Since my blog was one of many inspired by Instapundit.com in the immediate wake of 9/11, and since it’s celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, I had wanted to do a video interview with Glenn Reynolds to discuss the history and state of the Blogosphere. Given that he has a new “Broadside” (much longer than most magazine articles, but shorter than most books) from Encounter Books on the Higher Education Bubble and the impact of its aftermath on both students and academia, this seemed like the perfect opportunity. With a little help from the folks at PJTV.com for arranging the video hookup between our two one-man in-home video studios, here’s my video with the Professor, in which he discusses:
The similar attempts to burrow their heads in the sand by Big Media and Big Education, despite knowing that both institutions are clearly in trouble.
How a speculative bubble forms and then bursts, and this case, how education costs have completely outpaced the rise in housing and medical costs. (Here is the scary-ass comparison chart by economics professor Mark J. Perry that Glenn mentions during the interview.)
Why expensive universities pushed unemployable majors, and why students were so eager to sign up for them.
Will the bachelor’s degree increasingly be seen as increasingly less important to success?
How technology could help ameliorate the higher education bubble.
Click on the above video to watch; a handy embeddable YouTube version is available here. And click here and just keep scrolling, for three years worth of our earlier editions of our Silicon Graffiti video blog.
Rather than shoot the new video in the newsroom set we typically use as home base, I decided to borrow a used Apollo capsule and Saturn rocket to make my way to Space Station V. What better place to discuss the alien invasion that’s about to strike planet earth?
Or at least the one that Paul Krugman of the New York Times has publicly called for on two different occasions, first during an interview with CNN host Fareed Zakaria in 2011, and then just last month on Bill Maher’s HBO series. Here’s a partial transcript of Krugman’s CNN appearance, which he shared with Kenneth Rogoff, Harvard University economics professor:
KRUGMAN: Think about World War II, right? That was actually negative social product spending, and yet it brought us out.
I mean, probably because you want to put these things together, if we say, “Look, we could use some inflation.” Ken and I are both saying that, which is, of course, anathema to a lot of people in Washington but is, in fact, what fhe basic logic says.
It’s very hard to get inflation in a depressed economy. But if you had a program of government spending plus an expansionary policy by the Fed, you could get that. So, if you think about using all of these things together, you could accomplish, you know, a great deal.
If we discovered that, you know, space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive buildup to counter the space alien threat and really inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, oops, we made a mistake, there aren’t any aliens, we’d be better –
ROGOFF: And we need Orson Welles, is what you’re saying.
KRUGMAN: No, there was a “Twilight Zone” episode like this in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. Well, this time, we don’t need it, we need it in order to get some fiscal stimulus.
But even if you hire Rod Serling to write your script, and Industrial Light & Magic to provide your special effects, it’s still simply an interstellar spin on William James’ Moral Equivalent of War concept from 1906, a “progressive” obsession that has led to a century of bad ideas — including, as we mention in the video, a few from History’s Greatest Monster himself. While the Malaise Speech of 1979 gets all the credit, Carter’s earlier “M.E.O.W” moment in 1977 arguably demonstrates the futility of his worldview just as well:
And similarly, in April of 2008, Time magazine would illustrate Carter’s notion with this cover, which replaces the American flag the US Marines hoisted atop Iwo Jima with…a tree, and the headline “How to Win the War on Global Warming.”
Back in 2004, Thomas Sowell explored one reason why the Moral Equivalent of War and similar doomsday mongering is a staple of the left:
There’s something Eric Hoffer said: “Intellectuals cannot operate at room temperature.” There always has to be a crisis–some terrible reason why their superior wisdom and virtue must be imposed on the unthinking masses. It doesn’t matter what the crisis is. A hundred years ago it was eugenics. At the time of the first Earth Day a generation ago, the big scare was global cooling, a big ice age. They go from one to the other. It meets their psychological needs and gives them a reason for exercising their power.
But with Solyndra and other elements of Obama’s environmental themed venture socialism now seen as failed ventures, and with the idea of global warming having discredited itself during the infamous “Hide the Decline” scandal in 2009, and numerous doomsday final countdowns having come and gone and the earth no worse for wear, we’re left with Paul Krugman’s Twilight Zone fantasies to sell the idea of massive government spending.
Click on the above video to watch; a handy embeddable YouTube version is available here. And click here for three years worth of earlier editions of Silicon Graffiti, including our previous trip to the Space Station. We visited there back in the spring of 2009, when John Holdren, President Obama’s Dr. Strangelove-esque “science” “czar” told an apparently nonplussed AP reporter that he debating launching rockets to seed the upper atmosphere with pollutants to fight global warming. Ahh, the heady days of hopenchange…)
Our latest Silicon Graffiti video was inspired by one of the key themes in the late Allan Bloom’s 1987 book,The Closing of the American Mind. Bloom wrote that by the middle of the 20th century, American universities had essentially become enclaves of German philosophy. As a result, “the new American life-style has become a Disneyland version of the Weimar Republic for the whole family,” according to Bloom. Last year in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman famously asked, ‘Can Greeks Become Germans?’
Why not? If we could, any nation can. This video looks at how and why that happened, and the results — or at least scratches the surface of those concepts, inasmuch as any six minute video can.
And when you’re done watching, check out David P. Goldman at his “Spengler” column (and that nom de blog dovetails remarkably well with our theme, doesn’t it?) on “Philistinism and Failure,” and follow David’s link to Fred Siegel from the April issue of Commentary, for his brilliant article on “How Highbrows Killed Culture,” for much more on this theme.
A handy, portable, easily embeddable YouTube format of the video is available here. And click here for three years worth of earlier editions of Silicon Graffiti. The script of this week’s show, with plenty of hyperlinks to the books and blog posts that inspired it, follows on the next page.
Hey, is this mic working? Is the camera on? At last — we’re back with our first Silicon Graffiti after a long hiatus, with a whirlwind look at some of the lowlights President Obama and the left suffered in March:
And…exclusively in our video, the little-known top secret story of how Eliot Spitzer really replaced replaced Keith Olbermann.
It’s entirely possible that ObamaCare will be upheld, Obama will win a second term, and gasoline will reach the skyrocketing levels that Obama and cronies promised us and cheered for in previous years. But not if the events that occurred last month keep repeating. Which means that it’s up to you to keep an eye on the left, and hold them accountable for their actions, particularly if, like me, you have a blog and are on Twitter.
A handy portable, easily embeddable YouTube format of the video is available here. And click here for three years worth of earlier editions of Silicon Graffiti.
In last week’s video, we explored how the progressive movement of the 19th century set the stage for what Tom Wolfe dubbed “Starting from Zero,” in which millennia of knowledge could safely discarded and the CTRL-ALT-DLT keys be pressed to reboot mankind.
What could go wrong? Well, other than the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, WWII, Communist China, Communist Cuba, Communist Vietnam and Communist North Korea.
Fortunately though, America managed to avoid a complete Start From Zero, and Europe and Japan were lucky enough to be rebuilt by mid-century American liberals still relatively confident about the benefits of western civilization.
But Harry Truman, Secretary of State George Marshall, and JFK all left the building long ago. What passes for “liberalism” today, is anything but; it’s much more interested in, as Hillary infamously said in 2004, taking things away from you for the common good.
Click on the above video to watch; a handy portable/embeddable YouTube version is available here. For 60 or so previous editions of Silicon Graffiti,click here and just keep scrolling. And thank you once again for your continued readership (and viewership!) over the last nine years of blogging.
Say what you will, but personally, I’d like to think the post we’re doing to commemorate the ninth anniversary of our humble little blog is –hopefully! — slightly more interesting than our very first post here.
To officially kick off another year of blogging, here’s our latest Silicon Graffiti video, the first of a two part series, in which we look at several attempts by the left to, as Tom Wolfe would say, “Start from Zero,” and hit the CTL-ALT-DLT keys on western civilization. We’ll explore:
The rapid social and technological gains western civilization was making in the 19th century before…
…The arrival of Marx, Nietzsche, and other nascent “progressives,” to upset mankind’s Etch-a-Sketch.
Nietzsche’s 1882 “God is Dead” aphorism, which ol’ Friedrich definitely considered to be a two-edged sword.
How World War I set the stage for the rest of the horrors of the 20th century, via a quote from Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism.
A la Woody Allen in Annie Hall, an awards ceremony for the most bloodthirsty leftwing tyrant of the 20th century.
How the Bauhaus and other elements of the Weimar Republic were helping Germany “Start from Zero,” even before the Nazis arrived.
A handy portable YouTube version of the above video is also available at, not surprisingly, YouTube.
And tune in next week, when we go Forward into the past, and watch the left punitively decide that if they can’t get mankind to start from zero, they can take things away for the common good, to paraphrase Hillary, and return us, piecemeal to zero.
In the meantime, click here for 60 or earlier editions of Silicon Graffiti.
And thank you for stopping by over the last nine years!
We kick off another year of our Silicon Graffiti videoblog with a look at Old Media’s response to the horrific shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ). For anyone who was on Twitter at the time the news first broke, it was quite a sight watching old media’s narrative emerge in real time even before any of the basic facts of the story were known.
But this was far from the first time that a narrative was preformed—or very quickly assembled in the wake of a shock event. We try to place the MSM’s response to the Giffords shooting with some earlier attempts by the MSM to force the facts like a pretzel to fit an existing storyline:
Happy holidays to you and yours from the staff and management of Ed Driscoll.com!
Yes, I’m back in the one-man Logan’s Run biodome once again, the same place I ducked into last year to ward off all the global warming swirling about me. But I’m a little worried that, like Minneapolis’ Metrodome, the roof of my humble crystalline abode won’t hold up under the weight of the oncoming snow, either.
Let’s find out! And in the meantime, thank you for another year of your support. Please check out our earlier videos by clicking here, and the rest of the blog, by clicking here. Have a Merry Christmas if we don’t see you around the Blogosphere again before December 25.
TV critic Ed Bark, who I believe has covered Aguilar’s initial story and its fallout from the start wrote on Monday:
Aguilar was suspended with pay by the station on Oct. 16, 2007, the day after her controversial exclusive interview of then 70-year-old West Dallas salvage business owner James Walton. She approached him in a sporting goods store parking lot, where he had a new shotgun in his possession after previously shooting and killing two alleged burglars within three weeks time. Her nearly 14-year career as a Fox4 reporter officially ended on March 6, 2008, when Fox4 exercised its option to drop her at the halfway point of her latest two-year contract.
Aguilar was paid her salary throughout that period under a standard “pay or play” provision in reporters’ contract. The station also paid her for 90 more days after opting not to pick up the second year of her contract. Her husband, John, continues to work at Fox4 as a newscast director.
In his 45-minute closing argument to the jury, Shaunessy said that Fox4′s action solely had to do “with the fact that Rebecca Aguilar for more than 10 years was a bad employee.”
The Walton interview, a flashpoint throughout the trial, “was an ambush interview from the start,” jurors were told.
It certainly appeared that way based on the video; which was the subject of a very early edition of my Silicon Graffiti video blog, way back in April of 2008. It was the subject of a takedown notice from KDFW, the aforementioned Dallas-based Fox affiliate, which my crack legal team was able to defend. As a result, it seems to be one of the few video copies of this incident left on the Web:
Roger Kimball, James Lileks, Rob Long and Michael Walsh each were kind enough to stop by for a short, YouTube-friendly video interview the week before last during the National Review Post-Election Cruise through the Caribbean, onboard the Holland America Line’s swank Nieuw Amsterdam cruise ship. Here are the results, presented in alphabetical order:
For the latest edition of our Silicon Graffiti video blog, we check out the sights, and sounds, and blogs at the Fourth Annual Blog World and New Media Expo, last weekend at the swanky Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino.
Featured in this video:
My interview with social media consultant Brian Reich, who’s working with the Learning Channel to promote their upcoming show Sarah Palin’s Alaska, from the folks who brought you Survivor and the Apprentice.
For more from Blog World, check out the latest edition of PJM Political, which features more from representatives of the Learning Channel on Sarah Palin’s Alaska, plus my interviews with Hugh Hewitt, and Rick Calvert, the CEO and founder of BlogWorld.
And for 60 or so previous editions of Silicon Graffiti, just click here and keep scrolling and watching.
…And in my last video, still ended up looking infinitely more like Michael Dukakis than Michael Philip Jagger. It’s a humbling reminder that unless you actually are Norman Schwarzkopf, or have the machismo of George C. Scott playing Patton, it’s very easy to Dukakisize yourself in this situation:
In any case, this effect was surprisingly easy to do. It’s another model from the Digimation Model Bank, which I rendered out in Photoshop, and then placed onto a nested track in Adobe Premiere Pro. I chromakeyed myself into the shot, adjusted the size of that element to be proportional with the size of the tank. I then placed that track onto the background plate (with a couple of other tanks for the Model Bank behind it), and then used keyframe animation to move the combined shot of myself and the tank into the frame. Hopefully all of the stock footage of real soldiers, the binocular mask I created in Photoshop, and (especially) all of the sound effects help to further sell the shot.
And if not, fortunately, it’s followed by the Holodeck effect I created to further remind viewers that it’s all make-believe anyhow.
And on the flipside, here’s a video that’s sort of the reverse of what I did. It’s shot on location, in costume, but with cardboard guns, and even a cardboard tank. The result is a sort of Dadaesque look at how the typical war movie is created, reminding viewers how much of the verisimilitude of war films such as Full Metal Jacket and Saving Private Ryan comes from documentary-style handheld camera work, sound effects, and layered elements such as smoke and muzzle fire (which are now available to anyone for purchase as stock footage to be composited later):
But then, these days, a commander always has to secure both the real and the media battlefield if he hopes to win. Or as Gerard Van der Luen of American Digestwrote in May of 2009:
The Media is how America fights its civil wars. In this war at least half the country is both under-served and is painfully aware it is being under-served and lied to.
In 2007, author William Gibson wrote the phrase the “Cold Civil War” for one of his science fiction novels. That led blogger April Gavaza, also known as the “Hyacinth Girl,” as well as Mark Steyn to pick up on the concept a year later. Back in 2008, one could argue that the Cold Civil War was indeed cold, but things began to heat up a bit the following year. In early 2009, President Obama took office, and quickly ramped up spending and government regulation to unsustainable levels, prompting Rick Santelli of CNBC’s famous cri de coeur in February of 2009, thus helping to launch the Tea Party revolution as we know it. And while the Tea Parties are the first exposure for many to what Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.comlikes to call “out of doors political activity,” their ultimate battlefield is inside the TV screen and inside the Web browser.
But of course, as General McChrystal’s blunder illustrates, the media isn’t just where wars are fought domestically, as we discuss in the latest edition of our Silicon Graffiti video blog, where we’ll explore:
MSNBC, a division of once stately NBC, itself co-owned by General Electric, another venerable and respected brand name, speciously attacking half of its potential audience as racist.
Richard Landes’ 2005 look at the Palestinian propaganda factory known asPallywood.
Incidentally, this video is scheduled to be posted at Hot Air later on Tuesday (and a big thanks to Ed and Allah for asking me to be part of the team sitting in during the Big A’s vacation this week) which helps bring things full circle: the “Vent” videos which ran from about 2006 through 2008, featuring Hot Air’s“Boss Emeritus” and produced by the site’s early video producer, Bryan Preston, were my inspiration for launching the Silicon Graffiti video blog series here at Ed Driscoll.com. Michelle and Bryan were definitely early adopters to the fusion of blogging and video, and I learned much from their pioneering work.
Or at least, I think I did! Decide for yourself by clicking here to scroll through 60 or so previous editions of Silicon Graffiti from January of 2008 to the present.
While 3d computer graphics have been around since at least the 1970s, the rise of the World Wide Web in the 1990s, and especially the rise of Internet video in recent years created a whole new “prosumer” interest in them. But for me, 3d models, virtual sets, and other digital effects are more interesting when they’re used to tell a story. And every once in a while, it’s nice to go on location — if only virtually!
A couple of scenes in the previous edition of my Silicon Graffiti videoblog made extensive use of 3d Models from Digimation’s Model Bank program; I explain how the program works, and link to a tutorial on importing its images into both Photoshop and After Effects, over at Pajamas’ high-tech Edgelings blog.
In 1973, Patrick Moynihan said, “Most liberals had ended the 1960s rather ashamed of the beliefs they had held at the beginning of the decade.”
The 1960s began with a presidential election between conservative cold warrior Richard Nixon…and the surprisingly conservative cold warrior John F. Kennedy. In terms of the similarity between the two candidates, and the public they represented, this was a high point in national unity.
The assassination of JFK began a process that ultimately shattered that unity. During the course of the 1960s, Americans witnessed the split between the liberalism of FDR, Harry Truman, JFK and LBJ, and the rise of the punitive New Left that emerged in the wake of President Kennedy’s assassination.
As we explore in the latest edition of Silicon Graffiti, the alpha and the omega of those two forms of American liberalism came less than a month apart, in the summer of 1969:
Hey, at least George Lucas and David Lean waited two or three decades before re-releasing special Director’s Cut editions of their movies. But as you may remember back in February, I ran a video podcast featuring an interview with Jennifer Burns, the historian and author of Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right. While Jennifer’s interview was great, I was more than a little unhappy with the quality of my finished video. I had sort of reached the limit of what my chain of software for longer segments such as this one. But with the new plug-ins built into Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, I went back earlier this week and re-rendered just about all of the video elements from the clip, into something that I think is of a much higher quality.
Jennifer Burns, the author of the best-selling late 2009 book on Ayn Rand’s remarkably contentious history with the American right stopped by the vast Silicon Graffiti production facilities last week to discuss her book and the research that went into it. We’ll explore Rand’s resurgence last year with the members of the Tea Party, who can pick and choose which elements of Rand’s Objectivist philosophy they agree with in a way that Rand would have found anathema while she was still living. We’ll also discuss Rand’s tempestuous relationship with both the right and the left during the 1940s through the early 1970s, including her look at what she described as JFK’s “Fascist New Frontier” in 1962. Plus some thoughts on what the Fountainhead had to say about Rand’s take on modernist aesthetics, and the socialistic milieu in which they originally emerged, along with clips of the 1949 movie starring Garry Cooper.
And finally, Burns will discuss what Rand would have thought of 2010, a year which pits, on the left, arguably the most collectivist president since FDR, and on the right, the growing Tea Party movement, and their calls for a return to free-market capitalism, the unknown ideal (to coin a phrase.)
Approx. 12-minutes long:
And for almost 60 previous editions of Silicon Graffiti, click here and just keep scrolling.
As everybody knows by now, my Silicon Graffiti videoblog, and most of the videos produced by those upstart reprobates over at PJTV use virtual sets to shoot the talent (or “talent” in the case of your humble narrator) in front of a green screen, and then computer software chromakeys out the green, and substitutes something that’s hopefully fairly interesting looking. You can get a sense of how that works in general by watching this Adobe Ultra demo reel from 2007 or so.
But it’s possible to do green screen effects outside of a controlled studio environment as well. I’ve been wanting to try a green screened driving shot for some time, before shooting the scene that appears at the start of my new video. In the past, most Hollywood movies and TV shows such as Route 66 and Adam-12 used front or rear projection to allow actors to perform while making it appear as if they’re driving a car. (You really don’t want to have the actor worrying about remembering his dialogue, hitting his marks, making eye-contact with his passenger, etc., while doing multiple takes, and simultaneously worry about actually physically driving a car down a crowded L.A. freeway. Not to mention having a 35mm Panavision camera mounted on the front of the car blocking his view.)
Increasingly though, Hollywood uses green screen effects to simulate driving shots. Mad Men uses this technique extensively, for all of those night shots where it appears Don’s driving Betty home after pounding Old Fashioneds at the Four Seasons. And for the scenes when Don takes the 7:00 AM New York Central commuter train from Ossining into Grand Central.
About two minutes into this how-to video produced by the gang atVideomaker magazine (where — FULL DISCLOSURE! — I contribute as well from time to time), you can see a very easy way to pull a simple car driving effect off. I grabbed a 4X8 piece of green cloth that was included as freebie bundled with a piece of beginner’s video software I had reviewed for the magazine three or four years ago, but any piece of bright green fabric large enough to cover the windshield will do , and with masking tape, simply taped it to the windshield and as much of the side windows as it would cover. This frame from the Videomaker demo uses a more rigid green screen, but you get the idea nonetheless:
I opened the sunroof of my Dodge Intrepid to allow a little extra light in to illuminate the interior, and then placed the camera, with a wide-angle lens attached, on a small tripod on the car’s backseat, and then ran a cable from the lavaliere mic I had clipped to my leather jacket around the floor of the car near the driver’s door (where it wouldn’t be visible in the shot) and then into the camera.
Then after shooting a few takes, I imported the footage into Premiere Pro CS5, and keyed it with the built-in Ultra keyer, and inserted a scene from one of Digital Juice’s HD VideoTraxx stock footage collections into a track on the timeline under the car footage (the opening shot of the Golden Gate bridge came from another Videotraxx collection). After adjusting the size and placement to the driver’s perspective, I was done. A surprisingly simple special effect shot, and I only had to walk to my driveway to shoot it: