Patterico's Pontifications


My Letter to the Readers’ Rep Regarding that Hiltzik Error

Filed under: Dog Trainer — Patterico @ 7:07 am

I have sent the following e-mail to L.A. Times Readers’ Representative Jamie Gold:


In his May 28 column, Michael Hiltzik writes that, between 1998 and today, California’s population has increased 30%.

Hiltzik’s math is wildly off. California’s population in 1998 was 33.3 million (.pdf). Given a current population of roughly 38 million, the increase has been between 13% and 15% (depending on the precise numbers used). It has been nowhere near 30%.

The incorrect statistic is a central underpinning of Hiltzik’s argument. Certainly, a correction is warranted — but I think a new column explaining the mistake would be more appropriate.

Yours truly,

Patrick Frey

Background here.

As always, I’ll let you know what I hear back.

UPDATE: The column has been corrected. The correction is wrong. And the column still reeks. Details here.

69 Responses to “My Letter to the Readers’ Rep Regarding that Hiltzik Error”

  1. So, putting everything together: he lied about the total spending (omitting $85 billion in bond-spending), so total spending has actually increased ~295% since 1998 while the population has grown 15% (not 30%) and inflation has added another 30% (not 50%). Does that sound about right?

    tjwilliams (cb1b1c)

  2. I sense a lack of disturbance in the Force … as if a million breaths were failing to be held.

    PCachu (e072b7)

  3. You have to love the idea of Hiltzik, and his legion of sock puppets, as an “LA Times business columnist,” as Reason’s Matt Welch calls him here:

    I couldn’t help comparing Hiltzik’s gauzy grasp of numbers to the NYT’s Edmund Andrews’ deadbeat dance through mortgage fraud. It seems as if, to be a “business” or “economic” journalist for one of the triple-Ds (deservedly dying dailies) today, you need to be (1) ignorant of your subject in depth and detail and (2) insulated from said business and economy by a sense of entitlement, produced in part by overpayment and underwork.

    I look forward to the usual outgassing of dishonest denial from the Reporters’ Representative Against the Beastly Readers, Jamie Gold. I’m amazed you still bother, Pat, but it entertains us all (and probably feeds Gold’s sense of entitlement, too — a win-win all round).

    Had any of these Fourth Estate popinjays actually been to b-school (or L-school), they might be able to recognize the difficulty they have connecting with their readers as an exemplar of the Agency Problem. Instead, they see it as lèse-majesté. Pity.

    Kevin R.C. O'Brien (944595)

  4. I think a new column columnist explaining the mistake would be more appropriate.


    Official Internet Data Office (68ed06)

  5. I don’t expect much of a substantive reply from the LAT, but Patterico’s multi-year documentation of the paper’s false and misleading articles is a real service to those who wish journalism would put facts above opinion.

    It’s one thing to say journalism is permeated with errors and bias, but much more difficult to provide meticulous documentation as we have here.

    Patterico is the best professional journalist the LAT never hired.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  6. Brother Bradley – I suspect that Patterico is better than most, if not all, of the group that they did hire too 😉

    JD (a0edad)

  7. Your very hard on journalists. They wurk with wurds, not numbers. And numbers are a lot harder than wurds. Give them a brake.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  8. But gee, math is hard – witness the current administration’s Monopoly – style musings regarding the economic armageddon they’re driving us headlong into, and the MSM’s firm reluctance to question any of their increasingly fatuous claims.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  9. Maybe Hiltzik has super-secret data on illegal immigration from the LA Times’ spiked story files.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  10. My letter to them would have been far more succinct, something along the lines of “Thank Allah for those multiple layers of editors, and columnists that are not dishonest lying partisan douchebags”.

    Dmac – Anyone know how much of the stimulus money has actually been spent yet? I saw that the Barcky report card on the stimulus plan lists projects done before the stimulus passed, and fudges the numbers, according to the Tapper article on yahoo this morning.

    JD (a0edad)

  11. Hiltzik is important to the Times. He’s needed to counterbalance Rutten. That is, in the same way that a water bucket on each end of a pole across one’s shoulders creates a “balanced load”.

    However in Hiltzik’s and Rutten’s instances, that bucket is filled with flaming, fatuous, dishonest and determinedly intentional ignorance of anything worthwhile. Facts and the truth never get in either of the Hiltzik-Rutten buckets.

    Mike Myers (674050)

  12. oh goody! something new for me to use as a hammer the next time they call me to subscribe to their rag…….

    the guy who called the other day admitted that he didn’t read the Slimes either. the new twist to the calls is that they act like you’ve already agreed to subscribe, and they just want to finalize details. you’ve gotta appreciate gall. %-)

    redc1c4 (fb8750)

  13. redc1c4, actually that would not be called “gall”, that would be called “fraud”.

    SPQR (72771e)

  14. Reminds me of the 47 million uninsured number…it’s completely bogus and Rationed Healthcare promoters know it. The Kaiser Family foundation puts the uninsured number between 8 and 13 million. Nobody is going to want to change the entire heathcare system for less than 3% of the population, so they need a nice big number to scare the dummies.

    william (fe3a60)

  15. John and Ken were also all over the bogus 30% number yesterday.

    Maybe Hitzlik has a spreadsheet, and he just plugs in numbers until he gets the percentage he needs. 🙂

    Patricia (2183bb)

  16. PCachu, I’m going to steal that line.

    SPQR (72771e)

  17. Anyone who as a sense of what numbers mean would know this is wrong on its face. This was the error of an idiot who can’t be trusted with his paycheck.

    Amphipolis (fdbc48)

  18. Brother Fikes wrote:

    Patterico is the best professional journalist the LAT never hired.

    Doesn’t matter. If the Times had hired him, he’d have been pink-slipped long ago.

    The very snarky Dana (3e4784)

  19. Let’s see: One illegal, two illegals, three illegals more…

    John425 (eae6ea)

  20. TVSD,
    If the Times had hired him, he’d have been pink-slipped long ago.

    All too sadly true. The journosaurs at the LAT will go into extinction doing anything except fixing their fundamentally flawed version of journalism. And they will blame their demise on an ungrateful public and those crab grass bloggers.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (8a3abc)

  21. so you wasted a few minutes of time on someone who has no intention of even bothering to read your note.

    honestly, the times is dead. why bother attempting to help them? its not like they would print a retraction or correction, and even if they did who would notice? they have their narrative, and feel no need to accurately portray the current predicament the state has crafted for itself. much like the powers that be in Sacramento, they deem themselves beyond reproach, untouchable, and infallible fully ignorant of their irrelevance.

    gabriel (3b1f6b)

  22. Good catch, Patrick!

    Anita (fc416d)

  23. I would like to put in a word of solace for our real professional journalist, Bradley, who has to be saddened by all these examples of incompetence on the part of pseudo colleagues. We appreciate you, Bradley.

    I once thought Hiltzik, for all his faults that we know so well, had written a pretty good book about Xerox PARC, called Dealers in Lightning. Then, I found a better book, called Fumbling the Future, on the same subject. The contrast between the two books was striking and illustrated Hiltzik’s anti-business bias.

    He basically doesn’t like business or large companies and thus tends to get the story wrong or incomplete. Perfect credentials for the Times Business Section.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  24. The anti – business columnist will soon see his most fervent wishes granted, I estimate that the LAT has about two year’s left on it’s shelf life at this point. Do I have any definitive proof? Of course not, what do you take me for, some kind of business journalist?

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  25. Speaking as one who left California a decade ago I suggest the significant numbers not talked about have to do with migration FROM the state who took jobs with them as opposed to those who immigrated there looking for entitlement.

    Who in their right mind would establish a business in California? The politicians failed to grasp the significance of the Jarvis/Gann Prop. 13 initiative and the predictable results are not haunting them. Ever the weasels we know them to be, they are now scurrying around looking for ways to increase the debt burden on the country by pleading for bailout/stimulus. On top of that, they are threatening to close state parks to save money and scare away a source of revenue-tourists. The citizens there are one brownout away from marinating in smog as their electricity is rationed in the heat of the summer.

    What did it for me was the threat I received that if my RV, parked in an RV resort in San Diego, leaked as little as a drop of black or grey water from my coach they would suit up in full hazmat gear, scrub the area and send me a bill for $500. Of course, the California Coastal Commission never wanted the unwashed masses on the beach anyway.

    vet66 (9d1bb3)

  26. I do not intend to hijack this thread (for long), but I have an urgent question for my legal blogging friends.

    Say you see, hypothetically now, a post on a yahoo discussion board by someone with a yahoo email address.

    And suppose, not that this is necessarily the case, that in this post is information about what a government office “did” in a legal proceeding. Only problem is, the office’s lawyer didn’t know he/she was going to do it until the next day.

    I assume it could be loose lips inside the office before something was made public, irresponsible but nothing worse. Another, more menacing, scenario would be that someone else is involved in calling the shots, and someone stupidly tipped their hand.

    Can ISP addresses be traced? Does yahoo keep the info about the post and poster if/when a court notice is given?

    Thank you. (Sheepish look).

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  27. Yes, IP addresses can be traced. But it will require a warrant or a subpoena to the ISP to identify the subscriber. The computer’s identity will also have been registered. The owner of the computer will be known most of the time, through chain of title. I do not know about Yahoo’s other policies.

    nk (e71733)

  28. So for example, were I to write, “I intend to loiter with the intent to mope”, the information I.P. ###.###.##.##, [paid for by nk], and computer IBM Thinkpad ########, [sold to nk], is there automatically, and who nk is and where he lives is only a question of a little more investigation. There is no anonymity on the internet, only pseudonimity.

    nk (e71733)

  29. Thanks nk,

    Just to clarify:
    Someone more adept than I queried the Internet regarding the post and obtained an ISP address which appears to be a yahoo site through which tons of stuff is forwarded. To get more info through yahoo as to where the message came from will need a warrant or a subpoena, but the information will be there for some period of time (days? weeks? months? years?), so there is no immediacy to get it (right?).

    Do not attempt to adjust your screen. You will be returned to your normal viewing shortly.


    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  30. We appreciate you, Bradley.

    Thank you, Dr. Capt. I am beyond saddened by the incompetence of supposedly top-tier journalists like Michael Hiltzik.

    Back when I was a wee journo pup, I was inspired by tales of reporting’s vital role in society, and the importance of accuracy and professional conduct. A soft-cover journalism book I had was my main inspiration. Among its admonishments, “Accuracy, accuracy, accuracy.”

    Then I see fact-challenged folks like Hiltzik not only tolerated, but protected by newspapers like the LA Times, supposedly near the summit of journalism.

    Hiltzik would have flunked the pre-journalism 101 pointers in that book.

    Journalism today is about where medicine was 200 years ago, when bleeding was recommended for all sorts of illnesses. And Hiltzik is a perfect leech.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (8a3abc)

  31. They have a lame non-correction/correction up now. It says the 30% estimate by him was wrong, but the calculation by the Legislative Budget Office used the correct multiplier, so his basic point was correct.

    Shipwreckedcrew (d57127)

  32. Someone more adept than I queried the Internet regarding the post and obtained an ISP address which appears to be a yahoo site through which tons of stuff is forwarded.

    Unless they are a law-enforcement agency with a warrant-issuing judge, or gangsters which can bypass that requirement with either/or bribery/extortion, IP addresses and computer identities is as far as they will get.

    nk (e71733)

  33. Does anyone have a response to David Lazarus’ recent column about an American patient rejected by the US insurance company but treated under Canadian healthcare?

    lee (86706b)

  34. lee, there is where you post the link to such a thing.

    carlitos (be9241)

  35. Is this objection to Hiltzik’s creative numbers, made in a comment to Chris Reed’s post, accurate?:

    Hiltzik’s math is even worse: most gov’t expenditures are payroll, so CPI is the correct adjustment, not the (much higher) version of CPI Hiltzik uses (which is for gov’t purchasing, not payroll).

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (8a3abc)

  36. That makes no sense, since anyone is eligible to receive medical care at state and county hospitals, as well as local municipalities that have hospitals, regardless of whether they have insurance.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  37. #28 — Comment by MD in Philly — 5/29/2009 @ 12:19 pm

    To get more info through yahoo as to where the message came from will need a warrant or a subpoena, but the information will be there for some period of time (days? weeks? months? years?), so there is no immediacy to get it (right?).

    According to this article from USA Today (Dec 17, 2008):

    “Yahoo Inc. said Wednesday that it will shorten the amount of time that it retains data about its users’ online behavior — including Internet search records — to three months from 13 months and expand the range of data that it “anonymizes” after that period.”

    Please note, “not retain” is not synonymous with “delete”. It can mean many things (most notably “encrypt”). Safest bet, move fast with whatever legal magic is needed before the “not retain” period is triggered.

    Pons Asinorum (03ef30)

  38. Governor Schwarzenegger released a new budget proposal today which includes these Prop98 “education” expenditures. (From PDF in LA Times article):
    2008-09 $33.691 billion
    2009-10 $35.971 billion
    2010-11 $36.429 billion

    LA Times reports: “Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed $2.8 billion in additional cuts to state government this morning that would slice deeper into funding for education, health and welfare programs.” What a bunch of idiots over there. I wonder if LA Times even knows that the number of students has dropped in recent years, while spending has, er, increased.

    Wesson (03286d)

  39. Does anyone have a response to David Lazarus’ recent column about an American patient rejected by the US insurance company but treated under Canadian healthcare?

    Comment by lee

    I e-mailed him with a comment but don’t expect to hear back. First, trauma care is free until you recover, after which most young uninsured folks declare bankruptcy or simply provide a fake address. I have spent years caring for bad trauma cases for nothing.

    Second, pre-existing conditions will affect insurability. If she has residual disability from the accident, she is probably eligible for Medicare or, at least, Medicaid.

    The US health care system could be reformed and I think few deny that. The question is how. I have made suggestions about an approach. The Obama people seem committed to the Medicare approach, which is basically the Canadian system.

    Canada made a terrible policy error when they began that system; they banned private practice. It was thought to be incompatible with the equality they were after. As a result, well off Canadians, lots of them, come here for care. At one time Toronto was paying for CABG surgery in the US. Their cardiac surgeons had left.

    We are already starting to see doctors dropping out of Medicare and practicing on a cash basis. These are surgeons (and others) who are willing to accept lower fees for no hassle and reduced overhead.

    There is a growing shortage of general surgeons. The reason is that the hours are long and the work is hard, lots of it after midnight. I finally quit taking trauma call after I went two 40 hour stretches without sleep in one month at age 50. I get e-mail recruiting stuff every week. They are offering good incomes, around $350,000 to start in nice places. This shortage will grow because the kids entering medical school have very different goals than I had. First of all, over 50% are women and few women want a career in general surgery.

    If Obama and his allies make a major error, like cutting reimbursement again, they will find that the high demand specialties will drop out except in poor areas. It may get interesting. We may actually get a free market in medicine after all, completely outside the government program.

    For example, I have been told that the busiest hip replacement surgeon in Newport Beach has stopped taking Medicare and just charges a cash price, about the Medicare allowance, and if you want him to do your surgery, you pay him. My understanding is it’s about $1200. for a total hip. Cash. No insurance. Of course, the hospital is your problem.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  40. Sorry about not providing the link, I felt the commenters here were LAT readers. I hope this link works –,0,2252325.column

    lee (86706b)

  41. Does anyone have a response to David Lazarus’ recent column about an American patient rejected by the US insurance company but treated under Canadian healthcare?

    I have a comment, Lee: it’s way off-topic. If you want people to talk about your issues, start your own blog.

    Steverino (69d941)

  42. Lazarus hit a new low with his context-free, rote citing of a tearjerker, complete with the requisite “only industrialized democracy that doesn’t have a government-run insurance system,” talking point. It’s blatant propaganda without even the attempt at a critical examination. Might as well have just run the Obama administration’s press release.

    I had a lot of respect for Lazarus when he was at the Chronicle, unveiling sleazy corporate practices that screwed the customer. His columns were well-documented. But he’s drastically deteriorated at the LA Times. Maybe it’s the corrupting influence of the LAT’s lax factual standards, or maybe the Chronicle editors kept him in check.

    Whatever happened, we have another Michael Hiltzik clone (without the sock puppetry), writing political screeds under the guise of business.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (8a3abc)

  43. I call BS on that article – the author conveniently leaves out a host of pertinent data points – such as:

    It’s not a perfect system — people often end up waiting for nonessential treatment.

    That’s a false statement if I ever heard one – there are thousands of Canadian cases in which critical care patients either never received their treatments in a timely manner, or died waiting for them in the first place. Just try to get a CT – scan when you need it immediately – whoops, your local hospital doesn’t have one? Sorry, you’ll have to go either across the border or to a major medical center in a large city, which can be hundreds of miles away. Then after you get there, you’re going to wait a long time before you’re even admitted. Someone should ask Liam Neeson what he thinks about the awesome Canadian Healthcare system, particularly in the arena of critical care.

    But it won’t leave you destitute if things go bad.

    Yeah, and you also could be dead as another possible option.

    Basically, you’re covered. For everything.

    But in most cases you won’t receive treatment when you really need it, which in most cases is immediately.

    In Yount’s case, that ended when she moved to San Marcos in northern San Diego County a year ago to be with her fiance. They were married last July.

    Here we go with his big lede meme – the evil and cruel US, compared with the unicorn and fairy dust Canadian plan, where everyone is always admitted, never are denied treatment, and never have to pay for anything at all. And never mind the onerous Canadian tax, as well as the ridiculous CST that everyone must pay on every consumer goods purchase, which he conveniently fails to mention at all in this story.

    She then tried to obtain health coverage under the U.S. system. Her American husband works as a software engineer on a contract basis and doesn’t have employer-provided coverage.

    But she could have easily gone to a county hospital in San Diego, yes? Or do they not have any public hospitals there? Bradley, you better get on this story ASAP, it’s a hot one!

    Before applying to Anthem, Yount applied for an individual policy offered by Aetna Inc. She received a letter a couple of months ago informing her that her application had been rejected.

    Which still does nothing to negate her treatment at a public hospital, paid for by the US taxpayers.

    Thanks for the link – I’ve lost a few IQ points just for having to read it.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  44. Steverino

    I didn’t post spam or trolling comments. I’m asking if readers have an opinion on a LAT writer, on a blog that occasionally questions LAT columns and reports. I merely asked for others’ opinion on a another columnist, perhaps to find if he committed the kind of errors found in Hiltzick’s column. Different issue by a different writer, but in the context of this entry
    discussing the LAT writers, it’s certainly not “way off topic”.

    Healthcare is “my” issue that I can only raise in my own private blog? And here I thought healthcare merited serious debate among civilzed people, with some different perspectives to be gained. Whew!

    lee (86706b)

  45. And not your only issue, apparently…

    carlitos (be9241)

  46. Your article has been dissected and duly commented upon, Lee – what else would you like? Freshen your drink? Fluff your pillow? Some evening entertainment, perhaps?

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  47. I guess I shouldn’t help contribute to Lee’s thread hijacking, but to amplify Dmac’s comprehensive comment at 3:09 pm, the most insightful statement about the Canadian health care system was made by a (Canadian) judge who ruled that “access to a waiting list is not the same as access to health care.”

    JVW (fdc303)

  48. I didn’t post spam or trolling comments. I’m asking if readers have an opinion on a LAT writer, on a blog that occasionally questions LAT columns and reports

    I didn’t say you posted spam or were trolling, so stop knocking down straw men.

    The point to this post was Patterico’s letter regarding Michael Hiltzik’s column. You brought in some other column about a completely different topic and written by some other author. Yes, Lee, that’s the very definition of “off-topic”.

    If you’re so bent on people discussing what YOU think is important, start your own damned blog and stop hijacking threads here.

    Steverino (69d941)

  49. Thanks PA and nk,
    We are not the ones doing the bribery, but index of suspicion is rising over being on the short end…

    Mike K., my hat to you sir. More testosterone and stamina than I.
    I thought about Gen. Surgery a bit in medical school, but when I learned the surgical intern on call for the transplant service was in-house for a month straight… I’m sure they must have slept more than on a typical service, but still…

    Don’t remember the name, but I heard an interview with a doc who is in charge of a private PPO in the US that is set up for Canadians that want to come to the US if they need specialist care.

    The malpractice laws in Canada must be very different. Failure to diagnose a serious illness in a timely manner in the US is a lost malpractice case.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  50. Dmac,
    Or do they not have any public hospitals there? Bradley, you better get on this story ASAP, it’s a hot one!

    I wonder if Yount has considered getting care at one of San Diego’s local community clinics? They have an excellent reputation for quality care at an affordable price.

    Or is that beneath her?

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R., (8a3abc)

  51. Hiltzik has now posted a brief correction in the middle of his column. It says:

    FOR THE RECORD: Michael Hiltzik’s Tuesday column on the California budget cited an incorrect estimate of 30% for state population growth from 1998 through 2009. The correct figure, based on population estimates from the state Department of Finance, is about 15%. But the finding by the legislative analyst’s office that the state budget remained in line with population growth and inflation during that period, on which the column was based, relied on the correct multiplier of population growth.

    And what is this “correct multiplier?”

    The whole point of his column was 30 percent population growth plus 50 percent inflation = 80 percent, which is in line with the 77 percent increase in the budget he claimed over the past decade.

    That was the elegant bit of math that launched his column into the viral stream. It’s all over Facebook.

    So now it turns out that the 30 percent is actually 15 percent with a multiplier that he doesn’t explain, merely insists is “correct?”

    The inflation figure is, to me, the most amusing part of his argument. It’s based not on the CPI (35 percent) but on increases in the cost of state and local government, including employee salaries (50 percent). Given the bloat in public-sector salaries and benefits is a nationwide phenomenon, this part of his argument is perfectly circular. Note, in his column he calls them “educated workers,” as if their college degrees and general brilliance were responsible for the wage inflation, not politics.

    Hiltzik needs to, at a minimum, explain the “correct multiplier.”

    Vail Beach (177d02)

  52. John and Ken were all over Hiltzik again today as I drove up to Newport. The guy who wrote the letter to Hiltzik that he quoted is one of their listeners and he was on too. The basic point is that the Paul Gann Prop 4 established a state spending cap that was based on population and inflation. If that had not been overturned on two subsequent liar propositions, we would have a $15 billion surplus.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  53. Vail Beach – Exactly. Using the CPI exposes that we have been grossly overspending for public sector goods and services, which Hiltzik tries to hide by using a preinflated public sector CPI index. Perfectly circular reasoning indeed.

    daleyrocks (5d22c0)

  54. Yes, Mike K, had the Gann initiative not been repealed, we would probably be okay. We were hoodwinked by cries of “cuts in education” I’ll bet. Of course we know now (see #37) that means cuts in increases, not cuts in spending.

    Here’s some nostalgia–remember when the lottery was going to fully fund education for ever and ever?

    Patricia (2183bb)

  55. I would laugh at California’s misfortune but I live in Chicago and pay 10.25% sales tax. At least the socialists in the EU get “free” health care with rates like this. All I get is nice wrought-iron planters in the median.

    carlitos (7d2345)

  56. Especially, Patricia, since the problem with California education has nothing to do with not spending enough.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  57. All I get is nice wrought-iron planters in the median.

    The median is the message.

    Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. (0ea407)

  58. The Hiltzik “Correction” states in part, “…FOR THE RECORD: Michael Hiltzik’s Tuesday column on the California budget cited an incorrect estimate of 30% for state population growth from 1998 through 2009.”

    The column was May 29, 2009, THURSDAY (not Tuesday). Brutal, when the LAT “Correction” needs a correction.

    Times Disliker (6099e3)

  59. Bradley, very funny.

    carlitos (7d2345)

  60. Giving Hiltzik the benefit of the doubt, it’s possible he counted all of Glenn Greenwald’s sock puppet aliases, which would perfectly explain the difference.

    ras (20bd5b)

  61. In his May 28 column, Michael Hiltzik writes that, between 1998 and today, California’s population has increased 30%.

    Beyond just the foolishness of that particular column in question, it’s totally laughable that the author of the article — in light of, among other things, his history of juvenile sock puppetry — occupies a rather prominent position at the LA Times. Then again, a person as flaky and unreliable as Hiltzik does seem to make a fitting passenger, if you will, on the “SS Titanic,” otherwise known as the plight of the newspaper in today’s era.

    I think the following observation, expressed by former LAPD chief Daryl Gates, says it all. Not so much because it’s coming from a conservative—after all, people of the right griping about the MSM is par for the course. What, in fact, is so telling is that a person old enough to be from the age-of-the-newspaper generation, and who is astute enough to have appreciated a business entity’s former stature (or prestige, if you will), is now shedding tears for that particular entity (ie, the LA Times).

    Los Angeles Times, May 23, 2009:

    Q: Do you still subscribe?

    A: Oh, yeah. There were great people [at The Times] like our cartoonist, [Paul] Conrad. He and I didn’t agree on anything, but we went to baseball games together. This was a world-class newspaper, and I see it now and it’s just very sad. But I get it, and I read it every day.

    Mark (411533)

  62. New post on the correction here.

    Patterico (cc3b34)

  63. Here’s some nostalgia–remember when the lottery was going to fully fund education for ever and ever?

    Not only were we fed that same bullcrap here in IL, but we went one even farther. We were sold the bill of goods that our toll roads were going to be bought and paid for completely after 20 years (circa 1970). Funny thing, though – not only are we still paying the fees every time we use them, they’ve gone up over 30% in the last 5 years. Awesome!

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  64. Dmac, I remember when the Illinois Toll Road was being planned. The story then was that it meandered all over northwest Illinois so it passed through every piece of land owned by a politician in the state.

    We actually have a bridge in San Pedro that was paid for with tolls and, about ten years ago, the toll booths were dismantled and it has been free since. Every time I drive over it, and I go over it on the way to my boat, I wonder how that was allowed to happen. If Arnold hears the story, I expect the toll booth will reopen.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  65. Mike, Daley and the other local pols here are furiously buying up most of the prime property just south of the Loop, in anticipation of making an enormous killing when the Olympics are awarded to Chicago. The fact that Obama made a trip to lobby personally for Chicago was unprecedented for a POTUS, so maybe they all know that the fix is in. But I would love for them to have it blow up in all of their crooked faces.

    BTW, along with our idiot replacement Senator exposed for actually being a bigger hack than previously thought possible, now another Aderman’s been indicted by Fitzgerald. That makes a grand total of…31 Aldercreatures to be indicted over the past 30 years. Chicago’s never the Second City when it comes to corruption – yeah, team!

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  66. The Coronado Bridge, which was recently Carlito certified as ugly, had the toll booths closed when it was paid off some time ago. I don’t get down there much, so they may have reinstituted the tolls for some extra cash. Bradley would likely know. But it does happen.
    Dmac, on Hulu I saw a History show about the 60 miles of underground tunnels that used to be Chicago gangsters way of storing and transporting booze during Prohibition, along with some other illicit activities. I was not surprised when they pointed out that the tunnels were originally planned and built by earlier less than scrupulous political honchos.


    The median is the message.

    Comment by Brother Bradley J. Fikes, C.O.R. — 5/29/2009 @ 8:41 pm

    Well, I for one certainly appreciated that. Some might call it pedestrian, in the mode of average criticism, but I think it drives home a great point and gets you bogus bonus street cred to boot. [Cathy S probably is groaning somewhere above. I’m sure we were nuisances to her, as we are still here.]

    allan (7b32b2)

  67. I’d give anything to be a nuisance to her one more time, Allan.

    Dmac (1ddf7e)

  68. […] over 10 years. He only overstated it by 100%. Close enough for L.A. Times work? Surprisingly, no. I complained, and the paper issued a correction. The correction was incorrect and misleading — i.e. par […]

    Patterico's Pontifications » Patterico’s Los Angeles Dog Trainer Year in Review 2009 (e4ab32)

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