“Subsidizing the Rich and a Free Market are Not the Same Thing”

Subsidizing the Rich and a Free Market are Not the Same Thing | TPMCafe:

There is a conventional way of framing policy debates in which conservatives want to leave things to the market while liberals/progressives want to have the government intervene to have better outcomes. This framing has the right arguing for the seemingly natural outcomes of market interaction and the virtue of the rugged individual. It puts the left on the side of meddling government bureaucrats.

Needless to say, most people tend to prefer to leave things alone than to trust the competence and goodwill of the government, so this framing works hugely to the advantage of the right. However this framing also has nothing to do with reality. The right has every bit as much interest in government intervention as the left. The difference is that the right wants the government to intervene to redistribute income upward. And of course the right is smart enough to try to hide their role for government as just the natural working of the market.

MAN that sums it up well. The article goes on to show the New York Times egregiously engaged in this kind of distortion.

CNN vs. Michael Moore vs. CNN vs. Michael Moore

OK, as I understand it, this is what happened.

CNN’s coverage of Michael Moore’s SiCKO has been dismissive, with talking medical head Sanjay Gupta accusing Moore of “fudging the facts,” and challenging his statistics.

Moore’s response has been angry, defying them to put up or shut up and prove him wrong, and pointing out that his statistics were backed up.

CNN swiped back, sometimes saying that they weren’t really disagreeing with him and therefore he was “creating controversy where none existed,” sometimes saying that while his statistics were backed up by reliable sources, sometimes he would choose (real) statistics from two different sources to exaggerate a point — so-and-so spent this much on health care in ’03 according to source X, while such-and-such spent that much on health care in ’05 according to source Y. Instead of comparing both parties’ numbers from ’03 from source X. This gets kind of nitpicky. Moore is correct that his numbers are accurate and backed up by reliable sources. CNN is correct that they are not as accurate as they could be if he was being wholly dispassionate in choosing them. However, CNN admits that even the numbers which are more “correct” by their standards support Moore, just not quite as starkly as the ones he chose to put together. So it kind of ends up being “Moore claims that American health care really really really really sucks compared to the rest of the world, but the accurate numbers show that it only really really really sucks. He fudged the facts!

There are also disagreements such as CNN claiming that Moore makes it look like free universal health care isn’t paid for by anybody, which is simply not true if you watch the film. He talks about the tax burdens that heavily socialized-health-care nations like France suffer under. He finds out that they’re not that outrageously different from ours, considering what they buy the citizens.

Overall CNN’s response, while trying to sound strong and thoughtful, is pretty weak, because the bottom line by their own admission is that they challenged him on virtually nothing of substance, while giving the overall impression in their coverage that he was full of shit.

They try to turn that into a point in their favor (“he is creating controversy where none exists — we did not disagree with him about this”) but to my mind, in saying that they are admitting how completely empty their critique was. It boiled down to some beefs with numbers which formed a tiny, tiny fraction of the content of the movie.

It sounds like the CNN coverage didn’t in fact give the impression that “no controversy existed,” but that the movie was basically bogus. In admitting that “none existed” they are admitting that they themselves (Gupta specifically) were creating an air of controversy over uncontroversial claims.

Point to Moore.

But he’s a dork for leaving himself open to even that much quibbling.

“Change ‘Kick’ to ‘Kiss’ And This One Is Done, Albeit Disturbingly”

On OS X, I use Aquamacs, and so I decided to see what the news was in the Aquamacs world. Were they going to move on to Emacs 22? I went to their home page and imagine my surprise when I see a testimonial from myself on the front page.

“Tried it and my head exploded!” it says, with my name as a link, but strangely the link doesn’t go to the original testimonial, but to the Aquamacs page itself.

testimonial screenshot

I didn’t remember writing a testimonial to the wonderfulness of Aquamacs, and if I had, it didn’t seem like cranial detonation was that much of an encomium.

I did eventually track down the blog post from April 2005 where I said those words. It wasn’t precisely a testimonial…

Just noticed AquaMacs, which is similar but “enhanced” to make it more friendly to general Mac users.

I tried it and my head exploded, because they remapped old-fashioned keys I use constantly (control-v to mean ’scroll down a screen’). It may be better for new users but it was not good for me. Oh, and the proportionally spaced font — very pretty, but useless to me for coding in Perl, which is what I do in Emacs all day. Disaster. And new windows popping up all over the place all the time!

Maybe that’s why they didn’t link to it. :)

Oh, I could have answered my own question by checking “About Aquamacs” in the menu… it’s already on version 22 of Emacs.

Just Saw SiCKO

Holy crap, man. Americans are being played for chumps. Chumps.

It’s like some North-Korea-type freaky little totalitarian world where people are told how much Dear Leader loves them and how good they have it and how terrible it is in the outside world… But they don’t shoot you if you try to leave. Because the Ministry of Propaganda is so good that nobody wants to try to leave. Dear Leader would never lead them astray!

Canada’s not that far from here…