Captain Mainline

Friday, January 21, 2005

Echo Chamber proves bias

News can be practically defined as anything fresh that attracts an audience, which explains the why sports becomes lead story when the local team wins a championship.

Al Gore complained of the “echo chamber” of talk radio back in 1999, where pro-GOP stories were pushed up and into the mainstream. He was correct.

If certain popular stories were being filtered from the MSM because of a particular political advantage, would that not prove a bias on the part of those who choose which stories are covered?

Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn’t Gore’s “echo chamber” complaint prove a liberal bias existed in 1999?

Why more terror?

If you were a powerful figure in a large oil rich country with a lot of very poor citizens, how would you stay alive? The poor are angry. Could you create a middle class that would not wrench your wealth and power away from you, and kill you? Maybe you could...

Would the safest route be to focus their attention on external factors, such as Israel, the USA, and the West in general?

Now that there is a TV in every village square and the poor can see how badly their lot really is, and the internet is common enough as well- do you need to step up the “hate someone else” message?

I am not surprised the oil rich encourage hatred of external forces- the other choice is revolution. They are rich but they walk a fine line- someday the revolution will come with its guillotine.

What would you do?

Noonan's Miss

Noonan is the best, in a class of her own. I was quite surprised to read her latest- she missed the point entirely. President Bush is raising the bar.

In the cold war we had good reasons, at times, to support ruthless characters. We had an ultimately ruthless enemy with significant nuclear abilities. But the very nature of terrorism makes it very likely that supporting locally brutal leaders will be strategically unsound.

Yes, we need to create a distance between ourselves and folks like Saudi Arabia’s royalty- even though they have proved to be convenient allies in the region. The direction of society continues to be toward higher expectations. President Bush is signaling our intention to expect more from our associates. In my view, his timing is perfect.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Five Questions

I find political debates by candidates to be frustrating in that they do whatever it takes to stay on message. Regardless of the question the answer seems to be “I am a smart patriot with way better plans than my deranged opponent”. Well, they would be fools to say anything else- but the debates have become little more than a chance for voters to observe the candidates under pressure.

I would like to see each campaign presented with a list of questions to answer, say 5 questions. Potential questions could be submitted to a web service and voted on to get the top 5. The questions can be fully loaded, politically and whatever people want. The candidates would have plenty of time to craft whatever responses they desire, using their advisors and any tools they need.

If the answers fail to address the question it will not be due to time or “message” constraints, and the lack of convenient excuses should yield results that are worth analyzing.

Maybe the League of Women Voters could be hired to supervise the creation of the questions, perhaps inviting opposing bloggers and journalists to formulate the list of questions.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Privatization Lockbox?

In the presidential campaign for 2000 Al Gore talked about creating a virtual lockbox to protect social security revenues from being raided by congress to augment the general fund. Never mind the fact one congress cannot prevent a future congress from undoing such a lockbox, as Gore counted on the MSM to adding this to their big book of ignored problems with the proposals of democratic candidates.

When Bush talked about his plan to privatize part of those very revenues, I wondered then and now why he does not adopt the "lockbox" term. The funds sequestered from the current mechanisms would indeed be protected from the congressional raiders. It is worth noting that even future congresses would have a tough time breaking this lock.

Given the scope of the raiding, social security is a regressive tax that adversely affects the poor in comparison to others. The Democrats ignore this violation of what we presume to be one of their core values perhaps because they do not want anything to distract from their self-proclaimed role as champions of social security.

In terms of the privatization debate, I see low hanging fruit of curbing a regressive tax and protecting social security from congressional raiders by realizing Al Gore was right on one aspect of social security: we need a privatization lockbox.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Printable multi-blog journals per niche?

I would like to see a weekly (or whatever) print magazine made from a simple compilation of blogs. There is more than enough content to create a high quality journal from a coalition of the best. While most of the infatuated community loves the online format just as it is, an additional audience awaits.

The contributors could be paid based on revenues, ensuring a modest profitability.

This weekly print could even be customized for the tastes of individual readers based on topics, authors, and interests. In addition to politics I am sure sports and hobbies could be accommodated- and targeted advertisements based on location and topic could tag along.

Distribution would be by mail and perhaps in airports, waiting rooms, barbershops, etc. and if you can imagine a niche of people waiting for something with similar interests, we can tailor a blog-print to catch their eye.

Anyway, why not leverage all this quality writing?