Saturday, June 7, 2003


Search engine hits

I'm suffering from a bad case of brain rot this evening, so I can't give you anything that requires a lot of thought. What I can give you, however, is some of my recent search engine hits, along with my thoughts on them.

humor kucinich

Well, he's a joke...

mary kate and ashley nude

That's the last time I ever participate in a google bomb.

calvin hobbes comic verbing

Still one of the more common search results, even though I only blogged it once.

"Pledge of Allegiance" hoax unconstitutional

The ruling is a hoax, or it's unconstitutional is a hoax?

Several different searches for pr0n

I've edited the post about the Sean Penn article, so that "pussyfooting" is now one word, without the hyphen. That particular word had never appeared on this site before, which cut down on the perverts.

xanax statistic baby

Ooooh, yeah. I'm a Xanax statistic, baby! Sounds like the lyrics to a punk rock song.

Canadian Alliance VS. PC'S

Another hit from a single post. I'm still waiting for a Canadian to answer my question.

"left wing conspiracy" debunked

Not here, big guy.

Polish-chicks

(From a Czech site.) Aren't the Czech chicks good enough for you?

how to eliminate hezbollah

If you find an answer, let us all know. We'd love to be rid of them.

"Serge Schmemman"

Wow, let's hit the wayback machine. That was my very first post, from March 29, 2002.

"Lawrence vs. Texas"

This is far and away the most common search result for this blog, when you add all its variations together, on a multitude of search engines. It's interesting, because this is neither a gay-rights site, nor a "family values" site. If I'm getting this many hits from the search result, I wonder how many somebody like Andrew Sullivan gets.

And of course, we have an assload of searches for "Horologium". I have an easy address to remember; why do I have so many people using search engines to find my site, when they already the the name, which is the hard part?

posted at 07:50 PM | permalink | Comments (2)


I asked something like that once, and was told that it's done by people surfing from work who don't wish to keep bookmarks in plain sight and believe using Google as an intermediary will somehow keep them from getting sacked when the techies get hold of their machines and reveal what they've been doing with the company bandwidth — after all, they were just doing some searching, nothing more.

I'd rather not believe people are this insane, but I have little choice in the matter.

posted by CGHill on June 7, 2003 08:46 PM



FYI, the discussion was here.

posted by Oscar Jr. on June 9, 2003 06:40 PM







Friday, June 6, 2003


Tax Rates

While doing a little blog hopping, I ran across an interesting link to the 2003 Index of Economic Freedom, a project of the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. One of the sections I found absolutely fascinating was the section on taxation. Europeans (and the Democratic Party) are quick to tell us that our tax rates are too low. Well, looking at the figures, one might be a bit confused by such a statement. Below is a table I whipped up, listing all the Western European countries (except Switzerland*). plus the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. The four columns are, in order:

A) Top personal tax rate

B) Average marginal tax rate

C) Top corporate tax rate

D) Government spending as a % of GDP.
























ABCD
Australia47303033.1
Austria50413449.6
Belgium55453946.4
Canada292226.1238.2
Denmark59453050.8
Finland37242944.6
France52.7541.833.348.6
Germany48.53526.3745.9
Iceland**35351839.7
Ireland424212.530.6
Italy45.133.13645.7
Japan37203036.9
Luxembourg382230.3838.9
Netherlands528.234.541.7
New Zealand3919.53338.4
Norway47.5282841.28
Portugal40243041.1
Spain4828.33538.5
Sweden60202852.5
United Kingdom40223038.3
United States3927.13530.4






I was particularly startled by the Corporate Income Tax rate. Only Belgium taxes business at a higher rate than does the United States. Point that out the next time someone on the left advocates increasing taxes on business.

The other interesting thing is the top income bracket for taxes. It is interesting to note that our tax rates fall in the middle, with six countries with lower top brackets. Sure, anomolies such as Sweden's 60% bracket exist, but Finland has a lower top bracket than the United States. Finland!

I'd love to see the reactions to the more taxes crowd over this whole issue. Somehow, I think that a few of their cherished notions will go down in flames.

*Switzerland has a crazy quilt of tax laws, with different tax rates in every canton. It is impossible to derive an accurate figure for their taxes, which is why I omitted them.

**Iceland has a flat tax of 35%.

(Link courtesy of Alan K. Henderson's Weblog, with its link to the Estonia page of the report.)

posted at 08:12 PM | permalink | Comments (4)


If anyone can explain to me why the table is hosed, I'd appreciate it. I didn't add a bunch or breaks or paragraphs between the intro and the table, so I have no idea why it has such a gap.

posted by timekeeper on June 6, 2003 08:21 PM



It's a quirk of the Movable Type function that autoinserts spaces between paragraphs; it handles tables rather ineptly, though this is due more to the way browsers handle tables than to any particular deficiency in MT.

posted by CGHill on June 7, 2003 08:49 PM



I would like to point out that the numbers, certainly for Canada, are incorrect. You list only the federal tax rates; each province also collects income tax, thus easily doubling the amount of income tax collected.

And let's not even get started on the 14.5% sales tax, for instance, in British Columbia.

posted by E W Cenek on June 8, 2003 09:58 AM



E W, the tax rates listed are for federal taxes. The US tax rate does not cover any of the taxes levied by the states, or local taxes (such as New York City or Cincinnatti's taxes), nor does it cover sales taxes or Value-added Tax.

Canada, the US, and Australia are unusual in that their political subdivisons have the ability to levy taxes in addition to the central government. Almost all other nations relegate taxation and collection duties to the federal government.

posted by timekeeper on June 8, 2003 10:19 AM






Antitrust Law—A Primer

William Sjostrom, at AtlanticBlog, ran across a post at CalPundit that he found to be fundamentally flawed. He lays out his case in this link-laden post, which explains why antitrust law is not needed in a true capalistic system. He ends the post with a snippet from a poem entitled "Tom Smith and His Incredible Bread Machine":

You're gouging on your prices if You charge more than the rest. But it's unfair competition If you think you can charge less. A second point that we would make To help avoid confusion: Don't try to charge the same amount: That would be collusion! You must compete. But not too much For if you do, you see, Then the market would be yours And that's monopoly!

If you've ever heard the Rush song "The Trees", you'll hear a similar strain of libertarian thought. Upon reading "Tom Smith", I immediately thought of this song.

posted at 04:39 PM | permalink | Comments (4)


You found "The Trees" to be an example of libertarian thought?

I thought it was an adolescent attempt to explain why there are wars.

Tastes vary. So do opinions.

I saw Rush when they opened for Mountain at Asbury Park Convention Hall. I remember thinking, neat guitar player, but that lead singer has a weird voice. Bring on the Man-Mountain!

posted by Meryl Yourish on June 8, 2003 10:21 AM



Actually, it was my former roommate, the Rush fanatic, who told me about the song. I was spouting off another diatribe about class warfare (yes, I pontificate about politics in real life as well), and he said that I sounded a lot like a song from Rush. I later found out that Neal Peart (drummer/lyricist for Rush) was outspokenly libertarian. Puts a whole new spin on songs such as "Free Will".

And yes, Geddy Lee *does* have a weird voice. (grin)

posted by timekeeper on June 8, 2003 11:56 AM



I actually believe the song is more of a reflection of the consequences of equalitarianism and entitlement found in socialized mindset of the West.

Substitute maples with any 'victim' group, and oaks with thier 'oppressers'. Sounds like a typical lament found in any newspaper, on any given day.

I have this on my old Bl*gsp*t site. Maybe one day I will figure out how to have it play in the background of my new blog.

posted by Jack on June 9, 2003 01:49 PM



"The Trees" is indeed a libertarian allegory, as were many of their songs around that time (Peart has described himself as a "right-wing liberatarian", and the 2112 liner notes thank Ayn Rand due to the similarities to her short story "Anthem").

He's gotten a bit squishier in his old age though: "Red Tide" is by-the-numbers enviro-alarmism, for instance.

(Why yes, I am a Rush fanboy, how did you know?)

posted by Ian S. on June 9, 2003 03:48 PM






Palestinian Christians

Today's USA Today had a commentary by a "Palestian-American Christian" living in Michigan. The author, Sherri Muhzer, discusses the Christian minority of Palestinians (about 15 percent worldwide; she does not discuss how many of these are no longer living in "Palestine"). I have a few issues with her viewpoint, which seems to be strongly anti-Israel and anti-US, with a touch of Islamic apologia thrown in for good measure.

The questioner's tone is usually incredulous: "You mean there are Palestinian Christians?"
I understand the confusion. Many view the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as purely Muslims vs. Jews. And aren't Arabs all Muslims and Muslims all Arabs?
The reality is that some 15% of the world's Palestinians are Christians, a vibrant community that has experienced as much suffering as Palestinian Muslims. In the latest uprising for freedom, Palestinian Christians have been among those killed or maimed for life by Israeli bullets. Christians also have been among the Palestinians who have been unable to leave their towns, go to their jobs, seek medical care and attend schools.

I don't doubt that Palestian Christians have suffered because of the Israeli reaction to the murder of Israelis by Palestinian terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately, some are exploiting the general lack of knowledge about Palestinian Christians, either for political gain or for religions reasons ó or both. Many evangelical Christians believe the Bible promised the Jews the entire Holy Land, including the occupied territory. And some evangelicals also believe the second coming of Christ is contingent upon the full return of Jews to Jerusalem.

I am not sure if she is advocating the suppression of such beliefs. Further, the fact that Jews were EXCLUDED from their holy sites by the Jordanians prior to 1967 would seem to indicate that the situation is better for all concerned, since the Israelis allow Arabs access to the Temple Mount. If "full return" means "access to all" then I'm all for it, too.

Last month, conservative Christian activist Gary Bauer spearheaded a letter, signed by other evangelical leaders, that warned President Bush that "it would be morally reprehensible for the United States to be 'evenhanded' between democratic Israel, a reliable friend and ally that shares our values, and the terrorist-infested Palestinian infrastructure." This week, the Jerusalem Post reported, the Rev. Pat Robertson, speaking on the Christian Broadcasting Network, said Bush's proposed road map to peace imperiled Israel and went "against the clear mandate of the Bible."

Bauer is right; until the Palestinians fully renounce violence, they are not morally equivalent to Israel. Their leaders have embraced terrorism (or been apologists for it), and their people overwhelmingly support the terrorist attacks that have been perpetrated by the extremist groups that wield enormous influence.

Robertson is a crackpot; he always has been. Few people take him seriously any more. There is nothing in the bible that justifies his views.

But the fact that Palestinian Christians are united with Palestinian Muslims in the goal of liberation shows that their struggle isn't so much religious as it is nationalistic and human.

There is one very important distinction between the Islamists and the Christians in the West Bank and Gaza—the bombers and other assorted terrorists are all Islamic! There is no getting around that, and it is an extremely important distinction. The Christians in the middle east may or may not support the Palestinian cause, but they do not blow up innocent Israelis in support of their cause.

I can understand, however, the public-relations value for Israelis in ignoring Palestinian Christians. After all, given the unfair vilification of Islam after 9/11, why let your Western supporters know that you are also battling Christians?

The biggest obstacles to peace are not Christians; they are Islamic groups (led by Hamas) who are focusing on Israel only because they are the biggest target. Since Hamas calls for a fundamentalist Islamic state over the entire Israel/Palestine area, do you think they will allow Christians to practice their faith once independence is achieved? Remember, the Palestinian Authority's support is only slightly higher than that of Hamas; there will be an epic struggle for control of the government once an independent Palestine emerges.

The evangelical leaders who warned Bush not to be "evenhanded" in peace negotiations may believe that they are speeding up Jesus' return, but it was Christ who said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."

Is is not Israel who started the wars in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973, nor did they start either of the Intifadas.

Which is it?

As I pointed out earlier, Ms. Muzher does not discuss the number of Christians still living in the West Bank and Gaza. The number is about 60,000, which is a dramatic drop since the end of World War II. Christians enjoy full civil rights in Israel, something that is not true of most Arabic states. It is interesting that there have been no Christians seeking political asylum in the US due to Israeli persecution, but the State Department has granted asylum to two Palestinian Christians who were being persecuted by their Arab neighbors.

For another Palestinian Christian view on the issue, read Christians in the Land Called Holy, which has a good deal of information on this subject, much of which contradicts Ms. Muhzer's assertions.

posted at 12:52 PM | permalink | Comments (2)


Palestinian Christians will fare worse than Lebanese Christians have during the Islamification of that basket case of a country under terrorist and Syrian rule.

posted by Laurence Simon on June 6, 2003 04:36 PM



The link to Habib Malik's article really does not refute anything that Ms. Muzher writes in USA Today. One simple reason: Habib Malik is a Lebanese Maronite. He cannot speak for Palestinian Christians. Lebanon's Maronites have a long history of bringing in religion and divisiveness. Many do not even consider themselves Arab. Malik would do better not to discuss issues affecting other Arab Christians. His personal bias prevents him from being a credible source.

posted by Rima Karam on June 11, 2003 12:51 PM






Barbara Boxer—Tax cutter?

This is the text of an e-mail I received from Barbara Boxer's office (since I have written to her in the past, I am on one of her distribution lists...lol). It is an interesting missive, especially when one considers her ties to HillaryCare, and her opposition to almost any tax cuts.


Dear Friend:

Many California families are struggling to make ends meet.
Working families often pay more and more every year as health
insurance premiums continue to rise. I recently introduced
legislation that would help struggling families with increasing
health insurance costs.

My "Health Insurance Tax Relief Act" would provide individuals
with up to a $2000 yearly tax deduction to help cover the costs
of health insurance. This would make health insurance premiums
more affordable for families and individuals who currently have
insurance and would help families who do not have coverage to
pay for it.

Currently, those who are self-employed can take a deduction for
the cost of health insurance. Additionally, it is possible
under current law to deduct health care costs, but only if the
costs exceed 7.5 percent of income—a high threshold that many
struggling families do not meet.

The deduction in my bill would be allowed for insurance costs
that individuals pay, whether it is their share of the cost of
insurance they receive through their employer or the cost of
insurance when they buy it on their own. This deduction would
be available to all taxpayers, even if they do not itemize
deductions.

If you have any questions or would like more information about
this matter, I invite you to visit my Senate website at
http://boxer.senate.gov . There, you can learn more about my
work in the Senate and send a message to me at
http://boxer.senate.gov/contact/webform.cfm .

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

posted at 10:31 AM | permalink | Comments (0)






Wednesday, June 4, 2003


Uh-oh.

Instapundit linked to this page, noting that he was a centrist blogger, and that pretty pictures don't lie. Well, while I was gazing upon the loveliness, I noted that I was missing (not surprising). I also noticed that somehow, Meryl Yourish ended up to the right of not only Glenn, but also Andrew Sullivan. Heh. I knew that Meryl would be somewhat less than thrilled by this </understatement>. The e-mail she sent back to me confirmed my suspicions.

That guy is so dead. He is SO dead. Effing right of SULLIVAN?
Dead.

Meryl is not someone that I would ever want mad at me. <grin> I pity the guy who came up with the chart...

(BTW, to those who wonder: I cleared posting this exchange with Meryl. I don't normally post e-mails without asking. Abusive or excessively stupid e-mails don't get this consideration.)

posted at 07:07 PM | permalink | Comments (2)


Yes, but I was the furtherest to the right of anyone, and that made me quite happy. And is probably also accurate, given who he included. So after Meryl kills him, maybe I'll bring him back from the dead ;).

posted by susanna on June 5, 2003 11:02 AM



Y'know, considering that you and Meryl have spent time together, somehow I don't think you ever discussed politics. <evil grin>

posted by timekeeper on June 6, 2003 10:01 PM







Tuesday, June 3, 2003


Tax Cuts—another view

Considering how the major media (ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, Time, Newsweek, and most newspapers) have (predictably) lined up against tax cuts, and bolstered their arguments with citations from the DNC, CBPP, and other left-leaning groups, it is nice to find a site that uses facts to show the other side of the debate. From Tax Foundation, a few facts that the major media fail to report:

Tax Foundation economists estimate that should the Bush plan be enacted, it would increase the number of tax filers with a zero tax liability by 3.8 million, to 39.5 million. Of these new zero tax filers, 3 million are families who are taken off the tax rolls because of the expansion of the child credit from $600 to $1,000 per child. Because of the large number of dependent children claimed on these returns, the total number of people represented by returns with zero tax liability will rise from 69.6 million, to 82 million, an increase of more than 12 million people.
...
The bottom line is that it is impossible to give income tax relief to people who do not pay income taxes. Unfortunately, when Congressís Joint Tax Committee, or economists at Washington think tanks, calculate the distributional impact of the Presidentís plan on "taxpayers," they do so on the entire universe of 133 million tax filers Ė including the 36 million who do not have a tax liability.
If distributional analysis is to be the standard by which Washington judges the benefits of any tax plan, then the only honest way to do this is to calculate the planís benefits to taxpayers, meaning those filers who have a positive income tax liability.
posted at 09:55 PM | permalink | Comments (0)





No Nudes for Kevin

BlogoSPHERICS has no pictures of Mary Kate and Ashley nude. None whatsoever.

Just in case you were wondering.

posted at 08:33 PM | permalink | Comments (2)


Dude! Way to fish for really twisted google search hits!

posted by Wind Rider on June 4, 2003 05:52 AM



Actually, Kevin is setting up a google bomb. I'm just adding another link for him. He'll be MUCH further up the search list than will I.

posted by timekeeper on June 4, 2003 11:15 AM






Flacking for the DNC

Dodd, over at Ipse Dixit, has a nice illustration that shows that the Demmies screaming about Bush's mishandling of the economy need to come up with a new meme. The stock market is on a nice, steady upward trend.

Of course, they will have to scramble to find a new argument. In the spirit of generosity and giving, I shall provide them with a talking point:

The tax cuts are counterproductive. The economy is recovering, so stimulating it could lead to inflation. We should use this opportunity to invest in our country's infrastructure, and work to ensure that all Americans benefit from our good fortune, rather than just the wealthy few.

Somehow, I don't think they'll appreciate my suggestion, although all of the elements of a good Dem talking point are there: faulty economics, calls for increased taxation (repealing approved tax cuts is the same as a tax increase), class warfare, and a misplaced cause/effect relationship.

Any thoughts?

posted at 08:21 PM | permalink | Comments (0)





A Little Humor

I just received an e-mail from a good friend of mine. He has a rather skewed sense of humor, as evidenced by the first sentence of the e-mail he sent to his friends and family after returning from a lengthy deployment:

For all those that hoped I would return home safely you can stop hoping now.

As I said, "skewed".

Welcome back, Lizard.

posted at 07:58 PM | permalink | Comments (0)





Kucinich=Asshat

Dennis Kucinich, the bloviating moron from Ohio who is launching an unlikely campaign for president, has demanded that the Pentagon release the unedited tapes of the PFC Lynch rescue.

I expect the DoD to refuse. However, I would love to see them release the tape with a statement similar in tone to this:

This tape is released to clarify the events surrounding the rescue of PFC Lynch. In a desperate attempt to find an issue that resonates with the American public, an outspoken critic of the Department of Defense has unconscionably attempted to politicize the war and embarrass the nation's military members.

It's incendiary, but so is Kucinich's reprehensible attack on the DoD, in concert with a BBC journalist who cannot come up with a cohesive reason to support his theory that the DoD faked the whole thing. (See this Instapundit post to explain the flaw behind this alleged exposé, namely, the lack of gunfire in the final edit of the video).

Kucinich is trying to have it both ways; by accusing the military of a staged event, he can either (A) emerge victorious if the Pentagon did stage the rescue or (B) sermonize that he was just trying to make sure that Americans received the whole story. It's obscene, and he should not be allowed to seize the high moral ground as the expense of the military. I, for one, am damn sick and tired of anti-military (not anti-war, anti-military) lefties who insist that the military is out to kill as many women, children, and unarmed civilians as possible. Kucinich certainly fits that profile.

Apparently, Kucinich is troubled by reports that there were no Iraqi forces left defending the hospital, and that American soldiers went into the hospital with their weapons drawn, breaking down doors along the way. One must assume that he would be delighted if there were still Iraqi troops in the hospital, and some of our soldiers were killed in the attempt to rescue Lynch. (Of course, the army had no way of knowing that the hospital had been abadoned by the Iraqi army, so their caution was essential and eminently justifiable.)

Another issue raised by the BBC report is that Lynch's injuries were less severe than reported. The reporter attempts to blame this on the Pentagon, but his claims are groundless. The DoD does not detail injuries sustained by specific members because to do so would violate the Privacy Act of 1973 (this applies to all government agencies, not just the military). In fact, the CentCom briefers continually declined to respond to questions about Lynch's injuries. The errors in reporting were not due to governmental efforts to spin the news; the media were doing it all by themselves.

Also raised in the CNN article was Kucinich's intention to file a resolution requiring the Bush administration to release the data that we used to justify war in Iraq. The fact that even Hans Blix admitted the Iraqis were in material breach of the 14 UN resolutions has not penetrated his tiny little brain. Not surprising for the only Presidential candidate in US history to preside over a city which defaulted on its loans (Kucinich was mayor of Cleveland when the city essential went bankrupt in 1978).

For an extremely well-written and comprehensive rebuttal of the whole BBC report, read this post over at CoIntelPro Tool. Bill Herbert lays out the goods on the whole story. It's a prime example of why the media need the blogosphere to keep them honest; they can't do it by themselves.

This CNN article contains the official US response to the BBC story. It clarifies and corrects many of the errors and distortions present in the BBC account, but in all fairness should be taken with a grain of salt.

UPDATE 9:30PM—More on the whole fiasco.. Link courtesy of Balloon Juice, who got it from Instapundit.

posted at 06:45 PM | permalink | Comments (0)






Monday, June 2, 2003


Mark Shields and the half-full glass

Mark Shields, the (liberal) moderator of TV's Capital Gang, is also a syndicated columnist. In this column, from May 26th, he takes fellow Capital Gang pundit (and conversative counterpart) Robert Novak to task for a statement he made in a recent column of his own, one discussing Richard Gephardt's presidential campaign. Discussing the South Carolina primary, Novak wrote:

...his friend and colleague—Rep. James Clyburn, the state's only black congressman—controls 20 percent to 25 percent of the primary vote.

Shields takes a single line, and spins it into an entire column on how it is wrong for Novak to say that someone (in this case, Clyburn) "delivers" or "controls" votes. It seems a little overwrought to me, but I will accept his premise, although he strays needlessly into Bush-bashing later in the column (if he didn't, he wouldn't be Mark Shields).

However, it seems to me that the left is not likely to accept the concept equally applied to their side. How many times have we been told that Rush Limbaugh directs his (mindless, sheeplike) followers to follow his instructions and vote for the guy with the R after his name? And let's not even get started with religious conservatives; from the arrogant 1983 Washington Post article that stated that religious conservatives were "poor, uneducated, and easily led", this myth has been gospel truth to leftists of every stripe. It's a trope that I seriously doubt they would be willing to relinquish, because it rationalizes so many of the failings of their preferred candidates and positions—"we're right, and it's only because people mindlessly listen to extremist Rush and right-wing Fox News that we didn't win".

posted at 09:19 PM | permalink | Comments (0)





Stupid Letters

Today's Seattle Times letters page had the usual shovelful of anti-Bush screaming (not a single one had anything that could be considered anything other than extreme anti-Bushism, unvarnished and undiluted). There was one letter that didn't mention Bush. However, it was another president he failed to name that caught my attention.

G. Gordon Liddy, Adm. John Poindexter, Ollie North, Clarence Thomas and Mark Fuhrman... what do they have in common? They all became rich after having been given the opportunity to lie under oath. This has also worked well for Big Tobacco, which continues to rake in billions while knowingly marketing a lethal product.
So please... ask me to testify before Congress. Any subject will do. Give me a chance to lie under oath too, so I can become rich and be hired as a highly paid consultant with a book deal and a talk show, or maybe even have the president offer me a lifetime appointment to the bench. It's the American Way, and I need the money.
- Derek Weinman, Selah

How much does Bill Clinton make per speech? Not to mention the rumored $10 million advance Random House is to pay him for his memoirs.

This Las Vegas Review-Journal article from April 2002 estimates his speech fees net him $10 million to $15 million per year. It also suggests he charges $100,000 minimum per speech. Not bad for an admitted perjurer. Of course, our ideologically blinkered letter-writer can't bring himself to use the word "perjury"; perhaps the word is too closely identified with the previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

posted at 12:02 PM | permalink | Comments (1)


Of course, the Big He will remind you that he has a whole lot of legal expenses to pay, no thanks to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy(tm).

posted by CGHill on June 6, 2003 07:30 PM






Apples and oranges

Andrew Sullivan links to a Peter Beinart article in The New Republic, one which makes a common error. In discussing the huge (and appalling) subsidies that American cotton farmers receive from the government, Beinart compares the net worth of American cotton farmers with the yearly wage of farmers in Burkina Faso. The two concepts are related, but they are not the same thing. One can have a relatively high net worth with virtually no income, or make lots of money and still be teetering on the edge of poverty. I agree with Beinart about the need to end subsidies (on cotton and on other goods), but I would have preferred that he compare apples to apples when discussing the merits of Burkina Faso's farming industry in relation to ours.

That quibble aside, read the article. It provides a look at how subsidies can literally kill people. Burkina Faso and Mali have lost a tremendous amount of their exports since the Bush administration raised its subsidies on cotton by an astonishing 80 percent. The money the countries earned was allotted to new clinics and medical facilities; these facilities no longer have the money to operate due to the loss of export revenue.

posted at 05:31 AM | permalink | Comments (0)






Sunday, June 1, 2003


Times vs. P-I

Here in Seattle, we have two major daily newspapers—The Seattle Times, controlled by a local family (with a substantial holding by Knight-Ridder), and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, owned by Hearst Newspapers. As in most cities with competing major newspapers, they operate under a Joint Operating Agreement (under which costs for production and distribution are shared, as are profits). The Times has been steadily gaining a lead on the Post-Intelligencer, due to the perception by most Seattleites that it is a better paper. However, they claim they are losing money, and have filed a petition to dissolve the JOA. The P-I cried foul, and filed a lawsuit to "stop the clock" on the dissolution process. They claim that the Blethen family is trying to destroy the P-I, as almost all of the production facilities are owned by the Times, and most of the shared staff are Times employees.

I have followed the process in the local papers, but with a jaundiced eye, as both papers seem to be spinning the story to their advantage. However, an article in Editor and Publisher covers the story from a neutral standpoint, and discusses six possible outcomes.

This article is an interesting read, if only for the reason that the Seattle JOA was considered one of the best, and most stable, JOA's. It provides an interesting take on one of journalism's lesser-known aspects, cooperation in place of cutthroat competition.

posted at 08:17 PM | permalink | Comments (1)


Here in Houston, a much bigger city that Seattle, we have just one major paper. However, it's poor local coverage is resulting in disinterest in any local news (USA Today) and growing flight to the Spanish dailies.

posted by Laurence Simon on June 2, 2003 08:34 AM






Fisking Penn

By now, we've all heard about Sean Penn's fatuous $135,000 ad in the New York Times, and you've probably read several dissections of its contents. This is the ultimate rebuttal. It's long, so pack a lunch and a change of clothes, because you won't want to miss any of it. A sample:

"It's a sunny afternoon in Northern California," the weatherman interrupted. "Puffy white clouds resting upon a beautiful blue sky." We sat in the car eating FRENCH fries in the parking lot of our local burger joint. President George W. Bush had just rebuffed the United Nations' push to re-introduce weapons inspection teams into an Iraq where even a deservedly humiliated Saddam Hussein had expressed willingness to accept them.
In October of 2002 a "deservedly humiliated" Saddan Hussein won 100% of his country's vote. If you're gullible enough to believe that Hussein was honestly willing to accept weapons inspectors then you're gullible enough to believe those election results.
At any rate, a quick check of the weapons inspections timeline shows exactly what prompted Hussein's "willingness" to accept weapons inspectors. The timeline starts on February 28, 1991 — the end of the Gulf War, when Iraq agreed to be "subject to UN sanctions and arms inspections." We fart around and fart around for almost 12 years, during which time Iraq has done nothing but delay, obsctruct, and lie to UN weapons inspectors, and eventually and up at September 18, 2002. On that day "President Bush [addressed] the UN General Assembly and warns Iraq that military action will be unavoidable if it does not comply with UN resolutions on disarmament." Guess what happened next, Sean? "UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says he has received a letter from the Iraqi Government offering to allow the unconditional return of weapons inspectors." And guess how long it took to happen?
Four days.
Twelve years of diplomatic [pussyfoooting] and UN weakness produced nothing. President Bush makes his speech to the UN, and four days later Iraq is all of a suddden ready to play nice with inspectors.
So, Sean, what exactly happened in October? "Hans Blix and Iraq agree practical arrangements for the return of weapons inspectors. US Secretary of State Colin Powell rejects it and says the US wants a tough new UN Security Council resolution. " So, far from Bush "rebuffing" UN efforts to re-introduce weapons inspectors, the US was rebuffing UN efforts to weaken US efforts to get weapons inspectors into Iraq. If it was not for Bush's bellicose talk and firm stand UN inspectors would never have gotten back into Iraq in the first place.


(Link courtesy of Andrea Harris.)

Edited-7June03/7:44 PM to foil perverts. I removed the hyphen from "pussyfooting".

posted at 06:57 PM | permalink | Comments (0)





Quiet corrections

In a piece from the New York Times on the Bush administration's relationship with gay rights groups, Andrew Sullivan noted a whopper. The article stated that Bush had nominated James Hormel to an ambassadorial post in Romania. Actually, Hormel, a Democratic Party activist, was nominated by Clinton to be the ambassador to Luxembourg. Michael Guest was Bush's nominee to the Romania post, although the article had his sexual orientation correct.

I just read the article (after linking to it from Sullivan's site), and it has been corrected, although there is no indication that the article differs from the original. At least they did make the correction. We're still waiting for corrections from Maureen Dowd and Paul Krugman for their (far more pernicious) errors, or lies.

———————————

On the article itself, there are a few points that are addressed that should be highlighted, because they are important and don't get a lot of play from the (mostly left-wing) gay-rights groups or from the (mostly right-wing) family-advocacy groups. Both sides are furious with Bush's alleged pandering to the other side. I tend to agree with the gay-rights groups on this issue, as the social conservatives are upset that Marc Racicot, RNC chairman, had the unmitigated gall to simply meet with gay-rights groups. This is absurd; there are issues on which the Human Rights Campaign and the Bush administration share common ground, as well as plenty of areas upon which they disagree. Agreeing to meet with a group that is the de facto voice of anywhere from 5 percent to 10 percent of the voting-age population does not imply endorsement of their agenda. On the other hand, the administration has done little in the way of advancing a gay-rights agenda; had Gore won there might have been a more forceful push on issues important to gay groups, such as ENDA and hate-crimes legislation.

posted at 03:29 PM | permalink | Comments (0)





Firewalls and News sites

No links, just a little ranting on my part.

Ever since I got my new computer, which came with McAfee Security Center pre-installed, I have not had problems accessing most news sites, even with my security settings bumped way up. The two exceptions to this are the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times websites. With these two, I cannot access them. It's not a cookie problem; both IE and Netscape are set to accept cookies from the sites, yet I keep getting the login prompt. The help screens for both sites recommend I disable my firewall while viewing their sites. Shall I send my credit card numbers to them by way of unencrypted e-mail too? I understand their desire to track my reading habits for their demographics, but other sites (such as the New York Times) have managed to set up registration sites that don't expect me to wave a sign saying "Kick Me!" to all the script kiddies who like wreaking havoc on the rest of the world.

I will not be linking to either paper, because I can't read their articles. I also won't be visiting the sites, again because I can't read the articles. My demographic information is useless to them if I don't visit their site because I can't read their articles and see their advertisements. It's particularly galling in the case of the LAT, which demanded a boatload of personal info (everything short of "boxers or briefs?") to register; at least the WaPo only asks for year of birth and ZIP code. I cannot believe that they actually expect people to disable their firewall simply because they cannot code a tracking system that isn't broken by a firewall.

I've only encountered one other website that cannot deal with my firewall; EZBoard, the BBS system used by many websites to create a forum. I can read any of the open boards, but any fora that require a password are off-limits to me, as I cannot register. At least they don't tell me to disable my firewall for access.

Is the system the NYT uses proprietary or prohibitively expensive? If not, why aren't the other papers using it?

posted at 01:41 PM | permalink | Comments (1)


Try using Mozilla if you really want to see the WaPo. Everytime I try from IE, I get that stupid survey about my age and sex. Mozilla skips it.

posted by ceci on June 2, 2003 01:22 PM






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