Bits

Selected diary notes

1 On reading some 2009 news about space missions, I thought: When goats orbit earth on their way to the international space station to become milk and meat, “Project Concord” will be headlined by the pun-loving The Wall Street Journal: “The herd shot ’round the world.”

2 Signs in our church'[s low-flush restrooms urge us not to flush “foreign materials.” I keep wondering if the toilet paper, like most everything else, had come from China.

3 I still rigorously research media and public policy, often surprising people who know how liberal I am — they see me spending 45 minutes six morning a week at the health club cafe studying their free copy of Rupert Murdoch Empire flagship product. Erik calls this important opinion-leading rag The Wall Street Urinal. Makes me laugh!

4 This one’s a bit more serious. I was trained, by Prof. Roland E. Wolseley at Syracuse’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, to develop a story a day to be freelanced to editors. How that’s done is . . . find yourself enjoying — or put off by — something in the media, making you wish more had been said: a missed perspective? Wider circulation of the subject? Write about what you wish had been communicated, Wolseley counseled. (He set up a journalism department at the university in Nagpur, India, by the way; I just love trivia, but Wolseley’s reputation was far from trivial.)

Okay (but I’m not doing it, just wishing someone else would!): Ishmael Reed, in an op-ed in The New York Times November 9, 2011, lays out a history of police brutality in Oakland, California, commenting that a great many Oakland cops live in the suburbs, “a fact that helps maintain a strong ‘us versus them’ worldview.” Reed says Detroit developed a plan to combat that strong negative force: Detroit “rents foreclosed homes to police officers for as little as $1,000, to keep them in the city.”

Anybody else thinking this way? Who? What? Where? Why? When? I’d like to know. Now take the idea and run with it.