Showing posts from June, 2011

What Makes Good Journalism?

Journalists and others concerned about the status of the news industry in North America and Europe keep arguing that we are getting poorer journalism because of the economic state of the industry. But when you ask them “what makes good journalism?” they find it nearly impossible to articulate the concept.

Those trying to articulate the elements good journalism tend to use comforting and immeasurable platitudes and to describe it through attributes based on professional practices: pursuit of truth, fairness, completeness, accuracy, verification, and coherence. These are not a definition of quality, but a listing of contributors to or elements of quality practices. Each attribute alone is not sufficient for good journalism and degree to which each contributes is unclear.

In practice, most of us settle on identifying journalistic quality by its absence or by its comparison to poor or average quality journalism. Thus we know it when we don’t see it or we describe by giving examples of excel…

Lasix: What Is To Be Done?

My previous two posts (here and here) dealt with the scientific evidence regarding Lasix use in thoroughbreds and with the policies of the racing world outside North America. Here’s a brief summary of what we know, as presented at the open-to-the-public Monday session of the NTRA.AAEP/RMTC “Summit” on Lasix:Most horses bleed.Very few horses (less than 1%) bleed at a level that seriously impairs their racing ability.Lasix works; it reduces both the incidence and the severity of bleeding, though it doesn’t eliminate low-grade bleeding.Horses run better with Lasix than without it; whether you call the drug a “performance enhancer,” “performance enabler,” or “performance optimizer,” horses that get Lasix run faster.Lasix does not appear to interfere with testing for other drugs.The rest of this post discusses what the US and Canada, the principal holdouts that allow race-day use of Lasix, should do. Two principal camps have emerged. One, led by the Jockey Club and a number of prominent ow…

Lasix: What the Rest of the World Does

Yesterday's post addressed some of the scientific findings regarding Lasix use. Gina Rarick, an American who trains in France, where Lasix cannot be used on race day, but is permissible in training, wrote to ask whether the discussion at the NTRA/AAEP/RMTC "Summit" had dealt with the possibility that repeated Lasix use contributes to the leaching of calcium and other minerals from the horse's system and therefore to increasing fragility in a horse's musculo-skeletal system and, ultimately, to a higher rate of fatal breakdowns. Good question. My own, admittedly amateur, review of the available information suggests that it is definitely established that the use of Lasix lowers a horse's levels of calcium in the blood. What's not so clear is whether that short-term calcium loss translates into long-term bone fragility and more frequent breakdowns. Lots of opinions on the subject, but, at least as far as I can determine, not a whole lot of science. I'd l…

The Business June 15th 2011, "Monday On A Wednesday" Edition

This Wednesday, Monday night stops by the Business. Monday Night Foreplays that is.

Since debuting in November 2009, ForePlays has premiered more than 50 performances, serving up a (farm) fresh female perspective to the SF comedy scene. ForePlays has recently showcased special performances at “SF ImprovFest” and “SF SketchFest” at the Eureka Theater, “WomenROCK” at The Independent, “Comedy Brains” at The Marsh and “A Funny Night for Comedy” at Actors Theatre of San Francisco. ForePlays is committed to creating smart and original comedy while providing a consistent platform for talented female writers, actors, musicians and stand-up comedians in and near San Francisco.

Part of the behemoth Piano Fight sketch conglomerate, Monday Night Foreplays staged it's Spring performance series "Spring EGGstravaganza" on Monday nights this past April here at the Dark Room. The Business is excited to welcome it's stage-mates from the other side of Tuesday.

And as alw…

The Science of Lasix: a View from the "Summit"

There has already been considerable media coverage of this week’s “International Summit on Race Day Medication, EIPH and the Racehorse.” (See, e.g., here,here, and here.) But most of these reports offer the always-tempting us vs. them scenario: “rest of world presses US to eliminate race-day meds.” In fact, the summit was far more informative, and thought-provoking, than that simplistic view suggests. So informative and thought-provoking, in fact, that I will be reporting on it in a series of three blog posts. Today: the science of Lasix and EIPH (“bleeding” in race horses. Next, what the rest of the world actually does. And, finally, some thoughts on how to resolve the conflict between foreign and media pressure to ban all race-days drugs with the economic realities of racing in the US.(Lots of the presentations at the Summit have been posted online here, so I'll forego the pictures of bloody trachea and scarred lungs.)I had earlier commented on the Lasix issue, among other drug-…

The Business LA Edition June 24th, 2011

The Business is back at in LA again this month on Friday June 24th! This will be our last show at The Improv Lab, and we want to thank them for everything...and go out with a BANG! so bring all your folks and their folks and let’s do this!

Alex will not be making it this month, but Chris, Sean and Bucky will. And we have a few ringers up our sleeve to more that make up for it. Plus the Medically Transported Burrito Raffle returns!

To quote Keane:

"Last time, the Medically Transported Burrito was a carnitas burrito from El Farolito. Life is like a Medically Transported Burrito Raffle: you never know what you're going to get. And sometimes you have to make an effort to heat things up."

The Business June 8th 2011, "Nato Green & Mystery Guest" Edition

Evidently, Nato Green is also a shade of camouflage. Our Nato Green however rarely conceals his position (when it comes to politics)

Bucky's taking a well-deserved night off, but Chris, Alex, and Sean are back, with two very special guests. First off, we have Nato Green, creator of Iron Comic, co-founder of Laughter Against the Machine, and frequent guest to The Business. His appearances are so frequent and beloved, he's earned the coveted title of "Fifth Businessman", which originally belonged to Billy Preston. A former union organizer turned full-time comedian, Nato promises to delight friends of The Business, though he himself might prefer to perform at The Worker-Owned Cooperative.

We also have a special mystery guest visiting from Los Angeles. We can't reveal his or her identity, but we can offer these clues:

- bigger than a breadbox
- smaller than a bread truck
- has visited The Business before
- not Gallagher
- name rhymes with "Shave Gazelle"…