Newsweek is a Rag

A long time ago, I used to love Newsweek. I no longer do. The quality of their reporting slipped over time, and recently they were bought by IBT Media (International Business Times, an outfit I avoid), and now it’s just a clickbait non-fact-checking rag to be avoided. Allow me to present an example of their news telling abilities.

In a Newsweek story about a report issued by the Austin Equity Office, the number of factually incorrect and easy to check on the internet information in the first three paragraphs of a seven paragraph story made the veins on my forehead bulge. I didn’t even read the other four paragraphs. Perhaps there were mistakes there too.

Mistake #1

The city of Austin, Texas has suggested in a preliminary report, that highlighted historical connections to a former Confederate leader, Stephen F. Austin, otherwise known as the “Father of Texas”, that it might consider changing its name.

Stephen F. Austin was not a former Confederate leader. Slave owner holding conflicted feelings about slavery and undoubtedly racist? Yes (like most white men of his generation), but not a Confederate leader. He died a quarter of a century before the Civil War began.

Mistake #2 & #3

In addition to identifying several neighborhoods and towns linked to the Confederacy, the report, released by Texas’ Equity Office also suggested name changes for city streets honoring the Confederacy or Confederate leaders, including slave owner William Barton, The Austin American Statesman reported Friday.

It’s the Austin Equity Office. I don’t think the State of Texas has an Equity Office. If it does, I doubt it would care much about renaming things associated with the Confederacy.

William Barton was also not a Confederate leader. Nor was he a member of or support the Confederacy. Once again, he was a slave owner (no idea his views on the subject), and most likely racist, but he died twenty-one years before the Civil War began.

Mistake #4

Austin, who founded the city in 1839, was notable for his staunch disapproval of an effort to ban slavery in the Tejas province following the Texas Revolution.

This one is actually the real kicker. They link to an Austin History Center page briefly covering the founding of Austin, but either they didn’t bother to read it or they lack the ability to comprehend English.

The site of Waterloo was purchased for the capital of the Republic of Texas in March 1839 and renamed in honor of Stephen F. Austin.

I get it that people who haven’t been educated in Texas will not have Texas history poured into their brains for decades, but all of these things are so very easy to check on the internet. They did seem to check one of them, and they STILL GOT IT WRONG. Therefore, I declare that Newsweek is an untrustworthy rag I will be avoiding entirely in the future. I’m so irritated, I might block my browser from opening their website, on the off chance I accidentally click a link that leads to Newsweek. My advise for you is to avoid them as well. Unless you need an example to demonstrate the state of former icons of the news world having fallen into disgrace.

On subject of this pitiful news story was attempting to report on, my feelings are … I’m down with renaming things named after members of the Confederacy, I am down with moving monuments to the Confederacy and/or its members out of parks and into factual educational settings such as museums (except for the mass produced ones put up everywhere by the Daughters of the Confederacy, melt those down, they are not unique art), but I draw the line at renaming or tearing down anything named for or built by someone who was racist or owned slaves way back when that was a thing people were and did. Why do I draw the line there? I could probably list at least a half dozen reasons why it’s completely unworkable, but let’s start with the fact that eighteen former Presidents of the United States owned slaves at some point during their lives. Just changing the names of things named after any of them anywhere in the United States would be utter chaos, and I can’t even fathom the expense. And there are many other people who were also racist and/or slave owners who were not a part of Confederacy who things are named after, so where exactly would we stop?

State of the Orb Empire

For the time being, I will continue to have a Facebook account. It is woven into some pretty deep places in my online existence, and until I find all the tendrils and extract them, I can’t just up and delete my account. I will eventually be deleting my Facebook account. I also do need to find an easy way to keep in touch with you guys, because I suck at keeping in touch with people. I am exploring some options. One of them is very interesting, and you might find it interesting too. I will be posting predominantly on my blog. If it’s something short, I’ll cross post it on Facebook. If not, I’ll post a link there.

What will you find on the old blog? Same as it used to be! Projects I’m working on, cat stories and pics, and ranting about current events. There will undoubtedly be some crazy train-of-thought posts and things of a more personal nature, but I wouldn’t expect too much of that at first. I’m easing back into things slowly, and I want to find the comfy spot on personal disclosures.

I’ll be keeping Twitter. Even though it is a cesspool of inanity and insanity, it has its uses. I will also continue to use Instagram, until such time as Facebook owning it irritates me more than seeing lovely photos brings me joy. If you have accounts on either/both of these services and are currently not connected to me on them, we should make that happen.

I have finally solved the blog-to-Dreamwidth crossposting problem, so my blog posts will be going over there, as well as any whining, incoherent babbling, and complaining I feel the need to do about my personal life in a more private setting. Once again, if you have an account there, let’s hook up, if we haven’t already.

I will not be redesigning the web site. Ages ago when I put this together, I was careful to do things right. Without any input from me, it has continued to putter along without incident through many updates to its core system and associated plugins. When you achieve that, you don’t mess with it. Yes, it looks like something built in the 90s. I’m fine with that, as such simplicity seems to be viewable on any internet connected device without issue. If you encounter a problem, do let me know. I can probably fix it. There will be a new header image at some point. I just haven’t decided what yet. In the meantime, Sasha will continue to stare you in the face every day.

In closing, it’s both exciting and anxiety-inducing to be jumping fully back into this thing, but I’m happy to be back at it. I hope you’re happy to see me.

Those Meddling Kids

I just read a “news” story on Fox News. I knew before the page even loaded there would be no THERE there, but it’s important to pay a bit of attention to the propaganda arm of the Trump administration from time to time. If you don’t know what bullshit they are spewing, you can’t counter it when you hear it repeated in the wild.

Fox News Headline

In what ways was Germany “meddling” in American politics or policy? Some of their elected officials had opinions about those subjects and dared to voice them out loud in front of people who reported them to the world. Yes, people speaking their minds on what the President of the United States is doing is now “meddling” in American politics. It certainly seems they’d like Germans using their right to free speech to be equated with Russia “meddling” in our elections. To be honest, I’ve thought, since the beginning of this whole ugly mess, that the word “meddling” was entirely too light of a word to use to describe Russia’s attack upon our democracy. Its a squishy, soft word best left in the mouths of cartoon villains while decrying how they’d have gotten away with their dastardly plan, if the Scooby team hadn’t been so good at sleuthing.

Having an opinion on what anyone or any country is doing and speaking it out loud is not, in any way, meddling. The fact that Fox News would like to equate deploying opinions in public with attempting to thwart free and fair elections in the minds of their viewers/readers should give one pause. When will it become “meddling” in American politics and foreign policy for Americans to voice their opinions on the Trump administration?