July 2, 2008

"The cover photo of the TIMES Sunday magazine depicts Limbaugh 'dark and sinister' in a theme of THE GODFATHER."

Ha ha. Well, the Times is expressing its own entirely appropriate feeling of intimidation — for the man who likes to call himself "a harmless little fuzzball." And the hot news is that Limbaugh has signed a deal for $400 million to do his show through 2016.

UPDATE: The NYT has now made the whole article available. (It's from the Sunday Magazine.) I'll read it and write something more in a few minutes.

MORE: The article, by Zev Chafets, describes his entry into Rush's Palm Beach studio:
... I was met by Bo Snerdly — a very large man in a Huey Newton beret — who glared at me. “Are you the guy who’s here to do the hit job on us?” he demanded in a deep voice.

“Absolutely,” I said.

Snerdly, whose real name is James Golden, held my eyes for a long moment before bursting into emphatic laughter.
Chafets describes watching the show.
Unlike Howard Stern or Don Imus, he has no sidekicks with him in the room. He does, however, keep up a running conversation with an unheard voice. I always assumed that this was just imaginary radio shtick. Now I saw that the voice was attached to a human interlocutor, Snerdly, who banters with and occasionally badgers Limbaugh via an internal talk-back circuit.
Yes, you can tell when you listen to the show that someone is talking to him (or perhaps writing to him). Occasionally, it's like a Bob Newhart telephone routine where you have to imagine what is being said on the other end of the line, and that's part of why it's funny.

From the interview:
“I’ve never even met [John McCain], never spoken to him,” Limbaugh said. “I’m sure there are things about him I’d like if we meet. This isn’t personal.” He then delivered a litany of the presumptive nominee’s personal failings — too old, too intense, too opportunistic, too liberal. But, he assured me, he would be with McCain in the fall. “It’s like the Super Bowl,” he told me. “If your team isn’t in it, you root for the team you hate less. That’s McCain.”

It already seemed, when I made my visit, that McCain’s opponent might well be Senator Obama, and I was curious to know how Limbaugh planned to take on America’s first African-American major-party nominee. “I’ll approach Obama with fearless honesty,” said Limbaugh, who speaks of himself in heroic terms on air and off. “He’s a liberal. I oppose liberals. That’s all that’s involved here.”

I asked if he had any specific tactics in mind.

“I haven’t yet figured that out exactly,” he said. “You know, I’ve had a problem with substance abuse. I don’t deal with the future anymore. I take things one day at a time.”
That last line is self-deprecating and (I think) humorous, but I think he knows that doing things day-by-day keeps the show alive and makes it work. It's what works in blogging too. If you have a whole planned agenda and you just crank out the propaganda, people will get sick of you. It's when you are talking/writing to figure out what you think, to find out what you want to say, that you are interesting. (They didn't do that on Air America.)

More to come... I have to shut down this computer so I can unplug it. A thunderstorm is rolling it, and I want to survive.

MORE: Chafets shows some admiration for Rush:
But Operation Chaos was a triumph of interactive political performance art....

Such massive and consistent popularity makes Limbaugh a singular political force....

“Rush is just an amazing radio performer,” says Ira Glass, a star of the younger generation of public-radio personalities. “Years ago, I used to listen in the car on my way to reporting gigs, and I’d notice that I disagreed with everything he was saying, yet I not only wanted to keep listening, I actually liked him. That is some chops. You can count on two hands the number of public figures in America who can pull that trick off.”

Glass compares Limbaugh to another exceptional free-form radio monologist, Howard Stern. “A lot of people dismiss them both as pandering and proselytizing and playing to the lowest common denominator, but I think that misses everything important about their shows,” he says. “They both think through their ideas in real time on the air, they both have a lot more warmth than they’re generally given credit for, they both created an entire radio aesthetic.”
Glass — who is one of the public figures in America who should be counted on those 2 hands — is absolutely right about Limbaugh and Stern. That explains very well why I listen to all 3 men. (IMPORTANT NOTE: Rush, Howard, and I have the same birthday.)

There's some interesting material about his expensive lifestyle:
There are five homes — all of them his — on the property. The big house is 24,000 square feet. Limbaugh lives there with a cat. He’s been married three times but has no children.
Perhaps he'll leave a fortune to his cat.
A life-size oil portrait of El Rushbo, as he often calls himself on the air, hangs on the wall of the main staircase.
Remember, today's blog themes are: wealth, pets, and grotesque.
Unlike many right-wing talk-show hosts, Limbaugh does not view France with hostility. On the contrary, he is a Francophile. His salon, he told me, is meant to suggest Versailles. His main guest suite, which I did not personally inspect, was designed as an exact replica of the presidential suite of the George V Hotel in Paris.
Hmmm... Chafets should have listened to a few more shows! Liking the artwork isn't the same as liking the politics.
His staff lights fragrant candles throughout the house to greet his arrival from work each day.
So he wasn't lying when he was going on and on about jumbo-sized, gardenia-scented candles the other day.

There's some good stuff about Rush's father:
To this day, Limbaugh calls his father “the smartest man I’ve ever met.”

Certainly he was one of the most opinionated and autocratic. “On Friday nights my friends would come over to the house just to listen to my dad rant about politics,” Limbaugh recalls. “He was doing the same thing as I do today, without the humor or the satire. He didn’t approve of making fun of presidents. He didn’t think that sort of thing was funny.”
It's funny how his father's behavior became the idea for the show. Imagine taking your father's cranky rants, making them funny and getting the whole country for your equivalent of the living room. Think about it. Think about ways you can emulate and one-up Dad. Are you replaying your father's routine in your daily work? My father used to trap me into discussions of all the big issues and drove me to tears by applying the Socratic method — he called it the Socratic method. He was all about requiring that I define my terms, recognize that my answers were "semantics," and explain how I was going to get "from point A to point B." And now here I am, a law professor. These things happen.
Dick Adams, Rush’s boyhood friend and high-school debate partner, told me: “Mr. Limbaugh didn’t suffer fools lightly, let’s just put it like that. Many times I was over there when he called down Rush or David in harsh tones. There was usually a string of expletives attached.”
Yikes. Later:
He is less like his angry father than his mature role models, Buckley and Reagan, for whom sociability and fun were integral to their conservative world view.
This is interesting:
Jay Nordlinger, a senior editor at The National Review, watched Limbaugh’s tutelage under Buckley, and he takes Limbaugh seriously as a polemicist and public intellectual. “I hired a lot of people over the years, fancy kids from elite schools, and I always asked, ‘How did you become a conservative?’ Many of them said, ‘Listening to Rush Limbaugh.’ And often they’d add, ‘Behind my parents’ back.’ ”
This too:
Limbaugh works extemporaneously. He has no writers or script, just notes and a producer on the line from New York with occasional bits of information. That day, and every day, he produced 10,000 words of fluent, often clever political talk.
I thought he was reading off a script prepared by others much of the time. But he wants you to think this is just what bursts out of his head. It's damned impressive if it really does.

On Limbaugh's drug problem:
Being Limbaugh, he said he believes that most of these shortcomings stemmed from his inability to love himself sufficiently. “I felt everyone who criticized me was right and I was wrong,” he confided. But, he says, he left his insecurities behind in Arizona. “It’s not possible to offend me now,” he said. “I won’t give people the power to do it anymore. My problem was born of immaturity and my childhood desire for acceptance. I learned in drug rehab that this was stunting and unrealistic. I was seeking acceptance from the wrong people.”
How is that "being Limbaugh"? Isn't the need to love yourself stock advice in recovery programs? And doesn't Limbaugh usually ridicule the self-esteem movement?

On Bill O'Reilly:
He hadn’t been sure at the time that he wanted [his opinion] on the record. But on second thought, “somebody’s got to say it,” he told me. “The man is Ted Baxter.”
He likes Ann Coulter, Camille Paglia, Thomas Sowell, and Christopher Hitchens.

Nice article. A very positive, admiring picture of the man — not at all in keeping with the ominous cover photograph. There's some critique in there, but basically, it's obvious that the reporter had a great time hanging out with Rush Limbaugh.

120 comments:

Middle Class Guy said...

That's Entertainment!

UWS guy said...

Holy crap (jesus christ?) they totally made him look like Tony Soprano. The likeness is actually a bit surreal.

Roger J. said...

the NYT is probably wishing they could that kind of money.

Bob said...

If they manage to get the Fairness Doctrine reinstated, we can expect them to write editorials about what a sad day it is for Rush, then they'll go back to their offices and slap each other high-fives.

D said...

He should buy Air America, I hear they need money. Or are they still even around?

Hoosier Daddy said...

If they manage to get the Fairness Doctrine reinstated

I can't think of a more Orwellian term expect when Kucinich wanted to create a Ministry for Peace.

I'm sure Al Franken is letting fly with more than a few choice expletives.

Keith said...

Lots of luck with that AM/over the air radio audience by the time that contract is winding down. Hello, wifi/internet radio! Plus, listen to the voices of his callers (if we can assume they are representative of his audience); they are mostly O L D people...not that there's anything wrong with it.

The reality is that this guy, while entertaining on some levels, is on the wrong side of history, both broadcasting technology-wise and society-wise. His program now mostly consists of taking things from the web that any technically savvy person could find within moments.

bearbee said...

I've never listen to Limbaugh and I'm a free marketer, but, honestly, who is worth $400mm?!
Of course that only comes to..what...$50mm/yr? And after taxes and, of course, with the plunging dollar....

chuck b. said...

$400M doesn't seem like a lot of money to me. I mean, it is, but $400M is, like, four moderately successful Hollywood movies? And this is for an 8-year contract?

I watched his TV show for awhile several years ago at work, and I couldn't stand it. The smarm was unberable.

"I have to shut down this computer so I can unplug it. A thunderstorm is rolling it, and I want to survive."

Isn't that what surge protectors are for? You can put your whole house on one, by yourself, for not very much money.

D said...

The reality is that this guy, while entertaining on some levels, is on the wrong side of history, both broadcasting technology-wise and society-wise. His program now mostly consists of taking things from the web that any technically savvy person could find within moment.

You just described Glenn Reynolds and we all know how few people visit his site, don't we?

George said...

Keith--

Your post above left me hot, hot, hot under the collar.

Just steaming hot.

But, Keith, let me tell you, I'm not half as hot as the water you'll get from a new Rinnai water heater.

Keith, this is a tankless water heater. That means no waiting! You get toasty hot water, even on the coldest winter morning!

And won't that feel good!!

Call the good people at Rinnai today. Even better, visit their website. www.rinnai.us.

You'll be glad you did!

AJ Lynch said...

Roger said:

"the NYT is probably wishing they could that kind of money."

Damn straight Roger. Can you imagine the hateful looks on the faces of the Manhattan elites when they read that $400 Million?

BTW, Senator Obama's social security tax plan will cost Rush about 12% x $360 MM (assume he has only 10% in real business expenses) = $43.2 Million!

AJ Lynch said...

Keith:

Are you getting older? Will you need Depends someday? Probably. So you and some of your peers will get older and may become Rush listeners. Rush is entertaining on radio. That is why Ann listens to him - are you saying Ann is old? (trick question here buddy).

The $400 Million is what drives the MSM and relics like Dan Rather nuts. Heck I bet Rather only made $150 Million in his last 20 years with CBS. Only- yeah sounds funny.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Keith--

Your post above left me hot, hot, hot under the collar.


Well it left me absolutely famished so I'm pulling out of the fridge right now a delicious Allen Brothers steak. These aren't just any steaks but exclusive hand-selected personal favorites for listeners of the Excellence in Broadcasting Network.

Call Allen Brothers now and ask for the special Rush-Pac which is just the thing to make some liberal, granola crunching, Birkenstock wearing vegan explode in self righteous fury.

Keith said...

Well, I'm 55 years old! And like most of his moderate/liberal listeners, I recognize that the guy is a supremely talented broadcaster.

My point would be that technology is advancing, and for Clear Channel/Premier to predict, via that contract, that the program is going to be worth it to them in 2015, good luck. Honestly, what is the age range of his audience? I don't know, but it has to skew pretty old.

What is funny is how his audience that does adore him thinks that he really is on their side. He has done a remarkable job of selling that conceit.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

LOL George.

Keith. Define old.

Hoosier Daddy said...

What is funny is how his audience that does adore him thinks that he really is on their side.

That's funny cause I've been saying the same thing about Democrats for 20 years.

Alan said...

If you mean by being on the wrong side of history as being stuck in the past then I agree. Rush is still fighting the battles of the 70s and 80s--those evil 60s liberals.

With rising energy costs he still thinks its cute to call compact fluorescent lights as "liberal bulbs" and, in an era of record profits, the board of directors of Exxon as "risk takers." It just doesn't resonate the way it used to.

And, IMO, his putting a secular face on social conservatism won't work as well either. No matter how he dices it, it's still social conservatism along with all its idiotic Religious Right baggage. Sure Rush, Bobby Jindal is the future of the GOP. LOFL

Keith said...

Well played, George! (re: Rinnai)

I suppose the election may settle the question of how much influence Limbaugh, Hannity et al really have. Back in 1994, Limbaugh was dubbed (by himself, I think) "the Majority Maker" after Reps took over the majority in congress. By that standard, will 2008 be seen as the year that he'd be the Minority Maker? I don't think so, m'self, but there should be some logical consistency here...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If you mean by being on the wrong side of history as being stuck in the past then I agree. Rush is still fighting the battles of the 70s and 80s--those evil 60s liberals.

Possibly because the liberals are still pining for the 60's and can't let loose of the past.

With rising energy costs he still thinks its cute to call compact fluorescent lights as "liberal bulbs" and, in an era of record profits, the board of directors of Exxon as "risk takers." It just doesn't resonate the way it used to.

So what? Energy costs are going up. It still isn't going to force me to use an inferior product no matter how many liberals can dance on the head of a pin. You don't think the oil companies are taking risks by attempting to find and produce oil in a political environment where they are likely to be punished financially for doing so? They run the risk of investing billions of dollars only to have it taken away by our new socialist overlords in punitive taxes or as threatened recently in Congress by socializing the oil industry.

It resonates just fine.

Ann Althouse said...

Keith said..."Lots of luck with that AM/over the air radio audience by the time that contract is winding down. Hello, wifi/internet radio!... The reality is that this guy... is on the wrong side of history... broadcasting technology-wise..."

Well, I get all my Rush from the web. I subscribe at RushLimbaugh.com and download the show as a podcast every day. So you're not up to speed on that at all. The site also provides written transcripts, which makes the show conveniently bloggable, and links to the articles that are the background reading, which is also quite bloggy.

"His program now mostly consists of taking things from the web that any technically savvy person could find within moments."

Taking things from the web and saying interesting and funny things about them and drawing together a community of people to hear what you have to say and interact with you. That's like blogging too.

bearbee said...

Last chart from the bottom by Pew Research shows some Limbaugh audience demographics

Ann Althouse said...

Hey, I'm actually considering getting a Rinnai tankless water heater, but it requires some complex venting and the whole job will cost $5000. I got an estimate the other day. I love a hot bath and I have a huge bathtub (that takes 15 minutes to fill), so I have to be careful about when to use the dishwasher and the washing machine. What do you think? Should I get it?

Ann Althouse said...

Re old: Remember, Rush and I are the same age, born on the same year and day.

AJ Lynch said...

Is Bo Snerdly black? The story did not mention his race but when you google James Golden, he appears to be black.

If so, I thought that would be worth a mention by the NYT writer.

Btw until reading part of the NYT article, I believed the Snerdly character was just fictional and was Rush simply pretending to talk to someone else.

birdie bob said...

Althouse,
Re: Rush reading from a script. Since you subscribe to the website, try to watch the Webcam while the show is on air some day. You'll then be able to actually see that the only reading he does is from the occasional printout of a story upon which he wants to comment.

veni vidi vici said...

Sorry, but broadcast over-the-air AM radio will continue to be with us for at least the next 8 years; nothing to worry about there. And when you factor in that the "red state" audience is geographically middle America, out on the great wide fruited plain, it's not difficult to see that Rush and ClearChannel are probably pretty secure in their decision, and with good reason.

WiFi radio? In a car/18-wheeler/farm tractor??? Uh-huh.

Alan said...

Yeah, Snerdly is black. He appeared on Rush's TV show years ago.

Alan said...

Dust Bunny,

I'm sure it resonates just fine with you. But I seriously doubt the BoD of Exxon Mobil will ever have any personal financial worries.

And as far as the risks of drilling. The true risk is accidently uncorking a well where the extra supply manages to drives the price down.

bearbee said...

An American flag stands in the corner.

Does the NYT lobby have one?

Hey, I'm actually considering getting a Rinnai tankless water heater, but it requires some complex venting...

A few years back I was researching and wanted to have one installed, but when the contractor said it would required busting through the exterior wall to vent I reverted to a new traditional hot water heater. My experience with contractors is less than satisfactory and I haven't found any contractor I would trust to breach and repair a bearing wall in a clean and competent way.

Call me cynic.

class-factotum said...

The tankless heating is a great system, at least as I knew it. It's what I had when I lived in Chile. It has to cost way less than $5,000, though, if every poor and middle-class household in Chile had one, but they are undoubtedly pricing to the market here.

It was a box containing a long folded water tube running over a gas tube with holes for the flames mounted on the wall in the kitchen. I lit it when I wanted to use the hot water. It was powered by a gas tank outside the house. Only inconvenience was running out of gas -- and hot water -- when I was in the middle of a shower. I'd have to get out of the shower, call the gas guy and wait for a delivery before I could rinse the shampoo out of my hair.

ricpic said...

Lefties can't stand it that Rush is loved, actually loved, by millions for in their alleged hearts they know just how unlovable they are.

Original Mike said...

...I have a huge bathtub (that takes 15 minutes to fill), so I have to be careful about when to use the dishwasher and the washing machine. What do you think? Should I get it?

Ask yourself, Ann, "What would Al Gore do?" (Buy the water heater and a few papal indulgences (erh, carbon offsets)).

OldGrouchy said...

AA: Get a wireless router or use your Airport to get on the web and then if you're not plugged in, you should be OK during a storm; hopefully; I'll pray for you too! Don't depend on surge protectors holding off a lighting strike.

To others: remember "it just words." However it's how they're put together that makes a good author, speaker, etc... interesting. ElRushBo is worth the $400MM. Besides, someone has to pay for B. Hussein Obama's tax plans!

Ah, time for a really HOT cup of coffee, with a few ice cubes tossed in for drink-ability!

Keith said...

DBQ: Age=State of mind!

Ann: I am "up to speed" on the internet feed of the program; just choosing not to fatten R.L.'s bank account anymore than it already is!

As to shrinking listnership: It may never happen. However, remember that the cursed network evening news programs have, I believe, a weekly combined audience more than Rush's, and virtually everyone believes that they are dying off because, well, their audience is dying off. Look at the advertisers on Nightly News, World News Tonight, etc.

AJ Lynch said...

Alan:

Re Exxon profits, is it fair to say its profits over the years have grown in relation to the world's growing population?

What I mean is have its profits escalated more in relation to the growth in the gallons of refined oil it sells (to a growing population) than in relation to the price of its products?

X said...

Ann, I got the Bosch tankless a few years ago and love it. Endless hot water and no unwanted heat in the house in the summer. Saves a good bit on gas too.

Mine cost only a little over $1000 installed.

John Stodder said...

Snerdly, whose real name is James Golden, held my eyes for a long moment before bursting into emphatic laughter.

What's "emphatic laughter?" Does it sound like this:

Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Or is it the kind of laughter you use when you want to make absolutely sure that the other person is aware you're laughing?

I always think of laughter as involuntary, but I suppose if you're boss tells you a joke, you might laugh emphatically so he doesn't think you didn't like it, or didn't get it.

In this article, though, it's a strange word choice. What happened to editors?

former law student said...

I have never been able to listen to Rush more than three minutes because I go into smarm overload. The only way I could ever listen to his show any longer was when B-1 Bob was his fill-in host years ago. Although a right-winger, Rush radiates smugness as much as any Prius-driving, Whole-Foods-tote-toting, Another-Mama-for-Obama-bumperstickered liberal.

Europeans use tankless coils all the time, because they can't afford to waste fuel keeping a barrel of water hot all day. To avoid the cost of venting, etc., find out how much an electric one would cost to own and operate. You might be able to stick one in the linen closet or something. I'm starting to see small ones in restrooms to prevent the water wasted by people waiting for it to run hot.

MadisonMan said...

I also get an I'm so clever vibe when I listen to Rush (well, the 1 or 2 times I've done so). He undoubtedly is clever -- given that he's riffing live on the air all day -- but I shouldn't be able to tell, should I?

When I think about Rush's Dad's rantings giving rise to a show, I'm reminded of another Dad who would read the NYTimes and blurt out things in the paper that he found interesting, and how the offspring of that Dad used the same schtick for a successful blog.

John Stodder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Stodder said...

I had a lot of liberal friends (still do) in the 80s and early 90s when Rush built his empire. When I first heard him, I knew how liberals were perceived was going to change, and I warned people that many of their basic political assumptions were going to get shaky.

Ronald Reagan might have brought conservatism into the mainstream, but Limbaugh was the one who disrobed liberalism. He is responsible more than anyone for the negative stereotypes of liberals in all their forms.

It's healthy, however. Eventually conservatives had to shed some of their easily mocked affectations in order to get a fair hearing. I think some liberals are belatedly doing that now.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I'm sure it resonates just fine with you. But I seriously doubt the BoD of Exxon Mobil will ever have any personal financial worries.

And as far as the risks of drilling. The true risk is accidently uncorking a well where the extra supply manages to drives the price down.


And it is supposed to matter to me that the CEO of a successful company that brings wealth and dividend income to its stockholders is making a lot of money? If the company was doing poorly, I might be concerned. It might be that the CEO could take less of an income, but at what cost to the bottom line of the shareholders if you get a less motivated management? Is the company using some of its profits to buy back stock? Yep. Yay for me and the rest of the shareholders which is about 80% of anyone who has a 401K or public pension plan.

Supply and demand. You might look up supply and demand equilibrium.

Tankless water heaters don't work in my area. Too cold in the winter so the incoming water is barely heated to tepid. Incoming water in the summer is also very cold and makes it to luke warm up by the tankless heater.

Jeremy said...

Had a tankless water heater in a house I was renting. It was maybe three years old when it started drip leaking. We had real hard water and the plumber said that they tend to have corrosion and leak problems in hard water areas. He replaced the parts but estimated he'd be back in another three years to replace them again. Just my experience.

Why no "men in shorts" tag?

Zachary Paul Sire said...

Interesting that the deal keeps him on the air until 2016, which is of course two presidential election cycles from now. Do the Clear Channel execs know something we don't?

What political environment would be more lucrative for the Rush Limbaugh show...eight years of McCain or eight years of Obama? Whose voice will conservatives need more than ever during this time?

He's definitely worth $400 million (a drop in the bucket for Clear Channel) when you consider the millions of disenfranchised Republicans seeking comfort during two long Obama terms.

john said...

Ann said -
"I have a huge bathtub (that takes 15 minutes to fill),"

Original Mike said -
"Ask yourself, Ann, "What would Al Gore do?""

Archimedes said -
"Ann, when you can displace the same volume of water as Al Gore, then it will only take you 2 minutes to fill your tub."

qed

Original Mike said...

As long as I can buy gas, Alan, I don't care how much the BoD of Exxon make. More power to them. And the day I can't buy gas, as I deem likely at some point in the near future, it isn't going to be Exxon I'll blame.

Original Mike said...

Jeremy - Ever heard of the device called a water softner?

Original Mike said...

Good point, John. Ann, you could fill the bottom of your tub with bricks. Think of all the water you wouldn't have to heat!

AJ Lynch said...

John:

Good one - I bet Al Gore would be happy to join Ann in her tub!

Ann Althouse said...

OldGrouchy said..."AA: Get a wireless router or use your Airport to get on the web and then if you're not plugged in, you should be OK during a storm; hopefully; I'll pray for you too! Don't depend on surge protectors holding off a lighting strike."

I was on a wireless router, but I was using a desktop that was plugged in. I just had to shut down and get on an unplugged laptop.

john said...

AJ -

That vision is just too horrible to comtemplate. (I hope Ann feels the same way.)

Pogo said...

Geez, for just $4500, I'll fill your tub with hot water.




Oh, you mean more than once?

Original Mike said...

Al Gore would heat the water as soon as he got in the tub, just from the waste heat of his righteous anger.

Outis said...

Liking the artwork isn't the same as liking the politics.

No, but disliking the politics isn't the same as disliking the whole country. This would seem to distinguish Rush from a lot of conservatives.

As for those saying that Rush is working in a dying medium: I've been hearing about the death of AM radio for about 35 years, and of radio in general almost as long. Yet it continues to plug away.

Ann Althouse said...

The tankless water heater uses less energy because it doesn't heat and hold a tankful of hot water all the time, so Al Gore should recommend the tankless water heater. But really, I should be taking a shower if all I cared about was saving energy.

Eli Blake said...

Pretty much every time I listen to Rush though I catch him in at least one ignorant moment.

Most recently, he was going on about CAFE standards and said that past rises in them haven't worked in holding down gas prices. Of course, that is nonsensical since before the one passed this year (and not slated to take full effect until 2020) the previous rise in CAFE standards was passed in 1978. So in fact, his argument was 180 degrees off, in was our NOT passing them that failed to bring down gas prices. We don't know if higher CAFE standards will bring them down (though common sense says they will via decreased demand) because the watered down increase that was passed this year was the first one one in thirty years.

But hey, why let inconvenient facts get in the way of a good radio rant?

john said...

On the other hand, Rush would displace about the same volume as Gore, and, Ann, you would probably get scented candles to boot.

The downside would be that Rush would want to broadcast from the tub.

Original Mike said...

As for those saying that Rush is working in a dying medium: I've been hearing about the death of AM radio for about 35 years, and of radio in general almost as long. Yet it continues to plug away.

Yeah. It's awfully hard to beat the convenience of an AM radio. No booting, drivers, jacks, and all the other annoyances that people just seem to put up with when it comes to computers.

Eli Blake said...

BTW, I've been listening to Rush since the days when he did caller abortions (which I'd have been if I'd ever gotten through) and when he would have called me a 'cheesehead,' before the term was usurped by fans of the Green Bay Packers.

Also: On the topic of Al Gore and energy conservation:

Why is it that conservatives seem to think that moving towards a responsible energy policy means major lifestyle changes?

Take the new lightbulbs. I've been using them for nearly two years and I've yet to have one burn out on me (whereas I used to have to replace most of my bulbs about once a year.) My electric bill is noticeably less, and exactly how is it negatively impacting my lifestyle?

If I get a car that is more efficient on fuel, how is that a negative impact on lifestyle?

If we build mass transit in a congested city so that some people will not have their car on the road, how is that a negative impact on lifestyle?

I get sick of people who claim that energy conservation = freeze in the dark. It doesn't mean that at all, but if all you listened to was Rush then you'd believe that it did.

Eli Blake said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Original Mike said...

We don't know if higher CAFE standards will bring them down (though common sense says they will via decreased demand)

Well, economists would disagree with you, but why let that get in the way of a good Internet rant.

Palladian said...

"He's definitely worth $400 million (a drop in the bucket for Clear Channel) when you consider the millions of disenfranchised Republicans seeking comfort during two long Obama terms."

Lol. It's almost touching, your little fantasy world, like a child watching the sky with hope in his eyes, waiting for a glimpse of Santa Claus.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Why is it that conservatives seem to think that moving towards a responsible energy policy means major lifestyle changes?

Take the new lightbulbs. I've been using them for nearly two years and I've yet to have one burn out on me (whereas I used to have to replace most of my bulbs about once a year.) My electric bill is noticeably less, and exactly how is it negatively impacting my lifestyle?


The new bulbs are obnoxious in color, don't warm up quickly, don't even light up in very cold weather, are hazardous to your health if they break, flicker and give me headaches, make everything in the room look dead. I haven't had to replace an incandescent light bulb in several years.

If I get a car that is more efficient on fuel, how is that a negative impact on lifestyle?

Your new fuel efficient car will not have the same pulling power up hill or towing power. The car will be smaller and unable to carry as many people efficiently. It will also not be able to handle larger cargo loads. All of these things are important to my lifestyle. Maybe not yours but mine. My husband says when you can get a Prius to haul a John Deere tractor/backhoe up a 4% grade, he might consider it. When you can get one that can tow a dump trailer with a ton of gravel or sand.....call us. Find one that I can attach our snow plow to in order to plow out the driveway and has 4x4 or all wheel drive capability....we can talk.

If we build mass transit in a congested city so that some people will not have their car on the road, how is that a negative impact on lifestyle?

It isn't as long as when you use the mass transit it actually takes you somewhere within a reasonable distance of your destination or there is a sub-mass transit system in place. It does no good to ride the transit in a place like San Jose and get off still with miles to go to your location and no bus or cab service in a not so nice neighborhood.

Here's a deal. I won't tell you how to live and you butt out of my life.

Eli Blake said...

original mike:

Well, since we haven't seen we don't know. We will know a little about it by 2020, since your guys and the auto industry lobbyists won that battle for decades.

It's a little like how you guys won the health care debate in the 1990's. Fair enough, you defeated Hillarycare. Instead, we got the HMO/ private insurance dominated system you wanted. But now your side owns what happens. And sometimes, that is a tough position to be in.

It's like how as a liberal, we won most of the battles about getting the EPA established, putting pollution standards in place and forcing industries to install scrubbers to end acid rain, etc. We own the result. I'm pretty happy with that, but you're welcome to throw darts at it.

Theo Boehm said...

Like Jeremy, we, too, have tankless hot water. And like Jeremy, every three years something breaks or springs a leak. Last year we replaced the coil with the latest thermodynamic wonder to the tune of $900+.

We don't have hard water, but water that's high in iron and is slightly acidic. Just think of it as dilute etching fluid.

I noticed evidence of a leak last night. Just a little crack, but it's leaking. A year and a half ahead of schedule.

Over the past 17 years, our tankless system has cost between $7000 and $8000 to maintain and replace.

But at least I get a chance to listen to Rush or old Sarah Vowell bits from This American Life while I'm in the basement working on it.

Think about it. If Rush wanted to try again, would that be a marriage made in heaven or what?

Original Mike said...

Personally, Eli, I embrace conservation when it's a personal choice. I walk to work every day, and over the 10 years I've owned my car, I've put 35,000 miles on it (3,500/year). I keep the thermostat low in the winter and rarely use the air conditioner in the summer. I just don't like government imposed "virtue", especially when imposed by people who think they're too good for the rules themselves.

Eli Blake said...

DBQ:

Since I've not been car shopping in awhile (another advantage of my 32 mpg cheap little Dodge Neon-- 200,000 miles and still running very well with hardly any problems) I can't give you a brand name, but I'd just point out that people were complaining about the lack of power a Prius is supposed to have when Al Gore III got stopped for driving 110 in one. Some people were surprised to find out that a Prius could do 110. Now granted, if you're driving it that fast you're not saving any fuel, but most people would never have a need to go that fast either. But it proves that the people who claimed that it couldn't produce that kind of power were full of it and didn't know what they were talking about.

Palladian said...

"Take the new lightbulbs. I've been using them for nearly two years and I've yet to have one burn out on me (whereas I used to have to replace most of my bulbs about once a year.) My electric bill is noticeably less, and exactly how is it negatively impacting my lifestyle?"

As stated here before, the light from CFLs is disgusting but if you're tasteless enough not to care about such aesthetic matters, then by all means, screw those ugly little pigtails into your sockets.

Of course, all the mercury that you're bringing into your home and eventually dumping into landfills is negatively impacting everyone's lifestyle so you might want to rethink that one.

"If I get a car that is more efficient on fuel, how is that a negative impact on lifestyle?"

It isn't. But don't be smug about it.

"If we build mass transit in a congested city so that some people will not have their car on the road, how is that a negative impact on lifestyle?"

New York is a congested city with extensive mass transit. It's more congested than ever. Your calculus doesn't seem to work on this one.

Some people don't want to have to go to work on mass transit's (read: the government's) schedule, or be stuffed in a box with a hundred other angry, stinky people, or haul things around in a cart.

The point of all this: if you don't think these things are a negative impact on your lifestyle, then by all means, have at it. But don't expect me or anyone else to accept your forbearances if we don't want to. Of course, freedom of choice is scary for so-called liberals, which is why these lifestyle "choices" will eventually be forced upon us.

Palladian said...

"Think about it. If Rush wanted to try again, would that be a marriage made in heaven or what?"

I'm thinking "or what".

Eli Blake said...

original mike,

I wish I could walk to work (though living in a rural area that would mean walking 20 miles one way on some days and 96 miles one way on other days, depending on which worksite I'm at that day.) High fuel prices are threatening to put a lot of the local ranchers out of business, and if they do then look for the $5 hamburger next.

Methadras said...

Liberals and leftists everywhere have become even more dower than they were yesterday at todays news of the new contract Limbaugh was able to capture. I can just see Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Boxer, and Patrick Leahy all huddled together and bemoaning this current nemesis.

MadisonMan said...

DBQueen, you obviously have needs that a fuel-efficient car can't provide. I'm entirely happy to have you spend $$$ on gas because the taxes on those gas purchases fund construction of roads that I get to drive on despite contributing very little -- we buy 10 gallons a month in a good month, 20 in a bad. I just last week had my first $30 gas purchase. So I thank you for your tax contributions, and that's usually what I think when I see someone in Madison driving a car/truck that appears to me to be unnecessarily large.

Eli, I'm thinking AGIII was going downhill when he was going 110. I can go 80 easily in my Prius (even uphill on I80 in central PA), but 110? I'm suspicious, although I admit I haven't tried :)

Eli Blake said...

palladian:

Since you are so worried about the trace amounts of mercury in the new light bulbs (and it is a trace amount-- you'd need to ingest about 500 of them before the mercury would be dangerous to your health) were you worried about the much larger amount of mercury that was released into the atmosphere following the Bush administration's pushing the 'clear skies act' through Congerss some years back that actually increased the allowable mercury admissions? If you opposed it then you have a right to complain about the much smaller amount of mercury in the bulbs.

In fact, I don't know this for a fact, but I'd not be a bit surprised if the amount of mercury in a typical new bulb was less than the amount of mercury that was not be released into the atmosphere because of not having to produce as much energy at the power plant.

Nobody 'forces' you to get on mass transit. And if you think NY congestion is bad, go visit LA or someplace else that hasn't done a very good job with mass transit.

Eli Blake said...

I'm suspicious, although I admit I haven't tried

Actually they addressed that issue (of the road grade.) He was on a straight and level stretch of highway (which is a good thing because he was higher than a kite and if he'd been on hills he'd probably have crashed.)

MadisonMan said...

Of course, freedom of choice is scary for so-called liberals

So you're saying conservatives are Pro-Choice?

The urge to control the unwashed masses is something that both liberals and conservatives have and act on with considerable frequency.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

but I'd just point out that people were complaining about the lack of power a Prius is supposed to have when Al Gore III got stopped for driving 110 in one

Speed /= power. What works in the city for commuting doesn't work for the working man. Unfortunately all the ivory tower boneheads who dream up these ideas live in the city and don't give a sh*t about how they affect any one else.

And lest you think that I'm some sort of wanton polluter of the environment. We live in a passive solar heated house with zone heating, solar panels for the hot tub, our electricity is from renewable sources like hydro. I drive less than 4000 miles a year on MY personal car, grow our own vegetables and fruit, compost, recycle cans and glass, ride a 3 wheel bike to the local grocery store when the weather permits, and never have flown on an airplane in the last 6 years. I'll put my carbon footprint (which I think is a big fat joke anyway) up against anyone's anytime.

I resent being told what to do with my life. The last few weeks we have been in a cloud of smoke from the forests burning up because the eco-nazis won't let us thin them. Probably enough carbon in the air for the next 100 years of my own usage. Frankly the whole global warming scheme is just that...a scheme. In fact if I hear one more time about it, I'm tempted to set a pile of tires on fire and use up all my personal carbon offsets.

All this big city liberal B.S. is why Rush Limbaugh has listeners (I don't listen to him). They are sick of all of you.

Original Mike said...

High fuel prices are threatening to put a lot of the local ranchers out of business

Eli, I feel for them, and you if you're suffering from the high prices. I sincerely do. But, frankly, I think this mess is self imposed by those who have successfully limited our energy production. And, high prices are the only thing that will support the real development of competing technologies. They were inevitable sooner or later, anyways. I just wish it had been later.

Palladian said...

"So you're saying conservatives are Pro-Choice?"

I said "so-called liberals" to distinguish between actual liberals and moralistic control-oriented "liberals". The desire to control and regulate and condemn is unfortunately a trait of contemporary so-called liberalism but is certainly not exclusive to any political ideology.

MadisonMan said...

our electricity is from renewable sources like hydro

The only renewable we have here is wind, which you can pay extra for. I find the extra cost a big scam -- why doesn't the local electric company just mix all the energy together in a pot? Because there are suckers in Madison who will pay money to feel good about themselves.

Palladian said...

I would add that I don't drive (never learned), often use mass transit or walk, don't like to vacation therefore fly infrequently, eat organic foods, recycle aluminum and cardboard and revere nature. I just hate dogmatism, self-righteous moralism and being told what to do. Choices are different than compulsion and unfortunately "so-called liberals" seem to think that State compulsion (which is always a threat of violence) is the only way to make the "rubes" comply.

Theo Boehm said...

Don't get me started on compact fluorescents. I replaced every bulb in our house with the damned things about six years ago in a fit of environmental responsibility.

Three things happened:

1. The house almost burnt down because the cheap magnetic ballast on one of the units in the basement burst into flames. Magnetic ballasts are no longer used. But having been through three electrical fires in my house, I remain skittish.

2. Most of the indoor ones burnt out within six months. They were all gone within 15 months. The only ones that survived were ones that were left on for long periods outdoors. Our front porch light is a Toshiba CFL that's over 10 years old.

3. The dimmable ones in the dining room buzzed and flickered, and triggered my wife's chronic migraines. You do not want to be around my wife with a migraine. She said if we kept them, we could spend all the money we saved on Fiorinal

All this was done with the expense of proper fixtures, dimmers, etc. I understand new CFL's are better, but this time I'm waiting for LED's to become practical.

My wife says that if they are anything like the CFL's, she will personally grind them up and put them in my coffee.

I said if they are anything like the CFL's we had, I would drink it.

Alan said...

I don't care how much the BoD of Exxon make. Nor does Exxon's profits come in play. Its the notion the BoD of Exxon are the "risk takers." They didn't create the company from scratch. They haven't risked their life savings. Their livelihood is not on the line. Even if a director is shoved out of the company he or she will get a golden parachute. They are not risk takers. Not like the entrepreneur that risks his life savings to build a company from scratch. I'm surprised Rush could say such a thing with a straight face. It doesn't work with me...anymore.

I used to be a Rush Limbaugh fan, going all the way back to before the first Gulf War. Rush seemed to be sharp back then. He seems less engaged now.

veni vidi vici said...

Best unintentionally humorous statement of the week:

"On the topic of Al Gore and energy conservation:

Why is it that conservatives seem to think that moving towards a responsible energy policy means major lifestyle changes?"

Al Gore and "responsible energy policy" is a great oxymoron.

Now, you may think Rush Limbaugh is an "oxy-contin moron", but that's another thing entirely.

Freeman Hunt said...

So you're saying conservatives are Pro-Choice?

The urge to control the unwashed masses is something that both liberals and conservatives have and act on with considerable frequency.


The pro-choice position is the less controlling one? I tend to think that the less controlling position is the one that doesn't give some people the right to kill other people.

former law student said...

less controlling position is the one that doesn't give some people the right to kill other people.

As far as I know, 4th through 300th trimester abortions are still illegal.

Shawn Levasseur said...

As to a point made wayyyy up there...

Surge suppressors are great. But they are made to smooth out any problems with line voltage.

Lightning is way more power than anything that normally goes through the lines.

A surge suppressor may help, but it can potentially be akin to juming off a building and say that a pillow will make your landing smoother.

Devices turned off, (and unplugged) is the only guarantee of protecting devices in a lightning storm.

cathorus said...

Several notes:
1. I think the cover was fabulous--and intentionally tongue-in-cheek.

2. It's obvious Rush riffs if you really listen to him. He has all the pauses and incomplete sentences of someone speaking extemporaneously.

3. I've always thought Rush takes himself with a grain of salt. It's part of the schtick to seem smug and arrogant. He obviously has many liberal friends, so he's probably pretty fun to spend time with.

4. DustBunnyQueen, you sound like my kind of gal. Please check out my blog and let me know what you think--women especially tell me it's funny.
http://www.whenwearequeen.squarespace.com
Thanks!

rhhardin said...

My father used to trap me into discussions of all the big issues and drove me to tears by applying the Socratic method — he called it the Socratic method. He was all about requiring that I define my terms,

That used to be a 1950s joke about University of Chicago students, that they wanted you to define your terms.

Wittgenstein hadn't sunk in there yet.

Defining your terms is more the finish of an argument than the start, in a good argument.

rhhardin said...

Socratic method

There is a very funny essay ``Socrates and His Physician'' in Paul Valery's Dialogues, that brings out its maddening aspects.

Incredibly, it appears not to be on the web. Only eight short pages.

George said...

After my root canal today....

Did I tell you I had a root canal today?

It included hammering on my tooth. To make sure it was the right one. And it was.

And, Mr. Snerdly, I also got not one, not two, not three, but four injections, four!

Of powerful painkillers in my mouth. Two up through the roof of my mouth. MY PALATE. A needle, ladies and gentlemen, twice inserted up through the roof of my mouth. Twice!

You know, I say, you know I'm ready for some of sweet, melt in your mouth steak. You don't even have to chew it.

Steak from Ruth's Chris steakhouse.

From cows. American cows.

They know how to treat people right. Yes, they do. That's Ruth's Chris steakhouse

Methadras said...

Eli Blake said...

Also: On the topic of Al Gore and energy conservation:

Why is it that conservatives seem to think that moving towards a responsible energy policy means major lifestyle changes?


Because conservatives don't like having their a 'responsible' energy policy rammed down their throat by the environmentalist/sierra club/aarp leftist/liberal lobbies. These lobbies have taken it upon themselves to try and dictate energy policy based on their theory of what makes energy policy based on their ideas. Which in this case are tied to collectivist ideology.

From CFL's to the scam green movement. These ideas are entrenched in in a way of thinking that did not get ascend the United States to the superpower status is has today. Instead, these ideas seek to equalize the US on par with every other country in the world in terms of lifestyle, standards of living, and way of life because these ideas are about equality and fairness, not about uniqueness nor superiority which is a mantle the US has held, in my humble opinion for quite some time.

Take the new lightbulbs. I've been using them for nearly two years and I've yet to have one burn out on me (whereas I used to have to replace most of my bulbs about once a year.) My electric bill is noticeably less, and exactly how is it negatively impacting my lifestyle?

Because when they became a mandated item that has incentivized taxation centered around them, that is seen as a governmental policy that is meant, in the short term to introduce these products as having the stamp of governmental approval. However in the long term, when they become mandated for all new construction or are phased in as law to replace all incandescents, that is a mandated lifestyle change. That is an intrusion into my purchasing power by the government via the above mentioned lobbies because they think they know better than we do. They don't. I don't want to be incrementally dictated too and I'm sure many other don't either through these types of policies.

If I get a car that is more efficient on fuel, how is that a negative impact on lifestyle?

Because it requires government to mandate efficiency standards, not what the market wishes to bear. Do you really think that auto manufacturers really want to hav more efficient engines? Of course not? Why? Because that's not what the market wants. They want bigger vehicles that can do more things at once. Unfortunately, efficiency in terms of mileage doesn't fit into that equation. Larger engines require more energy to move, which have larger electric demands placed on them due to the electronic nature of modern vehicles, which require more energy. Therefore efficiency can only stretch so far, but again that isn't what the market asked for.

Your lifestyle impact is different than someone else's lifestyle. What is good for your lifestyle may be incompatible with someone else's. Why would I want a tiny Prius when I can get a behemoth vehicle that lets me haul big loads, carry more people, take me into different terrain, and is generally a good utilitarian vehicle all-around. Compared to say a Prius that can't carry 3 grown men adequately, has a 76 horsepower engine, even though it is based on Toyota's synergy drive (which is good by the way), but in it's creation does more harm than good. Besides, I'm sure you've read the environmental impact on what it takes to create a Prius, but if you haven't. Give this a good read:

http://clubs.ccsu.edu/recorder/editorial/editorial_item.asp?NewsID=188

What's funny is at the end of the article it says that it will take 5 years for you to get the money back in what you spend on fuel, on a car that is only supposed to last 100k miles. And in California 15 - 20k miles a year is normal. I'm picking on the Prius because it is the car that the greenies uphold as the symbol of their sham movement.

If we build mass transit in a congested city so that some people will not have their car on the road, how is that a negative impact on lifestyle?

Because you neglect the impact of building mass transit and how it affects people during their ability to be mobile. Construction zones, dust mitigation, noise pollution, traffic jams, delays, accidents. That all is monetary impact. That is impact that is lifestyle changing. Not to mention the levels of taxation put upon by states and localities to divest people of their cars to shoehorn them into their mass transit sardine cans. In effect locking people down in terms of mobility and freedom of mobility. Mass transit has it's place and it's uses, but to try and introduce it in places that can't really accommodate it because city planners want to go green is lifestyle changing.

I get sick of people who claim that energy conservation = freeze in the dark.

Who would that be? I think most people understand that energy conservation means essentially being more efficient. Being green isn't the same as being efficient. The green movement seeks to change lifestyle. Energy conservation seeks to take what already is and make it more efficient. The two can have similarities and dovetail with each other as complementary artifices, but they are independent of each other.

It doesn't mean that at all, but if all you listened to was Rush then you'd believe that it did.

Really? I listen to Rush on occasion, when I can, but I've never gotten the impression that he has said or implied that energy conservation equals freezing in the dark. I think you are equating that conservatives who don't fall in line with the leftist/liberal mantra of being green see that as being lifestyle changing. Afterall, according to non-conservatives we are all world-citizens who must save the planet at any cost.

MadisonMan said...

Steak from Ruth's Chris steakhouse.

Do they sponsor RL? I've heard such a place is good, but the thought of a chain restaurant just turns me off. Madison has plenty of great steak houses -- Smokey's, Tornado Club, Delaney's -- I don't know why someone goes for the alleged cachet of a meal that tastes like a meal you can get in any other Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. Why have part of your food dollar leave the city for the Corporate HQ?

I hope your teeth feel good tomorrow!

reader_iam said...

Hmmm. One of the few topics at Althouse which has the capability to rack up more comments* than torture is Limbaugh, especially if there are any elements of the positive therein (*though the count is pretty much neck-and-neck now and pretty has been).

I said "few." Not only. Still, I'm noticing--and only sayin'.

reader_iam said...

pretty MUCH has been--not pretty has been.

And, yeah, I've been tracking it pretty from the git-go. Everybody has an intermittently pursued trivial hobby, is that not so?

reader_iam said...

Love it! Same skipped word once again; so once again, add a "much."

LOL.

AJ Lynch said...

Reader:

Limbaugh = torture to some folks.

I always say my own personal version of hell would be to be forced to watch daytime TV. For many libs, I'd say it would be listening to Rush.

Freeman Hunt said...

As far as I know, 4th through 300th trimester abortions are still illegal.

So as long as we just define certain people out of personhood, it's okay to kill them... oh, wait, this sounds familiar...

jdeeripper said...

Zachary Paul Sire said...He's definitely worth $400 million when you consider the millions of disenfranchised Republicans seeking comfort during two long Obama terms.

No, that's 4 years of McCain and then 8 years of Mitt "Captain America" Romney.

blake said...

As far as I know, 4th through 300th trimester abortions are still illegal.

As far as I know 3rd trimester abortions followed by infanticide are still legal.

blake said...

I get sick of people who claim that energy conservation = freeze in the dark.

Well, hey, the world isn't gonna stand by why we run our furnaces and keep every light in the house on.

blake said...

They didn't create the company from scratch. They haven't risked their life savings. Their livelihood is not on the line.

How materialistic of you! Most of the people in these positions probably don't need to work at all, yet I bet they take their failures harder than most. And I know they put in killer hours.

But because they don't suffer in terms that you can measure and judge, you feel comfortable in deciding they don't suffer enough?

Not like the entrepreneur that risks his life savings to build a company from scratch.

By all means, let's hire execs from the ranks of people who will lose everything if they fail! That'll guarantee success!

Beth said...

madisonman, staying local is good advice. For me, that would include Ruth's Chris, since they first opened in New Orleans. There's a stretch of Broad Street that in the best of times had three or four really good steak houses, all of which opened sometime in the 1930s. Ruth's Chris opened in the same area in the 1960s, copied what was working for those joints, upped the prices and offered a fancier setting, and became the gathering spot for politicians and court officials. Ruth's Chris expanded as a chain, and they bailed after Katrina, and moved their corporate offices to Florida so Rush and Sean can have that buncha shoemakers!

Just down the block from the old Ruth's Chris is Crescent City Steakhouse, and that's my favorite. It's an unpretentious, old-time restaurant that looks just like it did 70 years ago (well, with the addition of flatscreen TVs to watch football) with a gleaming antique oak bar, about 12 tables on a beautiful green tile floor, and a few curtained booths along the wall. The menu takes up a single small page with steaks, a coupla salads, maybe 8 sides and a few desserts, but what else could you ask for?

Beth said...

george, root canals suck. Enjoy your steak. And even while I'm ticked with Ruth's Chris for their cowardly desertion of their home ground, I plan to enjoy every penny of the two RC gift certificates we got for Christmas. Then, I'm done with 'em.

reader_iam said...

Wait a minute, Blake. I don't think it's that black and white. And I don't think you do, either.

Then again, whatever.

reader_iam said...

Referring to your 12:43.

blake said...

Nobody 'forces' you to get on mass transit. And if you think NY congestion is bad, go visit LA or someplace else that hasn't done a very good job with mass transit

I've lived my whole life here in L.A., and the freeways have enabled me to take jobs 90 miles away (and do the ride in an hour, heh). The freeways handle millions of travelers every day and the vast majority of them are going directly to distinct locations in the fastest possible manner.

It's really what has kept us from becoming New York City, allowing us to spread out horizontally rather than vertically. That's been changing since Yortie and Bradley, unfortunately, and traffic has definitely suffered as a result.

Wasn't there a post here not too long ago saying that NYC had the most widely used mass transit--and it was a whopping 6% of the population?

blake said...

Hi, Reader!

Are there jerky execs who don't care and just hang in long enough to collect whatever cash they can at the expense of the company? Sure. I know minimum wagers who have done the same.

At which point, we're just talking about envy.

Unlike the fast food manager, though, the board that hires a high-priced exec usually has a very good reason to want the best for the judge.

I have a cousin in the movie biz. Due to a merger between two big companies, he was fired from his first job after about six months. His severance package (he was under contract) was more than most make in their entire lives.

I could be envious. Or I could look at the fact that he spent years (from the time he was a pre-teen) working toward this goal, held out for the job, and immediately started looking for similar work after he was fired.

Class warfare is not healthy.

reader_iam said...

Class warfare is not healthy.

Absolutely.

At which point, we're JUST talking about envy. [Emphasis, via UC, mine.]

Oh, bullshit.

What a false equivalence.

blake said...

ReaderIam,

I'd love to address your specific objection but I don't know what it is.

reader_iam said...

For starters, the minimum-wage slacker needs to be reined in primarily for his own benefit (on an individual basis, his ability to do damage to a business, as an individual, in general is relatively limited, and, in any case, he is relatively easily, to just plain easily, shed).

In contrast, the jerky executive slacker needs (but often isn't) needs to be reined in for the benefit of those beneath him, and those at the same level as he, and even for his corporation and the the biz culture at large (much less the perception of business), but mostly he's not, for various entrenched reasons. And meanwhile, he racks up the bucks which makes his fall less hard (therefore less self-correcting--talk about undercutting "natural consequences")!

Shorter: He does more damage, to real people and to business, while collecting more unearned rewards, and it's much harder to get rid of him. That's got not a thing to do with class envy, or class warfare, but rather the opposite.

That's a sloppy and quick response--and by virtue of that, no doubt way too broad-brush--but it's a start. (Still, it points to a dirty little secret. Oh. Yes. It. Does.)

As I said, I'm objecting to your equivalence.

google said...

Eli,

This is the kind of lifestyle issue blindness that drives libertarians like me nuts.

You are just not in a position to say that any given pushed change in behavior doesn't impose a lifestyle change. What you mean is that it wouldn't require a lifestyle change for you.

Take the cars. I've driven a friend's Prius and liked it. It performs admirably for what it is.

I drive an Audi A4 which I love because when in the sport gear it responds all but instantaneously to the accelerator and is very nimble when changing lanes.

I like that. That's my lifestyle choice. Most people don't care about that stuff as much as I do. That's fine with me, until they start looking at my car's mph (it's not a gas hog, but it's not a Prius, either), and assume that my lifestyle would not suffer if I replaced the Audi with an equally sized Honda Civic.

A similar observation has already been made about the compact florescent bulbs. Most people don't care about the difference in lighting quality (I think I put myself in that camp), some people do.

Scott Wood

1jpb said...

Ann says:
"It's when you are talking/writing to figure out what you think, to find out what you want to say, that you are interesting."

Rush says
"He’s a liberal. I oppose liberals. That’s all that’s involved here."

I'm a long time Rush listener (and watcher, when he had his tube show.) There is nothing to figure out about Rush. Although, the Rush-worship phenomenon (including, to some degree, this post) is interesting. Certainly, the irony of liberty and individualism loving American conservatives excitedly clinging to their dittohead status is curious--who's the messiah? Hint: Rush's psych 101, via rehab, would be useful here.

P.S. To the kids who HID listening to Rush from their parents: sorry for not inviting you to parties. Who knew that we were sentencing you to a life of dittoheaddom.

P.P.S. What happens when dittoheads listen to Savage destroy "the golfer?" Do your heads explode?

blake said...

Reader,

The only equivalence I was trying to draw was that lots of people do poorly, but people want to punish some of them, even with an at best dim understanding of the reasons for the failure.

I will certainly concede that the incompetent exec does more damage than the incompetent -- well, I hesitate to say fast food worker, since they do occasionally kill people, but we're basically in agreement. Except that I'd add, in a lot of cases, it's not necessarily the exec's fault.

However, the range of their influence is why the good exec gets the big bux that upset people so. And that's conveniently forgotten when it's lynchin' time.

Let's take, say, Michael Eisner, whom I don't really care for, but who turned Disney from a takeover target into a thriving business. Yes, he made--well, I think, billions over his time. But he created billions, too.

Shorter: He does more damage, to real people and to business, while collecting more unearned rewards, and it's much harder to get rid of him.

So, let's take a look at Eisner, because while he started gangbusters, he overstayed his usefulness by probably about a decade.

That guy--the one who was successful but maybe not so mcuh anymore?--he's hard to get rid of.

The other guy? The incompetent one? He's actually pretty easy to get rid of. Movie studios dispose of execs like crazy. (That's one reason people are so insecure in their jobs in "the business".) And he may well have given up a great job and uprooted his family, etc., to take this chance. And he may well lose his job because of what his predecessor did. Etc.

The ones who were good in the past but not good now, they're harder to get rid of, sure. But that's also because it's a tricky business, matching an exec with a particular job.

Look at Jobs and Lasseter taking over Disney. Lasseter's running the animation, and you know he can, and he's worth whatever you pay him.

But what experience does Jobs have running a movie studio/theme park/merchandising machine/etc.? Could be disastrous, no?

It's not like swapping out a fry cook or a roofer or even a brain surgeon. The incoming guy and the people who hire him can all be operating in good faith and it can still all come out disastrously. Of course he's secured his own well being. What's he supposed to do? Quit his high-paying job that he's successful enough at to get an even higher paying job with even more responsibilities without looking at what might go wrong?

I just get this vibe that people want to punish this guy. He hasn't suffered enough. Why do execs get great severance packages when they've done a lousy job? Because that's what it takes to get them to leave the jobs they're successful at.

That's got not a thing to do with class envy, or class warfare, but rather the opposite.

I'm unconvinced. Not that you don't feel that way, but that class envy--or just plain envy--isn't the motivation behind most of this crap.

As I said, I'm objecting to your equivalence.

Truth be told, the fast food guy has it a lot easier. He can quit his job at any time and nobody cares, and he can walk across the street and get the same job.

We're not in the days where employers pass around your "permanent record" and can blacklist you (mostly). But the guy at the top--everyone knows where he goes, what he does, and how he fails.

High level execs who fail often fail for life.

1jpb said...

I cant resist.

Mr. Wood,

What about burning 116 octane leaded gas with 30 pounds of boost from a huge turbo managed with a standalone computer combined with all wheel drive and race suspension with bumper beams and airbags removed?

What does your libertarian self say about running this car on public roads?

I think that mileage, safety, and environmental regulations should be imposed. And, those who cheat the system should run this risk of being punished. Although the fuel prices for 116 leaded (and enviro-guilt) do tend to limit one's non-track excursions.

Libertarians are perfectly satisfied with the extreme limitations of an A4. So why not tighten up a little more? You'll never know what you're missing anyway.

Blake,

Executive over-pay apologist: Enemy of good management and corporate governance. Enemy of the shareholders!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Back to principles, please.

blake said...

Executive over-pay apologist:

Hey, somebody's gotta do it.

Seneca the Younger said...

Liking the artwork isn't the same as liking the politics.

Um, Ann, disliking the politics isn't the same as disliking the people or the culture either.

I've never listen to Limbaugh and I'm a free marketer, but, honestly, who is worth $400mm?!

Someone who brings in more than that.

Because there are suckers in Madison who will pay money to feel good about themselves.

Ya think? (Hint: it is all mixed together in one pot. Electrons don't have labels.)

What does your libertarian self say about running this car on public roads?

"Wow! Cooooool."

Dogwood said...

What about burning 116 octane leaded gas with 30 pounds of boost from a huge turbo managed with a standalone computer combined with all wheel drive and race suspension with bumper beams and airbags removed?

What does your libertarian self say about running this car on public roads?


I'm guessing the $16 per gallon price severely limits the overall number of these vehicles cruising the streets.

Secondly, in some states it may be illegal to remove bumper beams or air bags. Generally speaking, vehicles using public roads must comply with the safety and environmental regulations in place at the time the vehicle was manufactured.

Thankfully, however, these regulations are almost never enforced by the local police unless the vehicle is obviously a danger to others. Were the regs to be enforced, then our love affair with custom cars might be jeopardized, and that would really suck.

Finally, your example doesn't address the issue being discussed between Eli and Wood, i.e. using governmental coercion to impose liberal environmental policies that result in lifestyle changes for those not wishing to make such changes.

I'm a conservative, I have a degree in environmental science, and I consider myself an environmental conservationist. However, I don't try to use the law to impose my environmental values on others. I recycle but don't believe it should be mandatory. I drive a car that gets 30 MPG, but don't believe government should impose efficiency standards such as CAFE. I don't care what type of light bulb you use, so please don't tell me what kind I have to use.

The modern environmental movement, however, seems to be chock full of people who never tire of lecturing the rest of us on how important it is that we change the way we live so we can achieve some vague yet unattainable notion of paradise on Earth.

1jpb said...

You don't like CAFE.

What about the lead in my race fuel? This gives me more boost without detonation. Of course it was necessary to remove the catalytic converter. And, I use an atmospheric (no muffler, very loud) waste gate. And, the required emissions control systems are completely bypassed with stand alone engine management, i.e. the factory computer was completely tossed. Should I be breaking the law when I drive on public roads?

What about the government requiring bumper beams and airbags? These are unnecessary weight.

What about the tire pressure sensors that the government won't let me remove (until I bought aftermarket wheels) from one of my street cars?

And, what about no cell phone in the car? And, mandatory seat belts? And, no smoking in buildings? And, requiring helmets for bicyclists? And, what about disposal of hazardous materials? And, what about crack?

In the perfect world according to libertarians do all of these regulations disappear? Wouldn't that be lovely?

P.S. Expensive fuel is worth it when you can get to sixty in about three seconds.

Dogwood said...

Should I be breaking the law when I drive on public roads?

Probably not, but only you can make that decision. I'm not your daddy.


In the perfect world according to libertarians do all of these regulations disappear? Wouldn't that be lovely?

In my perfect world, regulations are kept to a bare minimum and focus primarily on protecting people from each other, rather than protecting people from the consequences of their own decisions.