I travel 200 days a year for work. When i first started, I used to seek out small independent restaurants. For every great place I stumbled into, I had about 3 bad or overpriced meals. Eventaully I just decided that a guaranteed mediocre meal at Applebee's or Chili's was better than the chance of another really bad meal.
Yelp changed all that. I have tried places that I never would have considered if I had just been driving by. My Yelp experiences have been overwhelmingly positive. I have eaten Thai food in just about every big city in America but the best Tom Yum soup i ever had was at a tiny little place in the unlikely town of Banning California.
So....Yelp has certainly shifted my dollars away from chains and toward local establishments but it has nothing to do with negative reviews of the chains. My opinion of the chain places is based on the many meals I have eaten there.
Although I agree with the central point of the article, I think the word "culture" is misused here.
Political correctness tells us that all cultures are 100% equal and must not be criticized in any way. Mocking someone's culture is just one tick below racism. This has led many people to attach this powerful word to their favorite activities. So now we have "DJ Culture", "Graffiti Culture", "Hip Hop Culture", "Rockabilly Culture" etc.
Most of these cab driving "doctors" are coming from places like India and Pakistan. Do you seriously think the American university system is no better or less corrupt than these countries? If you do, I know some Indians that would disagree with you wholeheartedly.
You will forgive me if I would rather not be operated on by a doctor that earned his degree in a country where grades and degrees can be purchased if you know the right people. Where medical students did not have access to the latest technologies and techniques. Developing countries have hugely different standards than we do for many things including education.
It is possible to be anti-immigration without being racist. You do not have to be a racist to see that the current system of simply allowing people to walk across our borders and setup housekeeping is seriously screwed up.
I would be all for the H-1B's if illegal immigration was completely shut down.
These anti-immigration sites and blogs only hurt their own cause by using racial slurs. Most people simply label them as racists ad move on. Shutting them down gives them far more symapthy and attention then they ever got while operating.
To get back on topic...Free Speech is Free Speech. You can't pick and choose. Protecting someone elses right to use racial slurs also protects your right to criticize the president. The Civil Liberties Union has often found itself in the position of defending racists, satanists, convicts and all manner of human scum in an effort to protect laws that give us all rights and freedoms.
If you need any proof of this just look at the patriot act that was supposed to be all about protecting us against terrorism but is used primarily against Americans in cases that have nothing to do with terrorism.
Soldiers in Iraq pass around big external usb hard drives containing hundreds of gigabytes of music, movies, games etc. Soldiers copy what they want off the drive, add anything they have that is not on the drive and pass it on. This gets them around the block on p2p and other file sharing on military networks.
We are pretty close to being able to put all known American music going back 60 years or so on something like and SD card. Not long after that we will be able to do the same thing with movies. In a few years, driving to a store to pay $20.00 for a piece of plastic containing 12 songs (10 of them crap) will seem novel. I do not expect to ever purchase another CD or DVD but I will happily pay for non DRM'd content as long as I get to share in the huge savings media companies realize through digital distribution of infinite goods.