Voice in the Wilderness

The news about the "war on terror" your local newspaper won't print.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Foul Ball in News Land

If your local newspaper was like the Des Moines Register, the July Fourth edition carried some heartwarming stories relating to Independence Day ceremonies, local residents serving in Iraq, etc. If your local newspaper really was like the Des Moines Register, the lead story, occupying about 60 percent of the front page, was all about catching foul balls at baseball games. And if your local newspaper was really, really like the Des Moines register, that story occupied two whole pages of a 10-page A section, making more than one fifth of the news hole devoted to the history-making story of why we run after foul balls.

(In case you think I'm kidding, you can read the story by clicking here.)

Naturally, when one story takes up a fifth of the news hole (the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor the other day took up only an eighth of the news hole for that edition), some inconsequential stories have to be left out.

Fortunately, hey -- it's a holiday, and we know that no news happens on a holiday. But for those doomsayers and contrarians who insist on not going along with the feel-good attitude that characterizes this essential celebration, here is a digest of news that the other 6 billion people on the planet were privy to because their newspaper didn't print three pages of what it means to catch a foul ball:

US close to climate change concessions: The United States is edging towards important concessions on climate change at this week's G8 summit, it has been revealed. US President George Bush is now ready to concede that climate change has scientific basis, and that collective action is required over global warming. Until now, Mr Bush has adopted an intransigent position, insisting there is no scientific basis to conclude that there is such a phenomenon as global warming. From The Guardian, UK. Read the story here.

Key Bush aide named in row over CIA leak: President George Bush's right hand man, Karl Rove, yesterday found himself at the centre of the controversy over who revealed the name of a secret CIA agent, after Newsweek revealed that he was a source for a story that appeared in Time magazine and for which two reporters are facing prison. Read the story here.

No word from kidnappers of Egypt envoy in Baghdad: Kidnappers who seized Egypt's envoy to Baghdad over the weekend have yet to make contact with the authorities or present any demands, Egyptian and Iraqi officials said on Monday. Two days after Ihab el-Sherif was snatched by gunmen from a Baghdad street no group had claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. From Reuters. Read the story here.

Israel fears Sharon assassination: Israeli President Moshe Katsav has warned that right-wing nationalists could attempt to assassinate Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Mr Katsav warned that the vocal opposition of pro-settler rabbis to Israel's Gaza pullout plan could incite extremists to take "dramatic measures." From the BBC. Read the story here.

Gaylord Nelson, 1916-2005: Wisconsin giant dies: Gaylord Nelson, a former Wisconsin governor and U.S. senator, died Sunday at the age of 89. He was an eloquent defender of the natural world and a man who brought skill and grace to the practice of politics. Nelson died of cardiovascular failure at his home in Kensington, Md., a Washington, D.C., suburb. He will always be known as the founder of Earth Day. From the Wisconsin State Journal. Read the story here.

Fighter Jet Intercepts Plane Near Camp David: A small plane entered restricted airspace Saturday night around Camp David, where President Bush was spending the weekend, prompting federal officials to dispatch a fighter jet to intercept it and track it until it landed at an airport in Frederick. Authorities questioned the pilot of the Cessna 172 and released him. From the Washington Post. Read the story here.

Increase in the Number of Documents Classified by the Government: Driven in part by fears of terrorism, government secrecy has reached a historic high by several measures, with federal departments classifying documents at the rate of 125 a minute as they create new categories of semi-secrets bearing vague labels like "sensitive security information. A record 15.6 million documents were classified last year, nearly double the number in 2001, according to the federal Information Security Oversight Office. From the New York Times. Read the story here.

Why we chase foul balls: A foul ball is essentially an error, a miss, a strike. Players don't intend to hit them; they're a grass-smudged prize for fans, who are suddenly, magically, part of the game. From the Des Moines Register. Read the story here.


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