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Monthly Archives: October 2009

The Week in Blogs — The Links!

October 31st, 2009 - 3:28 pm

Once again, the PJTV powers-that-be have badgered me into reviewing the entire blogosphere, then picking some semi-random items to get all snarky with. Even worse, then they force me to provide all the links — as if you don’t know how to Google. Here are the links to The Week in Blogs:

Is Amityville in NY23?

Which channel is that again?

Can you do that on TV?

Could things be any worse?

Will Fluffy die for your sins?

Is this some kind of joke?

Hey, babe, what’s your sign?

Come again?

Where do they come up with these brilliant ideas?

Can second fiddle sit in the first chair?

And for reasons unknown even to me, all the links are in the form of a question. Find out what it all means on PJTV.

Must-See Radio

October 31st, 2009 - 12:48 pm

Once again, überproducer Ed Driscoll has gone pirate, stealing the Sirius/XM Radio signal and making PJM Political available on the web. This week’s show includes:

Glenn Reynolds interviews Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

From the latest segment of PJTV.com’s National Security Review, Bill Whittle talks with Cliff May, President of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and Austin Bay, co-author of A Quick & Dirty Guide To War, about claims by Gerald Posner in The Daily Beast.com that the Taliban and Al Qaeda are using heroin as a weapon in Afghanistan.

Pajamas CEO Roger L. Simon and fellow Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Lionel Chetwynd talk with Thor Halvorssen, the founder of the Moving Picture Institute on the high tech future of film distribution.

Back after after his exclusive three week tour of Europe, Scandinavia and the subcontinent, James Lileks (seen above in his Halloween guise of Minimus Lilekus) returns for another round of Five Questions With James Lileks!

Plus a bonus audio edition of Trifecta, in case you can’t bear to look at my face. Or that Whittle character. He’s shifty.

Check it out.

Outtake from Finding Nemo?

October 31st, 2009 - 9:29 am

Honestly, I have no idea what to do with this video. I mean, other than watch it repeatedly and laugh until milk shoots out of my noise.

And I haven’t drank milk in weeks.

Too Much Free Time

October 31st, 2009 - 9:07 am

It’s a Halloween blogger photoshopalooza!

I’m just digging the fact that somebody finally gave me Cary Grant’s wardrobe.

Quitter

October 31st, 2009 - 9:02 am

Personally, I think Bill Quick should take the blame credit for one hell of an exciting development in NY23.

Late Night Rambling

October 30th, 2009 - 10:07 pm

It’s time we talked about “net neutrality,” but I’ll keep it short. You’re welcome.

Well, also I’m watching Evil Dead 2 with the lights off and don’t want too many distractions.

The internet was, in a way, built around neutrality, as conceived by DARPA all those years ago. DARPANET was supposed to be a way to maintain national communications, no matter what. And in the darkest days of the Cold War, “no matter what” meant the worst of the worst.

Entire cities could get nuked out of existence, but the bits would still flow from point A to point C. Point B might be black-green glass where Cleveland used to be, but DARPANET would find a way around. “Neutrality” was built in; a feature, not a bug.

To the Internet, bits are bits. Its job is to get the bits from where they are to where they’re wanted. The idea of some third party — your ISP, for example — getting a chance to say, “No, these bits have to wait,” or, “these bits get charged more money than those bits,” goes against the grain.

And as Americans, that system suits our particular (not to say peculiar) brand of egalitarianism. By and large, it’s American that some people get rich and some people don’t. It’s equally American that nobody, no matter how rich or poor, gets to cut in line at the supermarket checkout.

And right or wrong, I always thought that bits on the internet moved like customers in the checkout line. First come, first serve — although we all get to roll our eyes and fidget at the old lady taking seventeen forevers to write a check instead of swiping a card like the rest of us.

Now the ISPs want to charge more for some bits than others, or cut off bits coming from Point B, or whatever stupid-ass thing it is they want to do — just to squeeze more money out of its customers, while changing entirely everything we’ve become accustomed to on the internets for the last five, ten, fifteen or more years.

Well, “screw them,” is my take.

But…

It’s their fiber optic line. It’s their copper wire. Don’t they have the right to charge all the traffic will bear?

But…

Isn’t the internet, at its heart, a set of national — now, international — standards, for getting bits to flow freely? And quickly? And where rich and poor alike all stand in the same queue?

The libertarian in me says the First But must rule the day. You want to ride the train, you pay the fare.

My conservative side says that the internet we have now functions best, and that the Law of Unintended Consequences would lead to disaster.

This time, the conservative side wins — sort of.

The standards we have in place work for everyone, even the ISPs. And while you can’t blame them for trying to maximize their profits, there’s one little problem. That problem has a name. And that name is: Congress.

I just don’t trust Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to get net neutrality right. This isn’t a partisan thing, either — back in 2005, I wouldn’t have trusted the then-Republican leadership to do it right, either. With our current Inside the Beltway crowd, no matter which side is in charge, I’d expect any net-neutrality bill to end up as some sort of rent-seeking agreement designed to help someone, anyone, other than us consumers.

The problem with the status quo is, it’s likely to get worse. But if this Congress steps in, then things are almost certain to get worse.

That’ll Be the Day I Go Back to Annandale

October 30th, 2009 - 11:43 am

On the third and final Trifecta for this week, I play host and dare Whittle and Ott to save the Golden State.

Rim Shot

October 30th, 2009 - 7:35 am

Yeah, pretty much everyone has pointed me towards the electric martini shaker.

Part of the beauty of making cocktails is the ritual and all its attendant accoutrements. Over time, you’ll find you don’t just have a booze of choice, but a favorite cocktail shaker (“It works better, I swear!”) or maybe even a jigger you just can’t live without. You’ll decide which works best for your martini: counting the number of shakes, or timing the duration of shaking. The process becomes — almost — an end in itself. I believe this is the same reason heroin remains so popular.

And so I look at this power martini thing with blended feelings of disdain and wonder. The disdain is obvious. The wonder is: What’s next, some kind electric screwdriver?
(more…)

Our Work Here Is Done

October 29th, 2009 - 12:41 pm

On today’s Trifecta, Scott Ott asked Bill Whittle and me to fix the newspaper industry.

And so then we did.

Totally Genuine Manufactured Quote

October 29th, 2009 - 6:30 am

Questioned by ABC News about the lack of swine flu vaccine, President Obama decried “this virus we’ve inherited.”

Saturday Night’s All Right for Dating

October 29th, 2009 - 5:52 am

I’m on President Obama’s side on this one:

“If I weren’t president, I would be happy to catch the shuttle with my wife to take her to a Broadway show, as I had promised her during the campaign, and there would be no fuss and no muss and no photographers,” he said. “That would please me greatly.”

Presidents, however, don’t travel by any means other than secure government aircraft or vehicles.

Obama added: “The notion that I just couldn’t take my wife out on a date without it being a political issue was not something I was happy with.”

The man is President of the United States of America. He gets to blow off steam. And he gets some perks of office, too. Let him (and his wife, too – who doesn’t get paid for her work) enjoy himself a bit. His political sins we can punish him for on election day.

Another Good Question

October 28th, 2009 - 3:56 pm

Since when is telling the truth a dirty trick?

Good Question

October 28th, 2009 - 1:19 pm

If you can’t fight City Hall, how did it become suddenly possible to compete with Washington?

First of Three

October 28th, 2009 - 12:48 pm

On today’s Trifecta, Bill Whittle takes a number and stands in line to see a government doctor. Scott Ott and I get surly.

Cutting Out the Middle Man

October 28th, 2009 - 12:41 pm

Here we go again, from TTAC:

The New York Times reports that the “troubled finance company” known as GMAC is hitting-up Uncle Sam for more, as-yet-unspecified billions. The Gray Lady tells us it’s not a question of “if”—it’s a question of how GMAC and the Treasury can sleaze the deal, so that taxpayers don’t end-up owning the company. ‘Cause that would “reignite” the “debate” over the fed’s failed bailout boondoggle. “GMAC and Treasury Department officials have been locked in negotiations over how to structure the third bailout as it approaches a crucial deadline in early November for shoring up its finances [as a $5.6 billion payment comes due].

So let me get this straight. GMAC is no longer in the business of using MasterCard to pay off Visa. Now it just uses Visa to pay off Visa.

There didn’t seem to be any left, but here’s one last reason to have some small amount of like left for The Governator:

Did Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office use a coded veto message to send the f-bomb to Tom Ammiano, soon after the San Francisco assemblyman made news by telling the governor to “kiss my gay ass”?

Schwarzenegger’s people say no. But the X-rated evidence is hard to miss in a message that Schwarzenegger sent to explain why he was vetoing an Ammiano bill dealing with financing for the Port of San Francisco.

A straight reading of the guv’s letter laments “the fact that major issues are overlooked while many unnecessary bills come to me for consideration,” and concludes, “I believe it is unnecessary to sign this measure at this time.”

But a vertical read of the far-left-hand letters in each of the missive’s eight lines offers a more blunt explanation: “I f- you.”

Juvenile? Sure. But wouldn’t you rather have elected officials playing harmless pranks on one another, than doing to us what they usually do to us?

I thought so.

Do You Know Where You’re Going To?

October 28th, 2009 - 10:03 am

Yes, there’s a (Google) app for that:

In conjunction with the launch of the Android-powered Motorola Droid smartphone, Google on Wednesday announced the beta release of a turn-by-turn GPS navigation application with voice guidance for mobile users.

Google Maps Navigation is a free app that will essentially turn Android 2.0 phones into a GPS navigation device. Information is gathered from the Internet – specifically Google Maps – rather than satellite data used by most GPS devices.

On my first-gen, GPS-free iPhone, Google Maps could do a reasonable job of pinpointing my location by triangulating off of local cell phone towers. Out here in the boonies where towers are scarce, that didn’t work so well. But when trying to find my way back to the highway from downtown Denver, it worked great.

And I imagine that Google Maps uses a lot less battery juice than GPS does.

Lousy for hiking, but great for the city — not bad for free.

Tax THIS!

October 28th, 2009 - 9:18 am

There’s John Galt action going on in New York:

More than 1.5 million state residents left for other parts of the United States from 2000 to 2008, according to the report from the Empire Center for New York State Policy. It was the biggest out-of-state migration in the country.

The vast majority of the migrants, 1.1 million, were former residents of New York City — meaning one out of seven city taxpayers moved out.

“The Empire State is being drained of an invaluable resource — people,” the report said.

You know why people are leaving? Because their government considers them a “resource.”

The Harry with Troubles

October 27th, 2009 - 12:05 pm

The government option is in trouble.

Good.

That’s Gonna Leave a Mark

October 26th, 2009 - 7:36 pm

On this week’s “Hair of the Dog,” I aimed for two things — more smiles, and more mean. Can you do both at once? You make the call:

Stephanopoulos is Greek for “chicken.”

How to be a legit news organization.

Which senator is a big, fat liar head?

Plus — If you can’t fight City Hall, what chance do you have against DC?

At BlogWorld ’09, I got a chance to talk to BlogCritics founder Eric Olsen about the FTC and the future of blogging.

UPDATE: Heh. I totally forgot about the Sith Lord Surprise at the end.

Right to the Point

October 25th, 2009 - 12:39 pm

Harry Reid: Putz.

The Wrong War

October 25th, 2009 - 9:30 am

Clarence Page has joined the long list of left-leaning pundits who are “holding our noses” and siding with Fox News.

Dirty Work

October 24th, 2009 - 2:44 pm

A brief history of White House-approved journalism.

Must-See Radio

October 24th, 2009 - 12:21 pm

Saturday afternoons always mean a new edition of PJM Political, and Ed Driscoll has put together another fine show. This week:

Pajamas CEO Roger L. Simon interviews Fred Barnes on the future of traditional media, recorded in front of the retired Air Force One at the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, CA.

Minnesota’s Gov. Tim Pawlenty and new media’s Andrew Breitbart address the crowds at Western CPAC in Long Beach, CA.

I talk with Eric Olsen, the founder of Blogcritics.org, on how new FTC regulations will impact bloggers. Recorded at the annual Blog World Expo convention this past weekend in Las Vegas. (Watch for video on Monday at PJTV!)

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit.com interviews St. Louis talk radio host Dana Loesch, and PJTV’s Bill Whittle on “Can Independents & Conservatives Save the Republican Party?”

Highlights from the first episode of a new series on PJTV.com, Medically Incorrect, hosted by Dr. Peter Weiss.

Can we squeeze all that into one hour of radio? Yes! We! Can!

The Week in Blogs — The Links!

October 24th, 2009 - 8:32 am

As seen on TV, it’s the Week in Blogs:

Prioritizing Al.

Let’s go to the replay.

WaPo is only resting. It feels happy, happy.

RINOs should at least pretend to care.

At least this way, it’s legal to shoot them.

Shocking! Unexpected! Not!

You’re gonna need a bigger mattress.

Fail!

Dithering towards surrender.

What knockers.

Now tune into PJTV to find out what it’s all about.

Corporate Culture of Dependency

October 24th, 2009 - 7:16 am

The President swears he has no interest in running General Motors. So explain this:

Limiting pay guarantees that GM will continue doing the same thing that’s brought it to this parlous state of affairs in the first place: hire from within. Make no mistake: GM “boasts” the mother of all inbred corporate cultures. The fact that it’s still led by lifer Fritz Henderson tells you all you need to know on that score. And speaking of scoring . . . Given the ongoing chaos at RenCen and the inviolable rules of supply and demand, GM can’t attract top turnaround talent from outside its shallow genetic pool unless it pays top dollar. In fact, GM would have to pay ABOVE the odds to hire anyone capable of keeping the artist formerly known as the world’s largest automaker from total self-immolation.

No interest in running GM, but no interest in seeing it succeed, either. Just another ward of the state, forever on the dole.

Are we seeing a pattern here yet?

Voting With My Wallet

October 23rd, 2009 - 8:29 pm

Here’s my bias.

I know Scott Ott. I work with Scott Ott. I think Scott Ott is — although he’d disagree with my language — one hell of a good guy. So even though I don’t live anywhere near Lehigh County, PA, I just made my third donation to Scott’s campaign to be elected County Executive.

Maybe putting another $50 in the kitty isn’t a huge deal, but it sure would help if each of you would throw in half that, or even just ten bucks.

There are damn few real small-government idealists running for office at any level, anywhere. Support it where you find it, that’s what I believe. Scott’s one of those guys, and could use your help, too.

Laughing at Leno

October 23rd, 2009 - 1:53 pm

General Motors, the National Broadcasting Corporation — it’s getting tough to remember which is which. One used to make good cars, the other made “Cheers.” That much is easy to remember. Here’s where it gets cloudy:

For the first time, NBC’s Leno experiment was beaten in the ratings by a non-sports program that wasn’t airing on the Big Four networks.

FX’s critically acclaimed outlaw motorcycle drama “Sons of Anarchy” bested “Leno Show” on Tuesday evening in the advertiser-coveted adult demo — drawing a 2.05 rating among adults 18-49 to Leno’s 1.8. “Anarchy” also topped ABC’s “The Forgotten” (1.9).

A niche show on a niche network just beat out one of the most popular entertainers on what used to be the powerhouse network. This is what happens when you fail to compete, when you effectively give up.

Let me explain — there’s another lesson here, which relates to GM.

The Big Three (then Four) TV networks used to have extremely powerful brands. ABC was the family network — upstart, brainless, safe. CBS was the Tiffany network, all about the quality programing. Fox was renegade and subversive, riding “The Simpson” to fame and fortune. And NBC was middlebrow — smart, but not too smart, and more than a little yuppie.

NBC’s Thursday nights ruled the airwaves (and advertiser’s dollars) for twenty years. And almost entirely with shows set in New York City or Chicago. The only two exceptions I can think of were “L.A. Law” (you can guess the location) and “Cheers,” which took place in a Boston bar.*

And NBC wasn’t afraid to flout conventions, either. “Hill Street Blues” frequently crossed the line — chasm? — between “gritty police television drama” and “theater of the absurd.” “Friends” was a soap opera disguised as a sitcom. “The Cosby Show” might have been the first show about a black family that wasn’t about a black family. From about 1980 on, NBC’s brand could probably be best described as “the risk-taking network.”

It paid off handsomely for NBC’s corporate parents, too. Thursday night is the most expensive weeknight for advertisers, as it’s the night closest to the weekend. Movie studios — especially big spenders — could be counted on to spend their biggest bucks on Thursdays, just in time for Friday openings.

So NBC did everything it could to own Thursdays, and for twenty years did just that. Look at this list:

YumHill Street Blues
L.A. Law
E/R
Cheers
The Cosby Show
Seinfeld
Family Ties
Night Court
Frasier
Will & Grace

Some of the best TV made over a 20 year-period, all on one network, all on Thursdays.

Then the competition heated up, and NBC forgot its brand.

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Hawtness

October 23rd, 2009 - 1:28 pm

Pretty Please

There’s more at Dana Loesch’s place.