Journalism on trial in Virginia

The most disheartening indictment of journalism isn’t coming from Trump’s fiery stump speeches. It’s unfolding quietly in a federal courtroom in Charlottesville, where a University of Virginia administrator is suing Rolling Stone magazine.

In its second week, the defamation trial has exposed a constellation of inexcusably sloppy reporting techniques, flawed fact-checking and a naive reliance on an alleged sexual assault victim’s incredible tale, out of some sort of misplaced belief that no one would lie about such a horrible act.

from the Virginian-Pilot


Reporters who might fabricate

a story do not hesitate

to turn a blind eye

to sources that lie

(If they think they can post it on Slate)


China’s plan to organize its society relies on ‘big data’ to rate everyone

The ambition is to collect every scrap of information available online about China’s companies and citizens in a single place — and then assign each of them a score based on their political, commercial, social and legal “credit.” 

from the Washington Post

There was a young man from Shanghai

whose data was somewhat awry. 

A bill was paid late

and so his sad fate

put crow into all his stir fry. 

When Holy Men Go on a Tear

Controversial man of God, Prophet Isaac Owusu Bempah and founder and leader of the Glorious Word Ministry has revealed that he prophesied the death of Kumasi-based journalist with Kessben Fm and Television Confidence Eric Kwadwo Baah, 32.

from GhanaWeb


When holy men go on a tear,

reporters had better beware.

Reporters who snoop

will get a deep scoop

that buries them without a care.


Nicholas Sparks

“I write in this strange little subgenre of what’s called a love story,” says Nicholas Sparks, 50, sitting in his agent’s office, his face blanketed in foundation for the camera and a cavalcade of smartphone snaps. “People read them because they move the reader through the whole range of human emotion.”

from the Washington Post


When writing best sellers it’s wise

to have the tears flowing from eyes.

Mr. Sparks’ saga

drives women gaga

(though winning no Pulitzer Prize).

Resurrection of the Documents

Every year, America’s office workers print out or photocopy approximately one trillion pieces of paper. If you add in all the other paper businesses produce, the utility bills and invoices and bank statements and the like, the figure rises to 1.6 trillion. If you stacked all that paper up, it would be 18,000 times as high as Mount Everest. It would reach nearly halfway to the moon.

from the Wall Street Journal

When Gabriel blows his last horn,

all documents shall be reborn;

the forms and receipts

and the cryptic spreadsheets

will put the white collars to scorn. 

The Pentagon’s massive new telescope is designed to track space junk and watch out for killer asteroids

For years, the Pentagon has been worried about the collisions that might be caused by an estimated 500,000 pieces of debris, taking out enormously valuable satellites and, in turn, creating even more debris. On Tuesday, the Defense Department took another significant step toward monitoring all of the cosmic junk swirling around in space, by delivering a gigantic new telescope capable of seeing small objects from very far away.

from the Washington Post


I’ve lost ev’ry bit of real hope

my car keys are on Earth’s green slope.

O Pentagon, please;

I’ll pay all the fees

for using your fine telescope! 

Obama adopts a grand design to shape his legacy

President Obama’s advisers are sensitive about his lame-duck status and insist that the White House is not exclusively in legacy-defining mode. But the president himself can’t seem to stop reflecting on his tenure and touting his accomplishments, while also trying to settle scores and rebut critics in the process.

from the Washington Post

When presidents have to depart

they want to create a folk art

that pickles their fame

(although they’re now lame)

and silences critics in part. 

There once was a corporate chief

Mulcahy gleaned a crucial career lesson about jerk bosses, an all-too-common species back then and still today. “Learning to work for assholes is a really important thing to do. And surviving them.”

from the Wall Street Journal 

There once was a corporate chief

who liked to give women much grief. 

He thought them inept

and kept them sidestepped;

He now looks like Georgia O’Keefe. 

Georgia O'Keefe
Georgia O’Keefe