Thursday, June 30, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

I just heard Christopher Cross’ Sailing, which includes the line ‘it’s not far to never-never land”.

In the wake of Michael Jackson, that line takes on something of a sinister undertone…especially given Cross’ somewhat high voice…

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via this NYT piece (Talk Show Washout Tries Again) comes the line of the day”

These kinds of programs may not hurt the country, but they do seem to weaken the intellectual standing of their hosts. When Mr. Carlson, who started as a writer at The Weekly Standard, began on “Crossfire” he seemed like a brainy young contrarian, brought in to challenge liberal pieties – a Junior Miss version of George Will. Time and the ever-shortening attention span of cable news have turned him into a George Will o’ the Wisp; his opinions are loud but ever more vaporous.

Indeed and hylarious.

I must confess, I have had exactly zero interest in even trying Carlson’s new show. I found him annoying on Crossfire, and have no need to give him a second chance. Of course, the last time I could tolerate Crossfire, Michael Kinsely was still on.

On balance, I must confess, this is true:

Washouts often get a second chance on MSNBC and its sister channel, CNBC, but it is mostly a last chance. Recent fallen stars on CNBC include Tina Brown, John McEnroe and Dennis Miller. Mr. Carlson had to step over the departed Deborah Norville to get his 9 p.m. slot.

What I find especially amusing is that the last time I really found CNBC (back when it was more like MSNBC is now, at least at night) was when Roger Ailes ran the place (and not because of any conservative slant–there wasn’t on). One may wish to criticize Ailes, but he seems to know what he is doing vis-a-vis political talk shows. CNBC/MSNBC seems to have been wandering in the wilderness for some time. The only shows I even watch on occasion now are Hardball and Countdown and neither qualifies as “must see” TV.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the good graces of NZ Bear and his newly spiffed up Ecosystem, comes a new TTLB Community: The Academy. NZ set up the place at my request this morning (thanks for the quick work, NZ) and I have been inviting individual blogging academics to join up.

Now that the place is functioning, even though it is under construction, I wanted to make a public announcement concerning the place, which can be accessed here.

My goal: to aggregate as much as possible a sizeable and significant chunk of the Blogosphere, blogging professors. I hope to have profs from various fields and ideological/philosophical perspectives to provide 1) the chance for readers to find a variety of posts from bloggin’ profs aggregated in one place, and 2) to hopefully encourage and facilitate intelligent conversation amongst academics of all stripes.

The criteria for inclusion are simple: if you are a blogging professor, you are eligible. Discipline doesn’t matter, ideology is irrelevant. If you would like to be included, but have not yet received an invitation, just drop me a line.

As of right now, the following have accepted invitation to be included:



I have long considered putting together an academics-specific blogroll, but this is far better. I look forward to the development of a healthy community of academic bloggers.

I have sent numerous invites, and hope to be adding to the community throughout the day and in the weeks ahead.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Today is the fifteenth anniversary of my wedding to my lovely wife, Sherry.

While, God willing, there are many decades to go, I will say that fifteen seems like a serious number of years to have been married.

Indeed, we have managed the following (among other things) in the last fifteen years:

  • Produced three wonderful boys.
  • Lived in three states (although, granted, we were only in California as husband and wife for a week, and almost all of that was spent on our honeymoon).
  • Lived in two countries on two continents.
  • Moved a grand total of eight times (and, as such, I can testify that moving bites).
  • Had two dogs and two cats (and numerous fish—which, for some reason, we can’t keep alive).
  • Managed to get me through a doctoral program and into a tenured position.

Not bad for fifteen years. Heaven only knows what comes next.

At any rate: a very Happy Anniversary to my lovely bride.

(And btw: you know you are a hardcore blogger when you can directly tie your anniversary into your blogging. To wit: Permanent Guest BloggerTM was Best Man at our wedding. Further, an user from our wedding will be doing some guest-blogging as well next week while we are on vacation—announcements on that matter soon to follow).

Note: I thought that this was posted first thing this morning. However, something happened (operator error, not doubt) that resulted in it not being up for some reason. Ah well.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via the Honolulu Star Bulletin: Error gives rail tax bill ticket to ride

The fate of a bill to raise the general excise tax for Honolulu mass transit grew more uncertain yesterday after a typo was discovered in a veto message sent by Gov. Linda Lingle.

Just as Lingle was telling legislators that they must amend the tax bill to allow the counties to handle all tax collection, lawmakers discovered her veto notifications were flawed with wrong bill numbers, meaning that the tax bill may become law anyway.

Monday was the deadline for Lingle to send the Legislature formal notification of the bills she intends to veto.

Certainly a life lesson that I, King of the Blogging Typos, should take under advisement.

h/t: thanks to reader Jim Wadell for the e-mail on this one.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via Reuters on Jobs: Jobless claims unexpectedly fall

The number of Americans seeking initial jobless compensation unexpectedly fell 6,000 last week to 310,000, its lowest level in more than two months, the government said on Thursday.

First-time claims for state unemployment insurance, an early reading on the resilience of the job market, fell for the second straight week, slipping to 310,000 in the week ended June 25 from a revised 316,000 in the previous week, the Labor Department said.

Also, 1Q GDP was revised upward:

Robust new-home building and stronger exports helped the U.S. economy expand at a faster-than-expected 3.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter, the Commerce Department said on Wednesday.

The final figure topped Wall Street economists’ forecasts for a 3.7 percent growth rate and added to expectations that the U.S. central bank will again raise short-term interest rates this week. A key inflation gauge in the report was revised a bit lower, and is expected to allow the Fed to continue what it calls a “measured” pace of rate increases.

This marks the second time gross domestic product — the broadest measure of total economic activity within U.S. borders — has been revised higher for the first quarter and now it matches the rate posted in the closing quarter of 2024.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2024
By Steven L. Taylor

You know you are a hardcore blogger when you tell your wife, friends or others who know you even fairly well that you are too tired to blog and they respond: “wow, you really must be tired!”

See y’all tomorrow.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Via CNN: – GOP lawmaker: Saddam linked to 9/11

A Republican congressman from North Carolina told CNN on Wednesday that the “evidence is clear” that Iraq was involved in the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, 2024.

“Saddam Hussein and people like him were very much involved in 9/11,” Rep. Robin Hayes said.

Told no investigation had ever found evidence to link Saddam and 9/11, Hayes responded, “I’m sorry, but you must have looked in the wrong places.”

Hayes, the vice chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism, said legislators have access to evidence others do not.

Ok, I am wholly sympathetic that a case can be cogently made that the war in Iraq is part of the overall war on terrorism, and that it has been from the beginning. However, there has been no evidence on any kind of direct connection between Saddam and 9/11, so having a Senator to state such simply bolsters the arguments made by critics of the war that the whole thing is based on falsehoods.

Further, I really dislike the whole “I have seen things you haven’t seen and can’t see” routine. For one thing, such a statement isn’t supportable, because, by definition, the evidence needed to prove one’s position isn’t available for review. As such, how do we know that the Representative isn’t making it up/that his interpretation is correct?

Second, even if we assume that said information exists, there’s a reason why members of Congress can see it and the general public can’t (it’s classified, it’s unconfirmed, etc.), so given that fact, raising the issue in public is utter foolishness.

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By Steven L. Taylor

Putin pockets Pats owner’s Super Bowl ring

Russian President Vladimir Putin walked off with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft’s diamond-encrusted 2024 Super Bowl ring, but was it a generous gift or a very expensive international misunderstanding?

Following a meeting of American business executives and Putin at Konstantinovsky Palace near St. Petersburg on Saturday, Kraft showed the ring to Putin — who tried it on, put it in his pocket and left, said Russian news reports.

It isn’t clear yet if Kraft, whose business interests also include paper and packaging companies and venture capital investments, intended that Putin keep the ring.


h/t: Betsy’s Page.

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By Steven L. Taylor


Via Reuters: We’re not alone in universe, says Tom Cruise.

I will grant, such an assertion is not especially radical, but it somehow takes on a different air given the fact that is seems impossible to escape the wit and wisdom of Tom Cruise of late.

Further, one can almost hear the self-congratulatory pseudo-intellectualism when one reads the following:

“Millions of stars, and we’re supposed to be the only living creatures? No, there are many things out there, we just don’t know,” Cruise, 42, said in the interview published in German.

But, of course, my favorite are his pronouncements on psychiatry:

Cruise also dismissed psychiatry as a “pseudo science,” invoking the ire of the American Psychiatric Association that called the remarks “irresponsible.”

Somehow if you adhere to a religion that was created by a scifi writer (a not particularly good one at that–I tried to get through Battlefield: Earth back in High School–but, oh me!–”copious” doesn’t even begin to describe it), then I don’t think you have a lot of credibility when it comes to calling anything a “pseudo-science”.

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