Chronicle of the Conspiracy
Thursday, April 14, 2005SOMETHING TELLS ME HE'S NOT KIDDING From Editor & Publisher, on a panel discussion about media bias:
One laugh came after [leftist hack and Soros lackey Eric] Alterman criticized New York Times columnist John Tierney for a piece he wrote during last summer’s Republican National Convention in which he made fun of Upper West Side shoppers and questioned whether they had examined their consciences. "I took this seriously," Alterman said. "It is an attack on people like us. It is OK all of a sudden to malign West Side elitist liberals like me."Thanks to reader Jameson Campaigne for the quote.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 6:36 PM | link
BETTER CALCULATIONS The Democrats' Social Security calculator turned out to be a fraud. Now here's the real deal, from Heritage.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:03 AM | link
WE ARE NOW ACCEPTING NOMINATIONS for Minister of Socialized Health Care. David Hogberg throws a small hat in the ring. Thanks to Jameson Campaigne for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 7:43 AM | link
SECOND DRAFT OF ENRON HISTORY Bob Musil, the Man Without Qualities, has been blogging a little more lately (we've missed him). There's an absolutely sensational post on the revisionist history of Enron -- rehabilitated by a New York Times reporter for his new book, no longer the criminal enterprise it was made out to be a couple years ago in the nation's "paper of record." Read the whole thing.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:48 AM | link
TABARROK MARGINALIZES DELONG Alex Tabarrok takes Brad DeLong down a few sizes (leaving a few to go), with a pointed refutation of DeLong's ill-informed critique of Hazlitt. Thanks to Perry Eidelbus for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:43 AM | link
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Since it opened, "Fahrenheit 9/11" has been a hit in both blue and red America, even at theaters close to military bases.Here's the truth, based on Nielsen numbers rather than Michael Moore's and the Democratic Party's press releases:
"[Fahrenheit 9/11] overperformed only in blue states, and even then only in the most urban parts of those blue states... It did very well in Canada. Fahrenheit 9/11 consistently overperformed in Canadian cities; without that boffo business, the film's gross would have been significantly smaller than it was. That's the upside of the story. The downside revealed by the Nielsen [movie sales] numbers is that Fahrenheit 9/11, far from being the runaway nationwide hit that [Michael] Moore claimed, underperformed in dozens of markets throughout red states and, most important -- as far as the presidential election was concerned -- swing states"...From Byron York's fantastic new book, The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:56 AM | link
PMA POST MORTEM Remember the Policy Analysis Market -- the idea of trading futures contracts on terrorist events? It always sounded like a good idea to me, something that would take advantage of the "wisdom of crowds" to bring the whole world into the intelligence-gathering process. But no -- the media was too interested in discrediting the Bush administration, so the idea was mocked into oblivion within minutes of its advent. Now the economist behind the idea -- Robin Hanson -- has published a paper analyzing the media lynch mob that tarred and feathered his project. His conclusion? Self-serving perhaps, but I have no dounbt that it's right: that well-informed fact-based media favored PAM, while ill-informed and opinion-based media opposed it. Here it is in his words:
We look at the impression given of PAM by five hundred media articles, and how that impression varied with eleven indicators of article information quality: mentioning an insider with firsthand knowledge, time since the firestorm began, article length, a news versus an opinion style, author gender and identification, and the awards, circulation, frequency, and topic specialties of the periodical. All eleven indicators individually predict more favorable impressions of PAM. Eight of them are significant and substantial in a multiple regression model, which predicts that a nine hundred word news article in an award-winning widely-read science and business publication a month later that mentioned an insider would give a solidly favorable impression of PAM, as would a similar thirty-five hundred word article today in a general publication.Reader Chris Masse -- who studies prediction markets -- notes the original research that Hanson did to determine the historical distribution of Pulitzer Prizes among various publications. Masse summarizes:
The top ten Pulitzer historical finalists are New York Times (140), Washington Post (92), Los Angeles Times (86), Philadelphia Inquirer (63), Wall Street Journal (53), Boston Globe (48), Chicago Tribune (47), St. Louis Post-Dispatch (26), Seattle Times (20), and Chicago Sun-Times (14).
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:05 AM | link
AND SPEAKING OF LAWN GNOMES... ...reader Jill Olson provides this analysis of Paul Krugman's official position on the Social Security crisis.
Update... Reader James Neel wonders,
So is the gnome attempting to hide (badly) from the issue?
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 9:02 AM | link
Tuesday, April 12, 2005I HAD THOUGHT MAYBE THE TRAVELOCITY LAWN GNOME Brian Wise at American Daily:
Enter Paul Krugman, who every time you see him looks more and more like the Unabomber’s little brother...
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 11:54 PM | link
THE SUN SHINES WITH FRIEDMAN From an interview with Nobel laureate Milton Friedman in the Jackson (Tennessee) Sun:
Thanks to reader Allen Prather for the link.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:03 AM | link
Monday, April 11, 2005VIVA COMPETITION AND CHOICE! A reader who prefers anonymity -- she's an MD PhD candidate at an Ivy League universiry -- writes in:
This particular line from Paul Krugman's column today struck me:"In health care, competition and personal choice can and do lead to higher costs and lower quality."The evidence is just the opposite. Take the pharmaceuticals market: competition between therapeutically equivalent products not only gives patients and docs choice among products (not all patients react the same to each drug, even if they are in the same class), but enables insurers to extract rebates from manufacturers-- which in theory are passed along to the insured as savings. This intense competition in a lucrative market also provides incentives to firms to invest in the R&D necessary for the next generation of drugs.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 1:37 PM | link
OUR TROOPS SUPPORT! A new paper from the Heritage Foundation concludes "that the tens of millions of U.S. troops deployed since 1950 have had a clear and positive impact in the countries where they have been welcome.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:52 PM | link
JOKE OF THE DAY
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:24 PM | link
I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THIS FREE SPEECH THING Check it out... courtesy of reader Irwin Chusid.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 11:23 AM | link
"MAY I STATE THE OBVIOUS?" A letter from a reader who prefers anonymity, too good to leave on our letters page -- concerning Paul Krugman's column of April 5 (which I commented on here):
May I state the obvious: Most of America’s great universities began as religiously affiliated schools. Centuries later, as most of them dropped their official religious ties, our great colleges remained heavily populated by conservative faculty and students until the final days of Nixon and the SDS. Is Krugman saying that Duke was poor academically until some uncertain date in the late 1970’s or 1980’s? Harvard? Princeton? Columbia? Exactly when did they become excellent, in his view? We can guess it’s roughly the same time period when conservatives (including much of each school’s most supportive alumni) would say the decline began.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 8:40 AM | link
MORE FROM THE STERILE CUCKOO Once again, Paul Krugman promises a something more than just carping. Following 700 words of just carping in today's New York Times column he concludes,
Of course, when he talks about "ideology" that has to be gotten "out of the way," he means any ideas or philosophies that disagree with his ideology. But no matter. Nothing from Krugman will be forthcoming on health care reform, just as nothing has ever come from Krugman's promise in his January 4 Times column to "suggest steps to strengthen the program."
Krugman is bereft of solutions. Only problems. He, like the Democratic Party he serves, is nothing but a sterile cuckoo.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 12:14 AM | link
Sunday, April 10, 2005JOKE OF THE DAY
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 5:04 PM | link
THAT'S TELLIN' 'EM!
Reader Lawrence Bower sent me a copy of a letter he's sending to all Congressional Republicans. It works for me!
April 11, 2005
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 5:02 PM | link
NIHILIST CRAP IN THE TIMES BOOK REVIEW Enter the word "defecation" in the search box on the web site of the New York Times, and you will come up with 21 hits stretching all the way back to 1997. The most recent one is from today's Sunday Book Review, a review by Vanity Fair contributing editor David Kamp of Ruth Reichl's memoir of her years as the Times' food critic -- Garlic and Sapphires. Kamp, who "is at work on a book about the American food world, to be published next year," begins his review with a quotation that would make you think he's chosen the wrong subject:
Kamp goes on to pooh-pooh (so to speak) not only the whole category of food writers, but in particular the zesty sense of life that Reich brings to Garlic and Sapphires and her previous book, Comfort Me With Apples. Kamp even dumps (as it were) on the expression on Reichl's face on the cover of the earlier book, describing it as showing "her mouth caught in an elastic, seemingly post-coital grin." Well, folks, here's the picture from the cover of that book. Is that "seemingly post-coital" to you? And does it matter?
Strangely, having expended the first long paragraph of the review in what Kamp probably regards as requisite post-modernist nihilisms, he goes on to speak very highly of Reichl and her book. But, apparently, just as the only way to get a conservatively slanted op-ed in the Times is to begin with a hundred words of "to be sure" Bush-bashing, so in the Book Review one must speak well of the life-affirming only after 100 words to remind the reader that life is death, and that joy is shit.
Update 2... We're big Reichl fans around my house, by the way. She's currently editor of Gourmet magazine, and has just compiled The Gourmet Cookbook -- from our personally inscribed copy of which I've made dozens of fantastic dishes. I very highly recommend it. Really. Best cookbook ever. And I personal guarantee that, if you follow the recipes therein, all your defecations will be noble.
Posted by Donald L. Luskin at 4:49 PM | link