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Archive for the ‘Journalism’ Category

Numbers: my weekly news column in verse

In Anonymous, Journalism, Poetry on October 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

200176792-001My weekly column on news in verse, “Numbers,” has debuted in The Cryptosphere.

Each week I’ll be reviewing a trend or event in the news. In metrical verse.

Although the approach is exceedingly unusual these days — in fact, I believe Numbers is the only weekly poetic treatment of news currently being published (if you know of any others, please let me know) — but the practice of journalism-in-verse can be traced back to at least mid-17th century France.

I have actually written this type of news-based occasional verse a few times beforeprimarily for ReadWrite. But this is the first time I’ll have a long-term opportunity to see what the format can do over time, for both news and poetry.

Read the rest of this entry »

US and China Staging Cyber War Games – Together

In China, Journalism on April 20, 2012 at 8:06 pm

There has been a great deal of tension apparent between the U.S. and China, the former accusing the latter of repeated instances of electronic espionage and the latter fearing the former as an aggressive power in the mold of the Opium War powers.

Well, apparently the distrust between the two countries isn’t as deep as common wisdom says it is or the actors on each side are a bit less strident and uncooperative than they are thought to be, because last year the two countries staged online wargames with each other, according to reporting by the Guardian.

The games were designed “to help prevent a sudden military escalation between the sides if either felt they were being targeted.” Read the rest of this entry »

Liquid Armor

In Journalism, Technology on April 7, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Liquid armor from BAE

This is a story I got half-written before I realized the accounts I was reading referenced a story several years old. Still, it’s interesting so I finished it and here it is. You’re welcome.

The British defense and security company, BAE Systems, has announced “shear thickening liquid.” The name’s no great shakes but apparently, this is a gel that can stop a bullet. The liquid has been designed to provide armor that is much lighter and easier to wear than the traditional Kevlar fabric and ceramic plate outfit that is de rigeur among the world’s armed forces today. Read the rest of this entry »

Tales from the Crip : The Emergency Horse Interview with John Callahan

In Journalism on January 28, 2012 at 9:57 am

emergency_horse john_callahan

John Callahan died this week. The first interview I ever did was with him, way back in 1918 I think it was, for a little magazine called “Emergency Horse” which I ran with some friends. In honor of his git up ‘n’ go havin’ gotten up and gint, I’m linking this post to a .pdf of that interview. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll vomit into the back of a fan.

Tales from the Crip – The Emergency Horse Interview with John Callahan

Originally posted on July 29, 2010.

My Profile of Comedian Greg Behrendt

In Comedy writing, Journalism on June 5, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Greg Behrendt

Greg Behrendt ’91, a comedian and writer probably best known for his relationship-heavy standup act and his book, He’s Just Not That Into You, describes his coming unto comedy as “a really long, slow car crash.”

When he arrived at the UO, it was to study business. He joined the rugby team and he joined a frat. And then he got kicked out of the frat. He broke his hand and forsook rugby. And then he kicked business. For theater. “I thought it would be easier!” he confesses.

Read the rest in Oregon Quarterly online.

My Afternoon with the Commandante

In Journalism on June 5, 2010 at 2:05 am


[This was an interview I did with the Secretary General of the FMLN in El Salvador in 2003 during the legislative elections that year. It was conducted at the FMLN headquarters in San Salvador. A version was published in the LatinAmerican Press. It doesn’t seem to be on the site anymore.]

Since El Salvador’s civil war ended in 1992, the country has successfully conducted two presidential elections and four legislative elections, the latest on March 16, 2003.  The post-war miracle of this little country has been the integration into the government of the right-wing ARENA (Republican Nationalist Alliance) party, which ruled the country through the bulk of the civil war, and the FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front), the leftist party that developed out of the guerrilla force that fought against it. Read the rest of this entry »

My Op-Ed in the ODE

In Essays, Journalism on February 7, 2010 at 3:35 am

oregon,daily emerald

My op-ed on the debate about the hosting of the anti-Semitic Pacifica Forum by the University of Oregon has been published by the Oregon Daily Emerald.


Update: I was shocked at the crudity and intellectual poverty of the comments. I felt naive when I read them. I shouldn’t have been surprised that public discourse at the UO shares the tenor of the screeching news programs and scurrilous reality shows that I had thought the exceptions but which are clearly the rule. But I was. Ick.

Interview with Dr. Susan Rice

In Journalism on March 31, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Several years ago, I conducted this interview with the Brookings Institution’s Dr. Susan Rice, formerly Undersecretary of State for Africa in the Clinton Administration, now the United States’ Ambassador to the United Nations, for Newsweek International. The commissioning editor then told me that the incoming editor, Fareed Zakaria, had decided only to the feature “newsmakers” not “specialists” on the back page and so the article was rejected.

Failed States and Super-Failed States: An Interview with Dr. Susan E. Rice of the Brookings Institution

Americans are used to powerful enemies. During the Cold War we grew comfortable facing off against strong, antagonistic states, bristling with weapons, across defined borders. But in the past decade a new type of threat has taken shape, the “failed state.” Somalia, Sudan, Afghanistan and now Liberia have taken up residence in that hole where the USSR and East Germany used to lurk. The Bush White House, following the lead of the Clinton administration, has recognized and defined the danger of failed states in its National Security Strategy.

Dr. Susan E. Rice of the Brookings Institution, however, believes that strategy lacks comprehensive measures for neutralizing those threats, measures that include international cooperation and nation building. In a Policy Brief titled “The National Security Strategy: Focus on Failed States” Rice credits the Administration with recognizing the importance of these states and the threats they pose but faults it for neglecting to face up to the policy implications they demand.

Read the rest of this entry »

My Prescience

In Journalism, Latin America on March 9, 2009 at 9:53 pm
Shining Path

Shining Path

Following my fortune telling regarding the fate of French immigrant policy, I discovered that my otherworldly ability to see into the future soldiers on. Five years ago, in a post I titled “Shine On, You Crazy Diamond,” I asserted that Peru’s Shining Path guerillas, though proclaimed to be on their last legs, were most assuredly not. I attempted to query this but no publications were interested. Within the last week, multiple news organizations have begun to report on the Shining Path’s resurgency.

What’s the point that I’m trying to make? Just this: I see all, I know all.

Letter to the Editor

In Bob Folder, Journalism on March 5, 2009 at 2:40 am

Dear Flan Iliescu,

I called you last night but you were out selling werewolf costumes to Albanian immigrants freezing tripe in garbage bags in horizontal freezers to vend at dawn to an unsuspecting alphabetic public heavy on sentimentality and low on milk.

Ballard echoes with revolutionary enthusiasms.

Clients of Kidder Peabody donate nine-irons and statues of themselves to poor snowmen (or so they conceive them) who buy kids licorice ropes with them and print and distribute booklets on decency self-respect and common sense which are gaining ground in the whorehouses.

To no avail, however, as the Albanians, thanks to your werewolf outfits, sitting there talking to people in their sleep and making the machinery of information degrade into music, find solace and profitability in the replacement of materialism with violin music, sausages, huge marriage ceremonies, chuckling, boobies and limericks the length of the Odyssey.

I guess we owe you an apology or apoplexy or an apothecary or dromedary, depending on which huge plume of ash you stand on in a coma or corona of light or in a functioning or disfuntional dairy on the Arizona-Deleware border, where, rightly, you are praised as a matter-of-fact dictionary, or visionary.

Suffice it to say, serious gastrointestinal arpeggios squat in supermarket parking lots with your name on it.  We tip our hats to your rubric-enhanced mini-wheats and say, “Thanks—Albanian werewolves the size of squirrels get mad in our pants.”

Bob Folder