Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, October 01, 2021

When tragedy strikes, opportunity arises. That’s the glass-half-full outlook of Republicans, who see the Hurrican Katrina rebuilding effort in Louisiana and Mississippi as a clean slate upon which to test lessened regulations for urban and regional development.

Examples:

-At the urging of [Florida Rep. Tom] Feeney and other House Republicans, President Bush suspended the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, which requires government contractors to pay prevailing wages. The suspension covers South Florida and the Gulf Coast and allows contractors to pay construction and cleanup crews less than the going rate, which Feeney calculates will save taxpayers up to $15-billion.

-The president has earmarked $488-million for vouchers that displaced students can use for private or parochial schools, the nation’s largest experiment with what conservatives call “school choice.”

-The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced this week it would reimburse churches for aid they provided storm victims, as many conservatives in Congress had advocated.

-And the Environmental Protection Agency wants legislation that will suspend parts of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act during an emergency, allowing factories and other businesses to exceed state and federal pollution limits, lawmakers say.

A bill granting that power has been introduced in the Senate.

It certainly is an ambitious vision, and one that might pay off well beyond the hurricane zone:

“Why not use this tragedy as a way to have some regulatory review?” said Sen. George Allen, a Republican from Virginia who is popular with conservative activists. “If this works, and it gets more investment in southeast Louisiana and Mississippi … people will say, ‘Gosh, why do you have to have a hurricane to do this?’ “…

But in the region Bush has designated as the Gulf Opportunity Zone, where entire towns, roads and water systems are in shambles, conservatives say they have a rare chance to implement many ideas all at once, in a way that could take hold.

“Katrina has been a good opportunity for us to push the same principles we’ve been fighting for,” said Rep. Todd Tiahrt, R-Kan. “If they work well, we’ll try to apply them nationwide. If they don’t, we’ll move on to something that does.”

Of course, it’s something of a conundrum: This loosening of Federal strictures is coming from the top-down. In essence, it’s Big Government that’s advocating less regulation, but (inevitably, given the situation) the initiative, strategy and materiele is still coming from Washington.

Still, even though it’s not an ideal laboratory, it seems one of the legacies of Katrina will be as a test case for applied conservative (or, perhaps more appropriately, neo-con) social engineering. Success or failure here can set the tone for the rest of the United States.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/01/2021 07:39:22 PM
Category: Political, Society
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Well, I’ve gotten my answer on what was causing CrispAds’ poor clickthru performance here: It was CrispAds itself.

How do I know? The Google AdSense wide skyscraper ad that I placed in CrispAds’ former spot has gotten more clicks — and, thus, made me more money — in a few days than the CrispAds and AdBrite ads have in two weeks.

Case closed.

Actually, I was going to leave the CrispAds box on the site for another week or so, just to see if it could attract a halo effect. But it still wasn’t getting any clicks, and then, I found that it would sometimes bust out of its boxed area and bleed beyond the sidebar and into the posts area. Taking up space was bad enough, but when it starts to mess up the site’s design, it’s time to go.

And go it has. Frankly, it’s a loser. I’m sure CrispAds’ handlers pay some lip-service to how targeted and relevant its ads are, but I saw absolutely no evidence of that. All it ever displayed was generic crap, mostly relating to Florida-based goods and services (apparently the only keyword it was able to zone in on, despite providing it with a ton). If this is how it plans to compete with the robust services Google and BlogAds have, then CrispAds ain’t gonna last long.

The success of AdSense also means AdBrite is on deathwatch. It’s not pulling in much, and for the cherry spot it’s got at the very top of the page, it should be. I expect I’ll be yanking it down within the next week; I’ll replace it with another AdSense box, provided that doesn’t violate any of Google’s rules (I doubt it would, but I’ve read that Google is hair-trigger sensitive about such things, given abuse by sploggers and such).

I can go into just why AdSense is performing so well, but I’ll save that for the next advertising update. Yes, I know you can’t wait… (Note: this series is obviously more for my benefit than the readers’, although if anyone else is finding this useful, all the better.)

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/01/2021 07:16:09 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Bloggin'
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I admit, when I first set eyes on the cover of Young and Simon’s “iCon Steve Jobs: The Greatest Second Act in the History of Business”, the “con” part of the title stood out.

“Con” as in con-man, con-job, etc. Not “icon”, which — going by the pejorative meaning of the word “greatest” in the subtitle — is the intended meaning of that tricky Apple/Mac-esque “iCon”.

Apparently, this is a purposeful conveyance, enough so to prompt some backlash from Apple. I have to tip my hat to whoever came up with it; it’s branding-tease at its finest.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/01/2021 06:38:46 PM
Category: Business, Publishing, Tech
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Don’t know how I missed this: Dennis Lehane, of “Mystic River” fame (probably moreso for the movie adaptation), has come back to teach at his (and mine) alma mater, Eckerd College, with plans to boost the school’s creative writing program into a national attraction.

First step is adding some zip to this January’s “Writers in Paradise” conference at EC:

Stephen King, among the most acclaimed modern scary-story writers, will teach a one-day class at the conference.

Lehane has written a play, Coronado, which he will read at the conference. Eckerd will then put on the play in April at American Stage, Lehane said.

The Dorchester, Mass., native said he has another “ace in the hole” in regard to the conference, but doesn’t want to reveal it yet.

Let me dispel what you’re probably thinking: No, I’m not that “ace in the hole”. I’m probably busy that night, anyway.

Swirlings around Eckerd’s writing program always interest me. One of the reasons I went to the school — and thus, came to live in Tampa Bay — was the strength of that program. I didn’t wind up staying with it; I figured I didn’t necessarily need a degree in writing. But I’ve still got a soft spot for it.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 10/01/2021 06:11:13 PM
Category: College Years, Publishing
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