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Dancing with the Davos Stars

From the Scrapbook.

Jul 26, 2010, Vol. 15, No. 42
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On July 12, Chávez went further when his police arrested two Venezuelan Twitter users for spreading “false information” about the country’s banking system. Luis Enrique Acosta and Carmen Cecilia Nares were charged with attempting to destabilize the banking system and damage the Venezuelan economy with their tweeting. 

Acosta had, at the time, 225 followers who had read his 201 tweets. Even if each tweet ran to full length, that’s a total of 28,140 published characters. If that’s enough to destabilize the Venezuelan economy, then Chavez’s tenure has been even more disastrous than is widely believed. Nares had set up a Twitter account, but at the time of her arrest had yet to actually post anything on it. The two twitterers face 9-11 years in prison.

Most interesting has been the Western reaction. Reporters Without Borders followed the story with gusto and there were two wire-service reports. And then .  .  . nothing. Because social-media stories not about the triumph of social media don’t exist.

 

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Title Inflation

The Washington Examiner reports that “Assistant White House chef Sam Kass is getting a promotion.  .  .  . Kass’s official title went from first lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Food Initiative Coordinator’ to a fancier ‘Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives.’ ”

The Scrapbook hears some other title changes are in the works around the Obama residence: “Senior Adviser for Transportation Initiatives” (drives Sasha and Malia to school); “Climate Change Specialist, Carbon Sequestration Divison” (mows the White House lawn); “Telecommunications Network Interoperability Facilitator” (answers the first lady’s phones); and, last but not least, “Director of White House Mediation and Conflict Resolution” (president’s mother-in-law).

 

Unions in the News

‘Billy Raye, a 51-year-old unemployed bike courier, is looking for work. Fortunately for him, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters is seeking paid demonstrators to march and chant in its current picket line outside the McPherson Building, an office complex here where the council says work is being done with nonunion labor. .  .  . The union hires unemployed people at the minimum wage—$8.25 an hour—to walk picket lines. Mr. Raye says he’s grateful for the work, even though he’s not sure why he’s doing it. ‘I could care less,’ he says. ‘I am being paid to march around and sound off.’ ” (“To Protest Hiring of Nonunion Help, Union Hires Nonunion Pickets: Jobless Recruits Get Minimum Wage,” Wall Street Journal, July 16).

 

Sentences We Didn’t Finish

‘Good for the NAACP. We need an honest conversation about the role of race and racism in the Tea Party. Thanks to a resolution passed this week at the venerable organization’s national convention, we’ll get it. The minute you say there are racist elements in the Tea Party .  .  . ” (E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post, July 15).

 

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