From reports on those who lament their struggle to sit at the billionaires' table to the weighted concern about the welfare of socialites to corporate-slanted interpretations of housing development deals and Census Bureau reports to obsessive coverage of the monied elites' prized racehorse, this site has already noted several instances of The New York Times' penchant for presenting the world through gilded glasses.
On Sunday, The Times continued to reveal its socio-economic-biased hand with another splashy above-the-fold cover story about the woes of the wealthiest 1 to 2 percent of Americans.
While millions of our citizens struggle to pay their bills and often must choose between food or healthcare (many without the luxury of either), with one in eight living below the poverty line, I'm
not sure what could be less newsworthy or more galling than those with
multi-millions of dollars whining about their billionaire
Note to The Times: Enough already with these stories. At the very
least, relegate them to the Style or Business sections (or a newly created Appallingly Wealthy and Shameless page). And when you place them there, please stop
hyping them on the cover as if they were deserving of widespread
You're supposed to be the Paper of Record, not the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous or The Fabulous Life Of... or Cribs.
If, on the other hand, this is the direction you want to take your
paper, please make your editorial change official so that your readers
are more aware of your objectives. Or, you would do well, and your readers a
service, to change the name of your newspaper.
Let's see...the "Wall Street Journal" is taken. Though, who knows, Murdoch might be willing to sell you the name for the right price. Well, I'm sure you'll think of something.
By almost any definition — except his own and perhaps those of his neighbors here in Silicon Valley — Hal Steger has made it.
Mr. Steger, 51, a self-described geek, has banked more than $2 million. The $1.3 million house he and his wife own on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean is paid off. The couple’s net worth of roughly $3.5 million places them in the top 2 percent of families in the United States.
Yet each day Mr. Steger continues to toil in what a colleague calls “the Silicon Valley salt mines,” working as a marketing executive for a technology start-up company, still striving for his big strike. Most mornings, he can be found at his desk by 7. He typically works 12 hours a day and logs an extra 10 hours over the weekend.
Silicon Valley is thick with those who might be called working-class millionaires — nose-to-the-grindstone people like Mr. Steger who, much to their surprise, are still working as hard as ever even as they find themselves among the fortunate few. Their lives are rich with opportunity; they generally enjoy their jobs. They are amply cushioned against the anxieties and jolts that worry most people living paycheck to paycheck.
Leave it to The Times to coin the phrase "working-class millionaires."
BACK (page A18)
At least one U.S. public servant is taking immediate, substantive action to limit the use of our nation's easily hackable voting machines and, in doing so, is calling greater attention to the ongoing vulnerability of our elections to manipulation and fraud.
California's top election official on Friday decertified three voting systems widely used in the state but said she would let counties use the machines in February’s presidential primary if extra security precautions were taken.
The official, Debra Bowen, the secretary of state, said she made the decision in response to studies showing that the machines could be hacked.
In a sense Ms. Bowen’s decision amounts to barring the machines, then reapproving their use under strict new conditions.
Ms. Bowen took her toughest action against touch-screen machines, in which a voter’s ballot is generated by a computer. She said the machines made by Diebold Election Systems and Sequoia Voting Systems could be used only in early voting and to meet voting-access requirements for the disabled.
Another touch-screen model, made by Hart InterCivic, can be used more broadly, she said. But all three of the systems can be used only under rigorous security procedures, including audits of the election results.
Of course these machines should be replaced altogether. The corporatization of our election process is inarguably anti-democratic. Absurd and insane. Our Founding Fathers would be apoplectic at the thought of such an act. With the general ease of potential collusion between big business and government, and, more specifically, with the criminal track record of the Bush administration, the signers would surely see this for what it is: a contemporary tool that provides the ability to quietly but efficiently null and void our citizens' votes. Or worse. To have their votes manipulated in the service of electing a candidate they voted against.
But at least Bowen took a first step to rid her state, and hopefully our nation, of these secret machines. Machines in which our votes are cast into a shadowy ether of corporate oversight - counted, or miscounted, within a digital environment that remains "proprietary information," viewable only to its product's owners.
After three national election cycles - following the horribly misguided, misleading and aptly Orwellian-titled Help America Vote Act (HAVA) - and closing in on another presidential election, our citizens' votes continue to be tallied in secret, with no paper trail, by corporate coffers of this conservative - or, rather, right-wing extremist - leadership.
Ah, but fear not. Here's how their owners explained away the latest failure (in a long line of failures) to prevent hackers from breaching their impenetrable machines:
But industry executives complained that the tests had not taken account of security precautions, including surveillance cameras and log-in sheets, that limit access to the machines in most counties and could prevent hacking during an election.
I'm no computer expert, but how many hackers have you ever heard of who were thwarted by surveillance cameras? Doesn't hacking, by its very definition, preclude the usefulness of such devices to counter it?
What's next? Guard dogs? 3D glasses? A trip-wire?
How about a color-coded system that warns of voting intruders? Or maybe we should just rely on Diebold's gut feeling.