Saturday, July 13, 2002

LA Times going subscription?

Online Journalism Review reports that the Los Angeles Times website may be converting to a subscriber-based format. Currently, the only large newspaper whose website charges for access is the Wall Street Journal, which is losing a lot of money. Two smaller papers, the Albuquerque Journal and the Tulsa World, have subscription websites, but they are either losing money or turning a very small profit.

If LA Times Interactive (which oversees the Los Angeles Times website) thinks they can turn a profit with a subscription model, I think they are sorely mistaken. Their paper is nowhere near the quality of WSJ, which is losing money.

posted at 08:19 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

More from the left

An interesting article in yesterday's Washington Post discussed "Louis Rukeyser's Wall Street", a show that was started shortly after he was dismissed from the PBS show "Wall Street Week" in March. A version of the show without the commercial breaks has been packaged for PBS stations, and many of them have chosen to broadcast the show.

The quote that makes me roll my eyes is at the end of the article, from author David Barsamian ("The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting"). His argument is a typical left-wing rant against capitalism:

"In terms of content these two programs are virtually identical," says David Barsamian, author of "The Decline and Fall of Public Broadcasting."
"I'm not against business programs on PBS, but why so much of it?" he asks. "Where is the economic coverage that would swim against the tide of popular opinion — the market is always right? Where is the coverage of labor?"

(Link courtesy of Jim Romanesko's MediaNews.)

posted at 08:00 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Stupid Letters entry

From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

How ironic. On the same day President Bush announced his executive order to do "everything in our power to end the days of cooking the books," the GOP pushed through the Senate a bill that will create the United States' first nuclear-waste site.
The administration's proposal to stash away nuclear waste is another attack on our rights and health. We need look no further into the past than the Bush/Cheney ties with Enron to see how they value citizens.
The Senate vote signifies congressional leaders' negligence to make the public interest their first priority. This nuclear waste cannot be stored safely and certainly not over a fault line.
If we don't phase out nuclear power, the rest of the nation will be as dangerous as Yucca Mountain for every generation to come.
Charlie Farrell

Let's see...nuclear waste, stored in a geologically stable region (this means no faultlines, Charlie), far from any population centers, and posing no threat to the (nonexistant) wildlife, is a bad idea, while storing the nuclear waste which ALREADY exists on site at the many nuclear power plants (the other solution) must be a good idea.

Nuclear power does have its problems (radioactive waste). However, it does not pollute the air or water, and we have enough to provide power for quite some time. France and South Korea each obtain more than 60% of their power needs from nuclear power plants. Perhaps they are actually on to something.

posted at 09:05 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 12, 2002

The Fifth Column Responds

In this entry, I went after Dana Cloud, a professor at the University of Texas who wrote a scathing letter to the Daily Texan, excoriating the US for just about everything and anything. I was not alone; she got fisked by a lot of conservative commentators, including Andrew Sullivan. Well, she responded, although her new entry has a boatload of errors and distortions. I will only point out a few portions of her post; read the whole article for the full effect.

If you have read any history (I recommend Howard Zinn's People's History...)

If the title doesn't make it clear, Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States is a Stalinist, revisionist history tract. His rewriting of history would be somewhat more compelling if he cited his sources with footnotes or endnotes, but the book lacks either. Of course, the socialist left loves this book as much as they did Disarming America, and for the same reasons.

Persian Gulf War, which resulted in more than a million-and-a-half civilian deaths

This figure (for casualties of the sanctions) has been thoroughly debunked. Matt Welch wrote an article for the March 2002 issue of Reason . As for the war itself causing the deaths, as Cloud asserts, that is simply preposterous.

IMF-imposed policies of production for export over meeting human needs

(in order to keep receiving money from the IMF). I suppose Cloud feels that we should just keep sending money to these countries, and not expect them to repay it? I don't think so...

Madeleine Albright admitted her belief that the deaths of 5,000 children a month in Iraq as a result of U.N. (really U.S.-imposed) sanctions were a reasonable price to pay for U.S. foreign policy objectives.

Albright should have corrected the reporter before she made that statement. Refer to the Welch article, where this is discussed in some detail.

Thomas Jefferson (leaving aside his fondness of slaves for a moment)

Can a leftist academic in America mention Thomas Jefferson without raising the slavery issue? Please point one out to me. The slavery reference is totally gratuitous.

It targets me and my family for personal insult, exile and even violence.

I cannot support anyone who threatens her (or even more repulsively, her family) with violence. Personal insults, on the other hand, are part and parcel of public pronouncements. If you write an insulting piece like that, you are likely to get condemnation from those whose views are different than yours. People have the same right to criticize as you do to air your views.

(Link courtesy of The Corner)

posted at 08:55 PM | permalink | Comments (5)

It targets me and my family for personal insult, exile and even violence

Sounds amazingly similar to the wailings from George Micheal. Surprising, but I never knew that was the sound made by ten pounds of manure in a five pound bag when prodded...learn something new every day, I guess

posted by Wind Rider on July 13, 2002 11:23 AM

Definitely some "cloudy" thinking there. I read that she wrote her alternative "pledge" for her young daughter. My hope for the Prof is that when "Mama's li'l dumpling" hits that rebellious teen stage, she turns into the next Ann Coulter. Wouldn't that be nice?

posted by BarCodeKing on July 14, 2002 12:52 PM

Here's a post on my own blog about Matt Welch's article on Iraqi deaths (generally I think Matt wrote a great piece, but I point out a few areas where we disagree).

With regards to the claim that 1.5 million Iraqis died, which you say Matt refutes in his article: I note that Matt was focusing on child deaths, not total civilian deaths.

There may indeed have been over 1 million civilian deaths if you include both children and adults in your tally.

posted by Jim on July 15, 2002 08:31 PM

According to this CNN report, 100,000 or fewer Iraqi soldiers were killed (US government estimate), and 35,000 civilians were killed (Iraqi government estimate). The vast majority of the deaths following the war cannot be attributed to anyone other than Saddam Hussein; his refusal to comply with UN-mandated inspections was the factor behind the continuing embargo. Compliance would have ended the sanctions. (The genocide against the Kurdish minority after their failed revolt is a case in point. Neither the allied forces nor the sanctions caused any of the resulting deaths.)

I should have taken this argument in the original post, rather than attempting a quickie rebuttal of her numbers. There is a whiff of moral equivalence in the original argument that was a bit offputting to me. Equating Iraqi-caused deaths with US-caused deaths is wrong.

In general, I am not a big fan of sanctions , whether against Cuba, South Africa (in the apartheid days) or almost any country. however, I supported (and continue) to support the embargo against Iraq, because they have demonstrated their determination to flout international law to suit their own agenda. How many tons of grain can be purchased with the $35,000 they pay to families of each Palestinian martyr?

posted by Timekeeper on July 15, 2002 09:11 PM

September wheat settled at USD3.34/bushel yesterday. Although I don't recall the weight of a bushel, it nominally will feed one adult for 32 days. USD35,000, therefore, represents about 335,000 person-days of food.

posted by John "Akatsukami" Braue on July 16, 2002 10:39 PM

Sloppy Reporting at the Post-Intelligencer

Alert reader F.H. sent me this missive.


There are many things to dislike about the P-I.

Among them are this article:

Gas leak closes dairy, grocery

Note the correction to the address. The article originally reported the dairy plant was a couple of blocks away, on the corner of Rainier Avenue S. and South Genessee Street.

And this one:

Ammonia leak at ice cream plant closes Rainier Avenue

which repeats the mistaken address of the first ammonia leak (in the last paragraph).

According to Yahoo! Maps, the site of the first ammonia leak is exactly six miles from the offices of the P-I. A Metro bus fare (with transfer for the return trip) costs $1.25 ($1.50 during peak hours), and could have carried a reporter to the scene for what would be a mere footnote on an expense account. The intersections in the vicinity of the Dairygold plant are marked with signs which bear the names of the streets.

Alternately, the reporter could have consulted a telephone directory, or a map, for even less expense than bus fare.

When a newspaper fails to get such things correct for stories that are this close to the home office, one begins to wonder about the level of accuracy in other matters as well.

posted at 08:01 PM | permalink | Comments (1)

Apparently no-one in Seattle's "media" can get addresses straight. The day of the smoke bomb at the local Marsh branch, the radio kept saying the problem was at 1214 Fourth Avenue which would have put it squarely in the middle of the Olympic Hotel. The address of the Financial Center building is 1215 Fourth. Pretty simple stuff, especially if you can remember "east=even" and "northeast" which tells you that even street numbers are on the north and east sides of the street.

posted by CHG on July 13, 2002 08:44 AM

Robert Scheer-plagiarist?

Well, not really. However, he is relying on someone else's metaphor in his latest column "A fox is about to reassure us hens". American Family Voices, a group founded by a Clinton staffer, who was also political director for People for the American Way, was the original source of the metaphor. Read Byron York's article in National Review Online, which discusses the AFV campaign in detail.

While the Scheer piece isn't discussed, it fits it with a new pattern of coordinated attacks against Bush and the GOP. More and more, whenever a new theme is tried, it gets trumpeted by several sources at once, in an effort to implant a connection in the minds of the American people: "Bush=Crooked". It appears that the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy has been replaced by the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, led by Terry McAuliffe, James Carville, PFAW, AFV, and a few sycophantic columnists such as Paul Krugman, Robert Scheer, and Helen Thomas.

posted at 07:32 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Stupid Letters entry

Note: Please read the previous entry first; it is about the column that this letter references.

Airline's practice doesn't respect diversity
Regarding Susan Paynter's recent column ("Alaska's wing-and-a-prayer policy provokes righteous ire," Wednesday — a follow-up to her July 5 column "Praise the Lord and pass the air-sickness bag"), I too have been offended by the prayer cards included with my meal service.
The comments by Jack Evans, Alaska's manager of external communications, that the cards are an "added feature of our service, much like added services available with other products people purchase" (oh, please). He also says if customers don't like it, they can ignore it or fly another carrier.
Is he kidding or does he really believe this is good business practice? Perhaps they're confusing the West Coast with the Bible Belt. It's apparent that the airline doesn't understand that the risk of offending customers isn't worth the benefit of a totally superfluous "added service."
Alaska's management needs to get a clue. In this day and age, not respecting the diversity of customers is bad for business. I'm not an atheist and have nothing against religion or Christianity, but spiritual beliefs (or a lack of such) are deeply personal, private matters that should not be foisted on captive passengers.
Whenever I make a reservation on Alaska, I make a little protest by requesting that the prayer card be omitted from my meal tray (to no avail, of course). Now that I know that Alaska's management thinks that if I don't like it, I can "fly another carrier," I will certainly try to oblige. Maybe that will help them get the message.
Robb Miller

Whether or not Alaska thinks this is good business practice is not relevant to you, Mr. Miller, unless you are a shareholder of the airline. As Mr. Evans said, you are welcome to fly another airline if you don't care for their practice. Don't let the jetway hit you in the ass on your way out.

I am still looking for where the consitution proscribes "offending others". The multicult seems to expend great effort on this endeavor, sanitizing everything (language, practices, educational standards) to ensure that nobody is offended. They fail to take into consideration that their cultural bowdlerization is offensive itself.

posted at 11:07 AM | permalink | Comments (6)

ever heard the David Cross bit about the "Christian sandwich/Buddist pasta"?

I'll see if I can dig up the mp3

posted by Kevin on July 12, 2002 11:52 AM

here's the Christian Sandwich bit from David Cross's HBO special (900K)

posted by Kevin on July 12, 2002 11:58 AM

Yup. That's what I'm taking about. Apparently, he too was "offended" about the whole thing.

posted by Timekeeper on July 12, 2002 12:12 PM

FWIW, In-N-Out prints bible verses on the inside rim of the bottom of the cup. Not the actual verse, but something like John 3:16.

I have no idea what any of them say, but each size cup is different.

In-N-Out is a privately held company - no franchising, so no one's got room to bitch.

posted by Kevin on July 12, 2002 12:18 PM

Chick Fil-A has a policy of all of their restaurants remaining closed on Sunday, whether company-owned or franchised. Of course, they are based in suburban Atlanta, in the Bible Belt. I guess that makes it okay with Robb Miller.

posted by Timekeeper on July 12, 2002 12:27 PM

It never bothered me, particularly; sometimes people walking by their mall locations on Sunday seem surprised, but mostly it's a shrug and "Well, we'll go to Sbarro instead."

posted by CGHill on July 14, 2002 07:56 PM

Sticking up for Alaska Airlines

As I was perusing the letters to the editor page of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, I came across a pair of letters that referenced the same July 5th column by Susan Paynter. The column is entitled "Praise the Lord, and pass the airsickness bag".

In this column, she grumbles about the prayer cards Alaska Airlines inserts in its in-flight food packages. Alaska has added little cards with a prayer or a spiritual verse for some time now (I cannot say precisely how long, but it has been at least six years). She got bent out of shape by one that had a few lines from the Old Testament—she doesn't specify which verse—and goes on to connect that with the pledge flap, and the playing of the national anthem at sports events. Then comes the bizarre portion:

But the separation of church and state and the non-separation of patriotism and sports are not nearly as interesting to ponder as the separation of church and business.

Oh, brother. That's a new one on me.

Of course, private business people have a right to plaster inspirational messages on the sides of their plumbing trucks. And consumers have a right to accept or reject the gesture as we see fit.
But the practice of thrusting a prayer card onto the food tray of an unsuspecting flier — one who may well be Hindu or Muslim — does not seem like an amen idea at a time when we ignore multicultural sensitivity at our own peril.

I have trouble taking this seriously. I mean, really, now. These little cards (and they *are* little) are hardly a clarion call to convert to Christianity (or Judaism). And of course, we must have a plug for the multicult.

How might a Christian flier feel if the next airline meal came with a quotation from the Quran?

My beliefs are more-or-less Christian (I refuse to go into specifics), but I seriously doubt that I would be offended by Koranic verses, nor would I have a problem with the book of Mormon, or Siddhartha. The Torah, of course, is part of the Christian Bible with which I grew up. For those who don't subscribe to a particular set of beliefs, the verse is nothing more than a quotation from a book.

Ms. Paynter had a follow-up column on Wednesday, in which she discusses the 48 e-mails and 22 phone messages she had received at that point on the Friday column. Unsurprisingly for Seattle, a majority of the messages were against the airline's policy. There were a few who took the columnist to task (she cites a few of the more insulting posts), and a few who share my views. The rest think that Alaska is out of line. One person, Kathleen in Woodinville, apparently bought into the "separation of church and business" stuff, as her response was:

People need to be more sensitive about Christianity being shoved down our throats these days, and more aware of not only the separation of church and state but the separation of church and business.

Another states that because she is buddhist, the cards violate her religious beliefs because they apparently compel to pay homage to a deity. Precisely how this occurs is not clearly explained.

People, the cards do not require everyone to raise their hands up and join in praising God; it's not a Pentacostal revival! It is an innocuous little card. If you don't want to read it, don't. If you don't agree with the sentiments, that is fine, too.

Alaska Airlines is going to continue their policy. Jack Evans, Alaska's Manager of External Communcations, contacted Ms. Paynter.

Evans says that the prayer cards are not slipped onto your flight tray to proselytize. They began as a "marketing idea" copied from Continental Airlines to "fancy up the meal service since many folks like to give thanks before a meal."
The cards are an "added feature of our service, much like added services available with other products people purchase," Evans explained.
If a customer doesn't like it, they can ignore it or fly another carrier, he said, adding, "We get far more (responses) from folks who do (like the prayers). (And), since the cost is minimal to print them, and since it would wreak far more havoc from those who like them if we were to remove them, the cards are here to stay."
posted at 10:54 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 11, 2002

Scheer coincidence?

While checking for Robert Scheer's latest offering, I discovered that the Los Angeles Times has inexplicably bumped his column from January 2 back to the front of the queue. The title? "Enron is a cancer on the presidency". His latest column is "A fox is about to reassure us hens", about Bush's new accounting inititive. Of course, there is a gratuitous Enron/Ken Lay reference, and swipes at Bush and Cheney about Harken and Halliburton. He also palys fast and loose with the facts about Bush's filing with the SEC, and accuses the SEC of whitewashing the whole incident because the SEC chairman was a Bush (I) appointee.

Scheer is not a hen, he's Chicken Little, incessantly clucking about how the sky is falling. As for the LA Times recycling his old columns, hopefully someone important (obviously not me) will call them on it, and they'll end up with egg on their face.

UPDATE—11July/7:24 PM Byron York's article in National Review destroys Scheer's facile attempt at a Bush smear.

posted at 06:59 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Venezuelans Want Leader Chavez Out

Hmmm, 600,000 people protesting Chavez, again. I wonder if the folks over at warboogerblotch will argue that this is all a CIA plot. After all, some of them don't seem to let facts interfere with a good conspiracy theory.

Check out the full story here, in the Los Angeles Times.

UPDATE㬇July/7:11 PM I wonder if Eric Alterman still thinks that the Venezeulan people support Chavez. (linl courtesy of InstaPundit.

posted at 06:46 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Dennis Miller on the pledge ruling?

I received this in my e-mail today. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the quote, but it sure SOUNDS like Dennis Miller. I'm posting this with the caveat that I cannot verify the authenticity of the quote. If it proves to be a hoax, a retraction will be issued, citing the correct author if known.

[Dennis Miller] said recently on his show, regarding the judge who declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional: "So, Your Honor, the Pledge is unconstitutional because it says 'Under God'. Guess that means when you were sworn in with your hand on a Bible, and at the end of your oath repeated, 'So Help Me God' that makes your job unconstitutional, therefore you have no job, which means your ruling doesn't mean shit."

I cannot find a transcript listing for his recent shows/rants, and I came up empty-handed at the Urban Legends Reference Pages website. But the logic and the verbiage are very similar to other Dennis Miller statements. Regardless of the source, I love the statement, even though the underpinnings are a little shaky.

posted at 06:17 PM | permalink | Comments (1)

The rants listed on are a few weeks behind (I guess they don't want people to drop HBO so they can read the rants instead).

Anyway, I watched Dennis' show that week, and what Dennis said was very close to the quote above, but of course his rant was much funnier when read in context.

Keep an eye on and I bet the transcript will be up in a few weeks

posted by TjL on July 16, 2002 12:17 PM

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

DPM Hospitalized

Daniel, the Dreaded Purple Master, had a heart attack on Monday afternoon. He is apparently recovering nicely, which is good news, but he may have Type II Diabetes, which is bad news.

Wish him a speedy recovery.

posted at 09:25 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

School Board votes to ban 'Indian' mascots

I'm not going to comment on this very much, as most regular readers know my views on the subject. But there is one section of this Seattle Post-Intellegencer article that I wish to dissect:

The Duwamish Tribe, for instance, which is thought to be the inspiration for the name, said that its tribal council would support whatever West Seattle students wanted to do, but that the council did not find the mascot to be offensive.

For what it's worth, the vote has been put before the West Seattle students three times, and the vote has always been in favor of retaining the Indians name. This time, there was no vote; the school board made a decree.

Four students have taken the lead in objecting to the name, a number that makes mascot supporters such as McCarty think the board is appeasing a small number of students at the expense of many.

This is why many are so strongly against this movement; the few are dictating speech and expression to the many. There is not constitutional right not to be offended.

posted at 08:40 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Aaron Brown—attack by innuendo

Via Tapped, a transcript from Aaron Brown last night on CNN last night:

We were taken to task today for a discussion we had on last night's program about President Bush's days on the board of an oil company called Harken. We don't need to go through all the details here again. One sentence should do it. There was a late filing of reports to the government on the sale of company stock, and over time, there's been a couple of different explanations as to why. In any case, our note writer was quite angry. "How could you dredge this all up" he asked. "This is yet another case of media bias," he asserted.
In my response, I asked a simple question and I'll put it out there tonight. What if the man in question was named Clinton? Would the reaction to this decade-old story have been the same? Would it still be bias? Would the writers still say "drop this silliness?" Consistency counts and my gut says if the president were Clinton, this decade-old story would be hyped to death all over the radio, through at least half the Congress, probably around more than a few water coolers, and maybe, just maybe the Justice Department.
While I'm sure some will take this otherwise, this is in no way meant as an attack on the president or a defense of Mr. Clinton. Regular viewers know that we've taken a shot or two at the former president's conduct over the months. But just consider the question for a moment, and decide if there's a point here. Would the same people who now urge reporters to drop the Harken story have said the same thing three years ago, a different president from a different party, different times? Does consistency count more than politics?

Why the Harken Energy case is not the same as the Clinton scandals:

1. This case has already been investigated, and Bush was exonerated of any wrongdoing. The Whitewater case had *not* been investigated prior to the Fiske/Starr/Ray probe.

2. The Bill and Monica show came about as a result of the Paula Jones SEXUAL HARASSMENT lawsuit (note the lawsuit subject) and Bill Clinton's lying (under oath) about the nature of his relationship with Lewinsky. If not for the lawsuit, Bill Clinton's active sex life would not have been an issue. However, litigation (and Clinton's simple refusal to apologize to Jones) made it an issue. If he had settled (instead of allowing his lawyer to threaten to make Jones the subject of the trial), it would have ended long before anyone knew about his dalliance with Monica.

3. If this had come up about Clinton, it would have been notable only as yet another Clinton issue. The (liberal) media and Democratic Party flacks have been trying non-stop to link Bush to various scandals, but because there is no substance to their tropes, they fall apart shortly after the start. If there comes a scandal with firm ties to Bush, I'm sure we'll hear all about it.

4. Of course what Brown said was an attack on Bush, despite his protestations to the contrary. It was simply an oblique one, reminding the viewers that there is another (unfounded) accusation flying out there.

UPDATE: (9 July 2002/9:40PM) Dodd over at Ipse Dixit has more on this, including the little tidbit that Bush *did* file a report on the day of the sale (emphasis his). Check it out.

posted at 08:29 PM | permalink | Comments (1)

Very good points. Maybe the First Lady should hold a press conference so as to expose that vast left-wing conspiracy.

posted by jim on July 13, 2002 06:35 PM

Tuesday, July 9, 2002

Thoughts about Accounting Scandals

Enron. Dynergy. Xerox. World Crossing. WorldCom. Adelphia Communications. Tyco Corp.

These companies have all been accused of corporate malfeasance (correctly, it is probable). They are presented as proof that America's "corporate culture" is rotten to the core, and that our very survival as a democracy is at stake.

I respectfully disagree.

The above companies (seven in all) represent a minuscule fraction of our economy; even when they appeared to be healthy, they were a sliver of our country's GDP. The fact that the executives of Enron are under investigation, the Rigas family (owners of Adelphia) may be indicted, and Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski is likely headed to jail proves that the system works.

One of the reasons our economy is stronger than those of Europe (or Japan) is the hands-off approach the government takes towards business. Sometimes, this results in situations such as what we are currently seeing—a culling of the herd, as the weakest companies are removed from the field. While it usually occurs at a most inopportune time, the fact is that these companies *were* providing jobs for their employees, and in most cases, providing some product or service for which there was a market (they would not have grown to their immense size without a market). But with the micromanagement common to most other democracies, it is likly that these companies would not have existed at all, and the jobs and goods they provided would not have been created. (Global Crossing went under after laying a backbone for trans-oceanic telecom connectivity, for example).

While what occurred with the accounting procedures of these companies was wrong, it doesn't necessarily indicate the entire system is corrupt, only that a few high-profile criminals temporarily did well. They were hoist by their own petard, eventually.

posted at 08:09 PM | permalink | Comments (1)

It seems to me that the market has taken care of this problem. These companies are now selling for pennies on the dollar. (Or maybe they were only worth pennies before the financial shenanigans.)

posted by Tassled Loafered Leech on July 10, 2002 04:27 PM

PDC says Democrats broke finance laws

I read this, and was simultaneously amused and annoyed.

Campaign regulators filed a formal complaint yesterday against the state Democratic Party, alleging it broke several laws by failing to properly report more than $5.9 million in soft-money donations during the 2000 election the largest sum ever investigated by the watchdog agency.

Another paragraph is likely to set the spin doctors into overtime:

There was no intent to deceive anyone," he said yesterday. "There was nothing to be gained by not reporting it. It's just a horrible mistake. I think it was a very serious mistake, and I'm working around the clock to try to get on top of it."

Hmmm, What about the fuss about Bush filing paperwork from his stock sale eight months late? Six of these returns are now more than TWO YEARS overdue.

posted at 07:28 PM | permalink | Comments (0)

Stupid Letters Entries

I was a bit busy with other concerns yesterday, so I failed to make an entry in the letters derby. Never fear—for I have decided to provide you with two glowing examples today, from each of the local papers.

The Post-Intelligencer's submission is first:

Kudos to Helen Thomas for taking the gloves off with the faux Bush administration ("Bush acting as imperial president," July 3). Her column should encourage all of us to recommit ourselves to resisting our nation's descent into fascism.
Remind yourself each day that George W. Bush is not the legitimate president of the United States. Do not recognize him as such. His shock troops violated the civil rights of thousands of Floridians. He lost the nationwide election by more than half a million votes. He seized the Oval Office through the malfeasance of five Supreme Court justices.
When he talks, do not listen. Where he leads, do not follow. What he claims, do not believe. Who he vilifies, do not condemn. In all that you do, undermine him. In all that you say, disavow him. And in all that you believe, trust that democracy can be restored — if the people rise up and refuse to go along with the Bush coup d'etat.
David Harnden-Warwick

(I had a bumper crop in the P-I today; this was the pick of the litter, IMO)

From the Seattle Times:

I completely disagree with the article on patriotism. Being a patriot is more than killing people, firing those whom you disagree with, and waving the flag. If the subjects of the article had spent more time reading history and less time mutilating their bodies, they might know that to be a U.S. citizen means that it's our duty to disagree with the government if it is doing something we think is wrong.
Marching in lock-step with a flag-bedecked crowd was certainly considered patriotic in Germany in the 1930s; but I for one don't want to be a good American if it means the same as being a good German in the Nazi era.
- Geoff Kirk, Bellevue

And to prove that loons are not just from the left, witness yesterday's P-I:

After reading Helen Thomas' Tuesday column, I'm more than ever convinced that there is absolutely no help for the Seattle P-I as long as it continues printing such stuff. She can do nothing but find fault with President Bush. But she absolutely loved Bill Clinton, who was a liar, adulterer, thief and all around no-good.
I'm convinced the only thing Bush could do to please Thomas would be to resign.
I suggest that Thomas read Rich Lowry's column on the same page, same day. Because of her one-sideness, it's a shame to give people like Thomas the right to vote.
Bill Cropley

Please. I was with him until the last sentence. Get a grip, Bill. Helen Thomas was not "given" the right to vote; it is a fundamental right of every citizen in this country, unless they are convicted of a felony.

posted at 06:24 PM | permalink | Comments (3)

Possibly the best answer to the first two whackos is the that the first guy hasn't been arrested and charged with sedition.

Not as way of an excuse for Mr. Cropley going over the line with his comments, but if I was surrounded by folks like the first two, it would make me a little batty too.

posted by Wind Rider on July 11, 2002 03:52 PM

Wonder what the first guy would do it Bush came out against jumping off tall cliffs with rocks in your pocket? "Whoops! Gotta do it now! Bye!" Somehow, I don't think so.

File under "Knee-Jerk Contrarianism."

posted by Andrea Harris on July 11, 2002 08:09 PM

That was supposed to be "if Bush came out against..." Gotta stop typing so fast...

posted by Andrea Harris on July 11, 2002 08:10 PM

Demogoguery pays off

Columbia Law School recently did a survey of Americans on the constitution, and one of the results was very interesting. Of the five true/false questions, three were answered correctly by a majority of the respondents, and one correctly by a plurality. The fifth question, however, was incorrectly answered by 57% of the respondents, and a further 11% were unsure of the answer. The question?

If the Supreme Court were to overrule Roe v. Wade, abortion would be illegal throughout the United States.

(If you are unsure, the answer to this statement is false.)

NARAL and NOW have done an excellent job of demogoguing this issue, since a majority believe that Roe v. Wade is the only thing separating us from coat hangers in the alley. The only thing that this decision has accomplished is to federalize yet another issue that should by covered under the tenth amendment (the forgotten amendment in the bill of rights), or perhaps under the ninth amendment (the other forgotten amendment).

(Link courtesy of Magically|Delicious.)

posted at 05:00 AM | permalink | Comments (4)

Didn't the court use 9th Amendment logic in its ruling in Roe v. Wade?

posted by Cal Ulmann on July 9, 2002 11:16 AM

In a sense, yes. The Roe Court paid lip service to the Ninth as support for finding a new, unenumerated right (and rightly so, that's what it's for) but that doesn't really have anything to do with the substance of the ruling. The ruling builds of Justice Harlan's dissent in Poe v. Ulman (resurrecting Substantive Due Process) and the line of cases that adopted its reasoning (selling of condoms cases mainly) to find that the Third (no quartering of federal troops in people's homes), Fourth (no unreasonable searches), and Fifth (right to remain silent) imply a right to privacy.

If that were all Roe said, no-one would argue with it. The problem only arises in that Roe finds this right includes the right to terminate a pregnancy in the first trimester, something the Framers would surely have found abominable.

However, Roe isn't the controlling law anymore anyway. It was too restrictive, you see - giving the government's "interest" in protecting the choild primacy in the third trimester. It was also too easy to administer - the only ambiguity was when in the second trimester the state's interest began to outweigh the woman's.

The current governing case is Casey v. Planned Parenthood which prohibits laws which place an "undue burden" on the exercise of the 'right' to an abortion (a nicely vague phrase that leaves it up to judges to decide on a case-by-case basis what is and is not an undue burden).

Sorry this is so long, Timekeeper. Couldn't help myself.

posted by The Dodd on July 9, 2002 02:42 PM

No problem, Dodd. Your explanation is a lot better than what I originally posted.

FWIW, I am a lukewarm supporter of the pro-choice position. I find abortion barbaric and disgusting, but I will never have to deal with the consequences of pregnancy (on a first hand basis, at least). Most of the arguments against abortion are based on religious grounds, which seems to violate the vaunted "separation of church and state" interpretation.

posted by Timekeeper on July 9, 2002 03:42 PM

I cannot agree that the religious motives of many pro-lifers means that their arguments necessarily impact the First Amendment vis-a-vis regulating or banning abortion. This is, fundamentally, a philosophical debate between people who believe life begins at conception and people who believe it begins at, for lack of a better term, physiological independence. If one believes the former (as I do), then banning abortion is no different than banning murder. If the latter, then leaving the state out of it (I will leave aside the ways in which pro-choicers stray from being willing to regulate abortion the same as all other "ordinary medical procedures") is the right choice.

Our criminal laws against murder do not implicate church-state concerns, why should abortion?

That said, your original point is 100% correct: All Roe did was to decree that state laws which banned all abortions outright are unconstitutional. If Roe were overturned, abortion would be am issue settled purely by the states, which, frankly, is how it should be, if only on federalist grounds.

posted by The Dodd on July 9, 2002 05:25 PM

Sunday, July 7, 2002

Isn't that special?

I have a groupie.

Aaron Hawkins, of Uppity Negro, trolls here, here, and here, and gets mad when he's identified as a troll. He's even resorted to posting my real name (here, which I fixed), and on his site (which I can't fix, even if I wanted to). Apparently he knows how to use the whois section of the internic site, because that is the only place where my name is tied to San Diego, which is what his earlier post identified (incorrectly) as my home.

Inferring from my posts that I am a white male (even though I haven't discussed my race, nor are there any pics here to prove it, and I don't have a catchy URL like ""), he lumps me in with the white sheet crowd. How predictable. All because I don't share his enthusiasm for an Orwellian newspeak law in Washington that bans use of the word "Oriental" when discussing people of Asian descent.

posted at 09:42 PM | permalink | Comments (9)

He trolls me, too.
I think that's sexy.

posted by Laurence Simon on July 8, 2002 07:24 PM

Troll. You keep using that word. I do not believe it means what you think it means.

Laurence, I don't recall ever posting to your site. What definition are you using for "trolls", exactly?

Timekeeper, if you'd like me to remove your name, one possible route you could take is asking.


And I found it by typing "whois" in a bash prompt. We're not talking Spy Kids level stuff here.

posted by Aaron on July 9, 2002 07:36 AM

Aaron, troll has many meanings. I did not use it to imply that you are a mythical monster (a la Grendel) or to imply that you are looking for sexual relations with children. The sense that I (and Andrea, Jeff, and Laurence) am using implies that you are going to someone else's website and posting deliberately imflammatory comments. Debate is one thing, but bashing another person (in an ad hominem fashion) is quite another, especially on someone else's website. There are those who do this in an attempt to get people to visit their website. The term troll is used in reference to the term "to fish", as these people are fishing for attention. This may or may not be your intent, but your behavior fits the pattern nicely.

Your action tracks very neatly with that of one of the charming creatures over at Warboogerblotch, who posted not only the real name, but the contact address and phone number of another person with whom they disagreed. The information was that of an elderly relative of his, who should not be subjected to abuse.

posted by timekeeper on July 9, 2002 11:13 AM

This is all subjective, of course. Most of what the warbloggers call "Fisking" is just ad hominem attacks, IMHO. And one person's "provocative" is another person's "inflammatory".

Is trolling restricted to actions on someone else's site, then, or is it possible to engage in it on your own? Like by constantly calling someone a troll, to choose an example at random?

By the bye, there is a difference between identifying a statement or action as racist, and claiming a person is a racist, something you and the chap at Blow Hard should keep in mind. I criticized your action of attacking while hiding your identity, and quoted Beetlejuice to do it. Line spoken by Winona Ryder, a/k/a Winona Horowitz.

It was a joke, son.

Finally, you were the one who threw down the gauntlet or whatever regarding your anonymity. What, was I just supposed to hint vaguely that I knew your name, without actually mentioning it? That sounds more troll-like than anything.

posted by Aaron on July 9, 2002 01:36 PM

Regarding my name, it wasn't neccessary for you to say anything at all. You went after me about my pseudonym, even though I have a clear explanation of why I don't have my real name posted (and the e-mail I sent to you would have cleared any lingering misconceptions).

Anyone who has received e-mail from me knows my first name, as it is included with all e-mails I send. (It is part of my signature). There are also at least a dozen bloggers who know my full name, as I posted using my real name before I started my blog, and occasionally sent e-mails from my "personal" account, which is under my full name.

I am sorry that I misinterpreted your Beetlejuice quote (I didn't follow that link, so I didn't know that it linked to a .wav file.) However, since you dropped a line about the Klan in the previous sentence, an allusion to a sheet does not require a huge leap to make the connection, however erroneous it may have been. (And don't say anything about guilty consciences here, because that is decidedly *not* accurate.) And in any case, it wasn't funny.

My original post was made (referring to you as a troll) only *after* you called Andrea a cunt, on Jeff's blog. That, to me, was an action of a troll, especially since the two of you have had exchanges before, on her blog. The next time I called you a troll was when you called Jeff a bitch (you never used the word, but what you said was pretty clear). The subsequent references were after you started posting my name in various places (here, and at your blog, at least; I don't know where else to which it may have metastatized).

posted by Timekeeper on July 9, 2002 04:02 PM

That was the only two places I'd posted your name, and it's now gone from both. De nada.

Humor is subjective too, of course; I think the joke worked. Have you ever seen Beetlejuice?

posted by Aaron on July 9, 2002 05:22 PM

Thank you.

Yes, I have seen Beetlejuice. It's hysterical, although I was stunned by Alec Baldwin's atypical (and blond) role. I've often wondered what the movie would have been like if someone like Robin Williams had been cast instead of Michael Keaton (who was great in the role).

posted by Timekeeper on July 9, 2002 06:42 PM

I wish you would post comments on my site. I'm starting to get the feeling you don't love me. *sniff*

I promise, I'll never go back...

posted by Laurence Simon on July 9, 2002 08:38 PM

Sorry about screwing up the edit initially; it's not like Movable Type doesn't have global search and replace. I think if you'd said "idiot" instead of "troll", you'd have been more accurate. . .

Oddly, the last time I really liked Robin Williams in a movie was "Toys", where he'd gone all blond for the role, too. And Wesley Snipes was good in Demolition Man with that dye job.

Maybe there's something to that Aryan supremacy stuff after all.

posted by Aaron on July 10, 2002 06:49 AM

Unchecked Government

Yesterday's issue of the Seattle Times (that's the Seattle paper with the conservative editorial board, although its readers are no less leftist than its competitor's) had a guest editorial that was a bit distressing. The state of Washington, in an attempt to reduce a budget shortfall, has begun taking a large chunk of SSI benefits to fund the Deaprtment of Developmental Disabilities. The letter writer points out that the state had no problem finding money for $60,000 Lincoln Navigators for state employees, but needs to pull money from seniors on a fixed income to fund a worthy program. Ms. Burke is not wealthy; in fact, she qualifies for HUD subsidized housing. Her SSI payments are based on her last ten years of employment, during which she worked part-time, in order to care for her dying husband, rather than allowing the state to pick up the tab.

Most insulting was the letter she received from the SSI. Her last paragraph:

My letter from SSI states "Please remember that you do not have the right to appeal the state's decision to change payments to its residents"! Do we live in a democracy or a dictatorship? Will the next step be euthanasia of those 65 or older? Think about it.
posted at 08:27 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

Stupid Letters Derby

Today's entry was actually previewed yesterday, but since it was for today's issue of the paper, I waited to post it. From the Seattle Post-Intelligencer's Letters to the Editor:

My friend, an accomplished lip reader, relayed the Pledge of Allegiance being given by members of Congress on the news. I knew that it had been changed during the years, but the version used by our lawmakers had aspects that were new to me. It went:
I pledge allegiance to the flag of Capitalistic America and to the corporations and profits for which it stands, one unregulated economy, unfettered by Christian ethics, with wealth and power for those willing to grab it.
Surely, I said, that isn't really what they were saying. He replied, "You should hear the Bush version."
Jerry Tremaine

It may not be quite as asisine as what Moira and Bill found yesterday in their papers, but Seattle is still holding its own.

posted at 08:14 AM | permalink | Comments (0)

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