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Russia’s Least Funny Home Videos

July 22nd, 2014 - 5:23 am

That’s reportedly a Russian BM-21 Grad mobile rocket launcher firing at Ukraine. Do we have any Russian or Ukrainian speakers to translate?

Thought for the Day

July 21st, 2014 - 3:33 pm

Required Viewing

July 21st, 2014 - 2:23 pm

I got to talk to Kurt Schlichter about his new book, Conservative Insurgency, and healing the rift between conservatives and libertarians, between the Establishment and the Tea Party.

Video here. Book here.

Geek Out Over a Worthy Cause

July 21st, 2014 - 1:10 pm

USA Today claims that JJ Abrams just unveiled the “new (old) X-Wing Starfighter,” but that looks more like the Z-95 Headhunter, which preceded the T-65 X-Wing.

So is JJ throwing us off the scent by showing us an outdated fighter which won’t actually appear in the new movie? Or is the situation so dire for our old friends the New Republic that they’re forced to rely on antiquated starfighters?

I really hope it’s the latter.

Anbar Awakening II

July 21st, 2014 - 11:50 am

IRAQ-UNREST-ARMY-EXECUTION-US-RIGHTS-HRW-FILES

StrategyPage:

ISIL (al Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant) is attracting a specific type or recruit (Islamic fanatics, especially the young, especially teenagers, who are not good for much beyond being suicide bombers) and that is becoming a problem. Many of these recruits are foreigners and foreigners are particularly unpopular in Iraq, especially if they are armed and looking to kill Iraqis. This has contributed to the growth in local resistance to ISIL. In Iraq and Syria the Sunni tribes and secular Sunni groups (like the Baath party in Iraq and secular political groups in Syria) are now openly opposing ISIL. These anti-ISIL Sunni groups kept quiet as ISIL strove to take control of western Iraq earlier this year, and especially after ISIL grabbed Mosul and most of northwestern Iraq in June. But as ISIL began imposing their lifestyle rules the resistance began to become tangible. What was really annoying was ISIL sending out groups of religious zealots (some of them armed women) to attack women for not wearing a covering up properly or being out without a male relative as an escort. ISIL also punishes anyone caught drinking alcohol or smoking in public. Watching videos or popular TV shows (like the World Cup) is forbidden as is the use of drugs or playing musical instruments or most sports. In other words, most forms of “fun” are forbidden. ISIL members are expected to rely on sex with their wives (up to four), eating and listening to live or recorded sermons by acceptable Islamic preachers for entertainment. Tormenting and killing infidels (anyone not Moslem) and heretics (especially Shia) is also encouraged.

These extremist policies always backfire.

For all Iraq’s problems, its people have enjoyed the taste of liberty on and off these last 11 years — and experienced the death and violence of the Islamists, too. It shouldn’t come as a surprise which they prefer.

But that’s not to say there’s going to be a happy ending, even if “these extremist policies always backfire.”

The first is that IS/Caliphate might have dealt Iraq the Humpty Dumpty blow — an artificial state, kept together first by brutality and then out of habit, which may never be put back together again. The second is the nature of the self-proclaimed Caliph himself. Anybody with ego enough to proclaim himself the first Caliph in nearly a century, and bloody-minded enough to hire teenage suicide bombers by the busload, isn’t going to go away quietly. It’s great that the people of Iraq are turning on him, but he has the means to make them pay for their defiance.

From the President’s Statement on MH17

July 21st, 2014 - 10:53 am

Confuzzled

WashEx has the writeup:

“Now is the time for Rusisa and Putin to pivot away from the strategy he been taking and get serious” about resolving the conflict in Ukraine, Obama said in a statement Monday morning in the White House Rose Garden.

He also issued a vaguely worded threat.

“My preference has and continues to be finding a diplomatic solution with regard to Ukraine,” he said. “If Russia continues to back these separatists … then Russia will only further isolate itself with the international community” and increase its costs within the international community.

Obama’s statement came after a weekend in which his administration grappled with the fallout over the downed Malaysian jetliner with reports that Russian-backed separatists were tampering with evidence and removing bodies along the 10-mile crash site in eastern Ukraine.

Obama said such tampering has “no place in the community of nations” and said given Russia’s direct influence over the separatists, Putin has the “responsibility to compel them to cooperate with the investigation.”

I don’t mean to be a spoilsport, but couldn’t the President have announced a concrete step or two, rather than yet another lecture about international norms and community and other stuff Putin clearly doesn’t care about?

Obama could have announced something that hurts Moscow — rapid deployment of scrapped anti-missile systems to Poland and the Czech Republic, a broad expansion of drilling and exporting of American oil, or the exclusion of Russia from further talks with Iran and fully imposing sanctions on Tehran.

If our relations really have dropped to Cold War levels, then it’s time to get serious about treating Moscow as a real adversary.

Your ♡bamaCare!!! Fail of the Day

July 21st, 2014 - 10:35 am

♡bamaCare!!! is the settled law of the land.*

Last week’s burst of world disorder was ideal for a news dump, and the White House didn’t disappoint: On no legal basis, all 4.5 million residents of the five U.S. territories were quietly released from ♡bamaCare!!!.

As recently as last year, HHS instructed the territories that they “have enjoyed the benefits of the applicable consumer protections” and HHS “has no legal authority to exclude the territories” from ObamaCare. HHS said the law adopted an explicit definition of “state” that includes the territories for the purpose of the mandates and the public-health programs, and another explicit definition that excludes the territories for the purpose of the subsidies. Thus there is “no statutory authority . . . to selectively exempt the territories from certain provisions, unless specified by law.”

Laws are made by Congress, but all of a sudden last week HHS discovered new powers after “a careful review of this situation and the relevant statutory language.” For simplicity’s sake, the territories will now be governed by the “state” definition that excludes the territories for both the subsidies and now the mandates too. But the old definition will still apply for the public-health spending, so the territories will get their selective exemption after all.

*Void where prohibited.

I wouldn’t use the term “Holocaust” for what is really a regional ethnic cleansing, but the fate of Middle East Christians has been sealed:

In a region where Christians predate Muslims by centuries, over one million Christians have been killed or have had to flee because of jihadi persecution, while America is basically standing by and watching. This is the sad news that Breitbart’s National Security Editor and one of the world’s leading experts on asymmetric warfare, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, brought to Breitbart News Saturday, hosted by Editor in Chief Alex Marlow on Sirius XM Patriot Radio.
Dr. Gorka explained that “in the last 48 hours, ISIS, which is now called the Islamic State in Mosul, has painted the letter “N” for Nazarene on the houses of all the surviving Christians in the city. ISIS has basically given an ultimatum to all the Christians left: You can either flee or convert to Islam, or we will kill you.”

Gorka points out that, over the last 20 years, America has stood up around the world to save Muslims. “Whether it was to save the Muslims in Bosnia or the Albanians, Kosovars, and Muslims in Serbia, it is now time for a humanitarian operation to save the remaining Christians in Iraq,” he said. “It is time for the American people and our representatives to do something for our co-religionists remaining in the Middle East.”

Marlow observed that the blatant religious cleansing is horrifying and asked Gorka: “Why is it that the mainstream press is not interested in the story?”

Now that part I can answer.

If there’s one thing our Mainstream Media suffers from even more than simple bias, it’s white guilt. For just one recent example, here’s the NYT’s Carl Zimmer yesterday on Twitter.

Four hours later he walked back that tweet with a column-length “Twit Longer” post, with the excuse that “Twitter is an ambiguous medium.” But what I saw was an unambiguous insult on Twitter, followed by 600 words or so of self-evident pablum meant to explain away the insult. I could be wrong, of course, but it isn’t like we don’t see those kinds of mean-spirited bromides, these thinly-veiled accusations of racism from the Left all the damn time.

So how does this relate to the underreported religious cleansing of Christians from the Middle East?

Nearly a thousand years ago, some cruel-hearted white European Christians decided to retake the Holy Land from the Muslims who had previously conquered it from Christian Byzantium. Despite their cruelties, the Europeans ultimately failed, and were forced back out of the Middle East by equally-cruel Muslims. That the Holy Land had previously been Jewish or Christian, that the bloody cruelties extended to both sides, and that the Muslims eventually triumphed, have never kept Muslims from decrying the Crusades as the worst injustice in history, and claiming themselves as the sole victims. And that’s pretty much how it’s taught in our universities and high school, too.

Now, nearly a thousand years later, the remaining Christians are being forced to flee, or convert, or die. This isn’t news because it is justice — legitimate payback for the Crusades. Just like, I suppose, illegal immigrants carrying infectious diseases is payback for racist Southern teabaggers whose forefathers brought smallpox to North America. The sins of the white racist fathers are the sins of the white racist sons — which is newsworthy, unlike the religious cleansing of “virtual whites” from Iraq.

The Muslim or the illegal can almost never be the victim, and the Christian (or Israeli Jew) or the American is almost always the devil. That’s the narrative, and the facts on the ground may be altered or ignored to fit it.

President Hillary? Fuggidaboudit

July 21st, 2014 - 8:05 am

Robert W. Merry:

Hillary Clinton isn’t likely ever to become president of the United States. In fact, there is a greater possibility than is generally recognized by the Washington cognoscenti that she won’t even run. If she does, though, the barriers she faces will prove overwhelming. Her 2008 campaign was her last good shot for the office, and she failed. Since then, numerous developments have conspired steadily to diminish her prospects. Those prospects are now near zero.

This analytical framework holds absolutely no credulity in Washington.

That last line might be the most convincing reason Merry has.

Required Reading

July 21st, 2014 - 6:41 am

Speaking of the Russian bear, here’s Matthew Continetti:

“The bear is loose!” President Obama has been saying, whenever he leaves the White House to visit Starbucks, or sandwich shops, or burger joints, or BBQ shacks, or neighborhood diners, in his increasingly rote and pathetic attempts to “connect” with “real people.” Obama, we have been told, is frustrated, “restless,” bored with the responsibilities and chores of office. He thinks of himself as the bear—intimidating, wild, untamed, roving—escaping his den. But he is flattering himself. Obama is not the bear. He is the cub: aimless, naïve, self-interested, self-indulgent, irresponsible, irresolute. The bear is in Moscow.

That might be the single most devastatingly accurate paragraph I’ve ever read about Professor Ditherton Wiggleroom, but you’ll want to read the whole thing.

Man Up, Man

July 21st, 2014 - 5:38 am

FEINSTEIN

Has Senator Diane Feinstein suffered a mental break from reality? I think that’s a fair question to ask after the Senate Intelligence Chairwoman said the following to CNN’s Candy Crowley:

“The issue is, where is Putin? I would say, Putin, you have to man up,” Feinstein said. “You should say if this was a mistake, which I hope it was, say it. Even if it was a mistake, it was a horrendous mistake to make. And I think it points out the futility of what’s happening in the Ukraine.”

Man up? That man, Putin, already seized Crimea, and his strategy is making eastern Ukraine ungovernable is working so well that an airliner with nearly 300 aboard was shot down over the skies there late last week. Putin has shown that he can, in what is basically a local dispute, crank up the violence to a degree intolerable not only to Kyiv, but to the entire world.

And what will the world do? There are only two parts of the world that really matter here, outside of Russia. One part, Europe, will wring its hands and then go right back to buying Russian energy. The other part, the United States, will probably slap some more sanctions on Moscow — yet another an act of “petulant impotence.” on our part.

Put Putin next to Feinstein. One of them is using a new form of warfare to get exactly what he wants; the other goes on national TV to make outrageously and demonstrably false claims. One is so unserious it beggars belief; the other is deadly serious about taking what he wants.

Feinstein is correct however when she says our relations have reached “Cold War levels.” What she failed to mention is that is in large part because we have a Jimmy Carter II enjoying the fruits of his second term “flexibility.”

Friday Night Videos

July 18th, 2014 - 10:08 pm

Man, but do I love it when somebody other than Bob Dylan sings a Bob Dylan song — so here’s the terminally smooth Robert Palmer performing “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight” along with an otherwise-useless cover band, UB40.

I was happily surprised to find that there was a video made of this record, since I don’t recall it ever being released as a single. It came off his 1990 album, Don’t Explain, which featured the mega-selling medley of Marvin Gaye’s “Mercy Mercy Me” and “I Want You.” It was a big album of 18 tracks, and a nice return to Palmer’s Pop/Bahamian roots after his wildly successful foray into more guitar-driven material with 1985′s Riptide and 1988′s Heavy Nova.

If you can’t find some joy in a Bob Dylan lyric set to a Caribbean sound with a Palmer delivery, then you might be listening wrong.

News You Can Use

July 18th, 2014 - 2:08 pm

Br8PKDBIcAAxmKl

So here’s a picture of a cat riding a burrito in outer space.

Thought for the Day

July 18th, 2014 - 11:47 am

Ouch

July 18th, 2014 - 9:23 am

Truesbury13_July18

Upon learning of Truesbury last week, it immediately became one of my daily stops.

Required Reading

July 18th, 2014 - 8:04 am

Moral Clarity in Gaza” is the headline to this week’s Krauthammer:

Rarely does international politics present a moment of such moral clarity. Yet we routinely hear this Israel-Gaza fighting described as a morally equivalent “cycle of violence.” This is absurd. What possible interest can Israel have in cross-border fighting? Everyone knows Hamas set off this mini-war. And everyone knows the proudly self-declared raison d’etre of Hamas: the eradication of Israel and its Jews.

Apologists for Hamas attribute the blood lust to the Israeli occupation and blockade. Occupation? Does no one remember anything? It was less than 10 years ago that worldwide television showed the Israeli army pulling die-hard settlers off synagogue roofs in Gaza as Israel uprooted its settlements, expelled its citizens, withdrew its military and turned every inch of Gaza over to the Palestinians. There was not a soldier, not a settler, not a single Israeli left in Gaza.

And there was no blockade. On the contrary. Israel wanted this new Palestinian state to succeed. To help the Gaza economy, Israel gave the Palestinians its 3,000 greenhouses that had produced fruit and flowers for export. It opened border crossings and encouraged commerce.

Those niceties are of no interest to the Hamas death cult.

Making the Pain Last and Last

July 18th, 2014 - 6:49 am

I’ve always been a “rip the Bandaid off all at once” kind of guy, so the latest from Redmond strikes me as a bad move:

Microsoft yesterday said it could take as long as a year to lay off the 18,000 workers who will be eventually shown the door, a long, drawn-out morale-busting process that was criticized by both labor experts and industry analysts.

“I’m definitely not a fan,” Wes Miller, an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, and like many at the Kirkland, Wash. research firm a former Microsoft employee, said of the lengthy process. “You owe it to your long-term Nokia and Microsoft employees to do it as quickly as possible. You also owe it to yourself to do it as cleanly and quickly as possible. The longer it drones on, the more randomized people get.”

There are some simple rules for keeping a happy ship. One is to praise your people in public, and to scold them in private. Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer were both pretty bad at this, if by “pretty bad” you mean “terrible.” Another is that when you have to let people go, let them go ASAP so that the survivors can stop worrying and get back to work.

What the hell is Satya Nadella thinking? It’s clear he has a major restructuring in mind, but stretching out the layoffs like this indicates that it isn’t ready for implementation yet. It makes no sense to me to make this a drawn-out two-step. Cuts, but over the next six-to-twelve months. Restructuring, but not yet.

Or as a better writer once wrote, “If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly.”

PPR: GOP Now 75% Likely to Win Senate

July 18th, 2014 - 5:24 am

senate_map_071514

This must be the weekend to spend some time scanning the various pollsters and reports and put together the next Wargaming column, but in the meantime here’s Tom Dougherty:

We recently made two rating changes; Iowa is now a Toss-Up (previously Leans D), and Virginia moved to Leans Democrat (previously Likely D).

Several particular factors have influenced the latest ratings on an overall basis, and there is much new information in most of the individual races.

While often considered more of a house race metric; the Generic Congressional Vote continues to hover near even, down from a Democratic advantage late last year of 5% to 7%, demonstrative of the general attitude of voters toward each party.

President Obama’s approval rating is trending downward again, and approaching his worst numbers (minus 16%) in the last year. Real Clear Politics reports his current average rating at minus 12.7%, but that includes an apparent outlier from Rasmussen Reports. Most distressing for Democrats, outliers or not, is that the trendlines are negative and at the least opportune time.

The middle of the summer is when the incumbent party needs those polls to start showing an upswing, and recent headlines from Ukraine, Gaza, and our own southern border aren’t going to be of any help to the White House or to Harry Reid.

Thought for the Day

July 17th, 2014 - 1:58 pm

18,000 ‘Softies Hitting the Bricks

July 17th, 2014 - 12:35 pm

Microsoft announced its biggest layoffs ever, and the underlying message is that buying Nokia was a mistake. Workers at the formerly-independent phonemaker will take the brunt of the cuts.

Google tried to buy its way into relevance as a smartphone maker by buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion. They sold it off barely more than two years later for less than $3 billion. Late last year Microsoft bought Nokia’s handset division for $7.2 billion, and that has already turned out not to be worth much more than the prices of several thousand pink slips and severance packages.

These troubles are nothing unique to Google or to Microsoft — mergers & acquisitions are hard, and rarely work out as planned. And that’s if they work out at all. Ford and GM went on a buying spree of foreign automakers (SAAB, Jaguar, Aston-Martin, etc) and proceeded very quickly to drive them all into the dirt. It’s very difficult for a company to buy its way into relevancy in new markets. Ford had about as much business building Jaguars as Google did building its own smartphones.

When buyouts do work, it tends to be when a much bigger company is the buyer of a much smaller company, to gain needed technology or desired expertise, and then impose its own corporate culture on the buy-ee. Marriages usually work best as a partnership of equals; buyouts usually work best when one company completely loses its identity.

It’s an expensive lesson, but business leaders never seem to tire of learning it.

*****

Cross-posted at PJ Lifestyle

SHOT DOWN

All I have to add to this story is, prepare for more just like it in the years ahead. Global lawlessness is increasing as the cost of obtaining offensive weaponry decreases. Not only is that a dangerous combination, but the two trends, absent strong global leadership, are mutually reinforcing.

The One-State Solution

July 17th, 2014 - 9:56 am

IS

Israel annexing the West Bank in its entirety — it’s the kind of thing you’re not supposed to say out loud in polite company. And yet today we have two columnists saying that’s exactly what might happen. Let’s start with Seth Lipsky in today’s New York Post:

The collapse of a ceasefire plan for Israel and Hamas would be a moment to test the Jewish state’s super-weapon — Caroline Glick. Or, more precisely, her idea of a one-state plan for peace in the Middle East.

Glick laid out the plan in a book called “The Israeli Solution.” Her idea, which I wrote about in March, is to absorb into a single state — Israel — all of the West Bank and the Arab and Jewish populations who live there.

It’s as controversial as an idea can get. She leaves aside Gaza, where there is no Israeli presence and which is ruled by Hamas. Yet her plan for the West Bank fairly begs to be put on the table after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s press conference Friday.

And then at Tablet, we have fellow PJM columnist David “Spengler” Goldman:

A one-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is upon us. It won’t arrive by Naftali Bennett’s proposal to annex the West Bank’s Area C, or through the efforts of BDS campaigners and Jewish Voice for Peace to alter the Jewish state. But it will happen, sooner rather than later, as the states on Israel’s borders disintegrate and other regional players annex whatever they can. As that happens, Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria is becoming inevitable.

The central premise of Western diplomacy in the region has been pulled inside-out, namely that a resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue was the key to long-term stability in the Middle East. Now the whole of the surrounding region has become one big refugee crisis. Yet the seemingly spontaneous emergence of irregular armies like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) now rampaging through northern Mesopotamia should be no surprise. The misnamed Arab Spring of 2011 began with an incipient food crisis in Egypt and a water crisis in Syria. Subsidies from the Gulf States keep Egypt on life support. In Syria and Iraq, though, displaced populations become foraging armies that loot available resources, particularly oil, and divert the proceeds into armaments that allow the irregulars to keep foraging. ISIS is selling $800 million a year of Syrian oil to Turkey, according to one estimate, as well as selling electricity from captured power plants back to the Assad government. On June 11 it seized the Bajii power plant oil refinery in northern Iraq, the country’s largest.

The region has seen nothing like it since the Mongol invasion of the 13th century.

Lipsky offers up Glick’s annexation proposal as an almost tidy solution to a decades-old problem, a way to fulfill the original promise of Zion as a place of “Arab and Jewish amity in a Jewish state with a Jewish majority.” Goldman’s vision is darker, bleak even — and is almost certainly closer to reality. He notes that “four Arab states—Libya, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq—have effectively ceased to exist.” The Levant has devolved (I’ve been using that word here to describe Araby since before the Iraq War) into a nearly-stateless landmass where competing tribes, ethnicities, and religious factions will grab what they can, when they can. The only hard currency is hate, traded for blood and oil.

Radicalized Islam is both sociopathic and nihilistic, killing because it can and destroying because it’s pleasurable. Given these pathologies, there will be ethnic and religious cleansing on a regional scale if anything like peace is to be achieved. The tragedy of these brutal population expulsions isn’t just that they happen, it’s that they work. Again, that’s an observation and not an endorsement.

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Millennials: The Next Generation

July 17th, 2014 - 9:05 am

Pre-Excuse Mongering

July 17th, 2014 - 7:40 am
Saul Alinsky, GOP savior.

Saul Alinsky, GOP savior.

Would you believe the midterms don’t (won’t?) actually mean anything? That’s Tod Lindberg in The New Republic:

True, a GOP-controlled Senate would launch a few more investigations of the Obama administration’s misdeeds, real and imagined. But the House already has such investigations underway, and with all due respect to “the world’s greatest deliberative body,” an investigation that proceeds with support strictly along party lines is no more credible when the Senate is doing it. The confirmation process for judicial nominees was going to slow down in the final two years of the administration anyway. Other administration appointments simply don’t matter all that much this late in the term, and even a GOP-controlled Senate will face pressure to approve some nominees for appearance’s sake.

Legislation that passes the GOP House will get consideration in the Senate rather than the high-handed dismissal with which Reid has greeted it. Yet the filibuster rule requiring 60 votes for legislation to proceed in the Senate remains intact, and it’s unclear that a GOP Senate majority would blow it up—especially since Obama can veto anything that Congress passes. And he will.

That’s meaningless?

Forcing a President to veto puts him — and his would-be Democrat successor — on the spot. Again and again. A veto isn’t a “pen and phone” situation; it’s a major event, rarely used.

There are all kinds of popular positions, from the border fence to the individual mandate/tax hybrid thingy, where the GOP could take Obama (and by extension the Democrats) and “pick the target, freeze it, personalize it and polarize it.”

Now, that might be meaningless in the sense of actually changing or fixing bad legislation. Then again, Saul Alinsky, the author of that famous advice, was all about tearing things down, not building things up. And a GOP Congress would have the means to do just that to the Progressive wing of the Democrat party, which has been in full control of the Donks for years now.

Those are pretty high stakes — and Lindberg knows it.

Required Reading

July 17th, 2014 - 6:13 am

Jonah Goldberg on the lie of “Israeli genocide” against the Palestinians:

One perverse complaint, often subtly echoed in the mainstream media, is that it is somehow unfair that Israelis are not dying, so far, from Gaza rocket strikes. The Israelis have the Iron Dome defense system, which intercepts the rockets aimed at civilians. They also have bomb shelters; the Palestinians do not. They have these things because, as Netanyahu said, Israelis are interested in protecting their citizens.

As Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin notes, no one is asking why the Palestinians don’t have bomb shelters. The assumption seems to be that the Gazans don’t have the wherewithal to build them. This is untrue because they do have bomb shelters — they just reserve them for Hamas’s leaders and fighters. Indeed, Hamas has dug thousands of tunnels under Gaza, largely so it can smuggle in, and store, more rockets to fire on Israel. Better that those tunnels were used as shelters for civilians, but that would mean not letting them die for the greater “good.”

Read the whole thing.

The worst thing I learned from the column is that the Jew-haters (Tammy Bruce reminded me a few weeks ago that “anti-Semites” isn’t really true) have a #HitlerWasRight hash tag on Twitter.

Who Are the Millennials?

July 16th, 2014 - 5:13 pm

Today’s Irresistible Clickbait

July 16th, 2014 - 9:31 am

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An computer artist rendered his childhood doodles in photorealistic HD. A charming idea, brilliantly executed.

Out-Foxed

July 16th, 2014 - 8:29 am

Huh:

Time Warner Inc. (NYSE:TWX) today confirmed that it rejected a proposal from Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) to acquire all of the outstanding shares of the Company for a combination of 1.531 of Twenty-First Century Fox Class A non-voting common shares and $32.42 in cash per share (the ” Proposal”).

The Time Warner Board, after consultation with its financial and legal advisors, determined that it was not in the best interests of Time Warner or its stockholders to accept the Proposal or to pursue any discussions with Twenty-First Century Fox. The Board is confident that continuing to execute its strategic plan will create significantly more value for the Company and its stockholders and is superior to any proposal that Twenty-First Century Fox is in a position to offer.

What did Fox see worth buying in T-W — its cable business?

Or, uh, something like that. Over at the PJM home page, Steve Caulk has a nice piece on Colorado Democrats like Governor Hickenlooper and Senator Udall snubbing the President when he visited Denver last week. The key bit is here:

The question is whether this strategy of disassociation is really so obvious, and how effective it might be in the long run. There also has to be the question of how tolerant and understanding the president might be. His press office did not respond immediately with an answer to that question. But Ciruli felt free to speculate:

“My prediction is we won’t see the president again in this election cycle in the state of Colorado,” he said.

Which might come as a relief to Udall and his gang. If Udall had second thoughts about his strategy, his press office was not offering any insight.

“It (strategy) may be too smart,” Ciruli said. “It has become so transparent, the act itself is subject to a host of criticism.”

I’m less certain. I’m reminded of a story I might have told here once or twice, of 60 Minutes, Ronald Reagan, and (I think) Mike Deaver. 60 Minutes did a hit piece on Reagan, reported IIRC by Mike Wallace. The White House knew it was coming, but was nevertheless generous enough to give CBS video crews access to the President as he vacationed on his California ranch. The hit piece ran on Sunday night, complete with B-roll footage of Reagan in his cowboy hat, riding his horse, chopping wood, clearing scrub brush, etc.

The next day, Deaver called up 60 Minutes producer Don Hewitt to thank him for running the piece. Deaver — and this is the dumb part; he should have kept his mouth shut — explained that the only thing people were going to remember from yet another hit piece on Reagan was the visuals of the President. And sure enough, polls showed Americans responded positively to seeing the President working and relaxing on his ranch. The report was pretty much ignored.

Here in Colorado we have a “dog that didn’t bark” case of the visuals that didn’t happen — there’s no video of Hickenlooper warmly welcoming the President to yet another fundraiser, or of Obama praising Udall for all his support in the Senate. Without the visuals, did the story ever happen?

People like us, who pay attention to these things like Jerry Seinfeld obsessing over a minor point of etiquette — we noticed. But the generic casual voter? Maybe not so much.

Historic Apple/IBM Mobile Agreement

July 16th, 2014 - 6:08 am

ibmpcvsappleiiSomething like 98% of Fortune 500 companies were already considering or had already deployed (with the accent on “deployed”) iOS devices with their employees. But now IT might not grumble so much about having to do it:

Apple has announced a strategic partnership with IBM that will see the enterprise giant transfer over 150 of their enterprise and IT apps and tools to Apple platforms natively, and will also have IBM selling Apple iPhones and iPads to its business clients all over the world. In an interview with CNBC, Apple CEO Tim Cook and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty both told the network that Apple and IBM are like “puzzle pieces” that fit perfectly together.

“We knew that we needed to have a partner that deeply understood each of the verticals,” Cook told CNBC. “That had scale, that had a lot of dirt under their fingernails so to speak from really understanding each of these verticals and we found a kindred spirit in IBM.”

Apple touts the access the partnership gives them to IBM’s big data and analytics capabilities, and talks about how the apps that it produces with IBM will be developed “from the ground up for iPhone and iPad.” These apps will supplement new cloud services aimed at iOS specifically, including security and analytics solutions, and device management tools for large-scale MDM deployments.

That’s big. How big? BlackBerry shares pretty much disintegrated in afterhours trading. IBM calls it “MobileFirst,” which should give you some indication of where Android ranks in their plans. Or as Larry Dignan reports:

The biggest challenge for team Android is that Google and Samsung, two partners with enterprise ambitions, will have to herd cats to reach corporations. Android will need channel, integration and services support and there are few players that can match IBM’s reach.

The irony is workstation-class. In 1981, Apple gently teased IBM [See print ad above] for being late to the personal computer revolution, when they introduced the IBM PC four years after the Apple II debuted. Behind the scenes Steve Jobs was deeply worried, and thought the Macintosh, then under top secret development, was the Rebel Alliance’s only hope for saving the galaxy from IBM — he could be a little dramatic sometimes. When the Mac debuted, it was to Ridley Scott’s famous “1984” Super Bowl ad, in which Big Blue was Big Brother.

Could this deal have happened under Jobs, or was Tim Cook a necessary ingredient? I don’t know; both companies are very different, and in very different positions, than they were 33 years ago. But in the Apple vs Android wars this is a typical Apple-like move. Instead of going against Android’s strengths by trying to sell cheaper iPhones and iPad, Apple is increasing the utility of their existing, premium devices with a strategic partnership.

Android won’t be going away, simply because it enjoys too much utility as a perfectly serviceable OS for OEMs who don’t want to (or can’t) spend much money on little things like the user experience. But Apple just got a huge leg up with the corporate buyers who place orders for thousands of devices at once.