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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Huffington’s Toast - Not Affiliated With Arianna Huffington or The Huffington Post Huffington’s Toast - Not Affiliated With Arianna Huffington or The Huffington Post

Huffington’s Toast - Not Affiliated With Arianna Huffington or The Huffington Post. Far far better than the original. Today, it had:
- Mike Isikoff selling Koran TP on Ebay and later martyring himself by offering to resign due to the (so far) 17 deaths he caused.
- Arianna supposedly had a houseboy, probably illegal Mexican, whom she forced to blog (and have sex?).
- David Rees wants to meet Wonkette for the anal sex she often talks about.
- Kathyrn Ireland wants to get draft beer for her soon-to-be-teen sons so that they don't have to drink out of a can.
- Hunter Thompson blogs from Hell about drugs, etc.


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ARMAVIRUMQUE: Whose side are they on? ARMAVIRUMQUE: Whose side are they on?


Having taken four years of Latin in high school and a couple of years more in college, I couldn't help but check out an article from a site titled armavirumque.

This is one of those things that those of the younger generation will, for the most part, miss. In high school in the 1960s, I was at the end of a long line of those who took Latin. Yes, it is a dead language, except for, of course, its use in the Roman Catholic Church, but they don't pronounce it correctly, plus, I am not RC.

I don't know why I took Latin. Partly, because my parents suggested it, and my mother had taken it. And maybe partly because I always thought that I might want to go to law school - which I ultimately did, many years later. It is dead, and the literature that we read was mostly about two millenia old.

Maybe it is because much of what you read in Latin is poetry, or maybe because it teaches some sort of structure to life, but I don't regret having taken it one bit. Sure, everyone else took a practical, spoken, language instead. But, mostly those were Russian, German, or French, all pretty much useless. A lot took Spanish, but not as many, as it was somehow considered plebian.

In any case, the title to the blog hit a chord with me. Fourth year Latin typically was spent reading Virgil's Aenid. And this is the start: "Arma virumque cano". I sing of arms and men.

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Newsweek Koran article Newsweek Koran article

We all know by now that Newsweek ran a story without any real evidence that the Marines at Gitmo flushed pages of the Koran down the toilet in order to intimidate prisoners. As a result, there was rioting in Afghanistan, etc., and at least 16 people died.

And, of course, there is no doubt that the Newsweek reporting was grossly negligent. Not only was it done on sparse (and ultimately, it turned out, nonexistent) evidence, but the magazine should also have realized the effect that its article would have on the Moslem world.

In other words, Newsweek was both venal and stupid.

However, my view is that if it hadn't been this article, it would have been something. Much of the rest of the world has a love/hate relationship with the United States. This is only natural. Many of us, running from the President down through me, believe this is the greatest country in the world. And we are not afraid to tell everyone that. We are the richest, have by far the most powerful military, and have more effect on the rest of the countries in the world, through our culture and economic power, than any combination of countries in the world today. In other words, we are arrogant, and probably for good reason.

What is tragic is that the people killed in the riots were mostly Moslem, killed by Moslems. This is very much akin to the race riots in this country, where most of the businesses burned during the riots were run by members of the same community doing the burning.

But I see these riots as inevitable. A symptom of bottled up anger, mostly, I suspect, at their position in life. For some, it was made worse by our intervention, as there were inevitabley losers, those who had benefitted from the old regimes.

But as long as those who were ready to riot didn't have a trigger, their anger just simmered. After all, we were, for the most part, doing good. But after awhile, all of our good starts to wear on people, esp. as we sometimes also tend to be somewhat self rightous about it.


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Andrew Sullivan on Abu Ghraib Andrew Sullivan on Abu Ghraib

A recent article in www.AndrewSullivan.com - Daily Dish about Abu Ghraib is of interest today because Dan Rather and company yesterday were apparently getting an award for reporting on the prison scandal. This was, of course, the same crew who tried to perpetuate RaTHerGate, trying to pass off Word 97 or higher documents as having been created thirty five years ago. The Sullivan article was in response to Instapundit.com articles on the current Newsweek scandal.

The absurdity of the Abu Ghraib awards is that it was a non-scandal made into a scandal by the MSM. It concerned less than ten of the 125,000 or so soldiers and marines we had in Iraq at the time - or less than .01%, or less than 1%% (thanks to Eugene Volokh for this nomenclature). In other words, less than de minimis. I also understand that the BG (O-7) in charge of the prison was demoted to COL (O-6) and retired.

And as importantly, the army had been investigating the prison for months at that time. My understanding was that it was already somewhere around the divsion or corp level at that time. And since then, most of the perps have gone to prison for rather long prison terms as a result. The only exception being one of the ringleaders, PFC England, whose plea deal was recently rejected by the court.

We have no reason to believe that absent the MSM "discovering" this scandal, that these people would not have been caught and punished. At best, the MSM involvement may, just may, have resulted in increased prison time. But, they were already on their way to jail at the time.


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Friday, May 13, 2005

Domain name theft Domain name theft

In my previous post, I talked about getting a Web site up and operational for my patent practice. One of the requirements is that I need a domain name for the site.

And there, I ran into a problem. I had registered a domain name in the early 1990s, and used it for more than a decade for mostly email. But 2 1/2 years ago, I let my registration lapse. About six months later, I tried to reregister it, and someone else had grabbed it.

A year ago, Register.com (where I already had an account and a couple of other domain names) showed this domain name as available. So, I contracted with them to move it to their registry. Turns out, it was still tied up, and they just didn't have a full domain name registry. (The best still is apparently networksolutions. com, which was the original domain name registry).

So, yesterday, I typed in that domain name, and was directed to a site that tried to sell it to me. Turns out that this company in the U.K. grabbed it, and is trying to sell it to someone. They have, of course, never done anything with it for the last two years.

What it looks like is happening is that there are companies that sit around and look for expiring domain names. They grab them, and try to resell them.

The problem is that this is all a bit dishonest, or at least disreputable. They do not have a bona fide intent to use the domain, but rather are just trying to resell to me what should be mine.

I probably should have just paid them their $100, but pride got in the way, and I have acquired a different domain name (softpats.com).


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Getting ready for putting up a Web site Getting ready for putting up a Web site

I have spent the last couple of months learning HMTL, etc. so that I could build my own Web site. To some extent, that seems silly, with today's technology, as there are professionals who do this, and presumably produce much more professional looking sites.

But I did it myself for two reasons. First, it is something good for me to know as a patent attorney who sometimes deals in this area. Indeed, looking back to a couple of applications that I have written in the area in the past, I can think of areas where I would have done a slightly better job, understanding the technology better.

And secondly, I am a programmer at heart. HTML is a language, of sorts. And it uses Javascript, which is even more of one - being a hybrid of C and Java, which itself is descended through C++ from C.

And, in the end, a third reason, in that I have become somewhat of a purist. My site is going to be rather stark, for wont of a better word. I figure that my average inventor, typically an engineer, will be more impressed with its utility, where you can find exactly what you want quickly, than he would be wading through sliding graphics and the like.

Also, after learning to code in HTML and Javascript, I realized that most Web sites today are written very messily. The code itself is very ineligent. Also, I have implemented some features that I hope to patent some day.

So, I have an operational Web site on my desktop, and all it takes is to put it up for the world to see. Originally, I was planning on hosting the web site myself. For that, I had acquired a static IP address for my DSL line, gotten a router to work with my modem (non trivial, as it turned out - I now am running with two hardware firewalls/NAT), and had put up Apache on my desktop.

I had also bought another desktop machine, and am in the process of building it up. But then, I realized that I really needed a totally dedicated machine. So, I was going to use an older 125 mhz desktop that I had bought from my old employer, Bull, for my daughter. It was a ZDS (Zenith) system, as Bull had owned that company at some point. In any case, I have been trying to tracking down drivers for it, as I had had to replace the hard drive a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, this looks like a dead end.

But then, I asked my ISP yesterday how much it would cost for them to host the web site for me. $9.95 a month, for 5 gb or so (and I am currently under 1 mb) of disk space. For that price, it is silly for me to go through all the hassle. They run their hosted Web sites off of RAID disks and have hot backups. In the end, it was a simple decision - $9.95 for removing a lot of headaches.

I do intend to ultimately put up a noncommercial site or two myself. Probably one for the Geriatric Tele[mark] Society, of which I am a charter member. And maybe one for my daughter. I had put one up hosted by Register.com for my family, but both my father and my ex complained about disclosing personal information. So I am letting that expire.

I did have to come up with a registerable domain name (I picked softpats.com, but I am sure I will add another one or two as I get inspired). And that is that. The ISP is doing everything else. In a week or less, I should be able to ftp the files to the ISP's site, and I will be live.

Luckily though, I asked about any restrictions. How does their server know what my home page is named? (answer: index.html in the root directory). Also, I found out that I needed to change all my file names to lower case and remove all the periods, except for the extensions (like .htm), since it would be hosted on a UNIX system. So, today, I should finish that up.


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Friday, May 06, 2005

What does it mean to be an attorney? What does it mean to be an attorney?

Law school is an adventure. A learning experience. For most, they start it, and flounder around for awhile trying to figure out what the professors are looking for. And all of a sudden, for most of us, it is obvious. And that, to some extent, is when you start thinking like a lawyer.

Indeed, that is one reason that law school is somewhat different than other graduate schools. For example, graduate engineering school is little different from undergraduate engineering school, except that things are taught a little bit more theoretically, a little more abstractly. And engineering school only really differs from physics, math, and chemistry, in that practical applications are stressed over the theoretical. Thus, in a math class, you may learn to differentiate an equation, and after you can do it relatively well, you go on. In engineering school, you do it over and over again until you can do it in your sleep. In other words, it is merely a matter of degree.

But law school is different. It teaches you a different way of thinking. The classic movie on teaching this is "Paper Chase". But there are some surprisingly accurate scenes in "Legally Blonde" (most of it, of course, is pure gobbledygook).

So, how is this way of thinking different? It is a little hard for me to put this in words, especially since, being raised by an attorney, I have always thought this way somewhat. But here goes.

First, you learn to be objective and dispassionate. To a great extent, this means separating yourself from a conflict, or indeed, anything, and trying to look at it without emotion. For one thing, you have to be able to put yourself in your opponent's shoes so as to anticipate what he is going to do and argue.

Second, you have to be analytical. Law schools mostly use a peculiar type of test, called "issue spotting", where you are given a fact pattern, such as: "X and Y entered into a contract to do Z. X did this, and Y did that. What is the outcome?" Obviously a lot more complex than that, often a page or so in length. Much of what is in one of these problems is superfluous. Maybe. One popular way that law students are taught to answer this sort of question is called IRAC: Issue, Rule, Analysis, and Conclusion. You cruise through these fact patterns looking for relevant issues (if you spot irrelevant issues, typically they are either ignored or count against you in grading, depending on the Prof. - but in any case, discussing them waste valuable time). You then cite the proper rule, analyze the facts in view of that rule, and then come to a conclusion. This is repeated for as many issues as you can spot. If you are good, you can also spot the subrules and apply them, ad nauseum.

Third, combined with analysis is reading comprehension. In particular, in law school you read and analyze hundreds of cases. Indeed, when I was in law school, my classes would average 100 pages of court cases a week, each. For one thing, this is where you learn those rules you use in the analysis above. But it is not like engineering, where you are given the equation. Rather, you learn to read cases objectively and try to develop the relevant rules from this. Cases tend to have five elements: facts, rules, analysis, conclusions, and dicta. The conclusions are the meat of the cases, forming the rules for other cases. Orbiter Dicta is stuff that is in there that is really (mostly) irrelevant, though it often appears to be relevant. It may look like a new rule, but if it is not necessary for the ultimate finding in the case, for one party or the other, it is dicta, and thus irrelevant. But in real life, you find that in a surprising amount of the time, some dicta turns out to be precedential, though it isn't supposed to be. But once another court has taken dicta as precedential as part of the rules it uses, then it becomes such for other cases. Luckily, this is a portion of real life law that is not covered heavily in law school, with most of the lines of cases used for teaching being fairly clean.

Note, BTW, that in real life in law school, many, if not most, law school students quickly discover study aids that parallel case books summarizing cases, and other study aids that outline the law, putting it in a form that is much easier to understand. And these follow you into practice, with numerous practice aids doing similar. That said, if you can't do the underlying analysis and critical reading, you will never do well in the practice of law (or, typically in law school).

Next, you learn to think literally. My daughter often tells me to "wait a second". I do, and then tell her that her time is up. She meant wait a minute or two, but that is not what she said. Similarly, she often asks if she can do something. I retort, "I don't know, can you?", meaning is she capable of doing such. Then she corrects herself and asks if she may do it. As this is a learning experience for her, and I am an indulgent dad, I almost always say yes. I often wondered where I got this, until recently I told my father my engine was missing. He asked me if I had found it yet. And opined that engines are usually too big to lose, and are typically bolted down into a car. Obviously, I meant that the engine was running rough, probably missing spark to one cylinder. But that is not what I said.

I know this all sounds silly. And it is great fun for us, in a family of lawyers. But it has a serious side. Precise meanings are important in the practice of law. You see this in contracts. You see this in statutes.

Here is an example. I entered into a lease/purchase agreement for selling my house. The original contract offer had a section where the rent would go into escrow to pay all PITI on the loans outstanding. We countered that it would cover the 1st and 2nd mortgages. The tenant/buyer later claimed that the nondisclosure of a 3rd was misrepresentation, because only the 1st and 2nd were mentioned. It of course wasn't, because all that I had said was that the rent was to cover the 1st and 2nd, not that there weren't more liens.

One corollary here is that this literalness helps in seeing the gray areas. These are most often places where assumptions mask ambiguity that often results from literal interpretation of language.

This brings me to the last item, which is that attorneys are paranoid. Not in the way that a pot smoker gets - that everyone is out to get them, but rather in seeing all those gray areas of ambiguity that most people, esp. non attorneys, miss.

I have always done well in this area, as it parallels to some extent computer programming, which I did for 15 years. There, you try to anticipate what might go wrong. The practice of law is very similar. You try to anticipate what might go wrong, and what the other side might do with certain language, and endeavor to fix it. You always have to figure that the other side is sneaker than you are. Also, that Murphy usually sticks his head in there somehow (i.e., if it can go wrong, it will). The better your imagination here, the better you do.

Probably not surprisingly, after all this, if you are an attorney, it is usually fairly easy to figure out whether or not someone else is an attorney. If someone thinks pretty much the same way you do about many of life's situations, then it is likely that either he is an attorney, or has spent a lot of time around us.

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Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Word Unheard: NY Times Publishes Classified Military Report The Word Unheard: NY Times Publishes Classified Military Report

The Word Unheard: NY Times Publishes Classified Military Report titled "Pentagon Says Iraq Effort Limits Ability to Fight Other Conflicts" My view is that this should be investigated agressively, with, hopefully some hefty fines and jail time for those involved.

First, let's start with what we know from the NYT article. Apparently, General Myers wrote (or more likely distributed) a classified memo to Congress that pointed out that our military is stretched from its work in Iraq and Afghanistan. This was apparently a more pessimestic view than given by the President. The NYT was pointing out this discrepancy.
The officer, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, informed Congress in a classified report that major combat operations elsewhere in the world, should they be necessary, would probably be more protracted and produce higher American and foreign civilian casualties because of the commitment of Pentagon resources in Iraq and Afghanistan.

General Myers cited reduced stockpiles of precision weapons, which were depleted during the invasion of Iraq, and the stress on reserve units, which fulfill the bulk of combat support duties in Iraq, as among the factors that would limit the Pentagon's ability to prevail as quickly as war planners once predicted in other potential conflicts.

The report this year acknowledges that the nation's armed forces are operating under a higher level of risk than cited in the report last year, said Pentagon and military officials who have read both documents.

The general's report appears to provide a slightly different assessment than President Bush offered at a news conference last week when he said the number of American troops in Iraq would not limit Washington military options elsewhere.

Mr. Bush said he had asked General Myers, "Do you feel that we've limited our capacity to deal with other problems because of our troop levels in Iraq?" "And the answer is no, he didn't feel a bit limited," Mr. Bush said. "It feels like we got plenty of capacity."

In other words, the NYT caught the President in a little lie. Or did it? Obviously, this is a question of degree, but arguably, the President made a more optimistic portrayal of our military's preparedness to fight other wars than was found in this, presumably more candid, but classified, portrayal.

The reason that I think that jail time and hefty fines are more than likely appropriate here is that this is, in my estimation, a question of national security.

We have a long history of our government issuing what can best be described as White Lies for strategic reasons. Probably the best know was the huge deception we played on the Germans on the run-up to our D-Day invasion of Normandy. It went so far that Gen. Patton was running a dummy army, complete with fake tanks, etc. In short, we convinced the Germans that the invasion would be at Calais, instead of Normandy. Not only were they Germans somewhat unprepared when we did land at the later, but Hitler was apparently so convinced that Normandy was a feint, that he refused to release the Panzer reserves until too late. This "lie" ended up saving numerous American (and other Allied) lives, and probably shortened the war a bit.

Was it a deception? Yes. A lie? Maybe. Was it justified? Definitely.

This brings us to the present situation. The NYT seems to be implying that President Bush was lying to the American people about our ability to fight another war right now. But the reality is that he was probably attempting to mislead our enemies into believing that we are better able to respond to any threats that they might pose to us than we probably really are. And why would he do that? Obviously, because his administration believed that that minor deception might just reduce the chance that one of the remaining Axis-of-Evil countries might just call our bluff right now - esp. since both are verging on joining the Nuclear Club.

So, by exposing our bluff, the NYT has effectively reduced our leverage on these two rogue states, even if by a small amount, and thus probably increased the chances that one or both of them is going to call our bluff, and, in particular, go nuclear.

I have said elsewhere that a newspaper runs a risk when it knowingly discloses classified information. (And it was "knowingly" as they pointed out that the memo was classified). If the public comes to believe that it was jusified, such as in the case of the Pentagon Papers, then it will become politically difficult to prosecute either the newspaper or the person disclosing the classified information to the newspaper. But if they can't convince the public that the importance of what they disclosed outweighs the fact that they broke the law, then they should, and presumably will, face the legal consequences of their actions.

The person who gave the NYT the classified document is, hopefully, in even more jepardy than the newspaper is. He deserves to go to jail for this. He committed a crime, and should pay for it.

Obviously, in most such cases, the person disclosing classified information to a newspaper has an axe to grind. Most likely, he is a fellow traveler, not happy with the Administration that he works for. But that is no excuse. Dr. Rice was tasked to the State Department to clean up just this sort of thing - clamping down (and hopefully firing or prosecuting) those who disclose information to discredit the Administration. In this case, the information was classified, its release possibly jepardized the United States, and the release was a crime.


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Weirdness of the ski business Weirdness of the ski business

This week I dropped by the employee center at Keystone ski area to pick up a bunch of "Lords of Dog Town" T-shirts. Apparently, Vail Resorts, which owns Keystone, had something to do with making the movie, and ended up with a bunch of promo T-shirts. What I suspected was right - they were out of boys' sizes, but still had girls' sizes, which is why I stopped by. My daughter is going to give them to her girlfriends for an end of school year present.

But what was interesting is that of the two runs visible that drop into the base area there, one of them, Go-Devil still has solid snow on it all the way to the bottom. In other words, it is still entirely skiable, or would be if the area were open. It isn't, and hasn't been for a month now.

Keystone has been closed for a month now. Indeed, this year it closed a week before Vail did, despite having a base almost 1,500 feet higher. I worked up until about the end, and the area easily had another couple of weeks of good skiing left - before either the snow melted or it became too slushy to ski easily.

Yet, at the beginning of the season, they struggle to get one run open from the top of the first left to the bottom - well, really, given how the first mountain is organized, from the top, since they need to have that open to run the mountain. Such niceties as ski patrol, etc.

My brother terms this at the areas that open early, as they all try to, the "Ribbon of Death". At Keystone and the other front range Colorado resorts, you will typically have that one run open, top to bottom, and that is it. They will try to get it open as soon as possible, possibly as early as Halloween. And when they open it, it will be solid people, top to bottom. Practically unskiable.

The last two seasons I haven't gotten onto skis until Mountain Watch has gotten going, and that is usually about the first week or so of December. By then, most of the front mountain is open. But three seasons ago, I started at Copper Mountain. About three weeks into the season there, I went to opening day at Keystone. It was so bad, that after one run, top to bottom, I packed up my skis and went to Copper for the rest of the day.

So, why open so early when the skiing is marginal at best. Probably several steps below that. But close early enough that the mountain is probably skiable for maybe another month?

The answer is that when it gets warm in Denver, most of the front range skiers go on to do something else. Clear Creek is full every afternoon with kayaks. The bike paths are spilling over with bikes, skaters, etc. You get the picture.

Those front range skiers who still want to ski pretty much mostly move up to A-Basin at the first of April. It is a tradition dating back at least since I was in high school in the later 1960s. People fight for beach side property (i.e. a parking space up against the slope) where they can stake their dogs (leash law strictly enforced), set up their grill, law chairs, cooler, etc. You get the picture. Indeed, Monday, as I drove over Loveland Pass, after picking up those T-shirts, I noticed that the parking lots at A-Basin were absolutely full. This is a weekday in May. Making things worse, all those Buddy Passes and Colorado Passes that allowed all those front range skiers to ski Keystone and Breckenridge (and occasionally Vail and Beaver Creek) this year work at A-Basin. This is a holdover from before Vail bought Keystone and Breck, and the later two owned A-Basin. They were forced to sell of one area for antitrust reasons to complete the merger.

On the other hand, in the fall, everyone in the front range has had all summer to think about skiing. The yearly Warren Miller movie has been through. The ski swaps are pretty much over. Ditto for Sniagrab (Bargains spelled backwards) - the yearly Gart Brother's super ski sale. So, everyone is ready to ski. Really ready. Ready enough to put life and limb at serious threat of injury just to get on their skis or boards.

I should add that one more reason that Keystone closes early is that it is superbly poorly designed, esp. for late season skiing. It is really a series of three mountains, wherein you have to traverse the first to get to the second, and that one to get to the third, which is apparently where the best late season snow is. But this means running a minimum of four lifts, probably six, and three ski patrol locations, etc., all for a minimal number of paying customers.

So, that most of why Keystone opens every year before it should, and closes well before the snow conditions make it.


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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Reason: Social Security's Progressive Paradox: Retirement 'insurance' as a Rube Goldberg machine Reason: Social Security's Progressive Paradox: Retirement 'insurance' as a Rube Goldberg machine

Interesting article today in Reason Magazine by Julian Sanchez titled 'Social Security's Progressive Paradox Retirement "insurance" as a Rube Goldberg machine'.

It points out that the Social Security system today is essentially retained as a forced retirement program so as to cover up the much smaller transfer payments to the indigent. Most of the money moves from the middle class back to the middle class. But a small percentage of it is welfare, and that portion is what is being hidden, due to the vulnerability of welfare in our society. In other words, the welfare portion is unlikely to stand the test of time all on its own, so it is hidden within the much larger transfer payments.

I should add the obvious corollary of this, which is that the more that the tie between what people pay in is cut from what they get out, such as by, for example, income limiting benefits, and/or increasing taxes, the less the welfare portion of the program is hidden, and the less public support the program has.


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Monday, May 02, 2005

Can the Media be so Liberal? The Economics of Media Bias Can the Media be so Liberal? The Economics of Media Bias

Cato has an interesting article today titled "Can the Media be so Liberal? The Economics of Media Bias". It asks how can profit maximizing companies show (liberal) bias, while still ostensibly persuing profits?

The first thing to note is that the MainStream Media (MSM) is a collection of oligopolies. In the case of newspapers, most large cities today have one. I should note that Denver still has two (with a joint operating agreement, but still..) and it shows. This is typically a function of economics of scale. Broadcast TV has three statisions, with potentially a fourth, PBS. Some of you will remember Red Lion and the FCC Scarcity Doctrine - which, BTW, was the primary basis for the Fairness Doctrine. Magazines however do not thave these barriers to entry, and, not surprisingly, show a much more varied political outlook.

The problem, of course, with an oligopoly, or worse, a monopoly, is that it is comfortable. Competitive pressures are, to a very great extent, reduced.

One of the interesting points in the article somewhat answers the question on why, despite this, it may still be economic to hire and retain biased journalists. First, the author posits that the cost of hiring more liberal reporters, etc. may be lower, due to their apparent preference for changing the world this way. As some wag pointed out, their conservative counterparts are busy trying to run General Motors. Thus, liberal reporters may be willing to take less money.

Secondly, supervision of reporters and the like is hard. Their craft is very subjective. Indeed, to a very great extent, their employer has to trust their judgement in how and what gets reported. The alternative would be unreasonably high suprevision costs. Add to this that in many, if not most, cases, their supervisors are almost as liberal as the reporters are.

One of the points not covered in the article is the idea that the economic emphasis in the broadcast networks is not their news divisions, but rather, their entertainment divisions. They live and die on what their creative talents can bring to the air. News is, to a very great extent, a cost center. This means that the concentration of any owners, or potential owners, on a broadcast network is invariably on the entertainment potential. Losing a news viewer here or there is not that important in the scheme of things, if the CEO of the network makes the right decisions on the entertainment side. Thus, it is not unreasonable, from an economic point of view, if a network CEO pretty much lets his news organization run as it will, even if it loses some viewers because of its (liberal) bias.

I should note that the corrolary of this is that in a situation where ease of entry is relatively lower, but where there is a concentration on the news, as opposed to entertainment, economics has resulted in a more rational division of political product, i.e. cable news. Currently, we have CNN to the left, and Fox somewhat to the right, with (MS)NBC trying to find a viable market niche. I think that you can expand this to Talk Radio, where, with the demise of the "Fairness Doctrine", stations have been free to go wherever they think they can find a market - and, arguably, many have found a market catering to conservatives frustrated by the perceived liberal bias of the MSM.


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