aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Monday, December 10, 2007
NYTimes.com traffic skyrockets after paywall drops
Ever since the NYTimes.com swept away the last remaining boulders of its subscription pay wall (aka Times Select) in mid-September, its traffic has been going through the roof. According to comScore, it gained 7.5 million readers worldwide from the end of August through the end of October (November numbers are not out yet). That is a 64 percent jump (to a total of 19.4 million). Similarly worldwide monthly pageviews surged 52 percent in that time period to 181 million. [...]
To put this in perspective, in the month of October alone, the New York Times added 4.9 million readers on the Web. That is more than double the total readership of CNet’s News.com of 2 million, which sadly seems to be one of the few media sites declining in visitors (from 2.5 million in August).
Via Cory Bergman.
Young: “I don’t really think about words”
Political Insider has the story on how Andy Young’s comments on Obama came to light. They were recorded on Sept. 5, but only “took the Internet by storm” over the weekend.
I was taken by his recollections of Martin Luther King, knowing he was there with King on that fatal day in 1968 in Memphis, knowing he was in Selma when the police turned the dogs and fire hoses on women and children, knowing what he’d seen and been through and fought for.
Earlier in the talk he said that he could get “most anything” through the UN without a Chinese veto because he brought them up to his “house” on the 42nd floor Waldorf Astoria for his mother-in-law’s real southern cooking. And that the Palestinians and Moshe Dyan wanted him to broker piece in the Middle East.
He was clearly enjoying telling his tales, and I enjoyed listening…
“I don’t really think about words. Now Martin was an orator. Martin Luther King thought about words. He was an English major at Morehouse. He had memorized long passages of Shakespeare and W.H. Auden and all the poets. Knew the Bible. Almost had a photographic memory. So for him, the oratory was important. I just never was into it that much.
“I started out very early figuring that I had to say what was in my heart. And I didn’t really worry about how it came out. That’s the reason I get in trouble every now and then. That quite often people will misunderstand or misinterpret what’s in my heart. Because I don’t censor myself.”
His words were a blip in the weekend’s political news, drowned out by The OPRAH WINFREY Show.
Bill Clinton - who really might have been a better president had he waited 8 years - was asked about Young’s comments on The Early Show this morning. Now Bill Clinton, there’s a man with a gift for words:
Mr. Clinton chuckled [said] he and young had “been friends a long time, and you know, my (current) office (being) in Harlem, I’ve always been close to the African-American community. I think we’re trying to build an America where we’re all pulling in the same direction. And you know, Hillary and I have been working on a lot of these issues together that are very important to African-Americans now.”
Later, the former president added, “I think that there are a lot of people across the color line now that want to give all our children a chance and all our people a chance, and that’s the kind of America we’ve got to build.”
Gang-Rape Cover-Up in Iraq. By U.S., Halliburton/KBR
To the sexual atrocities in Iran, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, now we add Iraq. But this time the alleged victim was an American citizen attacked by her contractor coworkers:
A Houston, Texas woman says she was gang-raped by Halliburton/KBR coworkers in Baghdad, and the company and the U.S. government are covering up the incident. [...]
In a lawsuit filed in federal court against Halliburton and its then-subsidiary KBR, [22-year-old Jamie Leigh] Jones says she was held in the shipping container for at least 24 hours without food or water by KBR, which posted armed security guards outside her door, who would not let her leave.
“It felt like prison,” says Jones, who told her story to ABC News as part of an upcoming “20/20” investigation. “I was upset; I was curled up in a ball on the bed; I just could not believe what had happened.”
Finally, Jones says, she convinced a sympathetic guard to loan her a cell phone so she could call her father in Texas.
“I said, ‘Dad, I’ve been raped. I don’t know what to do. I’m in this container, and I’m not able to leave,’” she said. Her father called their congressman, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas.
“We contacted the State Department first,” Poe told ABCNews.com, “and told them of the urgency of rescuing an American citizen”—from her American employer.
Poe says his office contacted the State Department, which quickly dispatched agents from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to Jones’ camp, where they rescued her from the container.
She says an examination by Army doctors showed she had been raped but the rape kit used disappeared after it was handed over to KBR. The perpetrators are unlikely to be brought to justice because contractors in Iraq are beyond the reach of United States law.
Her only recourse is civil court. Except that:
KBR has moved for Jones’ claim to be heard in private arbitration, instead of a public courtroom. It says her employment contract requires it.
In arbitration, there is no public record nor transcript of the proceedings, meaning that Jones’ claims would not be heard before a judge and jury. Rather, a private arbitrator would decide Jones’ case. In recent testimony before Congress, employment lawyer Cathy Ventrell-Monsees said that Halliburton won more than 80 percent of arbitration proceedings brought against it.
It looks like her only real recourse is a media-induced public outcry.
LATER - The blogosphere is doing its part: John Aravosis, Atrios, Steve Benen, Lindsay Beyerstein, Crooks and Liars, Digby, Miss Laura @ DailyKos, Amanda Marcotte, Open Left, Siva Vaidhyanathan, Pam Spaulding, Michael J.W. Stickings, and Wonkette. To name just a few.
Quitting Facebook: the evil way
Apparently you can deactivate a Facebook account, but not delete it. Free Infidel:
Many of us, who value our privacy, think this is disgraceful and arrogant. Facebook seems to think it owns us. But why worry? Just make sure all the information they have about you is false. [...]
First, a little more about this business of deactivating an account. If you choose this option, Facebook tells you that you can reactivate at any time simply by logging back in. There is no simple option to have them erase all your details from their databases permanently. Steven Mansour, in his post 2504 Steps to closing your Facebook account, did seem to get them to do this, though it took a lot of effort and meant emailing Facebook directly. But note how Facebook’s final message simply said “We have processed your request” without actually saying - unambiguously and in writing - that the account and all the information that once resided in it had been fully erased. And how would you check?
And so he says we should spend about six months gradually changing our links, our friends, our politics, and our profile. We should also install apps we find annoying and write nonsense on our walls. Finally, change our name:
This is a little trickier as Facebook insists on ‘verifying’ the change. Or so it says. I requested a change of name to something that is, frankly, rather unlikely. A couple of days later, the change was made with no further enquiry from Facebook. So far, only one of my friends has noticed that I’ve changed my name and moved to another continent. That said, searching Facebook for my real name still turns up my profile, albeit with the new name. So the account is obviously associated with both names.
Even after all that, your original information may not be gone forever. “Even though you’ve replaced it, it may be somewhere in Facebook’s databases.”
But what if they catch you? Jack, in comments:
I did exactly what you suggested here in September. I tried filling my Facebook account with meaningless and false data, because I knew there was no way to delete the account.
Sadly (and evil) here is what Facebook did. They “deactivated” my account, because they said that I added people who I did not really know.
I wrote to them to ask them to please reactivate the account, but they said no. My reply after that never got another response from them. [...]
Long story shortÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ all my personal real data is still in FacebookÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ and they refuse to erase or delete it.
“shouldn’t you also be tainting your Yahoo, Myspace, Orkut, Flickr, Twitter, Pownce, Jaiku, Upcoming, Dopplr, Blogger, etc etc accounts as well?”
And Arik comes closest to what would be my chosen Facebook solution:
You want a facebook account. You want some true but random noise around you. You don’t want to disappear or be fake, because everyone else has that same amount of noise about them. Since anonymity is no longer an option, you want to be part of the noise and be as similar to others as you can, never sticking out.
Obama and Oprah
I’m assuming Halperin is standing by his Why Oprah Won’t Help Obama argument:
Winfrey’s endorsement - and her announcement that she will appear with Obama at campaign events in Iowa, South Carolina, and New Hampshire on December 8 and 9 - helps bring the following four things to Obama: campaign cash, celebrity, excitement and big crowds.
The four things that Obama has on his own in great abundance - without Winfrey’s help - are campaign cash, celebrity, excitement and big crowds.
In polls and focus groups, voters continue to express doubts about Obama’s readiness for the presidency, particularly when compared with Clinton. Some analysts have taken to saying that “experience” is a threshold question - that Obama does not need to be seen as more ready than Clinton, just ready enough to do the job. That might be true (or it might not), but the evidence suggests that many voters still have reservations about the Illinois Senator. And the Clinton campaign plainly intends to do what it can to undermine her rival on this very point between now and January.
So yes, expect loud, rousing rallies in all three early voting states when Oprah Winfrey comes to town with her friend Barack Obama in early December, with gobs of media attention, raucous crowds, emotion and great pictures. But don’t expect those events to do anything productive to allow Obama to get over the biggest hurdle standing between him and the White House. American voters are not looking for a celebrity or talk show sidekick to lead them. Obama is an intelligent and thoughtful potential President, but Winfrey’s imprimatur is unlikely to convey those traits to many undecided voters.
In that respect, Winfrey’s events might even be - dare it be said - counterproductive.
More discussion of this from Halperin in this podcast of a speech he gave at the University of Texas at Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs on September 18, 2007.
Meanwhile, MyFox Atlanta says, “Obama has outdistanced all candidates, both Democrat and Republican, in fundraising in Georgia. Obama has raked in more than a million dollars in the state.”
LATER - Here’s Oprah in IOWA: