‘Google’s nightmare: Facebook ‘Like’
Armchair Gen. Savin Hill reports in about the latest online war:
This is a sea change on the Web happening right now. 300 websites an hour are installing Facebook's "Like" tool. That number will rise. Mashable.com blithely refers to this as Facebook's attempt to dominate the world - and they are only half kidding. Google is no doubt very nervous about this, and they should be.
‘Mind over Money’
had a terrific show last night on how human emotions may influence all financial transactions -- whether buying a product when you’re sad or trading stocks amid market exuberance. Ultimately, it was a little depressing for two reasons: 1.) No amount of regulations can prevent another financial bubble, as long as humans are humans. 2.) There are still many people who believe markets are perfectly rational and need no regulation. … The most convincing part of ‘Mind over Money’ came when a University of Chicago instructor led students through a simple auction of U of C thermal coffee mugs. They were asked to put a value on the items. The average value: $6. A few minutes later, the ‘buyers’ were asked to put a resale price on their coffee mugs. The average asking price: $9. They had already become sentimentally attached to the mugs and their competitive instincts were up. So much for all the Harvard and MIT math whizzes trying to develop fancy algorithms to predict market forces.
'It’s never too early to play Gino'
The Celts were impressive
during the now-completed Heat series
. Now it’s on to Cleveland. Saturday. Time TBD. Message to NBA: Make it an early-evening start. Rituals must be followed. Pregame beer and barbecue, etc. … The Bruins are playing well. The Celts are playing well. They’re definitely filling a certain spring void.
The real Boston Tea Party -- and other tidbits
Here are some articles that caught my attention during the waning days of my vacation last week:
-- Jill Lepore
shows how protesters, whether on the left or right, have almost always mangled the meaning of the original Boston Tea Party.
-- Nobel prize winner and Harvard professor Amartya Sen
explains how Adam Smith's brilliant insights into the free-market system have been turned into purist dogma, allowing hucksters like Lloyd Blankfein to spout nonsense about doing "God's work" and how regulating his industry will "hurt America."
-- Speaking of Goldman Sachs, Frank Rich
tore into the firm over the weekend. Fun read. No pity for Goldman if the SEC's fraud charge doesn't stick. The firm wouldn't be around today if it weren't for the trillions of taxpayer dollars pumped into the financial system over the past two years. That's
the real fraud.
-- Robert Campbell
is disappointed with our banal Greenway. I've ranted about the same thing in the past. But Campbell, obviously, says it better.
-- Tom Wolfe on Mark Twain
. He seems to think Twain's move to Hartford was some sort of betrayal. But most great writers weren't/aren't what they seemed. The miracle is how they got in the heads of others, sort of like method acting, and then brilliantly conveyed it to others. So the folksy Twain, who never tried to hide his societal ambitions, longed to hobnob with the Eastern elite. What of it? We probably wouldn't have 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court'
if he hadn't. We also wouldn't have 'Innocents Abroad'
if he hadn't hobnobbed with Quakers for what surely must have been the longest year of his life.
-- New Hampshire's Charlie Bass
is walking a fine line between following his moderate instincts and pandering to the reality of today's Republican Party.
on the latest attempt to get around Proposition 2 1/2. They'll be back. Pols have to feed the beast. See post immediately below.
Outlawing public unions
It needed to be said
– and it needs to be considered. The same thought of outlawing public unions came to me last week after Boston firefighters were awarded their now infamous 19 percent pay increase – in the middle of what should be called the Great Private Sector Recession -- and the realization that the city council is likely do nothing. Even if the council manages to summon the courage to do the right thing, their first inclination was to bow to their new masters. An ‘oligopolistic’ relationship between public unions and lawmakers exists – and we all know it.
Changing the Goldman Sachs mindset
Setting aside valid concerns
about possible legal overreach by the SEC, Michael Lewis says
the Goldman Sachs case has already had a salutary public effect:
Just as there was a time when people could smoke on airplanes, or drive drunk without guilt, there was a time when a Wall Street bond trader could work with a short seller to create a bond to fail, trick and bribe the ratings agencies into blessing the bond, then sell the bond to a slow-witted German without having to worry if anyone would ever know, or care, what he'd just done. That just changed.
‘How public employees became members of the elite class’
The emerging American class system: 1.) The Wall Street connected. 2.) Government employees
. 3.) The rest of us. … Via John
Patriots Day snoozers
Tall Reader takes on some Patriots Day traditions:
You know I love the Herald. But can we agree that, notwithstanding today’s headline, marathon fever is NOT gripping the Hub.
Where that fever coincided with the running boom of the late 70’s, it has long since abated. Now the marathon is institutionalized for tourists, the way the freedom trail is, or Old Ironsides.
Sox fever is abating quickly too – for obvious reasons. But also, after the second ring, the energy left the room. Remember after Boone’s home run, the mania for the '04 season. Now, nothing like that fervor can last forever, but not only is this team weak, we don’t have the personalities and characters we engage in. Was dumping the idiots such a great marketing move? We don’t watch baseball for the sport – at least I don’t - rather we follow it for the drama that people we feel like we know are involved in, nightly. And I submit we don’t have that connection with this bunch of uninteresting losers, so far anyway.
One down, two to go
Charlie Baker’s hip check
to Chrysty Mihos doesn’t fundamentally change the gubernatorial election in Massachusetts. Everyone knew Mihos was dead in the water even before yesterday’s Republican convention
. So Baker’s “back” to where he was on Friday: A three-way race that favors Deval -- with Cahill showing no signs of dropping out. …
'I watched and said, ‘Oh, man, he’s done’
The key to the Celts' playoff hopes: KG
. ... Even though he's been here only three years, he's already one of my all-time favorite Celtics. But he's got to pick it up, if possible, for this is probably the last season this group will be playing together. This could be their '69 season
. ... Here's a good report card
on the Celts as they start the playoffs tonight. I haven't been into the team too much this year. They've been too lackluster and unpredictable. But I'm psyched about the playoffs. ... P.S. - Is it my imagination, or is the NBA playoffs starting early this year?
‘Doomed the moment they were made’
Re the Goldman Sachs fraud charge: Joe Nocera hits one out of the park
. … It’ll make you think twice about the alleged heroes in Gregory Zuckerman’s ‘The Greatest Trade Ever’ and Michael Lewis’s ‘The Big Short.’ They were all gamblers in the same casino – gambling with what turned out to be our money.
Speaking of casinos, the SEC basically is accusing Goldman of stacking the deck. Reading Joe’s column and its Michael Lewis reference, I had flashbacks to the time when, soon after college in the mid ‘80s, I played a drinking card game with some friends. I lost big time, though the pattern of my losses wasn’t discernable at the time. Only later did I learn my friends had carefully and lovingly stacked four different card decks, laughing away at the mere thought of each pre-arranged shot I’d have to take. Right about the same time, Lewis was researching his future ‘Liar’s Poker’
classic about Wall Street. I never dreamed I’d one day be making a three-way mental connection between my legendary card game, ‘Liar’s Poker’ and Goldman Sachs. But there it is – and it’s quite apt.
Alert: Pseudo-sophisticated sociological mumbo jumbo III
Reader A is also scratching his head over the NYT's Tea Party piece
The NY Times Tea Party story is certainly very odd. It seems to plunge us into the sociopolitical debates of the 1950s and 1960s, when European exile sociologists like Paul Lazarsfeld attributed not only European fascism but also American movements such as Populism and McCarthyism to manipulation of the ignorant masses, while America historians led by Richard Hofstadter pointed to the "status anxiety" of declining elites as the mainspring of protest and reform. (Alan Wolfe of BC makes this point, in a way, in his comments on the Times website.)
The question of the nature of the Tea Party movement -- broad-based uprising or old white right-wingers complaining about taxes? -- is a real one, so I'm not sure this is approach exactly illegitimate. It would be fine in the New York Review of Books, but on the front page of the New York Times it amounts to burying the lede.
Alert: Pseudo-sophisticated sociological mumbo jumbo, II
Bert makes some good points about the post below:
I agree the 75% needs to be remembered. Even though the 25% is more than double the national average of 11 (which in itself is a bit worrisome), it’s not evidence that the group is necessarily dominated by racists. I wouldn’t obsess over the race issue with them, but I’d keep a very close eye out for it.
Do the “more wealthy and more educated” findings take some of the zing out of GOP taunts of Dems/Liberals as ivory tower elitists? Or is there statistical reason to believe anyone involved in ANY political movement/organization has more money and education than those who don’t participate? I’d guess there would be.
It takes some of the zing out of it, but not a lot. The findings are simply not that surprising.
Alert: Pseudo-sophisticated sociological mumbo jumbo
My initial reaction to a suggested 2012 Romney-Palin ticket
: Oh God. Please. No. The country can't take it. Margery
had a nearly identical reaction. … But the post-rally head-scratching story of the day
goes to the NYT, whose lead on the findings of a Tea Party survey goes thusly:
Tea Party supporters are wealthier and more well-educated than the general public, and are no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll.
It’s the second clause (“no more or less afraid of falling into a lower socioeconomic class”) that gets me. It’s utterly meaningless. But then it hit me: It’s a dreaded Sociological Journalism Story
, hauled out by journalists whenever they can’t make heads or tails of an issue. The story doesn’t really say anything new that most of us hadn’t already deduced about the Tea Party movement, unless you’re shocked and frightened to learn that Tea Partiers “tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.” (I’d love to hear their definition of “tend,” since most of the local Tea Partiers I’ve talked to are women.) …
There is one intriguing stat from the poll: “25 percent think that the administration favors blacks over whites — compared with 11 percent of the general population.” OK, now we’re on to something. I got some on-air grief on Kevin’s show
the other night (from a few callers, not Kevin, who’s always a friendly and gracious host) when I dared suggest that, yes, there is an element of racism running through the Tea Party movement, though I emphasized that the majority of TPs aren’t racist. Now we have some broad statistical parameters to work with. That 25-percent number is disturbing. But don’t forget the other 75 percent, please. ...
The Snub, Part III
writes in (with his permission to post):
If tea partiers are upset about being "caricatured" as fruitcakes, racists, and cranks, then they need to start by loudly and actively distancing themselves from people like Mark Williams. If they are afraid to do so, then they get what they deserve.
Compare to Obama's Jeremiah Wright situation: He had the choice of sticking with a guy who said some loony and offensive things, or cutting him loose and disavowing the craziness. Obama did the right thing (eventually). That was reassuring to a lot of people.
If guilt-by-association is unfair, then let's see some clear daylight between the sane folks and the crazy ones.
I agree that Mark Williams is a nut, and there should be clearer daylight between him and the sane Tea Party folks -- just as there should be clearer daylight between the crazy ones and sane folks at left-wing rallies where the sitting president of the United States is referred to as a Nazi, Reichstag-burning dictator, etc., etc.
Bert also throws down the rally-coverage gantlet:
Tell me you’ll attend (tomorrow’s) Teabagger rally and will do an in depth review/mockery, as you did with the anti-war rally. I’m hoping you’ll ignore their sincere intentions and focus on the “fringiness” of the crowd like you did in 2003. Please use that post as a guide.
For the record, I think Margery is largely right in her column and might have done a similar column in 2003 in regards to the sincere intent of the core folks staging the anti-war rally. I don’t have a problem with your 2003 post, just curious to see if you view/report today’s event with the same level of snark.
Hub Blog’s response: 1.) I was unemployed in March 2003. I now have a job. No time to cover the Tea Party rally tomorrow. But I'm sure there will be nut cases there. 2.) My 'snark' coverage of the 2003 rally was precisely to make the point that the fringes were NOT being covered by the MSM. I ranted against the biased coverage of anti-war rallies in general before
the 2003 rally, the day of
the 2003 rally, and the day after
the 2003 rally. Notice in the local media's 2003 coverage how there were no mention of the very obvious leftist affiliations of most of the protesters, only mentions of “peace activists” and concerned citizens, blah, blah, blah. The coverage pulled political punches. But, whoa, when a right-wing group holds a rally on Boston Common, suddenly the political affiliations are clear, the fringe groups get mentioned, the Hitler references are cited, the wing-nut radicals spotlighted, etc. Kind of makes you wonder about biases, doesn’t it?
The Snub, Part II
is turning out to be the Tea Partiers' best friend. He's so bad, so snobby, so arrogant, no one's stopped to think he could be a double-secret agent for Tea Partiers, pretending to infiltrate and humiliate the Tea Party movement, when in fact he's in the process of infiltrating and humiliating the left by acting as their alleged chief anti-Tea Party organizer and spokesman.
Leave it to the paranoid right
to not see the opportunities presented by the Jason Levins of the world. ... Saboteurs.
Michelle et gang love using that word. Saboteurs.
Both sides are on the frontlines of a culture war that the rest of us can't comprehend! ... Margery
nails it this morning. To a degree, so does Mayor Menino
. The majority of Tea Partiers are good people. But they definitely have a large minority of freaks within their movement, though the nuts will have to turn out in truly large numbers tomorrow to match the freak show I saw on the Common seven years ago
. ... Republicans continue their pre-rally scramble
Lehman Brothers’ solution to those pesky questions from investors, clients and regulators: Move loans to shadow entities
not mentioned in those pesky financial statements. … Many banks still use the same accounting tricks. Isn’t it nice to know that you don’t know?
So Scott Brown isn’t attending
this week’s conservative Tea Party rally in Boston. Maybe he wants to distance himself from the fringe groups – and that’s a good idea. Despite what Tea Party members think, they didn’t elect Brown. Independents did. But there might be two other factors behind the snub: 1.) Sarah Palin. 2.) Mitt Romney. The Palin-Romney rivalry hasn’t suddenly disappeared. Mitt helped get Brown elected. Brown could be (and probably is) returning one of many favors he owes Romney. …
P.S. – Kevin
and I were talking about the Tea Party rally last night on his ‘RKO show, including the “litmus test” of who may or may not show at the rally, assuming there is a rally this week. The Tea Party is so decentralized, with multiple factions and cliques, that it all could be a mirage.Update
– The moonbats are getting revved up
for this week’s rally. It’ll make for an interesting day: All the freaks together. Each side convinced the other side is full of hate and evil intent, etc., etc. … Another good reason for Brown to avoid the rally. … BTW: I was called a “moonbat” last night on Kevin’s show for daring to suggest that there were some racist elements within the Tea Party movement (not a majority – just an ‘element’). I suppose it’s only a matter of time before I’m called a hatemonger by some lefties for not believing that the Tea Party is the second coming of Nazi Germany.
It used to be called the VIP treatment.
‘To the oppression of Southern slaveholding states’
Perhaps Virginia Gov. Robert McDonnell
should have reread his state’s original 1861 proclamation of secession
before jumping too fast into issuing a Confederate History Month proclamation without mentioning the word “slavery.” … There it is, governor, the first sentence in the first paragraph of the original article of secession, the part about the “oppression of Southern slaveholding states.” It was “significant” enough then to focus on. But it wasn’t significant enough to focus on today? …
FYI: Other states
, like Virginia, prominently referred to the issue of slavery in their secession proclamations. But most didn’t. Alabama first railed
against the tyranny of Abraham Lincoln’s democratic election as president and the threat a democratic election posed to ‘domestic institutions.’ The word ‘slaveholding’ doesn’t appear until the fourth paragraph, in the sentence about how it wanted to meet with other “slaveholding States of the South” about forming a new government, one presumably built on the proposition that it’s permissible to take up the bayonet when you lose at the ballot box. …
FYI II: The majority of Northern people, especially those in Boston
, should show a little more humility when it comes to lectures about race issues, considering how far the South has come in race relations compared to the North. But if McDonnell wants to tap into the romanticized neo-Confederate sentiments held by a diminishing minority in his state, then he’s just asking to get dumped on. …
We’re No. 26!
After years of being “one of the worst cities for cycling," Boston is now moving up in the rankings
. Brighton Reader notes:
Boston now earns the 26th spot in a survey of the 50 best cities in the US for cyclists. Menino bikes. Maybe if we could get the mayor to pick up a book, he would keep branch libraries open.
‘Slide for Baker and gains for Cahill’ equals …
A lead for Deval.
… Not too surprising. Cahill’s third-party candidacy is killing Baker. But it also helps that Deval is getting his act together.
He seems more politically confident and competent these days. Nothing focuses a pol’s attention more than the prospect of a humiliating re-election defeat.
'A good time to take stock of the lessons'
Here's an interesting lessons-learned column
on the financial crisis, now that the economy seems to have stabilized a bit. ... My worry is that one orthodoxy will be replaced with another orthodoxy. Keep two things in mind moving forward: 1.) Economic theories that guided policymakers over the past three decades did, in fact, lead to historically (and once unthinkably) low unemployment and inflation rates. 2.) The theories crashed in the end and required massive government intervention. So a lesson that I hope has been learned is: Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. ... Another lesson: Supply-side economics and Keynesian economics are kissing cousins of each other. Both rely on national debt, initially, to finance them.
‘Obama mission: Saving Gov. Patrick’
: “The intense White House interest in the Massachusetts election is more than just business — it’s personal.” … Looks like I’m leading in the Obama-to-the-rescue betting pool
, though some could argue O’s trip to Boston last week wasn’t technically for Deval. I see another fundraising trip here this summer (disguised as a weekend MV vacation), followed by a more formal campaign stop in October. ... I should have gone the other way on the betting-pool tie breaker. Deval's going to need all the help he can get, though I've been impressed with his campaigning of late.
Easter Sunday Sports
After yesterday’s Celtics win
and the Sox comeback
, a new tradition of Easter Sunday Sport may have been born in Boston. It almost felt like Patriots Day. … Star of the day: Ray Allen
. They’ve got to find a way to loosen up the offense to take full advantage of Ray.
'If you like the concept, you’ll love the machine'
A split-personality review
of the iPad. Guess which category I fall in. Hint: I like the concept. … The cellular feature sounds great:
By tapping a button in Settings, you can order up a month of unlimited cellular Internet service for $30. Or pay $15 for 250 megabytes of Internet data; when it runs out, you can either buy another 250 megs, or just upgrade to the unlimited plan for the month. Either way, you can cancel and rejoin as often as you want — just March, July and November, for example — without penalty. The other carriers are probably cursing AT&T’s name for setting this precedent. Update
- 4.5.10 -- Jeff
makes a good case why I shouldn't like the concept.
Breaking up banks … and dogma
This is pretty significant
: Arnold Kling, a Cato Institute scholar writing in the National Review, calls for breaking up the big banks. Think about it: A libertarian scholar writing in a conservative magazine is calling for government intervention in the markets. It’s good news for those of us who want to kill off the Pretend Capitalism system we have now. …
It’s been interesting to follow recent economic debates over on the right. One side wants to hammer all facts into the narrow confines of their government-is-to-blame dogma, i.e., the CRA, Federal Reserve, Barney Frank, Fannie Mae, etc. caused our recent financial woes. But those on the other side, like Kling, recognize that facts can’t be hammered into nice, neat ideological boxes. Hub Blog a while back talked about the economic contradictions
Stick with the current system – and keep bailing out the plutocrats via government intervention. Change the current system – and stop bailing out the plutocrats via government-intervention corrections.
Both options require government intervention. The laissez-faire argument is blown out of the water when you realize these are the choices moving forward.
‘Ah, the 70s...’
on Bernie Carbo’s '75 pre-game training regimen
Substitute ballpahk with sixth period English and I think Bernie Carbo just described my senior year of high school.
I had the same reaction.
'Mitt Romney, Liberal Icon'
Stick knife in.
Twist. Pull knife out slowly. Very slowly.