The Reality-Based Community: Fair is fair

Reposted in its hilarious entirity, “Fair is Fair” by Michael O’Hare at RBC:

The “worst president ever?” meme has floated from bitter-liberal whining lounges to mainstream venues and plutocrats like Donald Trump, who should know which side their bread is buttered on. This piling-on in the face of the clear facts has to stop if Democrats want to keep a shred of intellectual respectability.
History simply will not support this level of condemnation. Never mind presidents from decades back, here are five contemporary presidents who completely refute the idea that
Bush is the worst:
None of the antiwar protesters arrested in Washington Friday night were
beaten in captivity. Not a single fractured skull or broken jaw. Bush is much more protective of civil rights and free speech than Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe.
Bush has never, ever, claimed to have an herbal AIDS cure revealed by ancestors in a dream, nor touted it to replace anti-retroviral drugs. Bush is much less anti-scientific than
Yahya Jammeh, president of Gambia.
The number of US dissidents killed overseas by plutonium poisoning is zero, and the number
of US businessmen ruined and imprisoned for opposing the government is also zero. Bush is much more respectful of law and property than Vladimir Putin, president of Russia.
Bush hasn’t tried to fire even one Supreme Court justice, much less a chief justice. He’s much more respectful of separation of powers than Pervez Musharraf, president of Pakistan.
Bush hasn’t named a single city, river, month, or day of the week after himself, and aggressive research has turned up no gold-plated colossal statues of him, not even silver-plated. Bush is much less egotistical and narcissistic than Sapurmurat Niyazov, the late president of Turkmenistan.
George W. Bush, better than many presidents; let’s give credit where credit is due.

WSJ vs. NYT in a subscription model deathmatch

Over at the Freakonomics blog, there was some discussion of why the Wall Street Journal has a subscription wall while almost every other newspaper in America allows free online access to its news product. Author Steven Levitt opined that someone has to be wrong: the WSJ or the rest of the newspaper industry.
I posted multiple comments, not so much because I had a lot to say, but because the comment engine on Levitt’s blog (probably wisely) strips out HTML tags and properly renders multiple spaces as a single space. (No, I have no idea what the comment engine here does. I don’t comment on my own blog. That’d be kinda onanistic.) But my point was that the WSJ and the New York Times have almost inverse pay/free models and good/crappy products. To wit:

New York Times Wall Street Journal
News Pages Spotty (mostly bad) but free Good but costly
Editorial Pages Spotty (mostly good) but costly Bad but free

(One of the nice things about having your own blog is the ability to drill down to the HTML and hand code a damned table when you need to.)
What may be at work here is that the WSJ is an outlier, a special case: a truly national business paper that is unique and can charge for access to its news content because of its intrinsic value. (Well, that and the added value of being from the Wall Street Journal, whose news pages have been above reproach despite the lunacy over at Editorial, probably a far greater achievement than most people realize.)