Bloggers contemplate the Mexican presidential election, avidly follow the hirings and firings at blog empire Gawker Media, and shake their heads at agricultural subsidies.
Indecisión 2006: Left-leaning Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and free-trade advocate Felipe Calderon, the two leading candidates for Mexico's presidency, have both proclaimed victory in Sunday's election. The results won't be in until Wednesday, and the margin will likely be less than 1 percentage point.
On Mexico Today, Ana Maria Salazar Slack, who leads an English-language radio news program broadcast in Mexico, insists that the "big loser" is the PRI party, which ruled Mexico for 75 years until Vicente Fox came to power in 2000. In this election, the PRI came in a distant third. A Publius Pundit contributor, free-trade advocate A.M. Mora y Leon, reports from Tijuana: "[P]eople said the number one issue was personal security, and they believed Felipe Calderon was the man who would be most likely to do something about it. I took a photo of a Calderon campaign poster. It was posted on a house that was literally a cage, it was so covered with security bars."
On I Exist. Aquí. Contigo., a Mexican-American, writes, "Although I have said that AMLO is the 'menos peor' [least bad] candidate, I will still want him to win. … But not because I expect big changes, but because at least the attacks on the poor won't be so brutal. … Only the people, the workers, the campesinos, indigenous peoples, women, gays and lesbians, los de abajo y a la izquierda [those below and on the left], are the only ones that can change Mexico."
On North93, Mexican Mr. L discusses voting for a tiny progressive party and notes, "At this point I'd venture to guess that Calderon is going to take the cake next Wednesday, when the official results will be given, and that the situation in the country will continue more or less the same way it has been for the past six years, with the congress being extremely divided, hand-tying the federal government in many cases."
Expat Mark in Mexico discusses the striking teachers' union in Oaxaca, which abducted Federal Election Instute officials, votes, and police officers, complaining of voting irregularaties. Another expat, a Spanish language student, George Somewhere In… posts pictures of strikers in Oaxaca and gives some background.
"Have we gone from a 50-50 nation to a 50-50 world? What's going on?" asks a bemused liberal Political Animal, Kevin Drum, after pointing to the extremely close U.S., German, and Italian elections of recent years. On TPM Café, liberal Matt Yglesias attempts to answer this question by positing three theories. Coincidence, rising democracy, and an esoteric political science formulation, the median voter theorem.
Stalking Gawker: Jossip.com reported on Sunday that Nick Denton, head of Gawker Media, summarily fired Gawker.com co-editor Jesse Oxfeld on Friday. It also catalogued reports of other hirings and firings and news that two of Denton's 15 sites are up for sale. The New York Times fleshed out the story on Monday. Mediabistro's FishbowlNY points out a "subtle" difference between two drafts of Denton's blog post—one available at his blog and one that FishbowlNY quoted from Rachel Sklar at the Huffington Post—explaining why he did it. *
Deadline Hollywood Daily's Nikki Finke licks her lips: "Lots of nasty details. [Oxfeld's] trying to shop his story before Denton tells the truth. Everyone in Manhattan is thrilled. He was talking about how he's worried everyone is going to come after him. Which they are." After alluding to a dispute with Oxfeld, the L.A.-based blogger continues, "But, Jesse, a word to the wise: don't even think about looking for work here."
In his last post on Gawker, Oxfeld writes, "My year here has been a blast — the most fun I've ever had in a job and, in the last four months, the best traffic the site has ever had….I'd like to say one last thing to Anderson, Maer, Alessandra, Laurel, publicists, Nikki, Philadelphians, Kruc, and everyone else I've mocked from this perch: Denton made me do it."
Read more about the goings on at Gawker Media.
Subsidy cornucopia: Many bloggers are agog at the results of the Washington Post's lengthy investigation into federal agricultural subsidies. Sunday's story found that "the federal government has paid at least $1.3 billion in subsidies for rice and other crops since 2000 to individuals who do no farming at all."
Below the Beltway's Doug Mataconis glosses today's story about the government's loan deficiency program. "From the Post's description, it sounds like something straight out of Staliin's collective farming program….Thanks to the LDP and other programs, farmers grow crops that are eligible for subsidies rather than those that are not, which distorts the influence of supply and demand on that decision."
The Nation's liberal Alexander Cockburn advises the Gates Foundation on how to process Warren Buffett's $31 billion donation: "A modest disbursement by the Gates Foundation--let us say $50,000 for each senator and $20,000 for each rep--would most certainly buy enough votes to end the current government subsidy, $4.5 billion for 2004, to cotton growers. The entire crop that year, the last for which figures are available, was worth $5.9 billion and the subsidy enables US growers to export three-quarters of their harvest and control about 40 percent of world trade, thus destroying the farm economies of countries like Mozambique, Benin and Mali....With overthrow of the cotton subsidy as a pilot program, Gates could launch a wider onslaught on the subsidies doled out to large wheat, rice and corn growers."
And InstaPundit's Glenn Reynolds links to the Nebraska Guitar Militia' song "Farmin' the Government."
Read more about farm subsidies.
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Correction, July 5: The article originally and incorrectly stated that Nick Denton posted two versions of a blog entry explaining recent personnel moves. Denton posted only once; the Huffington Post's "Eat the Press" blog had itself posted a version that it had received the night before. (Return to the corrected sentence.)