Cutting Edge / On the Uber-Lyft-Yellow Taxi war and race, Gaza death counts and more ...

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What about the jitneys?

Chris Briem at Null Space works over the Uber/​Lyft vs. Yellow Taxi ride-sharing war, including this angle:

“Looking back, I’d argue ride-sharing was the determinative tool used by protesters to maintain the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955/5​6. What am I talking about? To get boycotting riders to work, alternative transportation including ad hoc taxi service was set up. It had much the same challenges as alternative taxi service today, to include proper insurance, which was eventually supplied by Lloyd’s of London. The effective alternative transportation is arguably what forced the bus companies to back down since it sustained the boycott and kept business away from the bus companies. (Uber and Lyft PR types: You’re welcome for the future talking point.)

“But is that analogy valid here? Maybe, but I tell you something as an observer of local political machinations, did anyone fighting for Uber today ever expend any similar efforts defending the rights of jitneys to operate their very similar ride-sharing service, one that they do routinely get ticketed for by the PUC? Just asking.”

Death count is misleading

Via Atlantic Wire: Alan Dershowitz argues in The Jerusalem Post that media focusing on the lopsided death counts of Palestinians vs. Israelis in the Gaza conflict falsely imply wrongdoing on the part of Israel:

“Palestinian civilians are killed despite Israel’s best efforts precisely because Hamas wants civilians to be killed, especially if these civilians are children, women or the elderly. Hamas stands ready to parade these human shields in front of the media which is eager to show the dead and count the bodies …”

Mr. Dershowitz writes that while Israel seeks to avoid civilian casualties, Hamas welcomes it to garner international outrage toward Israel: “Indeed some media and international organizations seem implicitly to be condemning Israel for protecting the lives of its own citizens by repeatedly pointing out that none have died, while Palestinian deaths have reached nearly 200. The reason there have been no Israeli deaths so far is because Israel spends hundreds of millions of dollars trying to protect its civilians, while Hamas spends its resources deliberately exposing its civilians to the risks of Israeli counterattacks.”

Political theater R Us

Also via Atlantic Wire: Dana Milbank in The Washington Post writes about America’s ADD politics. When people criticized President Barack Obama for not visiting the Texas-Mexico border a couple of weeks ago, he pushed back, telling the media “This is not theater.” Actually, Mr. Milbank says it is:

“The terror, abuse and suffering of children shouldn’t be theater, but it is. All the political world today is a stage. Our national dialogue has become a series of one-act plays: Each runs for a week or two, the critics volunteer their reviews of the president’s performance, and then it closes just as quickly — perhaps, like Benghazi, Libya, to be revived for a second run at a later date.”

Mr. Milbank thinks the president would do better to embrace our ADD politics rather than try to run away from it or rise above it: “A top Obama adviser, justifying the decision not to send the president to the border, told me that the hubbub would dissipate in a couple of weeks, even as the crisis, and the administration’s response, continue. That’s probably so, but it does the president no good to piously shun theatrics. If he embraces his potential as writer, producer and director, he can stage a better production.”

Redefining ‘racist’

Fox Carolina reported last week from Seneca, South Carolina, on Ku Klux Klan members dropping off candy around town with flyers that said “Save our land, join the Klan.” For comment, Fox called the “Klan Hotline.” A message began with, “Be a man, join the Klan! Illegal immigration is destroying America,” and ends with, “always remember if it ain’t white, it ain’t right. White power.”

Robert Jones, imperial klaliff of the Loyal White Knights sect, told Fox this was all part of last weekend’s night ride, a recruitment event that Klan types hold three times a year. Asked why some of the literature was dropped off at houses of African-Americans, Mr. Jones said, “We can’t tell who lives in a house, whether they’re black, white, Mexican, gay, we can’t tell that. And if you were to look at somebody’s house like that, that means you’d be pretty much a racist.”

Compiled by Greg Victor (gvictor@post-gazette.com).


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