February 1, 2006

Passage of the Day: Mark Steyn on Oprah’s Gullibility

Mark “Steel-Trap Memory” Steyn notes another instance of Oprah being fooled:

James Frey’s A Million Little Pieces, a “heartbreaking memoir” of “poetic honesty” (Bret Easton Ellis), was recently revealed to be somewhat heavier on the “poetic” than on the “honesty.” Instead of being a tough drug-addicted punk who brawled with cops while high on crack, took up with a doomed narco-hooker, got tossed in the slammer and was wanted in three jurisdictions, Mr. Frey turns out to be some suburban Pat Boone-type with a couple of outstanding parking tickets (I exaggerate, but not as much as he does).

Oprah fell for it, as she’s wont to do. If memory serves, the last time it happened was with The Education of Little Tree, the bestselling memoir of a Cherokee boyhood by a fellow who proved to be not a Cherokee boy but a Ku Klux Klansman — Forrest Carter. Indeed, Mr. Carter claims to have written George Wallace’s “Segregation forever!” speech. But, drooling over all those authentic Cherokee rites of passage, neither Oprah nor Canada’s Jake Eberts, the Chariots Of Fire producer who outbid her for the movie rights, could see the Forrest for the Little Tree.

Education of Little Tree was an Oprah recommended book in 2003 (near bottom at link), 24 years after the death of Asa Carter, and many years after the fictional nature of the book was definitively exposed.
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Previous Related Posts:

  • Jan. 27 — Oprah on Frey’s Lies: She STILL Has Not Come Clean on Her Role
  • Jan. 26 — Frey’s Lies: Oprah Moves into Damage-Control Mode
  • Jan. 25 — Frey’s Lies: The Oprah Spin Cycle Begins
  • Jan. 24 — Frey’s Lies: What Did Oprah Know and When Did She Know It?
  • Jan. 17 — FINALLY: Somebody Calls Oprah on the Carpet for Condoning Frey’s Lies
  • Jan. 10 — Three Monumental Hoaxes, One Common Thread (third item at link)

Steven Forbes Has a Warning for New Fed Chairman Bernanke

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 1:24 pm

This is a follow-up to S.O.B. Alliance member Weapons of Mass Discussion’s request for some inkling as to the consmic significance of Ben Bernanke’s ascent to the throne of Fed Chairman.

I delegated to former presidential candidate Steve Forbes. In today’s Wall Street Journal (requires subscription), Forbes, in the unexcerpted text, warns that outgoing Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan was good at winging it, but left no driving directions for his successor. Further, Forbes fears that the price of gold is telling us that inflation is coming, and that Bernanke isn’t listening:

Most economists hate to hear this, but for a variety of reasons, gold is to monetary policy what the North Star is to determining location. Gold’s intrinsic value hardly changes. Its price fluctuation in dollars reflects not a change in the value of gold but a change in the real worth of the greenback. This is absolutely basic.

Gold is the best barometer we have for monetary disturbances. It zoomed in the 1970s, signaling the horrible inflation we experienced in that era. The yellow metal’s dollar price plunged in the late 1990s. And now it has soared since 2004. The Fed needn’t fix a price for gold — a range of say, $350 to $380 (which is above the average price over the past 10 to 12 years) will suffice.

Like almost all economists, though, Ben Bernanke, Mr. Greenspan’s successor, disdains gold as both an indicator and guide to monetary policy. Alan Greenspan’s failure to leave a gold-based legacy means poor Ben Bernanke won’t be prepared for what will be hitting him — the most serious resurgence of inflation in 25 years.

Forbes has a point that bears watching, and (yes, this is contrary to what I have been previously hoping for) if the Bernanke has to ratchet up rates a few more times to bring money-supply growth back in line, he’d better do it.

State of the Union Debrief

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 10:46 am

Transcript is here.

This is based on reading the transcript. I did not watch; not watching serves as a control on blood pressure and as TV insurance.

(Bush points are in italics)

INTRO AND WAR ON TERROR
    King tribute — Nice. Necessary. Hearfelt.
    Our security depends on end of tyranny — Can’t be said enough.
    Calls out Radical Islam — Keep doing that.
    Letter from Marine Sergeant killed in action — Inspiring. Won’t get printed anywhere. Nice gesture to have parents there.
    “And now the leaders of Hamas must recognize Israel, disarm, reject terrorism and work for lasting peace.” — Important marker laid down.
    Statement of support to Iranian citizens — As far as he could go.
    “The terrorist surveillance program has helped prevent terrorist attacks. It remains essential to the security of America. If there are people inside our country who are talking with Al Qaida, we want to know about it, because we will not sit back and wait to be hit again.” — shouldn’t need to say this, but thanks to traitors disguised as journalists at the NY Times and elsewhere, he had to.

ECONOMY
    More jobs created than EU and Japan combined in past 2-1/2 years — and their combined population is almost double ours (EU 459 million, Japan 127 million, US 298 million).
    Wants tax cuts permanent — Wish he would have reframed (“lock in the current tax structure”)
    “Congress did not act last year on my proposal to save Social Security…” Democrats applauded (update – and according MKH at Hewitt, a standing ovation). — Congrats guys, the hole is $660 billion deeper, and you’re happy. Jerks. (Well, of course. If state control of our health and well-being is their goal, and it is, time is on their side.)
    Another SocSec/Medicare/Medicaid commission. — Oh bleep. The can gets kicked down the road one more year. The education effort stops for at least 6 months. Another $660 billion pushed onto future generations. Arguments about who’s on the commission, majority and minority reports, and (I’m afraid) nothing we don’t know already — argh. At least all the big problems are being addressed at once.
    Litany of things he’d like to do seems like wish list he’s not serious about, until he gets to energy. Ideas are good, but he need to allow markets to work.
    The math-science teachers idea — Nice, but the educators will try to make hash out of it.

OVERALL: B-minus. Holds his own on War on Terror and tax cuts. Entitlements drift for another year, while the time to address them constructively is running out. Maybe the fact that all three biggies are on the table at the same time will lead to a comprehensive solution, but I’m not optimistic. Nothing else really inspiring in the rest.
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ADD-ONs (grade doesn’t change): Bush made some good points about ethics and earmarks, and Lincolnlogs reminds me that he asked for a line-item veto. Perhaps the President has the sense that, unlike what happened in 1998, the current Supremes will uphold a line-item veto appropriately drafted.

Bizzy’s AM Coffee Biz-Econ Links (020106)

Free Links:

  • Willisms notes the difference between how Republicans and Democrats see the economy. His graph shows that the difference was minimal during the 1990s and has grown ridiculously.
  • RConversation’s latest multilink posts on Google and Chinese censorship developments are here (1/30) and here (1/31).
  • Google stock dived on a not meeting profit expectations in after-hours tradingover $70, or over 16%. I have a theory that I will never be able to prove that Google announced its China entry when it did to get all the bad news out of the way at (roughly) the same time.
  • Save for lunch (warning: disturbing) — North Korean defectors tell their stories (HT My Newz N Ideas)
  • Consumer confidence, up again, the highest level since June 2002.
  • A fascinating look at how long a person had to work to be able certain items, back in the 1970s, and now (HT Speckblog and PrestoPundit).
  • So S.O.B. Alliance member Weapons of Mass Discussion says it’s my job to address the cosmic significance of Benjamin Bernanke’s ascent to Fed Chairman. Okay: Been there. Done that. And then some. Update: Also, after 1:30 PM today, see this post on Steve Forbes’ warning.

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Positivity: Child Awakes from “Superbug”-Induced Coma

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 6:14 am

After 2-1/2 months, he came back, and he could achieve full recovery:

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