October 31, 2005

Ted Olson on Libby and Fitzgerald

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:18 pm

Don Luskin is right–Olson says all that needs to be said (WSJ link may be free this week, but ordinarily requires subscription):

Must officials now fear that they may be prosecuted if they do not accurately recall conversations years later? And that the journalists they talk to will be witnesses for the prosecution? Should journalists caution sources that if their memories of fleeting conversations are less than fully consistent, those memories will be fodder for prosecutors years later?

Mr. Fitzgerald justified his subpoenas on the ground that the journalists were “eyewitnesses to the crime.” But he was unable to establish, and he certainly hasn’t charged, that there was a crime in the first place. If special prosecutors can be empowered to investigate allegations of conduct that isn’t first established to be criminal, and to interrogate witnesses — especially reporters — about memories of distant conversations with sources regarding conduct that isn’t plainly criminal, there is no politically motivated allegation that can’t be turned into a criminal cover-up. So, regardless of how one might feel about the administration or the war in Iraq, the circumstances of this prosecution, and the involvement of reporters such as Tim Russert as prosecution witnesses, ought to give us occasion to pause and consider the implications of Mr. Fitzgerald’s redefinition of “Meet the Press.”

If, as it appears, Fitzgerald is indeed planning to rely on open-court testimony of reporters to convict Mr. Libby, I have to wonder if there won’t be a few cases of cold feet. There should be: If the evidence against Mr. Libby comes from reporters who are compelled to testify from conflicting detailed notes of conversations with Mr. Libby that were at the time supposed to be confidential, what will that do to future reporters’ ability to have any meaningful conversations with government officials?
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Outside the Beltway Jammer.

More Real-World Evidence of “Peak Oil” Nonsense

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Environment — Tom @ 1:30 pm

From Michael Fumento at Tech Central Station (HT Instapundit; I deliberately avoided carrying over links embedded in the article to encourage you to visit TCS):

Fill ‘er Up with Oil Sands!

It was a tenet of the late great economist Julian Simon that we’ll never run out of any commodity. That’s because before we do the increasing scarcity of that resource will drive up the price and force us to adopt alternatives. For example, as firewood grew scarce people turned to coal, and as the whale oil supply dwindled ’twas petroleum that saved the whales.

Now we’re told we’re running out of petroleum. The “proof” is the high prices at the pump. In fact, oil cost about 50% more per barrel in 1979-80 than now when adjusted for inflation. Yet it’s also true that industrializing nations like China and India are making serious demands on the world’s ability to provide oil and are driving prices up. So is this the beginning of the end?

Nope. The Julian Simon effect is already occurring.

The evidence is in something called oil sands (also called oil shale), a tar-like substance that can be surface mined as coal often is. The oil is then separated from the dirt using energy from oil or natural gas extracted from the site itself to produce a tar-like goo called bitumen. It’s then chemically split to produce crude as light as from a well head.

Oil sands in a single Venezuelan deposit contain an estimated 1.8 trillion barrels of petroleum, with 1.7 trillion in a single Canadian deposit. In all, about 70 countries (including the U.S.), have oil sand deposits although technology hasn’t yet made them economical for exploitation. Of Canada’s reserves alone, about 255 billion barrels (almost equal to the entire proved oil reserves of Saudi Arabia) is currently considered recoverable. And recovering it they are.

….. The Canadians got in the game when Suncor Energy produced the first barrel of crude from oily sand back in 1967. The joint Canadian-U.S. venture Syncrude has been has been doing so since 1978 and now supplies over 13% of Canada’s oil needs. Oil sands as a whole provide over a third of the nation’s needs, with almost all of the rest going to the U.S. Between pumped oil and oil from sands, Canada is our largest supplier of crude and refined petroleum.

….. Syncrude spent only $15.27 (U.S.) last year in total production costs to produce a single barrel of its low-sulphur “Syncrude Sweet Blend.” Suncor calculates that in 2004 it spent $9.81, although spokesmen for both companies confirmed they use different accounting methods to arrive at their figures. In any case, current petroleum prices of about $60 a barrel hardly need to be sustained for Canadian companies to continue to squeeze liquid gold out of their lands with plenty of money to expand operations.

We’ve only scratched the surface in terms of discovering and exploiting oil sand deposits, along with deposits of oil-containing rocks called oil shale. Still the amount, however huge, is necessarily finite. By one estimate, we may only have about more 500 years of energy from oil sands at current usage rates.

Just five centuries till the spigot runs dry! Where are the doomsayers when you need them?

Just to prove that I can be fair, I reduced Fumento’s 500-year supply, which ignores increases in future consumption, by assuming that worldwide oil use will increase 3% each and every year until the 500-year availability at today’s consumption rate is used up. Even then, the oil available from oils sands/shale alone will last almost 93 years.

Fumento’s assumption is too optimistic, as consumption is clearly growing. The 3% annual comsumption increase assumption is probably too pessimistic, because technology will enable us to get more energy out of each barrel of oil over time, meaning that we probably won’t be using 15 times as much oil 90-plus years from now, as continuous 3% compounding would have us assume. So the “real” answer is somewhere between 93 and 500, depending on your assumptions about efficient use. And of course, none of this considers alternative energy sources that might be developed in the interim.

Memo to Peak Oilers: Don’t worry, be happy.

Cornel West and Sylvia Hewlett: Working Hard to Hold Non-Whites and Women Back in Business

Filed under: Biz Weak,Business Moves,Scams — Tom @ 9:55 am

When an African-American child is excelling at school, his jealous friends will often accuse him or her of “acting white.” This poisonous attitude holds kids back and keeps them from achieving their full potential, or worse.

Cornel West (scroll to bottom of page) and Sylvia Hewlett want to take “acting white” from the classroom to the boardroom, and expand the number of ethnic groups poisoned, as this piece from Biz Weak (link requires subscription) illustrates.

When You Can’t Be Who You Are

A new study of minorities in corporations finds that African Americans, Asians, and others are held back by subtle discrimination. Princeton University professor of religion Cornel West and economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett discussed their findings with Senior Writer Nanette Byrnes:

Q: The people you spoke with seem to feel they have to act like white men to get ahead.
Hewlett: There’s this great phrase “bleached-out professionalism.” That describes this shrinkage of authenticity, which in the end is very debilitating and by definition not successful. You just can’t turn yourself into a white guy.

See what I mean?

It’s not about “acting white,” it’s about being professional. Or are only whites “professional”? How racist is that?

Q: What does it mean to act like a white guy?
Hewlett: A lot of Asian executives we interviewed thought that they were way too quiet. African American executives, on the other hand, often felt they came over as too loud, too brash. They felt this loudness labeled them as potential troublemakers.

Earth to Hewlett: When American executives go to Japan, they have to get used to the idea that they don’t even have an imperative verb form in their language. When the boss notices and comments on a desk that’s dirty, it’s just understood that the employee needs to clean it up. Once the American exec figures that out, he or she adapts. If an Asian exec needs to be more assertive to be more effective in a company’s culture, that’s just the way it is, or…. find another company.

Q: Isn’t the superficial sometimes important — the trust inspired by a banker’s suit, etc.?
Hewlett: But a lot of the things they’re talking about you basically can’t change. They feel they’re not allowed to bring their whole self to work. A woman who was in one of our focus groups was 32. She had been promoted three times since business school — a highflier. In her spare time she founded a Girl Scout troop in a homeless shelter. Do you think her colleagues knew about it, or her boss? No. It was kind of her choice, but she said the culture of this company is that if you are on the board of the symphony, it’s O.K. United Way is O.K. But the community involvement of minority professionals is often not on the list.

Am I really supposed to believe that people would look down on another person because of the charities they support? And by the way, how many minority charities are supported by the United Way? (Answer: plenty)

Q: Is it possible white men are getting ahead faster because they’re working harder?
West: There’s no getting around sacrifice, excellence, and quality. We’re talking about style: how one talks, relates, and balances their life. We’re talking about a deepening and refining of values.

I’d like to see the evidence that white men are getting ahead faster in 2005. I’m not convinced, at all. It seems like a convenient assumption that’s 30 years out of date.

Q: What shocked you?
West: The most frightening fact is that 52% of the minority folk don’t have deep trust in their company and the people who run it. We’re already dealing with distrust of the government. We don’t need more isolation.

News flash: At least 52% of ALL employees don’t have deep trust in their company. The social contract version of Corporate America has mostly disappeared. Many bosses themselves, and many of their employees. are having a tough time dealing with it.

To ascribe any of the above to race is absurd. To the extent that non-whites believe it, they hold themselves back. I hope for their sake that they ignore it.

Positivity: Flying Doctors to the Rescue

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:09 am

A nearly 50 year-old organization remains in service:

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October 30, 2005

Down Doobie Doo Down Down: Black Unemployment

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 3:48 pm

Surprised? (HT Large Bill, and reinforced at Willisms, who referenced National Review)

George W. Bush is laying a claim to be the President who did the best job creating jobs for blacks. Currently, black unemployment is 9.4%, which is significantly lower than the 10% it averaged in the Clinton years. The current rate is also much lower than the average black unemployment rate over the past 30 years, which is 12.4%.

Some on the left have complained that even if the black unemployment rate is dropping, there is still too great a gap between the unemployment rate for blacks and for whites.

If this complaint were sincere, those who made it should be pleased to learn the gap between black and white unemployment, which stands today at 4.9 points, is smaller than the 5.5-point average gap of the Clinton years and the 6.9-point average gap of the past 30 years.

Not bad for “Bull Connor,” eh, Charlie Rangel?
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UPDATE: Willims has more (much, much, more) on ecoomic and other improvements among blacks while George Bush has been president. He covers crime, education, home ownership, jobs, and entrepreneurship–go there already. And keep in mind that much of this has been achieved while many of our larger urban areas are run either incometently, corruptly, or both.

Dr. Sanity Nails the Psychological Impact of MSM Business Misreporting

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,MSM Biz/Other Ignorance — Tom @ 11:25 am

There’s lots of reaction to the collective Mainstream Media yawn in reaction to the 3rd quarter GDP results.

Dr. Sanity cuts through the fog to get to “root causes”:

The American public is hearing voices. And like auditory hallucinations experienced by psychiatric patients, these voices whisper continual doom and gloom. They tell the American consumer that prices are too high. That the economy is tanking; that poverty is on the rise; and that everything is bad bad bad.

These voices are persistent and continual. They are unrelenting. They are often frightening. And like the command hallucinations that torment many of my patients, they are completely and totally untrue. You are bad. Life isn’t worth living. They are trying to hurt you. Don’t try, it’s not worth it.

It is very rare for such voices to say anything at all positive. They have a specific goal–and that goal is the distortion of reality.

So why do patients believe them? Especially the one’s that are bizarre and so obviously out of touch with any known reality?

….. It is a triumph of false perceptions over reality. It is testimony to how profoundly and fundamentally people trust their perceptual faculties and let their peceptions rule, even when those perception come in conflict with common sense, truth, or reality.

We, the American people have come to have a similar trust in the voices of the MSM. Over the years, they have almost become an additional perceptual faculty that we rely on–simply because life has become too complicated and overwhelming, that the use of our ordinary senses is insufficient in the modern world.

In other words, we rely on the media in the same way we rely on our own senses to provide us with the information necessary to make decisions and judgements in the real world.

The MSM has become those evil voices inside our head.

….. WHY ISN’T THIS (GDP report) IMPORTANT NEWS? WHY ISN’T IT SHOUTED FROM THE HOUSETOPS?

Meanwhile, consumer confidence fell sharply. (halfway down linked page–Ed.)

So, like a patient hearing the command hallucinations we become more and more hopeless and depressed in spite of the reality around us.

….. We are hearing the voices of the MSM inside our heads and they are tricking us into believing something that isn’t true.

….. I would wager that the instant the Democrats take over the White House at some future date, the voices will cease to trouble us and we will be cured of our “malaise”. Not because anything will have changed, but because the voices will have achieved their purpose.

You may remember that before George W. Bush’s first inauguration Dick Cheney and other incoming administration people were expressing concern that the economy was tanking (which it WAS–See Update 2).

What did the press and the Democrats say? “You’re talking the economy down!

So, by omission and downplay mixed in with the occasional class-envy lies, what has the press been doing since early 2001?

More important, you have to wonder how much better could the economy have performed if news readers, listeners, and viewers weren’t reading, hearing, and seeing the pessimistic drumbeat day after day after day.

So for all you reporters who “care” so much–How many individuals and families have NOT escaped poverty because consumers and businesspeople made decisions based on your pounded-in “don’t try, it’s not worth it” pessimism not supported by the pretty darned good reality? Of course we’ll never know, but don’t even try to tell me that the answer to that question is zero.
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UPDATE: Anchoress on the “Rodney Dangerfield Economy” (I’ll have to remember that)–“Unfortunately, her conclusions are too similar to mine: it will take a D in the WH to get the P to tell the T.”

UPDATE 2: The Media Research link (also used above) cites 2.2% as the third quarter 2000 revised GDP growth result. The final result was minus 0.5% (to find the result, change the starting year to 2000 at the link).

That’s a pretty sizable revision. The first, and much rosier numbers, would have been released about a week before the 2000 election. Hmm.

It gets better. AP reported on the government’s periodic comprehensive revision of the Gross Domestic Product that took place in December 2003, and implicitly noted a big revision that had to have taken place before the comprehensive revision:

WASHINGTON – The longest economic expansion in U.S. history faltered so much in the summer of 2000 that business output actually contracted for one quarter, the government said Wednesday in releasing a comprehensive revision of the gross domestic product.

Based on new data, the Commerce Department said that the GDP – the value of the country’s total output of goods and services – shrank by 0.5 percent at an annual rate in the July-September quarter of 2000. Previously, the government had said GDP was rising at a weak annual rate of 0.6 percent during that quarter.

So, stay with me here:
- “Known” 3Q 2000 result as of Dec. 2000 from MRC link — +2.2%
- “Final” revision before “comprehensive revision” — +0.6%

This is a HUGE swing compared to what we normally see. Differences between initial and revised results are usually within plus or minus 0.5%. They all relate to the last reported quarter before the 2000 elections. You can reach your own conclusions. It is at the very least a very curious coincidence.

Note: I believe that the “comprehensive change” to minus 0.5% that came later should not be a matter of concern, because, as the AP link says, it is “something the government does every four or five years based on more comprehensive economic data becoming available and also revisions in the methodology used to compile the GDP.”
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Selected BizzyBlog Blasts from the Past:

Quote of the Day: On Immigration and Immigrants

Filed under: Immigration,Quotes, Etc. of the Day — Tom @ 11:01 am

Through the R-Rated Whisteblower, some excellent thoughts from a past president on immigrants and being an American:

“In the first place we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the man’s becoming in very fact an American, and nothing but an American. There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag, and this excludes the red flag, which symbolizes all wars against liberty and civilization, just as much as it excludes any foreign flag of a nation to which we are hostile. We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language, and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”

Teddy Roosevelt is on Mt. Rushmore. Today I’m afraid he’d be impeached for such common sense.

Positivity: Two Passenger Trains in South Africa Collide Head-on, and No One Dies

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:05 am

Rescue workers are astounded:

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October 29, 2005

Quote of the Day: Comparing Civil-Rights Pioneers and Today’s Pretenders

Filed under: Quotes, Etc. of the Day — Tom @ 5:23 pm

OpinionJournal.com’s Jason Riley:

When the rhetoric of so-called elder statesmen is materially no different from hip-hopper Kanye West’s, it might be a sign that the movement is in trouble.

Or that it’s irrelevant.

An America where blacks run Merrill Lynch, American Express and the State Department no longer needs civil-rights activism of the Rosa Parks and James Weldon Johnson variety, and hasn’t for decades. Thanks in large part to their diligence and sacrifices, the battle for legal equality has been fought and won. Blacks still face social and economic challenges, but these result mainly from self-inflicted cultural wounds, not a manifestly unjust society.

The current crop of opportunistic pretenders isn’t ready to acknowledge this reality–just ask Bill Cosby–but as more and more black Americans reach the middle class and beyond, it’s becoming self-evident.

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Oct. 30: Wizbang Weekend Carnival participant.

A Little-Noticed Tax-Law Change Could Cost Billions

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Ignorance,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:24 pm

Unbeknownst to almost everyone, deductions for charitable contributions (near the end at the link) have been changed in a big way between now and the end of the year:

Increased Deduction for Cash Contributions. The current tax law allows a taxpayer to deduct charitable contributions up to 50% of their adjusted gross income (AGI) in any tax year. This limit has been increased to 100% for contributions made between August 28 and December 31, 2005 …… This increased deduction only applies to gifts of cash, not gifts of securities or other property, which continue to be limited to 30% of AGI.

(Note: I believe the sentence skipped over in the ellipse is inaccurate.)

This was supposedly designed to help storm victims, but applies to any charitable contributions to any qualified charity, whether storm-related or not.

This is obviously an incentive for the very wealthy to figure out how to minimize their tax liability between now and the end of the year that will likely end up doing little to help hurricane victims. This is good news for symphonies, ballets, arts festivals, and personal foundations, and will only benefit Florida and the Gulf Coast if rich donors are inclined to send more money in that direction. Given that there is no additional incentive for them to do so, I don’t see much of that happening. This is so typical–the ones who need to know about this change will find out from their financial advisers, and the rest of the country will have no idea how much of a giveaway just occurred.

Why haven’t the congressmen and senators who always complain about what an across-the-board tax cut will “cost” asked about how much federal tax receipts will drop because of this barely-known change? The fact is, we have no idea. It could be billions, and it has “giveaway to the rich” written all over it. At least they had the sense not to increase the appreciated property limit. Or maybe that occurred in another bill that managed to avoid attention.
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Update: Yes, I know that the Alternative Minimum Tax may kick in, but I believe that will usually not change the advantageousness of high-AGI-percentage donations. Besides, it could be that exemption from the AMT calculation may be built into the legislation.

This Weekend’s Single Unanswered Question: When Is This Economy Going to Get Some Respect?

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias,TWUQs — Tom @ 7:05 am

An update post is here.

Another installment in a nearly-regular series of mysteries and pseudo-mysteries (usually 3-4, but this time just one) this inquiring mind would like to have answers for.

QUESTION: When is this economy going to some respect?

The economy’s 3.8% third-quarter growth (subject to revision in the coming months) was remarkable, given the storms that occurred during almost the entire final month of the quarter:

Economists had forecast GDP would advance at a 3.6% rate in the July-to-September quarter. The economy has now expanded faster than 3% for 10 straight quarters.

So when was the last time the economy expanded faster than 3% for 10 straight quarters?

It didn’t happen during the 1990s (the longest streak was eight).

It last happened during the 13 quarters from 1Q 1983 through 1Q 1986. Not coincidentally, a president who believed in lowering taxes to stimulate economic growth was in charge the last time it happened.

So despite being at war, despite devastating storms, and despite legislative and regulatory drags on the economy like Sarbanes-Oxley, this has been most consistently growing economy in almost 20 years.

Not only that, the US economy has NEVER had a streak of more than 7 quarters of 3.0% or greater annualized growth at any other time in the 58 years that quarterly GDP statistics have been kept! (besides the ones already mentioned: i.e., the current streak of 10, the 1990s streak of 8, and the 1980s streak of 13–Added Nov. 3 for clarity)

(Go here, change the First Year selection to “1947 A&Q,” and see for yourself. The 8-quarter streak was 2Q 1996 – 1Q1998. The 7-quarter streaks were 1Q 1950 – 3Q 1951 and 1Q 1963 – 3Q 1964).

Other indicators are favorable too. Unemployment is at 5.1%, up only slightly from the summer low of 4.9%, despite the storms. Core inflation (excluding food and energy) is at a paltry 1.3% and trending down (6th paragraph at USA Today link).

Yet the business press hasn’t stopped treating the economy as if it’s on fumes for almost 5 years, and as a result people who don’t pay close attention aren’t impressed. They should be. If we had a responsible and objective mainstream business press, they would be.
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UPDATE: The usual disclaimers–Yes, I’m worried about overextended credit, out-of control government spending, the long-term effects of the recently-effective bankruptcy law, and a few other things. That doesn’t change the fact that the economy has kicked serious butt in the last 10 quarters, OK?

UPDATE 2: Also from the USAT piece–

But in a second report Friday, the University of Michigan’s final October index of consumer sentiment fell to 74.2 from September’s final reading of 76.9 and from a preliminary reading of 75.4 in early October, according to sources who saw the subscription-only report.

So the business press, in search of anything that might be negative, sneaked a peek at the consumer sentiment report and confirmed that their trash-talking of the economy is still working. How many people think they would have told us the reading before its official release if it had gone up instead of down?

UPDATE 3: Willisms has more perspective on how good the economy is, and has been.

UPDATE 4: You DO NOT want to miss Dr. Sanity’s take (HT to the Trackbacking Anchoress). She absolutely nails the psychological impact of the MSM’s continued ignorance and underreporting of just about any and all good economic news. It is so good I created another post for it.
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Oct. 29: Wizbang Weekend Carnival participant.

Positivity: Reunion after a 4-Year Abduction

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 7:01 am

A mother and child are reunited after spending four years apart:

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October 28, 2005

More Unreliable Chinese Economic Data

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 4:20 pm

This time it’s GDP and GDP growth that are dubious, at best. Econbrowser has the goods, so to speak, with the help of several others.

Check out some of the comments too, which indicate collectively that the problem may be a combination of an impossible data collection task and government manipulation.

Previous post:
Why Should Anyone Be Surprised? (Chinese Reported Economic Data Questioned)

Just Another MSM ‘Oops’

Filed under: Economy,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 3:11 pm

In Your Dreams (Thursday evening):

Plame charges could sink dollar, bonds, stocks

Friday’s Reality (3:10 PM ET):

Dow: up 166 (173 at close)
S&P: up 16 (19.5 at close)
NASDAQ: up 24 (26 at close)

Dollar: Dollar rallies on strong US GDP, Libby indictment (3rd quarter GDP “surprisingly” up 3.8% despite storms–Ed.)

Bonds: stayed flat (halfway through link)

Merry Fitzmas. :-)

Forbes’ Indiscriminate Attack on Blogs and Attempt to Rewrite Easongate

Daniel Lyons’ cover story on blogs (requires registration for now, subscription later) is an awful letdown, coming as it does from a magazine that is generally the best in the business at seeing things from a free-market perspective (HT Micropersuasion via Instapundit, though I had to be a subscriber to the magazine be registered to gain access to all content needed to create this post):

Attack of the Blogs

Web logs are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective. Their potent allies in this pursuit include Google and Yahoo.

Lyons’ main beef is anonymity, but too often he generalizes his complaints to all blogs, whether or not the author(s) tell their readers who they are. He does note that “(mostly anonymous) Attack blogs are but a sliver of the rapidly expanding blogosphere,” but then frequently cites both mainstream and transparent blogs throughout his piece.

At first glance, the anonymity gripe has some merit. Someone can attack another person, the victim has no idea where it’s coming from, and, thanks to the anonymous blog platforms, can’t find out. But to me the burden should be on the blog reader to be cautious of those who won’t reveal themselves, especially if the anonymous blogger involved seems to be on an obsessive crusade. In the financial world, as has been the case with chatroom chatter for years, you have to watch for people who stand to make money from pushing a stock price up or down based on what they post. These people can shout all they want from their blogs; if nobody reads or heeds, it doesn’t matter.

While there are people abusing their anonymity, there are plenty of justifiable reasons for remaining anonymous (think China), and the idea of losing the ability to remain unidentifiable is simply unacceptable.

Lyons’ biggest problem is that he fails to distinguish anonymity from whistleblowing, and tries to rewrite the history of a seminal New Media story in the process:

In the case of a CNN executive they didn’t stop until they had claimed a casualty. Eason Jordan, chief news executive at CNN, noted at an off-the-record conference in January that journalists had been killed by U.S. troops. He used a touchy word: “targeted.” A blogger present, Rony Abovitz, ignored the off-the-record ground rule and posted an account. Other bloggers soon piled on. One created a site solely devoted to the topic, easongate.com.

Jordan instantly and repeatedly denied the assertions, but the blog hordes kept wailing away. Jordan resigned in February, engulfed by a concocted controversy. Blogger Michelle Malkin crowed online, praising nine other bloggers and “legions of smaller” ones in the hunt. She wrote that the mainstream media “calls it a lynch mob. I call it a truth squad” and included a warning: “Cue the Carpenters music: We’ve OnlyJust Begun.”

(links within excerpt were added–Ed.)

“Concocted?” This is ridiculous and beyond ironic.

Lyons is absurdly criticizing Abovitz for revealing comments by a guy (Jordan) who was himself irresponsibly abusing his “off the record” anonymity!Targeted” is not a “touchy word.” It’s a very specific word, meaning, in a military context, “to aim at or for”–in other words, to try to kill or wound. Jordan was very clearly slandering US troops by saying that they were (and I suppose in his mind, still are) trying to kill or wound journalists. If Abovitz hadn’t exposed Jordan’s statement, Jordan would still be at CNN, where he proved he doesn’t belong.

Abovitz is a hero for outing a delusional CNN television executive whose track record of poor executive and news judgment goes back to shading the network’s coverage of Saddam’s Hussein’s horror show in Iraq to maintain its precious “access,” and only confessing to it after Saddam was deposed.

Lyons’ reportage here is very incomplete. Jordan may have “instantly and repeatedly” denied the assertions, but unfortunately for Jordan his presentation was videotaped. If released, the video could have cleared him and made a lot of people, including Michelle and The Captain, look like blubbering fools. The world never got to see the tape; CNN did but wouldn’t release it, and Jordan resigned. Earth to Mr. Lyons: Two plus two still equals four.

Forbes has now joined The Wall Street Journal as MSM apologists and (at least I would have thought this just a year ago) unlikely critics of a new medium that has driven some of the most important stories of past few years, stories that would not have played out the same way and would likely have turned out far short of truthful if the Mainstream Media still had its death grip on the news.

Indiscriminate blog attackers like Forbes and The Journal are, whether intentionally or not, creating collateral damage by playing into the hands of people who want to “regulate” blogs and other New Media outlets and stifle free speech. Unfortunately, there are people, like some members of the Federal Election Commission, who appear ready, willing, and able to do just that.

It’s a bitter disappointment to see this in the magazine run by Steve Forbes, someone who, last time I checked, was a big believer in free markets and the free flow of ideas.
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UPDATE: They brought it on themselves. ForbesSucks.blogspot.com is up.

UPDATE 2: According to a commenter at the ForbesSucks blog: “Lyons is an idiot hack who’s had his arse handed to him by the Groklaw blog several times over his shilling for SCO via Forbes. So the article is a personal vendetta.” If true (emphasis on “if”), it was a pretty poor judgment on Forbes’ part to hand Lyons a cover story on this topic.

UPDATE 3: Other takes: Doc Searls, Dan Gillmor, LaShawn Barber, and TechDirt.
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Oct. 28: Outside the Beltway Jammer.