Saturday, May 29, 2004

I've hit the big time
I've apparently been listed at Blue Eagle. It describes itself as "American Online Political sites, Periodicals, and Cartoonists" and they seemed pleased to know that I'm not a "lefty," especially considering the fact that I go to Yale. I'm not sure what all of this means, but I'm excited and honored nonetheless...

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Am I a Blogaholic?
The New York Times > Technology > Circuits > For Some, the Blogging Never Stops (via Daniel Drezner and Alex): "Sometimes, too, the realization that no one is reading sets in. A few blogs have thousands of readers, but never have so many people written so much to be read by so few. "

The first problem with that question is: there is no such thing as "blogahol," at least of which I am aware. The second is that, since school ended and I went on my brief hiatus, the above quote has been painfully descriptive of my blog. Hopefully, now that I'm blogging somewhat regularly again, you will all tell your friends to come back here and get back to reading what I have to say.

I love this woman
Peggy Noonan has two great pieces this week (here and here). I'm also reading her book "What I Saw at the Revolution," and enjoying it immensely. All three come highly recommended.

Why Europe should shut up
OpinionJournal offers a good piece explaining what neoconservatism is, why it shouldn't be called neo or conservative, and why it's a good, American way to view things, beginning with a perspective on why Europe is so afraid of it. It's really long, and even I didn't read the whole thing, but take a look at it if you're curious.

Clinton gets it--what about other Dems?
From today's Political Diary: "Mr. Clinton acknowledged that many students in the audience probably opposed the war in Iraq, but he quickly shushed their cheering, saying, 'This is thinking time, not cheering time. If immediately you decide that somebody who sees a whole new situation differently than you must be a bad person and is somehow twisted inside, then we're not going to get very far in forming a more perfect union.'
Mr. Clinton perhaps unconsciously was comparing his host at KSU, Bob Dole, to Mr. Gore, when he added that he felt an affinity for Mr. Dole because 'We always kept score by what we did, not by what we said.'"

And now, it's cheering time: way to go Bill. I disagree with almost every political stand this man has ever taken. I disagree with almost every moral choice this man has ever made. But I respect him. Why? Because he is intelligent, and while I think a lot of what he does is intended merely to pad his ego, I also think he tries to act in the best interest of the country and the world. This is evidence that, despite being an arrogant, immoral asshole, President Clinton can be a stand-up guy.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Nothing New
But interesting nonetheless: Michael Moore and Me

I Fisk Pete Du Pont
From OpinionJournal - Outside the Box
[I]n spite of what you read in the paper--outrageous gasoline prices entered into Google gets you 15,000 links--its current inflation-adjusted price of $2 a gallon is about its median price over its 85-year existence, and with the exception of the 1980s spike, it has been steadily declining over the decades.
I'm only 20. I've only been driving for 4 years. I've only been paying for my own gas for one year. $2.129 is a lot more expensive than $1.40 a year ago, and it hurts.

Better still, improving technology has increased the number of miles one can drive on a gallon of gasoline, to 22 in 2000 from about 13.5 in the early 1970s . So the cost of gasoline per mile driven has fallen nearly in half, from more than 13 cents to a bit more than seven cents.
My miles-per-gallon in my Saturn has not changed in the past year.

Meanwhile median income for a family of four (in inflation-adjusted dollars) has increased to more than $63,000 today from less than $46,000 in the 1970s.
My income is almost the exact same it was a year ago.

Family income is up, and the cost per mile driven is down, so as a percentage of income, gasoline costs are substantially less and are an economical bargain for all of our families.
I don't know about my family income, but I know I don't have access to it. I also know I'm driving more than I was last summer, and last summer I was not paying for my own gas. Maybe it helps my parents, but not me.

Burning gasoline is very much cleaner than it was 20 years ago too. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, lead emissions have nearly disappeared; carbon monoxide is down 62%, sulfur dioxide 52%, nitrogen dioxide 24% and ground-level ozone (smog) 18%. Cleaner fuel, cheaper fuel and better mileage mean greater access to the things that matter in life. Gasoline-powered cars are a very good thing indeed.
I agree that gasoline-powered cars are a great thing. And it's good that we're doing better with the environment. But, to be perfectly honest, these articles about how "it's not as bad as you think," really doesn't help my wallet any. I want cheaper gas, and I want it now. I also want alternatives to combustion engines, and I want them now. How about we drill in ANWR and put the money saved towards developing alternative fuel sources? Sounds good to me.

What Liberal Media?
The new Pew numbers (via Andrew Sullivan) are out. Here's the synthesis: "At national organizations (which includes print, TV and radio), the numbers break down like this: 34% liberal, 7% conservative. At local outlets: 23% liberal, 12% conservative. At Web sites: 27% call themselves liberals, 13% conservatives.
This contrasts with the self-assessment of the general public: 20% liberal, 33% conservative."

Once again, the evidence shows that news professionals lean to the left. Ok, I'll temper that a bit to make it more accurate: a significantly greater portion of the news industry is liberal when compared with the general public. And, more importantly: barely a fifth as many conservatives are in the news than in the general public. So why does this imply a liberal bias?

It doesn't, necessarily. But the trick is exactly as I've explained before. Think to your past political debates with someone from the opposite side of the aisle (true moderates should think about debates with any true partisans). Have you ever noticed that you can't agree, and can't ever seem to make clear your reasons for believing the way you do? It's because political beliefs are based on fundamental ideology. I'll say it another way: you believe what you believe because you see the world in a certain way. Someone who sees the world in a different way can't come to the same conclusions as you, and often can't understand why you believe what you do.

So what does this have to do with the media? If only a very few reporters are conservative, then only a very few articles will be written that accomodate a conservative perspective. The result is not necessarily a liberal bias, but more accurately an anti-conservative bias. Why aren't we hearing in the media about the fact that we've driven al Sadr's supporters out of Kufa? Because that's not important to a liberal mind considering the war. The same goes for Nick Berg vs. Abu Ghraib. It's not that there's a conspiracy to skew the media, it's that liberals don't find the successes of the war, or the reasons for it, as enticing as the fact that things are going poorly.

I've sort of rambled, but hopefully you got the point.

UPDATE [5/24/2004 - 22:14]: More from Oh, That Liberal Media which actually contradicts some of what I just said. First, the quote: "An interesting (if predictable) detail of the study: the answers to specific 'issues' questions show that journalists are more liberal than they admit. Whereas most continue to self-identify as 'moderate,' the answers given to specific questions about religion and homosexuality indicate a strong tilt to the left. This reinforces what many of us believe: journalists think they are far more moderate than they actually are."
This would imply that when I limited the statement that "news professionals lean to the left," I shouldn't have. The fact that 7% consider themselves conservative, 34% liberal, and the rest moderate does not necessarily mean that the rest actually are moderate, and I tend to believe that a large portion of them are probably just wearing blinders to their own liberal side.

UPDATE [5/24/2004 - 22:51]: Best of the Web does a great job dissecting what is mentioned by OTLM above. It offers a great table that makes it pretty clear that those who belive themselves to be moderate are not necessarily so moderate.

UPDATE [5/25/2004 - 18:58]: I have responded to the comments posted to challenge my assertion, in the comments section.

Pahk the Cahr at Hahvahd Yahd...
...and walk the rest of the way into Boston. Political Wire reports that, "'In the space of two months, the Democratic National Convention has gone from a $154 million boon to Boston to a potential $50 million hit to the local economy as businesses absorb the magnitude of the announced highway, street, and mass-transit closings,' the Boston Globe reports."

This is bad news for Dems, and bad news for Bostonians. And now, it may not even be a convention at all, but merely a political rally.