Friday, May 30, 2003

Brad DeLong on why Apple not only survives but succeeds:

"As long as the world's programmers continue to speak Unix, Apple's economic future—one perhaps greater than that of a niche player given the rumblings surrounding its apparent bid for Universal—is secure. I doubt that my current Mac will be my last."

Read more.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Merciless. Christopher Hitchens on Sidney Blumenthal's new book glorifying the Clinton years:

"I therefore regard it as quite impossible that he didn't know what many Clinton biographers have established: Clinton would have run for the nomination as early as 1988 if not for his fear of 'bimbo eruptions' (please notice again that the women in his life are here degraded by definition, whereas the man is a passive victim). And if by any chance Blumenthal didn't know it then, he definitely knows it now, and has for years. In any event, I have to strain to believe the following statement:

Had Clinton had an affair with an intern? I just didn't know. I had no reason to doubt Hillary's sincerity in her version of events, and whatever my doubts, I wanted to believe her—to believe along with her.

"This goes well past credulity and into the realm of the servile."

Hitting them where they hurt. Yes, Donald Rumsfeld sure knows how to piss off the French:

"This year, the American presence—and the lack of rank in it—at Paris will serve as a powerful and understated reminder of our scorn for the French.

American combat aircraft—the usual assortment of F-15 Eagles, the F/A-18 Hornets, F-16 Falcons, the B-2s and maybe even the F-117s—will sit on the runway while the others caper aloft. Like the gold medallists who watch the consolation game to see who finishes third and fourth, our quiet war birds will speak loudly. Parlez vous francais? Who the hell cares?"


Thursday, May 22, 2003

William Safire on the further concentration of media power in the hands of the few:

"Does that sound un-conservative? Not to me. The concentration of power—political, corporate, media, cultural—should be anathema to conservatives. The diffusion of power through local control, thereby encouraging individual participation, is the essence of federalism and the greatest expression of democracy.

Why do we have more channels but fewer real choices today? Because the ownership of our means of communication is shrinking. Moguls glory in amalgamation, but more individuals than they realize resent the loss of local control and community identity."

Read more.

Friday, May 16, 2003

It was amusing to observe the Boston Globe make a quick turnaround today on the latest sex scandal to hit the Kennedy family to which the newspaper has always been partial. Yesterday the Globe buried the news about JFK's running affair with a teenager, giiving it the one paragraph treatment on an inside page.

But last evening's television newscasts on all the Boston channels with their extensive coverage of President Kennedy's misdeeds, forced the Globe to carry a lengthy story on the teenager who is now 60, along with her photograph in all of its editions today. One can be certain that this not the last of this story.
Here's a preview on Apple and IBM's new chip for the next generation of 2GHz and higher Macs—They rock:

"As with all things Apple, though, the big question is price. Will Apple drop its margins drastically and sell these machines at a competitive price point in order to increase market share, or will it continue to price itself into the increasingly non-existent luxury/lifestyle computing niche? I'm hoping for the former, because I'd love to give my TiBook and iPod some company with a 970-based PowerMac...."

Read more.

Thursday, May 15, 2003

Wishful Thinking Dept.? Okay, it's early yet, the Sox haven't even played the Yanks so far, and I blogged a little too enthusiastically last year about the team's chances.

Still, there's a lot to this team. The line-up is a killer. As they proved in Minnesota, there doesn't seem to be any bullpen the Red Sox can't come after in the late innings of the game. If the bullpen steadies, and there are signs now from Ramiro Mendoza and Mike Timlin and the new acquisitions that it will, then the Sox have a better chance than they did last year—when they only won 93 games....

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Local media watchers are somewhat amused by today's New York Times' detailed story telling readers about what the newspaper is doing and planning to prevent a recurrence of the extensive journalistic fraud perpetrated on it and its readers by one of its reporters since last October.

In addition to the various steps which will be taken throughout the paper's news gathering and editing branches, Executive Editor Howell Raines announced that a committee would be formed to study what went wrong and make recommendations to prevent a repeat of the disaster which has given the Times a huge black eye.

Media observers here have been told by some of their associates in New York that the fiasco will probably cost Raines his position as the top editor of the prestigious Times. There's little doubt that Reporter Jayson Blair left obvious footprints of his misdeeds all over the newspaper's newsrooms—clues which had to have come to the attention of editors who report to Raines. Blair got away with his deceit so long because he gambled that his racial background probably would make it difficult for his superiors to rein him in.

Saturday, May 10, 2003

Here's some great investigative reporting by Hobbs Online regarding Bush's military service:

On Wednesday morning, I was checking out and noticed his post regarding a Paul Krugman column in the New York Times that revived the "Bush was AWOL from the National Guard" accusation in light of Bush's carrier landing/speech. I thought it was worth repeating, so I created my own post linking to Sullivan's. But I wasn't done. I'm a journalist. I had three questions Sullivan hadn't answered - questions, in fact, that it seems no one had yet answered in the coverage of Bush's National Guard service:
1. Was the Texas Air National Guard really a good place to avoid combat?
2. Was the Bush family name really so big back in 1968-73 that it would have helped Bush get a cushy and safe spot in the Guard? And, related to that, did the Bush family name by 1972 make it likely the Alabama colonel would've remembered Bush being on his base?
3. Is the lack of a paper trail for some parts of Bush's claimed service record all that extraordinary in the military?In other words, questions of context. So I started digging, using Google as my shovel, and I soon found out that Bush flew with the 111th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron, which was attached to the 147th Fighter Wing, based in Houston, Texas. From 1968 through 1970, pilots from the 147th participated in operation "Palace Alert" and served in Southeast Asia during the height of the Vietnam War. Bush enlisted on May 28, 1968 - when the unit he enlisted with had pilots flying combat missions in the skies over Vietnam.

Read more. (Link via Glenn Renynolds.)

Friday, May 09, 2003

Truly one of the dumber canards offered by scientists to the public is the assertion that given enough time a group of monkeys planted in front of a bunch of keyboards would eventually produce the works of William Shakespeare.

Well, a group of researchers at Plymouth University in England decided to check up on this, for artistic reasons more than anything else:

At first, said Phillips, "the lead male got a stone and started bashing the hell out of it.

"Another thing they were interested in was in defecating and urinating all over the keyboard," added Phillips, who runs the university's Institute of Digital Arts and Technologies.

Eventually, monkeys Elmo, Gum, Heather, Holly, Mistletoe and Rowan produced five pages of text, composed primarily of the letter S. Later, the letters A, J, L and M crept in.

This is what Hollywood has come to: you're Ving Rhames and you're Sarah Polley; you've both been in some of the best independent and A-List studio movies of the past decade and more.

And here you are, signing up to star in a remake of something that doesn't deserve to be remade: Dawn of the Dead?

Every year you think it can't get worse; that Hollywood can't become more pathetic in its pursuit of the safe buck, the guaranteed money-maker.

And every year they surprise you.

Time was, actors of Rhames' and Polley's caliber wouldn't be caught dead in this kind of movie, considering what it could do to their careers.

Now they can't afford not to be in this kind of swill.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Metropolitan? Sounds good to me:

"I dislike modern American liberalism very much...yet I am at ease in a roomful of New York liberals in a way that, to be truthful about it, I am not in a gathering of red-state evangelicals. Setting aside our actual opinions about this, that or the other, I am aware that in the first gathering I am among people with whom I have, at some level, a shared outlook; and in the second gathering, not."

Read more from John Derbyshire at NRO, describing the type of conservative he is. With some differences, I'd say it fits me like a glove as well.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

The Boston Globe is mounting a big campaign to have the Commonwealth of Massachusetts name the new downtown tunnel segment of Interstate 93 in memory of former U.S. and Mass. House Speaker Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. over Gov. Romney's designation of the I-93 section as Liberty Tunnel.

A few facts Democratic leaders at the State House and the newspaper's political and editorial writers might consider before jumping on the Tip bandwagon:

It was Tip O'Neill, as the congressman representing Cambridge and adjacent areas, who blocked the Inner Belt—an integral part of the massiive Federal Interstate highway construction program—thereby creating the necessity of the $16 billion depression of Boston's Central Artery.

The Inner Belt was part of the state's Master Highway Plan and called for construction of a circular roadway inside Route 128, extending from Melnea Cass Highway through the South End westward across the Charles River through part of Cambridge and Somerville, until its link-up with I-93 North. Construction of this Inner 128 combined with a Southwest Corridor that also succumbed to the O'Neill strategy, would have taken a tremendous car load off the Southeast Expressway and negated the need for depressing and completely rebuilding the Central Artery in Boston at a staggering $16 billion (and counting).

With Mike Dukakis, who never cared for motorists or their difficulties, in the Corner Office and Tip's son propped as lieutenant governor, it was easy for the speaker to scuttle part of the state's Master Plan even though only a few homes in his district would be taken in order to construct it.
The US military success has prompted some interesting thoughts from Michael Barone:

"One of the peculiar features of our country is that we produce incompetent 18-year-olds and remarkably competent 30-year-olds. Americans at 18 typically score lower on standardized tests than 18-year-olds from other advanced countries. Watch them on their first few days working at McDonald's or behind the counter in chain drugstores, and it's obvious that they don't really know how to make change or keep the line moving. But by the time Americans are 30, they are the most competent people in the world. They produce a stronger and more vibrant private-sector economy; they produce scientific and technical advances that lead the world; they provide the world's best medical care; they create the strongest and most agile military the world has ever seen. And it's not just a few meritocrats at the top: American talent runs wide and deep.

"Why? Because from the age of 6 to 18, our kids live mostly in what I call Soft America—the part of our society where there is little competition and accountability. In contrast, most Americans in the 12 years between ages 18 and 30 live mostly in Hard America—the part of American life subject to competition and accountability; the military trains under live fire. Soft America seeks to instill self-esteem. Hard America plays for keeps."

Monday, May 05, 2003

Joe Sciacca's column in this morning's Boston Herald about Saturday night's debate—if that's the way the Democratic Party would like to describe the word game its nine candidates for the 2004 Presidential nomination played in South Carolina—was one of, if not the best, he has ever written in his years at the bustling independent daily tabloid. The two-column head, Democratic Pack Running On Empty, which some unidentified (as they always are) copyreader put on his piece, said it all:

"They weren't on an aircraft carrier, but the nine Dedmocrats who want to take on George W. Bush were very much adrift on the open sea," Sciacca began.
He concluded with "You missed the first debate? So did the candidates." In between, he scalped Al Sharpton et alia in the 20-paragraph collectors' piece Bush & Co. should love and reprint.
Yesterday's Boston Sunday Globe Magazine whose full-page cover featured a gross illustration of President Bush's head was totally unlike and not befitting the handsome likeness he has. It will be interesting to follow the Globe's Sunday Magazine in the months ahead and see what the publisher and the Sunday editor decide to do about smiling Saddam Hussein in one of their upcoming Sunday spreads.

The more we learn about him and his horrendous death squads, the better Bush looks and is for sending the U.S. Marines and the rest of our great military into and over Iraq.

Any media observer with a minimum of half a brain, of course, knows what the Globe is and will be up to during the next 18 months as the gap to the 2004 Presidential race closes. Election of a Democrat—any Democrat, Al Sharpton included—is the goal of the far left wing of the Democratic Party. And the Globe with its big Sunday circulation as well as its owners, the New York Times, with their huge circulation, will be there with the left and all other liberal Democrats trying to torpedo the re-election of George Bush.

That's sbout as sure a certainty as identifying Funny Cide as the winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby Saturday.
There are some titans of 20th century American Literature that I have so far been remiss in reading. I have yet to crack Saul Bellow, I'm ashamed to admit. And there are other legendary novelists I have to catch up on.

Norman Mailer is not one of them.

Friday, May 02, 2003

Surprising bellyaching from both Glenn Reynolds and Andrew Sullivan about Bush's flight out to the carrier. Lighten up, guys! Those men and women have been at sea for almost longer than any other carrier—the Commander-in-Chief decides to extend them the courtesy of flying out to say thank you (add to that the fact the carrier was out of range of choppers, so how else was he supposed to get there?). What's the problem??

Michael Ledeen speaks for a lot of viewers I think in NRO:

"George W. is the most amazing president. How could anyone have imagined that such a man, who lacks all the credentials to conduct foreign policy (he hasn't traveled, he hasn't studied foreign cultures, he doesn't speak foreign languages, his knowledge of world history is skimpy, and he hasn't memorized the last decade of the New York Times) would turn out to have the best foreign-policy instincts imaginable? He reminds me more and more of Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan. He has the most important quality of a great leader: He instinctively finds the words to express what the American people believe. And his are simple words, not fancy ones.

What a pleasure."

What a pleasure indeed.