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April 08, 2005

Friedman's new book

Has anyone read it yet? I'm curious if the wholly-discredited tale of the fabulously wealthy t-shirt entrepreneur was ressurected. (If you don't remember that one, click here. It's a great story.)

...the entrepreneur himself sends an update:

I sure hope the t-shirt story isn't in Friedman's book.  I'd hate to have to buy a copy!   As for t-shirt sales, I ended up selling about 25 of the "My Job Went To India" shirts.  Most of those were a result of your blog and some residuals links.  I think I netted around $35, which I guess is the new definition of "fabulously wealthy."   Since the original Friedman article, my job at Charles Schwab DID go to India.  Unable to find work as a mainframe programmer, I've returned to school to learn to be an Xray Technician, which will pay about half the pay I had been earning as a programmer.   Oh well, as long as I have $35 in my pocket, I'll have a positive outlook.

His shirts are here. And if you have absolutely no idea what any of this is about, I do encourage you to click on the other link. Because this guy exemplifies the future that Friedman is so excited about.


I was trying to explain the whole Powerline/Schiavo memo thing to my wife, who pays a healthy, which is to say, minimal amount of attention to the incessant chatter of the blogs. Short version: somebody spoon fed these guys something tasty once, and now they think they're master chefs.

Ezra has the longer version:

Powerline, we must begin to understand, has no fucking idea what they're talking about at any given moment. Once upon a time, some GOP operative sent by the Ghost of Nixon got something right for them in the Free Republic comments section, and ever since then the homo-erotically named bloggers over there have thought his success their own and tried to get a bunch of other Important Stories About Treasonous Democrats right too. But they don't. Reading their site is like watching a blind child in a dog park -- you keep trying to warn him not to step in the piles of shit, but you're never able to get there quite quick enough. They want to make a point on Carter and end up calling him a traitor -- ooh, all over your shoe! They want to attack the AP but end up proving themselves utterly ignorant of how cameras work -- damn, you got it on your sock! They try to accuse Democrats of faking the Schiavo memo until an aide to current Republican Senator and Bush's former HUD Secretary Mel Martinez admits to writing it -- Agh, it's all over you!

* * *

Also, a heads up: the Press Club panel with Wonkette, Yglesias and Gannon/Guckert is being repeated on CSpan2 at 8pm tonight. It's apparently quite the laff riot.


I actually lived there, for three years in the early seventies--right at the height of the oil embargo. Spent a lot of time with my mom waiting in gas lines. The six inch long flying cockroaches made quite an impression too, as did the constant reports of alligators and walking catfish climbing out of the canals that cut through many back yards. Even with all of that, I should say that I was quite taken with it all--to a wide-eyed midwestern kid it was pretty extraordinary to have a palm tree out front and an orange tree in the back and a friend (whose family was, like ours, lower middle class at best) with a swimming pool. Not to mention the temperate weather on Christmas day.

Anyway, several readers (including blogger edwardpig) note that reality has outpaced this week's cartoon:

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) - People in Florida will be allowed to kill in self-defense on the street without trying to flee under a new law passed by state politicians on Tuesday that critics say will bring a Wild West mentality and innocent deaths.

The Florida House of Representatives, citing the need to allow people to "stand their ground," voted 94-20 to codify and expand court rulings that already allow people to use deadly force to protect themselves in their homes without first trying to escape.

The new bill goes further by allowing citizens to use deadly force in a public place if they have a reasonable belief they are in danger of death or great bodily harm. It applies to all means of force that may result in death, although the legislative debate focused on guns.

Okay, then.

In other Florida news, reader Richard M. sends this photo of the mermaids (and mermen, apparently) at Weeki Wachi performing what is presumably their post-9/11 finale--an underwater "Tribute to America" featuring Lee Greenwood's ubiquitious "Proud to be an American."

The memo

Well, gosh, whaddya know--the Terri Schiavo strategy memo was real after all. Here's an instructive look at how stupid ideas jump from the blogs to the right wing pundits to allegedly serious journalists like Howard Kurtz.


April 06, 2005

Moron of the day

Byron York.

As Atrios notes:

...the book's extended title is even more ridiculous:"How [assorted evil liberals] Tried to Bring Down a President and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next time."

Well, "next time" presumably is 2008, at which point unless there are some constitutional amendments pending that I'm not aware of, we won't be trying to "bring down a president" through that subversive communist activity known as an "election" because he'll be term-limited out.

The "vast right wing conspiracy" was a term used to describe all the backroom players who were trying to destroy Clinton by various devious methods behind the scenes. Judging the book by its cover--admittedly something one is often advised not to do-- the "vast left wing conspiracy" appears to be a term used to describe various citizens who are deviously making movies and publishing websites and broadcasting radio shows in an underhanded attempt to sway people through the force of their arguments.


April 05, 2005

Email from overseas

A philosopher agrees:

As someone who gets paid to do philosophy, I have to say that I have no favourite philosopher. Indeed, I consider asking about a favourite philosopher (as well as having one) the sign of a dilettante. If someone asked me who was my favourite philosopher I, probably, would also stumble (dumbfounded by the inaneness of the question) and then would try to end the conversation.

Mister McBobo strikes again


A year ago I called the head of a prominent liberal think tank to ask him who his favorite philosopher was. If I'd asked about health care, he could have given me four hours of brilliant conversation, but on this subject he stumbled and said he'd call me back. He never did.

Let me say up front that I think the question is pretty obnoxious no matter who's asking it, and says more about the self-satisfied upper class elitism of the questioner than anything else. Nonetheless, it's bizarre for David Brooks to bring this one up as a way of whacking liberals over the head, given that the most famous answer to that question in modern times was George W. Bush's faltering "Jesus, because he changed my life" bit--and that's certainly the first thing that will spring to mind for 99% of people reading the column. Everybody misses the obvious now and again, but Brooks is really in a class of his own when it comes to this sort of cluelessness. And every column he writes, he just seems to dig himself in a little bit deeper.

(Semi-related note: like a lot of Bushisms, that answer is best described by a British term I ran across recently--it's "dog whistle politics", meaning that it sends out a signal that's only intended to be heard by a certain segment of the audience.)

Also: I don't know enough about Brooks' history to know if this is a standard part of his bio, but in the same column, he mentions in an offhand way:

If I were a liberal, which I used to be...

...which explains a lot: he's a Yoosta Bee. (Though unlike most Yoosta Bees, he freely acknowledges that he is, in fact, a partisan Republican--give him that much...)


Classified ads are live (over in the right hand sidebar).


April 04, 2005

Site business

You'll notice from the house ads that the shop has been updated. Posters are mainly there by popular demand--they're a very low-profit item for me, and reformatting the files is a pain in the ass, but a whole lot of you have requested them, so there they are. My gift to you. Pillows just struck me as funny. I don't usually keep a lot of my own artwork around the house--oddly enough, I don't find it relaxing to be surrounded by too many reminders of work and deadlines--but I'll probably get a couple of these for my own couch.

Other bidness: ad revenue has really dried up since the election, so I've lowered my prices a bit. Also, I'm adding classified ads to the right hand sidebar. (Should show up as soon as BlogAds processes whatever it is they need to process.) These will be text only and very cheap.

(Good months, I hope to earn a few extra dollars from this site, but even during the slow months, I'd like to at least cover the hosting costs. Which are probably too high--I moved to a high traffic plan when I was getting whacked on bandwidth awhile back--but I don't have the time to deal with moving the site again right now.)

Tomorrow's the birthday, hitting the double-four. Thanks again to everyone who sent something off the wish list. It is much appreciated.


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