The parallels are eerie: Digital Equipment Corp. missed the
PC revolution; Microsoft misses the digital mobile revolution. Digital tried to
regroup with some genuinely good products; Microsoft has tried to regroup with
some genuinely good products. But it was too little too late for Digital. Is it
too little too late for Microsoft? You have to wonder.
Fyi: The embedded video is from a late ‘90s commercial for
DEC’s notebook product, either shortly before or after the firm was purchased by Compaq. DEC also came
out with a damn good search engine for its time and a chip that was also ahead
of its time. But it was all about catching up to the competition. And it never
truly caught up.
Student loan insanity This is nuts. Absolutely nuts. People paying off student loans into their 60s and for the rest of their lives? ... They've got to put a cap on the amount of loans people can get -- or do something. It's madness.
¶ 3:02 PM
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The Petraeus Scandal: There's a Monica Lewinsky angle!
Hopelessly confused by the Petraeus Scandal? Can't tell the difference between the Lady in Yellow and the Julia Louis-Dreyfus Lookalike Mistress? Desperately need a protagonists scorecard? Join the club! ... But Henry Blodgett has performed a great public service by putting together a one-stop, bullet-by-bullet recap of the drama as it's so far unfolded. ... By God, think I'm going to get hooked on this one. There's even a Monica Lewinsky angle, sort of, if you count Monica's former attorney being involved in the case as an angle -- and I do! ... It's all so sad. It really is. And pathetic it. It's a disgrace. I deplore it. ... Just keep giving me more of the gossip! ...
With people like Bobby Jindal urging change, maybe there's hope yet that conservatism can be rescued from the 'conservative movement.' ... Hub Blog and Reader No. 1 have been exchanging emails on this subject since the election: Can Republican conservatism reform itself? I still have my doubts. Their partisanship and principals are so interwoven that they can't distinguish between the two. It's their Gordian knot. They need power to implement their principles, so they adopt hyper partisanship as a means of achieving those principles. But the hyper partisanship in pursuit of power ends up trumping the principles. They simply won't crack down on the loudmouths and crazies and buffoons in the movement. It's ironically quasi Leninist: Any enemy of their enemy is a friend. In many ways, it's ultimately a tactical problem that's hurting their cause. They just don't see it. ... Conservatism desperately needs its own Sister Souljah Moment.
¶ 1:20 PM
Monday, November 12, 2012
'I mean Jeezus!'
Brighton Reader, who's an experienced campaign hand, marvels at how wretchedly bad Project ORCA turned out:
election day operations sound like a disaster. His volunteers deserved much,
much better. The whole thing, from the secret website no one could try out
ahead of time, to having everything directed from Boston, no one answering the
phone, I mean Jeezus! I have worked on campaigns using index cards and lists of
voters that were marked off manually and it worked very well. Even the name
ORCA sounds ridiculous. Talk about a beached whale.
when those staffers were ordering up a fireworks display, didn't they remember
Red Auerbach's famous words after the Celts beat the Lakers in 1969 NBA finals?
Something about balloons?
Trouble at the Garden No, not the Celtics. Instead, the Globe has a terrific pieceon the Romney campaign’s crashing “ORCA”
system on election day at the Garden:
TD Garden, where 800 Romney workers were staffing phones and computers in
coordination with the field workers to oversee the turnout, the surge in
traffic was so great that the system didn’t work for 90 minutes, causing panic
as staffers frantically tried to restore service. Some campaign workers also
reported that they had incorrect PINS and had not been informed that they
needed certification to work at polling places.
Garden definitely kind of buckled under the strain,” Zac Moffatt, the
campaign’s digital director, confirmed in an interview. “The system wasn’t
ready for the amount of information incoming.”
Via Reader BK, here’s a good behind-the-scenes look
at what happened at Mitt’s election-night HQ in Boston. He also gets into the
Romney camp’s vote-tracking “Project ORCA” fiasco. Here’s more blistering criticism of “Project ORCA.” … Not many people truly believe the Orca system’s
failure is the main reason for Romney’s loss. But it's a piece of the failed-campaign puzzle.
Via Reader No. 1, here's a good Peggy Noonan piece, largely arguing Democrats ultimately wanted it more than Republicans:
voters were proud to assert their support with lawn signs, Democratic
professionals were quietly organizing, data mining and turning out the vote.
Their effort was a bit of a masterpiece; it will likely change national
politics forever. Mr. Obama was perhaps not joyless but dogged, determined, and
She's also calling for, or hoping for, some genuine soul-searching among Republicans and conservatives:
The great challenge for the
Republican Party now is how to change its ways without changing its principles.
Its principles are right and have long endured because they're right. But do
all the party's problems come down to inadequate marketing, faulty messaging,
poor candidates? Might some of it be policies, stands, attitudes?
That will be
a subject here in the future. For now, in politics as in life, you have to play
the hand you're dealt. You have to respect reality. Which is where conservatism
actually starts, seeing what is real.
As I've noted before, I'm not sure Tuesday's defeat was clear and decisive enough to bring about genuine and necessary soul-searching on the right. The problem in the past has been the "conservative movement's" meshing of hyper-partisanship with principles and, humans being humans, the hyper-partisanship almost always trumps the principles, obscuring realities. It's tribal emotions trumping rational intellect. Here's an example of what I'm talking about: I'll bet you some conservatives are reading this right now and are roughly thinking, But liberals do it too! Which is exactly my point about how everything seems to come back to partisan/tribal points of views and arguments. That isn't soul searching. That isn't sticking to principles. That's finger pointing. That's tit-for-tat partisan tribalism. That's not the type of reality they should be focusing on.
Michael Barone admirably owns up to his wrong prediction about Tuesday’s election. … Fyi: I was wrong too. But I don’t make a
living at this.I also didn’t mind the
outcome of Tuesday’s election. So I don’t care if I got the prediction wrong.
… Fyi II: I’m
also usually wrong in my predictions about big Boston sports games. I get too
nervous before big games, usually succumbing to woe-are-we pessimism, and then
often everything turns out OK. Perhaps a
variation of that happened to me on Tuesday.
… Fyi III:
Yesterday, I said there wouldn’t be a lot of conservative ‘deep reflection and
second thoughts’ in the wake of the election, not that conservative-movement types couldn’t benefit
from some healthy deep reflection and second thoughts. The ‘conservative
movement’ is a total mess these days. They just don't see it. Anyway, Reader No. 1 wrote in with this
response to yesterday's post:
RE no 'deep
reflection and second thoughts,' I would give the defeat more than 8 hours
before making that judgment. For some conservatives, there won't be
reflection. But keep in mind for many conservatives, 'deep reflection
and second thoughts' = surrender to the broad spectrum of progressive concepts,
trends and shibboleths, and that's not going to happen, nor should it.
Hmmm. So I
perhaps rushed to judgment within 8 hours but I was nevertheless right on that
rushed judgment? As I said, there’s not going to be any true introspection
going on, as long as “deep reflection and second thoughts” are equated with
“surrender.” … More on the alleged ‘Republican Civil War.’ As crazy as the guy
comes across in blaming Mitt for Tuesday’s gay-marriage wins (I know - huh?), his criticism of
the conservative-media beehive is valid, though I don’t think even this will lead to much reflection. … And, yes, there will be some discussion about
reaching out more to women and Latinos. But, again, it probably won’t lead to
The Massachusetts jinx continues and … Scott Brown for governor? Michael
Dukakis. Check! John Kerry. Check!Mitt Romney.Check!… Three Massachusetts
party nominees bite the dust in recent presidential elections. Do you think the
rest of the country is trying to tell us something? Rejecting Massachusetts
pols in three of the last seven general elections? … Hmmm. Who’s on deck in
Massachusetts? There’s no shortage of national dreamers here. Deval? In his
mind, yes. In the real world, no. …I
wouldn’t rule out an Elizabeth Warren presidential run one day, knowing her ego
and ambitions, but it’d probably be more of a quixotic Paul Tsongas type of
candidacy, if it ever happened. … Btw: Pay no attention to that prognosticator blogger behind the curtain! (Hey, at least I put the prediction out there. I
was just off by a little bit.) ... Btw II: Check out Mitt's concession speech. It was very classy. He really did do everything he could to win, leaving 'nothing on the field,' as he put it. Mitt's biggest obstacle in this race wasn't him or his views. It was memories of the prior Republican administration that he couldn't overcome. That was the Republicans' main challenge in 2012, no matter who they nominated.
other matters: Has anyone seen a Scott Brown For Governor sign yet? It’s just a
matter of time. … Then again, there’s an outside possibility of him recycling the
old Scott Brown for Senate signs for another senate race. …
knew this was coming: “Go Galt!” Sigh. … Forget it: The “conservative movement”
isn’t going anywhere. They have a firm hold on the GOP and there’s going to be no
true introspection within the party. Last night’s defeat wasn’t resounding enough
to cause deep reflection and second thoughts. …. Still, it’s somewhat curious:
For an allegedly conservative party, the GOP has now nominated seven moderate
Republicans in a row: Bush I (’88 and ’92), Bob Dole (’96); Bush II * (2000 and
2004); McCain (2008); Romney (2012). Theoretically, conservative-movement types
could argue: But we haven’t been
nominating true believers! That’s the problem! Of course, when they’ve had
the chance to nominate true conservatives – say, oh, Pat Buchanan, Michelle
Bachmann, etc., etc. – they’ve flinched because they knew full well they’d be
disasters in a general election, so they’ve settled instead on running moderate
Republicans through ritualistic nomination gauntlets that churn out candidates
with schizoid rhetorical records, like the moderate-conservative Mitt who had to mouth
non-moderate platitudes to win a GOP nomination and then had to switch back to
being moderate Mitt in the general election. *Despite what some might say, Bush II was a moderate. He may has slashed taxes like a true supply sider, but his domestic spending was more LBJ-ish than Reagan-ish.
Hub Blog’s earth-shattering predictions for ’12 elections, Part II
Oh, man. Nate
Silver is upping the ante again. He now has Obama’s odds of winning at 90.5
percent. …. I should have followed my doubts – again. … But we’ll see.
Update -- From Brighton Reader:
don't quite understand why Nate Silver is getting so much attention, and
attacks, this year. He has his formulas, explains and defends them at length,
and follows the numbers. He was wrong when he predicted the defeat of Harry
Reid in 2010, although Jon Ralston, a highly respected Las Vegas Sun reporter,
made the correct call. Which to me means we need reporters, not pundits, with
the experience and knowledge to evaluate the plethora of prognostications, the
history of the state and candidates, and apply their judgment.
and Obama look like winners to me. Warren is the first state-wide candidate
that I know of whose volunteers knocked on doors. Romney needs too many things
to go right, and too many polls to go wrong, to get to 270. He never quite
closed the deal, and I don't think the Republicans are ready to govern. They
haven't had any real debate about what went wrong under George Bush. But I
wouldn't be shocked if he managed to do it. The mood of the country seems to
have stayed pretty much the same since before the 2006 mid-terms, pessimistic.
The electorate is divided, no matter the economic situation each side seems to
start with 45%.
Hub Blog’s earth-shattering predictions for ’12 elections
Hub Blog can
never get too far away from the Ghost of 2010, i.e., my awful election-morning
prediction that Martha Coakley would beat Scott Brown in the special U.S.
Senate election. In 2010, I ultimately relied on conventional assumptions and stats, even
though I could see with my own eyes that Brown’s troops were out in a
snowstorm, holding signs and looking pumped for victory. That morning I had my
doubts about Coakley winning, even as I predicted she’d win. I should have
trusted the doubts.
What about this
year? First off, I can’t remember an election whose final results I’m so eager
to see, from a purely horse race, who-got-it-wrong-or-right polling standpoint.
There’s genuine optimism on both sides – and a lot of bragging. I can honestly
see this election going either way – and either uber close or uber blowout, for
both candidates. But I’m going to predict … Romney.
God help me, but
I may be once again repeating the same mistake of 2010: Over reliance on stale
assumptions. I’ve also been watching the TV news and seen the shots of long
lines of early voters, who sure look like they’re pumped up Obama supporters. And Nate Silver is Nate Silver. So, yes, once again, I have my
doubts about my prediction.
But I still
believe it’s so hard for an incumbent president to win re-election with the
jobless rate hovering near 8 percent. That alone means millions of Americans (and
their relatives –- don’t forget the relatives) are angry and want change, even
if Obama and Romney can’t deliver on most of their absurd promises. Romney has
also run a very competent campaign since just after Labor Day. Despite what
some people were saying this summer about Mitt’s allegedly sinking campaign,
this election was always going to be close. And it is. So I’m predicting Romney
in a close one. With doubts -- and with a contrarian’s dream of besting the
great Nate Silver.
P.S. - And, oh, I'm predicting Warren over Brown. Hey, I have to call a Brown race right sooner or later.
'Election Day Puzzles & Questions'
Reader No. 1 looks at the election-day puzzle and sees ... the 2011 Red Sox? It's not that far-fetched of an idea, as he also performs last-minute check-ups on aging rock stars, well-known pollsters, etc.:
There's no one
like Bruce Springsteen... so why/how does such a great artist reduce himself to
a B-level Woody Guthrie partisan propagandist? He babbles on tonight in Des Moines about "blind greed and overreach..." OK, men and
women are not angels... but does he ever wonder about some of those who
can afford to buy the best seats at his amazing concerts without a second
thought for their paychecks?
Gotta admire Nate Silver sticking to his projections: If he's right, he's right. Am almost half way through The Signal and the Noise, which provides great insight into how Silver builds his election model, as well as an admirable self-criticism about the shortcomings of his prior
statistical models for projecting baseball performance, and the valuable data
they did not take into account - e.g. scouting reports. Was picking the
2007 Red Sox versus overmatched competitors the equivalent of Obama in 2008, much as the intangibly-tinged, probability-warping expectations of 2011 Sox
prove the equivalent of 2012 Obama?
'On the verge of a solid Romney win,' Part II
When one side starts blaming the weather for faltering momentum, you know
they’re in trouble. … But the race is still a coin toss. I can see any number of scenarios unfolding on Tuesday. I still have this hunch that a deep undertow of dissatisfaction is going to help Mitt, not that he or Republicans deserve to win. They don't.