community advocates and educators. I felt inspired and as if I were among kindred spirits. I eventually became a mental health professional myself.

Volunteering meant that I traveled to places I would not have seen if it had not been for my involvement. As a church altar guild member, I traveled to the diocesan convention, and as a Camp Fire Girls leader I traveled to camps in the woods. Volunteering will inevitably enrich one’s perspective and life experiences. I gained confidence with each new challenge, and built upon all the previous knowledge gained through the work.

Volunteering earns annual recognition banquets, thank you’s, smiles of gratitude, hugs, certificates and kudos. Volunteering for the first 15 years of my worklife, put me on the educational and professional path I eventually took. I am retired now, and I know that my life would have been very different had it not been for liking to be a volunteer. You ought to try it, if you haven’t done it.

See “Behind the Links.

Blogs: My news and political blog is at South by Southwest. My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. And Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for my websites.

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The more we know, the better: links to science news

Parkinson’s: The Pesticide Link*,” is from Buzz Flash (6/19/09). Betmo adds, “and bees collapsing.”

Two Studies Consider New Possiblities for Emergence of Modern Human Behavior,” is from AAAS News (6/4/09). Summary: “Population growth, migration, and other demographic changes among our hunter-gatherer ancestors may have played a major role in the evolution of modern human social behavior.”

Shobita Parthasarathy: Battles Brewing as Public Questions Biotech’s Living Inventions,” is from AAAS News (5/26/09). Summary: “More challenges to biotech patents may be in store as advocacy groups
raise broad questions about the creation of modified life forms, a leading expert said at AAAS.”

Researchers Capture the Brain Activity Behind Living Vicariously,” is from AAAS News (5/15/09). Summary: “Researchers look into our brains to see why we’re able to relate to complete strangers and enjoy their victories as our own. (Will this explain the popularity of “American Idol”?)”

White House 2020 R and D Budget . . . Offers Significant New Investment,” is from AAAS News (5/7/09). Summary: “The U.S. government would continue a significant new investment in science and technology under the 2010 White House research and development budget presented at AAAS.”

MIT President Susan Hockfield . . . Envisions ‘Third Revolution’ in Life Sciences,” is from AAAS News. (5/6/09). Summary: “The convergence of life sciences with physical and engineering sciences could have dramatic human benefits, MIT President Susan Hockfield said at the AAAS Forum on S&T Policy.”

Self-Affirmation Can Break Cycle of Negative Thoughts,” is from AAAS News (4/16/09). Summary: “Early and subtle self-affirmation exercises can have long-lasting impacts that help people to escape from perpetuating negative thoughts, researchers say in Science.”

Catastrophic Fall in 2009 Global Food Production*,” is from Global Research (2/10/09).

Hat Tip Key: Regular contributors of links to leads are Betmo*, Dan’l+ and Jon#.

My news and political blog is at South by Southwest.

Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for my websites.

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Study claims single ancestry for Native people

The structure of part of a DNA double helixImage via Wikipedia

This story was sent to me by “Diane’s thinking of you today.” It is dated April 29, 2009. Diane is a friend of Betmo’s. (Note: Not all the links in her e-mail are live because they are non-standard and brought up virus warnings when I clicked them).

Here are some other Internet articles on the same subject that are safe: Science Daily (4/29/09); UC Davis – News and Information; and

Diane’s material itself is fascinating. To quote:

A study published in the May issue of Molecular Biology and Evolution claims all modern-day Native people descend from a single group.

Researchers examined the DNA from 20 Native groups in the U.S., Canada, Greenland, Central America and South America. They found a common genetic marker in all of the populations.

The genetic marker was not found in the DNA of 31 modern-day Asian groups, leading researchers to conclude that the ancestors of modern-day Native people lived in isolation before expanding to the Americas. The study estimates the most recent common ancestor lived somewhere between 7,325 and 39,900 years ago.

The marker was found in two Native groups in Western Siberia, in Russia, that are closely linked to Alaska Natives.

Get the Story:
Native Americans descended from a single ancestral group, DNA study confirms (Physorg.Com 4/29)

Get the Study:
Haplotypic Background of a Private Allele at High Frequency in the Americas (Molecular Biology and Evolution 2009 26(5):995-1016; doi:10.1093/molbev/msp024)

Previous related posts at Making Good Mondays:

  1. Imagery – old – Continued – May 1, 2009
  2. The First Photograph – February 17, 2009

See “Behind the Links,” for current news references.

Blogs: My news and political blog is at South by Southwest. My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. And Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for my websites.

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