Newsweek’s “Counterintuitive” Business Strategy is to Cut Circulation in Half

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off on Newsweek’s “Counterintuitive” Business Strategy is to Cut Circulation in Half

As Robert Stacy McCain puts it: “‘Counterintuitive’ Is the New Stupid.” The idea is to discourage resubscriptions until total circulation drops. The magazine is also raising prices. What kind of crazy shit is this? R.S. McCain explains:

Meacham [Newsweek’s editor], an admirer of the Economist, is fashioning a serious magazine for what he calls his base, with a heavy emphasis on politics and public policy.

Right. You’re going to turn a mass-circulation news magazine into some sort of highbrow policy journal . . . weekly! And then watch the money roll in! If this isn’t the stupidest business strategy in the history of journalism — that’s a pretty tough competition — it’s certainly in the Top Five.

Notice that Meacham’s idea is to publish a magazine resembling a magazine that he likes to read. Call it the Narcissus Reflecting Pool Theory of journalism: If the top editor admires a certain publication, then trying to imitate that publication must be a good business strategy. What you are doing, therefore, is producing a publication for your own editors, rather than for the readers.

This isn’t as crazy as it sounds at first. It’s rather expensive to print magazines and deliver them. Meacham’s making a couple trade-offs. He believes the cost reduction for printing and delivery will be greater than the reduction in ad revenue. He’s also hoping that by re-casting Newsweek as a high-brow weekly he can grab some high-brow readers who will pay $6 at the newsstand.

Will it work? Doubt it. The Great Recession is teaching advertisers all kinds of great and terrible things about print media.


NY Times Spiked a Story on Illegal Obama-ACORN Coordination During the Election

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off on NY Times Spiked a Story on Illegal Obama-ACORN Coordination During the Election

Big surprise. The NY Times’ “public editor” laughs it off as an unverified story about merely “technical violations of campaign finance law.” It was unverified, though, because as soon as it looked like there was some truth to the story and after they had scheduled an on-the-record interview about it, the editors killed the story.

The insanely laughable excuse, according to the source: “”it was their policy not to print a game-changer for either side that close to the election.”

Bullshit. It was and is their policy to get Democrats elected. Nobody believes for a second that the Times wouldn’t have tried to verify the story if it had been about John McCain breaking campaign finance laws. And it’s probably better than 50-50 that the failing newspaper have run a story like that about McCain–carefully couched in the “questions have been raised” mold–even if it couldn’t get anyone on the record.

There’s more on this over at PowerlineBlog.

Go Figure: Tax the Rich and the Ungrateful Bastards Leave

•May 18, 2009 • Comments Off on Go Figure: Tax the Rich and the Ungrateful Bastards Leave

There’s a must-read op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal; the gist is that states that tax the rich to make up for their budget mismanagement tend to drive the rich away. The result being the states don’t actually get the taxes they want AND they end up economically weaker. A taste:

Here’s the problem for states that want to pry more money out of the wallets of rich people. It never works because people, investment capital and businesses are mobile: They can leave tax-unfriendly states and move to tax-friendly states.

And the evidence that we discovered in our new study for the American Legislative Exchange Council, “Rich States, Poor States,” published in March, shows that Americans are more sensitive to high taxes than ever before. The tax differential between low-tax and high-tax states is widening, meaning that a relocation from high-tax California or Ohio, to no-income tax Texas or Tennessee, is all the more financially profitable both in terms of lower tax bills and more job opportunities.

Updating some research from Richard Vedder of Ohio University, we found that from 1998 to 2007, more than 1,100 people every day including Sundays and holidays moved from the nine highest income-tax states such as California, New Jersey, New York and Ohio and relocated mostly to the nine tax-haven states with no income tax, including Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire and Texas. We also found that over these same years the no-income tax states created 89% more jobs and had 32% faster personal income growth than their high-tax counterparts.

There are a lot of little jewels buried in there so go read the whole thing.

Congressmen Demand ‘Biofuels’, Science Be Damned

•May 17, 2009 • Comments Off on Congressmen Demand ‘Biofuels’, Science Be Damned

For this to make any sense at all you have to take it as given that Global Warming is going to KILL US ALL and that as a result the EPA is tasked with making decisions to decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Of course, that’s bullshit we can thank Congressional Nincompoops like Republicans Michael Rogers [AL-3], Thomas Latham [IA-4], Steve King [IA-5], Jerry Moran [KS-1], Samuel Graves [MO-6], Adrian Smith [NE-3], Robert Latta [OH-5], Frank Lucas [OK-3], Glenn Thompson [PA-5], and Robert Goodlatte [VA-6] for.

Thanks to idiots like these, who are really in it for the subsidies that biofuels production brings to their districts, the Democrats get to claim that they’ve launched a “bipartisan” effort to correct “unreasonable restrictions placed on the biofuels industry.”

In a nutshell, the EPA in 2007, after enabling legislation by Congress, issued rules about how to count the greenhouse gas emissions produced during the production of biofuels. One of those rules required that the agency consider indirect land use when calculating the emissions associated with biofuels. But it turns out that if you calculate emissions in this manner, biofuels actually produce more emissions than plain old gasoline.

The Democrats (and greedy, faithless, pathetic worms like Republican Frank Lucas from my former district in Oklahoma) have an easy solution: we just won’t count indirect land use! Science be damned, they want biofuels and they’re not going to take “no” for an answer.

So we’ve got confidence games piled on confidence games. These guys have federal agencies busy counting greenhouse gases when indications point to global cooling for at least the past ten years with an ever-dawning realization that the giant heatlamp hovering in the sky might just have something to do with temperatures on Earth. And now the geniuses have decided to game the situation they created: apparently greenhouse gases produced directly have a different supposed effect on global warming than those produced indirectly.

As Insty likes to say (paraphrasing), “I might be inclined to believe this global warming stuff, if only its loudest supporters actually acted like there might be a problem.”

Judge Orders Boy to Have Chemotherapy Over his Religious Objection

•May 16, 2009 • Comments Off on Judge Orders Boy to Have Chemotherapy Over his Religious Objection

Kids Stun-Gunned at Prisons’ Take Your Kid to Work Day

•May 15, 2009 • Comments Off on Kids Stun-Gunned at Prisons’ Take Your Kid to Work Day

Heh. I have trouble getting worked up over this because it seems like the stun-gunning was consensual. Also hilarious:

A total of 43 children were directly and indirectly shocked by electric stun guns during simultaneous ”Take Your Sons and Daughters to Work Day” events gone wrong at three state prisons, according to new information provided Friday by the Florida Department of Corrections.

Also, a group of kids was exposed to tear gas during a demonstration at another lockup.

Three prison guards have been fired, two have resigned and 16 more employees — from corrections officers to a warden — will be disciplined due to the incidents that unfolded April 23, said DOC Secretary Walt McNeil. An investigation is ongoing.

None of the children in any of the incidents required medical attention or was notably harmed, McNeil said. He said the children, who ranged in age from 5 to 17, were all children of prison officials.

Be honest now, when you were a kid you would have thought it was pretty cool to get stun-gunned on a field trip, right?

McNeil repeatedly stressed that the stun-gunning only happened at three of the 55 institutions and that it wasn’t part of a widespread practice. Still, he acknowledged that it was ”logical” to assume other children had been shocked on other take-your-kids-to-work days.

So far this year, none of the devices have been used on the 100,000 prison inmates — only the children of DOC workers.

Come on, now, that’s funny.

Obama Overstated Commitment from HealthCare Leaders?

•May 15, 2009 • Comments Off on Obama Overstated Commitment from HealthCare Leaders?

This wouldn’t be the first time somebody sat down with the President and came away thinking something completely different about the meeting than him. Remember Poland and the missile shield? And all those Obama staffers who thought the President was saying one thing until he decides to “clarify” their “inartful” statements later? It happens because Obama talks in generalities, without any idea what he’s committing himself or others to.

Now it’s the healthcare industry.

Hospitals and insurance companies said Thursday that President Obama had substantially overstated their promise earlier this week to reduce the growth of health spending. Mr. Obama invited health industry leaders to the White House on Monday to trumpet their cost-control commitments. But three days later, confusion swirled in Washington as the companies’ trade associations raced to tamp down angst among members around the country.

After meeting with six major health care organizations, Mr. Obama hailed their cost-cutting promise as historic.

Health care leaders who attended the meeting have a different interpretation. They say they agreed to slow health spending in a more gradual way and did not pledge specific year-by-year cuts.

Who is more believable? Obviously, Obama has a pattern of doing this to people. There’s also this weaksauce reply from the White House:

Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform, said “the president misspoke” on Monday and again on Wednesday when he described the industry’s commitment in similar terms. After providing that account, Ms. DeParle called back about an hour later on Thursday and said: “I don’t think the president misspoke. His remarks correctly and accurately described the industry’s commitment.”

Silly Nancy-Ann. The One does not misspeak. Lesser mortals mis-hear his divine messages.