11/23/2012 archive

Turkey Day TV: Day 2 Night

Your usual collection of marathons, movies, and holiday specials.  New College Throwball on offer from ESPN at 7 pm (South Florida @ Cincinnati) and 10 pm (Arizona State @ Arizona).  Late night repeats 2:30 am ESPN2 Syracuse @ Temple, 5 am Arizona State @ Arizona; 3 am ESPN South Florida @ Cincinnati.

8 pm NBC The National Dog Show (repeat), midnight Speed Interlagos Practice (also, too).

Big BCS day tomorrow, Interlagos Qualifying.  This project covers from 6 pm to 6 am.

Don’t Buy Anything

Black Friday is a bunch of meaningless hype, in one chart

Posted by Neil Irwin, The Washington Post

November 23, 2012 at 9:58 am

When television news crews and newspaper writers go to cover the holiday crowds, they try to give the festivities some great economic import. Standard aspects of the genre include noting that holiday sales can account for about a third of retailers’ annual sales; cite authoritative-sounding projections from the National Retail Federation about what this year’s sales will be, and perhaps even note that consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy (conveniently leaving out that most of that spending has nothing to do with gift-giving or holiday cheer).

In fact, sales over Thanksgiving weekend tell us virtually nothing about retail sales for the full holiday season-let alone anything meaningful about the economy as a whole. Paul Dales of Capital Economics analyzed the relationship between retail sales during the week of Thanksgiving against the overall change in retail sales for November through January. As the chart shows, the relationship is a very weak one, with dots all over the grid. But if there is any conclusion to draw at all, the relationship is actually negative!

In other words, strong sales results around Black Friday actually predict slightly weaker holiday sales overall.

Retailers know that a typical family spends whatever it will spend on holiday gift-giving, and that whether that spending comes on Nov. 23 or Dec. 23 doesn’t make that much difference in the aggregate. But retailers aren’t a monolith; they are all chasing market share from the others.

For the media, it is a ready-made story. It takes place at a time that there is little other news, and it is known in advance, so editors and TV news directors can plan in advance for coverage. And there’s no doubt that video of people stampeding through the doors of a Wal-Mart in hot pursuit of a new Wii makes for great television. That is even putting aside more cynical possibilities, such as that media depend on retail advertising and thus have a vested interest in creating a sense of hype and anticipation around an orgy of consumerism.

And what, then, of the people themselves, the consumers who line up with breathless anticipation and make the whole thing possible. From an economists’ perspective, this is a case in which the retailers are using a rationing mechanism other than price to allocate scarce goods: They price a limited number of TVs and other products at a below-market price, and then ration those goods based on who is willing to stand in line the longest.

“I think they want to bring the people here and make them tired,” a man named Saeed Yazdi told my colleagues Abha Bhattarai and Steven Overly Thursday night outside the Best Buy in Columbia Heights. “It’s veiled punishment.” Well yes, Saeed, precisely.

Our elites hate us

DCblogger, Corrente

Fri, 11/23/2012 – 11:21am

Looking at this video of shoppers at Walmart fighting over Phones I realized how much our elites must really hate us. I am sure that when members fo the Walton family watch videos like this they must laugh.

Walmart does this deliberately. They have a handful of low priced loss leaders, but nowhere near enough to meet the demand. So people line up and fight to be first, because if you are low income, getting one of those low priced items might be your only chance to own one. This is what the elites delight doing, creating situations where we are battling each other frantically for crumbs. It is not just their workers they hate, the Walton family hates their customers, hates everyone with a net worth less than a billion dollars.

Parents, Rejoice: Peanut Allergy Cure Within Sight


Forgetaboutit, mommies and daddies.  

Important interests don’t care if your brat dies.  There already is at least a partial cure but it isn’t PC.

Dick lay in a hospital bed under heavy sedation as a common virus gone mad raced up his arm an inch or two an hour.  Nurses and doctors poured on the most powerful antibiotics known as they cut away the gangrenous flesh.  His wife could hear the groans and cries in the waiting room for three days though Dick lost three days of memory from delirium and sedation.  Nobody knows how to deal with necrotizing fasciitis (“flesh-eating bacteria”).  The old veteran years later died from something more preventable, murder-suicide, that claims far more victims, especially among veterans, but nobody much cares about that either.  Dick’s pictures of war casualties horrified readers of magazines like Look but few care to stop war either.  There are great profits to be made as well as glory and reputations.

What people could do is stop some kids from strangling on peanut allergies, and even a few adults who have not outgrown a mostly childhood allergy, but it would require letting growers plant GMO peanuts.  A vial of epinephrine and some bottles of medicine that probably couldn’t be found in an extreme emergency would save a fraction at best.

Bananas and plantain are a true “frankenstein” cross-species sterile hybrid of inedible parents that we have become accustomed to.  Big Mike was better tasting and superior in all manner of ways than today’s Cavendish banana that comes from a single plant because Big Mike was lost to the blight.  What you can’t have any longer was always better.  There is word going around that Big Mike is still available in Jamaica and elsewhere but it may or may not have been a protected specimen.  Clones are obviously more vulnerable than the feared one-crop gardening that has some differentiation in genes.

So why not protect the Cavendish and other bananas and plaintain with death-defying genes conserved in all plants and animals, from yeast to humans?  Well you see it would take bioengineering for the bananas and lengthy experimentation with other plants. There are some “naturally bred” plants by standard natural hybrid methods which are anything but natural but they still carry the stigma.

So multitudes can starve, the land, sea and water be poisoned and polluted, the consumers ripped off for profit and fun – science and common decency be damned.

We gots to be natural people eating meat and produce vastly different from its wild ancestry at high prices because its good to be better.

“What would it benefit a rich man to have a feast if there were not hungry and starving poor people?” – Aldous Huxley

BTW this is not a defense of Monsanto or Dow but rather the reverse.  But who cares about that when there is money to be made and fun to be had?

Best,  Terry

T-Day College Throwball Day 1

While not quite a pivotal in BCS Standings as tomorrow’s big games, many teams are putting the finishing touches on their seasons today with the following telecasts this afternoon.

  • 11 am ESPN2– Syracuse @ Temple
  • noon ABC– Nebraska @ Iowa
  • 2:30 pm CBS– LSU @ Arkansas
  • 3 pm FX Utah @ Colorado
  • 3:30 pm ABC– West Virginia @ Iowa State
  • 3:30 pm Faux– Washington @ Washington State

It’s also the start of College Hoopies season with most schools participating in pre-season tournaments.  Individual matchups are not available because of the format but ESPN is providing continuous coverage from 12:30 pm to 7 pm and ESPN2 from 3:30 pm until 2 am.

Punting the Pundits

“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

Paul Krugman: Grand Old Planet

Earlier this week, GQ magazine published an interview with Senator Marco Rubio, whom many consider a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, in which Mr. Rubio was asked how old the earth is. After declaring “I’m not a scientist, man,” the senator went into desperate evasive action, ending with the declaration that “it’s one of the great mysteries.”

It’s funny stuff, and conservatives would like us to forget about it as soon as possible. Hey, they say, he was just pandering to likely voters in the 2016 Republican primaries – a claim that for some reason is supposed to comfort us.

But we shouldn’t let go that easily. Reading Mr. Rubio’s interview is like driving through a deeply eroded canyon; all at once, you can clearly see what lies below the superficial landscape. Like striated rock beds that speak of deep time, his inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mind-set that has taken over his political party.

Timothy Egan: Give Pot a Chance

SEATTLE – In two weeks, adults in this state will no longer be arrested or incarcerated for something that nearly 30 million Americans did last year. For the first time since prohibition began 75 years ago, recreational marijuana use will be legal; the misery-inducing crusade to lock up thousands of ordinary people has at last been seen, by a majority of voters in this state and in Colorado, for what it is: a monumental failure.

That is, unless the Obama administration steps in with an injunction, as it has threatened to in the past, against common sense. For what stands between ending this absurd front in the dead-ender war on drugs and the status quo is the federal government. It could intervene, citing the supremacy of federal law that still classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug.

Amy Dean: Help Obama Find His Shoes

Progressives need to pressure Obama to stick up for workers as promised.

President Barack Obama’s re-election is a huge relief-we dodged the Romney/Ryan bullet.

However, that’s not the same as winning a better future. If Obama’s first term is a prologue to the second, we should not expect to see much progress in strengthening the rights or bargaining ability of workers. Therefore, in Obama’s second term, we need to be:

• Smarter about the policies we advocate.

• Selective about the candidates we endorse.

• More disciplined about building a strong social movement.

E. J. Dionne, Jr.: The Greatest Generation, Redux

For nearly a decade I have had the privilege of teaching veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, though they have taught me more.

Most of them were Army captains and majors who had done three or four tours of duty. And here’s the most remarkable thing: Not one of these men and women complained about what we asked of them.

They have, however, occasionally objected to the shameful fact that after the first few years of hostilities, these became largely invisible conflicts. In the final stages of the Iraq War and for a long time now in Afghanistan, there has been something close to media silence even as our fellow Americans continue to fight and die.

Michelle Chen: Immigrant Supply-Chain Labor Struggles Galvanize Walmart Activism

On Black Friday, as Walmart workers across the country stand up against the retail giant’s labor regime, they’ll be in part standing on the shoulders of smaller uprisings that have popped up in low-wage workplaces. Alongside the disgruntled store employees, various subcontracted warehouse workers have helped lead the wave of protests.

The interconnected campaigns reveal that what makes Wal-Mart so powerful–its hegemonic size and market domination–is also what makes it a solid target for an increasingly militant solidarity movement of precarious workers across the supply chain.

Joe Conason: Change? Learn? Compromise? Grow? Not These Republicans

Hearing so much chatter about “change” in the Republican Party, the innocent voter might believe that the Republicans had learned important lessons from their stinging electoral defeat. On closer examination, however, the likelihood of real change appears nil because the party’s leaders and thinkers can cite so many excuses to remain utterly the same.

At the Republican Governors Association conference last week, for instance, the favored explanation for the voting public’s emphatic rejection of Mitt Romney had nothing to do with issues or ideology, but only with more effective Democratic Party organizing and communicating. According to Wade Goodwyn, the National Public Radio reporter who covered the GOP governors’ meeting, their post-election mood was not one of shock, but complacency.

On This Day In History November 23

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

November 23 is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 38 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1936, the first issue of the pictorial magazine Life is published.

Life actually had its start earlier in the 20th century as a different kind of magazine: a weekly humor publication, not unlike today’s The New Yorker in its use of tart cartoons, humorous pieces and cultural reporting. When the original Life folded during the Great Depression, the influential American publisher Henry Luce bought the name and re-launched the magazine as a picture-based periodical on this day in 1936. By this time, Luce had already enjoyed great success as the publisher of Time, a weekly news magazine.

In 1936 publisher Henry Luceaid $92,000 to the owners of Life magazine because he sought the name for Time Inc. Wanting only the old Life’s name in the sale, Time Inc. sold Life’s subscription list, features, and goodwill to Judge. Convinced that pictures could tell a story instead of just illustrating text, Luce launched Life on November 23, 1936. The third magazine published by Luce, after Time in 1923 and Fortune in 1930, Life gave birth to the photo magazine in the U.S., giving as much space and importance to pictures as to words. The first issue of Life, which sold for ten cents (approximately USD $1.48 in 2007, see Cost of Living Calculator) featured five pages of Alfred Eisenstaedt’s pictures.

When the first issue of Life magazine appeared on the newsstands, the U.S. was in the midst of the Great Depression and the world was headed toward war. Adolf Hitler was firmly in power in Germany. In Spain, General Francisco Franco’s rebel army was at the gates of Madrid; German Luftwaffe pilots and bomber crews, calling themselves the Condor Legion, were honing their skills as Franco’s air arm. Italy under Benito Mussolini annexed Ethiopia. Luce ignored tense world affairs when the new Life was unveiled: the first issue depicted the Fort Peck Dam in Montana photographed by Margaret Bourke-White.

Turkey Day TV: Day 2 Day

Interlagos Practice @ 11 am.  College Throwball Day 1.  More pre-season College Hoopies.  Movies!  Gold!  Hitchcock!  James Bond!

In short plenty of reasons not to shop.

This covers 6 am to 6 pm.

T-Day Throwball 3: Patsies @ Tebows

This is more difficult than it looks.  I hate Robert Kraft and his team with the pure unalloyed hatred that only someone who lives close to Hartford and watched him dick over Connecticut in 1998 can summon.

Unlike John Rowland however I can’t bring myself to declare even temporary allegiance with Gang Green who’ve been by turns feckless and insufferable.

Oh well, 0 for 2.  Whoever I pick will inevitably lose.

Alice’s Restaurant Thanksgiving

Re-posted from 11/25/2010

This one was really fun to put together with clips from the movie & Arlo performing “Alice” in the same Church 40 years later.

Transcript is here

Happy Thanksgiving

Turkey Day TV: Day 1 Night

So this day 1 thing, that means you’re going to have to put up with this tomorrow at least and frankly the schedules don’t get ‘normal’ until Monday.  I haven’t yet made up my mind about Saturday and Sunday since Zap2It is undergoing some kind of site re-design to make it more ‘mobile friendly’ and it’s screwing with my crystal ball.

I might decide just to highlight specials, we’ll see.

This project covers the Black Friday overnight from 6 pm to 6 am.  I remind you it’s also national ‘buy nothing’ day, advice I intend to take myself.