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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Your Monday Afternoon Dose of Doom & Gloom

December 12th, 2011 - 12:49 pm

The Fed’s first round of quantitative easing is believed to have been around two trillion dollars. QE2 was a neat $600 billion. Neither produced the hope-for result. So — how about QE3 with a price tag between $700 billion and another easy trillion? Sure thing, bud:

If the Fed decides that the US economy needs another round of monetary easing, the price tag likely would be between $700 billion and $1 trillion, according to a new analysis.

While the Fed has not said explicitly whether it will enact a third round of quantitative easing — or QE3 in market parlance — speculation has grown that the central bank will step in should the economy stall again in 2012. The Fed next meets Tuesday, when the topic of more easing is likely to come up.

Someday, the Fed is going to have to suck all these extra trillions of dollars back out of the economy, to avoid a nasty bout of inflation, or even hyperinflation. To do that, it will sell off the massive stores of treasury notes it bought to inject all this money into the economy.

Here’s the question we need to ask now: What price will the Fed actually get? Bernanke has printed up these trillions — but how many of them will he actually get to make go “poof,” if wary buyers won’t pay face value for those bonds?

And buyers might well become very wary, if Washington doesn’t get its budget act together, yesterday.

If the Fed can’t balance its books, it’s insolvent. And we’re stuck with an “unintended” inflation.

This scares the hell out of me.

Helping Twitter Help Twitter [UPDATED]

December 12th, 2011 - 9:30 am

I was lucky enough to have New Twitter rolled out on me today. I’ve been playing with it and sending suggestions and critiques to Twitter’s @Feedback account. Read them, and then please let me know about your own experiences with it.

And remember, these are in reverse-chronological order, so you might want to start from the bottom of the post.

Dear @Feedback: How does defaulting my own tweets out of Interactions help me keep track of how I’m interacting?

Dear @Feeback: When I click on Interactions to see what’s new, I must then click on New Interactions to really see what’s new. Why?

Dear @Feeback: #OldTwitter: Send out short messages to people. #NewTwitter: Click on a lot of stuff. How does that help tweeps?

Dear @Feedback: New tweets are indicated by blue lights or text. But so is the Interaction/Mentions you AREN’T on. Why?

Dear @Feedback: I guess being able to Retweet with Comment is never coming back. Big usability drop. Explain in 140 characters or less.

. @VodkaPundit also confused about why #newtwitter changed the main column to the rt side. Who reads from the middle of the page?@Feedback
Retweeted by Stephen Green
In reply to Stephen Green

Dear @Feedback: When I block a spammer — which I must do lots more often now — they no longer disappear from my TL. Why not?

Dear @Feedback: Clicking on a reply to me opens my original tweet, but there’s no visual or textual clue to the relationship. Why not?

Dear @Feedback: Usability is down. Spam is up. Don’t you think you lost your priorities somewhere along the way?

Dear @Feedback: When I click Refresh on my browser tab, new tweets don’t always show up either. Why?

Dear @Feedback: Sometimes, when I click on “new tweets” or interactions or whatever you’re calling it today, nothing happens. Why?

Dear @Feeback: When a microblogging website requires a flowchart to navigate, you’re doing it wrong. #Fail #NewTwitter

Dear @Feedback: In 140 characters or less, explain why a Retweet is an Interaction and not a Mention.

Dear @Feedback: I’ve pointed out more than a dozen flaws in my first 20 minutes with #NewTwitter. Did you spend ANY time with it at all?

Dear @Feedback: What’s the benefit of showing me tweeps “similar to me” who I’m already following?

Dear @Feedback: Difference between Mentions and Interactions is so subtle as to be useless. It’s the French cinema of social networking.

Dear @Feedback: Fixed column widths? Really? Who is that helping?

Dear @Feedback: It now takes three clicks and two page refreshes to get to a list. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Oscar? #fail

Dear @Feedback: I’m going to have to keep a whole browser window full of tabs open, just to avoid all the new clicking. So, thanks.

Dear @Feedback: I have no wish to “Discover” crap you’re paid to show me.

Dear @Feedback: I found my lists. And then I lost them again. #Fail

Dear @Feedback: When I click Connect, and the lefthand tweet window disappears, HOW DO I EFFING CONNECT?

Dear @Feedback: Thanks for all the hoops! My calves are going to be in great shape.

Dear @Feedback: When things that once took one click, now take two or three, you’re doing it wrong.

Dear @Feedback: 200 new spam followers in two weeks. Go back to getting the basics right.

Dear @Feedback: Where are my freaking lists? And why should I even have to look?

Dear @Feedback: I have the #NewTwitter. It’s gone from “it’s hard to find stuff” to “I don’t even want to look anymore.”

Feedback has yet to address any of my complains or questions. What do you think?

UPDATE: I’ve spent a little more time getting to know New Twitter, and came up with a few more problems. Again, reverse chronological order applies.

Dear @Feedback: The command bar is too wide to get to the Blue new tweet icon on the right, on small screens and it doesn’t scroll. Huh?

Dear @Feedback: #NewTwitter isn’t a great name. How about Quickster?

Dear @Feedback: What has improved for tweeps in #NewTwitter? Feel free to reply with multiple tweets.

Dear @Feedback: Correction to my earlier complaint: User stats do show on Home tab. What makes Home more stat-friendly than Connect?

Dear @Feedback: New tweets that have shown up in Mentions (or vice versa) must still be Blue-Text clicked to show up in Interactions. Huh?

Dear @Feedback: Why should it take more than one click to get an individual tweet to where I can bookmark it or email it?

Dear @Feedback: How is it to the user’s benefit to have to click –more than once– to a special page to see basic stats about his account?

Dear @Feedback: How is a one-way follow an Interaction? Remember, all explanations in 140 characters or less.

This is microblogging, not rocket science. I would have switched to a Twitter desktop app long ago, except every single one of them was even worse than Twitter was. That’s changed now, but not because any of the applications got any better. In fact, Twitter purposely freezes them out of certain features.

Nevertheless, I’ll be avoiding Twitter’s web page until they heal these self-inflicted wounds.


ONE MORE THING: I think I’ve exhausted — literally — the new UI, and have just a handful more observations & questions.

Dear @Feedback: What rationale was used to decide which clicks would open pages, or popups, or menus? Any?

Dear @Feedback: When I’m RTed, they appear truncated in my timeline. Clicking doesn’t reveal the whole text. Why not?

Dear @Feedback: Thanks for finally adding “Follows You”/”Doesn’t Follow You” to website. Could you ditch everything else?

Dear @Feedback: #NewTwitter kills our old bookmarks. How does that benefit your users?

Dear @Feedback: Since I must copy & paste to RT with comment, why do you force me to copy & paste so much extraneous text?

Dear @Feedback: How many lists does the left side More Lists box show? It shows all of mine, plus a “Show All” button.

And finally, “Let’s admit that #Twitter was never a multibillion-dollar idea, and go back to being small, functional, and fun.”

Program Note

December 10th, 2011 - 11:25 am

For reasons not understood even by yours truly, I will drunkblog tonight’s presidential debate. Tune in to the PJMedia homepage at 8:45PM Eastern/5:45PM Pacific.

And then let’s promise each other to get out more, OK?

We Got Everybody But Paul Lynde

December 10th, 2011 - 10:31 am

It another all-star holiday extravaganza edition of The Week in Blogs, with a cast of thousands! You’ll see special appearances by a platoon of Marines, Bill Ayers, Joe Biden, Meghan McCain, Eric Holder, Graham Chapman, Alec Baldwin, Harrison Ford, and the President and First Lady of these United States: Barack and Michelle Obama.

Bonus: The dumbest OWS protester ever!

So be sure to tune in. You can’t miss a show this big.

Obama: He’s Small in Ohio!

December 9th, 2011 - 1:48 pm

It’s not “flopulism,” Mickey — it’s Mockulism. The bitterclingers know the hopenchanger isn’t one of them and never will be.

Why, after just a year and a handful of months into the Amanpour Era at This Week, is ABC already letting rumors float that the Hostess with the Leastest is on her way out?

Maybe Amanpour was just too much of a woman to host a Sunday chat show? Well, no. I think we’re long past that. Besides, Amanpour had built herself a reputation as a gutsy (if flamingly biased) reporter, willing to stand up to just about anybody. So long as it advanced her cause, of course. But that kind of thing is no novelty when it comes to Big Name Celebrity News shows.

Was Amanpour too foreign? My goodness, she speaks with an accent! Oh, please. Americans have been fine with TV leading ladies with accents since at least Green Acres.

Was she too liberal? Muahahahahahahahahahaha. If flagrant liberalism explained bad ratings, then please explain every – single – other – news – show – out – there.

Maybe all three put together? Just too much for slovenly American audiences to handle?

Um, no. Have you seen the crap we will watch?

The problem with This Week was, under Christiane Amanpour it was bad TV, easily the worst of the Sunday shows.

It started, as it should I suppose, with the opening credits. Chris Botti rerecorded the opening music — in his inimitable smooth-jazz style. Which, instead of prepping you for a hard-hitting new show, made you dream instead about an oaky chardonnay, a romance novel, and a bubble bath.

From there, things got worse.

First, Amanpour would update you with “headlines you might have missed,” but never actually had. From there, an unnecessary (and unnecessarily silly) week-in-politics wrap-up from Jonathan Karl. You really have suffered until you’ve seen your TV screen filled with bobblehead versions of the entire 2012 GOP field, while hungover. Karl is a fine reporter, but he’s going to do a few centuries in Purgatory for that one.

Then — and this was the really inexplicable part — Amanpour would then go to the Roundtable, before any big shot guests had been interviewed. That left the Roundtable guests free to talk about… stuff that had happened more more recently than yesterday.

Sometimes, she’d come back from the break to do a second roundtable, but with a slightly — or sometimes completely — different panel.

The show would then finish off with a newsmagazine-style piece, usually from overseas. Except when it didn’t. Oftentimes, Amanpour would host a third roundtable at the end of the show, the segment I called, “People You’ve Never Heard of, With Accents You Can’t Decipher, Discussing Things You Don’t Care About.”

The big-name guests would either appear before the regular Roundtable, at the end of the show, or somewhere in-between — if at all, I think. It was such a jumbled mess I could never be sure what exactly the point was of any particular episode.

Her interviews were generally flat, her gotcha questions were delivered with all the sublime grace of a bride falling down a church staircase, and as a roundtable moderator… she made me long for Phil Donahue.

That is not good TV.

And it’s shown in the ratings, which are better than they once were — but nowhere close to where they were before she came on board. And when you think of the quality of the competition (let’s not) it’s clear that Amanpour has remained afloat this long, only because most everybody else sucks so badly, too.

It’s high time she was given the boot, and that Jake Tapper was given the chair that was rightfully his almost two years ago.

Speaking of Dreadful Mistakes…

December 9th, 2011 - 10:36 am

One might be corrected soon. Word is, ABC is handing Cristiane Amanpour her hat and coat and showing her the door. Moe Lane headlines it, “Looks like VodkaPundit won’t have Cristiane Amanpour to kick around anymore.”

This requires a drink with lunch. Maybe two.

ALSO: Go Jake Tapper!

UPDATE: Later, I’ll offer up a brief pre-mortem on the Amanpour-era of This Week. If you can call a year and some months an “era.”

Brace Yourselves for the Big Letdown

December 9th, 2011 - 10:33 am

I managed — barely — to sit through the ten minute preview of David Fincher’s remake of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

First impression? Horribly miscast in every major role. Some fine actors in there — who have no business in this particular movie.

‘Fraid it’s going to suck. But you know what? The Swedish original is so approachable for Americans, making an English-language version never was necessary. Stick to that one.

Eye of Newt

December 9th, 2011 - 9:13 am

Peggy Noonan on the rise of Newt Gingrich:

Republicans on the ground who view Mr. Gingrich from afar, who neither know nor have worked with him, are more likely to see him this way: “Who was the last person to actually cut government? Who was the last person who actually led a movement that balanced the federal budget? . . . The last time there was true welfare reform, the last time government was cut, Gingrich did it.” That is Rush Limbaugh, who has also criticized Mr. Gingrich.

And that is exactly what I’ve been hearing from Newt supporters who do not listen to talk radio. They are older voters, they are not all Republicans, and when government last made progress he was part of it. They have a very practical sense of politics now. The heroic era of the presidency is dead. They are not looking to like their president or admire him, they just want someone to fix the crisis. The last time helpful things happened in Washington, he was a big part of it. So they may hire him again. Are they put off by his scandals? No. They think all politicians are scandalous.

I was having this very conversation a few days ago with Tony Katz, I beleive, who wondered why Newt seemed to be the Teflon candidate. The answer is very simple: We already know all about Gingrich. Noonan nailed it earlier in her column when she wrote, “He is the first modern potential president about whom there is too much information.”

Newt lost the ability to shock us a long time ago. Each new revelation is met with a shrug of the shoulders, rather than outrage or even mere disappointment. He is an exhausting public figure, in ways that both delight (welfare reform, balanced budget act) and not-so-delight (poor leadership, big government conservatism).

We knew all of this 15 years ago. After four years of the Newt & Bill Show, we lost the ability to be shocked. Barack Obama rode that weariness — with help from a compliant press — right past Bill Ayers and Rev. Wright. Newt may very well do the same thing, minus the compliant press, all the way to the GOP nomination. Maybe even the White House.

But at some point, I’m afraid, he might do something so stupid, so reckless, or so self-servingly grandiose, that we’ll learn how to be shocked all over again.

Getting In on the Garage Floor

December 9th, 2011 - 8:25 am


On November 3rd, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 2930 (the “Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act”), a crowdfunding bill that will allow startups to offer and sell securities via crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. As I discussed in my post, “FAQ: What the new U.S. crowdfunding bill means for entrepreneurs,” this is a game-changer for startups and lifts certain securities law prohibitions that have been on the books since the 1930’s. Since I wrote that post, I have received numerous emails and phone calls regarding the House bill, which I will address below.

Read the whole thing, including the differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill. They’re significant, but nothing that can’t be hammered out in conference.

Pass this and repeal ObamaCare, and maybe we can get entrepreneurs back off the sidelines.

Phil Hartman’s SNL Audition

December 9th, 2011 - 8:19 am
YouTube Preview Image

Scott Ott sent this to me this morning, knowing I’m just about the biggest Phil Hartman fan in the world. Now see him before he was famous and dead.

Only Drudge

December 8th, 2011 - 1:44 pm

Citi: New iPad in February

December 8th, 2011 - 12:36 pm

The original iPad came out April, 2010. iPad 2, March of 2011. Now the iPad 3 or whatever, presumably with a Retina Display of 2,048 x 1,536 — which is more pixels than on my 24″ desktop monitor — due out in February?

That is an aggressive and impressive release schedule.

Looks like Number One Son will be getting a used iPad 1 sooner than I thought.

The Lights Are Going Out, All Over America…

December 8th, 2011 - 11:58 am

Trifecta: Welcome to the darkest future you can imagine.

YouTube Preview Image

I’m sure if this were really a hoax, we’d have embarrassed the Iranians by now. But damn if that thing doesn’t look like it’s made out of papier-mâché. It must be the RAM coating, but I just can’t shake the thought that it looks like something whipped up quickly by some Iranian kids for Science Fair.

UPDATE: The more I look at this video, the more convinced I am that it’s fake. Just look at the color. Some sharp Iranian heard that the Air Force buys “gold-plated planes,” and paints his little toy gold. The fit and finish are not up to milspec. It’s too small. That grille would have the RCS of a flying battleship. It’s just wrong.

So here’s what happened, IMO.

We lost command & control of an RQ-170, which then faithfully self-destructed over Iran.

The Iranians, looking for a PR coup, made themselves a toy Sentinel, which they then claimed to have somehow captured.

Sound kosher to you?

UPDATE: With a tip of the hat to Greg Hill, a “senior administration official” is telling Fox News it’s the real deal.

Android Destroys Value

December 7th, 2011 - 2:39 pm

What is Android worth to Google? Horace Dediu tries to figure that one out:

Android entered the market after the iPhone and I tracked its share since January 2009 when Android devices became more widely available. Unfortunately that period of time was in the depths of a recession so Google’s price was quite depressed and perhaps not reflective of inherent value. The stock price recovered back to $500 within three quarters. During that time Android share increased from zero to 3%.

After that, Google’s share price has remained uncorrelated with Android. Platform share grew monotonically to nearly 60% but the stock price remained in a narrow band. The data shows that Android created $1.23/point of market share/year over the market life of Android. However if we measure value creation from October 2009 after the recession lifted, we get about 21c of share price appreciation for every point of market share gained for Android per year. That’s a very small impact given the share price of more than $500.

Since Google’s non-Android business has grown throughout the period, it would seem that Android as an independent business has in fact been an overall value destroyer. Those pennies per share are very likely not higher than what the effort cost.

Android is a defensive move to keep people using Google on their mobile devices. I haven’t used Google even once since getting an iPhone 4s, with Siri to find things for me.

So in that sense, Android is something of a necessary operating expense for Google.

Up Next: The Buyout of Kursk?

December 7th, 2011 - 12:12 pm

Apropos of nothing in particular today, Julian Lindley–French sums up the situation in Europe.

Germany is dominant (by default – no master plan), France subordinated, Britain isolated and puppet governments installed in both Greece and here in Italy. For a historian it all has a very familiar ring to it.


It’s not really June, 1940 again as the author notes. But the parallels are striking. I hope this time around it isn’t all quite so fussy.

Gorbachev: Tear Up This Vote

December 7th, 2011 - 10:30 am

It’s always fun when a disgraced Commie thug claims an election was rigged — even when he’s right. Anyway, there’s this from wherever Mikhail Gorbachev is enjoying his retirement/self-imposed exile:

“Mikhail Gorbachev is very concerned about how the situation in Russia is developing,” spokesman Pavel Palezhchenko told CNN. “People don’t believe that the will of the people is reflected in the results.”

He confirmed a report by the Russian news agency Interfax, which quoted the former premier as saying the elections were unfair and new elections were needed.

The good news out of this is that thousands of Russians aren’t taking this lying down — there is a huge protest planned for Moscow. Other cities, too, I’d wager.

What Vladimir Putin forgot from the Soviet days is, if you’re going to steal an election, you’ve got to steal it big. Otherwise you just get everyone’s hopes up that they might have a slender chance at a fair election. And look where that gets you — your sad old boss calling you a fraud, and a bunch of skulls you’re going to have to crack.

The Gates Are Open, the Walls Are Breached

December 7th, 2011 - 9:00 am

Trifecta: Muslim honor killings — welcome to the Western World!

Pearl Harbor Day: 70 Years Later

December 7th, 2011 - 7:29 am

First of all: Remember.

Second, remember that this huge intelligence apparatus we’ve erected in the 70 years since, was to protect us from enduring another surprise attack — another Pearl Harbor.

And then remember the Korean War, launched with a surprise attack. And then remember 9/11, another surprise attack.

There is no safety this side of the grave. Sometimes, you get caught with your pants down. The important thing is to keep your wits and your resolve after it happens.

First in Harm’s Way

December 6th, 2011 - 3:08 pm

In this business, it’s my pleasure — really — to read lots of stupid ledes. I mean: Lots. Of. Stupid. Ledes. Here’s one:

Chinese President Hu Jintao on Tuesday urged the navy to prepare for military combat, amid growing regional tensions over maritime disputes and a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.

If China really wants to engage in naval combat, I suggest they first stock up on lifejackets, rowboats, and rescue helicopters. China doesn’t have enough naval power to put up a the proverbial “nice try.” And that’s just against US 7th Fleet. Wait until one or more of the others show up. Plus our good friends in Japan and South Korea.

China’s hopes for naval power rest on non-naval power — using newfangled ICBMs with conventional warheads to make it too expensive for us to intervene, along with tons of missiles raining down on Taiwan, to muse on one “likely” scenario.

Then again, a nation’s leader isn’t supposed to go around telling his Admirals to “go on and get ready to burble.” A little saber-rattling can also have the pleasant effect of testing your opposition’s hearing. Lately though, President Obama seems to be doing just fine on Pacific relations, after a rocky start.

No, the real laffer is when Robert Saiget says there is “a US campaign to assert itself as a Pacific power.”

Bobby, baby, the US has been a Pacific power for a couple hundred years now, give or take. The US Navy represents more than half the naval power in the whole world. And we have about half of that, give or take, in the Pacific. And for those familiar with the combat power of the US Air Force, it has bases all over the Pacific, including Japan. And that fabled Marine Corps, which can land a division on most any beach in the world on very little notice, while using tilt-rotor planes to rapidly secure inland bases, too? Yeah, there are Marines are in the Pacific and they are ready to move.

The US doesn’t need to assert anything, Jack.

But that does bring up an important point.

The main reason China’s navy is third-rate is, for so long it was fourth-rate. And it took a long, hard slog to make that leap to third.

Building ships takes a lot of treasure and time. Training good crews to run them takes a lot of time, treasure, and blood. It also helps a lot — and I’m not being facetious here — to fight other navies in a real-damn shooting war. The US Navy on December 6, 1941 was great. The US Navy on August 14, 1945 was awesome. And not because it had so many more ships and sailors. Our sailors were combat-hardened, our ships were battle-tested, and most importantly, we had hammered out the proper doctrine to marry the the ships, planes, and crews together into the deadliest Navy the world had ever seen.

Just as important, our veterans passed down those traditions year after year. It’s a lot of peacetime sweat, but it pays off in war. China doesn’t have those advantages.

But we could throw all ours away. Cut the Navy to too few ships? Overworked sailors won’t reenlist. Cut down training to spare tender feelings? Then everything we paid for so dearly these last 60 years might as well stay moored and rusting on the pier.

We’re in a bad moment here. We’re broke and we’re in a funk about it. But at 5% of GDP and shrinking, we can afford the military we have. Cut the fat, not the meat.

On today’s Trifecta, we’re Tebowing.

Oh, yes, we are.

A Norman Lear Production

December 6th, 2011 - 1:34 pm

Pardon the late start today, but we’re stacking up extra Trifectas for the holidays, and this was my week to host two full-length shows. Then I had to refuel with a special lunch I call “Too Much Leftover Spaghetti.” It’s a classic, and I always enjoy waddling back downstairs when it’s gone.

First stop after getting back to the desk was RealClearPolitics. From there, a story from the UK’s Independent about President Obama’s new woes in Hollywood. They’ll vote for him, Guy Adams report, but they don’t love him anymore. Fundraising won’t be what it once was, either. But what caught my eye, was this telling detail, almost glossed over, from überproducer Norma Lear:

“He can’t make up his mind about anything,” Mr Lear said. “He just vacillates. Like Democrats do generally.”

Like Democrats do generally. Huh. Fancy that — it’s not the kind of thing I remember hearing from Hollywood types three years go. What I remember from then was all about how Black Jesus was going to lead us to the Promised Land. (Never mind the mixed metaphors; they sure don’t mind ‘em in Hollywood.) Obama, Pelosi, Reid, big majorities — all the pieces were in place for having our betters cure all our woes.

They’re not singing that song anymore, are they?

Which brings me at last to the point. We know this campaign next year will be the most vicious ever, as the President of all Americans tries to depress voter turnout by moderates. Remember that: The right is going to show up next year, come hell, high water, or New Black Panthers. To win, Obama must rally his base and make moderate voters — regular, everyday, not-too-concerned Americans — completely disgusted with politics and politicians. He will savage the middle of the American electorate just to get four more years with his ineffectual hands on the levers of power.

But as Norman Lear just let slip, it’s Obama’s own base of rich progressives who are already depressed.

Well, they earned it. Now let them stand in line at an ObamaCare Amalgamated Clinic to get their meds.

Hair of the Dog: Newt’s up, Cain’s out and Trump’s back.

Or as we professional political pundits like to say, “What the hell?”

I’m Gonna Dig Myself a Hole

December 5th, 2011 - 4:02 pm

David Rosenberg:

Credit card usage was quite rampant on Black Friday — it outstripped cash and debit-card payment by more than a two-to-one ratio. But when the bills come in early in the New Year, look for a bit of a consumer pullback — another risk to the Q1 outlook (especially if we wake up on December 17th and realize that Congress has recessed without extending last year’s tax goodies into 2012 — see House G.O.P. Is Divided On Extension of Payroll Tax on page All of the Saturday NYT).

I’ve been reminding you for a while now to keep an eye on Christmas shopping. It’s also why I didn’t get all excited about the nice Black Friday retailers just enjoyed. Christmas shopping is a season, and it’s shaping up to be a mean one, Mr. Grinch.


December 5th, 2011 - 3:32 pm

I ought to remind you of this more often: If you’re not following me on Twitter, you’re missing one-third of the VodkaPundit Triad of nuclear deterrence.

iPad Magazines: They Pretty Much Suck

December 5th, 2011 - 3:29 pm

Ouch — vicious review of several iPad magazine apps:

I read a lot of magazines. They are great for people with short attention spans like myself, available on a variety of diverse topics and are usually pretty well designed. On paper that is. On the iPad? I wish I never learned to read.

I’m convinced that the people who actually write for magazines, edit them and publish them have never actually tried using their iPad versions for more than a few moments. If they actually did try to use their publication’s app as the actual means to read each issue, things would have to improve. Right? RIGHT?!

There is so much wrong with these magazines that I could write a 5000 word cover story on it.

Justin Williams there is talking specifically about the apps from GQ, Esquire, and Sports Illustrated. But I subscribed my son to National Geographic Kids, and I can tell you it’s no good, either. It’s slow and difficult to navigate — and it’s for kids. There’s nothing wrong in this instance with the iPad’s developer’s tools, as tens of thousands of great apps demonstrates. It just seems that magazine publishers, having squandered print, seem determine to spoil yet another medium.

Does anyone have any good magazine app stories to share?

An Open Letter

December 5th, 2011 - 12:51 pm

Dear Former House Speaker and Now Just Regular Old House Member Nancy Pelosi,

Do you really want to make Newt Gingrich a victim? Do you really want to make him an empathetic figure?

You’re one of about three people the public likes less than Newt. So if you want to see him heckling your lipo’ed ass from the Oval Office, you just go on and break House confidentially rules.

It’s a tribute to the corruption and venality of the GOP House a in the last decade that you were ever speaker at all, much less for a mere two terms.



They Report, We Deride

December 5th, 2011 - 10:31 am

It’s a special Government Overreach Edition of Trifecta, with a couple stories that will get you burning mad.

Wargaming the Electoral College [UPDATED]

December 5th, 2011 - 8:45 am

Team Obama is writing off the Keystone State? That’s the heads-up I got this morning from Glenn Reynolds. Here is what you need to know:

The Brighton Hot Dog Shoppe on Third Avenue is one of those places where politicians who want to be president stop to look decidedly un-presidential.

Al Gore visited; so did John Kerry. President Barack Obama opted instead for ice cream at the Windmill, 8 miles up the road.

“It is where you take them to make candidates look authentic,” explained a Democrat strategist who routinely works on presidential campaigns in the Keystone State.

After orchestrating three statewide presidential wins, he is sitting out this cycle. He doesn’t see Obama winning Pennsylvania in 2012.

We’ll get back to that Salena Zito story shortly, because there are some election clues in there too good to pass up. But first, let’s look at the revised EC map, if indeed Pennsylvania is going red.

[Image Courtesy of 270toWin. I love those guys.]

The only change from August’s starting pistol map, is the addition of PA to the Republican column — but what an addition it makes. 226 is just 44 votes shy of victory. That gives the GOP candidate 134 different ways to cobble together the votes. I won’t bore you with that much detail, so instead, let’s go back to Zito:

The latest survey from liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling showed 59 percent of white Pennsylvania voters disapprove of Obama’s job performance, a rate usually found among Southern voters.

States with Southern voting patterns vote R for President.

Sean Trende, a RealClearPolitics numbers analyst, said that while the president could write off Pennsylvania and win, it would be difficult. “The key would be holding the Bush states he won in the Mountain West — Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico, plus Virginia and North Carolina.”

That path gives him 280 electoral votes and assumes he will lose Indiana and Ohio, which he almost certainly will if he loses Pennsylvania.

Now, I’ve already assumed that Indiana and North Carolina are goners for President Obama. But what happens to the map when we color Ohio red? That bumps the Republican total to 244, meaning that if Obama also loses Florida, it’s over. He can keep all his other big gains from 2008 — and still lose the election.

A couple weeks ago, we looked at Obama’s two possible paths to reelection. National Journal put it this way:

The president’s advisers are stuck between pursuing two distinctly different strategies and two very different kinds of voters, each of which is crucial to his reelection. The first is an “Ohio strategy,” which means adopting an aggressively populist message to win back blue-collar voters in Rust Belt states such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The second is a “Virginia strategy,” which would emphasize a more centrist message aimed at upscale white-collar professionals and college-educated suburbanites.

I thought the answer was obvious — pursue the Ohio strategy. Over in the West Wing, however, they feel differently, having effectively decided to abandon the white working-class vote. That vote, by the way, in large part determines elections in states like PA, OH, IN. And it’s hard to win without it in places like MI, WI, MN, IA, too.

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