Today’s list includes indecent snow creations, the new Jim Crow and brand new reasons to be depressed about American foreign policy.

On a regular basis, Truthdig brings you the news items and odds and ends that found their way to Larry Gross, director of the USC Annenberg School for Communication. A specialist in media and culture, art and communication, visual communication and media portrayals of minorities, Gross helped found the field of gay and lesbian studies.

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The long-awaited “roadmap” for U.S. public diplomacy has finally emerged from Undersecretary of State Judith McHale’s office, and it is a stunning disappointment.

Symphony in J flat: The curious quest to re-invent music Amy Advocat gently shut the door to ensure she wouldn’t wake her roommate as she conjured a bizarre, parallel musical world in her Brookline living room. …

Products the Smart Phone Has Replaced I’ve lost count of the number of products that mobile phones have replaced — but now they’re bringing new ones into being.

Where Is the Fact Checker for Documentaries? Rebecca Rimel isn’t worried, but she isn’t pleased, either. The head of the Pew Charitable Trusts, one of this country’s most powerful and respected philanthropic institutions, has been cast as the villain in a David-and-Goliath drama making the rounds of the documentary circuit. …

Annals of public [in]decency, winter division It was supposed to be a bit of fun during recent heavy snow, but one family’s snow sculpture has earned a frosty reception.

Poland’s ace reporter Ryszard Kapucinski accused of fiction-writing New book claims journalist repeatedly crossed boundary between reportage and fiction-writing.

Annals of pseudo-events: Presidents feigning interest in things From time to time, everyone is forced to experience the ritual of the apartment tour. …

End-of-journalism crisis

Twitter’s mysterious 10 billionth tweet Unfortunately for the curious masses, it appears that the landmark tweet was posted by someone who has set their feed to be private by default.

The New Jim Crow: How the War on Drugs Gave Birth to a Permanent American Undercaste California’s racially infused prison quagmire is only a snapshot of a growing racial divide, one which includes the formation of a new undercaste in America that loses its normal rights at the prison gates and often never recovers them.

One-Third of Faculty Members See Dip in Their Salaries More than a third of all college faculty members took a pay cut during 2009-10, and overall faculty pay showed no salary increase, according to a report released this week.

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