Sunday, August 23, 2009

Remembering Don Hewitt

Don Hewitt, the creator of "60 Minutes", died last week at the age of 86.

Nowhere in this toadying, boot licking, supine obit that would make my dog look like a curmudgeonly cynic in comparison is there any mention of "60 Minutes'" Audi sudden unintended acceleration item of 1986.

That day, National People's Radio ran a retrospective of Terri Gross "Fresh Air" interviews with Mr. Hewitt. Her questions had all the ferocity and incisiveness of a Beanie Babie too fond of valium. Should you have been sufficiently bereft of luck to tune in, you would have listened in a great deal of vain to have caught even a glancing reference to that hit piece.

The one that nearly bankrupted the company. The same one where the demonstration was rigged. "60 Minutes" was a pioneer in more ways than one. It would be another seven years before Dateline NBC performed its own fauxreporting.

At least Dateline apologized.

It is undoubtedly bad manners to speak ill of the dead, but the hagiography, amounting to no more than self-congratulatory spittle, in the face of his arrogance and unwillingness to let facts get in the way of a good story is really too much to stomach.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Profiles in Pusillanimity

The Yale Press banned images of Muhammed.

In the book “The Cartoons That Shook the World”.

Yale University consulted two dozen "experts" in making their decision. Apparently, cravenness loves company.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Supply & Demand ...

... not just a good idea, it's the law.

Minimum wage laws are aggravating unemployment.
Young people typically find it hard to get established in the labour market because of their lack of experience, which makes them especially vulnerable in downturns. But even before the recession Britain’s youngsters had been faring worse than their counterparts elsewhere. Between 1998 and 2005, the jobless rate for 16-24-year-olds in Britain was lower than the average for the OECD, a club of mainly rich countries, but since then it has been higher. The unemployment gap between that age group and 25-54-year-olds widened from 2004 to 2007 in Britain while staying broadly the same across the OECD.
Now, why would that be:
The timing of the deterioration points to two possible explanations. A commonly held view is that British youngsters have been displaced by the influx of youthful migrants from eastern Europe since 2004. But this is the “lump-of-labour” fallacy—that a job for a Polish cleaner means one fewer for a native worker. Research by Sara Lemos, an economist at Leicester University, and Jonathan Portes of the Department for Work and Pensions last year found that the wave of migration had not increased youth unemployment.

A more likely explanation, though still disputed, is that the minimum wage was pushed up too much a few years ago. When it was introduced in April 1999, the main rate was set at £3.60 ($5.80) an hour, a fairly modest amount. There was a lower floor of £3 for 18-21-year-olds, because young workers’ chances in the labour market were recognised to be especially sensitive to pay.

Since then, however, both rates have risen by 59% and outstripped average earnings, which have gone up by 45% in the past ten years. The increases were particularly big in the four years to 2006, adding to the suspicion that the minimum wage was implicated in the rising rate of youth unemployment over that period.