"After two decades online, I'm perplexed. It's not that I haven't had a gas of a good time on the Internet. I've met great people and even caught a hacker or two. But today, I'm uneasy about this most trendy and oversold community. Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic. Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth [is] no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works." A view of the Internet's future from February 26, 1995 at 7:00 PM
The New Inquiry: Just The Facts
With its emphasis on the empirical, conspiracism is uncomfortably similar to the technocratic mindset of mainstream political discourse. Technocratic pundits — typified by the likes of Ezra Klein, a journalist and blogger who runs the Washington Post's Wonkblog — are likewise driven almost exclusively by data sets and empirical studies. As Bhaskar Sunkara suggested in this piece for In These Times, such pundits operate under the assumption that the facts are so powerful that they might lead people of all ideologies to embrace a particular array of ideology-free policies.[more inside]
The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?
In this paper, we report on the first-ever test of the accuracy of figures who made political predictions. We sampled the predictions of 26 individuals.... We discovered that a few factors impacted a prediction's accuracy. The first is whether or not the prediction is a conditional; conditional predictions were more likely to not come true. The second was partisanship; liberals were more likely than conservatives to predict correctly. The final significant factor in a prediction's outcome....[PDF] Are Talking Heads Blowing Hot Air? [more inside]
Dave Ramsey - a syndicated radio host, author and revival-style seminar leader leads a Christian-themed, tough love crusade to convince Americans to cut up their credit cards and renounce debt forever. His detractors say our impulses, not our debt, are the problem.
Is Glenn Beck losing his edge? David Carr certainly thinks so (NYT link). While Beck's numbers are still high in comparison to his rivals, he's lost around a third of his viewership, primarily younger viewers. Fox is even thinking about life without Beck. [more inside]
The laughed at him. Foretelling the doom and gloom of the mortgage crisis as a pundit in these 2006-2007 interviews, Peter Schiff held to a grim economic outlook. Recently in the Washington Post, Schiff writes: "Our leaders irrationally promoted home-buying, discouraged savings, and recklessly encouraged borrowing and lending, which together undermined our markets."
Limbaugh gets hearing back. Love him or hate him, it is great to know that technology has enabled someone to get some hearing back. However, to implant the device requires doctors to "destory the inner ear". But it seems to have worked.