Commentary

News fiction

2014-02-25 14.00.34

The snow-short Iditarod Trail of 2014 looking north from the Rohn checkpoint toward Egypt Mountain/Craig Medred photo

Some days now it’s hard to avoid wondering if I’m a fool for believing anything printed in the New York Times.

Old habits die hard, and most journalists who grew up in the 1960s and 1970s came to consider the “old gray lady” the standard-bearer for journalism.

Over the years since, if you are a thinking journalist paying attention, it has unfortunately become clear the Times’ standards are slipping. Where once the newspaper had reporters with knowledge writing about subjects they knew, it increasingly has reporters writing about subjects they clearly do not know.

In that, the Times is like a lot of other news organizations in a business where knowledge has slowly but steadily given way to the sound bite. Now, it’s almost painful to read NYT stories on subjects about which you are knowledgable.

Last summer, it was the Times suggesting climate change was harming Alaska salmon runs at a time when the North Pacific Ocean contains the greatest number of salmon in recorded  history, according to the scientists.

Of the fact that the Times has a climate-change agenda, there is no doubt, and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. Over the years, some good has been done by newspapers with agendas, but the agenda should never be allowed to get in the way of the facts.

An agenda intellectually or scientifically justified – say, for instance, the vaccination of children to save lives – can easily sabotage itself if it becomes more important than the truth. The climate-change/global warming discussion already has enough problems without newspapers throwing their credibility overboard to push the agenda.

Global warming is something about which it is fundamentally easy to be skeptical. When it starts snowing in Los Angeles, common sense would tell you that global warming must be junk science.

Common sense, unfortunately, is regularly wrong even if Alaska polebrity pundit Sarah Palin believes it the answer to all the world’s problems. It isn’t. Common sense once held that if you sailed too far to sea you’d fall off the edge of the earth.

Hell, maybe it was common sense that led NYT editors to conclude that the way to get people to pay attention to the climate issue was to take a page from Palin playbook and go all “death panels” on the subject.

Helpful friends

Against this backdrop, you’d think a man would have the sense to refuse the bait when an old, science-journalism colleague emails a link to a NYT story  with the warning, “First sit down, take deep breath.”

And you’d think that upon reading the words “iditarod-climate-change-warming” in URL of that link, the sensible reaction would be to simply hit the delete key. But cats aren’t the only animals that can be led afoul by their curiosity.

The story was titled “The Mush in the Iditarod May Soon Be Melted Snow.” It was a climate-change story piggybacking off the Saturday start of the The Last Great Race. The first four paragraphs of the story were as accurate as they were predictable. They can be summarized in four words.

Alaska’s glaciers are melting.

Indeed they are, and they have been melting for a long time. In the late 1970s, I piloted a sailboat well off the charts into Muir Inlet in Glacier Bay. The glacier showing on the chart had melted far back.

In 1750, glaciers filled the bay and extended into aptly named Icy Strait in the northern part of the Alaska Panhandle. By 1880, when John Muir visited, the glaciers had retreated 40 miles back into the bay. They’ve retreated another 25 miles since, according to the National Park Service.

And they continue to retreat.

Muir Glacier was still at tidewater when we sailed up the Inlet. That is no longer the case.

“Muir Glacier flowed at about 6,000 feet per year, or about 16 feet per day as late as 1979,” the Park Service says. “The continual retreat of the glacier from the mouth of Muir Inlet produced the transition of the glacier from one that was tidewater with a submarine grounding line to one that became terrestrial in 1993.”

Glacial retreat and the northward advance of the boreal forest are well-established facts in the 49th state. They are also undeniable evidence of a state that has been slowly getting warmer for tens of decades.

WTF!

The fifth paragraph of the story, putting Alaska dog mushers on the “front line of climate change, perhaps more so than any other type of athlete” was a bit of a stretch. There are orders of magnitude more skiers in the world than dog mushers, but that turned to nothing next to the following claim:

“Rivers and creeks, used as frozen highways for sleds, are not reliably freezing as expected. Brush grows where it never used to, clogging old routes. Freakish storms, including midwinter rain, and sea-ice breakups increasingly wreak havoc on their sport and livelihood.”

Where does one even begin to sort out the fiction from the fact in that paragraph?

Over the past century, freeze-up on Alaska’s major rivers has slowly shifted to later in the year, but it has never been “reliable.” A 1914 U.S. government report from Eagle records the Yukon freezing anytime from Oct. 9 to Nov. 22 back in the early 1900s.

That’s a span of almost six weeks. Suffice to say there is more variability than reliability in freeze-up.

As for the brush “clogging old routes?” That’s been a problem ever since man started building trails in Alaska wider than a foot path. Why? Because alders, the bane of Alaska hikers, are a pioneering species that quickly colonize disturbed soils in most of the state.

In the Chugach National Forest just south of Anchorage, you can in places above treeline identify the old roads of gold-mining days from 100 years ago by their alder growths. The brush is growing there not because of climate change, but for the same reason grain is growing in North Dakota: man provided a seed bed.

As for midwinter rain, much of Alaska has been getting midwinter rain forever. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the climate record for Anchorage shows a January thaw, often with rain, for 90 percent of winters dating back to when weather records first started.

And no mushers train on the sea ice so just ditch that as a havoc wreaker.

Doomsday

The NYT’s observation of things that aren’t was bad. The conclusion based on those faulty observations was worse:

“What used to be a given in Alaska — enough snow and ice to run the Iditarod and a slew of other sled dog races without much worry — is now fraught with perennial uncertainty.”

Really? More uncertainty than before?

The Anchorage Fur Rendezvous World Championship Sled Dog Race, a big event before the Iditarod began, was canceled due to weather in 1986, 1996, 2001, 2003 and 2006. It has actually been run more consistently this decade than in the previous decade.

“The cosmic question is how long races like the Iditarod in places like Alaska can keep finding long, continuous threads of snow and ice in a region warming more quickly than most places on the planet,” wrote reporter NYT John Branch.

And the answer, according to climatologists, is for quite a while. University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) climate predictions have average Interior temperatures through 2050 as near zero in January, below 10 degrees in February, and near 20 degrees in March. By 2100, February punches above 10 and March approaches the mid-20s, but it’s doubtful many reading this will be around by then.

Predictions for the Kenai Peninsula are warmer, but even there the average barely climbs to freezing by 2041-2050 and then increases only slight after 2091.

So actual science says (if the scientific predictions are right – and even scientists have had a difficult time predicting the future) Alaska might need to build a road to the confluence of the Susitna and Yentna rivers 50 years from now and start the Iditarod there.

Temperatures at the Su-Yentna confluence are significantly colder than near the coast. They dropped past 20 degrees below zero earlier this week as Iditarod Trail Invitation cyclists and runners were heading up the trail. Some suffered frostbite.

Cold is not always such a great thing. While temperatures on the river were dropping into the tissue freezing category, it never got colder than 4 degrees in Anchorage where temperatures are moderated by the waters of Cook Inlet.

Crazily enough, there is even a possibility global warming could help the Iditarod. Yes, that’s right. Help the Iditarod.

The race’s big problem in this decade has been lack of a snow in the Alaska Range. A 2017 study published in Scientific Reports concluded global warming is likely to bring more snow to the Alaska Range. 

Anything anecdotes

When science fails to support the story a reporter wants to tell, there is always that trusted fall back, the anecdote. I once had an editor who clamored for human reaction in weather stories. I’d always ask, “Which reaction do you want? It was always colder; it was always warmer; it always rained more; it always rained less; the snow was always deeper; there was always less snow.”

The reality is that any halfway decent reporter can always find someone to tell him (or her) what he (or she) wants to hear. Or twist observations to suit the story’s agenda.

“In 2008, the Iditarod’s official start moved 40 miles, from Wasilla to Willow, because of concerns over climate change and urban sprawl,” Branch wrote.

“The race attempts to alternate annually between ‘southern’ and ‘northern’ routes, referring to a midrace section of about 300 miles between Ophir and Kaltag — one route a crescent to the south, the other to the north. Twice since 2015, conditions have not let the race use the scheduled southern route.”

Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? The “southern route” is already suffering.

The problem is the Iditarod doesn’t break into northern and southern routes until north of the ghost town of Ophir deep in the frozen Interior of the state more than 350 miles from the race start. The two races canceled on the southern route – 2015 and 2017 – had nothing to do with the one route being more to the south than the other.

Absolutely nothing.

The routes split about 40-miles north of McGrath with one route going north to Ruby on the Yukon River and the other going west to Anvik on the Yukon. Temperatures in McGrath during Iditarod race week in 2017 ranged from highs of 23 degrees to lows of 13 degrees below zero. It was only colder in 2015 with temperatures from 3 degrees to 30 degree below zero. 

The race-changing trail problem wasn’t global warming. It was lack of snow almost 200 miles back along the trail in Rainy Pass. Global warming could help with that if the scientists are right about more snow.

In both years, the race could have been run on the standard route, but mushers – afraid of getting beat up on a bare and thus rough trail – objected. Mother Nature paid them back in spades for the move in 2017; the race started in the cold in Fairbanks before temperatures plunged to a fuel-gelling, 55-degrees-below zero along the Yukon River. 

Through the past decade, the Iditarod has had more problems with cold – temperatures dropping to 40- or 50-degrees-below zero leaving both dogs and people frostbitten – than with warmth. Four-time champ Lance Mackey suffered significant frostbite in 2015. 

Real manmade problems

The move north to Willow, meanwhile, was about urban sprawl, plain and simple. Forget the rest of it. The race used to run on the bike trail from Wasilla along Knik Road to Knik Lake and off into the woods. The trail was such that even if snow was lacking, the Iditarod could have trucked it in and let the teams run to the old port the way they run on the trucked-in snow on the streets in Anchorage.

Unfortunately, the Matanuska-Susitna Borough never thought about the Iditarod as residential development was booming in the area. As a result, there are about a gazillion roads crossing the bike path between Wasilla and Knik.

A small army of crossing guards was needed to control those intersections, and even then there was the danger of a car or truck running into a dog team. Always under fire from animal rights activists, about the last thing the Iditarod needed was a whole team hit by a motor vehicle because of poor trail monitoring and/or poor trail design.

Thus the move to Willow.

Branch can be probably be excused for not knowing any of this.  He was parachuted into Anchorage to write a story about how climate change is threatening the Iditarod and was unlikely to have had the time to dig down into the minutiae.

Someone involved with Iditarod – there are a few folks there who think it is a game to fool reporters – might even have told him “teams will find plenty of climate-caused detours and wrinkles. Twenty temporary bridges, more than usual, were built in and around the Dalzell Gorge, where open water is a rising concern.”

First off, there are no bridges around the Gorge. They are all down in it. But open water on Dalzell Creek is not a rising concern. It has always been a concern.

I’ve been through the Dalzell at 50 degrees below zero, and there was open water there and on the Tatina River downstream from the Dalzell at the rapid that is always open. There are places the water flows at such a rate it simply will not freeze.

Colder weather can sometimes actually create more problems than warmer weather. Cold helps build ice shelves along the banks of the creek, and the danger of falling down into the ditch between them and getting stuck increases.

The number of bridges in the Dalzell has steadily increased over the years – I hardly remember any in the early 1980s – because Iditarod mushers have grown wimpier and wimpier.

Everywhere, Iditarod has made the trail easier. The steps to the Happy River are now nicely groomed. The Dalzell Gorge is bridged anywhere it looks like anyone might have a problem. The Buffalo Tunnels have been cut but to where they are no longer tunnels. The trail has been rerouted around the fabled “glacier” (actually a big pile of overflow ice) before the old Farewell Burn, and the burn itself has regrown enough that the snow no longer blows away.

The top competitive mushers wanted it this way. They are in a speed race. They don’t want to have to deal with an obstacle course, or risk a snow-short trail that could cause a broken sled that takes them out of contention.

As Peter Basigner, a fat-tired cyclist who five times won the Iditarod Trail Invitational race to McGrath and has ridden his bike to Nome, observed after coming off the trail this year, “overall, the trail has gotten way better.”

When he did his first Iditarod almost two decades ago, it was sometimes hard just to find parts of the trail. No more.

“Nobody gets lost anymore,” Basinger said. “There are signs everywhere.”

The Iditarod has undergone big, manmade changes, but they are not about climate. At least not yet. Climate change might someday threaten the Iditarod, but it’s a lot farther away than anyone can accurately predict.

News fiction

Decades ago, Chris Batin, an Alaska outdoor writer, wrote a column for “Outdoors Unlimited,” the official magazine of the Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), suggesting a need for the world of journalism to accept “news fiction.”

Sometimes, he argued, a writer needs to bring to a news story information that he assumes to be true but cannot document, and that can make a story better.

Batin seemed to be channeling his inner Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway, who labeled his reporting as journalism and his much-better storytelling as fiction, once observed that the events detailed in the latter could sometimes be “truer than if they had really happened…..”

Needless to say, Batin’s idea was not well accepted by the working journalists who belonged to the OWAA at the time although there were some freelance writers who seemed willing to embrace it.

As it turned out, however, Batin was probably just ahead of his time.

News fiction seems to be everywhere now. It is especially entertaining to see it put in play by the publications that accuse President Donald Trump of making things up, which he does with regularity.

Why wouldn’t he? Facts have been devalued. We are in an age where what you want to believe is truly what matters.

As that old journalism colleague observed, “the problem, as always, isn’t that they’re wrong about the existence of climate change. It’s this inane struggle to find simplistic, cartoon evidence in the current week’s weather that proves the premise.”

Cartoon evidence.

The biggest news organization in the country, having clearly decided it was going to write a story about global warming threatening the Iditarod, flew a reporter to Anchorage to gather the cartoon evidence.

That just about perfectly sums up where too much journalism is today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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33 replies »

  1. We have maybe 30-40 years of good reliable climate data for some specific places in Alaska. Those specific places are usually population centers like Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Juneau. All of the records we have including those that go back more than 30-40 years show that our climate varies incredibly, not just year to year, but day to day and in fact hour to hour. Using all of our scientific knowledge we can recreate historic climate with some degree of certainty, all of those historic climate models show that we are coming out of the latest in a long series of ice ages. It doesn’t take a climate scientist to figure out that coming out of a ice age necessarily means that things will warm up.

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    • Steve-O, as far as I know nobody is arguing that we are not warming up (except perhaps Bryan). The concern, as I understand it, is that this warming is being sped up by us with (especially) our burning of fossil fuels. This is shown here: https://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-global-warming.htm
      Now Darwin has shown us how species adapt to changing environments and that is an accepted fact by most. The major concern here (for these species having trouble adapting) is that we (humans) are making this changing environment (warming in this case) too fast for many species to be able to keep up (so to speak). Now, we also know that many species have gone extinct due to changing climate and so what? That’s an argument that is debatable, for sure, but my opinion is that this should not happen if it is avoidable.
      Just my opinion.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand the concern Bill. What I do not understand is when history is denied by those who show this concern. The climate on earth has been shown to change dramatically in the past, in some cases much more dramatically than what we are seeing today. When homosapiens left Africa, it was a much different place than it is today. Science tells us that when homosapiens left Africa they ran into other hominids called Denisovans and Neanderthal, there were probably others. Part of what caused the extinction of Denisovans and Neanderthal is believed to be climate change and their inability to adapt. A big part of the reason homosapiens are what we are today is because of our ability to adapt where other hominids could not. To simply discount history and science because a belief structure asks you to in order to prevent the end of the world is nothing short of religious zealotry.

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      • Bill: i totally share your opinion.

        i also recognized long ago that my perfect Alaska tent was 6-inches high on the outside, low enough so it wouldn’t get blown down in the wind; 6-foot tall on the inside, so i could stand up to get dressed; had space for me and all my gear, so we could be comfortable and dry when the weather outside was wet; weighed under a pound, so it wouldn’t weigh down my backpack; and, because a warm tent is nice, came designed to be outfitted with a stove that would also weigh under a pound and produce a lot of heat from any burnable material to be found any place i decided to camp.

        a thermostatically controlled stove would be nice, too, but i kind of thought of that as one compromise too far. i’m still working on the solution/solutions to the others.

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      • Steve-O, my comment did not refer to other hominids but to all species. Further, no doubt many other species were lost in history due to climate causes unrelated to humans. My concern here is that because we are contributing to warming we should do something about it. We’ve benefited from the burning of fossil fuels but we’ve cause problems for many other species and thus need to mitigate this.
        What that mitigation is will be determined by science once the political ramifications are settled.
        Nobody is discounting history, at all. I agree that history no doubt had serious die-offs but that doesn’t change what’s occurring today (and doesn’t take us off the hook). We can just look the other way and let these species go under but I can’t imagine we will allow it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Nice tent there, Craig.
        Read recently (Smithsonian, I think) where a seabird (guillimot) in the Arctic is struggling for several reasons related to warming. None of them are successfully breeding but one pair and the thinking is that one pair may allow for their survival. These things are complex and much is being done to help some species out (keeping nests from polar bears in this case). These are the kind of things that can make or break some species IMO.
        There are some good minds working on these solutions-perhaps some could help out with your thermostatically controlled stove.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bill,

        I’m glad to see that you acknowledge the fact that the climate has changed throughout history and that it has done so before man could have possibly had any impact. Getting there is a big step, one that many never take.

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      • Well Steve-O, anyone who knows any history at all knows that climate has changed-even comics dealt with dinosaurs and the mostly warm climate they inhabited. In Alaska, only a few years ago (about 1800), the entrance to Glacier Bay was completely shut off by a huge wall of ice.
        I find it hard to believe that “many” don’t believe it. It may just have to do with few understand geologic time, although the last 20k years is hardly geologic. Perhaps they need to see it in a newspaper headline. And then there are those who believe the Earth is 6000 years old-are you speaking of these folks?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was speaking of those who think the only possible cause for the climate changing is due to man, they completely discount history and science…the vast majority of anthropogenic global warming true believers. People who do that are easily grouped with those who think the Earth is 6,000 years old, religious zealots, both simply suspend reason and logic and are driven by blind faith.

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      • Steve-O, that’s clearly not what you had said previously.
        There is bountiful evidence that the majority of warming is coming from us and especially our burning of fossil fuels. That is what most folks believe, not that the climate has never changed but that the climate has never before changed because of human activities.
        We’ll excuse those who believe in a new Earth who believe what their fable tells them. You just choose not to believe climate scientists and that’s fine but you are in a shrinking minority IMO.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Bill,

        I suspect you’ve misread what I wrote previously, or now, if you think that I’ve said something different now than what I said before. My thoughts and writing about anthropogenic global warming has been the same for years and years. Unless and until there is actual proof that climate change is caused by man to the exclusion of all other possible sources, the religion of anthropogenic global warming is based upon faith and not on science.

        When you said “There is bountiful evidence that the majority of warming is coming from us and especially our burning of fossil fuels. That is what most folks believe,” I completely agree that that is what most people who BELIEVE in anthropogenic global warming believe. The problem with that belief is that there is only some evidence that some of the warming may be coming from us. You see you cannot discount the other possible sources of global warming that have happened before and are documented to be happening now. There are processes going on in our world and solar system that science is just starting to learn about. The human brain cannot contemplate everything that keeps life thriving as it does on this speck of rock hurling around our star in our massive galaxy made up of hundreds of billions of stars in our massive universe made up of hundreds of billions of galaxies.

        We just figured out how to fly a little over 100 years ago, the automobile was invented not long before that, we didn’t even know that washing our hands and following what is now basic sanitation like not shitting in the water source we drink out of until the last couple hundred years…and people on this rock still do not know this simple fact! Yet for some reason you want people to believe and have faith that by burning oil we are driving the entire climate of the world? Sorry Bill, but you will have to show me how the tilt of the earth and the cyclical wobbling of the earth, and the solar activity of our star, and the volcanic activity, and the currents of the oceans, and the strength of the magnetosphere, and the solar wind, and the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere, and the shifting of the magnetic poles, along with many many other variables have absolutely nothing to do with our climate that has changed before homosapiens ever walked the earth. Maybe when you can do that I will believe that there is bountiful evidence that the majority of warming is coming from us.

        But I am a naturally skeptical kind of guy, I’m not from Missouri but I have the show me state of mind.

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    • I remain constantly amazed by a group that is so easily brainwashed to the point of walking off a cliff if told to do so.

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    • I laud your ceaseless efforts to ding journalists who take short-cuts, but I’m seeing some serious short cuts on your own part here.

      I’m surprised you think all the brushification in AK is colonizing species moving into disturbed soils. I’d think you’d have often encountered evidence that there’s more going on here in your own back-woods experience: Alder and spruce is colonizing established tundra in many places, presumably because of less snow cover in the spring to kill it back. If you want something more than anecdotes, there’s great work using comparative mapping by a number of scientists in Alaska.

      What you say about Glacier Bay is true on the face, but misleads the reader. Glacier Bay did begin retreating before appreciable anthropogenic climate change came into play, and if it were the only glacier on earth that would raise some eyebrows. But most glaciers in Alaska reached their recent maximum in the 1800s, and have been retreating since. True, there are a couple of exceptions, but if you lean on broader datasets instead of your favorite anecdote you’ll see what’s going on there. Looking at a slightly larger timeframe, Alaska was actually cooling just a few hundred years ago, and glaciers were advancing. We can find the forests they overrode melting out from beneath them today. You have to go back much further, nearly 10,000 years, to see dramatic warming that followed the last ice age. (As a matter of curiosity, you might be interested in some of the dynamics of glaciers with ocean or lakes at their toe – even in a stable climate they’ll tend to go through dramatic advance and retreat cycles. However almost all are now retreating – the climate forcing is strong enough that almost none can enter that advancing phase.)

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      • I’m sorry my comment didn’t meet your expectations-the Glacier Bay bit was just an example and not a treatise (and not intended to mislead).
        As to your “surprise” in the second paragraph, I have no idea of where you got your conclusion-certainly not from my comment.

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  2. Craig, hi. Dan Bloom here in Taiwan, chiming in long distance, former editor of Capital City Weekly in Juneau 1980s. Loved this piece, bravo. You might want to know that the current editor in chief of the nytimes climate desk is a woman named Hannah Fairfield who like you was born in Alaska and raised and educated there in Ft Yukon and Fairbanks for high school before going “outside” to college in the Midwest. Now she is in NYC and runs the climate coverage for the Times. She probably sent that reporter john branch to Alaska for the toe touch on the I did I did I did the Iditarod “news fiction” story. So ask her, too. By the way after I left Alaska in 1991, I coined the cli-fi literary term for climate fiction novels and now run The Cli-Fi Report at cli-fi.net

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This was by far the most laughable line in the NY Times story…

    “The main thing that could have caused the Iditarod to not flourish would have been internal,” said Mitch Seavey, a three-time winner and the father of Dallas. “As the race organization learns how to present itself and package itself better, and make people aware of what it is we actually do here, that to me is a healthy defense against any naysayers.”

    What is it that Mitch actually does? He chains hundreds of dogs to barrels (one of which is prominently featured on PETA’s bus ads), he overworks them in training, beats them in front of his handlers, shoots them in the head when they get sick or don’t perform, and dumps their bodies into mass graves. It is sickening that the media continues to ignore this, and even more disturbing that Mitch thinks the new ITC board can “package” enough propaganda to keep up the facade about how he, and many top contenders in the race, really treat their dogs.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. The NYT, has some smart columnists, that have been writing forever. Maureen Dowd is one of them. At 67, she still writes, a once week column. Her personal insights into the very fabric of our culture, which includes the emotional, political and religious parts are her forte. She was born in DC, raised Catholic and is a down out believer of our good old American capitalistic democracy. Many other writers of the Times, share her fervent beliefs.
    Are you able to be specific on which NYT writers have a neo-Marxist bent?

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    • James, since we aren’t a Democratic Capitalist country, Id venture to say Dowd is an idiot along with the rest of then. Also, it is laughable for you to say the NYT isn’t Leftist (Marxist, Socialist, Communist) in their beliefs. Because of their anti-American beliefs they would be in the chithole along with CNN and the Wash. Post if it wasn’t for their billionaire backers pushing their lying adenda’s.

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      • Well, if all I read and listened to was fox & friends, Brietbart, Mark & Rush, I would probably see a red behind every street corner myself.
        Bob said it great here (my apologies for the short inserts, the full song is a riot!):
        “I was lookin high and low for them reds everywhere
        I was lookin in the sink an’ underneath the chair
        I looked way up my chimney hole
        I even looked deep inside my toilet bowl
        They gotta away
        Well, I fin’ly started thinkin’ straight
        When I run outta things to investigate
        Couldn’t imagine doin’ anything else
        So, now i’m sittin’ home investigatin’ myself
        Hope I don’t find out anything, hm, great God”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, Bryan guess you do not understand the irony, from 1962. Mongo, this one for you.

        ‘Well, I was feelin’ sad and feelin’ blue
        I didn’t know what in the world I was gonna do
        Them Communists they was comin’ around
        They was in the air
        They was on the ground
        They wouldn’t gimme no peace
        So I run down most hurriedly
        And joined up with the John Birch Society
        I got me a secret membership card
        And started off a-walkin’ down the road
        Yee-hoo, i’m a real John Bircher now
        Look out you Commies’

        Liked by 1 person

      • James, allow me to point you to any college campus, any “news” room, Democrats in Congress, or Hollywood. Certainly not hard to find the obvious.

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      • ‘I heard some footsteps by the front porch door/ So I grabbed my shotgun from the floor/ I snuck around the house with a huff and a hiss, saying hands up, you communist!/ It was the mailman/ He punched me out’

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      • I am ready to move on from this thread. I enjoy majority of the articles in the NYT. It has good staff writers and columnists. I certainly do not know all their political affiliations, nor do I need to know. I do know what I like to read, and the content they publish, is some of the best out there. My view only!

        Liked by 1 person

      • ‘Always leave the cage door open, so the bird can return’
        M. Dowd is the best. She hits right to the core, no holding back.
        POTUS had a heck of a week! He visited a Communist nation, which hosted a summit for another Communist leader and Trump. If I had been there, I could have met many commies.
        Trump got up and left. He blames the demos for having the Cohen testimony while he was gone. Trump took care of it in a couple of 144 characters or less.
        The other leader stuck around for a couple days and saw the sights.
        I just could not leave it alone, hopefully Mongo understands the irony and satire. I certainly did!

        Liked by 1 person

      • I agree Dowd hit it out of the park this time. I suspect some of the knuckledraggers on here won’t appreciate her, though.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Meh, Everybody knows the NYT, the ADN, Washington Compost and 98% of other newspapers are complete fiction. Neo-Marxist Propaganda level Fiction, everything in them is politicized including the weather reports.

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