James Staley

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Last Edit: Dec 9, 2008 - 2:58 PM PST

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James reviewed this story - Sep 27, 2009
James's Rating
3.3

Republicans in Montana are challenging some 6,000 voter registrations. Why they are is not made clear. Is this Republican mischief to help insure Republican victories? Is there evidence of fraud? Follow-up stories are needed.

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NT Rating: 3.5 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jun 19, 2009
James's Rating
4.0

This is quality journalism. Mr. Pitts offers us a thoughtful analysis of what does and does not qualify as hateful oppression and who does and does not qualify for the status of victim. His quintessential summary of failed conservatism is trenchant. I highly recommend this example of fine, judicious writing.

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NT Rating: 3.7 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Mar 15, 2009
James's Rating
2.6

Conservative Mr. Kuhner makes a coherent case that U.S. conservatives are in a state of civil war. He certainly is against Mr. Frum, another conservative. One can argue (I would) whether he describes the warring sides correctly, but he persuades us a war is ongoing.

Mr. Kuhner's description of the views of Limbaugh, Palin and their fans is laughably inaccurate, for he failed to see that what make Palin and Limbaugh so popular among some is their "legitimization" of hostility and their creation of bogeymen for targets of that hate.

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NT Rating: 2.9 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Mar 9, 2009
James's Rating
3.0

This article relies largely on other media sources for its information and focuses on only one Republican senator. No mention of Republican record number of earmarks and money spent on them under six years of Republican rule.

Republicans love earmarks, big government, humongous national deficits, no-bid sweetheart contracts, wars, redistributing our tax dollars to the richest persons and corporations, and lying to inattentive voters about it all.

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NT Rating: 3.4 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Mar 7, 2009
James's Rating
2.2

Fred Barnes, like so many other Republican writers, are writing about Republican silver linings everywhere they can imagine and then "see" them. Traumatized by the Republican crash of the last two elections (due to American crashes at home and abroad, thanks to disastrous Republican policies), Barnes sees future Republican success in Obama's policies.

I believe Americans are not so stupid and forgetful to vote the same Republican policies back in charge that got us in this mess in the first place. Their united lying and obstructionism may weaken Obama, but the fruits of his policies will mean Republican election losses for many years (decades?) to come.

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NT Rating: 2.9 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Mar 3, 2009
James's Rating
2.1

One could hardly call this quality journalism. Publius (whose avatar is a kitten aiming a rifle from a window) doesn't give one the sense he has actually listened to Limbaugh's radio show, but offers us a one-note character analysis of the man in this thin, brief op-ed.

From the distant outside, Limbaugh seems a vulgarian, a shock jock, like Stern. Like Coulter, he's also a hater, who panders to those who "think like me" and creates outrage by saying vile, outrageous things about the various targets of his hate. His ideas are easy targets for logical critics for they are bound to be sloppy, half-baked, and inconstent, given that fact he regularly has to fill the radio air with words for long stretches of time and with little time to consider and ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.5 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Mar 1, 2009
James's Rating
3.7

This delightfully amusing essay revolves imaginatively about an interesting finding -- seven percent of recent American marriages were born out of economic need, in particular healthcare coverage.

"To marry or not to marry" has long been the question that most answer in the affirmative. Despite our American romantic reputation, economic considerations have long been seriously considered by a hefty percentage of Americans when considering the marital question. That aging persons are more open about the mercenary side of the decision-making process may be the only real news here. Our most eminent living historian of marriage says not expect a big difference in marriage rates, ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.5 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Feb 27, 2009
James's Rating
2.7

This Wall Street Journal editorial is of quality, but not high quality. They argue Obama's budget plan will raise taxes on 100% Americans, but never offer us enough clear definitions and facts to, first, make clear what they are talking about and, two, make a convincing case that Obama's (and McCain endorsed) cap and trade program is really a "tax," and one that will be paid by "all Americans."

Personally, I don't see taxes as always an evil or even usually an evil, but are often justified and for a valuable common good. They may often be unfortunate and unjustified, too, but all American presidents and legislators of both parties from the inception of our country have used taxation to raise needed funds for the common good (e.g., defense of country) and as economic and political incentives (tax breaks) and disincentives. The "taxation is always bad" thinking is lunacy, the ... More »

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NT Rating: 2.5 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Feb 16, 2009
James's Rating
4.4

Carlin Flora has written a wonderful summary of the central scientific findings concerning happiness that have come out of the "positive psychology" academic movement. Anyone interested in happiness should read this article.

There are a lot of scientifically confirmed insights into the nature of human happiness in Flora's article. I would add William James' formula for happiness to her impressive list: Happiness equals achievements divided by expectations.

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NT Rating: 4.2 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Feb 16, 2009
James's Rating
3.5

Mr. Shear and Kane offer a balanced political analysis of the huge bet the respective political parties are making in (largely) uniformly standing for or against the large stimulus package for our country. This is worth reading and considering.

I bet Obama and the Democrats win this bet. People want the government to take action, not sit on their hands or obstruct positive action during this critical time. Bottom line: if the ship in taking on water or the house is on fire, what people will remember at the ballot box is who did and who didn't join the bucket brigade. Every Republican, but three, failed to pick up a bucket and help save our ship, to salvage our home.

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NT Rating: 3.7 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Feb 12, 2009
James's Rating
3.5

This is a good journalistic piece, nicely presenting the essential, differing views of the still partisan parties. Though the authors could have quoted more members from both parties, they convincingly made their point: politics on the Hill is still rabidly partisan, except for Obama's bipartisan overtures.

The Republicans are like lemmings rushing toward the sea, squawking the old "give most to the richest individuals and businesses" -- even tax subsidies to send our businesses overseas (Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana) -- and moan about directly helping so much the vast majority of Americans. These are the same disastrous ideas that got us into this economic meltdown. They have put themselves in the position of uniformly hoping our crisis turns into a full-fledged depression; otherwise, they ... More »

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NT Rating: 2.9 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 29, 2009
James's Rating
4.2

Mr. Hari has written an excellent, thoughtful op-ed that reveals a serious threat to the ideals of the United Nations, in particular, the ideal of freedom of speech. Cohesively organized, Mr. Hari makes a well-reasoned, cogent case worth a careful reading, especially by all religious and/or freedom-of-speech loving persons.

We saw Christianity, an institutionalized shell of the truer, earlier Christianity, become little more than a rubber-stamping, god-sanctioning shill of the Roman Empire's brutal military adventures. We see it today in pseudo-Christian support of the immoral Iraq war, contrary to Jesus' love-the-enemy ethic. It would be disastrous to see the United Nations become a tolerant, if not sanctioning, body of evils done in the name of various religions.

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NT Rating: 4.4 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 27, 2009
James's Rating
3.1

Mr. Herbert makes a cogent case the Republicans on Capital Hill are singing the same old song in terms of economic policies that have proven disastrous for our economy and country. He could have and should have packed the essay with more specific Republican verses of that dangerous song, but he's right about the central tune.

I can't believe anyone is taking Boehner and likeminded Republicans seriously when they argue for more tax cuts for the rich and severe fiscal discipline for the rest of us in this fiscal crisis, especially after their welfare for the richest individuals and corporations and their spendthrift, laissez-faire, trickle-down capitalism is what got us in this credit meltdown and 11+ trillion-dollar deficit.

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NT Rating: 4.0 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 24, 2009
James's Rating
2.3

Mr. Volaar titles his essay "God Cares," then begins with a broad swipe at "religious bullshit' (never defined), then strays wildly with a scatter-shot harangue on "fat, stupid, rich people." A provocative piece, too poorly organized, edited and hateful to be very illuminating.

Advice to Mr. Volaar: Pick a theme, stay with it while explicating and illuminating it. You seem to assume we know what you're talking about instead of clearly telling us what you are talking about.

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NT Rating: 2.9 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 19, 2009
James's Rating
3.2

This is quality journalism, mainly focused on Bush's foreign policy decisions and what they might mean for the "shreds" of his presidential legacy. A nice balance of critics and defenders' views. Not especially well written, but you can't have everything, I guess.

Bush will not ever rebound in historical esteem as Truman did, for Bush's history of skirting or trampling on our Constitution, Katrina negligence and ineptitude, disastrous environmental policies, ruinous economic policies, widespread cronyism and corrupt sweetheart deals, and his dangerously ignorant battle with science -- all these domestic legacies (and more) will make certain his bottom-dweller status among ranked US presidents is cemented.

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NT Rating: 3.5 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 17, 2009
James's Rating
2.4

This op-ed concerning the Bush Administration only makes a couple of points, both rather unoriginal and obvious. The essay is well written and, though short, has a narrow, manageable scope.

Bush has always been more Manichaean than Christian in his simplistic, dualistic way of viewing the world -- light vs. dark, good vs. evil, et cetera. Being a superficial man with no appreciation for the complexity of reality and thus no sense of gradation in his ethical thinking, this good-bad thinking blinded him to his own atrocities, since he always had to see himself as one of the "good guys."

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NT Rating: 2.2 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 14, 2009
James's Rating
2.8

This is a thoughtful op-ed piece. Like most op-eds, it is not well sourced, so evaluation rests on clarity of thought, writing style, cohesion and persuasion of arguments. A little too mean-spirited to persuade me, he did make a solid case that short-memory Americans need to see and be reminded of the Obama/Bush contrast for years to come.

Though generally a forgiving and future-oriented man, Obama would be wise to often contrast his policies and decisions with those of Bush/Cheney. Most Americans have short-memories and a challenged awareness of presidential decisions, policies and legislative initiatives, anyway. Obama's reminding and educating Americans of the Bush/Obama contrasts will not only make the voting populace generally more politically informed but will win him a second term.

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NT Rating: 3.3 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 14, 2009
James's Rating
2.9

This may be a quality journalist without a quality story. Two e-pages on a dinner attended by Obama and several top op-ed beltway columnists is not worth all the space, since what was said in the two-plus hours or what was accomplished, besides mutual wooing of the political opposition, was not covered (due to sworn secrecy of guests). Included is a nice, albeit spotty, little history of such presidential attempts to build bridges.

Obama is different from Clinton, W. Bush, Reagan and the others. He, like me, is naturally drawn to serious, thoughtful, articulate thinkers, regardless of political tendencies. I truly expect Obama to dine with them or ones like them in the future and to reach out via phone to get their thoughtfully considered opinions about various matters. Highly cultivated minds are rare and should be valued, especially given our country's problems in need of real solutions.

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NT Rating: 3.7 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 14, 2009
James's Rating
3.1

This is quality journalism -- balanced, accurate, and fairly thorough, though I wish his "joyous daily" quote had been included. If journalists won't say it, we should at least be exposed to the phrase that more than any other showed Bush's relation to the citizens of his country and the world was one of dissociation.

Though Bush is a proven, chronic, pathological liar and his "joyous daily" words were also probably a lie to impress equally disconnected religious types, Bush, Like Nero as Rome burned, painted himself as "joyous," as he trampled our Constitution; as people were washed away by Katrina; as his policies dumped extra hundreds of millions of tons of toxins into our water, land, and air; as a mountain of Iraqi women, children, and grandparents were killed; as our economic structure ... More »

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NT Rating: 3.3 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 7, 2009
James's Rating
2.5

Is this quality journalism? This is not even journalism, if by journalism we mean at least "having something to do with news." Well, he did plop into his meandering maze of words his opinion – that any educated, discerning person knows (except Republican apologists) – that Bush (W) is an idiot, "as dense as he looks."

Though an impressive wordsmith, Keillor's meandering writing style that he punctuates with pat conclusions -- in this case, life is a beautiful absurdity -- is beginning to be matched by his doddering season of life. Though superficially true, his judgment of Bush as a cheerful man with his self-esteem intact is as superficial as it is deeply wrong.

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NT Rating: 3.2 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 5, 2009
James's Rating
1.7

Far from quality journalism, this is a pure Republican propaganda piece attempting not only to rehabilitate the reputation of Bush, but to exalt him by linking him to Lincoln and trying to sell us the notion that he read over 40 books last year. This one is only for deluded Republicans who wish to deepen their dissociation from reality.

This is a collective (see near-identical op-eds of Kristol and Cohen) attempt to spin the horrific presidency of Bush into something great, much like their attempt to do the same to the disastrous Reagan, who peddled voodoo economics, defined government as the problem, was a deregulation maniac, and produced record-breaking deficits.

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NT Rating: 2.2 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 4, 2009
James's Rating
3.4

This is factual, informative coverage of a protest of Israeli attacks on people of Gaza, resulting in 400 deaths and a still climbing body count as the bombing continues. Good quotes are offered of various views toward the situation. It's good to see that rarity -- media coverage of protests to humans killing humans.

I sometimes wonder if there is hope for either of these peoples. They always think they have good reasons to kill each other and have thought so for over half a century. They have hardened their hearts and purposely passed their mutual hatred down to their children, making future prospects for peace dim.

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NT Rating: 3.3 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Jan 3, 2009
James's Rating
2.4

This is not quality journalism. It seems to be a scare piece --If you don't accept Burris, the Senate will have no African-Americans in it for years -- or a rather incoherent plea for an affirmative action appointment for the sake of skin color diversity.

I'm with Martin Luther King Jr., who encouraged us to judge persons by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. I want no appointee who knows Blagojevich and would make a deal with him anyway, especially in defiance of the will of his own political party. We need men and women of the highest character in our national offices. A Senate of greater diversity would be nice, but is morally irrelevant.

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NT Rating: 3.6 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Dec 29, 2008
James's Rating
2.0

This tiny op-ed is as short on words as it is on ideas and careful proofreading. When an author uses "TOO" when "TO" is meant (in capital letters, no less) and "analysts" when the sentence calls for the singular form, one might take such things as clues that this is not quality journalism. Skip this one.

This miniature op-ed is more evidence the political Left seems as fascinated with Sarah Palin as the political Right. It's never wise to encourage Republican enthusiasm for anyone not sufficiently informed to intelligently govern. To believe that U.S. voters are too smart to vote into national office such a dummy is to forget 2004 and the disastrous happenings that followed.

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NT Rating: 2.9 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Dec 27, 2008
James's Rating
4.1

This is quality journalism. Citing several sources, a coherent case is made that cutting taxes of the richest, contrary to Republican myth, does not really help grow the economy,that, indeed, the evidence indicates, overall, it lowers the rate of growth when compared to periods following an increased taxing of the rich.

Obama should keep his sworn promise to roll back the tax cuts through immediate legislative action. The evidence indicates it's sound, even better, economic policy, for we need to pay as we go as much as possible, despite the current economic crisis. If Obama breaks his promise on this issue, he will be destroying a key reason I voted for him. Make that two key reasons: I also trusted he's a man who will keep his word.

See Full Review » (12 answers)
NT Rating: 4.3 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Dec 27, 2008
James's Rating
4.5

Andie Coller has written a brilliant article that shows Obama's public and private sides and how they join in an attitude toward human beings, be they his own children, Cabinet members or world leaders. This is must reading for all parents who wish to be better parents and the same for world leaders.

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NT Rating: 4.2 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Dec 25, 2008
James's Rating
2.1

This thought piece is an exploration of possible meanings of Christmas. The offered meanings are interesting and worthy of consideration (except the anti-Jesus, jingoistic salute to the military troops).

Why are so many TV shows and op-eds featuring a Christmas salute to the troops, by their very nature in direct opposition to the resist-not-evil, love-the-enemies Prince of Peace the day is supposed to celebrate? Even Obama's Christmas Day address, depressingly, found him "inspired" by "our troops," our agents of death and destruction, not the man who took his passionate pacifism all the way to an early, innocent, agonizing death in loving, sacrificial protest of the militaristic ... More »

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NT Rating: 2.2 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Dec 22, 2008
James's Rating
3.8

Mr. Hertzberg's thoughtful opinion piece opens up new possibilities for Gov. Paterson to consider in deciding who goes to Washington to replace Hilary Clinton in the senate.

I'm with Thomas Jefferson in standing against family dynasties in politics and government; they dangerously give rise to the rule of a new pseudo-aristocracy and false royalty. I recommend Paterson appoint to the Senate some politically active and informed, brilliant philosopher of ethics who can help Obama and US rediscover our deepest and best moral bearings, since it may be our greatest need.

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NT Rating: 3.1 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Dec 14, 2008
James's Rating
4.5

This thoughtful, insightful opinion piece pus a global face on the "change" Obama promised to bring. His perceptive juxtaposition of Fanon's historical anti-colonial rage and the worldwide anti-American that currently exists is as spot on as his juxtaposition of Obama's past and promising future.

For all his analytical genius and pragmatic brilliance, Obama's greatest promise resides in exceptional moral leadership. Mr. Ignatius is right: Obama should review the suffering and moral outrage in Fanon's The Wretched Earth. I'd add Kant on human dignity, Plato on Socrates, and the Gospel authors on Jesus.

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NT Rating: 3.8 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Dec 7, 2008
James's Rating
3.4

Mr. Burns interviews various influential Republican Party members and focuses on the spreading concern the party is increasingly being seen as a shrinking, regional party of Southern conservatives. This is an interesting issue that may shape the upcoming Republican leadership election.

As long as the national party conventions look like a rich, segregated, retirement community and embraces policy ideas as narrow and stale as its membership, the Republican Party will continue to struggle in future elections.

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NT Rating: 3.3 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Dec 2, 2008
James's Rating
3.3

Ms. Collins writes a nice, post-election profile of Mike Huckabee, a man who is likely to be one of the early Republican candidates for president in 2012. For those interested in Huckabee's views on the election, McCain's strategy, Palin, Obama, Romney and more, this article is for you.

It will be interesting to watch the kooky twins, not-ready-for-primetime Huckabee and Palin, battle each other fiercely in the primaries for the religiously rabid and radically undereducated Republican voters in 2012.

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NT Rating: 3.2 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Dec 2, 2008
James's Rating
2.2

This is lazy, superficial journalism. No crowd size reported, no substantive explication of Governor Palin's speech, not much of anything but channel surfing and jumping to false conclusions. Skip this one.

Huffington's left-wing haters are only a little less obvious that their hateful counterparts on the right wing, and like their counterparts, Huff's Haters once again jump to unsupported conclusions that are based more of wishful thinking than real indicative evidence.

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NT Rating: 2.7 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Nov 26, 2008
James's Rating
3.7

This article includes accurate, educational summaries of studies concerning the beneficial effects of slow-wave (pre-REM) sleep for memory-making. This high-quality article should be read by anyone who both sleeps and would like to boost personal understanding and memory.

The new results of sleep science may change the conventional view of persons who sleep a lot or take daytime naps from laggards, slackers, weak and lazy to smarter, scientifically hipper, healthier persons more in tune with the body's and mind's needs.

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NT Rating: 4.0 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Nov 26, 2008
James's Rating
2.2

Mr. Koch sets out to tell us how unconscious mechanisms affect thought. He fails to do this. He thinks he convincingly informs us that we have scientific evidence that unconscious mechanisms do affect thought, but he fails here, too. I'm surprised such an essay would appear in Scientific American.

Activation of the amygdala can be explained by having one's face hooked up to modern technology that splits left and right eye vision in a scientic test. This might reasonably trigger our brain's fear center. Perhaps if Mr. Koch had skipped the verbose preface and went right to explaining the studies, he might have been able to fulfill the promise of his article's title. Too bad he didn't.

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NT Rating: 2.2 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Nov 24, 2008
James's Rating
3.6

Mr. Thakur provides a lot of numbers and reasons in making his case that the practice of medicine isn't a viable business under current rules and regulations of our government and insurance companies. An interesting insider's look at the practice and business of modern medicine.

Of all the many numbers Mr. (Dr.) Thakur provides us, the average annual income of medical doctors is not among them. My experience is that medical doctors generally are economically well off and as governed by a greed similar to that of the Wall Streeters and corporate CEOs.

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NT Rating: 3.4 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Nov 14, 2008
James's Rating
1.9

Ms. Paglia begins her essay with the sentence fragment, "Dazed and confused," which she certainly seems to be. Further, she seems drugged in the incoherent mix she offers. Lastly, she seems not to have followed the presidential race closely and now wants to stir slurs long ago studied and rightly dismissed. Skip this one.

Ms. Paglia misses the boat concerning Sarah Palin. At 46, Sarah Palin has no interest in knowing or learning the issues, players and possible solutions to our problems at home and abroad. We rightly and roundly criticized Palin and the Republicans for offering us another politically disinterested, lying, character-assassinating, unethical, radically undereducated, selfishly ambitious bozo as a leader of our country.

See Full Review » (12 answers)
NT Rating: 3.0 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Nov 13, 2008
James's Rating
2.3

This piece is outdated, as it has Senator Stevens of Alaska ahead of challenger Mark Begich in the vote count by 3,300 votes. If, and only if, you like unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, then this might be your cup of tea. Otherwise, skip this one.

When a news site becomes thoroughly and passionately politicized in one direction, as Huffington Post has, one can expect paranoia and conspiracy theories to crop up when their side doesn't win (e.g., Don Young, R-AK) or is threatened with a surprising and deeply disappointing loss (Ted Stevens, R-AK).

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NT Rating: 3.0 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Nov 12, 2008
James's Rating
3.4

This is an example of lazy journalism and, paradoxically, ambitious, in-depth journalism. It's lazy in that Mr. Froomkin parasitically feeds from articles written by other journalists. It's informative and ambitious in that it collects more quotes from more articles on the subject than one is likely to find anywhere else.

Bush's executive orders have done a world of damage and caused a world of pain. Obama can and will stop, via such orders, the damage being done and will provide some relief from the pain Bush's orders have caused.

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NT Rating: 3.5 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Nov 12, 2008
James's Rating
2.9

While few, if any, would call the writing of this article quality writing, or the ideas well organized and in-depth, none can refute the newsworthy importance of the article's announcemement of a major spam sender being shut down, dropping spam volume nationwide from 2/3 to 3/4.

My spam center went from about twenty per day to four, a nice reduction. Unfortunately, the major spammer is expected to find a new host in about a week and the torrential sludge of spam probably will return to obnoxious levels again.

See Full Review » (12 answers)
NT Rating: 3.5 | See All NT Reviews »
James reviewed this story - Nov 11, 2008
James's Rating
4.2

This is another high-quality op-ed from Mr. Zakaria, he of the high-quality mind. He succinctly and accurately describes Republicans' failed foreign policy and sketches an emerging new world in which Obama should plant his centrist government.

The Republicans will fight their civil war, in large part, over the question: What is the political center of the ever-evolving United States and do we want to politically appeal to it? If the old (traditional) view wins, expect a genuine fifty-state strategy and possible sweep from Obama in four years.

See Full Review » (12 answers)
NT Rating: 3.7 | See All NT Reviews »
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