I’ve tried to stop reading opinion pieces by people without decades of experience in the topic they’re writing about, but I read a couple on the New York Times this week. Among them:
This was the underlying point of “think different” — that our choices were no longer dictated by the whims of huge companies or the offerings at the local mall. This was the point of a computer that enabled you to customize virtually every setting, no matter how inconsequential, so that no two users had the exact same experience. This was the essential insight behind devices driven by a universe of new apps, downloaded in seconds depending on your lifestyle and interests.
Except Steve Jobs actively tried to keep consumers within the whim of Apple – a large (by tech standards), centralized company – as much as possible.
Thomas Friedman, No Christie, No Bargain
By refusing to embrace Simpson-Bowles as the basis of a Grand Bargain, and instead offering a watered-down version, Obama has left a gap for a sane Republican or independent candidate. Why was Christie popular among G.O.P. moderates and independents? Because he seemed ready to tell hard truths that Obama has started to shrink from. Had Christie — a moderate on gun control, climate change and immigration who has also backed Simpson-Bowles — run and won significant support, he would have forced Obama back to the center.
People like Friedman don’t understand dynamics. Just further up in his article he talks about how Republicans rejected a proposal that would have cut taxes by $9 for every $1 in tax increases. And it’s Obama’s fault for giving up and moving left? More ridiculous is Friedman’s presumption that Christie actually had a chance in a national Republican election, 2012. He didn’t run because he knew he couldn’t win the nomination, for the same reason Obama couldn’t pass a tax-cut fiesta of a Grand Bargain.
Jesus, if I hear one more ignorant commentary that glosses over this I’m going to…probably say nothing, because there’s nothing you can tell those people to make them better political thinkers.
Gail Collins, Desperately Seeking Dalyrmple
Now it is true that much of North Dakota’s new prosperity involves hydrofracking, a drilling method that causes environmentalists to genuinely turn green. Also, when they drill for oil, the drillers are so eager to get their hands on it that they don’t bother to capture the byproduct, wasting 100 million cubic feet of natural gas a day. “North Dakota is not as bad as Kazakhstan, but this is not what you would expect a civilized, efficient society to do,” an energy expert told Clifford Krauss of The Times.
I can’t find the article, but the 100 million cubic feet/day was only the rate at the start, it is now down significantly as the energy company has been able to capture more gas. She could have mentioned that the company is at least burning the gas, which is less harmful to the environment than simply releasing it. Neither does she mention any cost-benefit analysis, which from what I’ve read, no company could turn a profit initially by capturing the byproduct. The upfront costs of both hydrofracking and gas capture were too high. But maybe I was fooled.
Can we at least get a benign comment by an energy expert to be cited?
Writers have to have narratives, I get it. But can we have firmer and fairer ones?