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[ 0 ] February 21, 2009 |

I hate to break this to you, but Alan Keyes is inherently incapable of putting anything “back on a burner.” It’s more like putting the Obama birth-certificate non-controversy into a broken microwave that isn’t even plugged in, and having some crazy person keep pushing buttons hoping that something will happen.

I do think it’s always worth remembering that Our Liberal Media gave this gentleman a prominent prime-time talk show. About how he was making sense.

…I suppose it’s not surprising that the guy who thinks that Alan Keyes can make a non-controversy relevant was also impressed by Ann Coulter’s rigorous research methods.

The Internet Company For People Who Thought Kozmo Was a Great Business Model

[ 0 ] February 21, 2009 |

Apparently, Roger L. Simon’s New Book, I Used to Consider Myself a Democrat, But Thanks to 9/11, I’m Outraged by Chappaquiddick: And That Must Be Why I’m Not Getting Work, It Certainly Has Nothing To Do With The Fact That My Prior Projects Were Commercial, Critical And Artistic Fiascoes has been released. And it seems that one of his first acts as Trainwreck Media’s CEO was to pay $100,000 for a useless branding service. (Maybe it was the same company that did the fascinating research into their “mean average” customer?) Really, the guy is the ideal mark; I think you can see why he lurches from Maoism to Bushism. What’s funnier is that in this case he managed to find an even bigger sucker to put up the cash. I guess this is how explains how Maddoff could stay afloat for as long as he did…

And, at least, Simon is going down in further flames of hilarity:

Depends TV has a brilliant business model: After a three-day weekend with no content, give away nearly 3/4ths of your content for free — with no advertising. Charge your paying suckers for an 18 minute video on social media, presented by a fucking chiropractor. Make the 3/4ths you give away so mind-numbingly awful that you couldn’t pay people to watch it.

Apparently, this is the “replacing Sammy Hagar with that guy from Extreme” business model.

No Investments

[ 0 ] February 21, 2009 |


The clients who trusted Bernard L. Madoff still do not know exactly what he did with their money. But they know what he did not do with it: He did not buy any of those blue-chip stocks and Treasury bills listed on their account statements over the last 13 years.

The court-appointed trustee who is winding down Mr. Madoff’s business said on Friday that his team had searched records going back almost to 1993 and found no evidence that any securities were bought for investors during that time.

One theory had been that Madoff was investing, but that at some point the investments went south, and he couldn’t pay off all of his commitments. Turns out not so much; just a straightforward pyramidponzi scheme from the start.

Note to self: After establishing extremely lucrative pyramidponzi scheme, make CERTAIN to regularly update escape plans…

Against the Mileage Tax

[ 0 ] February 20, 2009 |

Ygelsias and Black are completely right about this, of course. The point is to tax the specific negative externalities of driving rather than just driving per se, and in addition the new higher implementation costs work at cross-purposes with the additional goal of raising revenues. And this, about the politics, also strikes me as obviously correct:

I don’t get why people think that “well, it’s politically infeasible to raise the gas tax, but voters will just love it if we set up a costly system to track all of their driving habits and send them a bill for how much they’ve driven.” Just weird.

It’s a really bad idea.

Corporate Offices Have Relocated, Apparently

[ 0 ] February 20, 2009 |


At least Eric Rauchway’s mail suggests that he has a real job. Does Oxford know something I don’t?

Zack Snyder?

[ 1 ] February 20, 2009 |

Obviously, you don’t expect much from ew lists, and this one is actually better that the “New Classics” one Glenn references, which featured not only more than its share of The Truman Show-type middlebrow schlock, but also had movies that probably weren’t one of the best 100 movies of the year of their release (Jerry Maguire, Pretty Woman, etc. When a list of “most overrated” directors is released, I nominate Cameron Crowe for top spot.) But, still, this list of best directors is pretty problematic. If you’re going to play it safe, at least get Marty in the #1 spot. And, no seriously, Zack Snyder? (Ahead of Ang Lee and Paul Thomas Anderson!) Was Joel Schumacher unavailable? (And it seems to me that, his talents notwithstanding, your #6 guy should have directed more, how do you say, good movies.) Well, at least they didn’t include Michael Bay.

[Via Jessica.]

[ 0 ] February 20, 2009 |

Friday Cat Blogging… Starbuck and Nelson

The Ghost of Narratives Past

[ 1 ] February 20, 2009 |

In the midst of discussing a classic ridiculous Clinton Derangement non-story — could Hillary Clinton possibly like the Beatles and the Stones? — Jamison Foser points us to this absolutely remarkable Jacob Wiesberg joint about the crucial issue of the iPods of political leaders from 2006. You will be shocked to know that — however cool if would be if someone would have pointed out that “Respect” is maybe the seventh-best song on I Never Loved a Man the Way I Love You — the playlists of public officials consist of interchangeable bog-standard middlebrow airplay favorites.

Except, of course, that this trivia must somehow be slotted into existing political narratives. So Hillary Clinton’s playlist “suggests premeditation, if not actual poll-testing,” while “Radio Condi is a lot more fun than Radio Hillary” and — of course! — “Bush doesn’t worry about being politically correct or care what other people think of him.” (I mean, “My Sharona,” “Brown-Eyed Girl”… truly, the man was our Rebel-In-Chief.)

But wait — it gets much worse, or at least much more surreal. This being 2006, no such article could be written without reference to the conventional wisdom that losing the popular vote once in four elections had reduced the Democrats to a more-or-less permanent rump party. This may not seem terribly relevant to the article at hand, but:

[Pandora] can be a bit uncanny. One of its first recommendations on the Hillary station I created was “Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do,” by Betty Wright, a feminist-minded ’70s soul artist. This was followed by Barbra Streisand’s rendition of David Bowie’s “Life on Mars,” a deeply unfortunate recording, but one somehow indicative of the present predicament of the Democratic Party.

If you have any idea how this could possibly be indicative of anything except that Pandora needs slightly better quality controls, please do not explain it to anyone.

Michael Steele’s lyrics are bottomless

[ 0 ] February 19, 2009 |

Awesome. I hope that Michael Steele will soon announce his plans for the GOP to “get jiggy with it.” Perhaps he might gain some traction for the party by urging young voters to “drop that zero and get with the hero.”

Dear Governor Jindal,

[ 0 ] February 19, 2009 |

Please, please, please reject federal stimulus funding; we’ll get to find out if someone who rejects federal money can get elected dogcatcher in Baton Rouge.

Yours truly,


Jindal is far too smart to actually reject the funding (like Alaska and so many other red states, Louisiana is utterly dependent on the federal government its leaders purport to despise), but I suspect he’ll pay a local political price even if the legislature overrides. What this nonsense reveals is a pretty straightforward list of the Republican governors who have Presidential ambition; any governor who supported the stimulus would come under severe attack during the 2012 primary.

Effort and Merit

[ 0 ] February 19, 2009 |


…the key is that these two statements are very different:

Jason Greenwood, a senior kinesiology major at the University of Maryland echoed that view.

“I think putting in a lot of effort should merit a high grade,” Mr. Greenwood said. “What else is there really than the effort that you put in?”

“If you put in all the effort you have and get a C, what is the point?” he added. “If someone goes to every class and reads every chapter in the book and does everything the teacher asks of them and more, then they should be getting an A like their effort deserves. If your maximum effort can only be average in a teacher’s mind, then something is wrong.”

Sarah Kinn, a junior English major at the University of Vermont, agreed, saying, “I feel that if I do all of the readings and attend class regularly that I should be able to achieve a grade of at least a B.”

“Putting in a lot of effort should merit a high grade” is different than saying “I feel that if I do all the readings and attend class regularly that I should be able to achieve a grade of at least a B.” The latter isn’t really “entitlement”; it’s a description of reality at any major college campus. Most students, in most courses, will get Bs if they attend class, and do all the work. This is as it should be; it’s not as if a campus-wide B average is somehow vile and unnatural.

The Greenwood quote is different. Mere effort never merits a high grade; while I appreciate hard work, it has to result in actual achievement. Even if effort did merit high marks, grading “effort” is, in practice, impossible; how am I to know how hard student X worked on his or her paper? College isn’t third grade, where direct monitoring of student process is at least conceptually possible. I do appreciate the frustration of students who do a lot of work and receive a bad grade, but it’s not a problem for which there’s a satisfactory solution.

Poetic Justice as Fairness etc.

[ 0 ] February 19, 2009 |

Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

….if laughing at the misfortune of Christopher Hitchens is wrong, I don’t want to be right.