Monday, April 18, 2005

This morning's New York Times Uganda, the economy, Ralph Reed

From this morning's New York Times, Krista e-mails to note Marc Lacey's "Victims of Uganda Atrocities Choose a Path of Forgiveness:"

The International Criminal Court at The Hague represents one way of holding those who commit atrocities responsible for their crimes. The raw eggs, twigs and livestock that the Acholi people of northern Uganda use in their traditional reconciliation ceremonies represent another.
The two very different systems - one based on Western notions of justice, the other on a deep African tradition of forgiveness - are clashing in their response to one of this continent's most bizarre and brutal guerrilla wars, a conflict that has raged for 18 years in the rugged terrain along Uganda's border with Sudan.
The fighting features rebels who call themselves the Lord's Resistance Army and who speak earnestly of the import of the Ten Commandments, but who routinely hack up civilians who get in their way. To add to their numbers, the rebels abduct children in the night, brainwash them in the bush, indoctrinate them by forcing them to kill, and then turn them - 20,000 over the last two decades - into the next wave of ferocious fighters seeking to topple the government. Girls as young as 12 are assigned as rebel commanders' wives. Anyone who does not toe the line is brutally killed.
The international court, invited to investigate the war by President Yoweri Museveni, has announced it is close to issuing arrest warrants for rebel leaders including, no doubt, Joseph Kony, the self-styled spiritualist calling the shots. But some war victims are urging the international court to back off. They say the local people will suffer if the rebel command feels cornered. They recommend giving forgiveness more of a chance, using an age-old ceremony involving raw eggs.

Billy e-mails to note Jonathan Fuerbringer's "As Stocks Slide, Investors Hope for Positive Earnings Reports" and to ask why "the paper refuses to track other stories the way they do this? Most of the time, we get a revelation and then silence." From Fuerbringer's article:

After last week's market plunge - when America's three main stock gauges fell more than 3 percent - Wall Street and unusually nervous individual investors are looking to the flood of earnings reports this week to see how optimistic corporate America is in its outlook for the economy.
Almost a third of the companies in the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index and almost half the 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones industrial average are to report earnings for the first three months of the year. But more importantly, many of them will comment on the financial quarters ahead and could either counter or reinforce the current pessimism about the economy.

Billy: Considering the ever tanking economy and the bankruptcy law just passed, I'm wondering what sort of laws Congress had passed prior to the Great Depression and, if any were passed, did Congress reverse them when economic losses were a reality for most Americans?

David D. Kirkpatrick and Philip Shenon have "Ralph Reed's Zeal for Lobbying Is Shaking His Political Faithful:"

In Washington, federal investigations of Mr. Abramoff, a close ally of Tom DeLay, the House majority leader, have revealed that Mr. Abramoff paid Mr. Reed's consulting firm more than $4 million to help organize Christian opposition to Indian casinos in Texas and Louisiana - money that came from other Indians with rival casinos.
Mr. Reed declined to comment for this article; he has said publicly that he did not know that casino owners were paying for his services and that he has never deviated from his moral opposition to gambling. But the episode is a new blemish on the boyish face that once personified the rise of evangelical Christians to political power in America.
Some of Mr. Reed's past patrons - including the Rev. Pat Robertson, the Christian broadcaster who set Mr. Reed on the national stage by hiring him to run the Christian Coalition - say his work with Mr. Abramoff's Indian casino clients raises questions about how he has balanced his personal ambitions with his Christian principles.
"You know that song about the Rhinestone Cowboy, 'There's been a load of compromising on the road to my horizon,' " Mr. Robertson said. "The Bible says you can't serve God and Mammon."

When you wonder how shlock songs linger, look no further than the likes of Pat Roberston. "Rhinestone Cowboy?" On the subject of music, Kat's delayed her latest Kat's Korner but expects that it will be done this evening.

Rebecca has an entry commenting on ad copy passing for journalism in the New York Times Sunday Magazine cover story for April 10, 2005:

the article is headlined 'our ratings, ourselves.' it's by jon gertner and nobody freak if you missed it because i'll give you a basic summary.
to track who's watching what and listening to what better, arbitron is trying an experiment in houston, texas. you basically wear something the size of a beeper and it allows recording of what you watch and listen to. the author notes that a small chip could be implanted on a page that would also, at some point in the future, allow what you read to be monitored - including how long you spend reading it, what pages you turned, etc.
this article runs over six pages of text. triple columns on each page, magazine style of text.
and in all this excess wordage, jon gertner never once raises any issues of privacy concern.
he's doing a great job marketing, but i don't think i'd call this reporting.
it's a puff piece for new technology. i don't see any print ads that are tied in with the article, but why run print ads when the story itself is one long advertisement?
arbitron should be thrilled (nielsen less so) because this is a writer firmly in arbitron's camp.
that arbitron managed to place ad copy in the form of an article in the new york times, lengthy ad copy at that with high gloss photos including 1 that's two pages, is a victory for arbitron.
whomever set us this article should be promoted. tremendous public relations victory.
but it's not a news story because a news story requires something other than 'let's brag about tracking.' the article notes that houston radio stations have been talking into changing their feed so that arbitron could track and that they were talked into doing this at their own expense. the author of this ad copy notes that arbitron basically has some 'way awesome salesmen.'
while i'll hope that arbitron has sales women as well, the fact is they sold to jon gertner as well.
whether he bought it blindly or willingly, i have no idea.

The e-mail address for this site is