Archive for September, 2012


September 28, 2012

“When you’ve lost Jay Leno, what does it mean?”

Something odd to me about modern news coverage is that story after story of career-making events and Pulitzer prize-winning opportunities keep coming up but the press just doesn’t want to bite.  They’ve gone from being guys hungry for the scoop and ravenous in their drive to write that story first to being largely disinterested in news that doesn’t help their political cause.
Fast & Furious, for example, is a once-in-a-career type story for the right investigative reporter, but they just want nothing to do with it.  And the news has gotten very selective about what they’ll cover or even question.  We first saw it when the Obama team told the press “the Jeremiah Wright story is over, lets not bring that up any more” and they complied.  NBC refused to even touch a piece showing Obama talking about how great redistributing wealth would be, claiming they couldn’t “verify” it.  
And most recently the press heard Obama say some of his campaign ads were wrong and misleading, but not only did they not bother airing that portion, they didn’t bother asking him which ads and how they were misleading.
Now, horrible economic news is coming out indicating we are probably already seeing economic contraction and that the previous growth numbers were off by 25% (1.7 downgraded to 1.3).  ABC mentioned it very briefly, CBS did a short report, and NBC totally ignored the story.
Ace at his HQ has had enough.  He wants a boycott:

NBC is in a precarious position as far as exposure to a boycott: Their shows are awful, they’re cancelling half the shows they once had high hopes for, one of their semi-draws, The Office, is ending this season (after four bad seasons and creative exhaustion), and they are the most obnoxiously liberal network on TV.
They long have been. They long ago decided their demographic would be the “Smart Urban Set,” by which they mean “liberals.”
Someone has to pay. Let’s make it NBC.

Now, while I am not necessarily opposed to blowing off NBC and its advertisers, I think this is a mistake.  Not because the concept is entirely flawed, but because of who the right is and what we do.
First off, ask yourself: what’s the last NBC show you watched?  Sunday Night Football?  I ran down their list of programs and I saw 3 shows of their entire lineup that people might care about: Football, Jimmy Fallon, and 30 Rock.
Now I don’t watch anything that NBC puts out, not a show.  But I’ve seen some old 30 Rock episodes and they were kind of fun.  I hear its lousy these days, just over the hill, and I can’t stand Tina Fay, so I don’t care if I miss that.  Jimmy Fallon is on way too late at night, and I never watch football anyway.  I think that, other than football, I’m hardly unusual.  I doubt many people are watching much on NBC today.
The truth is, I doubt even one of my readers even watches NBC Nightly News. People who read blogs and follow politics don’t tend to get their news from TV; they probably don’t even watch much TV to begin with, and if they do, its not the alphabet networks.
The people watching nightly network news are old, they grew up with those as trustworthy reliable sources, they grew up reading newspapers, and they get their news from those places still.  They don’t give that up easily because it requires rethinking and learning and the older you get the more resistant and stubborn you are about it.  I’m annoyed Windows had to come out with something after XP; it worked fine.  Those people are the ones who’d have to boycott NBC, and they won’t, do not read Ace of Spades, and won’t even hear about it.
The thing about the right is that we’re not very good at boycotts.  Sure, we make noises about it but for the most part we’re already boycotting what annoys us.  We don’t get the New York Times.  We don’t watch CNN for news.  We don’t watch nightly sitcoms very much.  People on the right tend to be more independent and skeptical of movements and activist bandwagons.  We tend to be defensive about business and trust the market to handle things.
What we are good at is “buycotts.”  Remember the Chick-Fil-A kerfluffle?  We on the right wouldn’t do much about CFA if we didn’t care for it, but we will show up in huge hordes to support them with our money and patronage.
So if you really want to make a difference, the trick is not to boycott NBC, you’re probably doing so effectively already.  Patronize their competition.  Buy what their advertisers are competing against.  If they have Burger King ads, buy McDonalds.  If they have Chevron ads, buy Texaco.  If they have Pizza Hut ads, buy Domino’s.  And let their advertisers know how annoyed you are.  Pour it on, because advertisers definitely listen to that kind of pressure.
But the truth is, these guys are already wiping themselves out with lousy content and crappy news coverage.  Jay Leno recently did a joke about the economy and slammed President Obama in his opening monologue on the Tonight Show:

A new survey out today shows how much time we waste every day in our lives. For example, we waste seven minutes in line every time we go to get coffee, 28 minutes getting through airport security, four years waiting for Obama to do something about the economy. Every year, we waste a lot. We wasted a lot of time.

Leno didn’t do that because he is some crazed right winger, he’s a lefty.  He didn’t do it to raise awareness, he did it because he knew it would resonate with listeners.  That kind of setting and joke isn’t cutting edge, its confirmative; it is the setting where you say what people already know, make jokes about things people are already talking about.  And as Rand Simberg points out at Transterrestrial Musings, people know about this because they aren’t relying on NBC to tell them about the news.
As the nightly news shows die out in ratings and the alphabet networks starve, they’re already being boycotted.  Not by organized groups but by consumers shutting off the TV or changing channels.  Sometimes the market really does work.


September 28, 2012

Snark and mockery are what the immature and mean of intellect, the uneducated and the crass offer in the place of satire and wit.

Two events in the news recently made me wonder something about the left and the internet.  The first is the report that a 5,000 arena that wasn’t full somehow held 18,000 Obama fans when the president visited Wisconsin recently.  No one has been able to find those missing 13,000 people, and the story seems to be traced back to Democrat mayor Tom Barrett of Milwaukee.  Well, less than 5k doesn’t sound very promising or hopeful for the president in a long time Democrat city, so maybe he thought that would help with the president’s image.
The other story is Roger Simon at Politico who attempted a humorous article poking fun at Mitt Romney by claiming Paul Ryan has been forever tainted by the “stench” of Romney in the campaign and then went off on this riff:

Coming from a resident of Iowa, a state where people are polite even to soybeans, this was a powerful condemnation of the Republican nominee.
Though Ryan had already decided to distance himself from the floundering Romney campaign, he now feels totally uninhibited. Reportedly, he has been marching around his campaign bus, saying things like, “If Stench calls, take a message” and “Tell Stench I’m having finger sandwiches with Peggy Noonan and will text him later.”

It was meant to be satire, but it didn’t really work.  People took it seriously, so much so that Paul Krugman a the New York Times, Tommy Christopher at Mediaite, Lawrence O’Donnell at MSNBC, Joe Gandelman at Moderate Voice, leftist radio personality Taylor Marsh, Daily Kos, Comedy Central, and on and on all ran with it as if it was real news.  As Ace writes at his HQ:

Yet the geniuses that would run our lives for us failed to pick up on even that, and rather than take the one minute to contact Simon (or Ryan) to find out if any of this was even remotely true, they just ran with it on television and internet “news” operations.
Is this a conspiracy, then?
Of course not. Never ascribe to conspiracy what can be easily explained by a combination of stupidity, incompetence, malice, and more stupidity, and also a lack of any sense of humor whatsoever, further compounded by a Dunning-Kruger-esque belief that one does in fact have a functioning sense of humor.

What strikes me in this, and several previous stories in recent memory of the press willing to believe nonsense and rumor as fact because they read it online, is this seems to betray a pattern and understanding of life.
What I mean is this: we on the right are very used to having to weigh everything we read, particularly from the legacy media, with a sizable block of salt. We know that what we’re gold often is mistaken, misleading, misquoted, parsed out in small pieces, and incomplete.  It doesn’t even matter what the topic is, generally speaking you’re not getting the whole story from the press.  They are often lazy, incompetent, and credulous even when there’s no deliberate or unintentional bias.
We have developed a natural suspicion and doubt when we see a report on anything.  Part of it is just seeing over and over again how the press slants stories, part of it is learning as we grow up that a lot of what we’ve been told is utter nonsense or greatly misleading (thus the Common Knowledge series I do), and that even at their best, the press are trying to sell a product more than they are trying to report facts.
The left seems less inclined or trained to respond this way.  It seems like they’re much more willing to trust and believe what they’re told by the press.  That they aren’t as skilled or inclined to parse, study, question, and backcheck what they hear or read.  Sure, they’ll instantly discount and even ignore something a conservative says, presuming evil and malice in it, even if its something they’d usually agree with.
But when the legacy media or a trusted source says something, they tend to just nod and go along.  And its getting them in trouble lately, particularly on the internet where its so easy and fast to check that people pile on with glee and mockery when they get it wrong.
It really would serve these guys better to be more skeptical of what they read and hear, but to do that, they’d have to develop a distrust of these sources, recognize their slant and lack of professionalism, to question, check, and doubt.  And that’s not as easy and comfortable as just agreeing.
Don’t get me wrong, the right does it too, quite often – Rush Limbaugh said it, it must be true!  I read it on Michelle Malkin!  They wouldn’t lie, be sloppy, or get taken in!
Its just that we on the right have had to learn to be more skeptical, and its something the left really needs to learn to avoid this kind of humiliation.


September 28, 2012

“You Mormons need to get with the program.”

Like to dress nice for special occasions, but think the clothes aren’t manly enough?  Know a guy and want to get him something truly masculine but classy to wear?  Try a chainmail necktie.  Available in various colors and metals, these chain link ties are hand-made and sure to make your guy smile, especially if he’s a history of role playing buff.
Previously on WATN I’ve written about the way lawyers and judges will tend to be on the same side no matter what the legal issue.  After all, judges are just lawyers with a black robe on, and lawyers know they have to deal with judges and will tend to avoid getting on their bad side.  A particularly troubling example of this is a recent case in which a lawyer’s DUI was dismissed by a judge.  The lawyer was driving without his lights on at night and was pulled over by a cop.  The lawyer claimed his light switch was broken and besides driving lights are legally sufficient, but the lights turned on when he tried the switch.  The cop asked him if he’d been drinking, and the lawyer said no and refused a breathalyzer test.  The lawyer said the cop didn’t have probable cause to pull over the car and threw the case out.
John Hawkins has collected what he thinks are 40 headlines the press would be running if Romney and Obama’s party identification were reversed.  Among the choices:
  • Experts Say Obama’s Bizarre, Disconnected Behavior May Have Been Caused By His Strange Upbringing
  • More Deaths in Afghanistan; New Grim Milestone Reached
  • Obama Golfs While Soldiers Die
  • Obama’s Libyan war: Would We Be There if There Were No Oil?
  • Oil Industry Still Hasn’t Recovered From Obama’s Mishandling of the BP Oil Spill
  • Barack Obama’s Deficit Spending: Does It Mean the End of the American Dream?
Its easy to imagine how the press would act.  What isn’t easy to imagine is what it would be like to have a truly neutral, objective legacy media.
Although the facts were clear, the left has for over a decade claimed that Al Gore actually won the 2000 presidential election and Bush stole it with the Supreme Court.  However, hard-left radical network MSNBC recently ran a report entitled “What if Gore won the 2000 election?”  Naturally everything is better in their fantasy of a Democrat in power, but that was an admission that Al Gore lost the election.
What is Reynolds’ Law?  Philo at The View from Alexandria defines it this way:

Subsidizing the markers of status doesn’t produce the character traits that result in that status; it undermines them.

That’s based on comments from Instapundit Glenn Reynolds about how subsidizing the results of behavior gives people not reason to have those behaviors.  If you’re going to get the benefits without the work, will people do the work?
Redistribution, the leftist concept of taking from the wealthy and giving it to others in the name of “justice” is an old idea mostly created by jealousy and envy.  While President Obama has obliquely stated he wants to work for just that in the past, he was very clear in a more overt statement of redistribution in 1998.  The New York Times tried to spin that as not really being about socialism, but as Patterico points out… it was.
More Americans were added to the food stamp program (SNAP) than new jobs created from April to June of this year.  The way things are going, this quarter won’t be any better.

Officially the Fast & Furious scandal has had a report by the Inspector General of the Justice Department, but like the Congressional investigation, there was a lot of foot dragging and stonewalling.  According to Mary Chastain at Breitbart, the White House refused to cooperate (as required by law) with the Inspector General, denying paperwork and interviews.  Both Congress and the White House seem very reluctant to look into this murderous scandal, possibly because it would embarrass both parties (the GOP with Operation Divide and Conquer, and the White House with Gunrunner).
Chocolate strikes again.  Now it seems to make snails smarter, according to a recent study.  Scientists have discovered that a chemical in chocolate and green tea seems to help with memory, and tested it on snails, discovering that it works for them, too.
Polling is a hot topic right now, with more people coming around to my (and others) side of the issue — you can’t trust em.  John McLaughlin at The NRO Corner discussed the topic, and in of particular interest was this bit on the 2000 presidential election and how polls and the legacy media was used to attempt to manipulate the outcome:

In a close race, the operatives are trying to manipulate the turnout through their paid and earned media. The earned media includes lobbying and trying to skew the public polls. Historically the most egregious case was the 2000 Gore campaign’s lobbying the networks’ exit pollsters for an early, and wrong, call in Florida. This suppressed the Florida Panhandle and Western state turnout.” (Polls close at different times in different parts of the state, because the state stretches into two time zones.) “In our post-election Florida poll, we found that thousands of Panhandle Floridians heard the call and although their polls were still open for an hour in a close national race decided not to vote. Panhandle voters went two-to-one for Bush. The CBS early wrong call nearly triggered a national crisis.

Related is this image, depicting how polling is strangely inaccurate always in the favor of Democrats:

Mark Steyn is always a good read, but sometimes he’s incredible, and this recent column is a golden example.  Here are some excerpts about the slaughter of the Libyan Consulate:

The official line — that the slaughter of American officials was some sort of improvised movie review that got a little out of hand — is now in the process of modification to something bearing a less patently absurd relationship to what actually happened. That should not make any more forgivable the grotesque damage that the administration has done to the bedrock principle of civilized society: freedom of speech.

What other entertainments have senior U.S. officials reviewed lately? Last year Hillary Clinton went to see the Broadway musical Book of Mormon. “We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others”? The Book of Mormon’s big showstopper is “Hasa Diga Eebowai” which apparently translates as “F*** you, God.” The U.S. secretary of state stood and cheered.
Why does Secretary Clinton regard “F*** you, God” as a fun toe-tapper for all the family but “F*** you, Allah” as “disgusting and reprehensible”? The obvious answer is that, if you sing the latter, you’ll find a far more motivated crowd waiting for you at the stage door.

The assistant attorney general of the United States has said he does not rule out a law against blasphemy, so that’s good news, isn’t it? Once we’ve got government commissars regulating movies, and cartoons, and teddy bears and children’s piggy-banks and Burger King ice-cream tubs and inflatable sex-shop dolls and non-sharia-compliant mustaches (just to round up a few of the innumerable grievances of Islam), all the bad stuff will go away, right?

Read it all.  I’m serious, stop what you’re doing and read it all, you can open a tab, I’ll wait.
Something that came up this week is an email exchange between a Buzzfeed reporter and a US State Department spokesman.  The exchange gets ugly in a hurry and neither side comes across very well but several things came up when you read it over.
  1. Why did CNN take a private diary of a slain ambassador and publicly report on bits of it without even notifying the government or his family?
  2. Why did CNN have access to freely get materials out of the ruined embassy, where was the US government to secure papers and data there?
  3. Is it CNN’s responsibility to secure and protect a crime scene for the US Government?
  4. Either there was no intel there and the state department and CIA were failing utterly in their jobs, or there was intel and these agencies failed horribly in protecting and recovering it.
  5. Why won’t the Obama administration give answers on this story that aren’t bull***t for a change?
And through the entire exchange, which gets more childish and stupid as it goes on, none of these questions are answered.  Its like two people speaking entirely different languages, and while that happens a lot on the internet, I’d hope that a professional journalist and a State Department spokesman would be more mature and capable.  Apparently in vain.  Hat tip Ace for this bit.
Said consulate was running with lower than minimum required security standards while plans were underway for a more secure, complete structure.  In fact, nearly everything we’ve learned about the place smacks of poor planning and naivete, at best.  Smart diplomacy?  More like Clinton and Obama incompetence, again.
Nearly everything the Obama administration said about the attack on the consulate was a lie, and if you want to see how the statements “developed” as they had to keep rolling back the statements and tell more of the truth over the following days, here’s a video that gives the timeline.
Everyone knows the Greek government is in terrible shape economically, that the nation is bankrupt and collapsing, despite repeated bailouts.  What we didn’t know is that things are even worse than we’ve been led to believe.  More than 100% off, in fact, with Greece being in the hole by $26 billion.  No doubt the discrepancy slipped the minds of the Greek officials, a minor carrying error in their math.  But another bailout will fix it, I’m sure.  Just forgive some of their debt, they’ll do better next time, honest.
Adventures in Twitter.  First, Microsoft “accidentally” sent out a tweet attacking Ann Coulter in support of Robert Reich’s vapid nonsense.  300,000 people got that one.  You’d think after being attacked and raked over the coals by the Clinton administration Microsoft would be less friendly with the guys who did it.  Then there is the Washington DC Board of elections ethics, which posted a link to a hard left blog’s attack on Scott Brown in a tweet.  They’re claiming a former employee posted it using old account access.  Twitter is like employment Darwinism: if you cannot show discernment and restraint with something this little and easy, you’re probably not much use to an employer otherwise.
Expect the dollar to go up again.  This time its not some world event or speculator bidding wars, it was one drunk idiot.  Steven Perkins got plastered and made an order for 7 million barrels of oil in the middle of the night for an exorbitant price, driving prices up by more than $1.50 a barrel worldwide.  The problem isn’t some guy getting drunk and doing something dumb, its that we’re all held hostage by someone like that.
Former president Bill Clinton has jumped on the “bash Bush” bandwagon, blaming him for palestinian violence, which is an outright, absolute lie on his part.  Not the “oops I forgot that” or “I misstated” sort of lie, but one of those “I’m going to look you right in the eye and tell you something both of us know damn well isn’t true” kind Clinton is infamous for.  The man has absolutely no shame; he’s pathologically lacking it.
Hope things get better soon?  A lot of people are.  The American household median income declined over 1% in August alone.  Since President Obama took office, it has dropped almost 9%.  But he wants a mulligan, he wants to get 4 more years to do the same things.
Google runs Youtube after a massive buy a few years ago.  Apparently Youtube makes money on advertising, because stupid companies think they’ll earn more than they spend on the site.  Well a mayoral challenger for Campo Grande, Brazil has posted a video on Youtube all about the mayor’s paternity suit problems.  The mayor ran and found a helpful judge who has ordered the videos removed.  Youtube ignored the order, so the judge has now ordered the arrest of Google’s president.  Good luck with that.
Just in case you were thinking things are turning around or you’ve bought into the “recovery is here” line the left and President Obama keep pushing, take a look at this chart:

This chart shows how global growth and manufacturing has collapsed and is on the way down, again.  Not just in some places, but worldwide. Whoever becomes president in 2013 is inheriting a pretty big mess.
Wikipedia is of dubious research use except for as a database of links on most topics.  Any controversial topic seem heavily edited by left-leaning people and in fact, some are definitely being edited for political purposes.  Two Wikipedia big wigs, a trustee and an in residence scholar, have been busted manipulating entries for hire.
Although for a while health care costs had slowed increase due to the economy and insecurity about the impact and application of “Obamacare” they are rising rapidly again in the US.  Megan McArdle mistakenly thinks this is related to a mythical recovery, but its more likely the realization that the Supreme Court of the US isn’t going to save the country from this monstrosity so insurance companies are gearing up to the increased cost and burden it will force on them.
Last week I posted in the WATN roundup about low-cost home 3D printers, and here’s an application I’d like to get for them: printable dungeons.  Called Pocket Dungeons, it is a simple little game using existing Pocket-Tactics rules to create dungeons and monsters to build a map with.  The possibilities of this technology are mind boggling.
Incidentally, if you watched the news or got your information from the legacy media, you’d think that the 9/11 protests and murderous rape and attack on the Libyan consulate were isolated events.  They aren’t, and the violence and Muslim unrest has been going on for weeks now.  They’re still going on, as Jim Gehraty reports at National Review Online.
Having trouble paying your taxes?  Putting it off?  Well don’t feel bad, you are not alone.  The federal government is doing it too.  According to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General (courtesy the Tax Prof Blog), eight-eight federal agencies are behind on paying taxes for their employees.  You know, those payroll taxes that employers match for people who work for them?  But unlike you, there won’t be any fines, jail time, garnisheeing of wages or other consequences for these agencies or their executives.  I guess when the Secretary of the Treasury was delinquent on taxes, that sends a message.
Coma ran on TV as a miniseries recently on A&E but it wasn’t a very big seller.  Either it wasn’t very well publicized or people just didn’t care to see a remake.  Given how weak a job the team did on their last effort (Andromeda Strain) I can see why.  But a lawsuit in New York City suggests that doctors did somewhat the same thing: declaring patients brain dead so their organs could be harvested.
Even when you’re part of the badass heavy metal band Slayer, your teen daughter finds you embarrassing to be around:

And that’s the Word Around the Net for September 28, 2012


September 28, 2012

A Trailer Park.

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