World Cup friendlies are a necessary evil. Emphasis on the “evil.”

It’s Hold Your Breath Season. At least three World Cup dreams ended today and the USMNT plays tomorrow.

For the 32 national football sides heading to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, pre-tournament friendlies are a necessary evil. Necessary because competitive tune-ups are essential if they hope to be in top form for their opening matches. Evil because players can get hurt, even in matches that don’t count for anything.

The second round of friendlies got under way today (more are scheduled for tomorrow), and already the necessary evil has taken a nasty toll. Continue reading

Nota Bene #115: RIP No. 32

“If you’re really pro-life, do me a favor—don’t lock arms and block medical clinics. If you’re so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries.” Who said it? Continue reading

Gene Randall 'Reporting,' Inc.

My article published yesterday in Columbia Journalism Review:

Former CNN correspondent-turned-PR consultant Gene Randall’s video “report” for oil giant Chevron might be unprecedented for how it blurred the line between public relations and journalism. But the Randall-Chevron production raises not only ethical questions, but also the question of whether a surge of newly pink-slipped reporters might go, as one media critic put it, “over to the dark side” and how that might further muddy the line between news and corporate advocacy.

As detailed in a recent New York Times article, when Chevron, America’s third largest corporation, heard that 60 Minutes was preparing a report about the $27 billion lawsuit filed against it for allegedly contaminating the Ecuador region of the Amazon rain forest, Chevron hired former TV newsman Randall to craft a video from the corporation’s perspective, which was posted on YouTube and Chevron’s Web site three weeks before the 60 Minutes report aired on May 3.

Read the rest of the article HERE. (The piece includes expert opinion by author and media critic Norman Solomon, Poynter Institute media ethicist Kelly McBride and FAIR senior analyst Steve Rendall. Don’t miss the particularly devastating quote by Solomon in which he calls out PBS NewsHour’s toxic relationship with Chevron.)

The Weekly Carboholic: GPS degradation to affect climate measurements too


According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the the Global Positioning System (GPS) could degrade significantly as early as next year. The GAO report says that the existing GPS satellites are aging and need to be replaced, but new satellites are years late and hundreds of millions of dollars over budget. For this reason, the constellation of 31 GPS satellites has a chance of falling below the minimum number needed (24 satellites) to provide the required accuracy for military uses starting in 2010.

Normally, the trials and tribulations of the GPS system might not be considered a climate issue, given that most people only know about the everyday items that use GPS signals – smart phones and car navigation systems for starters. But GPS is used for thousands of lesser known applications. Continue reading