Monday, June 28, 2010

Last Words

This makes at least two more posts than I'd ever intended to write about Dave Weigel, but he's posted a long apologia at Big Journalism (of all places) that's worth a read.

For whatever it's worth, I guess I believe Weigel when he claims that he spent his time on JournoList milking sources and trying to get in good with the "cool kids" there, but anybody who by his own admission voted for Nader, Kerry and Obama (in that order) doesn't have any business identifying himself as either a conservative or a liberterian.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pop Goes The Weigel

Per MediaBistro, Dave Weigel has resigned from the Washington Post.

Like Glenn, at first I thought this was an overreaction. I still don't think Weigel's obnoxious JournoList rants were a firing offense, although failing to disclose his membership in Ezra Klein's invitation-only Leftie club was a much more serious offense against Weigel's readership.

That said, I can understand why Weigel would leave at this point, and why the Post wouldn't argue with him. Prior to yesterday, Weigel could claim to be something other than just another hostile Leftie journalist thanks to his previous stint at Reason. Once the mask was ripped off, though, the odds that anybody to the right of David Gergen would take Weigel's calls dropped to somewhere around absolute zero. It'd be tough to maintain a blog ostensibly about the conservative movement when actual conservatives were liable to treat Weigel about the same way military officers will be treating Michael Hastings for the rest of his career--with cold silence.

Now, I don't think for a second the Post was ever remotely serious about honestly covering the Right in Weigel's blog or anywhere else, but maintaining the myth of Olympian objectivity is a sufficiently-potent cultural totem among "journalists" that they probably couldn't keep running Weigel with a straight face after today. Certainly no right-of-center blogger will ever link to or even reference Weigel without mentioning his JournoList scarlet letter. That'd make him quite popular among the Lefties, but for everybody else, he'd become an ignorable nonentity.

As for Weigel himself, while I still don't think he ought to have lost his job over this whole thing, I strongly suspect that his JournoList buddies (after conducting a vicious inquisition to find the identity of the heretic who leaked Weigel's rant) will find him a nice George-Soros-funded sinecure in very short order. From there, he can pick up right where he left off.

UPDATE: Weigel spotted at Huffington Post D.C. office. That sure didn't take long... the big news to me, though, is that the HuffPuff actually has an office.

Thanks to reader Patm for the heads-up.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

One For The Ignore List

A few weeks back, in yet another chapter of Big Media's insistence on treating American conservatives like a tribe of unknown but likely dangerous savages from some far-off land (aka, Fly-Over Country), the Washington Post hired a guy named Dave Weigel to start a blog called "Right Now." This was, of course, exactly the same thing as hiring juiceboxer Ezra Klein to write about the Left blogosphere, since Klein is a confirmed leftie, and Weigel is... um, well, let me just quote from Weigel's blog today:

I'm a member of an off-the-record list-serv called "Journolist," founded by my colleague Ezra Klein.

Per all the prior reporting on Klein's little club (membership including such open-minded thinkers as Joe Klein, Eric Alterman and Paul Krugman), that makes Weigel another confirmed leftie--and based on the comments Weigel half-heartedly apologizes for in that blog post, a fairly nasty one at that.

Weigel's personality aside, the fact that he's a contributing member of Klein's liberal propaganda-coordination clique should have been disclosed from the very beginning of Weigel's "reporting" on conservatives. It says nothing good about either Weigel or his bosses at the WaPo that none of the above thought Weigel's membership in a glorified version of Media Matters would be something worth notifying readers about.

All of which confirms my initial take on Weigel's WaPo blog: "This one goes on the ignore list."

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

"And Ties? You Bet!"

I double-dog dared Jonah to post these two Simpsons clips at The Corner:

Further proof that nobody can turn down a double-dog dare.

(Oh, and contra certain bigots at The Nation, most Americans hate soccer because of their previous exposure to pushy, whiny, obnoxious yuppie soccer parents. And because it's the world's worst sport.)

Not For Long

From The Hill, some of the least-surprising news of the day:

Democrats are looking at the possibility of raising taxes on families below the $250,000-a-year threshold promised by President Barack Obama during the election.

The majority party on Capitol Hill does not feel bound by that pledge, saying the threshold for tax hikes will depend on several factors, such as the revenue differences between setting the threshold at $200,000 and setting it at $250,000.
Two things:

One, "the majority party on Capitol Hill" has about six more months to enjoy that status. Come January, the opinions of Diane Feinstein, Steny Hoyer and Tom Harkin (all quoted in the article as favoring higher taxes on lower and lower levels of income) aren't going to amount to much. The opinion of Byron Dorgan (also quoted) won't amount to anything at all, since Dorgan has already announced his "retirement" rather than face the voters in November.

Second, only once in the entire article is cutting government spending so much as mentioned, and then (by soon-to-be Minority Whip Hoyer) only as a package deal to be accompanied by tax hikes. As a certain green-skinned puppet once put it, "That is why you fail."

More Recommended Reading

From former press secretary Rich Galen's blog:

The problem with senior corporate, military, or government executives is: They each believe they are the smartest person in any room they are in, and can intimidate and/or charm anyone into doing their bidding.

For senior corporate, military, or government executives; I have this advice.

1. Have people around you who have the authority to tell you (verbally or otherwise) to shut up.

2. Do not have people around you who are more interested in being invited to the Radio-TV Correspondent's Dinner than they are in protecting your interests.

3. Do not ever think that off-the-record means off-the-record. Unless you have worked with a reporter for years - YEARS - you can bet on this: If it's juicy enough, it's on-the-record.

In the end, though, every senior person is responsible for the decision to do an interview or not. And every senior person is responsible for the words that come out of his (or her) mouth.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Recommended Reading

Conspiracy rhetoric regarding oil companies is so 20th Century. We use fossil fuels because they're affordable, transportable, fungible and dependable. If there were better options that met all that criteria, we'd be using those instead. There's no such thing as dilithium crystals, and you can't run a modern economy on wishful thinking.

Along those lines, Robert Samuelson in the WaPo ably does the math regarding the myth of "clean energy," dismantling the most recent wave of Obama rhetoric in the process:

Unless we shut down the economy, we need fossil fuels. More efficient light bulbs, energy-saving appliances, cars with higher gas mileage may all dampen energy use [by 2035]. But offsetting these savings will be more people (391 million vs. 305 million), more households (147 million vs. 113 million), more vehicles (297 million vs. 231 million) and a bigger economy (almost double in size). Although wind, solar and biomass are assumed to grow as much as 10 times faster than overall energy use, they provide only 11 percent of supply in 2035, up from 5 percent in 2008.

There are physical limits on new energy sources, as Robert Bryce shows in his book "Power Hungry: The Myths of 'Green' Energy and the Real Fuels of the Future." Suppose an inventor "found a way to convert soybeans into jet fuel," Bryce writes. "Even with that invention, the conversion of all of America's yearly soybean production into jet fuel would only provide about 20 percent of U.S. jet fuel demand." Jet fuel, in turn, is about 8 percent of U.S. oil use. Similarly, wind turbines have limited potential; they must be supported by backup generating capacity when there's no breeze.
Read the whole thing.


From Politico:

Thursday’s climate-focused Democratic Caucus meeting left some senators grumbling that Kerry talked too much and didn’t listen enough. Although Kerry opened his presentation with Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) by apologizing for being so aggressive on the issue and explaining how important he thinks it is, he then went on to speak much longer than either New Mexico Sen. Jeff Bingaman or Washington Sen. Maria Cantwell, the two other presenters at the meeting.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) had to postpone the discussion for another meeting this week.

“It took too much time presenting,” complained Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana. “Senators like to talk.”
No kidding.

Friday, June 18, 2010


Check out this amazing interactive map from Forbes (hat-tip to Ryan Streeter at AEI's American Blog). Click on any county in the United States, and you can see color-coded lines to every other county that people either moved in or out from in 2008 (red indicates more people leaving that county, black indicates more people entering).

There's plenty to see here, but the New York City area counties are particularly interesting; the out-migration from there to no-state-income-tax Florida is nothing short of staggering.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Bob Etheridge, Thug

Wow. Check out this video posted at Big Government of North Carolina Democrat Bob Etheridge roughing up a college kid who asks him a perfectly normal political question on a public sidewalk:

Congressman, to quote the movie Backdraft, "You see that flash of light in the corner of your eye? That's your career dissipation light. It just went into high gear."

H/T: The Blogfaddah.

Monday Update

Hi, folks.

Yes, this is another one of those, "sorry posting has been so light" posts. Wish I could tell you that I'll be back to a more regular blogging schedule any day now, but real life is just really, really busy. I will be back as often as I'm able... I just can't predict right now when that will be.

Thanks again for checking in.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

What She Said

Molly Wood at CNET:

AT&T announced this week that it will phase out unlimited data plans and start a metered approach, with tethering available for an extra cost. And although some elements of the new data plans will work for some customers, AT&T is moving in the opposite direction it should be going. I'm tired of multiple data plans, artificial caps, and arbitrary monthly usage charges. And I'm tired of paying the same companies multiple times for what is, essentially, the exact same service. That service? Data.

Between multiple cell phones, high-speed Internet connections, and even digital TV subscriptions, most households are now paying for data delivery at least three times over, and frequently paying the same provider twice. This is ridiculous, and it's time for some major consolidation. It's time for a universal data plan. I want to pay once (maybe twice) for data, I want that data to be unlimited, and I want to be able to use it in any fashion I choose.

[W]ith the FCC breathing down carriers' necks about tiered usage plans, it's only a matter of time before regulators catch wind of just how many times we're being charged for the exact same thing. Everyone's usage is going to start to increase, and this parsing and nickle-and-dime-ing and "plus" and "pro" plans is all just a smoke screen. And, frankly, a rip-off.

Carriers need to keep beefing up those networks and start rolling out universal data plans that are device-agnostic, include either unlimited data or realistic caps that encompass our growing data needs, and that charge you one time for network access, period. That's how we get to a true wireless broadband future--one where there's no such thing as a "data plan," there's just a network, and we're all on it.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memo to Kevin Drum

According to Ed Kilgore of the notoriously right-wing Five Thirty Eight, Alabama's Democratic primary for governor was somehow impacted by a previously-little-known and notoriously ineffectual player:

It didn't hurt that the winner [Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks] also got considerable help from the Alabama Education Association, the big dog in Alabama Democratic politics.

I don't see how this can be the case. We've been assured by Kevin Drum, an expert on all things Southern, that the AEA is "weak." How on Earth they could be "the big dog in Alabama Democratic politics"--particularly considering that the Democratic Party has maintained uninterrupted control of the Alabama legislature for nearly 140 years--is just inexplicable.

An investigation is clearly in order.

UPDATE: Gloat? Moi?

Excellent, Smithers

I loved this bit by Daniel Foster at NRO, regarding his recent article on closing the Deepwater Horizon leak with a nuclear bomb:

Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking that when I pitched this idea to [National Review honcho] Rich [Lowry], he leaned back in his chair, tented his fingers conspiratorially and said, "You mean we can argue that the solution to an environmental disaster is a nuclear detonation? Yes, yes that will do quite nicely." And indeed, that is precisely what happened.

As they say, "Heh."

Read Foster's actual article; it turns out the Soviets used the nuke-it-shut method several times in the 1960's and 70's.

Dumb And Dumber

Yeah, this is a great way to build customer loyalty:

Sure, Steve Jobs might be a one-man email PR machine, but his pal Randall Stephenson at AT&T doesn't appear to be quite as gregarious -- as reader Giorgio Galante found out today, sending AT&T's CEO two emails in two weeks results in a phone call from AT&T's Executive Response Team and a warning that further emails will result in a cease and desist letter. What did Giorgio's emails say? The first was a request to bump up his iPhone eligibility date and a request for a tethering option, and today's outlined his displeasure with AT&T's new data rates and ultimate decision to switch to Sprint and the EVO 4G. That prompted "Brent" to call Giorgio back and thank him for the feedback, but also politely warn him that further emails would be met with legal action.


I should note here that about a year ago, while battling a massive AT&T billing screw-up, I emailed and snail-mailed Stephenson myself, and also wound up talking to Brent in the executive service office. Unlike literally everybody else I've dealt with at the Death Star, he couldn't have been any more helpful, and fixed all the months-long problems to my satisfaction.

Guess that word got out.

UPDATE: AT&T has apologized, rather profusely, noting that executive service rep Brent was "not having the best of days today." I can believe it; in all fairness, the guy was nothing but professional and polite to a fault whenever I spoke to him.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

AT&T: Morons

And you thought AT&T's corporate management couldn't get any dumber. Just as the Death Star is poised to land millions of new subscribers, they yank the rug out from under their customers by going back to the bad old days of metered billing:

In time for the widely expected launch of a new iPhone model, carrier AT&T Inc. is pulling in the reins on data usage by its customers with smart phones and iPads.

The sole U.S. carrier of the iPhone is introducing two new data plans, starting June 7, with limits on data consumption. They'll replace the $30 per month plan with unlimited usage that it has required for all smart phones, including the iPhone.

With the change AT&T is adopting a carrot-and-stick approach to assuage the data congestion on its network, which has been a source of complaints, especially in cities such as New York and San Francisco that are thick with iPhone users. The new plans will take effect just as Apple is expected to unveil the next generation of its iPhone at an event Monday in San Francisco.

This is stupid in so many ways, even an AP reporter could figure it out:

Paradoxically, the data caps arrive at time when carriers have started to lift the limits on other forms of wireless use, by selling plans with unlimited calling and unlimited text messaging. That's not a big gamble, because not many people have the time to talk phone for eight hours a day or spend every waking minute sending text messages. But smart phones can draw a lot of data, depending one where and how they're used. With the new plans, de la Vega hopes to see high-consumption applications like Internet video being steered toward hot spots, where they don't clog up AT&T's cellular network.

It's just stunning. There's no better example of the monopoly incumbent mentality than a company that sets out to limit how much its customers use the product they're buying from that company. If I may quote last year's epic rant from the Fake Steve Jobs:

Randall, baby. we’ve got a hit on our hands. We’ve got the smartphone equivalent of Meet the Beatles. It’s not like that album was the first rock album ever. It’s not like nobody ever made a band with some guitars and drums before. But it was radical. It was new. They took old forms and made them new. Same with us. We didn’t invent the smartphone or the PDA or the music player or the Web browser. We just made them better. We made them new. We changed the [bleeping] world, Randall.

And when I say that “we” have a hit on our hands, I’m really giving you way too much credit, because let’s be honest, the success of iPhone has nothing to do with you. In fact, iPhone is a smash hit in spite of your network, not because of it. That’s how good we are here at Apple — we’re so good that even you and your team of Bell System frigtards can’t stop us. You know what it’s like being your business partner? It’s like trying to swim the English Channel with a boat anchor tied to my legs. And yes, in case you’re not following me, in that analogy, you, my friend, are the [bleeping] boat anchor.

So let’s talk traffic. We’ve got people who love this goddamn phone so much that they’re living on it. Yes, that’s crushing your network. Yes, 3% of your users are taking up 40% of your bandwidth. You see this as a bad thing. It’s not. It’s a good thing. It’s a blessing. It’s an indication that people love what we’re doing, which means you now have a reason to go out and double or triple or quadruple your damn network capacity. Jesus! I can’t believe I’m explaining this to you. You’re in the business of selling bandwidth. That pipe is what you sell. Right now what the market is telling you is that you can sell even more! Lots more! Good Lord. The world is changing, and you’re right in the sweet spot.

I would have paid serious money to have been in the real Steve Jobs' office when he got this news. You think he was mad at the kid who lost his prototype iPhone? Forget it, man. The reaction he must have had to the Death Star's dinosaur thinking must have made that explosion look like a damp squib by comparison.

Hey, AT&T: I've got three letters for you: A-O-L. They were the last would-be Masters of Internet Access who thought they owned their customers, instead of the other way around. How well did that work out for them?

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Life Imitates Robot Chicken


Federal officials are hoping film director James Cameron can help them come up with ideas on how to stop the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

The "Avatar" and "Titanic" director was among a group of scientists and other experts who met Tuesday with officials from the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies for a brainstorming session on stopping the massive oil leak.

Why stop at Cameron? Why not bring in Michael Bay and Bruce Willis while we're at it? Hey, J.R. Ewing knew a lot about oil, get me Larry Hagman!