Monday, April 28, 2008

Why I hate libertarians

How 'Dallas' Won the Cold War

Yeah. Pulp television won the Cold War. All that diplomacy, military action, and economic pressure was just so unnecessary.

I’m glad that the real history is finally being written. It is about time that David Hasselhoff received credit for his triumphal return to Poland that signaled the death of the Communist Dream. Who can forget Fonzi rallying the workers at Gdansk as they demanded extra break-time so they could watch Charlie’s Angels?

I understand that the latest scholarly histories of the post-war period have dropped the Marshall Plan from their pages. Seems that they need more space to discuss the manifest contributions of Aaron Spelling to world peace and freedom.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wow! Isn't blowing a confidential source a grave journalistic sin?

David Graham, former editor of the Duke Chronicle, broke a pledge of confidentiality to John in Carolina . His main justification seems to be spite and wounded ego . Little whiny boy did not like the criticism JiC had of his handling of the Duke lacrosse case.

Draft day and maximum football happiness

I am not obsessive about the NFL draft. I do not spend weeks listening to Mel Kiper, Jr. announce which offensive tackle the Vikings will select in the fourth round. I certainly do not participate in any mock drafts.

ESPN’s coverage of the NFL represents the worst aspects of modern journalism. Speculation is piled upon speculation. Talking heads argue over questions that can only be clarified by the passage of time. We will not know if the Giant’s had a good draft until 2011, so why argue about it today?

I like draft weekend because it marks the annual peak in collective happiness for NFL fans. On Monday morning, fans of every team can look at their roster and start some concrete dreaming:

That guard from Texas could really solidify our o-line. Maybe our running game will be effective this year.

Two new fast receivers. Good. We will finally have some big plays in the passing game.

That nose tackle is an absolute beast in the middle. If our all-pro end bounces back from his injuries, our run defense will be stellar.

Woo-hoo! We traded for Chad Johnson. We finally have a pro-bowler on offense.

Woot! We got rid of Ocho Cinco. Now our locker room won’t have that train wreck distracting everyone.

Well, it’s not the worst draft Matt Millen had

From this point forward, it is down hill. First there is the slow attrition of rookie holdouts, training camp injuries, and pre-season jitters. Then, of course, the regular season is a zero-sum game when it comes fan happiness.

But all that is in the future. On Monday, we NFL fans are united in our optimism. (Except of Eagles fans who seem to maximize their happiness by seeing the dark lining of every silver cloud.)

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

“Voices in Her Head” (II)

The political problem.

The Bill problem.

HRC has touted her experience as her key advantage over BHO. She is ready to be president while Obama is inexperienced, ill prepared, unproven.

The functioning of her campaign is at odds with her preferred image.

Some days, it's hard to remember that, just six months ago, the campaign was regarded as a highly disciplined machine. More and more, it resembles an unruly rock band plagued by dysfunction and public infighting.

I’m not sure that the functioning of a campaign is really that relevant to Oval Office performance or even to electoral success. Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign was at least as dysfunctional as Hilliary’s. Yet he easily won the nomination, the general election, and turned out to be a great president.

Where HRC differs from Reagan is that she was unable to right the ship herself. Instead, she had to turn to Bill Clinton.

As Hillary's campaign struggles, an obviously frustrated Bill and "his people" have taken a greater hand in operations. Immediately post-Iowa, veteran Clintonites like Steve Richetti, Doug Sosnik, and Roy Spence became major players. The president himself announced that he needed an office and would be coming in every day to make phone calls and get "involved."

Much of Hillary Clinton’s “experience” came with a high price tag: ignore Bill Clinton’s private behavior and help clean up the mess when that behavior became a public scandal. This campaign was her opportunity to establish herself as a leader in her own right.

Instead, she has only survived because of Bill Clinton’s coat tails and Bill Clinton’s people.

So, are we voting for an experienced leader or Lureen Wallace without the Alabama accent?
“Voices in Her Head”

This New Republic article on HRC’s campaign and its dysfunction is so interesting I want to blog about it three times. (HT: Betsy’s Page)

The first issue it raises, for me, is one of intellectual consistency. Not for TNR but for this blogger. A couple of months ago I speculated that The New Republic--given its long history of dishonesty--had lying coded into its DNA.

Yet here I am about to deal with one of its articles as if it is essentially true.

You could not ask for a better example of the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect.

My only response is the Gelernter-Whitman Exception:

But if you allow carpers to shoo you away from every generalization before you have time to explore it, you have no hope of coming to grips with basic questions of modern America.

David Gelernter, Drawing Life: Surviving the Unabomber

Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself;
(I am large—I contain multitudes

Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"

Who knew it was so easy to get away with DUI, hit-and-runs, and other traffic violations.

Police struggle to find drivers 'that don't exist'

Hit-and-run highlights rising issues of false car registration

PARKSLEY -- Darryl Hopkins was asleep in a recliner in the living room of his Fisher Road home early this week when he was startled awake by a crash.

At first he thought the handgun he sleeps with had fallen to the floor. Then he realized the gun was still in his lap, and he was covered with glass shards from a broken windowpane in the nearby front door.

A framed picture of Jesus had been knocked from the wall next to the doorjamb and now laid behind a bookcase.

"It woke me up big time. I couldn't get myself together. I didn't know what happened," said the 65 year-old Air Force veteran and retired electrician, still shaken a day later.

Hopkins called 911. A couple of minutes later, he looked outside and saw the source of the impact -- a white 1995 Hyundai with Mississippi license plates was lying on its side near the front door, its headlights still shining toward the road.

Hopkins' front porch was demolished and the driver was already gone, leaving behind a wallet containing a Mississip-pi driver's license issued to Fidel Chavez Escalante.

The driver had not been found as of late this week, according to First Sgt. JP Koushel of the Virginia State Police, putting a spotlight on hit-and-run cases involving falsified vehicle registrations that seem to be increasing.

"We can't solve these (cases) because in Mississippi, this car is registered to a person who doesn't exist," Koushel said
Gang of 88: Still at it

Fortunately, KC Johnson is also still on the beat. Wahneema Lubiano tries to rewrite history; KC slices and dices.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

SOP= Same Old Pirates

The Nutting's minor leage team that gets to play in the Majors is up to its old tricks.

Pirates, Morris rocked again, 10-4

Morris, Pirates pounded again

Mondesi comments:

OK, so the on-field product is not what some had anticipated. No surprise there, despite all the promises from management. But we can still look forward to Nate McLouth pinch-hitting in the 9th inning of the All-Star Game, the Tom Gorzelanny Bobblehead, Jalapeno Hanna Mrs. Potato Heads, the Lumber Company Bobblehead series, Matt Morris pitching batting practice to the other team during the game, REO Speedwagon, Collective Soul, booing A-Rod in person on a cool summer night, the new all-you-can-eat section, and eight nights of Zambelli fireworks. And that's a part of Pirate culture that will never change.

Monday, April 21, 2008

The best way to remember the Alamo

is to rout the murderer who ordered the massacre and make him agree to your independence. That's how the Texan did it at San Jacinto. Scott Chaffin reminds us that today is the anniversary.

UPDATE: This is an outstanding piece of historical writing. Read it. If it does not stir your blood a little bit, then you may be dead. Or a member of

Texas, 1836
And it began with a hoax phone call?

So the phone call that launched the paramilitary raid on the FLDS ranch in Texas (complete with a police APC) was a hoax. See R. S. McCain's must read article:

Searching for "Sarah"
It has a killer opener:

"Nothing catches an editor's eye like a good rape," gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson once observed, and this month's lurid tales of teenage girls ritually raped in the temple of a Texas polygamist cult caught editors' eyes around the world.

Worth noting that the Duke lacrosse case got it start with a fake phone call that was released to the public.

Friday, April 18, 2008

America’s Game

I feel sorry for people who don’t get the NFL network. How do they handle the football off-season? All they have is ESPN with its yapping about the Sawks and Yankees, college softball, the NBA, and poker.

The NFL network has its share of fluff (although it is football fluff). They also have the best sports series ever created: America’s Game, a history of the teams that have won the Super Bowl.

Each episode mixes game footage with interviews from three or four people from the team. These interviews are a nice blend of superstars and role-players. We hear from Starr, Namath, and Staubach, but we also hear from Randy Grossman and Chuck Mercin.

There is poignancy to many of these interviews, especially those for the first dozen or so Super Bowls. The players, superstar and role-player alike, are old men and have had decades to reflect on their shining moment. Dwight White reminds us that when Time magazine put the original Steel Curtain on its cover it was putting four black faces on real estate that was a white preserve at that time. My favorite Cowboy--Bob Lilly--hearkens back to another era when he confesses his embarrassment at throwing his helmet when Dallas lost upper Bowl V.

The film highlights and interviews recover history from the tyranny of the stats tables. When commentators talk about great running backs, they rarely mention Franco Harris anymore. His numbers look unimpressive today. But in America’s Game the viewers can see the Franco who was a marvel: a 235 pound bull going up the middle and, then, past the line of scrimmage, breaking into that long, gliding stride that made him a fullback with something extra.

In volume 10 we see the essential Franco. On a frozen field covered by icy artificial turf, Harris takes the ball against Oakland. The play is designed to go inside but there is no hole. He reverses field and breaks outside. Al Davis still whines that the Steelers iced the field that day to negate the Raiders’s team speed. Yet, there goes Franco down the sideline for a 25-yard touchdown.

The greatest Steeler, Joe Greene, give props to his old teammate. The Steelers, he notes, never won anything before Franco. But with Franco, “all we did was win.”

Winning, obviously, is the common theme to all the episodes. Despite all the changes in the game, the keys to winning remain constant. One week we see Bill Belichick in 2004 exhorting the Patriots to play “fundamentally sound football.” The next week Randy Grossman admits that Steelers football was not flashy; Chuck Noll just stressed the fundamentals, each day, every day, for years. Of course, there is Lombardi and the Sweep, refining fundamentals down to the elemental in the blast furnace of his personality and the practice field.

The two volumes on the Dolphins are notable for their insight into the alchemy of victory. The players are, rightfully, proud of their group achievements, especially the perfect 17-0 season of 1972. Yet they emphasize selflessness as the key ingredient for their success.

Larry Csonka marvels at Bob Griese play-calling in a victory over the Vikings. With the game on the line and the Dolphins driving on Minnesota’s 3 yardline, Miami used a play-action pass to score the go-ahead touchdown. Csonka, the greatest power back of the Super Bowl era, shows as much satisfaction with this play as he does for any of the times when his number was called to seal the victory. He is happy to be the decoy while Jim Mandich catches the winning score. All that mattered is that the Dolphins walked away winners.

America’s Game makes an interesting counter-point to the ESPN’s documentary “Third and a Mile.” Two of the stars of the ESPN production played on the Dolphins and Steelers. To William C. Rhoden and the WWL, Joe Gilliam and Marlin Briscoe were victims. They are, simply, black quarterbacks who were denied a chance to play that position because of their race. With America’s Game, we get context. Larry Csonka avers that that he would not have traded Bob Griese for Joe Namath. Griese’s field generalship was the key piece of the Miami machine. It was not skin color that kept Briscoe at wide receiver with Dolphins; it was Shula’s masterful orchestration of his available talent. Griese was the man who could keep the machine running without a hiccup.

When Joe Greene is asked about the quarterback controversy in 1974, he is forthright about his belief at that time that Bradshaw, not Gilliam, was the man who could best help the Steelers win.

Rhoden told his story looking only through the prism of race. He ignored the complex alchemy of winning and created a fake history. America’s Game, thankfully, rescues “the ultimate team sport” from the tyranny of the highlight clip and the falsity of ideology. It shows us what football success is all about.

History as myth-making and politics

From John Leo

The scholar who did the most to break this silence was Mary Lefkowitz, a mild-mannered classicist at Wellesley College. Without fully understanding the abuse she would invite by speaking out against Afrocentrism, she accepted an assignment in the fall of 1991 to write a long review of the second volume of Martin Bernal's "Black Athena" for the New Republic magazine. She was shocked to discover that the Bernal volume, and a stack of other nearly fact-free books on Afrocentrism, had made headway in the schools and even in the universities.

She concluded that the Afrocentric authors regarded history as a form of advocacy: Like other postmodernists, they believed that truth is impossible to know—that all "narratives" are socially constructed and thus possess an equal claim to legitimacy. At the time, traditional scholarship was generally under assault, but the classics were particularly vulnerable, because they purported to study the foundational texts of the West. Attacking the classics as a complex system of lies was emotionally important to those who wanted to take Western culture down a peg. Feelings and politics mattered, not scholarship. As Ms. Lefkowitz puts it: "[Bernal] seemed to be saying that the most persuasive narrative was the one with the most desirable result. In effect, he was preaching a kind of affirmative action program for the rewriting of history

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A toxic mix of do-gooders, crime, corruption, and religion

From the publisher's description:

In June 2005, a prominent and politically influential Muslim cleric, Imam Shamsud-din Ali, became the latest person convicted in a massive federal corruption probe in Philadelphia. As the revelations emanating from the probe continue, a critically acclaimed author and leading authority on organized crime exposes for the very first time the disturbing contemporary and historical ties between Ali, the city's notorious Black Mafia, and the sweeping federal probe.

The Black Mafia was one of the bloodiest crime syndicates in modern US history. From its roots in Philadelphia's ghettos in the 1960's, it grew from a rabble of street toughs to a disciplined, ruthless organization based on fear and intimidation with links across the Eastern Seaboard. Known in its "legitimate" guise as Black Brothers, Inc., it held regular meetings, appointed investigators, treasurers and enforcers, and controlled drug dealing, loan-sharking, numbers rackets, armed robbery and extortion

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

One of the good guys

Sometimes i think that the six happiest words in the English laguage are "Justice Scalia writing for the majority". I think Justin Levine might agree:

Vintage Scalia On Display In Lethal Injection Case
Noreen O'Donnell: Always classy

Well may be not.
You’re lying because I am lazy but arrogant

Some clown named Cliff Lyon does not know how often civilians use guns to defend themselves. He positively knows that is rare. Anyone who says otherwise is not simply mistaken--he is a liar.

The neat twist is that Lyon expects to use the Google ranking of his website to make sure that his fact-free accusation against Alan Korwin lives forever and is widely disseminated.

I fear that he has failed to reckon with the industriousness of the 2d Amendment blogosphere. The clueless Cliff Lyon may soon curse Google’s algorithms and their rankings.
Four smart guys look at the future of newspapers

David Warsh is somewhat optimistic:

Traditional print journalism, rooted in newspapers’ semi-monopolies on advertising and information, has been teasing apart, becoming dis-integrated, for nearly a century ever since the first radio station broadcast the news and accompanied it with “commercials.” The advent of television was another inflection point, but posed no threat to newspapers’ help-wanted and classified advertising; the advent of the Internet has been quite another matter. The best newspapers seem certain to survive the onslaught of the World Wide Web. Probably they will retain their primacy at the top of the explanatory chain their presentation can’t be beat; they come out only once a day; paper-and-ink corporeality means they can’t be changed; and printing presses, delivery networks and reputation all form formidable barriers to entry against competition. But newspapers of the future will be slimmed-down versions of their former selves, web-savvy, their print editions aimed mostly at elites.

Nicholas Carr is more pessimistic:

As soon as a newspaper is unbundled, an intricate and, until now, largely invisible system of subsidization quickly unravels. Classified ads, for instance, can no longer help to underwrite the salaries of investigative journalists or overseas correspondents. Each piece of content has to compete separately, consuming costs and generating revenues in isolation. So if you’re a beleaguered publisher, losing readers and money and facing Wall Street’s wrath, what are you going do as you shift your content online? Hire more investigative journalists? Or publish more articles about consumer electronics? It seems clear that as newspapers adapt to the economics of the Web, they are far more likely to continue to fire reporters than hire new ones.

Speaking before the Online Publishing Association in 2006, the head of the New York Times’s Web operation, Martin Nisenholtz, summed up the dilemma facing newspapers today. He asked the audience a simple question: “How do we create high quality content in a world where advertisers want to pay by the click, and consumers don’t want to pay at all?”

The answer may turn out to be equally simple: We don’t

R. S. McCain is extremely gloomy:

You can talk about online news until you're blue in the face, but it won't change the fact that Americans now read much less than they once did.

What is happening to newspaper circulation is simply this: As older readers die off, they are not being replaced by younger readers.

The reason for that is that young people -- and by that, I mean, people under 40 -- don't read nearly as much as do their elders. And it has nothing do with print vs. online. If you are under 40 and reading news online, you are an exception, a rarity, among your peers.

Why has the reading habit declined among those under 40? First it was cable TV, then it was the VCR, now the DVD -- and you could add video games to that list -- the increased availability of on-demand video has accustomed young people to process information that way. Just as reading is habit-forming, TV is also habit-forming, and the TV habit has flourished at the expense of reading

American Digest is as gloomy as McCain, but also wildly happy:

Of course, the real elephant drooling in the room of newspapers like the Seattle Times these days is "the forgotten reader." These are the potential readers who, because of the unremitting liberal tone and slant of the Times in both the news hole and on the editorial page, loathe the Times and the whole sector of Seattle society it represents.

Now you may say, in a town as overwhelmingly liberal as Seattle, "Screw those troglodyte, Republican morons!" Well, you can say that but then you will, sooner or later, fire 200 of your employees. And that will be only the start.

Why? Because in an "overwhelmingly liberal town" you are talking about, at most, around 55% of the potential readership that agrees with you. This means you are leaving about 45% of potential readership out of the equation altogether. King County has about 2 million people. That means that 45% of potential readership is not at all a trivial number, and yet the Seattle Times takes every opportunity to alienate them. Result: Mass sackings and many millions lost.

And yet the Seattle Times, as well as numerous other newspapers now dying in the US, never ever cops to its point of view as the reason why it is failing

FWIW, I hope Warsh is right, but I fear that McCain is on to something when it comes to the death of reading.

I do disagree with one point he makes:

Having been in the newspaper business since 1986, I have unfortunately had a ringside seat to watch the industry's decline. And the reason I know that liberal bias is not a sufficient explanation for this decline is the fact that small "hometown" newspapers -- which have never reflected the liberalism that plagues the major metro dailies -- have suffered equally, if not worse, from the decline.

I’ve lived in a bunch of different places over the years. Some were liberal communities (Madison, Wisconsin) while others were conservative (Carlisle, Charlotte). In every city and town, however, the local paper was and is more liberal than the community it serves. In Madison, the papers were very liberal, Here in Carlisle the Sentinel is only a little to the left of center. This is a striking stance, though, in a community that voted for Bush 60/40 in two elections.

The fact that newspapers tilt left is not the only reason they are declining. For a large part of the market, however, it is a net negative. It is one more hurdle that they have to clear in order to convince the non-reader to buy their product.

The biggest problem is that technology and social trends have destroyed their raison d’etre. Much of the “news” that fills their pages is not NEW when the reader gets to it. It has been on cable TV, radio and the Internet for hours. The headlines are familiar while the wire copy adds little depth.

A newspaper might have value as a trusted aggregator of stories. It could deliver value by providing more depth than competing media. Both “solutions” run into internal barriers in newspapers, as they exist today. Their liberal tilt undercuts their trustworthiness so that many readers do not trust their news judgment. The endless rounds of cut backs in the newsrooms leave them with few resources to upgrade the quality of their content.

Perhaps their greatest weakness is that there are no great editors trying to create something new and better.

Readers are important, but advertising revenue is the key to newspaper viability. There are two areas the industry could address in order to shore up their long-term position.

1. Develop better online advertising. One reason that web revenue cannot offset losses from the print side is that many advertisers cannot use it for brand marketing. The click-through, direct response model works great for cheap car insurance and male enhancement supplements. It is less effective for cars, beer, clothing, etc. As readers move to the web, some of the biggest advertisers cannot follow: they have to advertise in other venues.

It is incumbent on newspaper publishers to find and promote online advertising method/styles that will work for a wide range of products. Agencies will not do it because they are agnostic when it comes to media platform. If newspapers want better advertising they have to find and promote it on their own.

2. 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.

See also:

The newspaper: Today and tomorrow

UPDATE: R.S. McCain comments further here.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Debunking a rumor can make it seem more true?

This is fascinating yet discouraging at the same time:

Rumor’s Reasons


The psychologists expected that seniors would mistakenly remember some false statements as true. What was remarkable, though, was which claims they most often got wrong the ones they had been exposed to multiple times. In other words, the more that researchers had stressed that a given warning was false, the more likely seniors were to eventually come to believe it was true. (College students in the study did not make the same mistakes.)

To understand this turnabout, says Norbert Schwarz, a psychologist at the University of Michigan who worked with Skurnik on the study, it helps to know how our brains suss out truth from fiction. To determine the veracity of a given statement, we often look to society’s collective assessment of it. But it is difficult to measure social consensus very precisely, and our brains rely, instead, upon a sensation of familiarity with an idea. You use a rule of thumb: if something seems familiar, you must have heard it before, and if you’ve heard it before, it must be true

This helps explain why the JFK conspiracy theories persist. Debunking them makes them more familiar which causes some people to believe them.

This is an area where Fox News could do good work. It is also perfect for their tabloid tastes and methods. Imagine if they tackled this mother lode of conspiracy theories. Skip the question “was there a conspiracy?”. That question has been answered definitively by Posner and especially Bugliosi. The unexamined angle is the beliefs and actions of the rag tag band of loons and frauds who represent the critics of the Warren Commission.

It is a wonderful story of lying leftists, UFO believers, comsymps, intellectual wannabees, KGB money, and wacky charlatans. There are even connections to John Kerry, O. J. Simpson, and Hollywood.

Like I said, it is a story right in FNC’s wheelhouse.

The great thing for Fox News is that all the hard digging has been done for them. It is sitting out here in the internet and in books. Hugh Aynesworth could fill an hour just telling stories about his encounters with the “CT community.”

Bad journalism is more than liberal bias

As a conservative, I am put off by the relentless liberal preening you see on CNN. As a thinking human being I’m revolted by the grotesque circus that is the Nancy Grace Show. Nonetheless, it is a sad fact that when CNN is good, it is very good. So good, in fact, that it leaves the cheap tabloid prime time of Fox News in the dust.

Their recent program on the Martin Luther King assassination was a great case in point. In telling the story, they let the conspiracy theorists make their charges. Then, at the end, they demolished them with photographs, police reports, and witness testimony. For a brief moment, truth prevailed over tabloid gossip.

Contrast that with FNC’s appalling Greta van Sustren who keeps promoting the idea that a royal conspiracy had a hand in the death of Princess Diana. There is no evidence to support such speculation, but Fox allows (encourages?) her to keep beating that same dead horse.

The Duke lacrosse case was another instance where FNC’s addiction to cheap sensation left it eating the dust of its liberal competition. Its talk radio model gave a forum to hoax enablers like Georgia Goslee and Wendy Murphy where they spewed their lies and bile. It was “60 Minutes” that investigated the case and laid out the many misrepresentations of Mike Nifong. No one at Fox had the courage of Ed Bradley.
The War on School Choice

An integral part of the Culture War is the determination by some, largely on the Right, to pull their children out of the public schools and teach them at home. Home school parents want to avoid the violence, immorality, and politically correct indoctrination that is all too common in today’s public schools, and they also believe they can provide a better education than is offered in the typical classroom. Some on the Left are just as determined that all American youth (well, not the rich; they can afford private education) be forced to attend the public institutions. Teachers’ unions, for obvious economic reasons, are among those opposed to home schooling. And ideology driven teachers want no one to escape their preaching. Of course, the official reasons for attacking schooling at home are almost always stated in lofty terms involving good citizenship and child welfare.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Obama and me and the Democrats JALE problem

So, to Barak Obama, i'm just another stupid cracker. I'm one of those people who live in small-town Pennsylvania (actually outside a small town) and cling to my religion and my Second Amendment rights. I'm too stupid to see that Barry O wants to help me or maybe i'm just bitter and hung up on prejudice.

This is becoming a recurrent problem for Democrats. They keep trotting out new, exciting, candidates who are different, better than the losers they've backed before. And then, BAM. The New Next New Big Thing turns out to be Just Another Liberal Elitist.

Dukakis, Gore, Kerry. Now, Barak Obama. It's the JALE syndrome.

A couple of things i've posted in the past might help BHO get past his ego-stroking blindness. (Hint: We small towners know you and your party better than you know us.)

Truly asymmetrical information

This week's must reads:
Beware-- blood pressure warning

Dick Cavett: yet another liberal dazzled by Petraeus’ shiny medals

Wine weasel critiques real man

Matthew Debord

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The enemies of transformation

Interesting article on the barriers to corporate transformation:

Transform Your Company For Growth

Most efforts at transformation fail miserably. This unnerving and frustrating reality should not be a surprise--after years of pervasive "continuous improvement" programs, executives are reaping what they have sown. Their organizations, from executives down through the rank and file, have been motivated and compensated to focus on incremental improvement, measured quarterly and annually, along competitive performance parameters established years earlier.

To expect this system to create the breakthrough innovations that power transformation is simply unrealistic. Years of continuous improvement training have caused corporate innovation muscles to atrophy.

To ascertain the scope of the transformation challenge, our company, Innosight, surveyed more than 300 managers, directors, vice presidents, and senior leaders from a wide range of companies. We asked these practitioners whether their companies were walking the walk or just talking the talk around their transformation efforts. Did they have the necessary focus, tools and talent to drive meaningful growth from within?
Their answers are sobering for any executive telling investors about their deep commitment to "growth through innovation." Most survey respondents said their companies are struggling with transformation and they don't know quite what to do about it.

I took a crack at the subject here:

Why corporate change is hard and failure almost inevitable

Why corporate change is hard and failure almost inevitable (Part Two)

Why corporate change is hard and failure almost inevitable (III)

Friday, April 11, 2008

This sounds like an interesting book

The Lessons of Business History: A Handbook

Over the last few decades, business historians have generated rich empirical data that in some cases confirms and in other cases contradicts many of today's fashionable theories and assumptions by other disciplines, says Harvard Business School professor Geoffrey Jones, who edited the volume with University of Wisconsin-Madison professor Jonathan Zeitlin.

But unless you were a business historian, this data went largely unnoticed, and the consequences were not just academic.

"This loss of history has resulted in the spread of influential theories based on ill-informed understandings of the past," says Jones.

For example, current accepted advice is that wealth and growth will come to countries that open their borders to foreign direct investment. "The historical evidence shows clearly that this is an article of faith rather than proven by the historical evidence of the past," says Jones

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This made me see red

Ask JPMorgan's Dimon: Not Everyone Follows the Leader

So the people at Bear Stearns-- shareholders and employees alike-- want to fight against the takeover by JP Morgan. A bunch of lawyers stand ready to help them.

There is something wrong with this picture. How is it that a company can trigger a financial crisis through its folly, get saved by outsiders, and then, threaten to sue those who saved them (and us innocent bystanders)?

This is a recipe for disaster.
HRC and 1776

From Don Surber:

Elton John endorsed Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York for president, according to Politico: “I never cease to be amazed at the misogynist attitude of some of the people in this country. I say to hell with them.”

Elton John did apologize for his Madonna statement. But who is he to tell us whom to vote for and then to insult those who do not jump to his whims?

It says a lot about Hillary that she has to trot out foreigners to prop up her dead parrot campaign
That's why we had that little kerfuffle back in 1775-1783: so we did not have to listen to stupids fops like Sir Elton.

So does this make HRC the modern descendant of the Loyalist ladies in Philadelphia who entertained the British officers while the Continental army froze and starved at Valley Forge?

BTW: Has any reporter checked to see how much the HRC campaign paid Reggie Dwight? As a foreign national he can't contribute to the campaign. I think that includes in-kind contributions like performing for free at a fund-raiser.

UPDATE: The Washington Times raised the fund-raising issue a couple of weeks ago. (HT:Michelle Malkin)

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

How good is Big Ben?

Ben Roethlisberger just signed the biggest contract in Steeler's history and one of the largest in the NFL. Yet, based on the numbers, he is a bargain.
Unintended consequences

As I’ve watched the political campaign unfold, I’m struck by the reaction of rank and file conservatives to McCain’s nomination. While there have been some predictable howls of outrage, these come mostly from the Professional Right and Talk Radio. Groups, that is, who get paid to howl. Bob Barr is getting a little attention. A few cranky paleos are making noises about voting for Obama. All this chattering, however, has elicited little response from the larger conservative public.

This acceptance of McCain is a sign of maturity. Key elements of the Republican coalition realize that they are no longer dependent on a conservative president to save them from the liberal deluge.

This maturation process is an unintended outcome of eight years of Bush-Rove. Their methods worked for a time, but that very success has made those methods obsolete. Rove’s tactics and Bush’s inaction has led their core voters to see the presidential race in less apocalyptic terms.

Issues like gay marriage and the rights of gun owners helped Bush turn out large numbers of values voters in 2004. Gun control was a big reason that rural voters went for Bush by large margins and locked up states like West Virginia and Arkansas.

Dozens of states have passed Defense of Marriage laws and constitutional amendments. Most passed with overwhelming public support. Values voters realize that they do not have to rely on the Great Father in the Oval Office: they can achieve their goals locally on their own initiative.

Second Amendment voters have learned the same lesson, but their education left a bitter aftertaste. The truth is, Bush has done little for gun owners except collect their votes. Despite this betrayal by lethargy, gun rights are safer today than they were eight years ago. Most states have “shall issue” CCW laws. Castle doctrine laws are passing all over the country. Here in Pennsylvania, the legislature just rejected Gov. Rendell’s latest Brady-approved nostrum. Gun owners know that they can win in Congress and state legislatures. Again, this makes the presidential nominee much less important.

Bush and Rove inadvertently confirmed this with their illegal alien amnesty plan. Grass roots opposition killed it despite the White House’s best efforts to shove it through Congress. There was a two-fold lesson for conservatives. First, if this is what a “conservative” president does, how much worse can the dreaded McCain be? Second, heartland voters saw that they can fight and win battles even when the White House is against them
"I don't know what it is, but i think it's important"

First major market study of Enterprise 2.0

“Enterprise 2.0 is on the minds of most organizations. 44% of respondents indicated that Enterprise 2.0 is imperative or significant to corporate goals and objectives. Another 27% positioned Enterprise 2.0 as having average impact on business goals and success. That’s the good news. The bad news is there is still much confusion in the market concerning Enterprise 2.0. Of the organizations polled, 74% stated they have only a vague familiarity or no clear understanding of Enterprise 2.0.” Market confusion was further evidenced in the study by the failure of respondents to popularly select a common definition of Enterprise 2.0.
Why Cass Sunstein is wrong

Free to Browse

Sunstein shows little awareness that the dominance of the general-interest intermediaries he has in mind -- mass media outlets that large majorities of the citizenry were exposed to -- was a historical curiosity of the 20th century that had never been seen before and will, in all likelihood, never be seen again. The Founding Fathers lived in a polarized and fragmented media environment dominated by pamphleteers and partisan newspapers. To hear Sunstein tell it, republican virtues are imperiled by the emergence of a media market that is becoming more, not less, like the one that flourished when our republic was founded. This is counterintuitive, to say the least.

Two smart items on paleos and their future:

Paul Gottfried

R. S. McCain

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

The way we live now

Yep, some kids today are reading Lord of the Flies as an instruction manual.

Girls Record Brutal Attack On Teen To Allegedly Post On YouTube

{HT and LotF reference from Scott Chaffin)

I'd like to see a tough old judge bring a video camera to court when he sentences a You-tube criminal. Have his bailiff film the perp's face when he (or she) hears that jail time is in the offing. Follow Mr. (or Ms) tough guy through his processing as his ass gets hauled off for a decent time in juvie. Catch every tear and whimper.

Then post the result on You-tube. Let others profit from the example.
This one of the best posts i've seen on Charlton Heston

Chuck, Yakima and Orson
No news radio

In his book on the Kennedy assassnation, Hugh Aynesworth lists the reporters he thinks did good work that week-end in Dallas. Most worked for te local papers. A half dozen worked for radio stations. One station, KRLD, had four reporters working on the story.

I wonder how many stations could do that today. Cost-cutting and consolidation have left many local radio stations with little news-gathering capability. Their studios are ghostly affairs-- mostly empty with computers managing prepackaged newsbreaks, talk radio programs, canned music, and commercials.

Call me a hapless romantic, but i am saddened by the reduction newsgathering. We are better off when more reporters chase a story. In addition, the empy studio is a problem during a local emergency. Television and the internet disappear when the power goes out. A battery (or hand-cranked) radio becomes the sole source for news.

My recent experience has been disappointing on that score. When we've been without power during ice storms or hurrican remnants, the radio was no help at all. The local stations, even the big "news-talk" station, kept repeating the same uninformative news updates.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Wow, some sort of trans-dimensional vortex has scrambled time

Pat Buchanan decides to attack this Richard Cohen op-ed column and party like its 1938 .

Buchanan wants us to believe that a war must be perfect in order to be labeled "good." This is a juvenile attitude that strikes me as deeply unconservative. Central to conservatism is its appreciation of limits, a recognition of life's tragic dimensions. A conservative statecraft recognizes that sometimes the only choices are between bad and less bad. It also understands the limits of power.

PJB's screed ignores all of this. He blames FDR and Churchill for events they had no power to prevent. WWII did not create Stalin. The allies did not order the Red Army to rape its way across Eastern Europe. It is absurd to suggest that the carnage east of the Elbe was avoidable if the West had sat on the sidelines and watched the Wermacht win in Russia.

Similarly, the war paved the way for Mao in China. That, however, was not Roosevelt's aim. It was Tojo who invaded China and crippled the Chiang government. The United States can hardly be blamed for Tokyo's expansionist fantasies or the consequences of their belligerence.

The bottom line is that the world faced three vicious, aggressive totalitarian regimes in 1938. FDR and Churchill eliminated two of them and partially contained the third. While that is not the best of all outcomes, it is close the best realistic result. Buchanan is keen to tote up the negatives, but he never tells us what course of action could have achieved more.
Mock drafts, what am i missing?

Exactly what is the point? Why try to guess what player Jacksonville will choose? What does it mean if you get it right?

Friday, April 04, 2008

Someone tell Heather Macdonald

Counter-Terrorism: Blue-Eyed Jihadis Observed

See also:
The Folly of Heather MacDonald

The wrong war, on the wrong issue, at the wrong time
Jeffrey Hart on WFB

Right at the End
Am oldie but still good

Burke vs. Reason

The world may be freer since 1968, but Reason's editors do not live in the world, they live in the United States. And only a fool or liar would deny that America is much less free than it was 35 years ago. There is no sphere of human activity that American governments do not seek to regulate--except the sexual sphere. Laws proliferate at such a rate that everyone is a law-breaker. There is nowhere Americans can go when they simply want to be left alone. Just ask Randy Weaver and David Koresh. Meanwhile, the range of acceptable opinion becomes ever more narrow. Just ask Al Campanis, Jimmy the Greek, Trent Lott, Rush Limbaugh, Gregg Easterbrook, et al. The world we live in may be dizzying in its variety, but America becomes less "diverse" with each passing day.
They say it better than i can

I wanted to post on ths silly piece by Kevin Drum but Scott Chaffin and James Rummel already have. I've got nothing to add.

Moron talks armed security

Confusing cause and effect
An interesting double standard

From Patterico:

The Interesting Ethics of Chuck Philips: Protecting His Own Dishonest Sources While Risking the Lives of Law Enforcement Informants

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Is this really journalism?

A peek behind the curtain of how the "experts" make it onto the Nancy Grace show

At noon on April 4, Dittrich said she will be e-mailed a copy of the show's topic for the day, and will appear on the show at 8 p.m.

Dittrich said her portion will be filmed from Cleveland. The show is based in New York City.

"It's very exciting and a little intimidating," she said. "I think what scares me the most is not knowing the topic until that day

Now there is a fine example of the "journalism of verification".

I know that Nancy Grace is the worst sort of tabloid dreck. OTOH, it is part of the CNN family. During the show the screen crawl frequently reminds viewers that CNN is the "most trusted name in news."
The metrocon philosophy in a nutshell

Brought to you courtesy of the Weekly Standard

"Be right, live left."

The whole post is a rather hateful attack on several conservative women bloggers.
Now i know what vodka not to buy

Gateway Pundit: Drink Absolut Vodka-- Bring Back Mythical Aztlan

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

An entertaining and important book

From the foreword by Wes Pruden

No one ever wanted to find the conspirators in the assassination of John F. Kennedy more than Hugh Aynesworth. No one ever searched with more diligence, more determination,or with more dogged dedication to expose the plot and identify the plotters.

But Hugh, like every good reporter, learned early to follow the facts. The good reporter loves the surprise of finding where the facts lead, if not to a conspiracy to something more interesting and more unexpected, to a tangled story of unlikely men and women caught up in malice, misfeasance, and murder.

No one knows more about malice and murder than Hugh, who has stalked politicians, movie stars, wayward preachers and priests gone bad, mad men, crazed widows and serial killers, for more than half a century. No one knows as much about this particular tale of malice and murder than Hugh, who through the coincidences of a day fraught with coincidence and happenstance, was the only person in Dallas present at the assassination of Kennedy, the scene immediately following the slaying of Officer J. D. Tippit, the capture of Lee Harvey Oswald, and the murder of Oswald by Jack Ruby.

But was it coincidence? Or was it skill? Journalists will tell you that good reporters are taught but great reporters are born, that instinct is what gives great reporters the ability to sense where the story goes next, the talent for being in the right place at the right time when "news happens

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Should i be concerned about Rev. Jeremiah Wright?

Fox News thinks i should be. HRC and her crew hope i will be. But somehow i just can't work up the energy to be indignant.

Part of it is the hypocrisy. Fox-niks like Bill O'Reilly and the insufferable Sean Hannity decry the "divisiveness" of Wright's sermons (or at least those snippets of the sermons they play over and over again.) Yet Fox routinely plays at racial polarization to build ratings. They seek out the most extreme voices because that makes for the kind of arguments their hosts love.

Same thing with the Clinton camp. Like most White democrats, they never worried about what was said in black churches when those churches were turning out their parishioners to vote for Bill, Hil, or their allies. It's a completely different story now that HRC is on the receiving end. For me, what was sauce for Dole makes good sauce for a Clinton.

So, i think i'll just sit this one out.