March 26, 2007

Announcement About Comments (032607)

Filed under: General — Tom @ 6:21 am

In the interest of your humble servant’s sanity, I will generally be turning off comments on all posts older than a week, will turn off comments on all new Positivity posts, and will turn off comments on very old posts on an ad hoc basis as the comment spammers attempt to attack them.

Anyone who wishes to comment on a post where comments have been turned off is more than welcome to e-mail me. The email addy is also at the very top of the page.

Couldn’t Help But Notice (032607)

Even a bunch of sixth graders can see through globaloney (HT NewsBusters).

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Hugo Chavez’s Worker’s Paradise more closely resembles a Stalinist hell on earth with each passing day, complete with Uncle Joe’s language:

President Hugo Chavez announced Sunday that his government’s sweeping reforms toward socialism will include the creation of “collective property.”

….. Chavez ….. said his government would move to expropriate large ranches and farms spanning more than 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) and redistribute lands deemed “idle” to the poor under a nationwide agrarian reform.

Since the reform began five years ago, officials have redistributed over 1.9 million hectares (4.6 million acres) of land that had been classified as unproductive or lacked property documents dating back to 1847, according to a recent government census.

Critics say reform has failed to revive Venezuela’s agriculture industry, which does not produce enough food to satisfy domestic demand. The government has been forced to import food amid shortages of staples such as meats, milk and sugar.

Doncha just love the way the Associated Press uses the “critics say” technique? Folks, the ag industry either has or hasn’t been revived; it’s objectively either true or false, and not a matter of opinion.

So Chavez wants to bring the wondrous results of Zimbabwe’s land takeaways to his country. Though Venezuela’s oil revenues will probably defer the day of reckoning, what we’re seeing is a human rights and economic calamity in the making.
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Interested-Participant blogs on Lauren Maggi’s guilty plea for spitting on a soldier last November in Syracuse, NY. She says she’s sorry, is a registered Republican who voted for Bush in 2000 and 2004, and that she overreacted to a personal domestic problem unrelated to the recipient of her spittle. The punishment for her crime was not disclosed. A commenter (about the 5th) at the underlying syracuse.com blog story says she’s “a registered Liberal” (which is a political party in New York). Oy vey.

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You can’t escape the possibility of having your identity stolen, even after you die. The good news is that the bill collectors haven’t figured out how to contact heaven (or the other place) to hassle you over stuff you didn’t buy or money you didn’t borrow — yet.
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Return of the Conservatives: “It doesn’t take a village, it takes a Remington.”

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Bottomed out? Existing home sales rose by the largest percentage in three years (Weapons of Mass Discussion, as usual “blames Bush”). The same article reports that year-over year home prices dropped for the seventh straight month. That doesn’t square with the 1%-plus price appreciation the government’s Office of Housing Enterprise Oversight has reported during the last two quarters.

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The news relating to this group of “300″ is not about a movie.

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Catching up: Prayers for Elizabeth Edwards and Tony Snow.

An Idea for the New York Times’ TimesSelect Service

From the Times’ February report on revenues:

TimesSelect, the fee-based product on NYTimes.com that includes The Times’s distinctive columnists and extensive access to its archives, currently has approximately 639,000 subscribers, with about 66% receiving TimesSelect as a benefit of their home-delivery subscriptions and 34% receiving it from online-only subscriptions.

Biz Weak’s Jon Fine at his Fine on Media blog estimates the dollars:

34% of 639,000 = 217,260 paying subscribers.

Assuming all of these people are paying full freight yearly subscriptions–not guaranteed, that–that’s $10.9 million in revenue.

Is it worth $10.9 million to the Times for it to wall off its columnists? You tell me.

I’ll tell you what would be worth it — having about 1.1 million people pay the Times $10 each if they promise to keep the writings of Maureen (“Obambi” Obama) Dowd, Paul (Economic Ignoramus) Krugman, Nick (Mao Wasn’t So Bad) Kristof, and the rest of the rambling runts away from non-subscribers. The Times can keep the change — it needs it.

Deal?

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ALSO: A shameless plug — note that yours truly predicted in November 2005 [fifth bullet at link] that the Times would have a tough time getting over 250,000 paid TimesSelect members.

Settled, Schmettled

Filed under: Economy,Environment,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:06 am

The IBD editorial just nails it, so just read it.

The downplaying by enviros of the sun’s probable role, and likely dominant role, in global warming (if it is indeed even occurring) is indicative of their mindset that the evidence must be made to fit the desired conclusion.

THEIR attitude is, at bottom, while pretending otherwise, “Science, schmience.”

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UPDATE: Here’s a globaloney artist with a really active imagination and a phony persecution complex.

The Washington Times covered poor, pitiful NASA globaloney globalarmist James Hansen’s congressional testimony last week, where this howler was brought forth (bold is mine):

A NASA scientist who said the Bush administration muzzled him because of his belief in global warming yesterday acknowledged to Congress that he’d done more than 1,400 on-the-job interviews in recent years.

James Hansen, director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, who argues global warming could be catastrophic, said NASA staffers denied his request to do a National Public Radio interview because they didn’t want his message to get out.

But Republicans told him the hundreds of other interviews he did belie his broad claim he was being silenced.

“We have over 1,400 opportunities that you’ve availed yourself to, and yet you call it, you know, being stifled,” said Rep. Darrell Issa, California Republican.

Hansen should start his own globaloney consulting firm if he finds the mostly imagined constraints of government work to be too severe.

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Previous Post:
- March 4 — Globaloney and Globalarmism: Consensus, Conschmensus

Internal Meltdown at the LA Times Continues, Seemingly Inexorably

Filed under: Business Moves,MSM Biz/Other Bias — Tom @ 6:01 am

Though it has been obvious for years to anyone with eyes, this was nevertheless a pretty amazing admission last Thursday by just-resigned editorial page editor Andres Martinez of the Los Angeles Times (HTs Hugh Hewitt, Patterico, and Kaus via Instapundit; bold is mine):

Among the biggest possible conflicts of interest a newspaper can enter into is to have the same people involved in news coverage running opinion pages. I am proud of the fact that Jeff Johnson, Dean Baquet and I fully separated the opinion pages from the newsroom at the Times. I accept my share of the responsibility for placing the Times in this predicament, but I will not be lectured on ethics by some ostensibly objective news reporters and editors who lobby for editorials to be written on certain subjects, or who have suggested that our editorial page coordinate more closely with the newsroom’s agenda, and I strongly urge the present and future leadership of the paper to resist the cries to revisit the separation between news and opinion that we have achieved.

What I don’t get is why the Times’ news reporters even feel the need to influence the paper’s editorial page content. Based on Martinez’s observation/acknowledgment that the newsroom has an “agenda,” those reporters already have their own editorial pages, which just happen to be known as “the rest of the newspaper.”

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Positivity: Blind Mechanic Hires Deaf Assistant

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:56 am

From Oregon:

Blind Mechanic Owns Oregon Repair Shop and Employs Deaf High School Student As Apprentice

March 20, 2007

Larry Woody shares his automotive know-how twice a week with his apprentice, though he’s never seen the young man nor spoken directly to him.

Woody is blind. His apprentice is deaf.

“So much of it is done by feel anyway,” he told the Eugene Register-Guard. “I use my hands to see what I’m doing now.”

Woody lost his sight five years ago when a truck blew across the median on Interstate 5 and drove over his Toyota Celica. The accident nearly killed him.

With more than 30 years of fixing, racing and restoring cars, Woody vowed to return to work. With help from his wife Della and the Oregon Commission for the Blind, he achieved that goal less than a year after the accident.

The 46-year-old mechanic recently bought his own shop, D & D Foreign Automotive, and hired Otto Shima, 17, an apprentice from Cottage Grove High School.

Interpreter J.J. Johansson accompanies Shima, who was born deaf, on his twice-weekly visits to the shop. Her hands fly as she translates what Woody says. She then turns and voices Shima’s reply.

They recently leaned under the open hood of a truck in need of clutch parts.

Woody felt among boxes until he grasped the right one. Removing a hose, he ran his fingers along it, telling Shima what role it played in the engine.

“He’s just another student and I’m just another guy trying to help him,” Woody said. “I kinda put the disabilities aside.”

Shima said that Woody inspires him because “he never gives up.”

Woody has learned Braile and how to navigate with the aid of a red-tipped cane.

About a year after his accident, he was behind the wheel of a race car. Taking direction from a friend through an earphone, he drove a buddy’s car about 30 mph around the Cottage Grove Speedway track at least 25 times. The next summer he drove in a couple of demolition derbies in an Oldsmobile modified to allow a passenger to sit with him and be his eyes.

This month he got a spot on CBS Evening News. Since then he has received grateful calls from people, some blind, some not.

He said a caller from Florida said he had recently dropped out of flight school, too intimidated to take his final exam.

“He told me, `If you can do what you’re doing in your condition, I have no excuse. I’m going back,’” Woody said. “That’s what it’s all about right there, helping someone I don’t know.”

Kathleen O’Gieblyn, a vocational rehabilitation counselor at the Eugene Oregon Commission for the Blind, worked with Woody following his accident. She called his story “extremely empowering.”

Woody walks without hesitation through his shop. He handles the paperwork and billing with the help of a talking computer. He still changes fuel lines, adjusts carburetors and tinkers on his 1968 El Camino.

“Some people wake up and say, ‘Oh, man, I’ve gotta go to work,’” he said. “I get up and say, ‘Oh man, I get to go to work.’”