Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

The "wisdom" from Washington

by techno Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 04:20:38 AM EST

I was recently visited by a cousin who spent his working life in the higher reaches of the USA's permanent government, including policy positions in the Office of Management and Budget and the Commerce Department.  He's about seven years older than I and I once thought he was probably the smartest guy in the world.  He has a law degree, is quite tall (198 cm) and very handsome.  All in all, the kind of guy you debate at your peril.


Me, I live in the provinces--quite near the geographical center of the North American continent and about as far from the rooms where actual decisions are made as is possible.  He lives in the District of Columbia itself--a virtual war zone where full-time paranoia is actually a healthy survival skill.  I live in freaking Brigadoon--a village so civilized I was actually spooked by how polite everyone was when I first moved here.

Our time together was short--which was probably a good thing because between some powerful pain killers I was taking to cope with some oral surgery and his attitude that Washingtonians have some sort of monopoly on wisdom, I started getting grumpy.  I am not of the opinion that the folks who wasted the last eight years ignoring real problems but DID have the time to lie us into a couple of illegal wars were very close to wise.  And while he probably considers himself a centrist in NW Washington, he has become, by any reasonable standard, a Economist-reading, neoliberal, right-wing extremist.  Also not a good match.

At one point, I suggested that the ONLY way we were every going to be able to address the problems of Peak Oil and Climate Change--issues that surprisingly enough, have attracted his interest--was to bring back the guillotine to clear out the fools who had caused the problems and were unlikely to ever contribute to new solutions.  Using his finest "tut-tutting" voice, he assured me that humanity had progressed beyond the historical stage of guillotines.  Disgustedly I snorted, "Well, what else do you propose we do with the folks who lied us into two criminal acts of war?" I did back down and suggest that if historical relevancy was the big issue, we COULD ship the war liars to Gitmo instead of recalling the guillotine to service.

At another point, I decided to trash his intellectual base.  Remember, the arrogance of the permanent government was once based on facts on the ground.  Guys like my cousin could know enough to assume that his facts were just better than anyone else's in the room.  He actually knows some of the players.  He has access to intelligence reports.  He has worked in the departments that collect the data.  And most importantly, he has read the Washington Post on his daily commute.

The problem is that none of this means much anymore.  Where once you had to be in Washington to see legislative hearings, now you can see them on C-SPAN.  Where once you needed your congressman's help to get important documents, now you can download them on the Internet.  And of course, the Washington Post is online so the received wisdom of the capital can be accessed by anyone who is interested.  

Just because a Post doesn't thump against my door every morning does not mean I cannot know what is in it.  And to be perfectly honest, I find most of what is in the Post frightening stupid.  To cite one obvious historical example, the Post assumed throughout the 1980s that the Warsaw Pact nation were indeed growing at 3.5% per annum as claimed by our very expensive intelligence services.  On the very day the Berlin Wall came down, their pet conservative pundit--an arrogant prig named George Will--was claiming that the fall of the wall was impossible.  Of course, being completely wrong made absolutely NO dent in the arrogance of Will OR the Post.  

I consider the Washington Post to be just slightly above the Drudge Report for reliability.  And of course, because there is SO much good writing on the Internet that one can only read a small fraction of it, reading the Post becomes something you do only to check on what the terminally confused are "thinking" these days.  At one point I said, "you cannot understand the big problems like climate change if all you do is read the Post--those lightweights haven't written anything serious in at least 20 years."

I certainly committed heresy in his eyes.  And our lunch was mercifully coming to an end.  But I was quite serious.  Folks who rely on the Post for their worldview are just as ignorant as those who rely on Rush Limbaugh.  The only difference is that the post readers considered themselves SO much more respectable and so are SO much less likely to abandon their beliefs.  Worse than a "dittohead" is bad indeed.

So yesterday I sent him the following email because I am afraid he might have thought I was joking about the utterly unreliable nature of the Post worldview.

You seem to think that I was being excessive harsh yesterday when I claimed that the Washington Post had not published anything remotely serious for at least 20 years.

So prove me wrong.  Send me links to some serious pieces that have been published in the Post.

Here's the criteria:

  1. It must be on a serious subject.  This excludes pieces on why Joe Gibbs feels more comfortable managing a racing team than a football team or why residents in NW Washington are installing more granite countertops in their kitchens.
  2. It must be scientifically and technologically literate.  There can be no mistakes that anyone who stayed awake during high school physics would find preposterous or shock that manufacturing automobiles, for example, is harder than it looks.
  3. It must contain sound historical context.  Journalism in the rest of the world does this routinely so any Post article that is missing context will be immediately rejected.
  4. Any political piece that explains the "horse-race" element but neglects to explain the issues or why various groups may support or reject an idea will be considered a failure of analysis.
  5. It cannot be hopelessly provincial.  If the article claims something is a good idea from the perspective of Washington or USA, it must also discuss why the other 96% of the earth's populations might find it less than ideal.
  6. It cannot parrot the positions of right-wing Likudnik Zionists.

I'll bet you cannot do it.  Because face it, the Washington Post is written, edited, and published by hopelessly ignorant religious nuts.  This is the paper that employs George Will, for god's sake. (sheesh)

I am willing to be proved wrong.  But because a stopped watch is right two times a day, I will need at least three examples of when something in the Post was actually written by someone thoughtful, aware, and educated to be convinced.

You know, this IS a matter of life and death.  The No. 1 reason this nation cannot meaningfully address the big problems is that the main instrument of communication in the nation's capital has been highjacked by religious extremists and drooling idiots.

Display:
You could have followed that up with some examples showing how the internets are ahead of the game.

If you apply the same rules, ten examples shouldn't be too hard to find.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 06:52:47 AM EST
What's really fun is watching the evolution as the press has figured that out.  The coverage gets more and more bizarre.  If Obama continues to pull sizable leads, it'll get even weirder, because it'll be clear that the press has completely lost control.  It seems it's almost a daily occurrence to find one of the little pricks on cable griping about the Internets.

In fairness, some in the press really do get it and even embrace it on occasion.  And it's odd: The older, more experience people in news tend to be more likely to get it.  Brokaw is a good example.  Very little bullshit from Brokaw, and he treats the blogosphere with respect.  Gene Robinson doesn't really get it, but he's intelligent and doesn't piss us off, so we get him.

Olbermann gets it, obviously, since he's steadily becoming of it.  Chuck Todd is the only guy in charge of horserace stuff who really gets it.  He knows what we want in our horserace coverage: Don't bullshit us with whatever goofy narrative the suits have thought up this week.  Just give us the damned numbers, throw in a few of those cool bits of trivia about this or that little county or congressional district, and tell us when you're going to throw the coverage back over to Tweety so we know to turn it off until Keith comes on at 8.

That way, everybody wins.  Except Tweety, but nobody cares about Tweety.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 11:04:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And it's odd: The older, more experienced people in news tend to be more likely to get it.

Sorry to tell you it´s not odd at all!  Please, check your age vs. young-with-new-piece-of-paper bias.  There is good reason for ´age and experience´ to count in the majority of cases, IMoldO.  

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Sun Jul 6th, 2008 at 01:23:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't think you need to have Veblen quoted to you, but hey...
The current periodical press, whether ephemeral or other, is a vehicle for advertisements. This is its raison d'etre, as a business proposition, and this decides the lines of its management without material qualification. Exceptions to the rule are official and minor propagandist periodicals, and, in an uncertain measure, scientific journals. The profits of publication come from the sale of advertising space. The direct returns from sales and subscriptions are now a matter of wholly secondary consequence. Publishers of periodicals, of all grades of transiency, aim to make their product as salable as may he, in order to pass their advertising pages under the eyes of as many readers as may be. The larger the circulation the greater, other things equal, the market value of the advertising space. The highest product of this development is the class of American newspapers called "independent." These in particular - and they are followed at no great interval by the rest edit all items of news, comment, or gossip with a view to what the news ought to be and what opinions ought to be expressed on passing events.(1)

The first duty of an editor is to gauge the sentiments of his readers, and then tell them what they like to believe. By this means he maintains or increases the circulation. His second duty is to see that nothing is said in the news items or editorials which may discountenance any claims or announcements made by his advertisers, discredit their standing or good faith, or expose any weakness or deception in any business venture that is or may become a valuable advertiser. By this means he increases the advertising value of his circulation.(2) The net result is that both the news columns and the editorial columns are commonly meretricious in a high degree.

...

On the whole, the literature provided in this way and to this end seems to run on a line of slightly more pronounced conservatism and affectation than the average sentiment of the readers appealed to. This is true for the following reason. Readers who are less conservative and less patient of affectations, snobbery, and illiberality than the average are in the position of doubters and dissentients. They are less confident in their convictions of what is right and good in all matters, and are also not unwilling to make condescending allowances for those who are less "advanced," and who must be humored since they know no better; whereas those who rest undoubting in the more conservative views and a more intolerant affectation of gentility are readier, because more naive, in their rejection of whatever does not fully conform to their habits of thought.

So it comes about that the periodical literature is, on the whole, somewhat more scrupulously devout in tone, somewhat more given to laud and dilate upon the traffic of the upper leisure class and to carry on the discussion in the terms and tone imputed to that class, somewhat more prone to speak deprecatingly of the vulgar innovations of modern culture, than the average of the readers to whom it is addressed. The trend of its teaching, therefore, is, on the whole, conservative and conciliatory. It is also under the necessity of adapting itself to a moderately low average of intelligence and information; since on this head, again, it is those who possess intelligence and information that are readiest to make allowances; they are, indeed, mildly flattered to do so, besides being the only ones who can. It is a prime requisite to conciliate a large body of readers.

This latter characteristic is particularly evident in the didactic portion of the periodical literature. This didactic literature, running on discussions of a quasi-artistic and quasi-scientific character, is, by force of the business exigencies of the case, de signed to favor the sensibilities of the weaker among its readers by adroitly suggesting that the readers are already possessed of the substance of what purports to be taught and need only be fortified with certain general results. There follows a great spread of quasi-technical terms and fanciful conceits. The sophisticated animal stories and the half-mythical narratives of industrial processes which now have the vogue illustrate the results achieved in this direction.

...

  1. "Ought", is of course here used to denote business expediency, not moral restraint.
  2. As a side line, which affords play for the staff's creative talent, whatever is exceptionally sensational at the same time that it is harmless to the advertisers' interests should, in newspaper slang be "played up".


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 07:27:39 AM EST
Hey, if you post it another three or four times, maybe that will make it true.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 09:25:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You won't find a US newspaper (including, oh Nooyawkophiles, the NYT) that meets your criteria.  And your cousin has turned into, as all Beltway Lifers do, the US version of Sir Humphrey Appleby, currently in the neoconjob edition, but capable of morphing into a new edition with a new administration.
by rifek on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 07:35:45 AM EST
Oh geeee.. I love the mail....the not making friends touch is cute :)

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 08:11:40 AM EST
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxdMFRwztl4



"It's a mystery to me - the game commences, For the usual fee - plus expenses, Confidential information - it's in my diary..."

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 08:30:39 AM EST
I always thought a deep study of that series should have been a prerequisite for a Political Science degree!  Sooooo good.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun Jul 6th, 2008 at 01:29:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks everyone!

I really mean that.  I am really at my wit's end.  I WANT to make a contribution towards making the world a better place for everyone, but I am living in a country where evil, foolish, and ignorant people get to make all the decisions.  I watch helplessly as this country destroys itself and so wind up getting angry with childhood heroes who are just trying to get along.

On one hand, this is a crazy thing to do.  On the other, it had been said that Hitler could have never succeeded without the assistance of a reliable bureaucracy.

And yes, everything that could be said about the Washington Post goes double for the New York Times.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 10:47:55 AM EST
I was going to just write: OK, so what's your point? But you are properly ticked off at more than a few things/people and I think you deserve a better, slightly more thoughtful comment.

Who can we blame everything on anyway? Washingtonians (AKA "the permanent government" inside the beltway), the Washington Post (where does that leave all the really conservative papers), or how about Americans in general both inside and outside the beltway. Do we vote, do we really care who we vote for? Georgy Porgy was elected twice (at least Wash DC always goes for the perceived lesser of evils). Hillary reminded us yesterday that there have only been two Democrat presidents in the last 40 years. Who elected all those Republicans?  What do we demand of our elected representatives?  How often and  in what ways do Americans really and truly bother with their government? Are we all just too busy to bother until we reach our individual limits, until something really ticks us off?  Are we just too comfortable in out day to day little worlds?  How many of our sons and daughters must die or be maimed in useless wars before we say enough?  How many of our freedoms, opportunities, and our individual senses of dignity, humanity and justice must be sacrificed before we say no more.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears

by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 11:35:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I typed out this comment and then we lost power and the generator didn't kick in, so I lost it.

Anyway, do I really need to do a diary explaining the difference between the opinion and news sections of a newspaper?  People keep conflating them.

I'm not going to defend in any way the editorial board of the Washington Post, which is so white and male and rightwing that one wonders what city the Post Company thinks it's based in.  It certainly couldn't be Washington, which is (despite gentrification) a majority-black city at the center of an ethnically diverse metro area that votes overwhelmingly Democratic.  (Perhaps the powers-that-be at the Post aren't reading their own paper.)

But honestly, I think you're hurting your own argument with statements like this:

the Washington Post had not published anything remotely serious for at least 20 years.

... which, regardless of the criteria one puts forward, is just patent nonsense.  

I mean, come on.  Off the top of my head, I'd say this story is one of the best I've seen anywhere about Egypt's bread crisis, while this series forced changes in the way the US military houses and treats wounded veterans at Walter Reed.  This story launched the CIA secret-prison scandal and helped prompt several European investigations into European governments' cooperation with the CIA black sites and renditions programs.  (The existence of "ghost detainees" had been reported in the British press and elsewhere earlier, but not to my knowledge the existence of CIA secret prisons in Europe.)  Meanwhile, just taking a quick look at today's paper, I found this story about how a McCain victory would likely push the Supreme Court far to the right for a long time to come.

Whether one takes issue with aspects of these stories or not, it's simply ridiculous to say they are not "remotely serious."

The No. 1 reason this nation cannot meaningfully address the big problems is that the main instrument of communication in the nation's capital has been highjacked by religious extremists and drooling idiots.

Um, ok.  Leaving aside the conflation of the opinion pages with the news pages, I hardly think that overhauling the leadership of the Washington Post would suddenly allow us to fix the health care system, launch a sensible energy policy, end the absurdity of US foreign policy in the Middle East, make everyone eat less and exercise more, and otherwise deal with all the other "big problems" that plague our nation.  I mean, seriously, the Washington Post has problems, but it is not the "No. 1 reason" we're in this mess.  But I guess it's far more fun to blame our problems on the media monster than to accept our own responsibility for the brokenness of our society and way of life.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 11:27:24 AM EST
Obviously, you set the bar MUCH lower than I.  I mean, do you REALLY think an article on the possible right-wing supreme court nominees that would come from a McCain victory is remotely surprising or even interesting?  Do you really think the conditions at Walter Reed were surprising or especially relevant to our foreign policy.  Don't you think that article on the food crises in Egypt was a BIT patronizing. Etc. Etc.

There is a reason why the more someone reads the Post, the more ignorant he becomes.  It is just horseshit "journalism."  But go ahead--pretend that reading the Post is a legitimate way to become "informed."  

And I will stick to my conclusion that the main reason a guy like Jim Hansen at NASA can be absolutely ignored on climate change for 20 YEARS is because folks think that a story about mold at Walter Reed is "serious".

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 02:36:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, do you REALLY think an article on the possible right-wing supreme court nominees that would come from a McCain victory is remotely surprising or even interesting?

I'm sorry, I thought the criteria was "remotely serious," not "surprising" or "interesting."  But for the record, yes, I do think the rightward shift of the Supreme Court is extremely interesting.  And important.  And serious.  And if a paper were to not talk about how the election might affect the Supreme Court, it would be supremely irresponsible.

Do you really think the conditions at Walter Reed were surprising or especially relevant to our foreign policy.

Again, make up your mind -- do you want "remotely serious," or do you want "surprising"?  And while I'm not ceding the point that Walter Reed is irrelevant to foreign policy (um, how do you think those soldiers get there?) does everything "serious" or "surprising" need to be "relevant to our foreign policy"?  Because then I guess we can forget about the health care system and the schools.

Don't you think that article on the food crises in Egypt was a BIT patronizing.

Uh, no.  But I'm curious why you think it was.  Please do elaborate.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 02:56:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A story about right-wing supreme court nominees is about as serious as a story about the coming of dawn.

We are on the verge of making the planet uninhabitable for human life.  We are coming to the end of the age of petroleum.  And trees should die to tell us that a right-wing president would appoint right-wing supreme court justices?  Oh. My. Gawd!

I ran into the smartest guy I have ever known at a wedding in January.  Even at 90, he still has most of his MANY marbles.  He says to me, "There is one subject that is so important that it should be headlined with 144 point type, above the fold, in every paper in the land, every day."  I said, "I hope you are talking about climate change because I cannot think of anything else that is that important."  He just smiles and says, "Well I'm glad someone gets it."

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 03:40:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We are on the verge of making the planet uninhabitable for human life.  We are coming to the end of the age of petroleum.  And trees should die to tell us that a right-wing president would appoint right-wing supreme court justices?  Oh. My. Gawd!

OK, first, if that's all you think the article said, you didn't read it very closely.  Or at all.

But I think the core of the issue is something else -- it seems that anything that isn't about climate change is by your definition "not serious" and thus unworthy of publication.  I'll grant you that the Post doesn't cover climate change well enough, or often enough (a criticism that could fairly be leveled at almost any newspaper on the planet), but there are other things to talk about that are no-less-legitimate subjects for reporting or debate.

Oh, and I'm still waiting to have you explain how that Egypt article is patronizing.  And to whom.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 05:25:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Once we had 20 YEARS to do something about climate change.  And if we had gotten busy then, we would by now into "third generation" efforts to solve the problem.  But no.  We have done absolutely NOTHING about the problem except make it worse.

How did that happen?  Well, one thing that happened was that the Post, in its "wisdom," thought that climate change wasn't about science but was just another political story.  So instead of doing something useful, we are trapped by their James-Inhofe-just-might-have-a-point mindset.

We are talking about criminal levels of irresponsibility here.

Now YOU may think the Post is a pretty good paper.  I am certain the publishers thank you for your patronage--goodness knows, their readership is slipping by the day.  But try getting out and reading papers from the rest of the world and you will certainly discover that the Post is barely above My Weekly Reader in seriousness and content.

And BTW, if you cannot figure out why the article on Egypt is patronizing for yourself, try not traveling outside USA until you do.  You are an international incident just waiting to happen.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:16:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
_ But try getting out and reading papers from the rest of the world and you will certainly discover that the Post is barely above My Weekly Reader in seriousness and content.

And BTW, if you cannot figure out why the article on Egypt is patronizing for yourself, try not traveling outside USA until you do.  You are an international incident just waiting to happen._

Try reading the European Tribune so that you won't be a blog incident waiting to happen.

by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:29:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Marek, I'm going to buy you dinner the next time I'm in the States.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:42:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
mmhm, dinner.
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:57:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
techno, do you realize tsp actually lives in Cairo?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:42:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No!

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:57:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes! And she can read the local press in Arabic, too!

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:06:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Then WHY is she defending the freaking Post?????

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:18:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
On occasion the papers still do put out good work. As a whole, though, if they are your only source of information they will only help you cultivate a worldview that is inaccurate.

In terms of criminal neglect with regard to climate change - I'm not convinced a smooth transition was ever in the cards, and I'm not talking about the newspapers, I'm talking about us as a species.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:26:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes!!!  This is EASILY the biggest problem to face the human race.  NO ONE is saying it will be easy.

But it would have at least HAPPENED if the Post took climate change as seriously as a presidential blow job.  Or if they had been so damn busy lying us into an invasion of IRAQ!

Let's be serious here.  We can argue about my name calling--or we can demand that our papers get better.  What REALLY annoys me about the Post is that the personalities act exactly the way kids did when I was in 7th grade.  I'm sorry.  We simply CANNOT meaningfully address the most serious problem of the species if our communication is in the hands of people who giggle about blow jobs.

What is so sad is how many here still want to defend these people.  What?! Pray tell? will it take to make you angry with professional liars? who wouldn't know a serious story if it came up and kicked them in the groin?  And how do we know the last is true--check out the Post coverage on climate change.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 04:22:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What is so sad is how many here still want to defend these people.

We all vary in our thoughts on what an ideal world we want to live in looks like and how much of ourselves we want to invest to achieve that ideal. This is what you are arguing over with stormy.

I don't know stormy's views, but the reason I'm not outraged over the poor state of journalism is that I will be neither happy nor upset if humanity goes extinct, and I also decided a few years ago that if my life goal is to be happy, which it is, activism and such can only play a small part of that path. I will not grind myself down or get myself thrown in jail in order to help forge some sort of longer term stability for humanity. Nor will I apologize for this decision. I would like, and likely will, be working in the alternative energy industry soon. That's as far as I'll go.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 06:24:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because those of us who read the major papers realize that there's a lot of good reporting among all the drek. Those of us who read the blogs closely realize how much of the important stuff comes from that reporting. And speaking as someone who reads the foreign press of several countries religiously, I have to say that while the ratio of ideological crap to good reporting isn't as bad in some of them (though worse in others), in absolute terms the big US papers of record do more useful reporting - a question of resources I imagine.
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:30:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Really?  The Washington Post is better at WHAT than Asia Time or Deutche Welle?

And at least those folks were lying us into the disaster that is Iraq.  For THAT, there is NO forgiveness.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 04:24:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Asia Times has its own ideological crap of a rather different variety among its good reporting. I never look at Deutsche Welle, I do, however, read the main German papers. Spend some time regularly reading FAZ, Die Welt, or Die Zeit and get back to me.
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 06:38:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well I'm biased towards Asia Times because they always publish my stuff, which may be crap, but there's no ideology in it....

"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson
by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 07:34:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But don't take Die Zeit too seriously when it comes to U.S. politics. I caught them peddling the "Gore invented the internet" long after the better U.S. papers had finally given up on it, and that wasn't an isolated case. Concerning German politics, or other things closer to home, they are, indeed, much better than the equivalent U.S. papers on their local politics.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 03:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is increasingly loony, at least on the geopolitical pieces it publishes on Russia, China and oil&gas.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 11:15:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe you could say why you find that article patronizing.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:43:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because I refuse to let this post get on that topic.  You want to write about it?  Fine.  Just keep me out of it.

All I know is that I had a roommate in college from Bangladesh.  He was VERY sensitive to slights--real or imagined.  So I read "third-world" coverage through his eyes.  I only read four paragraphs of that piece and decided it was just another Ugly American Special that Shamsul would NOT have liked.

Here endeth my conversation on this subject.

The topic here is whether the Post can effectively cover serious subjects.  I say they cannot because they do not.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 04:31:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The topic here is whether the Post can effectively cover serious subjects.  I say they cannot because they do not.

... a theory that has obviously been thoroughly tested by the reading of four whole paragraphs.

Honestly, I don't want you to take this the wrong way, but you might want to quit while you're only a little behind.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 04:39:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am 58 years old.  I read over 3500 books and 200,000 article before I stopped counting five years ago.

I think I am quite capable of judging a newspaper story by the first four paragraphs.  It is how they are designed to be read.

But hey, if you think the Post is a serious source of information, ignore me.  Read it with passion.  I just want better information.  And I know we are all going to die if we don't get serious about real problems.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 04:58:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ignore me

Oh, fear not.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 05:00:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I find the way American journalists are trained to open their stories annoying, too, but that doesn't make the rest of the piece uninformative.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 05:36:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry techno, in my perspective, you completely lose the argument right here as you were the one who initially brought up the claim that the article was patronizing. This is relevant in your argument why the Post is no longer newsworthy on serious subject. Ignoring it because it becomes inconvenient is not a good strategy, especially when you even refuse to read further than 4 paragraphs.

A discussion on a tangent can serve as important example to flesh out your core argument.

Hell, I know I'm a poor judge on sensitivities, but living in a third world country does open up one's eyes. The anecdotal leaders in western press on describing "foreign" scenes are getting rather tiresome IMNSHO, but they generally serve as appetizer for an underlying point. It's the point that matters, not the anecdote, however patronizing that anecdote may feel to you.

by Nomad on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 06:47:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and...

Obviously, you set the bar MUCH lower than I.

Yes.  Widely known for my low standards, thanks.  Have a nice day.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 02:57:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, but think about how long it took the WaPo to get to the Walter Reed story.  Walter Reed hospital is -- what, maybe three miles from the WaPo HQ?  None of their little local hacks stumbled on it before things completely went to Hell?

I agree that blaming the paper for our problems is silly, and that saying it hasn't produced any good journalism is 20 years is silly, but let's be honest: The Post is a paper for the chattering class -- the snooty little shits who, as techno rightly points out, have anointed themselves Kings of Fucking EverythingTM simply because they live and work in DC.  That stretch of land from the Key Bridge to the Capitol must have its own water supply or something, because it even happens among those who aren't close to the rich and powerful.  But they kind of live near them, so they're important, too.  The name-dropping, the overpriced restaurants with food that doesn't measure up to the average TGIFridays, the "We know what's best for you" attitude.

You know this.

And the paper is perfect for it.  It's full of snooty little shits who count themselves among the Kings of Fucking EverythingTM.

Native Washingtonians are nice enough people.  Mostly black, culturally very diverse, very liberal, nice people whose city gets bashed all the time by the rest of the country simply because the Very Serious People, who think politics and government exist for their own amusement, happen to live there, too.

The No. 1 reason we're in the mess we're in is this: Our own population has been too lazy and too stupid to do its homework for too long.  They don't put the work in to cut through the bullshit.  Blaming the WaPo for it is dumb.  The WaPo only gets away with being more than a fancy-looking roll of toilet paper because of the failures of the citizenry.


Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 10:50:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you (I think ;-)  Hard to top your description of "Kings of Fucking Everything TM."

The No. 1 reason we're in the mess we're in is this: Our own population has been too lazy and too stupid to do its homework for too long.  They don't put the work in to cut through the bullshit.  Blaming the WaPo for it is dumb.  The WaPo only gets away with being more than a fancy-looking roll of toilet paper because of the failures of the citizenry.

I am not certain I can agree with this, however.  My dear departed parents were news junkies.  They were devoted New Deal Democrats who voted for guys like Henry Wallace.  As they aged, they would set aside the hour to watch MacNeil Lehrer on PBS (which they contributed to every year.)  Not surprisingly, as MacNeil Lehrer drifted to the political right over the years, so did they.

Now it's true, with the Internet, anyone with a little energy CAN inform themselves.  But I remember when I abandoned the corporate media in 1982 as hopeless, it was HARD to stay informed.  I had read newspapers religiously since I was 11 and I went into acute withdrawal.  It took several years to find my way again.  

So I am not so certain that it is the fault of lazy citizens when they are misinformed.  The are being lied to by the most sophisticated liars in history.  So the harder they try to stay informed, the more confused they get.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:32:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Now it's true, with the Internet, anyone with a little energy CAN inform themselves.  But I remember when I abandoned the corporate media in 1982 as hopeless, it was HARD to stay informed.  I had read newspapers religiously since I was 11 and I went into acute withdrawal.  It took several years to find my way again.

I can relate to that because I was inculcated with the idea that reading papers is something a self-respecting citizen does to stay informed but when you find howler after howler in the newspapers of record you sort of give up, and then what?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:51:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can relate to that because I was inculcated with the idea that reading papers is something a self-respecting citizen does to stay informed but when you find howler after howler in the newspapers of record you sort of give up, and then what?

Yeah!  Me too.  My mother used to scoff at people who didn't read newspapers.  She would say, "Folks who can read and will not are MUCH worse than people who cannot read at all."

I WISH the newspapers of record were good.  It would make my life MUCH easier.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:01:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My own newspaper of record is El Pais, which I have given up on a long time ago and just keeps getting worse.
the journalist thought that DeLay was the biographer of Bush and now Obama. Which means this is probably not even a "foreign correspondent" (the story has no place listed in the byline) but just an internet copy job by a journalist in Madrid.
El Pais online has a "send in a correction" button. I sent in a correction that Tom DeLay is not Bush's biographer but a former texas Congressman who shares a biographer with Bush and Obama, and they still haven't corrected it.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:05:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I am so sorry to hear that.  I have been under the impression that Spain is in its new Golden Age (something I am certain the football fans agree with).

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"
by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:11:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I don't know about a Golden Age.

Not to speak of the fact that the first (artistic) Golden Age coincided with an age of political and economic decay (and cultural strangulation by religion).

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:16:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh I'm not so certain that artists should define a Golden Age.

For most of my life, Spain wasn't even on my intellectual map.  I went out of my way to cultivate bright foreign friends--part of how I "educated" myself when I discovered most of what I read was, at best, silly.  It's why I had a book published in Finland almost three years before I was published in USA.  But Spain--not so much.

But Franco dies.  Spain finally seems to have gotten the Basque problem "solved" to the point where people aren't killing each other.  The voters throw out a government willing to lie about a terrorist bomb.  I find out they are BIG into wind power.  They win a big football championship at a level that usually makes them "choke."

YOU!

And suddenly Spain is on my intellectual map.  Thank you!

Now go figure out your water problem.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 04:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This guy is largely responsible for Spain's progress in the 1980's.

I'm not so certain that artists should define a Golden Age

Well, that's what the Spanish Golden Age (17th century) is all about, because other than literature and painting there isn't much to write home about.

Spain actually had something going for it in the 15th and 16th centuries, but then the Reformation happened, Spain put itself at the forefront of the Counterreformation, and started doing silly things like forbidding their scholars from interacting with Protestant scholars, and 400 years later Franco dies, and...

Yeah, not much to write home about for 400 years other than literature and painting.

Being an empire where the sun doesn't set is not good for you...

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 05:32:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great art is usually a symptom of aristocracy. You need plenty of surplus income to fund the arts, and you need a giant ego to feel good about funding the arts in a way which reflects on your personal glory.

Artistocrats have both, so historically, art tends to be more marginalised during more populist periods.

The one exception was the 20th century, when mass media made it possible to create a mass market for music and design - but not so much for fine art, which with only a few exceptions (Guernica...) remained aspirational and/or aristocratic.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 04:21:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eric Hobsbawm in The Age of Extremes noted that one distinctive feature of the 20th Century was that, for the first time in history, cultural fashions derived not from aristocratic sources but rather from pop culture.

In  many ways, it seems to me, movies have replaced courtly sculpture and painting.  Of course there are movies that are targeted at a more up scale audience as well as the summer block busters. And QEII can well afford to commission portraits, landscapes and sculptures, but they don't seem to have the same effect as in earlier times.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 03:00:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, Finland has an empire on which the sun never sets... Half the year, at least :-P

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 12:09:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've come late to your article about him, but I found him very much buying the Europe. Is. Doomed frame. Why?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 11:16:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I don't know, I think he got serious.

Do you think it's worth turning the discussion in the comment thread into a letter to him?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 11:24:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(a lot of our comment threads are worth turning into letters)

(which I think is ET's problem: too much good content is buried deep down in threads that only the hard core members read)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 11:30:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun Jul 6th, 2008 at 02:03:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is no shortage of good writing on the internet, from traditional sources or otherwise. You have to cultivate your sources yourself, of course, but the morning paper was never good enough to get a person all the accurate information they needed anyway. We're at the front end (where things still look bleak) of a solid era in journalism, but few are taking notice because we're lamenting the death of the newspaper.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The agencies.

Not that they don't publish nonsense or omit uncomfortable facts, but the twenty-word format of their releases mean that at least the facts that they deign to include are nicely concentrated instead of spread across half a square metre of page. And you escape the stupid tea-leaf-reading, horse-race coverage that passes for political analysis in the regular papers.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:06:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Exactly, what's the point of buying a newspaper which is mostly a disguised collection of agency wires and press releases?

I know many people buy El Pais mostly for the columnists.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:08:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In Copenhagen we have a couple of free newspapers which are almost exclusively Agency stories. Well, that and a few fluff pieces (no scandalously-clad females, though, that market is already cornered by one of the commercial newspapers). That's where I go for news. That and the radio, although the latter less and less as it gets progressively more contaminated with corporate "thinking" and government apparatchiks.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 12:19:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
can be correct twice a day.  The Washington Post does have good reporting ... from time to time. They had an excellent series, with a decent range of the implications, about the global rise of the cost of food and the range of causes/implicatiosn relatively recently. The work re Walter Reed.  I think that your cousin will be able to show you work that they have done well.

But, when it comes to global warming, to energy ... They are tending weak (to say the least).

Just had here at ET a look at recent WPost reporting re Global Warming, pointing toward their focus on "fair and balanced" rather than truthful and factual.  Check it out:  http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2008/6/27/0342/88359

And, if your cousin is actually interested in these issues, he might want to join The Energy Conversation (www.energyconversation.org). Now, the face-to-face conversations and business card exchanges can't be, but these often quite interesting presentations are archived onto the web.

Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart. NOW!!!

by a siegel (siegeadATgmailIGNORETHISdotPLEASEcom) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 01:03:02 PM EST
I am aware that the Washington Times is owned by Rev. Moon.  To whom did the Post go after Graham?  And what is their religious affiliation?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 02:14:54 PM EST
The current publisher is Katharine Weymouth, one of Katharine Graham's granddaughters.  She was named to succeed Boisfeuillet Jones earlier this year; he had been publisher since taking over from Weymouth's uncle Don Graham in 2000.  Graham was publisher from 1979 to 2000 and remains CEO and chairman of the board of the Washington Post Company, which also owns Newsweek (of which Katharine Weymouth's mother, Lally Weymouth, is senior editor and chief celebrity-interviewer).

I don't know the religious affiliation of Katharine Weymouth, nor of Jones, nor of Don Graham.  Weymouth's wedding to her now-ex-husband was performed by an Episcopal minister.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 02:34:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Graham family is Episcopalian, I have no idea what Donald Graham's personal beliefs are, but he certainly was raised in that tradition.
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 12:38:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
At one point, I suggested that the ONLY way we were every going to be able to address the problems of Peak Oil and Climate Change--issues that surprisingly enough, have attracted his interest--was to bring back the guillotine to clear out the fools who had caused the problems and were unlikely to ever contribute to new solutions

If you mean that literally rather than as rhetorical hyperbole then you can't really blame him for not taking you seriously.

by MarekNYC on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 03:24:55 PM EST
Well personally, this was just rhetoric.  I am too old for this sort of thing--revolutions are for the young.

However, if you think that folks are not at the stage to do something LIKE bringing back the guillotine, you are sadly mistaken. Whether its gas prices, official corruption, or the Iraq Occupation, folks I know are FURIOUS.  Soon, they will have very little to lose.

What happens next is anyone's guess.  It probably will not involve the guillotine because that would require folks understand some history.  But a spontaneous blockade of NYC by truckers who have decided their economic problems are caused by speculators on Wall Street could happen.  Since a city would begin running out of food in three days, this would get VERY interesting, very quickly.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:42:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re: trucker blockades, read Post Peak Iberia by Luis de Sousa on June 11th, 2008.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:48:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
  1. The city would not begin running out of food in three days, unless by 'food' you mean fresh fruits and vegetables.

  2. They'd be cleared off by the cops in very short order.

  3. Their problems are not caused by 'wall street speculators'.

  4. The vast majority of people in NYC are not 'wall street speculators'

  5. Therefore the cops would have overwhelming public support.

  6. My point was that if you really think violent action would be a way to achieve positive change in the US government, you're very naive.
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 01:51:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
To clear a concerted action you would need the National Guard.  And guess where they are.

And while New Yorkers would back the police, the overwhelming majority of Americans would just love to see that wicked city die a slow miserable death.

And no, I have NEVER backed a violent revolution--ever, for any reason--but I DO understand how they happen.  Just remember, this country was BORN in a revolution.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:06:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
'that wicked city' - are you taking your talking points from James Dobson and Pat Robertson?
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:09:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No!

But a LOT of people do.  C'mon. Hating New York is one of the national pastimes.  Funny you don;t know that.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:14:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm perfectly aware that lots of wingnuts hate the liberal metropolises, I'm also aware that they are disproportionately located in the so-called 'heartland'. But around here that's not really the case, and I'm not quite sure how even a large number of truckers would stand up to the cops - there's a lot of them around (some 35,000 in NYC alone), no need for the national guard.
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 02:19:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wingnuts?

Be serious.  Almost anyone who objects to having their homes referred to as "flyover land" hates New Yorkers.  And I can assure you that the towns of the industrial midwest who had their industries, towns, and lives ruined because some takeover artist on Wall Street was able to manipulate a few electrons are filled with people who would cheer if New York were nuked!

But you go right ahead and believe that only a "wingnut" could possibly hate New York.  Yeah.  Keep telling yourself that.  You got a whole collection of crazy ideas--just add this one to it.

And New York cops would travel to Pennsylvania or Delaware or Iowa or wherever the bottlenecks formed.  Yeah.  Keep telling yourself that too.

"Remember the I35W bridge--who needs terrorists when there are Republicans"

by techno (reply@elegant-technology.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 04:44:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Who says "flyover land"?

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 05:25:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
People that live in NYC, Boston, LA, and the bay area. Far more common on the east coast, though, since they are more provincial.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 06:09:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The only person I know who uses the term is from Oklahoma.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 06:38:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 04:39:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of the map of the UK in http://www.weebls-stuff.com/toons/footy/

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 04:41:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or this.  Or this.  Or this.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 05:20:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Off topic, I just want to say that that strange maps blog is my new favorite thing on the internets.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 05:34:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Worth bookmarking and quoting regularly.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 11:08:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a phrase I've heard quite often in my west coast milieu.  Friends fly east, to New York or Boston, and then fly back home.
by Zwackus on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 06:48:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But you go right ahead and believe that only a "wingnut" could possibly hate New York.  Yeah.  Keep telling yourself that.  You got a whole collection of crazy ideas--just add this one to it.

Hmmh, one of the most left wing places in the US, hated among some of the most right wing places in the US. As for their resentment of the 'takeover' artists, apart from the fact that that's a rather simplistic theory of what happened to US industry, if all those 'Reagan Democrats' had voted like us 'elitist New York intellectuals' and 'inner city thugs and welfare queens', then things would be a little different.

And yes, there is the age old prejudice of the urban vs. the non-urban and vice versa - 'flyover' land, 'hicks', and 'rednecks' vs. 'middle America' 'small town values' or 'the Heartland' - we get a little sick of being told that folks who live in cosmopolitan diverse liberal cities aren't 'real America'. However, if your description of the views in Red America is accurate, then the prejudice is quite a bit more intense over there than here in Blue America. We wouldn't want to live there, but that doesn't mean we would like anything bad to happen to those who do.

by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 06:34:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MarekNYC:
As for their resentment of the 'takeover' artists, apart from the fact that that's a rather simplistic theory of what happened to US industry, if all those 'Reagan Democrats' had voted like us 'elitist New York intellectuals' and 'inner city thugs and welfare queens', then things would be a little different.

What newspapers were the 'Reagan Democrats' reading, do you think?

People seem to be struggling with the reality here, which is that the media win elections.

I don't much care that the WaPo eventually covered Walter Reed. I'm more interested in the fact that the WaPo and the NYT have appeased and enabled what is arguably the most criminal US government in history, while ignoring issues which are maybe, just perhaps, a little more important overall.

While the media used to be independent, the current crop of US media icons is a Goebbels-style propaganda outlet for the US neocons, with some token but marginalised printed dissent to create the useful illusion of democracy.

People think the news is something that happens on TV. But that's not how it works. The job of the news is to define what's important, what can be talked about, and what needs to be talked about. The news sets the frames which people use to make sense of the world around them.

If that framing is partisan and detached from reality - as it's become in the US, and also in Europe - democracy can't even begin to function properly.

The reason the media are called the Fourth Estate is because they're literally the fourth branch of government. Without accountability and fairness laws, that branch can be - and will be - bought, paid for and made to dance like a monkey on a string.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 04:35:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While the media used to be independent,

Uh, what?

Moving on, this entire thread is like a giant exercise in the third-person effect.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 05:26:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A meta-analysis of the perceptual hypothesis estimated the overall effect size to be large (r=.50) and stronger among college students (Paul, Salwen & Dupagne, 2000). A number of scholars have speculated that "experts" are particularly likely to overemphasize the effects of the media on others (Diamond, 1978).
heh

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 05:29:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or underestimate the effect on themselves.

Humans are so broken.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 05:31:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As I'm sure we all know (being smarter than the average) the name for someone with a more realistic view of their place in the world than is usual is "clinical depressive".
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 05:36:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Either way I read those comments, they sound cold, self-validating, or street diagnosing.  

For some of us, mere humans, it´s hard to get the sarcasm. >-:

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.

by metavision on Tue Jul 8th, 2008 at 12:31:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, Nixon's impeachment wasn't influenced by media air cover.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 06:48:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Are you joking?
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 07:08:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 07:22:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sigh.  Read this.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 07:27:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You're not seriously trying to argue that the media gave Nixon a pass?

Because if so, that's going to make you nearly unique.

Compare with a typical episode of the Scotty show - you're really saying there's no difference between then and now?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 07:39:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you read the article I linked to?
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 07:42:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Try this.

Note - not an op ed.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 09:03:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Um, why do you keep talking about Watergate?  I'm really getting at something much bigger than that.  Seriously.  Read the article, not just the two paragraphs about Watergate in a 13-page essay.

But since you insist, Watergate was the work of two metro reporters whose own editors (some of them) at times thought they were insane.  The rest of the national press, for the most part, ignored it, at least until after the 1972 election.  The Watergate break-in was five months before the  election, which Nixon won with about 60 percent of the vote.

Washington Post, page A01, October 2, 1971, three weeks before Election Day:

FBI agents have established that the Watergate bugging incident stemmed from a massive campaign of political spying and sabotage conducted on behalf of President Nixon's re-election and directed by officials of the White House and the Committee for the Re-election of the President.

The activities, according to information in FBI and Department of Justice files, were aimed at all the major Democratic presidential contenders and -- since 1971 -- represented a basic strategy of the Nixon re-election effort.

Law enforcement sources said that probably the best example of the sabotage was the fabrication by a White House aide -- of a celebrated letter to the editor alleging that Sen. Edmund S. Muskie (D-Maine) condoned a racial slur on Americans of French-Canadian descent as "Canucks."

The letter was published in the Manchester Union Leader Feb 24, less than two weeks before the New Hampshire primary. It in part triggered Muskie's politically damaging "crying speech" in front of the newspaper's office.

Roundly ignored by the majority of the national press.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 04:27:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I vividly recall reading of the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers incident and of the Watergate Break-in and what followed in the fall and summer of 1972, before the 1972 election in November.  I had little doubt that these events were orchestrated by the Nixon administration, but, to my horror, they were reported and then dropped from view.  I believed at the time that the "media" were too timid to vigorously follow up during the closing months of the election.  

The Democrats were hapless when it came to exploiting these revelations prior to the election and McGovern was defeated in a tsunami.  Fortunately the Democrats did not loose the House.  It was only after Nixon's inauguration that the real investigation began.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 01:17:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The irony of calling his reelection committee CREEP is too much.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 01:39:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What newspapers were the 'Reagan Democrats' reading, do you think?

You think blue collar workers in the Midwest were reading the NYT and WaPo? ROFLMAO

While the media used to be independent, the current crop of US media icons is a Goebbels-style propaganda outlet for the US neocons, with some token but marginalised printed dissent to create the useful illusion of democracy.

Give me a break. The WaPo broke the torture story in the summer of 2002 in a front page article. No one gave a fuck. Both papers have broken a number of important stories on the abuses of the administration since then, for which they've been vilified as traitors and threatened with prosecution. The Times editorial page and a number of its op-ed columnists opposed the war (Krugman, Kristof, and Herbert). In fact, there's been more mainstream media opposition at an earlier stage than there was against the Vietnam war. The idea that this constitutes a 'Goebbels-style propaganda outlet' is a descent into self-parody comparable to the hysterical rantings of the US right about how the Le Monde is some sort of far-left anti-semitic outlet. Have you ever, once, spent any time actually reading the press of a dictatorship?

by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 09:13:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Perhaps tbg was referring more to the enabling phase of the Iraq War, where, just for short examples, Krugman never reached Friedman "influence" levels, and it was Judy Miller on the front pages.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 03:41:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
MarekNYC:
The idea that this constitutes a 'Goebbels-style propaganda outlet' is a descent into self-parody comparable to the hysterical rantings of the US right about how the Le Monde is some sort of far-left anti-semitic outlet.

Sure. There was never an organised and professional attempt by the Pentagon to seed pro-war stories. The NYT didn't collude with the White House to keep Plamegate under wraps until after the election. Fox News is always fair and balanced. And Rupert Murdoch has never influenced the result of a UK election. Berlusconi doesn't owe his position to his media empire. Sarkozy doesn't owe his position to his media friends.

Uh huh.

Exactly how many politicians have won recent elections without majority media support?

MarekNYC:

Have you ever, once, spent any time actually reading the press of a dictatorship?

Have you ever, once, considered that the old Communist countries didn't and don't have a monopoly on propaganda and opinion management?

Do you have any idea what genuinely independent media would look like?

Go read some Chomsky, or something.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 07:18:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do you have any idea what genuinely independent media would look like?

None of us does, which was sort of my point above.  Such a thing has never existed.  Hearkening back to some golden era when "the media were independent" is a bit myopic.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 07:33:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Can we at least agree on 'more independent' then?

Possibly a 'Tentatively willing to ask harder questions slightly more aggressively as long as no one gets annoyed' perhaps?

I'll stop short of an 'Imbued with a tradition of journalistic integrity' because obviously that's not going to be a popular choice here. And it's not as if such a thing has ever existed, even in theory.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 07:46:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You really aren't going to get much joy out of me, sorry. :-\

I usually stay out of these "the media are X" discussions because I don't think it's possible to generalize about what "the media" are or were.  These things are cyclical, and at any given time it depends on which media, and independent of what or asking hard questions of whom.  Fox News and the New York Post may be the media, but so is McClatchy.  Seymour Hersh is the media.  So is Keith Olbermann.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 08:33:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fact that I don't consider the Times or Le Monde the equivalent of the Volkische Beobachter doesn't mean I don't think there was propaganda in the press. But if you bothered to read what I wrote you'd see that what I was arguing is that among the crap there's a lot of excellent reporting. You apparently can't distinguish between a Paul Krugman or a Bill Kristol, a Dana Priest from a Judy Miller. And that's the reason I ask the rhetorical question about having ever read the press in a dictatorship, hint, it doesn't look like the NYT or the WaPo, hell, even Fox would have been far beyond the limits in the fairly mild dictatorships of post-Stalinist Eastern Europe.

And I've read Chomsky, don't feel like arguing about him.

by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 07:58:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, I'm arguing that the excellent reporting is irrelevant if it doesn't influence policy - because policy is locked down elsewhere.

Otherwise it's just noise, and a useful safety valve. The Soviet-era press had very similar 'excellent reporting' with specific criticisms of individuals and of collective decisions, and news items that would have passed for honest debate if read individually.

Reading the news is not the same as taking part in a debate. Nor is reading op-eds. To take part in a debate, you have to be in a position to have some chance of having your views turned into policy.

And no matter how much Krugman writes, there is currently no chance at all of any of his sort-of-progressive ideas being turned into Washington or Wall St policy. The fact that he appears in print doesn't change this. All it does is create an illusion of possibility which isn't matched by political reality.

Breaking a story like Walter Reed is irrelevant if the abuse keeps happening. Likewise with torture. Likewise with Iraqi pork.

That lack of effectiveness is the giveaway - just as the ability of the media machines to get creatures like Sarkozy and Berlusconi elected is the flip side.

An active press has the power to change these things - literally. The press could have swiftboated the swiftboaters in 2004. Bush and Cheney could have been asked some aggressive difficult questions about their past, their business links, and their future plans. Iraqi pork spending could have been held up to the light - not just as a one-off, but as part of a reliable editorial line.

A passive press has the power to allow them to continue, or to enable them and make sure they're not challenged. It's one of the defining characteristics of fascism that while you can blame expendable scapegoats for transgressions, you never, ever undermine the sacred patriotic authority of the leader.

Have you seen any critical stories from Iraq recently? It must be quiet over there now that the surge is working. How about that latest $120 billion to keep us all safe? Didn't FEMA do a great job with the recent flooding?

And so on. Even though Bush's usefulness is nearly used up, the pandering continues - a little less dedicated and a little more questioning than it used to be, but still solid enough to prevent impeachment or accountability.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 09:01:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Otherwise it's just noise, and a useful safety valve. The Soviet-era press had very similar 'excellent reporting' with specific criticisms of individuals and of collective decisions, and news items that would have passed for honest debate if read individually.

In other words, no, you don't have a clue of how the Soviet press looked or worked.

And no matter how much Krugman writes, there is currently no chance at all of any of his sort-of-progressive ideas being turned into Washington or Wall St policy. The fact that he appears in print doesn't change this. All it does is create an illusion of possibility which isn't matched by political reality.

No matter what appears in the press it has no influence on public policy or public views. The press is impotent.

just as the ability of the media machines to get creatures like Sarkozy and Berlusconi elected is the flip side.

The press is omnipotent. [i'm confused]

Have you seen any critical stories from Iraq recently?

Nor do you read the American press.

A passive press has the power to allow them to continue, or to enable them and make sure they're not challenged. It's one of the defining characteristics of fascism that while you can blame expendable scapegoats for transgressions, you never, ever undermine the sacred patriotic authority of the leader

Have you been living in some alternative universe the past few years? And, btw, is the US fascist or communist in that world, I'm curious, you seem to suggest the former earlier on, now the latter. Since you seem to have only recently arrived, some facts about this universe: Krugman ain't in jail, nor is the Times editorial board, nor are the various writers who broke all those stories. They also managed to get published. The president and vice president have been deeply unpopular for a number of years now. I hope you enjoy this universe, rather imperfect but it sounds likes it is a bit better than the one you arrived from, albeit a bit more complicated, but I'm sure you'll figure it out.

by MarekNYC on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 11:34:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Case in point: Dan Rather did ask some awkward questions about George Bush's Air National Guard Service and we see what was his reward.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 12:40:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He was set up with a faked document... But I didn't feel sorry for him because he had said, shortly after 9/11, "[Bush] is my commander-in-chief. All he has to do is tell me where to line up and I'll do it". Since when is the Press Corps a division of the US Armed Forces? I guess calling it a Corps gives it away :-P
But when you check out a document, you take it to the source. You take it all the way to the source. The idea that they would actually go with a story without actually--without following it to the National Guard archive or to the Pentagon and verifying its actual authenticity is just mind-blowing; but it's not surprising, I guess, given Rather's terrible record. Don't forget that he was practically saluting Bush on David Letterman famously after 9/11. He said "All--He's my commander-in-chief. All he has to do is tell me where to line up and I'll do it." Even on the Abu Ghraib scandal, which they did break (I mean, we have to give CBS credit for putting it on the air), they called General Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, once they had the pictures and the evidence, confronted him with it, and he said, "Well, give me a couple of weeks. Please don't do the story," and they sat on it for two weeks! And then later said, "Well, we went with the story because--only because it was going to break on the internet." Not because it was the right thing to do. So now, the--you have a case of crazy overcompensation, but incredible incompetence by CBS.
(source: Democracy Now!)


When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 02:00:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you seen any critical stories from Iraq recently?

You mean like this one?  Or this one?  Or how about this one?  And then there's this and this.  The Bush administration won't be happy about this development.

The news from Afghanistan and Guantanamo ain't so great, either.

by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 03:57:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Two of those are from Democracy Now which isn't exactly Mainstream Media.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 04:46:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know, the only other person to use the word "mainstream" in this thread was Marek.  Everyone else just keeps talking about "the media."  Which Democracy Now certainly qualifies as, being on the radio and all.  And as it's aired on "more than 700 radio and television, satellite and cable TV networks in North America," one might wonder what the definition of "mainstream" might be, anyway.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 04:57:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If a member of the mainstream media picks up heavily on a story, the rest of the MSM feels obliged to follow suit ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 07:49:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well that's sort of a self-reinforcing definition.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 09:59:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why would that be a problem ?

The mainstream media are self-reinforcing.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 10:00:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I was sort of looking for a definition of "mainstream media" that doesn't equate to "those which act like mainstream media."
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 10:08:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It has to be a combination of audience numbers and influence, which involves the kind of self-reinforcing network effects you object to.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 10:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why ?

Many social phenomenon are most easily described in this way. Generally, the easiest way to find out who is is a member of a subcommunity is to ask other members of that subcommunities.

And as Migeru said, its a combination of that influence among the rest of the mainstream media - and thus general public discourse, which they catalyse - and audience numbers - some influential magazines are more "insider media", being read by those that make the news, but not really bringing these news to the public.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 10:55:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What?

Wikipedia: I know it when I see it

Justice Potter Stewart used the phrase in his concurring opinion in Jacobellis v. Ohio 378 U.S. 184 (1964). He wrote:

"I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it, and the motion picture involved in this case is not that." (emphasis added)

Ah!

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 11:35:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An Expert Reveals Chinese Origins of Interrogation Techniques at Guantánamo - NYTimes.com
What the trainers did not say, and may not have known, was that their chart had been copied verbatim from a 1957 Air Force study of Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean War to obtain confessions, many of them false, from American prisoners.

Would  that be the Wolf-Hinkle report commissioned by Allan Dulles? that said that basically the techniques used by the Chinese communists were the same as the techniques used in US police stations to get people to confess?

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.

by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 06:57:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, the Hinkle & Wolff study was earlier and referenced in the Air Force paper, which the Times posted (.pdf) along with a batch of newly released documents (.pdf, long) from the Senate Armed Services Committee hearings on interrogation tactics.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 07:26:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You write:


The WaPo broke the torture story in the summer of 2002 in a front page article. No one gave a fuck.

Who is "No one"? Isn't the problem precisely that common wisdom, as defined, repeated and amplified by pundits, is no longer linked to the actual news content of their own papers? And then the background just ignores the news that have been published in one article, and gets repeated endlessly despite being lies?

Who is responsible for that common wisdom?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Jul 2nd, 2008 at 11:13:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He lives in the District of Columbia itself--a virtual war zone where full-time paranoia is actually a healthy survival skill.

Again, if you mean that literally, you're wrong except for the absolute worst neighbourhoods and I doubt your cousin spends much of his time hanging out in Anacostia.

by MarekNYC on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 03:28:10 PM EST
Where'd this idea of Anacostia as a warzone come from?  Baltimore is a warzone.  Anacostia's isn't nearly as bad as people make it out to be.  Within the District, it's the area between Congress Heights and Southern Avenue that's rough, but even that's bearable these days with the investment going into CH.  ENE DC is probably worse than SE.

Really, PG County is where the crime is these days.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 11:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It was hell when I lived in DC in the mid nineties. I once did the figures and it worked out to a one percent annual death rate from murder for young black males in Anacostia back then - think about what that means when spread out from around sixteen to twenty-eight.
by MarekNYC on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 12:37:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, okay, fair enough.  Anacostia was rough in the mid-1990s.  It's movin' up these days, though.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 07:46:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I never found George Will to be terribly religious.  He's a conservative, but he always struck me as being much more an economic conservative than a social conservative.  Maybe I missed something.

Reading this again, are you sure you're writing about the Washington Post and not the Washington Times?  The Times is, indeed, published by a religious fanatic (and really only exists for the three or four Republicans who live in DC), but the Post is published by the normal blueblood-types, as far as I'm aware.  And I never got much on religion out of it.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.

by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Sun Jun 29th, 2008 at 11:29:34 PM EST
It's seems a little bizarre reading about how Europeans believe that the EU is strangling in it's disadvantages and worrying that France isn't a world power anymore. It seems to be a given that Deutchland makes the best electric shavers and coffee makers. Love the cars too. The US has dinosaurs running it's government and industries, cutting jobs and outsourcing our young people to oil-land for slaughter. Europe looks like heaven in contrast from here!

New York vs "the Heartland" is pretty much a tradition. There are people you meet who believe the country starts in Boston and ends down in Washington DC, the border being about 25 miles west of these locals. I live in St Louis MO, and seeing the LA-LA land TV industry portray us with cows outside our windows is galling. New Yorkers asking about the horse and buggies is really cute too. But that's just a little ribbing and we can take it. We just don't trust strangers here. New York Carpet World didn't last that long. Even a business from Chicago has a hard time getting a foot-hold! But "flyover country" was an 80's phrase and has been replaced by now. Haven't heard it in over a decade. Maybe it's time to let that go now

Finally, the very idea that violent resistance to tyranny is laughable. We've gone such a long way from when Jefferson said that the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of tyrants (paraphrased, but I just ain't that staunch) to "damn kids better not riot on MY lawn!". We almost had a riot here 7-8 years ago because the mounted patrol tried to stop ladies from flashing their bewbies at the Mardi Gras parade. Good thing that police chief got sent to DC to work with the Bush administration! You never know what will set the populace off. $10 a gallon gasoline? Grocery stores out of "on-time-delivery" goods? The fact that the 20% of the population that controls 70% of this nations wealth might not be able to keep the other 80% of the people working? New York's 30,000 finest might make it the safest place in the world, but Main Street Murka might see some broken glass and fire. I find that more inspiring than thinking about people calmly starving in boarded up, repossessed homes while the jackboots go a'marchin'...

Kevin

by kevinearllynch (mr_kevinlynch@sbcglobal.net) on Mon Jun 30th, 2008 at 11:22:30 PM EST
I find that more inspiring than thinking about people calmly starving in boarded up, repossessed homes while the jackboots go a'marchin'...

I was told there's a novel by Philip K Dick where if people can't pay their rent they get locked into their apartments.

When the capital development of a country becomes a by-product of the activities of a casino, the job is likely to be ill-done. — John M. Keynes

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 04:39:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"Flyover country" (in all its guises) served as a simple and useful test as to who I was willing to spend time and converse with while I was living in Boston. Those that used it as a framework were universally less traveled and less imaginative.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Tue Jul 1st, 2008 at 01:17:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]


Display:
Go to: [ European Tribune Homepage : Top of page : Top of comments ]