Old Media Pulls a Pajamas on The Oregonian

Remember when Jason invited me to fact-check Frontline‘s ass? Turns out we don’t need an anthill to do it. We just need to link to some old media online. The Willamette Week took on The Oregonian‘s series that Frontline repeated, and the bottom line?

In its effort to convince the world of the threats posed by meth, The Oregonian has sacrificed accuracy. According to an analysis of the paper’s reporting, a review of drug-use data and conversations with addiction experts, The Oregonian has relied on bad statistics and a rhetoric of crisis, ultimately misleading its readers into believing they face a far greater scourge than the facts support.

Check out the unverified statistics with no source, the misuse of data, and omissions of facts that would severely undercut the theme of crisis engendered by The Oregonian.

To reply with my own sentence in a style fit for The Oregonian: One reporter in one local paper may have single-handedly diverted national drug policy down a blind alley, leaving real victims suffering in silence.

The Deadline Is Never the Deadline You See, or the Terrorists Will Win

See, the deadlines that are the deadlines are not the deadlines. Those deadlines aren’t the real deadlines, just the deadlines that were given to you. The real deadlines are set by whoever can bug you enough to get their particular work done by their deadline, which they can’t tell you or then the magic would go away and the terrorists would win and there wouldn’t be any more unicorns.

Now, the unicorns live in the time between the real deadline and the deadline you get. Terrorists know this and threaten to expose the real deadlines to people who do the work. But project managers know that they can’t let unicorns die, so they hide the real deadlines as their parents and their parents before them hid deadlines in the dread Forest of Real Deadlines.

Of course, you’re responsible for meeting the real deadline or unicorns will turn into horses, so the poor project manager is left with no other choice but to harangue you and rearrange your schedule five times until you give up and do their task before the deadline they told you. But if you are lazy and believe the deadline they tell you, you’ll create another horse.

So basically, horses only exist because lazy people don’t meet the real deadline. But if you find out the real deadline, the unicorn explodes in an atomic fireball. This happened twice in quick succession in Japan, shaming the Emperor and causing him to capitulate to American project managers.

They learned their lesson well, which is why there are no horses in Japan but lots of horses for gay cowboys to ride in the US. Gay cowboys can’t ride horses in Japan, which makes them very sad, but not as sad as if the unicorns all died. So don’t ask gay cowboys what the real deadlines are. They won’t tell you.

I hope this clears things up.

The First 48 Hours in Seattle

But Did I Sleep Here? Noooo

So the first 48 or so hours in Seattle were split between this hotel and the one I slept in…or tried to sleep in when the Japanese girls next door could be convinced that 3AM was time to stop singing along with crappy Japanese soap operas. This hotel, the Westin, was nicer, but mainly I spent time in various conference rooms listening to panels discussing sustainable nonprofit consulting, how to use blogs in the nonprofit world, or how open APIs are the wave of the future except for Microsoft.

Oh, and trying to be Mr. Shake Hands Man, winning friends and influencing people in hopes of someday liberating them from their grant money. Unfortunately, the friendliest people I met were other consultants attempting to do the same thing. Tricksy! Tricksy!

Nonetheless, I did meet a couple of people and speak a few wise words on blogging, but I think next time to get noticed I’ll have to be on a panel. Even though our company name was on every friggin’ coffee cup in the place, people gave me a blank look when I said who I represented.

There was a brief interregnum in the Space Needle, as Salesforce.com threw a very nice party with a nice amount of booze. I ran into a couple of clients of ours, and met a few more consultants, including a Croat raised in Brazil (I think…one of the South American countries, anyway…I was a couple of Alaskan Ambers into it at this point).

I’ll spare you the work-oriented bits of it and just note that I think I got our money’s worth, or as near as I could come to it without being a natural salesman. That brought me to Friday night where I saw a couple of friends who had moved to Seattle–thus began the brief but intense tourism part of my stay, which shall await the next installment.


I’m taking a break from wandering around downtown Seattle to indulge in coffee and wifi. I have been attending the NTEN conference, which ended yesterday. Last night, I met up with my friends Emily and Stephanie, both of whom I used to work with in DC and both of whom decided to move out here. Emily then took me around the neighborhoods north of downtown. We had lunch overlooking the sound, and then I’ve wandered around some more before deciding to participate in the coffeehouse culture.

I’m adding this to the list of places I could live. No plans to leave DC any time soon, but: mountains – check; culture – check; restaurants – check; not hectic – check. Also, I like places with obscene housing bubbles, though that’s not something I like about them.

Pics and a fuller report to follow early next week after I hook up my camera to my home machine.

Evangelicals Can’t Get Enough Hot Action

Hot legislative action, that is.

Apparently not content to wait for the day when an openly Christian man (because women should stay in the kitchen making babies, which would be unhygenic if you believed in that Satan-inspired germ “theory” of disease) can be elected President, the nation’s evangelicals (read: people so insecure they can’t be Christian if anyone around them deviates in the slightest) demand that the Republicans do more to push their agenda.

Wow, we get a couple of extra stem cell lines and it’s the End Times? What about the delay of Plan B, various wars to ensure the State of Israel fulfills the preconditions for the End of the World as described in Revelations, federal funding for religious organizations, and official support for denying various swaths of science?

To the extent their agenda has failed in the legislative branch when compared to the executive branch, it goes to show how simultaneously corrupting and centralizing our system is. The Republicans are trying to buy a permanent majority with an expansion of government that would make a socialist blush…but that also means the evangelicals, stuck at most at 39% on issues like abortion, won’t get all they want lest it disturb the electoral success of Republicans.

It also means that if we elected a Libertarian government in the next election, you needn’t worry about government being reduced to a tenth of its current size. In fact, I’d be willing to wager that government wouldn’t be cut by a tenth, though it might actually be reduced in any political scenario that sees libertarians becoming popular enough to take over (such a scenario is pretty unlikely, as most people would rather believe that a great bearded man in the sky and a great clean-shaven man in the White House can make everything better for them without effort on their part, as long as neither seriously interfere in their ability to chase venal pleasures). The current political system rewards the buying of votes.

But an awful lot of evangelical votes have been bought, so they should count their filthy lucre and enjoy a nice, warm cup of shut the fudge* up.

*Sanitized for Tony Perkins’s protection.

Markets in Everything,* Web 2.0 Edition

*Blatantly stealing a meme from Tyler Cowen.

I attended the DC2.0 event, a Web 2.0 miniconference in Reston (oh, the mighty whines of those who couldn’t navigate roads not on a grid was euphonious to me). I’m sure I’ll have more to say, but the one application that blew me away was this:

Say you want to do this whole blogging thing, but either a) you don’t have time, or b) you’re just inherently an untalented cretin, but in your defense, you actually are aware of this. Others, like me, produce sophisticated, valuable banter on a regular basis. Demand–Supply–Market. You can join, invite people to supply you with posts, and search for posts to buy with attribution, without attribution, or with exclusivity. Prices are determined by the seller, and the service charges a commission.

I don’t doubt there’s a market for it, and I applaud the guys for finding it and building a medium-slick app to exploit it. But I have to wonder: is technology really a “pain point” (thanks for the new marketroid buzzword) or an excuse for not blogging? Today’s tools are pretty easy, and I have a choice of any number of WYSIKOWYG clients (What You See Is Kind Of What You Get). I think the pain point is trying to do something you have neither the time nor talent to do. If you don’t have time to hone your writing, do you really have time to cull through the vast amount of stuff out there and find quality blog posts to buy and claim as your own?

And if you do, how does this help you? After a while, I figure out that link blogs should tell me who else is worth reading so I can skip the middleman, unless their culling skills are excellent. Sploid is such for me, but they also add value in their writeups. So without clever commentary on the links you provide and some serious thought into which links go into your blog, you don’t have any more compelling content than you did when you posted once a week with something semi-insightful. (Finger pointing at self, here.)

Anyway, it’s an interesting approach, and not badly done, but I doubt it has much of a future. Then again, I hate InstaPundit for much the same reason, so…