Storm over Kansas

You may have been reading the series of stories at Slate about the ongoing problems in southern Thailand as reported by a freelance journalist from New York named Eliza Griswold. Eliza is also the current recipient of the Robert Friedman award to help support independent investigative journalists who are not sponsored by the usual media outlets. Eliza has been published by the New Yorker and covers a great deal of Asia, including reports on political insurgencies in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and now southern Thailand.

This is one damn award I would love to win.

The Fund for Investigative Journalism gives grants, ranging from $500 to $10,000, to reporters working outside the protection and backing of major news organizations.

Grants are limited to journalists seeking pre-publication help for investigative pieces involving corruption, malfeasance, incompetence and societal ills in general as well as for investigative media criticism. The Fund does not award educational scholarships or grants for professional training.

The Fund for Investigative Journalism was founded in 1969 by the late Philip M. Stern, a public-spirited philanthropist who devoted his life "to balancing the scales of justice," in the words of a friend. Stern was convinced small amounts of money invested in the work of determined journalists would yield enormous results in the fight against racism, poverty, corporate greed and governmental corruption.

Stern's theory proved true in the Fund's first year, when a tiny grant of $250 enabled reporter Seymour Hersh to begin investigating a tip concerning a U.S. Army massacre at the Vietnamese village of My Lai. A subsequent Fund grant of $2,000 allowed Hersh to finish reporting the story.

"Think of it," Stern later wrote, "a mere $2,250 in Fund grants enabled Seymour Hersh to leverage a whiff into a colossal stink and contribute mightily to the change in how Americans viewed the war in Vietnam."

Over three decades, the Fund has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to freelance reporters, authors and small publications, enabling the publication of more than 700 stories and broadcasts and some 50 books. "Without support from the Fund for Investigative Journalism, The Progressive would simply not have been able to publish many of the stories that we are most proud of," wrote Matthew Rothschild, the magazine's editor. "?Democracy depends on the circulation of this information; the Fund makes that circulation possible."

Fund-supported projects have won a wide array of journalistic honors. They include two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Magazine Awards, the Raymond Clapper Award, the George Polk Award, the Sigma Delta Chi Award, the Worth Bingham Prize, the New York Newspaper Guild's Front Page Award and many others. Authors working with the help of a Fund grant have won the Frank Luther Mott Award for the best media book, as well as the MacArthur Foundation's coveted "genius" award. Recent books written with assistance from the Fund include Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill's Black Mass: The Irish Mob, The FBI and A Devil's Deal; Robert Friedman's Red Mafiya - How the Russian Mob Has Invaded America; Ted Anton's Eros, Magic and the Murder of Professor Culianu; Dan Baum's Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure; and Joseph Rodriguez' photodocumentary book East Side Stories - Gang Life in East LA.

Reporter Morton Mintz, past chairman of the Fund for Investigative Journalism, summed up its mission this way: "For more than 30 years, the Fund for Investigative Journalism has helped to finance exposes of harmful and wrongful conduct, such as corruption at all levels of government; corporate, governmental and press nonfeasance, misfeasance and malfeasance; abuses of civil and human rights and of the environment; unsafe medical technologies; and improper donor influence on research in academe."

The Fund for Investigative Journalism

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Directory of Travel Columnists

Posted by Chika On 4:09 PM 0 comments

Global Traveler

Joe Sent Me has posted a listing of some two dozen leading travel columnists (some with photos!), and an expanded list of several dozen more in the sidebar to the left. Good listing, plus hot links to everyone.

DON GEORGE is the "global travel editor" of, the Web site of the respected travel guides for intrepid travelers. Thankfully, he wears the sobriquet lightly. His columns have always sparkled with truly original thinking, a burning passion for travel as a constructive force in the world and many lovely and creative turns of phrase. You should read George even if you never leave your own abode. The current iteration of the column, now called What Would Don George Do?, focuses on Don's attempts to bring guidance and sanity to traveler queries.

JOHN FLINN of the San Francisco Chronicle loves to travel off the tourist grid and he writes with verve, style and a lot of other admirable adjectives. When Flinn is on the road, he's a compelling read. When he's writing from his desk about being on the road, he's a compelling read. Flinn, travel editor of the Chronicle, posts his column each Sunday.

Joe Sent Me Link

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Google Print Sued by Authors Guild

Posted by Chika On 4:23 PM 0 comments

Thailand Handbook by Carl Parkes

The debate continues about the lawsuit, with several opposing opinions today from Boing Boing.

Authors Guild sues Google -- Xeni on NPR (UPDATE)
UPDATED: Cory Doctorow weighs in on the debate, at bottom of post.

This morning on the NPR News program Day to Day, I spoke with host Noah Adams about the legal battle Google has on its hands -- from some angry writers.

As blogged here on Boing Boing yesterday, the Authors Guild lawsuit claims that Google's effort to make books searchable and findable on the Internet violates copyright law.

Link to NPR "Writers Sue over Book Search" segment (airs nationwide, and audio will be archived online after 12PM Pacific / 3PM Eastern)
Previously on Boing Boing:

Authors Guild sues Google over print program

Reader comment: Tony Sanfilippo says,

I don't think you're telling the whole story here. I'm the Tony Sanfilippo quoted in the AP story and who also appears in Google Print's FAQ here.
I have fully embraced Google Print for publishers, even wrote a study delivered at BEA and AAUP about using the Long Tail and Google Print to find new markets for scholarship, but this is entirely different.

Boing Boing Link

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The Original Mickey Mouse

A bit of discussion surfaced a few months ago from members of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) about the origins and ownership of the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA). Somebody rather innocently inquired as to the ownership of the organization, only to find that barriers and more questions were raised. I've blogged about this before, so do a search with the above Google engine and read all about it.

Today, somebody sent me details about NATJA which seem only appropriate to pass along to other readers of this blog. Hopefully, the folks at NATJA will contact me with any correction as I can't guarantee accuracy with the notes below.

I don't belong to NATJA but the group has received both positive and negative reports over the last few years. They send me an invitation to their annual convention, which seems to be subsidized but certainly not free, and also an invitation to their annual travel writers contest, which offers many decent prizes such as hotel rooms and whatever but generally lack airfare to the destination. I could post about that one in detail.

So here's some background on NATJA:

What is NATJA

NATJA (North American Travel Journalists Association) is a fictitious business name for Apollo Interactive LLC. of Culver City California 90232. According to the FBN filed with LA County the type of business is listed as Professional Association, Marketing and Promotions. Apollo Interactive LLC is a California Limited Liability Corporation

According to the Articles of Incorporation filed with the California Secretary of State the owners are David Bohline, Justin Woo and Richard Balue. The type of business is listed as Marketing along with Internet Services and Web Site Design.

The same three people, Bohline, Woo and Balue, are listed as the the owners of Apollo Interactive Inc, a privately held California corporation on the company website. They are all graduates of USC and members of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and reportedly founded the company in 1995 first working from their chapter house at USC. Apollo Interactive Inc. lists its services as Internet Advertising, Web Development and E-Business Integration

Apollo Interactive's clients include retail, manufacturing and finance clients like Jack in the Box, Reliant Energy and WB Televison. All of their listed travel industry clients are casinos, including:

Luxor Las Vegas
Cache Creek Casino
Circus Circus, Las Vegas and Reno
Excalibur Resort and Casino
Gold Strike Hotel and Casino
Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
Monte Carlo Casino
Motor Cisty Casino, Detroit
Pala Casino
Silver Legacy Resort and Casino

Apollo Interactive inc. is credited as the web designer for the NATJA website and is listed as its domain owner.

The Executive Director of NATJA is Elizabeth Beshear, formerly Elizabeth Barnes. Elizabeth is the wife of Matt Beshear Matt is the president of Apollo Interactive Inc. He is also a USC graduate and member of the TKE fraternity along with Bohline, Woo and Balue.

If you want to contact the owners, they can be reached at:

NATJA is not organized as a 501(c)(6) business trade association under Federal tax code.

According to the California Law Revision Commission "A trade association is generally a membership organization of persons engaging in a similar or related line of commerce, organized to promote and improve business conditions in that line of commerce and not to engage in a regular business for profit, and no part of the net earnings of which inures to the benefit of any member.


Additional Data:

Apollo Interactive LLC.
8556 Hayden Place,
Culver City California 90232

The Articles of Organization, file number 101998002167 filed 1/1/1998
Agent: David Bohline, 650 W. Mariposa Avenue, El Segundo CA 90245
Type of Business: Internet Services and Web Site Design

copy available

The Statement of Information Renewal number 199800210167 filed 12/3/2001 lists
Address: 531 Main Street #902, El Segundo CA 90245
Records kept at: 8556 Hayden Place, Culver City CA 90232
Type of Business: Marketing
Manager and Agent: David Bohline
David Bohline, 443 Loma Vista Street, El Segundo CA 90245
Justin Woo, 4243 Mary Ellen Avenue, Apt 12, Studio City CA 91604
Richard Balue, 642 8th Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254

copy available

Apollo InteractiveOwner/Founders:
Justin Woo, Chief Executive Officer
David Bohline, Chief Operating Officer
Richard Balue, Chief Technology Officer

contact info:


LOS ANGELES COUNTY REGISTRAR enter search "north american travel journalists"

Fictitious Business Name Statement document 2248832 obtained from
Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk
Business Filings and Registration Section, Room 2001
12400 Imperial Highway
Norwalk, CA 90650


The Articles of Organization, file number 101998002167 filed 1/1/1998
obtained from California Secretary of State

The Statement of Information Renewal number 199800210167 filed 12/3/2001
obtained from California Secretary of State


TKE The Magazine of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, Fall 2004






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Burning Man and Word Verification

Posted by Chika On 3:56 PM 0 comments

Burning Man by John Curley

Another Surreal Moment by John Curley

Lust at Black Rock

More Burning Photos from Curley Soon!!

Hope you all had a Happy Burning Man. I know I did, as I entertained both my sister Claudia and my mother Marice here in San Francisco with wine-and-cheese reception at their hotel The Savoy on Geary, then a tour of the lobbies and restaurants of the boutique hotels around the Theater District, then a rocking dinner down at Original Joe's accompanied by my sisters' husband Stan from Ione, and their daughter Heather and her boyfriend Payam, and their curly haired little kid. Also said hello to Maria, the daughter of the original owner of the famous restaurant, and we talked about old times. I once worked there.

Today I drove the standard tour of bayside and oceanside San Francisco for my Mom and Sister, then it was a fine lunch at the newly renovated Cliff House, in the bar section with superb fried calamari, decent cheese plate, and standard pot stickers.

Also, unfortunately, but not so sadly or unfortunately, I just had to turn on Word Verification for my blog at Blogger. It's fairly easy for you to make blurbs at this site and at my other blogs. To make a comment, you must first read a random set of letters and numbers, then type those letters into a filtering system before you make your comment. End of comment spam.

P.S. My first Burning Man was here in San Francisco when I went down to Baker Beach with Terra and we watched Harvey and the Burners erect a 60 foot wooden statue in Japanese style, which they intended to burn soon after sunset. Unfortunately, SF and the Bay Area had been going through a very severe drought for several years, and it was very dangerous to be setting off such a large fire, no matter that it was on the beach (moved from Ocean Beach near the Cliff House, where I had lunch today).

A few fire anarchists tried to ignite the fuel soaked wooden man, but most people were understanding and cooperative and realized the danger. The final Burning Man in San Francisco was never ignited, but put into storage for the coming years.

The next year the event moved seven hours northeast to Black Rock in the Nevada desert.

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Tourist or Traveler?

Posted by Chika On 2:02 PM 0 comments

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

When you leave your home, are you a tourist of a traveler? When I was a young buck traveling around the world, it seemed important that I consider myself a traveler rather than one of those mindless tourists who do little but ruin the landscape. As I grew up (somewhat) and continued to travel, I realized that there are few distinctions, and that all souls who wander the earth are both tourists and travelers, and that one species is in no way superior to the other type of explorer.

And those pretentious young kids with their backpacks, expert bargaining skills, and identical guidebooks -- who consider themselves somehow superior to tourists -- really need to grow up. Or grow older, for today's backpackers will soon be tomorrow's tourists on the escorted tour of Bangkok and beyond. Independent travel is in most ways a superior experience to escorted tours, but time takes its toll, and I certainly don't expect my elderly parents to crash in some $3 dive on Khao San Road.

Rolf Potts has more observations on the superficial difference between travelers and tourists. I'd say about 40 years.

Anthony Bourdain is a tourist dork
Rolf Potts
Sept 5, 2005

OK, I'm sure Anthony Bourdain isn't really a tourist dork, but I do take issue with the magazine advertisement for his new Travel Channel show, Without Reservations, which features the tagline "Be a Traveler, Not a Tourist".

For starters, the traveler/tourist dichotomy has long been one of the most insipid obsessions of the travel world (since, as peripatetic guests in foreign places, we are all tourists, regardless of what we wear, where we eat, and which guidebook we use) -- and to imply that one can shed the "tourist" mantle by watching a television show is positively idiotic.

Moreover, in the ad, Bourdain is shown clutching a red magic-marker in front of an aerial photograph of Paris, presumably having just scribbled little morsels of wisdom into the margins, such as: "Hungry? The Royal, a typical Parisian café, is a mandatory staple in the daily routine of the Parisian. No tourists here!"

Though there is much to ponder in such a reductive statement ("the daily routine of the Parisian" -- what is this, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom?), the "no tourists" part is what gets me, since the surest way to send "tourists" stampeding into any café or restaurant is to declare it untouristed. Ernest Hemingway knew as much 80 years ago, when he was a part of the Paris expat scene. "We ate dinner at Madame Lecomte's restaurant on the far side of the island," he wrote in The Sun Also Rises. "It was crowded with Americans and we had to stand up and wait for a place. Some one had put it in the American Women's Club list as a quaint restaurant on the Paris quais as yet untouched by Americans, so we had to wait forty-five minutes for a table."

Rolf Potts Link

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