Depression Definition

While it is worthwhile for Don Bauder to have administered a dose of reality to the discourse over the “economic crisis,” for example, as to the mendacity of the Federal Reserve chairman, “Snail Pace” nevertheless contains its own measure of too-positive spin (“City Lights,” June 24).

The so-called consumer savings increase is calculated based on the net reduction of debt, not on affirmative savings. Since debt reduction is being accomplished principally via repudiation, the statistic is misleading. It is also misleading to point to “GDP growth,” which is based entirely on emergency government spending. If the economy were, hypothetically speaking, halved overnight, and private industry were flat on its back, the federal government could, by printing or borrowing six or seven trillion dollars, and spending the money, say, by instructing the military to roam the continent distributing bottled water and boxed lunches, report that GDP has declined by not a whit. What is taking place now is different only in degree.

I will constrain myself to add only that a recession is a rather short affair, lasting on average only 18 months and entailing a GDP reduction of less than 10 percent. If one is so bold as to omit emergency federal spending, as simple logic requires, then a three- or four-year (so far) crisis of the instant magnitude presents a set of facts that meets any reasonable definition of “economic depression” ever constructed. Your readership deserves, and may conceivably benefit from, so radical a notion as the truth.

Richard Milan
via email


Re “Confessions of a Onetime P.B. Bum” (Feature Story, June 17).

Well, how stupid. Why would you goad and provoke other people just to see what kind of reaction you would get? What reaction did you think you’d get? By the sound of it, you looked really creepy or “on something” and just icky enough to be asked to leave. You weren’t exactly ordering anything, were you? I feel sorry for the poor guy trying to make a buck while having to put up with you mumbling about fascism, etc. And what the hell were you doing out when you were so sick? What an idiotic thing to do. You got exactly the response that you were looking for by behaving the way you did.

Terri Robertson
via email

Oh, Boo-Hoo

Re the chump 26-year-old that wrote the article “Looking for Work Has Become the New Work” (Cover Story, June 10). Wow!! He should place an ad on craigslist for donations so he can get the F out of S.D. Friggin’ baby. Grow up! Didn’t sound like he likes it here, anyway — well, until something goes right for him. And feeling shocked that even “he” can’t get a job. F--- nonlocal, quit bitchin’, there are tons of people here that still haven’t found work since way before that lil b---- got here. Malcontent, I counted at least 20 s---, stereotyping comments. What a dick. The ending, the “moral” of the story, be prepared — genius!!

Leigh Handel
via email

A Dish Of Smack- Down

Sorry for the week-late reply, but really I am just encouraging the Reader to publish more stories by Jason O’Bryan (“Looking for Work Has Become the New Work,” Cover Story, June 10). His hilariously angst- and venom-laced tale of two months of job searching not only accurately captured the frustration but dished out a smack-down to most of San Diego’s lamest. (Yep, that’s a period.) The dude is funny and concise and should be writing full-time, and I am not a friend, family member, or an acquaintance — just a 19-year reader of the Reader, and he’s one of your better finds.

Courtland Creekmore
Golden Hill

A Lot On Mr. Tucker’s Plate

We represent the North County Transit District (NCTD) and have been asked to respond on behalf of NCTD to the San Diego Reader's recent article entitled “Nip and Tucker” (“S.D. on the Q.T.”), which ran in your June 17 issue on page 22 and is also posted to your website.

The article is defamatory, and we demand that you remove it from your website and issue a statement in an upcoming issue of the Reader which clearly indicates that the article was intended as a parody, that no quotations attributed to Mr. Tucker were actually made by him, and that the factual allegations in the article were not true. Further, in the future we request that this section be clearly identified both in the table of contents and in the articles themselves as parody. Mr. Tucker is currently considering whether to proceed with further legal action against the Reader.

The article is allegedly reported from the steam room of the Four Seasons Aviara Spa in Carlsbad and purports to be an interview with executive director of NCTD, Matthew Tucker. Most disturbing, this article contains a statement that Mr. Tucker is in debt $20,000 to drug dealers, casinos, bookies, and escort services — a statement that is injurious to Mr. Tucker’s reputation is libel per se. In addition, the article, through the use of false attribution of quotes to Mr. Tucker, states that Mr. Tucker intentionally terminated NCTD employees in order to save money for NCTD resulting in a bonus for himself to pay off these alleged debts. These false facts are then mixed in the article with facts which are true or partially true, leading to further confusion regarding the nature of this article. There is no indication on the page of the article that this is intended as a parody rather than a news story with false factual statements. The title of this column “S.D. on the Q.T.: News You Won’t Find Anywhere Else” gives no indication that this is a fictional article or intended as humorous. In fact, Mr. Tucker has received several requests from members of the public and employees asking him to respond to the article and his alleged quotes therein.

Even recognizing that Mr. Tucker may be considered a public official, it is clear that the statements contained in the article could reasonably be understood by a reader to be factual statements rather than clearly identified parody or jokes, and were made with actual malice. See New York Times v. Sullivan (1964) 376 U.S. 254; see also Hustler Magazine v. Falwell (1988) 485 U.S. 46. Unlike other cases involving parodies of public officials, the article, particularly the online version, does not identify that it is a parody. The only slight indication that facts and alleged quotes from Mr. Tucker in the article may not be true is in the table of contents, which lists the section as “S.D. on the Q.T. — Almost Factual News.” However, even this does not identify it as a joke or parody and is not the same title identified on the page of the article, which a reader could access without looking at the table of contents, particularly when accessed online.

Please provide a prompt response regarding the actions that the Reader will take to rectify this situation so that no further legal action is necessary.

Paula C.P. de Sousa
Alison D. Alpert
Best Best & Krieger LLP

No quotations attributed to Mr. Tucker were made by him. The article was a parody. — Editor

Outpaced By The Snail

Don Bauder’s June 24 article “Snail Pace” (“City Lights”) contained a lot of good information; however, I’m not sure that the economy is even moving at a snail’s pace. We have 15 percent–plus unemployment, businesses are still laying off people, and unemployment benefits will soon come to an end.

People still think that the economy will magically bounce back. Our most recent economic booms involved the internet bubble and the housing bubble. Each turned out to represent pseudo economic growth — that is, growth based upon exaggerations and overspeculation. We also continue to export technology and jobs abroad to lower costs. This has come back to bite us in the form of unemployment.

The real question is “What will generate jobs in America?” Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s the iPhone, the iPod touch, or the iPad when they are being made in China. If an efficient solar panel is developed, it’s likely that it will also be manufactured out of the country.

The real problem is that the U.S. can no longer dominate in the current global economy. If a worker in China is making $2 per hour and a worker in the U.S. is making $14 per hour for the same job, the tendency in a world economy is for each to eventually make $8 per hour. Unfortunately, this is what we are experiencing, and the result will be a lower standard of living.

Ronald Harris
via email

Holy Hypnosis, Batman!

I usually wait for everyone else to comment and then add mine. In response to the many letters regarding Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Reader has given the other side of the issue, doing marvelous articles in “Sheep and Goats” (April 8), for example.

My take is that this group tries to make people believe that they are promoting the Bible in order to lure them into their cult and brainwash them using hyper-gnosis (hypnosis). People are then fed drugged Holy Communion in order to take their money and part of their lives. I consider Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with the Baptists, to be among the most ruthless of all religions. Both are secretly operated by the Masons, whose pyramid is on the back of the dollar bill and who use the 13-based spirituality of ancient paganism to abuse power. Ministers abusing these powers get just as “high” doing so as junkies do by using crack. And they get just as addicted. I consider Jehovah’s Witnesses to be a street gang that uses spirituality (love) instead of heroin to addict and control its members.

Name Withheld
via email

I Can’t Picture It

I would like to comment on your cover story in the June 24 Reader titled “We Only Have Eight Fingers to Work With.” It’s an interesting story about harps, but it would have been a lot more interesting if you’d showed a couple of pictures of harps. The author’s trying to explain how the pedals work and how the mechanism modifies the strings to give sharps, naturals, and flats, and I couldn’t make head or tail out of it. Even though there was a program, coincidentally, on KPBS last night — that would be Thursday night, June 24 — that actually showed a harp competition, all the girls playing the harp. It showed a little bit of the harp but not many details on how the things are constructed and how they work.

You’ve got four cute cartoons on the cover and four on page 36, and I wish you’d devoted a little space to pictures. He talks here about two different types of harps and tries to describe them. One picture is worth a thousand words, don’t they say? If you’d had pictures of these two harps and also pictures of the detail of how the pedal works — and he talks here about the “pedals move rods that run up through the column” — what column? I’ve got no idea what he’s talking about. Also, he talks about “a wood-paneled acoustic shield juts out from above the stage at Copley Symphony Hall” — I can’t visualize that.

University City

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In many scientific endeavors, discovery of a thing entitles one to name that thing as one chooses (or as others may choose, in the first person's absence of choice). On that basis and by the content of the Depression Definition above, I could be excused for the sake of not wishing to mislead by referring to the current 3-4 year set of economic facts as MILAN'S DEPRESSION.

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