Andy von Salis

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Last Visit: Jun 18, 2012 - 2:40 PM PDT
Last Edit: Mar 13, 2009 - 3:27 PM PDT

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Andy reviewed this story - Jun 18, 2012
Andy's Rating
4.0

The story is comprehensive; it addresses short- and long-term issues from multiple viewpoints and it points out the difference between talk and action. It makes two or three important predictions that seem logical. It cites facts to support every conclusion, and it avoids wishy-washy hedging on those conclusions. However, the story is too short, and it fails to state why New Democracy increased its poll results since the May election.

I think it's tragic that Greeks have lived for a generation or more under the misimpression that they "can have it all," due mainly to cooked books preceding the Papandreou administration. And I think it's tragic that they can't grieve that fact and move on to acceptance, or at least resignation; any other course will deepen their agony in the long run.

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NT Rating: 3.9 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Sep 29, 2009
Andy's Rating
4.2

It is highly explanatory, and it takes account of a broad range of facts and a considerable time period of relevant background history. It explores policy alternatives besides those being presented by the key players, and it gives analysis and perspective to the news story of the newly-disclosed Qum facility.

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NT Rating: 4.5 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Mar 3, 2009
Andy's Rating
3.5

Packer gives a well-reasoned opinion in praise of Brooks, as opposed to many other conservative voices; but Packer fails to notice that even Brooks falls far short of what Brooks himself says is so important to do - to eschew pejorative overstatement and to get past rigid conservative doctrine.

I gave my personal views on Brooks regarding his own "Moderate Manifesto" OpEd published in the Times 3/03/2008 - basically, I don't agree with Packer, or other reviewers of the Packer piece, who say that Brooks maintains a broad enough perspective or avoids bias. That he is better than the knee-jerk, wish-us-ill demagogues is actually faint praise. We need better.

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NT Rating: 3.9 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Mar 3, 2009
Andy's Rating
3.0

This OpEd piece by a resident conservative at the Times is even more careless than usual for him. He simply lacks the vision to keep everything in perspective. He ends up with a general critique, but no manifesto except (in the last 1/3) a few goals for a manifesto. And he has a hard time separating his reasoned opinions from his biases. Only bias can explain untrue "facts" such as that Obama's budget is "über-partisan," he calls on only a few to bear burdens, the Federal government has mostly been "relatively limited", Hamilton was a moderate, etc.

Some Times columnists, such as Friedman and Krugman, can be Left or Right open-mindedly as the issue may dictate. Brooks is severely handicapped in that ability. Over half his pieces ultimately deceive, not deliver. This is an example of where he falls far short of the promised "manifesto," or even a logical outline of one.

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NT Rating: 2.8 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Mar 3, 2009
Andy's Rating
3.5

It gives good information. It is light on analysis/impact.

I think the importance of these memos is limited, now that the president and the authors are out of power. They will be fine evidence if Bybee and others are prosecuted criminally, which I hope happens, but the memos were clearly wrong and they are clearly ineffective.

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NT Rating: 4.0 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Mar 3, 2009
Andy's Rating
4.0

The report is substantial and excellent, especially considering how complex (far-reaching, with many aspects) the phenomenon of money bias in healthcare is, and how concise the article is.

The report should at least mention something essential for the public to realize: that this topic is closely related to many other equally thorny (or insidious?) topics - such as subtly tainted research, inappropriate health insurance coverage, money bias in choosing research topics, "slow medicine" rather than pulling out all the stops for the very elderly or frail, and a dozen others. No one topic can be analyzed fairly, or worked on successfully, without at least keeping an eye ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.9 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Mar 2, 2009
Andy's Rating
4.7

This is not a fun read, but it is quality research and reporting. Its focus remains on the ball, so broader perspectives are omitted. It excels in thoroughness - you couldn't ask for more - yet it is well-organized enough to give plenty of information to a skimmer, not just to a reader.

FactCheck has done its job. It's on us, now, to pick up what they've said and convey it to the public - since hardly anyone is likely to plow through the entire report. Healthcare is a particularly vulnerable area for extremists to sow fear through misinformation. There are no simple issues, fact or policy, in healthcare. Only a patient and thorough effort across a wide range of sources can yield a fair assessment of any healthcare fact analysis or policy proposal. This is ... More »

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NT Rating: 4.3 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Feb 27, 2009
Andy's Rating
3.5

The piece is a press release by a newsmaker. Arguably, it is not journalism at all. Conspicuously, it omits all blacks-vs-ooverall comparative data as to the criteria it says are most important: whether people are "practical, proactive and prepared". Instead of comparing races as to planning, advisors and actions, it gives comparatives only as to the respondents' feelings and situation. However, even though it does not seek further information than its own data and does not seek expert assessment of the data at all, the article does attempt to report the information it has. And it certainly is an original source on which many journalists may rely, so in that sense it's just as important to read as journalism.

After reading the article, I suspect that African Americans - even if not "practical, proactive and prepared" - are nevertheless just about as practical, proactive and prepared as the general population. People all talk a good line, and blacks are understandably trusting of the President, but it's a human trait for the actions of everyone - not just one race - to fall short of their circumstances and expectations. I feel bad about this press release, since I do not know what ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.4 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Feb 27, 2009
Andy's Rating
2.5

I think the piece is essentially unrealistic. It criticizes Obama for being "self-referential", when I'm sure it would be no happier if Obama instead told people what they had to believe (i.e. referencing an absolute) or told people to follow some messiah of his choice (referencing selected authorities). It also claims to achieve "gotchas" that are not - it is in fact no contradiction to say that we have great opportunities at the same time as saying that we'd better seize them, and it is no contradiction to say we must end outrageous abuses while saying that we must be objectively responsible. In short, I think the premise of the piece is untenable and the writer has achieved little more than slickness.

I believe the article is essentially unfair both in setting an impossible standard and in falsely suggesting that Obama fell far short of it. I actually like a President who sees both opportunity and dangers, both good news and bad. I'd respect the author a lot more if he at least mentioned the grounds upon which Obama chooses to do both at the same time.

See Full Review » (11 answers)
NT Rating: 2.8 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Feb 27, 2009
Andy's Rating
3.3

I think this is a strong opinion piece. However, it fails to address the rationale for cap-and-trade revenue, and it even fails to mention what the revenue-generating condition(s) and event(s) will be. So it gives exceptionally little basis for anyone to form an opinion on the merits of the policy; readers are supplied only with a rationale for deeming it a "tax". Since it serves the needs only of those who have no other information about the revenue purpose/effect of the cap-and-trade policy, and of those who condemn all things labeled "tax", it achieves little as journalism.

It may be NewsTrust's fault and not the WSJ's, but I don't know whether a piece labeled (in fine print) "Review and Outlook" is a WSJ editorial, an OpEd of some kind (no blurb on any author), or a news analysis article (its NewsTrust tab is labeled "Article"). It is certainly not a fact report. Besides my unease as to its purported category, I am unhappy that they assume that it's bad policy if the label "tax" fits, and I'm unhappy that they assume it is an intentional deception. ... More »

See Full Review » (12 answers)
NT Rating: 2.5 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Oct 27, 2008
Andy's Rating
4.6

Its quality excels in that the reporter(s) managed to get the interview subjects to open up on a surprisingly deep level. If not the stressful economic crisis, it was presumably the reporters' skills, empathy or patience that achieved some almost embarrassingly frank remarks on the record. The article goes beyond conventional wisdom but specifies where its additional insight is based only on Beaver County and where it might inform understanding of the nationwide situation. The author finds the poetic in some mundane things, from figures of speech to the way a homebound voter interacts with everyone by window.

I hear the objection of one commenter, who's in a position to know, that the plain speech of the local people is an unfair thing to repeat in print, as a reporter would normally clean up the English a bit. I disagree in the case of such an in-depth article. I live in Brooklyn NY and I find that the uneducated, the so-called "thug" class, the immigrant, and the privileged rich alike are quoted in their own word usage when the Times prints a feature or column whose purpose includes ... More »

See Full Review » (12 answers)
NT Rating: 4.2 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Oct 22, 2008
Andy's Rating
3.8

I believe the report is accurate but not very useful. The trend is important to be aware of, as is America's standing among the world's nations. But it omits every bit of the data on which it is based, and it doesn't even when the 20-year period ended, so we don't know if the past 18 months have changed things. It downplays the fact that the conclusions are strictly limited to comparing 2008 to 1988, and aren't necessarily true of recent trends.

I feel that the world can't indefinitely support a super-wealthy class, and that attempting to do so is immoral. I also believe doing so is bound to lead to civil strife, environmental abuse, severe public health problems, extremism, terrorism, and crime amongst the disaffected majority. I subscribe to a religion that says both liberty and community are imperative, so I'm biased in favor of capitalism within limits, and in favor of living-wage laws and progressive taxation.

See Full Review » (7 answers)
NT Rating: 3.7 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Andy's Rating
2.3

It's a strong rant and an okay (but shallow) argument, which is fine for a blog post. But it fails if "journalism" is the criterion.

See Full Review » (7 answers)
NT Rating: 2.6 | See All NT Reviews »
Andy reviewed this story - Oct 1, 2008
Andy's Rating
4.8

The story focuses on what about Mukasey is relevant, and it examines that from different viewpoints. The grudging respect of those who struggled with him and the unhappy reservations of those who support him are important. Liptak knows how the law works and how Bush thinks, and that's what brings the most worthwhile points into his report. (Disclosure: I'm a lawyer who appeared before Mukasey in civil litigation repeatedly, with mixed results. I once published a letter to the editor of the NYTimes protesting his disqualification of Bill Kunstler as the attorney chosen by a terrorism indictee, which I felt was upon a threadbare legal/Constitutional excuse.)

See Full Review » (7 answers)
NT Rating: 4.6 | See All NT Reviews »
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Ratings received by Andy (see all 8) Help

4 out of 5 rating - click to see review from Glenn LaBauve | 12/29/2009
4 out of 5 rating - click to see review from Dwight Rousu | 10/02/2009
5 out of 5 rating - click to see review from Kaizar Campwala | 09/29/2009


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