Thursday, December 05, 2013
How Black Friday Lost its Mojo
But does it matter if Black Friday fades if the shopping season gets peanut-buttered around over several other days? I think it does. One side effect of all of this discount jockeying is that customers lose a call to action. In past years, shoppers could be confident that Black Friday deals were likely to be the best of the season. But this isn’t the case anymore. Dire discounts and once-taboo discussions over how early to open on Thanksgiving revealed that retailers are hungry. Rather than marking the starting point of the shopping season and the best deals of the year, this year Black Friday marked a “meh” sort of midpoint to a season that many consumers believe will yield better discounts by year-end.
Will retailers change their ways after learning this year that more is not better? Probably not. Retailers are now stuck in a discounting prisoner’s dilemma. It’s in the best interests of retailers to return to the practice of making Black Friday weekend a once a year blow-out event that provides the best discounts and generates purchase-propelling excitement. However, each retailer also has an incentive to “cheat” by offering discounts in advance.
Texas Cracks Down on Obamacare ‘Navigators’
Obamacare’s navigators are probably the least reported scandal that was built into Obama’s signature law. Democrats set up part of the law to basically keep liberal activists paid between election cycles., through the “navigator” program. Navigators are groups that ostensibly help Americans get health coverage but in many cases they’re really holdovers from the Obama 2012 campaign. Or they’re ACORN-style agitators. Or they’re unvetted groups that hire felons — to handle Americans’ personal information. The navigators are several scandals just waiting to happen.
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Why Do Marketers Hate Old People?
Today, marketers are just as likely to target people simply because they are young -- even though they have no money and cannot and will not buy their products .
Conversely, they are just as likely to ignore people who are old -- even though they have lots of money and are prime targets for their products.
As I wrote recently, automobile marketers continue their idiotic habit of targeting people 18-34 for "youth cars" despite the fact that 88% of the people who buy these cars are over 35.
Almost everyone you see in a car commercial is between the ages of 18 and 24. And yet, people 75 to dead buy five times as many new cars as people 18 to 24.
In fact, marketers are more likely than ever to ignore and insult the people who can actually buy their products and grow their businesses.
Marketers contempt for and prejudice against older people is a remarkable and fascinating story. They have volumes of data that tell them about the size and power of the over 50 market, but because of their hard-wired prejudices they are blind to it.
I posted this a couple of years back:
The self-referencing “professionals” in the advertising industry overvalue people like themselves--young, urban, single, childless, iconoclastic. They undervalue those who are different. Advertising spending is shaped by this prejudice. Marketers believe that commercials have to target young, hip influentials while older suburban consumers are a lost cause.
Newspapers and broadcast television are penalized because their readers/viewers are discounted. Agencies expect to pay less to reach an older audience.
There is very little hard data to bolster this advertising conceit. It makes sense for newspapers to attack this idea and demonstrate that their print readership is a valuable target market for a vast array of products.
They cannot expect the advertising industry to do it for them. That runs counter to the industry’s self-image. Further, it would also reveal the fact that the typical agency is a one-trick pony that hasa no idea how to reach people over 40.
Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Monday, December 02, 2013
Previous post: Tarawa
In the early 1930s at Quantico Virginia, Fleet Marine Force leaders began to work on the problems of conducting amphibious offensives, which they found required new combat techniques and a high degree of combined-arms coordination, as well as special landing craft and weapons. The Tarawa invasion of November 1943 showed that Nimitz's navy and marine forces still had much to learn, but by the time of of their assaults on the Mariana's the next summer they had mastered the intricacies of amphibious warfare.
D. Clayton James, "American and Japanese Strategies in the Pacific War," Makers of Modern Strategy
This did not happen by accident. Col. Joseph Alexander notes that the commitment to learning the right lessons quickly came from the very top:
Within a few weeks, the navy had built exact replicas of the defenses and started to work improving on improving the fire support tactics and weapons. In addition, 2d Marines produced fourteen reports on lessons learned. The first was submitted on 27 December and the last on 13 January 1944.
Before leaving reeking Betio, Nimitz ordered the preparation of engineering drawings of the Japanese fortifications on a priority basis.
Unfortunately, the US Army did not possess the same eagerness to learn from the experience of Tarawa.
Even worse, Bradley, who had no experience with amphibious landings, did not take advice from officers who had seen service in the Pacific. Moreover, he disliked the Navy and was uninterested in their work on fire support and ship to shore movements under enemy fire. At Tarawa the Marines learned that amphibian tractors were worth their weight in gold. Bradley left 300 amtracs in England. Nor did Bradley see the value in the specialized engineering vehicles developed by Gen. Sir Percy Hobart to overcome the extraordinary challenges presented by the German beach defenses.
"The one marked weakness among the top Allied officers lay in the commander of American ground forces, General Omar Bradley. Bradley was an unimaginative and uninspiring commander, who had already proven to possess a streak of jealousy for subordinates more competent than he was. In addition, he was an Anglophobe who exacerbated tensions with the British."
James Lacey and Williamson Murray, Moment of Battle: The Twenty Clashes That Changed the World
Friday, November 29, 2013
An interview with an iconoclastic scholar of the Kitty Genovese case and the media myths that surround it.
The Witnesses That Didn't (Transcript)
The bottom line is that 38 New Yorkers did not watch the murder of a woman while doing nothing to help her.
Joseph De May has an interesting take on why the media was so quick to create and promote the bystander myth.
The Kitty Genovese murder happened four months after the assassination of President Kennedy. In the aftermath of John Kennedy’s assassination, there was a school of thought that said we all killed President Kennedy. Now, four months later, Kitty Genovese is killed, not by a man whose psyche and life experience is not in any way reflective of ordinary Americans. These were 38 respectable law-abiding citizens. These – that was us. And I think it was a tremendous blow to the American psyche to think that such a thing could happen here, anywhere here. I think that that’s what gave this story legs.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
This time from Ace:
And then this:
New York Times: Redistribution of Wealth Is Central to Obamacare, And That Was "Hiding in Plain Sight" All Along
As with Obama himself, there are only two possible explanations:
1, the press is ignorant and incompetent and simply not up to the job of doing anything more difficult than straight stenography. And what does this say about their alleged status as the cognitive elite?
2, the press is institutionally, conspiratorially dishonest, and chose not only to not report this for four long years, but even more, chose to actively join in a lie. Because they are fundamentally political actors, and they behave as if they are an extension of Obama's communications shop, pushing false Narratives and pushing back against honest, accurate criticism.
And what does that say about their status as the nation's fact-finders?
At some point, we will get them to confront this, and give us a straight answer as to why they lied to the country, more frequently than Obama himself , about Obama and his pet redistributive Trojan Horse.
Now He Tells Us: Time's Mark Halperin Says Obamacare Does Indeed Contain "Death Panels," And That's Right There in the Black-and-White Letter of the Law
Yes... and all of this was knowable, and reportable, four years ago as well, but it only recently became fashionable to tell the American people the truth about Obamacare.
And that point only came when people could see with their own eyes it was a disaster and a lie-- only at that point did the media begin confessing the obvious.
Maybe Howard Kurtz could invite Instapundit on his Mediabuzz and discuss this topic and what it says about the MSM.
I’m just amused at how quickly after the implementation of ObamaCare the whole “death panel” thing was transformed from a paranoid fantasy of that yokel, Sarah Palin, to an obviously good idea that all thinking people support.
The Daily Howler ponders an important question. Why does the MSM leap to cover every legal problem of George Zimmerman while the murder trial of Crystal Mangum went into the memory hole? And why won't the MSM admit they did a lousy job covering Zimmerman from day one?
Friday, November 22, 2013
The Murder of J.D. Tippit: Five Decades Later the Slain Cop Gets His Due
Few people today know who J.D. Tippit was and even fewer know that it was his murder that led to the arrest of Lee Harvey Oswald, the Texas School Book Depository employee who later would be accused of assassinating President Kennedy.
Bryan Preston has an intersting answers that will make Chris Matthews and Tom Brokaw cry.
Which suggests a seventh reason why television has gorged on this anniversary. The JFK assassination is commonly noted as the moment when television became the primary medium through which Americans received their news. Fifty years later and the media landscape is completely transformed. Broadcast news is a dinosaur hoping to survive.
It is not surprising that TV newsreaders and producers want to hearken back one more time to a glamorous, golden past.
(Just wait until next summer when the whole MSM does its 40th annual Nixon/Watergate victory dance.)
The Ghosts of November
Two presidents died that November, but the mawkish parochialiasm of the Camelot cult has obliterated the fact that the second bore responsibility for the death of the first. No “eternal flame” for Diem, just an unmarked grave. He’s the Mary Jo Kopechne of the autumn of 1963, unhelpful to the myth: “What goes around comes around” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “one brief shining moment.”
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
On this day in 1943 the US Marines invaded the Tarawa atoll in the Gilbert Islands. For the Marines and Navy, this was the first great battle in the Central Pacific offensive.
Col. Joseph H. Alexander:
The main island, Betio, was heavily fortified. No larger than Central Park, the 4,500 defenders had constructed a dense network of pillboxes and trenches. As Alexander notes, “Yard for yard, Betio was the toughest fortified position the Marines would ever face." The Japanese commander, Rear Admiral Keiji Shibasaki announced to his men "A million men cannot take Tarawa in a hundred years"
The vast oceanic expanses of Micronesia also dictated a change in naval tactics. Most of the previous amphibious assaults in the Solomons and New Guinea had been executed against large land masses which offered penetration by surprise at undefended points. These scenarios featured relatively short distances between launch bases and target objectives, often short enough to enable a shore-to-shore landing without amphibious transports. After Guadalcanal, American commanders in the South and Southwest Pacific theaters conducted every amphibious landing fully within the protective umbrella of land-based air support.
These conditions were generally absent in the Central Pacific. Operation Galvanic, the campaign to seize the Gilberts, would feature unprecedented advancves in long-range, fast carrier strike forces; large-scale, self-sustaining amphibious expeditionary units; and mobile logistic squadrons designed to sustain the momentum of those new forces. Admiral Nimitz was forming the elements of a 'sea-going blitzkrieg' that would hold tremendous significance for the outcome of the Pacific War. But much would ride on the amphibious seizure of Tarawa.
The 2d Marines took Betio in four days.
It was no cake walk. One thousand Americans died and another 2,100 were wounded. The American public was shocked at the high cost of taking such a small speck of land.
Shocked, but not deterred. Alexander:
That resolution represented doom for Japan. Her war strategy was premised entirely on the idea the Americans would tire of the war and refuse to pay the price to roll back Tokyo’s conquests. This, in turn, would open the way to a negotiated settlement. Tarawa demonstrated that this premise was a pipe dream.
Once the American public came to deal with the shock of the bodies floating in the shallows along Red Beach, the national mood became one of grim determination.
Later invasions in the Marshalls and Marianas benefited greatly from the lessons learned at Tarawa. At those battles, the Navy and Marines went into action with better doctrine, better weapons, and superior numbers. On Betio, they depended on guts, courage, and the initiative of enlisted men and junior officers.
Two telling sketches from Robert Leckie. The first from the day of the invasion:
On 24 November, Marine Generals Holland Smith and Julian Smith toured Tarawa:
In another Amtrack was a stocky corporal named John Joseph Spillane, a youngster who had a big-league throwing arm and the fielding ability which had brought Yankee and Cardinal scouts around to talk to his father. The Old Lady and Corporal Spillane went into Betio in the first wave, a load of riflemen crouching below her gunwales, a thick coat of hand-fashioned steel armor around her unlovely hull. Then she came under the sea wall and the Japanese began lobbing grenades into her.
The first came in hissing and smoking and Corporal Spillane dove for it. He trapped it and pegged it in a single, swift practiced motion. Another. Spillane picked it off in mid-air and hurled it back. There were screams. There were no more machine-gun bullets rattling against The Old Lady's sides. Two more smoking grenades end-over-ended into the amtrack. Spillane nailed both and flipped them on the sea wall. The assault troops watched him in fascination. And then the sixth one came in and Spillane again fielded and threw.
But this one exploded.
Johnny Spillane was hammered to his knees. His helmet was dented. There was shrapnel in his right side, his neck, his right hip, and there was crimson spouting from the pulp that had been his right hand.
But the assault troops had vaulted onto the beach and were scrambling for the sea wall. Though Johnny Spillane's baseball career was over, he had bought these riflemen precious time, and he was satisfied to know it as he called, 'Let's get outta here,' to his driver and the squat gray amphibian backed out into the water to take him out to the transport where the doctor would amputate his right hand at the wrist.
The generals Smith began to tour the island. Even Julian Smith, who had been on Betio since November 22, was stunned by what he saw. Both generals understood at last why pillboxes and blockhouses which had withstood bombs and shells had eventually fallen. Within each of them lay a half-dozen or more dead Japanese, their bodies sprawled around those of three or four Marines. Julian Smith's men had jumped inside to fight it out at muzzle range.
Many of the pillboxes were made of five sides, each ten feet long, with a pair of entrances shielded against shrapnel by buffer tiers. Each side was made of two layers of coconut logs eight inches in diameter, hooked together with clamps and railroad spikes, with sand poured between each layer. The roof was built of two similar layers of coconut logs. Over this was a double steel turret, two sheathings of quarter-inch steel rounded off to deflect shells. Over this was three feet of sand.
'By God!' Howlin' Mad exclaimed. 'The Germans never built anything like this in France. No wonder these bastards were sitting back here laughing at us. They never dreamed the marines could take this island, and they were laughing at what would happen to us when we tried it'. Howlin' Mad shook his head in disbelief. 'How did they do it, Julian?', he began, and then, below and above the sea wall he found his answer.
Below it as many as 300 American bodies floated on that abundant tide. Above it, leaning against it in death, was the body of a young Marine. His right arm was still flung across the top of the sea wall. A few inches from his fingers stood a little blue-and-white flag. It was a beach marker. It told succeeding waves where they should land. The Marine had planted it there with his life, and now it spoke such eloquent reply to that question of a moment ago that both generals turned away from it in tears.
'Julian,' Howlin' Mad Smith went on in soft amendment-- 'how can such men be defeated?'
Monday, November 18, 2013
Mary Katharine Ham
Zeke Emanuel Reveals Obamacare's Original Sin
All problems with Heathcare.gov flowed from one bad decision, he said.
"The one thing that didn't happen isand I've said this before," Emanuel continued, "is we needed a CEO who understood, who's a really great manager understood the health sideespecially health insurance, because after all, what's the website, what's the exchanges if not health insuranceand understood how to make sure that... the e-commerce aspects were going to run well."
"No one ever got appointed to really do that of sufficient stature," said Emanuel. "You don't hand this to [the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services]. This isn't in their wheelhouse. This isn't something they can do.
The ignorant omniscience of President Obama
He knows everything. And yet he seems to know nothing. He’s passionate about the details of domestic policy but wasn’t privy to the details of his own legacy law. He’s an academic with a command of every issue at once but seemingly only finds out what his administration is doing in news reports. He’s so brilliant every normal endeavor he’s tried has bored him, but he couldn’t bother to entertain himself with more than one monthly meeting on the make-or-break program of his presidency. He’s the captain of the Culture of Competency who has overseen the most incompetent rollout of an entitlement program in history.
I was struck by a moment in President Obama’s press conference today where this paradox was on full display. The president floated, throughout the press conference, from profession of utter ignorance to confident declaration and directive. Allahpundit noted that Obama distanced himself from the website’s problems by saying he was never informed of its problems. He knew nothing.
If the MSM is surprised by the Obamacare fiasco, then they suck at pattern recognition and suffer from acute memory limitations.
Obama Either Knew that Healthcare.gov Wouldn’t Work or He Is Keeping Incompetent Liars On His Payroll
So Chao, the project manager, was worried about Obamacare crashing on October 1. He had been worried about that for months. Obama said he had not been told “directly” of these fears. Carney said today that Obama was “briefed regularly” on the site’s progress and issues.
How do we resolve this? What was in those briefings? Did Obama pay any attention to them?
It may be that Obama was not actually being briefed regularly at all. We know that he skips other duties such as attending his Daily Intelligence Briefing. You can lead a horse to water, and all that. Or maybe David Axelrod was right when he said earlier today that Obama has surrounded himself with yes-men who just tell him what he wants to hear. They knew there were problems but they lied to Obama because they knew he couldn’t handle or didn’t want the truth.
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Usually because of self-inflicted wounds.
Shock poll: Fox trusted more than Obama on Obamacare info
The most trusted voice in America on Obamacare isn't the president -- or most of the media, Congress or insurance companies. It's Fox News Channel.
Just 11 percent said that President Obama is the most trusted source of Obamacare information, about half of those who cite Fox, at 19 percent.
Worse for Obama, who has been fumbling over his oft-stated and false promise that Americans will be able keep their insurance under his namesake program, just 35 percent told YouGov.com that they trust his word a lot or some, while 52 percent said they trust him not too much or not at all.
But it is not enough to be able to deliver a good speech. Politics is about delivering tangible benefits to the American people. That is what the Affordable Care Act was supposed to do, and it didn't do it, and the Democrats are going to pay dearly for their leader's failure. For Obama, there is no recovery from this catastrophe, just as there was no recovery for Lyndon Johnson from his credibility gap.
The MSM worked overtime to destroy Paula Deen and Richie Incognito. Yet, for some reason, Alec Baldwin gets a free pass, or at worst, a slap on the wrist.
Friday, November 15, 2013
Occupy Wall Street buys $15 million of Americans' medical debt
(Reuters) - An Occupy Wall Street spin-off group has bought up $14.7 million worth of Americans' personal medical debt and forgiven it over the last year as part of its Rolling Jubilee project, the group announced Monday.
G. K. Chesterton:
Of gold she would not wear so much as a seal-ring, choosing to store her money in the stomachs of the poor rather than to keep it at her own disposal.
Nothing will be done until we have realized that charity is not giving rewards to the deserving, but happiness to the unhappy.
The Illustrated London News, 8 December 1906