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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Gonna Be a New World

January 24th, 2011 - 8:24 am

Verizon is suing the FCC over its unauthorized internet power-grab. Here’s Seton Motley:

In layman’s terms, Verizon claims in their suit that the FCC order alters wireless licenses (which it certainly appears to do). A clause in the 1996 Telecommunications Act stipulates that if the FCC alters someone’s wireless license and that someone sues, they are guaranteed an expedited hearing in – the D.C. Circuit.

The venue which, as we just mentioned, unanimously dismissed the last FCC attempt to power grab Internet and Net Neutrality-imposition authority.

As (we hope) President Bush learned after he signed McCain-Feingold into law, it’s dangerous to rely on the courts to undo the damage. But with internet-takeover trolls controlling the executive branch and the Senate, that’s exactly where we find ourselves with the FCC.

Bernanke — His Name is a Skilling Word

January 23rd, 2011 - 9:32 am

Keeping the Fed solvent, with accounting trickery! Read these two grafs from Reuters while picturing smoke coming out of Ron Paul’s ears:

“Could the Fed go broke? The answer to this question was ‘Yes,’ but is now ‘No,’” said Raymond Stone, managing director at Stone & McCarthy in Princeton, New Jersey. “An accounting methodology change at the central bank will allow the Fed to incur losses, even substantial losses, without eroding its capital.”

The change essentially allows the Fed to denote losses by the various regional reserve banks that make up the Fed system as a liability to the Treasury rather than a hit to its capital. It would then simply direct future profits from Fed operations toward that liability.

Did you get that? Instead of taking a losses, the Fed can magically offload the to the Treasury, which is chock full of gold doubloons and fancy chalices and giant piles of silver trinkets and rubies the size of John Madden’s neck. So, hey, no problem.

But wait — there’s less! Skip two grafs down:

“Any future losses the Fed may incur will now show up as a negative liability as opposed to a reduction in Fed capital, thereby making a negative capital situation technically impossible,” said Brian Smedley, a rates strategist at Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and a former New York Fed staffer.

“Technically impossible.” The Fed can never go broke, because… because… because it says so.

We used to send people to jail for this kind of fraud.

BYO O2 Tank

January 22nd, 2011 - 12:09 pm

How many breaths does it take to get to the center of the ObamaCare tax hikes? Find out on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs

Synchronize Watches

January 21st, 2011 - 4:11 pm

I’ll be on the Tony Katz Radio Spectacular in five… four… three…

That’s 6:15PM Eastern, kids.

And Don’t You Come Back No More

January 21st, 2011 - 10:04 am

Coast to Coast Tea Party: GOOOH away — a plan to boot out all 435 congresscritters.

Graciousness, Darth Vader Style

January 20th, 2011 - 5:21 pm

Trifecta: The New York Times‘ “public editor” very nearly apologized for his paper’s Tea Party smear the day after Tucson. Bill, Scott and I say, “Apology accepted, Captain Needa.”

A Cunning Plan

January 20th, 2011 - 9:42 am

Is it time to start Rick Rolling the Palin haters?

Petty Tyrants

January 20th, 2011 - 8:17 am

Trifecta: Humanity is alive and well at Southwest Airlines, not so much at the TSA.

Understated Breathlessness

January 19th, 2011 - 2:04 pm

Back to Henry Blodget, and Apple’s Q1 earnings report conference call, where we learned that the company’s year-over-year revenue grew by 71%:

Companies Apple’s size just don’t grow 70% year over year. In fact, we would not be surprised if this were the first time in history that a company this big grew this fast (if you find another example, please let us know).

Apple is now on a revenue run-rate of more than $100 billion a year. Just as amazing, it is expecting to grow another 60%+ in the first quarter of this year. This is, in a word, staggering.

The closest thing to a downer in the report was that iPod sales shrank 7% compared to a year ago. However, when you consider that every iPhone (16.2 million sold in Q1) and every iPad (7.3 million sold in Q1) is also an iPod, I think you’ll find that iPod+iTunes market penetration is just fine.

Remarkable Recovery

January 19th, 2011 - 1:07 pm

She took a bullet through the brain not two weeks ago, but look at this:

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will be transferred to TIRR Memorial Hermann later this week as she continues her recovery from a Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson, Ariz., a source confirmed to the Chronicle today.

TIRR, The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, is one of the nation’s premiere rehabilitation centers. Among its specialties are traumatic brain injury.

The source told the Chronicle that the plans to transfer Giffords were evolving quickly this morning.

You don’t have to agree with Gabby Giffords’ politics to agree that is one hell-a woman.

The Climate of Love

January 19th, 2011 - 12:43 pm


In an extraordinary outburst on the House floor, Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) invoked the Holocaust to attack Republicans on health care and compared rhetoric on the issue to the work of infamous Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels.

“They say it’s a government takeover of health care, a big lie just like Goebbels,” Cohen said. “You say it enough, you repeat the lie, you repeat the lie, and eventually, people believe it. Like blood libel. That’s the same kind of thing. And Congressman Cohen didn’t stop there.

“The Germans said enough about the Jews and people believed it–believed it and you have the Holocaust. We heard on this floor, government takeover of health care. Politifact said the biggest lie of 2010 was a government takeover of health care because there is no government takeover,” Cohen said.

Bankrupting the Federal government and the several states, while taking doctors and patients out of the decision loop? That’s lovey-dovey. Wanting to not do those things? Fascists!

So let me say it right now, since I’m branded a Nazi no matter what: Congressman Steve Cohen is a lying, unprincipled smear-job artist with a fetish for state power.

But I won’t be calling him any names.

The Climate of Hate

January 19th, 2011 - 9:07 am
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Trifecta: In which we ever-so-gently, and with all due respect, correct a misconception or two Bill Maher might have about the Founding Fathers.

Bill and Scott were excellent on this one, but I must modestly admit that I rocked.

Plan B from Outer Space

January 19th, 2011 - 8:39 am

What’s Plan B if China starts dumping US debt? I’ll let Reuters explain:

“The U.S. government should have and maybe still could call on the people of the U.S. to invest in U.S. debt,” said David Walker, a former U.S. comptroller general who heads an advocacy group calling on the government to curb the U.S. budget deficit and borrowings.

Did Americans just lose a trillion dollars on houses Washington told us it was just hunky-dory to borrow money to buy? This one’s a non-starter.

Many Bad Puns to Follow

January 18th, 2011 - 5:11 pm

Trifecta: Guess Hu’s coming to dinner. And is China an up and coming superpower or not?

Remember when we used to make three of these a week? How quaint.

Promises, Promises

January 18th, 2011 - 3:12 pm

Trifecta: Gitmo will stay open — a stain on Obama’s record, but a bright spot for America’s safety.

Angry! Irrational! Murderous!

January 18th, 2011 - 3:07 pm

You’ll never guess who’s blogging at the Tatler now…

Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) won’t seek reelection in 2012.

Barring the GOP/Tea Party nominating another Christine O’Donnell, this one is almost certainly a pickup.

Yet Another Fly on the Wall

January 18th, 2011 - 8:46 am

It’s a Trifecta toofer, as you can go behind the scenes for a pitch that got shot down and another pitch about a possible Tea Party Media.

It’s Amazon’s World

January 17th, 2011 - 3:41 pm

Will Collier’s short story, Commandante Eternal is now available for Kindle for the low, low price of 99¢.

Learn how he became a self-published author at WillCollier.com.

Where Steve Goes

Apple CEO Steve Jobs is taking another medical leave, reassuring investors and fans that he has “great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011.” But at Business Insider, longtime Apple watcher Henry Blodget thinks that Jobs’ public statement might prove to be his valedictory.

Jobs wrote, “I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can.” And Blodget thinks that “those are not the words of someone taking a short leave who is confident he will be back at the company soon (or ever).” Blodget cites the statement Jobs released before his first medical leave, when he promised to return in just six months. Jobs has made no such promise this time around.

Considering just how sick Jobs has been, and for how long, the safe bet is the one that Blodget is making: Apple is about to endure the Second Going of Steve Jobs.

Over at the Wall Street Journal, Brett Arends says that Jobs “has proved himself to be the most extraordinary chief executive in the world and among the most extraordinary in living memory.” And that his “absence must subtract enormous [shareholder] value.” The key graf in Arends’ piece is this:

Apple true believers may argue that the company will continue to succeed, regardless of its leadership, because of its superior technology. Yet Apple computers were better than PCs back in 1997, as they were in 1987 and as they are today. But the company was still heading for oblivion. Technological brilliance is not enough to make stockholders rich. You need management brilliance too. Steve Jobs has given Apple a focus and an edge that is matched by few other companies. This is a fast-moving, brutally competitive industry.

Arends makes almost-uniformly good points here, but one of them is wrong and the others need expanding.


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Pack a Day

January 17th, 2011 - 11:49 am

Will smokers destroy China?

From the Heart of Texas

January 17th, 2011 - 10:02 am

Governor Rick Perry is blogging again at the Tatler.

Oh Woe Is Thee

January 17th, 2011 - 9:13 am

Via Glenn comes William Jacobson’s frustration with Politico:

I still think of Politico as a political blog, but it now is more of a mainstream media operation populated by people who could just as easily be working at The Washington Post or The New York Times if those newspapers were not in such decline. As such, conservatives should be skeptical of Politico’s news operations.

And one of Glenn’s readers has switched from the NYT to the WSJ:

O’Rourke, of course, is exactly right. Part of my Saturday routine is to buy a copy of the Times and then read it over lunch. This past Saturday, the Times was either sold out or no longer available at the mini-mart where I usually buy it so I got a copy of the Saturday/Sunday edtion of the Wall Street Journal instead. It was excellent! I’m not business oriented (could care less about who is buying out whom, whether pork bellies are going up or down, etc.) and so always resisted the Journal. But the news section was great and the “Review” section fabulous. The Times has now lost my $2.00 to the Journal.

Both critiques strike me as exactly right, and also echoed by my own behavior.

Over the nine years I’ve been doing thing, I’ve developed a pretty stable, er, stable of news sources. Blogs can come in at out pretty quickly, but the big sources tend to stay put. But when Politico burst on the scene three years ago, they immediately earned a stall in my stable. But not so much anymore. Politico now reads much less newsy and much more bloggy — and I’d rather read real bloggers than faux. We tend to be obvious about our biases, not to mention aware.

And the NYT? Meh. It’s free, and worth every penny. But I pay for the Wall Street Journal (web and iPad editions) and love it. So if sometimes my links lead behind Rupert Murdoch’s subscriber wall… well, consider that my personal endorsement to pay for his content.

The lesson here, in this ongoing era of newspapers bleeding money, is a simple one and it comes in three parts. Bloggers can give away most anything. Newspapers can barely give away anything for free, if it’s crap. But a good newspaper can charge readers a hefty sum, and make us like it.

And the takeaway is even simpler: The next time you hear of some news executive complain that there’s no way to make money these days, ask him if he expects to spend much time with Murdoch in the poor house.

The Sick Man of Apple

January 17th, 2011 - 8:56 am

Steve Jobs is taking another medical leave:

Jobs will continue as CEO and be involved in major strategic decisions for the company, but has asked Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook to be responsible for all of Apple’s day-to-day operations, Jobs said in an an e-mail sent to Apple employees.

“I have great confidence that Tim and the rest of the executive management team will do a terrific job executing the exciting plans we have in place for 2011. I love Apple so much and hope to be back as soon as I can,” Jobs wrote.

Apple shares dropped 6 percent in trading in Frankfurt following the announcement.

During (before and after) Jobs’ last medical leave, Apple stayed inexcusably tightlipped about his condition. Given his importance to the company — and its share price, as noted in the last line above — will they do things differently this time around?

UPDATE: Business Insider isn’t confident that Jobs will be back at all.

Another Fly on the Wall

January 15th, 2011 - 10:25 am

Trifecta: Go behind the scenes again for Part 2 of our pitch meetings.

Don’t Miss a Single Minute

January 15th, 2011 - 9:24 am

Gas prices are up, Don Draper is back in style, and Sheriff Dupnik beclowns himself — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

For What It’s Worth

January 14th, 2011 - 1:59 pm

Just noticed in my Twitter feed that Dick Lugar says he expects to face a Tea Party primary challenger next time around — I’m assuming because of how he helped sheppard New START through the Senate.

A couple weeks ago I had an in-depth conversation with someone working missile defense on the contractor side of things. More clearances on this person than most hippies have dandruff flakes. And I put it to them like this:

From what I’ve read, New Start is either a good and necessary treaty, an OK but mostly harmless treaty, a useless treaty, or the worst thing since canned bread. So which is it?

And my friend said, “Yes, it is — a little bit of all four.”

And the Ten Most Vulnerable Democratic Senators

January 14th, 2011 - 11:29 am

Coast to Coast Tea Party: ObamaCare is a CROC.

Trifecta: Come on out of the closet and reveal your fetish for the Constitution.