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)
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
Call Me Hypersensitive

If I were the kind of person who blogs every possibly-antisemitic turn of phrase I ran into, I'd consider this letter to the New York Times (link may expire and/or require registration), on the Ron Artest fight, an interesting find:

To the Sports Editor:

Harvey Araton was dead-on in his assessment that the N.B.A. has become a cultural divide between the hip-hop culture of the players and the boardroom culture of the fans ("Brawl Evokes Real Story of N.B.A. and Its Fans," Nov. 23). The product that the marketing maven David Stern has been shoving down the throats of Middle America is grossly out of touch with the behaviors and attitudes typically valued in adults and desired in children.

More and more Americans abhor any product that gives the appearance of attempting to stress or teach values that are the antithesis of the attitudes typically taught in classrooms and homes all over the nation. For a generation, the N.B.A. has surrounded itself with cultural elements of the hip-hop lifestyle.

Just because MTV, the N.B.A. and Fox want the road that Middle America has driven on for generations to veer off into a cultural abyss does not mean that people have to follow.

Stern, the network executives, the marketing directors and the commissioners of the other major sports - Paul Tagliabue, are you paying attention? - must realize this fact before this seemingly golden eight-lane highway they built turns out to be a deserted dirt road.

Geoffrey Boltz
Johnstown, Pa.

Has an air of "The Jews are shoving the blacks down our throats", if you ask me. In addition to the "marketing maven" bit, note the repetition of "hip-hop culture" as code for "bad black men".

Monday, November 15, 2004
Typical Republican Women's Groups

Buried in a
post from Sam Rosenfeld at TAPPED about Arlen Specter's current troubles:
Meanwhile, [Tom] Coburn’s soon-to-be chief of staff, Michael Schwartz, who’s currently a vice president at Concerned Women for America, has been all over the place putting his two cents in on the matter...

Drew Bledsoe Has What Kind of Values?

Football/political language item: Drew Bledsoe, former New England Patriots quarterback now with the Buffalo Bills, played a terrible game against his old team tonight. On the Boston postgame show, speculation turned -- maybe a bit prematurely -- to the question of whether Bledsoe's career is finished right now, as in Buffalo turning to their backup QB next week. Scott Zolak, former NE backup QB and friend of Beldsoe, had this to say [emphasis mine]:

It's gonna be a long ride home for him tonight, and I think there's a lot of thoughts going through his mind, you know: his career -- is it over? Is he going to go on? Does he want to go on? Finish somewhere else, and burn out somewhere? I don't think so. I don't think he would like to do that. I think, you know, he has some strong family values and he may ride this thing out.

So if you had any doubt: "family values" now means "generic goodness in any and all respects".

Saturday, November 13, 2004
The Democratic Market Share

In the past long, long, long 11 days, we've been hearing from the magnanimous victors of the election that the Democratic Party should, not to put too fine a point on it, Fuck Off And Die, because of its pathetic 48% showing.

Let's look at market shares in some other areas of American life:

In cola, it's
Coke 35.4%/Pepsi 34.4%; we can normalize that (ignoring all other brands) to Coke 50.7%/Pepsi 49.3%...and that's considered a disaster for Coke, which has usually been further ahead than that. Pepsi, according to sources, does not plan to Fuck Off And Die.

In desktop computers, it', no contest. Apple's desktop business is
3.7% of all desktops shipped. Never mind...let's look at CPU makers Intel and AMD, then: it's Intel 82%/AMD 16%. Not Fucking Off And Dying: Apple, AMD.

In video game consoles,
Sony's Playstation has 60%, leaving just 40% for Nintendo and Microsoft's XBox. Fuck Off and Die? Hell no, say Nintendo and Microsoft.

So: sure, you'd rather be the 51% than the 48%. Still, in no other field is the 48% crowd supposed to...well, you know. Really, we should be civil about this, don't you think?

The Cheney Health Plan

Dick Cheney is in the hospital for tests after he experienced shortness of breath. I wasn't completely aware of
his medical history:

His first heart attack occurred in 1978, when he was 37. He had a second in 1984, and after suffering his third heart attack, in 1988, Cheney had quadruple bypass surgery to clear clogged arteries.

On Nov. 22, 2000, Cheney suffered what doctors called a "very slight" heart attack and had an angioplasty to open a clogged artery.

Cheney was back in the hospital on March 5, 2001, after complaining of chest pains. Doctors performed another angioplasty to reopen the same artery.

After his fourth heart attack, Cheney quit smoking, began regular daily exercises for 30 minutes on a treadmill and said he began watching his diet. He takes medication to lower his cholesterol.

I'm glad that at least one conservative believes that publically funded health insurance should cover conditions that are partially brought on by the patient's own stupid behavior. As long as it's his own, at least.

A Message for Channel 7, WHDH Boston

Guys: yes, four inches of snow on November 12th/13th is pretty unusual. But really -- "Stormforce" coverage? "There's over 3 inches of snow out here in Bridgeport!" Come on.

On other hand, props for having an on-air reporter named Lauren Przybyl, and props to Lauren for leaving it that way.

Friday, November 12, 2004
Pass It On

Want to know more than you can imagine about the history and evolution of chain letters? (Here's a fun fact: the first recorded parody of a chain letter is from 1935. More innocent time, my ass.)

(Seen in a comment in Brad DeLong's blog; thanks to poster "joe o".)

Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Why (American) TV Shows Often End With A Very Brief Segment

I had to learn this on a web site about old British TV?

Ed Ellers adds:
Many American series were formatted to have a short segment at the end - whose length was equal to the difference between the NAB prime-time and non-prime-time limits - that could, if necessary, be dropped (and may not even have been related to the plot of that episode). Sadly, most stations in my experience still cut out other bits and leave in the 'appendix' segment; I've even heard of the studios themselves, when releasing old filmed series on tape in domestic syndication, editing out bits of the plot while leaving in that almost-useless final segment!

Another mystery solved: the "appendix" (a term I've never heard, but...) was meant to be removable when the show was syndicated into daytime, and replaced by more commercials.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004
Slightly Tasteless, But...

From Romanesko's permalink-less letters column, 11/3/2004 2:09:58 PM:
From RANDY ALFRED: E. Andrew Torgan didn't quite get it right [below] on the Red Sox and Massachusetts Democrats. The real story is the heretofore unknown "Curse of the Bobino." No Democratic presidential hopeful from New England has been elected since Bobby Kennedy was traded to New York in 1964!

Advice for the Electorally Lovelorn

The Boston Globe, in its online Personals, has a section called Second Chances, which is the equivalent of those traditional free-weekly ads along the lines of "Cute girl on subway 11/5, were you checking me out? I had a WBUR shirt on, you wore a Bosox cap". One in today's bunch seems a little, uh, frought:
Missed you on November 2
Location: Boston polling station.
I've noticed you on TV, seen you walking the campaign trail, it's like you're everywhere! I've been trying to escape from my current bad relationship for four years and now I can't stop thinking about you. You broke my heart on November 2. Can't we please try again?

Sunday, November 07, 2004
Tyranny of the Majority Hypocrisy Watch

I was remembering how, after the election of 2000 was settled, we were hearing a lot from the right about the beauty of the Electoral College system, and how it is our bulwark against the Tyranny of the Majority (henceforth, TOTM). There's of course plenty to be said on the EC -- I have -- and in a context that's more expansive than "whose ox is gored"; but in light of the Red State triumphalism of the past few days, I thought it might be nice to revisit our old friends in the anti-TOTM and see how they're feeling now, and do a compare-and-contrast -- since the current line from the right is that 51% of the electorate has a right, nay, a duty, to crush the other side, preferably with their hard boot.

Which is how I found this, from Walter E. Williams at WorldNetDaily, under the headline Majority rule equals tyranny, November 22, 2000:
Despite public consensus, there's nothing inherently just or fair about majority rule. In fact, one of the primary dangers of majority rule is that it confers an aura of legitimacy and respectability on acts that would otherwise be deemed tyrannical. Ask yourself what day-to-day decisions would you like to be decided by majority rule? What about where you live, for whom you work, what kind of car you drive, what clothing you wear, what woman you marry?

You say, "Williams, those decisions are nobody else's business but mine. What's more, those are issues that don't belong in the political arena anyway!" You're right. Plus, we'd all agree that it would be nothing short of tyranny if where you could live and whom you could marry was decided by majority rule.

Mr. Williams' most recent column is dated this past Wednesday, and does not address the election results; I imagine his deadline was too early. I eagerly await his next piece, though.

Overstating the Case

Josh Marshall is looking for "the most ludicrous overstatements of the scope of the president's victory", and mentions Bush's own description of it as a "broad nationwide victory".

I don't know if Josh meant it this way, but considering that there's a swath of blue, a couple of hundred miles wide at the narrowest point, running down the entire Western edge of the map, that statement is surprisingly false at the most literal level.

Thursday, November 04, 2004
Franken offered hope, before nation voted against it

-- headline from the Cambridge (MA) Chronicle, Thursday 11/4, about Al Franken's Election Day broadcast for Air America.

On Flying Under the Radar

Two thoughts on the success of the GOP's anti-gay-marriage tactic:

Monday, November 01, 2004
The Republican Plan for Election Night Coverage


Posted by Hello

...or this

Posted by Hello

(This would be much more effective if I had Photoshop and the first one said BUSH WINS. So let's pretend I did that, OK?)

More Useless Tautologies

Flu pandemics -- global epidemics of new strains of disease that kill an unusually high number of people -- come on average every 27 years. The last one was in 1968.

"We are 36 years out. We believe that we are closer to the next pandemic than we ever were," Stohr told a news conference.

Yes...I'm pretty sure that's true.

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