Saturday, September 18, 2010


This response from Brad Delong to a "rich" guy bitching about his tax exposure is pure gold:

He and his wife deserve to be successful. And he knows people who are successful. But he is not one of them--widening income inequality over the past generation has excluded him from the rich who truly have money.

And this makes him sad. And angry. But, curiously enough, not angry at the senior law firm partners who extract surplus value from their associates and their clients, or angry at the financiers, but angry at... Barack Obama, who dares to suggest that the U.S. government's funding gap should be closed partly by taxing him, and angry at the great hordes of the unwashed who will receive the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security payments that the government will make over the next several generations.

Do I wish that Professor Henderson had a little more self-knowledge? Yes. Is it pathetic that somebody with nine times the median household income thinks of himself as just another average Joe, just another "working American"? Yes. Do I find it embarrassing that somebody whose income is in the top 1% of American households thinks that he is not rich? Yes. Will I ever read his "truth on the market" weblog again? Very doubtful--I read too many people already who are either trying to lie to me or deceiving themselves about how the world works.

Do I hope to educate him so that he has a better grasp on reality and better understanding of America and of public policy? Yes. But I am not holding my breath.
Nor am I.

The stark correlation between "right winger" and "people who are willing to believe untrue things" continues to expand.

Media Bias Versus Author Hyperbole

Curious to see if Dan Simmons was still a right-wing nut, I went over to his official author forum and sure enough...he still is. Now consider, Dan is a best-selling, award-winning, college educated, quite intelligent, very talented man. And yet, he still says things like this:
To me, the last 20 months of worshipful coverage of All Things Obama on major media from NPR through CNN, MSNBC, and the three dinosaur broadcast networks has been like suddenly living in a nation with government-controlled media.
For a sophisticated guy, this is remarkably unsophisticated media commentary.

While I'm surprised that Simmons didn't mention the New York Times, I'm not surprised that he exempted Fox News from his "major media" criticism. If there's one thing wingnuts love more than complaining about media bias, it's embracing it.

This is why the people moaning about the "mainstream media" or, as Simmons calls it here the "major media," never mention Fox News, despite Fox's oft-quoted ratings success. After all, if we were to go by audience size rather than ideological affiliation, there is no more "major" cable news network than Fox News. They routinely draw more viewers on a nightly basis than CNN and MSNBC combined.

But terms like "major media" or "mainstream media" are just euphemisms for "media outlets I don't like." Indeed, if you substitute that phrase into the above quoted sentence, you won't be radically altering the meaning of it; you'll just be making it more honest.

Aside from the tiresome "not biased in my direction" complaints about media bias, Simmons includes a howler about "government-controlled media" at the end that sounds like little more than a Pavlovian spasm of Tea Party nonsense.

First, I doubt that Simmons has ever lived "in a nation with government-controlled media," although I do acknowledge it's possible that he has visited one. I know he did travel to Romania in the 90s for research purposes, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that an American traveling through post-Communist Romania isn't going to get the full "government-controlled media" experience.

So when Simmons says that the US media today is "like suddenly living in a nation with government-controlled media," he's not exactly making a comparison based on experience. Indeed, he's playing the old "Not right wing? Then it's SOCIALIST!" game familiar to wingnuts from New York to California.

After all, how do privately owned, investor financed, independently operated companies remind Dan Simmons of "government-controlled media?" Oh, that's right, the "20 months of worshipful coverage of All Things Obama."

Now leaving aside the indisputable fact that not all coverage of "All Things Obama" has been, ahem, "worshipful" from the hated non-Fox news outlets, my question for Simmons is why does this remind you of "government-controlled media?" Shouldn't it remind you of Fox News during the George W. Bush era?

Scratch that. The question is rhetorical. This statement from Dan Simmons is not the work of a cogent, fair-minded observer. It's the work of a hyperbolic, close-minded crank.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Perhaps the only thing funnier than watching Machete would be watching a right-winger watch Machete. Will they get the joke? Or will they get offended?

Looking for the trailer on Youtube, I found a video of Alex Jones ranting about how Machete wants to start a race war. No, Machete wants to take some of your money and give you a good laugh or five.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Libertarians are Dumb Part 3423556

Here's Reason's Nick Gillespie creaming his pants over the latest Halo release. The headline:
Movie Openings Are So Lame: "Halo: Reach" Pulls $200 Million on First Day of Release
"That's pretty impressive, ain't it?" Gillespie asks.

Yeah, it is. But the "movie openings are so lame" crack? Not so impressive.

Not every game is a Halo game and not every day is a Halo release day. On the contrary, new movies open every Friday. And while it's rare to make $200 million in a single day, hit movies do that quite easily within a few weeks.

Here's the box office for September, so far:
Notice how the big movies so far are an R-rated George Clooney thriller and the 4th movie in the Resident Evil franchise. (In other words, not Hollywood's "A game.")

Seems like movies are still opening quite well, making millions just like they do every weekend. Not only that, but movies have something that Xbox video games don't have: a pretty lucrative after-market.

Once the box-office returns are counted, they'll count the DVD sales. The cable contracts. The overseas box office.

10 years from now, people will still be watching Resident Evil: Afterlife. But nobody's going to be playing this Halo game. They'll be playing some other Halo game on some other platform.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Toolbox

Yesterday at work I was going to the fridge hidden in the dark behind our equipment racks and slammed shin-first into a toolbox. A fucking black toolbox, sitting right there in the path, no reflectors or nothing.

The sound my leg made slamming into it made everyone in the room jump. I think I might have even heard a yelp.

The pain was instantaneous and it continues, but I think damage was minimal. Oh yeah, there's a scrape and a nice little knot, but the good news is that I only limp when I'm trying to keep ice in my sock.

Walking into a toolbox in the dark? Dumb move.

A Horse Called Golgotha

This is the worst video this side of 1990, but it's a great song by Baroness. I'm telling you, metal heads. This band is the real deal. The video...put it on, then minimize this window. Seriously, it's ridiculous.

Musically, this song is complex (count the parts --I dare ya) but lyrically it's very simple. My favorite part:
The stained horizon
Ablaze (with) revolvers
Stampedes and bridles
Sounds like the Wild Bunch.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Football Fantasy

It was a bad day in Bronco country, but a good day for me. Both of my fantasy teams handily beat their opponents. In one league, I won by 13 points. In another, I won by 60.

(Yes, 60.)

Now if I can just make a season out of it...

The Broncos, unfortunately, continue their descent into gimmicky shit that doesn't work. I wasn't too hurt when they drafted Tim Tebow. Dumb move, I'd say, but not a disaster.

Give him a few years of development and maybe he'll be able to handle a starting job. But it doesn't look like that's what Coach McDaniels wants to do. They want to incorporate him immediately into the scheme.

The result, two runs for two yards and an interception. That's a nice 0.0 quarterback rating, a solid F. When he was in, he was ineffective or disastrous. There was no middle ground.

I can't blame Tebow. It was his first regular season game ever. I blame coach. Could this be his last year?

God, I hope so...