misunderestimating obama

From tonight’s address to Congress:

But we are committed to the goal of a re-tooled, re-imagined auto industry that can compete and win. Millions of jobs depend on it. Scores of communities depend on it. And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.

The first internal combustion engine was designed in Switzerland; the modern automobile—powered by either a gasoline or diesel internal combustion engine—was invented in Germany. What, now we have to bail out their auto industries, too?

But, hey, I won’t begrudge his economically vacuous rhetoric. It’s really just an excuse to spread other people’s wealth across our fifty-seven states anyway.

a study of myopia and hysteria

I like doing things with Helvetica and the Adobe Creative Suite. I also like infographics explaining why many of you are wrong. This is my latest creation.

the now explosion

In 1968, broadcaster Bob Whitney experimented with a new program that would play Top 40 singles with a continuous video feed. The result was The Now Explosion, a show a lot like the weekly Top 40 shows of Casey Kasem and Rick Dees. The show recorded in Atlanta and broadcast on WATL-TV. A young Ted Turner later bought the rights and broadcast it on his new station, WTCG-TV (which would, in 1979, become WTBS). Production was pretty crude, but kind of amazing for its time. After the jump, a peak at psychedelic-era MTV and how it was produced.

the costs of NOT dropping the atomic bombs

From Wikipedia’s entry for Operation Downfall, the plan for the invasion of Japan:

Nearly 500,000 Purple Heart medals were manufactured in anticipation of the casualties resulting from the invasion of Japan. To the present date, all the American military casualties of the sixty years following the end of World War II — including the Korean and Vietnam Wars — have not exceeded that number. In 2003, there were still 120,000 of these Purple Heart medals in stock.[45] There are so many in surplus that combat units in Iraq and Afghanistan are able to keep Purple Hearts on-hand for immediate award to wounded soldiers on the field.[45]

nope, at long last, he had no decency

No shortage of recent conservative writers—Ann Coulter, of course, comes to mind—have tried to give Sen. Joe McCarthy partial credit for his hunt for Communists in all corners of public society; it turned out that there were Communists in government, after all. Not so fast, says author Ronald Kessler:

The FBI agents who actually chased Soviet spies have a very different perspective.

[Former FBI agent Robert J.] Lamphere (who died in 2002), told me in an interview that agents who worked counterintelligence were appalled that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover initially supported McCarthy. True enough, the Venona intercepts revealed that hundreds more Soviet spies had operated in the government than was believed at the time.

“The problem was that McCarthy lied about his information and figures,” Lamphere said. “He made charges against people that weren’t true. McCarthyism harmed the counterintelligence effort against the Soviet threat because of the revulsion it caused.”

It makes sense, then, that certain writers would defend Sen. McCarthy, despite the harm he did to his own side.

why The Movement makes me wildly uncomfortable

Will Wilkinson posts on why one ought to pick anyone but Thomas Jefferson in Radley Balko’s Founding Father poll, and the commenters let loose a flood of verbal diarrhea:

April 9th, 2008 06:27 11
I’d also take exception to the idea that Jefferson’s position on slavery was worse than Hamilton’s on the Central Bank. Slavery, though dreadful, was on its last legs. The centralization of power that the Bank represented was a new, dangerous, and rising threat. Centralization and the Leviathan state are scourge of modern liberty, and Hamilton was an ardent supporter of both.

Good God. If we’re going to excuse TJ–who not only has the slave-owning mark against him, but that of being an open supporter of the Jacobin bloodbath in France–because Cato uses his head in its logo, but demonize Alexander Hamilton for introducing centralized government that I contend actually improved the rule of law, then I’m out.