Fit-and-proper person alert

by Chris Bertram on September 21, 2007

“Chicken Yoghurt has the details”: on the counterproductive attempts by lawyers retained by oligarch (and would-be Arsenal owner) Alisher Usmanov to prevent the dissemination of allegations made by Craig Murray (the UK’s former ambassador to Uzbekistan). From what I can gather, Murray is just begging for Usmanov to sue him in a British court.


by Henry Farrell on September 21, 2007

Ross Douthat “responds”: to a question I threw at him on Bloggingheads a few months ago about what kind of society he wanted to live in. His response to that question seems fine to me (I suspected that he and other Catholic conservatives wouldn’t much have enjoyed living in Ireland when the church had effective hegemony, and he has more or less confirmed this), but I’m pretty sure that he’s wrong when he says that:

I incline away from [left communitarians] on questions of economic policy not out of any delusion that unfettered capitalism hasn’t played a significant role in the cultural trends that I find worrying, but because I think that economic freedom was one of the freedoms that the 1950s order went too far in stifling – and more importantly, because the most likely alternative to Reaganism and Rubinomics wasn’t some low-growth crunchy-communitarian utopia, but rather a steady expansion in government power that would have crowded out the “little platoons” even more quickly than free-market capitalism undercuts them. Traditional forms of social organization are weaker in today’s America than they were fifty years ago, but they’re still much, much stronger than in Europe, where the economic left has held the whip for decades.

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Tear down this paywall

by John Q on September 21, 2007

The NYTimes experiment with putting premium content behind a paywall lasted a bit longer than I expected, but eventually the cost, in terms of separation from the Internet at large, has outweighed the benefits. The NYT columnists and archives will now be available to all readers. (Hat tip, Andrew Leigh).

As Jay Rosen says, this is good news for the conversation that is the blogosphere. Paywalls are an obstacle that we can’t get around individually, since, even if I have free access to a site, there is no point in linking it for readers who have to pay.

But there’s always a downside. The Times decision has been motivated not only by the increasing costs of a closed system but by the increasing returns to advertising, of which the lion’s share is driven through Google (and to a lesser extent, other search engines), which rely on links to place their ads.


In my experience, growing returns to advertising are being manifested in more, and more obtrusive, ads. This may signal a renewed arms race with ad blockers. I’ve just installed Adblock Plus on Firefox, and am waiting to see if that gets me blocked from ad-dependent sites.
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