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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Trifecta: Don’t miss this week’s Grab Bag, where we answer your questions about Sarah Palin, Rick Perry and privatizing airport security.

Fill it to the RIM — with FAIL

June 16th, 2011 - 3:07 pm

I’m following SAI’s liveblog of RIM’s quarterly report, and it ain’t pretty:

Here’s co-CEO Jim Balsillie’s canned quote from the release: “Fiscal 2012 has gotten off to a challenging start. The slowdown we saw in the first quarter is continuing into Q2, and delays in new product introductions into the very late part of August is leading to a lower than expected outlook in the second quarter.” said Jim Balsillie, Co-CEO at Research In Motion.

“RIM’s business is profitable and remains solid overall with growing market share in numerous markets around the world and a strong balance sheet with almost $3 billion in cash. We believe that with the new products scheduled for launch in the next few months and realigning our cost structure, RIM will see strong profit growth in the latter part of fiscal 2012.”

RIM’s business model has been undercut by iPhone and Android. iMessage, due out this fall with iOS 5 — plus Google’s inevitable copycat app — will undercut RIM even more.

Trifecta: All eyes are on Michele Bachmann after her debate performance earlier this week — is she the man to beat in 2012?

Will No One Roast This Weiner?

June 16th, 2011 - 8:38 am

To punish Anthony Weiner, Congressional Democratic leaders have decided to put their money where their mouth is — but it’s a mouth without teeth:

Prior to the Democrats’ meeting Tuesday, some members of the caucus had floated the suggestion that they vote to strip him of his committee assignments, or take a more severe step of voting to boot him from the caucus. Neither step was debated or considered at the meeting, lawmakers said.

So here’s where Nancy Pelosi et al stand:

We’ll call for Wiener to resign, but we can’t make him.

Would could strip him of his choice committee assignment, but we won’t.

The weeklong drumbeat of calls for Weiner to resign is just a smokescreen for the fact that the Democrats don’t really care, so long as they look good on TV. With their shirts on, one hopes.

Now, I’m OK with Weiner staying in Congress. He doesn’t seem to have broken any laws and he’s an absolutely lovely distraction. Let the Democrats stew in their own juices.

Comparisons with David Vitter seem a little stretched. Yes, Vitter broke actual laws — but GOP leaders offered forgiveness, rather than toothless complaints. In 2005, the GOP chose (wrongly, I think) to forgive and forget. That’s at least consistent. The Democrats have chosen to condemn without punishment.

Either choice is little more than political theater, but one reeks of hypocrisy.

UPDATE: Word is, Weiner’s out.

Aren’t There Any Strong Horses?

June 16th, 2011 - 7:25 am

Trifecta: What happened to Tim Pawlenty on Monday night, and is his campaign now dead in the water? Scott Ott, special guest Tony Katz and I pick through the remains of a candidate who looked strong — right up until he started pulling his punches.

You Realize of Course, This Means War

June 15th, 2011 - 2:43 pm

Trifecta: Obama has finally found a way to bring the Left and Right together — by ignoring the War Powers Act.

Obama Talks the Talk…

June 15th, 2011 - 1:37 pm

…but will he walk the walk of shame?

A Defense of the Defense

June 15th, 2011 - 12:42 pm

“Why,” I get from people who loved and hated the movie, “did you spend so much time defending Ferris Bueller?”

Because the Left attacks our cultural icons with, as Alan Siegel did, petty complaints and smears and outright untruths. They’ve managed to throw most of the Western Canon into disrepute, at least amongst the intelligentsia and on our college campuses — you know, exactly where it matters the most. And so we aren’t left with much more than Ferris. It ain’t Shakespeare, but it’s one thing we had left unsullied. Even though the movie is mostly insubstantial summer fluff.

But if it’s all I have left, well, I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.

Sure to Anger Ronulans Everywhere

June 15th, 2011 - 8:39 am

I’m on the PJTV Report with Danika Quinn dissecting the results of the GOP debate — and telling you just what the hell is wrong with CNN’s John King.

Programing Note

June 14th, 2011 - 5:24 pm

I’ll be on The Rick Moran Show with Ed Morrissey (!) and Jazz Shaw at 8PM Eastern.

Wait — Who Got Arrested???

June 14th, 2011 - 11:31 am

Some days, the news just makes you scratch your head. OK, that’s pretty much every day. But Will Collier sent this one to me, and it will make you scratch your head until it’s bald and bleeding:

CHICAGO — FBI agents took box after box of address books, family calendars, artwork and personal letters in their 10-hour raid in September of the century-old house shared by Stephanie Weiner and her husband.

The agents seemed keenly interested in Weiner’s home-based business, the Revolutionary Lemonade Stand, which sells silkscreened infant bodysuits and other clothes with socialist slogans, phrases like “Help Wanted: Revolutionaries.”

The search was part of a mysterious, ongoing nationwide terrorism investigation with an unusual target: prominent peace activists and politically active labor organizers.

The probe — involving subpoenas to 23 people and raids of seven homes last fall — has triggered a high-powered protest against the Department of Justice and, in the process, could create some political discomfort for President Obama with his union supporters as he gears up for his reelection campaign.

The apparent targets are concentrated in the Midwest, including Chicagoans who crossed paths with Obama when he was a young state senator and some who have been active in labor unions that supported his political rise.

Investigators, according to search warrants, documents and interviews, are examining possible “material support” for Colombian and Palestinian groups designated by the U.S. government as terrorists.

I’m going to go out on a limb here, and postulate that this investigation has been going on longer than the last 875 days.

I Got Yer Aggregate Demand Right Here, Pal

June 14th, 2011 - 8:52 am

Some people tried to write off last quarter’s lousy GDP growth. “Hey, it’s winter, things slow down. Big earthquake in Japan and all that.”

Here we are in the sunny, happy days of spring and — retail sales fell for the first time in 11 months.

In Defense of Ferris Bueller

June 14th, 2011 - 7:10 am

When I was barely-out-of-diapers-young, one of my favorite books was a collection of jokes for kids. The big finish — the joke they just had to save for last — was a simple riddle: “What’s big and red and eats rocks? A big red rock eater.”

Try the veal and don’t forget to tip your servers. I’ll be here all week.

Since then, I’ve read the poetry of Jim Morrison; the columns of Maureen Dowd; the backs of countless boxes of Boo Berry Cereal; the 1988 Libertarian, Republican and Democrat political platforms in their entireties; the works of various Brontë sisters; particularly heartfelt lines from love letters I wrote to my high school sweetheart; I even read George Friedman’s The Coming War with Japan — which he wrote in 1991.

These are the credentials you need to know when I tell you: In the 38 years since I learned to read, I have read some really stupid shit.

But I have never read anything quite so stupid as Alan Siegel’s article in The Atlantic, insisting that everyone “get over” Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

On the movie’s 25th anniversary, Siegel’s problem with Ferris Bueller is Ferris Bueller, appropriately enough, whom he derides as “banal.” The primary complaints all come from the middle of the piece, where Siegel complains that “Nothing challenges Ferris. Unlike most teens, his life is free of adversity.” That the movie is “dripping with classism.” And while John Hughes’s other movies “may not channel Dickens, but they’re at least populated with teenagers who’ve had it rougher than Ferris.”

Boo-hoo, I suppose, because Bueller didn’t bear enough boo-boos. But let’s try and remember that the movie is about a kid’s day off. It ain’t The Basketball Diaries, nor is it supposed to be. And anyway, accusing a teenage boy of being banal is like accusing… a teenage boy of being interested in sex. Why, I never!

Siegel’s complaints about Ferris generally break down to “kind of sad where they aren’t plain wrong.”

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It’s the Beginning of the Beginning

June 13th, 2011 - 6:00 pm

Drunkblogging the debate live for the PJM home page.

Hair of the Dog: Debbie Wasserman-Schultz rejects the Weiner, President Obama’s suckin’ on a Slurpee, and Kimberly Strassel has the dirtiest mind on all the Sunday shows. Honestly, I think I’m in love.

Bonus: It will be your pleasure to meet The Eyebrow of Total Disdain.

Required Reading

June 13th, 2011 - 3:15 pm

Oh, that’s gonna leave a mark — Jimmie went and used math on Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s latest BS figures.

But as Debbie herself might tell you, math is hard.

Fools Rush In

June 13th, 2011 - 1:48 pm

I’m going to wait until tomorrow — when I’ll be super cranky hungover after tonight’s drunkblog — to tear apart Alan Siegel’s idiot plea to “get over” Ferris Bueller.

But trust me, it’s coming. Oh yes it is.

There’s only one celebrity site I visit regularly — and that’s Agent Bedhead. Things have been a bit quiet there lately, but it turns out there’s a good reason for that: Bedhead has joined the folks at Celebitchy.

Update your bookmarks.

Sign “O” the Times

June 13th, 2011 - 11:48 am

After more than a century, the Chicago Merc might become… the Somewhere Else Merc. The Anywhere Else Merc? From IBD:

The company that owns Chicago’s two largest futures exchanges is thinking about moving operations out of state to flee oppressive business taxes. Worried about climate change? How about the business climate?

The days when Chicago was the “hog butcher to the world” have long since passed, replaced by its role as a leading financial trading center that is home to the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, also known as the Merc, and the Chicago Board of Trade.

On Wednesday, Terence Duffy, chairman of CME Group Inc., which owns the two institutions as well as the New York Mercantile Exchange, and Chief Financial Officer James Parisi announced the financial giant is considering moving operations and jobs out of the state in response to massive increases in state taxes.

This is the equivalent of the Empire State Building getting up and walking over to New Jersey.

“Sorry, Tom — you’re out.”

June 13th, 2011 - 10:22 am

My post on Rick Perry, Jeb Bush and candidates who get dismissed for unfair or trivial reasons, got some attention from Smitty the Hardest Working Co-Blogger in the Blogosphere™. Smitty said:

In an otherwise agreeable post on the possiblily of Texas Governor Perry running, Iron Liver remarks:

. . .good candidates can be dismissed for trivial reasons. Ask Jeb Bush about that some time.

Not to say that Jeb is a bad candidate in the slightest, but the anti-dynasty sentiment is non-trivial.
As good as Jeb may be, I just don’t see him as so overwhelmingly better than the other possibilities as to overcome the dis-interest in YAB (Yet Another Bush).

More, not less variety is key to recovery.

Yeah, let me clarify that a bit. Jeb Bush isn’t the Third Bush I Wish We’d Get, but rather the One Bush I Wish We’d Have Gotten.

This Oughta Be Fun

June 13th, 2011 - 7:52 am

It’s Debate Monday all day long. First up, Bill Whittle hosts a special Trifecta where we handicap the GOP field. This evening, at about 7:20 Eastern, tune into PJTV as Tony Katz, Stephen Kruiser and I provide the pre-debate coverage. Then, of course, I’ll drunkblog the debate on the PJM home page — followed by post-debate coverage with Tony & Stephen again.

I’ve already begun carboloading, and not a moment too soon.

Just wow:

During an appearance on HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher,” Janeane Garofalo said, “Anthony Weiner deserves to be supported and hopefully he will be mayor of New York one day. I’m serious. He is a Democrat [who] actually fights for the things liberals and progressive and rational people care about.

“I don’t know why he’s being thrown under the bus. He hasn’t done any — he hasn’t broke any laws,” she said.

The Saturday Night Live alum, who has appeared in the television shows “24,” “The West Wing” and “The Larry Sanders Show,” added, “Everyone lies about sex. [Weiner's controversy] has not impacted anyone’s life negatively.”

“She didn’t look 17!” is now an acceptable excuse with Garofalo — coming from a fellow progressive, anyway.

The one thing you had to give Anthony “Sit On” Weiner credit for, was when he did finally own up, he owned up. Read this exchange from his press conference last Monday:

Q: Will you seek professional help?

REP. WEINER: I have not — you know, I’m going to try to handle this, and I haven’t ruled out perhaps seeing someone. But I’m not blaming anyone. This is not something that can be treated away; this is my own personal mistake. This is not something — this is a weakness, a deep weakness, that I have demonstrated, and for that I apologize.

“This is not something that can be treated away.” I respected the hell out of him for that, and for the tearful look of panic any time his wife or marriage came up. He knew he’d done wrong and was owing up to it — if a week late.

Now comes this:

Rep. Anthony Weiner will not resign and will instead seek treatment even as the top leaders of the Democratic Party abandoned him en masse Saturday after it was revealed that he had communicated online with a 17-year-old Delaware girl.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the party’s top campaign chiefs — Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) — all called on Weiner to resign in statements released within minutes of each other.

But Weiner has ignored those calls and announced Saturday afternoon that he’s planning a leave of absence from the House so he can seek “professional treatment.”

Apropos of nothing, I suppose, but I did DJ at a couple different oldies stations way back when. So in that spirit, I’d like to dedicate this golden oldie to the shivering little man-child sitting at home alone in his undies as he prepares to make a long trip to a destination unknown. You know who you are, and this one’s just for you.

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He Did Not Just Go There

June 11th, 2011 - 10:28 am

Scott Ott: Size matters.

DailyKos proves it couldn’t have been Anthony’s weiner, see the world’s first zombie-proof house, and Barbara Walters has a very special message for Huma Abedin — all on another exciting episode of… The Week in Blogs!

Bonus: Matt Yglesias has a job for you.

Eat the Young

June 11th, 2011 - 6:59 am

It’s an ugly job market for the recently — and not-so-recently — graduated:

Students now finishing their schooling—the class of 2011—are confronting a youth unemployment rate above 17 percent. The problem is compounding itself as those collecting high school or college degrees jostle for jobs with recent graduates still lacking steady work. “The biggest problem they face is, they are still competing with the class of 2010, 2009, and 2008,” says Matthew Segal, cofounder of Our Time, an advocacy group for young people.

Hey, kids — keep giving those “cool” Democrats the benefit of the doubt, and pretty soon you’ll be competing for jobs with the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017, too!

There Is Not Enough Eye Bleach

June 10th, 2011 - 4:27 pm

Introducing the Hoffsicle.

Programing Note

June 10th, 2011 - 3:36 pm

I’ll be on the Tony Katz Radio Spectacular in 30 minutes, to talk about those Palin emails, bailouts and more.

Liberal Generosity

June 10th, 2011 - 3:17 pm

Working for Ariana Huffington’s AOL “Patch” sounds hellish. A current editor complains anonymously that:

HQ Directives change fast and furiously. Three weeks from hire to launch. A month later came the “Double Down” initiative aimed at doubling user engagement through mandatory content. Next, mandatory daily video (and drop DD). Then Blogs and Curation (curation was quickly killed). Daily video no longer required. Now its Lucky 7s (seven posts a day; when hired, it was four posts a day). And rumor has it something new and patchy is in the pipeline, and will likely need to be implemented in less than 10 days.

Weekly Site Updates. Almost every week, a new version is deployed, resulting in annoying glitches, crashes and work loss. Plus they move things around in the layout so often, its hard to find things or talk a user through something.

The Patch model isn’t sustainable. One full-time employee per site, means one person wears all hats. Content is supplemented by freelancers, however, there is still just one person responsible for running the site, 24/7. No one edits or proofreads. Editors who are good news journalists must also cover Woman’s Club events. While editors who specialize in fluff have to try to wrap their head around ordinances and lawsuits.

Editors are responsible for providing copy seven days a week. In order to take a day off, like Sunday, content must be set up in advance. In order to take a vacation, editors need to find and train their own sub, and pay for them out of the limited freelance budget. Editors are encouraged to prepare content in advance and bring their laptop on vacation instead of hiring a sub.

Well, unlike some of Ariana’s writers, at least these folks get a paycheck.

Defining Insanity Down

June 10th, 2011 - 2:38 pm

Jonathan Cohn has a brand-new idea to pump up that faltering economy:

Are President Obama and his advisers alarmed about the tepid recovery? Are they working feverishly to think up new interventions, the kind that involve increasing short-term deficits, to strengthen it? I would like to think the answer to both questions is “yes.”

“Increasing short-term deficits.” I just love that phrase. What it means is, “Even though I’m spending way beyond my means already, I’m going to put even more on my credit card. But only until I’m back on my feet. It’s short term.”

Except the accumulated debt isn’t short term. It’s pretty much forever. There will come a time — perhaps soon — when we won’t even be able to make the interest payments. And there is no plan, no plan whatsoever, for dealing with the structural deficit. And paying down the principal? Fuggidaboudit.

It’s this “short term” thinking that got us into this mess. And it’s short-term thinking like Cohn’s that keeps getting us deeper into it.