Category Archives: Uncategorized

How the president could make the president less dangerous


My latest piece for Reuters explains how the president could limit his own ability to spark Armageddon. It would even be politically advantageous for him.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Bob Corker looks at Trump’s finger, and a certain button


Bob_Corker_in_Franklin

My latest piece for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is a light one; it deals with US Sen. Bob Corker’s decision to hold a hearing on US President Donald Trump’s authority to use nuclear weapons. I will make sure to return to more significant subjects in future posts.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The North Korea puppet show


Kim_Jong-Un_Photorealistic-Sketch Here’s a recent piece I wrote for Reuters that is standing up pretty well as Rocket Man and the Dotard trade insults and threats. What they are doing is dangerous—but quality media coverage can reduce the threat of war.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Bulletin, seen through Quartz


The Atlantic’s business vertical, Quartz, decided to take a look at the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in January, as it neared its 70th birthday. I think the writer, Leo Mirani, did a good job of amassing a lot of historical material and winding it together with comments from me. And, as you know, I don’t go around praising journalists for no reason, even if they’rhbombe smart enough to write nicely about me. Another way to know Mirani’s a good one: The Quartz piece ran ahead of the Bulletin’s announcement on January 22 that its Doomsday Clock would move forward to a very scary three minutes to midnight. That announcement generated tens of thousands of tweets and retweets and some 2,000 news articles, going out toward a potential audience that was in the neighborhood of half a billion readers/viewers. But Mirani was first, and I bet his piece was accessed for background purposes a lot, all around the world.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Please don’t read this post (PDRTP)


I’m sharing this Texas Tribune post in hopes my various journalism-professor friends will also share it, so baby journalists across the land encounter the real-life example of how acronyms ruin stories, and why journalists need to step out of their enclosed little worlds and remember that no one is assigned to read what they write. Here’s the headline of the story:

House Committee Pushes CPRIT Reforms.

 

Of course, we all know what CPRIT means, right? But that’s not the extent of the sin. The  story below the headline uses the CPRIT acronym 11 times in 454 words. Not to mention two uses of CTNeT. The story looks like ants are crawling through it. Capitalized, poisonous, illiterate, unidentified ants that don’t want you to read … one …  word … further.

ADDENDUM: The Texas Tribune has updated this story with information on testimony before a legislative committee, adding four CPRITs and three CTNeTs and possibly setting a new world record for acronym misuse by a digital nonprofit news enterprise.

imgres

1 Comment

Filed under absurdity, journalism, Uncategorized

What would Jesus do to Cardinal Mahony, the pedophile protector?


catholic church sex abuse scandal priest bishop boy on cross cartoon Michael Ramirez los angeles timesIn the early 2000s, I had the joy/honor of working with Ron Russell, a writer who’d come out of the Los Angeles Times to work in the alternative weekly world. Ron was a consummate pro and a genuine bulldog. He’d chased the Catholic Church pedophile coverup in Los Angeles before he worked for me in San Francisco; there, he did many a wonderful (meaning horrifying) story about the church’s refusal to own up to its past and treat the victims of priestly pedophilia with the decency they deserved. I will not reveal what Ron told me about the situation in Los Angeles — the writer/editor relationship being roughly equivalent to penitent/priest — but I can tell you that in my not very humble opinion, God will need to make a new, lowest level of hell for Los
Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony to reside in. Read this. Try not to vomit.

Leave a comment

Filed under religion, Uncategorized

A nuclear exit for France?


In the second of a three-part series in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, leading world experts look at the possibility that France — which gets three-quarters of its electricity from nuclear power — might phase out of its commercial nuclear sector. The cultural angle is, in my opinion, the most interesting. The primary obstacle to a French nuclear exit, it seems, may well be France’s national notion that being a world power is inherently linked to its civilian and military nuclear efforts. The whole packagenuclear_power_plant_432. My intro.

2 Comments

Filed under nuclear energy, Uncategorized