Friday, April 25, 2008

The Enigma That Is CFTA

The debate between the President and the Democrat controlled House over the free trade agreement with Colombia (CFTA) is about as enigmatic as they come.

On the one hand, the President argues that refusal to ratify CFTA will undercut President Eribe, a valuable ally in the region. Yet, almost all of Colombia's products shipped to this country enter tariff-free while it is our products shipped to Colombia that are subject to Colombian tariffs. So, it seems, Columbia will give more than it receives under CFTA. That being so, the argument that refusal to ratify CFTA undercuts Colombia seems to be besides the point.

On the other hand, Rep. Pelosi is blocking action in the House citing a variety of reasons; mainly the treatment and safety of Colombian workers, and that it got in the way of work on the needs of American families. But, again, the reasons are spurious. CFTA would be a jobs creator in America because it opens Colombian markets to American products. What else could be more central to the needs of American working families?

Neither side are making sensible arguments to support their case. But, why? Eliminating tariffs which hinder growth of markets and the accompanying jobs creation seems to be a no-brainer. Yet, it is not central to the argument. That doesn't make sense.

Tag: Trackposted to Pirate's Cove, Rosemary's Thoughts, McCain Blogs, Maggie's Notebook, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Absolut Malarkey

Cultural insensitivity reached new heights when the makers of Absolut vodka, a Swedish company, ran an ad in Mexico which shows the U.S.-Mexico border as it was pre-1848. As we know, Mexico was forced to cede territory north of the current border after refusing to sell it to the U.S. and, subsequently, losing the armed conflict of 1846—1848.

Vin & Spirit, the maker of Absolut, eventually pulled the ad and issued an apology:

"In no way was it meant to offend or disparage, nor does it advocate an altering of borders, nor does it lend support to any anti-American sentiment, nor does it reflect immigration issues," Absolut said in a statement left on its consumer inquiry phone line.

It is hard to imagine how an ad agency could be so tone-deaf, given the delicate nature of cross-border migration not only here but in Europe as well. One wonders if their 'Absolut World' would include reversing Denmark's territorial losses to Sweden with the signing, in 1658, of the Treaty of Roskilde.

I doubt the thought crossed their minds.

Tag: Trackposted to Rosemary's Thoughts, A Newt One, Dumb Ox Daily News, Adam's Blog, Adeline and Hazel, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

AP: Trustworthy?

First impressions are the strongest. When it comes to print news, that impression is created by the headline. For many, with their busy schedules, the headline may be the only impression of the news they receive. So, it would seem, a hallmark of responsible journalism would be putting as much emphasis on writing an accurate headline as there is put on writing content. Now, consider the headline from this report by the AP on the Democratic primary race (dateline: Tue Apr 1):

Clinton Says Obama Wants to Stop Votes

First impression: Obama wants the primary race to end and be declared the nominee. Right? Now, compare that headline with what the report quotes Clinton as saying:

"My take on it is a lot of Senator Obama's supporters want to end this race because they don't want people to keep voting," she told CBS affiliate KTVQ in Billings, Mont. "That's just the opposite of what I believe. We want people to vote. I want the people of Montana to vote, don't you?"

So, if one took the time to read the full report, one finds that Clinton did not say of Obama what the headline would have you believe; that, instead, Clinton pointed the finger at Obama supporters. Not quite the same thing, is it? Indeed, the article includes quotes further down from Obama that directly contradict the headline. Given the importance of headlines in establishing first impressions of the news, one has to question the AP's trustworthiness as a news outlet.

Tag: Trackposted to Outside the Beltway, Stuck On Stupid, third world county, Maggie's Notebook, and The World According to Carl, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.