If it’s loading a little slowly, remember that your modem is probably 2400 baud at best.
Dang: “I personally never expected anything of Obama, and wrote about it before the 2008 primaries. I thought it was smoke and mirrors. The one thing that did surprise me is his attack on civil liberties. They go well beyond anything I would have anticipated, and they don’t seem easy to explain.”
I can’t believe I’m nodding along with Noam Chomsky, but there you go.
I can’t hear President Obama saying “Golly!” without thinking of Barbara Billingsley.
I’m a fan of old movies, the black-and-whites from the 1930s and 1940s, in part because of what they reveal about how American culture has changed. The adults in these films carry themselves differently. They don’t walk and speak the way we do. It’s often hard to figure out how old the characters are supposed to be—as though they were portraying a phase of the human life-cycle that we don’t have any more.Take the 1934 film Imitation of Life. Here Claudette Colbert portrays a young widow who builds a successful business. (Selling pancakes, actually. Well, it’s more believable if you see the whole movie.) She’s poised and elegant, with the lustrous voice and magnificent cheekbones that made her a star. But how old is she supposed to be? In terms of the story, she can’t be much more than thirty, but she moves like a queen. Today even people much older don’t have that kind of presence—and Colbert was thirty-one when the movie came out.
How about Clark Gable and Jean Harlow, smoldering away in Red Dust? They projected the kind of sexiness that used to be called “knowing,” a quality that suggested experienced confidence. When the film came out Gable was thirty-one and Harlow ten years younger. Or picture the leads of The Philadelphia Story. When it was released in 1940, Katharine Hepburn was thirty-three, Cary Grant thirty-six, and Jimmy Stewart thirty-two. Yet don’t they all look more grownup than actors do nowadays?
I wondered this myself, but had thought the solution was something more superficial. I grew up on old movies, too, and so of course everybody looked ten days older than God to me. Anybody over the age of 15 could drive a car and was positively ancient. Today, I thought, they still carried that aura of grown-up-ed-ness I’d assigned to them while watching Channel 11 as a kid. And if today’s stars look like spoiled children, maybe it’s because half of them are about half my age.
And maybe all that is a part of it. But it’s not the whole story, is it?
The culture is now in a permanent state of adolescence — or even pre-pubescence — and nowhere is that better crystalized than in today’s celebrities. For the very most part, they’re no longer glamorous, grown up stars for us to emulate. More likely, they’re stumbling train wrecks, famous for being famous.
Octo-Mom has litters of children, makes porn. What would Cary Grant make of that? Let’s go to the man himself, who said, “It’s important to know where you’ve come from so that you can know where you’re going. I probably chose my profession because I was seeking approval, adulation, admiration and affection.”
Approval. Adulation. Admiration. Affection. There’s more to life, of course, but all of those things require respect from your fans. They have to be earned.
It’s much cheaper — and much easier — just to be gawked at. So it’s probably no coincidence that one of the most popular celebrity sites is called “Gawker.”
It’s about all we have left.
At a Los Angeles Times in-house awards ceremony a week ago, columnist Steve Lopez addressed the elephant in the room.
Speaking to the entire staff, he said, “Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Austin Beutner’s group.” No one raised their hands.
“Raise you hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by Rupert Murdoch.” A few people raised their hands.
Facing the elephant trunk-on, “Raise your hand if you would quit if the paper was bought by the Koch brothers.” About half the staff raised their hands.
If I were a Koch Brother, and if these people would really follow through on their threat, I’d pay a little extra for the paper.
Meet the Mayor who banned Chipotle.
The worst part is, he didn’t get a face full of pitchforks.
Jeffrey Rosen reports on a recent meeting of the tech industry’s free speech gatekeepers — and, yes, they exist:
It took place in the faculty lounge, where participants were sustained in their deliberations by bagels and fruit platters. Among the roughly two-dozen attendees, the most important were a group of fresh-faced tech executives, some of them in t-shirts and unusual footwear, who are in charge of their companies’ content policies. Their positions give these young people more power over who gets heard around the globe than any politician or bureaucrat—more power, in fact, than any president or judge.
Collectively, the tech leaders assembled that day in Palo Alto might be called “the Deciders,” in a tribute to Nicole Wong, the legal director of Twitter, whose former colleagues affectionately bestowed on her the singular version of that nickname while she was deputy general counsel at Google. At the dawn of the Internet age, some of the nascent industry’s biggest players staked out an ardently hands-off position on hate speech; Wong was part of the generation that discovered firsthand how untenable this extreme libertarian position was. In one representative incident, she clashed with the Turkish government over its demands that YouTube take down videos posted by Greek soccer fans claiming that Kemal Ataturk was gay. Wong and her colleagues at Google agreed to block access to the clips in Turkey, where insulting the country’s founder is illegal, but Turkish authorities—who insisted on a worldwide ban—responded by denying their citizens access to the whole site for two years. “I’m taking my best guess at what will allow our products to move forward in a country,” she told me in 2008. The other Deciders, who don’t always have Wong’s legal training, have had to make their own guesses, each with ramifications for their company’s bottom line.
Never mind the slam that free speech is an “untenable… extreme libertarian position.”
No… wait… mind it. Mind it a lot. Because that’s the whole point right there, isn’t it? Publications like TNR, which consider themselves gently liberal, represent the values espoused by the universities which trained the people who now get to call themselves “The Deciders.”
And The Deciders decide just how much your free speech will give way to government pressure. Or to political correctness. Or to, well, whatever, I suppose.
Now the last thing I’m going to do is propose we replace The Deciders with a panel or a commission or a study group or something at the FCC. That would make a bad situation far worse.
But be picky about what services you use — especially the free ones. Because unless you’re paying real cash money, you’re not the customer. You’re the product. And product doesn’t have any voice, free or otherwise.
Did the Motorola acquisition force Andy Rubin out as Android chief at Google? Read:
With the value of Motorola’s patents now coming into focus, the complete implosion of a previous suit against Apple, and increasing domestic and international pressure against using standards-related patents to block competitive products, it’s not unreasonable to say that any patent-related benefits to the purchase have vanished. Google may have wanted to buy a bulwark against future Apple lawsuits, but it ended up with a fairly anemic patent-licensing business instead.
And that patent-licensing business certainly isn’t enough to offset quarter after quarter of losses as Motorola’s current products fail to compete against strong devices from Apple, Samsung, and HTC. Google has repeatedly said that it inherited an 18-month pipeline of products from the company that it needs to flush out — CFO Patrick Pichette went so far in February as to say that current Motorola phones like the Droid RAZR Maxx HD aren’t “wow” by Google’s standards, but that the company is building “the next wave of innovation and product lines.” In the meantime, Motorola has lost over a billion dollars since being acquired, laid off nearly 30 percent of its workforce, and had its cable box unit chopped off and sold to Arris for $2 billion amidst rumors that Google was struggling to find a buyer.
Motorola’s struggles may have even played a role in Andy Rubin’s departure from Android: Rubin sponsored the acquisition within Google, and sources say that he went so far as to vet Motorola’s upcoming roadmap and personnel. “Andy stood behind the deal and thought it was important to Google,” one source with deep ties to the mobile industry told The Verge.” As [new Motorola CEO] Dennis Woodside started to look into the details, he couldn’t see what Andy supposedly saw, which added more fuel to the fire to oust him.”
Or as I said two years ago, “Yeah, they overpaid.” Moto wasn’t a good cultural match for Google, its product portfolio wasn’t good enough for Google, and its patent portfolio is essentially worthless. And don’t even ask about Moto’s balance sheet.
Rubin had the company shell out $12 billion dollars — for what then?
I’m not sure why Google hasn’t shown him the door, other than perhaps to save face.
Run away, Marco, run as fast as you can. Run away from the electoral Hiroshima that is this immigration reform bill. It’s a fraud and a scam, and we know it’s a fraud and a scam, and you telling us from every mic and every camera you can get in front of that it’s not a fraud and a scam is making us wonder just what the hell is going on with you.
Do you actually think it’s not a fraud and a scam? In that case, we worry that maybe you’re not as bright as we thought from your terrific work on other issues over the last few years.
I’ve never seen a politician self-immolate so thoroughly and so quickly over policy. They usually need a live boy or a dead girl or a freezer full of money to get the job done.
It’s a little heartbreaking, too. At the RNC last summer, Rubio was the closest thing to Reagan I’d seen in a generation. And he’s determined to throw it all away on a terrible piece of immigration “reform.”
Yes, I know the Comments are broken. We have our top people busy installing new memory in the Amiga 500.
Will let you know when they’re working again.
From an interview with Ralph Peters:
Q: You’re suggesting that from an investigative standpoint, the wrong brother died in the battle with law enforcement?
A: Very much so. (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) may know some things, but his brother (Tamerlan) was the key guy. But (even with him), when you take these low-level terrorists — and these guys were low level — when you take the guys who actually do the deed, they often don’t have much for you.
Q: What else can you predict about the case?
A: It’s going to cost us a lot of money to try him and incarcerate him. And as a prisoner, this guy is going to get better medical care than many poor native-born Americans. Everyone is obsessed about the rights of these prisoners. What about the rights of the people who had their legs blown off? How much have we heard about them? It’s all about how sweet this kid was. I was just reading another piece in The Washington Post about how everybody liked him so much. Jesus — or Allah, take your pick — give me a (expletive) break.
Bill Whittle was right; this guy needs to be tried for treason. He took a loyalty oath when he was granted his citizenship, and then broke it in the most dramatic way. If we’re not going to try citizen-terrorists as enemy combatants (and we shouldn’t be doing that), then we need to try them for treason. Because if killing Americans in league — even a tenuous league — with foreign nationals at war with this country isn’t “aid and comfort,” then I don’t know what is.
It’s frightening because you know they’ll use them:
A veteran Israeli lawmaker and former defense minister says Syria’s chemical weapons are “trickling” to Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer told Israel Radio on Monday that he is shocked by the “world’s silence” and that the West must intervene to stop the high civilian death toll in Syria.
He says he “has no doubt” Syrian President Bashar Assad used chemical weapons and that some of the weapons are “definitely reaching” Israel’s enemy Hezbollah.
It was a mistake for President Obama to go drawing “red lines” he had no intention of enforcing. Besides, we have no interests in Syria. None. But now will he lean on Israel to ignore a new threat from Hezbollah?
Another Stupid Middle-Age Birthday Edition
I’ve been playing this one the day after my birthday every year for almost a quarter century now. Listen to the lyric and you’ll understand why. It’s also aged better than I have. And if you’ll listen to the lyric, you’ll understand why.
If I drop any more F-bombs today, people will start calling it Linebacker III. I’m not even going to quote this chin-stroking piece by Charles C Mann on the “nightmare” of never running out of oil.
But I will say I am sicking and f—ing tired of relatively rich liberal hating on affordable energy. F— them.
OK. I feel better now.
And don’t even click that link or I’ll drop one on you, too.
Keith Koffler for Politico:
Tuesday morning, a peculiar announcement trickled out of the White House press office: President Barack Obama would be holding a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston bombings. At the White House. By himself. No press or other intruders allowed.
Except the White House photographer.
That Obama assumed Americans would want an iconic photo of him privately mourning the victims of the bombings was emblematic of a kind of hubris that has enveloped the president and his White House as the president commences his second term.
Second term? Where the f— were you the previous four years, Keith?
We’ll borrow nearly a trillion dollars again this year, the Fed is pumping $85,000,000,000 a month into housing securities, interest rates are literally as low as they can go, and…
…this is the best we can do?
I’ve said it before but it bears repeating. Obamanomics is when you take an economy that’s flat on its back, stick your boot firmly on its throat, then bash it on the head with a giant sack of money, and scream, “WHY WON’T YOU MAKE ANY JOBS?” When that fails, get a bigger sack.
I clicked on a CSM story about Japanese Prime Minister Abe, when I found this challenge/survey blocker keeping me from reading the story. My first reaction was to quietly mutter “F— this,” only I didn’t say any dashes. My second reaction was, “Maybe this isn’t such a bad way to keep the paper free.”
My third reaction was just like my first one. I don’t like being data mined.
How do you react?
WWTDD reports on the state of the porn industry in Los Angeles:
Applications for permits for porn shoots have dropped to almost zero in LA. This comes after a city ordinance that now requires all porn actors to wear condoms during shooting, or prior to shooting, as it were. Just like any other film shoot, porn flicks need permits. In the past, LA county issued 500+ permits for adult films every year. Last year it dropped to 2.
Oh well. It’s not like Los Angeles needs the jobs.
Same as the old Mullahs? Not quite:
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei “has become a hostage” of an elite branch of Iran’s army that has quietly consolidated its economic and political power, a top analyst said Tuesday.
The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) appears to have supplanted Khamenei and other top clerics in a significant power shift that has left Iran a “military dictatorship,” according to Ali Alfoneh, who has spent years investigating the IRGC.
Khamenei “has become a hostage in the hands of his own praetorian guard,” Alfoneh said Tuesday during a discussion hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.
First of all, it needs to be said that that’s what praetorian guards do. The Praetorians of old Rome were the Emperor’s personal legion, the troops who had to be completely loyal and completely trustworthy. But it wasn’t long before the Praetorians chose the Emperors. In this country, the Free Press was supposed to act as out last, best defense — but now they choose the Emperor president in this country, too. They at least feel like they have the right to do so, even if it doesn’t always work out.
But back specifically to Iran. There’s good news and bad here. The bad news is, the military is apt to be more efficient at pursuing a working nuke. The good news is, they’re possibly less apt to actually use one.
Fisker might be in the… shooter, but not all the car news is bad:
[Ford] remains heavily dependent on its home market — and Ford posted its best quarter ever in North America.
It reported a pre-tax profit there of $2.4 billion, up 14% from $2.1 billion in the first quarter of 2012, on revenue of $22.3 billion, up 20% from $18.6 billion. And while Ford’s operating margin in the automotive business declined to 5.3% from 6.4% a year ago, it remained 11% in North America, despite strong growth in less profitable small to midsize cars vs. higher-margin trucks.
Ford’s U.S. market share in the quarter grew to 15.9% from 15.2% a year ago. And its U.S. deliveries for the quarter were up 11% from the quarter last year, according to Autodata.
Ford restructured because it had to in order to survive. GM restructured because it had to in order to serve Washington better. And here’s what they’re doing:
General Motors has decided to channel additional financial resources towards making its subsidiary Opel in Germany profitable again. The money is to be used in the development of engine technology.
US auto giant General Motors announced Wednesday it would invest an additional 230 million euros ($299 million) in its struggling European subsidiary Opel headquartered in Rüsselsheim, Germany.
It said the money would be made available over the three to four years and would come on top of the 4 billion euros already pledged by GM for its European operations earlier this month.
But Opel has become something of a money pit for GM, which refused to sell its struggling European subsidiary when it had the chance.
There might be a lesson in all this somewhere.
OK, I’m not going to go that far with it — it’s only a tiny little crony automobile company. But there is seriously damning stuff here:
Troubled sports car maker Fisker Automotive Inc. failed to make a $10-million payment on a federal government loan Monday, tipping the Anaheim company closer to a bankruptcy reorganization or liquidation.
Fisker was scheduled to start to pay down about $192 million it had borrowed under the Energy Department’s Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program.
That’s your money getting flushed down yet another green energy drain. We’re the investors. Oh, we might not have ever signed a check, but the Obama Administration saved us the effort.
Money comes out of your paycheck (again, automatically) and it goes into the Treasury. From there, our Investor-in-Chief decides who pockets what. Because he’s smart like that. And never-you-mind that each $100,000 Fisker car (what, you thought you could afford to buy the thing you invested in?) cost us wee tiny taxpayers about $600,000:
Fisker Automotive Inc. spent more than six times as much U.S. taxpayer and investor money to produce each luxury plug-in car it sold than the company received from customers, according to a research report.
The Anaheim, California-based company made about 2,500 of its $103,000 Karmas before halting production last year, disrupting its plans to use a $529 million U.S. loan to restart a shuttered Delaware factory owned by the predecessor of General Motors Co. (GM) The Karma was assembled in Finland.
Still, half a million a pop is a small price to pay to create some jobs in Finland. Because stimulus. Or something.
Anyway, I’m going to go listen to another lecture on Sustainability now, but only because I can’t find a railroad spike to drive into my own eyeballs.