Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #76

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Alpha Omega M.D. – Episode #76

…The headline reads: BATTLESHIP MAINE BLOWS UP IN CUBA! Hundreds feared dead….

USS Maine-001

For John Ferrell, nothing could be finer. His business is growing with double-digit zeal. Baby Maggie Lou, nearly one year old, is thriving across San Luis Lake and Martha seems to have family matters under control, though he suspects that she suspects that he suspects she knows something. However it has happened, life does not get any better than this.

Under his arm is the 17 February 1898 edition of the New York Journal, their only true source of news around the country and the world. He has broken tradition by bringing it home unread, for two reasons. The first is to spend more time with his wife, an honest attempt to rebuild the shaky foundation of their marital house. The second and greater justification for this late morning digestion of his favorite rag from the North is that he has delegated individual store managing to qualified others. Daughter Agnes is one of these, seemingly fated to take up the mantle of the retail grocery business.

“It is so nice to have you home more, John. Now you can see how good I am getting at the laundry. Do you want starch on your shirt collars?” She cannot resist cleverly reminding her wayward spouse that he knows that she knows. He will stubbornly ignore any and all of her backhanded inferences on the subject of Laura Bell.

He does, however, give her an authentic, if not real kiss, as she sits in her favorite rocking chair, embroidering colorful flowers on white cotton pillow cases. She lays down the craft, taught her by Olla, to absorb the much needed attention.

A sideward glance draws her peripheral attention to the unfurled newspaper. The headline reads: BATTLESHIP MAINE BLOWS UP IN CUBA! Hundreds feared dead. 

“Oh, dear Lord in Heaven, that is Maynard’s ship!” she frets in disbelief. Her brother, Lieutenant Commander Maynard Gaskel, is a high ranking officer on one of the United States’ finest fighting ships. In the absence of war, she cannot fathom its possible demise.

John Ferrell looks over his shoulder to see for himself and reads further. It describes the horrific events of two days earlier, equally taken aback……


Alpha Omega M.D.

Episode #76


page 70

Reliable News Sources – WIF Spotlight

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Reliable Sources

of News

…News the old-fashioned way – Unbiased, accurate and responsible…

When writing about this, we understand that based on their perspectives, some people may disagree partly with this list. However, with so many fake news sites out there, and so much propaganda, it can be useful to go over those news sources best known for holding their standards to something more approaching real and honest journalism. A true journalist isn’t out to change your mind, but rather to tell you what is happening.

 Before we get into the full article, it is also important to point out that just because some news sources may be more reliable than others, does not mean we should ever read the news blindly without thinking it through. All news stories should be put through the process of critical thinking, and analyzed based on the context, and any possible biases – whether intentional or otherwise.
The point being… look beyond your Twitter or Facebook timelines.

10. Wall Street Journal

The Wall Street Journal is a well-known name that can often be very controversial. Like many organizations, it is often accused of bias, but in this case the accusations of bias are in a right leaning direction. Many would say that the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal are very conservative. However, while there is some truth to this, the Wall Street Journal’s news is known for being quite accurate as far as newspapers go, and is still a trusted source of news throughout the country. Some people on the left have a small amount of distrust for it, but overall it is a fairly trusted publication on both sides of the ideological spectrum.

The Wall Street Journal has also proven itself as a news source that most people trust. On Election Day, many sites took down their paywall. However, The Wall Street Journal made the interesting decision to keep theirs up and see if they could increase their subscriptions. Their plan worked, and they actually did see quite a large subscription increase in the days following. Like others on this list, one should be careful to read between the lines when reading political reporting or opinion pieces, but when it comes to the basic news itself, they are a reliable source.

9. New York Times

The New York Times hardly needs any introduction. They are perhaps the most well-known newspaper in the entire world, and have been what many consider a source of journalistic integrity and standards for longer than most people can remember. When many people give examples of a reliable source, the New York Times is often the very first example cited. However, they would be higher on the list if not for the fact that like any newspaper in the world, there will always be a certain level of bias. The New York Times can be relied upon to do their best to fact check and tell the truth, but if you are reading up on politics in particular, it is undeniable that they lean slightly more toward the left.

Most of the public still considers them trustworthy, and the bias is slight enough that it is likely natural bias born from life experience, and not anything particularly intentional, but all political stories from any newspaper should be read carefully understanding any possible biases involved in order to better read between the lines. That said, when the President Elect – now President – of the United States, criticized the New York Times for their coverage of the election, and accused them of bias, the public showed their disagreement with President Trump in that regard by voting with their wallets. Shortly after the election the New York Times had an unprecedented surge in paid subscribers of over 40,000 people. This shows that in a time where we have a glut of fake news, people are turning to one of America’s most trusted new sources to get their information.

8. BBC

When most people ask you for most trustworthy or reliable news sources, the BBC is one of the first you hear about. Known around the world for accurate and reliable reporting, they are even judged well in their own country – where people tend to be most critical about the reliability and accuracy of their news. Of those polled in the UK, 62% believed the BBC to be accurate and reliable as news, and almost half of those polled found them to be unbiased. For a news organization that often has to talk about politics, these are actually fairly good numbers. The issue is with politics in general, and the truth is that apart from a service where all they do is literally report what politicians said and nothing else – something essentially no news network today does – there will always be some amount of bias when talking about politics.

This means that with many news sources, the news itself being reported may be reliable, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take any commentary with a grain of salt, or think critically about the way the headline or the story is being presented to you. Remember when watching the news to read between the lines. If a story is political, there is a good chance there is some amount of innate bias involved. If you read the story with the particular bias in mind, it will be easier to get to the heart of the matter.

7. NPR

NPR stands for National Public Radio, and is a non-profit that makes radio programming for hundreds of public radio stations around the United States. Over the years, like everything in radio, they have seen their membership decline. In many ways they have struggled to keep their older audience, and find a way to also bring in new, younger listeners. While people will always drive, and thus there will always be a captive audience for radio, much of NPR’s programming is often seen as rather outdated, and they are often accused of having a liberal bias as well. This accusation of liberal bias is not too surprising, as the public service is often funded by those with a slightly more liberal leaning, but the station itself has never been known to greatly exaggerate or mislead people for political reasons.

Like many news services, when they get into opinions in terms of politics, bias is going to present itself. In this case the bias is going to lean more in a liberal direction. However, this does not mean the news you are being told is untrue or even meant to mislead. Something can be completely true and still be told with an innate bias. It is always important to be informed and read between the lines. However, in their defense NPR has award winning journalists, even some who have been killed in the line of duty bravely reporting on facts in war zones like Iraq. And in a time when people are looking for more accurate, down to earth reporting, with as little bias as humanly possible, NPR has been one of the news organizations to see a recent rise in ratings.

6. Snopes

It may seem strange to see Snopes on this list. They are not a news source, exactly, but they are a watchdog who has, over the years, kept an eye both on news sources and on fake news sources, taking the time to dig into the nitty gritty and find the truth behind urban legends or rumors of all kinds. Their work has been tireless and often unnoticed, but they have been going at it since the early days of the internet. At first they dispelled hoaxes that would appear on email chains, but now they have evolved to taking down hoaxes that appear on social media. Whenever some fake news story is trying to get its legs, Snopes is doing everything they can to cut it off at the knees. They find every little detail and ascertain the real truth, if possible, never worrying about any specific agenda besides truth itself.

This dedication has not gone unnoticed. Facebook has been under fire for the glut of Fake News during the last election cycle that appeared in people’s feeds, and the powers that be at Facebook have decided to do something about it at last. They are going to start checking suspect stories with fact checking groups, and if the story doesn’t pass muster, it will be hidden from being seen in people’s feeds. Snopes, the Associated Press, and a few other trusted fact checkers are working with Facebook to vet stories to make sure that people are not reading lies when they scroll through their Facebook feed. This may sound like a silly issue, but among the millennial generation, an alarming number got most of their election news from Facebook. For this reason, it is very important – especially with how people can accidentally turn their own feed into an echo chamber – that fake news stories are weeded out and removed like the cancer that they are.

5. Reuters

Reuters is not a particularly well known news agency when it comes to the public consciousness. In most polls involving trusted sources of news, it doesn’t even really register. However, most people are still probably familiar with the name Reuters and their presence online has increased greatly in recent years. Many people may even notice that similar to the Associated Press, a lot of news stories actually credit Reuters. This is because the two are actually very similar services. While the Associated Press is more of a non-profit venture, both were originally telegraph wire news services. The idea being that a large network of contacts could use the telegraph service to quickly wire news around the world, so everyone didn’t need a reporter everywhere – as long as one or two telegraph agencies had most everything covered by a journalist or two.

In recent years, just like the Associated Press and the rest of the news services, Reuters has struggled with keeping their business performing as needed. This is why in recent days we have started to see them posting more stories on their own website, instead of simply selling their stories to other news agencies. Unfortunately, they would be higher on the list, but using their own website to market news more directly to the consumer has started to allow opinion to seep more into their news stories – instead of simply wiring facts on the ground to other agencies in need of them.

4. The Economist

The Economist is a publication that has been around for more than 150 years, and despite having a fairly clear political stance in its editorials, has still always had a general air of trustworthiness about it. The Economist is known for having a stance that is quite liberal and calls for a more global economy, a stance that a fairly large chunk of people are not particularly on board with. However, while their editorials do have a clear political tone, they are still known for being clear with the actual facts, and in terms of reporting news are not known for being inaccurate. Part of the fact that they are considered so reliable may be the fact that they have worked hard to keep their editorial style more anonymous than other newspapers, so it seems more like the newspaper itself is speaking, instead of different personalities.

In a bizarre way, this almost helps keep the opinion pieces from becoming a spectacle and overshadowing the basic news reporting, something that has likely helped them remain above the fray when it comes to public trust. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, The Economist is actually the most trusted source in America, if you look at it across both ideological spectrum. Interestingly, the poll lists the second most trusted news source in America as the BBC – also a British news agency.

3. PBS

PBS, which stands for Public Broadcasting Service, is known for being incredibly trustworthy as news, and also for providing excellent programs that entertain children and help them learn. While some may get confused because some programming they see locally on PBS may be made locally and not by PBS itself, the actual organization has an amazing reputation when it comes to being unbiased. For years they have had an independent research poll conducted that finds them at the top of trustworthiness and reliability in terms of news. While this should be taken with a grain of salt because the poll is carried out on the behalf of PBS, you don’t just have to take their word for it.

Other polls commissioned by outside sources have looked at the trustworthiness of news organizations as well, and PBS comes away with the best net rating in terms of trust to distrust. Interestingly, among Republicans, Fox News is the most trusted source, but among Democrats it is the least trusted source – making it perhaps the most controversial news source of all. By contrast, PBS is considered trustworthy by a large amount of respondents from both sides of the ideological spectrum. After all, who wouldn’t trust the people who brought us Mr. Rogers?

2. C-SPAN

For those who aren’t aware, C-SPAN is a public access channel that live streams TV straight from the floor of the House and Senate of the United States. C-SPAN stands for Cable Satellite Public Affairs Network and was created long ago by the cable industry in order to give people a way to keep an eye on the primary source when it comes to the actions of their government. While many people think that the federal government is involved in running C-SPAN, this is really not the case. In certain situations those in charge of proceedings can ask for the camera’s to be shut off, but they in no way have any control beyond that over the running of the network or over what is shown or not.

While it isn’t exactly a news source, C-SPAN is about the most reliable primary source you can ask for when it comes to unbiased political news. If you have ever wondered if what you read in a news report was biased, slanted or outright reported wrong or out of context, you can watch C-Span, or clips from it, and find out the truth for yourself. There is no better way to know exactly what a congressperson said than to watch them on TV and witness with your own eyes and ears exactly what they did and said.

1. The Associated Press

In many cases, the Associated Press basically is the news. They are the non-commentary, no nonsense part of the news whose job it is to have tendrils all over the world, at all times. It isn’t really convenient for a local paper to have a reporter in Iraq covering the war, but they still want to be able to report the facts on the ground to the people reading their paper. They cannot just copy someone else’s story, and they cannot afford to send someone to Iraq. Instead, they buy stories from the Associated Press, which has journalists all over the globe and sells breaking news to roughly 15,000 news outlets around the world.

They have long been known for reliable and accurate reporting, and are not known for having any particular agenda. They are a non-profit agency that works with other non-profit agencies at times, in order to share news as efficiently as possible. And in an era where many news organizations seem to have forgotten that fact checking was a thing it is refreshing that they have a very strong commitment to such, and in a world where news organizations have increasingly become primarily entertainment, a commitment to remaining objective. Nearly every news organization across the spectrum uses stories from the AP, because they find and report the actual news.


Reliable News Sources

– WIF Spotlight

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 168

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 168

…Don’t give me that sources crap, sonny, tell us who tipped you off and I’ll give you the real story…

All lighting is trained on the house, 360 degrees and forever, but nothing happens immediately. The hibernating bats don’t like it and scatter into the dawning day, as do any ghostly Greenwood-001apparitions from the house’s scary past.

The climax comes when the roof splits open and a fiery shaft shoots up into the dawning sky… and then it is gone, like it was never there.

“Turn off all the lights,” Daniels orders.

He and Constance hop out of the National Guard vehicle to take a closer look at the house. They are met by a young reporter carrying a camera and a notebook, “My name is John Krass from the Chicago Tribune and I cannot believe what I just saw. Can you explain that red light shooting out from the roof?”

In his peripheral view of the bewildering scene, Daniels sees L. Dick Cannon stumble out of the house in his pajamas. He sets out to corner him before he has time to collect his fragile wits, hoping he can make sense of the connection between Penty and this Science Fiction nutcase.

John Krass – Chicago Tribune

Meanwhile, Connie corners Krass. “Tell us how you found out about this operation and maybe we will give you a story that is fit to print,” Constance barters.

“I have my ways,” young Krass explains.

She has heard that before, from Daniels, “Don’t give me that sources crap, sonny. Tell us who tipped you off and I’ll give you some facts from which you can fashion some sort of factual story, instead of the horror tale that you are going to write.”

“I have a ‘guy’ in the 2nd District who tipped me off. He dished that something big was going to go down here this morning. Boysources did it ever!”

“Okay, I guess it doesn’t matter now…” she ditches the exact factual facts and goes on to tell the unsuspecting lad that they are  ghost hunters, hired to drive out spirits and demons at 5046, blah-blah-blah. He can get the real dirt from somebody else, which is advisable if he has a future as a reporter.

“Cool!” There is one born every minute.

Whether it is a newspaper legend like William Randolph Hearst or a cub reporter like John Krass who is looking for his big break; both want to put things down in black and white, in order for it to be read all over.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 143 (end Ch. 14)

 

Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 156

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Constance Caraway P.I. ~ Episode 156

Chapter Fourteen

 … AND READ ALL OVER

Because of William Randolph Hearst himself and his fondness for a man he never met, the entire Hearst newspaper empire, all 28 papers from across America, are directed to “puff” Billy Graham and his 1949 Los Angeles crusades. Graham didn’t need too much puffing considering that his California alter calls had blossomed from a compact 3 week event to a full 8 week Holy Ghost revival, already making him a national figure. Rare was the day when he didn’t make the front page.

Video footage from these prayer meetings would make their way onto Sunday morning television, meeting the stations’ FCC religious programming mandate and providing shut-ins with a pseudo church service.

Here in 1951, with “The Old Man” of the American free press nearing 91 years old, he is determined to back a cause which has a far-reaching meaningful legacy. Hearst is rich by any measure and diverting several million dollars to a good young man who shares his patriotism and anticommunist views, as well as a passion for the youth of this nation seems like a natural step. So, despite the protestation of son William Jr., the funds are entrusted to a stranger.

Graham does not turn down the money, why would he, when it is being placed in the hands of a good steward. And he doesn’t forget his friends. His Evangelistic Association is now well funded (by a dying billionaire with a guilty conscience as well the gratefully saved plebeians) and he sees the needs of the people at the bottom of the Libby food chain, specifically Constance Caraway’s efforts on his behalf. (Not to mention Martin Kamen who has directed most of his own grant money to pay for CCPI’s services in the first place). So, he places $100,000 dollars of seed money in Caraway’s care, with the caveat that she distributes it fairly amongst her foot soldiers.


Constance Caraway P.I.

Forever Mastadon


page 134

The NULL Solution = Episode 153

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The NULL Solution = Episode 153

…Talk about your triple-trouble, these 3 men are clearly brothers from different mothers…

Chasonn of Seljuk bows, to pay his respects to the Deke-wing of the McKinney clan, with a bonus appearance by a doting Mamma Celeste. He is duly impressed by the scope of the McKinney reach, considering that there are three more members over on or near Earth.

Deke is in the middle of preparing an English {USA} lesson plan.

Celeste is formulating the musical equivalent for Eridanian language comparison purposes.

Cerella is putting out fires in the Null-Gifted social interaction arena, thusly unavailable for introduction.

But it is Skaldic, the former Null, which Sam is anxious to introduce. If there are galactic facts to catch up on, Skaldy is the man with the plan.

Talk about your triple-trouble. These 3 men {Sam, Skaldic, Chasonn} are clearly brothers from different mothers. It does not take long before S2 turn Chase {everyone gets a nickname} on to the Harmonia Query. “That is numerical nonsense.” There will be no help from him. He prefers facts to gobbledygook.

“Well that little ditty boomeranged me and Skaldy all the way from Mars to Eridanus faster than I could send you to the wrong coordinates today.”

“It would seem logical to assume that ⃝    is responsible for an anomaly of such greatness.”

“Chase here is a genuine genius isn’t he?”

“Unfortunately, his transporter does not have a range of 10 light years.”

Chasonn ignores the extraneous banter. “I will be pleased if I am able to return to my ship.”

“I hope you aren’t leaving too soon. You just got here. You need to meet this planet’s head honcho.”

“Do you speak of Ekcello? He has contacted me telepathically in the past. We have a common adversary in the Ÿ€Ð.”

“That Ÿ€Ð colony is on its way to my home planet,” Sam informs.

“Earth; in fact it is getting close enough to affect the gravitation of your moon.”

“That ain’t good!”

“One of the reasons I made my journey, is to be near enough to do the most good if Collapsar Axis becomes a threat.”

“That’s good!”

“It has the capability to defeat the force field I provided Earth.”

“That’s not good!”

“They will not find what they are searching for. Your planet did not have the capability to destroy the Ÿ€Ð fleet.”

 “That’s good!”

“They may retaliate out of frustration. They nearly wiped out our planetary leadership, in the distant past, in their quest for galactic domination.”

“That’s not good!”

“Enough Sammy Mac!” Skaldic concludes.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 153


page 151

The NULL Solution = Episode 114

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The NULL Solution = Episode 114

…As is the case when a mobilization mentality takes hold, heaven and earth are moved to make it happen…

“What do we have to lose? You can skip my mission bonus. Let’s set up shop on Mars and give Rick a sendoff to remember!” Gus id pumped.

What is there to lose, indeed? Under the pretense of surface exploration, incoming President of the United States Chasin Hedley has no problem convincing congress to pump up the funding for such an ambitious Mars mission. It can only cement his country’s place as solar system frontrunner. Gone is Harper Lea Bassett administration’s stifling oversight and lagging foresight. Though far from ya-ha time, the climate for space exploration is undergoing a renaissance.

{Null Solution Fun Fact about the obscure ironic loose-link between two characters close to this episode: Chasonn of Seljuk and Chasin Hedley, #52 of the U.S. Kismet or coincidence?}

The Martian transformation is front page news around the world. Speculation runs the gamut, from the 2nd coming of Jesus, to a government hoax. The dominant conspiracy theory concerns an imminent alien invasion. Serious science is silent, seeing that all the king’s satellites and all the king’s rovers are on the fritz.

NASA is the only legitimate game in town these days. They control both the mission and the resulting message. The fact that Gus McKinney is spearheading the project enhances support {“poor brother Deke” is still in an induced coma stemming from radiation poisoning – is the story that the Crippens give credence to}, a true rallying point for a nation and the world to focus on.

As is the case when a mobilization mentality takes hold, heaven and earth are moved to make it happen. America’s allies fall all over each other to pitch in; donations roll in by the armload for the Martian payload.

Rick Stanley is one of only three known humans to set foot on Mars back in the day, and his expertise is highly valued. Any captain of a ship named New Mayflower is a sure bet to attain folk hero standing, if not just a plain regular ordinary everyday hero. He should be able to find his own footprints encircling the lander Tycho, that’s if Harmonia’s incursion hasn’t erased them. He is the one who discovered that landing craft from Space Colony 1 was empty, when the elder McKinneys were supposedly desperate and awaiting rescue. Or so NASA thought.

The new incarnation of Rick Stanley cannot wait to return to space. The yearning to be relevant again certainly beats being categorized as a has-been by at least a million miles. He is honored for the opportunity to work alongside Sam & Celeste’s youngest {assumed}. —

— When it comes to the “Harmonia Query”, all possible t’s are dotted and i’s are crossed. How else can one describe the art of guessing the outcome of such a crapshoot, however calculated it may be?

  • Drone is outfitted with improved engines
  • SLAV is resurrected to carry the drone to outer-Earth orbit
  • Rover Solution has been tested in every conceivable mock Martian terrain
  • The 2-man crew is prepared for possible contingencies

The NULL Solution =

Episode 114


page 113

The NULL Solution = Episode 105

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The NULL Solution = Episode 105

…Fearmongering is a persuasive instrument in the hands of a master, history is littered with them…

— How does one feel, after being scramble and reassembled? For all Chasonn knows he may be the first, non-convicted societal menace, to tell the tale. Everything seems to be in the right place, for the intruder that he is.

Nothing about this refuge has the feel of an actual vehicle. It is more like a grotto without end. Each nook has a purpose while every cranny is filled with the essence of Ÿ€Ð. Judging by the concentration of hooded individuals, he may have gotten lucky. They all seem to be headed in the same direction. He may be on the correct level.

If his calculations are correct, Collapsar will reach Seljuk space soon. He must be prudent with his movements. The bevy of hoods has reached a gathering point, leading to a large auditorium with an ornate pedestal at the head. Chasonn bows with the rest of his brethren. Something big is about to happen.

Unsure of the governing structure hereabout, he sees a figure takes to the pedestal, like Image result for yoda gifhe belongs there.  Župzïð the Last brings order out of chaos. He speaks in a broken/choppy fashion, of which would make Yoda proud, “Next target. The Seljuk familiar.  Capable to destroy fleet at Terran system.  Atmosphere-degrading weapon perhaps use.” The grand poohbah concludes, “Verification team assemble. Responsible maybe, we destroy.”

The Ÿ€Ð language he uses only hits the high spots and is meant to be universally understood by his diverse audience. Adjectives and adverbs are scarce. Translating earbuds are scattered about the immediate area and Chasonn is one of the many who require such interpretation. To his mind, that is an indication that Collapsar is becoming, or intended as, a real mobile melting pot. It is increasingly apparent that this cosmic plodder is picking up stragglers along the way, jumping onboard, buying whatever Župzïð is selling.

O creator menace galaxies.”

Fearmongering is a persuasive instrument in the hands of a master. History is littered with them; from any given parsec, at any given time, you come across them. Collapsar Axis is brimming with peoples who are collectively skeptical.

⃝    is the common denominator. ⃝    is not just a Seljuk concern. ⃝    has had a lasting effect on the Great Expanse; up-to-down and side-to-side. Župzïð is convincing a growing audience, that if you can find out who is behind ⃝   , the collective will be better off.

To his dismay {and Chasonn’s delight}, Seljuk is found “not guilty” of any association. But neither do they choose to join the hallowed cause. Collapsar is not everyone’s’ cup of tea.

Chasonn gets back to his transport location.  His mission was not a wasted one. He now knows the wherefore of Collapsar Axis. The added bonus is in the form of the particle transporter. Necessity is the mother of invention.

So ends “The Curious Case of Collapsar’s Cause”.

Stay tuned for further developments.


The NULL Solution =

Episode 105


page 106