Can anyone deny the power of "Ballot Box"? Penal Colony asked this after noticing that Marc Racicot announced that he would stop lobbying two hours after Jacob Weisberg published an article on the subject. Other hot topics were plagiarism, dogs, and violas.
Subject: Free and Sleazy
Re: "Ballot Box: Rascally Marc Racicot"
Date: Thu Jan 10 11:31 a.m. PT
The breakdown of ethics in politics is not done dramatically, with momentous events or legal decisions marking "the day the ethics died." Relationships get incrementally cozier. … Neither party has any interest in investigating ethics violations unless such investigation is likely to result in a conviction for a member of the other party. If you want to see ethical behavior, outlaw campaign contributions and go to a system of public campaign finance. No soft money, no third party campaigns, no "independent" political commercials. Goodbye First Amendment, hello honest politics.
Subject: Lesser of Two Evils?
Re: "The Earthling: Man in the Arab Street"
Date: Wed Jan 9 9:44 a.m. PT
As we go through the sins of the West to discover what "created" all of the hatred against us, we find that we supported crooked, oppressive, terrible regimes who hated us but wished to sell us oil. What was the alternative? Often to support crooked, oppressive, terrible regimes who hated us and did not wish to sell us oil. Many would believe that we forsook a bunch of Jeffersonian democrats for oil and power. Not so.
Subject: The Harder They Fall
Re: "Assessment: The Plagiarist"
Date: Fri Jan 11 12:56 p.m. PT
If context ever worsens the offense, it does so here. [Stephen] Ambrose has done more than most to coat history with a saccharine fairy tale of glory; the fact that he opportunistically and dishonestly stole from other writers to do it just makes that glory seem like a commodity that someone decided to artfully package and sell. What a disservice to the real stories, and to the real people that lived them. If patriotic remembrance is "Ambrose history," which it very much is today, then Ambrose's hypocrisy tars it all. ... What a chump.
Subject: Only Take This Advice
Re: "Moneybox: Wall Street Learns How To Say 'Sell' "
From: Mfbenson, financial analyst
Date: Thu Jan 10 1:34 p.m. PT
Unless an analyst specifically made a recommendation for you, it is practically worthless. Ninety percent of analyst recommendations are not even meant to be followed by the general public, and are meant for institutional investors, especially mutual fund managers … [who] have very little control over the timing of their trades, and instead just have to raise or invest cash at the whims of their investors. … [There are] a hundred other factors that the analyst has no idea about because he doesn't even know you exist. … Think for yourself and don't put me in the driver's seat. Don't worship me when the stock goes up, and don't blame me if you lose your shirt.
Busy Fray of the week was on Moneybox's "A Journalistic Math Problem, Times Two." Rob Walker mentioned articles by John Allen Paulos and Dan Seligman: Both wrote to comment on the article, as did many Fraysters. There was also much debate in the "Dear Prudence" Fray on the question of homosexuals and church: Logical Me summed up some of the issues here, and the debate was (mostly) reasonable and tolerant.
Dog lovers everywhere were horrified by "Kausfiles: Who Killed Clinton's Dog?" and raced to the Fray to tell us so. The Fray had a Buddy conspiracy theory even earlier: Read the Fray Notes at the end of this Chatterbox. And we liked Adam Masin's comment: "If only Buddy had been able to run away from that car as fast as the Bush administration is running away from Enron."
Adam is one of five new stars this week: The others are Fray stalwart Bluto, Michael Ryerson, Raphael (try here for his surprising conclusion on J.K. Rowling's real achievement), and Rachel.
Inter-Department Jealousy: There was some muttering about the number of checkmarked posts on the violas "Culturebox." And a good thing too: Competition, we hope, will keep posting standards high. John McG looks at the whole question of Fray rewards here. And we liked Laertes' description of why he doesn't stick to one Fray. "Anywhere there's an obvious point to be made, a nit to be picked, or a cheap shot to be taken, I'll be there." That's why we like him.