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Scott Ferguson
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Hoary old joke: Decrepit old businessman chats with pretty young thing at a cocktail party: "Miss, I'm a very wealthy man. If I offered you a hundred thousand dollars, would you sleep with me?" "Well, I dunno ... maybe..." "How about if I offered you a twenty?" "What do you think I am, a prostitute?" "We've already established that, dear. Now we're just negotiating the price."
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I don't buy your notion that when a Wal-Mart lands in a community, it decreases choice. Anecdotal evidence from personal experience: When Wal-Mart opened one of the big ones with the supermarket in Chadron, Nebraska, my Oglala Lakota in-laws were very happy. They could finally get clothes and auto parts at a place with a decent selection and reasonable prices. And, Wal-Mart employees acted like they wanted to sell stuff to poor native people, unlike most of the rest of the businesses in Chadron. You should compare Wal-Mart to Target. I think Target is the store for people who don't like to be bothered with too many choices. Yet choice is what drives sales; which is probably one reason why Wal-Mart grew faster than Target, even though Target is older than Wal-Mart by six years. Choice driving sales is a really simple concept. You need to get socks, but you've been thinking of buying a vacuum to replace the one with duct tape patching the leaks in the hose. You go to (Wal-Mart, Target, K-Mart) and pass through Small Appliances to get to the socks, which are in the back of the store. You see eleven different vacuums displayed side by side. You spend thirty minutes or more comparing features and prices until you settle on the low-end Dyson. If there were only three vacuums there, the question is, "Do I buy a vacuum today?" But if there are eleven vacuums, the question shifts to, "Which vacuum do I buy?" When you answer the second question, the answer to the first question is usually, "Yes." Wal-Mart became rich because they expanded the choices of people in rural and exurban areas. Target plays a different game. They have the DNA of a fashion merchandiser rather than that of a dry goods merchant; so their reach will always be limited to areas where headspace matters--profitable, because to many people, fashion matters--but limited nonetheless.
Toggle Commented Dec 7, 2006 on The Economics of Collapse at Cobb
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I love Fila Brazilia, but I've never heard it described as hiphop. Power Clown is fine music for the New Jersey Turnpike. I listen constantly to WFMU radio (webcast at wfmu.org). It's beyond eclectic. Fine, fine station. It's quittin' time, and I'm thinking of how great the chipotle pepper tasted in last night's chili...
Toggle Commented Oct 17, 2006 on Equivocal Love for Hiphop at Cobb
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That's really clever.
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2006 on Equivocal Love for Hiphop at Cobb
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Feh. Sure it's "American," sure it's influential, but if you have to be an epicure to discern examples of the "real thing," then it isn't popular. It's dead, Jim. Classical stuck its foot in the tar pits of Romanticism and has been swallowed up in it. No symphony orchestra could survive without annually dragging out crap from that repretoire. Jazz dove headlong into obscurantism in the 1950s. Some revered artistes have produced bodies of work that are almost unlistenable. McCoy Tyner comes to mind. In some ways I'm rather fond of Country, because, like Hiphop, the words matter more than the sounds. But the music is a formulaic throwaway substrate, like the toasted Wonder Bread wrapped around the bacon, lettuce, and tomato. I hope the inventor of the Sho-Bud steel guitar is burning in hell right now. Blues? Learn four chords. Music born of misery transmogrified into happy feel-good mindlessness. ("I'm So Depressed," the National Lampoon Radio Hour's B.B. King parody, is priceless.) Rock and Roll: Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper. In the left column, list all the rock stars you know who are under age 30. In the right column, list all the rock stars you know who are old enough to be either your father or grandfather. Which list is longer? (BTW. today is Flea's birthday. He's 44.) From Classical to R&R, all these genres have one or more Hall of Fames associated with them; except for Classical, where every major orchestra is a museum. Dead, dead, dead. Stick a fork in it, but don't put it in your mouth, it's filthy. Hiphop has no Hall of Fame that I'm aware of. But when it does, dust off your suit, the funeral is not far behind.
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2006 on Equivocal Love for Hiphop at Cobb
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When they create a Hiphop Hall of Fame, it will be truly dead as a genre. (Witness this and this and this and of course this.) Just wait it out.
Toggle Commented Oct 16, 2006 on Equivocal Love for Hiphop at Cobb
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AOL has (had) paying subscribers ten years ago. Google does not.
Toggle Commented Oct 10, 2006 on What Happens In Google Stays In Google at Cobb
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Hi Chance, You really think that China will be lobbing nukes at the United States? We are their biggest market. They really have no reason to screw up a good thing. (Are you related to James Joyce? I'm so happy you end your sentences with periods.) Cheers
Toggle Commented Oct 10, 2006 on Norks Nukes at Cobb
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YouTube has a lot of execrable stuff on it. Search for the animal of your choice + "sex" and you will see stuff that you as a parent would never want your children to see. Except, of course, that your children CAN see it on YouTube, any time they want. With a little guile, one could develop a map of YouTube values by finding what they permit vs. what they ban. So YouTube finds that Michelle Malkin is unfit for its community's eyes, but multiple copies of a video showing a rutting pit bull who subsquently vomits after the act are there for anyone to view. Makes you wonder.
Toggle Commented Oct 10, 2006 on On Malkin v YouTube at Cobb
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It seems to me that nonproliferation treaties eventually go bust for reasons that cartels (such as the oil cartel) never work: Anyone who doesn't play along enjoys windfall profits, be they monitary or political. Macroeconomics 101 says that if a cartel sets a price that is above market, any producer who undercuts it even slightly will be able to sell all they can produce at enormous profit. That's why there's so much cheating on production quotas in OPEC -- cheaters prosper. Nuclear non-proliferation treaties are viewed by some nations as political cartels of a sort, with the "have nukes" telling the "have not nukes" what to do. We have seen poor nations seething in their powerlessness instantly propel themselves into the A-list of international political influence by ostentatious coyness about their nuclear programs. Korea and Iran are there now; but they were preceeded by India, Pakistan, and Israel; although I think Israel had different reasons for joining the club. I don't think multilateral nuclear nonproliferation treaties do a damn bit of good. The little nations who see political advantage to nuclear weapons will get them eventually.
Toggle Commented Oct 10, 2006 on Norks Nukes at Cobb
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North Korea gives lie to the notion that people ultimately get the government they deserve. For three or four months last year, I had a Korean housemate who was in the USA on a student visa. He seemed to think that Kim Jong-Il was a pretty cool guy, and that it was unfair that North Korea was not allowed to have nuclear weapons. Subsequently, we had a frank exchange of views relating to the efficacy and humanity Dear Leader's regime. He eventually moved elsewhere. I wonder if he will be breaking out the champagne tonight.
Toggle Commented Oct 9, 2006 on Norks Nukes at Cobb
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"By the way Scott, I'm on a definitions kick this week, so I'm not talking about the popular superficial meaning of fascism, but thanks for playing." Like I said, "fascism" is whatever you want it to mean. Point proven.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2006 on American Fascism and the Investor Class at Cobb
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Follow-up: I guess Exit 151 off of I-25 isn't actually "Focus On the Family boulevard," but there are big green signs erected by the State of Colorado with their name on it at that exit. More info here.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2006 on American Fascism and the Investor Class at Cobb
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Here, here, MB. The problem with throwing the word "Fascism" around so frivolously is that it tends to trivialize the concept. It's like the left's constantly comparing their opponents to Hitler, and anything they do as one step away from the Holocaust; although I think that comparison is falling out of vogue because it has been amply exposed as being the hallmark of unserious rhetoric. So, perhaps the Hyperventilating Class is moving on to "American Fascism" which is a muzzier concept, and as such, is easier to defend. When it gets down to it, nobody can tell you with any certainty what Fascism really is. Nobody. So calling somebody or something a Fascist enables one to communicate strong feelings without exposing one to having to defend what is said. Fascism is anything you want it to be. Maybe, like, we're all in like serious, deep trouble, man. Totally. But until the day when I'm driving through Colorado Springs on I-25, and see them hanging gay men off the overpass at Focus On Family boulevard, talk of "American Fascism" is so much blah-blah to me.
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2006 on American Fascism and the Investor Class at Cobb
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brotherbrown: A-men!
Toggle Commented Aug 31, 2006 on Why Blacks & Whites Don't Dialog at Cobb
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Are you suggesting that if Mr. Popal didn't actually get out of his vehicle and ask his victims what their religion was before running them over, it can't possibly qualify as an anti-Jewish hate crime? Critical thinking -- feh! This is a very sad story. I thought his Pocket Fisherman was so cool, too.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2006 on Omeed Popal: Terrorist? at Cobb
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I'm skeptical too, but I can hardly blame them. This past May, I visited gay Muslim friends in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Now, I call them "gay," but they would NEVER describe themselves as such, because if they did, they would be dealing with much more than social sanctions -- the religious police would be after them. The government there considers a person's religion to be their business; and homosexuality is haram. If you're a Muslim and try to walk away from Islam, you could face public humiliation and jail time. Muslims living in Muslim countries can't speak their minds about Islam, unless what they say echoes what their governments say. So, like you, I'm not hopeful that Islam will set its house in order with regard to those terror-minded Arabian jack-Muslims. BTW, in Malaysia, "moderate Islam" is a label that means "to interpret Islamic texts according to the dicatates of your conscience." It is considered a threat.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2006 on Jihadism: The Final Term at Cobb
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It seems to me, though, that in describing the Muslim crazies with guns, it is a mistake to attribute specific political ends to what they are doing -- even when they do so themselves. It's like saying the Latin Kings do drive-by shootings in order to reestablish the Aztlan empire in Los Angeles. Hell no. It's a "blood feud," a model of conflict that Lee Harris wrote about in TCS Daily last year. I think it's a model that fits like a glove. It explains their proclivity for suicide actions, and for celebrating victories that are Pyrrhic at best. I think the resolution of this conflict will rely on dealing with the Arab Islamic blood feud culture effectively. If our approach is merely military and political, we are screwed. So what to call them? Whatever the label, it will help if it points to the primative mindset and the blood lust. It would also help if it's sort of catchy and really pejorative. :)
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2006 on Jihadism: The Final Term at Cobb
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Michael, do you remember the article about the leader of a black Baptist church who offered to pay white people to attend his services? That was back in 2003. I wonder if this unusual promotion got him anything other than publicity? Black people and white people should ideally like to hang out with each other. But, in fact, we don't. I think this sucks, because racial balkanization keeps us all from experiencing the fullness of life. It seems to me that the way we talk about race in this country makes it nearly impossible to bridge that gap. Multiculturalism is a dirty word in the United States because it is attached to a concept that is riven with political correctness and taboos. Talk about race, and you're walking in a minefield. We need to change the rules.
Toggle Commented Aug 30, 2006 on Why Blacks & Whites Don't Dialog at Cobb
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Hah! The Firesign Theatre, in their heydey, had their own taxonomy of social types as well -- Zips, Beaners, Bozos, and Berserkers. Zips: Anyone who owned the lastest pair of headphones. Beaners: Social dropouts, the marginalized. Bozos: The idle middle class. Berserkers: Anyone who owned a gun.
Toggle Commented Aug 28, 2006 on The Next Heroes at Cobb
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Translation from freetranslation.com (line breaks added): Sharpened asPointed blade as a Heated knife as a flameAnd powerful as an assault rifleIt loses something in transalation, at least by a machine.
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What kind of vehicle? My '99 Altima has a 15 gallon tank, and it takes $30 to fill it from the point beyond which I will not risk driving. gasbuddy.com is a cool site. BTW, Oregon and New Jersey are the only two states where no self service is allowed -- a station employee has to pump the gas for you. And in both states, our gas prices are at least a quarter cheaper than California's. So much for the canard that self service means cheaper gas prices.
Toggle Commented May 5, 2006 on 30 Bucks for Half a Tank at Cobb
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"I can't imagine for a moment that the idea of white supremacy as a world historical force likewise permeates Asian, Arab or Muslim historical narratives." I'm sure they have equally convincing fantasies. Especially the Muslims these days. Of couse, everyone's ancestors were all deposited here on Teegeeack by Xenu on the island of Hawaii using DC-8's with rocket engines. (no blockquotes or a hrefs allowed? I'm heartbroken!)
Toggle Commented May 3, 2006 on In The Beginning Was The White Man at Cobb
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