Patterico's Pontifications

5/8/2003

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO “HOW APPEALING”:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:53 pm

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO “HOW APPEALING”: If you haven’t checked out How Appealing, click on the permanent link at the left margin. This amazing site just turned one year old, and in that one year has become an indispensable tool for judges, lawyers, students, law clerks, and citizens interesting in the workings of the appellate courts in this country — which (given their power) should be everybody. How this guy maintains such a comprehensive, well-written site and manages to hold down a day job is utterly beyond me.

BLINDED BY BUSH HATRED: That

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:43 pm

BLINDED BY BUSH HATRED: That is the title of this op-ed in the Washington Post. The author says: “Perhaps the most disheartening development of the war — at home, anyway — is the number of liberals who have allowed Bush-hatred to take the place of thinking. Speaking with otherwise perceptive people, I have seen the same intellectual tics come up time and time again: If Bush is for it, I’m against it. If Bush says it, it must be a lie.” This from a senior editor at the New Republic!

This reminds me. I hesitate to broach the subject, and could be opening myself up for a Secret Service investigation, but — we are historically due for another serious assassination attempt. Everyone has seen the stats: beginning in 1840 with William Henry Harrison, presidents elected in a year ending in a zero (which happens every twenty years) tended to die in office — often due to getting shot. In fact, the first president to buck this trend was Ronald Reagan, who survived a serious assassination attempt. Since it is tough to imagine G.W. Bush dying from natural causes any time soon, one has to wonder — especially given the widespread irrational hatred of the man.

Twins!!!!

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:37 pm

I am thrilled to announce that my sister Marianne had twins tonight: Andrew (4 pounds 6 ounces) and Ellie (weight unclear, but a little less). Both are happy and healthy. Welcome to the world, Andrew and Ellie!

UPDATE: Andrew (Andrew Clark Goen) was 4 pounds 6 ounces, and Ellie (Elizabeth Carolyn Goen) was 3 pounds 14 ounces. (They were delivered 5 weeks by C-section due to worries about Marianne’s high blood pressure; hence the low birth weights. They are under observation but should be fine.)

MORE ON DEBAATHIFICATION: Regular readers

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:50 pm

MORE ON DEBAATHIFICATION: Regular readers will no doubt remember that I have previously expressed worry (most recently in this April 14 post) that United States Government officials have not gotten it through their thick skulls that it is critical to get rid of all Baath party members in positions of power in Iraq, at every level.

Well, nothing has really changed in the last three weeks. This New York Times story says: “Despite Bush administration statements that it would dismantle Mr. Hussein’s police state, senior Baath Party officials are working openly in many Iraqi cities, especially here in the capital where power is still up for grabs.” Worse, we are not just allowing this, but facilitating it: “many members of the Baath Party are insinuating themselves into leading positions under the American administration.”

What I am about to say, I don’t say lightly. After all, I warned readers — not just once but many times — not to be too critical of America’s inability to correct 20+ years of problems overnight. But when you put the failure to de-Baath together with the huge scandal (that is still getting almost no media attention) over the inattention to known nuclear sites in Iraq, a very good case can be made that the Bush adminstration is screwing up the post-war situation unforgivably.

THE POWER OF THE JUMP:

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:26 pm

THE POWER OF THE JUMP: “The Power of the Jump” will be a semi-regular feature on this site. The “jump” is the place in a newspaper story where the story moves from page A1 to, say, page A23. Numerous studies show that the overwhelming majority of readers do not bother to follow the story past the jump line. Although you don’t see it when you read newpapers on the internet, most people read newpapers in the print form — and savvy editors use the power of the jump to their advantage. The Los Angeles Dog Trainer in particular habitually buries inconvenient facts on the back pages — a practice Dog Trainer editors have raised to an art form.

Today’s Dog Trainer has a nice example. The headline of this fair and balanced story reads: Insurer Uses Its Muscle on 2 Bills. The sub-head: “Measures opposed by activists and regulators advance. Firm has been a big campaign donor.” And the first sentence: “A Los Angeles insurance company that has contributed millions of dollars to California politicians over the years is trying to use its influence with lawmakers to overturn regulatory and court decisions that threaten its financial interests.”

So that’s the background: clearly, the reporter and editors see this as a story about the corrupting influence of campaign contributions. Who is it that’s accepting these contributions?? Well, the article contains a very interesting quote from an activist, who asked: “Why are we here doing this? . . .Is this bill really about good policy or is this bill about helping an insurance company that has given $1 million to the Democratic Party since 2001?” (Emphasis mine.)

By now you have no doubt guessed that this quote, from an activist who primarily accuses Democrats of being corrupted by large donations, comes after the jump. The actual jump comes just before the previous paragraph, just before the word “room.” Interesting, eh?

By the way, everybody at the newspapers is acutely aware of this syndrome. I recently spoke to a Dog Trainer reporter and expressed my concern that the story he was writing would bury the relevant facts on the back pages. I told him that it was my impression that most readers do not follow stories past the jump. He forthrightly replied: “That’s what all the studies show.”

Don’t tell me that reporters and editors with an agenda don’t try to take advantage of this fact.


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