Let me say publicly that DonBoy’s answer exudes a combination of intuitive genius and confidence that make me think DonBoy is going to do big things in his life. -- Steven D. Levitt (Freakonomics blog)
Friday, February 27, 2004
Just a sincere recommendation

Body and Soul isn't a 20-updates-a-day kind of blog; that gives Jeanne time to produce a gem like this. Go there now.
Wednesday, February 18, 2004
Dammit Jim, I'm not a doctor -- wait, I AM a doctor

According to Scott McClellan,
The White House backed away Wednesday from its own prediction that the economy will add 2.6 million new jobs before the end of this year, saying the forecast was the work of number-crunchers and that President Bush was not a statistician.
Hold on...doesn't Bush have an MBA from Harvard? Don't you have to know something about statistics to get out of business school?

Maybe it looks better in context:
Asked about the 2.6 million jobs forecast, McClellan said, "The president is interested in actual jobs being created rather than economic modeling."

He quoted Bush as saying, "I'm not a statistician. I'm not a predictor."

"We are interested in reality," McClellan said.
No, it doesn't look any better; apparently "not a statistician" means "not a person who believes that statistics mean anything at all".

UPDATE: Sadly, this must have been the most obvious retort of all time. See comments at Atrios here.
Friday, February 13, 2004
Skull and Bones! [Damn!]

Supposedly, part of Skull and Bones' shtick is that if you're a member, and someone in the room says "Skull and Bones", you're supposed to leave the room. (The fact that this makes no sense, secrecy-wise, is part of the rumor's appeal.) When I was, uh, in school, everyone had a running joke that when S&B was mentioned someone would, of course, yell "Damn!" and get up as if to walk out. Ha ha ha!


Look at the form W filled out upon entering the guard -- the one that has the blacked-out answer to the arrest question: here. Note the part about organizations. Note that although he's listed Delta Kappa Epsilon, he hasn't listed Skull and Bones.


World's most unimportant felony. Still, you know, your obligation to tell the truth to the USG is supposed to trump your loyalty to the secrecy of your frat.
Articles are important

Note that the rumor is that Kerry had an affair with an intern, not one of his interns -- specifically, an intern for the AP. And yet even Electablog seems to have fallen into the trap. (And if his ambiguous description --
I mean does it really matter to you whether or not a guy running for office turned an internship into ratings-grabbing episode of The Real World?
-- doesn't stem from confusion, it's certainly going to spread confusion.)

UPDATE: I managed to type "Electrablog" for "Electablog" when I first wrote the above; apologies to Dave Pell, Mr. Electablog.
Blog comment of the day

A Calpundit commenter remarks:
Isn't it ironic though that if you're a convicted felon, you can be president but you can't vote for one.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004
What's the big deal about Condaleeza Rice?
READER MICHAEL HALPERT EMAILS: "Resolved: There is no significant downside, and nearly limitless upside, in Pres Bush's replacement of Mr. Cheney with the lovely Ms. Rice. Please discuss."

I was suggesting that a year ago. Nothing has changed my mind.
I don't know why Rice has such a strong rating with her fans. Partly I'm sure they're enjoying the idea of watching Democrats squirm while running against a black woman, but righty idealists such as Reynolds might be in for a huge reality check if she ended up on the Republican ticket; I know they don't think the GOP leans on the racism of many of their supporters, but that's not the state of play as I see it. More centrally....what do they love about her? Her academic specialty was the Soviet Union, which makes her a little bit obsolete; her pre-9/11 performance is, let's say, on a par with that of the rest of the Bush administration. She is rather nice-looking, as the emailer mentions (but not in any actual sexist way, I'm sure).

Reyonds emailer #2, Christopher Jefferson:
...Second, it forces Kerry to do something he doesn't want to do: put Hillary on the ticket.

Besides, Rice could be President in her sleep, if she had to.
Oh, right...the Hillary obsession. Forgot about that.

And, again, based on what does Jefferson think she could be President in her sleep? That she seems smart? Suddenly that's a useful skill?
Saturday, February 07, 2004
Why was a bad idea?

Kevin Drum offhanded, in a contrarian post against the too-quick conclusion that Dean's Internet bubble was a conceptual (as opposed to practical) failure:

selling cat food via the internet was just dumb

...well, failed, sure, but it's become a commonplace now that it was a ridiculous idea, and I'd like someone to explain why. Pet food is:

-- a commodity
-- for which each customer has a fixed, non-impulse need
-- and is rather heavy, so stocking up during sales can be inconvenient.

Faced with all this, the idea of allowing people to buy their pet food in bulk and have it delivered sounds promising. Certainly it sounds promising (a priori) compared to buying books online, where you'd think that losing the experience of browsing in a bookstore would be fatal. Obviously, Amazon's amazing web site has overcome that.

But I repeat: aside from knowing now that it failed, why should it have been obvious 5 years ago that was doomed?

...posted also in Calpundit's comments. Welcome Calpundit link followers; the Comments link is right down there.

The accuracy of the news proves its bias

From this Boston Globe report on the re-spinoff of BBN, one of the key developers of basic Internet technology:
Former AOL chairman Kenneth J. Novack, who stepped down in December as vice chairman of the company now called Time Warner Inc., will join BBN's board in his new role as a General Catalyst adviser. Referring to former vice president Al Gore's 1999 claim that he "took the initiative in creating the Internet" -- later recast by Republican spinmeisters as a claim by Gore to have invented the Net outright -- Novack said: "With all due respect to Al Gore, they are in fact the guys who invented the Internet."
Seems like not only a welcome palliative to an old dumb lie, but kind of a needle at the speaker, and at the Republicans. And this on the business news page!

Lest I be misunderstood: ehhhhhxcellent.

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